Are hereby invited to participate in the "Variation or no variation" thread on sci.bio.evolution which can be found at http://groups.google.com .
They all require variation in the definition of selection there, and you all said you don't. Because I have no credibility being an anti-Darwinist, I thought they might be more responsive if any of you would argue with them. I think there are many "variationists" on this forum also, but they keep quiet, so there never actually is a discussion between those that do and those that don't believe variation is required for selection to apply.
(edited to add
email@example.com (Ron Okimoto) on sci.bio.evolution "All the clonal organisms would be equivalent and there would be no net evolutionary change. All would respond in the same way to the environment within a set range of responses. Which response would have nothing to do with the genetics because they would be identical. There would be no net change and no selection. Which animals survived would not depend on anything that would get passed on to the next generation."
As far as I can tell Ron is saying here that if genes are identical then they don't contribute to survival/reproduction. Any non-variationist want to engage that argument on sci.bio.evolution?
regards, Mohammad Nor Syamsu
[This message has been edited by Syamsu, 03-08-2003]
You may as well include me among those who believe that selection can occur in the absence of variation. Naturally, without any variation it doesn't matter with regard to the genome of the population which are selected, but selection can occur nonetheless.
I don't really believe I'll be any more successful explaining this to you than anyone else, but what the heck, I'll give it a try.
First, Quetzal, John and Peter are *not* non-variationist Darwinists. They simply recognize that selection and variation are independent variables. That's all they've been trying to explain to you, nothing more, nothing less.
Second, with no variation, selection will produce identical subsequent generations with respect to the genome of the population, except that there is no possible way to prevent variation. Each act of reproduction includes copying errors, and so each generation must necessarily be different from the previous. So if you're beginning your evolutionary experiment with a genetically uniform population, then the next generation *will* have variation, and now selection becomes potentially meaningful with respect to evolution.
Third, I suspect that once someone properly explains the actual point we've been making to you here over at http://groups.google.com that they'll agree with us. In other words, if you've been painting the people here as non-variationist Darwinists then you've been misrepresenting our views.
And fourth, I can't believe you've turned such a simple point into lengthy discussions across two boards. Unbelievable!
Sorry but this is science, and science is judgemental. It is not possible to say that variation is really not required for selection but we still include it in the definition anyhow, because well, we like to suit the theory for evolution. Oh and then accuse of me of misrepresenting when I am just enforcing systemacy of knowledge, that is rich.
You also fail to mention my arguments why and how selection without variation provides meaningful knowledge. Since I explained this about a dozen times how this is meaningful, it is strange that you make no mention of it, and simply proceed to focus the theory on evolution again. What I mean to say is that you and others have been stubborn to a fault in not recognizing my argument, as you are here. I know what your argument is, and it isn't much.
I can't see how a change in the definition of a fundamental theory would be insignificant, that is a very weird idea you have there about fundamental theories being so maleable. You say variation is not required then there is no variation in the baisc definition of Natural Selection, and you are non-variationist Darwinists, end of discussion. There is no other possible conclusion by rules of science.
Syamasu: The very first reply in the sci.bio.evolution thread says EXACTLY what we've been saying here. Worth quoting:
Natural selection would result in nothing if there were no genetic variation to select on. You may be confused. Mutation (new variation) is not needed for natural selection to do its job. Natural selection can act on any population with existing genetic variation without the addition of new mutations. In your photosynthetic example if all plants had the same photosynthetic mechanism and they were all genetically identical. Shining light on them will not change the genetic composition of the next generation. If they were not genetically identical and some had different photosynthetic machinery than others shining light on them may select for the best genetic type under those conditions, and one variant may take over the population. Evolution is allele frequency change over time. No variant alleles, no evolution.
No evolution can occur, no future individuals of the population can become better adapted to their environment if there is no genetic variation to act on. You'd have to go to some form of Lamarkian changes to get evolutionary change without genetic variation. You could subject a bunch of clones to natural selection, but you wouldn't see any differences in the next generation. You could make the selection so severe that you killed off the population and all allele frequencies would go to zero, but that is about the only way a population will evolve with no genetic variation present. Ron Okimoto
And this is different how from what we've been telling you?
It is different because this guy explicitely requires variation for selection to apply. He does use the word selection without variation, but then later he explicitely and repeatedly denies that selection can happen without variation, unlike you and others who affirm the use without variation.
The "argument" is then basically well without variation there is no evolution, and we want to use selection for evolution, not for stasis, so therefore variation has to be included. It is simple prejudice about what he wants to describe.
He also mentions that without differential variation which organism would reproduce is random, but then this argument is shown faulty because it's also possible that all organisms reproduce, or all not reproduce, so selection without variation can be completely non-random.