Ashwin on Common Descent

(T J Runyon) #141

You cant rely on Amazon reviews for book quality. Wells’ Zombie Science has crazy high reviews and it’s one of the worst things I’ve ever read

(Ashwin S) #142

This is something that cuts both ways you know… I have been watching this discussion from the side for some time now and i wonder what purpose exactly it serves…
Why argue upon the exact meaning of a term like Macro Evolution which is used imprecisely in literature anyway… especially considering that the concept of species itself is an arbitrary construct in many cases.
Joe’s meaning is clear…
so why not everyone come to the point… or if there is nothing substantial to discuss… close the thread…

(Intelligent Design Deist) #143

It did not say that speciation = macroevolution. And it was you who couldn’t understand the sentence structure

large-scale evolutionary change, ranging from the origin of species and major new features (e.g., novel traits or even new body plans) to long-term evolutionary trends.

If they wanted it separate they would have used the word or, as in the origin of species or major new features (e.g., novel traits or even new body plans) to long-term evolutionary trends

Look I will go with Jerry Coyne over you when it comes to evolutionary biology and its definitions. Also the alleged different species of finch can interbreed which should mean they are not different species. And just because we can classify organisms as different species it doesn’t make it so. That is why using speciation as some sort of demarcation is too vague to be of any use. That is also why Coyne’s definition makes more sense, scientifically.

Would the alleged different species of finches be an origin of a new species or just a continuation of an existing species?

I am using the term as science uses it. The species concept is too ambiguous to be of any use- or maybe it is just used incorrectly.


Macroevolution involves studying patterns on the tree of life above the species level, and inferring the processes that are likely to have generated these patterns. Thus, macroevolutionary thinking helps to build a more complete picture about the evolutionary history of primates.

Coyne, UC Berkley,

Loci that are obviously variable within natural populations do not seem to lie at the basis of many major adaptive changes, while those loci that seemingly do constitute the foundation of many if not most major adaptive changes are not variable.- John McDonald, “The Molecular Basis of Adaptation: A Critical Review of Relevant Ideas and Observation”, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics: 14, 1983, p77-102 (bold added)

The genes for microevolution are variable and macroevolution is not just an accumulation of microevolutionary events.

(Intelligent Design Deist) #144

It is a principal taxonomic unit that ranks below the Genus

(Intelligent Design Deist) #145

Why Evolution is True is devoid of science. Your Inner Fish is nothing but flights of fancy- also devoid of science. No one can scientifically test the claim that fish can evolve into something other than fish.

Look kinesiology argues against universal common descent especially given blind watchmaker evolution.

(Blogging Graduate Student) #146

Both “and” or “or” would convey essentially the same meaning in the sentence. It lists 3 examples of macroevolution:

  • the origin of species
  • [the origin of] major new features
  • long-term evolutionary trends

I think “and” was more appropriate because using “or” might imply that the origin of new species and the origin of major new features wouldn’t be connected, which they are - it’s difficult to evolve major new features without speciation along the way, but not all speciation requires major new features to evolve.

Only if you prefer the biological species concept over all of the rest, and believe that “species” are actual biological entities that we “discover”, rather than drawing boxes around groups for convenience. Of course, this is a tricky area with a fair amount of wiggle room, but that doesn’t stop us talking about speciation any more than it would stop us talking about macroevolution.

Exactly, and speciation is what generates patterns on the tree of life above the species level. If you had 5 species in a clade, you could describe the pattern “above the species level” as "species 1 and 2 share a MRCA at node one, 1, 2, and 3 share a MRCA as node two, etc. If species 5 now diverges, speciating into 2 species where there was previously 1, the pattern “above the species level” has changed, because now you have to account for this new species (let’s call it species 6) in the pattern.

It’s a bit more complicated and controversial than that, unfortunately. Macroevolution is more complicated to understand than macroevolution, but other authors would still argue that in terms of the biological factors, macroevolution is just the result of lots of microevolution interacting with ecology and deep time. E.g.

(Interesting side note, the authors of this paper also define macroevolution as “speciation and the origin of the divisions of the taxonomic hierarchy above the species level, and the development of complex organs”.)

(Blogging Graduate Student) #147

Maybe you should make a thread where you substantiate that claim?

(Intelligent Design Deist) #148

I have such a thread already.

(Intelligent Design Deist) #149

No but it prevents us from using speciation as an example of macroevolution. Again I will go with Jerry Coyne who is a known and well respected member of the evolutionary community.

And no, if macroevolution involves different genes than microevolution, it does (HOX genes for example), then macro cannot be just an accumulation of micro. Changing eye color, skin color, fur color will never bring about the changes required for macro.

(George) #150


I’m sure you won’t agree… but my problem with some of your earlier posts was that you were insisting that micro-evolution included Speciation.

I can work with the definition you provide that I am quoting (above). So as long as this is the definition YOU are using… things will be fine.

(Intelligent Design Deist) #151

Yes, the different species of finch arose via microevolution. The different species of voles arose via microevolution. Young Earth Creationists call it “variation within a Kind”. Usually different Genera are distinguished by something major- Pan vs Homo for example. That is what they mean by evolution above the species level. Even their conferences on macroevolution discuss evolution over deep time. The different finches didn’t take deep time to arise.

(George) #152


You aren’t even following your own definitions. If a new species of finch emerged… it would be MACRO-Evolution.

(Intelligent Design Deist) #153

Yes, I am. Read what Coyne had to say. And speciation is too ambiguous to use as any demarcation.

(George) #154

You are too illogical to discussCreation with. I hope you can find someone on your wavelength.

(Intelligent Design Deist) #157

Strange that Creationists say they reject macroevolution and accept speciation. That would mean it would be illogical to claim that speciation is macroevolution.

(George) #158


But you are the only one i know who says this.

(Blogging Graduate Student) #159

Orrrr… that would mean creationists are using a different definition of macroevolution.

Let’s play a fun game. What if I say that I reject the existence of an all-powerful god, but I accept the Christian God exists. Huzzah! I’ve proved it would be quite illogical to claim that the Christian God is all powerful! Or I could say that I accept someone died for my sins, but reject the idea that Jesus never existed, now I’ve proved that it’s illogical to say Jesus died for my sins. That was easy, I wonder why this whole “Christianity” thing caught on, seeing as it’s so easy refute its core tenets. /s

Saying “creationists say X isn’t Y, so it would be illogical to say X is Y” assumes that creationists are right, which is rarely a good assumption.

(Intelligent Design Deist) #160

Well I referenced Creationist orgs above. It isn’t my fault that you didn’t read them. You can write to them and ask.

@evograd- The Creationists use the same definition of macro as provided by evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne. People will accept what he says about it over what you say any and every day.

And I would rather side with a creationist than an evo who sides with blind watchmaker evolution. The evo is definitely the one who doesn’t have anything to support his/ her position. At least the Creationists got the universe had a beginning right.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #161

So…I see what you are doing but @JoeG is not a Christian and thinks Jesus is a bunch of hogwash. So you are talking right past him there.

@JoeG, what is a good way to describe you? Deist Creationist? Intelligent Design Deist? Uncommon Descent Diest? Anti-Establisment Deist?

(Blogging Graduate Student) #162

No, I’m aware of that. Even a non-Christian should recognise the flaws in my reductio ad absurdum.