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Author Topic:   Modern Synthesis Can't Explain Speciation
Thmsberry
Inactive Member


Message 31 of 59 (164)
02-17-2001 5:53 AM
Reply to: Message 29 by lbhandli
02-16-2001 1:31 PM


Ignore previous post.

Larry,

**I do not know why you do not want to move on. How many times are you going to go through the exercise of forgetting what we actually argued in the past. Then, pretend we weren’t in fact arguing that the Modern Synthesis was a partial theory. Your new fictious argument is that we were arguing over what the definition of the Modern Synthesis. Come on Larry. Why do you keep doing this? Is there some sort of name for this in debate. I do not think straw man actually aplies. Instead of simply saying I am making argument that I am not. You keep imagining that our argument was about something else. We had a minor argument about whether the Neutral theory was a part of the Modern Synthesis. But it is quite clear that we were not debating disagreement between Gould and (Ayala and Fitch). It is most apparent that we were not debating whether one can define the Unification of Evolution theories as the same as the Modern Synthesis in our arguments over whether the Neutral theory is a part of the Modern Synthesis. Our actual argument and the fact that you were not arguing Ayala an Fitch is obvious in your post 73 of NUTFRfHE and post 89 of NUTFRfHE. Let’s once again examine Larry’s amnesia by reviewing these two post.**

**Starting with Larry in post 73 of NUTFRfHE **

You quote me:”This would require one of two things. A: You believe in macromutations. I.E. Hopeful monster. Which is not a part of the Modern Synthesis. Or B: You believe nonfunctional changes accumulate in a genome caused by mutation and at some point these neutral changes come together in just the right combination of individuals or individual, thus producing a new function. A function that may remain neutral or is selected. This would be a sort of combination of Neutral theory and the Modern Synthesis.”

**In B: I briefly state that you are attempting to incorporate Neutral theory in your definition of the Modern Synthesis. Here, you should have presented that your use of the Modern Synthesis is not really what I mean by the Modern Synthesis. You see, your use of the Modern Synthesis as synonymous to the unification or synthesis of Evolutionary theories. Yet, your rebuttle in no way directly addresses this argument.**

Larry writes:”Oh, I see the problem, you don't understand what one means when discussing the Modern Synthesis. Silly me, I thought you actually READ what people linked to. How dumb of me:
From:http://talkorigins.org/faqs/modern-synthesis.html
quote:

"The major tenets of the evolutionary synthesis, then, were that populations contain genetic variation that arises by random (ie. not adaptively directed) mutation and recombination; that populations evolve by changes in gene frequency brought about by random genetic drift, gene flow, and especially natural selection; that most adaptive genetic variants have individually slight phenotypic effects so that phenotypic changes are gradual (although some alleles with discrete effects may be advantageous, as in certain color polymorphisms); that diversification comes about by speciation, which normally entails the gradual evolution of reproductive isolation among populations; and that these processes, continued for sufficiently long, give rise to changes of such great magnitude as to warrant the designation of higher taxonomic levels (genera, families, and so forth)."
- Futuyma, D.J. in Evolutionary Biology, Sinauer Associates, 1986; p.12

Perhaps you need to do a little reading... “

**In your arguing ad homineum (sp), you present definition of the Modern Synthesis that no where mentions horizontal mechanisms as parts of the theory. And the Futuyama definition defined the Modern Synthesis the same way that I had in previous post. Giving me know direct hint that you were trying use a different definition of the Modern Synthesis than I was. In the link, the article by a different Larry, he mentions genetic drift is one of a number of Mechanisms in the Modern Synthesis. He never names any of these which left the possibility for horizontal mechanisms. When the author loosely made this statement, I became aware that, though not explicitly clear, that the possibility existed that you and the author that you quoted were using a different definition of the Modern Synthesis than I was. I combatted this possiblity by adding a higher level of detail to my definition of the Modern Synthesis and directly asking you were you trying to claim that the Modern Synthesis and the Current unification of Evolution theories are the same thing.**

**In post 89 of NUTFRfHE,**

You quote me (Thmsberry),” The argument between Selectionist and neutralist is not mediated by the Modern Synthesis. The Neutral theory came years about 30 after the Modern Synthesis. Your side is notorious for this sort of blurring. It is extremely typical. One aspect of the main differences between the theories is how mutations accumulate. “

**Futhermore, I provided a link http://www.colorado.edu/epob/epob3200ramey/Lecture10.html . The link help clarified what I meant by the Modern Synthesis and your comment illustrated that you got my point.**

You begin by quoting the link:” When these pieces came together, the fields of genetics and evolution were revitalized after decades of nasty, unfruitful debate among academics. This "Modern Synthesis" married the fields of population genetics,
evolution, and paleontology (blossoming in the 1930's). “

**The quote that you picked made it very clear to me that you knew what I meant by Modern Synthesis. But your response to the quote was even clearer.**

You Larry wrote:”This is the only reference I see and nothing in it a challenge to what I have been claiming--what is your point? Population genetics has advanced since the Modern Synthesis but the essential holding still stand. “

**This is your statement. If you were using the Unification of Evolutionary theories as the definition of Modern Synthesis, you not only would have disagreed with the quote, but you would have never said “Population genetics has advanced since the Modern Synthesis.” The statement would be I disagree with the quote. You would say something like ur current advances in Population genetics are part of the Modern Synthesis.**

**Finally, If these indications that you were not using a definition of Modern Synthesis that defined it as the Unification of Evolutionary theories, at one point at the post I directly asked you this question.**

You quote me(Thmsberry):” But basically, what you are trying to do is to claim that the Unification of Evolution theories is the same thing as the Modern Synthesis from the 30s. This claim is absolutely false. “

**Let’s see what your response was. **

You wrote:” No, I'm arguing that the Modern Synthesis is what Futuyama claims it is and the three essential elements of it above are still accepted. Are you reading what I'm writing?
I'm not responsible for you confusion. BTW--I asked you what Larry Moran (the author of the FAQ) considered to be dominant--genetic drift is the answer.”

**Your answer not only directly said that this was not your argument. I mean you did say no. No still mean no. You went on to say that it was made up of the three essential element that Futuyama claimed. Which have no horizontal mechanism.**

**So please Larry. Now, Let’s Compare this with some of your most recent writing in Post 29 of MSCES**

You write:” …I'm trying to get you to move on by explaining over and over and over again what we were disagreeing over. You appear not to understand so I have to repeat and repeat and repeat myself. If you would stop whining about it, we could move on. “

You write:” …The argument we were having concerned the definition of the Modern Synthesis. I argued the above which is what Ayala and Fitch argue the Modern Synthesis is and your denial of what they mean reaches new levels of bizareness. “

You write:” You are just acting silly now. To claim Gould is right is understandable, to not understand there is a debate over the term is pure PATHETIC IGNORANCE. I have given you cites and quotes---if you disagree fine, let's move on and just not use the term. However to claim that no debate occurs in science over the meaning of the term Modern Synthesis is simply wrong. “

**The problem with your stance in 29 of MSCES in three fold. You set a major straw man. First, You invent that our debate was about a scientific disagreement over the term Modern Synthesis. Next, You claim that I am ignorant of Current unification of Evolution theories and the opinions of Gould and others. But you conveniently forget that I brought this unification up in our original argument. Finally, you conveniently forget that when I directly asked you were you making this argument. You said “no”.**

**The more you keep using this convenient amnesia or inventing straw man tact it causes me to question your integrity in debate. Now, I want to give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe, you do not keep track of what we are actually arguing and what you actually have argued. Maybe, you wish you made the argument that you are trying to make now and simply did not remember that you denied and were not making this argument originally. This option would still show some a lack of integrity. Maybe, you always believed the argument you are trying to present but did not realize that you did not present this argument earlier and also did not remember or realize that you denied that you were making this argument already.**

**Who Knows? The technology currently does not exist to let me know what you think but I know what you have argued. I await your response.**

**Thanks You**


This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by lbhandli, posted 02-16-2001 1:31 PM lbhandli has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by lbhandli, posted 02-17-2001 12:46 PM Thmsberry has not yet responded

lbhandli
Inactive Member


Message 33 of 59 (165)
02-17-2001 12:46 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by Thmsberry
02-17-2001 5:53 AM


quote:
Originally posted by Thmsberry:
Larry,

**I do not know why you do not want to move on.


I do wish to move on. Do you remember the questions concerning common descent?

However, given your inability to understand the discussion I have had to point out what we were trying to move on to. If you would bother to notice, I've brought up evidence that you continue to ignore. You have claimed that above the family level you don't know of any evidence for common descent. Or is this just common descent with only mutation and recombination? Who knows, you don't care to explain yourself well enough for anyone to determine what you do mean. I suppose this is an effective strategy if you only wish to obscure what you mean instead of stating what you mean.

What is especially bizarre is this would mean that we couldn't conclude that mammals come from a common ancestor or even primates. Would you care to address this? Or are you going to continue to avoid the subject? It is even stranger in context of the references to Doolittle's work you have been given on two occasions to claim you don't know of any evidence. Or is the entire argument that horizontal gene transfer is required as well?

And then your rather strange argument that extrapolation is unwarranted in science.

quote:

If you know of evidence that the genomes of organism at the family level of distinction differ by micromutations please present it. I am not arguing that this is a fact (the strawman). I am arguing that it has not been observed nor is there cooberating evidence for this speculation

quote:

Do you have actual evidence to the contrary and not speculation based on extrapolation?

As for evidence that demonstrates that common descent can and does account for different families let's look within the Order Primate at Super Families Hominoidea and Cercopithecoidea.

In nucleotide distances from the yh-globin gene and surrounding area, we observe that these are quite consistent with a process that requires nothing but mutation and recombination. Additionally, the comparisons of the genomes don't require any sort of other mechanism that would create faster change. The rate is consistent with observed rates currently and we don't observe any discrepancies that would require another mechanism. While a full conclusion would await further genome decoding and it is possible some other mechanism could account for such differences, why would not make the inference given the evidence of nucleotide differences. The rates are those calculated by WJ Bailey et al in Molecular Biological Evolution 1991: 8:155-184. Why would we infer a different mechanism if current rates match expected differences? I must say I'm confused by your claims there is no evidence. Of course we are able to establish evolutionary relationships through common markers quite easily between these two Superfamilies as well.

quote:

Also, the biggest problem with this speculation is that the evidence shows that it is not responsible for the differentiation between Kingdoms on this planet. I.e a higher taxa differentiation.

As I pointed out before this is an example of absurd backtracking. Are you claiming that kingdoms didn't grow distinct over time from such mechanisms as mutation, natural selection, drift, recombination and lateral gene transfer? Are you claiming they have independent origins or the trivial claim that there hasn't been just vertical evolution?

At some point you are going to have to clarify what exactly you are arguing. In regards to evolution, how far back can we infer common descent? I'm not really concerned with whether there is a universal common ancestor, but more what you are arguing. Is the only thing interesting you have to say regarding the possibility of several unicellular ancestors being the first life instead of universal common ancestor? This doesn't seem very interesting giving the degree of your ranting and your odd challenges about evolution leading to Family level distinctions.

quote:

How many times are you going to go through the exercise of forgetting what we actually argued in the past. Then, pretend we weren't in fact arguing that the Modern Synthesis was a partial theory.

Apparently as many as it takes you to avoid moving on. If you notice I have presented evidence to you several times and you choose to ignore it.

quote:

Larry writes:"Oh, I see the problem, you don't understand what one means when discussing the Modern Synthesis. Silly me, I thought you actually READ what people linked to. How dumb of me:
From:http://talkorigins.org/faqs/modern-synthesis.html
quote:

"The major tenets of the evolutionary synthesis, then, were that populations contain genetic variation that arises by random (ie. not adaptively directed) mutation and recombination; that populations evolve by changes in gene frequency brought about by random genetic drift, gene flow, and especially natural selection; that most adaptive genetic variants have individually slight phenotypic effects so that phenotypic changes are gradual (although some alleles with discrete effects may be advantageous, as in certain color polymorphisms); that diversification comes about by speciation, which normally entails the gradual evolution of reproductive isolation among populations; and that these processes, continued for sufficiently long, give rise to changes of such great magnitude as to warrant the designation of higher taxonomic levels (genera, families, and so forth)."
- Futuyma, D.J. in Evolutionary Biology, Sinauer Associates, 1986; p.12

Perhaps you need to do a little reading... "

**In your arguing ad homineum (sp), you present definition of the Modern Synthesis that no where mentions horizontal mechanisms as parts of the theory. And the Futuyama definition defined the Modern Synthesis the same way that I had in previous post. Giving me know direct hint that you were trying use a different definition of the Modern Synthesis than I was. In the link, the article by a different Larry, he mentions genetic drift is one of a number of Mechanisms in the Modern Synthesis. He never names any of these which left the possibility for horizontal mechanisms.

You went on to say that it was made up of the three essential element that Futuyama claimed. Which have no horizontal mechanism.**


I'm growing weary of your whining. You didn't read or you wouldn't attribute the three "elements" to Futuyama since Larry Moran wrote the 3 "elements". You still haven't read, and I'm quite tired of arguing with you. By the way an ad hominen attack is one that attacks you personally. I suppose the above is possibly an ad hominen, but it is a fair one since you didn't read the source I cited. I will add:

quote:

"1.It recognizes several mechanisms of evolution in addition to natural selection. One of these, random genetic drift, may be as important as natural selection.
2.It recognizes that characteristics are inherited as discrete entities called genes. Variation within a population is due to the presence of multiple alleles of a gene.
3.It postulates that speciation is (usually) due to the gradual accumulation of small genetic changes. This is equivalent to saying that macroevolution is simply a lot of microevolution.

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. Many instances of such confusion can be seen here in the newsgroups, in the popular press, and in the writings of anti-evolutionists.


quote:

Next, You claim that I am ignorant of Current unification of Evolution theories and the opinions of Gould and others. But you conveniently forget that I brought this unification up in our original argument. Finally, you conveniently forget that when I directly asked you were you making this argument. You said "no".**

You didn't bother to read-as usual. At this point it is not worth arguing with you about anymore.

quote:

Now, I want to give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe, you do not keep track of what we are actually arguing and what you actually have argued. Maybe, you wish you made the argument that you are trying to make now and simply did not remember that you denied and were not making this argument originally. This option would still show some a lack of integrity. Maybe, you always believed the argument you are trying to present but did not realize that you did not present this argument earlier and also did not remember or realize that you denied that you were making this argument already.**

If you are going to continue with your ranting fine. I'm only responding to the substantive portions I have brought up and only if you are going to clarify yourself in regards to what you do argue concerning common descent. If you don't bother to read what is cited to you, you have a lot of gumption to claim dishonesty. There was no lack of integrity there was a lack of reading on your part that then degenerated into further confusion. If you aren't going to actually read what I link to and mention don't respond and then become upset about not understanding what I'm referring to.

[This message has been edited by lbhandli (edited 02-19-2001).]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by Thmsberry, posted 02-17-2001 5:53 AM Thmsberry has not yet responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 18308
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 34 of 59 (166)
02-21-2001 3:24 PM


Thmsberry,

I need to better understand your position on the Modern Synthesis. When you call it a partial theory I can only agree, but this is scant criticism since all theories are partial because of the principle of tentativity.

You have talked about things like the Neutral Theory and Symbiosis as if they were alternatives to the Modern Synthesis, but this really puzzles me because the Modern Synthesis is fairly encompassing. Emerging in the early part of the prior century, it represents the union of Darwin's theory of evolution with modern genetic theory, with the work of people like JBS Haldane on population genetics and related areas providing the necessary evidence for scientists to accept the synthesis. I can't see how things like Neutral Theory and Symbiosis can be anything but specific aspects of the Modern Synthesis, not alternatives to it. Do you have a different viewpoint on this? If so, do you believe your understanding is widely accepted in the scientific community?

One other question I have concerns your alternative to the Modern Synthesis for explaining the origin of biologic groups above the family level. You at one point said that both Intelligent Design (ID) and the Modern Synthesis (MS) account for this equally well, but we already know you hold the MS in low esteem, and you carefully refrained from advocating ID. What theory is it that you do advocate?

I find I also don't have a solid understanding of what you're trying to say concerning change above the family level. It usually sounds like you're saying that evolutionary change above the family level isn't accounted for by the Modern Synthesis, which implies that some barrier to that change must exist since in most people's view this evolutionary change is precisely something that the MS explains very well. But when asked what that barrier would be you reply that you're not proposing a barrier. What is it exactly that you are proposing that prevents the MS from explaining such changes?

--Percy

PS - I've nearly completed assessing this thread's ancestor. I've also nearly completed my changes to this message board and will be releasing them soon - stay tuned!


Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by Thmsberry, posted 02-21-2001 11:55 PM Percy has responded

  
Thmsberry
Inactive Member


Message 35 of 59 (167)
02-21-2001 11:55 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by Percy
02-21-2001 3:24 PM


Percy,

Your statements will be in quotes.

“I need to better understand your position on the Modern Synthesis. When you call it a partial theory I can only agree, but this is scant criticism since all theories are partial because of the principle of tentativity. “

I know you are an anticreationist. But as moderator, you need to be more objective. I decimated Larry’s argument in my last post. He claimed that he had been arguing one thing when his past post clearly were not. The argument he truly was arguing was defeated when he agreed that the Modern Synthesis was a partial theory. I have a couple post where I point out the “evolution” between what we were in fact arguing in the past and what he currently falsely claims we were arguing. Don’t turn around and present the same straw man. No credible scientist argues that the Modern Synthesis is the same as the Current Unification of Evolutionary theories. Sometimes the Current Unification of Evolutionary theories is called the Current Synthesis of Evolutionary theories. But other than the fact that the word Synthesis is sometimes used in both theories. They simply are not the same thing.

“You have talked about things like the Neutral Theory and Symbiosis as if they were alternatives to the Modern Synthesis, but this really puzzles me because the Modern Synthesis is fairly encompassing.”

No. It’s not. I am not going to get involved with the Neutral theory argument again. I really don’t need too. Symbiosis is not a part of the Modern Synthesis nor are any other Horizontal elements of change in an organisms’ genome.

“ Emerging in the early part of the prior century, it represents the union of Darwin's theory of evolution with modern genetic theory, with the work of people like JBS Haldane on population genetics and related areas providing the necessary evidence for scientists to accept the synthesis. “

And. Once again. No Horizontal elements were apart of the Modern Synthesis. Margulis (sp?) theory and similar Horizontal theories were rejected or not known at the time of the Modern Synthesis.

“I can't see how things like Neutral Theory and Symbiosis can be anything but specific aspects of the Modern Synthesis, not alternatives to it. Do you have a different viewpoint on this? If so, do you believe your understanding is widely accepted in the scientific community? “

It is the difference between saying the variation of life on this planet is based solely on intergenomic mutations versus my argument. My argument is that intergenomic mutation is a partial mechanism. The external genomic forces or what I simplify by saying horizontal forces play a major role in evolution. The reason that you do not notice this difference is that most scientist are aware that the Modern Synthesis has been reduced to only a partial theory, but most Evolution websites and people who spend most of their time arguing against young earth literal biblical christian creationist are unaware. Thus, the reason why I presented this argument in the first place.

“One other question I have concerns your alternative to the Modern Synthesis for explaining the origin of biologic groups above the family level. You at one point said that both Intelligent Design (ID) and the Modern Synthesis (MS) account for this equally well, but we already know you hold the MS in low esteem, and you carefully refrained from advocating ID. What theory is it that you do advocate? “

If you are trying to classify me as a person who believes in ID as commonly argued or biotic message or whatever, you would simply be wrong. If you make the claim that I have argued that ID explains the origin of groups above the family level, please quote where I have actually made this ID claim. Don’t just say I made this claim. Thank You. Unless I typed a post with my subconcious while I was sleeping, I have never made claims that the creator creates ex nihilo not using the physical universe. I argue in phases. Creationism is the thread that unifies every point that I am making. But my creationism starts to becomes overwhelmingly obvious when addressing the next phase of my argument. Dealing with the assumption of the Modern Synthesis as well as the Current Unification of Evolutionary theories that the common ancestor of all life on this planet was in fact a single live organism.

“I find I also don't have a solid understanding of what you're trying to say concerning change above the family level. It usually sounds like you're saying that evolutionary change above the family level isn't accounted for by the Modern Synthesis, which implies that some barrier to that change must exist since in most people's view this evolutionary change is precisely something that the MS explains very well. But when asked what that barrier would be you reply that you're not proposing a barrier. What is it exactly that you are proposing that prevents the MS from explaining such changes? “

How can you miss the argument Percy. It’s obvious. The only mechanism that the Modern Synthesis advocates is that intergenomic mutations accumlated over time. This alone supposedly accounts for all of the biodiversity on this planet. Symbiosis and other Horizontal theories show that organisms also evolve by insertions of genes and DNA from outside of the pre-existing Genome. The most accepted mechanism for mutation at the Kingdom level is symbiosis. Kingdom is obviously a level above family. The straw man is trying to get me to argue that such a barrier exist when we know that changes above the family level, like kingdom changes, were not based on intergenomic mutations. I do not need to argue for something that most scientist accept did not happen. Single cell prokaryotes simply did not evolve into Eukaryotes by intergenomic mutations. Eukaryotes are the product of Symbiosis.

Let’s face it the Modern Synthesis’ main argument is that the biodiversity on this planet is the result of intergenomic mutation (descent with modification) from a common live ancestor. My first argument was to show that the first part of the theory is wrong, making it a partial theory, because there are currently more known mechanism. The next phase of my argument I was going to attack the assumption that biodiversity stems from a common live ancestor. Yet, Larry simply would not move on to address the next phase of my argument.

I hope this clears up any of your confusion.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by Percy, posted 02-21-2001 3:24 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 36 by Percy, posted 02-22-2001 11:02 AM Thmsberry has not yet responded
 Message 37 by lbhandli, posted 02-22-2001 12:11 PM Thmsberry has not yet responded
 Message 38 by Percy, posted 02-23-2001 10:50 AM Thmsberry has not yet responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 18308
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 36 of 59 (168)
02-22-2001 11:02 AM
Reply to: Message 35 by Thmsberry
02-21-2001 11:55 PM


quote:
Thmsberry: ?Your statements will be in quotes.?

Those are the funniest looking quotes I've ever seen.

You probably need to turn off smartquotes (or whatever they call it in whatever editor you're using).

quote:
Thmsberry: "I know you are an anticreationist."

I'm not anticreationist, just a fan of science. So far you've been arguing from an evidentiary position, so none of the prejudices against traditional Creationism apply here, and I don't believe I've expressed any.

quote:
Thmsberry: "But as moderator, you need to be more objective."

I'm trying!!

I once offered you a trial moderator role. Perhaps you'd like to give it a try now?

quote:
Thmsberry: "I decimated Larry's argument in my last post."

Declarations of victory in mid-debate?

When I read the discussion between you and Larry I don't see either side as obtaining much advantage. You're to be credited for maintaining the cooler demeanor in what at times has become fairly heated, but your own interpretation of how well you're doing may be a bit biased and perhaps best kept to yourself. I might add that self-congratulatory expressions don't seem to be influencing the moderator.

quote:
Thmsberry: "No credible scientist argues that the Modern Synthesis is the same as the Current Unification of Evolutionary theories. Sometimes the Current Unification of Evolutionary theories is called the Current Synthesis of Evolutionary theories. But other than the fact that the word Synthesis is sometimes used in both theories. They simply are not the same thing."

I've never heard nor seen the terms "Current Unification of Evolutionary Theories" or "Current Synthesis of Evolutionary Theories." Where can I find more information about them?

I'd really like to get the definition of the Modern Synthesis (MS) squared away. As much as everyone would probably like to move on, I'm finding that's it's a key point in judging the prior thread on this topic. Rather than trying to declare anyone right or wrong, at least at this point, I'd like us to work together at a consensus on the definition of MS in the scientific community. After looking at this for a while I find that the answer is not so simple as I would once have thought. Let me describe what I've discovered so far.

The key issue is how strictly one defines the MS. If it specifically includes Natural Selection as the dominant factor in evolution, then the MS and NT (Neutral Theory) are two different theories. But to many scientists the MS is merely the recognition that genes are not only the basis of heredity but also of evolution, and Natural Selection and NT are merely alternative views within a common framework. I looked up the MS and NT in an evolution textbook this morning, and it parenthetically added in the NT discussion that some scientists call it non-Darwinian evolution, meaning that they view Darwinian Natural Selection as a key component of the MS and that they therefore also view NT as outside and independent of the MS. But if only some scientists see it this way, then obviously some scientists don't. Rather than trying to fix on some single definition of the MS perhaps it would be best if we just recognize that there are different but equally valid perspectives.

This means it's fine if you make the underlying assumption that the MS and NT are independent theories, but I think it's important to first make clear why you are doing so, ie, that you define the MS in such and such a way and therefore NT cannot be part of it. I also picked up the impression that you believe there are other alternative theories besides MS and NT, and if so I think it important that you explain what those are and why you think they're outside the MS so that we may better understand your position.

quote:
Percy: "One other question I have concerns your alternative to the Modern Synthesis for explaining the origin of biologic groups above the family level. You at one point said that both Intelligent Design (ID) and the Modern Synthesis (MS) account for this equally well, but we already know you hold the MS in low esteem, and you carefully refrained from advocating ID. What theory is it that you do advocate?"

quote:
Thmsberry: "If you are trying to classify me as a person who believes in ID as commonly argued or biotic message or whatever, you would simply be wrong. If you make the claim that I have argued that ID explains the origin of groups above the family level, please quote where I have actually made this ID claim. Don?t just say I made this claim. Thank You."

I thought you made it clear in Message 52 that you're not an advocate of ID. That's why I asked what theory you do advocate.

I'd like to stay focused on the MS issue for now, so perhaps I can address the rest of your post another time.

All the best!

--Percy

[This message has been edited by Percipient (edited 02-23-2001).]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by Thmsberry, posted 02-21-2001 11:55 PM Thmsberry has not yet responded

  
lbhandli
Inactive Member


Message 37 of 59 (169)
02-22-2001 12:11 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by Thmsberry
02-21-2001 11:55 PM


quote:

The straw man is trying to get me to argue that such a barrier exist when we know that changes above the family level, like kingdom changes,

Now, you are simply avoiding saying anything meaningful. To what degree can common descent (notice I'm not using the term Modern Synthesis) explain the diversity of life--can it go back to the first life form(s). Or, in your opinion, can it only be inferred back to a different point in taxonomy? If so what point?

As far as decimating my argument it is clear you didn't read my argument since you attributed "elements" to the wrong author--however you can choose to move on to the point I've been asking you about for some time--by addressing the point above.

Cheers,
Larry


This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by Thmsberry, posted 02-21-2001 11:55 PM Thmsberry has not yet responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 18308
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 38 of 59 (170)
02-23-2001 10:50 AM
Reply to: Message 35 by Thmsberry
02-21-2001 11:55 PM


I'd like to restate what I said about NT (Neutral Theory) in my previous message in slightly more detail. NT can only be classified as outside of the MS (Modern Synthesis) if you assume that:


  1. The definition of the MS includes Natural Selection as a significant evolutionary force, and
  2. NT does not include Natural Selection.

While I don't agree with the first point, finding it too specific and confining, I accept that some people might be of that opinion and am willing to engage in discussion under that definition. But I don't understand the second point at all. While there can be debate about degree and extent, the adaptation of organisms makes clear that selection has been and is going on. I don't understand how any viable theory could discard selection.

So I've looked into NT a little more. It's a little difficult to boil their argument down to a single sentence, but Neutralists seem to believe that because favored mutations are very rare that selection therefore plays a very minor role in variation both within and between species, that the differences are more due to random neutral mutation.

The obvious objection to this definition is that differences cannot arise if evolution consists primarily of neutral mutations. No matter how many neutral mutations one piles up, the net morphological difference between the mutated organism and the original organism is zero. Since organisms are obviously different, the Neutralists must be saying something different than this. So, what is it that they are really saying? I confess I couldn't answer this question.

I did find a link that's part of an evolution course at Southern Methodist University ( http://gsoft.smu.edu/Evol/lect8.html ) that tries to make sense of the controversy. While I found it didn't help me to clearly state what Neutralists are saying, it did make a few explicit statements concerning the views of Neutralists on selection, and these statements make clear that NT fits within the framework of the MS. Here are a couple excerpts:

quote:
Some things the neutralist school does not say: Selection does not produce adaptation. All the neutralists are really saying is that such favorable changes are so rare that they have little or no impact on the divergences we see among species.

quote:
Some things the neutralist school does not say: Large morphological features of organisms are the result of drift. No one doubts that a bird's wing or a human's eye or a bat's ears are adaptive and the products of natural selection. Favorable mutations have ocurred to produce them. Since genes first produce proteins, that means again that favorable mutations of molecules have also occurred.

I have a feeling that part of the push from within scientific circles to classify NT as outside the MS is puffery stemming from a desire to make it seem as significant as possible. The larger and more inclusive the theory it purports to replace, the better the claim of making significant contributions, making easier the obtainment of such things as tenure, research grants, promising graduate students, lab space, etc. Even before looking into NT I already believed the vast majority of mutations to be harmless, so to me they seem to be saying something already patently obvious. The Neutralist challenge appears to be primarily mathematically based, and to me all they're doing is showing that under certain assumptions the mathematics of population genetics leads to absurd conclusions. It makes more sense to question the completeness and accuracy of the assumptions and/or the mathematical models themselves before considering the possibility that selection does not play a significant role in evolution.

quote:
Thmsberry says in Message 35:
It is the difference between saying the variation of life on this planet is based solely on intergenomic mutations versus my argument. My argument is that intergenomic mutation is a partial mechanism. The external genomic forces or what I simplify by saying horizontal forces play a major role in evolution.

quote:
The only mechanism that the Modern Synthesis advocates is that intergenomic mutations accumulated over time. This alone supposedly accounts for all of the biodiversity on this planet. Symbiosis and other Horizontal theories show that organisms also evolve by insertions of genes and DNA from outside of the pre-existing Genome. The most accepted mechanism for mutation at the Kingdom level is symbiosis. Kingdom is obviously a level above family.

quote:
Let's face it the Modern Synthesis’ main argument is that the biodiversity on this planet is the result of intergenomic mutation (descent with modification) from a common live ancestor.

I assume that by intergenomic mutation you mean the mutating of one gene into another via changes in one or a few base pairs in the DNA, and that you're assuming the MS restricts itself to this type of mutation. My understanding is that the MS does not restrict itself to just a single type of mutation. There are many types of mutation (Gene has a nice list that he can rattle off), and I thought that MS includes them all, horizontal and everything. Where are you getting your more restrictive definition of the MS? The definition cited by Larry from Futuyma in Message 73 just refers to random mutation, not any specific type of mutation. Isn't that definition of the MS acceptable to you?

--Percy

[This message has been edited by Percipient (edited 02-23-2001).]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by Thmsberry, posted 02-21-2001 11:55 PM Thmsberry has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 39 by lbhandli, posted 02-23-2001 12:12 PM Percy has not yet responded

  
lbhandli
Inactive Member


Message 39 of 59 (171)
02-23-2001 12:12 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by Percy
02-23-2001 10:50 AM


quote:

I'd like to restate what I said about NT (Neutral Theory) in my previous message in slightly more detail. NT can only be classified as outside of the MS (Modern Synthesis) if you assume that:

1.The definition of the MS includes Natural Selection as a significant evolutionary force, and
2.NT does not include Natural Selection.


I've never read 2, I've only read arguments over the relative importance. I tend to think that the question is wrong in the scientific literature, though I tend to stay out of the arguments on talk.origins because I learn more by sitting back and reading. I get the feeling that both sides are arguing for an overall answer when the question probably should be under what conditions is selection or drift more important.

quote:

While I don't agree with the first point, finding it too specific and confining, I accept that some people might be of that opinion and am willing to engage in discussion under that definition. But I don't understand the second point at all. While there can be debate about degree and extent, the adaptation of organisms makes clear that selection has been and is going on. I don't understand how any viable theory could discard selection.

And I don't think that neutralists argue selection doesn't occur, but I think they are arguing over the relative importance.

quote:

I have a feeling that part of the push from within scientific circles to classify NT as outside the MS is puffery stemming from a desire to make it seem as significant as possible.

You may be right in relation to Kimura who did some of the original work on the subject.

However, Gould's argument is similar to thmsberry in that Gould argues the Modern Synthesis is a specific theory. He doesn't take issue with including additional genetic mutation mechanisms AFAICT, but he does feel that the Modern Synthesis view of macroevolution as a lot of microevolution is reductionist and does not allow for mechanisms above that level. Obviously he does so because Punctuated Equilibrium is what he wants to advance and he feels such a view threatens its acceptance.

I understand Gould's point of view, but I think he is making the Modern Synthesis out to be more than how I view it and many others as well.

quote:

The larger and more inclusive the theory it purports to replace, the better the claim of making significant contributions, making easier the obtainment of such things as tenure, research grants, promising graduate students, lab space, etc. Even before looking into NT Ialready believed the vast majority of mutations to be harmless, so to me they seem to be saying something already patently obvious. The Neutralist challenge appears to be primarily mathematically based, and to me all they're doing is showing that under certain assumptions the mathematics of population genetics leads to absurd conclusions. It makes more sense to question the completeness and accuracy of the assumptions and/or the mathematical models themselves before considering the possibility that selection does not play a significant role in evolution.

One of the key issues neutralists argues is the Founder's Affect. It is when you have a population down to relatively small population and certain characteristics then are likely to stick regardless of whether they are neutral or not if the population survives.

Neutralists actually gained a lot of ground in the 1980s, but Gillespie has pointed out some of the very things you just point out in his 1993 book on population genetics. I don't find myself able to argue coherently between the two arguments. When I have asked Larry Moran (on talk.orgins a neutralist) some questions he tends to step on my head and do a dance. So I tend to stay out of the argument regarding selectionists vs neutralists.

Larry Handlin

[This message has been edited by lbhandli (edited 02-23-2001).]

[This message has been edited by lbhandli (edited 02-23-2001).]


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 40 by Thmsberry, posted 02-24-2001 4:52 AM lbhandli has not yet responded

Thmsberry
Inactive Member


Message 40 of 59 (172)
02-24-2001 4:52 AM
Reply to: Message 39 by lbhandli
02-23-2001 12:12 PM


Percy,

Some how you still do not see my argument. I have defined it ad nauseum in past post.

But here, I will extremely summarize it.

Modern Synthesis is only a partial theory.
The only mechanism that it has for genomes of one organism to change is mutations within the organisms' genome. It does not matter if its missense,nonsense, point, transposons within the genome, and/or whatever. Go through gene's list and all of these things follow different variations of mutations within an organisms genome.

The mechanisms use DNA already present in the genome of the organism. They are mutations within the organisms genome.

The Neutral theory argument is not relevant. Neutral theory is a different theory than Modern Synthesis. They differ as you know over the question of whether or not neutral mutations can accumulate. But it does not matter.

Even if you believe the Neutral theory and the Modern Synthesis is the same thing. It has nothing to do with the strongest and main argument that I presented.

Neutral theory and Modern Synthesis both argue that the macro differences in the variety of life on this planet are attributed to the accumulation of micromutations within an organisms genome.

Symbiosis, Horizontal transfer, Foreign Transposons, viruses and etc. are mechanisms that I simply call Horizontal. They involve whole sequences of foriegn DNA entering the Genome of an organism. They have nothing to do with mutations within its genome. These horizontal mechanisms are nowhere in the Modern Synthesis. People who presented these arguments at the Modern Synthesis, like Margulis and others were either not considered feasible or not even known about.

Thus, the Modern Synthesis is a partial theory. Qed.

I do not have talk about genetic rates of change, the role of genetic drift, and etc. I do not have to show that mutations can't accumulate to cause change past the family level. Because the known scientific evidence shows that "vertical" mutations were not the only players in Evolution.

Do you see the argument?

I proved my argument that the Modern Synthesis was a partial theory.

Now, this left Larry with a semantic argument. He tried to make the claim that he and I were using different definitions of the Modern Synthesis.

I showed in my post before last that he and I were in fact using the same definitions of the Modern Synthesis. Review it. Ignore the Neutral Theory argument it's irrelevant to my main argument. And notice that when he and I were actually arguing these points, we were in fact defining the Modern Synthesis the same way.

It is the original synthesis from over 50 years ago that includes both genetic drift and natural selection and once again, had absolutely no horizontal elements of change.

Now, Larry is trying to present a new argument, but pretend it is the old one. If you just follow what he has wrote, this point is quite obvious. Now, I warn you my post before last is long. But it's mostly quotes from Larry and it proves my point.

I'll await your response before I move on. I must be doing something wrong if you can't follow my argument. I find it easy to follow. But I am presenting.

Another thing, I wouldn't make a good moderator. I am not objective. If a creationist was here arguing Young earth literal biblical christian creationism, I am too biased against that approach to judge their argument. If a person was a strong atheist, I am too biased against that approach to judge their argument. I could not judge something that I knew to be functionally incorrect on Scientific or logical grounds.


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 Message 39 by lbhandli, posted 02-23-2001 12:12 PM lbhandli has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 41 by Percy, posted 02-24-2001 12:22 PM Thmsberry has responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 18308
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 41 of 59 (174)
02-24-2001 12:22 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by Thmsberry
02-24-2001 4:52 AM


Hi Thmsberry!

Before we move on in the discussion I'd like to see if we can come to an agreement on the definition of the MS (Modern Synthesis).

I'm happy to define this term in any way that is widely agreed upon within the scientific community. I've always understood the MS to be very inclusive of any kind of mutational mechanism, and the definition cited by Larry from Futuyma is also very inclusive. The definition of the MS I found in an evolution textbook (Evolution, Third Edition by Monroe W. Strickberger) calls it a synonym for Neo-Darwinism and defines it like this:

Neo-Darwinism  The theory (also called the Modern Synthesis) that regards evolution as a change in the frequencies of genes introduced by mutation, with natural selection considered as the most important, although not the only, cause for such changes.

The problem I think Larry and I are having isn't that we don't understand your definition. We understand your definition just fine. We just don't see that anyone besides you is defining the MS in this way. But if you can show that your definition of the MS, which excludes what you term horizontal mechanisms of mutation, is the one preferred by the scientific community then that is the one I'm happy to use.

Concerning moderating, who among us is objective? I think the best I can hope for is equal numbers of moderators from each side, and a commitment to try to be objective.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 40 by Thmsberry, posted 02-24-2001 4:52 AM Thmsberry has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 42 by lbhandli, posted 02-24-2001 4:47 PM Percy has responded
 Message 48 by Thmsberry, posted 03-04-2001 9:21 PM Percy has responded

  
lbhandli
Inactive Member


Message 42 of 59 (175)
02-24-2001 4:47 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by Percy
02-24-2001 12:22 PM


[QUOTE]Originally posted by Percipient:

Neo-Darwinism  The theory (also called the Modern Synthesis) that regards evolution as a change in the frequencies of genes introduced by mutation, with natural selection considered as the most important, although not the only, cause for such changes.

Interestingly, I know of those who object to using neo-darwinism as a synonym for the Modern Synthesis--Larry Moran specifically challenges the term as antiquated. I'm not sure this helps the discussion at all though .

Larry


This message is a reply to:
 Message 41 by Percy, posted 02-24-2001 12:22 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 43 by Percy, posted 02-24-2001 5:22 PM lbhandli has not yet responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 18308
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 43 of 59 (176)
02-24-2001 5:22 PM
Reply to: Message 42 by lbhandli
02-24-2001 4:47 PM


Hi Larry!

I was a little surprised to see Neo-Darwinism and the Modern Synthesis defined synonymously, but I'd be hard pressed to say what the difference is. It doesn't surprise me, though, that there is no unanimity on this point.

I'm pretty flexible about definitions. It's easier to use a definition I'm already familiar with, but I'll use any definition already in widespread use. And I guess I'd be willing to use a non-standard definition when the situation seems to demand it, ie, there's good justification. So far I don't see any justification for limiting the Modern Synthesis' scope to only certain types of mutation, and I've never seen the Modern Synthesis interpreted in this way.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 42 by lbhandli, posted 02-24-2001 4:47 PM lbhandli has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 44 by Prof. D. McQueen, posted 02-27-2001 11:13 AM Percy has responded

  
Prof. D. McQueen
Inactive Member


Message 44 of 59 (181)
02-27-2001 11:13 AM
Reply to: Message 43 by Percy
02-24-2001 5:22 PM


Hello Percy

This is my first post.
I agree with you that definitions are important. As a Creationist, the issue of helpful mutations is important. Giving a lot away, 99% of mutations are not helpful (maybe 99.99 bar). This is an important critique of neo-Darwinism.

Now let me see if I can see how to title my post.

David


This message is a reply to:
 Message 43 by Percy, posted 02-24-2001 5:22 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 45 by Percy, posted 02-27-2001 12:28 PM Prof. D. McQueen has not yet responded
 Message 47 by lbhandli, posted 02-28-2001 6:24 PM Prof. D. McQueen has not yet responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 18308
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 45 of 59 (182)
02-27-2001 12:28 PM
Reply to: Message 44 by Prof. D. McQueen
02-27-2001 11:13 AM


Hi David, welcome aboard!

quote:
I agree with you that definitions are important. As a Creationist, the issue of helpful mutations is important. Giving a lot away, 99% of mutations are not helpful (maybe 99.99 bar). This is an important critique of neo-Darwinism.

Maybe Larry can tell us why Larry Moran objects to Neo-Darwinism as a synonym for the Modern Synthesis. Is it just because it's antiquated, which I agree with? Or does he actually draw a distinction?

Thmsberry has built a strong case against the Modern Synthesis for being only a partial theory, but his case rests upon the assumption that the Modern Synthesis is very restricted in the types of mutations it considers. Is this an assumption anyone can justify for us? I'd like to settle this, because this particular debate can't seem to move forward while the difference of opinion about the definition of the Modern Synthesis persists.

quote:
Now let me see if I can see how to title my post.

Threads have titles here, not individual posts, but the ability to give each individual post its own title, call it a subtitle, seems a pretty good idea. I'll put this on my list of future improvements to work on.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 44 by Prof. D. McQueen, posted 02-27-2001 11:13 AM Prof. D. McQueen has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 46 by lbhandli, posted 02-28-2001 6:22 PM Percy has not yet responded

  
lbhandli
Inactive Member


Message 46 of 59 (185)
02-28-2001 6:22 PM
Reply to: Message 45 by Percy
02-27-2001 12:28 PM


quote:
Originally posted by Percipient:

Maybe Larry can tell us why Larry Moran objects to Neo-Darwinism as a synonym for the
Modern Synthesis. Is it just because it's antiquated, which I agree with? Or does he actually draw a distinction?


I'll quote him:

quote:

During the first part of this century the incorporation of genetics and population biology into studies of evolution led to a Neo-Darwinian theory of evolution that recognized the importance of mutation and variation within a population. Natural selection then became a process that altered the frequency of genes in a population and this defined evolution. This point of view held sway for many decades but more recently the classic Neo-Darwinian view has been replaced by a new concept which includes several other mechanisms in addition to natural selection.

Moran sees it as simply antiquated because new mechanisms are known that Darwin couldn't have possibly understood. It is worth noting Moran tends to think that drift is more important than selection.

Larry


This message is a reply to:
 Message 45 by Percy, posted 02-27-2001 12:28 PM Percy has not yet responded

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