Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Dinosaur, Feb 1, 2017.
Sorry bout that
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I guess that some of them would interpret fossils as remains of organisms left in the sediments left by the Biblical flood.
Others point to sudden appearance of new species and the absence of missing links as evidence that something other than conventional Darwinian natural selection is at work.
I think that the phrase "against the theory of evolution" needs to be unpacked a bit.
There's a whole range of religious alternatives, such as 'young earth' Biblical literalism or theistic evolutionism.
And there are professional biologists who question various aspects of existing evolutionary theory, hoping to modify it so as to address various issues. An interesting paper surveying various alternative ideas that have been proposed since the 19th century is here:
Nature presents opposing views on whether or not evolutionary theory needs a re-think here:
For which there is no evidence and do not fit in any way shape or form available evidence
Both of which are NOT anti evolution but papers which offer some views of different causes of aspects of evolution (more nuts and bolts to support evolution)
Anti evolution, I contend, would carry statements like
' evolution is impossible because....... ' and go on with evidence of why's and wherefores of its impossibility
' it happened like this....' and go on with evidence of a mechanism involved which did not include evolution
The one that I feel is the most crazy is ' god made all creatures exactly as they are now '
Interesting articles. It seems to me that while it is true that there is argument about the degree to which processes other than the classical mechanism (variation of inherited traits and natural selection over generations) play a role, nobody is actually attacking evolution per se. Everyone thinks that organisms are related to each other and that populations of them change over time in response to their environments, eventually creating new species. Or at least, I didn't see anybody arguing against that in these articles.
To my mind, what is meant by an "anti-evolution" theory has to be something that does not describe its mechanisms as evolutionary.
I agree with you.
In my earlier post I was just trying to suggest that criticism of evolutionary theory can take many forms, such as objections to Darwinian-style natural selection, alternative suggestions to what is inherited (such as Lamarckianism or today's epigenetics), various teleological objections, saltationism (which seems to have made a comeback in Gould's 'punctuated equilibrium') and many others.
Since the 18th century or so, change over time has historically been more widely accepted (among biologists at least) than the explanation of what is changing and what drives the changes. Even today there's evo-devo which, while not contradicting Darwin, complicates it (and in my opinion helps explain the fact of rapid sudden morphological changes in the fossil record). And there have been big changes and controversies in phylogeny and taxonomy, such as the rise of cladistics (which conceals several rival methodologies). I'm personally interested in horizontal gene transfer in bacteria, which threatens to make the whole project of hypothesizing their evolutionary relationships more difficult. (Bacteria may not evolve in quite the same way as other organisms, since their genetics may not just be derived from their ancestry.)
So, while evolutionary theory superficially seems like a single line of continuous scientific advance, seen more closely it reveals a lot of continuing internal turbulence. That's what I find interesting. I suspect that all sciences will reveal a similar appearance when examined closely.
As to what theoretical alternatives exist that deny change over time entirely, I haven't really followed that. The only one I know about are religious creationism in various forms.
Yes I think they would be. In fact I originally decided not to get involved in this thread as I suspected an element of coat-trailing in the title. But it has become, perhaps against the odds, a reasonable discussion. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
Certainly the science of evolutionary biology is a very live field. New things seem to be coming to light all the time, in many cases illuminated by the analysis of complex molecules such as DNA that has only recently become possible. What I find salutary and rather fascinating is that even some features of Lamarckism, long ridiculed and with a reputation even further degraded by Lysenko, turn out to have something to them, thanks to discoveries in epigenetics.
I am reminded of the appearance of Plate Tectonics in the 1960s: suddenly, the long-sidelined idea of continental drift was given new life by new discoveries.......
You are the "missing link" between your parents and your offspring. Creationists will never be happy until the impossible (every generation is found in fossil form) is accomplished. As it stands, each find of a missing link is interpreted by creationists are just creating two new missing links.
Neither of your citations rise above what is rather obvious, "look at me ... I'm at least as smart as Charlie, maybe smarter" hubris.
Can you explain why you say that? It does not seem obvious to me. I thought both articles were quite thoughtful. Where is the "hubris"?
The hubris, in both cases, lies in the scientific equivalent (IMHO) of bringing a knife to a gun fight. In most all of the cases cited it appears to me that someone is trying to gin up an argument with Darwinism based on a combination of willful misunderstanding, semantic argument and downright shear contentiousness. The reality is that Natural Selection is medicated by a heritable agent, most often the genotype at the interface of the positive and negative pressures in different regions of the n-dimensional hyper-volume that models the niche and the phenotype.
Sure, there maybe cytoplasmic inheritance and even extracellular inheritance, but neither get a free pass for the issue of their effect on overall fitness. It is sort of like insisting that a cellphone is not a telephone because the first jump is made through the air as RF rather than through a wire as a flow of electrons.
Well yes I see what you mean, but I think nevertheless such articles are useful to show the degree to which we are still uncovering the complexity of the various mechanisms by which evolution takes place. But I'd prefer to explain it without reference to "n-dimensional hypervolumes" and (metaphorical) +ve and -ve pressures - that seems to be unnecessary tech-speak.
And you would be correct
The question was
Are there other explanations by those who are against the theory of evolution?
and I provided the said explanation
I guess I was poking the bear but the bear did not take the bait or stick and poke back
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So what were you doing?
What "gun fight"?
In the O.P., Dinosaur asked this question: "Are there other explanations by those who are against the theory of evolution"? I pointed out that the phrase 'against the theory of evolution' needs further exploration and definition. I highlighted the distinction between 'evolution' as change over time which was already widely (but not universally) accepted by biologists in Darwin's time, and the manner of that change and the mechanisms proposed to account for it.
The point of the first paper was that Darwin's account of evolutionary change didn't gain universal scientific acceptance overnight. There were other contending scientific ideas for the better part of a century after Darwin published the Origin in 1859, ideas promoted by some of the biggest names in biological science and often promoted for very good reasons. If you look at the late 19th century biological literature, you will see that this was one of the most active areas of discussion. Some of those alternative ideas are still alive today in evolved forms.
Keep in mind that "Darwinism" today (biologists don't typically use that word) doesn't follow Darwin line-for-line. For one thing, Darwin didn't know anything about genetics. Those ideas had to subsequently be grafted on.
Darwin wouldn't have recognized the 'genotype'/'phenotype' distinction. Those ideas emerged in 1911, after his time. I'm sure that he would have been fascinated to learn about them and would have wanted to think about how they impacted his theories. The whole idea of DNA and genomes and gene-sequencing would have amazed and impressed him.
The second paper consists of pros and cons between those who think that the standard text-book picture of today needs urgent change and those who think that it's basically fine as it is. I admit that I'm personally inclined much more towards the latter position. Though, as I wrote up above, I am interested in lateral gene transfer and what that means for our understanding of the evolution of the prokaryotes. (Bacteria and archaea were life on Earth for more than half of life's history.) I'm still unsure what my conclusions will be on that.
My reason for including that paper was to illustrate how alternatives to the text-book picture still arise today and aren't just 19th century historical curiosities. My own view is that all of this (DNA, genes, genomes, extragenetic inheritance, lateral gene transfer, punctuated-equilibrium, the phylogenetic and cladistic stuff and no end of other developments) can all be successfully grafted on to Darwin's natural selection tree, without changing it in any deep and essential way. (That's a testament to Darwin's brilliance, perhaps.)
I was trying to provide an educational answer to Dinosaur's question, Homo. I think that I answered it reasonably well and provided some links to additional material that if read, might help board participants become more sophisticated on the subject.
It probably could have been done better. My words obviously aren't the last word on the subject. If you think that you can do better than I did, go back to Dinosaur's O.P. and take your own shot at answering it.
Scientists will probably never figure out how life on earth began.
What I mean is it could take forever to figure out certain things.
Lets fact it. Humans are just not smart enough to figure everything out.
Eh, people used to say that about figuring out how heredity worked, how evolution worked and how electricity worked. They said that humans would never go faster than 30mph, that they would never fly, never get to space and never get to the moon. This quote came from the editor of the New York Times, discussing how Robert Goddard was a fool to think that rockets could even work in outer space:
"That Professor Goddard, with his 'chair' in Clark College and the countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution, does not know the relation of action to reaction, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react -- to say that would be absurd. Of course he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools." The editor claimed that Goddard sought to "deny a fundamental law of dynamics, and only Dr. Einstein and his chosen dozen, so few and fit, are licensed to do that."
Good thing Goddard ignored him - and we as a society have learned to ignore people who continue to say such things.
Whenever I see statements like that, I think of Clarke's three laws.
Darwin's theory is just not quite right .
Duration is a malleable thing . Sometimes quick , sometimes slow .
True. It has been refined since then. But how do you mean?
Duration of what? Does Darwinian evolution put a constraint on it?
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