Intelligent Design

It’s official: there are no ring species

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Readers who were taught about ring species as evidence for evolution in high school are due for a surprise: it now appears that there aren’t any, after all. There were only a few alleged cases to begin with, but now, they’ve all been discredited. The last “good example” of a ring species has just been struck off the list, in a new paper by Miguel Alcaide et al. in Nature

“What’s a ring species?” I hear some of you ask. In a recent post titled, There are no ring species, which is well worth reading, evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne describes the process whereby ring species supposedly originate:

It works like this: a species expands its range and encounters a roughly round geographic barrier like a valley, the Arctic ice cap, or an uninhabitable plateau. It divides and spreads around the edges of the barrier, so that its range becomes circular as it expands. And as the range begins to form a circle, the populations within it begin to become genetically different as they respond to local selection pressures. But the circle is never interrupted, so while each part of the expanding species becomes genetically different, it still exchanges genes with adjacent populations.

What this causes is a group of populations in which adjacent areas are genetically similar, but become less similar as they become more distant. That’s because the more-distant populations supposedly experience more – different environments, and gene flow between distant populations is attenuated because genes have to flow through all the intervening populations.

At the end, the populations have expanded so far that the ring has “closed”: the species has completely encircled the barrier and the two most genetically diverged populations contact each other. If they are so genetically diverged that they cannot form fertile hybrids, they then appear to be two biological species.

Wikipedia provides a handy definition of a ring species and how it allegedly provides evidence for evolution in its article on ring species:

In biology, a ring species is a connected series of neighbouring populations, each of which can interbreed with closely sited related populations, but for which there exist at least two “end” populations in the series, which are too distantly related to interbreed, though there is a potential gene flow between each “linked” population. Such non-breeding, though genetically connected, “end” populations may co-exist in the same region thus closing a “ring”…

Ring species provide important evidence of evolution in that they illustrate what happens over time as populations genetically diverge, and are special because they represent in living populations what normally happens over time between long deceased ancestor populations and living populations, in which the intermediates have become extinct…

Formally, interfertility (ability to interbreed) is not a transitive relation – if A can breed with B, and B can breed with C, it does not follow that A can breed with C…

Ring species also present an interesting case of the species problem, for those who seek to divide the living world into discrete species… The problem… is whether to quantify the whole ring as a single species (despite the fact that not all individuals can interbreed) or to classify each population as a distinct species (despite the fact that it can interbreed with its near neighbours). Ring species illustrate that the species concept is not as clear-cut as it is often thought to be.

There were only a few cases of ring species in Nature to begin with, but as Jerry Coyne acknowledges in his latest post, the last one has now been debunked:

A while back, when I said in the comments of an evolution post that there were no good “ring species,” a few readers asked me what I meant by that. “What about the salamander Ensatina eschscholtzii? Or seagulls in the genus Larus? Aren’t those good ring species?” My answer was that those had been shown not to be ring species in the classic sense, but there was still one species that might be a candidate: the greenish warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides around the Tibetan Plateau.

But now that one, too, has been struck off the list of ring species, leaving no good cases.

The greenish warbler. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

The problem with all these alleged instances of “ring species” in Nature is that the formation of these “rings” involved sporadic episodes of geographic isolation between populations, rather than the continuous gene flow involved in making a ring species. That doesn’t matter much for Coyne, because the latest findings still illustrate “how geographic isolation by distance can promote reproductive isolation and speciation.” Coyne is saddened but not dismayed by the discovery that there are no true “ring species” in Nature:

It’s no great loss, though, that we lack good examples, for ring species didn’t really demonstrate any new evolutionary principles. They showed something we already knew — that reproductive isolation is promoted by anything that reduces gene flow between populations. But they showed it in a cool and novel way.

Another textbook icon goes the way of the dodo. How many of my readers remember the herring gull (illustrated at top, courtesy of Wikipedia) from high school? Comments are welcome.

92 Replies to “It’s official: there are no ring species

  1. 1
    humbled says:

    That’s it, one step at a time. Go on…
    Since the Darwinists are having a moment of honesty quick…get them to admit RM+NS are not up to the task, that species appear abruptly fully formed and remain, allowing for some drift, that way. While they at it, get them to admit their dating methods are based on circular reasoning and not science.

    And…get them to admit that like Buddhism, Darwinism is nothing more than a philosophy, a lens with which the Darwin faithful make sense of the world…that this philosophy is circumstantial in nature and held together with faith, imagination and bully tactics, add indoctrination now as well.

    Once this is achieved, science can once again be set free and allowed to flourish. Sadly, Darwin’s acolytes won’t allow this. We’ll have to pry it from them one refutation at a time.

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    Is simply doesn’t have to be true in order to be evidence for evolution. It’s a great theory, and a theory this “robust” can stand up to lot’s of bashing.

  3. 3
    Querius says:

    Exactly, Mung! It’s just too good to fail.

    -Q

  4. 4
    Moose Dr says:

    This is a big deal!

    I played some mental gymnastics with the Darwinian theory some years ago. It became clear to me that Darwinism = ring species. Darwinism, of necessity I think, predicts ring species! Failure to find ring species is, well, really bad for the theory even in the zone of simple speciation.

    (I have always found it baffling that Darwinists seem to be unable to recognize what “macroevolution” is. They seem to define it as evolution that generates new species. We all know that macroevolution creates new organs and systems — a much greater challenge than differentiating between a horse and a donkey.)

    Bottom line, I must edit my understanding of nature. I must significantly diminish my view of natural processes’ ability to generate new species.

  5. 5
    phoodoo says:

    I like the comments on Coynes blog..’I predict creationists will use this against us…probably by the Discovery Institute” haha

    We made ANOTHER wrong prediction about what evolution shows, and they predict that someone (not mainstream media of course) will point out they were wrong again.

    Oh the injustice!

  6. 6
    Jehu says:

    No tree of life, no ring species, at least they still have junk DNA.

  7. 7
    Dionisio says:

    Despite this minor ‘ringing’ setback, some scientists still refer to the “n-D evo” magic formula RV+NS+T in order to explain everything… well, almost everything, with the help of multiverse and all that stuff. Here’s an example:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com...../#comments

    😉

  8. 8
    Piotr says:

    It became clear to me that Darwinism = ring species. Darwinism, of necessity I think, predicts ring species!

    Evolutionary theory predicts speciation. The very reason why ring species are so hard to find is that the long-extended continuity of gene flow necessary for a chain of populations to qualify as a true ring species may be broken too frequently. In other words, there’s too much speciation going on, making the “ring species situation” unstable: the chain is too likely to get interrupted before the ring closes (and if it closes too fast, the populations may re-cosolidate into . There are many “almost good” examples, and they still illustrate the fact that

    See: Ayana B. Martins et al. 2013. Evolution and stability of ring species. PNAS 110/13, 5080-5084.

  9. 9
    Piotr says:

    It became clear to me that Darwinism = ring species. Darwinism, of necessity I think, predicts ring species!

    Evolutionary theory predicts speciation. The very reason why ring species are so hard to find is that the long-extended continuity of gene flow necessary for a chain of populations to qualify as a true ring species may be broken too frequently. In other words, there’s too much speciation going on, making the “ring species situation” unstable: the chain is too likely to get interrupted before the ring closes (and if it closes too fast, the populations may re-cosolidate into . There are many “almost good” examples, and they still illustrate the fact that

    See: Ayana B. Martins et al. 2013. Evolution and stability of ring species. PNAS 110/13, 5080-5084.

  10. 10
    Piotr says:

    Sorry, I must have pressed the wrong key while typing. The post got accidentally sent with two sentences unfinished. Self-correction:

    the populations may re-consolidate into …

    … a single species.

    There are many “almost good” examples, and they still illustrate the fact that…

    “species” is a fuzzy concept during ongoing speciation.

  11. 11
    Joe says:

    Piotr- Please reference this alleged prediction of evolutionary theory, ie that it predicts speciation. My bet is that it only predicts change and/ or stasis.

  12. 12
    Joe says:

    Ring species may be evidence for evolution but they were never evidence for unguided/ blind watchmaker evolution. And that is what we are looking for.

  13. 13
    DavidD says:

    Joe – “Ring species may be evidence for evolution but they were never evidence for unguided/ blind watchmaker evolution. And that is what we are looking for.”

    Well, instead of the word evolution which from it’s very religious origin require no purpose or planning, just dumb luck, let’s call it change or adaptation to a newer context of ecological circumstance, since that is ALL we ever observe anyway. Minus the “eye of faith” thingy.

    The examples of the OP are on par with Darwin’s Finches and Blind Cave Fish reversals. They can oscillate back and forth coming full circle back to the original programming or close to it. This reminds me of something I read a few years ago, but was reminded of it again with the discussion about Scorpions yesterday.

    “Phylogenetic analysis of Mexican cave scorpions suggests adaptation to caves is Reversible”

    “Blind scorpions that live in the stygian depths of caves are throwing light on a long-held assumption that specialized adaptations are irreversible evolutionary dead-ends.”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....133722.htm

    And one more comment on the textbooks issue, don’t expect any of these religious assumptions to be removed any time soon. There is too much embarrassment here and Dodo egg on their faces to allow that to happen.

    Maybe a new term should be invented here, like “Oscillation Species”

  14. 14
    Joe says:

    DavidD- I disagree as the word “evolution” does not mean “no purpose or planning”. Evolutionary and genetic algorithms have a purpose and were planned.

  15. 15
    phoodoo says:

    Piotr,

    If evolution predicts continual speciation, why is it so hard to find examples that we can document? We can’t even get bacteria to change and stay?

  16. 16
    Piotr says:

    If evolution predicts continual speciation, why is it so hard to find examples that we can document? We can’t even get bacteria to change and stay?

    The notion of “species” is even trickier in prokaryotes. They don’t reproduce sexually, and horizontal gene transfer is quite common between different strains, so the definitions of “species” formulated with Eukaryota in mind won’t work for them). What do you mean when you say that bacteria can’t be made to “change and stay”? Stasis in the paleontological record

    The “almost good” examples of ring species, such as the greenish warblers, the Ensatina salamanders round the Central Valley, or the circum-Carribean spurges (I wonder what Jerry Coyne thinks of this plant example, by the way) still illustrate speciation in progress — a near-perfect “ring” that’s already broken up into distinct species.

  17. 17
    Piotr says:

    Oops, strike out Stasis in the peleontological record. It was something I intended to say but decided to keep for laters.

  18. 18
    wd400 says:

    Moose Dr,

    Can you explain why “Darwinism, of necessity I think, predicts ring species” and what you mean by Darwinism in this case?

  19. 19
    Moose Dr says:

    Let me respond to Piotr (8 & 9) and to WD400 (18).

    Lets take a walk through darwin-land just a little bit.
    > We know from the theory that speciation* is the product of an accumulation of mutations.
    > We know from the theory that mutations are fixed or purged based upon whether they are “useful” or not.
    > We know that if a mutation offers neither advantage or disadvantage its distribution is driven by, well, drift.
    > We know that the usefulness of many mutations are environmentally determined. For instance, a mutation may make it easier for a bacteria to live in an acidic environment. To the organism in the basic environment this mutation is harmful, to the one that lives in an acidic envoronment the mutation is beneficial, and to the organism that lives in a neutral environment, the mutation is neutral. This phenomenon is ubiquitous, for every environmental anomoly some mutations will change their level of usefulness.

    Let us consider an animal that migrates to three significantly different environments. These animals have spuratic genetic interchange. Especially lets consider the scenrio where there is genetic interchange between pool A and pool B, and between pool B and pool C, but never between A and C. Further consider the likely scenerio where environment A and B are more alike than environment A and C are. Mutations happen in each of the three genetic pools. Some mutations happening in pool A will be beneficial to pool A, neutral to pool B and deteremental to pool C. Some mutations happen in pool C that are beneficial to C, neutral to B and detremental to A. Clearly if this scenrio is allowed to run for some time, the genetic distance between A and C will be greater than the distance between A and B, or between B and C.

    If speciation is caused by the product of accumulated mutations, then at some point A and C should be separate species* where A and B are not, and B and C are not.

    This phenomenon happens readily in the theoretical environment. But does it happen in a more natural envoronment? Let us consider our canine friends. We have small dogs, medium sized dogs, and big dogs. There is very strong genetic isolation that happens between the big and the small. Between medium and small, there is genetic flow, between medium and big there is genetic flow. Small dogs are small because of a pattern of mutations being beneficial or deleterious. For large dogs, there is a different pattern. As isolation has happened between small and big, time should produce true speciation, time should produce ring speciation.

    Oh, I know, it hasn’t happened because it didn’t happen. That is a silly position to take. There are lots of species! If Darwinism is correct, natural processes should have produced at least a few ring species. The fact that the number is below 1000 seriously surprises me. But zero, none, never? If it never happens, it can’t happen! But why?

    * I use the strong definition of speciation in this article — the inability to produce reproductively viable offspring.

  20. 20
    Querius says:

    DavidD@13,

    Good points. But whatever is discovered, an interpretation is usually formulated that will somehow make it seem to support the evolutionary paradigm.

    In extreme cases where the fit is embarrassingly bad, the concept is quietly thrown under the bus–which is what it looks like wd400 is getting ready to do to the ring species idea.

    However, some assumptions are so compelling, such as assuming that the major portion of non-coding DNA must of necessity be “junk,” that they will hang on for a long, long time.

    -Q

  21. 21
    wd400 says:


    We know from the theory that speciation* is the product of an accumulation of mutations.

    Sort of. Reproductive isolation is what’s needed for speciation. When populations are not connected by gene flow mutations in each sub-population have different fates, so mutations faciltating isolation can become fixed.

    Especially lets consider the scenrio where there is genetic interchange between pool A and pool B, and between pool B and pool C, but never between A and C.

    I don’t see a simple way to create such a scenario — genes arising from ‘A’ can still moved into ‘C’ if both are connected to ‘B’

    A B C

    In any case, this isn’t a ring species unless ‘C’ lives alongside ‘A’ which seems mroe like a quirk of geography rather a major prediction of evolutionary biology.

    The interesting evolutionary question is whether selective scenarios like the one you describe can generate reproductive isolation in and of themselves (sympatric speciation or whether geographical and other barriers are required to kick off the speciation process.

    The ring species papers seem to suggest geographical isolation is more often required.

  22. 22
    wd400 says:

    Hmm, the WP parser ripped out the arrows between the demes:

    A <->B &lt-> C

    In any case, just wanted to point out that the scenario you describe is quite “Darwinian” in the sense it’s very similar to Darwin’s own model of speciation, in which selection could drive poppulations apart.

    But it’s not much like modern theories of speciation, which recognise ongoing gene flow between populations (even those that aren’t directly connected as in your example) will homogenise a population more quickly than selection can drive them apart. Unless selection is acting directly on traits to do with reproductive isolation selection won’t actually make “A” and “C” become genetically distant across the whole genome, only in those genes that are under selection. Such “local adaptation” is common, but doesn’t lead to speciation most of the time.

  23. 23
    Piotr says:

    Moose Dr:

    Oh, I know, it hasn’t happened because it didn’t happen. That is a silly position to take. There are lots of species! If Darwinism is correct, natural processes should have produced at least a few ring species. The fact that the number is below 1000 seriously surprises me. But zero, none, never? If it never happens, it can’t happen! But why?

    You still haven’t explained what you understand by “Darwinism”. Surely not Darwin’s original theory, in which change was necessarily “smooth” thanks to infinitesimal variation and blending of features. Darwin himself had a serious conceptual problem with discontinuities and non-gradual change (and no idea how to solve it). If you list things like accumulation of discrete mutations, random drift, genetic pools, etc., one wonders why you insist on calling them “Darwinian”. They are precisely the kind of stuff not even anticipated by Charles Darwin.

    The paper by Martins et al. (see the link above) argues that ring species may exist transiently but must be rare in nature, since they require considerable fine-tuning — a rather unusual conspiracy of geographical features, population parameters, mobility, expansion and mutation rates. Other studies (mentioned in the article) predict even greater instability and more rapid resolution of a nascent ring species into multiple species (or its merger back into a single species). Anyway, ring species are not the ordinary mode of speciation.

  24. 24
    Moose Dr says:

    wd400, I don’t see a simple way to create such a scenario — genes arising from ‘A’ can still moved into ‘C’ if both are connected to ‘B’.

    You must factor in the fact that a mutation will be beneficial in the one pool, but deleterious in the other. Then you end up with both the fact that gene sharing between A and C is about 1/2 that of A and B. but add the fact that one of the pools actively purges itself of the mutations in question. There should be no challenge at all seeing a significantly higher mutation count between A and C than between A and B or B and C. There most certainly should be a point where A/C doesn’t work where both A/B and B/C does.

    Piotr, “You still haven’t explained what you understand by “Darwinism”. Surely not Darwin’s original theory, in which change was necessarily “smooth” thanks to infinitesimal variation and blending of features.”

    Darwin had no sense of DNA and mutation. Surely I present a model that incorporates mutational events (in all of its varieties.)

    Piotr, “Darwin himself had a serious conceptual problem with discontinuities and non-gradual change” I too have a conceptual problem with discontinuities and non-gradual change. While some such changes can be accounted for by allele frequency (breeding), many such changes seem rather magical, non-random, to me.

    Piotr, “Anyway, ring species are not the ordinary mode of speciation.” There is a vast difference between “not the ordinary mode” and “never happpens” (or at least we haven’t been able to find any instances where it happens.) Even if rings “rapidly” resolve themselves, in a Darwinian context, “rapid” should certainly be defined in thousands of years. The great ZERO goose egg remains unpredicted.

  25. 25
    wd400 says:

    Moose Dr,

    here most certainly should be a point where A/C doesn’t work where both A/B and B/C does.

    Evolutionary biologists have worked on these sorts of models for a long time, they can generate local adaptation but not (expect in special cases) speciation. Joe Felsenstein (who sometimes comments here) wrote one of the important papers about this

    http://www.jstor.org/stable/2407946

  26. 26
    Querius says:

    Piotr explains,

    Anyway, ring species are not the ordinary mode of speciation.

    And under the bus it goes! 😉

    Notice that the “evolutionary “ring” is dependent either on a geographic/ecological map or cyclical succession over time. And the “ordinary mode” of speciation is indistinguishable from that of a ring.

    -Q

  27. 27
    wd400 says:

    And the “ordinary mode” of speciation is indistinguishable from that of a ring.

    How so? The ordinary mode of speciation includes geographic (or perhaps temporal or fine scale spatial) isolation between populations. Ring species would require there to be no such isolation.

  28. 28
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Moose Dr, you brought up the analogy to dogs but didn’t take it to its natural conclusion. Can dogs be considered a ring species? Even though it is the result of human selection processes. Every breed in the continuum from smallest to largest can, and do, interbreed, and produce viable offspring. But, although the smallest and largest can interbreed in theory, do they in practice?

    I have heard the argument that dogs have not speciated, but is that really true when the individuals at the two ends of the spectrum do not do so. After all, we consider tigers and lions to be different species, but they can breed and produce viable offspring.

  29. 29
    Piotr says:

    Acartia_bogart:

    If dogs are not regarded as a ring species, it’s because dog breeds do not form a continouous geographical chain surrounding a natural obstacle. It should be kept in mind how strict the definition of “ring species” is (that’s why it’s so difficult to satisfy it).

  30. 30
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Piotr, true, but the only difference is that the barrier is human and not geographic. Is it not a valid analogy for the concept?

  31. 31
    Piotr says:

    AB:

    Of course it is, but purists are purists. There are quite a few almost perfect ring species, but the smallest flaw (like evidence of temporarily broken gene flow in the past, or of some limited interbreeding between the extreme ends of the chain) invalidates them.

    Incidentally, we have similar problems in linguistics. There are chain of dialects where A is mutually intelligible with B, B with C, C with D, etc., but dialect Z at the far end of the continuum is not mutually comprehensible with A. Several examples can easily be offered, but in order to regard such a pattern as a “ring language”, speakers of A and Z would have to be neighbours, and the chain A, B, … Z would have to be prevented from getting disrupted for a sufficienly long time. Such a coincidence is quite unlikely to occur, given the usual ways in which languages spread and differentiate. I don’t know of any good examples

  32. 32
    DavidD says:

    Querius – “And under the bus it goes! 😉

    “Notice that the “evolutionary “ring” is dependent either on a geographic/ecological map or cyclical succession over time. And the “ordinary mode” of speciation is indistinguishable from that of a ring.”

    This is what they hate, possible evidence that the informational content of a type, family or ‘kind’ of organism’s DNA has the potential of creating ongoing perpetual variety and variation throughout eternity, but with genetic constraints limited by specific species boundaries or barriers which would denote order.

    In their mind, blind unguided undirected forces of nothing but physic & chemicals cause creature to move beyond those boundaries and offer entirely unrecognizable living organisms which explains all of Earth’s life as we observe it today. Unfortunately they offer no viable examples that can be scientific experimented with, proved, and reproduced. Their excuse is it would take millions of years. How convenient and comfortable. And yet we can experiment and show order and limits within each kind or family of organism. Still they insist that random acts of terrorism are the only way to bring about a civilized society.

    It is interesting that whether a new variety of the same kind of creature or other organism comes about by influence of environmental cues (phenotypic plasticity – something plant breeders have always known) or by the planned intent of the plant or animal breeder’s biased thought processes for a purposed outcome, both circumstances mirror each other revealing intelligence is necessary. Ask any evolutionist for an experiment what the Scientist of any experiment represents in any experiment, either blind undirected forces or intelligent design, they refuse to answer without the usual spin. Oddly enough, it never was people of ID position who made up the rules against intelligence. They did! Almost every single experiment they do has needs of the enlistment of someone’s intelligence. This is actually disappointing, since I would love to see how blind undirected forces accomplish anything other than random meaningless strewn pebble patterns on a beach.

    Over at the Coyne Crystal Cathedral in the comments section, you can read all sorts of faith shaking commentary where the faithful Parishioners can be seen mourning over the death of a long held cherished dear to the heart traditional doctrinal belief crashing and burning before their very eyes.

  33. 33
    Querius says:

    DavidD,

    Yes. Sadly it’s true. The thinking of a lot of people includes unstated assumptions, ideological bias, complexities that they mastered but are now obsolescent, two sets of moral systems (one public, one private), and an unwillingness to explore certain paths.

    A lot of IDers, myself included, would have no trouble accepting an evolutionary mechanism. I don’t. My rejection is not based on theological grounds, but rather because it’s just lousy 19th-century science (mostly philosophical model building, wild speculation, cherry picked data, and massive rationalization).

    Then there’s a more nepharious genre. For example, some who try to discredit ID will question definitions, create a new ones, manufacture naunces, duck the issue, treat their own assertions as conclusive evidence, feign ignorance (as in, “I’m a PhD and I have no idea what you’re talking about”), ignore, downplay, or disparage significant breakthroughs, and even name calling (as does professor Moran, for example). For many professionals who are no longer students overwhelmed by blind admiration or playing sycophant, these techniques are embarrassingly transparent, and they hinder scientific progress.

    And that’s also why I sometimes provide a link to Monty Python’s famous Dead Parrot skit, which they don’t recognize as such a good fit to Darwinism.

    -Q

  34. 34
    wd400 says:

    So, querius, can you explain what you meant when you said the ordinary mode of speciation is indistinguishable from that of a ring? Given your distaste for folks that treat their own assertations as truth I’m sure you’ll be able to expand?

  35. 35
    Moose Dr says:

    WD400, I have found the wikipedia page on ring species to be quite informative. It says, for instance: Richard Dawkins observes that ring species “are only showing us in the spatial dimension something that must always happen in the time dimension.”[1]

    This would be rather clear support of Querius’ conjecture. The general phenomenon: A mates with B, B with C but A not with C is a phase that of necessity must be achieved to produce speciation (inability to cross-breed).

    The wikipedia article also says, “Ring species provide important evidence of evolution in that they illustrate what happens over time as populations genetically diverge”

    An absolute void of ring species is strong implication that maybe the standard model is in error regarding speciation.

  36. 36
    Mung says:

    wd400:

    Can you explain why “Darwinism, of necessity I think, predicts ring species” and what you mean by Darwinism in this case?

    I have a better idea. Let’s pretend that Darwinists never existed, and that these Darwinists who never existed never used “ring species” as evidence for evolution.

    The alternative seems to be that the claim that “ring species” provide evidence for Darwinian evolution is fraudulent.

  37. 37
    Querius says:

    Really, wd400?

    Where did I say I have a distaste for folks that [sic] treat their own assertions as truth?

    In 33, you’ll notice that I said that some people “treat their own assertions as conclusive evidence.” There’s a big difference. Of course, I believe my own assertions. Do you believe your own assertions? Does anyone here not believe their own assertions?

    But I’m not pompous enough to suggest that my belief consitutes evidence. LOL

    In 26, I said

    And the “ordinary mode” of speciation is indistinguishable from that of a ring.

    So, which of those words did you not understand? Apparently you disagree, which is puzzling since you’re asking me to explain what I meant. But then you went on to say

    Ring species would require there to be no such isolation.

    Fascinating. Do you have an example of how variation over time is caused by isolation rather than genetic drift? Conversely, how can drift result in a ring with colocated organisms in the time and space dimensions when they have unrestricted sexual access to each other?

    Putting it in human terms, you’d have to have an integrated neighborhood where Africans think Latinos and Asians are also hot (but not Caucasians), Latinos think that Africans and Caucasians are also hot (but not Asians), Caucasians think Latinos and Asians are also hot (but not Africans), and Asians think Caucasians and Africans are also hot (but not Latinos). Actually that sounds kinda interesting, but I don’t think it works like that. 😉

    -Q

  38. 38
    Querius says:

    Moose Dr and Mung,

    Dang, you beat me to the punch! Not surprising though, this was just too easy! LOL

    -Q

  39. 39
    Mung says:

    Well, it made me take a cold shower.

  40. 40
    wd400 says:

    Querius,

    You are… confused. I can’t parse your questions, let alone answer them, so let’s try again.

    The normal mode of speciation requires geographic (or similar) isolation. Unless there is some barrier to gene flow between nascent spceies it’s very hard for incompatibilities to arise. Once populations are isolated, changes in one population can’t make it to the next and thus drift or selection can create incompatabilites.

    Using the most strict definition of a ring species (the one Coyne is talking about), the populations in the ring have to be connected by continuous gene-flow from one end to the other. These papers have shown that hasn’t happened, and classic ‘ring’ species include geographic isolation between populations.

    From that it should be obvious that the ordinary mode of speciation is quite distinguishable from what happens in ring species (that’s what these papers show!). So it seems you were mistaken, unless you wish to clarify your statement.

  41. 41
    wd400 says:

    Moose Dr,

    The scenario “A mates with B, B with C but A not with C” isn’t what has been ruled out in these studies, is that A-B-C are connected by continuous gene flow.

  42. 42
    Querius says:

    wd400 first said,

    The ordinary mode of speciation includes geographic (or perhaps temporal or fine scale spatial) isolation between populations. Ring species would require there to be no such isolation.

    And then continued with

    These papers have shown that hasn’t happened, and classic ‘ring’ species include geographic isolation between populations.

    Do you see the problem here? Both “the normal mode of speciation” and “classic ‘ring’ species” seem to require geographic isolation.

    From that it should be obvious that the ordinary mode of speciation is quite distinguishable from what happens in ring species

    And how, pray tell, is that “obvious”? C’mon, why do you subject yourself to so much punishment?

    The A-B-C gene flow posited by Moose Dr is not a ring, but rather a linear gene flow compatible with classic Darwinism, a point that I’m surprised you missed. The sexy interracial ring scenario that I posited, which you didn’t address, would indeed be a ring, but without some form of isolation is highly unlikely.

    Methinks I’m not the one who’s confused. 😉

    -Q

  43. 43
    Querius says:

    wd400,

    You know, at this point, a simple “Yeah, I see your point,” would be a lot easier than continuing to struggle. It’s healthy and liberating. I won’t hold it against you. 😉

    I’ve had this same experience regarding a point on saber-toothed cats. I’ll tell you about it if you’re interested.

    -Q

  44. 44
    wd400 says:

    And how, pray tell, is that “obvious”

    A includes geographic isolation
    B requires there be no geographic isolation

    A is therefore distinguishable from B.

    That’s pretty obvious, no?

    In replying to Piotr’s comment that ring species are not the ordinary mode of speciation, you claimed ring species and ordinary mode where indistinguishable.

  45. 45
    Querius says:

    wd400, you wrote in 40 that

    These papers have shown that hasn’t happened, and classic ‘ring’ species include geographic isolation between populations.

    Therefore

    A includes geographic isolation
    B includes geographic isolation

    And one concludes . . .

    And what about the A-B-C gene flow? Linear, right? And what about the interracial neighborhood example? Not very likely, right?

    Why do you keep arguing?

    -Q

  46. 46
    wd400 says:

    One concludes that the apparent ring species are not ring species, and in fact arose by the ordinary mode of speciation. I don’t how much clearer I can make this

    In 26 you replied to Piotr’s comment Anyway, ring species are not the ordinary mode of speciation. by saying The “ordinary mode” of speciation is indistinguishable from that of a ring..

    You were wrong, because they are distinguishable. Indeed these papers are about making that distinction.

    Indeed the linear example is linear, but not an example of the ordinary mode of speciation (because of the continuous gene flow). As I said previously, I cannot parse what you are trying to say in your ‘interracial neighbourhood’ example, let alone tell what relevance it may have to speciation.

  47. 47
    wd400 says:

    I’ll put the last bit another way: A plain reading of your neighbour example seems unlikely, but does bare resemblance to any theory of speciation that I know of

  48. 48
    Querius says:

    wd400,

    To attempt to summarize your position . . .

    “Apparent” ring species are differentiated from true ring species (which seem to be in short supply) by the presence of some type of isolation, geographic or temporal. Presumably, a certain level of sexual inconvenience pushes a true ring species into an apparent one.

    Linear speciation is indeed linear but not an example of “ordinary mode” speciation because of gene flow. Presumably, gene flow stops as soon as speciation occurs or perhaps it’s vice versa.

    And you do agree that the ring dynamics of my interracial neighborhood analogy seems unlikely but bears no resemblence to speciation in spite of the gene flow, I’d assume because “races” (which don’t really exist) are not species.

    Well, I’m afraid your novel definitions have led you far astray of mainstream scientific opinion. For example, we read at
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolut.....52_05.html

    Ring species, says biologist David Wake, who has studied Ensatina for more than 20 years, are a beautiful example of species formation in action. “All of the intermediate steps, normally missing, have been preserved, and that is what makes it so fascinating.”

    Dr. Wake’s statement position is entirely compatible with my statement, especially about ring species being a beautiful example of species formation.

    In contrast, his statement is not at all compatible with your definitions. His field is Integrative Biology and he teaches at the University of California at Berkeley.

    Sorry, but I’d suggest that you get in touch with him to avoid further embarrassment.

    -Q

  49. 49
    wd400 says:

    Novel definitions? Lol.

    That ring species require continuous gene flow is the whole point of this thread, if that wasn’t a requirement then most of teh classic species would remain ring species.

    The geographic isolation is part of the ordinary mode of speciation has been orthodoxy since the 1940s, and remains so.

    That you evidently got 48 comments into this thread without grasping these points shows how qualified you to make the declreation about how “indistinguishable” ring species formation and the ordinary mode of speciation is.

  50. 50
    Querius says:

    wd400,

    Continuous gene flow has never been the issue. And what about David Wake? Does he also not grasp ring species?

    Read the quote I provided you in 48 again. Slowly.

    -Q

  51. 51
    wd400 says:

    Querius,

    Continuous gene flow has never been the issue

    I don’t even…

    Have you read the OP? or the post it links to? The reason that Coyne can conclude that there are no ring species is because all the classic examples have been shown to fail the criterion that they must have continuous gene flow. If we are to conclude anything from this result is has to do with continuous gene flow, because that’s what the result is about.

    The whole point of the studies is to use the fact that the process that generates a ring species and the ordinary speciation process are distinguishable to show that the classic examples of rings species are not in fact ring species.

    It may be time to take your own advice, and simply admit you were wrong.

  52. 52
    Querius says:

    wd400,

    No, anyone can go back and read the posts to confirm that the issue was about isolation in regards to creating a non-existent distinction between ring species and “ordinary mode” of speciation.

    As you put it (A is ordinary speciation, B is a ring):

    A includes geographic isolation
    B requires there be no geographic isolation

    A is therefore distinguishable from B.

    Again, here’s the quote from David Wake that destroyed your fallacious position:

    Ring species, says biologist David Wake, who has studied Ensatina for more than 20 years, are a beautiful example of species formation in action. “All of the intermediate steps, normally missing, have been preserved, and that is what makes it so fascinating.”

    Or perhaps Dr. Wade also doesn’t understand ring species. LOL

    -Q

  53. 53
    wd400 says:

    Indeed, anyone that reads these posts can make their own judgement. If they know even the first thing about biology they’ll be aware isolation is what happens when there is no gene flow (be that geographic, temporal or perhaps fine scale spatial in nature). If they posess basic recomprehension they’ll see nothing in Wakes’ comment to contradict the distinction. And if even if there was some contradiction, a little basic research would make it clear that indeed:

    A includes geographic isolation
    B requires there be no geographic isolation

    A is therefore distinguishable from B.

  54. 54
    Querius says:

    wd400,

    Oh, so it’s about isolation, after all. Did you even look at the map Dr. Wake provided?

    Dr. Wake uses ring species as a “beautiful example” of speciation—which according to you requires isolation and cessetion of gene flow, and which did NOT occur with Ensatina.

    And if even if there was some contradiction, a little basic research would make it clear that indeed:

    Some contradiction? Ya think? Dr. Wake spent 20 years researching Ensatina, which I’d venture is more than “a little basic research.”

    Look, as I said, it’s easy. All you need to do is choke out the words, “Yeah, I guess I see your point,” I will thank you, and we can move on.

    -Q

  55. 55
    wd400 says:

    If yuo can point out where Wake claims Ensatina is an example of the ordinary mode of speciation I’d be obliged.

    And you might want to read the OP. Ensatina is no longer considered a ring species in the strictest sense. You know why, because you can distinguish ring species formation from the ordinary mode due to the presence of isolation:

    Except it’s wrong. That is, it’s not a ring species in the classical sense. Why not? Because genetic studies, done by both Dick Highton at Maryland and then by Wake and his colleagues themselves (references below) also showed that in places around the ring there were sharp genetic breaks, suggesting not a process of continuous gene flow over the 5-10 million years it took to close the ring, but sporadic geographic breaks in the ring, so that the salamanders could differentiate without pesky gene flow from adjacent populations. Some adjacent populations showed very sharp genetic differentiation, implying geographic isolation in the past (Continuous gene flow would not produce such “breaks”.) Finally, geologic work has shown that it is very unlikely that there were two unbroken forest corridors for those millions of years required to produce a ring.

    Based on these results, everyone has now concluded that the formation of this “ring” involved sporadic and important episodes of geographic isolation between populations, so it’s not the classic “continuous gene flow” scenario involved in making a ring species

  56. 56
    Mung says:

    wd400;

    If yuo can point out where Wake claims Ensatina is an example of the ordinary mode of speciation I’d be obliged.

    What is the ordinary mode of speciation?

    If such a thing existed couldn’t speciation be predicted?

    But since speciation cannot be predicted doesn’t that call into question the very concept of any ‘ordinary mode’ of speciation?

  57. 57
    DavidD says:

    Mung – “What is the ordinary mode of speciation?

    If such a thing existed couldn’t speciation be predicted?

    But since speciation cannot be predicted doesn’t that call into question the very concept of any ‘ordinary mode’ of speciation?
    ———–

    Great questions, but don’t expect to much of an intelligent response which will be incoherent anyway and never come close to dealing with the real world we observe. Probably a great research paper which hits close to home on this was from the Max Planck Institute’s Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig who wrote a piece which dealt with the concept of the “Law of Recurrent Variation”

    http://www.weloennig.de/Loenni.....iation.pdf

    http://weloennig.de/ShortVersi.....f_2006.pdf

    Mostly what’s being discussed here is not so much new species, but simple variation of the same kind or type of organism which simply reaches it’s limits of change. I think this is the same for epigenetics which is becoming more and more looked into and I find fascinating. But the dogma being debated is so entrenched that this muddled or fuzzied term “speciation” must be invoked because the religious orthodoxy that presently runs the Scientific world demands it. Ultimately for most of these religiously obsessed ideologues, absolutely nothing will shake their faith, which generally is immune to evidence anyway.

    For me the “Law of recurrent Variation” beautifully explains Darwin’s Finches, Blind Cave Fish, Mexican Cave Scorpions, and the religious failure of Ring Species which have always been highlighted as those iconic religious examples held up as proof of Darwinism and the religiosity many modern day intellects have chosen to clasped onto.

  58. 58
    wd400 says:

    What is the ordinary mode of speciation?

    So called allopatric speciation – in which the initial split between nascent species is caused by geographical isolation.

    If such a thing existed couldn’t speciation be predicted?

    I don’t see how.

    But since speciation cannot be predicted doesn’t that call into question the very concept of any ‘ordinary mode’ of speciation?

    No.

  59. 59
    Querius says:

    wd400 masochistically persists . . .

    You are so wrong. LOL Here, take a look at this paper co-authored by David Wake in 2012:

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/10/20

    In the mid 20th century, Ernst Mayr and Theodosius Dobzhansky championed the significance of circular overlaps or ring species as the perfect demonstration of speciation, yet in the over 50 years since, only a handful of such taxa are known. We developed a topographic model to evaluate whether the geographic barriers that favor processes leading to ring species are common or rare, and to predict where other candidate ring barriers might be found.

    (snip)

    The persistence of the central geographic barrier is fundamental for ring diversification because it restricts movement of individuals to the ring distribution, thus promoting non-adaptive divergence through the initial colonization of available habitat, genetic drift of each local population, and limiting gene flow among continuous populations around the ring.

    So far, all you’ve posted is your unsupported opinion. Do yourself a favor and send Dr. Wake an email with your questions. It’s listed on his University of California webpage. Maybe you’ll listen to him.

    -Q

  60. 60
    wd400 says:

    I’ll ask you again, have you read the OP? Or Coyne’s post. The whole point is that the classical examples of ring species are no longer considered ring species in the strictest sense because they’ve all been shown to include goegraphical isolation.

    If you want to include geographical isolation within ring species then there is no OP and no thread. Consequently, if you want to make something of their being no known ring species then you necessarily have to limit yourself to the definition under which there are no ring species. In that case, the mode of formation is different and your claim was wrong.

    It’s evident from this whole exchange that you didn’t know much about speciation when you made the claim. Why you find it so hard to contemplate the fact you were wrong is beyond me.

  61. 61
    Querius says:

    wd400,

    OK, I figured out the problem. We’re arguing about two different definitions of a ring, “classic” and current (which BTW was Wake’s original definition).

    Your original challenge was to my conclusion:

    And the “ordinary mode” of speciation is indistinguishable from that of a ring.

    This is exactly what one can conclude from the article and Wake would agree as I pointed out.

    But you weren’t arguing that. You were arguing that the debunked “classic” ring definition excludes any periods of isolation. Meanwhile, the extant rings still have incremental variation-—now known to include significant breaks attributed to periods of reproductive isolation—can still interbreed (except at their overlapping ends and possibly at the discovered genetic breaks), and currently maintain continuous gene flow (again possibly not at the genetic breaks). The current rings, which still surround a geographical barrier do indeed include geographic isolation as does “ordinary mode” speciation, which you disagree with given the debunked “classic” definition.

    I’d like to point out that Dr. Wake did NOT ascribe to the “classic” definition and he’s been quoted from his 1997 paper saying that “The history of this complex has probably featured substantial isolation, differentiation, and multiple recontacts.”

    -Q

  62. 62
    wd400 says:

    Your original challenge was to my conclusion:

    And the “ordinary mode” of speciation is indistinguishable from that of a ring.

    This is exactly what one can conclude from the article and Wake would agree as I pointed out.

    But not what one can conclude from the OP, which this thread is about. So your conclusion was wrong.

  63. 63
    DavidD says:

    WD400 – “But not what one can conclude from the OP, which this thread is about. So your conclusion was wrong.”

    Mung – “It’s a great theory, and a theory this “robust” can stand up to lot’s of bashing.”

    Everyone here already knew where the conclusion train was headed before it made it’s final destination. *sigh*

  64. 64
    Mung says:

    Google search on “ordinary mode of speciation” turns up two hits. Not surprisingly, one of them is to this thread.

    The other I haven’t been able to track down yet, but seems to also be attributed to wd400, likewise here at UD.

    lmgtfy

  65. 65
    Mung says:

    My mistake seems to be in inferring that when wd400 claimed to be able to identify “the ordinary mode of speciation” that he meant the normal mode of speciation.

    ordinary:

    1. with no special or distinctive features; normal.

    Silly me.

  66. 66
    wd400 says:

    I’m afraid I haven’t the foggiest idea what you are on about Mung. A cursory read of any text book (and in fact, a better google search) will make it clear allopatric is the most common mode of speciation, and therefor the typical, ordinary or normal mode against which to compare others.

    If your claim is that there is no ordinary mode then you best take that up with Querius who made the claim in the first place. If there is some special definition of normal that would make speciation predictable then please explain.

  67. 67
    bornagain77 says:

    wd400, you may want to help your Darwinian buddies obfuscate this matter:

    An Open Letter to Kenneth Miller and PZ Myers – Michael Behe July 21, 2014
    Dear Professors Miller and Myers,
    Talk is cheap. Let’s see your numbers.
    In your recent post on and earlier reviews of my book The Edge of Evolution you toss out a lot of words, but no calculations. You downplay FRS Nicholas White’s straightforward estimate that — considering the number of cells per malaria patient (a trillion), times the number of ill people over the years (billions), divided by the number of independent events (fewer than ten) — the development of chloroquine-resistance in malaria is an event of probability about 1 in 10^20 malaria-cell replications. Okay, if you don’t like that, what’s your estimate? Let’s see your numbers.,,,
    ,,, If you folks think that direct, parsimonious, rather obvious route to 1 in 10^20 isn’t reasonable, go ahead, calculate a different one, then tell us how much it matters, quantitatively. Posit whatever favorable or neutral mutations you want. Just make sure they’re consistent with the evidence in the literature (especially the rarity of resistance, the total number of cells available, and the demonstration by Summers et al. that a minimum of two specific mutations in PfCRT is needed for chloroquine transport). Tell us about the effects of other genes, or population structures, if you think they matter much, or let us know if you disagree for some reason with a reported literature result.
    Or, Ken, tell us how that ARMD phenotype you like to mention affects the math. Just make sure it all works out to around 1 in 10^20, or let us know why not.
    Everyone is looking forward to seeing your calculations. Please keep the rhetoric to a minimum.
    With all best wishes (especially to Professor Myers for a speedy recovery),
    Mike Behe
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....88041.html

  68. 68
    Querius says:

    wd400,

    If your claim is that there is no ordinary mode then you best take that up with Querius who made the claim in the first place.

    I made the opposite claim, that there was no difference between the “ordinary mode” of speciation (to use the term Piotr@23 used), and that of (the current understanding) of ring species.

    Actually, it’s less confusing when your arguments don’t have so much “genetic drift” if you get mine. 😉

    -Q

  69. 69
    Mung says:

    wd400:

    I’m afraid I haven’t the foggiest idea what you are on about Mung.

    I’m sure you are by no means alone in that.

    wd400:

    If your claim is that there is no ordinary mode then you best take that up with Querius who made the claim in the first place.

    My problem is with the claim that something is normal but not predictable. It’s like saying that the sun normally rises in the east but we can’t predict that it will. And that is the claim you’ve been making. I find it absurd, to be honest.

    wd400:

    If there is some special definition of normal that would make speciation predictable then please explain.

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

    Nothing all that special about it, imo.

  70. 70
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Mung: “My problem is with the claim that something is normal but not predictable.”

    Is weather normal? Can you predict whether it will rain three weeks from Wednesday? Are tornados and hurricanes “normal”? Can you predict where and when the next ones will occur? I find it absurd that you would think that all “normal” things are predictable.

  71. 71
    wd400 says:

    Querius

    (a) Well, that still requires the existence of an ordinary mode of speciation
    (b) I find it very hard to believe you raised the point to agree with Piotr that the that there was ‘no difference between the “ordinary mode” of speciation, and that of (the current understanding) of ring species’. And, by extension, the loss of the last apparent ring species doesn’t much change our theories of speciation. But perhaps you did.

    Mung,

    I think taking “Normal” to mean fitting the probability distribution Galton gave the name normal, as in ordinary, is a very special definition of the word indeed.

    I also don’t think normal/ordinary implies predictability. We know the normal mode of earthquake on the San Andreas fault is a strike-slip, but one can’t predict earthquakes.

  72. 72
    Mung says:

    Acartia_bogart:

    Is weather normal?

    weather:

    the state of the atmosphere at a place and time as regards heat, dryness, sunshine, wind, rain, etc.

    Is weather normal? You tell me.

    Can you predict whether it will rain three weeks from Wednesday?

    Enough to bet on it. Are you willing to put your money where your mouth is?

  73. 73
    Querius says:

    wd400,

    Hard as it might be for you to believe, I have no problem with genetic drift or a natural selection dynamic that changes gene frequency to the fuzzy point of speciation.

    And don’t keep on about the now-defunct definition of a “classic” ring species, which even Dr. Wake never advocated, which you would know had you read his quote.

    – No, I don’t believe in a random process such as an explosion can ever result in the formation of, let’s say an a complete, functioning city, much less random chemical interactions forming DNA or a functioning cell.

    – And, I don’t believe in a smooth series of steps extrapolated from a first-degree lever to a modern automobile, much less a coacervate to a chihuahua.

    Maybe there’s another, different natural process that shapes the genetics of organisms, but we won’t find out until Science can pry Darwin’s cold, dead hands off the throat of free scientific inquiry despite the near hysterical adherence by its adherents, and their academic persecution of independent researchers.

    If there is such a natural process, I bet ID researchers will find it before the Darwinists do.

    -Q

  74. 74
    wd400 says:

    And don’t keep on about the now-defunct definition of a “classic” ring species…

    You mean the one the whole thread was about?

    I don’t really know what the rest of your comment is about, I’m didn’t say I found it hard to belive that you think drift and selection work. I find it hard to believe you said “under the bus it goes” then agreed with Piotr that these findings — that apparent ring species arise by the ordinary mode of speciation — was of little consequence. I think it’s more likely you just didn’t know much about speciation can got confused about what was being claimed in the OP.

  75. 75
    Querius says:

    Mung,

    Predicting weather is considered fantasy beyond a few days—not that it isn’t commonly attempted.

    In fact, Chaos theory got its start from Edward Lorenz’s weather models. IIRC, he restarted a weather simulation at a previous point only to find that it rapidly diverged from a previous simulation with the same (ever so slightly rounded) initial conditions.

    I think it was also Lorentz who then went on to calculate that if he were able to cover the earth with weather stations one meter apart, adding shells one meter higher out to the practical end of the atmosphere, weather prediction would be reliably extended out to perhaps a week.

    I recommend James Gleick’s book, Chaos, to anyone who hasn’t read it. Together with Kurt Godel’s theorums, it pretty much dooms any mechanistic model of the universe.

    -Q

  76. 76
    Querius says:

    Really, wd400?

    Piotr@23 actually said

    Anyway, ring species are not the ordinary mode of speciation.

    With which I disagreed. And now you go on to misstate that I

    then agreed with Piotr that these findings — that apparent ring species arise by the ordinary mode of speciation

    I’m astonished.

    Or maybe you’re somehow switching back and forth between the de-bunked “classic” definition and the observed definition originally advocated by Dr. Wake.

    I’m trying to be generous . . .

    -Q

  77. 77
    wd400 says:

    That seemed to be what you were claiming in 68. Which, as I said, I found hard to believe. I guess you were just plain wrong in disagreeing with him then? Or, at least, unaware of what was being said in the OP.

  78. 78
    Querius says:

    Nope, wrong again on all counts.

    -Q

  79. 79
    DavidD says:

    WD-40 – “I’m afraid I haven’t the foggiest idea what you are on about Mung.”

    Of course you do, why would you start playing dumb now unless to hide your lack of coherent reply ?

    WD-40 – “If your claim is that there is no ordinary mode then you best take that up with Querius who made the claim in the first place.”

    I never saw where he actually made any claims. You dogmatically made a bold religious affirmation and he called you on it.

    Here is an example of speciation on Steroids otherwise known as variety. Same family or kind of tree, “Prunus” which is said to contain over 430 varieties.

    http://vpa.syr.edu/sites/defau.....0Fruit.jpg

    http://www.epicurious.com/arti.....-interview

    The fact is none of this need be debated. This is elementary school stuff. What we never ever get is a etched in stone example of a true honest to good authentic transitional, minus all the eastern religious mysticism thrown in to muddle definitions in we use in this Universe.

  80. 80
    wd400 says:

    Querius,
    I’ve never seen someone do incapable of acknowleding their own mistake, it’s… extraordinary. Especially in the face all this “Darwin’s cold, dead hands off the throat of free scientific inquiry” rubbish.

    DavidD,

    I can assure you I don’t have to “play dumb” to fail to extract meaning from your posts. There are plenty of transitional species, and I can’t imagine what Eastern religion has to do with evolution.

  81. 81
    Mung says:

    Querius:

    Predicting weather is considered fantasy beyond a few days — not that it isn’t commonly attempted.

    It’s not all that difficult if you know what’s normal.

    I’m willing to predict a few instances of “no rain tomorrow” and to wager that I will be correct.

  82. 82
    Querius says:

    Mung,

    IIRC, meterologists measure their success of correctly outpredicting rain against random chance that’s based on historical records. I’ve heard that “tomorrow’s weather will be like today’s” is also a pretty good method.

    And then some locales/seasons have far more consistent weather than others. For example, I’ve heard it said that in southern California, there are only two seasons: warm and summer. 😉

    -Q

  83. 83
    DavidD says:

    Silicone Spray on Steroids: “I can assure you I don’t have to “play dumb” to fail to extract meaning from your posts.”

    Sure you do, you’re doing it now

    Silicone Spray on Steroids: “There are plenty of transitional species,”

    Really, I’ve never seen one example published where mysticism wasn’t incorporated into the explanation. BTW, could you explain to me why people of Negro background in Africa are always depicted as the living transitional to the modern persons of European descent ? Feel free to consult that religious icon hanging on your wall showing the March to Man.

    Silicone Spray on Steroids: “and I can’t imagine what Eastern religion has to do with evolution.”

    This is easy, in any debate or argument about evolution, definition shell games on words or terms are employed as a strategy and generally borrowed from another universe or dimension. Also many of the evolutionist insistence on fact seems to draw from theological explanations from Pantheism. Doesn’t get any more eastern religious than that.

  84. 84
    DavidD says:

    Querius – “Predicting weather is considered fantasy beyond a few days — not that it isn’t commonly attempted.

    I predict that evolutionary explanations will always be comparable to Virga Clouds, lots of bluster and promise, but always failing to deliver

  85. 85
    wd400 says:

    DaviD,

    tiktaalik ambulocetus archeopteryx are all famous transitionals, not mysticism required. I’ve never heard modern Africans described as transitional and the “march of progress” graphic you refer to is almost universally hated among evolutionary biologists because it doesn’t represent the evolutionary history of our species (in fact, it was nevered intended to, but that’s a longer story).

  86. 86
    bornagain77 says:

    wd400 claims,

    “tiktaalik ambulocetus archeopteryx are all famous transitionals”

    Funny thing about Darwinian claims for hard evidence of transitionals, they all seem to evaporate into thin air when scrutinized:

    Tiktaalik Blown “Out of the Water” by Earlier Tetrapod Fossil Footprints – January 2010
    Excerpt: The tracks predate the oldest tetrapod skeletal remains by 18 Myr and, more surprisingly, the earliest elpistostegalian fishes by about 10 Myr.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....e_wat.html

    Attenborough, read your mail: Evolution is messier than TV – February 2014 – with video
    Excerpt: The Polish trackways establish that Tiktaalik wasn’t anywhere near the first tetrapod, so the most important information about the transition to land doesn’t even include Tiktaalik at present.,,,
    Some fish today routinely spend time out of the water, using a variety of mechanisms. But there is no particular reason to believe that they are on their way to becoming full time tetrapods or land dwellers. So we would need to be cautious about assuming that specific mechanisms that might be useful on land are definitive evidence of a definite, permanent move to full-time land dwelling.
    A friend writes to point out a modern-day examples that illustrates this, the walking shark:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....r-than-tv/

    This following article has a excellent summary of the ‘less than forthright’ manner in which Darwinists handle anyone who dares to tell of falsifications to their paltry evidence for ‘transitional’ fossils:

    Evolutionary Biologists Are Unaware of Their Own Arguments: Reappraising Nature’s Prized “Gem,” Tiktaalik – Casey Luskin – September 2010
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....38261.html

    Starting at the 2:50 minute mark of the following video, out of Gingerich’s own mouth no less, the ambulocetus fossil is revealed ‘probably not transitional’ to whales. Later in the video, Rodhocetus, perhaps the most important fossil in the hypothetical whale series, is revealed as fraudulent.

    Whale Evolution vs. The Actual Evidence – video – fraudulent fossils revealed (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/30921402

    Richard Dawkins Dumps the Fossil Record – May 18th, 2013
    Excerpt: The dumping of the Archaeopteryx as a missing link between birds and reptiles by palaeontologists during the late twentieth century, however, was gaining solid support. According to Larry Martin, an American vertebrate paleontologist and curator of the Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center at the University of Kansas, the
    “Archaeopteryx is not ancestral of any group of modern birds.”
    Missing link status of the Archaeopteryx is only an illusion; a “once upon a time” story according to Henry Gee a British paleontologist and evolutionary biologist and senior editor of the prestigious journal Nature.
    Abandoning the Archaeopteryx as a transitional link was actually only a tip-of-the-iceberg of the larger fossil record problem for evolution. Geneticist Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig of the Max-Planck Institute in Germany in the book entitled The Evolution of the Long-Necked Giraffe, like Dawkins, candidly points to the fact that a “gradual series of intermediates in Darwin’s sense has never existed and hence will never exist.”,,
    http://www.darwinthenandnow.co.....il-record/

    Archaeopteryx May Have Devolved from a Flying Bird – Nov. 12, 2013
    Excerpt: The idea that it was instead evolving to lose its flight and becoming flightless again, or ‘secondarily flightless’, occurred to Habib while he was calculating limb ratios and degrees of feather symmetry in Archaeopteryx, and comparing the values to those of living birds, to better understand its flying ability. In doing so, he found that the creature’s traits were surprisingly similar to those of modern flightless birds such as rails and grebes that frequently dwell on islands.
    http://crev.info/2013/11/archa.....ying-bird/

    Archaeopteryx’s Evolutionary Humiliation Continues – July 31, 2013
    http://phenomena.nationalgeogr.....continues/

  87. 87
    DavidD says:

    Silicone Spray on Steroids – “tiktaalik ambulocetus archeopteryx are all famous transitionals, not mysticism required.”

    Wow, the region in the northeastern Canadian Archipelago where this thing was discovered is loaded with creatures and plant life which actually exists today. Yet they all died a sudden and instant death. Beavers and beaver dams with crocodile-like fossils , Redwood Trees, pines, larch etc were found frozen in time by what some of those researchers called a mega-tsunami. And yet we are to believe that all these creatures were descended from this mythical transitional ? It would seem to me that whatever the extinction event up there in the north killed off everything all at once. But oh no, we have fable fabricating soothsayers making up a myth about some creature in order to satisfy the approval of the Scientific Orthodoxy.

    Funny how all over the Earth, various mega-tsunamis scenarios are attributed for the extinction of certain ecosystems. Yet, just try connecting all the dots however and you’re demonized to a secularist hell of sorts

    Silicone Spray on steroids – “I’ve never heard modern Africans described as transitional and the “march of progress” graphic you refer to is almost universally hated among evolutionary biologists because it doesn’t represent the evolutionary history of our species (in fact, it was nevered intended to, but that’s a longer story).”

    This is unbelievable. How can you lie like this ? Every year articles come out us in all manner of scientific journals with this iconic religious image and not one ideologue in your church criticizes them for using this. Even Mike White, Paleoanthropologist out of Berkeley chastised his colleagues for their use of this and manufacturing of myths for no other reason than to gain notoriety and fame as a celebrity. The only long story going on here is the deliberate dismissal of anything amiss on your side’s end.

  88. 88
    wd400 says:

    DavidD,

    Well, you’ll have to provide a citation for the tsunami idea. It seems like your mixed up though, the rocks Tiitalik comes from are much much older than the oldest Beaver (or mammal or indeed amniote) fossils.

    I’ve seen the “march of progress” in a scientific journal, I think you are confusing evolutionary biology for the popular conception of evolution? In any case, if you check out the orginal you’ll see many of the species are contempories of each other:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.....ogress.jpg

    so it can’t represent a chain or the sort most people think about (and which gave us the silly term “missing link”).

    If you want to lay off all this religious talk and give me some clear examples of modern Africans being considered transitional to Europeans, the march of progress being used by scientists in scientific journals , or explanations as to why these transitional species are not I’d be happy to see them.

  89. 89
    bornagain77 says:

    wd400 seeing that supposed transitional fossils are few and far between (and argumentative),

    Missing Transitional Fossils in the Hominid Fossil Record – Casey Luskin – Sept. 12, 2012 – podcast
    Description: On this episode of ID the Future, listen to a short segment of a recent presentation Casey Luskin gave on the hominid fossil record. While popular media often reports that the fossil record is complete and conclusive, the technical scientific literature reveals this to be false. In actuality, human-like fossils and ape-like fossil are clearly distinct from one another, and the so-called transitional fossil record is highly fragmented.
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....3_42-07_00

    And seeing that the overwhelming characteristic of the overall fossil record is one of ‘top down’ sudden appearance and then overall stasis,,,

    “Darwin had a lot of trouble with the fossil record because if you look at the record of phyla in the rocks as fossils why when they first appear we already see them all. The phyla are fully formed. It’s as if the phyla were created first and they were modified into classes and we see that the number of classes peak later than the number of phyla and the number of orders peak later than that. So it’s kind of a top down succession, you start with this basic body plans, the phyla, and you diversify them into classes, the major sub-divisions of the phyla, and these into orders and so on. So the fossil record is kind of backwards from what you would expect from in that sense from what you would expect from Darwin’s ideas.”
    James W. Valentine – as quoted from “On the Origin of Phyla: Interviews with James W. Valentine”

    Scientific study turns understanding about evolution on its head – July 30, 2013
    Excerpt: evolutionary biologists,,, looked at nearly one hundred fossil groups to test the notion that it takes groups of animals many millions of years to reach their maximum diversity of form.
    Contrary to popular belief, not all animal groups continued to evolve fundamentally new morphologies through time. The majority actually achieved their greatest diversity of form (disparity) relatively early in their histories.
    ,,,Dr Matthew Wills said: “This pattern, known as ‘early high disparity’, turns the traditional V-shaped cone model of evolution on its head. What is equally surprising in our findings is that groups of animals are likely to show early-high disparity regardless of when they originated over the last half a billion years. This isn’t a phenomenon particularly associated with the first radiation of animals (in the Cambrian Explosion), or periods in the immediate wake of mass extinctions.”,,,
    Author Martin Hughes, continued: “Our work implies that there must be constraints on the range of forms within animal groups, and that these limits are often hit relatively early on.
    Co-author Dr Sylvain Gerber, added: “A key question now is what prevents groups from generating fundamentally new forms later on in their evolution.,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2013-07-s.....ution.html

    “The point emerges that if we examine the fossil record in detail, whether at the level of orders or of species, we find’ over and over again’ not gradual evolution, but the sudden explosion of one group at the expense of another.”
    Paleontologist, Derek V. Ager (Department of Geology & Oceanography, University College, Swansea, UK)

    “It is a feature of the known fossil record that most taxa appear abruptly. They are not, as a rule, led up to by a sequence of almost imperceptibly changing forerunners such as Darwin believed should be usual in evolution…This phenomenon becomes more universal and more intense as the hierarchy of categories is ascended. Gaps among known species are sporadic and often small. Gaps among known orders, classes and phyla are systematic and almost always large.”
    G.G.Simpson – one of the most influential American Paleontologist of the 20th century

    “Given the fact of evolution, one would expect the fossils to document a gradual steady change from ancestral forms to the descendants. But this is not what the paleontologist finds. Instead, he or she finds gaps in just about every phyletic series.” –
    Ernst Mayr-Professor Emeritus, Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University

    “What is missing are the many intermediate forms hypothesized by Darwin, and the continual divergence of major lineages into the morphospace between distinct adaptive types.”
    Robert L Carroll (born 1938) – vertebrate paleontologist who specialises in Paleozoic and Mesozoic amphibians

    “In virtually all cases a new taxon appears for the first time in the fossil record with most definitive features already present, and practically no known stem-group forms.”
    Fossils and Evolution, TS Kemp – Curator of Zoological Collections, Oxford University, Oxford Uni Press, p246, 1999

    ,,, wd400, seeing that there is room to doubt that the fossil record is as robust as you seem to believe it is, perhaps you could bolster your case by demonstrating the Darwinian mechanism for us?

    “The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macroevolution. At the risk of doing violence to the position of some people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear, No.”
    Roger Lewin – Historic Chicago ‘Macroevolution’ conference of 1980
    “Evolutionary Theory Under Fire”
    Science, vol. 210, 21 November, p. 883
    http://www.pathlights.com/ce_e.....hist12.htm

    “Perhaps the most obvious challenge is to demonstrate evolution empirically. There are, arguably, some 2 to 10 million species on earth. The fossil record shows that most species survive somewhere between 3 and 5 million years. In that case, we ought to be seeing small but significant numbers of originations (new species) .. every decade.”
    Keith Stewart Thomson, Professor of Biology and Dean of the Graduate School, Yale University (Nov. -Dec. American Scientist, 1997 pg. 516)

    Scant search for the Maker
    Excerpt: But where is the experimental evidence? None exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another. Bacteria, the simplest form of independent life, are ideal for this kind of study, with generation times of 20 to 30 minutes, and populations achieved after 18 hours. But throughout 150 years of the science of bacteriology, there is no evidence that one species of bacteria has changed into another, in spite of the fact that populations have been exposed to potent chemical and physical mutagens and that, uniquely, bacteria possess extrachromosomal, transmissible plasmids. Since there is no evidence for species changes between the simplest forms of unicellular life, it is not surprising that there is no evidence for evolution from prokaryotic to eukaryotic cells, let alone throughout the whole array of higher multicellular organisms. –
    Alan H. Linton – emeritus professor of bacteriology, University of Bristol.
    http://www.timeshighereducatio.....ode=159282

  90. 90
    bornagain77 says:

    Darwinians have long looked for missing links between sea animals and land animals to fulfill one of the major predictions of Darwinism. Neil Shubin went on an expedition to an area where he thought it might be likely to find such a fossil and miraculously discovered Tiktaalik which seemed a perfect fit for the prediction. That does count as a confirmation of the prediction, although with more evidence, it has now become an extremely weak one, counting for little if anything now. Why? For several reasons.
    1) Many researchers have pointed out that the Tiktaalik has numerous aspects in common with fish. It’s pelvis is also fishy, and this is crucial. Neil Shubin himself (the discoverer of Tiktaalik who wrote the book ‘Your Inner Fish), has now admitted that Tiktaalik has a fish pelvis (and all other features are fishy) and does not not have a sacral rib connecting the pelvic girdle to the vertebral column (which is crucial to enable tetrapods to walk and bear their weight on land). Shubin tries to finagle some way that Tiktaalik could walk on land using a totally fishy pelvis, but the reality is that Tiktaalik was and always will be a fish that cannot walk based on all the objective scientific evidence we have, unless Darwin’s ghost has somehow made it possible for tetrapods without sacral bones to magically walk now.

    Tiktaalik has now joined the ranks of many debunked Darwinian fossils that litter the history of Darwinism. It’s just a fish people, a unique fish designed by its Creator, but nothing more. It provides no support for Darwinism.
    http://creation.com/tiktaalik-pelvis

  91. 91
    Querius says:

    bornagain77,

    Someone should make an “Ascent of Man” [sic] using just discredited transition species. You know, like Nebraska Man and so on.

    Of course we’re assured that all extent species are transitional and we need just need to wait 10 million years, or look at some of the fossils waiting to be discovered to prove evolution. The second coming of Darwin is just a discovery away! Don’t worry, though. In the meantime, one can always depend on “living fossils” for proof of evolution. Somehow. 😉

    -Q

  92. 92
    bornagain77 says:

    Querius 🙂

    Yes the “Ascent of Man” [sic] using just discredited transition species would look a lot different. Just the Nebraska Man, (a transitional built from a single tooth, which was later found to be a pig’s tooth), would throw the whole sequence into disarray.

    But then again, there may be more to the man from pig hypothesis than meets the eye: 🙂

    Human hybrids: a closer look at the theory and evidence – July 25, 2013
    Excerpt: There was considerable fallout, both positive and negative, from our first story covering the radical pig-chimp hybrid theory put forth by Dr. Eugene McCarthy,,,By and large, those coming out against the theory had surprisingly little science to offer in their sometimes personal attacks against McCarthy.
    ,,,Under the alternative hypothesis (humans are not pig-chimp hybrids), the assumption is that humans and chimpanzees are equally distant from pigs. You would therefore expect chimp traits not seen in humans to be present in pigs at about the same rate as are human traits not found in chimps. However, when he searched the literature for traits that distinguish humans and chimps, and compiled a lengthy list of such traits, he found that it was always humans who were similar to pigs with respect to these traits. This finding is inconsistent with the possibility that humans are not pig-chimp hybrids, that is, it rejects that hypothesis.,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2013-07-h.....dence.html

    Something tells me that Darwinists will be very slow to change their drawings to accommodate the new evidence! 🙂

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