Innovation and Speciation: whale changes (Evolution)

by dhw, Tuesday, May 30, 2017, 19:52 (290 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I have listed the three stages in order to stop you once and for all harping on about speciation not being required. We have agreed that it is the drive for improvement/complexity that leads organisms to take advantage of new opportunities. Whether it is one or the other makes no difference to that particular argument.
DAVID: You have completely skipped over my examples (recently minor spine changes within a species) without demonstrable 'improvement'.

We discussed the spinal change in detail under “bacterial intelligence”, and I asked what you meant by no “real” improvement, which strangely you explained as meaning no “real speciation”. You have now changed “real improvement” to “demonstrable improvement”, which means even if there was an improvement, we can’t demonstrate it. Nothing proven either way.

DAVID: I gave a long discussion that improvement/complexity are not equal concepts. The whale series is certainly explained more easily as an odd branch pursuing complexity for complexity's sake. So I don't accept your I/C equivalence. They are not.

No, they are not the same. And I responded in detail to your long discussion:
dhw: Complexity just for the sake of complexity does not seem as purposeful to me as complexity for the sake of improvement.
DAVID: Complexity will generally lead to improvements but not with the same sense of purposefulness as in your thoughts.

You keep telling us how purposeful your God is, and yet you think he designs complexity only for the sake of complexity. The whale is your prime example, and you refuse to countenance the possibility that it entered and adapted to the water in order to survive or to improve its access to food. Of course there is not the same sense of purposefulness if you refuse to acknowledge the possibility that there may have been a purpose.

dhw: Just in case you have forgotten, your final version and mine now reads: the drive for improvement/complexity is set in motion by environmental change (the initiator), and then uses the new opportunity.
DAVID: We are not together. Speciation can precede environmental change. We just had a discussion about already existing hominins taking advance of climate change in Africa as it happened (less trees, more grasses).

The discussion was based on the following article:
QUOTE: The dating of the jawbone might help answer one of the key questions in human evolution. What caused some primitive ancestors to climb down from the trees and make their homes on the ground.
A separate study in Science hints that a change in climate might have been a factor. An analysis of the fossilised plant and animal life in the area suggests that what had once been lush forest had become dry grassland.
As the trees made way for vast plains, ancient human-like primates found a way of exploiting the new environmental niche, developing bigger brains and becoming less reliant on having big jaws and teeth by using tools.

Although I agree that the phrasing is slightly elliptical, I take this to mean that tree-living primates left the trees when the trees began to disappear, and as they exploited the new environment, they developed bigger brains and became more human-like. I don’t think it means that God made them more human-like and gave them bigger brains while they were still sitting in the trees, and then he took the trees away.

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