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Author Topic:   Evolution and Increased Diversity
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3662 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 76 of 140 (438897)
12-06-2007 1:57 PM
Reply to: Message 75 by New Cat's Eye
12-06-2007 1:47 PM


Re: two step, one step
CS writes:

Or stasis.

It could thrive and not evolve and not go extinct.


How could this viewed in an evolutionary context? Are you going to tell me that a single that doesn't evolve is engaged in evolution?

—HM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 75 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-06-2007 1:47 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 77 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-06-2007 2:24 PM Fosdick has responded

    
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 77 of 140 (438902)
12-06-2007 2:24 PM
Reply to: Message 76 by Fosdick
12-06-2007 1:57 PM


Re: two step, one step
CS writes:

Or stasis.
It could thrive and not evolve and not go extinct.


How could this viewed in an evolutionary context? Are you going to tell me that a single that doesn't evolve is engaged in evolution?

If the allele frequencies in the population changed then it would be evolving, but if it remained as one species, then there was not an increase in biodiversity.

I've come to understand biodiviersity to mean, in this thread at lease, the number of species present.

Certainly, you could argue that if the allele frequency changed, then that one species would be more biodiverse. But that would be conflating definitions.

From another angle:

If you look at what I wrote:

quote:
It could thrive and not evolve and not go extinct.

That should answer your question.

But if I look again at what I was replying too:

HM writes:

if a single species of bacteria were to be placed in sterile but fertile environment the only thing it could do evolutionarily would be to diversify. Otherwise it's extinction.

Its ambiguous as what you mean by doing things evolutionarily.

My reply might be "out of bounds" because it could be assuming that the species is not evolving when you have assumed that it is.

But things can evolve without speciating, and bidiversity is the number of species, so as long as the bateria doesn't speciate while its allele frequency changes, it could be said to be evolving without diversifying and without going extinct.

Make sense?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 76 by Fosdick, posted 12-06-2007 1:57 PM Fosdick has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 78 by Fosdick, posted 12-06-2007 2:46 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3662 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 78 of 140 (438906)
12-06-2007 2:46 PM
Reply to: Message 77 by New Cat's Eye
12-06-2007 2:24 PM


Re: two step, one step
CS writes:

If the allele frequencies in the population changed then it would be evolving, but if it remained as one species, then there was not an increase in biodiversity.


Well...yes...if you say so.

I've come to understand biodiviersity to mean, in this thread at lease, the number of species present.

Why can't it be numbers of genera or families?

Certainly, you could argue that if the allele frequency changed, then that one species would be more biodiverse. But that would be conflating definitions.

Paraphrasing what RAZD already said: 'To a single species, there's nothing less diverse than no species at all.'

...it could thrive and not evolve and not go extinct....Make sense?

Sure, so long as you agree that if a species neither evolves nor goes extinct has not been engaged in that biological process we call evolution. If this doesn't make sense then I must goin' nuts!

—HM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 77 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-06-2007 2:24 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 81 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-06-2007 3:29 PM Fosdick has responded

    
MartinV 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3991 days)
Posts: 502
From: Slovakia, Bratislava
Joined: 08-28-2006


Message 79 of 140 (438909)
12-06-2007 3:04 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by JB1740
12-06-2007 12:52 PM


Re: Macroscopic increase of biodiversity

Morphological similarity is evidence that two vertebrates did similar things, but it is only one line of evidence, and it can point you in an erroneous direction. That Ambulocetus has a crocodile-like morphology absolutely does not in and of itself make it obvious that the two competed in the same niche.

But it doesn't mean they lived in different niches either. Ambulocetus should have evolved in estuaries. Doesn't many crocodiles species also live in estuaries? Or do you suppose that crocodiles which survived K/T extinction were gentlemans and didn't filled all emptied niches (estuaries) for which they were pre-adapted?


What are you talking about?

Dinosaurus were unable to hold sway in conditions which were very favourable for them. Warm-blooded mammals developed before KT extinction and probably would have won "struggle for life" with dinos regardless of empty niches, meteorites etc...


Really? When exactly was this? I'm gonna call for some citations of scientific papers here.

I have already discussed it here. Make some research on your own if you like. Evolution is over. No new mammalian order has arisen since Eocene (except pinnipedia). I have discussed the issue in the thread "Is evolution of mammals finished?". Have a look at my introducing post if you like:

www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=5&t=748&m=1 -->www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=5&t=748&m=1">http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=5&t=748&m=1


This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by JB1740, posted 12-06-2007 12:52 PM JB1740 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 80 by AdminNosy, posted 12-06-2007 3:26 PM MartinV has not yet responded
 Message 82 by JB1740, posted 12-06-2007 3:42 PM MartinV has responded

  
AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 80 of 140 (438917)
12-06-2007 3:26 PM
Reply to: Message 79 by MartinV
12-06-2007 3:04 PM


Another warning for Martin.
This has been an interesting discussion of what effects diversity.

You are not welcome to jump in and start mudding the waters.

If you are tired of the mimicry thread then I suggest you start another one to play in.

If you mess up other threads you will get suspended for it.

Edited by AdminNosy, : fix author


This message is a reply to:
 Message 79 by MartinV, posted 12-06-2007 3:04 PM MartinV has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 81 of 140 (438919)
12-06-2007 3:29 PM
Reply to: Message 78 by Fosdick
12-06-2007 2:46 PM


Re: two step, one step
Why can't it be numbers of genera or families?

An increase in the number of genera or families is also an increase in the number of species, however, an increase in the number of species is not necessarily an increase in the number of genera or families.

Sure, so long as you agree that if a species neither evolves nor goes extinct has not been engaged in that biological process we call evolution.

Agreed.

You've basically said that if a species isn't evolving then it isn't evolving. Quite tautological.

But.... heh, there's always a but :D

I don't think its possible for a species to not be engaged in that biological process we call evolution. Imperfect replication of DNA demands that genetic mutations arrise, thereby changing the frequency of alleles, thus evolution. If the environment lacks the selective pressure for those mutations to "stick", then the species will be in stasis and could be descibed as not evolving. It sounds like I'm contradicting myself but it really boils down to the way people use the word "evolve".


This message is a reply to:
 Message 78 by Fosdick, posted 12-06-2007 2:46 PM Fosdick has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 86 by Fosdick, posted 12-06-2007 7:44 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
JB1740
Member (Idle past 4107 days)
Posts: 132
From: Washington, DC, US
Joined: 11-20-2007


Message 82 of 140 (438927)
12-06-2007 3:42 PM
Reply to: Message 79 by MartinV
12-06-2007 3:04 PM


Re: Macroscopic increase of biodiversity
I looked through the first five pages of the thread you provided the think to, and didn't find any references supporting the idea that there was a point in deep time when mammalian species diversity was higher than today, which is what:

Mammalian species were once much more diverse than today.

you wrote in message #51 indicates.

Moreover, these papers, by John Alroy alone, just one author:

Alroy, J. 2000. Successive approximations of diversity curves: ten more years in the library. Geology 28(11):1023-1026.

Alroy, J. 1999. The fossil record of North American mammals: Evidence for a Paleocene evolutionary radiation. Systematic Biology 48(1):107-118.

seem to flatly contradict the statement and this paper seems to indirectly suggest that the statement is false:

Alroy, J. 1998. Cope's rule and the dynamics of body mass evolution in North American mammals. Science 280:731-734.

Now, mammalian diversity is a long way from what I do and I could be wrong, so again, please provide substantive evidence that mammalian species diversity has been higher at points in deep time than now. We're talking about species here, not higher taxonomic ranks (which cannot be directly compared).

But it doesn't mean they lived in different niches either.

I never said it did. You said it was obvious that they lived in the same niche based on morphological similarity and I opined that this was bull and gave my reasoning.

Dinosaurus were unable to hold sway in conditions which were very favourable for them. Warm-blooded mammals developed before KT extinction and probably would have won "struggle for life" with dinos regardless of empty niches, meteorites etc...

Again, show me some actual data back up this assertion.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 79 by MartinV, posted 12-06-2007 3:04 PM MartinV has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 83 by MartinV, posted 12-06-2007 4:42 PM JB1740 has responded

    
MartinV 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3991 days)
Posts: 502
From: Slovakia, Bratislava
Joined: 08-28-2006


Message 83 of 140 (438938)
12-06-2007 4:42 PM
Reply to: Message 82 by JB1740
12-06-2007 3:42 PM


Re: Macroscopic increase of biodiversity
I suppose I adressed the issue sufficently in the introducing post of the mentioned thread. Fossils record in John Day Formation seems to support my idea.

Being reprimanded I will not continue in discussion in this thread.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 82 by JB1740, posted 12-06-2007 3:42 PM JB1740 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 84 by JB1740, posted 12-06-2007 4:54 PM MartinV has not yet responded

  
JB1740
Member (Idle past 4107 days)
Posts: 132
From: Washington, DC, US
Joined: 11-20-2007


Message 84 of 140 (438941)
12-06-2007 4:54 PM
Reply to: Message 83 by MartinV
12-06-2007 4:42 PM


Re: Macroscopic increase of biodiversity
Actually, the .pdf you linked to in that opening post refuted that point...it didn't support it.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 83 by MartinV, posted 12-06-2007 4:42 PM MartinV has not yet responded

    
Elmer
Member (Idle past 4066 days)
Posts: 82
Joined: 01-15-2007


Message 85 of 140 (438955)
12-06-2007 6:44 PM
Reply to: Message 73 by New Cat's Eye
12-06-2007 1:23 PM


Wow, that is difficult to read.

Sorry. Didn't intend to tax your reading ability.


quote:
is biodiversity, [i.e., 'variation'in bioform and behaviour], a constant or a variable, and if a variable, than the effect of what specific cause?

It's a variable caused by natural selection.

You're entitled to an opinion, just like anyone else, including any creationist. But unless you simply make that statement as an article of faith, it would be heplful to the rest of us if you would trouble yourself to back it up with empirical evidence and logical reasoning.
However, if you are unable to do that, I will understand.


quote:
is the amount of 'biodiversity' in the biosphere inconstant and variable in the short term,[say minutes to millions of years], but deterministically expansive over the long term, i.e., the entire 'lifespan' of planet earth?

Not necessarily but things have tended to be that way.

Another statement of faith. It is clear that "things [have actually been] that way", but that does not logically demonstrate that this observed development was determined, inevitable, and irresistably compelled by any causal force, be that force identified as the OEC's 'divine programming', or your 'natural selection'. To me both are equally 'metaphysical', [i.e., non-scientific], vacuities. Please show how your "NS" causes increased biodiversity, or even how it _might_ cause increased biodiversity. In the late 19th century, and on into the 1930's, it was felt that "NS" could do no such thing, and to compensate for this lacune Fisher and friends invented 'random genetic mutation',["RM"], as the basic cause of viable novel bioforms and behaviours; i.e., increased biodiversity. Evidently you have a more recent opinion, to the effect that "NS" can and does increase/cause biodiversity, and I would like to hear your reasoning for this, and to become acquainted with the empirical observations you use to support your reasoning to that conclusion. Please oblige me.


quote:
can "Natural Selection" account for either fluctuations in the amount of biodiversity, both positively and negatively, in not only circumscribed localities, but even in the biosphere as a whole, and in both the long and short term?

Yes, as long as there is random mutation (or some other source of variation).

IOW, no. It takes your "random mutation" to do that.

[qs]

quote:
can "Random Genetic Mutation" do that?

No, it provides the opportunity for diversity but you need the selection to actually get the diversity.[qs]

I'm afraid you'll have to explain and justify this claim, since on its face it makes no sense.


quote:
can "RM+NS" linked together, do that?

Yes.

Care to justify this statement of faith?


quote:
is the extent of biodiversity, either short-term or long-term, an adaptationist [NS], or a stochastic [RM], or a mechanically/divinely predetermined [mechanist/creationist], effect?

Couldn't it be predetermined and adaptionist? Its not stochastic.

I do not believe so, because if biodiversity is mechanically predetermined, as is widely supposed,
then 'adaptation', 'adaptedness', 'adaptable', and so on, add absolutely nothing to our understanding of it. 'Adaptation' depends upon an implied indeterminism, IMO, as does the whole concept of variety, diversity and difference. I would agree that it is "not stochastic", since there seem to be certain constraints upon biodiversity, and directions wrt its development, but there are many out there who insist that neither adaptation nor "NS" [nor anything else] accounts for biodiversity, but rather they avoid the issue of causation, and scientific explanation, altogether-- by proposing that change, difference, and diversity 'just happen, that's all', and 'what you get is what you get, for no particular reason'.


quote:
OEC creationism, which would hold, if I understand it aright, that evolution does take place because the impulse to diversify and vary was 'built into', [i.e., predestined, predetermined, pre-programmed into], the 'original' lifeforms by a supernatural programmer, and so diversity and variation must, deterministically, [as a matter of 'predestination'] _increase_ over the long-term, i.e., the lifespan of the biosphere as a whole.

Thus the point of this thread.

That's what I got from the OP, but the ensuing posts do not seem to address disproving this creationist assumption, nor in demonstrating any scientific alternative. The thread is, in fact, thoroughly muddy and directionless. People are talking at and past each other without coming to grips with the actual issue--a scientific examination of biodiversity, its causes and its constraints, as opposed to the notion of biological diversity as an outcome predestined by 'god'. I would suggest that the notion of biological diversity determined by unspecified 'natural forces', aka "Natural Selection", amounts to the same metaphysical claim as 'predestination', stated in secular rather than theological fashion.


The ToE does not necessitate a long term increase in biodiversity, therefore we can determine that this is not what was predestined.

If this is true, {How would I know, since you haven't told me why you think it true?}, then at least we can be assured that biodiversity is not mechanically determined. Which doesn't tell us what it is, but only what it is not. Still, if _demonstrably_ true, then at least it is a first step towards understanding.


That's not to say that the fluctions we do see are not what was predestined, but then anything could have been predestined in that sense.

Which would make the entire concept of 'predestined' and 'determined' vacuous and useless.

Edited by Elmer, : formatting errors


This message is a reply to:
 Message 73 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-06-2007 1:23 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 88 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-07-2007 11:42 AM Elmer has responded

    
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3662 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 86 of 140 (438960)
12-06-2007 7:44 PM
Reply to: Message 81 by New Cat's Eye
12-06-2007 3:29 PM


The tautology of tautology
From Message 77:

CS writes:

If the allele frequencies in the population changed then it would be evolving, but if it remained as one species, then there was not an increase in biodiversity.


And from your last post:

You've basically said that if a species isn't evolving then it isn't evolving. Quite tautological.

I'm getting dizzy. I better back off my medicine.

I don't think its possible for a species to not be engaged in that biological process we call evolution.

Probably true, but hard to prove.

It sounds like I'm contradicting myself but it really boils down to the way people use the word "evolve".

What people? Most biologist I know of think that biological evolution is a process of change rather than a process of maintianing the staus quo.

Back to RADZ's question. Does biological evolution necessarily lead to biodiversity? I think most biologists would have to say 'no'...at least for microscopic timeframes. But what still bothers me is that interesting increase of marine families since the Permian Extinction, shown in Sepkoski's graph in Message 56. Makes me want to get foolish and conclude that the last 245 million years of evolution on Earth have demonstrated a rather steady increase in biodiversity. Just coincidendal with environmental conditions and nothing more? Or an embedded law of macroevolution?

One obvious thuth cannot be ignored: No environmental condition remains unchanged for very long, not in geological timesframes.

—HM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 81 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-06-2007 3:29 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 87 by RAZD, posted 12-06-2007 10:37 PM Fosdick has responded
 Message 90 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-07-2007 11:49 AM Fosdick has responded

    
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19865
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.6


Message 87 of 140 (438977)
12-06-2007 10:37 PM
Reply to: Message 86 by Fosdick
12-06-2007 7:44 PM


Re: The tautology of tautology
But what still bothers me is that interesting increase of marine families since the Permian Extinction, shown in Sepkoski's graph in Message 56.

Think of it this way: it happened because back then the ecology and the habitability of the planet was such that it could happen, and because it could happen there was a 50-50 chance that it would, meanwhile life muddled along evolving as it went.

Enjoy.


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 86 by Fosdick, posted 12-06-2007 7:44 PM Fosdick has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 89 by Fosdick, posted 12-07-2007 11:42 AM RAZD has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 88 of 140 (439104)
12-07-2007 11:42 AM
Reply to: Message 85 by Elmer
12-06-2007 6:44 PM


Sorry. Didn't intend to tax your reading ability.

Its ok. Just keep in mind that number of readers of your post is inversely proportional to the difficulty of reading.

It's {{biodiversity}} a variable caused by natural selection.

You're entitled to an opinion, just like anyone else, including any creationist. But unless you simply make that statement as an article of faith, it would be heplful to the rest of us if you would trouble yourself to back it up with empirical evidence and logical reasoning.

This thread intends to explain how the process described in Theory of Evolution does not necessarily yield an increase in biodiversity. We are not here to debate if the ToE is, in fact, correct. We are exploring the ramifications of the theory.
I’m just reiterating what the ToE says, not making matter-of-fact statements about what must be true.

Or are you saying that the ToE does not say what I said it says?

However, if you are unable to do that, I will understand.

I am able but unwilling. Can you understand that?

Not necessarily but things have tended to be that way.

Another statement of faith. It is clear that "things [have actually been] that way", but that does not logically demonstrate that this observed development was determined, inevitable, and irresistably compelled by any causal force, be that force identified as the OEC's 'divine programming', or your 'natural selection'.

Like I said, this thread does not intend to logically demonstrate the observed development. What we are doing, is discussing what the Theory of Evolution says about the observations. You don’t even have to believe that the explanations are correct to discuss them.

Do you think the ToE necessitates an increase in biodiversity?

That is the topic.

To me both are equally 'metaphysical', [i.e., non-scientific], vacuities.

Equally!? Wow. Hrm. I guess you are entitled to your opinions. But discussing this further is not for this topic.

Please show how your "NS" causes increased biodiversity, or even how it _might_ cause increased biodiversity.

According to the ToE, if the environment is favorable for a trait,
that trait will become more prominent. You need the selective factor for the traits to either “stick” or “fall”. Otherwise it would be stochastic, ie from RM alone.

and to compensate for this lacune Fisher and friends invented 'random genetic mutation',["RM"], as the basic cause of viable novel bioforms and behaviours; i.e., increased biodiversity.

Like I said in previous messages, RM provides the “opportunity” for the variation but it takes NS for the variation to take hold and be passed on. NS alone can’t do it, you need the RM for the source of the variation.

Evidently you have a more recent opinion, to the effect that "NS" can and does increase/cause biodiversity, and I would like to hear your reasoning for this, and to become acquainted with the empirical observations you use to support your reasoning to that conclusion. Please oblige me.

Again, the empirical observations are unnecessary. We are just discussing what the ToE says, not if it is really true.

I just explained how NS does it. Does that make sense? Any questions?

IOW, no. It takes your "random mutation" to do that.

RM doesn’t “do” it. RM provides for the variation, NS determines if the variation gets passed on or not, ie whether the biodiversity increases or not.

No, it {{RM}} provides the opportunity for diversity but you
need the selection to actually get the diversity.

I'm afraid you'll have to explain and justify this claim, since on its face it makes no sense.

Are you familiar with how the ToE describes the evolutionary process? My explanation seems pretty straight forward from the ToE to me. What is it that you don’t understand?

Care to justify this statement of faith?

:rolleyes: Umm, how about no.

Couldn't it be predetermined and adaptionist? Its not stochastic.

I do not believe so, because if biodiversity is mechanically predetermined, as is widely supposed, then 'adaptation', 'adaptedness', 'adaptable', and so on, add absolutely nothing to our understanding of it.

How do they not add anything? I’m not so sure I understand what you are saying here. Could you please expand on it?

Adaptation' depends upon an implied indeterminism, IMO, as does the whole concept of variety, diversity and difference.

That indeterminism comes from the randomness of genetic mutation.

but rather they avoid the issue of causation, and scientific explanation, altogether-- by proposing that change, difference, and diversity 'just happen, that's all', and 'what you get is what you get, for no particular reason'.

Can you explain why causation is even necessary? What do we observe that suggests some causative factor?

Keep in mind:

quote:
it would be heplful to the rest of us if you would trouble yourself to back it up with empirical evidence and logical reasoning.

But if that scares you off then just explain to me, in your own words, what makes you think it is causative.

the ensuing posts do not seem to address disproving this creationist assumption, nor in demonstrating any scientific alternative.

This thread is to show that that is not what the ToE postulates.

The thread is, in fact, thoroughly muddy and directionless. People are talking at and past each other without coming to grips with the actual issue

It seems to me that Hoot Man and I were moving forward with our discussion. I think we might have actually came to some grips too. AdminNosy even said the discussion was interesting.

the actual issue--a scientific examination of biodiversity, its causes and its constraints, as opposed to the notion of biological diversity as an outcome predestined by 'god'.

The real actual issue is that creationists have claimed that the ToE necessitates an increase in biodiversity. What this thread intends to do is explain how the ToE does not necessitate an increase in biodiversity. What the actual cause of the increase is, is not really the topic. The topic is if the ToE says that the increase must happen, which it does not.

I would suggest that the notion of biological diversity determined by unspecified 'natural forces', aka "Natural Selection", amounts to the same metaphysical claim as 'predestination', stated in secular rather than theological fashion.

How is the claim the same, metaphysically, if it relies on only natural causes? The natural causes explained by the ToE are fairly simple. RM provides for opportunities for variation, and those opportunities are determined to stay or go by NS.

If NS allows the opportunity to stick and be passed on favorable, then there will be an increase in the biodiversity. If NS selects against those opportunities, then there will not be an increase. Clearly, the ToE does not require an increase.

The ToE does not necessitate a long term increase in biodiversity, therefore we can determine that this is not what was predestined.

If this is true, {How would I know, since you haven't told me why you think it true?}

We can just assume that the ToE is true for the purpose of this discussion.

then at least we can be assured that biodiversity is not mechanically determined.

What do you mean by “mechanically determined”?

Which doesn't tell us what it is, but only what it is not. Still, if _demonstrably_ true, then at least it is a first step towards understanding.

What it is is “just what happens”. You said this avoids the issue of causation, but I don’t see what evidence suggests that there is a causation. Can you show me?

That's not to say that the fluctions we do see are not what was predestined, but then anything could have been predestined in that sense.

Which would make the entire concept of 'predestined' and 'determined' vacuous and useless.

And it is, from a scientific point of view. It is only useful for Theology or Philosophy.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 85 by Elmer, posted 12-06-2007 6:44 PM Elmer has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 100 by Elmer, posted 12-07-2007 8:15 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3662 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 89 of 140 (439105)
12-07-2007 11:42 AM
Reply to: Message 87 by RAZD
12-06-2007 10:37 PM


Re: The tautology of tautology
RADZ writes:

HM writes:

But what still bothers me is that interesting increase of marine families since the Permian Extinction, shown in Sepkoski's graph in Message 56.


Think of it this way: it happened because back then the ecology and the habitability of the planet was such that it could happen, and because it could happen there was a 50-50 chance that it would, meanwhile life muddled along evolving as it went.

RADZ, this is a nice challenge to my early morning brain. I apprerciate it. Let me try to deconstruct your argument, if I actually can do it:

1. You are saying that macro-biodiversity is purely a consequence of "the ecology and habitability of the planet." I could hardly disagree with this. If Earth's atmosphere, for example, had been hotter 1000 C and made of nothing but mercury vapors I don't think we'd see much of a record of macro-biodiversity.

2. And you are saying that because macro-biodiversity "could happen there was a 50-50 change that it would." Here's where I start having trouble. What enables you to assume that macro-biodiversity has a "50-50 chance" of happening? Why not a 60-40 or 99-1 chance of biodiversity happening. Wouldn't that also depend on inherent factors in the biological populations, such as alleles that can be exapted for bio-diversification? Is there no biological component to your argument that allows for integrated participation with ecology and habitability? Didn't cyanobacteria once radically alter Eath's ecology and habitability in ways that accommodated increasing bio-diversity?

3. And you say that "meanwhile life muddled along evolving as it went." Does this automatically mean then that biological evolution could not muddle in the direction of macro-diversification? Or does it mean that such muddling is totally limited by environmental conditions...independed of life itself?

RADZ, why couldn't that obvious trend of increasing biodiversity in the last 245 million years be the result of an integrated sort of muddling, wherein the biota and their habitats do not change independently but are instead push and pulled by each other in combination?

That's the best I can do for this issue. You and CS may be right about the Post hoc ergo propter hoc falacy, which means "After this therefore because of this'." But I stiil don't see how this negates the obvious trend toward macro-diversification on Earth. Not if biota and their habitats historically evolved together, leaving a chicken-and-egg conundrum impossible to separate using your Post hoc ergo propter hoc argument.

Did I score any points at all this morning?

—HM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 87 by RAZD, posted 12-06-2007 10:37 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 91 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-07-2007 11:56 AM Fosdick has not yet responded
 Message 98 by RAZD, posted 12-07-2007 6:26 PM Fosdick has responded

    
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 90 of 140 (439111)
12-07-2007 11:49 AM
Reply to: Message 86 by Fosdick
12-06-2007 7:44 PM


Re: The tautology of tautology
It sounds like I'm contradicting myself but it really boils down to the way people use the word "evolve".

What people? Most biologist I know of think that biological evolution is a process of change rather than a process of maintianing the staus quo.

Well, sometimes people use the word "evolution" to meant the Theory of Evolution, and somtimes they use it to just mean change in general. It gets all confusing when we start using different definitions for the same word in the same post.

the last 245 million years of evolution on Earth have demonstrated a rather steady increase in biodiversity. Just coincidendal with environmental conditions and nothing more? Or an embedded law of macroevolution?

Good questions.

The current Theory of Evolution does not have that law embedded in it. It could very well be incomplete and missing that. But right now we do not have enough data/observation to say that the ToE is erroneous in not necessitating an increase in biodiversity.

For you to observe the trend, and then conclude the the process of evolving is a cause of that trend is the fallacy we discussed earlier.

We need more information to determine if evolving causes the increase.

Our current explanation for the evolving does not include a necessity for the increase and we don't have enough info to conclude that the current explanation is missing something.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 86 by Fosdick, posted 12-06-2007 7:44 PM Fosdick has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 92 by Fosdick, posted 12-07-2007 12:01 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
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