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Punctuated Equilibria

 
 
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 05:33 am
Punctuated Equilibria ("Punk-Eek" for short) is the new de-facto version of evolutionism.

It was devised by Steven Gould, Niles Eldridge, Ernst Myer, and a handful of others and there were two primary motivations, i.e. to account for the total lack of the intermediate fossils (missing links) which classical Darwinian gradualism requires, and also to try to eliminate the problem of the gigantic time frames which are known to be required for spreading ANY genetic change through any large group of animals spread out over vast areas.

The claim, basically, is that all meaningful evolutionary change occurs amongst "peripheral isolates", that is, amongst tiny groups of animals which somehow or other get trapped into isolated areas. The claim is that such tiny groups cannot be expected to leave enough fossil evidence for anybody to find and that, at the same time, the need to spread genetic change through large groups is eliminated. Myer in particular noted the Haldane Dilemma from population genetics as a major motivation. The claim is that such minuscule groups develop some evolutionary edge and then break out, spread out, outcompete and overwhelm the pre-existing and much larger herds of animals.

The theory to my knowledge does not provide any sort of new AGENCY/CAUSE for these changes which supposedly occur amongst the tiny groups and there are several other similarly gigantic problems with it:

It amounts to a claim that inbreeding is the most major cause of our entire biosphere.

It requires animals adapted to a local set of conditions to defeat globally adapted animals on a quasi-infinite basis and in real life, that never happens. In real life the first time ordinary dogs, cats, and rats ever get introduced to one of Darwin's little paradise islands, the exotic animals get wiped out within 100 years.

It violates the laws of probability. In real life other than for cosmic catastrophes, the only agency known to have ever wiped an entire species of animals off of entire continents is man and man only acquired such capabilities recently. A tiny group of animals penned into some small area on the other hand is vulnerable to everything nature has to offer. Any sort of a disease, a local flood or lightning fire, or anything at all, even a skewed sex ratio in one generation which can happen seemingly for no reason, and the tiny group is decimated or wiped out. Thus the little heath hen in North America was in good shape so long as it was spread out over the East coast but the first moment it got penned into one of Gould's little peripheral areas (Martha's Vinyard in this case) it was all over; the protection which being spread out over large areas had formerly given them was gone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heath_Hen

Alexander Mebane of the Tampa Skeptics notes another problem which the dynamic trio of Gould/Eldridge/Myer have with the laws of probability:

Quote:

..."But it may be questioned, on obvious probability grounds, whether this way of accounting for the observed absence of intermediates will really wash. Admitting that every intermediate stage "must have" a small population, we may nevertheless observe that there must have been a far greater number of them than of the stable, " finished" species known to us, since (according to the Darwinist picture) every species-transition must necessarily pass through several intermediate stages. That greater number would increase the likelihood that some intermediate forms, here and there, would chance to be preserved as fossils.

And the dogma further requires that the larger transitions - between different genera, families, orders, classes, and even different phyla, must all have come about in just the same gradual and continuous manner, simply by a long-continued succession of normal species-transitions! We have all seen "genealogical trees" drawn by evolutionists, to show the order in which these taxonomic groups have all come into existence over a long period, by successive "branchings from a common root". But it must be asked: Where are all the fossils that should have been left by the many millions of species that this tree requires to have once existed on its trunk, boughs, and branches, before its final branchings took place? Why are none of these seen in the fossil record of the period during which the evolutionists' tree requires them to have lived?....

Moreover, why have none of this great multitude of Darwinian intermediate species chanced to survive unchanged to our own time, among the considerable number of ancient life-forms that, as we know, have had the luck to do so?

and...

"The most recent episode of great changes, the advent of the modern (Cenozoic) mammals after the death of the dinosaurs, is the one that we should expect to have left the best-preserved fossils of intermediate species. At the catastrophic end of the Cretaceous, 65 Myr ago, mammals were small nocturnal "tree-shrew"-like animals, none larger than cats; roughly ten million years later, we find essentially "modern" bats*, bears, and lions18. "All modern orders of mammals seem to have arisen independently and at about the same time": Wesson, p. 40, quoting Bonner 1988 and Carroll 1988.
<P>
If these vast changes really proceeded in the manner prescribed by Darwin, surely many hundreds (at the least!) of intermediate species in each lineage must once have lived during that protracted period of radical transmogrification. None of them have ever showed up in the fossil record.
<P>
And not only are all traces of intermediate species' missing, but anyone who seriously tries to imagine a believable sequence of viable intermediate animals between a tree-shrew and a bat-every one of which, according to Darwin, supplanted its predecessor by virtue of being "better adapted"! -wiII very soon be convinced that such a sequence is simply inconceivable


Walter Remine notes that no variant of evolutionism is logically consistent or believable in itself and that therefore what evolutionists are actually presenting to the public these days is what he calls a "smorgasbord" consisting of bits and pieces of Darwinian gradualism, punk-eek, and possibly one or two other kinds of things. In other words, if you can't dazzle the world with brilliance, baffle it with bullshit.

Remine also notes that statistically, a tiny group in an isolated area would never see the "beneficial mutation" on which all versions of evolution still depend but, at some part, more such arguments amount to overkill...

Gould of course made an art form out of crying "they're quoting me out of context" whenever anybody tried to quote his statements regarding intermediate fossils or Darwinian gradualism and, generally, evolosers scream "quote mining" whenever anybody publishes any sort of a compendium of what real scholars have had to say about evolution over the last 60 years.

The question is whether a man can have his cake and eat it at the same time; Gould insisted he was entitled to such a power.

Consider the famous case of the Uncle Don (Carney) radio show back in the 30s. Snopes claims that is an urban legend but I've spoken with people who heard the broadcast. Uncle Don finished his childrens' show broadcast and then, not realizing the mike was still on, said something like 'Well, I guess that'll hold the little bastards for another day!', which in those days was all she wrote for a radio career.

The case of Stephen J. Gould is similar. In the 1960s and 70s, evolutionism lay like a wet blanket over the entire field of paleontology. Guys like Gould were prohibited from publishing significant kinds of material because ramifications of that material conflicted with the dictates of Darwinism.

And so, Gould and one or two others got together and devised what they call "Punctuated Equilibria" or "punk-eek".

The thinking clearly had to be similar to that of Uncle Don, i.e. something like 'Well, if the little bastards have to have some sort of a version of evolutionism to be happy, let's concoct a version which won't interfere with the serious business of paleontology. The fact that it (punk-eek) was patently idiotic mattered not an iota since the authors of the theory clearly viewed the intended audience as idiots.

In fact there actually are salesmen who try to keep their consciences clean by telling such outrageous lies that they figure nobody could feel sorry for anybody who buys off on any of them, and God will not punish them for it. The thinking which went into punk-eek had to be similar.

Now, having thus taken care of the "little bastards" for another day, Gould, Eldredge et. al. thereupon figured they could get on with the business of paleontology (which they get paid for) without having to deal with evolution anymore. Nonetheless there remained the problem of creationists and other non-believers quoting them. In establishing their new "punk-eek" variant of evolutionism, Gould and his associates had of necessity made a fairly large number of statements regarding the inadequacies of standard Darwinism (gradualistic evolution), and creationists were having a field day pulling juicy quotes out of such literature.

And so, over the last 20 years or so which you asked about, Gould has made various kinds of statements to the effect that creationists who quote him are all liars, are all quoting him out of context etc. etc., and that there is no lack of intermediate fossilss BETWEEN HIGHER TAXONOMIC GROUPS, which is a sort of mumbo-jumbo meaning that you might could look at a worm, and a fish, and a human and figure that the fish was some sort of an intermediate form between the worm and the human. Again, that's basically just lip service.

Moreover there are other claims that you will read of people having found the long missing intermediate fossil but, invariably, such claims turn out to be fakes or wishful thinking. The hard reality is that Darwinism demanded that the vast bulk of all fossils should be clear intermediate forms, and there is no rational way to think that even Gould's punk eek version would produce a world totally devoid of such, nonetheless that's the world we have.



 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 05:35 am
Wiki articles description of what happened to the heath hen when it got penned into one of the "peripheral areas" which Gould and others see as the salvation of evolution:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heath_Hen

Quote:

....Owing to intense hunting pressure, the population declined rapidly. Perhaps as early as the 1840s, at any rate by 1870, all Heath Hens were extirpated on the mainland. There were about 300 left on the island of Martha's Vineyard, off Massachusetts, but by 1890 this number had declined to 120-200 birds, mainly due to predation by feral cats and poaching. By the late 1800s, there were about 70 left.

These were protected by a hunting ban and the 1908 establishment of the "Heath Hen Reserve" (today the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest) and the population rapidly grew to almost 2000; by the mid-1910s, observing the birds on their lekking grounds had become something of a tourist attraction. However, a destructive fire during the 1916 nesting season, severe winters, inbreeding, an excess number of male individuals and apparently an epidemic of blackhead disease which might have been transmitted by poultry brought the numbers down quickly; after a last recovery to 600 in 1920, the population began its final decline.

In 1927, only about a dozen were left - a mere two being females - despite being afforded the best protection according to contemporary science, and that number had declined to a handful, all males, by the end of the year. After December 8, 1928, apparently only one male survived (Gross, 1931), lovingly nicknamed "Booming Ben". He was last seen on his traditional lekking ground between West Tisbury and today's Martha's Vineyard Airport on March 11, 1932 - early in the breeding season -, and thus presumably died, about 8 years old, days or only hours afterwards from unknown causes.


Again, according to the defacto new version of evolution, being penned into a small area like this is what causes success. Tell it to the heath hen, Steve.....
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  3  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 06:12 am
Gungasnake (gung ass for short) has a simplistic worldview that he continues to spout as if it were worthy of debate. He focuses on a mechanism for speciation that is only visible i9n the fossil record. Besides, the emtire hypothesis is based upon a fossil brachiopod in the Devonian marine . Its validity has continually been tested and evaluated with new genetics information and closer analyses of Goulds own stratigraphic units.

PE hasnt faired well in recent years(it was posed in 1972 and here we are almost 40 years later and Gung ass is presenting his thoughts like he just came up with them).
Mayr, in 1982 gave a nice analysis of PE. Much of which has been born out by genomics. His analysis has provided a good counter conversation to gung ass's "Heath hen" example. As MAyr stated over 25 years ago
"Mosts wide ranging species are still remarkeably genetically uniform", so merely isolating a population wont automatically result in new speciation. Extinction is a more likely result , as RAup stated'
"Of all animals that ever existed, 99.99999% are extinct"
As far as gungass's continued use of HAldane's "dilemma". HA;dane himself recognized that the case presented had been totally revised subject to additional population genetics data.
Also, Walter Remine is just an idiot with absolutely no cred in this field. I dont know why gung ass doesnt use Sarah Palin as a reliable source of Creation ist data.
Menwile science chugs along, and the discipline of evolutionary biology just keeps gettin more sound, no matter pleas to the contrary by schmucks like gung ass. http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/mayr_punctuated.html

Heres Mayr's 1982 article. Its rather long , but it does present concepts that predate gene mapping by at least 20 years.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 06:36 am
@farmerman,
Quote:
Also, Walter Remine is just an idiot with absolutely no cred in this field. I dont know why gung ass doesnt use Sarah Palin as a reliable source of Creation ist data.

Sarah Palin thinks we should find giant saddles in the fossil record, from when cavemen used them to ride around on dinosaurs. Smile
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 12:58 pm
As the original post noted, there is no reason to think that Gould and the others viewed the intended audience (for punk-eek) as anything other than idiots and "farmerman" doesn't disappoint:

Quote:
...."Mosts wide ranging species are still remarkeably genetically uniform", so merely isolating a population wont automatically result in new speciation. Extinction is a more likely result , as RAup stated'
"Of all animals that ever existed, 99.99999% are extinct"


As if there wasn't a problem or anything like that. In other words, every single one of the billions of species which have lived on the Earth arose from a common barely-better-than-dirt one-celled ancestor via this process of being penned into an isolated area despite the fact that 99.999% of the time being penned up like that is going to result in extinction.

I used to suspect that "farmerman" took stupid pills but stupid pills wouldn't do for this one. I'm starting to think that the real farmerman is out on the south 40 doing some sort of farmer thing and that what we're actually seeing is one of the farmer man's pigs or chickens has somehow or other taught himself to use a keyboard.

I mean, we''re talking about turning everything we know about probability theory upside down here. The odds against this one are not only infinite, they're probably uncountably infinite.
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2008 04:47 am
@gungasnake,
did you read Mayr's article gunga? PErhaps if youd take time and resort to some scholarship rather than invective youd come across more credible.

I suppose that because Im wider read in this subject than you are makes me wonder what is the source of your lack of understanding? an extinction rate of Raups value merely recognizes that, from the biological and geological record, there have been almost 50 BILLION species of animals. Thus, the obvious conclusion is that EVolution from a root species doesnt happen to evry organism, that should be obvious no?.

Keep quote mining gunga, sooner or later, by snipping enough clips, youll have a more complete understanding of things.

PS any news about whether the latest expedition has found the "Ark" yet?
gungasnake
 
  0  
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2008 07:43 am
@farmerman,
Like I say, Squealer, make sure the real farmer man doesn't catch your goofy ass using his keyboard and you don't end up on a spit or on some plate with an apple in your mouth....
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2008 02:37 pm
Anytime gunga, just try to sound semi intelligent.
Invective at 20 paces, lets try to be creative and first guy who repeats himself loses.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 04:48 am
@gungasnake,
Seems that any challenge to gungas knowledge base first elicits a "whiney challenge and invective stream" , then he just runs away.His is hardly a scholarly approach.

0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 05:03 am
Here are a few older papers on the subject. However, these are from some credible scientists, unlike "Walter Remine"http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v366/n6452/abs/366223a0.html
0 Replies
 
Darwin123
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Jun, 2014 12:40 pm
@gungasnake,
I disagree that the peripheral isolate always gets wiped out by globally adapted animals. I think that some of your counterexamples actually prove it happens.

>It requires animals adapted to a local set of conditions to defeat globally >adapted animals on a quasi-infinite basis and in real life, that never happens. >In real life the first time ordinary dogs, cats, and rats ever get introduced to >one of Darwin's little paradise islands, the exotic animals get wiped out >within 100 years.

Dogs started as a peripheral isolate of wolves. Wolves of different types were spread all over the globe. However, the differences between them were mainly of size. The small brained, under aggressive type of wolf (i.e., domestic dog) is a specialization that occurred maybe 15 KY ago near human habitats.

The first 'domestic dogs' probably evolved to scavenge human garbage dumps. Globally adapted wolves could live over a far greater range. Now, domestic dogs far outnumber wolves in number, total biomass and variety. Dogs have radiated into many morphological forms. Most of these forms have developed only within the last 5 KY. I don't think any variety of wolf has differentiated as fast as the dog. I think this is very much like Punctuated Equilibrium.

Domestic dogs are what I consider to be a cline. The different varieties are like grades. There is still a flow of genes between different breeds. However, it gets very difficult to cross two very different breeds of dogs. If a mass extinction happens, so that most dog varieties are eliminated, the gene flow between some of the survivors will stop. Then that cline would be the source of new species.

The same could be said about cats. The domestic cat is not typical. It started in one little part of the world. It was certainly not part of the Americas until Europeans brought them. The domestic cat may have first started in the Basque region of Europe, although this is questionable. In any case, they have differentiated due to breeding.

Now, cats are wiping out the wild birds that used to range over North America. These birds were as globally adapted compared to cats.

I think these are actually good examples of Punctuated Equilibrium. The sudden explosion is part of the anthropogenic mass extinction that we are causing now. Because if human activity, the peripheral habitat that these peripheral isolates lived in are growing in size.

Goldfish is a species of carp that was raised by Orientals for a long time. Today, goldfish are becoming a nuisance in other parts of the world. Goldfish started out in a peripheral isolate (Oriental ponds) and have spread out. They have also been bred into a dozen different varieties in a very short amount of time.

>It violates the laws of probability. In real life other than for cosmic >catastrophes, the only agency known to have ever wiped an entire species of >animals off of entire continents is man and man only acquired such >capabilities recently.

Cosmic catastrophes and volcanic action (calderas) have caused the two greatest mass extinctions as yet known: the KT extinction and the PT extinction. However, the other extinction events not so large occur very often. There appear to be a lot of events where many species disappear for all sorts of reasons.

I suggest that an extinction event doesn't have to wipe out species all over the globe in order to have PE. It just has to wipe out a large area where the organisms are 'globally adapted'. Some peripheral isolates can take advantage.

>A tiny group of animals penned into some small area on the other hand is >vulnerable to everything nature has to offer. Any sort of a disease, a local >flood or lightning fire, or anything at all, even a skewed sex ratio in one >generation which can happen seemingly for no reason, and the tiny group is >decimated or wiped out.

Or the disaster can extend the region where the environment is good for the peripheral isolate. Darwin described such situations.

An animal can adjust to cold weather on top of a mountain. However, it will be stuck because the climate gets warmer midway down the mountain. Then an ice age occurs. The top of the mountain is unlivable. However, the land at the base of the mountain can become cold enough for this critter to live.

Thus the little heath hen in North America was in good shape so long as it was spread out over the East coast but the first moment it got penned into one of Gould's little peripheral areas (Martha's Vinyard in this case) it was all over; the protection which being spread out over large areas had formerly given them was gone.

I think that an island is a bad example as a habitat for a peripheral isolate. The reason is that the gene flow from the global habitat to this island is severally restricted. There may be an exchange of genes only once every few hundred generations. If the environment deteriorates, there is no way off the island. You can't have a cline develop between one region and another.

I think PE assumes that every species starts out as a cline. The environment is heterogeneous but not enough to isolate the peripheral isolate entirely. So the change is spread out over a large area. There are no hybridization barriers between nearest neighbors, but the organisms on opposite sides of the cline have a reproduction barrier.

If the cline is very big, then it is also unstable. A local disaster could destroy one segment of the cline. Then, one has two closely related species on opposite sides of the cline. A big disaster could destroy several segments of the cline at once. Then that one cline can give rise to several species at the same time.

Anyway, Haldanes Dilemma shows us that anagenesis is improbable. However, his dilemma applies only to homogeneous environments. Punctuated Equilibrium describes heterogenous environments.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Jun, 2014 04:38 pm
@Darwin123 ,
Im somewhat on the edge of this ntire PE discussion because Ive seen a major disagreement occur at GSA meetings wherein Howe and Lynnes data "confirming Gould and ELdredge's field work" was argued down by several workers who agreed with those that stated Gould's field data showed that the population in question was subject more to migration than rapid speciation.

I don't think its "settled science" as of yet.

0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Jun, 2014 11:16 pm
@Darwin123 ,
The question of localized vs globally adapted is something a friend of mine noticed and, while a valid argument, is not the strongest argument against PE. The strongest argument is the simple probability problem inherent in the idea: You're proposing that a very strange and convoluted sequence of events basically accounts for all of the variation in our entire biosphere and must therefore have transpired countless millions of times.
0 Replies
 
 

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