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Darwin’s finches not a good example of Darwinian evolution?

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Yes, we are discussing the icon of Darwinism that you heard about at school. They interbreed so much, it is hard to know how much they are separate species. From the BBC

The most extensive genetic study ever conducted of Darwin’s finches, from the Galapagos Islands, has revealed a messy family tree with a surprising level of interbreeding between species.

It also suggests that changes in one particular gene triggered the wide variation seen in their beak shapes.

The study also revealed a surprisingly large amount of “gene flow” between the branches of the family.

This indicates that the species have continued to interbreed or hybridise, after diversifying when they first arrived on the islands.

“It’s been observed that the species of Darwin’s finches sometimes hybridise – Peter and Rosemary Grant have seen that during their fieldwork,” Prof Andersson told the BBC.

“But it’s difficult to say what the long-term evolutionary significance of that is. What does it contribute?”

What it contributes is that one would be hard pressed to show that there is any evolution going on, in the face of this much hybridization. A friend sends along a key point from the Discussion of the paywalled Nature paper:

Evidence of introgressive hybridization, which has been documented as a contemporary process, is found throughout the radiation. Hybridization has given rise to species of mixed ancestry, in the past (this study) and the present [30]. It has influenced the evolution of a key phenotypic trait: beak shape. Similar introgressive hybridization affecting an adaptive trait (mimicry) has been described in Heliconius butterflies [32]. The degree of continuity between historical and contemporary evolution is unexpected because introgressive hybridization plays no part in traditional accounts of adaptive radiations of animals [1, 2]. For young radiations it complements the better-known role of natural selection.

In short, Darwin’s finches are not a very good schoolbook illustration of the neo-Darwinian synthesis (Darwinism). How does one sort out what is Darwinism (natural selection acting on random mutation) and what is hybridization? Here’s the abstract:

Darwin’s finches, inhabiting the Galápagos archipelago and Cocos Island, constitute an iconic model for studies of speciation and adaptive evolution. Here we report the results of whole-genome re-sequencing of 120 individuals representing all of the Darwin’s finch species and two close relatives. Phylogenetic analysis reveals important discrepancies with the phenotype-based taxonomy. We find extensive evidence for interspecific gene flow throughout the radiation. Hybridization has given rise to species of mixed ancestry. A 240 kilobase haplotype encompassing the ALX1 gene that encodes a transcription factor affecting craniofacial development is strongly associated with beak shape diversity across Darwin’s finch species as well as within the medium ground finch (Geospiza fortis), a species that has undergone rapid evolution of beak shape in response to environmental changes. The ALX1 haplotype has contributed to diversification of beak shapes among the Darwin’s finches and, thereby, to an expanded utilization of food resources. (paywall)

But we will probably see the finches in the schoolbooks anyway, because Darwin’s name is, like, a brand. There is Darwin Day, there isn’t Hybrid Day.

It’s a brand  lots of people have invested lots of time and money in. They won’t let that go to waste. Let the spin begin!

Follow UD News at Twitter! This is what they used to think and may well continue to say:

77 Replies to “Darwin’s finches not a good example of Darwinian evolution?

  1. 1
    ppolish says:

    Darwin rode around on Galapagos Turtles. Before eating them. Yikes
    http://www.whizzpast.com/23-th.....ign=buffer

    Wrong on finches and a turtle eater to boot;(

  2. 2
    REC says:

    “…would be hard pressed to show that there is any evolution going on, in the face of this much hybridization”

    I’m confused why news believes hybridization and “evolution” are mutually exclusive.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    A few related notes:

    The Grants (who studied Darwin’s finches) made a long presentation at Stanford in 2009 on their work. It is available for all to see on the internet. In it they give the game away. All the so called Darwin finches can inner breed. Doesn’t happen much but it does happen and they have viable offspring that reproduce. Here is the link:

    Darwin’s Legacy | Lecture 5 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMcVY__T3Ho

    To save you some time. Start at about 109:00 and follow Rosemary for a few minutes till at least 112:00. Then go to 146:30 and listen to Peter. Before this is the inane prattle by two of Stanford’s finest who do not understand that the Grants are saying that the whole evolution thing is a crock.

    Newly Discovered Convergent Genetic Evolution Between Bird and Human Vocalization Poses a Severe Challenge to Common Ancestry – Casey Luskin – December 15, 2014
    Excerpt: “We’ve known for many years that the singing behavior of birds is similar to speech in humans — not identical, but similar -,,, “But we didn’t know whether or not those features were the same because the genes were also the same.”
    “Now scientists do know, and the answer is yes — birds and humans use essentially the same genes to speak.”,,,
    “there is a consistent set of just over 50 genes,,,”
    “These changes were not found in the brains of birds that do not have vocal learning and of non-human primates that do not speak,”
    So certain birds and humans use the same genes for vocalization — but those genetic abilities are absent in non-human primates and birds without vocal learning? If not derived from a common ancestor, as they clearly were not, how did the genes get there? This kind of extreme convergent genetic evolution points strongly to intelligent design.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92041.html

    Epigenetics and the Evolution of Darwin’s Finches – 2014
    Excerpt: The prevailing theory for the molecular basis of evolution (Neo-Darwinism) involves genetic mutations that ultimately generate the heritable phenotypic variation on which natural selection acts. However, epigenetic (Non-Darwinian) transgenerational inheritance of phenotypic variation may also play an important role in evolutionary change.,,,
    Genome-wide alterations in genetic mutations using copy number variation (CNV) were compared with epigenetic alterations associated with differential DNA methylation regions (epimutations). Epimutations were more common than genetic CNV mutations among the five species; furthermore, the number of epimutations increased monotonically with phylogenetic distance. Interestingly, the number of genetic CNV mutations did not consistently increase with phylogenetic distance.,,,
    http://gbe.oxfordjournals.org/...../1972.full

    Darwin’s Finches Show Rule-Constrained Variation in Beak Shape – June 10, 2014
    Excerpt: A simple yet powerful mathematical rule controls beak development, Harvard scientists find, while simultaneously preventing beaks from evolving into something else.,,,
    We find in Darwin’s finches (and all songbirds) an internal system, controlled by a non-random developmental process. It is flexible enough to allow for variation, but powerful enough to constrain the beak to its basic form (a conical shape modulated by scaling and shear) so that the rest of the bird’s structures are not negatively affected. Beak development is controlled by a decay process that must operate at a particular rate. It’s all very precise, so much so that it could be modeled mathematically.,,,
    The very birds that have long been used as iconic examples of natural selection become, on closer examination, paragons of intelligent design.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....86581.html

    Back to School to Learn about the “Darwin’s Finches” Icon of Evolution – Casey Luskin – September 22, 2012
    Excerpt: Frank J. Sulloway of Harvard University showed that, really, Darwin was hardly influenced by finches and scarcely observed their feeding habits. He did not correlate their diets and beaks; in fact, Darwin collected too few specimens to determine whether any finch species was unique to each island. He did not even keep track of where he picked up every specimen. Really, no finch species was unique to any one island. Unfortunately, some teachers and writers remain unaware of Sulloway’s historical findings.
    (Alberto A. Martinez, Science Secrets: The Truth about Darwin’s Finches, Einstein’s Wife, and Other Myths, pp. 95-96 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011).),,,
    It looks like Jonathan Wells has been vindicated once again. It would be nice to think that someday biology textbooks will be amended accordingly.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....64601.html

    Darwin ‘Wrong’: Species Living Together Does Not Encourage Evolution – December 20, 2013
    Excerpt: Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution set out in the Origin of Species has been proven wrong by scientists studying ovenbirds.
    Researchers at Oxford University found that species living together do not evolve differently to avoid competing with one another for food and habitats – a theory put forward by Darwin 150 years ago.
    The ovenbird is one of the most diverse bird families in the world and researchers were looking to establish the processes causing them to evolve.
    Published in Nature, the research compared the beaks, legs and songs of 90% of ovenbird species.
    Findings showed that while the birds living together were consistently more different than those living apart, this was the result of age differences. Once the variation of age was accounted for, birds that live together were more similar than those living separately – directly contradicting Darwin’s view.
    The species that lived together had beaks and legs no more different than those living apart,,,
    ,,,there is no shortage of evidence for competition driving divergent evolution in some very young lineages. But we found no evidence that this process explains differences across a much larger sample of species.,,,
    He said that the reasons why birds living together appear to evolve less are “difficult to explain”,,,
    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/darwi.....on-1429927

    More Fossil-Molecule Contradictions: Now Even the Errors Have Errors – Cornelius Hunter – June 2014
    Excerpt: a new massive (phylogenetic) study shows that not only is the problem (for Darwinist) worse than previously thought, but the errors increase with those species that are supposed to have evolved more recently.,,,
    “Our results suggest that, for Aves (Birds), discord between molecular divergence estimates and the fossil record is pervasive across clades and of consistently higher magnitude for younger clades.”
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....s-now.html

    When Dinosaurs Flew – February 4, 2014
    Excerpt: A study published online by PeerJ on Jan. 2 detailed the examination of a startlingly complete and pristine specimen of an ancient, dinosaur-era bird: Hongshanornis longicresta, which flapped throughout what is now China roughly 125 million years ago during the early Cretaceous Period.,,,
    “This isn’t a mode of flight we expected from Cretaceous birds,” Habib said, adding that its small size and overall shape are comparable to that of modern birds. “It was pretty much a Cretaceous starling with a larger tail like a mockingbird.”
    Transported to the modern world, it wouldn’t look like anything special to the casual observer, until a closer examination revealed claws at the end of the bird’s wings and tiny teeth in its beak.,,,
    http://dornsife.usc.edu/news/s.....aurs-flew/

    News for the Birds – May 7, 2014
    Excerpt: Yanornis is called an ancestor of birds, but PhysOrg reported on April 18 that a fossil found in China shows that “the digestive system of the ancestors to modern birds was essentially modern in all aspects.”,,,
    But if it was already “essentially modern” in the ancestors, and already integrated with the flight systems, where is the time for natural selection to have supposedly produced it?
    per crevoinfo

    “The idea of feathered dinosaurs and the theropod origin of birds is being actively promulgated by a cadre of zealous scientists acting in concert with certain editors at Nature and National Geographic who themselves have become outspoken and highly biased proselytizers of the faith. Truth and careful scientific weighing of evidence have been among the first casualties in their program, which is now fast becoming one of the grander scientific hoaxes of our age—the paleontological equivalent of cold fusion.”
    – Storrs Olson curator of birds at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History

    here are some cool video clips from ‘FLIGHT: The Genius of Birds’

    FLIGHT: The Genius of Birds – video clip playlist
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s05koz6adzw&list=PLO673u2zYHhmKlWOnzc6FCbGr42TCB71C

  4. 4
    ppolish says:

    Jack Sprat could eat no fat.
    His wife could eat no lean.
    And so between them both, you see,
    They licked the platter clean

    A good design rule for a finch beak genetic toolbox would be allowing some differing beak shapes. That way there would be less wasted food and more food for all.

    Beak shape guiding food consumption, not food consumption causing beak shape. Cool.

  5. 5
    News says:

    REC at 2: It’s not a question of the two processes being mutually exclusive. It’s a question of what makes a good illustration for teaching purposes.

    Illustrations for teaching purposes must not be ambiguous.

    As most readers will readily appreciate.

  6. 6
    Zachriel says:

    bornagain77: The Grants (who studied Darwin’s finches) made a long presentation at Stanford in 2009 on their work. It is available for all to see on the internet. In it they give the game away. All the so called Darwin finches can inner breed. Doesn’t happen much but it does happen and they have viable offspring that reproduce. Here is the link:

    Darwin’s Legacy | Lecture 5 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMcVY__T3Ho

    To save you some time. Start at about 109:00 and follow Rosemary for a few minutes till at least 112:00. Then go to 146:30 and listen to Peter. Before this is the inane prattle by two of Stanford’s finest who do not understand that the Grants are saying that the whole evolution thing is a crock.

    We addressed this previously, but you reposted the same comment. So here again is our reply.

    We watched the section you recommended. Rosemary Grant says “Divergence in morphology through the tracking of environmental change by natural selection”. She also discusses reproductive isolation, which is not complete, and the conditions under which to expect hybridization. That’s standard standard evolutionary biology. It’s so standard, you’ll find it in Darwin 1859.

  7. 7
    ppolish says:

    REC, grab any US High School intro biology text and go to the evolution chapter. There will be finch beaks – 100% guarantee. And it will be the dogma, no EpiGenetics or Hybridization. That beak stuff will be popping up in college college textbooks, latest editions

  8. 8
    Mapou says:

    In the theory of evolution, does a Zulu from Africa belong to the same species as a Mayan from Central America or a white Norwegian? I’m asking because it seems to me that the ‘species’ label is used rather loosely when it comes to birds and the size of their beaks. It’s rather confusing. But then again, maybe it is meant to be.

  9. 9
    rhampton7 says:

    Dimijian cites the classic icon of evolution, the Galápagos finches, stating: “There is no contender for causation other than natural selection.” But no Darwin-critic has ever stated otherwise.

    Casey Luskin
    May 2, 2012

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....59241.html

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    Really Zach, on the thread that underscored the Grant’s main point of interbreeding?

    “It’s been observed that the species of Darwin’s finches sometimes hybridise – Peter and Rosemary Grant have seen that during their fieldwork,” Prof Andersson told the BBC.

    Your timing is impeccable Zach. Keep up the good work. You are a far greater asset for ID than you could possibly realize! 🙂

  11. 11
    mahuna says:

    Isn’t the definition of “species” 2 living things that CANNOT mate and produce viable offspring? That is, horses bred with donkeys can produce mules, but mules are sterile. If the finches can mate and produce fertile offspring, they’re just breeds, like dogs or horses. And exotic breeds of successful animals (and plants) occur all the time.

    But then Darwin had no idea what “species” meant. He insisted there was only 1 specie of pigeon (there are more than 300), while insisting there were 3 species of domestic dogs (there is only 1).

  12. 12
    wd400 says:

    How does one sort out what is Darwinism (natural selection acting on random mutation) and what is hybridization?

    What do you think there is to sort out? Natural selection can act on random mutation, no matter what path they take to end up in given body.

    Isn’t the definition of “species” 2 living things that CANNOT mate and produce viable offspring?

    No.

    (Not that it matters to anything today, but do you have a reference for Darwin’s claims about dog and pigeon species?)

  13. 13
    Mung says:

    This is exactly what one would expect if evolution is true.

    Yet another confirmation of the theory.

  14. 14
    Joe says:

    Rosemary Grant says “Divergence in morphology through the tracking of environmental change by natural selection”.

    Yet she doesn’t have any idea if natural selection didit or not. If Dr. Spetner is right then it would be “Divergence in morphology through the tracking of environmental change by built-in responses to environmental cues”- he discusses the evidence for this wrt the finches in “The Evolution Revolution”.

    Darwinian and neo-Darwinian require all genetic change to be happenstance, ie undirected/ not planned/ mistakes/ errors/ accidents. And for anyone interested that is one of the basic points of the debate- is all genetic change really accidental? Evolutionists just baldly declare that it is cuz they can’t figure out any way it could be otherwise.

  15. 15
    Zachriel says:

    Mapou: In the theory of evolution, does a Zulu from Africa belong to the same species as a Mayan from Central America or a white Norwegian?

    Not only the same species, but the same subspecies. Humans do not maintain reproductive isolation. There has always been substantial gene flow through the human population, with geographic isolation being only relatively recent, incomplete, and ultimately temporary.

    Mapou: I’m asking because it seems to me that the ‘species’ label is used rather loosely when it comes to birds and the size of their beaks. It’s rather confusing. But then again, maybe it is meant to be.

    The species boundary can be somewhat ambiguous, but Darwin’s finches tend to maintain distinct boundaries even though they co-inhabit the same geographic area; hence, they are considered separate species.

    fifthmonarchyman: “It’s been observed that the species of Darwin’s finches sometimes hybridise – Peter and Rosemary Grant have seen that during their fieldwork,” Prof Andersson told the BBC.

    And duck species hybridize quite often. Are you saying there is only one species of duck? If so, then you are in disagreement with generations of ornithologists.

    Mahuna: Isn’t the definition of “species” 2 living things that CANNOT mate and produce viable offspring?

    That is not correct. There are various definitions, chosen for their utility, but the basic concept is that there is sufficient isolation that they maintain their distinctive characteristics.

    mahuna: But then Darwin had no idea what “species” meant. He insisted there was only 1 specie of pigeon (there are more than 300)

    Darwin asserted, based on that domestic pigeons descended from a single wild species, Columba livia, not that there was only one species of pigeon.

    As for dogs, Darwin did think, due to their vast variation, that they probably descended from more than one wild species. This question was left unresolved until modern genetics which show that dogs are monophyletic, a close relative of the gray wolf.

    See Darwin, “Origin of Species”, Chapter 1: Variation Under Domestication, 1859.

  16. 16
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Hey Zac,

    first of all you are mistaking me for BA77 again. This is the first time I’ve commented in the thread.

    anyway

    I think it’s high time that we abandon the old Darwinian canard that “Species” is defined as a population in relative reproductive isolation.

    And return to the older universal concept of Species as the equivalent of the Platonic Forms or Biblical Kinds.

    I’m not sure why this understanding was abandoned by science in the first place unless it was to facilitate the theory that one species could somehow morph into another.

    If we define species as Form or Kind the irrationality of one fuzzy edged species bleeding into other species becomes obvious.

    It’s as silly as the idea of a triangle evolving into a square by RM/NS.

    In fact when we look at nature what we see is individual organisms that reflect immaterial objective Forms by varying extents.

    That is the phenomena that needs to be explained. Darwin dodged the issue all together by redefining terms.

    peace

  17. 17
    Joe says:

    Zachriel is just a grand equivocator. and obfuscator. Zachriel doesn’t understand what is being debated nor does it care. Pathetic, really.

  18. 18
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: first of all you are mistaking me for BA77 again.

    We apologize for our clumsiness.

    fifthmonarchyman: I think it’s high time that we abandon the old Darwinian canard that “Species” is defined as a population in relative reproductive isolation.

    Darwin never defined species as complete reproductive isolation. He made a great point in “Origin of Species” to point out that isolation is by degree, an important component of his theory.

    fifthmonarchyman: If we define species as Form or Kind the irrationality of one fuzzy edged species bleeding into other species becomes obvious.

    But they do grade, so we can dispense with that.

    fifthmonarchyman: Darwin dodged the issue all together by redefining terms.

    No. Darwin generally relied upon the findings of other scientists.

  19. 19
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac said,

    But they do grade, so we can dispense with that.

    I say,

    What? I don’t understand what you mean. Who is “they” and what is “grade”?

    You say,

    Darwin generally relied upon the findings of other scientists.

    I say,

    For what? To explain the origin of species? He did not do that.

    What he did was attempt to explain variation in populations existing in relative reproductive isolation.

    As if that phenomena even needed any explanation in the first place.

    Then he acted is if his trivial explanation was actually actually an explanation of the origin of species by simply redefining terms.

    peace

  20. 20
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: What? I don’t understand what you mean. Who is “they” and what is “grade”?

    Reproductive isolation is not a binary condition, but a range.

    fifthmonarchyman: For what? To explain the origin of species? He did not do that.

    The “issue” was variation within and between populations, that is, the delineation of species. For instance, Darwin was not an expert ornithologist, so when it came time to classify the various birds he found in the Galápagos, he relied upon John Gould, the noted English ornithologist; hence the classification was not determined by Darwin or colored by his theory.

    fifthmonarchyman: Then he acted is if his trivial explanation was actually actually an explanation of the origin of species by simply redefining terms.

    Have no idea why you think pointing out that reproductive isolation varies in degree is a ‘redefinition’ of anything. Rather, it’s only one piece of observational evidence in his overall argument.

  21. 21
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac said,

    Reproductive isolation is not a binary condition, but a range.

    I say,

    So? That only serves to prove my point.

    you say,

    The “issue” was variation within and between populations, that is, the delineation of species.

    I say,

    apparently you don’t understand

    Populations are not species. Species are groupings of things determined by their characteristics. At least that was the understanding of the word before Darwin.

    Imagine I have a bucket of different polygons they can be grouped into different “species” according to the number of sides each contains.

    What needs to be explained is why the shapes can be objectively grouped like that. Not what it is that makes the individual shapes different from each other.

    To explain variation within and between a group of polygons by appealing to “random variation” filtered by “natural selection” is simply vacuous. Of course there is variation. That was never in doubt.

    The exercise can be done with a group of organisms as well. If I am given a bucket of birds for example I will be able to group them objectively into “species” according to their various physical characteristics. for example a Duck group and a Finch group.

    What you would expect to see on the other hand is that any grouping I make would be subjective and arbitrary as the individuals within each of the groups would vary as much as the differences in the groups as a whole.

    That is not the case and that is what needs to be explained.

    quote:

    A practical botanist will distinguish at the first glance the plant of the different quarters of the globe and yet will be at a loss to tell by what marks he detects them.

    :end quote

    Carolus Linnaeus

    you said

    Have no idea why you think pointing out that reproductive isolation varies in degree is a ‘redefinition’ of anything.

    I say,

    What was redefined was the term “species”. It went from being a term to describe the objective groupings that can be made in polygons or birds to a subjective fuzzy edged population with a relative reproductive isolation.

    Once the term “species” was redefined Darwin proceeded to explain variation in and between populations by appealing to…….. wait for it ……random variation filtered by survival of the fittest.

    All that can be said in response to that is…… well duh

    peace

  22. 22
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: So? That only serves to prove my point?

    What point is that? That species grade into one another? That contradicts the notion of fixity of species, or that species revert to an ideal mean.

    fifthmonarchyman: Populations are not species.

    A species is a population.

    fifthmonarchyman: Species are groupings of things determined by their characteristics. At least that was the understanding of the word before Darwin.

    Yes, that’s the definition that Darwin used, populations that have a high level of genetic similarity. There are several related definitions, and we know species tend to maintain their distinctive characteristics because of limited gene flow with other populations.

    fifthmonarchyman: What needs to be explained is why the shapes can be objectively grouped like that.

    It’s called inheritance. Turns out that birds and bees reproduce and make more birds and bees.

    fifthmonarchyman: If I am given a bucket of birds for example I will be able to group them objectively into “species” according to their various physical characteristics. for example a Duck group and a Finch group.

    Duck and finch are family level designations.

    fifthmonarchyman: What you would expect to see on the other hand is that any grouping I make would be subjective and arbitrary as the individuals within each of the groups would vary as much as the differences in the groups as a whole.

    Huh? Why would the grouping be arbitrary?

    fifthmonarchyman: What was redefined was the term “species”. It went from being a term to describe the objective groupings that can be made in polygons or birds to a subjective fuzzy edged population with a relative reproductive isolation.

    You can still use the phenetic species concept, as Darwin did. He pointed out that two phenetically defined species may overlap.

    fifthmonarchyman: Once the term “species” was redefined Darwin proceeded to explain variation in and between populations by appealing to…….. wait for it ……random variation filtered by survival of the fittest.

    Darwin didn’t define the term species. He used the traditional definition, then showed why in many instances species grade, and that it is reproductive isolation that maintains the phenetic distinctions that make for species.

  23. 23
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    from here

    http://darwin200.christs.cam.a.....page_id=e8

    quote:

    Prior to Darwin the dominant view of thinking about the natural world was typological thinking. According to this approach species are fixed ‘types’ and variability around this type is rather meaningless because there is no gradation between types, so evolution cannot occur; a cat is of the cat type, all cats are fundamentally the same and remain so through time. Darwin introduced a new way of thinking based on individuals, so called population thinking. He stressed the uniqueness of the individual, no two are the same. These unique individuals form populations which can be considered in statistical terms; there is an average cat size, but all cats are different sizes and that average value is just a statistic. Darwin’s new way of thinking about nature puts the emphasis on individual variation so opens the door for thinking about evolution.

    end quote:

    hope that helps

  24. 24
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac said,

    Huh? Why would the grouping be arbitrary?

    I say,

    from here:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/problem-of-many/

    quote:

    Think of a cloud—just one cloud, and around it a clear blue sky. Seen from the ground, the cloud may seem to have a sharp boundary. Not so. The cloud is a swarm of water droplets. At the outskirts of the cloud, the density of the droplets falls off. Eventually they are so few and far between that we may hesitate to say that the outlying droplets are still part of the cloud at all; perhaps we might better say only that they are near the cloud. But the transition is gradual. Many surfaces are equally good candidates to be the boundary of the cloud. Therefore many aggregates of droplets, some more inclusive and some less inclusive (and some inclusive in different ways than others), are equally good candidates to be the cloud. Since they have equal claim, how can we say that the cloud is one of these aggregates rather than another? But if all of them count as clouds, then we have many clouds rather than one. And if none of them count, each one being ruled out because of the competition from the others, then we have no cloud. How is it, then, that we have just one cloud? And yet we do. (Lewis 1993: 164)

    End Quote:

  25. 25
    Joe says:

    In 1967 100 identical finches were released on a group of atolls in the Pacific. These atolls did not have any finches. 17 years later it was observed that the finches had diversified in both behavior and beak morphology, including accompanying musculature- to fit their respective new niches.

    What Darwin speculated taking millions due to the nature of the mechanism posited, actually takes over a decade due to the real mechanism involved, ie built-in responses to environmental cues.

  26. 26
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarcnhyman: According to this approach species are fixed ‘types’ and variability around this type is rather meaningless because there is no gradation between types, so evolution cannot occur; a cat is of the cat type, all cats are fundamentally the same and remain so through time. According to this approach species are fixed ‘types’ and variability around this type is rather meaningless because there is no gradation between types, so evolution cannot occur; a cat is of the cat type, all cats are fundamentally the same and remain so through time.

    Darwin didn’t change how species were defined, but showed gradation between species as they were defined by biologists.

    fifthmonarcnhyman: He stressed the uniqueness of the individual, no two are the same.

    Which is largely true.

    fifthmonarcnhyman: These unique individuals form populations which can be considered in statistical terms; there is an average cat size, but all cats are different sizes and that average value is just a statistic.

    Again, true.

    fifthmonarcnhyman (quoting): Think of a cloud—just one cloud, and around it a clear blue sky

    That doesn’t mean the grouping is completely arbitrary, just that there are ambiguous elements near the edges. The example you provided didn’t have any ambiguous elements.

    In any case, Darwin didn’t redefine species. Rather, using the standard definition of species, he showed inconsistencies in how people thought about species, such as that they were fixed, or that they tended towards an ideal type.

  27. 27
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac said,

    Darwin didn’t change how species were defined, but showed gradation between species as they were defined by biologists.

    I say,

    evidence please.

    this is what I have so far.

    quote:

    No one definition has satisfied all naturalists; yet every naturalist knows vaguely what he means when he speaks of a species. Generally the term includes the unknown element of a distinct act of creation.

    and

    it is a hopeless endeavour to decide this point on sound grounds, until some definition of the term “species” is generally accepted; and the definition must not include an element that cannot possibly be ascertained, such as an act of creation

    and

    … I was much struck how entirely vague and arbitrary is the distinction between species and varieties

    Charles Darwin

    end quote:

    apparently Darwin did not feel there was a standard biological definition

    you say,

    In any case, Darwin didn’t redefine species. Rather, using the standard definition of species, he showed inconsistencies in how people thought about species, such as that they were fixed, or that they tended towards an ideal type.

    I say,

    again evidence please.

    From what Ive been able to discover he simply changed the definition of species from Kind/Form to population. Thus making his explanation the equivalent of.

    “variations in and among populations are caused by random variations that are filtered by nature”

    to this I say “well duh”

    peace

  28. 28
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: evidence please.

    Darwin, Origin of Species 1859, Sterility various in degree.

    fifthmonarchyman: this is what I have so far

    That’s right. Many scientists had thought there was an ideal form. However, as Darwin pointed out, the distinct acts of creation were “unknown”, so couldn’t be used for species classification. When classifying organisms, scientists of the time generally used the phenetic species concept.

    fifthmonarchyman: I was much struck how entirely vague and arbitrary is the distinction between species and varieties

    That’s a critical point of his argument. Boundaries between species are often ambiguous! There is no ideal form.

  29. 29
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac says.

    There is no ideal form.

    I say,

    I disagree and there is no way of demonstrating this with out presuming materialism

    you say,

    Boundaries between species are often ambiguous!

    I say,

    Of course they ambiguous are when you define species as population.

    If you define Species as Form or Kind there is not any ambiguity there is only various individuals that imperfectly correspond to the Ideal immaterial form.

    Just as squares in the phyiscal world imperfectly correspond to the Ideal square outside the cave.

    peace

  30. 30
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: I disagree and there is no way of demonstrating this with out presuming materialism

    As Darwin showed, the evidence indicates that species boundaries are “various in degree”. This is not what was expected by an ideal form with return to the mean.

    fifthmonarchyman: If you define Species as Form or Kind there is not any ambiguity there is only various individuals that imperfectly correspond to the Ideal immaterial form.

    Defining species using a term that is ambiguous does not remove the ambiguity.

  31. 31
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac said,

    As Darwin showed, the evidence indicates that species boundaries are “various in degree”. This is not what was expected by an ideal form with return to the mean.

    I say,

    Since Darwin was mistaken as to which “populations” actually constitute his redefined “species” his conclusions as to the boundaries of said “species” are not the last word.

    On the other hand think about the boundary between a circle and a n-gon it might appear fuzzy in the imperfect materiel world but it is perfectly distinct in the world outside the cave.

    You say.

    Defining species using a term that is ambiguous does not remove the ambiguity.

    I say,

    “Platonic Form” is not an ambiguous concept it has been well defined for over 2 thousand years. Just because a concept is immaterial does not mean it is ambiguous.

    That is unless you presume materialism

    peace

  32. 32
    Joe says:

    It is entertaining watching Zachriel prove the case against unguided evolution predicting an objective nested hierarchy.

    Thank you Zachriel. It appears my work has finally gotten through to you.

  33. 33
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: Since Darwin was mistaken as to which “populations” actually constitute his redefined “species” his conclusions as to the boundaries of said “species” are not the last word.

    Again, Darwin used the species divisions as defined by other biologists.

    fifthmonarchyman: “Platonic Form” is not an ambiguous concept it has been well defined for over 2 thousand years. Just because a concept is immaterial does not mean it is ambiguous.

    You haven’t defined the platonic forms you are talking about, unless you are sorting animals into “circles and n-gons”. Please tell us what forms they are, how many forms are involved, and how to sort biological organisms into these categories you have defined.

  34. 34
    Joe says:

    Platonic forms- see Linnaean Classification. Linnaeus was searching for the originally created kinds when he devised his systema naturae.

    And again thank you for finally understanding that gradual evolution doesn’t predict an objective nested hierarchy. It feels good to see that you have finally come around.

  35. 35
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Joe said,

    Platonic forms- see Linnaean Classification.

    I say,

    exactly!

    Zac says

    Again, Darwin used the species divisions as defined by other biologists

    I say,

    Species Divisions are only meaningful if we have a clearly understanding of what species is. Darwin did not like the concept of species as Forms so he used his own definition.

    He then attempted to shoehorn the divisions relevant to the older definition into his new “species are populations” frame work. he found that it did not work

    To which I respond “well duh”

    150 years and we still haven’t been able to accomplish fitting a round peg into that square hole

    check it out

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Species_problem

    Isn’t it time we tried another way

    peace

  36. 36
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: Platonic forms- see Linnaean Classification.

    That’s the classification used by Darwin and his contemporaries, and Linnaean binomial nomenclature is still in use today. Darwin showed that species are not fixed, and have boundaries which are various in degree.


    edited for clarity

  37. 37
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac said,

    That’s the classification used by Darwin and his contemporaries, and still largely in use today.

    I say,

    once again…second time…… Darwin used a classification system based on one definition of species to provide the boundaries for “species” according to another unrelated definition and found that it did not work,

    It still does not work after 150 years.

    Big surprise

    In other news it has been discovered that if we define marriage as a partnership between any group of people regardless of gender then suddenly the old boundaries of one male and one female no longer work

    “well duh”

    peace

  38. 38
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: Darwin used a classification system based on one definition of species to provide the boundaries for “species” according to another unrelated definition and found that it did not work

    What Darwin did, and has been confirmed many times over, is that the species that were delineated by biologists had boundaries various in degree.

    You might want to look at the actual data, something Darwin did, and what biologists do. What species are wolves?

  39. 39
    Joe says:

    No one argues for the fixity of species. YEC’s baraminology allows for variation/ speciation. Linnaean taxonomy doesn’t require the fixity of species. Ya see the originally created kinds would be species and baraminology says tat today’s diversity evolved from that.

  40. 40
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac said,

    What Darwin did, and has been confirmed many times over, is that the species that were delineated by biologists had boundaries various in degree.

    I say

    So populations vary among and between themselves.

    Big surprise.

    The same can be said for the imperfect squares in the materiel universe. However in the world outside the cave there are no fuzzy boundaries in the species of square.

    The problem arises when you attempt to define what a square is by averaging the features of phyiscal squares instead of looking to the immaterial form

    you say,

    What species are wolves?

    I say.

    Short answer: the species wolf

    Long answer: You can’t classify an organism into species until you define what a species is.

    Using your definition I suppose a particular wolf would be a member of the population corresponding to those individual organisms that it can theoretically mate with and produce viable offspring

    using the older definition a particular wolf would be a member of the species that exhibits the universal of wolf-ness but only to the extent in which it shares in that universal Form.

    peace

  41. 41
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: So populations vary among and between themselves.

    More specifically, what biologists then and what biologists now call species have fuzzy boundaries.

    fifthmonarchyman: the species wolf

    Are dogs of the wolf species? Are coyotes of the wolf species?

    fifthmonarchyman: You can’t classify an organism into species until you define what a species is.

    We’re asking how *you* are using the term.

    fifthmonarchyman: Using your definition I suppose a particular wolf would be a member of the population corresponding to those individual organisms that it can theoretically mate with and produce viable offspring

    That is incorrect. The standard definition of species allows for interspecific hybridization.

  42. 42
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac says

    Are dogs of the wolf species? Are coyotes of the wolf species?

    I say,

    Are the imperfect circles we see in the materiel world of the circle species?

    The answer is yes and no. They are circles only to the extant that they correspond to the Ideal circle.

    In the same way coyotes and dogs are wolfs to the extant that they correspond to the ideal wolf

    you say,

    That is incorrect. The standard definition of species allows for interspecific hybridization.

    I say,

    The standard definition is subject to any number of ad hoc qualifications and aditions yet it still is subject to endless controversy among biologists.

    Isn’t time we tried something new?

    peace

  43. 43
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: In the same way coyotes and dogs are wolfs to the extant that they correspond to the ideal wolf

    Are you saying that coyotes and wolves are the same species? Is a coyote closer or farther from the ideal than the gray wolf?

    fifthmonarchyman: The standard definition is subject to any number of ad hoc qualifications and aditions yet it still is subject to endless controversy among biologists.

    Your claim was that Darwin changed how we delineated species, but then and now, coyotes and wolves are different species.

  44. 44
    Joe says:

    Zachriel’s position cannot account for wolves, coyotes, nor dogs. And that has Zachriel very upset.

  45. 45
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    zac asks

    Are you saying that coyotes and wolves are the same species?

    I’m say,

    Ive mentioned the Y axis several times. Here we go again.

    Coyotes and wolves share some features so they are related at lower levels of the Axis. The same way circles and ovals and various other ellipses are related.

    But as we move up the axis we reach a point that these entities diverge. As we move up the Y-axis circles diverge from ovals and wolves diverge from coyotes

    If we move even further up the Y-axis eastern wolves diverge from Grey wolves and western coyotes diverge from eastern coyotes.

    This is nothing but the taxonomic classification system that Linnaeus worked to standardize.

    You say.

    Is a coyote closer or farther from the ideal than the gray wolf?

    I say,

    It depends on which particular individual you are talking about.

    I can’t tell you which of two shapes is closer to the ideal circle until I actually see the shapes in question. Show me the actual shapes and I can tell where exactly they diverge from the Ideal.

    You seem to think that by probing you will be able to find a weakness in the old approach. The fact is the old approach has been tested and tried for millennia and it has stood the test of time, It only falters when you try to shoehorn Darwin’s new definition into the old framework.

    using a system based on one definition does not work for groupings based on an unrelated definition. Big surprise.

    peace

  46. 46
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: Here we go again.

    If you plot traits of wolves and coyotes, they will tend to cluster into two groups. These clusters are what biologists call species.

    fifthmonarchyman: It depends on which particular individual you are talking about.

    Oh gee whiz. Go to the zoo or something.
    http://westernwildlife.org/wp-.....arison.jpg

    fifthmonarchyman: I can’t tell you which of two shapes is closer to the ideal circle until I actually see the shapes in question. Show me the actual shapes and I can tell where exactly where they diverge from the Ideal.

    Oh gee whiz. Go to the zoo or something.
    http://westernwildlife.org/wp-.....arison.jpg

    fifthmonarchyman: You seem to think that by probing you will be able to find a weakness in the old approach. The fact is the old approach has been tested and tried for millennia and it has stood the test of time

    Oh gee whiz. So you say you’ve been working on the problem for thousands of years, and still can’t describe the ‘ideal wolf form’, and can’t tell us whether a grey wolf or a coyote is closer to the ‘ideal wolf form’. It’s meaningless poppycock unless you can take cases and apply them.

    fifthmonarchyman: It only falters when you try to shoehorn Darwin’s new definition into the old framework.

    Darwin used standard delineation of species, the phenetic species concept that places Canis lupus (designated in 1853 by Carl Linnaeus) and Canis latrans (designated in 1820 by Thomas Say) into different species. Note that the classification of wolf and coyote as separate species occurred before Darwin’s theory, so don’t keep saying it was Darwin who changed the delineation.

    fifthmonarchyman: You seem to think that by probing you will be able to find a weakness in the old approach.

    You frequently redefining terminology, and think that constitutes an argument. At least most creationists use the term ‘kind’, and don’t conflate it with the biological classification of species.

  47. 47
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac says

    and still can’t describe the ‘ideal wolf form’,

    I say,

    You did not ask me to describe the ideal wolf form. If you would have asked I would have pointed you to something like this

    from here

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_wolf

    quote:

    grey wolf,

    the largest extant member of its family, with males averaging 43–45 kg (95–99 lb), and females 36–38.5 kg (79–85 lb)like the red wolf, it is distinguished from other Canis species by its larger size and less pointed features, particularly on the ears and muzzle.Its winter fur is long and bushy, and predominantly a mottled gray in color, although nearly pure white, red, or brown to black also occur

    end quote:

    you say,

    can’t tell us whether a grey wolf or a coyote is closer to the ‘ideal wolf form’.

    I say,

    I happen to live in an area with two different “types” of coyote one is very wolf like and the other is closer to the western coyote type.

    I need to see the actual coyotes to tell you which type they are. Once I see an individual I can easily tell you which type it is. This is not rocket science.

    What I can’t tell you is which type we are talking about just by hearing you detail a supposed genealogical relationship.

    You say,

    and can’t tell us whether a grey wolf or a coyote is closer to the ‘ideal wolf form’.

    I say,

    I can, it’s easy. I just need to see the individual in question. I can’t do it based only your use of terms derived from a definition of species that is completely unrelated to the definition I’m using.

    You say,

    It’s meaningless poppycock unless you can take cases and apply them.

    I say,

    I spend every day applying the old approach to actual cases. It’s what we humans naturally do.

    I do it every time I look out the window of my car and see a canine and say to those with me “look at that coyote”

    You do the same thing all the time.

    The approach only breaks down when you try to shoehorn population groupings based on theoretical mating compatibility.

    you say

    You frequently redefining terminology, and think that constitutes an argument.

    I say,

    This is not an argument. I’m simply pointing out why there is a “species problem” at the heart of your approach that will not go away.

    It is your side that is redefining accepted terminology. Linnaeus concept of species is not the same as Darwin’s it is as simple as that.

    You can’t change the definition and expect the system to work. That is exactly what we have found for 150 years the finches are just the latest example

    Isn’t time we tried a different way.

    peace

  48. 48
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: quote: grey wolf, the largest extant member of its family, with males averaging 43–45 kg (95–99 lb), and females 36–38.5 kg (79–85 lb)like the red wolf, it is distinguished from other Canis species by its larger size and less pointed features, particularly on the ears and muzzle.

    Which looks like a descriptive definition of a typical wolf, not an ideal version. Furthermore, your citation treats the gray wolf as a different species than the coyote, not different manifestations of an ideal form you have yet to describe.

    fifthmonarchyman: I do it every time I look out the window of my car and see a canine and say to those with me “look at that coyote”

    Sure. Coyote is a different species from the wolf, and has distinguishing characteristics.

    fifthmonarchyman: Linnaeus concept of species is not the same as Darwin’s it is as simple as that.

    The delineation of species was the same. According to biologists before Darwin working within Linnaean taxonomy, the coyote was a different species. You had claimed they were different manifestations of the same ideal form, which you have yet to describe.

    fifthmonarchyman: That is exactly what we have found for 150 years the finches are just the latest example

    Darwin’s finches were identified as separate species before Darwin published “Origin of Species”. Your history of the species concept is not consistent with the facts.

  49. 49
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    zac says,

    Darwin’s finches were identified as separate species before Darwin published “Origin of Species”.

    I say,

    Of course, Once again what happened was Darwin changed the definition of species but continued to use the old categorization. It did not work still doesn’t. big surprise

    You say

    According to biologists before Darwin working within Linnaean taxonomy, the coyote was a different species.

    I say,

    Of course, a coyote is not a wolf.

    You say,

    You had claimed they were different manifestations of the same ideal form, which you have yet to describe.

    I say,

    No, Pay attention

    I said a coyote was a wolf to the extent that it corresponds to the Ideal wolf. The same way that an oval is a circle to the extent that it corresponds to the ideal circle. This is not difficult stuff.

    I’m not sure what a “manifestation of the same Ideal form” is supposed to mean but it was not my phrase.

    You say,

    Which looks like a descriptive definition of a typical wolf, not an ideal version.

    I say,

    The “typical” wolf is the “Ideal” wolf. A particular individual deviates from the Ideal wolf when it’s features are atypical.

    Come on Zac use your head.

    you say,

    Your history of the species concept is not consistent with the facts.

    I say,

    no apparently your understanding of this history of this thread is not consistent with the facts.

    We are not talking about what qualifies as a species but conflicting definitions of the term species

    Since it’s obvious that you are not interested in any kind of actual discussion feel free to have the last word.

    That is unless you have a genuine comment pertaining to what I actually said.

    Peace

  50. 50
    Curly Howard says:

    How would you define a species, FifthMM?

  51. 51
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Curly Howard said,

    How would you define a species

    I say,

    no need to reinvent the wheel

    from here

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/species

    quote:

    Species- a class of individuals having some common characteristics or qualities; distinct sort or kind.

    end quote:

    peace

  52. 52
    Curly Howard says:

    Fifth, a lot of different species have numerous common characteristics and qualities. How would you go about making the distinction between one kind/sort and another?

  53. 53
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: Once again what happened was Darwin changed the definition of species but continued to use the old categorization. It did not work still doesn’t.

    The definition is the categorization. The idea of fixity is a theory about the nature of species.

    fifthmonarchyman: The “typical” wolf is the “Ideal” wolf. A particular individual deviates from the Ideal wolf when it’s features are atypical.

    In other words, the ideal is just another name for the typical member of (what everyone else calls) the species. Calling it an ideal doesn’t add anything to the empirical understanding, but just indicates your own state of mind.

    fifthmonarchyman: We are not talking about what qualifies as a species but conflicting definitions of the term species

    There are many definitions of species, but they generally differ only on the margins and are chosen for their utility in a given field. If you want to propose a new biological taxonomy, then you shouldn’t use the term species, which hasn’t changed all that much since Linnaeus.

    fifthmonarchyman: Species- a class of individuals having some common characteristics or qualities; distinct sort or kind.

    ffm: If you define Species as Form or Kind there is not any ambiguity there is only various individuals that imperfectly correspond to the Ideal immaterial form.

    Species identification has generally been based on the phenetic species concept, that is, grouping of species by characteristics. If we plot organisms by traits, we can objectively show that they clump, the clumps being called species. We can show that these characteristics are maintained because there is limited gene flow between the various populations.

    What you call the ideal form is either a typical member of the species, or the type specimen designated for the species.

    You apparently think Darwin changed the definition of species, when what he did was show that traditional phenetic species boundaries are various in degree. You can talk about the ideal wolf and the ideal coyote, but there is no objective ideal form. There are just wolves and coyotes.

  54. 54
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Curly Howard says

    a lot of different species have numerous common characteristics and qualities. How would you go about making the distinction between one kind/sort and another?

    I say,

    It’s a nested hierarchy. A Y-Axis. The higher up you go the more restricted the grouping,

    Circles ovals and squares are all shapes so they are related in some ways.

    If we move up on the axis squares are excluded and we are left with ovals and circles

    Still further up on the axis and circles stand alone.

    It’s exactly the same process that Carl Linnaeus was perfecting.

    Ive already explained this check out comment 45 and following

    peace

  55. 55
    Curly Howard says:

    That sounds exactly like what they teach in evolutionary biology classes today, fifth. How is it different?

  56. 56
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Curly Howard says.

    That sounds exactly like what they teach in evolutionary biology classes today, fifth. How is it different?

    I say,

    Perhaps you should take some time to catch up by reading this thread it will save a lot of time for both of us. Here is what I said way back in comment 21……

    What was redefined was the term “species”. It went from being a term to describe the objective groupings that can be made in polygons or birds to a subjective fuzzy edged population with a relative reproductive isolation.

    Once the term “species” was redefined Darwin proceeded to explain variation in and between populations by appealing to…….. wait for it ……random variation filtered by survival of the fittest.

    All that can be said in response to that is…… well duh

    and in comment 47………

    You can’t change the definition and expect the system to work. That is exactly what we have found for 150 years the finches are just the latest example

    ======

    That is the difference between the two definitions in a nut shell. For more information read the thread

    peace

  57. 57
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: What was redefined was the term “species”. It went from being a term to describe the objective groupings that can be made in polygons or birds to a subjective fuzzy edged population with a relative reproductive isolation.

    Actually, the phenetic species concept is still the primary way to determine species. However, we can show that reproductive isolation is why species retain their individual characteristics, so a definition based on reproductive isolation is generally consistent with one based on phenotype. Both definitions are used depending on utility.

    fifthmonarchyman: Once the term “species” was redefined Darwin proceeded to explain variation in and between populations by appealing to…….. wait for it ……random variation filtered by survival of the fittest.

    Darwin explained variation within and between phenotypic species.

  58. 58
    Curly Howard says:

    My understanding is that with the introduction of evolutionary thought, the switch to a “fuzzy edged population with relative reproductive isolation” is a necessity. This is how evolution works, species undergo change and branching, and stepping back at a specific time (today) you will see species at different degrees of change. You could try to classify them all as they are today, but many years from now they will not be the same.

    That is, if you accept evolution of course.

    Today there are a number of species concepts, each with their own drawbacks.
    Your species concept seems to have the drawback of ignoring evolution, but hey that’s your prerogative.

    I’ll leave you to it.
    Toodaloo

  59. 59
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    zac says,

    However, we can show that reproductive isolation is why species retain their individual characteristics, so a definition based on reproductive isolation is generally consistent with one based on phenotype.

    I say,

    yea it works except when it doesn’t. Big surprise.

    you say,

    Darwin explained variation within and between phenotypic species.

    I say,

    Explaining phenotypic species by appealing to variation in populations is vacuous.

    You don’t explain the difference between circles and squares by pointing out that individual shapes vary.

    That much should be obvious

    peace

  60. 60
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Curly Howard says,

    My understanding is that with the introduction of evolutionary thought, the switch to a “fuzzy edged population with relative reproductive isolation” is a necessity.

    I say,

    Yes if you want to explain the differences in species without reference to intelligent design you need to redefine the term so that it has no real objective meaning. Darwin knew that that is why he made the switch.

    you say,

    Today there are a number of species concepts, each with their own drawbacks.Your species concept seems to have the drawback of ignoring evolution

    I say,

    It’s not that the older concept ignores evolution it’s just that it recognizes that evolution is not sufficient to explain speciation.

    The older concept, the common sense concept that we use everyday has the single “draw back” of requiring an objective intelligence to define the Forms/Kinds.

    That is the only reason it was abandoned. Darwin just could not abide a concept of “species” that required a designer.

    Now we are left with naturalistic understandings that just don’t work. It’s been true for 150 years and will continue to be so as long as we try to shoehorn a definition that does not belong. That is what the problem of species is all about.

    For some folks it’s worth the drawback of paucity as long as we don’t let the divine foot in the door.

    you say,

    Toodaloo

    I say,

    todaloo to you too

    peace

  61. 61
    Joe says:

    Darwin explained variation within and between phenotypic species.

    Baraminology already explained that. For example all extant birds are ancestors of some 365 original bird kinds.

    Curly Howard is still confused over what is being debated.

  62. 62
  63. 63
    Zachriel says:

    Zachriel: we can show that reproductive isolation is why species retain their individual characteristics, so a definition based on reproductive isolation is generally consistent with one based on phenotype.

    fifthmonarchyman: yea it works except when it doesn’t.

    If you have a point to make, you should make it. Did you have some biological examples to consider?

    fifthmonarchyman: Explaining phenotypic species by appealing to variation in populations is vacuous.

    If it’s vacuous it’s because your statement, as it stands, appears incoherent. Species refers to differences between populations, not within populations.

  64. 64
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac said,

    Did you have some biological examples to consider?

    I say,

    Not for you but for those actually interested. 😉

    We have already been discussing one glaring example.

    When I was growing up my Grandpa told me stories of the brush wolf that used to live around here. It was large 60 pounds or bigger and it hunted in packs and took adult deer and livestock. It had been absent from the hills for decades apparently hunted to extinction.

    Then in the late 80s we started to hear about large wild canines in our area that were again taking large prey and hunting in packs. For my Grandpa who was not bound by the paradigm of Darwinism the identity of the creatures were obvious the were brush wolves. Period end of story.

    On the other hand to the Darwinist the creatures weren’t brush wolves at all but coyotes that had filled the vacant niche of the brush wolf and undergone rapid convergent evolution until their characteristics matched those of the wolf species they had replaced.

    That explanation is fine as far as it goes except it does not account for the small coyotes that inhabit these same hills yet did not undergo this rapid transformation but remained just as they were all along.

    According to Darwinism instead of the two separate species whose obvious differences we can see with our own eyes we actually have one species with two distinct types that look different and act in very different ways.

    So we have two explanations for the canines in our neck of the woods one older explanation that is simple and with out complications and one newer one that is complex with multiple “draw-backs”.

    All this doesn’t make the newer explanation wrong it just makes it complicated and confusing.

    That is what you would expect when you try to shoehorn a new definition of species based on theoretical mating potential into an older classification method based on shared characteristics.

    peace

  65. 65
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac says,

    Species refers to differences between populations, not within populations.

    I say.

    alright, suppose you found a bucked of shapes.

    You would not explain the difference between the circles and the squares by claiming that they all came from the same stamping process and pointing out that there are differences between the circles and the squares.

    Such an explanation would be vacuous

    peace

  66. 66
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: You would not explain the difference between the circles and the squares by claiming that they all came from the same stamping process and pointing out that there are differences between the circles and the squares.

    Organisms aren’t stamped out. Have no idea what your analogy is supposed to mean.

    Organisms descend through a process of reproduction. The similarities between coyotes and wolves are because they share a common ancestor. The differences are due to divergence since that common ancestor.

  67. 67
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: For my Grandpa who was not bound by the paradigm of Darwinism the identity of the creatures were obvious the were brush wolves.

    Um, brush wolf is just another name for an Eastern Coyote. Are you confusing that with the Eastern Wolf perhaps?

  68. 68
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    Organisms descend through a process of reproduction.

    All but the first.

    The similarities between coyotes and wolves are because they share a common ancestor

    Or a common design.

    The differences are due to divergence since that common ancestor

    Or due to different design requirements.

  69. 69
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    Species refers to differences between populations, not within populations.

    Speciation can occur from within a population.

  70. 70
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac says.

    Have no idea what your analogy is supposed to mean.

    I say,

    Why do I always have to spoon feed stuff to you. You are not as slow as you pretend to be Zac

    Here goes

    Imagine you give an autistic kindergartner a single paper cut out of the continent of Australia. The kid proceeds to take his safety scissors and make two copies of the shape.

    He throws one away and places the other one into a bucket along with the original. He repeats the same task again and again monotonously as autistic children sometimes do.

    Which shapes get tossed in the trash and which ones get placed in the shape bucket is entirely dependent on the unspoken desires of the child.

    After a period of time you check the bucket and find that the shapes inside can be grouped into several unique categories. There are squares and triangles and circles and octagons.

    If I was to attempt to explain the shapes in the bucket by appealing to the random variation in the copies filtered by the child’s selection what would you say.

    You would be right to characterize my explanation as vacuous.

    peace

    He then repeats this process over and over again

  71. 71
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac asks

    Um, brush wolf is just another name for an Eastern Coyote. Are you confusing that with the Eastern Wolf perhaps?

    I say,

    Brush wolf is the local term for what is called the red wolf in the field guides.

    check it out

    http://www.outdooralabama.com/red-wolf

    peace

  72. 72
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    please disregard the phrase

    “He then repeats this process over and over again” in 71

    sorry about that

    peace

  73. 73
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: If I was to attempt to explain the shapes in the bucket by appealing to the random variation in the copies filtered by the child’s selection what would you say.

    In this case, the variations are due to direct selection for the desired shape. However, with biological evolution, the variations are random with respect to fitness.

    fifthmonarchyman: Brush wolf is the local term for what is called the red wolf in the field guides.

    Okay. It’s apparently also a colloquial term for the red wolf. Let’s look at your original statement again.

    fifthmonarchyman: According to Darwinism instead of the two separate species whose obvious differences we can see with our own eyes we actually have one species with two distinct types that look different and act in very different ways.

    That is incorrect. There is some uncertainty, but most biologists consider Canis rufus to be a separate species from both the gray wolf and the coyote, though closely related. It’s entirely consistent with evolutionary theory for it to be difficult to distinguish between species and subspecies as there is no strict dividing line. This is supported by the molecular evidence.

    See Chambers et al., An account of the taxonomy of North American wolves from morphological and genetic analyses, North American Fauna 2012: “Genetic data support a close relationship between eastern wolf and red wolf Canis rufus, but do not support the proposal that they are the same species; it is more likely that they evolved independently from different lineages of a common ancestor with coyotes.”

  74. 74
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    zac says

    In this case, the variations are due to direct selection for the desired shape.

    I say.

    How could possibly you know this?

    I say,

    However, with biological evolution, the variations are random with respect to fitness.

    I say,

    the variations in the shapes are also random with respect to fitness as far as we know.

    You say,

    It’s entirely consistent with evolutionary theory for it to be difficult to distinguish between species and subspecies as there is no strict dividing line.

    I say,

    Of course according the new definition there is no strict dividing line. That is why your approach can not solve “problem of species”.

    According to the old common sense definition there is a strict dividing line that is why the old approach did not have a “problem of species”.

    That is the whole point.

    I’ll give you the last word for the second time 😉

    peace

  75. 75
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: How could possibly you know this?

    Because of fairly extensive knowledge of humans. See, for instance, Lavenda & Schultz, Anthropology: What Does It Mean to Be Human?, Oxford University Press, 2nd edition 2011. There’s quite an extensive literature on the subject. Very quaint creatures humans are. You might take a gander.

    fifthmonarchyman: Of course according the new definition there is no strict dividing line.

    It has nothing to do with definitions. It’s a statistical finding. Clustering by trait is not perfect. Furthermore, we can show why this is so. It’s because of common ancestry and limited gene flow between closely related populations.

    fifthmonarchyman: According to the old common sense definition there is a strict dividing line …

    If you draw strict lines, they will often be statistically arbitrary.

    fifthmonarchyman: that is why the old approach did not have a “problem of species”.

    That is incorrect. There was a species problem long before Darwin. That’s because taxonomists were dealing with the same set of facts as Darwin. They frequently saw quite distinct species, so they assumed everything fit into clearly delineated boxes, but as they looked at more and more cases, it didn’t work out that way. They argued about where to draw the line, but it turns out that there is no distinct line in many cases.

  76. 76
    Joe says:

    However, with biological evolution, the variations are random with respect to fitness.

    That is incorrect. With unguided evolution the variation is random, as in happenstance/ accidental.

  77. 77
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    It’s entirely consistent with evolutionary theory for it to be difficult to distinguish between species and subspecies as there is no strict dividing line.

    Please reference this alleged evolutionary theory so we can see what it says.

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