Statesboro, GA, USA
But to prove speciation, you do not need to grow an eye. That is not macro-evolution, which is defined as changes at the level of speciation or larger. That is only the development of some of the larger characteristics. Speciation is much narrower.
If your example is a donkey and a horse, and the criteria for speciation the inability to interbreed, then I'm not sure that the darwinian mechanism has been conclusively shown to cause speciation. Do you have researched examples where genetic mutation has demonstrably lead to different species that can't interbreed?
If so, that still leaves six other taxonomic categories to explain. Given that speciation via the darwinian mechanism were proven, should the same mechanism be assumed to have caused the differences at the levels of kingdom, phylum, class, order, etc ...? For many the extrapolation is too far to be called science. It is, I'll grant, a bonafide theory. But still far short of conclusivity with which it is presented.
To prove macroevolution, speciation is all that's needed, the separation of two previously identical populations and their inability to produce offspring capable of reproducing together. Previously yes; afterwards, no.
For one, there is still a lack of consensus about your definition of species. And secondly, species is the lowest of the seven taxonomic categories. Why in the world would "macroevolution" be defined by the smallest kinds of biological change? Tell me what "macro" means in your neck of the woods.
I happen to think that evolution can and does explain eyeballs and brains and all sorts of other things as well, but all I'm asserting here is that there is evidence for this one case of macroevolution, speciation, and that it's right there.
And I happen to think what you describe as "speciation" is microevolution ... and cannot in any convincing way be extrapolated to explain the origins of eyeballs and brains.
Nor is it particularly clear that over the long term we'll do better by being as out of control as a species as we are right now. Dumber might work better, as it has for many of our reptile friends. Or if the intellect was divided among the whole group of us, as it is in some fashion among ants. Vision may be a similar trait, where all the votes haven't been counted as yet.
This definitely takes us more into the philosophical ... But the idea that "intellect" or, by extension, logic reason and knowledge, are merely mutative innovations whose value lie in survival, definitely brings even the theory of evolution itself (or any other kind of human knowledge) into question. Is it true because it is true, or is the ability to gain what we call knowledge just another sheer biological trait on trial? In other words, if the brain is about survival, there's no guarantee it is telling us the truth.
You should at least admit that survival value being affirmed by existence, and existence being attributed to survival value, amounts to a circular truism, not science.
One doesn't need drama , is my point here, in order for evolution to be useful as a theory.
To be utterly clear on this ... I don't disbelieve in evolution per se. I disbelieve rather in what is commonly and popularly attributed to it, both in the scientific and layman's world.
And those who disagree with the theory haven't offered anything that seems particularly telling scientifically to bring the theory down.
You keep saying this, Bob. But really its the old battle about the burden of proof. Should the burden of proof about a theory be on the theory itself or not? An aternate scienfic theory of biological origins is not needed in order to say that evolution (as a theory of biological origins) is not proven or even likely.
The reason there is no such upsurge is that there is no such actual believe that there is an actual case to be made for anything but Evolution and its variations. And for such a surge of support to happen, there would have to be that basic sense of scientific rightness on the matter among a significant number of excited researchers and innovators in the field. Excited researchers and innovators do not seem to be the people who are drawn to the anti-evolution banner. There is no visible thrill in the excitement of breaking research and discovery that tends to drawn these folks; and, although there are folks who would love for some sort of excitement in science to come along, they haven't seemed to find it here.
You're making an appeal to popularity again (Ron already mentioned the problem with this). Though I think your view that "dissent from Darwin" is limited to non-scientist fundamentalists is far overstated and askew.
The following website provides a substantial if minority list of scientists who are scientifically skeptical of darwinism as the overarching theory of biological diversity. While this proves nothing (I already mentioned that popularity in itself is a poor argument), it does show that the scientifically minded, including those who value research, are not limited to the belief in Macroevolution. This would make sense, if as Berlinski and others have stated, there is little-to-nothing by way of research that supports the theory beyond small scale changes among life forms.
If it really is a scientific discussion, where is the scientific excitement in the discovery of new stuff on the part of the anti-evolution folks? The sort that draws fervor and thrill and excitement and above all, active scientific research.
Do you really think that similar conditions were met in the widespread acceptance of evolution as the origin of biological forms? If you study the history, it is much more about the rhetorician than the lab technician.
You are demanding something of other theories which has not been provided by the one currently in question.
Popularity, as you well know, can be explained by many phenomenon. And excitability need not be related to research results. The beginnings of Darwinism is surrounded by, more than anything else, a large polemical outpour.
Yes there is, on the side of evolution. Where do these bones belong in the fossil record?
Paleontology is more a liability to darwinian theory than anything, seeing that it is so sparse. The Cambrian Explosion, as I mentioned before, is one example that required contemporary evolutionists (such as Stephen Gould) to present a theory completely antithetical with what Darwin himself wrote ... punctuated equillibrium.
How does the ice pack inform us about the climate on the earth over the last several Billion years. How does this effect the emergence of life from the oceans? What effect does the discovery of the life around the volcanic vents on the ocean floor have on our notion of how and where evolution may have started, and what tracks it may have followed?
Bob, I have no problem with questions. But that's exactly what these are.
I would like to leave you with a question. It seems that many feel the mark of a non-scientific belief, is that it is unfalsifiable.
Is evolution falsifiable? And if so how? Give me a specific scenario. Judging from past examples of scrambling innovation at difficulties, it seems to be a kind of accepted framework of plasticity which is able to adapt to most anything, and still survive.
Me: Personally I find attributing large morphological changes among biological life forms to the darwinian mechanism quite incredible and beyond the pale of science, no matter what amount of time is appended.
Brad: I do too. I don't know anybody who does that.
Um Darwin did ... as do most of the contemporary priests of Darwinian thought. Are you saying that you accept a form of evolution which does not affirm common ancestry as fairly incontrovertible?
I don't think Ron and Stephanos will have an easy time arguing with those last two comments.
Ess, delay and difficulty aren't always correlates.
Seriously though, it seems that Brad is saying little more than "But its so fun and exciting, there has to be something to it", as well as Bob as far as I can tell. Something I can concede, surely. But the question of truth and veracity still remains far more uncertain than its entertainment value.
As always, I appreciate all the lively input for this thread from everyone.