If you accept microevolution

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jamesmorlock
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If you accept microevolution

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Post by jamesmorlock »

Simply because they are identical.

Consider an analogy:

Imagine that you can travel across the universe by walking. You have an infinite amount of time to do this, but you must make your journey by taking small steps. You have no destination, but you can go anywhere and you must never stop walking.

A thousand years pass. Where are you now? Further.
A million years pass. Where are you now? Even Further.
A billion years pass. Where are you now? Far, far away.

For every iteration of time, you will have traveled further and further. It is inevitable, for every small step takes you further. It is not possible to not travel far.

Microevolution is the small step. Macroevolution is the collective of small steps over a large period of time.

When walking for billions of years, how can you not be far away from your starting point?
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Post #2

Post by McCulloch »

The argument is that if you are in New York, by walking you will never reach Noctis Labyrinthus. You just cannot get there by walking.

The anti-evolution crowd makes a similar argument. To them, there are no series of small steps that can bridge the gap between invertebrate and vertebrate animals or between chimpanzees and humans. They do sometimes seem a bit vague on just how far micro evolution can take them. It has to be far enough to allow for the number of kinds on the ark to be a manageable number but not so far as to allow a common ancestor of humans to other primates.
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Post by jamesmorlock »

Yes, I have seen the imagined superimposed "limits" on micro-evolution; however these limits have never been identified or even shown to exist. Until they can do that, my analogy holds.
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Re: If you accept microevolution

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Post by Question Everything »

jamesmorlock wrote:Imagine that you can travel across the universe by walking. You have an infinite amount of time to do this, but you must make your journey by taking small steps. You have no destination, but you can go anywhere and you must never stop walking.

A thousand years pass. Where are you now? Further.
A million years pass. Where are you now? Even Further.
A billion years pass. Where are you now? Far, far away.

For every iteration of time, you will have traveled further and further. It is inevitable, for every small step takes you further. It is not possible to not travel far.
It's even more than that when you consider that changes compound over time. For example, let's say that there is an animal that is increasing in size one percent every thousand years. The average weight of the animal is one pound.

A thousand years pass. The average weight is 1.01 pounds.
70,000 years pass. The average weight is 2 pounds.
A million years pass. The average weight is 20,959 pounds.
2 million years pass. The average weight is 439,286,205 pounds.
A billion years pass. The average weight is absolutely ridiculous.

Yet, if you were a biologist studying this animal over the course of your lifetime and measuring change in average weight over time with high precision you would not notice any change at all.
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Post #5

Post by sfs »

jamesmorlock wrote:Yes, I have seen the imagined superimposed "limits" on micro-evolution; however these limits have never been identified or even shown to exist. Until they can do that, my analogy holds.
Piffle. Your analogy holds only if you can show that it holds, and you have not done so. You have offered precisely zero supporting evidence that the key point of your analogy -- that genetic change can accumulate indefinitely -- is correct. All you have done is restate your original claim in analogical form. (And the analogy you have chosen isn't even rhetorically useful, since in reality one cannot walk across the universe.) Since you made the assertion, you need to provide the evidence.

From a biological perspective, your argument is also excessively reductive. First, it is not true that macroevolution is identical to microevolution. At a minimum, macroevolution includes the process of speciation while microeviolution does not. There are also a number of other, more controversial, processes possible with macroevolution: species sorting, selection for ability to speciate, and so on, that are not part of microevolution. Second, it ignores the entire issue of natural selection as a stabilizing force and the difficulty in moving far away from a local fitness peak, an issue that has a long and rich history in the scientific literature.

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Post #6

Post by Autodidact »

sfs wrote:
jamesmorlock wrote:Yes, I have seen the imagined superimposed "limits" on micro-evolution; however these limits have never been identified or even shown to exist. Until they can do that, my analogy holds.
Piffle. Your analogy holds only if you can show that it holds, and you have not done so. You have offered precisely zero supporting evidence that the key point of your analogy -- that genetic change can accumulate indefinitely -- is correct. All you have done is restate your original claim in analogical form. (And the analogy you have chosen isn't even rhetorically useful, since in reality one cannot walk across the universe.) Since you made the assertion, you need to provide the evidence.

From a biological perspective, your argument is also excessively reductive. First, it is not true that macroevolution is identical to microevolution. At a minimum, macroevolution includes the process of speciation while microeviolution does not. There are also a number of other, more controversial, processes possible with macroevolution: species sorting, selection for ability to speciate, and so on, that are not part of microevolution. Second, it ignores the entire issue of natural selection as a stabilizing force and the difficulty in moving far away from a local fitness peak, an issue that has a long and rich history in the scientific literature.
What would prevent genetic change from accumulating indefinitely? Does DNA suddenly stop mutating at some point? How would that work? What prevents mutations from happening?

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sfs wrote:
jamesmorlock wrote:Yes, I have seen the imagined superimposed "limits" on micro-evolution; however these limits have never been identified or even shown to exist. Until they can do that, my analogy holds.
Piffle. Your analogy holds only if you can show that it holds, and you have not done so. You have offered precisely zero supporting evidence that the key point of your analogy -- that genetic change can accumulate indefinitely -- is correct. All you have done is restate your original claim in analogical form. (And the analogy you have chosen isn't even rhetorically useful, since in reality one cannot walk across the universe.) Since you made the assertion, you need to provide the evidence.

From a biological perspective, your argument is also excessively reductive. First, it is not true that macroevolution is identical to microevolution. At a minimum, macroevolution includes the process of speciation while microeviolution does not. There are also a number of other, more controversial, processes possible with macroevolution: species sorting, selection for ability to speciate, and so on, that are not part of microevolution. Second, it ignores the entire issue of natural selection as a stabilizing force and the difficulty in moving far away from a local fitness peak, an issue that has a long and rich history in the scientific literature.
But, yes it does hold.... since 'macro-evolution' is the accumulation of small changes. Just because you can walk doesn't mean that walking gets you anyplace, since you can walk in a small circle. We can see examples of this where there are speciation events in ring species, where the 'species' next to a species can be interbred with, but by the time the 'circle' comes complete, the two 'species' that are very related no longer can interbred.
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Post #8

Post by Deadclown »

sfs wrote: Piffle. Your analogy holds only if you can show that it holds, and you have not done so. You have offered precisely zero supporting evidence that the key point of your analogy -- that genetic change can accumulate indefinitely -- is correct. All you have done is restate your original claim in analogical form. (And the analogy you have chosen isn't even rhetorically useful, since in reality one cannot walk across the universe.) Since you made the assertion, you need to provide the evidence.
If you understand the processes of natural selection and random mutation, then why shouldn't genetic change accumulate indefinitely? Are you suggesting that there is some theorized cease and desist order that is sent to a single generation at some point in its evolution that says, 'you are at this point too different from your distant ancestor, your descendants will all be exactly as you are now'?

I think you nitpick. Let's say instead of walking across the universe you are in a spaceship going at 0.1% of c forever. When we are talking universal scales that's about the equivalent of taking small steps.
From a biological perspective, your argument is also excessively reductive. First, it is not true that macroevolution is identical to microevolution. At a minimum, macroevolution includes the process of speciation while microeviolution does not. There are also a number of other, more controversial, processes possible with macroevolution: species sorting, selection for ability to speciate, and so on, that are not part of microevolution. Second, it ignores the entire issue of natural selection as a stabilizing force and the difficulty in moving far away from a local fitness peak, an issue that has a long and rich history in the scientific literature.
It seems unreasonable to demand a perfect analogy that explains all of evolutionary theory in a brief easily understood paragraph. I don't think anyone here is going to be able to provide it. Most analogies of difficult scientific concepts are over simplified for us laymen. The specific analogy is just meant to demonstrate that small changes over short time frames can become big changes over long time frames.

I'll help with some evidence though.

This has explanations on the macro vs micro issue.
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB902.html

This explains how microevolution leads to macroevolution.
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB902_2.html

This explains why there are no barriers to change.
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB902_1.html

And here are some examples of new species that have been observed in historical time lines.
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB910.html
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Post #9

Post by jamesmorlock »

Piffle. Your analogy holds only if you can show that it holds, and you have not done so. You have offered precisely zero supporting evidence that the key point of your analogy -- that genetic change can accumulate indefinitely -- is correct. All you have done is restate your original claim in analogical form
I said "My analogy holds because creationists claim there to be a limit where there is none". That's the evidence. If you know what the limits are, what are they? Go on, tell us. We're eager to hear the information you've got that will revolutionize biology.
And the analogy you have chosen isn't even rhetorically useful, since in reality one cannot walk across the universe.) Since you made the assertion, you need to provide the evidence.
The analogy was about iterative processes, like walking. It doesn't matter if it can't really happen, because that wasn't the point. Besides, you're making the assertion that evolution will stop at some arbitrary point - I'm asking you what that point is.
First, it is not true that macroevolution is identical to microevolution. At a minimum, macroevolution includes the process of speciation while microeviolution does not.
My point was that micro-evolution over large periods of time will necessarily lead to macro-evolution. "Macro-evolution" is simply the collective of small iterative changes that might lead to these things - I'm telling you they are not separate processes. It is the "whole" as opposed to the "part", like a grain of sand is a part of an entire coastline.
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Post #10

Post by sfs »

Autodidact wrote: What would prevent genetic change from accumulating indefinitely? Does DNA suddenly stop mutating at some point? How would that work? What prevents mutations from happening?
Nothing prevents mutations from happening, but natural selection prevents most mutations with phenotypic effect from sticking around in the population, since they are usually deleterious. There is no reason in principle why organisms should be viable beyond a certain mutational distance from existing species. Whether too many mutations to a genome leads to a dead organism or to a new species is an empirical question(*), not one to be settled by analogies to space travel.

(*) At this point in our knowledge of biology, anyway.

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