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Author Topic:   Definition of the Modern Synthesis
Percy
Member
Posts: 18619
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 1 of 22 (198)
03-10-2001 4:34 PM


Hi Thmsberry,

quote:
Thmsberry writes:
A problem I am having. I provided four references in my last post. According to the Rules of debate web sites are not the only valid reference. I provided the four cornerstone books on the topic.

First, the request was for a reference to someone authoritative who defines the Modern Synthesis as you do. None of the books you mention could do that since they are well over a half century old and so could have no foreknowledge of future theories to distinguish from the Modern Synthesis.

Second, let's take a look at your references:

Genetics and Origin of Species, T. Dobzhanzky, 1937.

Systematics and the Origin of Species, Ernst Mayr, 1942.

Tempo and Mode in Evolution, George Gaylord Simpson, 1944.

Evolution: The Modern Synthesis, Sir Julian Huxley, 1944.

Here is a list of reasons why your references do not support your point that the Modern Synthesis does not include developments in genetics after 1944:

  1. You use them only as providing a framework for your history of the development of the Modern Synthesis. Nowhere do you claim that they state that subsequent developments in genetics after 1944 are not part of the Modern Synthesis. In other words, not only did you not offer them in direct support of your claim, you do not even say that they support your claim. You merely say that this history somehow supports your claim, but it isn't clear to me how.

  2. You cite entire books. Your correspondents cannot be expected to (and won't, anyway) sift through entire books looking for the part that makes your point.

    You do not cite the text from any of these books. Just to contrive an example, you needed to find something like Dobzhanzky saying, "Discoveries of non-vertical evolutionary mechanisms would supplant this synthesis of Darwinian evolution and genetics."

  3. Simply mentioning a book, author and date of publication along with a claim as to what it says (eg, "George Gaylord Simpson's Tempo and Mode in Evolution finished off the synthesis of Darwinism and Genetics in 1944.") is an argument, not a reference. I'll update the debate rules to be more clear, and I apologize for not being sufficiently specific, but for the purposes of discussion here references have to be rather specific. You can't go about just dropping the names of books, which falls into the class of fallacy known as Appeal to Authority. Here's what I would consider a good reference:

    "...eukaryotic cells evolved by physically incorporating prokaryotic organisms into their cytoplasm." (Evolution, Third Edition, pp. 177-178, Monroe W. Strickberger)


  4. These books are old. Don't you think something more recent would be more germane to how the Modern Synthesis is defined today?

I think the whole issue is that you see the Modern Synthesis as the blending of disparate theories within biology, while the rest of us see it as the blending of entire sciences within biology. So when you say this:

quote:
Part of what your saying is my very argument. If synthetic theory is the unification of Mendellian Genetics and Darwinism (and actual population genetics)...

Understand, we don't see the unification as being with Mendellian genetics, but rather with the entire science of genetics. Hence, when horizontal mechanisms were added to genetics it took place amidst the backdrop of the Modern Synthesis. The Modern Synthesis is not a theory but a perspective, one that views Darwinian evolution and genetics as compatible rather than antithetical. The discovery of horizontal mechanisms only reinforced this view.

This is where we have such a problem with your view. How can you supplant something that is still true? The Modern Synthesis was the recognition that Darwinian evolution and genetics are compatible, and we still believe this to be true. Though we've learned much since the 1940s about both evolution and genetics, how could something that remains as true today as it was then be supplanted? You can say that originally the Modern Synthesis didn't know about horizontal mechanisms, but it didn't specifically exclude them (why would it, after all), and it certainly didn't expect science would remain static, and so subsequent developments were naturally to be expected. But those developments only strengthened the belief that Darwinian evolution and genetics are compatible.

Definitions

At heart this really becomes a discussion about the nature of language. Most words have more than one meaning, and a good number of words have many meanings. Plus the meanings of those words can be shaded and shifted by modifiers and context. This flexibility of language is both a help and a hindrance. I'm getting the impression that you like to insist upon a single definition of many terms, even the word "then" in one case, and you rarely even admit the possibility of alternative interpretations. This inflexibility contributes to precision, a laudable goal, but it, too, is both a help and a hindrance. The dictionary is a good example of the compromise between flexibility and precision - most words have a limited number of definitions whose meaning can be made fairly clear from context.

Our struggle here is to find a balance between precision and flexibility. You cannot, and we on the other side cannot, insist that the Modern Synthesis has one and only one meaning. Even people who have read all the books you listed can arrive at different conclusions, and while in some contexts it can be very convenient to have the term Modern Synthesis refer to how it was understood in 1944, in other contexts it is intended that it be interpreted far more expansively. Your interpretation deserves a lot of credit for paying attention to the demands of precision, but it fails by completely ignoring the demands of other contexts and the need to engage in useful communication without having to constantly invent new terms that are barely different from one another (eg, Modern Synthesis, Current Synthesis, Current Unification of Evolutionary Theories, Current Synthesis of Evolutionary theories, etc. By the way, the last two terms are ones you claim are current, yet if you do a web search on them they don't show up, I've never heard of them, they don't appear in any of my books, so a reference to someone authoritative who uses these terms in the same way you do would be very helpful.)

Mutation is another term whose definition has involved a difference of opinion. You see it as excluding horizontal mechanisms and only including intra-organism genetic changes, while others view it much more flexibly. In many contexts a mutation is simply a heritable change in an organism's genetic code. Whether the origin of the change was from within or without the organism makes no difference.

There are even a couple different ways to fit the origin of eukaryotes into both the definition of mutation and the Modern Synthesis, if I may offer an answer to my own challenge. One way is to view the newly incorporated organism as simply a change in the genetic code. Another way is to say that we still have two organisms, but that they have developed a very close symbiotic relationship that will strongly influence their future evolution.

My point is that it is therefore wrong for someone on either side to insist that the Modern Synthesis, or mutation, or any other term we disagree on in the future, has one and only one meaning, and that it has that meaning in all contexts where it is used, and that anyone who believes he has encountered an authoritative usage with a different meaning is just plain mistaken. We have to admit to ourselves that even within the scientific community there will not be universal agreement on the even the definition of some common terms. What is important is to understand that these differences exist, and to make sure you understand the definition being employed when a difference from your own preferred definition is discovered.

This should not be interpreted as an endorsement of linguistic anarchy, but simply an appeal that we make concessions to reality.

I haven't addressed all your points. I would very much like to, but this message is already too long, so I will stop here. Perhaps I'll have a future opportunity to address them.

--Percy

[This message has been edited by Percipient, 12-23-2001]


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Thmsberry, posted 03-11-2001 6:47 AM Percy has not yet responded
 Message 22 by Brad McFall, posted 12-22-2001 11:43 PM Percy has not yet responded

  
Thmsberry
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 22 (200)
03-11-2001 6:47 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Percy
03-10-2001 4:34 PM


Great,

I'll await for you to address all my points. Because when you do, if your objective, there is no way you can deny my argument.

In your discussion, you have not yet addressed the dishonesty of this current argument. I showed in my last post and previous posts that Larry was using Modern Synthesis in the same way that I was, before he conceded to my Modern Synthesis is a partial theory argument. I gave several examples to this fact. And now, he claims that he is using this new blurred meaning to try and negate his very concession early on in the past thread.

Face it, the original synthesis from the 30s and 40s was called the Modern Synthesis. This is a fact. The Synthetic theory came a lot later (late 70's early 80s) This also a fact. The synthetic theory is most popularly called the Current Synthesis, the Synthetic theory, or simply the Theory of Evolution. Some of the anticreationists Websites make the mistake and call it the Modern Synthesis, probably because they just don't know and spend most of their time gleaning info not about evolution, but simply how to attack creation science(oxymoron). But Your side has not presented one shread of evidence from an authoritative source that states that current theory of Evolution is properly called the Modern Synthesis. Period. Stop being a debater. And be an objective moderator. Your side has presented no evidence.

Where I on the other hand have given you the main work by Sir Julian Huxley coining the term Modern Synthesis. Showing that the original synthesis was in fact called the Modern Synthesis.

And the authoritative quote that shows that the Current Synthetic theory grew and grows and around the original synthesis. This shows inarguably that the theories are distinct.

Next, I already bought up this definition blur you guys want to make about the word mutation. If you semantically define mutation to just mean a change in an organisms genome. Yes, a horizontal mechanism would be a mutation. However, Big Big Big Big Big problem when you do that. The word then has no meaning at all in terms of how it is actually used in Biology and Genetics. You would be ignoring the fact that types of mutations are defined in Biology and Genetics and these types do not include horizontal mechanisms. You can't simply redefine the word out of context. And

Futhermore, You do not want to do this. It would be a major point to my side. You see, it would mean that mutation do not have to be random. See horizontal mechanism result from populations of diverse live and nonliving organisms and/or there DNA interacting with an organisms Genome. This process is complex, yes. But it certainly not random. It's like will it rain or snow. Or Who will Johnny pick as a sex partner. Contingent on many variables, yes. But mutations within genomes as Biologist and Geneticist define them from an evolutionary standpoint are random, not contingent.

I mean come on. Don't you realize that your reaching terribly to semantics to define terms in ways that the disciplines do not. And then, you are claiming that I, who am precise with my definitions and using actual science to define scientific terms, are in fact using terms a special way.

Look at any Biology or Genetics textbook and see if the way and the types of mutations that they define allow for horizontal mechanisms and/or allow evolutionary mutations to be non-random. If so, please present a quote. I am completely unaware of any respected textbook that does. Also, at the very least, the infamous talkorigin link is wrong again. Look at their primer on Evolutionary Biology. The way they define Mutation makes my Argument.

Once again, Honestly critique the argument of your side. I am using the actually respected scientific definitions of scientific terms. And your side is trying to use resemantically defined or incorrectly popularized scientific definitions. We are having a debate. The language of which is the real Scientific evidence that we have about biodiversity. This is Scientific not biblical. It's not up to your personal interpretations and alternative combined dictionary meanings. The actual scientific terms, the evidence that they point too, and their actual scientific usage are all that is possible in a debate using the language of science.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Percy, posted 03-10-2001 4:34 PM Percy has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by lbhandli, posted 03-11-2001 6:52 PM Thmsberry has responded

lbhandli
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 22 (201)
03-11-2001 6:52 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Thmsberry
03-11-2001 6:47 AM


quote:
Originally posted by Thmsberry:
[b]Great,

I'll await for you to address all my points. Because when you do, if your objective, there is no way you can deny my argument.
[/QUOTE]

You have yet to support your argument. You have posted sources from over 50 years ago to argue over what the common use of the term is today.

The question is how is the term Modern Synthesis used today. You have tried to claim the Ayala and Fitch support your view in some contorted logic that is not consistent with the argument Ayala and Fitch make. They aren't arguing over the genetics even being the sticking point. They are arguing with Gould's contentions regarding larger patterns. If you don't bother to read a source, don't cite it.

quote:

In your discussion, you have not yet addressed the dishonesty of this current argument.

Dihonesty is misrepresenting a quote out of context and the message of the quote. This is exactly what you do with Ayala and Fitch.

quote:

I showed in my last post and previous posts that Larry was using Modern Synthesis in the same way that I was, before he conceded to my Modern Synthesis is a partial theory argument.

In the sense that all theories are partial. If you contend I did in any other sense I suggest you cite the specific post.

quote:

I gave several examples to this fact. And now, he claims that he is using this new blurred meaning to try and negate his very concession early on in the past thread.

What concession is that? Specifically?

quote:

Face it, the original synthesis from the 30s and 40s was called the Modern Synthesis. This is a fact. The Synthetic theory came a lot later (late 70's early 80s) This also a fact. The synthetic theory is most popularly called the Current Synthesis, the Synthetic theory, or simply the Theory of Evolution.

So how do you explain Ayala and Fitch? They are stupid and uninformed compared to you? You seem to want to claim that they agree with you when the specifically do not. They refer to synthetic theory as the Modern Synthesis. If you don't read something, don't cite it.

quote:

Some of the anticreationists Websites make the mistake and call it the Modern Synthesis, probably because they just don't know and spend most of their time gleaning info not about evolution, but simply how to attack creation science(oxymoron).

Again, you seem to be attacking Larry Moran who is a researcher in the field. He isn't anti-creationist--he is a scientist who does research in Gene Expression and Evolution:
http://bioinfo.med.utoronto.ca/faculty.inc.html

Lame try to discredit a source.

quote:

But Your side has not presented one shread of evidence from an authoritative source that states that current theory of Evolution is properly called the Modern Synthesis. Period.

Two sources by Ayala and coauthors and an FAQ by a current researcher in the field at the University of Toronto. You haven't read the source by Ayala and Fitch and conclude that it supports you? nice try. You have yet to provide a modern source that would be relevant. Please do.

quote:

Stop being a debater. And be an objective moderator. Your side has presented no evidence.

Percy has requested you to provide evidence. You have refused instead playing semantic games.

quote:

Where I on the other hand have given you the main work by Sir Julian Huxley coining the term Modern Synthesis.

How is this relevant since the question is how is the term used today?

quote:

Showing that the original synthesis was in fact called the Modern Synthesis.

And how is this relevant to the current usage?

quote:

And the authoritative quote that shows that the Current Synthetic theory grew and grows and around the original synthesis. This shows inarguably that the theories are distinct.

And Ayala and Fitch are specifically referring to the term Modern Synthesis. Again, don't misrepresent the article.

quote:

Next, I already bought up this definition blur you guys want to make about the word mutation. If you semantically define mutation to just mean a change in an organisms genome. Yes, a horizontal mechanism would be a mutation.

Let's see:
Definitions of mutation
Jargon File at TO
An error in duplication of genetic material which results in a different sequence of and/or a different number of base pairs in the copy than were in the original.

TO FAQ on mutations to which you didn't object before:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/mutations.html#types

http://www.msu.edu/course/mic/431/chapt03.htm
A. Mutation: A mutation is any heritable change in the DNA sequence.

OED:
a. The process whereby detectable and heritable changes in genetic material arise

and a quote from Mike Syvanen

Before whining about this quote:
"It is difficult to imagine, mostly because that is not the way we are trained to think. If you accept that mutation can fashion new structures, why is it so radical to include
the contributions of foreign genes as one of the mutational mechanisms?

Please look up Mike's citations in either academic journals or as far as books. One of the books will make you look especially silly.

[QUOTE]
However, Big Big Big Big Big problem when you do that. The word then has no meaning at all in terms of how it is actually used in Biology and Genetics. You would be ignoring the fact that types of mutations are defined in Biology and Genetics and these types do not include horizontal mechanisms. You can't simply redefine the word out of context. And
[/qupte]

These types?

quote:

Futhermore, You do not want to do this. It would be a major point to my side. You see, it would mean that mutation do not have to be random. See horizontal mechanism result from populations of diverse live and nonliving organisms and/or there DNA interacting with an organisms Genome. This process is complex, yes. But it certainly not random.

They are random in relation to fitness are they not? No mutation is random in a strict sense, only random in relation to fitness.

quote:

It's like will it rain or snow. Or Who will Johnny pick as a sex partner. Contingent on many variables, yes. But mutations within genomes as Biologist and Geneticist define them from an evolutionary standpoint are random, not contingent.

Random in relation to fitness. How are horizontal transfers not random in relation to fitness?

quote:

I mean come on. Don't you realize that your reaching terribly to semantics to define terms in ways that the disciplines do not.

We can call them different names if you prefer. Of course, you won't since you refuse to actually address any substantive discussion anymore. I have posted specific challenges to your claims about evolution at the family level and you have focused on semantics for a couple weeks now.

quote:

And then, you are claiming that I, who am precise with my definitions and using actual science to define scientific terms, are in fact using terms a special way.

Complain to Syvanen. He is on talk.origins frequently.

quote:

Look at any Biology or Genetics textbook and see if the way and the types of mutations that they define allow for horizontal mechanisms and/or allow evolutionary mutations to be non-random. If so, please present a quote. I am completely unaware of any respected textbook that does. Also, at the very least, the infamous talkorigin link is wrong again. Look at their primer on Evolutionary Biology. The way they define Mutation makes my Argument.

Quite a few do describe mutations as changes in heritable information which is very broad. They then usually divide up mutations and separate them from hgt since often hgt involves more than one step. However, the introduction of foreign genetic material into a genome is a mutation. If there is a mistake at defining HGTs as mutations it is only in that HGTs involve recombination and mutations.

[QUOTE]
Once again, Honestly critique the argument of your side. I am using the actually respected scientific definitions of scientific terms. And your side is trying to use resemantically defined or incorrectly popularized scientific definitions. We are having a debate. The language of which is the real Scientific evidence that we have about biodiversity. This is Scientific not biblical. It's not up to your personal interpretations and alternative combined dictionary meanings. The actual scientific terms, the evidence that they point too, and their actual scientific usage are all that is possible in a debate using the language of science.

[/b]


At best, pot-kettle issues here. Let me know when you want to address your very odd claims about there being no evidence for family level evolution.

Cheers,
Larry Handlin

[This message has been edited by Percipient (edited 03-12-2001).]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by Thmsberry, posted 03-11-2001 6:47 AM Thmsberry has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by Thmsberry, posted 03-12-2001 2:02 AM lbhandli has not yet responded
 Message 6 by Thmsberry, posted 03-12-2001 2:08 AM lbhandli has responded

Thmsberry
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 22 (202)
03-12-2001 2:02 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by lbhandli
03-11-2001 6:52 PM


Larry,

Let's examine some of the sites that you presented.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/mutations.html#types

Great. Talkorigin has a section where it defines mutation the way your trying to. Fine. Where is the respected textbook where it is defined as Random or Nonrandom. It basically doesn?t address this issue. Also, the fact that it defines mutation differently in different section actually poses a problem for your blind reliance on this website, not a problem in my argument.

http://www.msu.edu/course/mic/431/chapt03.htm

Pathetic. Website. It was a summary of study notes. It was not a respected textbook and in types of mutations did not mention all the horizontal mechanisms, if any. Brings up the Randomness issue. But presents Randomness in terms of Randomness vs. Directed. An argument that I have not even made.

You posted: a link to a quote by Mike Syvanen

Before whining about this quote:
"It is difficult to imagine, mostly because that is not the way we are trained to think. If you accept that mutation can fashion new structures, why is it so radical to include
the contributions of foreign genes as one of the mutational mechanisms?
Please look up Mike's citations in either academic journals or as far as books. One of the books will make you look especially silly. ?

I must admit. This was great reading. I disagree with a major assumption made by the author without evidence. But I could tell by some of his argument that he is aware of the issues in the debate that we have yet to move on and discuss. But this is digression.

My point: It?s funny that you would quote the section of the post that illustrates part of my argument. Then, claim that there are journals or books that make my argument look silly. Rather than present this web reference. You should have posted those. Where are they?

You wrote:?They are random in relation to fitness are they not? No mutation is random in a strict sense, only random in relation to fitness. ?

This sort of loose usage of terms can not be allowed. You have presented yourself as the type of debator that attempts to hide his argument in semantics. Your going to define what you mean preciesely Define in detail what you mean by ?Random in relation to fitness.? What exactly do you mean by ?No mutation is random in a strict sense?? It has direct bearing on the discussion and what my response should be.

You wrote:?Quite a few do describe mutations as changes in heritable information which is very broad. They then usually divide up mutations and separate them from hgt since often hgt involves more than one step. However, the introduction of foreign genetic material into a genome is a mutation. If there is a mistake at defining HGTs as mutations it is only in that HGTs involve recombination and mutations. ?

Here, You are supporting my argument, but not strongly. Obviously the definition of mutation can be broad. That?s how a semantic argument is possible. But the context is not allowing Horizontal mechanisms. What you have stated?

What is an HGT? Be specific. Clearly define what you are talking about. Why? Because on many occasions Horizonatal Transfer and Plasmid transfer are considered as a part of the paradgim. And the reason is simple. Even though Bacteria are asexual. The transfer of plasmids and DNA directly is seen as the evolutionary precursor to sexual reproduction. Thus, it is seen as a primitive form of the same paradigm. It works because the bacteria are considered organisms within the same genome.

I mean come on. You must know this. When a human male and female have a kid. The child is the product of horizontal transfer of sorts, but the two organisms are clearly apart of the same genome. But once again, where in these text books do they include a horizontal mechanisms exchanging DNA from a foreign Genome of an organism into the Genome of an entirely different organisms with a different Genome. Where does a textbook list the additional types of mutations that the talkorigin link attempts to lump together.

You see, Horizontal transfer is a horizontal mechanism, but so is sexual reproduction. But I am talking about and have been talking about horizontal mechanisms that involve organism live and not alive from different genomes. The problem that I think you might be having with debating me is that I am extremely precise with my arguments. In order to avoid these sort of semantic parachutes. It makes my post quite wordy, but effective. Oftentimes, you present some point later in your argument. But typically, I have already accounted for it. And it?s like I have to repeat the same argument over an over so that you can realize that it has already been addressed.

[This message has been edited by Percipient (edited 03-12-2001).]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by lbhandli, posted 03-11-2001 6:52 PM lbhandli has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by Percy, posted 03-12-2001 4:34 PM Thmsberry has not yet responded

Thmsberry
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 22 (203)
03-12-2001 2:08 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by lbhandli
03-11-2001 6:52 PM


Percy,

I would like to point out in Larry’s discussion of the Ayala quote that he simply disagreed with me. Fine. But did not present cooberating evidence. The quote that he presented says the exact argument that I am a making.

All this begs the question.

What is your side now trying to argue?

It is clear that the term Modern Synthesis has been used in more than one way.

I am saying that calling the Current Synthesis the Modern Synthesis is not correct and no respectable source does. Your side has not provided a respectable source that defines the current evolutionary theory as the Modern Synthesis.

But this is not even important. It has been demonstrated that the original synthesis from the 30s and 40s was in fact called the Modern Synthesis.

When I established my argument, I defined the Modern Synthesis not as the Current Synthesis but as the original synthesis. There was no disagreement with my definition and I have shown that during the original argument that Larry defined the Modern Synthesis as the original synthesis as well. So thus, I made my point. So I structured my original argument in a way that avoids this semantic argument. Your only counterargument can be that the original synthesis was not called the Modern Synthesis. But my evidence has demonstrated that I am in fact correct.

In a similar fashion, I can clearly show that when Gene was asked to define all the types of mutation that he was arguing for. His definition that was not disagreed about by Larry did not include horizontal mechanisms involving a different Genome.

Therefore, my argument that this orignal synthesis is a partial theory is in fact correct and once again proven.

Are you keeping track of what has actually been demonstrated.

I have shown that the orignal synthesis was called the Modern synthesis.
I have shown that current evolutionary theory is called the Synthetic theory or the Current Synthesis.

Where is the other sides respectable source showing that current evolutionary theory is called the Modern Synthesis? If you have read this in one of the post, please present it. I read all of this stuff and have yet to read the most quintessential point in this tangent.

And finally, I proved my argument regardless of this tangent anyway.So forsake of argument let’s assume MS has two meanings. I argued clearly defining that I was using the first. The opposition agreed and also was using the first. I prove my point. Weeks later the opposition brings up the second definition. Forgetting that he conceding not only to the first under direct questioning, but admitted that he was not using the second.

Once again, I am not getting the point of all of this. It usually isn’t this cut and dry in debates. But in this case, how much more obviously can I prove my point. I'll reintroduce a quote that I used before.

http://www.pku.edu.cn/academic/xb/97/_97e619.html

Also, I was told that you guys could not get access to this site before. So It would not surprise me if you somehow can't again. But check out this abstract of Zhang Yun’s work. He has devoted most of his research to clearing up the discrepancies in the rates of Evolution. His work clearly defines Modern Synthesis as I do.

The Abstract of his research, just in case you have trouble with the link again:

"The recent debates between different evolutionary views involved mostly in rates of evolution. Contradictory conclusions have been drawn from the studies of evolution rate at different levels of organization, and led to exclusion between different doctrines of evolution. The random molecular evolution with a stable and uniform rate, interpreted by the neutral theory, is in conflict with the nonuniform adaptive evolution at phenotypic level;the adaptive and gradual evolution under natural selection at population level, advocated by the modern synthesis based on microevolution, could not coupled with the "punctuated", "explosive" or "catastrophic" macroevolution, demonstrated by fossil records. These contradictions were mostly resulted from using different variables for measurement of evolution rates. The rates of evolution measured at different levels of organization may have different senses, thus the controversies between the different doctrines may have no equivalent words. The timing of major evolutionary events in the long history of life on Earth shows apparent nonuniformity:most important evolutionary events occurred in the earliest and latest stages of the life history, and in relatively short time. The prebiotic chemical evolution, origins of life, the fundamental cell structures and metabolic pathways, and the foundations for biological evolution and biosphere formation were established in about 300-500 Ma time interval in the beginning of life history (4.0 to 3.5 Ga ago). Emergence of the advanced organisms and remarkable increase of biodiversity, as well as most major innovation of organism structures took place in the latest stage of life history (since 700 Ma). This nonuniformity of megaevolution here is interpreted as the results of coevolution between the life and the Earth's physical environments. The present dissension in evolution theory is temporary, resulted from the progresses of biology and related sciences. The different doctrines of evolution will certainly toward to unification and to a new synthesis. "

(R.D.1997-07-28 P.D.1997-11-20 Vol.33 No.6 pp.794-803)

Zhang Yun (College of Life Science, Peking University, Beijing, 100871)

He describes the contradictory conclusion between different doctrines and list the Modern Synthesis as one of them. Thus, his usage of the term makes it clear that it must be a part of and not the entire whole. And he concludes “The different doctrines of evolution will certainly toward to unification and to a new synthesis. “ Shows that this is more evidence for my argument.

I await your response to this and my two other posts.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by lbhandli, posted 03-11-2001 6:52 PM lbhandli has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by Percy, posted 03-12-2001 11:45 AM Thmsberry has not yet responded
 Message 9 by lbhandli, posted 03-12-2001 6:46 PM Thmsberry has not yet responded
 Message 10 by Percy, posted 03-12-2001 9:36 PM Thmsberry has responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 18619
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 7 of 22 (204)
03-12-2001 11:45 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Thmsberry
03-12-2001 2:08 AM


Hi Thmsberry,

First, a note for both you and Larry. I've edited the posts that included the full text of the URL to a quote by Mike Syvanen. Because this URL contained so many characters it was affecting the displayed line length of the messages in this thread (at least in Netscape it was), so I edited these posts to bury the actual text of the URL inside the link to Mike Syvanen's quote.

I'm at work and so will respond to you in greater length when I get a chance at home. I hope you don't mind if at some point soon I go quiescent while I look at the login-id bug - could take a few days of my free time as the behavior of Netscape and Internet Explorer appear to differ.

For now just let me say that I agree with Larry about the Ayala quote not supporting your position. The reply I'm working on at home already says this, and you'll see it soon, but let me comment that I don't understand why you think simple use of the term Synthetic Theory by Ayala supports all your contentions about new developments in the 70s and 80s leading to a replacement of the Modern Synthesis. The Modern Synthesis has been synonymously called the Synthetic Theory since it's origination, the full formal name being the Synthetic Theory of Evolution. Ayala's just talking about the current state of the Modern Synthesis.

The rest of us here didn't just get off the boat from a desert island where we spent the last 30 years. The people debating with you have formed their opinions from reading material which somehow doesn't seem to be in any way aware of the claims you are making. This doesn't mean you are wrong. Perhaps we've all just managed to miss reading the relevant stuff. But if that's the case, then you're going to have to point us to the relevant stuff. So far you're not doing it, not even close.

First you refer to 50 year old books as if they could help us in any way settle your claims about developments only 30 years ago.

Then you quote Ayala and Fitch saying, "The current Synthetic Theory has grown around that original synthesis." The quote then goes on to describe the Modern Synthesis in almost precisely the same way as others here have been defining it. You somehow conclude this is saying a new synthesis supplanted an old synthesis. To everyone else it seems to be describing how the sciences included within the Modern Synthesis have grown.

The abstract you provided of a paper by Zhang Yun of Peking University falls into the same class of not only not supporting your claim, but of arguing against it. He calls attention to a couple current debates within biology and refers to the Modern Synthesis in the present tense, so clearly he believes it is alive and well. And his concluding sentence clearly states his belief that current developments will in the future lead to a new synthesis, not that a new synthesis has already take place:

The different doctrines of evolution will certainly toward to unification and to a new synthesis.

You then say, "Shows that this is more evidence for my argument." Can you explain how Yun's belief that current work will eventually lead to a new synthesis is evidence for your position that a new synthesis emerged in the 70s and 80s? They seem completely unrelated. One clearly does not follow from the other. Please think hard on this. If you really and truly believe this is a logical argument then give the rest of us a hand and explain clearly and simply how this is evidence for your position.

I think you're going to have to take a step back and try to analyze what's happening. You're offering citations that others are saying not only don't agree with you, but contradict you. You're claiming that the Modern Synthesis was replaced in the 70s and 80s, but this would have been so incredibly significant an event that there should be no problem finding sources that say things like, "When the Modern Synthesis was replaced in the 70s and 80s..." That you can find no such sources is something to think about. That current books still use the term Modern Synthesis freely is something more to think about. So pause a moment, collect your thoughts, reanalyze your evidence, then give us an argument supported by evidence that actually supports your position.

I strongly sense a reluctance on your part to accept that different people, even in the professional sciences, define some terms in moderately different fashion. Your desire for precision is laudable, but it disregards both practicality and reality. And your insistence that other definitions are not simply alternate perspectives but errors is hindering discussion. That not everyone defines words the same way is just something most people learn somewhere along the way.

The multiplicity of citations everyone's provided so far in this discussion seems to indicate that scientists differ moderately on the definition of the terms Modern Synthesis, Synthetic Theory of Evolution and Neo-Darwinism. Your problem is that nowhere is there any explicit statement by anyone that the Modern Synthesis has been replaced. The evidence you have offered is consistent with what everyone else here already believes, namely that we've learned a lot about evolution and genetics in the past half century, and this has added to the Modern Synthesis. References to things like the Current Synthesis are simply acknowledging that growth.

By the way, though asked a couple times now, you still haven't provided any support for your claim that Current Unification of Evolutionary Theories and Current Synthesis of Evolutionary theories are terms used today within biology. As I've stated before, I can find them in no book or web-site. Errors or fabrications result in a point for the other side, and I'd hate to see that happen, so please support this.

I'd like to ask everyone here (all three of us! ) to do a couple things. Please stop any form of non-positive personal statements and focus on the issues. And please work within a spirit of collegiality and compromise. When I add up the score at the end it'd be nice if I wasn't comparing negative numbers. Keep in mind that though it might feel good (real good, as I well know) to throw in that zinger, as a debating point it goes in the book as a -1 (actually, a point for the other side, but it's the same thing). Thanks.

--Percy.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Thmsberry, posted 03-12-2001 2:08 AM Thmsberry has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 18619
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 8 of 22 (205)
03-12-2001 4:34 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Thmsberry
03-12-2001 2:02 AM


Hi Thmsberry!

I need a break, so I thought I'd comment on this:

quote:

http://www.msu.edu/course/mic/431/chapt03.htm

Pathetic. Website. It was a summary of study notes. It was not a respected textbook and in types of mutations did not mention all the horizontal mechanisms, if any.


A couple things.

First, I think Larry meant for you to note that the definition of mutation is precisely consistent (nearly word for word) with one of the definitions we've offered.

Second, the website is for a course at Michigan State University, which has an excellent reputation both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The course notes are for a course called Microbial Biology, and the textbook listed for it is listed in the syllabus: Molecular Genetics of Bacteria by Larry Snyder and Wendy Champness. About Wendy Champness I was able to find this at sites selling the textbook - I assume it's from the book jacket:

quote:

Wendy Champness, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Microbiology at Michigan State University where she has been teaching microbial genetics to undergraduate and graduate students for more than 12 years. Most of her research has been on the regulation of antibiotic synthesis genes in Streptomyces. Research in her laboratory is supported by the National Science Foundation. She is a member of the Genetics and Cell and Molecular Biology Programs at Michigan State University and was a charter member of the NSF Center for Microbial Ecology at Michigan State. She is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Bacteriology.


I wasn't able to find an online bio of Larry Snyder, but he may also be at MSU, and presumably he has either more seniority or more experience or better credentials since his name is listed first.

It's hard to tell from an Internet search how popular the textbook is, but I did find that it is also used at Northern Illinois University, see this syllabus.

Larry's citation is insufficient since he should have first done this investigation himself and stated that the course was at respected MSU and that he believed the definition in the course notes likely derived from the course textbook.

But your challenge of Larry's citation of this website is also incomplete and insufficient, and now with more information it simply falls apart. If you're going to challenge something you should first make sure all your ducks are lined up in a row instead of just blindly issuing a challenge.

I do agree with your interpretation of Larry's assertion that "one of the books will make you look especially silly." First, this is inappropriate. Second, it's incredibly vague as there's no way to know which book. Third, your definition seems self-evidently reasonable. What's unreasonable is your insistence that the definition of mutation is the same everywhere in all contexts.

I own three textbooks on genetics (two by accident, but that's another story), and none mention horizontal mechanisms in their definitions of mutation. In fact, they don't mention horizontal mechanisms at all. They all deal solely with changes to the existing genome, never anywhere with additions to the genome from the outside. I don't know if this is typical for genetics textbooks, but all were published after 1998, so they're fairly recent.

But when I read in other places, such as books or articles on evolution, or in the aforementioned genetics textbook by Snyder and Champness, I see mutation defined more expansively in a way that includes horizontal mechanisms. And both are correct. Some books are saying that for their purposes they're defining mutation one way, while others are saying that for their purposes they're defining it another. I'm sure that when the scientists involved talk to each other they have no problem with this. "Oh, you're including horizontal mechanisms in the definition of mutation? Okay, for this discussion I have no problem adopting that definition."

People probably wouldn't have too much of a problem adopting your definition of the Modern Synthesis for the purposes of this discussion if you weren't so insistent that they not only adopt your definition, but concede their own definition wrong, too. By demanding everything you're getting nothing.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Thmsberry, posted 03-12-2001 2:02 AM Thmsberry has not yet responded

  
lbhandli
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 22 (206)
03-12-2001 6:46 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Thmsberry
03-12-2001 2:08 AM


quote:

Let's examine some of the sites that you presented.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/mutations.html#types

Great. Talkorigin has a section where it defines mutation the way your trying to. Fine.


I'm sorry, but this thread is getting torn into shreads by evasive replies. There are three issues that have now been brought up.

1) the meaning of the Modern Synthesis
2) What is a mutation?
3) Are mutations random?

I am starting two new threads so that each issue is not further confused. On this thread I will return to your previous post since you did not respond to anything regarding the Modern Synthesis.

Fromost 71

quote:

In your discussion, you have not yet addressed the dishonesty of this current argument. I
showed in my last post and previous posts that Larry was using Modern Synthesis in the same way that I was, before he conceded to my Modern Synthesis is a partial theory argument.

Specifically, where are you referring to when you say my concession? Please be specific. You avoided this issue in your last post.

quote:

I gave several examples to this fact. And now, he claims that he is using this new blurred meaning to try and negate his very concession early on in the past thread.

Your specific examples are to articles that are quite old. The only recent article you cite is a quote provided by me from an article by Ayala and Fitch. I will quote further from that article to show the context of it and why you are misusing it claiming it supports your case.

[b] [QUOTE]
Theodosius Dobzhansky (1900-1975) was a key author of the Synthetic Theory of Evolution, also known as the Modern Synthesis of Evolutionary Theory, which embodies a complex array of biological knowledge centered around Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection couched in genetic terms. The epithet "synthetic" primarily alludes to the artful combination of Darwin's Natural Selection with Mendilian genetics, but also the incorporation of relevant knowledge from biological disciplines. In the 1920s and 1930s several theorists had developed mathematical accounts of natural selection as a genetic process. Dobzhansky's Genetics adn the Origin of Species, published in 1937, refashioned their formulations in language that biologists could understand, dressed the equations with natural history and experimental population genetics, and extended the synthesis to speciation and other cardinal problems omitted by the mathematicians.
[/b][/QUOTE]

Now add to it the quote already seen:

[b] [QUOTE]
The current Synthetic Theory has grown around that original synthesis. It is not just one single hypothesis (or theory) with its corroborating evidence, but a multidisciplinary body of knowledge bearing on biological evolution, an amalgam of well-established theories and working hypotheses, together with the observations and experiments that support accepted hypotheses (and falsely rejected ones), which jointly seek to explain the evolutionary process and its outcomes. These hypotheses, observations, and experiments often originate in disciplines such as genetics, embryology, zoology, botany, paleontology, and molecular biology. Currently, the "synthetic" epithet is often omitted and the compilation of relevant knowledge is simply known as the Theory of Evolution. This is still expanding, just like the "holding" business corporations that have grown around an original enterprise, but continue incorporating new profitable enterprises and discarding unprofitable ones.
[/b][/QUOTE]

Your response to this is apparently:

quote:

One of my references called Evolution: The Modern Synthesis, by Sir Julian Huxley in 1944, is the book and the main scientist that coined the term in the public mind.

Once again, I expressed my argument quite clearly. You can not add an entirely different set of mechanisms to a theory and claim that it is the same theory.


What you have failed to answer is why would books from the 1940s tell us anything about how the term is used currently. Ayala and Fitch, by any reasonable reading, are saying that the term Modern Synthesis is simply the joining of genetics and selection mechanisms. It wasn't meant, at least in Ayala's eyes (nor Futyma's as I'll explain later) as restrictive to a set of specific holdings, but as a rejection of pure mutationists and biometricians and a unifying of the two fields into one field that still exists. Genetics has changed, but nothing about the joining of natural selection/drift and genetics has at it core. Additionally, as Strickberger points out, the real key to the Synthesis was that it put an end to Larmarkian speculation as well as saltational theories that were competing at the time. A change in the field of genetics that simply finds another mechanism is simply not a challenge to the synthesis of the two areas, but adds to its body of knowledge. And in this way, Ayala and Fitch most importantly point out that the Modern Synthesis isn't simply a theory or hypothesis, but field of study guided by certain principles. See Futuyma later...

Note, if you were arguing from Gould's point of view here, you could probably say that Ayala and Fitch are inconsistent with Ayala's view in 1981 if you wanted to be pedantic. However, Gould doesn't take issue with Ayala over genetics, but over selection vs drift and the possible implications for PE. If you want to disagree with Ayala and Fitch, fine. But there are extremely well qualified researchers in the field who hold exactly that position.

In looking for other examples I have yet to find a source that does make the distinction that you do regarding genetics being so different as to require a different Synthesis. Indeed, it appears that such a new Synthesis would have had to appear in the 1950s with the clear emergence of DNA as information for genes.

Another source that I looked at are Evolution, by Monroe W. Strickberger, Copyright 2000 by Jones and Bartlett Publishers. He breaks down the Modern Synthesis just as Gould and Ayala do with no mention of a problem with genetics, but actually with drift versus selection.

A final source I picked up was the most recent edition of Futuyma, Evolutionary Biology, 3rd Edition, 1998. His work presents maybe the biggest challenge to you. You want to claim it was a partial theory and didn't include drift (despite Wrights work on the issue) or horizontal mechanisms. Ayala and Fitch would reply that it wasn't meant to be a definitive theory, but a field of research. The interesting thing is after the formulation of the Modern Synthesis, research blossomed finding all sorts of new findings that built upon the melding of selection and genetics. In laying out the Modern Synthesis as it was, Futuyma points out 20 basic tenets of that theory. Before doing so, Futuyma says

quote:

Although some authors, have challenged, or even rejectedd some of these principles, the vast majority of evolutionary biologists today accept them as valid and use them as a foundation for evolutionary research.

Given the number of points, I can't reprint them all (the book is widely available), but I find little in them that has been challenged. Indeed, Futuyma discusses the first two decades after the formation of the Modern Synthesis as being spent discovering the genetic mechanisms.

As Percy has pointed out, we can simply refer to the Modern Synthesis by your definition if you wish. If it will move along the discussion, fine.

Let me adress a couple last points:

quote:

I would like to point out in Larry’s discussion of the Ayala quote that he simply disagreed with me. Fine. But did not present cooberating evidence. The quote that he presented says the exact argument that I am a making.

No, it does not. Ayala and Fitch make a significantly different argument. I have added more material to put in even better context. No one is arguing that the Modern Synthesis as formulated in the 1940s is still our current understanding. However, the current use of term is not monolithic as you claim. You cited :
http://www.pku.edu.cn/academic/xb/97/_97e619.html
This is the Gould/Ayala debate. It is unclear to me that it has any relevance to the debate over genetic mechanisms. Essentially the researcher disagrees with Ayala just as Gould does and we have already addressed this. This is a different issue.

Cheers,
Larry Handlin

[This message has been edited by lbhandli (edited 03-12-2001).]

[This message has been edited by lbhandli (edited 03-12-2001).]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Thmsberry, posted 03-12-2001 2:08 AM Thmsberry has not yet responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 18619
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 10 of 22 (209)
03-12-2001 9:36 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Thmsberry
03-12-2001 2:08 AM


Hi Thmsberry,

This was mostly written in bits and pieces over the weekend though I didn't finish it till just now, but parts may seem a bit repetitive because of my earlier posts today.

--Percy


Hi Thmsberry,

quote:
But your side has not presented one shread of evidence from an authoritative source that states that current theory of Evolution is properly called the Modern Synthesis.

And you haven't presented any evidence that it's called something different, and I'm afraid the onus is on you. That's because you claim a new theory was introduced in the 70s and 80s that is something other than the Modern Synthesis, while the rest of us here say that biology is still operating under the Modern Synthesis. You need to cite something that backs your claim. There's certainly nothing we can do to rebut something that never happened. There's not going to be anyone writing that "The Modern Synthesis was not supplanted in the 70s and 80s as Thmsberry claims." You have to show you're not just making it up.

To this point you have not given any citations supporting your view. The single citation you did provide didn't support your view, and you refer to it here:

quote:
And the authoritative quote that shows that the Current Synthetic theory grew and grows and around the original synthesis. This shows inarguably that the theories are distinct.

You're referring to the Ayala quote, so here it is again. I reproduce it in full because it is a definition I completely agree with:

The current Synthetic Theory has grown around that original synthesis. It is not just one single hypothesis (or theory) with its corroborating evidence, but a multidisciplinary body of knowledge bearing on biological evolution, an amalgam of well-established theories and working hypotheses, together with the observations and experiments that support accepted hypotheses (and falsely rejected ones), which jointly seek to explain the evolutionary process and its outcomes. These hypotheses, observations, and experiments often originate in disciplines such as genetics, embryology, zoology, botany, paleontology, and molecular biology. Currently, the "synthetic" epithet is often omitted and the compilation of relevant knowledge is simply known as the Theory of Evolution. This is still expanding, just like the "holding" business corporations that have grown around an original enterprise, but continue incorporating new profitable enterprises and discarding unprofitable ones.

pg 7961. Ayala, Francisco J. and Walter M Fitch. "Genetics and the origin of species: An Introduction." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. USA Vol 94 7691-7697. July 1997.

Ayala uses the term "Synthetic Theory", but that's just a synonym for the Modern Synthesis:

The combination of the Mendelian theory of heredity and the Darwinian theory of evolution has come to be called variously the Modern Synthesis, or the synthetic theory of evolution, or neo-Darwinism.

Evolution, p. 10, Mark Ridley, Oxford University Press, 1997.

This simply illustrates the vagueness inherent in language. Back in the 30s and 40s the full name for the Modern Synthesis was the Synthetic Theory of Evolution. For another example, the Britannica describes the development of the Modern Synthesis under the heading The Synthetic Theory of Evolution (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 18, p. 987, 1986). Language makes it possible to refer to the same thing in more than one way. The Modern Synthesis was referred to as the Synthetic Theory long before you say it was developed in the 70s and 80s.

You also say about the Ayala quote that "This shows inarguably that the theories are distinct." I'm afraid I can't agree with your interpretation. Using your lingo, the Modern Synthesis lies at the core of the Current Synthesis. Just as the earth and the earth's core are not distinct planets, the Modern Synthesis and the Current Synthesis are not distinct theories. If you want to draw attention to developments since the 70s by referring to their added findings as the Current Synthesis I think most people would have little problem with this, but calling the Modern Synthesis and the Current Synthesis distinct theories makes little sense to most people.

You are going to have to face the fact that there are similar but different definitions out there. For example, here is a definition of the Synthetic Theory of Evolution that is very inclusive in that it includes molecular biology (http://daphne.palomar.edu/synthetic/synth_1.htm):

We now understand that natural selection is just one of a number of processes that can lead to evolution. This knowledge has resulted in the development of a more complete understanding of genetic changes that is usually described as the synthetic theory of evolution. This is essentially a combination of Charles Darwin's concept of natural selection, Gregor Mendel's basic understanding of genetic inheritance, along with evolutionary theories developed in the 20th century by population geneticists and molecular biologists.

Synthetic Theory of Evolution, Dennis O'Neil, Palomar college.

And here is a similar but not identical citation that doesn't mention microbiology but considers Neo-Darwinism a synonym for the Synthetic Theory of Evolution (disagreeing, by the way, with Larry Moran):

The combination of Darwinian natural selection and Mendelian genetics is called the synthetic theory of evolution.

A book called Evolution, the History of an Idea (Peter J. Bowler, University of California Press, 1989) explains why Neo-Darwinism is synonymous with the Modern Synthesis at only a superficial level. It turns out the first soldier marching under the Neo-Darwinist banner was the German scientist August Weismann. In the 1890s he vehemently advocated selection as the sole driving force behind evolution. This naturally conflicts with the later findings of the population geneticists regarding genetic drift and so forth, and so of course Neo-Darwinism cannot be a synonym for the Modern Synthesis. Yet most scientists are not also students of the history of their science, and so we find many books and textbooks which view Neo-Darwinism and the Modern Synthesis as synonyms, in effect giving Neo-Darwinism the same meaning as the later term Modern Synthesis. And for virtually all discussion but historical the fact that this is inaccurate is unimportant and of no consequence. For example, it is probable that many geneticists believe the Modern Synthesis and Neo-Darwinism are synonyms, but it makes no difference at all as they work on cures for AIDS, search for solutions to Alzheimer's and determine approaches for slowing the aging process. Irrelevant.

This same book also has a chapter, the last chapter as it happens, called The Modern Debates where it discusses recent developments affecting issues in evolution, including the Modern Synthesis. Any mention of replacement of the Modern Synthesis during the 70s and 80s is prominently missing. Punctuated equilibrium and the rise of cladistics are both mentioned, the former as the somewhat more significant challenge to the Modern Synthesis because of it's rejection of gradualism, but a replacement of the Modern Synthesis isn't mentioned, and certainly not due to incorporation of horizontal mechanisms into a new theory which don't even rate a mention. No book can cover everything, so perhaps it has left out mention of the events you think took place, but so far we have no evidence of this, only your unsupported claims.

Ernst Mayr, a significant participant during the period of the original synthesis, wrote a book in 1991 titled One Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought (Harvard University Press). In the final chapter titled New Frontiers in Evolutionary Biology he does the same thing as Bowler did in the last chapter of his book, describe challenges to the Modern Synthesis. As a primary contributor to the original synthesis he can be expected to energetically defend it even after it was long dead and buried. In other words, we know he can't be unbiased. But though sounding defensive when saying the synthesis is misunderstood by its critics, the chapter nonetheless reads like a dispassionate description of a number of challenges to the Modern Synthesis from molecular biology, punctuated equilibrium, neutral evolution, sociobiology and somatics. If Mayr thought the synthesis dead or on its last legs or even just beset by a sea of troubles he gives no hint of it.

Here is a quote from a book by Donald Johanson, discoverer of Lucy, showing that even the term Modern Synthesis and Synthetic Theory of Evolution aren't necessarily universal, that we also have to consider that people of other nationalities may have different preferred terms:

The final result was a triumph of intellectual organization, a coming together of evidence from many disciplines to produce what came to be known as the New Evolutionary Synthesis.

Blueprints: Solving the Mystery of Evolution, p. 182, Maitland A. Edey, Donald Johanson, 1990.

In fact, Mayr's book backs Johanson's view more than anything else, since he claims on page 134 that the term evolutionary synthesis was introduced by Julian Huxley in 1942.

What we see here is a variety of usages and interpretations. For you to insist that there is one and one only definition and interpretation flies in the face not only of this evidence, but of everyday experience with language. You only reinforce this when you say:

quote:
Face it, the original synthesis from the 30s and 40s was called the Modern Synthesis. This is a fact. The Synthetic theory came a lot later (late 70's early 80s) This also a fact. The synthetic theory is most popularly called the Current Synthesis, the Synthetic theory, or simply the Theory of Evolution.

Even your own definition of the Current Synthesis has the synonyms of the Synthetic Theory and the Theory of Evolution. Yet the Synthetic Theory was one of the names used back in the 40s, and the term Theory of Evolution is even older. Language is much more pliable than is allowed for in your philosophy.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Thmsberry, posted 03-12-2001 2:08 AM Thmsberry has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by Thmsberry, posted 03-13-2001 1:13 AM Percy has responded

  
Thmsberry
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 22 (210)
03-13-2001 1:13 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Percy
03-12-2001 9:36 PM


Percy and Larry,

This exactly what I mean about you not being objective.

My argument here is simple and your response completely missed it.

You agree that the Modern Synthesis is defined more than one way.

When I presented my main argument that the Modern Synthesis is a partial theory.
I defined what I meant by Modern Synthesis.
In debate your side agreed with my definition. And I had them to directly agree that we were not using the second definiton. (My Post 27 and 31 of thread MSCES)

Now, After my Horizontal Mechanism point proves that the Modern Synthesis, defined the way it was in the actual argument, is a partial theory. Your side is making the claim that we were using the second definition. This is not honest. And I have presented the fact that your side was not arguing the second definition. (My Post 27 and 31 of thread MSCES)

As moderator, I am waiting for you to evaluate this argument objectively. Yet, at every turn, you are avoiding this which is the real point of this discussion

Examples of you being a debator. Giving your personal opinion and not evidence for your sides argument, this unnecessary tangent.

Please do not create straw mans. When have I argued that the Modern Synthesis was replaced in the 70s and 80s or that it is a dead theory. Like Yung said, it is merely one of many Evolutionary views within the Current Synthesis. Or Ayala, The current synthetic theory has grown around this original synthesis. You act as if I said the Modern Synthesis is a poor or dead theory. I, on numerous occasions have said that it is a great theory. And come on. What’s with this poor earth analogy. If the core is the center of the Earth. They are different things. The core is not the earth. However, the Earth consist of a part that is called the core. Get it. Partial theory, i.e. my argument. My point, once again, proven by your own analogy. That’s why I consistently say they are in agreement with me.

Where is this straw man coming from that I am saying that the Modern Synthesis is not sometimes claimed to be the Current synthesis? The straw man that Modern Synthesis is used in only one way. I have not argued that. It is a lot of times. In your list of sources on the topic, I hope you can agree that many of them don’t concur. How many times do anticreationist argue that Creationist do not know what they are talking about when they argue against NeoDarwinism? Sites like Talkorigin acts as if an interpretation that say that NeoDarwinism is the same as the Modern Synthesis is incorrect. Yet, some of your sources that you are basing your premise on allow for them to be one in the same. Once again, ambiguity of terms is what semantic argument are based on. At the end of the day, you will probably just prefer that we differentiate what we are talking about by using the terms Original synthesis(Modern Synthesis the way it was actually defined in this argument) and Evolutionary synthesis(a term that is basically the same as saying Theory of Evolution).

In all honesty, these straw man’s are not as bad as the one’s that Larry is trying to slip under the radar. The unsupported claim that I have argued that Modern Synthesis does not include Genetic Drift or the argument that the Modern Synthesis was replace by subsequent discoveries in Genetics.

You see, what you are really missing is the fact that even the Current Synthesis rarely mentions horizontal mechanisms as well. But the main reason that I am so adamant, is that one difference between the Modern Synthesis and Current Synthesis, is that the Current Synthetic theory of Evolution is typically just called ToE. This is an important power that it has. Because all subsequent developments can arguably be incorporated into it. So even if elements of it are completely proven wrong, the name Current Synthesis, Synthetic theory of Evolution, and Theory of Evolution can live on. I can’t argue against an all encompassing theory. It would have been an exercise in futility to debate that an all encompassing theory that has the ability to evolve is a partial theory.

Finally, Ironically, the tangent that we have been having about the Modern Synthesis is identical to the Bible. If I use the term Bible and define it to mean only the old testament, I would be extremely precise in my terminology. The term Ta Bible or the Bible was the term given to the original synthesis of Hebrew text in the Septuagint. This synthesis existed before any of the writings of the new testament were even concieved. If the other side of the debate, uses this precise definition as well for the word Bible and looses an argument on the Bible using this definiton. They can not then arguene can define the Bible to mean the old testament and the new testament. Under this alternative definiton, we did not loose debate.

Even though this alternate definition is a possibility, one could even say more popular though not as precise, it simply was not the definition used by both sides in the previous debate. They would still loose the argument because in a debate once terms are defined and used by both sides. You can’t ex post facto change the meaning of the terms quintessential to the debate. Not only is such a process dishonest, but it simply does not allow debate to be possible. Now, for a future debate one could use the terms original bible and Christian Bible or in our case original synthesis and Evolutionary Synthesis (though I would prefer Current Synthesis). This terminology change for future debate would not change the fact that the previous debate was lost.

Finally, Finally, all the information that I have read by you and Larry on this topic has clearly illustrated that the term has multiple uses. While not the main reason for this current tangent, It appears to me that your side has effectively demonstrated that, unlike in my Bible example, the ambiguity in terminology stems from the very beginning. My separation of Modern Synthesis from Current Synthesis is definitely more precise and eliminates ambiguity and you would probably prefer Original Synthesis and Evolutionary Synthesis. But, if I did not define the terms as was done earlier in the debate, the ambiguity would be unavoidable. I simply was not aware that the Modern Synthesis was also called the Synthetic theory of Evolution from the beginning. I am going to have to double check Sir Huxley and T. from before 44s. I already know that T. definately called his current ubdate of the theory, current theory not MS, and at the same time, the Synthetic theory in the 70s. Also, Mayr in his earlier work and his recent work in Evolutionary Synthesis would also have to mention this point in his 50 page outline of developments in the Synthetic theory. But if all this does in fact pan out as it probably will, it is good to know.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Percy, posted 03-12-2001 9:36 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by lbhandli, posted 03-13-2001 1:52 PM Thmsberry has not yet responded
 Message 13 by Percy, posted 03-13-2001 9:01 PM Thmsberry has responded

lbhandli
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 22 (216)
03-13-2001 1:52 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Thmsberry
03-13-2001 1:13 AM


quote:
Originally posted by Thmsberry:

When I presented my main argument that the Modern Synthesis is a partial theory.
I defined what I meant by Modern Synthesis.
In debate your side agreed with my definition. And I had them to directly agree that we were not using the second definiton. (My Post 27 and 31 of thread MSCES)


In 27 you are taking issue with Ayala's quote, of which you now say supports your position. The disagreement had started long before then. I disagreed specifically before and after that. As far as your claims that I agreed to some mysterious second definition, I would suggest you produce evidence of it. I have asked, you have now refused to answer it several times.

quote:

Now, After my Horizontal Mechanism point proves that the Modern Synthesis, defined the way it was in the actual argument, is a partial theory. Your side is making the claim that we were using the second definition. This is not honest. And I have presented the fact that your side was not arguing the second definition. (My Post 27 and 31 of thread MSCES)

Again, you have not provided a source that discusses the Unification of Evolutionary Theories. Please do so. I also specifically said this is not what I'm arguing. To repeat for the umpteenth time, the Modern Synthesis is series of tenets not a strict theory. Those tenets essentially wed genetics with selection. There is an argument from Gould and some others that with the debate over drift the Modern Synthesis is outdated--Futuyma points this out in his book.

I am not arguing for the Unification of Evolutionary theories because I don't see the Modern Synthesis as a strict theory. Neither does Ayala and Fitch. I am not arguing for it as a strict theory as stated in the 1940s. I have been arguing for it to be the general wedding of selection and genetics. I pointed out in my last post why this is significantly different than what the debate was before 1940. You see, my argument doesn't equal your argument or this mysterious unification of evolutionary theories that you refuse to cite. And neither does Ayala and Fitch. So, you can continue to argue that thmsberry is the sole decider of terminology or you can move on.

quote:

In all honesty, these straw man’s are not as bad as the one’s that Larry is trying to slip under the radar. The unsupported claim that I have argued that Modern Synthesis does not include Genetic Drift or the argument that the Modern Synthesis was replace by subsequent discoveries in Genetics.

Yeah, nice try. You claim neutralists shouldn't be included in the Modern Synthesis--Gould argues the same thing. Ayala argues differently pointing to Wright's research. And in relation to the Modern Synthesis, that is the heart of the disagreement. You claim that the Modern Synthesis has been replaced. I would argue that the essential wedding of genetics with selection mechanisms is still in place and that we haven't returned to debating Lamarking or pure mutational arguments.

quote:

You see, what you are really missing is the fact that even the Current Synthesis rarely mentions horizontal mechanisms as well.

The importance of HGTs is still debated. Though it is accepted as important in the early stages of life, its relative impact is still quite uncertain. For some of the strongest evidence that it is important later on see the new link to Mike Syvanen's articles. However, as simply another genetic mechanism, I don't understand why this would be a challenge to the foundation of the Modern Synthesis (as I use the term).

quote:

But the main reason that I am so adamant, is that one difference between the Modern Synthesis and Current Synthesis, is that the Current Synthetic theory of Evolution is typically just called ToE. This is an important power that it has. Because all subsequent developments can arguably be incorporated into it. So even if elements of it are completely proven wrong, the name Current Synthesis, Synthetic theory of Evolution, and Theory of Evolution can live on.

What elements would be completely proven wrong? Natural selection? Drift? Mutation? Are you arguing for a Lamarkian evolution? Or mutationist interpretation? What is it that would overturn the current understanding? I imagine we will find new mechanisms and the such, but I have no idea why you seem to expect a radical change in the theory. Please clarify.

quote:

I can’t argue against an all encompassing theory. It would have been an exercise in futility to debate that an all encompassing theory that has the ability to evolve is a partial theory.

You could argue for a saltational event (as some HGT advocates claim may have occurred through natural processes), Lamarkian evolution, mutationist arguments, but you wouldn't get far because the evidence isn't there. Perhaps you could explain what you do take issue with then. Or if you aren't taking issue with current evolutionary theory what exactly is it that you are arguing for?

Cheers,
Larry Handlin

[This message has been edited by lbhandli (edited 03-14-2001).]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Thmsberry, posted 03-13-2001 1:13 AM Thmsberry has not yet responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 18619
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 13 of 22 (218)
03-13-2001 9:01 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Thmsberry
03-13-2001 1:13 AM


Hi Thmsberry,

Larry and I already understand your position. Describing it again and again is not necessary. To this point in time you have offered no references to anyone authoritative who shares your view. The natural assumption is that is you could, you would.

Many references have been provided by Larry and me in support of our views, you have offered none, since those you did offer contradict you. Please supply references or evidence in some form, else I will soon close this thread and seek someone other than myself or Larry or you to judge the result.

--Percy

[This message has been edited by Percipient (edited 03-13-2001).]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Thmsberry, posted 03-13-2001 1:13 AM Thmsberry has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by Thmsberry, posted 03-14-2001 12:27 AM Percy has not yet responded

  
Thmsberry
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 22 (221)
03-14-2001 12:27 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Percy
03-13-2001 9:01 PM


Percy,

Are you intentionally dodging the real argument? Please don’t. I can’t debate in a forum if the other side can flip flop on their argument. Evaluate my post in MSCES, post 13 and 31 and show me where I am wrong.

In my Post 13, I review what we were arguing and show Larry and I were in fact from the Beginning arguing that the Modern Synthesis is a partial theory. Larry argues it is complete and needs no new mechanisms.
Larry “No new mechanism is needed--you misunderstand the mechanism as it fits in the Modern Synthesis. “

He later admits that other mechanisms lead to common descent other than mutation which is contrary to his current argument that mutations include everything. And Even his rebuttle to post 13, he said he had called the Modern Synthesis a theory but was wrong.

He quotes me when I (Thmsberry) asked the question:” Do you accept that the Modern Synthesis is a partial theory because the accumulation of mutations within a genome have been demonstrated as not being the only mechanism by which organisms evolve.”
Larry replies:” No one argues such a thing. But I'll accept that there are more than mutations that lead to increases in genetic diversity. Of course I have the entire discussion. Apparently you have a reading and writing problem.”

Larry even more in 14:” I have never argued that mutations are the only mechanism to lead to common descent. “

In Post 31, He defines Modern Synthesis the way that I do.
Larry:” Population genetics has advanced since the Modern Synthesis but the essential holding still stand. “
This sentence only makes since if he was defining the MS the way that I was.

Post 13 and 31 are essentially recaps of our argument. I give you these fragments only to give you a bit of what I am talking about 13 and 31 are more detailed. It shows how Larry has a habit of conceding parts of his argument and then later redefining his argument so there was no concession. I really can’t debate if this strategy is allowed. It’s even a mistake on his part or dishonest. But how can debate occur if its allowed. His most recent example of this is his change in the use of the word mutation and whether or not it includes Horizontal mechanisms.

This is why I have not moved on. I need clarification on whether you actually tolerate this strategy.

I need you to moderate this. Examine my Post 13 and 31. And if I am wrong on this, clearly and concisely tell me why. I don’t see how I can be wrong, even more so with this new redefining of the word mutation.

Thanks.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Percy, posted 03-13-2001 9:01 PM Percy has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by lbhandli, posted 03-14-2001 1:25 AM Thmsberry has responded

lbhandli
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 22 (223)
03-14-2001 1:25 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Thmsberry
03-14-2001 12:27 AM


quote:
Originally posted by Thmsberry:
Percy,

Are you intentionally dodging the real argument? Please don’t. I can’t debate in a forum if the other side can flip flop on their argument. Evaluate my post in MSCES, post 13 and 31 and show me where I am wrong.

In my Post 13, I review what we were arguing and show Larry and I were in fact from the Beginning arguing that the Modern Synthesis is a partial theory. Larry argues it is complete and needs no new mechanisms.
Larry “No new mechanism is needed--you misunderstand the mechanism as it fits in the Modern Synthesis. “


And what new mechanism is required in the way use the term Modern Synthesis?
Genetics wed to selection processes--remember? Modern genetics is covered and so are selection. Saltation mechanisms? Purely mutational mechanisms? What new mechanism? Lamarkian?

quote:

He later admits that other mechanisms lead to common descent other than mutation which is contrary to his current argument that mutations include everything.

No, I was arguing that HGTs are mutations. See that thread for my position after asking Syvanen.

quote:

And Even his rebuttle to post 13, he said he had called the Modern Synthesis a theory but was wrong.

Right, because I off-handedly referred to it that way and in any strict sense I've never used it as a theory.

let's continue my with what I said in message 14:

quote:

Wrong, I'm arguing you have wrongly defined the Modern Synthesis. It isn't really a theory, but a set of theories of which modern evolutionary biology adheres to. It is a synthesis (wow) of genetics and mechanisms for selection. While I may call it a theory from time to time, I'm wrong when I do so.

If you are going to misrepresent what I said, you ought to do it without such a clear record. This is remarkably consistent with Ayala and Fitch.

quote:

He quotes me when I (Thmsberry) asked the question:” Do you accept that the Modern Synthesis is a partial theory because the accumulation of mutations within a genome have been demonstrated as not being the only mechanism by which organisms evolve.”
Larry replies:” No one argues such a thing. But I'll accept that there are more than mutations that lead to increases in genetic diversity. Of course I have the entire discussion. Apparently you have a reading and writing problem.”

Larry even more in 14:” I have never argued that mutations are the only mechanism to lead to common descent. “


Correct. Recombination, natural selection and drift are other mechanisms and given HGTs as well. I made this point before. If you read what you wrote and how I responded in post 12 in this case, I am responding to your claim that only the accumulation of mutations is included in the Modern Synthesis. Even you agree that natural selection was included in the Modern Synthesis. Should I repeat your statement about how careful you are with language for you here?

In fact, the Modern Synthesis pulled away from those who argued that the only only mechanism of evolution were mutations.

quote:

In Post 31, He defines Modern Synthesis the way that I do.
Larry:” Population genetics has advanced since the Modern Synthesis but the essential holding still stand. “
This sentence only makes since if he was defining the MS the way that I was.

The essential holding in how I have been making the argument is that genetics and selection are wed together. This is different than a saltational theory, a mutationist theory or a Lamarkian theory.

quote:

Post 13 and 31 are essentially recaps of our argument. I give you these fragments only to give you a bit of what I am talking about 13 and 31 are more detailed. It shows how Larry has a habit of conceding parts of his argument and then later redefining his argument so there was no concession. I really can’t debate if this strategy is allowed. It’s even a mistake on his part or dishonest. But how can debate occur if its allowed. His most recent example of this is his change in the use of the word mutation and whether or not it includes Horizontal mechanisms.

Yeah, conveniently choosing the quotes of mine is dishonest.

Cheers,
Larry Handlin


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by Thmsberry, posted 03-14-2001 12:27 AM Thmsberry has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by Thmsberry, posted 03-14-2001 4:41 AM lbhandli has responded

Thmsberry
Inactive Member


Message 16 of 22 (225)
03-14-2001 4:41 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by lbhandli
03-14-2001 1:25 AM


You wrote:"Yeah, conveniently choosing the quotes of mine is dishonest. "

But this is simply not what I am doing. The fragments I am presenting are just to get Percy's attention. In post 13 and 31 I refer to you and ask that Percy analyze the exchanges in detail.

In this Tangent critiquing the previous debate, you appear to me to be changing what you argued in the past.

Quotes from your evaluation of your argument in MSCES and now simply do not match what we were actually arguing in NUTFRfHE.

If what you are saying now about Mutations and Modern Synthesis was consistent and clearly communicated in NUTFRfHe, instead of the long drawn out debate that we have been having, I would have just accomodated my terminology to mutually agreed upon meanings.

For example: Instead of the Modern Synthesis is a partial theory, I would have debated The Original synthesis was incomplete. You would have quickly agreed then we would have moved on.

Then, the debate would have just been that if horozontal mechanism and/or any other future discovered mechanisms that cause genomic changes are considered to be a part of the mutational paradigm in Biological evolution, then the idea of extrapolation and testing for rates of mutation in Biological Evolution is almost completely meaningless. (I am not trying to make this argument now, but only pointing out that this is where my argument would have went)

I would have then argued that Biological Evolution currently has a paradox in it. And I would have used your Talkorigin links to do it. It makes the claim that "Biological evolution ... is change in the properties of populations of organisms that transcend the lifetime of a single individual. The ontogeny of an individual is not considered evolution; individual organisms do not evolve. " Yet at its core sits the Darwinian assumption that "The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are inheritable via the genetic material from one generation to the next. Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportion of different alleles within a population (such as those determining blood types) to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions." This quote comes from Futyama.

Yet, Larry Moran write, "In other words, the Modern Synthesis is a theory about how evolution works at the level of genes, phenotypes, and populations whereas Darwinism was concerned mainly with organisms, speciation and individuals. This is a major paradigm shift and those who fail to appreciate it find themselves out of step with the thinking of evolutionary biologists..."

I hope you can see the contradiction. Biological evolution claims that evolution does not occur at the level of an individual organism, but populations, genes, and phenotypes. Darwin was on the right track but imcomplete in its understanding. And then it turns around and assumes that all biodiverstiy can be traced back to an individual organism. Yet, Evolution today, unlike in Darwin's time, does not occur at the level of an individual organism. So the idea of an individual organism evolving and producing the variety of life we have today is not possible within this major paradigm shift. Paradox

Your view of the Modern Synthesis and mutation, if you would have presented it in the main debate, would have been irrelevant becuase I would just accomodated your meaning and the debate would have just moved on because it was the same thing as simply saying Biologial Evolution or Theory of Evolution.

If you want to move on and debate my argument against our current understanding and assumption of Biological Evolution or the Theory of Evolution, like we were trying to before. I am fine with that.

I just can't have a debate if you are not clear and consistent with your use of terms quintessential to the debate. It creates unnecessary tangents that end in semantic stalemates. Nobody is perfect. If there is a point where I define a term unclear to you, keep questioning me on it. And I will provide layer upon layer of detail, until we both are aware of what I mean. If the ambiguity is based on the word itself, I am always ready to accomodate by introducing a better word for the same idea.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by lbhandli, posted 03-14-2001 1:25 AM lbhandli has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by Percy, posted 03-14-2001 11:23 AM Thmsberry has responded
 Message 18 by lbhandli, posted 03-14-2001 11:52 AM Thmsberry has not yet responded

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