Connecting the Pieces

I really wish I had the time to write more detailed postings for y’all.  For example, last night I drew attention to some recent findings that further support the plausibility of front-loading and seamlessly connect with other proposals on this blog.  But I didn’t get a chance to flesh it out.  So let me add a little more flesh to those front-loaded bones and show specific points where this ties in to my views.

Now, I have yet to read the actual research article, but I do want t bounce off the observations of Michael Gray: “But when you think about it in a neutral evolutionary fashion, in which these machineries emerge before there’s a need for them, then it makes sense.”

Another way of saying this is that neutral evolutionary processes churned out something that the blind watchmaker could exploit.  To appreciate the significance of this insight, take some time to read these blog entries.

Consider relevant quotes from some of these essays:

If candidates are found for question 3, we would have an appearance of design without a non-teleological explanation/response from neither Hume nor Darwin. – The Fading Reach of the Designer Mimic

If natural selection is not omnipresent, and an appearance of design emerges when natural selection is not there, then the non-teleologist must explain it in terms of chance or natural law. But even Dawkins recognizes chance is not a good explanation for the appearance of design, and law would easily fit into a teleological perspective. – Strict Gradualism

That neutral evolutionary processes may have churned out some machinery that natural selection could exploit not only points to the teleological echo of preadapation, but that such preadaptation may have unfolded because of factors intrinsic to biology.  And recall one of the expectations from front-loading: 3. Evolution would be significantly driven by intrinsic, biotic features.

As time goes on, the puzzle pieces keep falling into place and an image of evolution as a process influenced by design is emerging.

It was simply a matter of time before they came together into a more complex entity. Brandon Keim August 27, 2009

From there, it’s just a matter of time. Yours Truly, August 1, 2009

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3 responses to “Connecting the Pieces

  1. One major point is being danced around but seems to stay unsaid. Take the concept of neutral evolution. Raising the question, what might be predicted in regards to speciation, if neutral evolution is for real? One answer seems to come forward as a real possibility. Unlike evolution of small changes you might see major biological events. Jumps in speciation. This to me is a far better explanation than neo-Darwinian evolution.

  2. Tim,

    I believe you hit on Gould’s naming for rapid speciation; Punqtuated Equilibrium.

    “When evolution occurs, it is localized in rare, rapid events of branching speciation (called cladogenesis). Cladogenesis is simply the process by which species split into two distinct species, rather than one species gradually transforming into another.”

    Eldredge and Gould presented a paper on the topic together(ideas largely Eldredge)…

    “When Eldredge and Gould published their 1972 paper, allopatric speciation held the position as the “standard” theory of speciation.[1] The theory was popularized by Ernst Mayr in his 1954 paper “Change of genetic environment and evolution,”[2] and his classic volume Animal Species and Evolution (1963).[11]”

    “Allopatric speciation suggests that species which are comprised of large central populations are stabilized by their large volume and the genetic process of gene flow. New and even beneficial mutations are diluted by the population’s size and are unable to reach fixation due to factors such as constantly changing environments. If this is the case, then the transformation of whole lineages should be rare, as the fossil record indicates. Smaller populations on the other hand, which are isolated from the parental stock, are decoupled from the homogenizing effects of gene flow. In addition, pressure from natural selection is especially intense, as peripheral isolated populations exist at the outer edges of ecological tolerance. If most evolution happens in these rare instances of allopatric speciation then evidence of gradual evolution should be rare. This stimulating hypothesis was alluded upon by Mayr in the closing paragraph of his 1954 paper.”

    There was of course much backtracking over the years to appease Darwinist zealots. And it is now stated that people misunderstand the Eldredge/Gould model. That their work does not oppose gradualism.

    Well, it certainly embraces the rarity of fossil record transitions. And is built upon the lack of evidence for gradualism in the fossil record.

  3. The Wired article is hilarious.

    It’ll be interesting to see Behe’s response.

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