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Progressive Evolution Makes No Evolutionary Sense

1250 words
Progressive evolution makes no evolutionary sense. Organisms aren’t “better” than their predecessors, they’re just evolved for their ecosystem. Though, some people think that organisms are “more evolved” than others because of a false notion of progress (not scientifically definable) and look like at morphological similarities (not good to denote species).

“It’s possible to believe some are “more evolved” without believing evolution is progressive. In fact that’s probably the position of most biologists.”

See, more evolved IMPLIES progress which I’ve said numerous times.

“I think it’s perfectly valid to describe some animals as “superior” to others though I concede it’s a difficult thing to prove.”

If it’s difficult to prove (re: impossible), how is it perfectly valid? You agree that organisms evolved bases on their environment, so what kind of unbiased metric would there be to denote “superior organisms”?

“No purpose means the progress happened because someone or something INTENDED it to happen. Progress in evolution is the ultimate example of UNINTENDED consequences.”

Progress implies that an organism or set of organisms are “progressing” somewhere or to some ultimate form. There is NO progress in evolution. I have three articles on that in the past week. Progress in evolution implies a “great chain of being”. You’re attempting to rehash this which has no basis in biology. You may not be saying “great chain of being” word for word, yet that’s what you are implying.

“I’m simply using species as a unit for measuring morphological change. Yes it’s arbitrary but so are all units of measurement. Why are there 12 inches in a foot instead of 20? An arbitrary decision, but once the decision is made, it’s a valid measurement as long as it’s applied consistently.”

Differing morphological traits come about due to differing environments. Your definition of species is kinda weak compared to Wright’s Fst. Degree of morphological difference is not an appropriate species definition.

“Frequently fails to produce unidirectional trends != never produces unidirectional trends.”

Showing all the variables on how you can’t show an evolutionary trend was the meaning.

“This is an implied concession that evolution DOES have large scale patterns (i.e. progressive trends), only the cause is disputed.”

There are local changes, such as changes in brain size and the like, but there are no large-scale patterns. Moreover, complexity can’t be defined scientifically. The ’cause’ is natural selection, mutation, genetic drift and migration. That’s what causes evolution, however it is NOT progressive.

“The non-African branch has many splits and the African branch has none. This suggests there was more morphological changes over the duration of separation in the non-African branch because splits are a good proxy for evolutionary activity. This is because some environmental pressure or environmental change is usually what CAUSED the splits in the first place, though not always.”

All of your misconceptions are addressed in this paper.

1) The placement of a taxon is not an indication of how specialized, advanced or extreme its traits are.

2) Evolutionary change may occur during any part in the line; the offshoot isn’t always phenotypic change.

3) Morphological change still occurred in Africa. If you say no you’re fooling yourself.

4) Environmental pressures always don’t mean changes in the visible phenotype; it may mean something like better oxygen absorption in the Tibetan, which is caused by the introgression of Denisova-like DNA.

5) Morphological changes occur in Africa due to long-term selection from the environment. For example, the Pygmy. Their short stature is due to the CISH gene, which is linked to resistance from malaria and tuberculosis. Mice that are engineered to produce more of the CISH protein are smaller in stature. CISH regulates height and since it helped them survive better they became shorter due to the malarial resistance.

You’re acting as if absolutely no changes occurred in Africans after the split.

“You ARE a layman. I’m reading the trees correctly, you simply don’t understand the inferences I’m making from them.”

I won’t be a layman soon. You’re reading them wrong and I’ve shown you how multiple times. I understand the inferences you’re making from them, and they’re common intuitive misconceptons reading phylogenetic trees.

“But why would so many environments so consistently select for increased encephalization unless intelligence was an unusually versatile trait? This proves my point that some traits are useful in many different kinds of environments than others, and the long-term selection of said traits creates progressive trends in evolution.”

One of the biggest reasons we have big brains is due to how many kcal we ingest. If that were to drop definitively, like say we go from eating 2300 kcal a day to 1100 kcal average per day, both brain size and stature would decrease. That’s a selection response due to the environment. Without the amount of kcal we consume, we wouldn’t be able to support our brains as they consume at least 25 percent of our daily energy.

Selection against eyesight has happened. This happened in the cave fish and other organisms I brought up. Eyesight is only needed where it’s an advantage; without that, like in pitch black environments, it’s not a useful trait so it gets selected against. One good reason is energy doesn’t have to be diverted to eyesight and it can use what energy it does consume for other pertinent functions.

“There’s no strong evidence that brain size decreased before 10,000 years ago. Indeed John Hawks’s chart showed brain size INCREASING from 15,000 to 10,000 years ago.”

Your buddy John Hawks says that human brain size started decreasing 20 kya going from 1500 cc to 1350 cc.

“You shouldn’t BELIEVE anyone. You should think about it logically and come to your own conclusion, independent of what others say.”

Believe people whose job it is to read them and teach them how to be read correctly. The people who draw them up. Or an intuitive interpretation of the trees. Hmm…

I am thinking logically. I know how to think logically. You’re reading trees wrong and I’m showing you how.

Natural selection is local adaptation; not progress.

I wish people would learn how to read trees correctly and not use their intuition on how to read it. He’s committing a very common mistake, so common that papers have been written on the exact matter. Yet he seems to think that he, a layman, knows how to read a tree better than biologists who make them and teach about them for a living. I’m sure that’s it. You must know all the answers and they must be trying to lead the public astray from the truth of “more evolved”, “more superior”, and “more progressed” organisms. I’ve documented more than enough evidence the last week and a half to disprove PP’s crazy belief that evolution is “progress” or that species can be “more evolved” or that organisms are “superior” to one another is not warranted by the data. He has flaws flimsy understanding of the word “species” (thinks morphology defines species when it doesn’t) and basic evolution as a whole (more evolved, superior and progressive evolution).

Maybe one day he can join us in the real world.