The Case for Macroevolution

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Breezy,

I totally agree with Nyarlathotep. As a volcanologist, we make guesses. We also test those guesses. We model those guesses. We collect data and compare it to the guesses. If our guesses do not match the data and the models, we make new guesses and start the process all over again and again and again... Eventually, we can whittle it down to a highly probable guess.

A very good example of this is the current eruptions of the Kilauea volcano. We at the YVO have been privileged enough to also see the data. And those guys over there are making correct guesses. Evidence does show that Kilauea could explode with a massive eruption. It also shows it may not. Everything in life is mostly a series of guesses. Some prove correct, some not.

rmfr

Do you know what guesses are? If I take a test on a subject I've never studied, my answers will be guesses. Guessing might be how math solves tough equations, but we don't take guesses in science.

Hypotheses in science have to be formulated from theoretical or empirical foundations. Theory-driven hypotheses are deductions made from theories; and data-driven hypotheses are induction made from previous observations. That is why when a theory-driven hypotheses is not supported it has consequences on the validity of the theory. Wrong "guesses" don't have consequences; wrong hypotheses do.

Nyar - "Criticizing a guess because it is build from the carcasses of failed guesses isn't meaningful since the new guess still must sink or swim on its own.."

Since you know statistics, suppose you did that with hypothesis testing. What happens to the probability of making a Type I error if I keep running planned contrasts on different combinations of the same groups? Its not true that each new "guess" sinks or swims on its own; each "guess" increases my chances of a Type I error. The more coins you flip, the more likely getting heads becomes.

Better yet, since planned contrasts are supposed to be a priori, suppose I did them post hoc. In other words, suppose I run a general analysis of variance on my groups, and then decided to run a planned contrast based on that information? Well, I actually don't know what happens, I just know its a big no-no (see attachment). So any statistical analysis I want to run, has to be planned ahead, has to be based on theory or data, and that data has to be separate from the current study; otherwise I'll run into issues with Type I errors and falsifiability.

Attach Image/Video?:

Yes

Whom should I trust:

• Myself, every scientist I know, every physic professor I had, and Feynman (below)
• Or Breezy

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Breezy -
Hypotheses are not guesses...
...we don't take guesses in science.

Feynman -
I want now to concentrate on how you make the guesses. As I said before, it is not of any importance where the guess comes from; it is only important that it should agree with experiment, and that it should be as definite as possible. 'Then', you say, 'that is very simple. You set up a machine, a great computing machine, which has a random wheel in it that makes a succession of guesses, and each time it guesses a hypothesis about how nature should work it computes immediately the consequences, and makes a comparison with a list of experimental results it has at the other end'. In other words, guessing is a dumb man's job.

Actually it is quite the opposite, and I will try to explain why. The first problem is how to start. You say, 'Well I'd start off with all the known principles'. But all the principles that are known are inconsistent with each other, so something has to be removed.

So you're saying species evolution is an invalid scientific theory, and therefore does not explain valid evidence for the scientific fact of species evolution?

As Nyarl said, who to trust, the entire scientific world from Darwin onward, and all the scientific evidence of almost 160 years research, or some unknown unpublished creationist on the internet?

This is going to keep me awake nights obviously.

John 61X Breezy,

Hypotheses are educated guesses at explaining some set of data. Prediction only comes in when you test that educated guess. Listen to Nyarlathotep! He knows what he is talking about.

Hypotheses are not educated guesses at explaining any set of data, what lol?

John 61X Breezy,

Lol! Of course they are! You begin, after some preliminary work, with this idea as to how a certain set of facts fit together, that being an EDUCATED GUESS. For your information, that's commonly called an hypothesis.

Hypothesis: "1. a provisional theory set forth to explain some class of phenomena, ..." (Random House Webster's College Dictionary). Notice the world "explain." So, where do we get our first, tentative explanation? If not an educated guess, then maybe you should tell us the secret source!

As I mentioned, hypotheses are inductions or deductions made from theories or data. There is logic behind their formulation, not guesswork. Explanation is the jurisdiction of theory. But hey, more power to you if you get your research approved and funded to test your guesses.

We do things a little more professionally in my field.

John 61X Breezy,

Wrong! Obviously, you are confused about how science works. Everybody can see it but you! I hope that you won't be building any bridges I'll be driving over.

@John

Interesting that the only sentence you didn't highlight in the attachment Sat, 05/19/2018 - 09:56 (Reply to #7)
is the one that says  "The best hypothesis is the one that best fits all the available data".

And which phylogenetic tree hypothesis are you talking about, John? You're writing like there's only one tree/one model, when there's many because there's many, many species. Some trees are disputed because we're missing data, yes, but others -many others- aren't disputed at all, and any tree you find in a biology textbook is there because scientific consensus agrees it is an accurate, reliable reflection of reality.

The trees with the missing data are the reason science has been able to predict future finds like feathered reptiles and toothed birds. Do you really need me to remind you Huxley proposed birds descended from dinosaurs in 1859 but we didn't find the first fossilized feather impressions until the 1990s and the first feathers in amber until 2011? How can you not see that as an accurate prediction of macroevolution? I'm asking in all seriousness- I really don't understand how you can see it as anything else. There's a reason the saying "Rare as hen's teeth" exists. The idea of feathered reptiles and toothed birds is ridiculous- until you find them. As ridiculous as whale legs.

I'm still waiting for you to evidence your claim that phylogenetic trees in general are rarely supported by scientific consensus, by the way: "once in a blue moon", I believe you said. Alternatively, point out specific examples of disputed trees, so we can talk about why those trees are disputed- that would be an interesting discussion- but please stop writing as though ALL phylogenetic trees are disputed because hypothesis.

You said: " At no point do you seem to allow for a wrong hypotheses to knock off points from the theory."

The picture below represents a cultural icon, and it's a piss poor model. It comes from a misunderstanding of an earlier picture:

It led to some very nasty stuff- like the notion of "survival of the fittest" being twisted into meanings it was never meant to convey. It justified eugenics, and it acted as a comforting reinforcement of Christian beliefs about our right to exploit other species as much as we like, because we are "more evolved" than they are. It's the reason poor old Cardinal Pell was able to tell Richard Dawkins we are descended from Neanderthals, straight faced on Q&A.

What the pictures didn't do is falsify the Theory of Evolution.

You said: "... you have a tendency to go only to theists, to complain about this forum not having biologists, and ask them why they don't take their comments to one."

Is it possible it's because the only people we've come across who don't accept the Theory of Evolution are theists? Most theists do accept it, of course, but experience has taught us the few who don't won't be swayed by the evidence we bring them, so it seems reasonable to refer them to evolutionary scientists who can argue it more proficiently than we can. Don't feel special : we refer atheist anti-vaxxers to scientists, too. And ask Russian Tank what we do with woo.

Additional edit: Sorry to keep harping on about birds /dinosaurs, but I'm a bit of a bird watcher and I never did outgrow my fascination with dinosaurs. I want a chickenosaurus for Christmas.

Attach Image/Video?:

Yes

"Do you really need me to remind you Huxley proposed birds descended from dinosaurs in 1859 but we didn't find the first fossilized feather impressions until the 1990s and the first feathers in amber until 2011? How can you not see that as an accurate prediction of macroevolution?"

Well, I'll tell you why; because for some reason whenever I look up these sort of claims, they turn out to be rather post hoc predictions. You say Huxley made the proposal in 1859, but no evidence until 1990. Then I look it up, and it turns out Huxley made such prediction because he already had an Archaeopteryx fossil, with feathers according to Wikipedia, and made his arguments based on that fossil. Or take Ichthyornis dispar, the toothed bird as you say; you make it seem as though it was predicted long ago and people thought it was impossible, then suddenly we find it. Well, then why am I reading that an Ichthyornis fossil was around since Darwin's time, and he himself called it "the best support for the theory of evolution."

Perhaps a better description would be a theory-consistent observation, not a prediction.

Edit:

The evidence for my blue moon claim is a simple descriptive statistic. There's about 8.7 millions species alive today (source). Phylogenetic trees can be made comparing any combination of those 8.7 million species alive today. Now consider that supposedly 99% of all species that ever lived have gone extinct. The fossil record incredibly underrepresents the diversity of life. One paper seems to suggest we only found and named about 280,000 species in fossils (Alroy, 2002).

So, some multiple of 8.7 million represents the number of possible phylogenetic hypotheses. Given that the only way to independently verify such trees is with the fossil record, and the fossil record is not very generous (its only given us about 300,000 ways to test these hypotheses), and given the possibility that most species that ever lived didn't leave fossil, yeah, I thinks safe to conclude phylogenetic trees get supported once in a blue moon.

If they're wrong and you're right, why does the scientific world accept that their work supports a scientific fact, and nobody has ever heard of you?

Nothing on the news still? It'll be the royal wedding distracting all the journalists no doubt.

I'm pretty sure nobody heard of Hawkins either until after he got a PhD. I just started my Masters in Cognitive Science this past week. So what is the basis of your logic?

"I'm pretty sure nobody heard of Hawkins."

Pretty sure you mean Hawking, and are you seriously comparing your hokum beliefs to the work of Professor Stephen Hawking? My logic is pretty clear, the entire scientific world including the late professor Hawking accept evolution as a fact, and you are claiming to know better, even though you're just a student, whose not even training in the field you're making claims about, claims that contradict all the evidence, and every expert in that field who's studied it over the last 158 years since Darwin first evidenced species evolution?

Good grief John do you even hear yourself?

I'm comparing your hokum claims to reality, and find them groundless. It's not my fault you make valid comparisons between me and many great minds. I'm up against 150+ years of evolution research supposedly, as if length of time mattered in science. What about the 250+ years of Newtonian physics that Einstein was up against? What about the 1,000+ years of Ptolemeic astronomy that Copernicus was up against.

You have a brain Sheldon and it's constantly consuming glucose and oxygen, don't let it go to waste.

For every Einstein there are millions of nameless individuals whose ideas were wrong, or even complete nonsense, and that's the group you belong to John, as you have evidenced nothing. That's before we note your superstitious claims are denying the lifetime work and achievements of scientists of the same stature as Einstein and Darwin, based on your superstitious religious beliefs.

"You have a brain Sheldon and it's constantly consuming glucose and oxygen, don't let it go to waste."

I can never tell whether you really are as arrogant a prick as your posts suggest, or it's the Dunning Kruger effect writ large. You're a student John, with risible delusions of grandeur, whose posts display no integrity, or objectivity, and are comparing your risible bs about evolution to Einstein and Darwin, and all in an internet chatroom that has no scientific validity at all.

Now I get your ego is fragile John, massive egos generally are, but if you're going to make these nonsense claims in a public forum then be prepared to have them derided, however if you want to exchange ad hominem John trust me I'm your man. You don't have a glittering career in biology ahead of you, sorry to burst your bubble. I've never met a creationist yet who didn't think they held some esoteric truth derived from their a priori beliefs, but that's not how science works.

John 61X Breezy,

John, you are no Einstein! You are no Copernicus either! Both those guys thoroughly understood what they were criticizing. More importantly, they actually advanced arguments that, within a few years (or decades when science was in its infancy) won over the smart people. Creationists have been hammering away at Darwin for 150 years now. The result? Evolution is stronger than ever, with newer evidence such as DNA solidly supporting it.

Far from giving us a compelling counter-model, you have to be dragged in kicking and screaming to even discuss the evidence for macroevolution! No, John, you are not an Einstein. You are one of those thousands of nameless people who get their sense of importance by attacking great minds like Einstein or Darwin.

Interesting, from my perspective you still haven't substantiated your claims about the predictions. So, your vehicle stalled before it left the driveway, without me even touching it. A tire also blew out when you said phylogenetic trees are the best proof of macroevolution.

So, I'm just strolling through everyone else's comments until you get your vehicle fixed, and we can get back on the road.

John 61X Breezy,

You are almost funny, John! Actually cracked a smile! Truth is you have run away using a pathetic excuse! And, yes, phylogenetic trees are the best proof of macroevolution! Absolutely! I had hoped to formally get to them but all my time was spent trying to get you to address the fossil record. That was the starting topic. Pity!

Silly fellow! You never understood that the vast preponderance of known fossils have been recovered since Darwin. If the four predictions I offered on behalf of macroevolution amounted to ad hoc prophecies for 10 fossils, then it's a no-brainer that 100 later discoveries could be substituted to get real predictions. Go talk to somebody in paleontology if you don't believe me.

John 61X Breezy,

Then I look it up, and it turns out Huxley made such prediction because he already had an Archaeopteryx fossil, with feathers according to Wikipedia, and made his arguments based on that fossil. --Breezy

Gee whiz, John! You don't think that Huxley connected dinosaurs and birds out of thin air, do you? At the time Archaeopteryx was viewed as an ancient (but 100%) bird. By noting some of its features, and accepting macroevolution as a reasonable fact, Huxley concluded that modern birds descended from a line of dinosaurs. Today, we view them AS a line of dinosaurs.

@John

Re: "You say Huxley made the proposal in 1859, but no evidence until 1990. Then I look it up, and it turns out Huxley made such prediction because he already had an Archaeopteryx fossil, with feathers according to Wikipedia, and made his arguments based on that fossil."

I think you've misunderstood what you read in Wikipedia, John.

Wikipedia also tells you " The first restoration of a feathered dinosaur was Thomas Henry Huxley's depiction in 1876 of a feathered Compsognathus to accompany a lecture on the evolution of birds he delivered in New York in which he speculated that the aforementioned dinosaur might have been in possession of feathers.

The leading dinosaur expert of the time, Richard Owen, disagreed, claiming Archaeopteryx as the first bird outside dinosaur lineage. For the next century, claims that birds were dinosaur descendants faded, with more popular bird-ancestry hypotheses including 'crocodylomorph' and 'thecodont' ancestors, rather than dinosaurs or other archosaurs."

In short, Huxley proposed a non-avian dinosaur had feathers. He was so sure of it, he put feathers on his Compsognathos reconstruction model. No evidence of feathers has been found on Compsognathos, but feather evidence has certainly been found on its close relative, Sinosauropteryx:

In fact, one of the characteristics of the Compsognathidae family is feathers.

What is it theists say " Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence"? I reckon Huxley was probably right about Compsognathos, too. It turns out he was right about feathered dinosaurs, fullstop.

Now "Over 30 species of non-avian dinosaurs have been confirmed to have feathers, either from direct fossilized evidence of feathers, or other indicators, such as quill knobs. Up until now, all of those dinosaurs were confirmed to be carnivorous theropods, like Velociraptor and the ancestors of birds. However, fossilized remains of a new type of herbivorous dinosaur indicate that all dinosaurs may have had feathers. The study was led by Pascal Godefroit from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural History in Brussels and the results were published in Science."

"... all dinosaurs may have had feathers." Huxley would have been thrilled to bits, wouldn't he? Nothing beats being right.

You said "Given that the only way to independently verify such trees is with the fossil record, "

How is that a "given"? We have morphological and molecular evidence, too. Or are you suggesting scientists aren't independent and they fake morphological and molecular evidence? And has it escaped your notice the fossil record we do have supports the Theory of Evolution 100%? To the point science predicts fossils before they're found and goes looking for them? Think Tiktaalik and Compsognathid feathers. Or perhaps you think scientists knew where to find them because they faked the fossils and planted them there? Some Creationists certainly think that- they bring up the famous fossil hoaxes like it's proof of...something.

You said: " One paper seems to suggest we only found and named about 280,000 species in fossils (Alroy, 2002)."

So what? Fossils aren't the only source of evidence used to build phylogenetic trees!

https://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/evotrees_build_03

You said " I thinks safe to conclude phylogenetic trees get supported once in a blue moon."

And I think you've failed to give me evidence to support that claim, like the examples of rejected phylogenetic trees I asked for. Rejected by science, I mean, not rejected by you - clearly, you're in the "I don't care how many transitional fossils you have, I don't accept 'em and I dismiss all other evidence out of hand: morphology and molecules are dead to me" club.

John, have you ever actually argued your position on evolution with evolutionary biologists or just on forums like this? If you have, what was the result? If you haven’t, why not?

" have you ever actually argued your position on evolution with evolutionary biologists"

i bet he hasn't done any of that to an expert ms Cyb.
he's scared of being educated and humiliate. the ego will land if that happen

...so he's just stuck here..

Most likely Mr. Breezy would blow a huge cloud of smoke and throw out dozens of red herrings, like he is doing with me. A busy scientist, with better things to do, would probably quit in sheer disgust!

@Greensnake Re: Most likely Mr. Breezy would blow a huge cloud of smoke and throw out dozens of red herrings, like he is doing with me. A busy scientist, with better things to do, would probably quit in sheer disgust!

I can sympathize. I am a geologist and volcanologist. Even though I work behind the scenes for other scientists, I do get to work on studying the data collected from Yellowstone. I have quit arguing with Breezy. I now try to poke fun at him. Despite what the says, he does NOT seem to be a "student of science"... Especially biology/genetics. Hell, being a volcanologist and I seem to know more on biology/genetics and evolution than he does.

My hat is off and I salute you for tackling this discussion.

rmfr

Lol what? I've been on this forum for two, maybe even three, years. In all that time I don't recall talking to you more than once.

It's fairly easy to say you know more about biology, genetics, and evolution, while you stay quiet on the sidelines. Can't really falsify that claim while you stay silent in the sidelines.

John 61X Breezy,

I think it should be obvious that someone who denies the truth of macroevolution, accepted as solid science since the days of Darwin, is missing some important knowledge about biology.

He's likened his intellect to Einstein and Hawking, and claims he knows what Darwin failed to find. I don't think a gap in his knowledge is the issue. Like all creationists his claims are delusional, and that is the problem.

A self stylled scientific genius who can't even get Stephen Hawking's name spelled correctly, and who thinks he's going to reverse almostc160 years of scientific research and evidence. Like you I started to laugh at him some time ago.

I'd love if to know if any member of the faculty at an accredited university has indulged this pseudoscientic nonsense from him, he should sue them.

arakish,

I figure that even if Breezy blows nothing but smoke the material I develop will be useful to others who are faced with loud deniers. Do you happen to know Ashley (another volcanologist)?

Thanks!

If you are speaking about Ashley Davies, I know of him. I do not know him. Doesn't he work for the HVO?

rmfr

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