Innovation and Speciation:baleen whale feeding (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Sunday, June 25, 2017, 18:40 (243 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Sunday, June 25, 2017, 18:45

dhw: Might not responsive divine dabbling be the correct interpretation, with no need for advanced planning?[/i]
DAVID: Yes responsive dabbling is a possible approach.

Thank you. This means it is possible that the major changes which result in speciation can occur in response to environmental change and do not require “advanced planning”.

Total misinterpretation. Dabbling requires almost as much planning as a totally new species.

dhw: But since nobody knows how speciation (broad sense) occurred, I suggest that it is a hypothesis that should be taken seriously and cannot be rejected on the grounds that speciation required “advanced planning”.

Advanced planning is always required to integrate new changes, as shown in the whale series. The issue you have raised is how advanced (?), 3.8 billion years ago or more recently as a dabble, since I don't know and offered those two possibilities. This book review covers the patterns of animals and plants in nature suggesting 3.8 billion years is correct:

The regularity is shown most commonly by drawing a special kind of graph, in which every increment on the x- and y-axis is 10 times bigger than the previous increment—instead of running from 1 to 2 to 3 and so on, the increments run from 1 to 10 to 100 and so on. [logarithmic scale] When organisms’ metabolic rates are plotted on the vertical axis and their mass on the horizontal one, the result is a dead- straight line—a relationship that holds true for animals as tiny as a mouse (typical weight, .02 kilograms) and as enormous as an African elephant (typical weight, 6,500 kilograms).

This is a scaling law: a relationship between two quantities that holds true at many orders of magnitude. In this case, every species’ metabolic rate “scales” with increasing size. After Kleiber, researchers found that his rule holds true for fish, amphibians, insects and plants—indeed, for every creature from the smallest microorganisms to the biggest whale. “Overall,” Mr. West says, this relationship “encompasses an astonishing twenty-seven orders of magnitude, perhaps the most persistent and systematic scaling law in the universe.” And the correspondence is no isolated phenomenon. “Similar systematic scaling laws hold for almost any physiological trait or life-history event across the entire range of life,” Mr. West writes, including quantities as disparate as “genome lengths, lengths of aortas, tree heights, the amount of cerebral gray matter in the brain, evolutionary rates, and life spans.”


our bodies, like those of every other living creature, are bags of cells. These cells are in some ways surprisingly similar; all must be nourished and directed, and most of them are about the same size, no matter what species they belong to (a few exceptions exist, like brain and fat cells). Thus living things must contain networks—blood vessels, plant veins and so on—that distribute energy, materials and information to cells. Because the cellular endpoints of every network are all about the same size, the “terminal units” of the distributive system must also be about the same size. That is to say, the capillaries (the smallest blood vessels) of all mammals are roughly the same size, as are those of every fish and insect, as are the endpoint veins of leaves and a host of other things.

Big species need more nutrients and energy than small ones, so the network centers—the heart, for mammalian blood systems; the big xylem at the roots, for vascular plants—vary in dimension. Because the endpoints are always the same small size, the network needs to consist of what Mr. West calls a “hierarchical branching network structure,” with big branches unraveling tree-like into smaller ones.

Unsurprisingly, evolution keeps nudging organisms toward those properties, which again are similar for every species, because they depend on physical laws that are independent of biology. (my bold)


Mr. West showed how fractals (structures like snowflakes, in which similar patterns repeat at progressively smaller scales) and network dynamics govern birth, growth and development, again in species of every sort.

Comment: Note the bold and the fractal patterns, all given by God to guide the process of evolution. And in bold God knows logarithms!


DAVID: Can you mention other sources of consciousness? Nagel says unless we start considering teleology, our understandings will not advance.

dhw: Your question is another diversion from the issue of cellular intelligence, which you have unfairly ridiculed by distorting the concept. But it is a vitally important question in its own right, and I can only answer it by repeating that we not know the source of ANY level of consciousness.

That is why I choose God as the ultimate consciousness. Logical faith again.

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