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Natural selection like triangular circles can't exist

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ArgumentumAdHominem
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« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2007, 17:51:41 PM »

"Natural" has a meaning dependent on the surrounding sentences and "selection" has a specific meaning and intent all on its own and that one can't combine the two words

For an example of the flaw in your word game, consider these examples:

"Aerial" has a meaning dependant on the surrounding sentences and "invasion" has a specific meaning and intent all on its own and that one can't combine the two words ...
 Huh?

Okay, so maybe "aerial invasion" is a fluke - I mean, how can aerials invade? Ummm ...

"Electric" has a meaning dependant on the surrounding sentences and "passion" has a specific meaning and intent all on its own and that one can't combine the two words ...
Huh? ... errm,  someone should inform Mills & Boon.


The point is that adjectives can be combined with nouns - even "intent-carrying" nouns (which in some cases are really verbs which are transformed into nouns: select -> selection and invade -> invasion).  This does not elevate the adjective to a proper noun, "electric passion" does not make "electric" personify all electricity or become Mother Electricity.  That is why we don't get disappointed that our electricity isn't being as passionate as the Italians' electricity.



Before you start this all over again by playing word games, take note of this (which you have conveniently ignored) ...

Remember that much earlier in the discussion I mentioned that the process in no way is related to the words used to label it?  The process of evolution is not summarised by the title that Darwin chose

I see that this argument is going to go through another cycle of repeating the same thing again and again because you chose to ignore it the first time.

*sigh*

I'm curious if you are interested in also having a dead horse to flog or is this argument sufficient for now?
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metari1
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« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2007, 19:54:01 PM »

Remember that much earlier in the discussion I mentioned that the process in no way is related to the words used to label it? 
What process are you talking about, give me examples so I can understand your intent with "process".

The process of evolution is not summarised by the title that Darwin chose

You are begging the question with "process of evolution". Evolution and its sidekick natural selection are the terms under dispute. Everything pivots on this term natural selection. You would also need to define for me the difference between "evolution" and "Theory of Evolution", since
evolution and natural selection are used interchangeably.
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metari1
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« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2007, 20:01:48 PM »


I didn't say that the common ancestor was not an ape.  I said that the common ancestor was not a Chimpanzee.


Was the common ancestor an ape then?
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ArgumentumAdHominem
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« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2007, 21:54:07 PM »

Was the common ancestor an ape then?

Yes, one of the common ancestors (the one we share with chimps and the one we have been talking about) was 100% ape.  Maybe you didn't read the earlier posts ...

Of course the common ancestor of man and chimpanzees was an ape.  At no point did anyone on this thread or the IRC thread say otherwise (except for a creationist who was putting words into someone else's mouth).  Richard said this on the same thread but he didn't say "chimp" or "monkey" once.

It has been explained to you over and over again that the common ancestor of men and other apes was an ape.

And even when I drew a picture to show you that the common ancestor between humans and chimps is an ape you seemed to ignore me ...

I have attached a homemade diagram [...]

I have included the common ancestor (our common ancestor with chimps) in the ape section on purpose.  I have also included another common ancestor, the one we share with monkeys



 Smiley Thank you for addressing this (following) point, I am happy to know that you are not just glancing-over the words on the page and actually considering my argument.

Remember that much earlier in the discussion I mentioned that the process in no way is related to the words used to label it? 
What process are you talking about, give me examples so I can understand your intent with "process".

Happy to oblige ... way back in the beginning I mentioned that the term "selection" has a specific meaning in biology which is separate form the day-to-day meaning of "selection".  Here is a definition of the process that biology labels as "selection"...

Quote from: dictionary.com
4. Biology. any natural or artificial process that results in differential reproduction among the members of a population so that the inheritable traits of only certain individuals are passed on, or are passed on in greater proportion, to succeeding generations.

and more specifically natural selection ...

Quote from: The American Heritage Science Dictionary
natural selection
The process by which organisms that are better suited to their environment than others produce more offspring. As a result of natural selection, the proportion of organisms in a species with characteristics that are adaptive to a given environment increases with each generation. Therefore, natural selection modifies the originally random variation of genetic traits in a species so that alleles that are beneficial for survival predominate, while alleles that are not beneficial decrease. Originally proposed by Charles Darwin, natural selection forms the basis of the process of evolution


You are begging the question with "process of evolution".

Okay, I will accept that point, perhaps I was a bit hasty having not formally explained why I am using "evolution", "the theory of evolution" and "natural selection" at different points in my argument.

Evolution and its sidekick natural selection are the terms under dispute. Everything pivots on this term natural selection. You would also need to define for me the difference between "evolution" and "Theory of Evolution", since evolution and natural selection are used interchangeably.

The word evolution refers to the theory of evolution.  I am using it as short-hand (as most people do) instead of typing-out the whole term again and again.  This is common practice. Very seldom do you hear people refer to gravity as "the theory of gravitation" or people referring to planetary orbits as "the theory of planetary motion".

So "evolution" = "the theory of evolution" and can be interchanged.

"Natural selection", on the other hand, does not describe the entire process of evolution.  Evolution comprises three main processes; natural selection, genetic drift and gene flow.  The process of natural selection was the entirety of Darwin's theory of evolution because in those days there was no knowledge of DNA.

Natural selection is by no means a "sidekick" of evolution, it is part and parcel of the theory of evolution.

Evolution and its sidekick natural selection are the terms under dispute.

If, as you state, "evolution" and "natural selection" are the terms under dispute then why are you objecting to me using both?  At no point has the meaning of "evolution" been incorrectly used when "natural selection" should have been used.
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Mefiante
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« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2007, 10:40:38 AM »

By your line of reasoning, metari1, and by a similar token, a recent term much beloved by creationists of the intelligent design school (!) should be disallowed for being something of a tautology.  The term in question is "irreducible complexity."

Ignoring the grave difficulties of providing a proper functional definition of the term, consider as follows: For something to qualify as having "complexity," there is a threshold, perhaps in the form of a grey area, that needs to be crossed between the "complex" and its antithesis.  In other words, if one was in some way to reduce sufficiently the amount (or quality) of "complexity" that inheres in a thing that is already close to this threshold, it could no longer rightfully be said to be "complex."  Thus, "complexity" already carries with it an idea of "irreducibility."  Yet, when faced with this term, everyone has at least some intuitive grasp of what sense "irreducible complexity" aims to impart.

But never mind that.  Suppose just for argument's sake that you do manage to convince the entire biological sciences fraternity of the error of their semantic ways.  You convince them to repent and revise their terminology.  They now say "natural filtering" – you will, I hope, not insist that the word "filtering" necessarily entails conscious intent or agency – instead of the offending "natural selection."  What have you actually achieved, and what's next on your agenda regarding the biological sciences?

The reason I ask the above is that, taken on its own, it strikes me as a most trivial axe you're wanting to grind over mere specialist jargon, and I suspect there's more to it that you're not (yet) saying.

'Luthon64
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metari1
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« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2007, 13:07:40 PM »

Was the common ancestor an ape then?

Yes, one of the common ancestors (the one we share with chimps and the one we have been talking about) was 100% ape.  Maybe you didn't read the earlier posts ...

This brings up the whole intent issue again. When we refer to a blue velvet monkey and a chimp as an "ape", signal receiver decodes the intent of signal sender. My intent with chimpanzee was in the "apish" sense. I have a Youtube video of Carl Sagan saying that we didn't evolve from a chimpanzee but a "common ancestor". Now the trouble with this is that most people would interpret "chimpanzee"; Sagan's intent as stating that we didn't evolve from something "apish". In fact this is the intent that Shaum's Outline series in Biology clearly communicates. Wether we call this "apish" thing now a monkey, chimp or bonobo the intent from Schaum was clear. I have difficulty understanding your original intent with saying we didn't transform from a chimpanzee, you misunderstood my intent. So lets try and settle this issue because there is tremendous confusion surrounding this. If I understand you correctly you are saying we "morphed" or use Darwin's word "transmutation" or transformed from an ape into a human. You see I need to visualize this process and you must help to understand what exactly are we trying to say when we say we evolved from a common ancestor. And it the confusion is so severe concerning this that the evolutionists debated the issue for three months in that thread I posted on talk.origins.

You also say that we humans are apes, but the South-African legal system will send you to jail for calling sections of our population baboons - clearly the judges don't view humans as apes. And thus you would need to motivate why the laws on Crimen Injuria in South Africa are wrong in this regard. For example you will be held in contempt of court for calling a judge a "baboon" in all legal systems anywhere in the world. Are you saying that every judge in the world is confused and you are not confused on this issue?
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« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2007, 14:38:38 PM »

A couple of points that will perhaps assist in clarifying the issue:
  • Individual creatures do not evolve.  That is, an individual creature won't spontaneously "morph" or acquire some new characteristic, like wings.  Generally, it is the fairly gradual accentuation or development of a useful incipient feature over many generations, aided by natural selection (that dirty term again!), that results in the full-blown characteristic.
  • "Chimpanzee" belongs to the set of "Apes."  Ditto "Gorilla."  But that does not mean "Chimpanzee = Gorilla."  Similarly, it is an error of conflation to say that, because the ancestor of both humans and apes was itself an ape, therefore humans are apes.  They are different species.  It would be equally misleading to say that, because modern lizards and birds evolved from dinosaurs, therefore birds are reptiles.

By the way, it's a "blue vervet monkey."

'Luthon64
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ArgumentumAdHominem
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« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2007, 16:07:11 PM »

This brings up the whole intent issue again. When we refer to a blue velvet monkey and a chimp as an "ape"

I must stop you there again; monkeys are not apes.  If you want to discuss biological concepts then you must use the biological lexicon accurately.

My intent with chimpanzee was in the "apish" sense. I have a Youtube video of Carl Sagan saying that we didn't evolve from a chimpanzee but a "common ancestor". Now the trouble with this is that most people would interpret "chimpanzee"; Sagan's intent as stating that we didn't evolve from something "apish".

Your intent was to say chimpanzee = ape.  Carl Sagan's intent is to say that humans did not descend from chimpanzees (he literally intended "chimpanzees").  That is it, no implications and no confusion. Your receiving of this and (incorrectly) assuming that chimpanzee = ape has lead to your confusion.  Sagan's intent is clear to everyone who understands biological species classification.

I have difficulty understanding your original intent with saying we didn't transform from a chimpanzee, you misunderstood my intent. So lets try and settle this issue because there is tremendous confusion surrounding this. If I understand you correctly you are saying we "morphed" or use Darwin's word "transmutation" or transformed from an ape into a human.

As Anacoluthon64 pointed-out, there was no morphing.  But you are close to it when you say transmutated or transformed (caveat: over deep time). 

You see I need to visualize this process and you must help to understand what exactly are we trying to say when we say we evolved from a common ancestor.

The tale of two species (I have given-up on pictures, so it's story time)
Well, there are many ape species, but I'll limit it to only two for simplicity.

There was one actual ape (the DNA tells us) that was the common ape ancestor but she was not all alone in the world, she had parents and family and a social group. She also wasn't the only one breeding.  However, through random events and the pressures placed on her offspring and the offspring of her fellows, it turned-out that there were fewer of the great-great-great-great-grandchildren of her fellows while hers were special in a way that they could succeed (pretty appearance perhaps, attracting mates is a big part of being successful). There were more of her great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren around than of other kinds.  These are only 7 generations later so they all still look very much the same. But because there are so many of them, some must move out of the forest for food (more environmental pressures) and the ones who are out of the forest (for longer and longer periods) must deal with a whole new kind of pressure, the carnivores on the plains. 

Species 1
The ones in the forest did get better and better at climbing trees. Through genetic mutation the odd random offspring is born with fewer teeth or shorter left legs or malformed hands (all of these examples turn-out to be worse for the poor individual, not better).  Then one is born with (almost imperceptibly~) longer toes and they can "grab" better to climb faster or higher.  "Short toes" are still around and they still breed with "long toes". There is no instant "choice" to say all "short toes" die immediately and all "long toes" live.  Over time, because "long toes" have easier access to food and an easier way to get away from predators that is how it turns out and toes get longer (not by choice but by breeding because there are fewer with the "short(er) toes" genes).  All adaptations develop in parallel together so that in the end the chimp we get to has huge ears (to hear predators and to receive communication) and less hair on the face (for sending communication – social survival is also a pressure) and harder nails and so on and so on.

Species 2
Did the apes who moved onto the plains stop and think “how can we be better adapted to survive lions”? No.  The random attacks of lions and the ability of some to run for longer distances on two legs (to see over the grass that there is no ambush ahead) meant that some new attributes were being carried onward, but because it is random and undirected – some survive who do not have better adaptations.  Over time (many generations) random attacks will remove all but the specially adapted (that's what "adapted" means – better suited).

clearly the judges don't view humans as apes. And thus you would need to motivate why the laws on Crimen Injuria in South Africa are wrong in this regard. For example you will be held in contempt of court for calling a judge a "baboon" in all legal systems anywhere in the world. Are you saying that every judge in the world is confused and you are not confused on this issue?

I am not saying that judges are confused. The law does not claim that humans are not apes.

This goes back to intent.  Your intent in calling a judge a "baboon" would be derogatory, defamatory, whatever.  Your intent is not to say; "Hey, Your Worship, did you know that we have a common ancestry with baboons?" No, your intent in this situation is to say "Hey buddy, your are an oaf, a simpleton, a cretin".  You are thrown in jail for this intent.

Continued in part 2 ...
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ArgumentumAdHominem
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« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2007, 16:08:19 PM »

... continuation from part 1

the South-African legal system will send you to jail for calling sections of our population baboons

As well they should do for such an undirected, obviously racist generalisation.  I can understand the intent of calling an individual a baboon, but why an entire section of the population?

But they won't actually throw someone in jail for this.  Our country has an amazing consitiution which protects free speech as long as you are not harming anyone.  They will find it very tough to find specific individuals who are harmed by undirected racist rantings.  When it becomes personal to an individual or a small targeted group, then it is Crimen Injuria.
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metari1
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« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2007, 21:49:24 PM »

This brings up the whole intent issue again. When we refer to a blue velvet monkey and a chimp as an "ape"

I must stop you there again; monkeys are not apes.  If you want to discuss biological concepts then you must use the biological lexicon accurately.

This ape species we evolved from wouldn't be still with us right? Or this original ape species we evolved from is not presently with us.
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ArgumentumAdHominem
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« Reply #25 on: October 17, 2007, 09:58:57 AM »

This ape species we evolved from wouldn't be still with us right? Or this original ape species we evolved from is not presently with us.

That is correct.

My whole objection to you using the term "cimpanzee" or "baboon" is that they are here now, the common ancestor (as you correctly stated) is not still alive.


I can see this is nowhere near the end of what you are trying to say.  But unfortunately I must leave the discussion for the next couple of days, I have  taken leave to study for an upcoming exam and my time spent on writing replies is taking away valuable study time.  Please don't think that I am not replying because I don't know what to say next (argument from silence).

I'll be back on Friday but in the meantime I am sure that there are many other people itching to continue the debate and answer your questions.
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metari1
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« Reply #26 on: October 17, 2007, 10:37:07 AM »

This ape species we evolved from wouldn't be still with us right? Or this original ape species we evolved from is not presently with us.


That is correct.

My whole objection to you using the term "cimpanzee" or "baboon" is that they are here now, the common ancestor (as you correctly stated) is not still alive.


But from this site http://www.toptenmyths.com/playboy.pdf
"...But  evolution  has never  claimed  that humans  come from  monkeys or apes: It's not possible, since they're still here with us..."  Prof. Cameron Smith from Portland State University contradicts your view: Who do you want me to believe? And notice that he refers to monkeys as being apes, a point you would dispute.
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« Reply #27 on: October 17, 2007, 12:49:24 PM »

Semantics can be tricky it seems Wink
Many people confuse monkeys and apes, and would use the terms interchangeably. Don't let the semantics get in the way of your understanding of the subject.
Let my try to clarify:

See Wikipedia: Simian
Simians are a group of primates which can be split into three groups: New world monkeys, Old world monkeys and Hominidae (Apes)
These animals are still with us today. Humans fall into the Hominidae group. If you go back in time long enough, all these animals have common ancestors. Some we know about (through fossil remains) and other we can only speculate about. If we go back long enough, there would be a common ancestor which is neither a monkey or an ape. But it would have characteristics that you will also find in apes and monkeys. That is why people say we are not descended from apes or monkeys, although our common ancestors were very apelike (or monkeylike if you prefer Wink).

See Human evolution for some of these ancestors.
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metari1
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« Reply #28 on: October 17, 2007, 16:21:24 PM »

That is why people say we are not descended from apes or monkeys, although our common ancestors were very apelike (or monkeylike if you prefer

In other words the common ancestor wasn't an ape it only looked like one ?
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« Reply #29 on: October 17, 2007, 16:40:34 PM »

Yes, our recent common ancestors. But it will probably depend on how you define an ape. It certainly shared a lot of characteristics that modern apes/monkeys/humans do now as well. But if you go back even further in time, you will find ancestors that share less and less of our modern characteristics. We share common ancestors with bats too as the article on human evolution mentions, which certainly did not look like an ape.
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