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  Topic: Evolution of the horse; a problem for Darwinism?, For Daniel Smith to present his argument< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Wesley R. Elsberry

Posts: 4928
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 22 2007,17:13   

Quote (Daniel Smith @ Sep. 22 2007,14:26)
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Sep. 22 2007,04:58)
Uh, no, it's a package deal. Either you are endorsing all four of the definitional components, or you should be using another term.

OK, let me be more specific:
Gradualism is what one would expect to see if the mechanism for evolutionary change were random mutations and natural selection.  If you think that it must entail entire populations and their entire geographical range, then fine - show that by the evidence in the fossil record.

What does it take to convince people that they don't just get to make up their own definitions for terms that are already in use in evolutionary science? I've been running into Humpty-Dumptyism left and right ever since getting involved in these discussions.

"Gradualism" is already in use. Broadly, it means non-saltational change. There's nothing about it that requires that such properties of change occur by particular mechanisms. "Phyletic gradualism" is already in use. It means the conjunction of the four tenets listed already.

You don't have to take my word on it for either of these; consult any competent evolutionary science textbook and you'll find the same thing. That's something that can't be done for the personal connotations of terms, like Daniel's mishmash for "gradualism".

Now, as for "phyletic gradualism" being a term applicable to describing an actual stance on how the fossil record came to look the way it does, I've long said that it has a lot of the character of a strawman.

Actually, it is Daniel's claim that the fossil record is in a particular state. I'd be interested to know what experience Daniel has that would underwrite his confidence in his claim. But even more basic than that is getting some concrete idea of what the claim is... that is, I'd like to see some anchors tying the goalposts in place before going any much further with the game. As it stands, Daniel says that one doesn't see something in the fossil record, but he doesn't seem to have any clear notion of just what it is or what actual paleontologists would call it.

"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

  1733 replies since Sep. 18 2007,15:27 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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