c is for cat

Rules for Anchorites

Letters from Proxima Thule

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If you have some evidence of a legitimate taxonomical group switching into another one, I'd be happy to see it. I believe very firmly in natural selection; I see evidences of species change all around me. I believe in it. I just am still waiting for any evidence of evolution and macro-changes, not for a lack of looking either.

Middle ground means I don't believe that creatures don't change (which is what catvalente was indicating as one extreme), but I also don't believe in evolution (indicated as the other). Natural selection IS in between the "everything is as it was created" and "everything becomes something radically different" views.

Feel free to disagree with my viewpoint on science, but please don't accuse me disregarding evidence because we disagree in our interpretation of the evidence. I didn't get my conclusions from the Bible but from the world.

Edited at 2012-02-02 11:18 pm (UTC)

A species IS a taxonomic group as is a sub-species, so I am not clear as to what your claim is.

Likewise I am confused by your claim that you see evidence of natural selection but not evolution. That makes no more sense than to say, I see evidence of automobile traffic here but no evidence of vehicle traffic.

I think I just linked you to an example (HeLa). Also, as the link points out, the entire concept of "kinds" is incoherent. See also CB902 (and the two subsections).

This is a well-studied area. If you haven't seen evidence that evolution *is* the origin of species, then you haven't been looking for evidence -- you've been looking for something that supports your particular religious beliefs.

Just to add to this evidence: we can compare DNA among various species. When we plot out the differences against the times and places in which they happened (based on the fossil record), we can see that the changes are correlated to time and separation. And this is true even between lizards and birds, and I believe further than that. There are no major discontinuities. This is strong evidence that small changes can add up to large changes.

Edited at 2012-02-02 11:28 pm (UTC)

There is plenty of fossil evidence too including in the origin of tetrapods, or in the origin of birds, or in mammals.

One "problem" is really just a matter of a linguistic trick. When we look at fossils we can see some relatives of modern birds that have a mosaic of features, some of which are bird-like other are not.

Rather than acknowledging that there is a continuum, some have attacked this issue first by stating:

"Pick a character so we can say whether it is A or B. Which one is it?"
If a character is chosen, then they can say, "see there is a gap between A and B there is nothing in between."

You might then show them a fossil that shows the character is in an intermediate stage (say between scale and feather) and they will simply respond "is it a scale or is it a feather?" If you choose one or the other then they will simply go back to saying that there is no continuum.

It would be as if I had everyone in a class divide into two groups, "short people" and "tall people" and said they had to choose a particular criterion that would allow us to put someone in one or the other. Sure we might then end up with two groups, but it would simply be arbitrary and in reality there might be a continuum,

The simplest way to observe natural selection in action is to plate tons of wild-type bacteria on an agar plate with a drug on it, such as amphicilin or tetracycline. Most of the bacteria will die, but a few will have a random mutation that confers resistance to the drug, and they will live and reproduce (asexually) and you will get individual colonies descended from those survivors.

If you want a "real-world" example, consider your yearly flu shot. Influenza mutates at such a rapid rate that the shot you got in 2011 would not protect you in 2012.

Natural selection is not between "everything is as was created" and "everything becomes something rapidly different." Natural selection is the force the environment exerts upon a given species - the members of that species who are not advantaged die off, and the ones that survive propagate their more fit genes to their progeny. Over time (yearly, in the case of influenza; millions of years when it comes to higher species), in different environments that exert different selection pressures, that may result in different species evolving from one ancestor species.

I hope this explanation is helpful.

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