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Author Topic:   John A. (Salty) Davison - The Case For Instant Evolution
Minnemooseus
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From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 4.3


Message 1 of 226 (34635)
03-18-2003 2:04 PM


The following quoted is something Salty put up a link to, at Terry's Talk Origins forum. It is apparently a condensed version of his "An Evolutionary Manifesto: A New Hypothesis For Organic Change".

It appears to me, that Salty has some common ground with Peter Borger.

Salty has recently registered here at , so he is available to make replies to this and other topics.

In the admin mode (Adminnemooseus), I think I might be giving this topic a little special attention, and in that context I strongly encourage everyone to be of good behaviour.

quote:
THE CASE FOR INSTANT EVOLUTION
By
John A. Davison
Professor Emeritus of Biology
University of Vermont
Mailing address, 68 White Cap Road, Colchester, VT 05446
email jdavison@zoo.uvm.edu
Telephone (802) 863-2995

Introduction

While it is true that evolutionary changes went on for millions of years, it does not follow that those transformations occurred gradually. Evolution involves genetic change. One might ask – is there such a thing as a gradual genetic change? All genetic alterations take place with time constants on the order of seconds, whether they are point mutations, deletions, duplications, or chromosomal inversions, fusions or translocations. The very notion of a gradual genetic change is meaningless. Yet that is precisely the position which the Darwinians have taken. I know of not a single instance, fossil or recent, demonstrating the gradual transformation of one diploid species to another. All experimental attempts to produce such transformations have failed (Davison 1998) The Darwinians claim that such transformations take too long to be observed, a position that renders the notion of gradualism untestable. Also, there is no compelling evidence that evolution has resulted from the accumulation of point mutations (base pair substitutions). The vast majority of such mutations are deleterious and those that have accumulated may very well be of neutral character, not affecting the active site of the molecules involved.

Chromosome reorganization

If one examines the karyotypes of related species such as Homo sapiens, and his close primate relatives, one sees that structural chromosomal differences distinguish the various primate genera (Davison 1998) These differences are precisely those postulated by Goldschmidt over 60 years ago (Goldschmidt 1940). The reorganization of a chromosome is an all-or-none event for which intermediate or gradual stages are inconceivable. Karyotype analyses place the chimpanzee as our closest living relative, followed by the gorilla and the orangutan, in full agreement with the conclusions from both comparative anatomy and molecular biology. Schindewolf (1993) fully supported Goldschmidt based on the evidence offered by the fossil record where intermediate forms are conspicuously absent. Schindewolf even claimed that we might as well stop searching for missing links as they never existed! That is especially evident for many marine invertebrate series that are often very complete yet lack transitional forms.

Is Evolution in Progress Now?

There is also no evidence that macroevolution is still in progress, a view proposed by Robert Broom who claimed that a new Genus has not appeared in the past two million years. Curiously, Julian Huxley reached the same conclusion in Evolution: The Modern Synthesis (Huxley 1942), a book presumably summarizing the Darwinian evolutionary perspective! (Davison 1998). Huxley got this idea from Robert Broom as a result of a private correspondence between them (Broom 1933). Huxley further maintained that new genera or species either remained stable or became extinct. Huxley’s conviction that evolution is no longer going on has been completely ignored by the neoDarwinians. Grasse (1977) maintained that all we see today is the substitution of alleles. I agree. It is obvious that one cannot evaluate a mechanism that is no longer in operation. Since the vast majority of extant diploid species reproduce sexually, that mode of reproduction can thus be questioned as a macroevolutionary device. It was considerations like these that led me to postulate the semi-meiotic hypothesis (Davison 1984) as an evolutionary mechanism. The first meiotic division is a perfectly valid form of diploid reproduction. Since the sister strands invariably remain together during this division, this single cytological event retains the original genotype at the same time that it can produce a new structural genome in homozygous form. The only requirement for this result is the presence of a chromosomal structural modification in heterozygous form in a cell or cells destined to become ova. One half of the products will be like the original karyotype, one half will be a homozygous novel karyotype, in principle a new species (Davison 1998). It should also be noted that there is no evidence that the restructuring of a chromosome necessarily involves the introduction of new genetic information. The simplest explanation is that the restructuring of the chromosome has resulted in the derepression of information already present in the chromosome structure. I return to this matter in a subsequent section. The semi-meiotic hypothesis has been recognized by Phillip L. Engle in his recent book “Far from equilibrium” (Engle 2002).

What We Do and Do Not Know About Evolution

It is revealing to summarize what we really know about evolution, that most mysterious of all biological phenomena. First, most serious scientists are convinced that it did occur although there are still some who adhere to a strict creationist scenario. When it comes to how it occurred, we are still virtually entirely in the dark. We have no idea how life originated or even how many times it originated. There is no evidence for an organic soup, and the more we learn about the molecular and structural complexity of even the simplest life forms, the less likely it seems that life could have arisen by chance. The Cambrian explosion should give any serious scientist pause before proposing the mechanisms responsible for the transformations of such discretely separate and unique body plans.

Ontogeny and Phylogeny Compared

There are several parallels between embryonic development (ontogeny) and evolution (phylogeny). Both are irreversible processes. Both involve the expression of genetic information. In the case of ontogeny, that information is obviously present at the onset of development. I recently (Davison 2000) suggested that the information for evolution might also be present from very early in the evolutionary process. This idea was first presented by Leo Berg (1969) in his remarkable book “Nomogenesis: or Evolution According to Law”. Berg presented several examples of the premature appearance of advanced phyletic features. He called it phylogenetic acceleration. I prefer to call it evolutionary derepression, thereby indicating that the information for evolution is preformed just as it so obviously is for ontogeny. Another similarity resides in the fact that each process has the intrinsic capacity to terminate (self- limitation). I have suggested that a primary role for sexual reproduction is to bring macroevolution to a halt, thereby stabilizing the species. (Davison 1998). This provides a reasonable explanation for the stability of fossil species as Huxley (1942) had concluded. In support of this proposition, it has yet to be demonstrated that any diploid organism, reproducing by obligatory sexual means, is capable of exceeding the subspecies level. This perspective also remains compatible with the discrete nature and stability of the vast majority of all species, both recent and fossil. I propose that they are discrete from one another for two reasons. Firstly, because they can no longer evolve, and secondly because they were produced by instantaneous all-or-none devices (chromosome restructurings) which, by definition, can have no intermediate states.

Conclusions

We are left with an unavoidable question. Where did the information for phylogeny and ontogeny come from? One cannot escape the conclusion that something or someone had to put that information in place. Robert Broom believed that evolution was the result of a plan. He also, along with Julian Huxley and Pierre Grasse, thought that evolution is no longer in progress. The evidence favors both of his propositions. Leo Berg insisted that chance played no role in either ontogeny or phylogeny. If not chance, then what is the alternative? These considerations raise an interesting question. What was the last mammalian genus and species to appear? It would seem that Homo sapiens is a likely candidate, since there is no evidence of his presence prior to about 100,000 years ago. In summary, it would seem that a sufficient factual body now exists to warrant serious consideration to the proposal that there has been, as Robert Broom had suggested, a teleological origin (plan) for biological information and its evolutionary expression. Needless to say, the realization of this prospectus will have a profound effect on the way in which man regards his position in the universe.

References

Berg, Leo S. (1969), Nomogenesis or Evolution Determined by Law. M.I.T. Press, Cambridge (original Russian edition, 1922).
Broom, Robert. (1933), Evolution – is there intelligence behind it? South African Journal of Science 30:1-19.
Broom, Robert (1951), Finding the Missing Link. Watts, London, p. 107.
Davison, J.A. (1984), Semi-meiosis as an Evolutionary Mechanism. J. Theor. Biol. 111: 725-735.
Davison, J.A. (l998), Evolution as a Self-L imiting Process. Rivista di Biologia / Biology Forum 91: 199-219
Davison, J.A. (2000), Ontogeny, Phylogeny and the Origin of Biological Information. Rivista di Biologia / Biology Forum 93: 513-524
Engle, P. (2002), Far From Equilibrium. Laurel Highlands Media. Greensburg, Pennsylvania..
Goldschmidt, R. B. (1940), The Material Basis of Evolution. Yale University Press, New Haven.
Grasse, P. (1977), Evolution of Living Organisms: Evidence For a New Theory of Transformation. Academic Press, New York (original French edition 1973).
Huxley, J. (1942), Evolution, the Modern Synthesis. London, p. 571.
Schindewolf, O. (l993), Basic Questions in Paleontology. University of Chicago Press, Chicago (original German edition, 1950).

Abstract

All genetic alterations occur in a matter of seconds. Accordingly, there is no reason to assume that evolution has been a gradual process. On the contrary, the fossil record demonstrates that major changes took place over very short time intervals. All attempts to transform species through selection of point mutations have failed. Chromosome rearrangements characterize the differences that exist between ourselves and our primate relatives. Such differences could not conceivably occur gradually. I have proposed, with Leo Berg, that phylogeny (evolution) has involved the derepression of preformed information which was present from very early in evolutionary history. I also agree with Julian Huxley, Pierre Grasse and Robert Broom that macroevolution is no longer in progress. Homo sapiens is apparently the most recent mammal to have evolved, suggesting that there has been a plan, as proposed by Robert Broom. Such a teleological view of evolution can have profound consequences on the way in which man views his place in the universe.

Running Title

Instant evolution


Cheers,
Moose

------------------
Professor, geology, Whatsamatta U
Evolution - Changes in the environment, caused by the interactions of the components of the environment.
My big page of Creation/Evolution Links


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PaulK
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Message 2 of 226 (34639)
03-18-2003 3:31 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Minnemooseus
03-18-2003 2:04 PM


Isn't it interesting that, excepting his own material and Engle, the most recent source dates back to 1973. And apparently he doesn;t even know that the time factor in evolution is needed for mutations to spread and accumulate - not for a single mutation to appear in a single individual.

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Minnemooseus
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Posts: 3797
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 4.3


Message 3 of 226 (34640)
03-18-2003 5:09 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Minnemooseus
03-18-2003 2:04 PM


Hopeful Monsters?
Amongst others, Salty seems fond of the work of Goldschmidt, creator of the concept of the "hopeful monster".

While I'm not about to buy into Salty's efforts to completely overturn Darwinism, I wonder if his views might contain at least a grain of truth.

Might a "hopeful monster" occasionly be able to happen, and to be able to reproduce? In other words, might a small genetic change result in a rather substantial change in body morphology? An instance of very quick "punk eek"?

I point out this other topic, started by Schraf:
"big breakthrough in Evolutionary Biology" at
http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=page&f=5&t=66&p=2

Also, started by sld:
"Genetic Evidence of Major Changes in Body Shapes" at
http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=page&f=5&t=14&p=2

Moose

[This message has been edited by minnemooseus, 03-18-2003]


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PaulK
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Posts: 15840
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Message 4 of 226 (34642)
03-18-2003 5:24 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Minnemooseus
03-18-2003 5:09 PM


Re: Hopeful Monsters?
It's one of the possible explanations for the Cambrian explosion. The development of the Hox gene system without the strong canalisation of development seen in many modern organisms would make it possible - but I suspect that it is a long, long time, since it was a significant factor in the evolution of many species.

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Quetzal
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Posts: 3228
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Message 5 of 226 (34658)
03-19-2003 1:26 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Minnemooseus
03-18-2003 5:09 PM


Re: Hopeful Monsters?
Yep, it is at least theoretically possible. The only requirement really is that the suite of traits or phenotype of the hypothetical hopeful monster be able to survive a period of polymorphism with the other phenotypes of the species until it becomes fixed as part of the population. I can't think of any examples outside of plants at the moment, but I'd be willing to accept that there are some.

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Syamsu 
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Message 6 of 226 (34660)
03-19-2003 4:06 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by PaulK
03-18-2003 3:31 PM


But isn't that supposition of Darwinists about the time it takes for a mutation to spread, and the time it takes for a mutation to happen that contributes to reproduction, simply wrong?

regards,
Mohammad Nor Syamsu


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Admin
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Message 7 of 226 (34677)
03-19-2003 9:17 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Minnemooseus
03-18-2003 2:04 PM


I have a couple issues:

  1. I see that Salty registered, but is he going to post messages himself or debate by proxy?

  2. I'd like to see the opening statement refined and edited. Starting with the first item I noticed:

    Salty writes:

    One might ask – is there such a thing as a gradual genetic change? All genetic alterations take place with time constants on the order of seconds, whether they are point mutations, deletions, duplications, or chromosomal inversions, fusions or translocations. The very notion of a gradual genetic change is meaningless. Yet that is precisely the position which the Darwinians have taken.

    Either I'm completely missing the point, in which case additional explanation is required, or this is incorrect. The duration of an event, ie, of how long it takes for a genetic error to occur during reproduction, serves only as an upper limit on the rate at which such events can occur. Darwinists believe the rate of occurence of such events is the important factor in the rate of genetic change, not the duration of the events themselves. If Salty is arguing that the perspective he characterizes is wrong then I think most evolutionists would agree with him, but it isn't a perspective any of us very likely share.

------------------
--EvC Forum Administrator


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derwood
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Message 8 of 226 (34680)
03-19-2003 9:50 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by PaulK
03-18-2003 3:31 PM


you ain't a- kiddin
quote:
Isn't it interesting that, excepting his own material and Engle, the most recent source dates back to 1973. And apparently he doesn;t even know that the time factor in evolution is needed for mutations to spread and accumulate - not for a single mutation to appear in a single individual.

At the TalkOrigins board, he has written - and reiterated - that population genetics has nothing to do with evolution. Said it is a "smokescreen."


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derwood
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Posts: 1457
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Message 9 of 226 (34682)
03-19-2003 9:54 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Minnemooseus
03-18-2003 5:09 PM


Re: Hopeful Monsters?
quote:
Might a "hopeful monster" occasionly be able to happen, and to be able to reproduce? In other words, might a small genetic change result in a rather substantial change in body morphology? An instance of very quick "punk eek"?

Sure. But the mere "birth" of a hopeful monster does not evolution make. As Paul mentions, it would first have to spread through/establish a population. Hopeful monsters are born not too rarely, but they seldom establish themselves. One needs the right circumstances.

On another issue, chromosome polymorphisms do not necessarily result in speciation. I had posted some citations refuting Ilion's claims (which, of course, went ignored) in which it was observed that some species of horse can possess and pass on polymorphic n-number of chromosomes.


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derwood
Member (Idle past 263 days)
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Message 10 of 226 (34683)
03-19-2003 9:55 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Syamsu
03-19-2003 4:06 AM


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
But isn't that supposition of Darwinists about the time it takes for a mutation to spread, and the time it takes for a mutation to happen that contributes to reproduction, simply wrong?

No.


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derwood
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Message 11 of 226 (34685)
03-19-2003 10:15 AM


Interesting discussion cropping up on the manifesto here. Interesting is the post by Charlie D....

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John A. Davison 
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Message 12 of 226 (34687)
03-19-2003 10:46 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by derwood
03-19-2003 10:15 AM


evolution
Many of the comments indicate that the senders are not familiar with my other papers. I recommend going to my home page www.uvm.edu/~jdavison If this message gets through I will try to play catch-up with some of the comments. salty

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Quetzal
Member (Idle past 4259 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 13 of 226 (34688)
03-19-2003 10:49 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Minnemooseus
03-18-2003 2:04 PM


I would be interested in hearing Dr. Davison's explanation - or clarification - concerning his statement on karyotype comparisons between species. How does this statement
The reorganization of a chromosome is an all-or-none event for which intermediate or gradual stages are inconceivable.
relate to karyotype differences within species? For example, Mus musculus domesticus is an interbreeding species which contains several different karyotypes due to recent Robertsonian fusions, the same kind of fusion that resulted in one chromosome fusing from two in human ancestors - the primary difference between human and chimp genomes. In Western Europe, there are 13 different standard karyotypes in mice. Along hybridization zones, there are even more karyotypes created by breeding between the standard karyotypes - 24 different karyotypes can be found just in the Alps. There is extensive interbreeding among the various karyotypes, and no evidence of serious reproductive barriers. Stating that different karyotypes are all-or-nothing and irreversable seems contraindicated by observation. It would also appear that these karyotypes represent "intermediate forms" of the mice.

Refs: Castiglia, R and Capann, E wrote a series of three articles for the journal Heredity describing this observation:

Contact zones between chromosomal races of Mus musculus domesticus. 1. Temporal analysis of a hybrid zone between the CD chromosomal race (2n=22) and populations with the standard karyotype.
Heredity. 1999 Sep; 83:319-26

Contact zone between chromosomal races of Mus musculus domesticus. 2. Fertility and segregation in laboratory-reared and wild mice heterozygous for multiple robertsonian rearrangements.
Heredity. 2000 Aug; 85:147-56

Contact zones between chromosomal races of Mus musculus domesticus. 3. Molecular and chromosomal evidence of restricted gene flow between the CD race (2n = 22) and the ACR race (2n = 24).
Heredity. 2002 Sep; 89:219-24.

There are a number of other organisms that demonstrate such staggered clines based on karyotype differences, but that will be enough to go on for the moment.


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KCdgw
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 226 (34689)
03-19-2003 10:55 AM


I guess I'm scratching my head over how the fact that mutations take seconds to occur has anything to do with evolution.

KC


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John A. Davison 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 15 of 226 (34690)
03-19-2003 11:00 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by John A. Davison
03-19-2003 10:46 AM


Re: evolution
To understnd my perspective it is important to realize that I have rejected sexual reproduction as a macroevolutionary mechsanism. I also see no compelling evidence that micromutations (base pair substitutions) have played any significnt role in speciation. It is true that I have described population genetics as a "smokescreen". It is without foundation to assume populations are important in evolution. All genetic changes, evolutionary or not, result from changes of the genetic potential of individual organisms. If a new life form can reproduce it will. It is as simple as that. Most important, all macroevolution has apparently stopped, a conclusion reached by Robert Broom, Julian Huxley, Pierre Grasse and myself. We are faced then with trying to reconstruct how evolution did occur. That is the substance of the semi-meiotic hypothesis which I first proposed in 1984. I still adhere to it as the only apparent alternative to Darwinian gradualism. I also am both a Creationist and an Evolutionist. It is only from this dual perspective that one can possibly deal with Intelligent Design. I particularly recommend my 2000 paper "Ontogeny, Phylogeny and the Origin of Biological Information". Sorry I couldn't respond sooner but I had a problem with my password. salty

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