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Populations evolve, not individuals

bladerunner060
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1/30/2014 1:23:57 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 1:07:40 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
I don't understand this concept. Anyone care to clarify?

It means we can't speak of a single organism having "evolved" without reference to the rest of its population. The genetic changes of evolution are generally present from birth, not due to mutations afterwards, and when we talk about the evolutionary changes we're talking about the differences from the rest of the population, and when we talk about natural selection we talk about whether changes are propagated.

The pressures of natural selection, and the changes wrought by genetic changes, do affect the individual, but only in the most limited ways. Natural selection, for example, is the word we use to describe "the best suited for the area does the best in the area". A single organism doing well means nothing without reference to other organisms that might be doing as well, or better. A single organism doing poorly doesn't mean much without reference to the general population, either: it's possible that one organism really IS suited better for the area, but then a rock fell on it due to bad luck, that doesn't happen to other creatures who have similar changes.

Make more sense?

That's why evolution talks about populations of species, and changes over time and generations, rather than specific creatures.
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bladerunner060
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1/30/2014 1:26:56 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Oh, it's also a reference to the fact that we don't expect an individual to adapt genetically to its environment. It takes more time, and more genetic changes, to start making big changes to suit the environment. This requires a population, jumbling together DNA. Evolution predicts that, over time, a species will become better and better adapted to its environment, barring unusual adverse events. Each little change will add up to big change that actually has bearing on suitability.

Some folks who argue against evolution try to say that, because an INDIVIDUAL doesn't change its genetic makeup over its lifetime in a dramatic, improved manner, that therefore there's no evolution, when that's not what's expected.
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GarretKadeDupre
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1/30/2014 2:00:12 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 1:23:57 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 1/30/2014 1:07:40 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
I don't understand this concept. Anyone care to clarify?

It means we can't speak of a single organism having "evolved" without reference to the rest of its population. The genetic changes of evolution are generally present from birth, not due to mutations afterwards, and when we talk about the evolutionary changes we're talking about the differences from the rest of the population, and when we talk about natural selection we talk about whether changes are propagated.

The pressures of natural selection, and the changes wrought by genetic changes, do affect the individual, but only in the most limited ways. Natural selection, for example, is the word we use to describe "the best suited for the area does the best in the area". A single organism doing well means nothing without reference to other organisms that might be doing as well, or better. A single organism doing poorly doesn't mean much without reference to the general population, either: it's possible that one organism really IS suited better for the area, but then a rock fell on it due to bad luck, that doesn't happen to other creatures who have similar changes.

Make more sense?

That's why evolution talks about populations of species, and changes over time and generations, rather than specific creatures.

Ok first, yes, that does make sense. But some particular things you mentioned don't make sense to me.

Like the rock falling. If an organism dies because of a rock falling on it, then it really WASN'T better suited than the others, because it died and they didn't.

At 1/30/2014 1:26:56 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
Oh, it's also a reference to the fact that we don't expect an individual to adapt genetically to its environment. It takes more time, and more genetic changes, to start making big changes to suit the environment. This requires a population, jumbling together DNA. Evolution predicts that, over time, a species will become better and better adapted to its environment, barring unusual adverse events.

But some species actually become less and less adapted to their environment, and then go extinct, thereby falsifying this prediction.

Seems like you could call anything you wanted to "an usual adverse event" to prevent the prediction from becoming falsified.
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bladerunner060
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1/30/2014 2:07:13 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 2:00:12 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 1/30/2014 1:23:57 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 1/30/2014 1:07:40 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
I don't understand this concept. Anyone care to clarify?

It means we can't speak of a single organism having "evolved" without reference to the rest of its population. The genetic changes of evolution are generally present from birth, not due to mutations afterwards, and when we talk about the evolutionary changes we're talking about the differences from the rest of the population, and when we talk about natural selection we talk about whether changes are propagated.

The pressures of natural selection, and the changes wrought by genetic changes, do affect the individual, but only in the most limited ways. Natural selection, for example, is the word we use to describe "the best suited for the area does the best in the area". A single organism doing well means nothing without reference to other organisms that might be doing as well, or better. A single organism doing poorly doesn't mean much without reference to the general population, either: it's possible that one organism really IS suited better for the area, but then a rock fell on it due to bad luck, that doesn't happen to other creatures who have similar changes.

Make more sense?

That's why evolution talks about populations of species, and changes over time and generations, rather than specific creatures.

Ok first, yes, that does make sense. But some particular things you mentioned don't make sense to me.

Like the rock falling. If an organism dies because of a rock falling on it, then it really WASN'T better suited than the others, because it died and they didn't.

That's not really true. Imagine a species of snail. One evolves which is 10 times as strong, AND resistant to salt! Whoa, clearly better suited the environment. It'll do well. Except a bus, thrown by the Hulk, comes out of nowhere and squashes it. It could have happened to any of them, it is not really the creature's environment.

Basically, by looking at populations over time, we soften the statistically flukey events, since of course statistical flukes will happen...but with enough time, we should see a general trend.

At 1/30/2014 1:26:56 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
Oh, it's also a reference to the fact that we don't expect an individual to adapt genetically to its environment. It takes more time, and more genetic changes, to start making big changes to suit the environment. This requires a population, jumbling together DNA. Evolution predicts that, over time, a species will become better and better adapted to its environment, barring unusual adverse events.

But some species actually become less and less adapted to their environment, and then go extinct, thereby falsifying this prediction.

Seems like you could call anything you wanted to "an usual adverse event" to prevent the prediction from becoming falsified.

Well, I was more speaking of "asteroid impact" or "sudden dose of radiation from a nuclear plant causing cascading arbitrary mutations".

But you're right, there are "non unusual" adverse factors that could cause a species to become extinct. The issue is that you need to account for variables, and also for statistical deviation.

For example: if there's only 10 of a species left, then the odds of ANY of them getting any mutation that could possibly save their species from their inevitable extinction is pretty close to nil. They're hosed.
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bladerunner060
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1/30/2014 2:08:56 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
And remember that all predictions of evolutionary theory are STATISTICAL ones.

A coin flipped 1000 times is predicted to land on head 500 times. But we know that a run of 50 heads in a row doesn't mean the coin isn't a fair coin...it's just a statistical fluke.
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Skepticalone
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1/30/2014 2:09:12 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 1:26:56 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
Oh, it's also a reference to the fact that we don't expect an individual to adapt genetically to its environment. It takes more time, and more genetic changes, to start making big changes to suit the environment. This requires a population, jumbling together DNA. Evolution predicts that, over time, a species will become better and better adapted to its environment, barring unusual adverse events. Each little change will add up to big change that actually has bearing on suitability.

Some folks who argue against evolution try to say that, because an INDIVIDUAL doesn't change its genetic makeup over its lifetime in a dramatic, improved manner, that therefore there's no evolution, when that's not what's expected.

I would also like to add, the mutations are only significant before individual organisms produce offspring. Any mutations that happens after reproductive capability has been lost (to old age) have no bearing on the viability of the population. Things like cancer (given cases that happen later in life) will likely never be adapted away, unless of course, they happen to be linked to another trait which proves detrimental to population while individual organisms are still able to bear young. Natural selection is only affected by the particular part of an organisms life from birth to reproduction. The part of an organisms life from reproduction to death has no bearing on NS. That is why NS is measured by the cumulative effect of population instead of individual mutation.
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GarretKadeDupre
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1/30/2014 2:13:29 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 2:07:13 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 1/30/2014 2:00:12 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 1/30/2014 1:23:57 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 1/30/2014 1:07:40 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
I don't understand this concept. Anyone care to clarify?

It means we can't speak of a single organism having "evolved" without reference to the rest of its population. The genetic changes of evolution are generally present from birth, not due to mutations afterwards, and when we talk about the evolutionary changes we're talking about the differences from the rest of the population, and when we talk about natural selection we talk about whether changes are propagated.

The pressures of natural selection, and the changes wrought by genetic changes, do affect the individual, but only in the most limited ways. Natural selection, for example, is the word we use to describe "the best suited for the area does the best in the area". A single organism doing well means nothing without reference to other organisms that might be doing as well, or better. A single organism doing poorly doesn't mean much without reference to the general population, either: it's possible that one organism really IS suited better for the area, but then a rock fell on it due to bad luck, that doesn't happen to other creatures who have similar changes.

Make more sense?

That's why evolution talks about populations of species, and changes over time and generations, rather than specific creatures.

Ok first, yes, that does make sense. But some particular things you mentioned don't make sense to me.

Like the rock falling. If an organism dies because of a rock falling on it, then it really WASN'T better suited than the others, because it died and they didn't.

That's not really true. Imagine a species of snail. One evolves which is 10 times as strong, AND resistant to salt! Whoa, clearly better suited the environment. It'll do well. Except a bus, thrown by the Hulk, comes out of nowhere and squashes it. It could have happened to any of them, it is not really the creature's environment.

But it is really true, because the rock IS really the creature's environment. You can't make excuses for the rock by comparing it to a bus thrown by the Hulk.

Basically, by looking at populations over time, we soften the statistically flukey events, since of course statistical flukes will happen...but with enough time, we should see a general trend.

So your prediction is that IN GENERAL, species will become more adapted to their environment? But even this is obviously not true, since most species of animals have already gone extinct. So I see no way out for your prediction.

At 1/30/2014 1:26:56 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
Oh, it's also a reference to the fact that we don't expect an individual to adapt genetically to its environment. It takes more time, and more genetic changes, to start making big changes to suit the environment. This requires a population, jumbling together DNA. Evolution predicts that, over time, a species will become better and better adapted to its environment, barring unusual adverse events.

But some species actually become less and less adapted to their environment, and then go extinct, thereby falsifying this prediction.

Seems like you could call anything you wanted to "an usual adverse event" to prevent the prediction from becoming falsified.

Well, I was more speaking of "asteroid impact" or "sudden dose of radiation from a nuclear plant causing cascading arbitrary mutations".

But you're right, there are "non unusual" adverse factors that could cause a species to become extinct. The issue is that you need to account for variables, and also for statistical deviation.

Deviation from what statistic?

For example: if there's only 10 of a species left, then the odds of ANY of them getting any mutation that could possibly save their species from their inevitable extinction is pretty close to nil. They're hosed.
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GarretKadeDupre
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1/30/2014 2:17:08 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 2:09:12 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
I would also like to add, the mutations are only significant before individual organisms produce offspring. Any mutations that happens after reproductive capability has been lost (to old age) have no bearing on the viability of the population.

What if the mutation induces cannibalism? Lol.
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bladerunner060
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1/30/2014 2:25:37 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 2:13:29 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:

Like the rock falling. If an organism dies because of a rock falling on it, then it really WASN'T better suited than the others, because it died and they didn't.

That's not really true. Imagine a species of snail. One evolves which is 10 times as strong, AND resistant to salt! Whoa, clearly better suited the environment. It'll do well. Except a bus, thrown by the Hulk, comes out of nowhere and squashes it. It could have happened to any of them, it is not really the creature's environment.

But it is really true, because the rock IS really the creature's environment. You can't make excuses for the rock by comparing it to a bus thrown by the Hulk.

A rock that falls where rocks never fall, was my point. Remember, again, that we're talking about "better" suited. So 1 organism may be definitely "better" suited", yet still not be "perfectly" suited. The rock may be part of the environment but 1, it would have killed ANY of them, and it's only arbitrary chance that it fell on THAT one, and 2, that the rock is the creature's environment doesn't mean it's not "better" suited. It just means it wasn't better suited to that aspect.

And again, to stress the point the other commenter made, it's all about reproduction.


Basically, by looking at populations over time, we soften the statistically flukey events, since of course statistical flukes will happen...but with enough time, we should see a general trend.

So your prediction is that IN GENERAL, species will become more adapted to their environment? But even this is obviously not true, since most species of animals have already gone extinct. So I see no way out for your prediction.

"Gone extinct" in the sense of changed drastically, yes. Not "gone extinct" in terms of "completely eradicated the bloodline". Even if you disagree with UCD, if you acknowledge evolution, you acknowledge that a lot of these species "died out" through change.


At 1/30/2014 1:26:56 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
Oh, it's also a reference to the fact that we don't expect an individual to adapt genetically to its environment. It takes more time, and more genetic changes, to start making big changes to suit the environment. This requires a population, jumbling together DNA. Evolution predicts that, over time, a species will become better and better adapted to its environment, barring unusual adverse events.

But some species actually become less and less adapted to their environment, and then go extinct, thereby falsifying this prediction.

Seems like you could call anything you wanted to "an usual adverse event" to prevent the prediction from becoming falsified.

Well, I was more speaking of "asteroid impact" or "sudden dose of radiation from a nuclear plant causing cascading arbitrary mutations".

But you're right, there are "non unusual" adverse factors that could cause a species to become extinct. The issue is that you need to account for variables, and also for statistical deviation.

Deviation from what statistic?

It's self-referential. Let's say a creature evolves which is 50% better at finding food (yay!). It would be expected to do better, by an amount I can't guess at. But things could affect that: is it better at finding food during periods of famine, when food is generally scarce? Does it get struck by lightning? The point is that changes are random. And some events are random. But some things trend.

For example: if there's only 10 of a species left, then the odds of ANY of them getting any mutation that could possibly save their species from their inevitable extinction is pretty close to nil. They're hosed.
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Skepticalone
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1/30/2014 2:27:40 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 2:17:08 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 1/30/2014 2:09:12 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
I would also like to add, the mutations are only significant before individual organisms produce offspring. Any mutations that happens after reproductive capability has been lost (to old age) have no bearing on the viability of the population.

What if the mutation induces cannibalism? Lol.

If the old farts start eating other old farts, then it would have no effect. If the old farts started eating the young still able to produce young, then it is detrimental to the continuation of the species, and depending on how widespread the problem was, it could be curtains for that population!
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bladerunner060
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1/30/2014 2:30:03 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
To expand on the statistics point:

I don't think anyone would take issue with the statement "Statistically, the kids of poor parents are more likely to commit crimes than the children of rich parents".

Does that mean that if a rich kid commits a crime, that we've disproved that? No, it just means that the statistic is indicative of the general TREND, but that there will of course be exceptions, because we are dealing with an element of chance.
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GarretKadeDupre
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1/30/2014 2:31:58 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 2:25:37 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 1/30/2014 2:13:29 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:

Like the rock falling. If an organism dies because of a rock falling on it, then it really WASN'T better suited than the others, because it died and they didn't.

That's not really true. Imagine a species of snail. One evolves which is 10 times as strong, AND resistant to salt! Whoa, clearly better suited the environment. It'll do well. Except a bus, thrown by the Hulk, comes out of nowhere and squashes it. It could have happened to any of them, it is not really the creature's environment.

But it is really true, because the rock IS really the creature's environment. You can't make excuses for the rock by comparing it to a bus thrown by the Hulk.

A rock that falls where rocks never fall, was my point. Remember, again, that we're talking about "better" suited. So 1 organism may be definitely "better" suited", yet still not be "perfectly" suited. The rock may be part of the environment but 1, it would have killed ANY of them, and it's only arbitrary chance that it fell on THAT one, and 2, that the rock is the creature's environment doesn't mean it's not "better" suited. It just means it wasn't better suited to that aspect.

I'm not following. You see, it seems like you are making an exception to the rule for this organism.

If a species gets eaten by lions all the time, but it's usually under a tree where the lions live, and an anomaly happens where an individual of this species actually gets eaten by a lion that WASN'T under the tree, it seems like using your logic, the lion wasn't really part of the organism's environment.

And again, to stress the point the other commenter made, it's all about reproduction.


Basically, by looking at populations over time, we soften the statistically flukey events, since of course statistical flukes will happen...but with enough time, we should see a general trend.

So your prediction is that IN GENERAL, species will become more adapted to their environment? But even this is obviously not true, since most species of animals have already gone extinct. So I see no way out for your prediction.

"Gone extinct" in the sense of changed drastically, yes. Not "gone extinct" in terms of "completely eradicated the bloodline". Even if you disagree with UCD, if you acknowledge evolution, you acknowledge that a lot of these species "died out" through change.

My only qualm here is that I don't see a practical way of falsifying your prediction.


At 1/30/2014 1:26:56 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
Oh, it's also a reference to the fact that we don't expect an individual to adapt genetically to its environment. It takes more time, and more genetic changes, to start making big changes to suit the environment. This requires a population, jumbling together DNA. Evolution predicts that, over time, a species will become better and better adapted to its environment, barring unusual adverse events.

But some species actually become less and less adapted to their environment, and then go extinct, thereby falsifying this prediction.

Seems like you could call anything you wanted to "an usual adverse event" to prevent the prediction from becoming falsified.

Well, I was more speaking of "asteroid impact" or "sudden dose of radiation from a nuclear plant causing cascading arbitrary mutations".

But you're right, there are "non unusual" adverse factors that could cause a species to become extinct. The issue is that you need to account for variables, and also for statistical deviation.

Deviation from what statistic?

It's self-referential. Let's say a creature evolves which is 50% better at finding food (yay!). It would be expected to do better, by an amount I can't guess at. But things could affect that: is it better at finding food during periods of famine, when food is generally scarce? Does it get struck by lightning?

That made me LOL xD
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GarretKadeDupre
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1/30/2014 2:33:11 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 2:30:03 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
To expand on the statistics point:

I don't think anyone would take issue with the statement "Statistically, the kids of poor parents are more likely to commit crimes than the children of rich parents".

Does that mean that if a rich kid commits a crime, that we've disproved that? No, it just means that the statistic is indicative of the general TREND, but that there will of course be exceptions, because we are dealing with an element of chance.

Ah ok, I see. You hadn't clarified that in your original posts.
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bladerunner060
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1/30/2014 2:38:18 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 2:31:58 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
I'm not following. You see, it seems like you are making an exception to the rule for this organism.

No, I'm not. I think you're conflating "better suited" with "perfectly suited".

If a species gets eaten by lions all the time, but it's usually under a tree where the lions live, and an anomaly happens where an individual of this species actually gets eaten by a lion that WASN'T under the tree, it seems like using your logic, the lion wasn't really part of the organism's environment.

No. I'm saying that the rock could have fallen on any of them. That it fell on the one "more suited" doesn't make it NOT "more suited", it just means that the one that was "more suited" had some bad luck, which can happen.

In general, I'd expect that organism to do better. But, whereas the "normals" have multiples, the "betters" would only have a few, and so would be more subject to the vagaries of chance, even as they in general can be expected to do better.

If you work towards isolating variables, you no longer have that problem. But in the wild, there IS that element of "holy crap random thing", that can affect an individual, but, by its very nature, is not likely to affect a GROUP, which is the point.

And again, to stress the point the other commenter made, it's all about reproduction.


Basically, by looking at populations over time, we soften the statistically flukey events, since of course statistical flukes will happen...but with enough time, we should see a general trend.

So your prediction is that IN GENERAL, species will become more adapted to their environment? But even this is obviously not true, since most species of animals have already gone extinct. So I see no way out for your prediction.

"Gone extinct" in the sense of changed drastically, yes. Not "gone extinct" in terms of "completely eradicated the bloodline". Even if you disagree with UCD, if you acknowledge evolution, you acknowledge that a lot of these species "died out" through change.

My only qualm here is that I don't see a practical way of falsifying your prediction.

In what sense? TBH, I think it's because evolution is pretty common sense. We know changes happen. We know they CAN be beneficial. Of COURSE we'd expect the ones with beneficial changes to do better, because the changes are beneficial.

It's sort of like thinking gravity can't be falsified. It can, but it's "common sense" to know that things dropped will fall.

Remember that UCD is part of evolutionary biology, but not required by evolution when speaking of evolution based on natural selection.

But you're right, there are "non unusual" adverse factors that could cause a species to become extinct. The issue is that you need to account for variables, and also for statistical deviation.

Deviation from what statistic?

It's self-referential. Let's say a creature evolves which is 50% better at finding food (yay!). It would be expected to do better, by an amount I can't guess at. But things could affect that: is it better at finding food during periods of famine, when food is generally scarce? Does it get struck by lightning?

That made me LOL xD

Well, gotta keep things lighthearted.
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bladerunner060
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1/30/2014 2:38:59 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 2:33:11 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 1/30/2014 2:30:03 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
To expand on the statistics point:

I don't think anyone would take issue with the statement "Statistically, the kids of poor parents are more likely to commit crimes than the children of rich parents".

Does that mean that if a rich kid commits a crime, that we've disproved that? No, it just means that the statistic is indicative of the general TREND, but that there will of course be exceptions, because we are dealing with an element of chance.

Ah ok, I see. You hadn't clarified that in your original posts.

Me fail english? That's unpossible!
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GarretKadeDupre
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1/30/2014 2:45:03 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 2:38:18 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 1/30/2014 2:31:58 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
I'm not following. You see, it seems like you are making an exception to the rule for this organism.

No, I'm not. I think you're conflating "better suited" with "perfectly suited".

If a species gets eaten by lions all the time, but it's usually under a tree where the lions live, and an anomaly happens where an individual of this species actually gets eaten by a lion that WASN'T under the tree, it seems like using your logic, the lion wasn't really part of the organism's environment.

No. I'm saying that the rock could have fallen on any of them. That it fell on the one "more suited" doesn't make it NOT "more suited", it just means that the one that was "more suited" had some bad luck, which can happen.

In general, I'd expect that organism to do better. But, whereas the "normals" have multiples, the "betters" would only have a few, and so would be more subject to the vagaries of chance, even as they in general can be expected to do better.

If you work towards isolating variables, you no longer have that problem. But in the wild, there IS that element of "holy crap random thing", that can affect an individual, but, by its very nature, is not likely to affect a GROUP, which is the point.

I'm having a hard time following everything, so I'll just leave it at that. Lol.

And again, to stress the point the other commenter made, it's all about reproduction.


Basically, by looking at populations over time, we soften the statistically flukey events, since of course statistical flukes will happen...but with enough time, we should see a general trend.

So your prediction is that IN GENERAL, species will become more adapted to their environment? But even this is obviously not true, since most species of animals have already gone extinct. So I see no way out for your prediction.

"Gone extinct" in the sense of changed drastically, yes. Not "gone extinct" in terms of "completely eradicated the bloodline". Even if you disagree with UCD, if you acknowledge evolution, you acknowledge that a lot of these species "died out" through change.

My only qualm here is that I don't see a practical way of falsifying your prediction.

In what sense? TBH, I think it's because evolution is pretty common sense. We know changes happen. We know they CAN be beneficial. Of COURSE we'd expect the ones with beneficial changes to do better, because the changes are beneficial.

It's sort of like thinking gravity can't be falsified. It can, but it's "common sense" to know that things dropped will fall.

Just because something is common sense is not an excuse for it not being able to be falsified, especially when discussing a scientific theory which must be falsifiable. For example, if I drop my pencil and it falls up instead of down, and this was repeatable, all other things staying the same, the modern theory of gravity would be falsified.

Remember that UCD is part of evolutionary biology, but not required by evolution when speaking of evolution based on natural selection.

I don't think you should say that: "Universal common ancestry (UCA) is a central pillar of modern evolutionary theory" (1)

(1) http://www.nature.com...

But you're right, there are "non unusual" adverse factors that could cause a species to become extinct. The issue is that you need to account for variables, and also for statistical deviation.

Deviation from what statistic?

It's self-referential. Let's say a creature evolves which is 50% better at finding food (yay!). It would be expected to do better, by an amount I can't guess at. But things could affect that: is it better at finding food during periods of famine, when food is generally scarce? Does it get struck by lightning?

That made me LOL xD

Well, gotta keep things lighthearted.
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GarretKadeDupre
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1/30/2014 2:46:13 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 2:38:59 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 1/30/2014 2:33:11 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 1/30/2014 2:30:03 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
To expand on the statistics point:

I don't think anyone would take issue with the statement "Statistically, the kids of poor parents are more likely to commit crimes than the children of rich parents".

Does that mean that if a rich kid commits a crime, that we've disproved that? No, it just means that the statistic is indicative of the general TREND, but that there will of course be exceptions, because we are dealing with an element of chance.

Ah ok, I see. You hadn't clarified that in your original posts.

Me fail english? That's unpossible!

Lol no it's not that, it's just that I'm being really strict here. So when you predict that species will adapt, I take it to mean all species will adapt.
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bladerunner060
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1/30/2014 2:53:31 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 2:45:03 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
In what sense? TBH, I think it's because evolution is pretty common sense. We know changes happen. We know they CAN be beneficial. Of COURSE we'd expect the ones with beneficial changes to do better, because the changes are beneficial.

It's sort of like thinking gravity can't be falsified. It can, but it's "common sense" to know that things dropped will fall.

Just because something is common sense is not an excuse for it not being able to be falsified, especially when discussing a scientific theory which must be falsifiable.

I know that. That's why I said gravity can be falsified. My point was that evolution may seem that way too, but it can be falsified.

For example, if I drop my pencil and it falls up instead of down, and this was repeatable, all other things staying the same, the modern theory of gravity would be falsified.

And if species better suited for their environments did not do better than their less-suited brethren did as a general statistical trend (and thus, applied as a concept the population, not the individual), we'd falsify natural selection.

Remember that UCD is part of evolutionary biology, but not required by evolution when speaking of evolution based on natural selection.

I don't think you should say that: "Universal common ancestry (UCA) is a central pillar of modern evolutionary theory" (1)

UCA is not necessary for evolution via natural selection to be true. That it's a "pillar" is irrelevant. UCA is a different discussion, with different support.

(1) http://www.nature.com...

But you're right, there are "non unusual" adverse factors that could cause a species to become extinct. The issue is that you need to account for variables, and also for statistical deviation.

Deviation from what statistic?

It's self-referential. Let's say a creature evolves which is 50% better at finding food (yay!). It would be expected to do better, by an amount I can't guess at. But things could affect that: is it better at finding food during periods of famine, when food is generally scarce? Does it get struck by lightning?

That made me LOL xD

Well, gotta keep things lighthearted.
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bladerunner060
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1/30/2014 2:55:51 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 2:46:13 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:

Lol no it's not that, it's just that I'm being really strict here. So when you predict that species will adapt, I take it to mean all species will adapt.

Gotcha. I will strive for greater precision, but make no promises.

The prediction "species will adapt" is a statistical prediction, that is to say, it will be generally the case that species will adapt. Not all species will adapt, generally for a host of reasons, but, left in an area with isolated variables, with a sufficient population, for a sufficient amount of time, the odds of adaption grow closer to 1--a case in point being Lenski's experiments, which attempted to do just that.
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GarretKadeDupre
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1/30/2014 2:57:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 2:53:31 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 1/30/2014 2:45:03 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
In what sense? TBH, I think it's because evolution is pretty common sense. We know changes happen. We know they CAN be beneficial. Of COURSE we'd expect the ones with beneficial changes to do better, because the changes are beneficial.

It's sort of like thinking gravity can't be falsified. It can, but it's "common sense" to know that things dropped will fall.

Just because something is common sense is not an excuse for it not being able to be falsified, especially when discussing a scientific theory which must be falsifiable.

I know that. That's why I said gravity can be falsified. My point was that evolution may seem that way too, but it can be falsified.

For example, if I drop my pencil and it falls up instead of down, and this was repeatable, all other things staying the same, the modern theory of gravity would be falsified.

And if species better suited for their environments did not do better than their less-suited brethren did as a general statistical trend (and thus, applied as a concept the population, not the individual), we'd falsify natural selection.

Natural Selection is not falsifiable.

"Organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring."

Since the criterion used for determining how well an organism is adapted is whether or not it survives and produces more offspring, Natural Selection is not falsifiable in principle.
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bladerunner060
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1/30/2014 3:05:00 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 2:57:36 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 1/30/2014 2:53:31 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 1/30/2014 2:45:03 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
In what sense? TBH, I think it's because evolution is pretty common sense. We know changes happen. We know they CAN be beneficial. Of COURSE we'd expect the ones with beneficial changes to do better, because the changes are beneficial.

It's sort of like thinking gravity can't be falsified. It can, but it's "common sense" to know that things dropped will fall.

Just because something is common sense is not an excuse for it not being able to be falsified, especially when discussing a scientific theory which must be falsifiable.

I know that. That's why I said gravity can be falsified. My point was that evolution may seem that way too, but it can be falsified.

For example, if I drop my pencil and it falls up instead of down, and this was repeatable, all other things staying the same, the modern theory of gravity would be falsified.

And if species better suited for their environments did not do better than their less-suited brethren did as a general statistical trend (and thus, applied as a concept the population, not the individual), we'd falsify natural selection.

Natural Selection is not falsifiable.

"Organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring."

Since the criterion used for determining how well an organism is adapted is whether or not it survives and produces more offspring, Natural Selection is not falsifiable in principle.

Not really. Depends on whether you're trying to determine "better" objectively or subjectively. If you define it objectively ("This organism can do better at X", and there are no confounding factors, therefore it's better suited), you could easily falsify it. You're objecting to the possibility that someone could say "They're doing better, therefore they're better suited", in other words, making "better suited" equivalent to "does better". If we assume THAT to be the case, natural selection would be definitional, and it would still be something you would need to argue against, and justify why the two shouldn't be made equivalent.

So your question would be "define "better suited"", and the answer would depend whether it was a definitional discussion, or one of falsifiability.
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GarretKadeDupre
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1/30/2014 3:08:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 3:05:00 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 1/30/2014 2:57:36 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 1/30/2014 2:53:31 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 1/30/2014 2:45:03 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
In what sense? TBH, I think it's because evolution is pretty common sense. We know changes happen. We know they CAN be beneficial. Of COURSE we'd expect the ones with beneficial changes to do better, because the changes are beneficial.

It's sort of like thinking gravity can't be falsified. It can, but it's "common sense" to know that things dropped will fall.

Just because something is common sense is not an excuse for it not being able to be falsified, especially when discussing a scientific theory which must be falsifiable.

I know that. That's why I said gravity can be falsified. My point was that evolution may seem that way too, but it can be falsified.

For example, if I drop my pencil and it falls up instead of down, and this was repeatable, all other things staying the same, the modern theory of gravity would be falsified.

And if species better suited for their environments did not do better than their less-suited brethren did as a general statistical trend (and thus, applied as a concept the population, not the individual), we'd falsify natural selection.

Natural Selection is not falsifiable.

"Organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring."

Since the criterion used for determining how well an organism is adapted is whether or not it survives and produces more offspring, Natural Selection is not falsifiable in principle.

Not really. Depends on whether you're trying to determine "better" objectively or subjectively. If you define it objectively ("This organism can do better at X", and there are no confounding factors, therefore it's better suited), you could easily falsify it. You're objecting to the possibility that someone could say "They're doing better, therefore they're better suited", in other words, making "better suited" equivalent to "does better". If we assume THAT to be the case, natural selection would be definitional, and it would still be something you would need to argue against, and justify why the two shouldn't be made equivalent.

So your question would be "define "better suited"", and the answer would depend whether it was a definitional discussion, or one of falsifiability.

I'm not following, lol. Maybe you could provide me an example of something that would falsify Natural Selection?
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bladerunner060
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1/30/2014 3:21:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 3:08:16 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:

I'm not following, lol. Maybe you could provide me an example of something that would falsify Natural Selection?

If there were no correlation whatsoever between attributes and reproduction.
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GarretKadeDupre
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1/30/2014 4:23:31 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 3:21:09 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 1/30/2014 3:08:16 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:

I'm not following, lol. Maybe you could provide me an example of something that would falsify Natural Selection?

If there were no correlation whatsoever between attributes and reproduction.

I'm not satisfied. You can find a correlation between anything, but that doesn't make it meaningful. Like number of pirates and average global temperature...
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bladerunner060
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1/30/2014 4:34:54 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 4:23:31 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 1/30/2014 3:21:09 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 1/30/2014 3:08:16 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:

I'm not following, lol. Maybe you could provide me an example of something that would falsify Natural Selection?

If there were no correlation whatsoever between attributes and reproduction.

I'm not satisfied. You can find a correlation between anything, but that doesn't make it meaningful. Like number of pirates and average global temperature...

You're looking backwards at it. You asked for falsification. While correlation does not always mean causation, causation requires correlation.
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GarretKadeDupre
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1/30/2014 4:40:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 4:34:54 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 1/30/2014 4:23:31 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 1/30/2014 3:21:09 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 1/30/2014 3:08:16 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:

I'm not following, lol. Maybe you could provide me an example of something that would falsify Natural Selection?

If there were no correlation whatsoever between attributes and reproduction.

I'm not satisfied. You can find a correlation between anything, but that doesn't make it meaningful. Like number of pirates and average global temperature...

You're looking backwards at it. You asked for falsification. While correlation does not always mean causation, causation requires correlation.

How about this: I'm not satisfied because reproduction is an attribute.
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bladerunner060
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1/30/2014 4:54:11 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 4:40:33 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 1/30/2014 4:34:54 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 1/30/2014 4:23:31 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 1/30/2014 3:21:09 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 1/30/2014 3:08:16 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:

I'm not following, lol. Maybe you could provide me an example of something that would falsify Natural Selection?

If there were no correlation whatsoever between attributes and reproduction.

I'm not satisfied. You can find a correlation between anything, but that doesn't make it meaningful. Like number of pirates and average global temperature...

You're looking backwards at it. You asked for falsification. While correlation does not always mean causation, causation requires correlation.

How about this: I'm not satisfied because reproduction is an attribute.

Yup. It's a more direct example of "fitness". Those that are able to procreate better, are going to, statistically, procreate better, if variables are controlled. It is, indeed, almost a tautology. But while it may not satisfy you, it satisfies what you asked for: a way to falsify. Even if we threw out "complete inability to procreate" from our data set, yes, we'd expect that those with better ability to procreate will procreate more. There are many confounding variables, but all things being equal, that's what we'd expect. We'd falsify it by, stastistically, NOT getting that. Sounds simple and dumb, but that's because Natural Selection is a fairly simple and obvious concept.

Another illustrative example:

I assert that if you give people varying amounts of money, and wait 5 minutes, the general trend will be that those you gave more money to will have more money. Why 5 minutes? Specifically to control for variables, like that someone with more money might plausibly be more likely to spend it all--I don't know and would have to test. But after 5 minutes, it's a reasonable thing to say that, on average, the people given more money will HAVE more money. You can't get around that by pointing at one guy who dropped his money. You get around that by somehow showing that the money somehow disappears in that 5 minutes with statistical regularity. If that sounds like an absurd thing to argue against, you understand why attempting to make arguments against natural selection sound absurd.
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GarretKadeDupre
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1/30/2014 5:47:18 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/30/2014 4:54:11 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 1/30/2014 4:40:33 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 1/30/2014 4:34:54 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 1/30/2014 4:23:31 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 1/30/2014 3:21:09 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 1/30/2014 3:08:16 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:

I'm not following, lol. Maybe you could provide me an example of something that would falsify Natural Selection?

If there were no correlation whatsoever between attributes and reproduction.

I'm not satisfied. You can find a correlation between anything, but that doesn't make it meaningful. Like number of pirates and average global temperature...

You're looking backwards at it. You asked for falsification. While correlation does not always mean causation, causation requires correlation.

How about this: I'm not satisfied because reproduction is an attribute.

Yup. It's a more direct example of "fitness". Those that are able to procreate better, are going to, statistically, procreate better, if variables are controlled. It is, indeed, almost a tautology. But while it may not satisfy you, it satisfies what you asked for: a way to falsify. Even if we threw out "complete inability to procreate" from our data set, yes, we'd expect that those with better ability to procreate will procreate more. There are many confounding variables, but all things being equal, that's what we'd expect. We'd falsify it by, stastistically, NOT getting that. Sounds simple and dumb, but that's because Natural Selection is a fairly simple and obvious concept.

Another illustrative example:

I assert that if you give people varying amounts of money, and wait 5 minutes, the general trend will be that those you gave more money to will have more money. Why 5 minutes? Specifically to control for variables, like that someone with more money might plausibly be more likely to spend it all--I don't know and would have to test. But after 5 minutes, it's a reasonable thing to say that, on average, the people given more money will HAVE more money. You can't get around that by pointing at one guy who dropped his money. You get around that by somehow showing that the money somehow disappears in that 5 minutes with statistical regularity. If that sounds like an absurd thing to argue against, you understand why attempting to make arguments against natural selection sound absurd.

Nice analogy, I guess that makes sense XD
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