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Darwin: Species Does Not Exist
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The debate over the nature of biological species has many aspects. One question is the
biological nature of species: are they groups of interbreeding organisms, phylogenetic
branches on the Tree of Life, or something else? Then there is the ontological question: are species natural kinds, sets, or individuals? Recently, the debate over species
has been pitched at a higher hierarchical level. Instead of arguing over the nature of
species taxa, much discussion focuses on whether the species category—the theoretically defined category of all species taxa—exists. Those biologists and philosophers
that discuss the existence of the species category fall into two camps. Skeptics argue
M. Ereshefsky (B)
Department of Philosophy, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
e-mail: ereshefs@ucalgary.ca
123
406 Synthese (2010) 175:405–425
that the species category does not exist (Ereshefsky 1998, 2001; Mishler 1999, 2003;
Hendry et al. 2000; Pleijel and Rouse 2000a,b; Fisher 2006). Many of those skeptics
also suggest that the term ‘species’ should be eliminated from biology. Defenders
of the species category respond that with more theoretical knowledge and perhaps a
bit of philosophical reasoning we can be confident that the species category exists
(de Queiroz 1999, 2005, 2007; Mayden 2002; Pigliucci 2003; Pigliucci and Kaplan
2006; Lee 2003; Wilson 2005; Wilson et al. 2009).
This paper suggests a different approach to the species problem. This approach
is far from new, because Darwin employed a similar strategy to the species problem 150 years ago. Darwin’s solution, as I will call it, is threefold. First, we should
recognize that the species category is not a real category in nature. Second, despite
skepticism over the species category, we should not be skeptical of those taxa biologists call ‘species.’ Third, despite skepticism over the species category, there are
pragmatic reasons for retaining the word ‘species’ in biology. The claim that Darwin
was skeptical of the species category is not new (Ghiselin 1969; Beatty 1992; Hodge
1987), though it is contested (Stamos 1996, 2007). What is new is the relevance of
Darwin’s solution to current debates over the species problem. On the theoretical
side, Darwin’s solution is supported by contemporary biology and offers a stronger
answer to the species problem than recent attempts to save the species category. On
the practical side, Darwin’s solution frees us from the endless search for the correct
theoretical definition of ‘species,’ while at the same time

 
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  1. MM says:

    My information is hardly up to date, but I was under the impression that species are the category under protection in the various wildlife preservation legal frameworks in existence.

    For example, a area cannot be developed because a species has been discovered in that area. Or a species, e.g. the polar bear, is protected and cannot be hunted or otherwise prevented from annoying humans.

    So if species do not exist, how are judges to rule?

    • Replies: @JimB
    @MM

    I thought species could mate successfully only among themselves. That’s what makes them species.

    Replies: @JMcG, @Ben tillman

    , @J.Ross
    @MM

    Judges? We haven't had judges for years now. Our laws are relegislated by kritarches, and a kritarch can no more contradict himself than can Beijing or Alice's caterpillar.

    , @Buzz Mohawk
    @MM


    So if species do not exist, how are judges to rule?
     
    No problem. Races don't exist either, but certain ones are subject to protection under the law. They suffer from disparate impact, which is determined by judges.

    Judges can do anything. They are the alchemists of government. We don't actually need legislators and executives.

    , @Jack Armstrong
    @MM


    So if _____ do not exist, how are judges to rule?
     
    Penumbral emanations.

    Replies: @Jim Don Bob

    , @Bill
    @MM

    No. Subspecies are good enough for ESA. Northern Spotted Owl, for example.

  2. Splitters are so retarded. Do neutrons exist? Do carbon atoms exist? How about blue. Does it exist? Do hands exist? Do trees exist? Do tables exist? Maybe a foetus really is just a clump of cells—not that cells exist, but, you know, if they did.

    Splitters, outside the really stupid ones, are never in earnest. Always they are trying to evade some true conclusion which can be evaded only by either lying or denying reality. It’s just shielding skepticism.

    • Agree: Almost Missouri, notbe
    • Replies: @Triteleia Laxa
    @Bill

    Splitters want to engage with reality directly, but they don't recognise how difficult that is, so they often got lost in the chaos of it.

    Lumpers want to catch reality in their own net, but often end up getting stuck in the net, not reality.

    If you attack one of these tendencies, it is because you're prone to the other. People tend to be extremely consistent in their imbalance, with consequences that can be seen in every detail of their life and even when you first meet them.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @bomag, @astrolabe, @Bill

    , @Matthew Kelly
    @Bill

    Sophistry (or Talmudism, or Sophistry-cum-Talmudism--not sure which describes it best) in the service of Get Whitey shall never die until we cease hugging this intellectual tarbaby and start neutralizing the sources. (Note I don't mean that in the military euphemistic way, but in terms of rendering them impotent.)


    And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3 And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.
     
    I.e., it's a waste of time engaging those who aren't interested in the truth, but solely in rationalizing their agenda, no matter how convoluted or disingenuous their arguments are. Best to simply walk away.
    , @prime noticer
    @Bill

    yeah except there will never be any doubt that white people are real and exist when it's time to attack them.

    suddenly out of nowhere, most scientists even down in the Planck units, nuts and bolts of the universe research will discover that white people exist and are terrible when it's struggle session time.

    electrons may exist in some probability uncertainty field but the location and badness of any particular white person can be calculated instantly with infallible precision. a corollary to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, call it the Wokenberg Certainly principle.

    , @Jack Armstrong
    @Bill

    Lumpers rule!!!

  3. NYT 2024: All categorization must be banned, everything exists on a spectrum(white people still bad).

  4. Here’s some definitions:

    Negroes are a race that murders more frequently, scores lower on IQ tests, and wants your house … and your daughter. Because slavery.

    Asians are a race that gets on the roof with assault rifles to protect their own.

    Whites are a group because they do not believe race exists, but they give into the negro demands.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    @James Speaks

    Pretty good 👌🏼

    , @Anon
    @James Speaks

    Asian women prefer white men.

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk

    , @Hi There
    @James Speaks

    All racial groups have pros + cons. Don't be mean to black people.

    Individuals deserve to be judged on their individual behavior, regardless of race.

    Don't harbor animosity towards the entire racial group. Focus on your own life and life it to the fullest.

  5. Good topic. The current version of the post is a crummy cut-n-paste, Steve. Get me rewrite.

    Google’s cache of the source, “Darwin’s solution to the species problem,” by Marc Ereshefsky. Synthese, 2010, doi: 10.1007/s11229-009-9538-4.

    My opinions in tl;dr form:

    1. Species is an incredibly useful concept. Getting rid of it makes it harder to understand natural selection, evolution, and the natural world. Bug for some, feature for others.

    2. Life is diverse. In particular, reproduction and propagation take very diverse forms. Bacteria fission, except when they conjugate or sporulate. “Sex” is very different between plants and animals (to say nothing of yeast, etc.). Among animals: Some insects are eusocial. Many fish are sequential hermaphrodites. “Breeding populations” are fuzzy. Etc. Always unlikely that a single overarching concept of “species” would fit all these molds. Wittgenstein anticipated these debates: rather than clear and absolute boundaries, a “family resemblance” of like things (as Steve has noted previously).

    3. Science philosopher John S. Wilkins recently covered this topic in an hour-long discussion with Razib Khan, if your tastes run to podcasts.

    4. Those of us on the outside may forget from time to time, but Academics Gonna Academic. Publish-or-perish, Up-Or-Out on the tenure track. No manuscript gets accepted for arguing “I agree with him.” Say something unique, correctness and utility are secondary.

    • Replies: @res
    @ic1000

    Thanks. It looks like Steve basically quoted the first two paragraphs. Here is a cut and paste from your link which is hopefully more readable. (Steve, if you update your excerpt please feel free to delete this comment.)


    1. Introduction

    The debate over the nature of biological species has many aspects. One question is the biological nature of species: are they groups of interbreeding organisms, phylogenetic branches on the Tree of Life, or something else? Then there is the ontological question: are species natural kinds, sets, or individuals? Recently, the debate over species has been pitched at a higher hierarchical level. Instead of arguing over the nature of species taxa, much discussion focuses on whether the species category –the theoretically defined category of all species taxa– exists. Those biologists and philosophers that discuss the existence of the species category fall into two camps. Skeptics argue that the species category does not exist (Ereshefsky 1998, 2001; Mishler 1999, 2003; Hendry et al. 2000; Pleijel and Rouse 2000a, 2000b; Fisher 2006). Many of those skeptics also suggest that the term ‘species’ should be eliminated from biology. Defenders of the species category respond that with more theoretical knowledge and perhaps a bit of philosophical reasoning we can be confident that the species category exists (de Queiroz 1999, 2005, 2007; Mayden 2002; Pigliucci 2003; Pigliucci and Kaplan 2006; Lee 2003; Wilson 2005; Wilson et al. 2009).

    This paper suggests a different approach to the species problem. This approach is far from new, because Darwin employed a similar strategy to the species problem 150 years ago. Darwin’s solution, as I will call it, is threefold. First, we should recognize that the species category is not a real category in nature. Second, despite skepticism over the species category, we should not be skeptical of those taxa biologists call ‘species.’ Third, despite skepticism over the species category, there are pragmatic reasons for retaining the word ‘species’ in biology. The claim that Darwin was skeptical of the species category is not new (Ghiselin 1969; Beatty 1992; Hodge 1987), though it is contested (Stamos 1996, 2007). What is new is the relevance of Darwin’s solution to current debates over the species problem. On the theoretical side, Darwin’s solution is supported by contemporary biology and offers a stronger answer to the species problem than recent attempts to save the species category. On the practical side, Darwin’s solution frees us from the endless search for the correct theoretical definition of ‘species,’ while at the same time not requiring that we reform biological discourse by dropping the word ‘species.’

    The next section of the paper outlines Darwin’s solution to the species problem. Section 3 suggests that Darwin’s solution is confirmed by contemporary biological theory. Section 4 critically evaluates prominent biological and philosophical defenses of the species category. And Section 5 explains why we ought to keep the term ‘species’ despite skepticism over the species category.
     

    I added the third paragraph because it is short and I think it helps frame things.

    P.S. Direct link to the source Word document since the Google cache is perishable.
    https://wpsites.ucalgary.ca/marc-ereshefsky/wp-content/uploads/sites/35/2019/11/Darwins-Solution-to-the-Species-Problem.doc

    Replies: @SafeNow

    , @PhysicistDave
    @ic1000

    I doubt that too many practicing biologists lose too much sleep over the meaning of "species."

    There are lots of amusing complications: the existence of "ring species" is particularly amusing.

    But people are not unable to understand the concept of "ring species" because of confusion over the meaning of "species."

    Actual scientists use words to most clearly explain nature: e.g., to refer to my own doctoral thesis topic, the word "lepton" means "light particle" and was originally applied to the electron, muon, and their neutrinos.

    But when the tau particle was discovered and seen to be an analog of the electron and muon, we cheerfully called it the "heavy lepton," despite the semantic contradiction.

    We let Nature guide us, rather than playing semantic games.

    A similar situation occurred earlier in particle physics, when the muon was originally called the "mu meson," but we changed the nomenclature when we realized that calling it a "meson" did not conduce to understanding the structure of reality.

    A deep and unending obsession with semantics in preference to the real world tends to be the sign of a sick mind.

    Replies: @PhysicistDave, @lavoisier

    , @slumber_j
    @ic1000


    Wittgenstein anticipated these debates: rather than clear and absolute boundaries, a “family resemblance” of like things (as Steve has noted previously).
     
    Sort of. Wittgenstein's concept of Family Resemblance is mostly useful in discussing two or more phenomena that don't share a lot of important characteristics but can be seen to be part of a larger class with which they severally share one or more important characteristics. So there's discontinuity between the phenomena under examination, but they nevertheless are members of a larger class.

    Utility of expressions does lie at the heart of Wittgenstein's work, and the very human tendency to confuse expression and referent is one of his biggest concerns and I think the more relevant one here. Whether species exist is a question that has a lot more to do with how we use the word than anything else: as ever, language is a social convention.

    Top-down insistence on telling us what words may or may not mean is necessarily nonsense. Until recently most Anglophones understood this at least implicitly, which is why (unlike the French or Spanish e.g.) we lack an Academy to dictate what words mean. We have the OED or whatever to point us in the right direction, but it's not prescriptive. English Common Law is a legal analogue to this by the way, a fact I've never seen discussed, but probably I'm just ignorant.
    , @Bill
    @ic1000

    Publish or perish is very bad indeed.

    , @From Beer to Paternity
    @ic1000

    Here's a confession that I can't take to the grave. A bunch of US universities work with the Ecuadorean government and its institutions. Working on the Galapagos islands. That's fine. But it can't be denied that a lot of schools around the world use this relationship to send favored folk down there on junkets. Political rewards, essentially.

    Now, that wouldn't be so bad if the people sent down there had something of real value to contribute. But some sent down there aren't even aware of Darwin's connection with the Galapagos. How depressing is that? I know...

    Replies: @Jonathan Mason

  6. Is this not the same old Dilemma that nagged Darwin: that what the theory of natural selection implies is contradicted by what actually exists (and existed, per the fossil record).

    Firstly, why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?

    — On the Origin of Species, chapter 6

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciation#Darwin%27s_dilemma:_why_species_exist

    • Replies: @Triteleia Laxa
    @Almost Missouri

    I was thinking about how 300,000 imported black slaves turned into 40 million black Americans and I wondered if even a majority of that original 300,000 contributed to that number. I imagine that is very unlikely.

    Small populations can quickly explode into very large ones, certainly on an evolutionary timescale.

    We can also see this at the other end of the life complexity spectrum. Covid-19 was nowhere, but now it is everywhere, with no true predecessors to be seen.

    Life seems to engage with the environment by a series of explosions and contractions. Like taking drops of paint at random from an easel containing an infinite spectrum of colours, and putting them in water every now and again, colours will seem very distinct as they expand and disperse, even though they were continuous at source.

    We only see the big dispersals, not the infinite increments.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi, @AnotherDad, @J.Ross, @James Speaks, @Yojimbo/Zatoichi, @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    , @Anon
    @Almost Missouri


    Is this not the same old Dilemma that nagged Darwin: that what the theory of natural selection implies is contradicted by what actually exists (and existed, per the fossil record).
     
    Macroevoution.net

    Dr. Eugene McCarthy argues that the classical understanding of evolution as impossibly fine changes over time isn't reflected in the fossil record because speciation almost never happens that way.

    Instead, most speciation is hybridization between different species. In rare cases, incredibly different species can create a viable offspring. Even if that is only a 1 in a million chance, it is much more probable than some random base pair mutation creating a beneficial change.

    When that hybrid breeds back into the parent species, a new species is formed. This would appear in the fossil record as if new species just appeared out of nowhere. Which is exactly what we see.

    It's considered pretty out there in the world of biology, but he makes a very convincing argument. If you have a background in biology, his major paper is worth a read.

    Replies: @Grahamsno(G64), @Almost Missouri, @Ian M.

  7. Department of Philosophy

    So this is not a biologist discussion at all.

    But consider this, are there differences between potatoes and tomatoes?

    They are of the same genus, Solanum. Eggplant, too. Taxanomically, it makes sense to name them differently. Philosophers be damned.

    • Agree: Old and Grumpy
    • Replies: @Old and Grumpy
    @Gamecock

    Also related is nightshade.

    Replies: @Gamecock

  8. Anonymous[271] • Disclaimer says:

    Life does not exist. It is merely activated ‘dead’ matter.

    • LOL: InnerCynic
  9. Steve, learn to use a text editor with grep search and replace. Replace double returns (paragraph ends) with a placeholder, replace returns with spaces, then replace your placeholder with double returns. That gets rid of the hard returns from email or PDFs.

  10. @Bill
    Splitters are so retarded. Do neutrons exist? Do carbon atoms exist? How about blue. Does it exist? Do hands exist? Do trees exist? Do tables exist? Maybe a foetus really is just a clump of cells---not that cells exist, but, you know, if they did.

    Splitters, outside the really stupid ones, are never in earnest. Always they are trying to evade some true conclusion which can be evaded only by either lying or denying reality. It's just shielding skepticism.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa, @Matthew Kelly, @prime noticer, @Jack Armstrong

    Splitters want to engage with reality directly, but they don’t recognise how difficult that is, so they often got lost in the chaos of it.

    Lumpers want to catch reality in their own net, but often end up getting stuck in the net, not reality.

    If you attack one of these tendencies, it is because you’re prone to the other. People tend to be extremely consistent in their imbalance, with consequences that can be seen in every detail of their life and even when you first meet them.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Triteleia Laxa

    So are you splitting lumpers and splitters, or lumping splitters and lumpers?

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa

    , @bomag
    @Triteleia Laxa

    Both think in terms of one or zero.

    It is an improvement if they would consider a percentage of truth for their axioms and conclusions.

    Of course, they will ascribe 100% and 0% truth to the various questions, but others could demonstrate better headway.

    , @astrolabe
    @Triteleia Laxa

    How can I tell whether I'm a lumper or a splitter?

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa

    , @Bill
    @Triteleia Laxa


    If you attack one of these tendencies, it is because you’re prone to the other.
     
    Sure. And also one of these tendencies is better than the other.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa

  11. Biologists are Just. So. Exhausted. about searching for the best definition of “species.”

    They need sleep. They need rest. They need money to compensate them for their emotional labor.

    • LOL: Dieter Kief
    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    @Anon

    Concerning the biologist's exhaustion? - "About 900,000 species of insects have been identified globally, but studies of Latin American forest canopies have suggested there may be upwards of 30 million insect species." (quote from Quillette)

    Now - upwards of thirty million species of insects alone - and all of them wrong?! - This should cause serious exhaustions. Poor lads all of them - lost in unoverseeablee multitudes.

  12. @Almost Missouri
    Is this not the same old Dilemma that nagged Darwin: that what the theory of natural selection implies is contradicted by what actually exists (and existed, per the fossil record).

    Firstly, why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?
     
    — On the Origin of Species, chapter 6

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciation#Darwin%27s_dilemma:_why_species_exist

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa, @Anon

    I was thinking about how 300,000 imported black slaves turned into 40 million black Americans and I wondered if even a majority of that original 300,000 contributed to that number. I imagine that is very unlikely.

    Small populations can quickly explode into very large ones, certainly on an evolutionary timescale.

    We can also see this at the other end of the life complexity spectrum. Covid-19 was nowhere, but now it is everywhere, with no true predecessors to be seen.

    Life seems to engage with the environment by a series of explosions and contractions. Like taking drops of paint at random from an easel containing an infinite spectrum of colours, and putting them in water every now and again, colours will seem very distinct as they expand and disperse, even though they were continuous at source.

    We only see the big dispersals, not the infinite increments.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @Triteleia Laxa

    “I was thinking about how 300,000 imported black slaves turned into 40 million black Americans and I wondered if even a majority of that original 300,000 contributed to that number. I imagine that is very unlikely.“

    Actually no, it’s quite likely. Since 1807, when the importation of sub Saharans into the US was banned, the only way to increase the Sub population was thru natural increase.

    “Covid-19 was nowhere, but now it is everywhere, with no true predecessors to be seen.“

    As a bacterial infectious virus, Covid is related to other infectious viruses such as the flu and pneumonia, both of which have been around for centuries. There’s a reason why Covid shares many similar symptoms with the flu and pneumonia: because there’re related to each other. For all the hype regarding Covid deaths last year, where’d all the annual flu deaths go? Or where they most likely counted in with deaths from Covid? Granted this doesn’t entirely explain the covid phenomenon. It does amply demonstrate that infectious diseases like the flu, pneumonia have been around quite a long time.

    So far the unique thing about Covid is that it’s new. Once heard immunity is reached it will become like other infectious viruses such as the flu—an annual occurrence but not enough to shut the economy down.

    The 1918-20 Spanish Flu killed as many in the US. There was no effective vaccine developed during this time, nor did the economy entirely shut down. Herd immunity was eventually reached, and that’s been that ever since.

    Replies: @Charon, @Bill Jones

    , @AnotherDad
    @Triteleia Laxa


    I was thinking about how 300,000 imported black slaves turned into 40 million black Americans and I wondered if even a majority of that original 300,000 contributed to that number. I imagine that is very unlikely.
     
    Betting ...
    the women -- yes
    the men -- no

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa

    , @J.Ross
    @Triteleia Laxa

    Let us never forget that more Africans voluntarily immigrated to the United States than were involuntarily brought over as slaves.

    , @James Speaks
    @Triteleia Laxa


    I was thinking about how 300,000 imported black slaves turned into 40 million black Americans ...
     
    You see, when a boy slave loves a girl slave very, very much ...
    , @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @Triteleia Laxa

    "Covid-19 was nowhere, but now it is everywhere, with no true predecessors to be seen."

    Covid is a virus and is related to such viruses as the flu and pneumonia (all three in fact, do share many symptoms). Thus the idea that there isn't a predecessor to Covid is either a canard or ignorance.

    The Spanish Flu of 1918-20 in the US, more than half a million died. There was no vaccine developed vs it during this time period, and the US did not close down the economy to deal with the virus. Once herd immunity was reached, the flu was no longer viewed as the apocalypse it appeared to be when it first reached the US.

    That is another aspect that Covid directly shares in common with the flu: as it first hit the US and began to impact the nation at large, it was perceived to be a new thing. Historically speaking, such viruses as Covid, the flu, swine flu, bird flu, etc are all related in some way and in fact have been in existence for a couple of centuries. Once the hysteria over Covid dies down, and things return to normal due in no small part to reaching herd immunity, then the US can return to normal.

    Interesting to note is that after the Spanish Flu and for roughly the next hundred yrs, no one thought that the flu was worth panicking over. No one much bothered to mention what the tally of annual deaths from flu was in 2020. Perhaps because many of them were figured in with the COVID deaths. This obviously doesn't explain all of Covid, but it does help to demonstrate that far from being a new thing, Covid does share things in common with the common flu, pneumonia as well as other viruses that attack chiefly the respiratory area.

    , @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @Triteleia Laxa

    "how 300,000 imported black slaves turned into 40 million black Americans...if even a majority of that original 300,000 contributed to that number. I imagine that is very unlikely."

    The original 300k had to contribute directly to the number of 40 million, especially after 1807, because that's when the US government banned the importation of slaves to the US (the Slave Trade officially ended in 1807). Immigration from Africa as a whole to the US, pre-1965, was practically nil. Thus there is no other feasible way for the population to go from 300k to 40 million except thru natural increase.

    Also, there were roughly 300k slaves ca. 1700, which is 320 yrs ago. So it is plenty of time for the population to have increased to that level, especially as blacks have historically tended to have higher birth rates than other races. The current example of the African continent will suffice. Supposedly by the end of this century, Africa will have increased its population by over 1-2 billion people. So if those projections are accurate and turn out to be true, then going from 300k to 40 million in 320 yrs time is very doable.

  13. This seems to be a “solution” in search of a problem. Perhaps the paper discussed what the problem is but this abstract doesn’t.

    Do Kingdoms exist? I say the problem of Kingdoms is solved, because Kingdoms don’t exist.

    • Replies: @James Speaks
    @Scott in PA

    Do Ramsey sentences exist?

  14. @ic1000
    Good topic. The current version of the post is a crummy cut-n-paste, Steve. Get me rewrite.

    Google's cache of the source, "Darwin’s solution to the species problem," by Marc Ereshefsky. Synthese, 2010, doi: 10.1007/s11229-009-9538-4.

    My opinions in tl;dr form:

    1. Species is an incredibly useful concept. Getting rid of it makes it harder to understand natural selection, evolution, and the natural world. Bug for some, feature for others.

    2. Life is diverse. In particular, reproduction and propagation take very diverse forms. Bacteria fission, except when they conjugate or sporulate. "Sex" is very different between plants and animals (to say nothing of yeast, etc.). Among animals: Some insects are eusocial. Many fish are sequential hermaphrodites. "Breeding populations" are fuzzy. Etc. Always unlikely that a single overarching concept of "species" would fit all these molds. Wittgenstein anticipated these debates: rather than clear and absolute boundaries, a "family resemblance" of like things (as Steve has noted previously).

    3. Science philosopher John S. Wilkins recently covered this topic in an hour-long discussion with Razib Khan, if your tastes run to podcasts.

    4. Those of us on the outside may forget from time to time, but Academics Gonna Academic. Publish-or-perish, Up-Or-Out on the tenure track. No manuscript gets accepted for arguing "I agree with him." Say something unique, correctness and utility are secondary.

    Replies: @res, @PhysicistDave, @slumber_j, @Bill, @From Beer to Paternity

    Thanks. It looks like Steve basically quoted the first two paragraphs. Here is a cut and paste from your link which is hopefully more readable. (Steve, if you update your excerpt please feel free to delete this comment.)

    1. Introduction

    The debate over the nature of biological species has many aspects. One question is the biological nature of species: are they groups of interbreeding organisms, phylogenetic branches on the Tree of Life, or something else? Then there is the ontological question: are species natural kinds, sets, or individuals? Recently, the debate over species has been pitched at a higher hierarchical level. Instead of arguing over the nature of species taxa, much discussion focuses on whether the species category –the theoretically defined category of all species taxa– exists. Those biologists and philosophers that discuss the existence of the species category fall into two camps. Skeptics argue that the species category does not exist (Ereshefsky 1998, 2001; Mishler 1999, 2003; Hendry et al. 2000; Pleijel and Rouse 2000a, 2000b; Fisher 2006). Many of those skeptics also suggest that the term ‘species’ should be eliminated from biology. Defenders of the species category respond that with more theoretical knowledge and perhaps a bit of philosophical reasoning we can be confident that the species category exists (de Queiroz 1999, 2005, 2007; Mayden 2002; Pigliucci 2003; Pigliucci and Kaplan 2006; Lee 2003; Wilson 2005; Wilson et al. 2009).

    This paper suggests a different approach to the species problem. This approach is far from new, because Darwin employed a similar strategy to the species problem 150 years ago. Darwin’s solution, as I will call it, is threefold. First, we should recognize that the species category is not a real category in nature. Second, despite skepticism over the species category, we should not be skeptical of those taxa biologists call ‘species.’ Third, despite skepticism over the species category, there are pragmatic reasons for retaining the word ‘species’ in biology. The claim that Darwin was skeptical of the species category is not new (Ghiselin 1969; Beatty 1992; Hodge 1987), though it is contested (Stamos 1996, 2007). What is new is the relevance of Darwin’s solution to current debates over the species problem. On the theoretical side, Darwin’s solution is supported by contemporary biology and offers a stronger answer to the species problem than recent attempts to save the species category. On the practical side, Darwin’s solution frees us from the endless search for the correct theoretical definition of ‘species,’ while at the same time not requiring that we reform biological discourse by dropping the word ‘species.’

    The next section of the paper outlines Darwin’s solution to the species problem. Section 3 suggests that Darwin’s solution is confirmed by contemporary biological theory. Section 4 critically evaluates prominent biological and philosophical defenses of the species category. And Section 5 explains why we ought to keep the term ‘species’ despite skepticism over the species category.

    I added the third paragraph because it is short and I think it helps frame things.

    P.S. Direct link to the source Word document since the Google cache is perishable.
    https://wpsites.ucalgary.ca/marc-ereshefsky/wp-content/uploads/sites/35/2019/11/Darwins-Solution-to-the-Species-Problem.doc

    • Thanks: jamie b., ic1000, PhysicistDave
    • Replies: @SafeNow
    @res

    Thanks, Res, this helps. Didn’t you once have a gold star, but then Ron took it away? Maybe now Ron regrets taking it away.

    Replies: @res

  15. @Triteleia Laxa
    @Almost Missouri

    I was thinking about how 300,000 imported black slaves turned into 40 million black Americans and I wondered if even a majority of that original 300,000 contributed to that number. I imagine that is very unlikely.

    Small populations can quickly explode into very large ones, certainly on an evolutionary timescale.

    We can also see this at the other end of the life complexity spectrum. Covid-19 was nowhere, but now it is everywhere, with no true predecessors to be seen.

    Life seems to engage with the environment by a series of explosions and contractions. Like taking drops of paint at random from an easel containing an infinite spectrum of colours, and putting them in water every now and again, colours will seem very distinct as they expand and disperse, even though they were continuous at source.

    We only see the big dispersals, not the infinite increments.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi, @AnotherDad, @J.Ross, @James Speaks, @Yojimbo/Zatoichi, @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    “I was thinking about how 300,000 imported black slaves turned into 40 million black Americans and I wondered if even a majority of that original 300,000 contributed to that number. I imagine that is very unlikely.“

    Actually no, it’s quite likely. Since 1807, when the importation of sub Saharans into the US was banned, the only way to increase the Sub population was thru natural increase.

    “Covid-19 was nowhere, but now it is everywhere, with no true predecessors to be seen.“

    As a bacterial infectious virus, Covid is related to other infectious viruses such as the flu and pneumonia, both of which have been around for centuries. There’s a reason why Covid shares many similar symptoms with the flu and pneumonia: because there’re related to each other. For all the hype regarding Covid deaths last year, where’d all the annual flu deaths go? Or where they most likely counted in with deaths from Covid? Granted this doesn’t entirely explain the covid phenomenon. It does amply demonstrate that infectious diseases like the flu, pneumonia have been around quite a long time.

    So far the unique thing about Covid is that it’s new. Once heard immunity is reached it will become like other infectious viruses such as the flu—an annual occurrence but not enough to shut the economy down.

    The 1918-20 Spanish Flu killed as many in the US. There was no effective vaccine developed during this time, nor did the economy entirely shut down. Herd immunity was eventually reached, and that’s been that ever since.

    • Agree: Desiderius
    • Replies: @Charon
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Since 1807, when the importation of sub Saharans into the US was banned
     

    TPTB don't like for this fact to be mentioned. Because since the Revolutionary War ended in 1783, it means that the USA is implicated in roughly 24 years of the slave trade: vastly less than most great nations throughout human history. The rest here was the doing of the British, Spaniards, Portuguese, et al.

    Better we should get woke and pretend that the USA's history began in 1619. That'll show whitey who's boss.

    , @Bill Jones
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    The best common sense comment on how many covid deaths were merely re-purposed came as so often, from Switzerland.
    "We Swiss know our cemeteries, last years activity was no different to previous years."

    My usual indolently casual search can't find the cite.

  16. Sometimes I hear a newsreader, or even a prominent pundit, who thinks that a single species is called a “specie.” Somehow, this person has gone through life hearing the correct usage a zillion times, without it registering. Or, maybe it does register, but it is a matter of arrogance, with the pundit thinking that the zillion other people are all wrong, and he is the smart one.

    • Replies: @I, Libertine
    @SafeNow


    Sometimes I hear a newsreader, or even a prominent pundit, who thinks that a "pundit" is called a “pundent.” Somehow, this person has gone through life seeing the correct spelling a zillion times, without it registering that the pronunciation is obviously incorrect. Or, maybe it does register, but it is a matter of groupthink, with the pundit thinking that the zillion other people must all be correct, and he is the wrong one.
     
    You reminded me of one of my pet peeves. I got a million of 'em.

    Replies: @anon

    , @Bert
    @SafeNow

    Probably never registered the correct spelling/pronunciation. "Excellant" "Supercede" I've seen Ph.D.s use these spellings. Or from Dictionary.com, "Ph.d. Definition & Meaning Dictionary.com." Many of us carry around little goblins of ignorance waiting for the right moment to embarrass us.

    , @Herp McDerp
    @SafeNow

    The former head of a lab where I used to work always called praise to an individual for a job well done "a kudo."

    , @Ian M.
    @SafeNow

    I know a guy who when asked what the frequency something was oscillating at, replied: "One Hert".

    He was an MIT grad student.

  17. Of course specieses don’t exist in the real world. Neither do numbers.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @obwandiyag

    I remember once as a small child lying in bed at night unable to sleep, I decided to count all the 'things' in my bedroom. I soon gave up in frustration. Is a bed one 'thing' or many? What about a chest of drawers? It was all too confusing.

  18. “First, we should recognize that the species category is not a real category in nature. Second, despite skepticism over the species category, we should not be skeptical of those taxa biologists call ‘species.’ Third, despite skepticism over the species category, there are pragmatic reasons for retaining the word ‘species’ in biology”

    In other words, this concept, like all concepts, is a type of falsework that is used as a temporary scaffolding and mold to hold up a particular part of the intellectual edifice which we call our world view. Once the Arch is completed, the falsework can be stripped away and the arch will support itself. In just this manner are all of your beliefs knit together in your mind. They form a whole. “The Truth is the Whole” as Hegel said. But the whole truth in your mind is not the Whole Truth. We are all limited in our experiences and capabilities of understanding. Each of us occupies a branch on the Tree of Knowledge from which we look out upon the World. Our view is partial. What lies on the other side of the Tree, we cannot see. The sum total of human knowledge, the combination of all knowledge gained from all perspectives is the whole truth in so far as we can see it.

    No one concept can be isolated and analyzed and be said to be complete unto itself. It only makes sense in the context of the entire edifice. This is why such discussions are somewhat beside the point. They originate from people who don’t understand that a concept is not a thing. A concept is something more akin to a star. It sheds light. You cannot look at it–into it–and at the same time benefit from how it illuminates the world around you. In this sense, the mind of man shares in the Divine nature of the Creator of the Universe (the Demiurge). Failure to grasp this is to miss the entire point of 2500 years of European intellectual history.

    • Agree: Ben tillman
    • Replies: @Tom Verso
    @ThreeCranes

    I don't know anything about species and profoundly philosophically challenged.

    Just passing time on a leisurely morning scroll through comments.

    But, I am a former mason/bricklayer and I was stunned by the picture of a (probably 19th century) tunnel forming system.

    Could you give me a link to the source of the picture?

    Thanks

    Replies: @Coemgen

  19. Having survived the onslaught of the religious fundamentalists and the Scopes monkey trial, it seems that Darwin’s chef d’oeuvre The Origin of Species has now been demolished by biologists by the simple process of demonstrating that there are no species.

    Nice job, biologists.

    Without species, there is no origin and we are back to square one.

    • Agree: Matthew Kelly
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Jonathan Mason

    Race-denial is Creationism.

    , @Matt Buckalew
    @Jonathan Mason

    Good that’s where we’d be anyways if a certain paleontological theory hadn’t proven so effective a tribal battering ram against Anglo-Christian culture. Evolution as a scientific theory is at a less compelling state than the plum pudding model of the atom.

    Replies: @Bert

  20. @Bill
    Splitters are so retarded. Do neutrons exist? Do carbon atoms exist? How about blue. Does it exist? Do hands exist? Do trees exist? Do tables exist? Maybe a foetus really is just a clump of cells---not that cells exist, but, you know, if they did.

    Splitters, outside the really stupid ones, are never in earnest. Always they are trying to evade some true conclusion which can be evaded only by either lying or denying reality. It's just shielding skepticism.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa, @Matthew Kelly, @prime noticer, @Jack Armstrong

    Sophistry (or Talmudism, or Sophistry-cum-Talmudism–not sure which describes it best) in the service of Get Whitey shall never die until we cease hugging this intellectual tarbaby and start neutralizing the sources. (Note I don’t mean that in the military euphemistic way, but in terms of rendering them impotent.)

    And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3 And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.

    I.e., it’s a waste of time engaging those who aren’t interested in the truth, but solely in rationalizing their agenda, no matter how convoluted or disingenuous their arguments are. Best to simply walk away.

    • Agree: Lurker, Bill
  21. Much like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s famous remark in Jacobellis v. Ohio when he wrote, “I know it when I see it,” it being hard-core” pornography, I say, “Race, I know it when I see it, or when my property values plummet due to the sudden, inexplicable
    occurences of small arms fire and random murders.”

  22. So some philosopher wants to hump a sheep and we have to hear about it?

    • LOL: Art Deco
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @AnotherDad


    So some philosopher wants to hump a sheep and we have to hear about it?

    • LOL: Art Deco
     

    Never thought we'd see the day!


    Still, Art is the only one here who can make me laugh out loud, because I'm so wired to laugh not at jokes but at sardonic rejoinders. I suppose that is ironic. Literally.


    https://image.shutterstock.com/image-illustration/comical-sardonic-message-relating-being-600w-1716217669.jpg

  23. @Triteleia Laxa
    @Almost Missouri

    I was thinking about how 300,000 imported black slaves turned into 40 million black Americans and I wondered if even a majority of that original 300,000 contributed to that number. I imagine that is very unlikely.

    Small populations can quickly explode into very large ones, certainly on an evolutionary timescale.

    We can also see this at the other end of the life complexity spectrum. Covid-19 was nowhere, but now it is everywhere, with no true predecessors to be seen.

    Life seems to engage with the environment by a series of explosions and contractions. Like taking drops of paint at random from an easel containing an infinite spectrum of colours, and putting them in water every now and again, colours will seem very distinct as they expand and disperse, even though they were continuous at source.

    We only see the big dispersals, not the infinite increments.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi, @AnotherDad, @J.Ross, @James Speaks, @Yojimbo/Zatoichi, @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    I was thinking about how 300,000 imported black slaves turned into 40 million black Americans and I wondered if even a majority of that original 300,000 contributed to that number. I imagine that is very unlikely.

    Betting …
    the women — yes
    the men — no

    • Replies: @Triteleia Laxa
    @AnotherDad

    Given that US slaves were often bred as a commodity, this does make particular sense.

    Replies: @james wilson

  24. @MM
    My information is hardly up to date, but I was under the impression that species are the category under protection in the various wildlife preservation legal frameworks in existence.

    For example, a area cannot be developed because a species has been discovered in that area. Or a species, e.g. the polar bear, is protected and cannot be hunted or otherwise prevented from annoying humans.

    So if species do not exist, how are judges to rule?

    Replies: @JimB, @J.Ross, @Buzz Mohawk, @Jack Armstrong, @Bill

    I thought species could mate successfully only among themselves. That’s what makes them species.

    • Replies: @JMcG
    @JimB

    That would make Neanderthals and Denisovans something other than species. Something more like races. And that just wouldn’t do.

    , @Ben tillman
    @JimB

    Lots of pairs of species are inter fertile. Lions and tigers for instance.

  25. @AnotherDad
    @Triteleia Laxa


    I was thinking about how 300,000 imported black slaves turned into 40 million black Americans and I wondered if even a majority of that original 300,000 contributed to that number. I imagine that is very unlikely.
     
    Betting ...
    the women -- yes
    the men -- no

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa

    Given that US slaves were often bred as a commodity, this does make particular sense.

    • Replies: @james wilson
    @Triteleia Laxa

    US slaves were bred as a commodity only in Virginia and sold elswhere after tobacco's profit margins sank. Slaves in the Carib did not breed but at very low levels which is why the demand for import stayed so high. In the American systems of slavery they did breed (for whatever reasons) although not at high numbers. The great breeders after the war were female mulatto house slaves. Sally Hemmings did very well for herself even in her time. That is how we get from a tiny fraction to 17% white in no time.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Triteleia Laxa, @SaneClownPosse, @anon

  26. The original title of that article was going to be “How Many Species Can Dance on the Head of a Pin?”

  27. @Bill
    Splitters are so retarded. Do neutrons exist? Do carbon atoms exist? How about blue. Does it exist? Do hands exist? Do trees exist? Do tables exist? Maybe a foetus really is just a clump of cells---not that cells exist, but, you know, if they did.

    Splitters, outside the really stupid ones, are never in earnest. Always they are trying to evade some true conclusion which can be evaded only by either lying or denying reality. It's just shielding skepticism.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa, @Matthew Kelly, @prime noticer, @Jack Armstrong

    yeah except there will never be any doubt that white people are real and exist when it’s time to attack them.

    suddenly out of nowhere, most scientists even down in the Planck units, nuts and bolts of the universe research will discover that white people exist and are terrible when it’s struggle session time.

    electrons may exist in some probability uncertainty field but the location and badness of any particular white person can be calculated instantly with infallible precision. a corollary to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, call it the Wokenberg Certainly principle.

  28. @res
    @ic1000

    Thanks. It looks like Steve basically quoted the first two paragraphs. Here is a cut and paste from your link which is hopefully more readable. (Steve, if you update your excerpt please feel free to delete this comment.)


    1. Introduction

    The debate over the nature of biological species has many aspects. One question is the biological nature of species: are they groups of interbreeding organisms, phylogenetic branches on the Tree of Life, or something else? Then there is the ontological question: are species natural kinds, sets, or individuals? Recently, the debate over species has been pitched at a higher hierarchical level. Instead of arguing over the nature of species taxa, much discussion focuses on whether the species category –the theoretically defined category of all species taxa– exists. Those biologists and philosophers that discuss the existence of the species category fall into two camps. Skeptics argue that the species category does not exist (Ereshefsky 1998, 2001; Mishler 1999, 2003; Hendry et al. 2000; Pleijel and Rouse 2000a, 2000b; Fisher 2006). Many of those skeptics also suggest that the term ‘species’ should be eliminated from biology. Defenders of the species category respond that with more theoretical knowledge and perhaps a bit of philosophical reasoning we can be confident that the species category exists (de Queiroz 1999, 2005, 2007; Mayden 2002; Pigliucci 2003; Pigliucci and Kaplan 2006; Lee 2003; Wilson 2005; Wilson et al. 2009).

    This paper suggests a different approach to the species problem. This approach is far from new, because Darwin employed a similar strategy to the species problem 150 years ago. Darwin’s solution, as I will call it, is threefold. First, we should recognize that the species category is not a real category in nature. Second, despite skepticism over the species category, we should not be skeptical of those taxa biologists call ‘species.’ Third, despite skepticism over the species category, there are pragmatic reasons for retaining the word ‘species’ in biology. The claim that Darwin was skeptical of the species category is not new (Ghiselin 1969; Beatty 1992; Hodge 1987), though it is contested (Stamos 1996, 2007). What is new is the relevance of Darwin’s solution to current debates over the species problem. On the theoretical side, Darwin’s solution is supported by contemporary biology and offers a stronger answer to the species problem than recent attempts to save the species category. On the practical side, Darwin’s solution frees us from the endless search for the correct theoretical definition of ‘species,’ while at the same time not requiring that we reform biological discourse by dropping the word ‘species.’

    The next section of the paper outlines Darwin’s solution to the species problem. Section 3 suggests that Darwin’s solution is confirmed by contemporary biological theory. Section 4 critically evaluates prominent biological and philosophical defenses of the species category. And Section 5 explains why we ought to keep the term ‘species’ despite skepticism over the species category.
     

    I added the third paragraph because it is short and I think it helps frame things.

    P.S. Direct link to the source Word document since the Google cache is perishable.
    https://wpsites.ucalgary.ca/marc-ereshefsky/wp-content/uploads/sites/35/2019/11/Darwins-Solution-to-the-Species-Problem.doc

    Replies: @SafeNow

    Thanks, Res, this helps. Didn’t you once have a gold star, but then Ron took it away? Maybe now Ron regrets taking it away.

    • Replies: @res
    @SafeNow

    You are welcome. Ron discusses the gold stars going away at the bottom of this post.
    https://www.unz.com/announcement/an-orwellian-anniversary-and-adding-email-subscriptions-to-our-website

    It looks like the current setup is the gold stars are on a per blog basis. If you really like the gold star you can see it in my comments on James Thompson's blog ; )

  29. Anonymous[320] • Disclaimer says:

    There are a couple current sociopolitical aspects to speciation to promote labeling of species

    1. Claiming protection under Endangered Species law.

    2. Academics wanting to gain noteworthiness. Often reports of “finding” a new species are just arguments for labeling a certain population as a species. Gives the discoverer some academic brownie points. But it’s not really going into the wild and finding anything. Just a classification argument. Quite often the arguments are based on mitochondrial DNA differences which is a pretty lousy method (only shows maternal ancestor differentiation, wandering males can still intermix chromosomes.). Also often these “species” or even genera interbreed easily. It’s pretty far from a functional definition (inability to interbreed and produce viable offspring).

    P.s. Even the funtional definition has issues (for example ring species: A can breed with B and B with C, but not A with C). But this is a nuance. And really, the functional breeding definition is the closest to something physical. But at the end of the day, species labeling is a man-made activity. The animals don’t care. They just fuck and breed.

  30. First, we should recognize that the species category is not a real category in nature.

    I stopped reading right there; this is a statement only a philosopher could make. There are no “real categories” in nature. Our natural theories contain categories, some of which are so useful they seem real, but nature just is. No scientist would claim that species are real in the same sense that the tree in my back yard is real.

    Is species a useful category? Seems like the entirety of biology says it is.

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    @Faraday's Bobcat


    First, we should recognize that the species category is not a real category in nature.
     

    I stopped reading right there; this is a statement only a philosopher could make.
     
    Well - all kinds of people make such statements. But - there is indeed a - - - well established philosophical remedy to such mistakes, which critizises sentences like the one you quoted above from Mark Ereshevsky's paper on Darwin for being naturalistic - meaning: Wrong. - See Jürgen Habermas' very insightful book Between Naturalism and Religion.
    , @Ian M.
    @Faraday's Bobcat


    I stopped reading right there; this is a statement only a philosopher could make.
     
    Well, and Darwin.
  31. @MM
    My information is hardly up to date, but I was under the impression that species are the category under protection in the various wildlife preservation legal frameworks in existence.

    For example, a area cannot be developed because a species has been discovered in that area. Or a species, e.g. the polar bear, is protected and cannot be hunted or otherwise prevented from annoying humans.

    So if species do not exist, how are judges to rule?

    Replies: @JimB, @J.Ross, @Buzz Mohawk, @Jack Armstrong, @Bill

    Judges? We haven’t had judges for years now. Our laws are relegislated by kritarches, and a kritarch can no more contradict himself than can Beijing or Alice’s caterpillar.

  32. How many post-species biologists will swim naked with barracudas because the barracudas aren’t really barracudas?

  33. @Triteleia Laxa
    @Almost Missouri

    I was thinking about how 300,000 imported black slaves turned into 40 million black Americans and I wondered if even a majority of that original 300,000 contributed to that number. I imagine that is very unlikely.

    Small populations can quickly explode into very large ones, certainly on an evolutionary timescale.

    We can also see this at the other end of the life complexity spectrum. Covid-19 was nowhere, but now it is everywhere, with no true predecessors to be seen.

    Life seems to engage with the environment by a series of explosions and contractions. Like taking drops of paint at random from an easel containing an infinite spectrum of colours, and putting them in water every now and again, colours will seem very distinct as they expand and disperse, even though they were continuous at source.

    We only see the big dispersals, not the infinite increments.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi, @AnotherDad, @J.Ross, @James Speaks, @Yojimbo/Zatoichi, @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Let us never forget that more Africans voluntarily immigrated to the United States than were involuntarily brought over as slaves.

    • Thanks: Triteleia Laxa
  34. Defining species by interbreeding works well in most all cases.

    There are exceptions, such as species A, B, C, where A can interbreed with B, and B can interbreed with C, but A cannot interbreed with C.

    Okay, but we do not discard a useful concept just because of some unusual cases. I don’t see Steve abandoning his sprinter theory just because of one fast Chinese Olympian.

  35. @James Speaks
    Here's some definitions:

    Negroes are a race that murders more frequently, scores lower on IQ tests, and wants your house ... and your daughter. Because slavery.

    Asians are a race that gets on the roof with assault rifles to protect their own.

    Whites are a group because they do not believe race exists, but they give into the negro demands.

    Replies: @El Dato, @Anon, @Hi There

    Pretty good 👌🏼

  36. Of course the truth is that there are species, but that new species are always evolving although that evolution may not be apparent to our eyes.

    Even in terms of human beings, it may be that a 100,000 years from now scientists will be claiming that they used to be humans of different colors like black and white, but that the black and white species died out or merged into the brown races, and that contemporary humans still have evidence of black chromosomes.

    So blacks and whites will be just as extinct as sabertooth tigers and mammoths.

    • Replies: @Lurker
    @Jonathan Mason

    Assuming this 'science' thing exists in the future panracial nirvana.

    Replies: @Grahamsno(G64)

    , @Almost Missouri
    @Jonathan Mason


    Of course the truth is that there are species,
     
    Yes.

    but that new species are always evolving although that evolution may not be apparent to our eyes.
     
    That is the more ambiguous part, as I noted in my previous comment. According to Darwin's theory, that is what should be happening, but as Darwin himself noticed, the fossil record sure doesn't look like that.

    Darwin anticipated "phyletic gradualism". Wikipedia illustrates it, along with the attempt to rescue the concept as "punctuated equilibrium" in this image:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/69/Punctuated-equilibrium.svg/800px-Punctuated-equilibrium.svg.png

    But the reality is that no one has ever found whatever is supposed to be represented by those horizontal bars. The actual fossil record amounts to a bunch of vertical lines, starting from nothing and ending in nothing.

    Replies: @res, @nokangaroos

  37. Anon[103] • Disclaimer says:
    @Almost Missouri
    Is this not the same old Dilemma that nagged Darwin: that what the theory of natural selection implies is contradicted by what actually exists (and existed, per the fossil record).

    Firstly, why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?
     
    — On the Origin of Species, chapter 6

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciation#Darwin%27s_dilemma:_why_species_exist

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa, @Anon

    Is this not the same old Dilemma that nagged Darwin: that what the theory of natural selection implies is contradicted by what actually exists (and existed, per the fossil record).

    Macroevoution.net

    Dr. Eugene McCarthy argues that the classical understanding of evolution as impossibly fine changes over time isn’t reflected in the fossil record because speciation almost never happens that way.

    Instead, most speciation is hybridization between different species. In rare cases, incredibly different species can create a viable offspring. Even if that is only a 1 in a million chance, it is much more probable than some random base pair mutation creating a beneficial change.

    When that hybrid breeds back into the parent species, a new species is formed. This would appear in the fossil record as if new species just appeared out of nowhere. Which is exactly what we see.

    It’s considered pretty out there in the world of biology, but he makes a very convincing argument. If you have a background in biology, his major paper is worth a read.

    • Replies: @Grahamsno(G64)
    @Anon

    Stephen Gould noticed this problem with the fossil record. He called it 'punctuated equilibrium' that is the fossil record doesn't change for a long time i.e. in equilibrium and then suddenly new species occur.

    Replies: @David, @AnotherDad

    , @Almost Missouri
    @Anon

    It's an interesting theory, and it addresses Darwin's Dilemma, but ...


    When that hybrid breeds back into the parent species, a new species is formed.
     
    Okay, but then each "new" species is just 3/4 of an old species and 1/4 of another species. Which doesn't quite seem to be exactly what we see. Over time, such a speciation process should be leading to a gradual homogenization via quarter-hybridizations. But instead the fossil record shows diversification rather than homogenization.

    Replies: @Jonathan Mason

    , @Ian M.
    @Anon

    Interesting.

    But how does this theory account for qualitative hierarchical jumps? For example, one could imagine, I don't know, some snake-like creature mating with some alligator-like creature and producing something like a lizard, but you're never going to get a qualitatively higher form of life, e.g., an ape. A cause cannot give what it does not have. You might get a variety of new species this way, but you'll always be stuck at the same hierarchical level of life and never progress beyond it to higher forms of life.

    Replies: @Gamecock

  38. @MM
    My information is hardly up to date, but I was under the impression that species are the category under protection in the various wildlife preservation legal frameworks in existence.

    For example, a area cannot be developed because a species has been discovered in that area. Or a species, e.g. the polar bear, is protected and cannot be hunted or otherwise prevented from annoying humans.

    So if species do not exist, how are judges to rule?

    Replies: @JimB, @J.Ross, @Buzz Mohawk, @Jack Armstrong, @Bill

    So if species do not exist, how are judges to rule?

    No problem. Races don’t exist either, but certain ones are subject to protection under the law. They suffer from disparate impact, which is determined by judges.

    Judges can do anything. They are the alchemists of government. We don’t actually need legislators and executives.

    • Agree: bomag
  39. Lol:

    • Replies: @AnotherDad
    @Desiderius

    This is just a classic "separate nations" problem.

    It's fine for tribes to have whatever territory they have and police their turf. But natives who go "off the reservation" are "off the reservation". True whether we're talking actual "native" by majority DNA or not.

    Either Tulsa is "Indian country" or not.

    Separate peoples in separate nations is the path to peace--and rationality.

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @Desiderius

    She looks aboriginal to me.

    https://ewscripps.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/bcbc739/2147483647/strip/true/crop/267x150+0+91/resize/1280x720!/quality/90/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fewscripps-brightspot.s3.amazonaws.com%2F40%2F50%2F28d000c04e39b409c952c3d67676%2Fimage001.jpg


    https://c8.alamy.com/comp/A6CFA8/smiling-ceramic-sun-face-mounted-on-a-wall-in-oaxaca-mexico-A6CFA8.jpg

  40. So , Scientism has it’s own head of a pin and angels.

  41. >splitters
    Oh.

    [Zeno, muttering “stupid Indian,” as he clutches as his bloodied chest and collapses]

  42. @Triteleia Laxa
    @AnotherDad

    Given that US slaves were often bred as a commodity, this does make particular sense.

    Replies: @james wilson

    US slaves were bred as a commodity only in Virginia and sold elswhere after tobacco’s profit margins sank. Slaves in the Carib did not breed but at very low levels which is why the demand for import stayed so high. In the American systems of slavery they did breed (for whatever reasons) although not at high numbers. The great breeders after the war were female mulatto house slaves. Sally Hemmings did very well for herself even in her time. That is how we get from a tiny fraction to 17% white in no time.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @james wilson


    US slaves were bred as a commodity only in Virginia and sold elswhere after tobacco’s profit margins sank.
     
    Maryland and Virginia supported the closure of the trans-Atlantic slave trade because they'd already had possessed enough of them and could profit from increased demand in the Carolinas and Georgia.

    Still, breeding Africans sounds like the definition of madness. You'd have to make a hundred to do the work of ten Irishmen. (Or fewer, if sober.)

    , @Triteleia Laxa
    @james wilson


    That is how we get from a tiny fraction to 17% white in no time.
     
    Less than a fifth of births were from mixed race copulations if it took place in just one generation.

    This doesn't seem that big an effect.
    , @SaneClownPosse
    @james wilson

    Some of that breeding of superior specimens, faster, stronger, etc., was for bragging rights, much like breeding show and race horses.

    Replies: @Matt Buckalew

    , @anon
    @james wilson


    In the American systems of slavery they did breed (for whatever reasons) although not at high numbers.
     
    Blacks procreated during so-called “slavery” because they had it pretty good in America. They got to live in an Anglo Saxon society and under Anglo Saxon stewardship. All their needs were generally provided for.
  43. @Triteleia Laxa
    @Almost Missouri

    I was thinking about how 300,000 imported black slaves turned into 40 million black Americans and I wondered if even a majority of that original 300,000 contributed to that number. I imagine that is very unlikely.

    Small populations can quickly explode into very large ones, certainly on an evolutionary timescale.

    We can also see this at the other end of the life complexity spectrum. Covid-19 was nowhere, but now it is everywhere, with no true predecessors to be seen.

    Life seems to engage with the environment by a series of explosions and contractions. Like taking drops of paint at random from an easel containing an infinite spectrum of colours, and putting them in water every now and again, colours will seem very distinct as they expand and disperse, even though they were continuous at source.

    We only see the big dispersals, not the infinite increments.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi, @AnotherDad, @J.Ross, @James Speaks, @Yojimbo/Zatoichi, @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    I was thinking about how 300,000 imported black slaves turned into 40 million black Americans …

    You see, when a boy slave loves a girl slave very, very much …

    • LOL: Colin Wright
  44. @Desiderius
    Lol:

    https://twitter.com/4Ourposterity/status/1421821451720708101?s=20

    Replies: @AnotherDad, @Reg Cæsar

    This is just a classic “separate nations” problem.

    It’s fine for tribes to have whatever territory they have and police their turf. But natives who go “off the reservation” are “off the reservation”. True whether we’re talking actual “native” by majority DNA or not.

    Either Tulsa is “Indian country” or not.

    Separate peoples in separate nations is the path to peace–and rationality.

  45. So they came for race and now species.. what’s left for them to declare nonexistent but life itself?

  46. Darwin: Species Does Not Exist

    Sailer: Formatting Does Not Exist

    That was difficult to read.

  47. @Desiderius
    Lol:

    https://twitter.com/4Ourposterity/status/1421821451720708101?s=20

    Replies: @AnotherDad, @Reg Cæsar

    She looks aboriginal to me.


  48. @Jonathan Mason
    Of course the truth is that there are species, but that new species are always evolving although that evolution may not be apparent to our eyes.

    Even in terms of human beings, it may be that a 100,000 years from now scientists will be claiming that they used to be humans of different colors like black and white, but that the black and white species died out or merged into the brown races, and that contemporary humans still have evidence of black chromosomes.

    So blacks and whites will be just as extinct as sabertooth tigers and mammoths.

    Replies: @Lurker, @Almost Missouri

    Assuming this ‘science’ thing exists in the future panracial nirvana.

    • Replies: @Grahamsno(G64)
    @Lurker


    Assuming this ‘science’ thing exists in the future panracial nirvana.
     
    Science is a part of the human toolkit like agriculture, reading, writing, house building etc. Besides the technology part of science has huge military applications so civilization will continue to fund it. Whether it will be static or dynamic is another question.
  49. @ic1000
    Good topic. The current version of the post is a crummy cut-n-paste, Steve. Get me rewrite.

    Google's cache of the source, "Darwin’s solution to the species problem," by Marc Ereshefsky. Synthese, 2010, doi: 10.1007/s11229-009-9538-4.

    My opinions in tl;dr form:

    1. Species is an incredibly useful concept. Getting rid of it makes it harder to understand natural selection, evolution, and the natural world. Bug for some, feature for others.

    2. Life is diverse. In particular, reproduction and propagation take very diverse forms. Bacteria fission, except when they conjugate or sporulate. "Sex" is very different between plants and animals (to say nothing of yeast, etc.). Among animals: Some insects are eusocial. Many fish are sequential hermaphrodites. "Breeding populations" are fuzzy. Etc. Always unlikely that a single overarching concept of "species" would fit all these molds. Wittgenstein anticipated these debates: rather than clear and absolute boundaries, a "family resemblance" of like things (as Steve has noted previously).

    3. Science philosopher John S. Wilkins recently covered this topic in an hour-long discussion with Razib Khan, if your tastes run to podcasts.

    4. Those of us on the outside may forget from time to time, but Academics Gonna Academic. Publish-or-perish, Up-Or-Out on the tenure track. No manuscript gets accepted for arguing "I agree with him." Say something unique, correctness and utility are secondary.

    Replies: @res, @PhysicistDave, @slumber_j, @Bill, @From Beer to Paternity

    I doubt that too many practicing biologists lose too much sleep over the meaning of “species.”

    There are lots of amusing complications: the existence of “ring species” is particularly amusing.

    But people are not unable to understand the concept of “ring species” because of confusion over the meaning of “species.”

    Actual scientists use words to most clearly explain nature: e.g., to refer to my own doctoral thesis topic, the word “lepton” means “light particle” and was originally applied to the electron, muon, and their neutrinos.

    But when the tau particle was discovered and seen to be an analog of the electron and muon, we cheerfully called it the “heavy lepton,” despite the semantic contradiction.

    We let Nature guide us, rather than playing semantic games.

    A similar situation occurred earlier in particle physics, when the muon was originally called the “mu meson,” but we changed the nomenclature when we realized that calling it a “meson” did not conduce to understanding the structure of reality.

    A deep and unending obsession with semantics in preference to the real world tends to be the sign of a sick mind.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    @PhysicistDave

    Here is a corrected link for the article on ring species.

    , @lavoisier
    @PhysicistDave


    A deep and unending obsession with semantics in preference to the real world tends to be the sign of a sick mind.
     
    I think it is more reflective of an individual who is incapable of genuine scientific discovery.

    The retreat into verbiage as a cover for incompetence.
  50. @PhysicistDave
    @ic1000

    I doubt that too many practicing biologists lose too much sleep over the meaning of "species."

    There are lots of amusing complications: the existence of "ring species" is particularly amusing.

    But people are not unable to understand the concept of "ring species" because of confusion over the meaning of "species."

    Actual scientists use words to most clearly explain nature: e.g., to refer to my own doctoral thesis topic, the word "lepton" means "light particle" and was originally applied to the electron, muon, and their neutrinos.

    But when the tau particle was discovered and seen to be an analog of the electron and muon, we cheerfully called it the "heavy lepton," despite the semantic contradiction.

    We let Nature guide us, rather than playing semantic games.

    A similar situation occurred earlier in particle physics, when the muon was originally called the "mu meson," but we changed the nomenclature when we realized that calling it a "meson" did not conduce to understanding the structure of reality.

    A deep and unending obsession with semantics in preference to the real world tends to be the sign of a sick mind.

    Replies: @PhysicistDave, @lavoisier

    Here is a corrected link for the article on ring species.

  51. @Sick of Orcs
    Eggheads' mental and verbal gymnastics to not hurt the feels of violent 85 IQ orcs should be an Olympic (Ochympic?) event.

    Replies: @Dennis Dale

    The Grovelympics. Imagine the possibilities. The 3000 meter self abasement-steeple chase. The Cryathlon. The White Stooge Luge (officially “white allies” contest). Freestyle kneeling. Endless they are!

    • Thanks: Sick of Orcs
    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    @Dennis Dale

    Speaking of just desserts, USA soccer lost 1-0 to Canada (!) and Megan "did you know I was an lesbian and that I am under paid?) Rapinoe was seen crying on the field.

    As Insty said, "TOO MUCH KNEELING, NOT ENOUGH WINNING".

    Replies: @Dennis Dale

  52. If you think about it, like if we had time machines, the biological species concept does not really mesh with any evolutionary species concept. Firstly, we don’t have the prehistoric animals, so we do not actually know who could produce fully viable offspring with whom. Secondly, take humanity. In the line from Lucy to us, how many species were there? Quite possibly, every generation could have had fertile offspring with the previous generation. I realize that somewhere there was a discontinuity between our ancestors and our ape relatives when two chromosomes fused. Could habilis and erectus interbreed? Could erectus and sapiens? Almost certainly, yes. But by any reasonable definition based on ecology, some of us, at least herders, farmers, and first worlders live very different lives. Not to mention, Neanderthals and human interbred. More than once. But lifestyle differences were such that they were reasonably a separate species.

    Presumably, the size difference between Lucy and sapiens would be insurmountable, but where to draw the line? Therefore there are no human races! Checkmate, bigot! I think that last sentiment might be the real cause of this: subspecies do not exist, species do not exist. It is all so terribly complicated that no layman could ever understand, and we GoodWhite scientists do not need to apply categories consistently, either within or between species, and BadWhites have not experienced the biology mysteries to think about these things. So BadSteve Sailer cannot talk about human (whatever those are) populations (whatever those are) and apply consistent logic (whatever that is).

  53. @Triteleia Laxa
    @Bill

    Splitters want to engage with reality directly, but they don't recognise how difficult that is, so they often got lost in the chaos of it.

    Lumpers want to catch reality in their own net, but often end up getting stuck in the net, not reality.

    If you attack one of these tendencies, it is because you're prone to the other. People tend to be extremely consistent in their imbalance, with consequences that can be seen in every detail of their life and even when you first meet them.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @bomag, @astrolabe, @Bill

    So are you splitting lumpers and splitters, or lumping splitters and lumpers?

    • Replies: @Triteleia Laxa
    @Reg Cæsar

    I'm lumping both, but splitting the difference with the word "often."

  54. @james wilson
    @Triteleia Laxa

    US slaves were bred as a commodity only in Virginia and sold elswhere after tobacco's profit margins sank. Slaves in the Carib did not breed but at very low levels which is why the demand for import stayed so high. In the American systems of slavery they did breed (for whatever reasons) although not at high numbers. The great breeders after the war were female mulatto house slaves. Sally Hemmings did very well for herself even in her time. That is how we get from a tiny fraction to 17% white in no time.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Triteleia Laxa, @SaneClownPosse, @anon

    US slaves were bred as a commodity only in Virginia and sold elswhere after tobacco’s profit margins sank.

    Maryland and Virginia supported the closure of the trans-Atlantic slave trade because they’d already had possessed enough of them and could profit from increased demand in the Carolinas and Georgia.

    Still, breeding Africans sounds like the definition of madness. You’d have to make a hundred to do the work of ten Irishmen. (Or fewer, if sober.)

  55. Biology isn’t my subject. That having been said, I’m reminded of the article written by an economist purporting to demonstrate that ‘income’ is a nonsense concept. It’s just onanism.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Art Deco


    ...I’m reminded of the article written by an economist purporting to demonstrate that ‘income’ is a nonsense concept. It’s just onanism.
     
    "Whack and Grow Rich"? "Winning Through Manustupration"? "The Richest Man in Gomorrah"?

    "The 4-Minute Workweek"?

    "The 7 Habits of Highly Erective People"?
  56. @AnotherDad
    So some philosopher wants to hump a sheep and we have to hear about it?

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    So some philosopher wants to hump a sheep and we have to hear about it?

    • LOL: Art Deco

    Never thought we’d see the day!

    Still, Art is the only one here who can make me laugh out loud, because I’m so wired to laugh not at jokes but at sardonic rejoinders. I suppose that is ironic. Literally.

  57. @Art Deco
    Biology isn't my subject. That having been said, I'm reminded of the article written by an economist purporting to demonstrate that 'income' is a nonsense concept. It's just onanism.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    …I’m reminded of the article written by an economist purporting to demonstrate that ‘income’ is a nonsense concept. It’s just onanism.

    “Whack and Grow Rich”? “Winning Through Manustupration”? “The Richest Man in Gomorrah”?

    “The 4-Minute Workweek”?

    “The 7 Habits of Highly Erective People”?

  58. @james wilson
    @Triteleia Laxa

    US slaves were bred as a commodity only in Virginia and sold elswhere after tobacco's profit margins sank. Slaves in the Carib did not breed but at very low levels which is why the demand for import stayed so high. In the American systems of slavery they did breed (for whatever reasons) although not at high numbers. The great breeders after the war were female mulatto house slaves. Sally Hemmings did very well for herself even in her time. That is how we get from a tiny fraction to 17% white in no time.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Triteleia Laxa, @SaneClownPosse, @anon

    That is how we get from a tiny fraction to 17% white in no time.

    Less than a fifth of births were from mixed race copulations if it took place in just one generation.

    This doesn’t seem that big an effect.

  59. @Reg Cæsar
    @Triteleia Laxa

    So are you splitting lumpers and splitters, or lumping splitters and lumpers?

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa

    I’m lumping both, but splitting the difference with the word “often.”

  60. Could have reformatted the article for readability.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @SaneClownPosse

    Sorry, I hadn't intended to post it yet. I will get around to cleaning it up after I moderate the rest of the comments.

    Replies: @SaneClownPosse

  61. @SaneClownPosse
    Could have reformatted the article for readability.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Sorry, I hadn’t intended to post it yet. I will get around to cleaning it up after I moderate the rest of the comments.

    • Thanks: SaneClownPosse
    • Replies: @SaneClownPosse
    @Steve Sailer

    Admittedly, I have a cognitive problem with parsing fragmented sentences, then assembling them correctly. It just was a mess of word fragments to me.

    Had that been computer code, I would have stood a better chance of parsing it.

  62. @james wilson
    @Triteleia Laxa

    US slaves were bred as a commodity only in Virginia and sold elswhere after tobacco's profit margins sank. Slaves in the Carib did not breed but at very low levels which is why the demand for import stayed so high. In the American systems of slavery they did breed (for whatever reasons) although not at high numbers. The great breeders after the war were female mulatto house slaves. Sally Hemmings did very well for herself even in her time. That is how we get from a tiny fraction to 17% white in no time.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Triteleia Laxa, @SaneClownPosse, @anon

    Some of that breeding of superior specimens, faster, stronger, etc., was for bragging rights, much like breeding show and race horses.

    • Replies: @Matt Buckalew
    @SaneClownPosse

    There is almost zero evidence of this. My family had the kind of slave population that would have been amenable to this kind of breeding and it never occurred to them to do so. Slaves were always seen as human.

    I imagine this kind of thinking was prevalen in the imaginations of hill billy types that are always dreaming up risible things to do with the material wealth they will never possess.

    Replies: @Bert, @Reg Cæsar, @Colin Wright, @Ralph L

  63. @Steve Sailer
    @SaneClownPosse

    Sorry, I hadn't intended to post it yet. I will get around to cleaning it up after I moderate the rest of the comments.

    Replies: @SaneClownPosse

    Admittedly, I have a cognitive problem with parsing fragmented sentences, then assembling them correctly. It just was a mess of word fragments to me.

    Had that been computer code, I would have stood a better chance of parsing it.

  64. @Triteleia Laxa
    @Almost Missouri

    I was thinking about how 300,000 imported black slaves turned into 40 million black Americans and I wondered if even a majority of that original 300,000 contributed to that number. I imagine that is very unlikely.

    Small populations can quickly explode into very large ones, certainly on an evolutionary timescale.

    We can also see this at the other end of the life complexity spectrum. Covid-19 was nowhere, but now it is everywhere, with no true predecessors to be seen.

    Life seems to engage with the environment by a series of explosions and contractions. Like taking drops of paint at random from an easel containing an infinite spectrum of colours, and putting them in water every now and again, colours will seem very distinct as they expand and disperse, even though they were continuous at source.

    We only see the big dispersals, not the infinite increments.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi, @AnotherDad, @J.Ross, @James Speaks, @Yojimbo/Zatoichi, @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    “Covid-19 was nowhere, but now it is everywhere, with no true predecessors to be seen.”

    Covid is a virus and is related to such viruses as the flu and pneumonia (all three in fact, do share many symptoms). Thus the idea that there isn’t a predecessor to Covid is either a canard or ignorance.

    The Spanish Flu of 1918-20 in the US, more than half a million died. There was no vaccine developed vs it during this time period, and the US did not close down the economy to deal with the virus. Once herd immunity was reached, the flu was no longer viewed as the apocalypse it appeared to be when it first reached the US.

    That is another aspect that Covid directly shares in common with the flu: as it first hit the US and began to impact the nation at large, it was perceived to be a new thing. Historically speaking, such viruses as Covid, the flu, swine flu, bird flu, etc are all related in some way and in fact have been in existence for a couple of centuries. Once the hysteria over Covid dies down, and things return to normal due in no small part to reaching herd immunity, then the US can return to normal.

    Interesting to note is that after the Spanish Flu and for roughly the next hundred yrs, no one thought that the flu was worth panicking over. No one much bothered to mention what the tally of annual deaths from flu was in 2020. Perhaps because many of them were figured in with the COVID deaths. This obviously doesn’t explain all of Covid, but it does help to demonstrate that far from being a new thing, Covid does share things in common with the common flu, pneumonia as well as other viruses that attack chiefly the respiratory area.

  65. @SafeNow
    @res

    Thanks, Res, this helps. Didn’t you once have a gold star, but then Ron took it away? Maybe now Ron regrets taking it away.

    Replies: @res

    You are welcome. Ron discusses the gold stars going away at the bottom of this post.
    https://www.unz.com/announcement/an-orwellian-anniversary-and-adding-email-subscriptions-to-our-website

    It looks like the current setup is the gold stars are on a per blog basis. If you really like the gold star you can see it in my comments on James Thompson’s blog ; )

  66. @Triteleia Laxa
    @Almost Missouri

    I was thinking about how 300,000 imported black slaves turned into 40 million black Americans and I wondered if even a majority of that original 300,000 contributed to that number. I imagine that is very unlikely.

    Small populations can quickly explode into very large ones, certainly on an evolutionary timescale.

    We can also see this at the other end of the life complexity spectrum. Covid-19 was nowhere, but now it is everywhere, with no true predecessors to be seen.

    Life seems to engage with the environment by a series of explosions and contractions. Like taking drops of paint at random from an easel containing an infinite spectrum of colours, and putting them in water every now and again, colours will seem very distinct as they expand and disperse, even though they were continuous at source.

    We only see the big dispersals, not the infinite increments.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi, @AnotherDad, @J.Ross, @James Speaks, @Yojimbo/Zatoichi, @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    “how 300,000 imported black slaves turned into 40 million black Americans…if even a majority of that original 300,000 contributed to that number. I imagine that is very unlikely.”

    The original 300k had to contribute directly to the number of 40 million, especially after 1807, because that’s when the US government banned the importation of slaves to the US (the Slave Trade officially ended in 1807). Immigration from Africa as a whole to the US, pre-1965, was practically nil. Thus there is no other feasible way for the population to go from 300k to 40 million except thru natural increase.

    Also, there were roughly 300k slaves ca. 1700, which is 320 yrs ago. So it is plenty of time for the population to have increased to that level, especially as blacks have historically tended to have higher birth rates than other races. The current example of the African continent will suffice. Supposedly by the end of this century, Africa will have increased its population by over 1-2 billion people. So if those projections are accurate and turn out to be true, then going from 300k to 40 million in 320 yrs time is very doable.

  67. Nick Diaz [AKA "Rockford Tyson"] says:

    Species definitely exist, and have a very clear and precise definition(members of a species can produce fertile offspring with each other, but not with other living being outside the species).

    What does not exist biologically is race. Race appears to be just something that Human beings use to categorize each other for social convention, economic reasons or to justify inherited status. It is an arbitrary construct build around the color of the skin. You could as well define “race” by eye color, in which case a black man with blue eyes and a Swede with white skin and blue eyes would belong to the same “race”, while an Italian with white kin but brown eyes would belong to a different “race”. It is completely arbitrary, and the result of social convention. Saying that “race” is who your relatives are is a vague and redundant observation, because there is no clear demarcation. And strictly speaking, we are all related to each other. In fact, all life on the planet is technically related, with all of us descending from a single cell, most probably an anaerobic bacteria, that lived in some deep ocean vent 3.5 billion years ago.

    Species and gender are definitely real biological categories, with very precise definitions, but race is whatever you want it to be. Just look how Italian and Polish immigrants were not considered “real whites” like the English are “real whites”, but then suddenly were upgraded to white status as their economic status improved. In the U.S.A, money talks.

    “Race” is something that doesn’t mean anything to a strict biologist, but it is the kind of thing that people(at least some), feel extremely strongly about, and discussions on this topic never ever end well.

    • Agree: Corvinus
    • Disagree: ic1000, nokangaroos
    • Replies: @ic1000
    @Nick Diaz

    > Species and gender are definitely real biological categories, with very precise definitions

    You missed the core point of the original post.

    Commenter res reformatted the excerpt from Marc Ereshefsky's 2010 paper to make it more legible, find that upthread (#14).

    Or give a listen to Razib's interview with John Wilkins, he reviews the controversies over "definitely," "real," and "precise" as they pertain to the concept of "species." Link at comment #5.

    , @anon
    @Nick Diaz

    Species and gender are definitely real biological categories,

    Gender is a linguistic concept. Sex is a biological category.

    The first step to wisdom is to call things by their right names.

    Replies: @Nick Diaz

  68. The word ‘species’ is not meant to refer exclusively to biological kinds. Species means the term in a process of reasoning. Without species there would be no intelligibility either in thought or in nature, so we can take it as foregone conclusion that species do, in fact, exist.

    Biological kinds are only a special case of this general principle. And not a very instructive one for beginners, because the material world does not readily furnish a clear picture of things existing perfectly.

    About biological kinds we can say the following: Any living thing (a plant, animal, bacterium, etc.) is a substance—i.e. a composite of matter and form. By ‘form’ we mean something analogous to what the biologist means when he says ‘species’—that is, the exact classification of the thing into a unique category—but we mean something more besides. Against the nominalists, form is not a mere definition imposed upon an individual; it is the intelligible power in virtue of which the thing is able to exist at all. Without form there would be only chaos, so by a sort of cogito argument (I hate that Cartesian concept but, by it, modern readers will probably better understand my meaning than they would had I used the proper Thomistic terminology, via negativa) we can say that if individuals exist, then eo ipso form exists also.

    However, against the Platonists we must also assert that forms do not exist “really” in a supersensible realm, if that is understood to mean that the form is not actually present in the composite. The form is what’s known as the “first act” of the thing’s existence, the principle by which it has and acquires actuality. As such, we can say that the form is the cause of the thing existing. The effect cannot contain more than the cause does, so the form does really exist. But the thing in question here is a material being, and the form cannot itself be material. Thus, though the form precedes material existence ontologically, it cannot do so actually. The conclusion of all this is that forms exist “really” but only insofar as they are instantiated in individuals.

    Now, individuals are differentiated from one another not by their form but by their matter, and matter is subject to accident. Therefore the material qualities of a being can paint a rather confusing picture of the underlying form. This is the source of the endless controversies over the biological definition of species. We perceive with our senses and our brain (i.e. the passive intellect) the accidental qualities of the creature, and it is through these perceptions that the active intellect (i.e. mind, reason, logos) acquires a notion of its form.

    This process is capable of obtaining a true idea of each thing’s existence. In and of itself it is sufficient for that end, but in the nonce it is very difficult to carry out without some error creeping in. A man with perfect perception could, through a flawless process of reasoning, exactly categorize every creature into its proper class. Of us men, only prelapsarian Adam could lay claim to such peerless wisdom and judgment (it is not for nothing that the naming of plants and animals was one of the first tasks appointed to him). The rest of us must accept that fact that while we do see an intelligible picture of reality, we see it “through a glass darkly.”

    Darwin, as usual, is wrong, but so indeed are most of his critics. Nominalism is erroneous with or without Darwin.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    @Intelligent Dasein

    Thanks.


    Now, individuals are differentiated from one another not by their form but by their matter, and matter is subject to accident. Therefore the material qualities of a being can paint a rather confusing picture of the underlying form.
     
    Can there not also be competing or intersecting forms, which also adds to the confusion as there may be more than one underlying form? For example, a pregnant mother's form is intersected by the form of the burgeoning fetus within her.

    And even the chaotic imprint of accidents in matter can have certain patterns to it, bespeaking the forms involved in the accident, no? A lot of what crime scene investigators do is essentially trying to reverse-engineer forms from chaos, for example.

    Replies: @Intelligent Dasein

  69. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @Triteleia Laxa

    “I was thinking about how 300,000 imported black slaves turned into 40 million black Americans and I wondered if even a majority of that original 300,000 contributed to that number. I imagine that is very unlikely.“

    Actually no, it’s quite likely. Since 1807, when the importation of sub Saharans into the US was banned, the only way to increase the Sub population was thru natural increase.

    “Covid-19 was nowhere, but now it is everywhere, with no true predecessors to be seen.“

    As a bacterial infectious virus, Covid is related to other infectious viruses such as the flu and pneumonia, both of which have been around for centuries. There’s a reason why Covid shares many similar symptoms with the flu and pneumonia: because there’re related to each other. For all the hype regarding Covid deaths last year, where’d all the annual flu deaths go? Or where they most likely counted in with deaths from Covid? Granted this doesn’t entirely explain the covid phenomenon. It does amply demonstrate that infectious diseases like the flu, pneumonia have been around quite a long time.

    So far the unique thing about Covid is that it’s new. Once heard immunity is reached it will become like other infectious viruses such as the flu—an annual occurrence but not enough to shut the economy down.

    The 1918-20 Spanish Flu killed as many in the US. There was no effective vaccine developed during this time, nor did the economy entirely shut down. Herd immunity was eventually reached, and that’s been that ever since.

    Replies: @Charon, @Bill Jones

    Since 1807, when the importation of sub Saharans into the US was banned

    TPTB don’t like for this fact to be mentioned. Because since the Revolutionary War ended in 1783, it means that the USA is implicated in roughly 24 years of the slave trade: vastly less than most great nations throughout human history. The rest here was the doing of the British, Spaniards, Portuguese, et al.

    Better we should get woke and pretend that the USA’s history began in 1619. That’ll show whitey who’s boss.

  70. Anonymous[302] • Disclaimer says:
    @obwandiyag
    Of course specieses don't exist in the real world. Neither do numbers.

    Replies: @Anonymous

    I remember once as a small child lying in bed at night unable to sleep, I decided to count all the ‘things’ in my bedroom. I soon gave up in frustration. Is a bed one ‘thing’ or many? What about a chest of drawers? It was all too confusing.

  71. @Scott in PA
    This seems to be a "solution" in search of a problem. Perhaps the paper discussed what the problem is but this abstract doesn't.

    Do Kingdoms exist? I say the problem of Kingdoms is solved, because Kingdoms don't exist.

    Replies: @James Speaks

    Do Ramsey sentences exist?

  72. @Anon
    @Almost Missouri


    Is this not the same old Dilemma that nagged Darwin: that what the theory of natural selection implies is contradicted by what actually exists (and existed, per the fossil record).
     
    Macroevoution.net

    Dr. Eugene McCarthy argues that the classical understanding of evolution as impossibly fine changes over time isn't reflected in the fossil record because speciation almost never happens that way.

    Instead, most speciation is hybridization between different species. In rare cases, incredibly different species can create a viable offspring. Even if that is only a 1 in a million chance, it is much more probable than some random base pair mutation creating a beneficial change.

    When that hybrid breeds back into the parent species, a new species is formed. This would appear in the fossil record as if new species just appeared out of nowhere. Which is exactly what we see.

    It's considered pretty out there in the world of biology, but he makes a very convincing argument. If you have a background in biology, his major paper is worth a read.

    Replies: @Grahamsno(G64), @Almost Missouri, @Ian M.

    Stephen Gould noticed this problem with the fossil record. He called it ‘punctuated equilibrium’ that is the fossil record doesn’t change for a long time i.e. in equilibrium and then suddenly new species occur.

    • Replies: @David
    @Grahamsno(G64)

    I don't believe Gould noticed the problem in the fossil record. For one, the issue had already been noted in Darwin's day.

    Just based on my own experience, I think he noticed punctuated equilibrium in computer simulations, but being Gould, he dissimulated. The FBI does this when the NSA hands them a domestic case.

    Every time I've set up a simulation of evolution I see a similar pattern. The "bugs" or whatever arrive at some equilibrium and stay there for a while, then "discover" some adjacent possibility, begin evolving rapidly, until they've optimized it. I call it falling down a hole.

    , @AnotherDad
    @Grahamsno(G64)


    Stephen Gould noticed this problem with the fossil record. He called it ‘punctuated equilibrium’ that is the fossil record doesn’t change for a long time i.e. in equilibrium and then suddenly new species occur.
     
    I don't know the history of biology, but Gould certainly didn't "notice" this "problem".

    This couldn't be the level of what constitutes "insight" in biology, or i'm an incredibly "insightful" human being.

    Equilibrium--a bunch of change--new equilibrium is an utterly obvious pattern in natural systems, in human history/human affairs, in markets, heck even in our own lives. We normally live in some sort of equilibirum, until there's some sort of change--a girlfriend, a new job, a marriage, a move, a baby, a serious illness, a death--that changes our environment ... and we settle into a new equilibruim.

    Gould simply did what such hucksters do--put a name on it and tried to take credit.

    Replies: @Anonymous

  73. @Lurker
    @Jonathan Mason

    Assuming this 'science' thing exists in the future panracial nirvana.

    Replies: @Grahamsno(G64)

    Assuming this ‘science’ thing exists in the future panracial nirvana.

    Science is a part of the human toolkit like agriculture, reading, writing, house building etc. Besides the technology part of science has huge military applications so civilization will continue to fund it. Whether it will be static or dynamic is another question.

  74. @Faraday's Bobcat

    First, we should recognize that the species category is not a real category in nature.
     
    I stopped reading right there; this is a statement only a philosopher could make. There are no "real categories" in nature. Our natural theories contain categories, some of which are so useful they seem real, but nature just is. No scientist would claim that species are real in the same sense that the tree in my back yard is real.

    Is species a useful category? Seems like the entirety of biology says it is.

    Replies: @Dieter Kief, @Ian M.

    First, we should recognize that the species category is not a real category in nature.

    I stopped reading right there; this is a statement only a philosopher could make.

    Well – all kinds of people make such statements. But – there is indeed a – – – well established philosophical remedy to such mistakes, which critizises sentences like the one you quoted above from Mark Ereshevsky’s paper on Darwin for being naturalistic – meaning: Wrong. – See Jürgen Habermas’ very insightful book Between Naturalism and Religion.

  75. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @Triteleia Laxa

    “I was thinking about how 300,000 imported black slaves turned into 40 million black Americans and I wondered if even a majority of that original 300,000 contributed to that number. I imagine that is very unlikely.“

    Actually no, it’s quite likely. Since 1807, when the importation of sub Saharans into the US was banned, the only way to increase the Sub population was thru natural increase.

    “Covid-19 was nowhere, but now it is everywhere, with no true predecessors to be seen.“

    As a bacterial infectious virus, Covid is related to other infectious viruses such as the flu and pneumonia, both of which have been around for centuries. There’s a reason why Covid shares many similar symptoms with the flu and pneumonia: because there’re related to each other. For all the hype regarding Covid deaths last year, where’d all the annual flu deaths go? Or where they most likely counted in with deaths from Covid? Granted this doesn’t entirely explain the covid phenomenon. It does amply demonstrate that infectious diseases like the flu, pneumonia have been around quite a long time.

    So far the unique thing about Covid is that it’s new. Once heard immunity is reached it will become like other infectious viruses such as the flu—an annual occurrence but not enough to shut the economy down.

    The 1918-20 Spanish Flu killed as many in the US. There was no effective vaccine developed during this time, nor did the economy entirely shut down. Herd immunity was eventually reached, and that’s been that ever since.

    Replies: @Charon, @Bill Jones

    The best common sense comment on how many covid deaths were merely re-purposed came as so often, from Switzerland.
    “We Swiss know our cemeteries, last years activity was no different to previous years.”

    My usual indolently casual search can’t find the cite.

  76. Eliminating the distinction between species is step one, the goal of which is to make you a criminal for eating a cheeseburger.

    Once trans rights are fully instantiated, animal rights are the next frontier of the regressive Left.

  77. @Triteleia Laxa
    @Bill

    Splitters want to engage with reality directly, but they don't recognise how difficult that is, so they often got lost in the chaos of it.

    Lumpers want to catch reality in their own net, but often end up getting stuck in the net, not reality.

    If you attack one of these tendencies, it is because you're prone to the other. People tend to be extremely consistent in their imbalance, with consequences that can be seen in every detail of their life and even when you first meet them.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @bomag, @astrolabe, @Bill

    Both think in terms of one or zero.

    It is an improvement if they would consider a percentage of truth for their axioms and conclusions.

    Of course, they will ascribe 100% and 0% truth to the various questions, but others could demonstrate better headway.

  78. @Triteleia Laxa
    @Bill

    Splitters want to engage with reality directly, but they don't recognise how difficult that is, so they often got lost in the chaos of it.

    Lumpers want to catch reality in their own net, but often end up getting stuck in the net, not reality.

    If you attack one of these tendencies, it is because you're prone to the other. People tend to be extremely consistent in their imbalance, with consequences that can be seen in every detail of their life and even when you first meet them.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @bomag, @astrolabe, @Bill

    How can I tell whether I’m a lumper or a splitter?

    • Replies: @Triteleia Laxa
    @astrolabe

    They're both tendencies. Hopefully you can't tell whether you're one or the other, because you're perfectly flexible between both.

  79. @JimB
    @MM

    I thought species could mate successfully only among themselves. That’s what makes them species.

    Replies: @JMcG, @Ben tillman

    That would make Neanderthals and Denisovans something other than species. Something more like races. And that just wouldn’t do.

  80. @Jonathan Mason
    Of course the truth is that there are species, but that new species are always evolving although that evolution may not be apparent to our eyes.

    Even in terms of human beings, it may be that a 100,000 years from now scientists will be claiming that they used to be humans of different colors like black and white, but that the black and white species died out or merged into the brown races, and that contemporary humans still have evidence of black chromosomes.

    So blacks and whites will be just as extinct as sabertooth tigers and mammoths.

    Replies: @Lurker, @Almost Missouri

    Of course the truth is that there are species,

    Yes.

    but that new species are always evolving although that evolution may not be apparent to our eyes.

    That is the more ambiguous part, as I noted in my previous comment. According to Darwin’s theory, that is what should be happening, but as Darwin himself noticed, the fossil record sure doesn’t look like that.

    Darwin anticipated “phyletic gradualism”. Wikipedia illustrates it, along with the attempt to rescue the concept as “punctuated equilibrium” in this image:

    But the reality is that no one has ever found whatever is supposed to be represented by those horizontal bars. The actual fossil record amounts to a bunch of vertical lines, starting from nothing and ending in nothing.

    • Replies: @res
    @Almost Missouri


    The actual fossil record amounts to a bunch of vertical lines, starting from nothing and ending in nothing.
     
    It's important to remember that the fossil record comprises a very small sample of life on the planet over a given time period. Here is one example.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00984-2

    The team used its estimates of the total range of T. rex across modern North America, combined with estimates of the dinosaur’s body mass, to calculate that, at any one time, around 20,000 T. rex would have been alive on the planet. That translates to around 3,800 T. rex in an area the size of California, or just two T. rex patrolling Washington DC.

    Calculating that T. rex survived for about 127,000 generations before becoming extinct, the researchers came up with a figure of 2.5 billion individuals over the species’ entire existence. Only 32 adult T. rex have been discovered as fossils, so the fossil record accounts for just one in about every 80 million T. rex. This means that the chances of being fossilized — even for one of the largest-ever carnivores — were vanishingly small.
     
    T. rex had a generation time similar to humans at 19 years. So those 32 fossils appeared at a rate of 1 every 6,700 generations assuming they were distributed equally. But given the tendency of fossils to occur in bunches due to various events/conditions being present it seems likely the finds are grouped both chronologically and geographically.

    Now think about that in terms of humans. We have a larger population (the calculation is better for smaller animals which can have larger populations) so things are a little better. Using an estimate for human population in prehistory of 1 million (which is likely high before out of Africa occurred) we have 50x the population. Which would reduce that generations figure to 134 or about 2500 years. Now consider that the sample occurs over the whole world. So one might be from Africa, the next from Europe, the next from Asia, etc. Then there are the issues of age and sex of the fossils. Is it any wonder we can't detect small changes in the fossil record?!

    Then there is the question of how visible small changes are in the remains that are left. Especially in light of all of the noise from region/sex/age variation.

    TLDR: It seems likely that there is both gradual evolution (caused by migration, adaptation, and gradual change in environment) and punctuated equilibrium (caused by dramatic change in environment). It is likely to be hard to observe the former in the fossil record though given the sparsity of fossils over time and place. What the balance between the two is makes for an interesting question.
    , @nokangaroos
    @Almost Missouri

    Gould did not discover jack, he just microwaved Cuvier and yes, that was before Darwin.
    The problem with Gould and Lewontin is they had the creds -
    unlike, say, Boas - but were intellectually just as dishonest.
    Darwin´s model predicted gradualism while it is clear the concept of species
    implies immutability so clearly he was a wee bit uncomfortable with it.
    Under ideal conditions (number of individuals amenable to statistics, short
    generation time, simple metrics, fast drift and splitting - marine foraminifera are good)
    the picture of speciation is indeed beautifully gradual ;)

  81. @ic1000
    Good topic. The current version of the post is a crummy cut-n-paste, Steve. Get me rewrite.

    Google's cache of the source, "Darwin’s solution to the species problem," by Marc Ereshefsky. Synthese, 2010, doi: 10.1007/s11229-009-9538-4.

    My opinions in tl;dr form:

    1. Species is an incredibly useful concept. Getting rid of it makes it harder to understand natural selection, evolution, and the natural world. Bug for some, feature for others.

    2. Life is diverse. In particular, reproduction and propagation take very diverse forms. Bacteria fission, except when they conjugate or sporulate. "Sex" is very different between plants and animals (to say nothing of yeast, etc.). Among animals: Some insects are eusocial. Many fish are sequential hermaphrodites. "Breeding populations" are fuzzy. Etc. Always unlikely that a single overarching concept of "species" would fit all these molds. Wittgenstein anticipated these debates: rather than clear and absolute boundaries, a "family resemblance" of like things (as Steve has noted previously).

    3. Science philosopher John S. Wilkins recently covered this topic in an hour-long discussion with Razib Khan, if your tastes run to podcasts.

    4. Those of us on the outside may forget from time to time, but Academics Gonna Academic. Publish-or-perish, Up-Or-Out on the tenure track. No manuscript gets accepted for arguing "I agree with him." Say something unique, correctness and utility are secondary.

    Replies: @res, @PhysicistDave, @slumber_j, @Bill, @From Beer to Paternity

    Wittgenstein anticipated these debates: rather than clear and absolute boundaries, a “family resemblance” of like things (as Steve has noted previously).

    Sort of. Wittgenstein’s concept of Family Resemblance is mostly useful in discussing two or more phenomena that don’t share a lot of important characteristics but can be seen to be part of a larger class with which they severally share one or more important characteristics. So there’s discontinuity between the phenomena under examination, but they nevertheless are members of a larger class.

    Utility of expressions does lie at the heart of Wittgenstein’s work, and the very human tendency to confuse expression and referent is one of his biggest concerns and I think the more relevant one here. Whether species exist is a question that has a lot more to do with how we use the word than anything else: as ever, language is a social convention.

    Top-down insistence on telling us what words may or may not mean is necessarily nonsense. Until recently most Anglophones understood this at least implicitly, which is why (unlike the French or Spanish e.g.) we lack an Academy to dictate what words mean. We have the OED or whatever to point us in the right direction, but it’s not prescriptive. English Common Law is a legal analogue to this by the way, a fact I’ve never seen discussed, but probably I’m just ignorant.

    • Thanks: ic1000
  82. @Intelligent Dasein
    The word 'species' is not meant to refer exclusively to biological kinds. Species means the term in a process of reasoning. Without species there would be no intelligibility either in thought or in nature, so we can take it as foregone conclusion that species do, in fact, exist.

    Biological kinds are only a special case of this general principle. And not a very instructive one for beginners, because the material world does not readily furnish a clear picture of things existing perfectly.

    About biological kinds we can say the following: Any living thing (a plant, animal, bacterium, etc.) is a substance---i.e. a composite of matter and form. By 'form' we mean something analogous to what the biologist means when he says 'species'---that is, the exact classification of the thing into a unique category---but we mean something more besides. Against the nominalists, form is not a mere definition imposed upon an individual; it is the intelligible power in virtue of which the thing is able to exist at all. Without form there would be only chaos, so by a sort of cogito argument (I hate that Cartesian concept but, by it, modern readers will probably better understand my meaning than they would had I used the proper Thomistic terminology, via negativa) we can say that if individuals exist, then eo ipso form exists also.

    However, against the Platonists we must also assert that forms do not exist "really" in a supersensible realm, if that is understood to mean that the form is not actually present in the composite. The form is what's known as the "first act" of the thing's existence, the principle by which it has and acquires actuality. As such, we can say that the form is the cause of the thing existing. The effect cannot contain more than the cause does, so the form does really exist. But the thing in question here is a material being, and the form cannot itself be material. Thus, though the form precedes material existence ontologically, it cannot do so actually. The conclusion of all this is that forms exist "really" but only insofar as they are instantiated in individuals.

    Now, individuals are differentiated from one another not by their form but by their matter, and matter is subject to accident. Therefore the material qualities of a being can paint a rather confusing picture of the underlying form. This is the source of the endless controversies over the biological definition of species. We perceive with our senses and our brain (i.e. the passive intellect) the accidental qualities of the creature, and it is through these perceptions that the active intellect (i.e. mind, reason, logos) acquires a notion of its form.

    This process is capable of obtaining a true idea of each thing's existence. In and of itself it is sufficient for that end, but in the nonce it is very difficult to carry out without some error creeping in. A man with perfect perception could, through a flawless process of reasoning, exactly categorize every creature into its proper class. Of us men, only prelapsarian Adam could lay claim to such peerless wisdom and judgment (it is not for nothing that the naming of plants and animals was one of the first tasks appointed to him). The rest of us must accept that fact that while we do see an intelligible picture of reality, we see it "through a glass darkly."

    Darwin, as usual, is wrong, but so indeed are most of his critics. Nominalism is erroneous with or without Darwin.

    Replies: @Almost Missouri

    Thanks.

    Now, individuals are differentiated from one another not by their form but by their matter, and matter is subject to accident. Therefore the material qualities of a being can paint a rather confusing picture of the underlying form.

    Can there not also be competing or intersecting forms, which also adds to the confusion as there may be more than one underlying form? For example, a pregnant mother’s form is intersected by the form of the burgeoning fetus within her.

    And even the chaotic imprint of accidents in matter can have certain patterns to it, bespeaking the forms involved in the accident, no? A lot of what crime scene investigators do is essentially trying to reverse-engineer forms from chaos, for example.

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
    @Almost Missouri


    Can there not also be competing or intersecting forms, which also adds to the confusion as there may be more than one underlying form? For example, a pregnant mother’s form is intersected by the form of the burgeoning fetus within her.
     
    In one sense yes, in another sense no. There cannot be more than one form in each composite; i.e. there is precisely one form in each individual as such. Certain Scholastic philosophers, notably St. Bonaventure, posited a hierarchy of forms building one upon another, for example "man" has a nutritive soul and a sensitive soul and a rational soul. This theory seems rather attractive at first blush, however it cannot hold. As the first act of a creature's existence, the form cannot presume anything besides "matter." It cannot supervene on another form because it is itself the principle of existence. The form is the true "atom" of nature: The impenetrable ne plus ultra in both thought and actuality. If a creature were to change essentially into a different creature, it is because the new form is generated and the old form is corrupted.

    But in another sense you are onto something. I actually discussed this in my long essay but it will not hurt to summarize the point again here. For the naturalist, the biological researcher, the question is "What is the process by which new creatures come into existence?" If Darwinian evolution does not occur (and I hold that it doesn't), but new species appear in the fossil record where formerly they were not, then how did these new species actually begin to exist in the world of space and time that we're familiar with? What would I see if I happened to be present at the birth of a new species? I answered that there should be no great mystery here---the first individuals of new species begin to exist in much the same manner as the individuals of established species are generated. They gestate within or bud off from the body of an old species, or they corrupt the form of an old species and appear by metamorphosis, or they amalgamate within the humus and slime of the earth. This last item is what's truly meant by "spontaneous generation" (which Pasteur's experiments did not disprove, by the way).

    And even the chaotic imprint of accidents in matter can have certain patterns to it,
     
    Yes. A consistent patter of accidents is what we would refer to as a breed. Breeding demonstrates the plasticity of possible expressions within the form that can be educed by pressure and culling. Through breeding, the creature's capacity to modify itself in the service of its own survival is, as it were, hijacked to serve an end outside of itself. Man's domesticated strains are not the only example of this; plant galls are another. Breeding is useful to us but, from the bred creature's perspective, is a deviation from the natural shape.
  83. anon[106] • Disclaimer says:
    @james wilson
    @Triteleia Laxa

    US slaves were bred as a commodity only in Virginia and sold elswhere after tobacco's profit margins sank. Slaves in the Carib did not breed but at very low levels which is why the demand for import stayed so high. In the American systems of slavery they did breed (for whatever reasons) although not at high numbers. The great breeders after the war were female mulatto house slaves. Sally Hemmings did very well for herself even in her time. That is how we get from a tiny fraction to 17% white in no time.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Triteleia Laxa, @SaneClownPosse, @anon

    In the American systems of slavery they did breed (for whatever reasons) although not at high numbers.

    Blacks procreated during so-called “slavery” because they had it pretty good in America. They got to live in an Anglo Saxon society and under Anglo Saxon stewardship. All their needs were generally provided for.

  84. @Anon
    @Almost Missouri


    Is this not the same old Dilemma that nagged Darwin: that what the theory of natural selection implies is contradicted by what actually exists (and existed, per the fossil record).
     
    Macroevoution.net

    Dr. Eugene McCarthy argues that the classical understanding of evolution as impossibly fine changes over time isn't reflected in the fossil record because speciation almost never happens that way.

    Instead, most speciation is hybridization between different species. In rare cases, incredibly different species can create a viable offspring. Even if that is only a 1 in a million chance, it is much more probable than some random base pair mutation creating a beneficial change.

    When that hybrid breeds back into the parent species, a new species is formed. This would appear in the fossil record as if new species just appeared out of nowhere. Which is exactly what we see.

    It's considered pretty out there in the world of biology, but he makes a very convincing argument. If you have a background in biology, his major paper is worth a read.

    Replies: @Grahamsno(G64), @Almost Missouri, @Ian M.

    It’s an interesting theory, and it addresses Darwin’s Dilemma, but …

    When that hybrid breeds back into the parent species, a new species is formed.

    Okay, but then each “new” species is just 3/4 of an old species and 1/4 of another species. Which doesn’t quite seem to be exactly what we see. Over time, such a speciation process should be leading to a gradual homogenization via quarter-hybridizations. But instead the fossil record shows diversification rather than homogenization.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
    @Almost Missouri

    Maybe changing climatic conditions lead to particular populations of certain species becoming fragmented, and then gradually evolving apart until the point is reached at which they can no longer breed with the cousin population due to genetic mutations that take place in one population but not another.

    Darwin noted that there were similar species found in mountain ranges that were separated by large areas of plains. Presumably this was akin to the Sea rising and making highland areas into islands that were then separated by water.

    Species could survive in the high altitude of the mountainous areas when the climate became hotter and made them extinct in the plains. The mountain species then evolved away from each other over eons, until they were not able to breed anymore with cousin populations.

  85. @Gamecock
    Department of Philosophy

    So this is not a biologist discussion at all.

    But consider this, are there differences between potatoes and tomatoes?

    They are of the same genus, Solanum. Eggplant, too. Taxanomically, it makes sense to name them differently. Philosophers be damned.

    Replies: @Old and Grumpy

    Also related is nightshade.

    • Replies: @Gamecock
    @Old and Grumpy

    10-4. We have S. carolinense around here.

  86. Maybe Darwin was wrong about a lot of things? Guernsey cows are the only cows that make milk with beta carotene. So what cow came first to hybridize to the rest? Guernseys off a small island? Presumably Doggerland might explain cow movement. Still the only explanation for the breeding hybridization and clear differences comes from magic dirt theory. The isle of Jersey is next to Isle of Guernsey. Jersey’s don’t make beta carotene. Doggerland distance, Holsteins don’t do butterfat and protein solids. Well all bovine bulls make bull sh!t, not unlike Mr. Darwin.

  87. @Almost Missouri
    @Anon

    It's an interesting theory, and it addresses Darwin's Dilemma, but ...


    When that hybrid breeds back into the parent species, a new species is formed.
     
    Okay, but then each "new" species is just 3/4 of an old species and 1/4 of another species. Which doesn't quite seem to be exactly what we see. Over time, such a speciation process should be leading to a gradual homogenization via quarter-hybridizations. But instead the fossil record shows diversification rather than homogenization.

    Replies: @Jonathan Mason

    Maybe changing climatic conditions lead to particular populations of certain species becoming fragmented, and then gradually evolving apart until the point is reached at which they can no longer breed with the cousin population due to genetic mutations that take place in one population but not another.

    Darwin noted that there were similar species found in mountain ranges that were separated by large areas of plains. Presumably this was akin to the Sea rising and making highland areas into islands that were then separated by water.

    Species could survive in the high altitude of the mountainous areas when the climate became hotter and made them extinct in the plains. The mountain species then evolved away from each other over eons, until they were not able to breed anymore with cousin populations.

  88. @SafeNow
    Sometimes I hear a newsreader, or even a prominent pundit, who thinks that a single species is called a “specie.” Somehow, this person has gone through life hearing the correct usage a zillion times, without it registering. Or, maybe it does register, but it is a matter of arrogance, with the pundit thinking that the zillion other people are all wrong, and he is the smart one.

    Replies: @I, Libertine, @Bert, @Herp McDerp, @Ian M.

    Sometimes I hear a newsreader, or even a prominent pundit, who thinks that a “pundit” is called a “pundent.” Somehow, this person has gone through life seeing the correct spelling a zillion times, without it registering that the pronunciation is obviously incorrect. Or, maybe it does register, but it is a matter of groupthink, with the pundit thinking that the zillion other people must all be correct, and he is the wrong one.

    You reminded me of one of my pet peeves. I got a million of ’em.

    • Replies: @anon
    @I, Libertine

    You reminded me of one of my pet peeves.

    Mee, toooooo!
    One of my peeves has to do with the conclusion of alt.peeves.

  89. Anonymous[302] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jonathan Mason
    Having survived the onslaught of the religious fundamentalists and the Scopes monkey trial, it seems that Darwin's chef d'oeuvre The Origin of Species has now been demolished by biologists by the simple process of demonstrating that there are no species.

    Nice job, biologists.

    Without species, there is no origin and we are back to square one.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Matt Buckalew

    Race-denial is Creationism.

  90. @PhysicistDave
    @ic1000

    I doubt that too many practicing biologists lose too much sleep over the meaning of "species."

    There are lots of amusing complications: the existence of "ring species" is particularly amusing.

    But people are not unable to understand the concept of "ring species" because of confusion over the meaning of "species."

    Actual scientists use words to most clearly explain nature: e.g., to refer to my own doctoral thesis topic, the word "lepton" means "light particle" and was originally applied to the electron, muon, and their neutrinos.

    But when the tau particle was discovered and seen to be an analog of the electron and muon, we cheerfully called it the "heavy lepton," despite the semantic contradiction.

    We let Nature guide us, rather than playing semantic games.

    A similar situation occurred earlier in particle physics, when the muon was originally called the "mu meson," but we changed the nomenclature when we realized that calling it a "meson" did not conduce to understanding the structure of reality.

    A deep and unending obsession with semantics in preference to the real world tends to be the sign of a sick mind.

    Replies: @PhysicistDave, @lavoisier

    A deep and unending obsession with semantics in preference to the real world tends to be the sign of a sick mind.

    I think it is more reflective of an individual who is incapable of genuine scientific discovery.

    The retreat into verbiage as a cover for incompetence.

    • Agree: res
  91. ‘…This approach is far from new, because Darwin employed a similar strategy to the species problem 150 years ago. Darwin’s solution, as I will call it, is threefold…’

    The language suggests a horrifying possibility. It could be argued that Darwin’s solution does not exist.

  92. @Nick Diaz
    Species definitely exist, and have a very clear and precise definition(members of a species can produce fertile offspring with each other, but not with other living being outside the species).

    What does not exist biologically is race. Race appears to be just something that Human beings use to categorize each other for social convention, economic reasons or to justify inherited status. It is an arbitrary construct build around the color of the skin. You could as well define "race" by eye color, in which case a black man with blue eyes and a Swede with white skin and blue eyes would belong to the same "race", while an Italian with white kin but brown eyes would belong to a different "race". It is completely arbitrary, and the result of social convention. Saying that "race" is who your relatives are is a vague and redundant observation, because there is no clear demarcation. And strictly speaking, we are all related to each other. In fact, all life on the planet is technically related, with all of us descending from a single cell, most probably an anaerobic bacteria, that lived in some deep ocean vent 3.5 billion years ago.

    Species and gender are definitely real biological categories, with very precise definitions, but race is whatever you want it to be. Just look how Italian and Polish immigrants were not considered "real whites" like the English are "real whites", but then suddenly were upgraded to white status as their economic status improved. In the U.S.A, money talks.

    "Race" is something that doesn't mean anything to a strict biologist, but it is the kind of thing that people(at least some), feel extremely strongly about, and discussions on this topic never ever end well.

    Replies: @ic1000, @anon

    > Species and gender are definitely real biological categories, with very precise definitions

    You missed the core point of the original post.

    Commenter res reformatted the excerpt from Marc Ereshefsky’s 2010 paper to make it more legible, find that upthread (#14).

    Or give a listen to Razib’s interview with John Wilkins, he reviews the controversies over “definitely,” “real,” and “precise” as they pertain to the concept of “species.” Link at comment #5.

  93. @MM
    My information is hardly up to date, but I was under the impression that species are the category under protection in the various wildlife preservation legal frameworks in existence.

    For example, a area cannot be developed because a species has been discovered in that area. Or a species, e.g. the polar bear, is protected and cannot be hunted or otherwise prevented from annoying humans.

    So if species do not exist, how are judges to rule?

    Replies: @JimB, @J.Ross, @Buzz Mohawk, @Jack Armstrong, @Bill

    So if _____ do not exist, how are judges to rule?

    Penumbral emanations.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    @Jack Armstrong

    Very good, JA.

  94. @Grahamsno(G64)
    @Anon

    Stephen Gould noticed this problem with the fossil record. He called it 'punctuated equilibrium' that is the fossil record doesn't change for a long time i.e. in equilibrium and then suddenly new species occur.

    Replies: @David, @AnotherDad

    I don’t believe Gould noticed the problem in the fossil record. For one, the issue had already been noted in Darwin’s day.

    Just based on my own experience, I think he noticed punctuated equilibrium in computer simulations, but being Gould, he dissimulated. The FBI does this when the NSA hands them a domestic case.

    Every time I’ve set up a simulation of evolution I see a similar pattern. The “bugs” or whatever arrive at some equilibrium and stay there for a while, then “discover” some adjacent possibility, begin evolving rapidly, until they’ve optimized it. I call it falling down a hole.

  95. @Jonathan Mason
    Having survived the onslaught of the religious fundamentalists and the Scopes monkey trial, it seems that Darwin's chef d'oeuvre The Origin of Species has now been demolished by biologists by the simple process of demonstrating that there are no species.

    Nice job, biologists.

    Without species, there is no origin and we are back to square one.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Matt Buckalew

    Good that’s where we’d be anyways if a certain paleontological theory hadn’t proven so effective a tribal battering ram against Anglo-Christian culture. Evolution as a scientific theory is at a less compelling state than the plum pudding model of the atom.

    • Replies: @Bert
    @Matt Buckalew

    What a hodge-podge of unrelated assertions. But most of all you are ignorant of the powerful results from molecular phylogenetics. They together with functional morphology and behavioral ecology provide a compelling explanation of the history of any extant evolutionary radiation upon which biologists have seriously focused.

    I don't know why Mr. Sailer would post without comment such a difficult practical and philosophical problem. Doing so encourages the worst of Know-Nothingism. Minimally, species exist as phenetic clusters. The only caveat to that species definition are cryptic species, ones barely distinguishable phenotypically, but biochemically distinct. The "species problem" is the question of a universally application definition, and the consensus answer has gradually come to be that species definitions must be tailored to the biology of the taxon in question. Hardly surprising considering the vast differences across the tree of life in regard to complexity, function, and reproductive mode.

    Replies: @Bert, @Matt Buckalew, @Gamecock

  96. @SafeNow
    Sometimes I hear a newsreader, or even a prominent pundit, who thinks that a single species is called a “specie.” Somehow, this person has gone through life hearing the correct usage a zillion times, without it registering. Or, maybe it does register, but it is a matter of arrogance, with the pundit thinking that the zillion other people are all wrong, and he is the smart one.

    Replies: @I, Libertine, @Bert, @Herp McDerp, @Ian M.

    Probably never registered the correct spelling/pronunciation. “Excellant” “Supercede” I’ve seen Ph.D.s use these spellings. Or from Dictionary.com, “Ph.d. Definition & Meaning Dictionary.com.” Many of us carry around little goblins of ignorance waiting for the right moment to embarrass us.

  97. @Bill
    Splitters are so retarded. Do neutrons exist? Do carbon atoms exist? How about blue. Does it exist? Do hands exist? Do trees exist? Do tables exist? Maybe a foetus really is just a clump of cells---not that cells exist, but, you know, if they did.

    Splitters, outside the really stupid ones, are never in earnest. Always they are trying to evade some true conclusion which can be evaded only by either lying or denying reality. It's just shielding skepticism.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa, @Matthew Kelly, @prime noticer, @Jack Armstrong

    Lumpers rule!!!

  98. @SaneClownPosse
    @james wilson

    Some of that breeding of superior specimens, faster, stronger, etc., was for bragging rights, much like breeding show and race horses.

    Replies: @Matt Buckalew

    There is almost zero evidence of this. My family had the kind of slave population that would have been amenable to this kind of breeding and it never occurred to them to do so. Slaves were always seen as human.

    I imagine this kind of thinking was prevalen in the imaginations of hill billy types that are always dreaming up risible things to do with the material wealth they will never possess.

    • Replies: @Bert
    @Matt Buckalew

    Some of us crackers have enjoyed the material wealth necessary to bring risible dreams to life. Don't knock it if you ain't done it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjBgNwAVLWQ

    Replies: @Matt Buckalew

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @Matt Buckalew


    I imagine this kind of thinking was prevalent in the imaginations of hill billy types that are always dreaming up risible things to do with the material wealth they will never possess.
     
    This is how progressives think. They believe that recognizing racial differences could lead to genocide. Which is plausible-- should they recognize them.

    It's projection. "Final solutions" are very much a progressive thing. Cf. Thomas Sowell on the "unconstrained" worldview.


    Oh, by the way, in what sense are, or were, Africans "material wealth"? Sounds kinda Ponzi to me. "Hillbillies", as opposed to rednecks, often sided with the Union because they hated the planters. It was class war.

    My family had the kind of slave population that would have been amenable to this kind of breeding and it never occurred to them to do so. Slaves were always seen as human.
     
    For purposes of representation, yes. For purposes of rights-- a peculiarly American obsession-- not so much.

    The British were the world's leading abolitionists, but how much of their argument was based upon the rights of man? Versus, say, the cruelty of the practice or the corruption of the owners?

    Even today, animal lovers outside the US rarely claim the issue is one of rights.

    Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican

    , @Colin Wright
    @Matt Buckalew

    'I imagine this kind of thinking was prevalen in the imaginations of hill billy types that are always dreaming up risible things to do with the material wealth they will never possess.'

    I doubt if anyone thought that way while it was actually a possibility.

    It's basically a (rather tawdry, pathetic) fantasy of our own era. Blacks were blacks -- and in an era of apprenticeship, a husband's right to beat his wife, and the obvious duty of children to labor unpaid for their parents, that they were slaves wasn't as remarkable as it would be today.

    Ironically, we probably impose more grossly unrealistic standards on blacks and reduce most of them to a more utterly debased condition today than the average slave holder of 1840 ever did. Then, they worked, got fed, clothed, and housed, and had an understood status, with certain (very modest) assurances. You couldn't 'free' your elderly slaves because it wasn't right to turn them out to starve -- not because evil Southerners were plotting to make it always winter and never Christmas for their black chattels.

    Compare and contrast to the condition of utterly degraded idleness in which we keep the bulk of our blacks today. Christ, a third of them are literally felons. They are not doing well.

    Not that I care -- but it's questionable if we've done the average black any favors. We tell him to run a race he can't possibly win. It's like telling your dog you'll feed him -- just as soon as he mows the lawn. Then we pat ourselves on the back because if our dog did mow the lawn, we'd give him a can of Alpo -- whereas that fierce bad animal abuser across the street just gives his dog dried food as long as he barks at intruders and doesn't take a dump on the rug.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    , @Ralph L
    @Matt Buckalew

    According to family lore, one of my ex-boss's indirect ancestors was breeding his female slaves himself and selling the children. He was murdered, and no one did anything about it, because they figured he deserved it.

  99. @Almost Missouri
    @Jonathan Mason


    Of course the truth is that there are species,
     
    Yes.

    but that new species are always evolving although that evolution may not be apparent to our eyes.
     
    That is the more ambiguous part, as I noted in my previous comment. According to Darwin's theory, that is what should be happening, but as Darwin himself noticed, the fossil record sure doesn't look like that.

    Darwin anticipated "phyletic gradualism". Wikipedia illustrates it, along with the attempt to rescue the concept as "punctuated equilibrium" in this image:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/69/Punctuated-equilibrium.svg/800px-Punctuated-equilibrium.svg.png

    But the reality is that no one has ever found whatever is supposed to be represented by those horizontal bars. The actual fossil record amounts to a bunch of vertical lines, starting from nothing and ending in nothing.

    Replies: @res, @nokangaroos

    The actual fossil record amounts to a bunch of vertical lines, starting from nothing and ending in nothing.

    It’s important to remember that the fossil record comprises a very small sample of life on the planet over a given time period. Here is one example.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00984-2

    The team used its estimates of the total range of T. rex across modern North America, combined with estimates of the dinosaur’s body mass, to calculate that, at any one time, around 20,000 T. rex would have been alive on the planet. That translates to around 3,800 T. rex in an area the size of California, or just two T. rex patrolling Washington DC.

    Calculating that T. rex survived for about 127,000 generations before becoming extinct, the researchers came up with a figure of 2.5 billion individuals over the species’ entire existence. Only 32 adult T. rex have been discovered as fossils, so the fossil record accounts for just one in about every 80 million T. rex. This means that the chances of being fossilized — even for one of the largest-ever carnivores — were vanishingly small.

    T. rex had a generation time similar to humans at 19 years. So those 32 fossils appeared at a rate of 1 every 6,700 generations assuming they were distributed equally. But given the tendency of fossils to occur in bunches due to various events/conditions being present it seems likely the finds are grouped both chronologically and geographically.

    Now think about that in terms of humans. We have a larger population (the calculation is better for smaller animals which can have larger populations) so things are a little better. Using an estimate for human population in prehistory of 1 million (which is likely high before out of Africa occurred) we have 50x the population. Which would reduce that generations figure to 134 or about 2500 years. Now consider that the sample occurs over the whole world. So one might be from Africa, the next from Europe, the next from Asia, etc. Then there are the issues of age and sex of the fossils. Is it any wonder we can’t detect small changes in the fossil record?!

    Then there is the question of how visible small changes are in the remains that are left. Especially in light of all of the noise from region/sex/age variation.

    TLDR: It seems likely that there is both gradual evolution (caused by migration, adaptation, and gradual change in environment) and punctuated equilibrium (caused by dramatic change in environment). It is likely to be hard to observe the former in the fossil record though given the sparsity of fossils over time and place. What the balance between the two is makes for an interesting question.

    • Thanks: ic1000, Grahamsno(G64)
  100. @Matt Buckalew
    @SaneClownPosse

    There is almost zero evidence of this. My family had the kind of slave population that would have been amenable to this kind of breeding and it never occurred to them to do so. Slaves were always seen as human.

    I imagine this kind of thinking was prevalen in the imaginations of hill billy types that are always dreaming up risible things to do with the material wealth they will never possess.

    Replies: @Bert, @Reg Cæsar, @Colin Wright, @Ralph L

    Some of us crackers have enjoyed the material wealth necessary to bring risible dreams to life. Don’t knock it if you ain’t done it.

    • Replies: @Matt Buckalew
    @Bert

    I’ll take my extremely cultivated generational wealth any day. Playing high school quarterback was plenty excitement for me.

  101. @I, Libertine
    @SafeNow


    Sometimes I hear a newsreader, or even a prominent pundit, who thinks that a "pundit" is called a “pundent.” Somehow, this person has gone through life seeing the correct spelling a zillion times, without it registering that the pronunciation is obviously incorrect. Or, maybe it does register, but it is a matter of groupthink, with the pundit thinking that the zillion other people must all be correct, and he is the wrong one.
     
    You reminded me of one of my pet peeves. I got a million of 'em.

    Replies: @anon

    You reminded me of one of my pet peeves.

    Mee, toooooo!
    One of my peeves has to do with the conclusion of alt.peeves.

  102. @Nick Diaz
    Species definitely exist, and have a very clear and precise definition(members of a species can produce fertile offspring with each other, but not with other living being outside the species).

    What does not exist biologically is race. Race appears to be just something that Human beings use to categorize each other for social convention, economic reasons or to justify inherited status. It is an arbitrary construct build around the color of the skin. You could as well define "race" by eye color, in which case a black man with blue eyes and a Swede with white skin and blue eyes would belong to the same "race", while an Italian with white kin but brown eyes would belong to a different "race". It is completely arbitrary, and the result of social convention. Saying that "race" is who your relatives are is a vague and redundant observation, because there is no clear demarcation. And strictly speaking, we are all related to each other. In fact, all life on the planet is technically related, with all of us descending from a single cell, most probably an anaerobic bacteria, that lived in some deep ocean vent 3.5 billion years ago.

    Species and gender are definitely real biological categories, with very precise definitions, but race is whatever you want it to be. Just look how Italian and Polish immigrants were not considered "real whites" like the English are "real whites", but then suddenly were upgraded to white status as their economic status improved. In the U.S.A, money talks.

    "Race" is something that doesn't mean anything to a strict biologist, but it is the kind of thing that people(at least some), feel extremely strongly about, and discussions on this topic never ever end well.

    Replies: @ic1000, @anon

    Species and gender are definitely real biological categories,

    Gender is a linguistic concept. Sex is a biological category.

    The first step to wisdom is to call things by their right names.

    • Replies: @Nick Diaz
    @anon

    Irrelevant. I am using the terms as synonyms. The gist of my argument is 100% correct.

    Replies: @anon

  103. @astrolabe
    @Triteleia Laxa

    How can I tell whether I'm a lumper or a splitter?

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa

    They’re both tendencies. Hopefully you can’t tell whether you’re one or the other, because you’re perfectly flexible between both.

  104. @Matt Buckalew
    @Jonathan Mason

    Good that’s where we’d be anyways if a certain paleontological theory hadn’t proven so effective a tribal battering ram against Anglo-Christian culture. Evolution as a scientific theory is at a less compelling state than the plum pudding model of the atom.

    Replies: @Bert

    What a hodge-podge of unrelated assertions. But most of all you are ignorant of the powerful results from molecular phylogenetics. They together with functional morphology and behavioral ecology provide a compelling explanation of the history of any extant evolutionary radiation upon which biologists have seriously focused.

    I don’t know why Mr. Sailer would post without comment such a difficult practical and philosophical problem. Doing so encourages the worst of Know-Nothingism. Minimally, species exist as phenetic clusters. The only caveat to that species definition are cryptic species, ones barely distinguishable phenotypically, but biochemically distinct. The “species problem” is the question of a universally application definition, and the consensus answer has gradually come to be that species definitions must be tailored to the biology of the taxon in question. Hardly surprising considering the vast differences across the tree of life in regard to complexity, function, and reproductive mode.

    • Replies: @Bert
    @Bert

    universally application definition = universally applicable definition

    , @Matt Buckalew
    @Bert

    Lamo look at this world salad. I’m sorry your god got out over his skis and all his little Myrmidons like Miller, Wilson, Lewontin, and Gould couldn’t put Dumpty Darwin back together again. Darwin extensively sketched out what would would need to come next for this theory and it feel flat on its face. Next time here’s a hint don’t bet the farm on the lazy daddy’s boy with the frumpy wife. Cope low status boomer.

    , @Gamecock
    @Bert


    Doing so encourages the worst of Know-Nothingism.
     
    10-4. Biology is an odd discipline in that the uninitiated boldly tell biologists they are WRONG!!!

    Imagine neophytes telling a chemist he is wrong. It could never happen.
  105. @Bert
    @Matt Buckalew

    What a hodge-podge of unrelated assertions. But most of all you are ignorant of the powerful results from molecular phylogenetics. They together with functional morphology and behavioral ecology provide a compelling explanation of the history of any extant evolutionary radiation upon which biologists have seriously focused.

    I don't know why Mr. Sailer would post without comment such a difficult practical and philosophical problem. Doing so encourages the worst of Know-Nothingism. Minimally, species exist as phenetic clusters. The only caveat to that species definition are cryptic species, ones barely distinguishable phenotypically, but biochemically distinct. The "species problem" is the question of a universally application definition, and the consensus answer has gradually come to be that species definitions must be tailored to the biology of the taxon in question. Hardly surprising considering the vast differences across the tree of life in regard to complexity, function, and reproductive mode.

    Replies: @Bert, @Matt Buckalew, @Gamecock

    universally application definition = universally applicable definition

  106. Look, this is not that hard. Kant wrote that we cannot know “things-in-themselves,” the really real behind all the observations. All we know is what the latest theory theorizes about the really real.

    So all categorizations are “social constructions.” We use them because they are socially useful. For instance it is useful for a homeowner to differentiate between dogs and cats, and hunters to differentiate between elk and reindeer. But ultimately all these creatures are an assembly of quarks. Until the next Theory of Everything comes along.

    And then there is race. OMG! Let’s say that if you are an Olympic coach, it is helpful to differentiate between East Africans that are good at being the First Black President and West Africans that are good at being aspiring rappers — for whenever rap becomes an Olympic sport.

  107. This iSteve article wins the Rorschach Test award.

    Comments about race: article isn’t about race
    Comments about creationism: article isn’t about creationism

    Nice to know that’s what you were thinking though!

    Comments on word meaning and word creation: there’s something to that, big bravo compared to the others

  108. @Dennis Dale
    @Sick of Orcs

    The Grovelympics. Imagine the possibilities. The 3000 meter self abasement-steeple chase. The Cryathlon. The White Stooge Luge (officially "white allies" contest). Freestyle kneeling. Endless they are!

    Replies: @Jim Don Bob

    Speaking of just desserts, USA soccer lost 1-0 to Canada (!) and Megan “did you know I was an lesbian and that I am under paid?) Rapinoe was seen crying on the field.

    As Insty said, “TOO MUCH KNEELING, NOT ENOUGH WINNING”.

    • Replies: @Dennis Dale
    @Jim Don Bob

    Crying for volume will definitely be a competition.

  109. @Matt Buckalew
    @SaneClownPosse

    There is almost zero evidence of this. My family had the kind of slave population that would have been amenable to this kind of breeding and it never occurred to them to do so. Slaves were always seen as human.

    I imagine this kind of thinking was prevalen in the imaginations of hill billy types that are always dreaming up risible things to do with the material wealth they will never possess.

    Replies: @Bert, @Reg Cæsar, @Colin Wright, @Ralph L

    I imagine this kind of thinking was prevalent in the imaginations of hill billy types that are always dreaming up risible things to do with the material wealth they will never possess.

    This is how progressives think. They believe that recognizing racial differences could lead to genocide. Which is plausible– should they recognize them.

    It’s projection. “Final solutions” are very much a progressive thing. Cf. Thomas Sowell on the “unconstrained” worldview.

    Oh, by the way, in what sense are, or were, Africans “material wealth”? Sounds kinda Ponzi to me. “Hillbillies”, as opposed to rednecks, often sided with the Union because they hated the planters. It was class war.

    My family had the kind of slave population that would have been amenable to this kind of breeding and it never occurred to them to do so. Slaves were always seen as human.

    For purposes of representation, yes. For purposes of rights– a peculiarly American obsession– not so much.

    The British were the world’s leading abolitionists, but how much of their argument was based upon the rights of man? Versus, say, the cruelty of the practice or the corruption of the owners?

    Even today, animal lovers outside the US rarely claim the issue is one of rights.

    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican
    @Reg Cæsar


    “Final solutions” are very much a progressive thing.
     
    Or downright Biblical, even. Is God a progressive?


    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/52/Le_d%C3%A9luge_-_mus%C3%A9e_de_beaux_arts_de_Nantes_20091017.jpg

    https://www.lookandlearn.com/history-images/preview/A/A001/A001151_Destruction-of-Sodom-and-Gomorah.jpg
  110. @Grahamsno(G64)
    @Anon

    Stephen Gould noticed this problem with the fossil record. He called it 'punctuated equilibrium' that is the fossil record doesn't change for a long time i.e. in equilibrium and then suddenly new species occur.

    Replies: @David, @AnotherDad

    Stephen Gould noticed this problem with the fossil record. He called it ‘punctuated equilibrium’ that is the fossil record doesn’t change for a long time i.e. in equilibrium and then suddenly new species occur.

    I don’t know the history of biology, but Gould certainly didn’t “notice” this “problem”.

    This couldn’t be the level of what constitutes “insight” in biology, or i’m an incredibly “insightful” human being.

    Equilibrium–a bunch of change–new equilibrium is an utterly obvious pattern in natural systems, in human history/human affairs, in markets, heck even in our own lives. We normally live in some sort of equilibirum, until there’s some sort of change–a girlfriend, a new job, a marriage, a move, a baby, a serious illness, a death–that changes our environment … and we settle into a new equilibruim.

    Gould simply did what such hucksters do–put a name on it and tried to take credit.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @AnotherDad

    Punctuated equilibrium allows leftists to simultaneously believe in evolution and racial equality.

    Evolution is real (and creationists are stupid) but human evolution ceased 30,000 years ago, and so there are no major differences between the races.

    It's just epicycles over again.

    Replies: @Matt Buckalew, @Patrick McNally

  111. @Almost Missouri
    @Jonathan Mason


    Of course the truth is that there are species,
     
    Yes.

    but that new species are always evolving although that evolution may not be apparent to our eyes.
     
    That is the more ambiguous part, as I noted in my previous comment. According to Darwin's theory, that is what should be happening, but as Darwin himself noticed, the fossil record sure doesn't look like that.

    Darwin anticipated "phyletic gradualism". Wikipedia illustrates it, along with the attempt to rescue the concept as "punctuated equilibrium" in this image:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/69/Punctuated-equilibrium.svg/800px-Punctuated-equilibrium.svg.png

    But the reality is that no one has ever found whatever is supposed to be represented by those horizontal bars. The actual fossil record amounts to a bunch of vertical lines, starting from nothing and ending in nothing.

    Replies: @res, @nokangaroos

    Gould did not discover jack, he just microwaved Cuvier and yes, that was before Darwin.
    The problem with Gould and Lewontin is they had the creds –
    unlike, say, Boas – but were intellectually just as dishonest.
    Darwin´s model predicted gradualism while it is clear the concept of species
    implies immutability so clearly he was a wee bit uncomfortable with it.
    Under ideal conditions (number of individuals amenable to statistics, short
    generation time, simple metrics, fast drift and splitting – marine foraminifera are good)
    the picture of speciation is indeed beautifully gradual 😉

  112. Species don’t exist because speciation has NEVER been observed and, thus, evolution is an atheist fairy tale.

    • LOL: Bert
    • Replies: @Herp McDerp
    @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    Speciation of humans seems to be happening right now in ... don't groan! ... China. At least one person has been found with 44 chromosomes rather than the usual 46. Unlike, say, Down Syndrome people with an odd number of chromosomes, he seems to be quite healthy, and there may be more of his kind in his village. This article explains what's going on and why and how he came to be born and survive, and it illustrates how the origin of a new species within a population can occur.

    https://genetics.thetech.org/original_news/news124

    Note that an inbred (and usually isolated) population is required. This explains "punctuated equilibrium" -- the new species originates in a small population and if it has a natural advantage it can become dominant and quickly replace the predecessor species.

    Interesting and worth reading, I think.

    Replies: @res

    , @Gamecock
    @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    Evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of species on earth. As opposed to the creationist's "God just poofed it all."

    You can't displace evolution by chewing on biologists' ankles (Species don’t exist because speciation has NEVER been observed and, thus, evolution is an atheist fairy tale). You must come up with a BETTER THEORY.

    By the way, speciation has been observed in birds in Florida.

    And insects in England.

  113. Anonymous[203] • Disclaimer says:
    @AnotherDad
    @Grahamsno(G64)


    Stephen Gould noticed this problem with the fossil record. He called it ‘punctuated equilibrium’ that is the fossil record doesn’t change for a long time i.e. in equilibrium and then suddenly new species occur.
     
    I don't know the history of biology, but Gould certainly didn't "notice" this "problem".

    This couldn't be the level of what constitutes "insight" in biology, or i'm an incredibly "insightful" human being.

    Equilibrium--a bunch of change--new equilibrium is an utterly obvious pattern in natural systems, in human history/human affairs, in markets, heck even in our own lives. We normally live in some sort of equilibirum, until there's some sort of change--a girlfriend, a new job, a marriage, a move, a baby, a serious illness, a death--that changes our environment ... and we settle into a new equilibruim.

    Gould simply did what such hucksters do--put a name on it and tried to take credit.

    Replies: @Anonymous

    Punctuated equilibrium allows leftists to simultaneously believe in evolution and racial equality.

    Evolution is real (and creationists are stupid) but human evolution ceased 30,000 years ago, and so there are no major differences between the races.

    It’s just epicycles over again.

    • Replies: @Matt Buckalew
    @Anonymous

    Exactly- following the decade long atheistic excitement for Stanley Miller’s silly experiments evolutionist like Wilson thought that scientific reductionism was going to unlock the secret of life. The hope was that evolution could be condensed into a chemical models that would then would fundamentally explain man’s nature and
    development. The important thing was to get evolution out of the realm of paleontology into the realm of experimental science.

    When this proved a laughably over ambitious program Wilson pouted like a bitch and then end to study ants. What remained was two separate branch offs: one division centered on keeping evolutionary studies tethered to experimental science even as that seemed as less and less fruitful endeavor while some felt that a dead end and reconfigured their focus towards evolutionary psychology.

    Within the experimental science component of evolutionist you had those that were committed to pursuing evolution studies and those that content with the destruction of traditionalism already wrought by evolution. They were also wary of the potential anti-egalitarian aspects of evolution (as it was becoming clear that nutrition alone wasn’t going to close the cognitive gap) decided to pivot away from evolution as it applied to man. As you said they played up ideas like punctuated equilibrium and adroitly defanged the anti-egalitarian aspects of evolution reconfiguring it almost exclusively as a cudgel against religion. The mechanics of evolution were immaterial dangerous even- the important thing was that an empty dark universe brought forth life accidentally.

    Replies: @Bert, @Bert

    , @Patrick McNally
    @Anonymous

    Actually the old Darwinian theory of evolution was more compatible with the idea that there are no fundamental differences between races. Gould's theory of punctured equilibrium raised the issue of racial evolutionary differences once more, and Gould himself seemed so shocked by its implications that he spent the rest of his life trying to bury them.

    Darwin's theory was really inspired by Edmund Burke. Burke postulated that societies were always going through a long never-ending evolutionary process which imperceptibly. Burke wished to argue that the turmoil of the French Revolution had been an unnecessary avoidable mistake, but Burke had always been a British liberal who had supported the right of the American colonies to independence from the monarchy. So he couldn't really play the traditional conservative role when denouncing the French Revolution. Instead, Burke made up the first theory of gradual evolution and applied to sociology to imply that the revolution had been needless.

    Darwin later took Burke's sociology and translated it into biology with the claim now that natural species were evolving slowly incrementally all the time. But one deduction of this theory was that the racial groups which had only grown apart over a few score of millennia could not really be that much different from each other. Without at least a million years of evolution to separate north Europeans from east Asians from central Africans it would seem obvious from Darwin's model that the differences between such groups must be relatively small.

    It was Gould's theory which gave account for how significant changes might have occurred within each of these groups since their shared common ancestors lived. Once Gould realized this he rushed to try to put the genie back in the bottle again. He began emphasizing that we really don't see any evidence of evolutionary change happening in humans right now and therefore the races must really be the same. But his own theory makes it clear that all we would need is tom imagine a period of punctuated equilibrium occurring briefly maybe 30 millennia or so ago and suddenly we could have huge differences appearing between races.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Gamecock

  114. @JimB
    @MM

    I thought species could mate successfully only among themselves. That’s what makes them species.

    Replies: @JMcG, @Ben tillman

    Lots of pairs of species are inter fertile. Lions and tigers for instance.

  115. @MM
    My information is hardly up to date, but I was under the impression that species are the category under protection in the various wildlife preservation legal frameworks in existence.

    For example, a area cannot be developed because a species has been discovered in that area. Or a species, e.g. the polar bear, is protected and cannot be hunted or otherwise prevented from annoying humans.

    So if species do not exist, how are judges to rule?

    Replies: @JimB, @J.Ross, @Buzz Mohawk, @Jack Armstrong, @Bill

    No. Subspecies are good enough for ESA. Northern Spotted Owl, for example.

  116. @Triteleia Laxa
    @Bill

    Splitters want to engage with reality directly, but they don't recognise how difficult that is, so they often got lost in the chaos of it.

    Lumpers want to catch reality in their own net, but often end up getting stuck in the net, not reality.

    If you attack one of these tendencies, it is because you're prone to the other. People tend to be extremely consistent in their imbalance, with consequences that can be seen in every detail of their life and even when you first meet them.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @bomag, @astrolabe, @Bill

    If you attack one of these tendencies, it is because you’re prone to the other.

    Sure. And also one of these tendencies is better than the other.

    • Replies: @Triteleia Laxa
    @Bill

    If you need it to control your anxiety then I suppose that belief is OK for you.

  117. @ic1000
    Good topic. The current version of the post is a crummy cut-n-paste, Steve. Get me rewrite.

    Google's cache of the source, "Darwin’s solution to the species problem," by Marc Ereshefsky. Synthese, 2010, doi: 10.1007/s11229-009-9538-4.

    My opinions in tl;dr form:

    1. Species is an incredibly useful concept. Getting rid of it makes it harder to understand natural selection, evolution, and the natural world. Bug for some, feature for others.

    2. Life is diverse. In particular, reproduction and propagation take very diverse forms. Bacteria fission, except when they conjugate or sporulate. "Sex" is very different between plants and animals (to say nothing of yeast, etc.). Among animals: Some insects are eusocial. Many fish are sequential hermaphrodites. "Breeding populations" are fuzzy. Etc. Always unlikely that a single overarching concept of "species" would fit all these molds. Wittgenstein anticipated these debates: rather than clear and absolute boundaries, a "family resemblance" of like things (as Steve has noted previously).

    3. Science philosopher John S. Wilkins recently covered this topic in an hour-long discussion with Razib Khan, if your tastes run to podcasts.

    4. Those of us on the outside may forget from time to time, but Academics Gonna Academic. Publish-or-perish, Up-Or-Out on the tenure track. No manuscript gets accepted for arguing "I agree with him." Say something unique, correctness and utility are secondary.

    Replies: @res, @PhysicistDave, @slumber_j, @Bill, @From Beer to Paternity

    Publish or perish is very bad indeed.

  118. @Jim Don Bob
    @Dennis Dale

    Speaking of just desserts, USA soccer lost 1-0 to Canada (!) and Megan "did you know I was an lesbian and that I am under paid?) Rapinoe was seen crying on the field.

    As Insty said, "TOO MUCH KNEELING, NOT ENOUGH WINNING".

    Replies: @Dennis Dale

    Crying for volume will definitely be a competition.

  119. @Matt Buckalew
    @SaneClownPosse

    There is almost zero evidence of this. My family had the kind of slave population that would have been amenable to this kind of breeding and it never occurred to them to do so. Slaves were always seen as human.

    I imagine this kind of thinking was prevalen in the imaginations of hill billy types that are always dreaming up risible things to do with the material wealth they will never possess.

    Replies: @Bert, @Reg Cæsar, @Colin Wright, @Ralph L

    ‘I imagine this kind of thinking was prevalen in the imaginations of hill billy types that are always dreaming up risible things to do with the material wealth they will never possess.’

    I doubt if anyone thought that way while it was actually a possibility.

    It’s basically a (rather tawdry, pathetic) fantasy of our own era. Blacks were blacks — and in an era of apprenticeship, a husband’s right to beat his wife, and the obvious duty of children to labor unpaid for their parents, that they were slaves wasn’t as remarkable as it would be today.

    Ironically, we probably impose more grossly unrealistic standards on blacks and reduce most of them to a more utterly debased condition today than the average slave holder of 1840 ever did. Then, they worked, got fed, clothed, and housed, and had an understood status, with certain (very modest) assurances. You couldn’t ‘free’ your elderly slaves because it wasn’t right to turn them out to starve — not because evil Southerners were plotting to make it always winter and never Christmas for their black chattels.

    Compare and contrast to the condition of utterly degraded idleness in which we keep the bulk of our blacks today. Christ, a third of them are literally felons. They are not doing well.

    Not that I care — but it’s questionable if we’ve done the average black any favors. We tell him to run a race he can’t possibly win. It’s like telling your dog you’ll feed him — just as soon as he mows the lawn. Then we pat ourselves on the back because if our dog did mow the lawn, we’d give him a can of Alpo — whereas that fierce bad animal abuser across the street just gives his dog dried food as long as he barks at intruders and doesn’t take a dump on the rug.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Colin Wright


    Then, they worked, got fed, clothed, and housed, and had an understood status...
     
    Well, you got four out of five right.

    Replies: @Anon

  120. There is a well established science “taxonomy”,its postulates reaffirmed recently by DNA sequencing.

    Classification of living things does not end at “species” – subspecies is one of many ranks below that of species, such as variety, subvariety, form, and subform.

    Yes,all dogs belong to the big happy species of “canis lupus familiaris” which are supposed to give each other big sloppy kisses,hug each other,thoroughly interbreed and Build Back Better (whatever)

    I shudder to think how the interbreeding of Chihuahua and Great Dane will look like

    OJ & Nicole Brown Simpson 😁 ?

    As a homework try to subdivide,say,your ‘hood Brothers into varieties,subvarieties,forms and subforms.

    For example Caribbean variety is different from Somali variety.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    @John1955


    I shudder to think how the interbreeding of Chihuahua and Great Dane will look like
     
    https://youtu.be/1yLmELgSmFs?t=648
    [10:48]
  121. @Bill
    @Triteleia Laxa


    If you attack one of these tendencies, it is because you’re prone to the other.
     
    Sure. And also one of these tendencies is better than the other.

    Replies: @Triteleia Laxa

    If you need it to control your anxiety then I suppose that belief is OK for you.

  122. @Jack Armstrong
    @MM


    So if _____ do not exist, how are judges to rule?
     
    Penumbral emanations.

    Replies: @Jim Don Bob

    Very good, JA.

    • Agree: Jack Armstrong
  123. @Bert
    @Matt Buckalew

    What a hodge-podge of unrelated assertions. But most of all you are ignorant of the powerful results from molecular phylogenetics. They together with functional morphology and behavioral ecology provide a compelling explanation of the history of any extant evolutionary radiation upon which biologists have seriously focused.

    I don't know why Mr. Sailer would post without comment such a difficult practical and philosophical problem. Doing so encourages the worst of Know-Nothingism. Minimally, species exist as phenetic clusters. The only caveat to that species definition are cryptic species, ones barely distinguishable phenotypically, but biochemically distinct. The "species problem" is the question of a universally application definition, and the consensus answer has gradually come to be that species definitions must be tailored to the biology of the taxon in question. Hardly surprising considering the vast differences across the tree of life in regard to complexity, function, and reproductive mode.

    Replies: @Bert, @Matt Buckalew, @Gamecock

    Lamo look at this world salad. I’m sorry your god got out over his skis and all his little Myrmidons like Miller, Wilson, Lewontin, and Gould couldn’t put Dumpty Darwin back together again. Darwin extensively sketched out what would would need to come next for this theory and it feel flat on its face. Next time here’s a hint don’t bet the farm on the lazy daddy’s boy with the frumpy wife. Cope low status boomer.

    • Troll: Bert
  124. @Almost Missouri
    @Intelligent Dasein

    Thanks.


    Now, individuals are differentiated from one another not by their form but by their matter, and matter is subject to accident. Therefore the material qualities of a being can paint a rather confusing picture of the underlying form.
     
    Can there not also be competing or intersecting forms, which also adds to the confusion as there may be more than one underlying form? For example, a pregnant mother's form is intersected by the form of the burgeoning fetus within her.

    And even the chaotic imprint of accidents in matter can have certain patterns to it, bespeaking the forms involved in the accident, no? A lot of what crime scene investigators do is essentially trying to reverse-engineer forms from chaos, for example.

    Replies: @Intelligent Dasein

    Can there not also be competing or intersecting forms, which also adds to the confusion as there may be more than one underlying form? For example, a pregnant mother’s form is intersected by the form of the burgeoning fetus within her.

    In one sense yes, in another sense no. There cannot be more than one form in each composite; i.e. there is precisely one form in each individual as such. Certain Scholastic philosophers, notably St. Bonaventure, posited a hierarchy of forms building one upon another, for example “man” has a nutritive soul and a sensitive soul and a rational soul. This theory seems rather attractive at first blush, however it cannot hold. As the first act of a creature’s existence, the form cannot presume anything besides “matter.” It cannot supervene on another form because it is itself the principle of existence. The form is the true “atom” of nature: The impenetrable ne plus ultra in both thought and actuality. If a creature were to change essentially into a different creature, it is because the new form is generated and the old form is corrupted.

    But in another sense you are onto something. I actually discussed this in my long essay but it will not hurt to summarize the point again here. For the naturalist, the biological researcher, the question is “What is the process by which new creatures come into existence?” If Darwinian evolution does not occur (and I hold that it doesn’t), but new species appear in the fossil record where formerly they were not, then how did these new species actually begin to exist in the world of space and time that we’re familiar with? What would I see if I happened to be present at the birth of a new species? I answered that there should be no great mystery here—the first individuals of new species begin to exist in much the same manner as the individuals of established species are generated. They gestate within or bud off from the body of an old species, or they corrupt the form of an old species and appear by metamorphosis, or they amalgamate within the humus and slime of the earth. This last item is what’s truly meant by “spontaneous generation” (which Pasteur’s experiments did not disprove, by the way).

    And even the chaotic imprint of accidents in matter can have certain patterns to it,

    Yes. A consistent patter of accidents is what we would refer to as a breed. Breeding demonstrates the plasticity of possible expressions within the form that can be educed by pressure and culling. Through breeding, the creature’s capacity to modify itself in the service of its own survival is, as it were, hijacked to serve an end outside of itself. Man’s domesticated strains are not the only example of this; plant galls are another. Breeding is useful to us but, from the bred creature’s perspective, is a deviation from the natural shape.

  125. @Bert
    @Matt Buckalew

    Some of us crackers have enjoyed the material wealth necessary to bring risible dreams to life. Don't knock it if you ain't done it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjBgNwAVLWQ

    Replies: @Matt Buckalew

    I’ll take my extremely cultivated generational wealth any day. Playing high school quarterback was plenty excitement for me.

  126. ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’
    William Shakespeare

    Forensic anthropology anyone ?

    Thats British Metro Police classification of sub-sub-species or subraces for those scientifically inclined:

    W1 (White-British),
    W2 (White-Irish),

    W9 (Any other white background);

    M1 (White and black Caribbean),
    M2 (White and black African),
    M3 (White and Asian),

    M9 (Any other mixed background);

    A1 (Asian-Indian),
    A2 (Asian-Pakistani),
    A3 (Asian-Bangladeshi),

    A9 (Any other Asian background);

    B1 (Black Caribbean),
    B2 (Black African),
    B3 (Any other black background);

    O1 (Chinese),

    O9 (Any other)

  127. @SafeNow
    Sometimes I hear a newsreader, or even a prominent pundit, who thinks that a single species is called a “specie.” Somehow, this person has gone through life hearing the correct usage a zillion times, without it registering. Or, maybe it does register, but it is a matter of arrogance, with the pundit thinking that the zillion other people are all wrong, and he is the smart one.

    Replies: @I, Libertine, @Bert, @Herp McDerp, @Ian M.

    The former head of a lab where I used to work always called praise to an individual for a job well done “a kudo.”

  128. @Je Suis Omar Mateen
    Species don't exist because speciation has NEVER been observed and, thus, evolution is an atheist fairy tale.

    Replies: @Herp McDerp, @Gamecock

    Speciation of humans seems to be happening right now in … don’t groan! … China. At least one person has been found with 44 chromosomes rather than the usual 46. Unlike, say, Down Syndrome people with an odd number of chromosomes, he seems to be quite healthy, and there may be more of his kind in his village. This article explains what’s going on and why and how he came to be born and survive, and it illustrates how the origin of a new species within a population can occur.

    https://genetics.thetech.org/original_news/news124

    Note that an inbred (and usually isolated) population is required. This explains “punctuated equilibrium” — the new species originates in a small population and if it has a natural advantage it can become dominant and quickly replace the predecessor species.

    Interesting and worth reading, I think.

    • Replies: @res
    @Herp McDerp

    That was fascinating. Thank you.

    Now that they are aware of this I wonder what this man and his relatives will do about screening for possible mates and/or reproduction.

    Since the paper link there is now broken here is an archive version.
    https://web.archive.org/web/20150905120638/https://www.biomedres.info/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/171-174-Bo_Wang.1584046.pdf

    The first paragraph provides some useful background.


    The frequency of Robertsonian translocation in newborn babies is approximately one in 1,000. Robertsonian translocation is an unusual type of chromosome rearrangement caused by two particular chromosomes joining together. In humans, it occurs in the five acrocentric chromosomes, 13, 14, 15, 21, and 22. During a Robertsonian translocation, the participating chromosomes break at their centromeres and the long arms fuse to form a single chromosome with a single centromere. The short arms also join to form a reciprocal product, which, in the acrocentric
    chromosomes, typically contains nonessential genes and repetitive sequences such as nucleolar organizing regions, and is usually lost within a few cell divisions.
     
    Also worth noting this. The effect would be very much not gradual on the typical evolutionary scale.

    Robertsonian rearrangements are common chromosomal changes that can lead to rapid and efficient reproductive isolation between karyotypically similar populations
     
  129. @Colin Wright
    @Matt Buckalew

    'I imagine this kind of thinking was prevalen in the imaginations of hill billy types that are always dreaming up risible things to do with the material wealth they will never possess.'

    I doubt if anyone thought that way while it was actually a possibility.

    It's basically a (rather tawdry, pathetic) fantasy of our own era. Blacks were blacks -- and in an era of apprenticeship, a husband's right to beat his wife, and the obvious duty of children to labor unpaid for their parents, that they were slaves wasn't as remarkable as it would be today.

    Ironically, we probably impose more grossly unrealistic standards on blacks and reduce most of them to a more utterly debased condition today than the average slave holder of 1840 ever did. Then, they worked, got fed, clothed, and housed, and had an understood status, with certain (very modest) assurances. You couldn't 'free' your elderly slaves because it wasn't right to turn them out to starve -- not because evil Southerners were plotting to make it always winter and never Christmas for their black chattels.

    Compare and contrast to the condition of utterly degraded idleness in which we keep the bulk of our blacks today. Christ, a third of them are literally felons. They are not doing well.

    Not that I care -- but it's questionable if we've done the average black any favors. We tell him to run a race he can't possibly win. It's like telling your dog you'll feed him -- just as soon as he mows the lawn. Then we pat ourselves on the back because if our dog did mow the lawn, we'd give him a can of Alpo -- whereas that fierce bad animal abuser across the street just gives his dog dried food as long as he barks at intruders and doesn't take a dump on the rug.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Then, they worked, got fed, clothed, and housed, and had an understood status…

    Well, you got four out of five right.

    • Replies: @Anon
    @Reg Cæsar



    Then, they worked, got fed, clothed, and housed, and had an understood status…
     
    Well, you got four out of five right.
     
    Anyone know how effective or efficient blacks were then as workers? How many hours a day did they typically work? Were there off season lulls in their workload?
  130. @Reg Cæsar
    @Colin Wright


    Then, they worked, got fed, clothed, and housed, and had an understood status...
     
    Well, you got four out of five right.

    Replies: @Anon

    Then, they worked, got fed, clothed, and housed, and had an understood status…

    Well, you got four out of five right.

    Anyone know how effective or efficient blacks were then as workers? How many hours a day did they typically work? Were there off season lulls in their workload?

  131. @Matt Buckalew
    @SaneClownPosse

    There is almost zero evidence of this. My family had the kind of slave population that would have been amenable to this kind of breeding and it never occurred to them to do so. Slaves were always seen as human.

    I imagine this kind of thinking was prevalen in the imaginations of hill billy types that are always dreaming up risible things to do with the material wealth they will never possess.

    Replies: @Bert, @Reg Cæsar, @Colin Wright, @Ralph L

    According to family lore, one of my ex-boss’s indirect ancestors was breeding his female slaves himself and selling the children. He was murdered, and no one did anything about it, because they figured he deserved it.

  132. @ic1000
    Good topic. The current version of the post is a crummy cut-n-paste, Steve. Get me rewrite.

    Google's cache of the source, "Darwin’s solution to the species problem," by Marc Ereshefsky. Synthese, 2010, doi: 10.1007/s11229-009-9538-4.

    My opinions in tl;dr form:

    1. Species is an incredibly useful concept. Getting rid of it makes it harder to understand natural selection, evolution, and the natural world. Bug for some, feature for others.

    2. Life is diverse. In particular, reproduction and propagation take very diverse forms. Bacteria fission, except when they conjugate or sporulate. "Sex" is very different between plants and animals (to say nothing of yeast, etc.). Among animals: Some insects are eusocial. Many fish are sequential hermaphrodites. "Breeding populations" are fuzzy. Etc. Always unlikely that a single overarching concept of "species" would fit all these molds. Wittgenstein anticipated these debates: rather than clear and absolute boundaries, a "family resemblance" of like things (as Steve has noted previously).

    3. Science philosopher John S. Wilkins recently covered this topic in an hour-long discussion with Razib Khan, if your tastes run to podcasts.

    4. Those of us on the outside may forget from time to time, but Academics Gonna Academic. Publish-or-perish, Up-Or-Out on the tenure track. No manuscript gets accepted for arguing "I agree with him." Say something unique, correctness and utility are secondary.

    Replies: @res, @PhysicistDave, @slumber_j, @Bill, @From Beer to Paternity

    Here’s a confession that I can’t take to the grave. A bunch of US universities work with the Ecuadorean government and its institutions. Working on the Galapagos islands. That’s fine. But it can’t be denied that a lot of schools around the world use this relationship to send favored folk down there on junkets. Political rewards, essentially.

    Now, that wouldn’t be so bad if the people sent down there had something of real value to contribute. But some sent down there aren’t even aware of Darwin’s connection with the Galapagos. How depressing is that? I know…

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
    @From Beer to Paternity

    I have never been to the Galapagos Islands, but I understand they have incredibly cheap brothels, so no surprise.

  133. @Reg Cæsar
    @Matt Buckalew


    I imagine this kind of thinking was prevalent in the imaginations of hill billy types that are always dreaming up risible things to do with the material wealth they will never possess.
     
    This is how progressives think. They believe that recognizing racial differences could lead to genocide. Which is plausible-- should they recognize them.

    It's projection. "Final solutions" are very much a progressive thing. Cf. Thomas Sowell on the "unconstrained" worldview.


    Oh, by the way, in what sense are, or were, Africans "material wealth"? Sounds kinda Ponzi to me. "Hillbillies", as opposed to rednecks, often sided with the Union because they hated the planters. It was class war.

    My family had the kind of slave population that would have been amenable to this kind of breeding and it never occurred to them to do so. Slaves were always seen as human.
     
    For purposes of representation, yes. For purposes of rights-- a peculiarly American obsession-- not so much.

    The British were the world's leading abolitionists, but how much of their argument was based upon the rights of man? Versus, say, the cruelty of the practice or the corruption of the owners?

    Even today, animal lovers outside the US rarely claim the issue is one of rights.

    Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican

    “Final solutions” are very much a progressive thing.

    Or downright Biblical, even. Is God a progressive?

    [MORE]

  134. @Anonymous
    @AnotherDad

    Punctuated equilibrium allows leftists to simultaneously believe in evolution and racial equality.

    Evolution is real (and creationists are stupid) but human evolution ceased 30,000 years ago, and so there are no major differences between the races.

    It's just epicycles over again.

    Replies: @Matt Buckalew, @Patrick McNally

    Exactly- following the decade long atheistic excitement for Stanley Miller’s silly experiments evolutionist like Wilson thought that scientific reductionism was going to unlock the secret of life. The hope was that evolution could be condensed into a chemical models that would then would fundamentally explain man’s nature and
    development. The important thing was to get evolution out of the realm of paleontology into the realm of experimental science.

    When this proved a laughably over ambitious program Wilson pouted like a bitch and then end to study ants. What remained was two separate branch offs: one division centered on keeping evolutionary studies tethered to experimental science even as that seemed as less and less fruitful endeavor while some felt that a dead end and reconfigured their focus towards evolutionary psychology.

    Within the experimental science component of evolutionist you had those that were committed to pursuing evolution studies and those that content with the destruction of traditionalism already wrought by evolution. They were also wary of the potential anti-egalitarian aspects of evolution (as it was becoming clear that nutrition alone wasn’t going to close the cognitive gap) decided to pivot away from evolution as it applied to man. As you said they played up ideas like punctuated equilibrium and adroitly defanged the anti-egalitarian aspects of evolution reconfiguring it almost exclusively as a cudgel against religion. The mechanics of evolution were immaterial dangerous even- the important thing was that an empty dark universe brought forth life accidentally.

    • Replies: @Bert
    @Matt Buckalew


    When this proved a laughably over ambitious program Wilson pouted like a bitch and then end to study ants.
     
    You spout endless nonsense. Ed Wilson was studying insects at 9 years old. From https://www.antwiki.org/wiki/Wilson,_Edward_Osborne#:~:text=At%20age%2013%2C%20Wilson%20discovered,his%20finding%20to%20the%20authorities.

    At age 13, Wilson discovered a colony of non-native fire ants near the docks in Mobile, Alabama and reported his finding to the authorities.
     

    Wilson was never involved with abiogenesis research, nor was he a student of Miller's. He studied insects at the University of Alabama as an undergraduate and a Master's student.

    Evolutionary biology has been "out of the realm of paleontology" since the 1950's.

    Ron Unz has gold boxes for significant comments. He should institute fecal-brown boxes for crap like you post.

    , @Bert
    @Matt Buckalew

    If you are capable of correcting your prejudices, read this portrait of E. O. Wilson still working and optimistic in his 90th year.

    A Way Back

    read://https_bittersoutherner.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fbittersoutherner.com%2F2020%2Fa-way-back-e-o-wilson

    He is a great man and a good man.

  135. Nick Diaz [AKA "Rockford Tyson"] says:
    @anon
    @Nick Diaz

    Species and gender are definitely real biological categories,

    Gender is a linguistic concept. Sex is a biological category.

    The first step to wisdom is to call things by their right names.

    Replies: @Nick Diaz

    Irrelevant. I am using the terms as synonyms. The gist of my argument is 100% correct.

    • Replies: @anon
    @Nick Diaz

    I am using the terms as synonyms.

    How many paws does a dog have, if you call his tail a "paw"?


    The first step to wisdom is to call things by their right names.

  136. @James Speaks
    Here's some definitions:

    Negroes are a race that murders more frequently, scores lower on IQ tests, and wants your house ... and your daughter. Because slavery.

    Asians are a race that gets on the roof with assault rifles to protect their own.

    Whites are a group because they do not believe race exists, but they give into the negro demands.

    Replies: @El Dato, @Anon, @Hi There

    Asian women prefer white men.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    @Anon

    Many women from around the world prefer White men. That bothers the shit out of some people.

    Replies: @Jonathan Mason

  137. How long until they start arguing that “category” does not exist?

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    @Coemgen

    "Category" is a racist, exclusionary, White concept, as are all aspects of logic.

    Eventually, the English language itself, which contains many seeds of logic -- and which is The World Language (and not by accident) -- will have to be eliminated.

    Replies: @Herp McDerp

  138. @Matt Buckalew
    @Anonymous

    Exactly- following the decade long atheistic excitement for Stanley Miller’s silly experiments evolutionist like Wilson thought that scientific reductionism was going to unlock the secret of life. The hope was that evolution could be condensed into a chemical models that would then would fundamentally explain man’s nature and
    development. The important thing was to get evolution out of the realm of paleontology into the realm of experimental science.

    When this proved a laughably over ambitious program Wilson pouted like a bitch and then end to study ants. What remained was two separate branch offs: one division centered on keeping evolutionary studies tethered to experimental science even as that seemed as less and less fruitful endeavor while some felt that a dead end and reconfigured their focus towards evolutionary psychology.

    Within the experimental science component of evolutionist you had those that were committed to pursuing evolution studies and those that content with the destruction of traditionalism already wrought by evolution. They were also wary of the potential anti-egalitarian aspects of evolution (as it was becoming clear that nutrition alone wasn’t going to close the cognitive gap) decided to pivot away from evolution as it applied to man. As you said they played up ideas like punctuated equilibrium and adroitly defanged the anti-egalitarian aspects of evolution reconfiguring it almost exclusively as a cudgel against religion. The mechanics of evolution were immaterial dangerous even- the important thing was that an empty dark universe brought forth life accidentally.

    Replies: @Bert, @Bert

    When this proved a laughably over ambitious program Wilson pouted like a bitch and then end to study ants.

    You spout endless nonsense. Ed Wilson was studying insects at 9 years old. From https://www.antwiki.org/wiki/Wilson,_Edward_Osborne#:~:text=At%20age%2013%2C%20Wilson%20discovered,his%20finding%20to%20the%20authorities.

    At age 13, Wilson discovered a colony of non-native fire ants near the docks in Mobile, Alabama and reported his finding to the authorities.

    Wilson was never involved with abiogenesis research, nor was he a student of Miller’s. He studied insects at the University of Alabama as an undergraduate and a Master’s student.

    Evolutionary biology has been “out of the realm of paleontology” since the 1950’s.

    Ron Unz has gold boxes for significant comments. He should institute fecal-brown boxes for crap like you post.

  139. @Anon
    Biologists are Just. So. Exhausted. about searching for the best definition of "species."

    They need sleep. They need rest. They need money to compensate them for their emotional labor.

    Replies: @Dieter Kief

    Concerning the biologist’s exhaustion? – “About 900,000 species of insects have been identified globally, but studies of Latin American forest canopies have suggested there may be upwards of 30 million insect species.” (quote from Quillette)

    Now – upwards of thirty million species of insects alone – and all of them wrong?! – This should cause serious exhaustions. Poor lads all of them – lost in unoverseeablee multitudes.

  140. @Anon
    @James Speaks

    Asian women prefer white men.

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk

    Many women from around the world prefer White men. That bothers the shit out of some people.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Women like white men for the same reason that bank robbers rob banks.

  141. @Coemgen
    How long until they start arguing that "category" does not exist?

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk

    “Category” is a racist, exclusionary, White concept, as are all aspects of logic.

    Eventually, the English language itself, which contains many seeds of logic — and which is The World Language (and not by accident) — will have to be eliminated.

    • Replies: @Herp McDerp
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Many years ago National Lampoon did a feature on "Our White Heritage." One small piece was titled "These Are Just a Few Examples of the Many Words That White People Have Contributed to Our English Language." The list:

    these, are, just, a, few, examples, of, the, many, words, that, white, people, have, contributed, to, our, English, language.

  142. @ThreeCranes
    "First, we should recognize that the species category is not a real category in nature. Second, despite skepticism over the species category, we should not be skeptical of those taxa biologists call ‘species.’ Third, despite skepticism over the species category, there are pragmatic reasons for retaining the word ‘species’ in biology"

    In other words, this concept, like all concepts, is a type of falsework that is used as a temporary scaffolding and mold to hold up a particular part of the intellectual edifice which we call our world view. Once the Arch is completed, the falsework can be stripped away and the arch will support itself. In just this manner are all of your beliefs knit together in your mind. They form a whole. "The Truth is the Whole" as Hegel said. But the whole truth in your mind is not the Whole Truth. We are all limited in our experiences and capabilities of understanding. Each of us occupies a branch on the Tree of Knowledge from which we look out upon the World. Our view is partial. What lies on the other side of the Tree, we cannot see. The sum total of human knowledge, the combination of all knowledge gained from all perspectives is the whole truth in so far as we can see it.

    No one concept can be isolated and analyzed and be said to be complete unto itself. It only makes sense in the context of the entire edifice. This is why such discussions are somewhat beside the point. They originate from people who don't understand that a concept is not a thing. A concept is something more akin to a star. It sheds light. You cannot look at it--into it--and at the same time benefit from how it illuminates the world around you. In this sense, the mind of man shares in the Divine nature of the Creator of the Universe (the Demiurge). Failure to grasp this is to miss the entire point of 2500 years of European intellectual history.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1d/Arch_Ring_and_Falsework%2C_1932_(5791715869).jpg

    Replies: @Tom Verso

    I don’t know anything about species and profoundly philosophically challenged.

    Just passing time on a leisurely morning scroll through comments.

    But, I am a former mason/bricklayer and I was stunned by the picture of a (probably 19th century) tunnel forming system.

    Could you give me a link to the source of the picture?

    Thanks

    • Replies: @Coemgen
    @Tom Verso

    According to Wikipedia, it's a "57' Span Arch Ring and Falsework (from the Sydney Harbour Bridge photo albums) Dated: 1/10/1929."

    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arch_Ring_and_Falsework,_1932_(5791715869).jpg

    Replies: @ThreeCranes

  143. @Buzz Mohawk
    @Coemgen

    "Category" is a racist, exclusionary, White concept, as are all aspects of logic.

    Eventually, the English language itself, which contains many seeds of logic -- and which is The World Language (and not by accident) -- will have to be eliminated.

    Replies: @Herp McDerp

    Many years ago National Lampoon did a feature on “Our White Heritage.” One small piece was titled “These Are Just a Few Examples of the Many Words That White People Have Contributed to Our English Language.” The list:

    these, are, just, a, few, examples, of, the, many, words, that, white, people, have, contributed, to, our, English, language.

  144. @Matt Buckalew
    @Anonymous

    Exactly- following the decade long atheistic excitement for Stanley Miller’s silly experiments evolutionist like Wilson thought that scientific reductionism was going to unlock the secret of life. The hope was that evolution could be condensed into a chemical models that would then would fundamentally explain man’s nature and
    development. The important thing was to get evolution out of the realm of paleontology into the realm of experimental science.

    When this proved a laughably over ambitious program Wilson pouted like a bitch and then end to study ants. What remained was two separate branch offs: one division centered on keeping evolutionary studies tethered to experimental science even as that seemed as less and less fruitful endeavor while some felt that a dead end and reconfigured their focus towards evolutionary psychology.

    Within the experimental science component of evolutionist you had those that were committed to pursuing evolution studies and those that content with the destruction of traditionalism already wrought by evolution. They were also wary of the potential anti-egalitarian aspects of evolution (as it was becoming clear that nutrition alone wasn’t going to close the cognitive gap) decided to pivot away from evolution as it applied to man. As you said they played up ideas like punctuated equilibrium and adroitly defanged the anti-egalitarian aspects of evolution reconfiguring it almost exclusively as a cudgel against religion. The mechanics of evolution were immaterial dangerous even- the important thing was that an empty dark universe brought forth life accidentally.

    Replies: @Bert, @Bert

    If you are capable of correcting your prejudices, read this portrait of E. O. Wilson still working and optimistic in his 90th year.

    A Way Back

    read://https_bittersoutherner.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fbittersoutherner.com%2F2020%2Fa-way-back-e-o-wilson

    He is a great man and a good man.

  145. @Nick Diaz
    @anon

    Irrelevant. I am using the terms as synonyms. The gist of my argument is 100% correct.

    Replies: @anon

    I am using the terms as synonyms.

    How many paws does a dog have, if you call his tail a “paw”?

    The first step to wisdom is to call things by their right names.

  146. @James Speaks
    Here's some definitions:

    Negroes are a race that murders more frequently, scores lower on IQ tests, and wants your house ... and your daughter. Because slavery.

    Asians are a race that gets on the roof with assault rifles to protect their own.

    Whites are a group because they do not believe race exists, but they give into the negro demands.

    Replies: @El Dato, @Anon, @Hi There

    All racial groups have pros + cons. Don’t be mean to black people.

    Individuals deserve to be judged on their individual behavior, regardless of race.

    Don’t harbor animosity towards the entire racial group. Focus on your own life and life it to the fullest.

  147. @Tom Verso
    @ThreeCranes

    I don't know anything about species and profoundly philosophically challenged.

    Just passing time on a leisurely morning scroll through comments.

    But, I am a former mason/bricklayer and I was stunned by the picture of a (probably 19th century) tunnel forming system.

    Could you give me a link to the source of the picture?

    Thanks

    Replies: @Coemgen

    According to Wikipedia, it’s a “57′ Span Arch Ring and Falsework (from the Sydney Harbour Bridge photo albums) Dated: 1/10/1929.”

    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
    @Coemgen

    Thanks.

  148. @John1955
    There is a well established science "taxonomy",its postulates reaffirmed recently by DNA sequencing.

    Classification of living things does not end at "species" - subspecies is one of many ranks below that of species, such as variety, subvariety, form, and subform.

    Yes,all dogs belong to the big happy species of "canis lupus familiaris" which are supposed to give each other big sloppy kisses,hug each other,thoroughly interbreed and Build Back Better (whatever)

    I shudder to think how the interbreeding of Chihuahua and Great Dane will look like

    OJ & Nicole Brown Simpson 😁 ?

    As a homework try to subdivide,say,your 'hood Brothers into varieties,subvarieties,forms and subforms.

    For example Caribbean variety is different from Somali variety.

    Replies: @Joe Stalin

    I shudder to think how the interbreeding of Chihuahua and Great Dane will look like

    [10:48]

  149. @Herp McDerp
    @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    Speciation of humans seems to be happening right now in ... don't groan! ... China. At least one person has been found with 44 chromosomes rather than the usual 46. Unlike, say, Down Syndrome people with an odd number of chromosomes, he seems to be quite healthy, and there may be more of his kind in his village. This article explains what's going on and why and how he came to be born and survive, and it illustrates how the origin of a new species within a population can occur.

    https://genetics.thetech.org/original_news/news124

    Note that an inbred (and usually isolated) population is required. This explains "punctuated equilibrium" -- the new species originates in a small population and if it has a natural advantage it can become dominant and quickly replace the predecessor species.

    Interesting and worth reading, I think.

    Replies: @res

    That was fascinating. Thank you.

    Now that they are aware of this I wonder what this man and his relatives will do about screening for possible mates and/or reproduction.

    Since the paper link there is now broken here is an archive version.
    https://web.archive.org/web/20150905120638/https://www.biomedres.info/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/171-174-Bo_Wang.1584046.pdf

    The first paragraph provides some useful background.

    The frequency of Robertsonian translocation in newborn babies is approximately one in 1,000. Robertsonian translocation is an unusual type of chromosome rearrangement caused by two particular chromosomes joining together. In humans, it occurs in the five acrocentric chromosomes, 13, 14, 15, 21, and 22. During a Robertsonian translocation, the participating chromosomes break at their centromeres and the long arms fuse to form a single chromosome with a single centromere. The short arms also join to form a reciprocal product, which, in the acrocentric
    chromosomes, typically contains nonessential genes and repetitive sequences such as nucleolar organizing regions, and is usually lost within a few cell divisions.

    Also worth noting this. The effect would be very much not gradual on the typical evolutionary scale.

    Robertsonian rearrangements are common chromosomal changes that can lead to rapid and efficient reproductive isolation between karyotypically similar populations

  150. @Old and Grumpy
    @Gamecock

    Also related is nightshade.

    Replies: @Gamecock

    10-4. We have S. carolinense around here.

  151. @Bert
    @Matt Buckalew

    What a hodge-podge of unrelated assertions. But most of all you are ignorant of the powerful results from molecular phylogenetics. They together with functional morphology and behavioral ecology provide a compelling explanation of the history of any extant evolutionary radiation upon which biologists have seriously focused.

    I don't know why Mr. Sailer would post without comment such a difficult practical and philosophical problem. Doing so encourages the worst of Know-Nothingism. Minimally, species exist as phenetic clusters. The only caveat to that species definition are cryptic species, ones barely distinguishable phenotypically, but biochemically distinct. The "species problem" is the question of a universally application definition, and the consensus answer has gradually come to be that species definitions must be tailored to the biology of the taxon in question. Hardly surprising considering the vast differences across the tree of life in regard to complexity, function, and reproductive mode.

    Replies: @Bert, @Matt Buckalew, @Gamecock

    Doing so encourages the worst of Know-Nothingism.

    10-4. Biology is an odd discipline in that the uninitiated boldly tell biologists they are WRONG!!!

    Imagine neophytes telling a chemist he is wrong. It could never happen.

    • Agree: Bert
  152. @Je Suis Omar Mateen
    Species don't exist because speciation has NEVER been observed and, thus, evolution is an atheist fairy tale.

    Replies: @Herp McDerp, @Gamecock

    Evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of species on earth. As opposed to the creationist’s “God just poofed it all.”

    You can’t displace evolution by chewing on biologists’ ankles (Species don’t exist because speciation has NEVER been observed and, thus, evolution is an atheist fairy tale). You must come up with a BETTER THEORY.

    By the way, speciation has been observed in birds in Florida.

    And insects in England.

  153. A lot of it is just linguistics, for example in Spanish they talk about races of dogs rather than breeds of dogs, or at least they do not use a separate word for breed.

    Wolves and dogs are interesting because they are the same species in terms of reproductive ability, but arguably they are a different species in terms of what they are able to eat, and of their behavior.

    Even wolves that are adopted by humans as small cubs do not turn into dogs. And come to think of it we call them cubs and not puppies.

    Until relatively recently dogs were thought to be more closely related to yellow jackals than than to wolves, but then along came DNA testing, which was not available to Darwin.

  154. Most dog breeds have existed for less than 200 years. While they aren’t different species, they have many, many differing traits. Many people would be shocked to know that their pooch’s breed is a recent invention.

  155. @Anonymous
    @AnotherDad

    Punctuated equilibrium allows leftists to simultaneously believe in evolution and racial equality.

    Evolution is real (and creationists are stupid) but human evolution ceased 30,000 years ago, and so there are no major differences between the races.

    It's just epicycles over again.

    Replies: @Matt Buckalew, @Patrick McNally

    Actually the old Darwinian theory of evolution was more compatible with the idea that there are no fundamental differences between races. Gould’s theory of punctured equilibrium raised the issue of racial evolutionary differences once more, and Gould himself seemed so shocked by its implications that he spent the rest of his life trying to bury them.

    Darwin’s theory was really inspired by Edmund Burke. Burke postulated that societies were always going through a long never-ending evolutionary process which imperceptibly. Burke wished to argue that the turmoil of the French Revolution had been an unnecessary avoidable mistake, but Burke had always been a British liberal who had supported the right of the American colonies to independence from the monarchy. So he couldn’t really play the traditional conservative role when denouncing the French Revolution. Instead, Burke made up the first theory of gradual evolution and applied to sociology to imply that the revolution had been needless.

    Darwin later took Burke’s sociology and translated it into biology with the claim now that natural species were evolving slowly incrementally all the time. But one deduction of this theory was that the racial groups which had only grown apart over a few score of millennia could not really be that much different from each other. Without at least a million years of evolution to separate north Europeans from east Asians from central Africans it would seem obvious from Darwin’s model that the differences between such groups must be relatively small.

    It was Gould’s theory which gave account for how significant changes might have occurred within each of these groups since their shared common ancestors lived. Once Gould realized this he rushed to try to put the genie back in the bottle again. He began emphasizing that we really don’t see any evidence of evolutionary change happening in humans right now and therefore the races must really be the same. But his own theory makes it clear that all we would need is tom imagine a period of punctuated equilibrium occurring briefly maybe 30 millennia or so ago and suddenly we could have huge differences appearing between races.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Patrick McNally

    I call Gould's theory "evolution at the speed of revolution."

    , @Gamecock
    @Patrick McNally


    Darwin’s theory was really inspired by Edmund Burke.
     
    Demonstrably false. Darwin got his ideas from Alfred Russel Wallace.
  156. @Patrick McNally
    @Anonymous

    Actually the old Darwinian theory of evolution was more compatible with the idea that there are no fundamental differences between races. Gould's theory of punctured equilibrium raised the issue of racial evolutionary differences once more, and Gould himself seemed so shocked by its implications that he spent the rest of his life trying to bury them.

    Darwin's theory was really inspired by Edmund Burke. Burke postulated that societies were always going through a long never-ending evolutionary process which imperceptibly. Burke wished to argue that the turmoil of the French Revolution had been an unnecessary avoidable mistake, but Burke had always been a British liberal who had supported the right of the American colonies to independence from the monarchy. So he couldn't really play the traditional conservative role when denouncing the French Revolution. Instead, Burke made up the first theory of gradual evolution and applied to sociology to imply that the revolution had been needless.

    Darwin later took Burke's sociology and translated it into biology with the claim now that natural species were evolving slowly incrementally all the time. But one deduction of this theory was that the racial groups which had only grown apart over a few score of millennia could not really be that much different from each other. Without at least a million years of evolution to separate north Europeans from east Asians from central Africans it would seem obvious from Darwin's model that the differences between such groups must be relatively small.

    It was Gould's theory which gave account for how significant changes might have occurred within each of these groups since their shared common ancestors lived. Once Gould realized this he rushed to try to put the genie back in the bottle again. He began emphasizing that we really don't see any evidence of evolutionary change happening in humans right now and therefore the races must really be the same. But his own theory makes it clear that all we would need is tom imagine a period of punctuated equilibrium occurring briefly maybe 30 millennia or so ago and suddenly we could have huge differences appearing between races.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Gamecock

    I call Gould’s theory “evolution at the speed of revolution.”

  157. @Patrick McNally
    @Anonymous

    Actually the old Darwinian theory of evolution was more compatible with the idea that there are no fundamental differences between races. Gould's theory of punctured equilibrium raised the issue of racial evolutionary differences once more, and Gould himself seemed so shocked by its implications that he spent the rest of his life trying to bury them.

    Darwin's theory was really inspired by Edmund Burke. Burke postulated that societies were always going through a long never-ending evolutionary process which imperceptibly. Burke wished to argue that the turmoil of the French Revolution had been an unnecessary avoidable mistake, but Burke had always been a British liberal who had supported the right of the American colonies to independence from the monarchy. So he couldn't really play the traditional conservative role when denouncing the French Revolution. Instead, Burke made up the first theory of gradual evolution and applied to sociology to imply that the revolution had been needless.

    Darwin later took Burke's sociology and translated it into biology with the claim now that natural species were evolving slowly incrementally all the time. But one deduction of this theory was that the racial groups which had only grown apart over a few score of millennia could not really be that much different from each other. Without at least a million years of evolution to separate north Europeans from east Asians from central Africans it would seem obvious from Darwin's model that the differences between such groups must be relatively small.

    It was Gould's theory which gave account for how significant changes might have occurred within each of these groups since their shared common ancestors lived. Once Gould realized this he rushed to try to put the genie back in the bottle again. He began emphasizing that we really don't see any evidence of evolutionary change happening in humans right now and therefore the races must really be the same. But his own theory makes it clear that all we would need is tom imagine a period of punctuated equilibrium occurring briefly maybe 30 millennia or so ago and suddenly we could have huge differences appearing between races.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Gamecock

    Darwin’s theory was really inspired by Edmund Burke.

    Demonstrably false. Darwin got his ideas from Alfred Russel Wallace.

  158. Unlike all the other levels of the tree from genus on up and from subspecies on down, “species” DOES have a mostly-rigorous definition that is mostly-applicable in practice, for sexually reproducing organisms.

    Define an equivalence relation on two organisms generated by the pairs that are capable of producing fertile offspring, making obvious adjustments for members who are too young or old to reproduce. The equivalence classes are species.

    There are some weird cases where a population X can interbreed with populations Y and Z, but Y and Z can’t directly interbreed with each other, but they are rare and the “equivalence class” formulation still covers them.

    The “capable of producing fertile offspring” has the obvious caveat that they must be brought into contact, reproductively isolated populations MAY be split if there is no prospect of them reconnecting.

  159. @From Beer to Paternity
    @ic1000

    Here's a confession that I can't take to the grave. A bunch of US universities work with the Ecuadorean government and its institutions. Working on the Galapagos islands. That's fine. But it can't be denied that a lot of schools around the world use this relationship to send favored folk down there on junkets. Political rewards, essentially.

    Now, that wouldn't be so bad if the people sent down there had something of real value to contribute. But some sent down there aren't even aware of Darwin's connection with the Galapagos. How depressing is that? I know...

    Replies: @Jonathan Mason

    I have never been to the Galapagos Islands, but I understand they have incredibly cheap brothels, so no surprise.

  160. @Buzz Mohawk
    @Anon

    Many women from around the world prefer White men. That bothers the shit out of some people.

    Replies: @Jonathan Mason

    Women like white men for the same reason that bank robbers rob banks.

  161. @SafeNow
    Sometimes I hear a newsreader, or even a prominent pundit, who thinks that a single species is called a “specie.” Somehow, this person has gone through life hearing the correct usage a zillion times, without it registering. Or, maybe it does register, but it is a matter of arrogance, with the pundit thinking that the zillion other people are all wrong, and he is the smart one.

    Replies: @I, Libertine, @Bert, @Herp McDerp, @Ian M.

    I know a guy who when asked what the frequency something was oscillating at, replied: “One Hert”.

    He was an MIT grad student.

  162. @Faraday's Bobcat

    First, we should recognize that the species category is not a real category in nature.
     
    I stopped reading right there; this is a statement only a philosopher could make. There are no "real categories" in nature. Our natural theories contain categories, some of which are so useful they seem real, but nature just is. No scientist would claim that species are real in the same sense that the tree in my back yard is real.

    Is species a useful category? Seems like the entirety of biology says it is.

    Replies: @Dieter Kief, @Ian M.

    I stopped reading right there; this is a statement only a philosopher could make.

    Well, and Darwin.

  163. @Anon
    @Almost Missouri


    Is this not the same old Dilemma that nagged Darwin: that what the theory of natural selection implies is contradicted by what actually exists (and existed, per the fossil record).
     
    Macroevoution.net

    Dr. Eugene McCarthy argues that the classical understanding of evolution as impossibly fine changes over time isn't reflected in the fossil record because speciation almost never happens that way.

    Instead, most speciation is hybridization between different species. In rare cases, incredibly different species can create a viable offspring. Even if that is only a 1 in a million chance, it is much more probable than some random base pair mutation creating a beneficial change.

    When that hybrid breeds back into the parent species, a new species is formed. This would appear in the fossil record as if new species just appeared out of nowhere. Which is exactly what we see.

    It's considered pretty out there in the world of biology, but he makes a very convincing argument. If you have a background in biology, his major paper is worth a read.

    Replies: @Grahamsno(G64), @Almost Missouri, @Ian M.

    Interesting.

    But how does this theory account for qualitative hierarchical jumps? For example, one could imagine, I don’t know, some snake-like creature mating with some alligator-like creature and producing something like a lizard, but you’re never going to get a qualitatively higher form of life, e.g., an ape. A cause cannot give what it does not have. You might get a variety of new species this way, but you’ll always be stuck at the same hierarchical level of life and never progress beyond it to higher forms of life.

    • Replies: @Gamecock
    @Ian M.


    but you’ll always be stuck at the same hierarchical level of life and never progress beyond it to higher forms of life.
     
    You overly complicate it.

    The difference between footed, lunged fish and amphibians is more a matter of behavior
    than genotype. Amphibians to reptiles is mostly about dry surface eggs. We view fish/slamanders/lizards as radically different. They aren't.

    Replies: @Ian M.

  164. @Ian M.
    @Anon

    Interesting.

    But how does this theory account for qualitative hierarchical jumps? For example, one could imagine, I don't know, some snake-like creature mating with some alligator-like creature and producing something like a lizard, but you're never going to get a qualitatively higher form of life, e.g., an ape. A cause cannot give what it does not have. You might get a variety of new species this way, but you'll always be stuck at the same hierarchical level of life and never progress beyond it to higher forms of life.

    Replies: @Gamecock

    but you’ll always be stuck at the same hierarchical level of life and never progress beyond it to higher forms of life.

    You overly complicate it.

    The difference between footed, lunged fish and amphibians is more a matter of behavior
    than genotype. Amphibians to reptiles is mostly about dry surface eggs. We view fish/slamanders/lizards as radically different. They aren’t.

    • Replies: @Ian M.
    @Gamecock

    Regardless of whether my toy example was illustrative or not, the objection still stands: there are higher and lower forms of life (compare a chimpanzee to an insect, for example), and you're not going to get higher forms of life from hybridization alone.

  165. @Gamecock
    @Ian M.


    but you’ll always be stuck at the same hierarchical level of life and never progress beyond it to higher forms of life.
     
    You overly complicate it.

    The difference between footed, lunged fish and amphibians is more a matter of behavior
    than genotype. Amphibians to reptiles is mostly about dry surface eggs. We view fish/slamanders/lizards as radically different. They aren't.

    Replies: @Ian M.

    Regardless of whether my toy example was illustrative or not, the objection still stands: there are higher and lower forms of life (compare a chimpanzee to an insect, for example), and you’re not going to get higher forms of life from hybridization alone.

  166. Darwin’s specific claims need to be distinguished from the universalist claims of his epigones.

    At least one or two of Darwin’s critics, in his generation, knew as much about animals and plants (or biology tout court) as he did (Agassiz is the best example, but there are one or two others).

    As much as I enjoy reading some of the diatribes of people from later generations who have criticized either Darwin’s theories or the universalizing claims of his epigones, very very few such critics even claim to have spent nearly as much time as Darwin did studying animals and plants (or biology tout court).

  167. @Coemgen
    @Tom Verso

    According to Wikipedia, it's a "57' Span Arch Ring and Falsework (from the Sydney Harbour Bridge photo albums) Dated: 1/10/1929."

    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arch_Ring_and_Falsework,_1932_(5791715869).jpg

    Replies: @ThreeCranes

    Thanks.

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