• About TWIM


    The Warfare Is Mental (TWIM) reflects the mental warfare of an author, screenwriter, publisher and member of the Writer's Guild of America. Family, friends, health, humor, art, music, science, faith, fun and knowledge are some of the things that are important to me.



    TWIM is the first and only theist blog listed on the Atheist Blogroll, which currently contains over 1,000 blogs. It goes without saying that I don't endorse hardly any of the views of any of them. Contact Mojoey for more information.



    Ironically, TWIM won an award for "Best Atheist / Skeptic Site" from this site. Much obliged.



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    You and your commenters are a feast of thinking — great stuff.

    -C.L. Dyck
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I have no need to engage with racists, so will ignore cl’s further diatribes.

    -faithlessgod,
     CommonSenseAtheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    cl resists following through on a thought even to provide a solid opposing position, and thus stifles many conversations. It’s a shame since it seems like cl has some brain power that could be applied to the topics at hand.

    -Hermes,
     CommonSenseAtheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    [faithlessgod and Hermes] fit my definition of trolling. I didn’t take any of those attacks against you seriously, and quickly categorized them as trolls.

    -JS Allen,
     CommonSenseAtheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    [cl] is, as many have noticed, a master of this warfare. I’ve been following him for quite some time and he’s one of the most effective Christian trolls out there. No one can completely destroy a conversation as effectively as he does, and with such masterful grace and subtly that he rarely gets banned. This isn’t a blunt-force “U R Hitler!” troll, this is the Yoda of trolling.

    -Eneasz,
     CommonSenseAtheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    This seems to imply that cl is, at least in part, disingenuous in terms of how he responds/what he claims. Is this most likely true, supported by evidence, or merely a subjective claim?

    -al friedlander,
     CommonSenseAtheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    ...I wanted to get a message to you outside of the context of specific discussions on CSA. You make good, insightful contributions to that site, and since I often agree with you I'm glad there is someone else there defending my positions better than I sometimes can. However I don't think anything of value would be lost if you stopped engaging in personal combat with juvenile snipers.

    -Zeb,
     CommonSenseAtheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Thank you for your wonderful response - so reasoned in the race of [Waldvogel's] blustering.

    -Annie Laurie Gaylor
     Freedom From Religion Foundation
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Thanks for a great Op-Ed.

    -Marianne Ratcliff
     VC Star
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    ...as atheists we need to make sure that someone like cl and any Christian readers of [An Apostate's Chapel] don’t come away with the perception that the atheists caved in or were incapable of responding. I’m sure that a lot of Christians who find cl incomprehensible at times and don’t even bother reading him themselves will come away with an assumption that cl is that sort of rare intellectual theist who can prove that gods exist. And that’s how those inane rumors about the feared xian intellectuals start…

    -bbk
     An Apostate's Chapel
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    You are in so over your head here, you are embarrassing yourself...
    I am well versed in many aspects of evolution biology, through my academic background, and my professional life. Unless your academic degrees and background match mine, cease and desist. Return to philosophy and rhetoric, or whatever it is you perceive your strengths to be. They are definitely not science, even at the high school level.

    -R.C. Moore
     Evangelical Realism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    You're doing a fine job.

    -Prof. Larry Moran
     Dept. of Biochemistry
     University of Toronto
     re: R.C. Moore & others
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Phyletic change and vicariance (or, drift and selection versus population isolation), as cl points out, are much better ways of describing what are unfortunately more commonly known as micro- and macro- evolution, respectively.

    -Dan
     Biology postdoc
     Univ. of Cyprus
     re: R.C. Moore & others
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    cl says, “The minute you call yourself a Christian or an Atheist or whatever the heck else, you automatically get painted by other people’s interpretations of those words, which are almost always different and almost always distorted.” cl’s point couldn’t be more on. As cl points out there is an important reason for not claiming any real religious (or lack thereof) belief. It puts logical constraints on one's arguments due directly to the bias of the individual that is translating the English to mind ideas of what it means to be religious.

    -Bobaloo
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Just who in the bloody hell do you think you are, you Christian piece of garbage, to come here barking out orders? You're an arrogant, condescending piece of shit. You seem to think you're an intellectual of sorts, when all you are is a Christian who's read a few books. John, everyone, this really is the limit. BR, I'm more than a little annoyed that you continue to engage him. I'm out of here. I have better things to do than to waste my time with these cretins.

    -Cipher
     Debunking Christianity
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    How old are you CL? I'd guess you have not yet experienced much life. I'd say you were under the age of 21, too young to be here. I don't give a damn what you think of me or my deconversion at all. You're too stupid to realize that regardless of it you must deal with the arguments in the book. They are leading people away from you [sic] faith. I'm seriously considering banning you cl, as I've heard you were banned on other sites. You are much too ignorant for us to have a reasonable discussion.

    -John Loftus
     Debunking Christianity
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I admired the way you handled yourself in the discussion on John's blog. I'm not patient enough to keep my sarcasm in check with some of them blokes, but appreciate those who are.

    -David Marshall
     re: Debunking Christianity
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    cl, I have to say, while I fundamentally disagree with you, you are an individual which I highly respect. I think your responses are always well thought out and your insights always well thought out and pertinently derived.
    [Y]ou have made me a stronger atheist in my regards to critical thinking and debating. I really can’t wait to hear more from you. Hell, I’d even buy you a drink, good sir. Cheers!

    -Parker
     Evangelical Realism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Bottom line? Sometimes I think he's right about certain arguments, and I don't have a problem admitting that. Other times, however, I think he's wrong, and I've called him on that. But I have found he can be pretty reasonable if you (1) don't overstate your case, (2) make concessions when you have, and (3) insist he do the same.

    -Lifeguard
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I like it when [cl] makes me stop, think and question if I am making unfounded assertions or if I am being sloppy. What has been annoying me about cl of late is that he is being excruciatingly anal...

    -seantheblogonaut
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I really can't thank you enough for catching me on my error in rhetoric. I always love a good debate! And I always enjoy your posts, as well! Keep up the great writing and the excellent eye for detail!

    -BZ
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    You make me smarter...

    -Mike G.
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    ..thank you, cl. I discovered your blog on a random web search and saw it as an oasis amidst a vast desert of seemingly intractable theist-atheist debate.

    -Sung Jun
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    It's good to be able to discuss with people who are open and respectful, and know that disagreement does not mean disrespect... You are to be congratulated, not only for your patience, but also your ability to hold an ever-growing debate together with an impressive degree of structure.

    -Ritchie
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    My tone is derogatory... [cl is] ignorant and credulous and deserves to be mocked... In the time he's been here, he's shown a consistent pattern of antagonizing everyone he comes in contact with, monopolizing threads, derailing discussions with perpetual complaints, quibbles and demands for attention, and generally making arguments that display a lack of good faith and responsiveness... it's become intolerable. I'm not banning him, but I'm putting in place some restrictions on how often he can comment.

    -Ebonmuse
     Daylight Atheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    This is no defense of the annoying cl, but what a self-righteous, prissy atheist you turned out to be, Ebonmuse. I'm disappointed in you, stealing a strategem from the theists.

    -The Exterminator
     to Ebonmuse
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I certainly didn't get any bad impression about cl, and I can't relate his comments with any of the things (Ebonmuse) said above. I actually thought it was quite interesting to have him around.

    -Juan Felipe
     Daylight Atheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Please continue to allow
    cl to post his views and make it clear that he is still welcome. And let me be clear, cl is not a lunatic.

    -Curtis
     Daylight Atheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    With one exception, you are the most coherent and intelligent theist I've seen on this site...

    -Steve Bowen
     Daylight Atheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I'm rooting for cl. I hope he perpetually manages to skirt the rules enough to do his damage, forcing rule revision after rule revision, ad nauseum. Awesome! Let's watch as Ebon, ever more frustrated, continues to struggle to figure out how to keep his precious private blog neat and tidy as cl keeps messing up his papers while one by one, readers leave due to an every increasing administrative presence. Outstanding! Well I won't go. The thought of this sounds like the most entertaining thing that probably would have ever happened on Daylight Atheism. Hot damn!

    -PhillyChief
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Your visit has been something of a reality check to me. It seems that when you present rational arguments and criticisms, many commenters feel territory slipping and then work up vaporous or leaky responses. I also want to remark that your presence here has considerably moved me to try being a more careful and understanding debater...

    -Brad
     Daylight Atheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I do have a lot of respect for you too. You seem to be a very intelligent and thoughtful individual with a knack for getting to the bottom of a problem, cutting through all the bullshit rhetoric on the way down. The fact that many other atheists seem to unreasonably despise you bothers me a lot, because I think that maybe they aren’t acting in good faith.

    -Peter Hurford
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I am not going to waste any more time parsing your comments to decide if they've crossed the line or not... So I banned you.

    -Greta Christina
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Be rude... cl invites rudeness. Would you want an incontinent little puppy coming into your house?

    -(((Billy))) the Atheist
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Note to all my regular readers: Since An Apostate’s Chapel is a free-speech zone, I don’t censor conversations.
    As it appears that cl is a troll, please note that I will not be responding to him any longer. I ask that you refrain from doing so, as well. Please don’t feed the troll!

    -The Chaplain
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    …I can’t reconcile being a "freethinker" with banning speech. [cl's] comments are not offensive in the normal understanding of that term, and he poses absolutely no threat except perhaps to some imagined decorum. Why can’t atheists lighten up, for no-Christ’s sake?

    -The Exterminator
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Is it going to distract from my meal when crazy uncle cl starts blathering out nonsense, pick his ears with a carrot or start taking his pants off? No. In fact, it might actually heighten the experience in some amusing way. So no, I don't see cl's work as damage.

    -PhillyChief
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I am beginning to suspect that you are a troll cl. Albeit an evolved troll, but a troll nonetheless. Perhaps we should all stop feeding the troll?

    -GaySolomon
     Evangelical Realism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    [cl is] is either a sophist or an incompetent when it comes to the english language... (sic)

    -ThatOtherGuy
     Evangelical Realism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I’d say cl is pretty sharp... it may be tempting at times to think that “the other guy” is arguing out of some personal character flaw rather than a sincere desire to acknowledge the truth, I still think it’s better to debate respectfully... It is disrespectful to make unsupported accusations against people, e.g. by suggesting that their views are caused by an intrinsically corrupt and immoral nature.

    -Deacon Duncan, 3-9-09
     Evangelical Realism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    [cl] cannot refute my facts, so he needs must find (sic) some scapegoat in order to claim that he has confronted the enemy and proven them wrong... cl, sadly, has proven himself to be the sort of guest who comes into your living room and sneaks behind your couch to take a crap on the floor, just so he can tell all your neighbors how bad your house smells and what an unsanitary housekeeper you are... an interesting case study in the negative effects a Christian worldview has on a reasonably intellectual mind.

    -Deacon Duncan, 6-17-09
     Evangelical Realism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I strongly discourage discussion of the character, abilities, motives, or personal ancestry of individual commenters, as tempting as such comments may be at times. I discourage the posting of comments that make frequent use of the pronoun “you,” as in “you always…” or “you never…” or “you are just so…”, when directed at a specific individual.

    -Deacon Duncan, 4-9-09
     Evangelical Realism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I won’t be publishing your most recent comment because it’s a return to the same sort of schtick you’ve pulled here before: re-writing other people’s arguments to make yourself look misunderstood and/or unfairly accused, taking “polyvalent” positions so that when people address your points you can claim to have said something else, distorting other people’s arguments, trolling for negative reactions, and so on.

    -Deacon Duncan, 10-8-09
     Evangelical Realism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    [E]gomaniacal troll.
    You win... You’re a disingenuous sophist through and through, cl. And a friggin’ narcissist to boot! Since I’ve thoroughly and purposefully broken the Deacon’s rules of engagement, I shall consider my right to post henceforth annulled, and move on - dramatic pause, lights out.

    -jim
     Evangelical Realism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    He either thinks in a very weird way or he's quite the con artist.

    -mikespeir
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I will gladly admit that I have a boner for cl. Maybe some day I’ll even earn a place of honor on cl’s Blog of Infamy.

    -Eneasz
     Evangelical Realism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Long time reader first time poster... I like reading what you
    have to say over at Daylight Atheism so I figured I'd pop in here.

    -Pine
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    He's just a jerk
    that likes to argue.

    -KShep
     Daylight Atheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    You’re not a reasonable thinker in my book. You’re simply an arguer, for better or worse. I’m Michael Palin, you’re John Cleese. You’re just a disputation-ist, bringing everything into question...

    -jim
     Reason vs. Apologetics
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Motherfucker, this is an interesting blog... Quite the group of commenters.

    -John Evo
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    You are very articulate, and I can only assume that it's a result of high intelligence; an intelligence that's interested in, and can understand, healthy debate. However, at every turn, that's not what I or others seem to get.

    -ex machina
     Daylight Atheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    You are a troll, a liar, and a useless sack of shit. Not only that, but you're still wrong even after moving the goal posts and trying to re-write history. So, you can stop cyber stalking me now and trying to provoke me. I know what you are doing, and you are doing it so that you can whine about how I'm being irrational and mean to you and stroke your pathetic martyr complex. You're a pathetic attention whore and I've already given you too much attention. So, back the fuck off, stop following me around the intarwebs and trying to provoke me, and fuck off.

    -OMGF
     Daylight Atheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I would just like to say that, OMGF, having read the debate as a neutral observer, some of the things cl says about your style of argument are true, IMO. It is quite hasty, which means you occasionally haven't got the central point cl is trying to make...

    -John D.
     Daylight Atheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    ...this is a difficult question that deserves more than a kneejerk reaction, not to imply that you're kneejerking. You're the least kneejerking person I've met.

    -Quixote
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    If you’re here playing devil’s advocate, then, hey, you do a great job at it, it’s a service, keep us sharp... You’re a smart guy, but those are exactly the ones who give the worst headaches!

    -Lifeguard
     An Apostate's Chapel
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    You are a waste of time, cl. A big fat black hole of bullshit sucking in everyone who comes into contact with you.

    -Spanish Inquisitor
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    As for all that harsh invective that's come your way, umm... I gotta say, I've seen some of the invective, but I haven't seen the behavior on your part that called for it. Maybe I've just not seen enough? I don't know... from what I've read, I can tell that you're a smart person, and whether you deserved any of that treatment or not is quite frankly immaterial to me; I just want to deal with the smart person at the eye of that storm.

    -D
     She Who Chatters
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I now think that you’re an atheist, just having fun at other atheists’ expense. If that’s the case, kudos.

    -The Exterminator
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
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False Arguments #23 & #24: The Sufficiency Of Microevolution Tropes

There are two equal but opposite errors I see again and again in ostensibly educated discussions about evolution, and both of them involve ignorance about what scientists mean when they use the words macroevolution and microevolution, (hereafter Ma and Mi, respectively).

The creationist or believer who maintains that Ma is impossible or unproven shows an ignorance of science paralleled only by the atheist or skeptic who maintains that such is untrue because Ma is just cumulative Mi. These are what I call the sufficiency of microevolution tropes, and both of them distort scientific accuracy concerning the facts of evolution.

As genuine thinkers, we need to know what to look out for here, so first let's discuss the terms.

Coined between World Wars by Russian
entomologist Iurii Filipchenko, misunderstanding of the terms
Ma and Mi themselves is perhaps the single most responsible factor for the problems related to these tropes.

In evolutionary biology, Ma is synonymous with cladogenesis and refers to change at or above species level. I believe this is what Bernhard Rensch referred to as, "supraspecific evolution." Mi, then, becomes synonymous with anagenesis, a term that doesn't get used quite as much anymore, and refers to any evolutionary change below the species level.

It should be noted that these are not the only things a person can have in mind when throwing these terms around. Some people use Ma in a more figurative sense, as if to denote the entirety of biological evolution over time. Others use Ma in a more mathematical sense, as if to denote the entirety of accumulated Mi. Both uses are misleading, the former because Ma can only naively be described as Mi + time, and the latter because Ma can only naively be described as nothing more than cumulative Mi.

Scientists, creationists and laypeople all use the terms Ma and Mi to mean different things at different times, and as with any other issue of scientific debate that descends to the general public, precision, clarity and consistency of terms are of paramount importance if we want to have a productive or even civil discourse.

False Argument #23: "There's no evidence or proof for Ma. Mi is possible, but not Ma."

This is what we could reasonably call the insufficiency of microevolution trope – the creationist or believer's version of the error – typically used as a wedge to force gaps in evolutionary theory that are then claimed to be explainable only via divine intervention. The creationist or believer claims the gaps in scientific knowledge constitute evidence for God. This is the reasoning behind much of Intelligent Design theory, and also Michael Behe's concept of Irreducible Complexity. Critics call these arguments from ignorance, also referred to as God of the Gaps arguments when made in this particular context.

Although rhetorically successful – and maybe God did drive some component of evolution that woudn't of naturally occurred – still, in my opinion, these arguments lack substance in both science and logic. The proponent views things in the traditional Linnaean framework by which type or kind constitute immutable boundaries that cannot be crossed via accumulated Mi. These boundaries are sometimes referred to as the fixity of species. Not all creationists believe in the fixity of species, and if you really want to get down to it, nor do all creationists interpret fixity of species similarly. These are other common sources of strawman skeptical argumentation. Many evolutionary biologists dispute that fixity of species exists at all. I would say that evolutionary stasis is a different concept.

Regardless, the point is, that there is no proof for Ma is already a well-disputed claim, and that's why the majority of evolutionary biologists and paleontologists consider this a false argument. Even so, it was originally founded on solid reasoning given the scant evidence of Darwin's time, and we can trace the essence of the argument all the way back to Fleeming Jenkins, one of Darwin's earliest and more personally-feared critics. As Gould offers hypothetically in Structure's relevant passage, "…suppose that species function like glass spheres with a modal configuration at the center and unbridgeable limits to variation representing the surface."

By no means do I imply that Jenkins was a creationist, but is this not the same argument today's creationists still use to deny evolution? Is there a successful counter to these any of these facts as presented?

False Argument #24: "Ma is no different than Mi, Ma is just Mi over time, Ma is cumulative Mi." Each of these and their many, many derivatives are the sufficiency of microevolution tropes – the atheist's or skeptic's version of the error – typically used as rhetorical oversimplification in response to the creationist version of the trope we just deconstructed. Critics call these scientifically inaccurate oversimplifications, and noting the legitimate distinctions between Ma and Mi does not entail the claim that origin of higher taxa requires some non-existent mechanism:

"…Ma (cladogenesis) follows different rules than Mi (anagenesis), and these differences are most
noticeable in the fossil record cited by Eldredge and Gould as the
basis for their theory of punctuated equilibrium. In particular, the
basic program that energized the modern synthesis – that is, the
reduction of all significant evolutionary mechanisms to a series of
linked mathematical models, based on grossly simplified reductions of
complex biology to quasi-Mendelian point-like 'particles of
inheritance' (changes in which drive the variation and divergence of
phenotypes) – is impossible to apply in any coherent way to Ma. The modern synthesis was essentially a 'Newtonian'
program, whose proponents assumed that the underlying law-like
processes (i.e. Mi) are (like physics) both ahistorical and
universal. However, it is now becoming clear that the emerging science
of Ma is both irreversibly historically contingent (and
therefore not reducible to mathematical formalisms) and driven by
fundamentally different processes than those underlying most of Mi. …And so, rather than Ma being simply Mi (i.e.
selection and drift) extended over deep evolutionary time, Ma is a genuinely different process that occurs in the
absence of most microevolutionary processes (i.e. the relaxation, not
the intensification, of natural selection)."

Allen MacNeill, Senior
Lecturer, The Biology Learning Skills Center, G-24 Stimson Hall,
Cornell University. November 15, 2007 at 9:00 pm.

Under no circumstance should it be called scientifically accurate or intellectually progressive to wave the creationist away and tell him or her that Ma is just Mi over time, or scale, or anything even remotely like that. If by Ma we mean cladogenesis events, then Ma is most certainly not Mi over time – if by Mi we mean anagenesis events. If by Ma we simply mean "all of evolution throughout time," even then the claim still fails, because the history of evolution is better represented as a rocky road cunningly traversed than a series of smooth intra-species gradations. Cladogenesis events occur more rapidly than anagenesis events, and can
occur with only one individual in only one generation, as almost all
organisms but mammals can reproduce asexually. So we cannot say that Ma is just Mi over time, or scale, or anything similar. The latter reminds one of Darwin's original gradualism as extrapolated in Origin,
before the introduction of Mendel's genetics into the theory, and
before paleontologists like Gould, Eldredge and others painted the
complete picture of the fossil record.

"If we could track a single lineage through time, say from a single-cell protist to Homo sapiens,
then we would see a long series of mutations and fixations as each
ancestral population evolved. It might look as though the entire
history could be accounted for by microevolutionary processes. This is
an illusion because the track of the single lineage ignores all of the
branching and all of the other species that lived and died along the
way… There is legitimate scientific debate about whether Ma is
more than just lots of Mi or whether Ma
encompasses mechanisms not seen in Mi. It’s the sufficiency
of microevolution argument. I happen to be one of those scientists who
agree with Stephen Jay Gould that there are many levels of evolution
(hierarchical theory). Thus, Ma cannot be sufficiently
explained by lots of Mi. There are other things going on at
the higher levels."

Larry Moran, Professor of Molecular Evolution,
University of Toronto

While it is common to see atheists and skeptics correcting creationists and believers on their
version of the false argument, what the former seldom realize is that
their responses to the latter are often as naive and scientifically misleading as
the latter's original arguments.

I say that regardless of whatever we personally believe, if we are to be scientifically accurate, we must tell the full story behind the sufficiency of microevolution tropes – or we should tell no story at all.

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11 Responses

  1. … as almost all organisms but mammals can reproduce asexually.

    What? All but a few animals reproduce sexually.

    Cladogenesis events occur more rapidly than anagenesis events, and can occur with only one individual in only one generation …

    This sounds a lot like saltation. A now discredited idea.
    This post has got me investigating this subject a lot more. I’ve got more reading to do.

  2. Sexual mammals account for only a small piece of the mosaic biosphere. Simpler asexual organisms are still around and ubiquitous in comparison. (CL was talking about organisms, not animals.)

  3. cl mean to say animals instead of mammals. Still reading. There’s a lot to understand.

  4. nal,

    cl mean to say animals instead of mammals.

    Yes, sorry if that was unclear. Most organisms and plants reproduce asexually. Most animals reproduce sexually, as you note.

  5. Cladogenesis events occur more rapidly than anagenesis events, and can occur with only one individual in only one generation, as almost all organisms but mammals can reproduce asexually.
    First-Degree Inbreeding Facilitates Chromosomal Speciation
    Not sure where chromosomal speciation fits into cladogenesis, but it’s interesting that a similar (hypothesized) mechanism can be found in animals that reproduce sexually.
    I agree (now) that Ma is not just accumulated Mi. Many of DD’s commenters got this wrong (me?). It’s been an education and I wish I had more time to better understand the technical aspects. Also, I don’t see anything in this discussion that argues against the theory of common descent.

  6. http://evolutionlist.blogspot.com/2006/11/hypothesis-first-degree-inbreeding.html
    My href for “First-Degree Inbreeding Facilitates Chromosomal Speciation” wasn’t allowed.

  7. nal,
    I’m really sorry about the HTML problems. It’s a TypePad thing I have no control over. I can see that your link did post, however… so it seems like maybe it worked? Don’t lose hope! TypePad’s not usually this whacked out. Maybe it’s the good weather over here.

    **I agree (now) that Ma is not just accumulated Mi. Many of DD’s commenters got this wrong (me?).

    I thought so, too, but I didn’t think you were one of them. I think I really got the short end of the stick on that deal, but oh well. So it goes.

  8. Alright… That was… fairly confused. The Mi-Ma “fallacy” you mention is something I find completely harmless. In fact, it’s less than harmless – it’s useful. It’s a GOOD lie. Obviously, if one wishes to get deeper into the matter, he’d have to realize that certain mechanisms other than drift and selection can be in charge of evolution – but as far as the raw material for evolution: drift and selection do just fine.
    It’s not enough because it doesn’t explain the *evolution* per se of many taxa – but without these two, evolution is impossible.
    This may appear a trivial argument, but it’s not – when you say that Ma is cumulative Mi – you’re not exactly lying, you’re just missing out huge chunks of the story. A lot of evolution occurs due to some cataclysmic event (adaptive radiation springs to mind – there’s no explanation for 20 species of Finch without the invasion of a bird to an island)
    But without years of drift and genetic innovation, it’s possible that Finches would never have had the plasticity to evolve so fast at all…
    As for PE – the best way to explain the “difference” between PE and gradualism is like this: when you have branches that branch out at *very* small angles – to the paleontologist’s eye – it’s impossible to distinguish very small angles from vertical branches – which makes it appear as if certain taxa pop out of no where.
    This is just a consequence of the enormous depth of time surpassed by the earliest fossils. The Cambrian “explosion” took millions of years. Hardly an explosion. Imagine hundreds of millions of years of non-fossilized life – lots of Microevolution right there –
    and then, wham, you get teeth, osseous phyla and a frenzy of evolutionarily experiments…
    Is this not gradual? It sure is – it’s just gradual – faster. :-)

  9. FYI. Over at Pharyngula, Prof. Allen MacNeill gave some of the commenters a class on the “macro = accumulation of micro” argument.
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/05/i_get_email_from_peter_heck.php#comment-1644343
    There was one commenter who already had that class.

  10. FYI. Over at Pharyngula, Prof. Allen MacNeill gave some of the commenters a class on the “macro = accumulation of micro” argument.
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/05/i_get_email_from_peter_heck.php#comment-1644343
    There was one commenter who already had that class.

  11. Thank you, nal. It’s funny how people work – a person who withholds his credentials gets completely ridiculed and mocked for saying the same exact things as professors, biology postdocs and microbiologists. The chips will fall where they may, I suppose..

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