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April 28, 2014


Hi it says the video doesn't exist.

Great message.. Thanks

Here's a question for people who believe there's a difference between so-called micro and macro evolution: Where do you draw the line?


Scientists also draw this line, not just Christians. This is stuff you find in a science textbook in a first year biology class. Microevolution is a proven fact. Let me give you an example. Elephants in Africa now are being born without tusks (due to the fact they are hunted for their ivory tusks). This is microevolution, a short term evolutionary tactic that all nature uses to increase survival. Another example would be sickle cell anemia, found in people with African descent. People with sickle cell anemia or a certain combination of genes are impervious to malaria. However, macroevolution is when a mutation occurs that drastically changes a species. It would be, for example, that a dog is born with a major mutation and now has wings and a fifth leg. That is an exaggeration, but it illustrates my point. Macroevolution is an extremely complex concept, but basically, it is a mutation that leads to a new species. You should google it so you can understand the difference.

It's important to note the difference as they really are two different concepts. If someone denies microevolution, you know they haven't done their homework. Macroevolution is a different story altogether though.

Where do you draw the line?
So what if we can't?

Can you draw the line between bald and hairy?

Is John Malkovitch bald? Patrick Stewart? Stanley Tucci? Bruce Willis?

What about Jason Stathom? Or Danny DeVito? Or Jason Alexander? Or Clint Eastwood? Or Prince William?

Maybe there is no clear line between bald and hairy.

Does than mean that there's no difference between the scalps of Ving Rhames and Angelina Jolie?

Maybe the same goes for micro and macro evolution. Even if there is no clear line, that does not imply that there is no difference.

"Macroevolution is an extremely complex concept, but basically, it is a mutation that leads to a new species"

Micro and macro evolution are the result of the same processes, just over different time scales. You seem to be implying that macroevolution is the result of one mutation - that would be highly highly highly unlikely.

So to Wisdom Lover's point - they are the same process so distinguishing between them is a device for learning and an arbitrary distinction. I was never taught about micro and macro evolution - it was just evolution.

This comment from Jberr is also misleading: "a short term evolutionary tactic that all nature uses to increase survival". Hmmmm no, thats kinda backwards. There's no guidance going on. Survival isn't the point, it's the differentiator. At a population level, note.

they are the same process so distinguishing between them is a device for learning and an arbitrary distinction.

I'm sure the process of growth is a single unified process.

That's not going to keep me from distinguishing an acorn from an oak.

Likewise, I'm not going to stop distinguishing a change in the shape of a birds beak from the acquisition of wings or kidneys.

Well, acorns do grow into oaks. I'm sure you believe that. And on a much larger scale, so-called micro-evolution grows into macro-evolution.

Why do you believe acorns become oaks but not that an animal like ambulocetus becomes today's blue whale?

Life fits very well into a nested hierarchy - the tree of life.

It's a prediction of evolutionary theory.

The point is that you are equating two ideas:

  1. A real distinction with a vague border.
  2. No distinction.
The ideas are manifestly not the same as both the baldness and the oak example show. But you just keep soldiering on as if the two ideas are the same.

While we may commend your perseverance, we need not pay much heed to the arguments based on the conflation.

Mutations are random.

There is no consistent connection between the size of a mutation and its effect.

Great swaths of DNA can be lost with no effect on fitness.

On the other hand, a single mutation can be fatal or have some other large effect - positive or negative.

So, any organism can have a big evolutionary event - no matter that it has evolved some great distance from some supposed point of origin.

Evolution is not like a dog at the end of its chain.

There is no sign of any chain.

Given the randomness of mutations and there the lack of proportionality between the 'size' of a mutation and the size of its effect, it's just implausible to think evolution would have the kind of limit proposed by the micro/macro idea.

Besides, there are boatloads of evidence showing there is no such limit.

Namely all the evidence for macroevolution.

Don't use the tactic recommended in the video except on people that don't understand evolution.

(I guess that recommendation will have limited use: how would someone who'd use this tactic be able to access someone else's understanding of evolution?)

Ron, nothing you said in the last post seems to have the slightest bearing on whether I should distinguish a change that leads to a different shaped beak from a change that leads to kidneys.

It's pretty obvious that those are different changes, no matter how much you try to bluff your way through using science skillz.

Cosmology leading into a Timeless, Immaterial Necessary and Sufficient Cause of All-Effects standing amid some effects but not all effects is, on naturalism, absurd as only Intention houses such geography. Therefore deny the undeniable and invent an imaginary, static, effect-less cause.

The anthology of physics motions within causes and effects. Such is a threat to naturalism. A great and terrible threat, even, on naturalism’s regression, absurd. Therefore deny the undeniable and claim that such must be either hologram, or imaginary, or delusion.

The uniformity of nature creates large irreparable fractures in atheism’s regressions. Therefore deny the undeniable and foist antirealism’s nihilism and insist that absurdity’s goop fill in all such fractures. All fractures except the pontifications of the atheist, of course, as only he has the Secret Organ by which to see beyond Mind’s Eye into the “really real”.

All traces of life’s [Synthesizing Village] that is the Cell vanish in nature’s hand short of either that Village or the scientist’s finger pushing stuff around on the bench top. Always. Every time. Further, coding sequences cannot be codes, and must be some other something, despite the fact that they do, well, code, because everybody knows, no Mind, no Code. Therefore deny the undeniable and foist quite unnatural events which never happen in the real world, such as life from non-life (and on the bench top life without that finger pushing stuff around), such as traces going on for eons without that pesky Village, and, also, simply deny that codes actually do code.

The available fossil records exhibit rates of change which genetic data refute. Therefore deny both the undeniable data of genetics in all our labs and atop all our bench tops and also deny the fossil record – actually just stop using it all together – and, since the conclusion must create the mechanism, foist brief but sort of sudden pan-changes, pan-species, pan-world, that way we can still, at least, on some level, “sort of refer to” the fossil record and not surrender it all together. Equivocate when necessary.

Time, Mechanism, and Foresight:

“Wilf and Ewens argue in a recent paper that there is plenty of time for evolution to occur. They base this claim on a mathematical model in which beneficial mutations accumulate simultaneously and independently, thus allowing changes that require a large number of mutations to evolve over comparatively short time periods. Because changes evolve independently and in parallel rather than sequentially, their model scales logarithmically rather than exponentially. This approach does not accurately reflect biological evolution, however, for two main reasons. First, within their model are implicit information sources, including the equivalent of a highly informed oracle that prophesies when a mutation is "correct," thus accelerating the search by the evolutionary process. Natural selection, in contrast, does not have access to information about future benefits of a particular mutation, or where in the global fitness landscape a particular mutation is relative to a particular target. It can only assess mutations based on their current effect on fitness in the local fitness landscape. Thus the presence of this oracle makes their model radically different from a real biological search through fitness space. Wilf and Ewens also make unrealistic biological assumptions that, in effect, simplify the search. They assume no epistasis between beneficial mutations, no linkage between loci, and an unrealistic population size and base mutation rate, thus increasing the pool of beneficial mutations to be searched. They neglect the effects of genetic drift on the probability of fixation and the negative effects of simultaneously accumulating deleterious mutations. Finally, in their model they represent each genetic locus as a single letter. By doing so, they ignore the enormous sequence complexity of actual genetic loci (typically hundreds or thousands of nucleotides long), and vastly oversimplify the search for functional variants. In similar fashion, they assume that each evolutionary "advance" requires a change to just one locus, despite the clear evidence that most biological functions are the product of multiple gene products working together. Ignoring these biological realities infuses considerable active information into their model and eases the model's evolutionary process.”

“In Wilf and Ewens's evolutionary scheme there is a smooth fitness function. Under this view, there is no epistasis, where one mutation can effectively interact with another to affect (whether positively or negatively) fitness. As a result, any mutations that move the search toward its "target" are assumed to provide an immediate and irrevocable advantage, and are thus highly likely to become fixed. Ewert et al. compare the model to playing Wheel of Fortune:

The evolutionary model that Wilf and Ewens have chosen is similar to the problem of guessing letters in a word or phrase, as on the television game show Wheel of Fortune. They specify a phrase 20,000 letters long, with each letter in the phrase corresponding to a gene locus that can be transformed from its initial "primitive" state to a more advanced state. Finding the correct letter for a particular position in the target phrase roughly corresponds to finding a beneficial mutation in the corresponding gene. During each round of mutation all positions in the phrase are subject to mutation, and the results are selected based on whether the individual positions match the final target phrase. Those that match are preserved for the next round. ... After each round, all "advanced" alleles in the population are treated as fixed, and therefore preserved in the next round. Evolution to the fully "advanced" state is complete when all 20,000 positions match the target phrase.”

“Suppose it would be beneficial for the phrase "all_the_world_is_a_stage___" to evolve into the phrase "methinks_it_is_like_a_weasel." What phrase do we get if we simply alternate letters from the two phrases? "mlt_ihk__otli__siaesaaw_a_e_." Under the assumptions in the Wilf and Ewens model, the "fitness" of this nonsense phrase ought to be exactly half-way between the fitnesses of "all the world is a stage" and "methinks it is like a weasel." Such a result only makes sense if we are measuring the fitness of the current phrase by its proximity to the target phrase.”

“………they assume that intermediate stages will always yield some functional advantage. And as more and more characters in the phrase match the target, it becomes more and more fit. This yields a nice, smooth fitness function -- rich in active information -- not truly a blind search.”

“Ewert et al. explain why this isn't anything like Darwinian evolution:

This example reveals two biologically unrealistic things about Wilf and Ewens's model. First, evolutionary processes can only depend on the performance of current organisms, not hypothetical target organisms. Only teleological processes have the ability to consider future phrases. Yet Wilf and Ewens's oracle has to have knowledge of the target to assess fitness. Second, the natural language example also highlights the importance of context for assessing fitness, if we think of fitness as the ability to convey meaning in a natural language.”

“Thus, just as Wilf and Ewens are wrong to assume that every intermediate phrase has meaning, so they are wrong to assume that every intermediate biological stage along some evolutionary pathway will be functional:

In addition to the overwhelming problems mentioned above, the search algorithm they have chosen is unrealistic. Wilf and Ewens assume that the fitness landscape is smooth, with each beneficial mutation trending upward additively. This is not the case in biology. ...Indeed, there is much evidence to suggest that real fitness landscapes have many local fitness optima surrounded by fitness deserts. If it takes more than several mutations to move from one peak to another, adaptation can become stalled on a local peak, with no way to move from one small fitness peak to a higher one. Because natural selection is blind and without foresight, it cannot tell which particular mutations are leading to an unrealized goal of maximal fitness (in this case a target phrase) some distance away in the adaptive landscape. It can only assess the relative local fitness of variants in the population.”

“In other words, Wilf and Ewens endowed their mathematical model of evolution with foresight. It is directed toward a target -- an advantage that natural selection conspicuously lacks. And what, in our experience, is the only known cause that is goal-directed and has foresight? It's intelligence. This means that once again, the Evolutionary Informatics Lab has shown that simulations of evolution seem to work only because they've been intelligently designed.” (evolutionnews.org)

Genetic Sharing in regress to the Common Ancestor:

“The amount of time for the development of the very large number of phyla we have discussed, believed to be 100 or more, perhaps even hundreds, is now estimated to be as small as a few million years, with an upper limit of 10-15 million. The time estimated to produce a new species is estimated to be on the order of a tens of thousands to perhaps a few million years. Therefore to generate higher taxa by the species->genus->order….method would require hundreds or thousands of these steps, corresponding to millions or hundreds of millions of years for each. So there is not enough time to generate all of the phyla, unless we assume (without justification) that species formed much faster then. And there is another problem. The phyletic gradualism hypothesis is able to explain nicely the commonality of genes in, say, insects and humans: humans arose much later, and inherited the genes
from their ancestors going all the way back to a hypothetical common ancestor. The rapid emergence of phyla observed in the Cambrian explosion does not allow anywhere near enough time for this sharing to occur. The problem is widely acknowledged, but there is no widely accepted resolution.” (Thomas Fowler)


Truth cannot be truth, lest reason, and reason cannot be reason, lest God, and thus, no matter how brutally repeatable X may be, simply dive into antirealism’s nihilism at some point and, thereby, evade all mind dependence. Deny the undeniable and foist another, Secret Organ, with which to see “through” the undeniable and into the “really real”. And then, if that “really real” should prove problematic, as in Hawking’s regress into the Timeless and Immaterial, then, invent another “Secret-Secret Organ” by which to see through that and into the “imaginary”, the “hologram”, the “delusion”.

All that is our contingent Self fights against all that is that Non-Contingent Other and we think that by such moves Truth will come. Yet we find that Truth comes through quite the opposite motion, that of love’s Eternal Sacrifice of the Self as such brings us not only to Love there at the end of ad infinitum, but, also, to Logic there at regression’s End.


Maybe you think the genes for heavy and light beaks are in the population already and all that happens there is a shift in the proportion of heavy to light.

And maybe you think the genes for kidneys - what ever that may mean - are not there at all unless you have kidneys.

Is this right - is that the difference you refer to?

If so, then you should distinguish between the two. The first one can happen through natural selection alone, that is, even if no new variations appear from generation to generation.

So: do you deny that new variations appear?


The difference is simply this:

One change (in beings that don't have kidneys) leads to beings that have kidneys.

Another change (in birds that have beaks) leads to birds that have slightly different shaped beaks.

It is patently obvious that the second change is different from the first, and the possibility of a process of evolution that leads to the first change is quite a bit more controversial than a process of evolution that leads to the second change.

I can see that a baby growing into a toddler is a probable process. A toddler growing into an adult, very controversial. Clearly two totally different processes.

Not sure what your point is xdoc.

Well, other than to write false things about human development: the growth of toddlers into adults is not terribly more 'controversial' (whatever you mean by that) than the growth of babies into toddlers. Nor is the one possibility, that a process of maturation will turn a toddler into an adult, much more controversial than the other possibility, that a process of maturation will turn a baby into a toddler.

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