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Researchers: New species do not result from keeping animals apart?

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bee eaters surrounded by “tree” of 2/3 of bird species/Daniel Rabosky

Consider the significance of the way a recent release begins:

Darwin referred to the origin of species as “that mystery of mysteries,” and even today, more than 150 years later, evolutionary biologists cannot fully explain how new animals and plants arise.

If that’s true, it is a polite way of saying that most of the Darwinian evolution advocacy your taxes have paid for did not advance knowledge. All those court cases, all that persecution of dissenters. Oh well, ‘twas ever thus.

The people who get off on or benefit from persecution will advocate it anyway. Some, on the other hand, must try to understand what really happened, at their own risk.


a University of Michigan biologist and a colleague are questioning the long-held assumption that genetic reproductive barriers, also known as reproductive isolation, are a driving force behind speciation.

“We found no evidence that these things are related. The rate at which genetic reproductive barriers arise does not predict the rate at which new species form in nature,” Rabosky said. “If these results are true more generally — which we would not yet claim but do suspect — it would imply that our understanding of species formation is extremely incomplete because we’ve spent so long studying the wrong things, due to this erroneous assumption that the main cause of species formation is the formation of barriers to reproduction.

“To be clear, reproductive barriers are still important on some level. All sorts of plants and animals live together in the same place, which couldn’t happen without reproductive barriers. But our results question whether genetic reproductive barriers played a major role in how those species formed in the first place.”

Maybe the concept of speciation needs to be revisited. Some of us have always been suspicious of the sneery putdown explanation for the vastly different estimates of the number of species in the world, that some experts are “lumpers” and others are “splitters.”

One was always too polite to respond that, in other words, neither group knows what it is talking about. No one talks that way in fields where the information is clear and definite. This is just another Darwin-scandal brewing, but don’t expect the pop science mags to portray it that way.

As you indicate, 'natural selection' is a fatuous misnomer, TheisticEvolutionist, a theme I was holding forth on last week, but it is made all the more ludicrous by another point people have raised, namely: Why doesn't a dog turn into a cat? They sometimes think they can get away with the term, 'blueprint', but there is an assumption of the teleology being automatic, not intelligence-driven, nor volition driven. Natural selection, but not intelligent selection. Even if 'natural selection' were not a case of fatuous mislabelling (applying animism or even anthropomorphism to Nature), the meta-reality is an intelligent one, not a chaotic gallimaufrey of unrelated coincidences, somehow, producing a system of triage, which, on the contrary, clearly emanates from a discriminating intelligence, the product of a kind of extraordinarily-sophisticated, ecological software, nowhere near as blindly attritional as 'our friends' would have it. Axel
To add (pile on) to the fact that we should not expect widespread convergence in Darwinian evolution: Lenski's Long Term Evolution Experiment has shown that 'convergent evolution' is impossible because his work has shown that evolution is 'historically contingent'. This following video and article make this point clear: Lenski's Citrate E-Coli - Disproof of Convergent Evolution - Fazale Rana - video (the disproof of convergence starts at the 2:45 minute mark of the video) http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4564682 The Long Term Evolution Experiment - Analysis Excerpt: The experiment just goes to show that even with historical contingency and extreme selection pressure, the probability of random mutations causing even a tiny evolutionary improvement in digestion is, in the words of the researchers who did the experiment, “extremely low.” Therefore, it can’t be the explanation for the origin and varieity of all the forms of life on Earth. http://www.scienceagainstevolution.org/v12i11f.htm The loss of 'convergent evolution', as a argument for molecular sequence similarity in widely divergent species, is a major blow to neo-Darwinian story telling: Implications of Genetic Convergent Evolution for Common Descent - Casey Luskin - Sept. 2010 Excerpt: When building evolutionary trees, evolutionists assume that functional genetic similarity is the result of inheritance from a common ancestor. Except for when it isn't. And when the data doesn't fit their assumptions, evolutionists explain it away as the result of "convergence." Using this methodology, one can explain virtually any dataset. Is there a way to falsify common descent, even in the face of convergent genetic similarity? If convergent genetic evolution is common, how does one know if their tree is based upon homologous sequences or convergent ones? Critics like me see the logic underlying evolutionary trees to be methodologically inconsistent, unpersuasive, and ultimately arbitrary. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2010/09/implications_of_genetic_conver037841.html Some more 'surprises' from Lenski's Long Term Evolution Experiment: Mutations : when benefits level off - June 2011 - (Lenski's e-coli after 50,000 generations) Excerpt: After having identified the first five beneficial mutations combined successively and spontaneously in the bacterial population, the scientists generated, from the ancestral bacterial strain, 32 mutant strains exhibiting all of the possible combinations of each of these five mutations. They then noted that the benefit linked to the simultaneous presence of five mutations was less than the sum of the individual benefits conferred by each mutation individually. http://www2.cnrs.fr/en/1867.htm?theme1=7 New Research on Epistatic Interactions Shows "Overwhelmingly Negative" Fitness Costs and Limits to Evolution - Casey Luskin June 8, 2011 Excerpt: In essence, these studies found that there is a fitness cost to becoming more fit. As mutations increase, bacteria faced barriers to the amount they could continue to evolve. If this kind of evidence doesn't run counter to claims that neo-Darwinian evolution can evolve fundamentally new types of organisms and produce the astonishing diversity we observe in life, what does? http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/06/new_research_on_epistatic_inte047151.html Richard Lenski's Long-Term Evolution Experiments with E. coli and the Origin of New Biological Information - September 2011 Excerpt: The results of future work aside, so far, during the course of the longest, most open-ended, and most extensive laboratory investigation of bacterial evolution, a number of adaptive mutations have been identified that endow the bacterial strain with greater fitness compared to that of the ancestral strain in the particular growth medium. The goal of Lenski's research was not to analyze adaptive mutations in terms of gain or loss of function, as is the focus here, but rather to address other longstanding evolutionary questions. Nonetheless, all of the mutations identified to date can readily be classified as either modification-of-function or loss-of-FCT. (Michael J. Behe, "Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations and 'The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution'," Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 85(4) (December, 2010).) http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/09/richard_lenskis_long_term_evol051051.html But then should we have reasonably expected otherwise? Multiple Overlapping Genetic Codes Profoundly Reduce the Probability of Beneficial Mutation George Montañez 1, Robert J. Marks II 2, Jorge Fernandez 3 and John C. Sanford 4 - published online May 2013 Excerpt: In the last decade, we have discovered still another aspect of the multi- dimensional genome. We now know that DNA sequences are typically “ poly-functional” [38]. Trifanov previously had described at least 12 genetic codes that any given nucleotide can contribute to [39,40], and showed that a given base-pair can contribute to multiple overlapping codes simultaneously. The first evidence of overlapping protein-coding sequences in viruses caused quite a stir, but since then it has become recognized as typical. According to Kapronov et al., “it is not unusual that a single base-pair can be part of an intricate network of multiple isoforms of overlapping sense and antisense transcripts, the majority of which are unannotated” [41]. The ENCODE project [42] has confirmed that this phenomenon is ubiquitous in higher genomes, wherein a given DNA sequence routinely encodes multiple overlapping messages, meaning that a single nucleotide can contribute to two or more genetic codes. Most recently, Itzkovitz et al. analyzed protein coding regions of 700 species, and showed that virtually all forms of life have extensive overlapping information in their genomes [43]. http://www.worldscientific.com/doi/pdf/10.1142/9789814508728_0006 bornagain77
speaking of the magical powers of natural selection (sorry this is somewhat off-topic) Hot off the press:
Genome-wide signatures of convergent evolution in echolocating mammals Parker et al. Sept. 2013 Evolution is typically thought to proceed through divergence of genes, proteins and ultimately phenotypes. However, similar traits might also evolve convergently in unrelated taxa owing to similar selection pressures. Adaptive phenotypic convergence is widespread in nature, and recent results from several genes have suggested that this phenomenon is powerful enough to also drive recurrent evolution at the sequence level. Where homoplasious substitutions do occur these have long been considered the result of neutral processes. However, recent studies have demonstrated that adaptive convergent sequence evolution can be detected in vertebrates using statistical methods that model parallel evolution, although the extent to which sequence convergence between genera occurs across genomes is unknown. Here we analyse genomic sequence data in mammals that have independently evolved echolocation and show that convergence is not a rare process restricted to several loci but is instead widespread, continuously distributed and commonly driven by natural selection acting on a small number of sites per locus. Systematic analyses of convergent sequence evolution in 805,053 amino acids within 2,326 orthologous coding gene sequences compared across 22 mammals (including four newly sequenced bat genomes) revealed signatures consistent with convergence in nearly 200 loci. Strong and significant support for convergence among bats and the bottlenose dolphin was seen in numerous genes linked to hearing or deafness, consistent with an involvement in echolocation. Unexpectedly, we also found convergence in many genes linked to vision: the convergent signal of many sensory genes was robustly correlated with the strength of natural selection. This first attempt to detect genome-wide convergent sequence evolution across divergent taxa reveals the phenomenon to be much more pervasive than previously recognized.
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature12511.html Science Daily article:
"We had expected to find identical changes in maybe a dozen or so genes but to see nearly 200 is incredible," explains Dr Joe Parker, from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences and first author on the paper. "We know natural selection is a potent driver of gene sequence evolution, but identifying so many examples where it produces nearly identical results in the genetic sequences of totally unrelated animals is astonishing."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130904132548.htm Wasn't this exact scenario (widespread cases of identical gene sequences in distant taxa) potential falsification for Common Descent once upon a time? Now simply another case of "Natural Selection Dunnit"... lifepsy
tjguy, When finch beaks change in length back and forth based on the climate, that is not natural selection? Not in the much popularized Neo-Darwinian sense... no. This is why the term is so ambiguous. Neo-Darwinian Natural Selection refers to the fixation of new genes in a population due to the increased reproductive fitness of an individual genetic variant. As a consequence, the remainder of the population would have less reproductive fitness and eventually be culled out. Epigenetics, or plasticity, on the other hand.. like Jerry mentioned... is when a change in environment affects expression in the entire local population, resulting in phenotypic variations. That is, a change in the climate will cause finch beaks to develop differently, cavefish spawned in a dark environment will not develop eyes, insect-eating lizards will develop cecal valves in their gut when dropped into environments that mostly only have plants for food. They aren't "evolving" new traits. They are changing around a mean value by increasing/decreasing expression of the information already present. This has nothing to do with darwinian selection and fixation of an individual mutation/variation into the population. But in Pop-Sci publications, neo-darwinism has been taking the credit for these types of changes for decades. They thrive on the public's confusion. lifepsy
When finch beaks change in length back and forth based on the climate, that is not natural selection?
This actually may not be natural selection but epigenetic. The Grants gave a long presentation at Stanford a few years ago and it seems that the changes may have been due to gene expression and not a change in allele frequency. There certainly are numerous examples of trivial natural selection or whatever what one wants to call it. Call it changes in the allele frequency due to environmental pressures. jerry
Anyone who accepts natural selection is a Darwinist. Nature does not select. There is no natural selection, the metaphor of “natural selection” is misleading. There is no mechanism for natural selection, it is an empty metaphor, personification of nature.
Most creationists accept a limited role for natural selection, so you are claiming that they are actually Darwinists? That's news to both the Darwinists and the creationists. I highly suspect that neither would agree with that evaluation. When hair color of animals changes over time to match the environment they live in, that would not be natural selection? When finch beaks change in length back and forth based on the climate, that is not natural selection? Perhaps you need to define 'natural selection' for us if you want to make such a statement. No creationist will argue with you if you say that natural selection does not work to create new information, new organs, new genes, etc. Certainly it cannot be the engine for what some would call macroevolution, but that does not mean that it cannot select indirectly from the genes that are already available in the gene pool.
http://crev.info/2010/03/what_good_is_natural_selection_without_progress/ From the commentary: Sung to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic Now the fit will be survivors and survivors will be fit, And survivors will survive to prove the fitness of the fit, Oh, this natural selection, it’s so simple, isn’t it? ’Tis ruthless marching on.
Natural triage, and the honing of survival assets. A punchy, epigrammatic term is not possible, since natural selection itself is a woolly catch-all nonsense. Axel
cantor, You could aim for more precision and call it survival due to variation without added complexity since all the bacteria is doing is shuffling around existing functional genetic components. (using Lenski's E.Coli as an example here) I don't have a problem with the term Natural Selection itself. If a bird breaks its leg in the wild, then nature is probably going to select it for deletion. The problem is, like the word "Evolution", Natural Selection is an amorphous, equivocal catch-all term that can mean many things and basically causes confusion. If NS works with non-complexity generating processes like bacteria + antibiotics, then Evolutionists just turn around and say it is proof that NS can generate complexity as well. Also, over the years there have been probably hundreds of species population variations that are actually due to epigenetics, that have been erroneously attributed to natural selection of some individual variant in pop-sci media. In my opinion, Evolution Theory thrives on the public's general confusion about what is actually occurring biologically. lifepsy
Anyone who accepts natural selection is a Darwinist. Nature does not select. There is no natural selection, the metaphor of “natural selection” is misleading. There is no mechanism for natural selection, it is an empty metaphor
If I introduce a weak dosage of antibiotic into a culture of bacteria, and do so for a sufficient period of time, pretty soon the culture will become resistant to that antibiotic. So... if not "natural selection", what word (or phrase) would you prefer to use to describe the mechanism responsible for this experimentally observable phenomenon? cantor
Thanks for your comment. One of my complaints with creationism and intelligent design is that most of their modern day proponents accept natural selection. They try and limit the role of "natural selection" or claim it is only the origin of "mircoevolution" but this plays into the hands of the Darwinists. Anyone who accepts natural selection is a Darwinist. Nature does not select. There is no natural selection, the metaphor of "natural selection" is misleading. There is no mechanism for natural selection, it is an empty metaphor, personification of nature. I have studied "natural selection" for years, it is a contradictory term that has no empirical evidence, it does not exist. We have to go back to works in the late 1800s or early 1900s which exposed the nonsense of natural selection. Unfortunately most of these old works have been ignored by modern scientists. One of the best books which exposes the flaws of natural selection is "The Darwinian Theory of the Transmutation of Species" by Robert Mackenzie Beverley. The book was written in 1867 (you can find it free online). Robert Mackenzie Beverley on natural selection: "It is to be observed that the two grand principles of the theory are avowedly metaphors. Natural Selection is a metaphorical expression, and the Struggle for Existence is used in 'a large and metaphorical sense.' These are the two pillars of the whole theory ; Natural Selection and the Struggle for Existence represent and express everything that Mr Darwin has to urge ; take them away and nothing remains, and yet they are both metaphors. If these terms are metaphors, they are not realities, but verbal pictures or shadows, and are, therefore, vicious terms in a scientific disquisition. Neither are they only now and then, and by way of illustration, introduced, though even that would scarcely be admissible in handling the great revelation of the existence and origin of beings; but they occur in almost every page (In Origin of the Species), to the exclusion of other terms — so that from first to last we are led by a metaphor at every step, as the poor belated traveller is sometimes led by Will-o'-the-wisp into the fatal morass." As Beverley explained natural selection is verbal deception, it is a nonsense concept. More recent scientists such as Denis Noble, Eva Jablonka, Eugene Koonin, Brian Goodwin, Lynn Margulis, James Shapiro, Elisabet Sahtouris, Mae-Wan Ho, Peter Corning and Carl Woese have all criticised Neo-Darwinism in their publications but they are all still Darwinists as they have all defended natural selection. This is a great error in my opinion, to get rid of Darwinism/Neo-Darwinism then natural selection should be thrown out completely. TheisticEvolutionist
Well thanks for the advice TheisticEvolutionist, but, as I see it, if I quote close from their own ranks its all the better. Face it, atheistic neo-Darwinists don't listen to anything or anybody no matter what their philosophical views are, much less do they look in unbiased fashion at the actual scientific evidence. For instance, when the leading intellectual atheist of the last half of the last century endorsed ID, most neo-Darwinists immediately called him senile and dismissed him in that fashion. "I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite intelligence. I believe that the universe's intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine Source. Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for more than a half century? The short answer is this: this is the world picture, as I see it, that has emerged from modern science." Anthony Flew - world's leading intellectual atheist for most of his adult life until a few years shortly before his death The Case for a Creator - Lee Strobel (Nov. 25, 2012) - video http://www.saddleback.com/mc/m/ee32d/ bornagain77
Bornagain77 In my opinion it is not really worth quoting Denis Noble. Firstly he's a dogmatic Darwinist. Not a Neo-Darwinist but a Darwinist. (There's a big difference). If you read his books and his papers or website you would see this. Unfortunately Noble's criticism of Neo-Darwinism has not made a dent to any of the modern day Neo-Darwinists. They dismiss his papers straight away and paste in his religious Buddhist views. TheisticEvolutionist
OT: Jonathan M. is quoted on "The Poached Egg" today A very compelling part of a cumulative body of evidence - September 4, 2013 "The more I come to terms with the sheer engineering prowess of the cell, the more I am becoming convinced that the argument from biological design is perhaps the single most powerful argument for God's existence -- I now consider it to be stronger than even the cosmological and teleological arguments. It seems to be a rather under-used apologetic, however, particularly in Christian-atheist debates. ID as a scientific proposition, of course, doesn't necessitate God as designer. But it is certainly a very compelling part of a cumulative body of evidence for theism. Catching just a glimpse of the beauty and sophistication of the cell should be enough to render absolutely anyone without excuse." —Jonathan McLatchie http://www.thepoachedegg.net/the-poached-egg/2013/09/a-very-compelling-part-of-a-cumulative-body-of-evidence.html bornagain77
Speciation is the evolutionary process by which new biological species arise... There are four geographic modes of speciation in nature, based on the extent to which speciating populations are isolated from one another: allopatric, peripatric, parapatric, and sympatric. -Wikipedia
Oh well, no harm done. We all know Evolution is a fact. Here's a link to the paper:
Macroevolutionary speciation rates are decoupled from the evolution of intrinsic reproductive isolation in Drosophila and birds Rabosky, Matute 2013 Rates of species diversification vary widely in the natural world, leading to profound differences in species richness among different kinds of organisms. Variation in the rate at which new species arise is frequently assumed to result from factors that influence the rate at which populations become reproductively isolated from each other. We tested this assumption in Drosophila flies and birds. Surprisingly, we find no evidence that the propensity of organisms to evolve reproductive isolation predicts the rate at which they form new species over geological timescales. These results suggest that factors that cause intrinsic reproductive isolation may play less of a role in explaining biological diversity than generally assumed.
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/08/28/1305529110.abstract lifepsy
Interesting,,, “We found no evidence that these things are related. The rate at which genetic reproductive barriers arise does not predict the rate at which new species form in nature,” Rabosky said. “If these results are true more generally — which we would not yet claim but do suspect — it would imply that our understanding of species formation is extremely incomplete because we’ve spent so long studying the wrong things, due to this erroneous assumption that the main cause of species formation is the formation of barriers to reproduction." I wonder how many lives have been wasted 'studying the wrong things' in Darwinism,,, all the foundational presuppositions undergirding neo-Darwinism, in the modern synthesis, are also now shown to be false: Modern Synthesis Of Neo-Darwinism Is False – Denis Nobel – video http://www.metacafe.com/w/10395212 No matter, neo-Darwinists will just, once again, turn up the Denialism volume knob and try to shout down anyone who exposes them: The Atheist Doctor (Denial of Evidence) - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRQzQpnYhKI bornagain77

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