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  1. #1
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    The challenge for so-called "micro-evolutionists"

    Let us define a "micro-evolutionist" as an individual who has categorized evolution into "macro-evolution" and "micro-evolution", but only accepts "micro-evolution".

    This debate is a challenge to the logic / reason supporting micro-evolutionists' position. Please explain what biological functions in nature cause it to be the case that dynamic physical changes in species are impossible. i.e. Why can't an amphibian, over hundreds of generations of change, eventually evolve into a lizard? What's stopping it?

    You've accepted that small changes can happen (micro-evolution), but then imply that these small changes cannot accumulate over time into larger changes. Why? Please explain this reasoning or clarify.

    If your argument is simply, "we've never observed it", that's one thing that I/we will address later on in this thread.

  2. #2
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    Re: The challenge for so-called "micro-evolutionists"

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    You've accepted that small changes can happen (micro-evolution), but then imply that these small changes cannot accumulate over time into larger changes. Why? Please explain this reasoning or clarify.
    This is a mischaracterization of my argument. I accept that microevolution exists. What I do not understand is how each step of evolution needed to effect a change into a different species grants a greater chance of survival to an organism, thus favoring it over its unevolved peers. How would a plant be granted greater survivability by the beginnings of lungs, or of a heart sans an appropriate circulatory system? To achieve the benefits of such a system, an organism needs the entire system. I have certainly never seen such radical change.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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  3. #3
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    Re: The challenge for so-called "micro-evolutionists"

    Allow me to ask you a question, if you will:

    What evolution occured that changed amphibians into lizards? Or do we just say "It was evolution!" and accept it as a Theory-of-the-Gaps?
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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  4. #4
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    Re: The challenge for so-called "micro-evolutionists"

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    Why can't an amphibian, over hundreds of generations of change, eventually evolve into a lizard? What's stopping it?
    Its DNA. An amphibian has no possible genetic way to produce a reptile.

    If your argument is simply, "we've never observed it", that's one thing that I/we will address later on in this thread.
    That is not my whole argument, but it is an important part of it. Why should a process we have never observed be considered scientific fact?

  5. #5
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    Re: The challenge for so-called "micro-evolutionists"

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinBrowning
    Its DNA. An amphibian has no possible genetic way to produce a reptile.
    1) How do you know?

    2) Can you state with authority that an amphibian is not able to produce an offspring with a genetic mutation that causes said offspring to be slightly more like a reptile? For example, reptiles have thicker scales than amphibians. Is it impossible for an amphibian to have a genetic mutation that causes its' scales to thicken? If this is impossible, then why?


    That is not my whole argument, but it is an important part of it. Why should a process we have never observed be considered scientific fact?
    All in due time. The easy answer is that it HAS been observed, but let's focus on the above for now. I want to focus on the logic of your argument first and save real world examples of observations for later on.

  6. #6
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    Re: The challenge for so-called "micro-evolutionists"

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    1) How do you know?
    From observation.

    2) Can you state with authority that an amphibian is not able to produce an offspring with a genetic mutation that causes said offspring to be slightly more like a reptile? For example, reptiles have thicker scales than amphibians. Is it impossible for an amphibian to have a genetic mutation that causes its' scales to thicken? If this is impossible, then why?
    Of course it can produce offspring more similar to a reptile. But being like a different kind of animal in some way does not make a creature that type of animal.

    Also, what advantage of survival would an amphibian gain from somehow eventually transforming into a reptile, ignoring the actual process of such a change?

    All in due time. The easy answer is that it HAS been observed, but let's focus on the above for now. I want to focus on the logic of your argument first and save real world examples of observations for later on.
    We have observed an amphibian produce a reptile? Please cite this study, and I will forfeit the debate at once.

  7. #7
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    Re: The challenge for so-called "micro-evolutionists"

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples
    This is a mischaracterization of my argument. I accept that microevolution exists. What I do not understand is how each step of evolution needed to effect a change into a different species grants a greater chance of survival to an organism, thus favoring it over its unevolved peers. How would a plant be granted greater survivability by the beginnings of lungs, or of a heart sans an appropriate circulatory system? To achieve the benefits of such a system, an organism needs the entire system. I have certainly never seen such radical change.
    You are confusing evolution and natural selection. While organisms that develop "better" mutations tend to survive, this is not a rule nor a law. For example, in Colorado there is an area of valeys that each have their own distinct species of crane fly that is genetically distinct from species in neighboring velleys.

    Have you ever seen a crane fly? It looks like a massive mosquito, but doesn't bite or sting. In fact, each and every species is INCREDIBLY fragile; the average house fan generates enough wind to snap their legs clean off... yet the species (all of them) are thriving. Not endangered. Not surviving. Thriving.

    The cheetah, on the other hand, can run as fast as a car traveling at freeway speed. Think about that for a moment the next time you're in your car doing 65 mph... realize that the cheetah would PASS you at that speed. Yet, the cheetah is endangered and may not survive the next few decades.

    Sometimes bad changes survive and sometimes good changes die out. Point being that natural selection is a factor of evolution, it is not a dependent factor.

    All of this, though, is very much off topic. If you want to continue it, please start another thread. Kevin and I have some things to work out here.

  8. #8
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    Re: The challenge for so-called "micro-evolutionists"

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinBrowning
    From observation.
    Really? How much time have you personally spent observing amphibian DNA? Have scientists even mapped the DNA of any amphibians or reptiles?

    What observations are you referring to, Kevin?

    Of course it can produce offspring more similar to a reptile. But being like a different kind of animal in some way does not make a creature that type of animal.
    Why not? The characteristics that seperate reptiles from amphibians are highly distinct, but the list of them is quite short. Why is it impossible for an amphibian species to slowly, over the corse of thousands of generations, aquire all the traits requisite to become a reptile?

    Also, what advantage of survival would an amphibian gain from somehow eventually transforming into a reptile, ignoring the actual process of such a change?
    Ignoring the process: evolution is not dependent on advantage. Sometimes, critters change for no apparent reason or have a change that neither hinders their survival nor benefits it. They simply mutate. See above in my post to Clive for more.

    And we have observed amphibian lines that became reptiles, but let's not have you forfeit yet.

  9. #9
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    Re: The challenge for so-called "micro-evolutionists"

    What amphibian lines have evolved to reptiles?
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  10. #10
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    Re: The challenge for so-called "micro-evolutionists"

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    You are confusing evolution and natural selection. While organisms that develop "better" mutations tend to survive, this is not a rule nor a law. For example, in Colorado there is an area of valeys that each have their own distinct species of crane fly that is genetically distinct from species in neighboring velleys.
    The "better" mutation is the one that survives. In those Colorado valleys, some mutations weren't beneficial. That's because NATURE is different in different parts of the world. Natural selection has different manifestations. This is common sense. An organism must have very different characteristics to survive (or to have increased survivability) on land than underwater.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    Have you ever seen a crane fly? It looks like a massive mosquito, but doesn't bite or sting. In fact, each and every species is INCREDIBLY fragile; the average house fan generates enough wind to snap their legs clean off... yet the species (all of them) are thriving. Not endangered. Not surviving. Thriving.
    And?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    The cheetah, on the other hand, can run as fast as a car traveling at freeway speed. Think about that for a moment the next time you're in your car doing 65 mph... realize that the cheetah would PASS you at that speed. Yet, the cheetah is endangered and may not survive the next few decades.
    And?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    Sometimes bad changes survive and sometimes good changes die out. Point being that natural selection is a factor of evolution, it is not a dependent factor.
    The good change is the one that survives. Changes that die out aren't good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    All of this, though, is very much off topic. If you want to continue it, please start another thread. Kevin and I have some things to work out here.
    Excuse me, but I am not off-topic. I raised specific objections to your post. You have dismissed them falsely by pointing out that some mutations die out. Very well, but what would give greater survivability to a creature that has only part of a circulatory system? How would such a mutation help an organism to survive?
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
    **** you, I won't do what you tell me

    HOLY CRAP MY BLOG IS AWESOME

  11. #11
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    Re: The challenge for so-called "micro-evolutionists"

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis
    What amphibian lines have evolved to reptiles?
    We'll get to that.

    The thrust of this thread is the logic behind the "micro-evolutionist's" stance which seems to be:

    "Organisms can mutate / adapt / evolve in small ways, but they cannot ever become other species / genus / etc. because those changes are too small."

    This is highly illogical and contradictory. It implies that there is some sort of line that species cannot cross over... a set of parameters that each species is confined to. Whenever I ask about this strange threshhold, micro-evolutionists dodge / misunderstand the request for clarification. Most often, they will bring in strange ideas about species giving birth to fully formed members of other species.

    No one is making that claim except them. It has dawned on me that they may simply lack the perspective of small accumulated changes over time.

    If we draw the analogy from "evolving from one species to another in small increments" to "paying a home mortgage from $250,000.00 to $0.00 in $800.00 increments" it's as if they're saying, "Pay off my mortgage using only $800.00?!?!? My mortgage is TWO-HUNDRED and FIFTEY THOUSAND dollars! How on Earth would $800.00 magically become $250,000.00? It's impossible."

    Send in enough payments and your home will be paid off. Make enough small changes to a species over time, and you very well may come up with an entirely different species. Paying off a home takes about 30 years. Getting a new species takes a hell of a lot longer.

  12. #12
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    Re: The challenge for so-called "micro-evolutionists"

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples
    The "better" mutation is the one that survives.
    This is disproven by the crane fly example I gave. The characteristics of the crane flies are not "better" or "worse" than other bugs. They simply are.

    I feel as though you want to look upon natural selection as a force akin to gravity: a constant that it always there. It's not. It's a tendency and is never as black and white as we may want it to be.

    The good change is the one that survives. Changes that die out aren't good.
    So, being able to outrun any living land animal (and most flying animals) is a "not good" adaptation? You see? Not so black & white as you may think.

    Excuse me, but I am not off-topic. I raised specific objections to your post. You have dismissed them falsely by pointing out that some mutations die out. Very well, but what would give greater survivability to a creature that has only part of a circulatory system? How would such a mutation help an organism to survive?
    Ask the mudskipper. It has part of a respiratory system and does just fine... just as it has been doing for millions of years.

    You see, ID has it in your head that systems are "irreducably complex". This is a fancy way for saying "we don't know how they developed, and since we can't figure it out, it must have been magic." Like I said:

    The mudskipper has primitive lungs. Crabs and spiders have primitive light detecting organs that can only be referred to as "eyes" in the most basic sense.

    Point being that "partial organs" or "partial systems" are not beneficial, but nor do they spontaneously appear in the manner you have asserted.

  13. #13
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    Re: The challenge for so-called "micro-evolutionists"

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    This is disproven by the crane fly example I gave. The characteristics of the crane flies are not "better" or "worse" than other bugs. They simply are.

    I feel as though you want to look upon natural selection as a force akin to gravity: a constant that it always there. It's not. It's a tendency and is never as black and white as we may want it to be.
    I get what you're saying, Zhavric. Not all mutations that are present in organisms today have increased the chance of survival. So you must then believe that the organism that randomly developed the beginnings of a circulatory system was lucky enough to survive and reproduce. Its offspring were lucky enough to survive and reproduce. Eventually, its offspring produced another unhelpful mutation, but THAT organism was lucky enough to survive and reproduce. What happened to all of the in-between forms that had no less--and in some circumstances, MORE--survivability than the organism destined to have a circulatory system? I guess they were all just really unlucky, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    So, being able to outrun any living land animal (and most flying animals) is a "not good" adaptation? You see? Not so black & white as you may think.
    It is only good when being able to outrun another animal is good. As soon as outrunning another animal becomes less good, the adaptation becomes more obsolete.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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  14. #14
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    Re: The challenge for so-called "micro-evolutionists"

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    Ask the mudskipper. It has part of a respiratory system and does just fine... just as it has been doing for millions of years.

    You see, ID has it in your head that systems are "irreducably complex". This is a fancy way for saying "we don't know how they developed, and since we can't figure it out, it must have been magic."
    "ID"? I am not nearly so interested in the debate about evolution to ally myself with one side or the other. It merely seems foolish to me to believe that natural selection will favor an organism with a partial respiratory system.

    I may as well have told you that "You see, evolution is a fancy way for saying "we don't know how they developed, and since we can't figure it out, it must have been evolution."

    A mudskipper has "part" of a respiratory system? Does the respiratory system function? You say it has "primitive lungs". It seems to me that it has a COMPLETE but INEFFICIENT respiratory system. Or does it really have non-functional lungs that just sit there and take up DNA?
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
    **** you, I won't do what you tell me

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    Re: The challenge for so-called "micro-evolutionists"

    Zhavric, you say I am off-topic. In your opening post, you asked "Why can't an amphibian, over hundreds of generations of change, eventually evolve into a lizard? What's stopping it?" I then gave my account of why an amphibian would not evolve into a lizard. Merely because I didn't use the argument that you hoped to counter does not make my post off-topic.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
    **** you, I won't do what you tell me

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  16. #16
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    Re: The challenge for so-called "micro-evolutionists"

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Browning
    Its DNA. An amphibian has no possible genetic way to produce a reptile.
    It is DNA, and human DNA is made of the same base pairs as reptile DNA, as Plant DNA, as Fiish DNA.

    Same basic chemical and physical structure. Just some rearranging ..... better known as mutations....and there you go.
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

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    Re: The challenge for so-called "micro-evolutionists"

    The entire idea of microevolution is ridiculous. If evolution can happen on a small scale, it is evident that it can happen on a large one. Conceding microevolution is synonymous to conceding macroevolution, if you give it enough time.

    The real debate is how old the earth is, which determines if we had enough time to macroevolve.

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  18. #18
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    Re: The challenge for so-called "micro-evolutionists"

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples
    I get what you're saying, Zhavric. Not all mutations that are present in organisms today have increased the chance of survival. So you must then believe that the organism that randomly developed the beginnings of a circulatory system was lucky enough to survive and reproduce. Its offspring were lucky enough to survive and reproduce. Eventually, its offspring produced another unhelpful mutation, but THAT organism was lucky enough to survive and reproduce. What happened to all of the in-between forms that had no less--and in some circumstances, MORE--survivability than the organism destined to have a circulatory system? I guess they were all just really unlucky, right?
    You seem hung up on this idea of "partial systems"... that somewhere way back when, something was born/hatched that had a half-formed set of lungs/arteries/etc. dangling of its' back, but somehow managed to survive & evolve the other needed parts. That's not how it happened.


    It is only good when being able to outrun another animal is good. As soon as outrunning another animal becomes less good, the adaptation becomes more obsolete.

  19. #19
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    Re: The challenge for so-called "micro-evolutionists"

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples
    "ID"? I am not nearly so interested in the debate about evolution to ally myself with one side or the other. It merely seems foolish to me to believe that natural selection will favor an organism with a partial respiratory system.

    I may as well have told you that "You see, evolution is a fancy way for saying "we don't know how they developed, and since we can't figure it out, it must have been evolution."
    While evolutionists may appear to be falling to the same cop-out that ID'ers are, nothing could be further from the case. Evolution, even with all its holes, is still the best theory we have. The point of this thread is to examine this strange worldview of so-called "micro-evolutionists" who claim they accept part of evolution, yet completely contradict themselves by rejecting other parts of it.

    A mudskipper has "part" of a respiratory system? Does the respiratory system function? You say it has "primitive lungs". It seems to me that it has a COMPLETE but INEFFICIENT respiratory system. Or does it really have non-functional lungs that just sit there and take up DNA?
    A lot of so-called "amphibians" are just water dwelling organisms that have gills effecient enough to take oxygen from the surrounding air for short periods of time. Again:

  20. #20
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    Re: The challenge for so-called "micro-evolutionists"

    To sum up so far...

    So far, the opposition has been mostly Kevin, and only ever-so-slightly Clive.

    Kevin's argument so far has sounded about like this:
    1. "I accept that species are able to mutate (micro-evolution).
    2. I do not accept that small changes can build up to large changes over time.
    3. I do not accept that large changes happen spontaneously.
    4. My justification for these beliefs are observations I have made as a layman."

    The only part I agree with is line 3.

    Line 1 contradicts line 2. Line 4 provides very poor support.

    If this is a straw man, tell me now and clarify your position: Explain what about evolution you accept and do not. Explain what justification you have for the limited / contradictory scope of evolution you have detailed.

 

 
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