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Natural selection like triangular circles can't exist

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scienceteacheragain
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« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2007, 16:13:49 PM »

I doubt anyone is still on this thread anymore, but I would also like to point out that you should not get bogged down in how things are classified. I mean, you have to learn it if you study biology, but taxonomy is a beast that has changed over time, and at the end of the day is just our lingual device to organize things into categories.
It is easy to see, even for a lay person, that we have more in common with a chimp or even a baboon than, say, a dolphin.  There are many errors in language even by biologists when talking or writing about these things.  Problems from this occur when lay people are confused, or worse when certain groups use the innocent errors to further their agendas.
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ArgumentumAdHominem
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« Reply #31 on: November 06, 2007, 19:48:17 PM »

Thanks scienceteacher.  I was getting all militant about the use of the biological classification "ape". As you pointed-out, it is clearly meaningless to argue such a position, and you're right.

There are some interesting bugs in the world and I'm definitely no entomologist but I often point-out some weird ones to friends.  A strange "thing" (not literally this foreign example, more like this) would land on a lettuce leaf at a braai and I'd say it's a "fly".  Someone else would say "No ways, that too weird to be a fly, it's a wasp."  But I'm determined in my classification, I can be proven right by consulting an encyclopedia, but that doesn't change the thing on the lettuce leaf at all.  It still thinks it's a "me", not a "wasp" or a "fly" - the words we as observers are using are really not important.

This classification really falls apart when one species has branched over time to a new species.  When does it cease being classified (at a high level) as a fish and suddenly become classified as an amphibian (like the Tiktaalik which is amphibious in nature but not classification - they say it's a "fishapod" - Inventing a new classification doesn't make it clearer).  There are also moths which are butterflies and butterflies which are moths.

When is it no longer a "wolf" and is now a "dog" (although still classified as canines in a high-level classification, the lower-level classification is blurry)?

This last example was discussed in the Kent Hovind vs. Michael Shermer debate where Hovind is emphatic that "dogs come from dogs" which Shermer obviously can't challenge because it is a word game.  It will lead to a discussion much like the one above where Hovind would point to a picture of dogs and ask "which of these dogs is not a dog?"  Any answer is a victory because pointing at a dog defines it as a dog while refusing to answer the challenge is interpreted as "see, he agrees with me".

But there is a need for classification, and that is all I have been trying to do all along.  Using the word "ape" as a complete description of a thing is invalid.  You can't point to a creature and say "that is an ape and nothing else" because no such thing exists.  Chimps are apes but they have more to them which makes them chimps.  So all this time I've been trying to say that there is no one instance of a classification which is the classification itself. 

To explore this in an analogy; consider that the newspapers tell us that Joburg has 300 000 new cars on the road every year.  You can go to Investment Cars and say "I'd like to buy a car".  The salesman will smile and say "How about this Porsche Carerra?" to which you can reply; "But that isn't a car, it's a sportscar".  Perplexed the salesman might try a Hummer to which you can say "That's not a car it's a 4x4".  He may go on to suggest a Mercedes C-Class which you can say is a sedan, not a car.  You can then appear irritated and say "The newspaper tells me that there are 300 000 new cars on the road this year and the name of your company is Investment Cars and yet you can't sell me a car.  If they can be counted they exist and yet they don't seem to exist because you can't sell me one.  A car has wheels and carries its own propultion system and fuel source.  These things you have shown me have so much more like suspension and seats and rubber tyres and petrol tanks and air conditioning."

Now try this with Investment Apes which stocks chimps, bonoboes, orangutans, gorillas, humans and a rare example of the common ancestor but it can't sell you an ape, a real true genuine ape which has no other properties.

The distinction that I've trying to make all along is that there is no car out there but there are cars everywhere.  There is no ape and yet there are apes everywhere.  So when metari1 was seeing the word "ape" he was expecting a thing when in fact when we use the word "ape" we are describing a blueprint of things, not one particular thing.

Oh dear, look at that, I've gone all militant again about language again.
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metari1
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« Reply #32 on: November 24, 2007, 19:38:36 PM »

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.

Please quote me the formal Theory of Evolution. For example we all know that the pull between two objects are inversely proportional to their distances squared is a crisp clear theory as established by Newton. Likewise I would like to have the crisp clear formal
Theory of Evolution and perhaps where exactly in Origin of Species this theory was defined or established.
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bluegray
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« Reply #33 on: November 24, 2007, 20:21:39 PM »

I'm sure someone would post a clear definition for you if you insist, however, I do not think it necessary. It is well documented elsewhere on the web (see links below, or google for more).

The example you mentioned describes the interaction between two very simple objects under certain conditions. That physical law is part of classic mechanics which is not adequate when those conditions aren't met. Since Newton, the theory of gravity has been revised and replaced numerous times. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_gravitational_theory

Likewise, the theory of evolution has also changed a lot since Origin of Species was published.
There is a summary of Darwin's theory on the wikipedia page for On the Origin of Species

Also the following wikipedia pages might prove useful:
Evolution
Evolution as theory and fact
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metari1
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« Reply #34 on: November 24, 2007, 20:31:13 PM »

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


The point that the evolutionists made on talk.origins was that whatever word you want to use for this common ancestor ape, baboon, monkey or simian, the word is just the vernacular and thus wether monkey, ape or chimp the intent is clear. What really happened with "common ancestor" is that Bishop Wilberforce made great fun of the monkey man transition and thus "common ancestor" was invented to obscure this. CA also begs the question. We are simply told that all creatures diverged from a first CA and then because there was divergence we diverged from a CA. Well obviously we would have had to diverge from a CA how else could there then be different species, but this is just begging the question. Has anybody actually discovered the first living cell's fossil remains? Of course not, it would not have been possible to fossilize it so how do you even know there was a first common ancestor?

"...This thread http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/browse_frm/thread/3b7d9b411887c7b5/ec81c846c43a2ae7#ec81c846c43a2ae7  the consensus agreement amongst evolutionists themselves after debating it for three months on talk.origins was  that the common ancestor is just weasel words to confuse the issues. The evolutionists themselves now agree that the it was in fact a flee scratching ape because the common ancestor would have looked like an ape to an observer back then...."

And thus my usage of "flee scratching ape" is the vernacular usage, I could have used monkey as well or anything we could identify as 'apeish'. And from the talk.origins thread many evolutionists agree with me that wether we call this "common ancestor" a monkey or ape or chimpanzee it was all just a huge intellectual scam to confuse the issues and obscure that the intent with CA was really
just to deceive the public and brilliantly make them believe they "evolved" without realizing that what this really means is something which hanged by its tail and played with its dick in public turned into a human.

The evolutionists themselves now agree that the CA was in fact a flee scratching ape because the common ancestor would have looked like an ape/monkey to an observer back then. Thus monkey, bonobo or chimp or whatever vernacular you might choose to use for something apeish - anything that will make you happy.
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bluegray
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« Reply #35 on: November 24, 2007, 20:49:00 PM »

"...This thread http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/browse_frm/thread/3b7d9b411887c7b5/ec81c846c43a2ae7#ec81c846c43a2ae7  the consensus agreement amongst evolutionists themselves after debating it for three months on talk.origins was  that the common ancestor is just weasel words to confuse the issues. The evolutionists themselves now agree that the it was in fact a flee scratching ape because the common ancestor would have looked like an ape to an observer back then...."

I'll refer you back to my post here.
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metari1
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« Reply #36 on: November 24, 2007, 20:50:09 PM »

I'm sure someone would post a clear definition for you if you insist, however, I do not think it necessary. It is well documented elsewhere on the web (see links below, or google for more).
Evolution


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution links to the same page as Organic evolution on Wikipedia. Now if you actually read the Wikipedia page on evolution they don't quote one the actual theory by Darwin yet they are talking about Charles Darwin's theory, instead they tell a person to go and read Origin of Species. I mean so many people have read it why can nobody then tell me what was the actual theory as established by Darwin 150 years ago: Where is this theory - his theory? What exactly is the Theory of Evolution?
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bluegray
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« Reply #37 on: November 24, 2007, 20:58:10 PM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution links to the same page as Organic evolution on Wikipedia. Now if you actually read the Wikipedia page on evolution they don't quote one the actual theory by Darwin yet they are talking about Charles Darwin's theory, instead they tell a person to go and read Origin of Species. I mean so many people have read it why can nobody then tell me what was the actual theory as established by Darwin 150 years ago: Where is this theory - his theory? What exactly is the Theory of Evolution?
Follow the link I posted to the summary of his theory.
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metari1
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« Reply #38 on: November 24, 2007, 21:13:21 PM »

Follow the link I posted to the summary of his theory.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Origin_of_Species#Summary_of_his_theory
"....1) Species have great fertility. They have more offspring than can grow to adulthood...."

This is an observation which is independent of any theory as to why species are fertile. There is no Theory of Evolution on the page
you gave me to read. Show me in OoS that you can download from gutenbergpress.org where exactly is this much vaunted Theory of Evolution that explains inverted pendulum control in all birds as they pivot and balance on a branch.
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bluegray
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« Reply #39 on: November 24, 2007, 21:29:56 PM »

Quote
Species have great fertility. They have more offspring than can grow to adulthood....
This is an observation which is independent of any theory as to why species are fertile. There is no Theory of Evolution on the page
you gave me to read. Show me in OoS that you can download from gutenbergpress.org where exactly is this much vaunted Theory of Evolution that explains inverted pendulum control in all birds as they pivot and balance on a branch.
Point 10 in that summary states:
Quote
This slowly effected process results in populations that adapt to the environment over time, and ultimately, after interminable generations, these variations accumulate to form new varieties, and ultimately, new species.
There is also a reference there to darwin-online.org.uk.
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metari1
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« Reply #40 on: November 24, 2007, 21:44:56 PM »

Quote
Species have great fertility. They have more offspring than can grow to adulthood....
This is an observation which is independent of any theory as to why species are fertile. There is no Theory of Evolution on the page
you gave me to read. Show me in OoS that you can download from gutenbergpress.org where exactly is this much vaunted Theory of Evolution that explains inverted pendulum control in all birds as they pivot and balance on a branch.
Point 10 in that summary states:
Quote
This slowly effected process results in populations that adapt to the environment over time, and ultimately, after interminable generations, these variations accumulate to form new varieties, and ultimately, new species.
There is also a reference there to darwin-online.org.uk.

This still doesn't tell me what actual theory Darwin formulated - I want Darwin's theory not some unknown author's theory writing on Wikipedia. Wikipedia came 150 years after OoS, what did the people understand as the actual Theory of Evolution before Wikipedia came along or even before computers. Show me the page, quote me the passage in OoS as to what is the actual theory of Evolution.

In anycase let me ask you another question: Is evolution gradual?
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bluegray
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« Reply #41 on: November 24, 2007, 22:09:19 PM »

This still doesn't tell me what actual theory Darwin formulated - I want Darwin's theory not some unknown author's theory writing on Wikipedia. Wikipedia came 150 years after OoS, what did the people understand as the actual Theory of Evolution before Wikipedia came along or even before computers. Show me the page, quote me the passage in OoS as to what is the actual theory of Evolution.
It's all there in OoS. I doubt it's in one or two sentences like you seem to prefer. It's Saturday night and I'm not reading through the book again to make sure. That's something you should probably do yourself, if you haven't already. Which was why I directed you to the summary with a reference.

BTW, I'm just an unknown author writing in this post (and on occasion in wikipedia).

In anycase let me ask you another question: Is evolution gradual?
Yes.
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metari1
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« Reply #42 on: November 24, 2007, 22:56:35 PM »

It's all there in OoS. I doubt it's in one or two sentences like you seem to prefer.

What I prefer is irrelevant, you tell me that you have a Theory of Evolution - well what on earth is your theory then!?  Roll Eyes

That's something you should probably do yourself, if you haven't already.

I not supposed to do anything. The person who says he has a theory had better well spell out what exactly is the theory. I followed the link you gave me, what you are supposed to do is quote me the passage in OoS that gives the actual theory. The onus is on you not me.
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« Reply #43 on: November 25, 2007, 19:45:04 PM »

... what you are supposed to do is quote me the passage in OoS that gives the actual theory.


Well, that's a big ask, and you know it is.  The theory as Darwin put forward is described in the book, the entire book.  He didn't write his theory on page one and then go on to write "the wind in the willows" to fill-up the remaining pages.  I could sit and transcribe the entire book but that would be pointless.  What you are asking-for is the sound-bite version of it, the theory as put forward in say 20 or fewer words.  There are very few theories that you can actually do that with.  The example that you cited earlier is only a part of the theory of gravitation, it is nowhere near the complete theory as BluegrayV pointed-out.

Okay, so I can oblige with something of a sound bite version and with a few carefully selected pieces of "the origin".  The first (and most famous) sound-bite came from Herber Spencer, who, on reading "the origin", coined the term "Survival of the fittest". Now personally I see that as a perversion of the theory, that would imply a measure of fitness based on a goal - when in actual fact the not-quite-fitter-only-a-bit-different also survive and later on prove to be better in a completely unexpected scenario.  But I digress...

So when Spencer coined the phrase in 1864, two years after the first edition of the book, it was brought to Darwin's attention by a friend Thomas Huxley.  Darwin was drawn to the way that this phrase could be accepted by the masses and incorporated it into "the origin" in later editions.  The one online at gutenberg or Google Books is the sixth edition and chapter four has the subtitle "The survival of the fittest".

Again, I wouldn't use this sound-bite myself.  So what would I say?

In chapter four, many discussions and scenarios are laid-out for the reader to explain the theory, and from the last line on page 118 until the the end of the first paragraph on page 119 he states ... and I so hate having to leave-out so much of the rest of the book ...

Quote from: Charles Darwin: On The Origin Of Species
We shall best understand the probable course of natural selection by taking the case of a country [ecosystem] undergoing some slight physical change, for instance, of climate. [...] We may conclude, from what we have seen of the intimate and complex manner in which the inhabitants of each country are bound together that any change in the numerical proportions of the inhabitants, independantly of the change of climate itself, would seriously affect the others.  [...] we should then have places in the economy of nature which would assuredly be better filled up if some of the original inhabitants were in some manner modified [...] In such cases, slight modifications, which in any way favoured the individuals of a species, by better adaptating them to their altered conditions, would tend to be preserved; and natural selection would have free scope for the work of improvement.


Recall that I pointed-out earlier that the modern theory of evolution incorporates natural selection as a piece of the theory, and NS actually can't exist on its own.  Darwin couldn't explain where variation came from or how traits are passed from generation to generation.

Quote from: Charles Darwin: On The Origin Of Species
Several writers have misapprehended or objected to the term Natural Selection. Some have even imagined that natural selection induces variability, whereas it implies only the preservation of such variations as arise and are beneficial to the being under its conditions of life.


Some laughable explanations did come up in the past (most notably Lamarckism), but fortunately in this age of genetic science whe can provide better answers to those questions for Darwin and NS within evolution is now a better theory.

where exactly is this much vaunted Theory of Evolution that explains inverted pendulum control in all birds as they pivot and balance on a branch.


Well, the inverted pendulum control for balance is a designed system, and seeing as you have asked us to demonstrate this design in nature you are asking us to prove Intelligent Design.  I'm not going to say that I won't do that, I'll just point out that I can't do that because nature doesn't conform to designs that humans dream-up.  There are no references to bird balance in any scientific study of inverted pendulum control, these are all studies of robots balancing a pole on a "finger" or similar scenario.  It has nothing to do with birds and the neuro-muscular system of birds doesn't even come close to the wiring and computer programming that goes into these robotic demonstrations.

I also thought that you might like to read "the origin" on page 118 where the dear departed Darwin refutes your original argument from the grave.  I guess this "natural selection is a gramatical gargoyle" thing is that predictable...

Quote from: Charles Darwin: On The Origin Of Species
Others have objected that the term selection implies conscious choice in the animals which become modified; and it has even been urged that, as plants have no volition, natural selection is not applicable to them!  In the literal sense of the word, no doubt, natural selection is a false term; but who ever objected to chemists speaking of the elective affinities of the various elements? --and yet an acid cannot strictly be said to elect the base with which it in preference combines. It has been said that I speak of natural selection as an active power or Deity; but who objects to an author speaking of the attraction of gravity as ruling the movements of the planets? Everyone knows what is meant and is implied by such metaphorical expressions; and they are almost necessary for brevity.
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metari1
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« Reply #44 on: November 25, 2007, 19:46:46 PM »

Lets move the debate on and I will tell you why you won't find an actual ToE on Wikipedia: Because there is no theory. Serious if
type in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_evolution  you get redirected to Evolution. And on the Evolution page they tell you to go and read OoS to get the actual ToE... Roll Eyes

When we say "Society evolves" we are not talking about the notion of a monkey turning into a human (or common ancestor or whatever you want to call the ape). Thus the intent with "evolution" depends on the context in which a person uses it. The Theory of Evolution is not the same thing as "evolution", a theory is specific formulation that attempts to provide at the very least a well reasoned description of what we observe. Darwin couldn't even define the problem, how could he therefore have formulated a theory?

Darwin uses Theory of evolution only once and Theory of Gradual Evolution once.

Theory of gradual evolution
This difficulty, as in the case of unconscious selection by man, is avoided on the theory of gradual evolution, through the preservation of a large number of individuals, which varied more or less in any favourable direction, and of the destruction of a large number which varied in an opposite manner. That many species have been evolved in an extremely gradual manner, there can hardly be a doubt.

And this quote is an obvious tautology and if you beg to differ then formulate it so that it is a tautology - it isn't a theory.
Just because somebody uses the word "theory" doesn't mean he has provided a well reasoned description.

Theory of evolution
If numerous species, belonging to the same genera or families, have really started into life at once, the fact would be fatal to the theory of evolution through natural selection. For the development by this means of a group of forms, all of which are descended from some one progenitor, must have been an extremely slow process; and the progenitors must have lived long before their modified descendants. But we continually overrate the perfection of the geological record, and falsely infer, because certain genera or families have not been found beneath a certain stage, that they did not exist before that stage.

And the above quote is obviously not a theory that explains inverted pendulum control in birds.


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