The relation between micro- and macroevolution

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The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby TheVat on February 13th, 2020, 11:40 am 

I am invoking SPECIAL RULES for this thread:

Absolutely no personal remarks (sorry, I know that's a huge buzzkill) or indirect P-A remarks

All appeals to "common sense" must be backed by peer reviewed research

All references to Gould and Eldredge, et al, should include direct excerpts when you attribute an idea or opinion to them

No naked appeals to authority will be offered to affirm or rebut a position

Let the good times roll!
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby davidm on February 13th, 2020, 8:40 pm 

They are the same thing, at different scales.
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on February 13th, 2020, 11:45 pm 

@ TheVat


The answer I most often hear to your OP question -- in books, in the popular media, on sites like this one, etc -- is macroevolution is nothing but microevolution writ large. In other words, on this view, the processes traditionally invoked to explain microevolution are wholly sufficient to account for macroevolutionary trends.

This is sometimes referred to as an extrapolationist position, so let's call it SEA (Standard Extrapolationist Answer) for convenience.

Now, if proponents of SEA were to say things like "In my opinion, SEA is correct" or "Many scientists believe SEA is true" the claim would be entirely unobjectionable.

The problem, judging by my own experience at least, is that they almost never do. The unspoken implication always seems (to me anyway) to be something like:

"SEA is an established scientific fact enjoying universal consensus. Ask any reputable scientist and they'll tell you the same thing. Only a crackpot or a Creationist would gainsay SEA".

Thus understood, the claim is far from unobjectionable, moreover quite false.

It is not the case that SEA is universally endorsed by the scientific community, indeed it is vociferously resisted by some of the most distinguished names in the biz, most notably, your own aforementioned Gould and Eldredge, and many others of like mind (hereafter collectively G&E). Thus, all those uncompromising purveyors of "SEA is true and that's that" are either unaware of G&E's thought, aware of it and fail to understand it, or else understand it but dismiss it contemptuously as unworthy of our attention.

How G&E et al would respond to your topic question, TheVat, I suggest would be something like the following (and I paraphrase):

"Yes, of course micro and macro-evolution occur. Where we demur is at the extrapolationist claim that the processes traditionally appealed to to explain the former can adequately account for the latter. Species must be recognized as causal agents -- as units of selection -- active in the macro-evolutionary saga"


But (in obeisance to your special rules) why paraphrase? Here's Gould himself:


"First, punctuated equilibrium secures the hierarchical expansion of selectionist theory to the level of species, thus moving beyond Darwin's preference for restricting causality effectively to the organismic realm alone (leg one on the essential tripod). Second, by defining species as the basic units or atoms of macroevolution--as stable "things" (Darwinian individuals) rather than as arbitrary segments of continua--punctuated equilibrium precludes the explanation of all evolutionary patterns by extrapolation from mechanisms operating on local populations, at human timescales, and at organismic and lower levels (leg three on the tripod of Darwinian essentials). Thus, as emphasized in the last section, punctuated equilibrium presents no radical proposal in the domain of microevolutionary mechanics--in particular (and as so often misunderstood), the theory advances no defenses for saltational models of speciation, and no claims for novel genetic processes. Moreover, punctuated equilibrium does not attempt to specify or criticize the conventional mechanisms of microevolution at all (for punctuated equilibrium emerges as the anticipated expression, by proper scaling, of microevolutionary theories about speciation into the radically different domain of "deep" or geological time). But punctuated equilibrium does maintain, as the kernel of its potential novelty for biological theory, that those unrevised microevolutionary mechanisms do not hold exclusive sway in evolutionary explanation, and that their domain of action must be restricted (or at least shared) at the level of macroevolutionary pattern over geological scales--for punctuated equilibrium ratifies an effective realm of macroevolutionary mechanics based on recognizing species as Darwinian individuals. In other words, punctuated equilibrium makes its major contribution to evolutionary theory, not by revising microevolutionary mechanics, but by individuating species (and thereby establishing the basis for an independent theoretical domain of macroevolution).

"Punctuated Equilibrium", p58 (italics in original, my bold emphasis)
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on February 14th, 2020, 5:25 am 

Next up, Niles Eldredge... (all quotes from his 1985 "Time Frames")

On page 127, Eldredge sketches the traditional position -- that I've named SEA above -- wherein macroevolution is simply an extrapolation of microevolution; the former being nothing but the latter writ large (emphasis in original).

"In other words--and here is the key credo of modern evolutionary theory--natural selection is by far the most important process acting within species. Selection works on the genetic variation expressed in the features of organisms within populations and species. And all the truly large-scale phenomena of evolution--what we call "macroevolution"--can be understood as a simple summation, a simple extrapolation, of the within-species process of natural selection. Evolutionary trends are a profound case in point: modern evolutionary theory sees evolutionary trends as the large-scale accumulation of directional natural selection. Within-species processes and longer-term processes are all the same: all we need consider is the generation-by-generation process of natural selection."



SEA ("macro is just lots of micro"), of course, is precisely what Eldredge and co-conspirator Gould are militating against. Eldredge continues on page 133:


"The difference is crucial: punctuated equilibria offers one line of evidence suggesting that perhaps the normal processes of natural selection (plus random genetic drift) that go on within species may not be appropriately extrapolated as a smooth extension to explain the existence of millions of species, in some 90-odd phyla, occupying the earth for some 3.5 billion years. Yet that is indeed the simple, central contention of the "modern synthesis": what goes on within species, especially natural selection modifying gene frequencies, is really all we need to know to explain and understand the history of life."
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Forest_Dump on February 14th, 2020, 11:17 am 

Forgive me but is there any kind of point being made here? I do not see any kind of problem with the distinction between micro and macro as being largely arbitrary and more a question of scale. Similarly, I would say that the characterization of evolution as being strictly gradual and uniform was more of a straw man argument since even Darwin noted that evolution happened in fits and starts and, in the real world of fossils, etc., we can see long spans of time with little change in some species while others exhibit change seemingly very rapidly. So what?
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Serpent on February 14th, 2020, 11:50 am 

Is it perhaps a division between the evolution of microscopic, unicellular life (the first three+ billion years) and the much speedier evolution of complex organisms that burst out in all directions about one billion years ago.
Say pre/post fungi. To me, that change seems more interesting than the painfully slow development of eukaryotes.
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Forest_Dump on February 14th, 2020, 12:52 pm 

Ummmm, no. Micro usually refers to the smaller changes more easily seen in the lab, etc. such as simple changes in gene or trait frquencies from one generation to the next. Macro refers to the larger changes, usually in observeable traits (i.e., phenotype) that are much more rare and take longer to observe - the kinds of changes that dominate evolution as seen from the fossil record. When P-E came out some people bandied about 50,000 years as being reasonable since it is pretty much a geological instant.
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby davidm on February 14th, 2020, 3:11 pm 

From here.

Initially, Eldredge and Gould (1972) were quite explicit that they did not see their model as entailing a new type of selection. They straightforwardly wrote “we postulate no ‘new’ type of selection” (Eldredge & Gould 1972: 112). But in 1975, the paleontologist and evolutionary theorist Steven M. Stanley dubbed Eldredge and Gould’s population-level selection process a form of species selection, and by 1977 the inventors of PE concurred. They wrote that they nonetheless understood species selection as representing “no more than the operation of natural selection at higher levels” (Gould & Eldredge 1977: 139), but still, this interpretation presents a challenge to one typical way of instantiating the dominant model of natural selection.


So, yeah. I don’t see any point here, either, if the putative point-maker is challenging evolutionary biology by invoking Berlinski (!) of all people — as, of course, he has repeatedly done. Clearly, there is nothing AT ALL that Eldredge and Gould have in common with Berlinski, or the sorts of bizarro and false objections to evolutionary biology that Berlinski and his ilk make.
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby davidm on February 14th, 2020, 3:32 pm 

IOW, Gould and Elderedge do not question SELECTION -- which, according to Reg, is an explanatorily empty tautology! So WHY does he bang on about G & E? They are not in his corner!


Whatever, given enough micro, then, over time, macro must happen.
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Serpent on February 14th, 2020, 4:17 pm 

Forest_Dump » February 14th, 2020, 11:52 am wrote:Ummmm, no. Micro usually refers to the smaller changes more easily seen in the lab, etc. such as simple changes in gene or trait frquencies from one generation to the next. Macro refers to the larger changes, usually in observeable traits (i.e., phenotype) that are much more rare and take longer to observe - the kinds of changes that dominate evolution as seen from the fossil record. When P-E came out some people bandied about 50,000 years as being reasonable since it is pretty much a geological instant.

Thanks.
OK, then, I can't see a clear demarcation. I'm a little bit leery of laboratory observations, since the laboratory tends to lend itself to very small (containable, controllable, manipulable) populations of a restricted range of species. There is a constant temptation to direct, rather than just observe. Fossil record doesn't allow much influencing.
Before hyskos points it out, I freely admit to having no educated comments to make here. Just looking in for interest.
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Forest_Dump on February 14th, 2020, 5:34 pm 

One minor quibble on my part. I would never suggest that macro (or even micro) evolution MUST happen for several reasons. First it does imply some irresistable force is at play while I think most would acknowledge that we know of no such irresistable forces. And we could probablt think of a number of cases where micro evolution might be a factor but without much or any macro evolutionary changes. One example that came to my mind quickly was mitochondria. We know that mutations accumulate (some would even say at a fairly steady rate)so that dates of departure between populations (and species) can be estimated from the mtDNA and yet mitochondria are remarkably similar is all organisms that have them.

Yeah, I admit that I am not entirely a lab guy. I can see the point to people like Dawkins, etc., who work mostly with modern data and, from that, derive the kinds of theoretical constructs that people like Reg prefer to focus on. But I have always been more of a "field" guy in that to me what works is what best explains the fossils and other data from the real world out there. Sometimes the realms don't really match up all that well and this is the fodder for the more contrarian types.
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on February 14th, 2020, 8:45 pm 

Forest_Dump » February 15th, 2020, 12:17 am wrote:Forgive me but is there any kind of point being made here?

Two points are being made (to begin with anyway).

(all quotes below, unless specified, are from Gould's "Punctuated Equilibrium")

Forest_Dump » February 15th, 2020, 12:17 am wrote: ... Similarly, I would say that the characterization of evolution as being strictly gradual and uniform was more of a straw man argument since even Darwin noted that evolution happened in fits and starts [...] So what?


This is the first point. Yes, Darwin did notice, and in so doing, recognized it posed a problem for his theory of (what G&E call) phyletic gradualism. Now, the occasional hiccup might not pose too much of a problem, but the more "fits and starts" that are discovered, the more cases of stasis and discontinuity that come to light, the bigger the problem facing a theory that predicts continuity and smoothness.

Gould argues thus: Darwin's theory predicts a predominance of smooth, insensible transitions. "What Every Paleontologist Knows" (title of chapter 1 of PE) -- even since Darwin's time -- is that the fossil record, on the whole, exhibits precisely the opposite pattern: stasis and discontinuity.

"Most importantly, this tale exemplifies what may be called the cardinal and dominant fact of the fossil record, something that professional paleontologists learned as soon as they developed tools for an adequate stratigraphic tracing of fossils through time: the great majority of species appear with geological abruptness in the fossil record and then persist in stasis until their extinction. Anatomy may fluctuate through time, but the last remnants of a species usually look pretty much like the first representatives. In proposing punctuated equilibrium, Eldredge and I did not discover, or even rediscover, this fundamental fact of the fossil record. Paleontologists have always recognized the longterm stability of most species, but we had become more than a bit ashamed by this strong and literal signal, for the dominant theory of our scientific culture told us to look for the opposite result of gradualism as the primary empirical expression of every biologist's favorite subject -- evolution itself." - p19



Gould (chap 1), for example, draws attention to Darwin's surprise after being informed by contemporary paleontologist, Hugh Falconer, that study of mammoth teeth shows a complete lack of the "insensible continuity" demanded by his theory. Darwin replies to Falconer with characteristic honesty:

"Your case seems the most striking one which I have met with of the of the persistence of specific characters. It is very much the more striking as it relates to the molar teeth, which differ so much in the species of the genus, and in which consequently I should have expected variation".

Well, so what? Every good theory can expect a few anomalies, eh? And as any good Kuhnian will tell you, "normal science" consists largely in the attempt to reconcile recalcitrant data with theory. Gould proceeds to document Darwin's attempt to do just this.

Now, Darwin's phyletic gradualism might be able to resist the odd, pertinacious case of "no gradualism whatsoever". But what if "no gradualism whatsoever" is in fact the norm rather than the exception; the "dominant" (see Gould quote above) position?

Then surely there comes a time when one can no longer shrug one's shoulder's and say "So what?". G&E, at least, concluded that the evidence-theory mismatch can no longer plausibly be blamed on the "incompleteness" of the fossil record, or this, that, and the other: Darwinian phyletic gradualism is simply false.

There may indeed be cases faithful to the Darwinian template of phyletic gradualism and defiant of punctuated equilibrium; G&E do not deny this. But as general theory of what always or just what usually happens; it would appear to be hopelessly inadequate.





The second point to be made is more subtle, but more pertinent to the thread. To wit, G&E argue that punctuated equilibrium "uncouples" (p61) macro from micro-evolution. PE with its concomitant invocation of species selection implies, or at the very least raises the possibility, that SEA's (macro = lots of micro) days are over.


"Rather, punctuated equilibrium refutes the third and most general meaning of Darwinian gradualism, designated in Chapter 2 of SET (see pp. 152-155) as "slowness and smoothness (but not constancy) of rate." Natural selection does not require or imply this degree of geological sloth and smoothness, though Darwin frequently, and falsely, linked the two concepts--as Huxley tried so forcefully to advise him , though in vain, with his famous warning: "you have loaded yourself with an unnecessary difficulty in adopting Natura non facit saltum so unreservedly." The crucial error of Dawkins (1986) and several other critics lies in their failure to recognize the theoretical importance of this third meaning, the domain that punctuated equilibrium does challenge. Dawkins correctly notes that we do not question the second meaning of insensible intermediacy. But since his extrapolationist view leads him to regard only this second meaning as vital to the role of natural selection, he dismisses the third meaning--which we do confute--as trivial. Since Dawkins rejects the hierarchical model of selection, he does not grant himself the conceptual space for weighing the claim that punctuated equilibrium's critique of the third meaning undermines the crucial Darwinian strategy for rendering all scales of evolution by smooth extrapolation from the organismic level. For this refutation of extrapolation by punctuated equilibrium validates the treatment of species as evolutionary individuals, and establishes the level of species selection as a potentially important contributor to the macroevolutionary pattern." - p27



In a sophisticated and careful analysis, Elliott Sober ("The Nature of Selection", final chapter) notes:

"Eldredge, Gould, Stanley, and Vrba describe their theory as "decoupling" macro-evolution from micro-evolution; they see anti-reductionist consequences flowing from the punctuated equilibrium idea. Critics (e.g., Lande 1980, Ayala 1983) have responded that even if the punctuated equilibrium view is correct, there is still an important sense in which micro- and macro-evolution remain unified". (p358)


Sober goes on to draw his own distinction between pattern and process. Now, here's where the subtlety comes in: With a little fudging and some ingenuity, one might be able to squeeze the square peg that is the pattern of the fossil record (largely punctuation and stasis) into the round hole that is the Darwinian doctrine of phyletic gradualism. And then sit back, smile smugly, and declare, "See! G&E are saying nothing new".

What one cannot do, however, is reconcile the process (i.e., the ontology, the mechanisms) of punctuated equilibrium with that of traditional phyletic gradualism. Sober again (p359):

"Yet this should not obscure the fact that species selection is a very different sort of evolutionary mechanism from individual selection. This is the important sense in which the ideas collected under the banner of punctuated equilibrium effectively 'decouple' macro- from micro-evolution.
[...]
Rather, we have here an ontological claim to the effect that an item at the macro-level is not identical with anything at the micro-level. It is not to be doubted that species are composed of organisms. Rather, the idea is that a certain causal mechanism--species selection--is distinct from the array of mechanisms acknowledged by the individual-level science".
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Forest_Dump on February 14th, 2020, 10:58 pm 

Well I guess I will have to walk off with little butterflies in my braincase because from where I sit, your points at best seem to be making mountains out of molehills or tempests in tea pots. I have to admit that I never thought much about phyletic gradualism (I always thought it was an early 20th century thing of people like Huxley or Dobzhansky (sic?) (and I tend to read more up-to-date stuff - even my Gould books are deeply buried now). Truth be told, the notion of gradual and steady change doesn't even make a ton of sense to me at the moment because that would almost seem as though beneficial mutations (including from what we know refer to as epiggenetic sources) occur at a gradual and even rate (which strikes me as improbable) and that natural selection is also a somewhat even and steady force (which I also doubt) while minimizing other forces such as drift and gene flow, etc. So, truth be told, I think you mischaracterize what evolutionary theory really is to any but some more fringy types and, as bad as it might be, I don't see any hint of something better to characterize and explain the history of life on this planet.
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on February 15th, 2020, 5:22 am 

Forest_Dump » February 15th, 2020, 11:58 am wrote:Well I guess I will have to walk off with little butterflies in my braincase because from where I sit, your points at best seem to be making mountains out of molehills or tempests in tea pots.


I would -- and I daresay our PE protagonists would also -- be inclined to express the opposite sentiment: that you are making a molehill out of a mountain.

Leaving the macro vs micro imbroglio to one side for now, punctuated equilibria, assuming it is indeed as prevalent as its proponents would have us believe, rather than a somewhat trivial exercise in mopping up minutiae, as you see things, seems to me instead to usher in something of a Copernican revolution for our entire evolutionary zeitgeist.

Until fairly recently the canonical, Darwinian-inspired position of steady, slow (by geological standards), continual evolutionary change was regarded as the norm, paleontological evidence by the bucketload to the contrary notwithstanding. Yes, yes, and these supposedly rare instances, that even Darwin and his contemporaries knew about, of species -- horseshoe crabs, sharks, amaranthinely-toothed mammoths, crocodiles, us (?) -- who apparently had not received the memo that they were supposed to be busy evolving were treated as embarrassing anomalies that had to be explained away somehow.

PE, if valid, turns all this on its head: Extended periods of stasis become the norm rather than the exception. Horseshoe crab vindication! What now cries out for explanation are those rare events of evolutionary activity!

Gould puts it this way (op cit, page 185):


"A phenomenon marking the disruption of normality holds a very different philosophical status than a phenomenon representing the ordinary architecture of biological space and time. Evolutionary change, regarded as an occasional disrupter of stasis, requires a different set of explanatory concepts and mechanisms--a different view of life, really--from evolutionary change, defined as an anagenetic expectation intrinsically operating in most populations most of the time."



And at this point, not necessarily directed at yourself, I can't resist adding the prescient words of William James:

"First ... a new theory is attacked as absurd; then it is admitted to be true, but obvious and insignificant; [and] finally it is seen to be so important that its adversaries claim that they discovered it themselves".
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Forest_Dump on February 15th, 2020, 10:40 am 

For myself, I can't help but marvel at how often some of these people do seem to seem to trumpet some fairly minor things as major revolutions. If you would like more fodder, there is a fairly frest book that argues that epigenetics also overthrows Darwinism and proves Lamark was right. Of course I do not think it does although epigenetics, as presented there, does add to our list of ways heritable genetic variation can come about.

So as mentioned I never considered phyletic gradualism to be anything other than an artificial model useful in theory building but not really existent in the world much like frictionless planes, infinitely straight lines or two dimensional objects. All nice for developing theories but non-existent in the real world.
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on February 15th, 2020, 11:19 am 

What would it take to impress you? LOL

I did ma best *shrug*

Seen it all, eh?
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Forest_Dump on February 15th, 2020, 11:31 am 

I suppose I should point out that phyletic gradualism could appear to be most accurate if seen from a truly macro scale or distant such as all life (fossils) in one view or with few fossils (relevant data points) available. I am familiar with this in that I have attempted to work with a random number generator to excavate test pits in that way over a large area. On the final map, if you don't look too closely, it might appear to be a smooth even distribution of points. But down on the ground you get clumps and voids and even points repeated. So, again, I am not troubled by the argument that theoreticians, particularly early 20th century ones with relatively little actual data, might have seen the macro view to be smooth and gradual while actual data has demonstrated that the real world is a lot more messy.

Similarly, I am not all that troubled by finding out that some of the best minds made mistakes. I am sure we could all point out times teachers made mistakes or were even bad teachers in some way. I doubt that that would prompt many of us to argue for throwing out the entire education system even if we could all agree that some changes might be in order. So, again, these arguments and disputes do not really move me.
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Forest_Dump on February 15th, 2020, 11:39 am 

What would it take to impress me? Thats easy. Something that would work better. Any improvement would do. But just arguing that the current body of theory is not good enough offers no help. Personally I am less interested in theory from abstractions created in a vacuum. I like to see how it works in the real world. Come up with something that works well in explaining some anomaly in a population of trilobites, therapsids or australopithecines and I will be impressed.
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on February 15th, 2020, 11:40 am 

Forest_Dump » February 16th, 2020, 12:31 am wrote: So, again, I am not troubled by the argument that theoreticians, particularly early 20th century ones with relatively little actual data, might have seen the macro view to be smooth and gradual while actual data has demonstrated that the real world is a lot more messy.
.



Neither am I bothered. Now do we have a general theory of evolution or not?

If so, what is it?
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Positor on February 15th, 2020, 11:56 am 

Given that Darwin acknowledged that some species selection took place (due to isolation, migration etc), why is there a fundamental problem if species selection, as a proportion of all evolution, is much greater than Darwin supposed? Darwin knew the likely mechanisms for species selection, even if he mistakenly thought they were rare, so why do we need a new theory? Isn't this just a quantitative revision of the theory of evolution by natural selection (and other known factors), rather than a qualitative one?
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on February 15th, 2020, 12:04 pm 

Positor » February 16th, 2020, 12:56 am wrote:Given that Darwin acknowledged that some species selection took place



Did he?

Links pls

Don't forget these special rules (see OP)

According to Gould he considered group selection, and discounted all but one.

Us, I suppose *shrug*

No mention of species selection that I know of.
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on February 15th, 2020, 1:42 pm 

Vat liked your post, Forest, so I'm gonna like it, too.

Call me a snivelling obsequious sycophant if you will.

Can we be friends now?

Ooops, time for bed.....
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on February 15th, 2020, 2:16 pm 

Now, just before I go to bed, boys and girls, can we review the "special rules" of the op again?

Apparently all posters are supposed to back their claims with quotes and evidence, otherwise you can expect a sound thrashing (Right, Mr Vat?).

(I thought I told you to have that man flogged, Mr Christian? That man is dead, sir, Well flog him anyway.)

Fair enough, chaps.

Our first respondent (no names mentioned, but post #2) stated in no uncertain terms "They are the same thing, at different scales."

Same old "I say so and that's that"

Isn't that nice? Alas, no evidence or quotes whatsoever to support the assertion. Just, dare I say, another ex cathedra pronouncement.

Probably got a few likes, too.

Meanwhile I have spent the burden of my day burying my nose in Gould and Eldredge books, when I might have being doing something more useful like hugging a cat named Vlad.

Might they be right? Might they be wrong? Who am I to say?

The point I am trying to make is: If you think there is a scientific consensus on macro being nothing but micro writ large, think again.

Before you judge, please fakkin read the material. I did. According to the "special rules'.
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on February 15th, 2020, 2:48 pm 

Forest_Dump » February 16th, 2020, 12:39 am wrote:I like to see how it works in the real world. Come up with something that works well in explaining some anomaly in a population of trilobites, therapsids or australopithecines and I will be impressed.


OMG, Eldredge talks a lot about trilobites, dude. Have you read him?

Now, the immediate problem here is, when you speak of "anomalies" is.. er, in light of what theory?

There are no anomalies without a theory, right? What theory do you have in mind? Thought you said you were more of a "blood and guts, in the field kinda guy??

As they say, one man's fish is another man's poisson.

Right now you are defending a spectre.

Tell me your theory and perhaps we can move on from there.

To be simple: Tell me what theory you are defending, then we might examine whether or not trilobites constitute an anomaly. Thanks!
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on February 15th, 2020, 3:22 pm 

Forest_Dump » February 16th, 2020, 12:39 am wrote:Come up with something that works well in explaining some anomaly in a population of trilobites, [...] and I will be impressed.


Er, that's exactly what Niles Eldredge did.

Have you read him or not?


What he came up was with: (sorry to bore you again), "trilobites just kinda sit there and do nothing for millions of years"

Enter PE *drumroll*

Reminds me of my wife.
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on February 15th, 2020, 3:31 pm 

Will you please tell me about your general theory of evolution now?

Coulda swore I asked about objective probabilities on your theory (whatever it is) being true.

The thread was deleted.

What a relief, eh? Who wants to admit they haven't a clue on a pet theory being true or false.

I'm off to bed again.

Dream on.
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby TheVat on February 15th, 2020, 8:09 pm 

Reg_Prescott » February 15th, 2020, 12:31 pm wrote:Will you please tell me about your general theory of evolution now?

Coulda swore I asked about objective probabilities on your theory (whatever it is) being true.

The thread was deleted....


Twas not deleted.

viewtopic.php?nomobile=1&f=88&t=35790&start=0

Kind of a neat fit, what? "Odds" thread moved to... Odds and Ends forum. Ha!

I can't respond to the other dozen posts ATM but will return. And I will punch the Like button like a Skinner Box rat for anyone who has read Gould so thoroughly. Sorry if my recent button strike was one sided and seemingly random. It was mainly for the turn of phrase in...

...an artificial model useful in theory building but not really existent in the world much like frictionless planes, infinitely straight lines or two dimensional objects
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Serpent on February 15th, 2020, 9:19 pm 

Small point of word usage if I may interject.
then we might examine whether or not trilobites constitute an anomaly.

is not responsive to
... explaining some anomaly in a population of trilobites

Forest_Dump refers to an individual trilobite that differs from all the other trilobites: a singularity, a freak, an exception.
The Reg_Prescott rejoinder demands to investigate whether the entire class of Trilobita is anomalous - exceptional, different, odd - among arthropods.
If the switch is inadvertent, it is misleading; if deliberate, it is misdirection.

Reg_Prescott » February 15th, 2020, 1:48 pm wrote:Now, the immediate problem here is, when you speak of "anomalies" is.. er, in light of what theory?

There are no anomalies without a theory, right?

Why?
If all the wild asses in a herd of thousands have one head and four legs, that is the norm for that herd. Why should a theory be required to establish this observation? If a wild ass is born with four heads and one leg, that poor little foal is an anomaly in the population of wild asses.
The observer might then formulate a theory as to why this exception occurred, and if he were able to come up with one, that theory could be tested.
He would not need to examine in light of what theory wild asses constitute an anomaly in something.
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on February 15th, 2020, 9:36 pm 

Serpent » February 16th, 2020, 10:19 am wrote:
Reg_Prescott » February 15th, 2020, 1:48 pm wrote:Now, the immediate problem here is, when you speak of "anomalies" is.. er, in light of what theory?

There are no anomalies without a theory, right?

Why?



Why? Because (for example) if you view the world through Newtonian glasses, the orbit of Mercury constitutes an anomaly.

If you view the world through Einsteinian glasses it does not.

Why don't we go and view the sunset together? Bring beer and arrive naked. Men like that.

Oh, wait, it doesn't set. Or does it?
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Re: The relation between micro- and macroevolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on February 15th, 2020, 9:40 pm 

Serpent » February 16th, 2020, 10:19 am wrote:If all the wild asses in a herd of thousands have one head and four legs, that is the norm for that herd. Why should a theory be required to establish this observation?


It's something of a commonplace these days to note that all observation is contaminated by theory. In other words, facts (cough) are not simply there to be read. What is read depends on the conceptual apparatus one brings to bear on said observations.

To paraphrase Kant, and to show off: "Theory without observation is empty; Observation without theory is blind"


Getting back to trilobites.....

Ball's in your court, friend.


Oh, and P.S. to quote (roughly) ma old brilliant pal Lomax (how I miss him): "If we call a tail a leg, does a wild ass have five legs?"
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