Re: Is evolution really the central theory for all of biology?

From: Terry M. Gray <grayt@lamar.colostate.edu>
Date: Wed Sep 21 2005 - 12:10:20 EDT

Hi,

I meant this to go to the whole group, but, alas, my mind was a bit
of blur late last night when I wrote it. Cornelius with good
netiquette only responded to me. I'll leave it to him if he wants he
response posted to the whole group.

TG

Cornelius,

I hope I will be able to respond more fully to this later. But, tell
me, what are some of the alternative theories that you speak of?

TG

On Sep 20, 2005, at 3:43 PM, Cornelius Hunter wrote:

> Terry:
>
> It seems to me that to be compelling, an evidence should fulfill
> some these criteria to some reasonable degree, and not fail on them:
>
> A. The evidence should not include problems for the theory
> (obviously).
>
> B. The evidence should be the fulfillment of a somewhat narrow
> prediction of the theory. That is, if the evidence as well as
> several other outcomes are all accommodated by the theory, then the
> evidence is not compelling.
>
> C. The evidence severely damages all alternative theories (need to
> be careful not to misrepresent or ignore the alternative theories,
> of course).
>
> Make sense?
>
> The fossil record suggests or reveals:
>
> 1. Dramatically increasing complexity of life forms over time
> 2. Many extinctions
> 3. Rapid appearance of new species
> 4. Stasis of species once they appear
> 5. Rapid increase in biosphere diversity followed by winnowing of
> diversity (reverse of the traditional evolutionary tree, if you
> will) due to extinction. This occurs repeatedly.
> 6. Lineages (ie, there is rapid appearance, but usually the design
> is not radically different from earlier designs).
>
> I think 1 and 3 fail on A but realize you may disagree. Setting
> that aside then, I think that clearly 1-5 fail on B. None succeed
> on C. The only positive is 6 which succeeds on B. So, with 5
> evidences, of a total of 6, failing on B and only 1 out of 6
> succeeding on B, I don't see how this can be compelling evidence
> for evolution. Can you explain?
>
> --Cornelius
>
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Terry M. Gray
> To: asa@calvin.edu
> Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2005 12:51 PM
> Subject: Re: Is evolution really the central theory for all of
> biology?
>
> Cornelius,
>
>>
>>> If we "assume" that evolution is true, it's because there is
>>> significant warrant for doing so.
>>>
>>
>> Yes, evolution is supposed to be a fact. What we need are
>> compelling evidences though. How about this: start by supplying
>> *one* compelling evidence.
>>
>
> Back to where we've been before. I and most biologist,
> palentologists, think that the "textbook" examples are compelling
> especially taken together. So there's a bunch of them there: fossil
> record, homologies of all sorts (nested hierarchies), biogeography.
> It seems what's compelling to me is not compelling to you. (By the
> way, I also like some forms of punk rock and there's no better
> music in all the world than progressive/classical rock!)
>
> I'll even leave out the small-scale evidence that you're fond of
> criticizing, because I agree that it doesn't address directly
> "macroevolutionary" questions. However, it does show us that the
> genetic variations that are observed in the large-scale tree of
> life are for the most part "more of the same" as what is observed
> in virus, bacteria, fruit flies, zebrafish, mouse, pigeon, dog,
> cows, pigs, horses, and humans. Are you going to tell me that all
> of the instances of hemophilia or sickle-cell anemia or cystic
> fibrosis or whatever mutation you want to track arose
> independently? Maybe some did, but who cares? The vast majority are
> examples of descent with modification of single base pair. That's
> how a good chunk of modern molecular genetics actually works.
> Traditional pedigrees based instances of disease identify
> "families". Detailed genome analysis of these families identifies
> regions of the chromosome where the modified gene exists. Further
> analysis usually locates a single base pair modification.
>
> BTW, I still owe you a response to something from Saturday night.
> Hope to get to it soon.
>
> TG
>
> ________________
> Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
> Computer Support Scientist
> Chemistry Department
> Colorado State University
> Fort Collins, CO 80523
> (o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801
>
>
>

________________
Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
Computer Support Scientist
Chemistry Department
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801
Received on Wed Sep 21 12:14:50 2005

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