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A new take on prey who warn predators of danger

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poison dart frogs/Cope, Wikimedia Commons

Alfred Russel Wallace’s take, explicitly.

From ScienceDaily:

Not every encounter between predator and prey results in death. A new study co-authored by a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, professor suggests that prey emit warning cues that can ultimately lead to both their survival and that of their predators.

The hypothesis addresses a 150-year-old mystery of evolution on how warning signals of animals and plants arise and explains animals’ instinctive avoidances of dangerous prey.

In 1867, Alfred Russel Wallace, co-proponent with Charles Darwin of the theory of evolution through natural selection, proposed that animals evolve colorful, distinctively recognizable appearances to advertise their distastefulness or toxicity to predators. Despite a number of attempts, however, no satisfactory evolutionary mechanism for the origin of warning cues has been proposed.

Leading theories postulate that predators know to avoid prey after eating one that harmed them.

By “leading theories,” the researcher means Darwinism, of course.

The obvious problem, possibly not evident to the Darwinist, is that the “last meal of the condemned” approach to safety training is not very efficient over the long term.

Burghardt and Weldon suggest predators don’t have to learn to avoid prey from the experience of eating distasteful or poisonous ones. They instinctively know to stay away because they are sensitive to the prey’s chemical signals or they recognize the visual or behavioral warning cues being displayed. They call this mechanism “concurrent reciprocal selection,” which means the signals being emitted by the prey and the predators’ sensitivity to the signals repel one from the other and work simultaneously, ensuring both can survive. A predator that ignores its sensitivity to the toxic prey perishes, as does the prey that is consumed.

This approach might be correct or incorrect in a given case, but it certainly makes more inherent sense. The prey’s warning signals (alarming sights, sounds, smells, etc.) may code for a neurological avoidance response in the predator.

Of course it wouldn’t always work; the predator may be too desperate to care. But it may work just enough of the time that the trait gets passed on by both parties. As for complex signalling, remember, at one time we didn’t know about the bee dance either…

Here’s the abstract:

Casualties and impediments inflicted on consumers by defended prey, and vice versa, may be averted by vocalizations, postures, coloration, scents, and other warning, or so-called aposematic, displays. The existence of aposematic signals has challenged biologists who have sought plausible mechanisms for their evolution. Here, we elaborate on the rationale for the hypothesis that aposematic signals arise via concurrent reciprocal selection (CRS) enacted between inimical signal receivers and signal emitters, where signal emitters, e.g., defended prey, select against non-discriminating signal receivers, e.g., predators, and signal receivers select against unrecognized signal emitters. It is postulated that this mutual selective interaction culminates in the survival of discriminating signal receivers that avoid signal emitters, and recognized (distinctive) signal emitters that are avoided by signal receivers. A CRS hypothesis for the evolution of aposematism, therefore, maintains that distinctive features of prey arise in response to selection imposed by consumers, and that avoidances of those features by consumers arise in response to selection imposed by defended prey. We discuss the plausible inception of aposematism via CRS in light of related hypotheses, and describe points of concordance with previous observations and suggestions on the origin of aposematism. Aposematism arising via CRS is not contingent upon the relatedness of signallers, aversions acquired by learning, or other conditions postulated for some other evolutionary hypotheses. CRS is a credible alternative hypothesis for the evolution of warning signals in diverse consumer-prey interactions. (paywall) – Paul J. Weldon, Gordon M. Burghardt. Evolving détente: the origin of warning signals via concurrent reciprocal selection. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2015; DOI: 10.1111/bij.12565

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142 Replies to “A new take on prey who warn predators of danger

  1. 1
    ppolish says:

    Frogs are colorful to repel, flowers are colorful to attract.

    Nature makes efficient use of the “visible light” section of the electromagnetic spectrum. Although some animals can see ultraviolet light and others can see infrared light. Superheroes don’t have X-Ray vision. Yet. Evolution can make that happen someday. – Evolution is special. Evolution will probably keep radio wave vision from taking hold through car accidents.

    But back to frogs. Why don’t frog predators evolve resistance to the poison? Sometimes Evolution picks the pretty win-win solution over the nasty red in tooth and claw solution. Good deal.

  2. 2
    Zachriel says:

    ppolish: Why don’t frog predators evolve resistance to the poison?

    An interesting example is the relationship of the toxic newt (Taricha granulosa) and it’s only predator, the garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis), an example of an evolutionary arms race. The antitoxin decreases mobility in the snake, so the evolutionary expectation is balancing selection, that the most resistant garter snakes should be geographically associated with the presence of the most toxic newts. And that is what is observed.

  3. 3
    ppolish says:

    Xachriel, would you consider “balancing sekection” a case of fine tuning or guided evolution? Both?

  4. 4
    Zachriel says:

    ppolish: would you consider “balancing sekection” a case of fine tuning or guided evolution?

    Let’s start with your original question, which concerns why don’t predators evolve resistance. They do. What happens is that over generations the prey increases toxicity while the predatory increases anti-toxins. A limit is reached, due to metabolism or other effects, then balancing selection becomes predominant. Now, let’s make sure we have answered your question.

    ppolish: would you consider “balancing sekection” a case of fine tuning or guided evolution?

    Balancing selection is natural fine tuning. There’s natural variation within both the predator and prey populations. The balance is dynamic, though, and depends on the local situation.

  5. 5
    ppolish says:

    Agree Zachriel, natural fine tuning.

    Supernatural fine tuning would be “In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all.” Supernatural is better. More loving:)

  6. 6
    Virgil Cain says:

    Arms races pretty much prove that evolution is not unguided and blind watchmaker evolution is bogus.

  7. 7
    Mung says:

    Is “balancing selection” supposed to supply some objective way to determine that both predator and prey have reached their ability to evolve (either greater toxicity or greater resistance)?

    Why isn’t it just yet one more in a long line of just so stories?

  8. 8
    News says:

    This is a classic situation in which an information approach is better than a Darwinian one for genuine understanding.

    Both prey and predator stand a better chance of surviving, maintaining the biomass of which they are a part, and continuing to feed if the prey doesn’t get eaten (thus poisoning the predator).

    In which case, maybe nothing IS learned or passed on. Even if the predator does not die, it is at a disadvantage re mating, in relation to other predators of the same species, assuming it is weakened by the experience.

    Obviously, prey escape can’t happen all the time, but it can happen much of the time.

    However, mindless entities cannot think out such a goal, so they are not “evolving” it all by themselves.

    If information is a part of our universe and not just an illusion created by the buzz of neurons in the human brain, we might look for this situation: The prey’s display acts on the predator’s perceptions, via detectable neurological signals, to discourage the pursuit.

    How happy would readers have been to handle that double fanged rattler with the wicked forked tongue, in the YouTube above? Oops, late for my fashion beading class!

  9. 9
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: Is “balancing selection” supposed to supply some objective way to determine that both predator and prey have reached their ability to evolve (either greater toxicity or greater resistance)?

    Increasing toxicity and resistance have observable secondary, negative effects.

    Mung: Why isn’t it just yet one more in a long line of just so stories?

    The usual. Because it leads to testable and confirmed empirical predictions.

  10. 10
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Because it leads to testable and confirmed empirical predictions.

    And those are?

  11. 11
    ppolish says:

    It is a “just so story”, Mung. But it’s “just so” by design. Guided. The days of “unguided evolution” are numbered. Going extinct quickly. Many scientists have already moved on past the “unguided” dogma. Guys like Dawkins will go down with the ship though. HMS Beagle meet Davy Jones Locker.

  12. 12
    Zachriel says:

    ppolish: Many scientists have already moved on past the “unguided” dogma.

    ‘Guided’ is a nebulous term. Does a gravitational field ‘guide’ an object in orbit?

    In any case, balancing selection entails observable consequences.

  13. 13
    ppolish says:

    Does a gravitational field help guide Evolution? Most certainly (read the last sentence of The Origin of Species lol). Electromagnetic fields ditto. Strong and Weak Force too if one wants to get picky.

    Guided guided guided and exquisitely fine tuned. Mountains of evidence with nebulous on top:)

  14. 14
    ppolish says:

    Poison frogs get their poison from eating alkaloid rich ants. Maybe their color attracts ants? Like a flower? Ants do taste good.

  15. 15
    Zachriel says:

    ppolish: Does a gravitational field help guide Evolution?

    You’re ignoring the point raised, which was the nebulous use of the word “guided”. As for balancing selection, there is a strongly supported natural explanation.

  16. 16
    ppolish says:

    Gravity guides Evolution. So do the other 3 Natural Forces. Seriously, Zachriel, what DOESNT guide Evolution. “Nothing guides Evolution. Evolution is unguided grrrr.” Please stop. You’ve been reading too much of the Berkeley Evo website for kids.

    Do you believe Evolution is unguided? How do you define unguided?

  17. 17
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    ‘Guided’ is a nebulous term.

    ‘Evolution’ is a nebulous term. ‘Natural selection’ is a nebulous term. ‘Species’ is a nebulous term.

    Does a gravitational field ‘guide’ an object in orbit?

    Not anymore than it guides a pitch from a pitcher.

  18. 18
    Zachriel says:

    ppolish: Do you believe Evolution is unguided? How do you define unguided?

    The term is nebulous. You didn’t answer. Does a gravitational field ‘guide’ an object in orbit?

  19. 19
    ppolish says:

    Yes, Zach, a gravitational field guides an orbiting planet. I thought that went without saying, sorry.

  20. 20
    Zachriel says:

    ppolish: a gravitational field guides an orbiting planet.

    The question was posed because ‘guided’ often refers to an intelligent and conscious agent.

  21. 21
    Virgil Cain says:

    With evolutionism there isn’t any guidance, unless whatever survives and reproduces is a guiding force.

  22. 22
    Mung says:

    With evolutionism there isn’t any guidance, unless whatever survives and reproduces is a guiding force.

    Yes, this is known as backward-causation. It’s only allowed in evolution.

  23. 23
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Guided is synonymous with ‘directed’ at least commonly within this discussion ‘Directed’ is a function of intelligence. Directed towards a goal or end-state. That’s what guided is with regards to evolution or objects in orbit.

    Gravity doesn’t purposefully guide or direct things. Although at a metaphysical level, one can say that gravity acts in an ordered, predictable direction and moves things towards end-states. So, gravity gives the appearance of purposefully guiding things.

    Follow-up questions are “why does gravity act in an ordered predictable way”? “What is the origin of gravity?” “What caused gravity to guide objects?”

    The fact that gravity acts in an ordered, predictable way and has the appearance of guiding objects to end-states (qualities of intelligent actions) — is evidence that gravity itself it the product of intelligent design.

  24. 24
    Zachriel says:

    ppolish: a gravitational field guides an orbiting planet.

    Silver Asiatic: Guided is synonymous with ‘directed’ at least commonly within this discussion ‘Directed’ is a function of intelligence.

    Hence the confusion.

  25. 25
    Axel says:

    ‘Blind watchmaker'(!!!), Virgil. That always kills me! How that lad has got away with such tosh for more than a second* utterly, utterly baffles me.

    *For once, I won’t try and give the impression of being science ‘savvy’ by using a terms such as ‘nanosecond’.

    The biggest laugh of all time, though, has to be Dawkins’ comment that nature looks deceptively empirically-testable. You know… giving the impression that it was designed… and you might even manage to reverse-engineer from it. BUT DON’T BE FOOLED. IT ONLY APPEARS TO BE DESIGNED!!!

  26. 26
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Zach

    ppolish: a gravitational field guides an orbiting planet.

    Silver Asiatic: Guided is synonymous with ‘directed’ at least commonly within this discussion ‘Directed’ is a function of intelligence.

    Hence the confusion.

    I believe I cleared it up for you. If a gravitational field guides things, and guidance is a function of intelligence – then the gravitational field is intelligent.

    Or else, it was designed by intelligence to give the appearance of guiding things.

    If evolution guides organisms to certain end-states, then evolution is intelligent.

  27. 27
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: If a gravitational field guides things, and guidance is a function of intelligence – then the gravitational field is intelligent.

    Are you claiming that the scientific evidence indicates that the orbit of the asteroid, Ceres, is being directed by an intelligent agent?

    Generally, Newton’s theory explained the movements of planets based on a few simple principles without positing the necessity of angels.
    http://www.zachriel.com/blog/Angels.jpg

    Silver Asiatic: If evolution guides organisms to certain end-states, then evolution is intelligent.

    Natural selection seems to work without intelligent intervention. Are you also claiming that the scientific evidence supports that lightning striking a tree is due to intelligent guidance?

  28. 28
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Natural selection seems to work without intelligent intervention.

    Natural selection is impotent with respect to universal common descent. NS preserves what works, it does not create and it does not guide.

    Are you claiming that the scientific evidence indicates that the orbit of the asteroid, Ceres, is being directed by an intelligent agent?

    Gravity exists do to an intelligent agent.

  29. 29
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: Natural selection seems to work without intelligent intervention.

    What Zachriel seems to mean is that we can observe the effects of intelligence in artificial breeding, so there is no reason to believe that natural selection requires intelligence.

  30. 30
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: What Zachriel seems to mean is that we can observe the effects of intelligence in artificial breeding, so there is no reason to believe that natural selection requires intelligence.

    We can observe the effects of natural selection in nature.

  31. 31
    ppolish says:

    How about the causes of natural selection, Zach? The creation of natural selection. That is ID domain. The deeper domain.

    How did a Blind Watchmaker emerge? That is a question for ID, not EVO Biology. Biology is a very small subset of ID.

  32. 32
    Zachriel says:

    ppolish: How about the causes of natural selection

    It’s due to the relationship of variations within a population, the environment, and the resulting differences in successful reproduction.

  33. 33
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    We can observe the effects of natural selection in nature.

    That is debatable as natural selection requires the changes to be accidental/ happenstance. We don’t have any way of making that determination.

  34. 34
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    It’s due to the relationship of variations within a population, the environment, and the resulting differences in successful reproduction.

    Right, whatever is good enough get the chance to try to reproduce. Also what is good for one population in one environment can be detrimental to another population in a different environment. It is all contingent serendipity.

  35. 35
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel,

    “We can observe the effects of natural selection in nature.”

    Exactly. The evidence is that these effects are tiny. They are noise in comparison with what you need for genuine non-trivial biological novelty. Non-trivial novelty such as multicellularity or sexual reproduction requires large amounts of non-trivial code.

    Man’s ability to walk is not necessarily proof of his ability to walk to the Moon.

  36. 36
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Zach

    Are you claiming that the scientific evidence indicates that the orbit of the asteroid, Ceres, is being directed by an intelligent agent?

    Yes, I was clarifying your point of view. You seemed to believe that gravitational fields provide guidance for planetary orbits.

    I was merely drawing the conclusion that your premise entails – if gravity is guiding or directing orbits – and since guidance requires intelligence, then the orbit of the asteroid Ceres is being directed by intelligence. That’s what follows from your viewpoint.

    Natural selection seems to work without intelligent intervention.

    As I explained, there’s a higher-level view that ID addresses, as with the origin of gravity and any ordering-principles in the universe. But even at a lower level, if natural selection doesn’t indicate an intelligent process, then it doesn’t ‘guide’ anything.

    Are you also claiming that the scientific evidence supports that lightning striking a tree is due to intelligent guidance?

    Again, I was attempting to clarify your point of view that gravity ‘guides’ things. Guidance is a function of intelligence.

    So, if you believe that lightning is a guided process, then you’d be asserting that it is due to intelligence.

  37. 37
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: We can observe the effects of natural selection in nature.

    We can observe the effects of artificial selection in nature. Just because I never saw the intelligence doing the selecting doesn’t lead me to believe there was none.

  38. 38
    computerist says:

    NS preserves what works, it does not create and it does not guide.

    But it gives other chances for the ones that do survive to create something new (via RM) further down the line, no?

    That’s what evos would say.

  39. 39
    Virgil Cain says:

    computerist:

    But it gives other chances for the ones that do survive to create something new (via RM) further down the line, no?

    Just like randomly altering a car can create a new, albeit large, paper weight. 😉

  40. 40
    Box says:

    Computerist: But it gives other chances for the ones that do survive to create something new (via RM) further down the line, no?

    Let’s say we have 4 slightly different individuals of the same species. NS kills off 2 of them.
    How does this give “other chances for the ones that do survive to create something new”? How do they benefit from NS’ “creative” activity?

  41. 41
    Steve says:

    This is the usual lame straw-man argument. Intelligence does not “intervene’. It is already present in the genome.

    To be sure, natural selection cannot work without differential reproduction. Zachriel fails to empirically explain differential reproduction?

    Yes, yes, of course the many selves we know as Zachriel will eventually come up with a slew of speculative papers citing even more speculative papers to create the mirage of overwhelming support for their (Zachriel) explanation, which inevitably will be non-empirical.

    But then that is about the extent that Zachriel can muster any type of evidence.

    Zachriel:Natural selection seems to work without intelligent intervention. Are you also claiming that the scientific evidence supports that lightning striking a tree is due to intelligent guidance?

  42. 42
    Steve says:

    Steve: We can observe the effects of intelligence in nature.

    Zachriel: We can observe the effects of natural selection in nature.

  43. 43
    computerist says:

    How do they benefit from NS’ “creative” activity?

    They have survived, ofcourse 🙂

    It always comes back to what survives. If it survives, then there is a chance.

    And evolution can go any direction via mere tinkering. A population of Ferrari’s can overtime (based on whatever survives further down the line) turn into a population of Fiats, and then from there can overtime (based on whatever survives further down the line) turn into a population of airplanes.

    And so on and so forth.

    All is possible with evolution, no?

  44. 44
    Robert Byers says:

    UC did this subject once before and had a better idea.
    I say, like in skunks, its not the experience that teaches creatures but the boldness that warns the creatures.
    The skunck is bold. its colour is to tell everyone its there. iTs not for memorizing a danger. its colour sticks out in the dark.
    Likewise bees ladybugs etc. They are loud in a green/bropwn world. They want you to know they are there.
    The creatures must simply conclude they have some strength and so are dangerous.
    I suspect experiments could show creatures are afraid at early ages even though never experiencing or being taught to avoid warning colour creatures.
    its not about memory but about conclusions.

  45. 45
    MatSpirit says:

    Ppolish: “How about the causes of natural selection, Zach? The creation of natural selection. That is ID domain. The deeper domain.”

    The “causes” of natural selection? Natural selection is when you’re born with a mutation that slows you down so you get eaten, causing that particular mutation to not get passed down and to die with you. Or when you’re born with a mutation that lets you run faster and you live longer and pass that new mutation on to your children, preserving it. And if it’s a really good mutation, the power of exponential reproduction will make that newly created information (the mutation) spread to the whole population.

    Natural selection is “caused” by how well new mutations help you survive and prosper.

    Evolution in one paragraph: DNA contains information. Mutations contain randomly generated new information. Natural selection culls the bad information, preserves the good information and makes the best information spread to the whole population.

    Even though ID says information can’t be created.

  46. 46
    Virgil Cain says:

    MatSpirit:

    Natural selection is when you’re born with a mutation that slows you down so you get eaten, causing that particular mutation to not get passed down and to die with you.

    Or being slow causes you to be the last to the lioness’s ambush and you survive because of it.

    Or when you’re born with a mutation that lets you run faster and you live longer and pass that new mutation on to your children, preserving it.

    Or being faster makes you first to that ambush and first to be eaten.

    Natural selection culls the bad information, preserves the good information and makes the best information spread to the whole population.

    If only. Whatever is good enough survives. That can be faster, slower, taller, longer, shorter, fatter, skinnier, better sight, no sight, better hearing- whatever.

  47. 47
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: The evidence is that these effects are tiny.

    Natural selection can result in the spread of character traits through a population. That’s hardly trivial, especially if you are a competitor in the population.

    Silver Asiatic: You seemed to believe that gravitational fields provide guidance for planetary orbits.

    We were asking for clarification on how a different poster was using the term “guided”. Our position is that the term’s meaning varies between users and contexts.

    Are you claiming that the scientific evidence indicates that the orbit of the asteroid, Ceres, is being directed by an intelligent agent?

    Box: Let’s say we have 4 slightly different individuals of the same species. NS kills off 2 of them.
    How does this give “other chances for the ones that do survive to create something new”?

    If natural selection “killed off” half the population that means there are heritable advantages in the half that survived. They then reproduce to fill the niche.

    Steve: Zachriel fails to empirically explain differential reproduction?

    Actually, we already provided an example of balancing selection with empirical support. See above.

  48. 48
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Zach

    Our position is that the term’s meaning varies between users and contexts.

    You offered no explanation for how you were using the term throughout the discussion so I offered an explanation for you.

  49. 49
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: You offered no explanation for how you were using the term throughout the discussion so I offered an explanation for you.

    Z @12: ‘Guided’ is a nebulous term.

    Z @15: You’re ignoring the point raised, which was the nebulous use of the word “guided”.

    Z @18: The term is nebulous.

    Are you claiming that the scientific evidence indicates that the orbit of the asteroid, Ceres, is being directed by an intelligent agent?

  50. 50
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Natural selection can result in the spread of character traits through a population. That’s hardly trivial, especially if you are a competitor in the population.

    That is a nebulous claim.

    If natural selection “killed off” half the population that means there are heritable advantages in the half that survived.

    And another nebulous claim.

    Are you claiming that the scientific evidence indicates that the orbit of the asteroid, Ceres, is being directed by an intelligent agent?

    Yes as science says that gravity was designed by an intelligent agent.

  51. 51
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: That is a nebulous claim.

    See Frank, Natural selection. IV. The Price equation, Journal of Evolutionary Biology 2012.

  52. 52
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    See Frank, Natural selection. IV. The Price equation, Journal of Evolutionary Biology 2012.

    saw it. Don’t see how that helps you though. Perhaps you can make your case as opposed to just presenting papers that don’t help.

  53. 53
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: Don’t see how that helps you though.

    Price’s equation shows that the claim is not nebulous, but clear and specific.

  54. 54
    Virgil Cain says:

    Price’s equation is under debate and far from demonstrating anything real.

  55. 55
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: Price’s equation is under debate and far from demonstrating anything real.

    That wasn’t your claim.

  56. 56
    Virgil Cain says:

    Our claim still stands unopposed.

  57. 57
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: Our claim still stands unopposed.

    Your claim was that “Natural selection can result in the spread of character traits through a population” is a nebulous claim. We provided a clear and specific equation describing natural selection.

  58. 58
    Virgil Cain says:

    Our claim stands. And that equation has never been demonstrated to reflect reality.

  59. 59
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: Our claim stands.

    Repeating your claim is not an argument in support of the claim. We provided specific support for the claim that natural selection is not a nebulous concept. You have repeatedly failed to address that support.

  60. 60
    Box says:

    Zach,

    Box: Let’s say we have 4 slightly different individuals of the same species. NS kills off 2 of them.
    How does this give “other chances for the ones that do survive to create something new”?

    Zach: If natural selection “killed off” half the population that means there are heritable advantages in the half that survived.

    Those “heritable advantages” would also be there without half the population being killed off. So what is gained? Nothing new. In fact, thanks to NS, information is lost.

  61. 61
    Zachriel says:

    Box: Those “heritable advantages” would also be there without half the population being killed off.

    They’re not “heritable advantages” under natural selection unless there are differences in reproductive potential. You’re posing a non sequitur.

    It’s important to note that an advantage doesn’t have to lead to life and death, but simply to differences in successful reproduction.

  62. 62
    Box says:

    Zach: Natural selection can result in the spread of character traits through a population. That’s hardly trivial, (…)

    Indeed, that is synonymous to a huge loss of information.

  63. 63
    Zachriel says:

    Box: Indeed, that is synonymous to a huge loss of information.

    That’s correct (given a standard definition of information). It can be represented as a bell curve. When selection is weak, the bell curve will be wide, but when under balancing selection, the curve becomes more narrow. The same often occurs with directional selection, at least initially, creating a skewed distribution.
    http://www.buzzle.com/images/d.....-curve.jpg

    Meanwhile, new variations (information) are constantly being created through mutation and other processes.

  64. 64
    Box says:

    Zach: They’re not “heritable advantages” under natural selection unless there are differences in reproductive potential.

    Sure, that’s why I used quotation marks, as in “heritable advantages”. Okay let me spell it out for you:

    Those traits to which you referred as “heritable advantages” would also be there without half the population being killed off.

  65. 65
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Zach

    Are you claiming that the scientific evidence indicates that the orbit of the asteroid, Ceres, is being directed by an intelligent agent?

    ‘Directed’ is a nebulous term.

  66. 66
    Box says:

    Zach: Meanwhile, new variations (information) are constantly being created through mutation and other processes.

    Yep. That’s where pure magic happens. And then NS steps in wielding its machine gun.

  67. 67
    Zachriel says:

    Box: Those traits to which you referred as “heritable advantages” would also be there without half the population being killed off.

    We wouldn’t refer to them as “heritable advantages”, in the context of natural selection, unless they provide a reproductive advantage.

  68. 68
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Z 51

    From Frank, Natural Selection, Price Equation 2012

    In Frank (1995), I wrote: ‘What problems can the Price equation solve that cannot be solved by other methods?

    The answer is, of course, none, because the Price
    Equation is derived from, and is no more than, a set of
    notational conventions. It is a mathematical tautology’.

    Nowak & Highfield (2011) and van Veelen et al. (2012)
    emphasize the same point in their critique of the Price
    equation, although they present the argument as a novel
    insight without attribution. Given that the Price equation
    is a set of notational conventions, it cannot uniquely
    specify any predictions or insights. A particular set of
    assumptions leads to the same predictions, no matter
    what notational conventions one uses. The Price equation
    is a tool that sometimes helps in analysis or in seeing
    general connections between apparently disparate ideas.
    For many problems, the Price equation provides no
    value, because it is the wrong tool for the job.

    If the Price equation is just an equivalence, or
    tautology, then why am I enthusiastic about it? Mathematics
    is, in its essence, about equivalences, as
    expressed beautifully in the epigraph from Mazur. Not
    all equivalences are interesting or useful, but some are,
    just as not all mathematical expressions are interesting or
    useful, but some are.

    That leads us to the question of how we might know
    whether the Price equation is truly useful or a mere
    identity? It is not always easy to say exactly what makes an
    abstract mathematical equivalence interesting or useful.
    However, given the controversy over the Price equation,
    we should try. Because there is no single answer, or even a
    truly unique and unambiguous question, the problem
    remains open. I list a few potential factors.

  69. 69
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    We provided specific support for the claim that natural selection is not a nebulous concept.

    No, you didn’t. You provided a paper but you refused to make a case that it refuted our claim.

    Meanwhile, new variations (information) are constantly being created through mutation and other processes.

    The debate is whether or not those processes are blind watchmaker processes or are they purposely guided by some design/ plan.

  70. 70
    Virgil Cain says:

    Repeating your claim is not an argument in support of the claim.

    And yet all you have done is baldly repeat your claims.

  71. 71
    Box says:

    Zach #67,
    I know. I have acknowledged that.

    What’s important is that we agree on the negative role of NS wrt evolution: NS is just another term for loss of information.

  72. 72
    Zachriel says:

    Box: NS is just another term for loss of information.

    There’s lots of ways information can be lost, so they are not equivalent. However, natural selection does tend to reduce diversity in a population, while mutation increases it.

    Silver Asiatic: It is a mathematical tautology’.

    So is Newtonian Mechanics.

  73. 73
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    However, natural selection does tend to reduce diversity in a population, while mutation increases it.

    Natural selection includes mutation. Mayr calls it the first step in natural selection and states that it- mutation- is happenstance, as in accidental, not planned nor guided.

  74. 74
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: Mayr calls it the first step in natural selection and states that it- mutation- is happenstance, as in accidental, not planned nor guided.

    Mayr uses heterodox and inconsistent terminology. For instance, in “The objects of selection”, he refers to selection, by which he sometimes means evolution by natural selection, then the second step as “the actual process of selection”.

  75. 75
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Mayr uses heterodox and inconsistent terminology.

    Mayr is one of the architects of the modern synthesis whereas Zachriel is a known obfuscator. The fact remains that mutation is part of natural selection.

  76. 76
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: Mayr is one of the architects of the modern synthesis

    We pointed to a specific example of how Mayr is using the term inconsistently.

  77. 77
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    We pointed to a specific example of how Mayr is using the term inconsistently.

    As far as we know you quote-mined as you refused to provide a proper citation. Not only that what you posted doesn’t seem to be inconsistent at all. Perhaps you could try to actually make your case as opposed to being nebulous.

  78. 78
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: As far as we know you quote-mined as you refused to provide a proper citation.

    Mayr, The objects of selection, PNAS 1997.

    Virgil Cain: Not only that what you posted doesn’t seem to be inconsistent at all.

    Sure it’s inconsistent. He talks about the first step of “selection”, meaning evolution by natural selection, then he talks of the second step as “actual selection”.

  79. 79
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel, Mayr’s is a peer-reviewed article. If you have an objection then perhaps you should try to author a rebuttal and get it published.

  80. 80
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: Mayr’s is a peer-reviewed article. If you have an objection then perhaps you should try to author a rebuttal and get it published.

    Mayr makes his point clear in context. You’re the one who seems to be confused. Mayr defines selection as “a process of ‘nonrandom elimination.'” Later he uses the term selection to refer to evolutionary by natural selection, but makes his point clear by the use of the modifier “actual process of selection”. The problem is only apparent due to your quote-mine.

    In any case, the vast majority of biologists make a distinction between selection and the sources of variation.

  81. 81
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel, Any and all confusion is yours and yours alone. Natural selection includes mutation and I can provide many references that support that claim.

    Mayr defines selection as “a process of ‘nonrandom elimination.’”

    It is as there isn’t an equal probability with respect to what is eliminated. That is what all evolutionary biologists mean when they say that natural selection is non-random.

    Later he uses the term selection to refer to evolutionary by natural selection, but makes his point clear by the use of the modifier “actual process of selection”.

    1- There can be evolution absent of selection
    2- Natural selection, the process, is “differential reproduction due to heritable, happenstance mutations”

    Your confusion is due to your lack of understanding caused by years of supporting a strawman version of natural selection.

    The problem is only apparent due to your quote-mine.

    Except we didn’t quote him. Obviously you are confused.

    In any case, the vast majority of biologists make a distinction between selection and the sources of variation.

    In any case natural selection includes mutation and, in the case of the modern synthesis, wouldn’t exist without it.

    “Natural selection is the simple result of variation, differential reproduction, and heredity—it is mindless and mechanistic.”- UCBerkley

    “Natural selection is therefore a result of three processes, as first described by Darwin:

    Variation

    Inheritance

    Fecundity

    which together result in non-random, unequal survival and reproduction of individuals, which results in changes in the phenotypes present in populations of organisms over time.”- Allen McNeill

  82. 82
    Virgil Cain says:

    This is what Mayr says in “What evolution Is”:

    Natural selection- the process by which in every generation individuals of lower fitness get removed from the population

    Where does chance (stochastic processes) enter the process of selection?

    The first step in selection, the production of genetic variation, is almost exclusively a chance phenomenon except that the nature of the changes at a given locus is strongly constrained. Chance also plays an important role even at the second step, the process of elimination of less fit individuals. Chance may be particularly important in the haphazard survival during periods of mass extinction.

  83. 83
    Mung says:

    Chance also plays an important role even at the second step, the process of elimination of less fit individuals.

    The oh so important other mechanism of evolution, genetic undrift, that you IDiots keep ignoring.

  84. 84
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: Natural selection includes mutation

    Argument by definition isn’t an argument.
    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/.....cle/evo_25

    But if your purpose is to conflate and confuse, then go for it.

    Virgil Cain: “differential reproduction due to heritable, happenstance mutations”

    Why use quotes? That phrase is found exactly once on Google, by you, in this thread.
    http://www.google.com/#q=%E2%8.....s%E2%80%9D

    Virgil Cain: “Natural selection is the simple result of variation, differential reproduction, and heredity—it is mindless and mechanistic.”- UCBerkley

    That’s right. Natural selection is the result. The source of the variation can be preexisting, and due to causes other than mutation.

    Virgil Cain: Natural selection includes mutation.

    Selection acts on variation. Even if there is no mutation, then selection can still exist as long as there is variation in the population.

  85. 85
    Zachriel says:

    Darwin’s definition: This preservation of favourable variations and the rejection of injurious variations, I call Natural Selection.

  86. 86
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Argument by definition isn’t an argument.

    Of course it is especially when we are discussing the meaning, ie the definition, of natural selection. Obviously you have other issues.

    Natural selection is the result.

    Yes it is the result of heritable happenstance mutation tat leads to differential reproduction.

    Natural selection includes mutation.

    Selection acts on variation.

    Natural selection includes variation.

    Even if there is no mutation,

    Mutation is the source of variation according to the modern synthesis.

    Look Zachriel, you have been humping a strawman version of natural selection and that is what is confusing you.

  87. 87
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Darwin’s definition: This preservation of favourable variations and the rejection of injurious variations, I call Natural Selection.

    Darwin has been superseded. Join the 21st century and buy a vowel already. Ernst Mayr was one of the architects of the modern synthesis. His words mean more than yours and Darwin’s.

  88. 88
    Virgil Cain says:

    Even Darwin and UCBerkley agree with us, Zachriel.

  89. 89
    Virgil Cain says:

    If you have variation, differential reproduction, and heredity, you will have evolution by natural selection as an outcome. It is as simple as that.

    Variation, according to the modern synthesis, comes from mutation. Variation/ mutation has always been part of natural selection.

    Only the uneducated or willfully ignorant do not realize that fact. Enter Zachriel…

  90. 90
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: Variation/ mutation has always been part of natural selection.

    Selection acts on variation.

    Virgil Cain: Mutation is the source of variation according to the modern synthesis.

    The Modern Synthesis is not modern, but largely outmoded.

    Virgil Cain: Natural selection includes variation.

    If you insist on the use of a heterodox definition, then you will only confuse any discussion on the subject. If that is your goal, then go for it.

  91. 91
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Selection acts on variation.

    Selection is a RESULT and as such doesn’t act on anything. Your ignorance has led you to desperation.

    The Modern Synthesis is not modern, but largely outmoded.

    Outmoded by what, exactly?

    If you insist on the use of a heterodox definition,

    We are using the only accepted definition. OTOH you are nothing but a willfully ignorant little person who couldn’t support its position if your life depended on it.

    “Natural selection is the simple result of variation, differential reproduction, and heredity—it is mindless and mechanistic.” UCBerkley

  92. 92
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: Selection acts on variation.

    Or not.

    Zachriel: Selection acts on variation.

    So does chance.

    Zachriel: Selection acts on variation.

    So do intelligent designers.

  93. 93
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: “Natural selection is the simple result of variation, differential reproduction, and heredity—it is mindless and mechanistic.” UCBerkley

    That is correct.

    Mung: Or not. So does chance. So do intelligent designers.

    Two out of three.

  94. 94
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel finally agrees that variation, ie mutation, is part of natural selection. Why was that so difficult?

  95. 95
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: variation, ie mutation, is part of natural selection.

    Variation is not equivalent to simple mutation. There are many forms of heritable variation. Furthermore, natural selection operates when there is existing variation, even if there is no mutation.

  96. 96
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Variation is not equivalent to simple mutation.

    It is according to the modern synthesis.

    There are many forms of heritable variation.

    Such as?

    Furthermore, natural selection operates when there is existing variation, even if there is no mutation.

    Mutations produce the variations, duh.

  97. 97
    Virgil Cain says:

    Ernst Mayr, in “What Evolution Is” (again):

    The first step in selection, the production of genetic variation, is almost exclusively a chance phenomenon except that the nature of the changes at a given locus is strongly constrained. Chance also plays an important role even at the second step, the process of elimination of less fit individuals. Chance may be particularly important in the haphazard survival during periods of mass extinction.

    Who to believe, Ernst Mayr, one of the architects of the modern synthesis, or Zachriel, a known insipid troll?

  98. 98
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: It is according to the modern synthesis.

    The Modern Synthesis, as developed in the 1940s, isn’t modern. While the original synthesis provided an important part of the picture, it doesn’t represent current scientific understanding.

    Virgil Cain: Such as?

    http://evolutionlist.blogspot......awman.html

    Virgil Cain: Mutations produce the variations

    Selection works on existing variations. So if we have two alleles competing in a population, selection can work to increase or reduce or stabilize the ratio between the alleles. No mutation is involved in this process.

  99. 99
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    The Modern Synthesis, as developed in the 1940s, isn’t modern.

    There isn’t anything else.

    Which of what Allan posted do not involve mutations, Zachriel?

    Selection works on existing variations.

    Mutations produce the variation.

    No mutation is involved in this process.

    Only if you are ignorant of what produced the different alleles.

    Your desperation betrays you, Zachriel.

  100. 100
    Zachriel says:

    Zachriel: The Modern Synthesis, as developed in the 1940s, isn’t modern.

    Virgil Cain: There isn’t anything else.

    Heh. Are you really claiming that evolutionary biology hasn’t progressed since the 1940s?

    Virgil Cain: Which of what Allan posted do not involve mutations

    Mutation is a flexible term, and sometimes refers to simple mutations, or can include more complex changes, such as duplication and even changes in chromosome number. Endosymbiosis is not usually considered mutation, but is still subject to selection.

    Virgil Cain: Mutations produce the variation.

    Ongoing mutation is not required in the example just provided. The selection involves existing variation.

  101. 101
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Heh. Are you really claiming that evolutionary biology hasn’t progressed since the 1940s?

    Then where can we read this more modern synthesis?

    Mutation is a flexible term, and sometimes refers to simple mutations, or can include more complex changes, such as duplication and even changes in chromosome number.

    Yes, we know.

    Endosymbiosis is not usually considered mutation, but is still subject to selection.

    Yes, once genetic changes happen to the host or the invader.

    Ongoing mutations is not required in the example just provided.

    Nice strawman retreat. We never said anything about “ongoing mutations”. However it is a FACT that mutations provided the different alleles.

  102. 102
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: Then where can we read this more modern synthesis?

    Most any university-level textbook on evolutionary biology should provide a background, including recent developments beyond the so-called Modern Synthesis.

    Virgil Cain: Yes, once genetic changes happen to the host or the invader.

    Genetic changes aren’t required for selection to occur, though they do generally ensue.

    Virgil Cain: We never said anything about “ongoing mutations”.

    Meaning that selection can work on existing variation. Evolution by natural selection, however, requires an ongoing source of variation.

  103. 103
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Most any university-level textbook on evolutionary biology should provide a background, including recent developments beyond the so-called Modern Synthesis.

    So there isn’t a modern theory of evolution. Got it.

    I have read several modern textbooks and they all support Mayr with respect to natural selection. If you can find one that says something contrary to Mayr, please post it.

    Genetic changes aren’t required for selection to occur,

    Genetic change is required for variation. And there isn’t any natural selection without variation.

    Meaning that selection can work on existing variation.

    The existing variation arose via mutations.

    Evolution by natural selection, however, requires an ongoing source of variation.

    Which is provided by mutations.

  104. 104
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: So there isn’t a modern theory of evolution.

    That’s clearly not consistent with our statement.

    Virgil Cain: The existing variation arose via mutations.

    That’s correct (with the above noted qualifications). Nonetheless, given the existence of variation, selection can still occur. For instance, if we have two competing alleles, selection can increase, decrease, or stabilize the ratio of the two alleles.

  105. 105
    Virgil Cain says:

    So there isn’t a modern theory of evolution.

    Zachriel:

    That’s clearly not consistent with our statement.

    It is clearly evident by your refusal to reference it.

    The existing variation arose via mutations.

    Zachriel:

    That’s correct

    So we are right back to our original claim being correct. All of this [wasted] time just to finally get you to agree with what we said.

  106. 106
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: It is clearly evident by your refusal to reference it.

    Did you want a reference to a specific textbook or journal?

    ETA: Try Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_evolutionary_synthesis#After_the_synthesis

    Virgil Cain: So we are right back to our original claim being correct.

    Where we differ is that the selection can occur in the absence of mutation. Indeed, many mathematical treatments of selection concern evolutionary change absent mutation. A simple example is Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium.

  107. 107
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Did you want a reference to a specific textbook or journal?

    We want a reference to the theory of evolution.

    ETA: Try Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_evolutionary_synthesis#After_the_synthesis

    Nope, no theory of evolution there. Try again.

    Where we differ is that the selection can occur in the absence of mutation.

    It can’t as NS requires variation and variation comes from mutation..

  108. 108
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: It can’t as NS requires variation and variation comes from mutation.

    If we have two competing alleles, then selection can cause changes in their frequency. This does not require any ongoing process of mutation, and many equations of selection have no component for mutation. It means we can distinguish between the sources of variation, and the effect of selection on variation.

    Virgil Cain: Nope, no theory of evolution there.

    Thought you were interested in the differences between the Modern Synthesis and current evolutionary theory. Again, you could start with Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution

    But if you want to claim there is no theory of evolution, that Darwin didn’t propose a theory of evolution, that the Modern Synthesis was not a theory of evolution, and that current biological science is not based on the theory of evolution, then please provide a definition of “theory”.

  109. 109
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    If we have two competing alleles, then selection can cause changes in their frequency.

    If we have two competing alleles, then mutation caused that to be.

    his does not require any ongoing process of mutation

    Keep humping that strawman. We know why you want to.

    Thought you were interested in the differences between the Modern Synthesis and current evolutionary theory.

    We are interested in the theory of evolution. But don’t feel bad as no one can find it.

    But if you want to claim there is no theory of evolution,…

    Link to it or shut up about it. It’s that easy.

    Darwin has been refuted as his main idea, natural selection, has proven to impotent with respect to universal common descent. It is not a creative force.

    So link to this theory of evolution and stop stalling. Or admit that it does not exist.

  110. 110
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: If we have two competing alleles, then mutation caused that to be.

    Perhaps. Or perhaps it was acquired horizontally. Regardless it is considered selection regardless of the source.

    Virgil Cain: So link to this theory of evolution

    Apparently what scientists generally consider to be a scientific theory, you don’t. So please provide a definition of “theory”, so we can understand what you are asking for, and why what has been provided does not meet your definition. Or is this thread also going to be you saying “Is not!” over and over again.

  111. 111
    Mung says:

    Zahriel: If we have two competing alleles, then selection can cause changes in their frequency.

    What are the alleles competing for, and why?

  112. 112
    Mung says:

    The smorgasbord theory of evolution.

  113. 113
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: What are the alleles competing for, and why?

    When we say alleles are competing, we mean those alleles that provide a relative benefit to the organism will tend to become more common in the population, and those alleles that provide a relative detriment to the organism will tend to become less common in the population. This process occurs without regard to the source of the original variation.

  114. 114
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: The smorgasbord theory of evolution.

    The other name for that is pattern plurality. The history of life is complicated. It involves everything from the length of your nose to cosmic collisions.

  115. 115
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Or perhaps it was acquired horizontally.

    Genetic change is still a mutation.

    Apparently what scientists generally consider to be a scientific theory, you don’t.

    Obviously you just say stuff without any supporting evidence. Now either you can link to the theory of evolution or it doesn’t exist. And obviously you cannot link to it.

  116. 116
    Virgil Cain says:

    BTW Zachriel, I can quote scientists who say that there isn’t a scientific theory of evolution.

  117. 117
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: Genetic change is still a mutation.

    Horizontal transfer is not usually consider mutation. You are arguing semantics again.

    Virgil Cain: Now either you can link to the theory of evolution or it doesn’t exist.

    You’ve been provided resources. Please provide a definition of “theory” so we can understand what you think you are asking for.

  118. 118
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Horizontal transfer is not usually consider mutation.

    By who? Please be specific. If it changes the sequence of the existing DNA it is a mutation.

    You’ve been provided resources.

    We asked for the theory of evolution. You have failed to link to it.

    Please provide a definition of “theory” so we can understand what you think you are asking for.

    Desperate times call for desperate measures, eh. LoL!

    Whether or not there is a theory of evolution that you can link to has no bearing on how I define “theory”. I accept the standard definition of “theory”, so please link to the theory of evolution or admit that you cannot.

    BTW Zachriel, I can quote scientists who say that there isn’t a scientific theory of evolution.

  119. 119
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: If it changes the sequence of the existing DNA it is a mutation.

    Mutation can be defined broadly to mean any change to the genome. In any case, selection can occur on existing variation in the absence of ongoing mutation. In other words, scientists normally distinguish between the sources of variation, and the process of selection.

    Virgil Cain: I accept the standard definition of “theory”

    Which is?

  120. 120
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    In any case, selection can occur on existing variation in the absence of ongoing mutation.

    In any case that is irrelevant as mutations provide the variation.

    I accept the standard definition of “theory”, so please link to the theory of evolution or admit that you cannot.

    Zachriel admits it cannot. Thank you.

  121. 121
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: I can quote scientists who say that there isn’t a scientific theory of evolution.

    We can quote scientists who think the world is ten thousand years old, or that crop circles are evidence of extraterrestrial visitations.

  122. 122
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: that is irrelevant as mutations provide the variation.

    It’s not irrelevant because we can predict the behavior of competing alleles under selection.

    Did you ever provide a definition of theory?

  123. 123
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    It’s not irrelevant because we can predict the behavior of competing alleles under selection.

    In any case that is irrelevant as mutations provide the variation.

    Did you ever provide a definition of theory?

    Others have already. Grow up.

  124. 124
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    We can quote scientists who think the world is ten thousand years old, or that crop circles are evidence of extraterrestrial visitations.

    My scientists can prove what they say as no one can reference the theory of evolution. Your desperation is boring us.

  125. 125
    Mung says:

    It’s not the patterns that are the problem, it’s the competing explanations for the patterns.

  126. 126
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: that is irrelevant as mutations provide the variation.

    Being able to make empirical predictions about the hereditary composition of future populations is not irrelevant in biology.

    Virgil Cain: Others have already.

    Great! Please point to the definition you are using.

    “The theory of evolution is broadly accepted by scientists — and for good reason! Learn about the diverse and numerous lines of evidence that support the theory of evolution.”
    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/.....opic_id=14

  127. 127
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Being able to make empirical predictions about the hereditary composition of future populations is not irrelevant in biology.

    What does natural selection predict? It is all contingent serendipity.

    “The theory of evolution is broadly accepted by scientists — and for good reason! Learn about the diverse and numerous lines of evidence that support the theory of evolution.”
    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/…..opic_id=14

    And yet they don’t reference this alleged theory of evolution! No one can, not even you.

    Thank you for admitting that you cannot do as requested.

  128. 128
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: What does natural selection predict?

    It predicts that beneficial traits will tend to spread in a population.

    Virgil Cain: And yet they don’t reference this alleged theory of evolution!

    Please define theory.

    “At the heart of evolutionary theory is the basic idea that life has existed for billions of years and has changed over time.”
    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/.....0/lines_01

  129. 129
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    It predicts that beneficial traits will tend to spread in a population.

    Too nebulous to be of any use.

    Please define theory.

    Please stop stalling. We all know that you are being dishonest.

    “At the heart of evolutionary theory is the basic idea that life has existed for billions of years and has changed over time.”
    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/…..0/lines_01

    They don’t reference this alleged theory! What kind of institution would do such a thing?

  130. 130
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: Too nebulous to be of any use.

    Not only useful, but of critical important in epidemiology.

    Virgil Cain: They don’t reference this alleged theory!

    “At the heart of evolutionary theory is the basic idea that life has existed for billions of years and has changed over time.”
    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/.....0/lines_01

  131. 131
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Not only useful, but of critical important in epidemiology.

    And yet we have people in that profession that say Darwin is of no use to them.

    “At the heart of evolutionary theory is the basic idea that life has existed for billions of years and has changed over time.”
    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/…..0/lines_01

    Talking about it is not a reference. There should be a footnote after “evolutionary theory” that references the actual theory.

    Again, grow up.

  132. 132
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: And yet we have people in that profession that say Darwin is of no use to them.

    And you have geologists who think the Earth is only a few thousand years old, and medical doctors who prescribe homeopathic cures.

    Virgil Cain: Talking about it is not a reference.

    “At the heart of evolutionary theory is the basic idea that life has existed for billions of years and has changed over time.”

  133. 133
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    And you have geologists who think the Earth is only a few thousand years old, and medical doctors who prescribe homeopathic cures.

    We can’t find any medical professionals that say Darwinism is useful. We can’t find anyone who can support the claim that it is useful.

    “At the heart of evolutionary theory is the basic idea that life has existed for billions of years and has changed over time.”

    Thank you for continuing to prove that there isn’t any theory of evolution.

    Talking about it is not a reference. There should be a footnote after “evolutionary theory” that references the actual theory.

    Again, grow up.

  134. 134
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    And you have geologists who think the Earth is only a few thousand years old,

    They don’t say that geology is not useful, so the comparison is dishonest. But we have come to expect that from you.

    and medical doctors who prescribe homeopathic cures.

    Yes, vaccines work.

  135. 135
    Zachriel says:

    Did you ever provide a definition of how you are using the term “theory”?

  136. 136
    Virgil Cain says:

    We use it the same way all of science uses it. And it doesn’t matter- either there is or isn’t a theory of evolution. You seem unable to find it so perhaps you should just move on and admit you failed.

    We are OK with this- Scientific theory

    Let Zachriel’s flailing and hand waving continue…

  137. 137
    Mung says:

    Virgil, I don’t think you read that web page. It makes it quite clear that evolution is more than just a theory. That’s why you can’t find it. It’s been filed under “facts.”

    The theory of biological evolution is more than “just a theory.”

    Maybe this page will help:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_as_fact_and_theory

    And they even have a link to the theory of evolution:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_evolutionary_synthesis

    Zachriel is just being lazy I guess.

  138. 138
    Virgil Cain says:

    Hi Mung- The modern synthesis doesn’t fit the definition of a scientific theory as it doesn’t have any predictive power nor is it repeatable.

    Evolution is a fact in that allele frequencies do change. Even YECs are OK with the fact of evolution.

    Einstein’s relativity is a scientific theory complete with methods of quantification. It can be and has been tested over and over again.

  139. 139
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: It makes it quite clear that evolution is more than just a theory. That’s why you can’t find it. It’s been filed under “facts.”

    Rather, the term is used to refer both to the facts of evolution, and to the theory of evolution.

    Mung: And they even have a link to the theory of evolution:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_evolutionary_synthesis
    Zachriel is just being lazy I guess.

    We provided that link above @106. The modern theory of evolution makes many predictions, in fields as varied as paleontology, embryology, and genetics, that have been repeatedly verified.

  140. 140
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    The modern theory of evolution makes many predictions, in fields as varied as paleontology, embryology, and genetics, that have been repeatedly verified.

    Total BS. Unguided evolution is devoid of predictions.

    Evolutionism did not predict endosymbiosis. It did not predict eukaryotes. It did not predict metazoans. It did not predict complex protein machinery. It did not predict the genetic code. It did not predict alternative gene splicing. It did not predict proof-reading nor error-correction. It did not predict Tiktaalik.

    So what are these predictions Zahriel is lying about and refuses to present? Why aren’t they on the wikipedia page, which BTW doesn’t present a scientific theory of evolution?

  141. 141
    Virgil Cain says:

    So, for the record, we are right back to the fact that there isn’t any modern theory of evolution. Linking to people talking about it is not linking to the alleged theory. Linking to wikipedia which doesn’t reference the theory is not any good.

  142. 142
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel runs away rather than support its claims. How typical.

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