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DaveRAFinn

Posts: 15
Joined: April 2005

Lemma 1.

Natural variation within species is present at all times including such times (the majority) when speciation is not occurring within a given species. Therefore it is not presence or absence of natural variation that causes new species.

Lemma 2

Natural variation occurs as a result of changes occurring within individual members of a species. Therefore the amount of natural variation occurring within a species is directly proportional to the number of members of that species.

Lemma 3

The probability of any species giving rise to a descendent species is virtually independent of the population size. This can be seen from:
a) the fossil record
b) the evolutionary tree with estimated populations for each node
c) co-evolution of species with their far more numerous parasites, symbionts and pathogens.

Lemma 4

From Lemma 2 and Lemma 3. There is no correlation between the amount of natural variation within a species and the probability that there will be a descendent species.

Note this lack of correlation applies over more than 24 orders of magnitude of population size and is therefore exquisitely precise.

Conclusion

Natural variation plays no part in the origin of species.

Henry J

Posts: 5786
Joined: Mar. 2005

Re Lemma 1: the conclusion doesn't  follow from the premise. Variation is a prerequisite for speciation, in that without it speciation can't occur. Certainly variation is not sufficient for speciation (as you pointed out), because there are other factors (such as isolation of one of the varieties).

Re Lemma 2: the conclusion doesn't follow from the premise. A species that's recovered form a recent population bottleneck will have much less variety than a species that's had a large population continuously for a long time, so variety is not proportional to population size.

Re Lemma 3: I doubt that said probability is completely independent of population, but there's too many variables to expect much of a correlation between them. Besides which, even if Lemma 3 were true it wouldn't be an argument against evolution having happened.

Re Lemma 4: Maybe but so what? Sure there may be some species with lots of variety that don't speciate. But there also may be some with relatively little variety that do.

Henry

PaulK

Posts: 37
Joined: June 2004

I have little to add to Henry J's point on Lemma 1.  Variation is a necessary but not sufficient condition for speciation.

On lemma 2 I owuld have to add that stabilising selection and gene flow reduce the amount of variability in a population.

Also the larger the population the harder it is for a new allele to reach fixation - thus a large population is inherently more resistant to evolutionary change than a smaller population.

Given that Lemma's 1 and 2 are less than entirely accurate Lemma 3 only indicates what we already know - that other factors are important.

Thus Lemma 4 has yet to be established.

cogzoid

Posts: 234
Joined: Sep. 2005

 Quote Note this lack of correlation applies over more than 24 orders of magnitude of population size and is therefore exquisitely precise.
Where do your numbers come from?

Tim Hague

Posts: 32
Joined: Nov. 2005

What's a 'lemma' anyway?  It is some kind of text-speak for dilemma?

PaulK

Posts: 37
Joined: June 2004