Home » News, stasis » Darwinist: Evolution and no evolution are the same thing, it turns out

Darwinist: Evolution and no evolution are the same thing, it turns out

From “Turning an Unevolved Horseshoe Crab Into a Darwin Showpiece” (Creation-Evolution Headlines, January 26, 2012), we learn,

Horseshoe crabs are survivors by anyone’s measure; they have carried on their lives virtually unchanged, according to the standard evolutionary timeline, for 450 million years. This not only points to incredible stasis against alleged forces of evolution; it also means they have survived at least three global extinctions that evolutionary biologists and geologists say wiped out most other species.

So how do tenure bores Darwinize them?

Richard Fortey does his best to explain why an unevolved creature is really evidence for evolution:

Evolution not only brings about ‘improvements’ in body shapes and design that help a species adapt better to its surroundings. It also allows some species to remain basically the same.

(Then it’s not evolution. Evolution doesn’t mean: Nothing happens.)

“These creatures tell us that evolution does not move inevitably forwards towards new morphology and new designs,” comments Fortey.

(In other words. Evolution just doesn’t happen sometimes.)

Pity Fortey couldn’t have just said that.

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30 Responses to Darwinist: Evolution and no evolution are the same thing, it turns out

  1. Evolution happens until it sometimes stops happening. :)

    But anyway if “evolution” is just “a change in allele frequency over time”, then how does anyone really know if anything has stopped evolving unless they did a genome comparison from then to now? Ya see not all genetic changes lead to morphological change.

  2. Good point Joe. Just looking at a few ancient and modern representatives of a family, and concluding they look a bunch alike (despite some pretty large varieties in size, morphology, behavior and environment) doesn’t cut it.

    Of course, that is what the creationists at CREV did in this case.

    Evolutionists might actually bother to sequence some genomes, make some detailed phylogenies, observe traits, and describe the evolutionary history of this family.

    This history includes recent speciation events, the formation of the genus Limulus some 20, not 450 million years ago, and even adaptation to fresh water by some species. Living fossil or evolving organism?

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/s.....0311003848

  3. It’s like ‘design’. It means ‘design’, but it doesn’t.

    ‘Evamolution’ means ‘development’, but it doesn’t have to. It’s very easy to understand; in an oxymoronic kind of way. Did I say, ‘oxy…moronic’?

  4. So Richard Fortey is a creationist? Or are you just confused?

  5. Why are there still horseshoe crabs?

    :D

  6. Because they ain’t good eatin’. ;)
    :razz:

    :roll:

  7. Right Joe!

    They are, in other words, at a local optimum, where natural selection works only conservatively.

    OK?

  8. I’m OK with stasis. I am also OK with natural selection not doing anything- it doesn’t work, force, select…

    OK?

  9. Indeed, it seems like Fortey is confusing evolution with natural selection. NS can be a good evolution stopper (although evolution at the sequence level won’t stop).

  10. Umm if you have NS you have evolution.

  11. With stabilising selection, there is evolution in the sense that new variants are being continuously eliminated, so there’s still some sorting going on. But there is no directional change, so you get morphological stasis at large scale. NS is in that sense a force against evolution.

  12. Depending on how you define evolution I guess, and only if you define it as some kind of “upward” trajectory, which is one of the ideas Darwin actually rejected (evolution as a ladder).

    Defined as changes in allele frequency over time, evolution just keeps on going, and molecular clocks will give the same evolutionary age for a horseshoe crab as for descendents of the same ancestor who look radically different.

    Adaptation is the name we give to the Darwinian processes by which a population moves towards an optimum. Once at an optimum, and move away is reversed by identical processes.

    So there is nothing non-evolutionary about horse-shoe crabs unless you use a non-standard definition of evolution.

  13. In other words, Joe is right, as he was also right in 4.1.

    And also in 4.1.1.1. “Natural selection” is just the name for a process, it isn’t an agent.

    It’s the process by which populations move towards, and are maintained at, an optimum.

  14. It’s the process by which populations move towards, and are maintained at, an optimum.

    Reference please. Mayr said that all it takes is for something to work “good enough”, ie nothing about any optimum. See “What Evolution Is”.

  15. Depending on how you define evolution I guess, and only if you define it as some kind of “upward” trajectory, which is one of the ideas Darwin actually rejected (evolution as a ladder).

    Not “upward” change, just change in some trajectory. Even a fluctuating trajectory.

    Defined as changes in allele frequency over time, evolution just keeps on going, and molecular clocks will give the same evolutionary age for a horseshoe crab as for descendents of the same ancestor who look radically different.

    Well, I did say evolution at the sequence level wouldn’t be stopped! :S

    So there is nothing non-evolutionary about horse-shoe crabs unless you use a non-standard definition of evolution.

    I lament that the “change in allele frequencies” definition has become so popular, and I do not think it is a standard. Futuyma, for example defines it as “change in the properties of groups of organisms over the course of generations” (that’s about right but I think he should have said “inheritable properties”). Allele frequency is just one aspect of evolutionary change*. Morphology (which was the relevant aspect at question), physiology, and behaviour can be halted while allele frequency keeps changing.

    I don’t think you’re reading me right, Elizabeth. What I have said is not controversial at all, and it’s very close to what you’ve said yourself. You said that near a local optimum NS works conservatively, I said stabilising selection does produce stasis.

    * Even if you think that’s the fundamental level of causation for the rest of evolution (I’d say that’s not always the case, e.g. the endosymbiotic origin of mitochondria was more complicated than the simple incorporation of a bacterial genome). In a definition, there is no need to marry the phenomenon with its causes.

  16. Sorry, that was a reply to 5.1.1.1.1.

  17. Sounds like horseshoe crabs must be on an “island of function”!

  18. Heh.

    Thus we have ample evidential warrant, in the teeth of evo mat hyperskepticism, to assert that God the Designer designer likes the taste of horseshoe crab meat.

  19. I wasn’t meaning to disagree, Geoxus, I was just trying to clarify for various possible meanings of evolution. Sorry!

  20. Not that there would be anything to be sorry about with disagreeing… ;)

  21. Adaptation is the name we give to the Darwinian processes by which a population moves towards an optimum.

    Its just adaptation, but no obvious and trivial reality is safe from co-option into the wild fantasy of evolution.

  22. Not sure of your point. What do you mean by “just” adaptation?

  23. This is true – fossils sample a narrow range of genes – those involved in the shape, size and character of hard parts. Those genes appear to have changed little. The rest – well, according to population genetics, if there is mutation, there cannot be true stasis. Unless all mutation is detrimental, that is. In which case, there cannot be variation.

  24. I lament that the “change in allele frequencies” definition has become so popular, and I do not think it is a standard.

    I agree, actually (despite the fact that I may be responsible for Joe having picked that phrase up!). It is pushed by the population geneticists, but Futuyma’s “descent with modification” may be a better one. But … it is both. The ‘modification’ happens the day the new mutation arises. That lineage of descent has moved on one evolutionary step. But we can’t ignore the fact that the species does not have it yet. That happens through drift and selection, which are also evolutionary processes. What is happening is that more and more members of the future populations are descended from that original mutant at that locus.

  25. It’s a new meaning for neutral evolution

  26. Chas- get off the dope- a change in allele frequency over time has been used for decades-

    Then we have:

    Defining “evolution”:

    Finally, during the evolutionary synthesis, a consensus emerged: “Evolution is the change in properties of populations of organisms over time”- Ernst Mayr page 8 of “What Evolution Is”

    Biological (or organic) evolution is change in the properties of populations of organisms or groups of such populations, over the course of generations. The development, or ontogeny, of an individual organism is not considered evolution: individual organisms do not evolve. The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are ‘heritable’ via the genetic material from one generation to the next. Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportions of different forms of a gene within a population, such as the alleles that determine the different human blood types, to the alterations that led from the earliest organisms to dinosaurs, bees, snapdragons, and humans.
    Douglas J. Futuyma (1998) Evolutionary Biology 3rd ed., Sinauer Associates Inc. Sunderland MA p.4

    Biological evolution refers to the cumulative changes that occur in a population over time. PBS series “Evolution” endorsed by the NCSE

    Biological evolution, simply put, is descent with modification. This definition encompasses small-scale evolution (changes in gene frequency in a population from one generation to the next) and large-scale evolution (the descent of different species from a common ancestor over many generations) UC Berkley

    In fact, evolution can be precisely defined as any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.
    Helena Curtis and N. Sue Barnes, Biology, 5th ed. 1989 Worth Publishers, p.974

    Evolution- in biology, the word means genetically based change in a line of descent over time.- Biology: Concepts and Applications Starr 5th edition 2003 page 10

  27. Chas- get off the dope- a change in allele frequency over time has been used for decades-

    Yeah. I know. Your point?

  28. Just this:

    I agree, actually (despite the fact that I may be responsible for Joe having picked that phrase up!).

    I do believe I knew you decades ago and I have been using taht for decades.

  29. I do believe I knew you decades ago and I have been using taht for decades.

    You didn’t know me decades ago. You have not encountered me prior to my arrival here. Or do you mean you don’t believe you knew me decades ago?

    Still, it is the first time I’ve noticed you use that particular definition, and it followed closely from my usage in a reply to you. I admit I don’t follow you as closely as you might think, so I don’t really know how frequently you use it. If the two events are wholly unconnected, then I apologise for implying that they might not have been.

  30. OK- just to let you know I love to use it when people try to say ID is anti-evolution as that definition is as vague as the theory.

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