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Author Topic:   Evolution and Increased Diversity
Woodsy
Member (Idle past 1231 days)
Posts: 301
From: Burlington, Canada
Joined: 08-30-2006


Message 136 of 140 (449506)
01-18-2008 6:44 AM
Reply to: Message 134 by Elmer
01-17-2008 8:03 PM


What, actually, is natural selection?
Charles Darwin defined the phrase "Natural Selection" as quoted below:

quote:
But if variations useful to any organic being do occur, assuredly individuals thus characterised will have the best chance of being preserved in the struggle for life; and from the strong principle of inheritance they will tend to produce offspring similarly characterised. This principle of preservation, I have called, for the sake of brevity, Natural Selection.

I do not see any problem with this. I do see a problem with your notions regarding natural selection. You seem to be in the grip of the insidious fallacy of reification (is anyone tired of my bringing this up yet?). That is, treating as a thing something that is not one. Natural selection need not be anything physical, an object or force, to be a useful idea. Like life and fire, natural selection is a process, not a thing.

So, in the example being discussed, if environmental conditions change, the beetles will find different variations useful and those beetles that carry those variations will have a better chance of surviving than other ones that do not. The shorthand way to express this is to say that different populations of beetle will be selected.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 134 by Elmer, posted 01-17-2008 8:03 PM Elmer has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 137 by Quetzal, posted 01-18-2008 8:37 AM Woodsy has not yet responded

  
Quetzal
Member (Idle past 3730 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 137 of 140 (449517)
01-18-2008 8:37 AM
Reply to: Message 136 by Woodsy
01-18-2008 6:44 AM


Re: What, actually, is natural selection?
So, in the example being discussed, if environmental conditions change, the beetles will find different variations useful and those beetles that carry those variations will have a better chance of surviving than other ones that do not. The shorthand way to express this is to say that different populations of beetle will be selected.

Exactly. This is the explanation that fits the observation perfectly: a fairly straight-forward application of the concept of natural selection as accepted by biologists, ecologists, and others of that ilk, including me. Because of the sensitivity to environmental change of the organisms in question, subtle differences in conditions at different microsites along an ecological gradient either select for or select against (depending on how you want to look at it) different species of this subfamily, thus changing the guild composition at each location. I'm not sure how fine-grained the studies have been, but certainly in general terms this is the case - hence their utility for biodiversity studies.

And therein lies the rub: Elmer has, in multiple threads, completely discounted the concept of natural selection. He terms it vacuous, empty, circular, and many other epithets. Although he has yet to provide any substance supporting those assertions beyond rhetoric and constant repetition, all the conversations thus far have degenerated into little more than "is too", "is not" infantile posturing. So my goal with my example was to present a quite replicable (and replicated) observation, and then ask him to provide an explanation or mechanism that explains the observation that is better than natural selection. IOW, if natural selection is meaningless scientifically, then there must be another explanation for the observation. As you can see from the discussion up to this point, Elmer is doing his absolute best to avoid providing that. It surely must give any reader cause to believe there is no such explanation.

I plan on giving it one more go-around, then bagging the conversation with the conclusion that there is nothing of substance on the other side.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 136 by Woodsy, posted 01-18-2008 6:44 AM Woodsy has not yet responded

  
Admin
Director
Posts: 12556
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002


Message 138 of 140 (449524)
01-18-2008 9:11 AM
Reply to: Message 134 by Elmer
01-17-2008 8:03 PM


Let's move the discussion forward
Elmer writes:

After we've disposed of your "mechanism", NS, [that is,either you make science out of it, or you discard it as a load of pretentious bafflegab, or you quit in frustration]then maybe I'll tell you my mechanism. Hint-- lamarckism was its scientific ancestor, and its philosophical roots go all the way back to Heraklitus. And that is all I'm going to say until you deal satisfactorily [as far as I'm concerned] with "NS". That is, when you demonstrate reasonably that natural selection is more than an inane 'catch-phrase'--the 'scientific' equivalent of a bumper-sticker.

Please let the moderators handle moderation issues while you devote your energies to engaging the topic. If you feel the Forum Guidelines are being in some way violated please post to the General Discussion Of Moderation Procedures 14.0 thread.

While you declare that you've "disposed of your 'mechanism', NS", it appears to this moderator that this thread is still in mid-discussion. Requests that you introduce your counterproposal seem reasonable.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

This message is a reply to:
 Message 134 by Elmer, posted 01-17-2008 8:03 PM Elmer has not yet responded

    
Quetzal
Member (Idle past 3730 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 139 of 140 (451930)
01-29-2008 9:41 AM


Bump for Elmer
Since he's posted to another thread in the last day or so, and this thread has dropped to the fourth page.
  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19544
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 140 of 140 (515730)
07-20-2009 7:50 PM


Bump for interrelation
interrelation in Message 1 of Is natural selection enough to explain asks

Is natural selection enough to explain ...
... the complexities and diversities of life on earth?

Natural selection alone, no. Evolution in general, yes.

See Message 1 for more detail.

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : esig


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
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