Catastrophic evolution vs "punctuated equilibrium"

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Catastrophic evolution vs "punctuated equilibrium"

Unread postby PersianPaladin » Thu May 03, 2012 2:43 pm

I'm intrigued in your views about whether catastrophic (and rapid) evolution of life on this planet, challenges the apparently ad hoc mainstream theory of "punctuated equilibrium".

I came across this interesting article in the Summer 1982 issue of the Kronos journal (here is an excerpt):-

So large do the problems of angiosperm evolution and phylogenetic relationships loom in biology that we should turn for confirmation not just to deniers of Darwinian evolution but also to authorities committed to the possibility of discovering a Darwinian solution. Such a one is Norman Hughes. His recent book, Palaeobiology of Angiosperm Origins. Problems of Mesozoic Seed-Plant Evolution ( 1976), does not claim to offer the answers but only "to encourage faith in the adequacy of the fossil record for making possible a continuing and effective solution" (p. vii). Specifically, this is "faith" in recently developed techniques for the study of fossil pollen. This is indeed an important new area of study, and much new knowledge has recently been gained. However, the problem remains:

The evolutionary origin of the now dominant land-plant group, the angiosperms, has puzzled scientists since the middle of the nineteenth century. In late Cretaceous rocks angiosperm fossils were dominant, but in the early Cretaceous seed-plant fossils were almost entirely of gymnospermous types; the transition appeared to be sudden. (p.1)

And by "sudden," Hughes means more than can be handled by an equivocal term like punctuated equilibrium - recently popularized by Eldredge and Gould as "An Alternative to Phyletic Gradualism" (1972). Hughes means that nothing in or out of the fossil record can reasonably be the source of the botanical characteristics of angiosperms as a monophyletic group; there is no transition.

. . . It had for long been assumed that angiosperms were monophyletic and therefore that the immediate ancestor should have been traceable among the relatively few known fossil and Recent gymnosperm groups. None of these gymnosperm groups however appeared to carry a set of characteristics which was at all near to the requirement. (p.1)

Fossil pollen is not the first great hope of solving the problem of angiosperms; study of non-fossil pollen (palynology) was to have done the same. The incentive is more than academic interest; there is a conspicuous inability to agree on a taxonomy that plausibly reflects (even if it does not actually embody) phylogeny. The great need is to establish

the basis of classification of the living angiosperms, which still form the largest group of organisms without an agreed or satisfactory hierarchical arrangement of taxa. New information from such diverse sources as numerical taxonomy, chromosome numbers, palynology and chemotaxonomy appeared to complicate rather than to clarify the position in a most extensive literature. (p. 2)

Not for the first time do we find that an increase in knowledge confuses rather than clarifies phylogeny. In such cases, the quest for a phylogenetic basis of classification fosters disagreement even among those taxonomists with common evolutionary goals.

Nilsson's theory of emication is now over a quarter of a century old, but nothing has been discovered in the meantime to undercut angiosperms as a prime example of it. So too, the possibility of drawing diametrically opposed conclusions from them in the catastrophism/uniformitarianism debate remains the same:

It is remarkable that emication as well as catastrophe are simultaneous for all these groups. This cannot be explained by an evolution but manifestly illustrates a revolution. (Nilsson 1953: 1191)

Taking stratigraphy in its broadest sense as the evolutionary history of the earth, there is nothing exceptional about the Cretaceous period of that evolution. The invocation of a hiatus in orogeny, of worldwide transgressions or of great external catastrophe (Urey 1973) are entirely unnecessary to explain the known facts; . . . to account for apparent disharmonies such as the origin of angiosperms, the extinction of dinosaurs and other organisms, or the existence of chalk deposition. (Hughes 1976: 70)

Source:-
Kronos Vol. VII No. 4 (Summer 1982) "Evolution, Extinction, and Catastrophism"
Alternatives in Science: The Secular Creationism of Heribert Nilsson by Bennison Gray
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Re: Catastrophic evolution vs "punctuated equilibrium"

Unread postby kell1990 » Thu May 03, 2012 8:35 pm

Watch Wal Thronhill's description of the way elements are made (in a twisted current) and then compare that same configuration to a DNA molecule. You'll figure out how a dinosaur became a chicken.
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Re: Catastrophic evolution vs "punctuated equilibrium"

Unread postby kell1990 » Thu May 03, 2012 10:04 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weIEiB_OHpI

That's the video that the entire world should see.

How could a dinosaur become a chicken? By changing the electric force between the elements!

That is the best description I can provide. I wish I knew where the electric force came from, but I don't, right now.

Compare this description with the gravitational force: It came from the "essence" of existence. Wow! What a descriptor. Does anything measure up to this force? Well, sort of, except when it doesn't then it is due to the massive forces (which are missing and can never be measured anyway, so why do you want to look for them?)

In any case, we are so sure of our theory that we KNOW that whatever missing mass is missing, then the alternative force MUST be the dark FORCE that we KNOW must be in the universe because our theory is right, alternative measures be damned!

In the vernacular <moderator edit>. There is no dark matter. There is no dark energy. Everything happens for a reason. A sound, reasonable process of events. One after the other.
Last edited by nick c on Thu May 17, 2012 7:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: inappropriate language removed
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Re: Catastrophic evolution vs "punctuated equilibrium"

Unread postby PersianPaladin » Fri May 04, 2012 5:41 am

kell1990 wrote:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weIEiB_OHpI

That's the video that the entire world should see.

How could a dinosaur become a chicken? By changing the electric force between the elements!

That is the best description I can provide. I wish I knew where the electric force came from, but I don't, right now.

Compare this description with the gravitational force: It came from the "essence" of existence. Wow! What a descriptor. Does anything measure up to this force? Well, sort of, except when it doesn't then it is due to the massive forces (which are missing and can never be measured anyway, so why do you want to look for them?)

In any case, we are so sure of our theory that we KNOW that whatever missing mass is missing, then the alternative force MUST be the dark FORCE that we KNOW must be in the universe because our theory is right, alternative measures be damned!

In the vernacular, it's a bunch of bullshit. There is no dark matter. There is no dark energy. Everything happens for a reason. A sound, reasonable process of events. One after the other.


That's a good presentation by Wal Thornhill. Unfortunately, I was unable to find information directly pertinent to what I am discussing in this thread.
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Re: Catastrophic evolution vs "punctuated equilibrium"

Unread postby webolife » Fri May 04, 2012 3:18 pm

Kell seems to be presenting an adamant belief that the shape of the DNA molecule is incident with its actual chemical structure, a view that I adamantly question. The crux of the evolution and punctuated equilibrium question is whether and how the specific information contained in DNA chemistry arises either:
1. spontaneously
2. catastrophically
3. accidentally
4. electrically
5. by design
6. (any others?)
The double-helical shape of the DNA molecule cannot be shown by any [currently known] evidence to be a causative agent of the highly specific information contained therein. It was once [and is still often] touted that the DNA "information" of "higher" organisms is mostly "junk", but the more is understood of the specific patterns found therein [via genome projects and other genetic research, etc], the more we understand that all of the DNA is relevant to the processing of proteins [if not the direct coding for]-- building blocks of life. How does specifiic information arise? The chances for the spontaneous formation of protein [ie. assemblage of aminos, specific or not] has been variously probablized and 1 in 10^250, 10^500, and even lower probabilities. Considering the Einsteinian proposition that there are 10^80 atoms in the universe, these probabilities are so incredibly low that the supposition that "Oh, that 1 small chance must have happened because here we are..." becomes simply ludicrous. The more time of evolution actually creates bigger problems for this probability since the protein building process is so finely tuned, and irreducibly complex... as the late S.J.Gould and others have often said: we are extremely lucky organisms [we being any organism at all from the most "simple" [yet very complex] bacterium to the unimaginably complex human. But "lucky" is an unsupportably low understatement given the actual math involved.
By the same token, Gould's punctuated equilibrium does not solve the problem either because now this impossible process must happen explosively fast in a radiation of all sorts of organisms coevally... coeval because the natural selection process must operate on multiple [1000's of] combinations of complimentary organisms, not just on the viability of one freak mutation. No wonder many who open their minds to this process conclude that some deity must be involved in directing it [aka "theistic evolution"] -- I look at the ridiculous amount of very chaotic "directing" over the alleged eons of time and conclude, "The gods must be crazy!" although I know a number of folks who call themselves instead "progressive creationists" [aka Old Earth Creationists]. The other option entertained by a growing number of sci-fi fans is "panspermia", the occasional [er, frequent?] seeding of the earth by comets from beyond the solar system. On the other hand, if design is considered, the time element becomes irrelevant... as punctuated equilibrium acknowledges, there is no evidence for gradual accumulation of mutations, and accumulated mutations are the requirement of natural evolution in any of it's forms [including panspermia]. All that being said, "adaptation" as we see it today is as easily explained by "design" as any other process. If electriity is involved, it either is being intelligently directed, or the adaptations it is producing are as unexplainable as any of the other evolutionary processes it purports to replace. Much evidence has been put forth on a variety of threads here at Thunderbolts addressing the difficulty of supporting radiometrically derived ["absolute"] and relative dates, sedimentology and uniformitarianism, and I've posted to most or all of those from time to time.
As a scientist, I conclude that the book on evolution is an open and debatable one, its logic is as ill-founded as that of modern physics, its predictive value is nil, and it is a paradigm whose time whose time for abandonment has come.
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Re: Catastrophic evolution vs "punctuated equilibrium"

Unread postby Lloyd » Fri May 04, 2012 5:56 pm

* Web, if evolution is wrong, what's right? That all species were created in the beginning and none have evolved into new species? What about whales, which have traces of hind legs, which show that they seem to have evolved from rat-like creatures? And would Earth have had room for all species that ever existed all at the same time in the beginning?
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Re: Catastrophic evolution vs "punctuated equilibrium"

Unread postby kell1990 » Fri May 04, 2012 9:42 pm

..."Compare this description with the gravitational force: It came from the "essence" of existence. Wow! What a descriptor. Does anything measure up to this force? Well, sort of, except when it doesn't then it is due to the massive forces (which are missing and can never be measured anyway, so why do you want to look for them?)

"In any case, we are so sure of our theory that we KNOW that whatever missing mass is missing, then the alternative force MUST be the dark FORCE that we KNOW must be in the universe because our theory is right, alternative measures be damned!

"In the vernacular, it's a bunch of bullshit. "...

I wish to apologize for this crude rant.

What hapened was that I had composed a fairly lengthly follow-up post, but it disappeared somehow. I must have hit the wrong key or something. It was late then, and it's late now, so tomorrow I'll try to offer a better explanation of the idea I was trying to get across. It has to do with how the DNA molecule operates in various electrical environments.
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Re: Catastrophic evolution vs "punctuated equilibrium"

Unread postby PersianPaladin » Sat May 05, 2012 4:19 am

I'm inclined to agree with weboflife on this. Evolution has its problems - at least, the mainstream theory of evolution which we have with us today. For example, we can take what Lloyd said about the alleged past history of the descendants of modern whales having hind legs. There's a problem I have with this theory being used as a proof of adaptive evolution. For example, there are sea creatures that have webbed hind legs, such as the sea otter - who reside in shallower parts of the ocean. And we have fish that do this:-

Lungfish that walk:-
http://www.scientificamerican.com/galle ... CC6D4ABE30

Roughback Batfish that walk on the bottom (top image), as well as Handfish:-
http://truth-saves.com/images/handfish.jpg


They can still swim, however. There is quite a bit of conjecture that paleontologists use when talking about what previous creatures in the sea were able to do. The notion that they were somehow imperfectly designed for their environment, and then gradually adapted to their environment over time - is not something that can actually be proven. There is the notion that life developed at sea first, then gradually developed enough features to live on land. But then others say, land animals went into the sea and then gradually lost their hind legs to adapt better? So which is it?

I'm coming to an idea that Rupert Sheldrake was on the right track with regard to his views about morphogenetic fields and how they can determine the shape and behaviour of organisms. Of course, these fields appear to have some "intelligence" to them. There have been some efforts to connect Sheldrake's morphogenetic theory with that of genetic evolution (I'm sure that Sheldrake DOES believe in evolution, albeit not sure which variant he subscribes to). Here are two papers that may be of interest:-

http://dx.doi.org/10.1006%2Fdbio.1996.0032
http://icb.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/40/5/770

My own intuitive view is that you can observe life in the sea in many different adaptive morphologies. With these photographs being but one small sample:-
http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmen ... -animals-2

I'm aware that the example I'm about to use does not dwell in the sea, but it does dwell in a freshwater lake and can be used as a good example of how morphogenetic fields are potentially DESIGNED to be adaptive to circumstance - and thus generate or re-generate features when needed:-

The hallmark of the salamander that attracts most attention is the healing power: the Axolotl can not be cured by scarring and is capable of regenerating the entire lost appendages in a period of months, and, in some cases, more vital structures. Some have indeed been found restoring the less vital parts of their brains. They can also readily accept transplants from other individuals, including eyes and parts of the brains-restoring these alien organs to full functionality. In some cases, Axolotls are known to repair a damaged limb and regenerating an extra end with an extra appendage that makes them attractive to pet owners as a novelty. In metamorphosed individuals, however, is the ability to regenerate fallen sharply. The axolotl is therefore used as a model for the development of limbs in vertebrates.

http://life-sea.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/axolotl.html

Thus, you could argue that while a certain sea creature that has a fairly flexible spine but swims mostly with its hind or front legs - has the potential ability to CHANGE its morphogeneic field and even grow new body parts and amend its shape and abilities. Of course, it can't do it willingly. There is also the question as to what are the PARAMETERS of variability with respect to changes in morphogenetic fields. Do genes direct them (as the authors of the two papers I posted allege) - or is there a two-way interface between genes and protein structures and the morphogenetic fields? And, if evolution has resulted considerably quicker than can be carried out via "punctuated equlibrium" - does it really need transient forms? Can it not immediately change? And perhaps the biggest beef I have with conventional evolutionary theory is - Why is natural selection given such power? After all, nothing develops in an island or isolation, and predator-prey dynamics can change too. Sometimes catastrophically. Biotic environments can also change, with some favouring more simpler organisms than complex ones. Evolution is also apparently not a process that has a "goal". If it really was about "survival of the fittest", then why are ancient bacteria still here (they're excellent survivors) - and why the trend towards developing complexity? Many evolved species have died out - sometimes via inter-species competition or changes in the biosphere or via catastrophe. If there is an increasing risk to survival outside of the dark world of bacteria residing in the corners of extreme heat and radiation, then why bother evolve outside the parameters of your genus?

Humans are the biggest mystery, since they pursue goals that are counter to what evolutionary wiring would suggest they do - e.g. they pursue scientific enquiry outside the parameters of survival, and devise all sorts of schemes that even our close primates don't see the need to do. We don't have all the answers, and in my view - there most likely is a MYSTERIOUS INTELLIGENCE guiding everything. I'll leave it at that, since I don't want to get into religion here.
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Re: Catastrophic evolution vs "punctuated equilibrium"

Unread postby Lloyd » Sat May 05, 2012 8:30 am

* What I mean by evolution is that creatures within species change to the extent that they're no longer able to mate and reproduce. Do you folks disagree that that's possible?
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Re: Catastrophic evolution vs "punctuated equilibrium"

Unread postby webolife » Sat May 05, 2012 1:00 pm

I just lost an hour long response to your question Lloyd, and don't have time to reconstruct it right now. :cry:
But to do a quick summation: "Microevolution", as was described by Darwin's "Origin of Species" as occurring through natural selection, is feasible [and I will say observable] based on our understanding of the genome, ie. there is a great deal of genetic information inherent in the "original" genome that is expressed under different environmental conditions [lessons from "epigenetics"], but also leads over time to speciation as you inferred, in the event of isolation of subgroups and inbreeding. This indeed leads to a loss of information over a few generations that is exemplified by the inability of different sub-species to interbreed successfully, ie. "new species" are formed.
There is no scientific basis for the belief that such variation can transcend a particular genome leading to entirely new types of organisms, let alone all of the thousands of different unique creatures we see in the world today, either alive or as fossils, ie. "Macroevolution". This was Darwin's leap of faith, and Gould's giant leap of illogic.
What's more the fossil record persistent shows that whales have always been whales, bats have always been bats, and humans have always been humans. I need more time to rebuild my original reply, and will do so later.
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Re: Catastrophic evolution vs "punctuated equilibrium"

Unread postby kell1990 » Sat May 05, 2012 9:56 pm

I fully sympathize with WebofLife in his frustration at having time lost trying to post to this forum. It is very aggravating to lose a couple of hours of your thoughts to the poster ghost.
*********************
What I was trying to get across in the original reply was that the reason there is "evolution" of any sort is because the DNA molecule responds in different manners in different electrical envriornments. I do not mean to suggest in any way that adaptation doesn't occur, because it obviously does.

The two most famous "recent" evolutionary events occurred about 13,000 years ago and about 65 million years ago.

The later period occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period. That is when the dinosaurs began to disappear. It is commonly believed--and I do beleive it--that the event occurred because of an impact by an astral body of some sort near the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

The main problem with this theory is that it took the dinosaurs nearly a another million years to disappear. In other words, this wasn't an instaneous extermination event. What could have possibly caused this?

The more recent event occurred nearly 13,000 years ago. This apparently wasn't a totally catastrophic event. In North America, it resulted in the extinction of the short-faced bear, the American camel, the saber-tooth tiger, the wooly mastadon, the giant sloth, and several other species which disappear from the fossil record, but at a much faster rate.

In order for an organism to reproduce, it must be able to recreate its DNA. What could have happened during these times that caused that not to occur, or to occur in a very diminished environment?

In the case of the Yucatan event, we do have evidence, backed up by widespread distribution of the element Iridium, that supports the impact theory.

I do not know what caused the most recent event, but I THINK that what happened is that a major electrical discharge happened between two celestial objects, the EARTH and whatever celestial vagrant that happened by. I don't think the last object actually hit the Earth, but that it came close enough and it was large enough--much larger than the Yucatan event--that it changed the entire electrical background of the Earth and everything that exists upon it. That's why the DNA molecule behaves differently now than it did then.
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Re: Catastrophic evolution vs "punctuated equilibrium"

Unread postby 601L1n9FR09 » Sun May 06, 2012 9:37 pm

Evolutionism is a belief no more valid than creationism. There is not a single instance of evolutionism being the simpler interpretation of observation. Punctuated equilibrium was invented to sidestep the inconvenient support the fossil record provides to creationism.
The fossil record reads quite explicitly "rapid appearance and stasis". More consistent with the creation model.
Genetics indicate accelerating deterioration of the genome. Again, more consistent with the creation model.
Keep in mind, fundamentally we started off with perfect DNA and nearly one thousand year life spans.
Repeatable lab experiments have scuttled the principles of stratigraphy. No points to either side.
Evolutionism no longer gets this point or those which relied on it's support.
Radiometric observations invalidated the presumed constant of radioactive decay. No points to either side.
Evolutionism no longer gets this point or those which relied on it's support.
Cosmology as we were taught is inferior to EU and PC as we all well know. The heat and pressure required to generate ALL the elements do not take billions or even millions of years for each step up the periodic table. How many assumptions do we need to hold BBC together now? Seriously I am loosing count. No points to either side.
Evolutionism no longer gets this point or those which relied on it's support. Evolutionism is literally running out of time. Chance needs time to do the implausible. But what about chance?

SETI sets the criteria for what constitutes intelligent communication. That criteria is exceeded by the DNA molecule. Something as simple as a brick house can be counted on to fall apart, not together. Expecting something as complicated as the genetic code to fall together takes a tremendous leap of faith if you ask me.

Err. better post what I got so far.
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Re: Catastrophic evolution vs "punctuated equilibrium"

Unread postby nick c » Mon May 07, 2012 8:17 am

I fully sympathize with WebofLife in his frustration at having time lost trying to post to this forum. It is very aggravating to lose a couple of hours of your thoughts to the poster ghost.
When composing a long post it is a good idea to do it on notepad, wordpad, or the like and then copy and paste it onto the forum.
An alternative is to compose directly onto the forum and then highlight, right click, and "copy" your post periodically and/or before taking any action, that way if you come up with a blank screen after submitting or previewing your post, you can easily paste it back on to the screen. So either way, it is wise to do some sort of back up in order to avoid what can be a very frustrating experience.
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Re: Catastrophic evolution vs "punctuated equilibrium"

Unread postby Sparky » Mon May 07, 2012 9:05 am

webo-
What's more the fossil record persistent shows that whales have always been whales,-


I thought that the evolutionary theory was that, at a far distant time, a raccoon size animal began feeding in shallow water and adapted to become a whale. :?
***********************************


A point: INTELLIGENCE. 1. a : the ability to learn-

Does that sound like "evolution"?

So, evolutionary designed would be equal to intelligent design?!.. :D
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Re: Catastrophic evolution vs "punctuated equilibrium"

Unread postby webolife » Mon May 07, 2012 11:56 am

Sparky, you 'd be very surprised [or maybe not?] to see how little evidence there is for the evolution of whales from land creatures. Whales have variously been described as having descended from cows, dogs, and some imagined racoon-like animal. The most recent twist in the saga was an indentation found in the back of the skull that reminded some paleobiologists of a similarly dented skull in an otherwise unrelated reptilian. Talk about grasping at straws! It is entirely illogical to boot, that any creature having spent a billion years to evolve from the sea to spend another hundred thousand going back. On top of that there are two very specialized subgroups of whales, the baleens and the toothed, and no evidentiary channel between the two completely different morphologies! But because they are true mammals, the evolutionary paradigm must have them evolving from land mammals. Remember, every tiny step in evolution must be by the process of accumulation of accidental mutations -- the more time you give it, the worse your case becomes, since mutations are 99.9% deleterious to the genome, so no, I would not agree that the "ability to learn" has any relation to evolution. That is a Lamarckian idea, by the way, that acquired traits may be inherited. No matter how much you learn in a lifetime, your kids will be born tabla rasa. And no animal can evolve by "needing to adapt" if the process is governed by random mutation and natural selection.
Intelligence is far more than the ability to learn, you can teach a stupid machine [computer] to do that... the ability to design is a much loftier conception, I would say. To program a computer requires intelligence, but the machine can know only two things, On and Off, 1 and 0.
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