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Author Topic:   Transitional forms in existence today
Dr Adequate
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Posts: 16097
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 10 of 62 (623737)
07-13-2011 3:14 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by pandion
07-13-2011 12:52 AM


Although we cannot predict the future evolution of any species, since any or all otter species might re-adapt to life on land, otters appear to be in transition from land to water environment.

But you never know ...


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16097
Joined: 07-20-2006


(1)
Message 13 of 62 (623754)
07-13-2011 5:52 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by Portillo
07-13-2011 5:40 AM


Lack of transitional forms today is because of "the maintenance of stability within species."

(1) Please demonstrate the lack of transitional forms today. Note that in order to do so it is necessary to examine their descendants, who do not yet exist.

(2) How does the "the maintenance of stability within species" account for (1) the transitional forms found in the fossil record (2) the Law Of Faunal Succession (3) the fact that species are observably not stable?

Richard Dawkins says, "Evolution has been observed. Its just that it hasnt been observed while its happening."

And Louis XIV said: "L'état, c'est moi", but I don't see why you would mention it.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16097
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 14 of 62 (623755)
07-13-2011 6:01 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by peter1985
07-12-2011 11:17 AM


Catholic Scientist is right.

Your question is like asking: "The prophet Muhammad is said to have has 14 million living descendants. So why is there no-one alive today with that many descendants?"

Unless the world is about to come to an end (which pace Harold Camping I think unlikely) there are almost certainly people alive today who will have that many descendants; but I am unable to identify them. Perhaps you yourself are such a person, but how would we know?

In the same way, if you come back in ten million years maybe the descendants of Wallace's Frog will have mastered true flight, in which can Wallace's Frog will appear to future naturalists to be the intermediate gliding stage between ordinary frogs and frogs with true flight. Or maybe it's an evolutionary dead-end and it won't.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16097
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 30 of 62 (623824)
07-13-2011 5:32 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by peter1985
07-13-2011 1:28 PM


... and charged that if random mutation was the mechanism for evolution there would be more species "in flux" than wholly formed species. I now see the fallacy that the subjectivity in that argument creates.

To be precise, it's a false dichotomy. An Archaeopteryx was an intermediate form but it was also a "wholly formed" Archaeopteryx.


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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 16097
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 52 of 62 (624043)
07-15-2011 2:57 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by Chuck77
07-15-2011 12:04 AM


Interpretation
Actually my only point was that (to me) I think most "transitional" fossils are up for interpretation aren't they? Can the fossils be labeled transitional with 100% accuracy? That was my point. Maybe they can, maybe im just ignorant of the process of establishing which fossils are in transition and which ones arent. If there all in transition how do they know where to place them? I assume it's like a puzzle that you have no picture of and trying to fit the pieces in the best you can.

An interesting question.

We can say very definitely whether B has a form intermediate between A and C. You just need a list of features of A, B and C and a pencil. Doe Archaeopteryx have feathers like a bird? Check. Does it have gastralia like a reptile? Check. Wings like a bird? Check. Teeth like a dinosaur? Check. And so forth. Interpretation doesn't come into it.

Now the existence of such forms tends to confirm the theory of evolution + common descent. The theory implies the past existence of transitional species, transitional species would have had intermediate forms, hence if the theory was right there would be intermediate forms; which there are, suggesting that the theory is correct.

Now, once we have been convinced by this and other evidence that the theory is correct, then we can interpret the intermediate forms in the light of the theory as being transitional species.

Maybe at this point I should add a note on the concept of interpretation. Creationists often talk as though this was an arbitrary or subjective act. It is not. A doctor will interpret ammonia on a patients breath as meaning that the patient's kidneys are failing; the "interpretation" that it was caused by the patient stubbing his toe is not available to the doctor, because the interpretation is constrained by the theory of physiology.

However, they are quite right to say that interpretation is theory-dependent --- all interpretation is. The doctor interprets the patient's breath in the light of physiological theories; and similarly it is in the light of the theory of evolution that we interpret intermediate forms as transitional species; a creationist would have to interpret them as something God magicked into existence for obscure reasons of his own.

But in pointing out that interpretation is theory-dependent creationists are missing the point. Two different things are going on here. To say that something is a transitional species is a theory-dependent interpretation of it. To say that something is an intermediate form is not an interpretation of it, it's just a plain factual description of it.

To summarize: on the one hand, the existence of intermediate forms (which is not a matter of interpretation) suggests the correctness of the theory; on the other hand the correctness of the theory suggests that intermediate forms should be interpreted in the light of the theory as being transitional species.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16097
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 53 of 62 (624044)
07-15-2011 2:58 PM
Reply to: Message 45 by Portillo
07-15-2011 3:42 AM


Natural selection creates tall, short, dark skinned, white skinned humans, but that is not evolution.

Evolution is not defined as the set of phenomena that creationists wish to deny.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16097
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 57 of 62 (624086)
07-15-2011 7:13 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by hooah212002
07-15-2011 3:19 PM


Isn't that what it would take, given that we are able to modfy our environment to suit our needs?

To be more precise, some people are able to modify our environment to suit their wants; which is different.

But even if it was just "to suit our needs", one could still object that we did not evolve in an environment which suited our needs. For example, we need less disease. If we modified our environment so that there was none, this would remove a selective pressure which operated on our ancestors.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16097
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 61 of 62 (624289)
07-17-2011 3:52 AM
Reply to: Message 59 by Dr Jack
07-16-2011 5:58 AM


Re: Interpretation
Quite so. I don't mean to imply that Archaeopteryx, for example, is a direct ancestor of modern birds. Even if it was, we wouldn't know it.

(Actually, I'm of the opinion that it almost certainly wasn't, because it has no uncinate processes on its ribs.)


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16097
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 62 of 62 (624290)
07-17-2011 3:54 AM
Reply to: Message 60 by pandion
07-17-2011 2:31 AM


Re: Interpretation
If you take away the feathers, it takes an expert to distinguish between the dinosaur Compsognathus and the bird Archaeopteryx.

I think the forelimbs are a bit of a giveaway. But apart from that, yes.


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