Jump to content
Science Forums

The Theory Of Devolution


Recommended Posts

This response is a personal view and may not reflect the views of the forum administration. I offer it as an alternative prespective and not from my role as a moderator.

 

1. The OP proposes to account for terrestrial life as originating through the action of other intelligent entities. Sir Francis Crick made a similar proposal in the 1970s, though without the attempt to reconcile it with Biblical myth. Nevertheless it does place the OP in esteemed company.

2. As far as I can see the OP has been polite and reasonable throughout. For one thing he has not used deliberately offensive terms such as 'creatard'.

3. His post has generated a productive thread with several interesting posts on the scientific method. He may prove to be a useful 'seed' to promote other such threads within the forum.

4. If he is banned we lose the opportunity to educate him and the unseen lurkers who hold comparable views.

 

1 yes

2 yes

4 yes

 

3 I learned something: Perhaps the concept "Scientific Law"

isnt the empty praise I thought...

Hey guys this apple fell,i think they all will!

Oh My! You found a Scientific Law! (Applauds.)

 

Heres a quote:

 

"Is there a little known group that decides, ergo the Scientific Tribunal for Elevating Non-disproven Theories Into Law - how often do they meet? Maybe they're secretive to prevent hopeful theorists from unduly influencing them. I could see this occurring -- theorists are a proud manipulative lot, indeed."

 

So I decided on an experiment,and claimed to find a Scientific Law.

Tried to emphasize it a little...What will happen? Any predictions?

 

I think some ppl will get annoyed, angry and vindictive...

 

I see two possibilities, either someone have reported on the tendency of ecological niches to get filled by life, and the tendency was not so and so enough to merit lawhood, or theres a law Gould (and I) never heard about.

 

I want the concept of Scientific Law clarified...

That surely is not a provocation!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 71
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

A Proposal For A New Theory Called Devolution   I propose a new theory called Devolution which re-interprets scriptural accounts of the fall of man.   Premise: We're Devolving Not Evolving.     When t

Actually, what I am asserting does have a basis in reality, so there. :P   I have done enough research on this to know that I'm not barking up the wrong tree on this. :D   Obviously, you don't kno

So much hostility in this room... maybe it is time we all grab a beer, sit back, and cool down for a few minutes. :D   First, I would have to agree with the moon-man in that creationism is not provab

I don't know what game you are playing now, especially since you seem to claim to understand and agree that a theory cannot be proven, rather we fail to disprove it. When you say-

So I decided on an experiment,and claimed to find a Scientific Law.Tried to emphasize it a little...What will happen?Any predictions?

If you are referring to this as your claimed law:

 

I think its a Scientific Law That all ecological niches will get filled

Then my prediction is that you will be laughed at and told to open a few books. I don't know how you can compare that statement to any of the examples that have been given thus far of scientific laws. How do you measure vacancy/occupancy of a niche? How do you define fitness of a species to an ecological niche? How do you isolate one species/niche to measure it in an interdependent ecosystem? How do you define an ecological niche to exist in the absence of a species that is supposed to fill it? What is the empirical data you have gathered to support your statement? Under what conditions does your statement apply?

 

Your statement strikes me as a rule of thumb, and a bad one at that. It is not at all what a scientific law is.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know what game you are playing now, especially since you seem to claim to understand and agree that a theory cannot be proven, rather we fail to disprove it. When you say-

 

If you are referring to this as your claimed law:

 

 

Then my prediction is that you will be laughed at and told to open a few books. I don't know how you can compare that statement to any of the examples that have been given thus far of scientific laws. How do you measure vacancy/occupancy of a niche? How do you define fitness of a species to an ecological niche? How do you isolate one species/niche to measure it in an interdependent ecosystem? How do you define an ecological niche to exist in the absence of a species that is supposed to fill it? What is the empirical data you have gathered to support your statement? Under what conditions does your statement apply?

 

Your statement strikes me as a rule of thumb, and a bad one at that. It is not at all what a scientific law is.

 

Thanx for the fast reaction!

 

The game is to find the border,if any, between ordinary inductions and Scientific Laws.

If an induction is "so and so" then im told its a Scientific law.

 

In this case you are filling in some of the "so and so" by questions.

 

And my reply is that i tried forming my induction within an already existing theory

with the so and so supposed to be already explained in there.

 

Perhaps you are able to give a better example? What induction then, would you select?

 

I dont expect you to invent a science, just take the science of your choice

and there form an induction of your own, better than a rule of thumb and almost worthy of lawhood.

 

I suppose it then remains to approach the border,if any, from the other side:

What examples of Scientific Law are the closest to bad rules of thumb?

 

"Bad Rules of Thumb" Hmmm... arent they so characterized because they seldom work?

Does that mean you have examples of ecological niches not yet occupied by life?

Link to post
Share on other sites

A summary summing up:

The judge starts this thread by trying to use evolutionary theory as a model of the bible, he proposes:

 

A Proposal For A New Theory Called Devolution

 

It didnt take long before he became invisible and the discussion became centered on what Sciense is, what scientific truth is and what a Scientific Law is.Observation sentences were quickly passed by, and the debate was on scientific truth and laws. We agreed on that in a strict sense (Where possibly only Mathemathics and logic may survive) we never achieve truth: What we do is using not disproved possible truths as good substitutions for truth.

 

Then came the question of "Scientific Laws"... What we were given was examples of Scientific Laws... And I hesitated against immediately using induction from the given examples to arrive at the "Truth of Scientific Law".So I decided to look for a borderline between "ordinary induction" and "Sgientific Law) and at the same time enquire into the question of Evolutions Arrow:

 

A thought that has been off center, perhaps because there is a major concensus that there is no such arrow .Such an arrow is heavily implied in the judges proposal and I saw no attempt made to analyze it.This reminded me of Stephen Jay Gould who in an otherwise readable book: Life is Wonderful is leaning on what seems to me an Axiom rather than a proof:

 

Evolution has no sense of direction, it does not repeat itself.

The axiom, or whatever it is,is most of the time used as a barrier against religious thinking:

That the purpose of evolution (seen as a tool of god) is to produce humans.

Goulds argument approximately is:

"Were we to rewind the tape no Humans will be the result. (Because Evolution has no sense of direction!)"...

 

My reaction is almost violent:

 

So without humans there would be no Education? No Space Travelling? No Poetry? No Mathemathics? No Religion? (Strike the last...)No Jokes? No Love?

All the things that according to sloppy thinking constitutes and is the unique privilegies of the human!

 

NO! This is going to bed with the enemy, and is glorifying "humans" as "the pillars of creation"!

 

Evolution has one (or more) origins,it works randomly, but some improvements give its recievers an advantage in expanding their territory! Bettering their chances to expand into the closest existing evolutionary niche... And thats all there is to it:

Were the tape rewinded we will again find all evolutionary niches filled with life, with love,with intelligence...in short :With Civilisation. But even if they might look very different... Why not adopt them as human?

Link to post
Share on other sites

First off devolution is not a new theory, it is an old tired crock of horse feathers that creationists used to misrepresent evolution. "Thejudge" was being dishonest from the very beginning, he had no intention of doing anything but supporting his biblical world view, bu asserting something he had been told by someone else. The rest followed from the debate over religion vs science as these things usually go.

 

Secondly, no, if humans had not evolved there is no reason to assume there wold have been another species capable of the things humans do.

 

Evolution has no end goals, no direction other than survival... in fact it remains to be seen if humans are going to ultimately be successful.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Observe a system. Collate empirical data. Notice fundamental principles which describe the observed data. State those fundamental principles as laws. Develop a hypothesis(/theory) to explain why those fundamental principles exist. Test, rinse, and repeat.

 

"All ecological niches will get filled" is what I would call a rule of thumb because there is no attempt to accurately describe collated empirical data. The statement is a bad rule of thumb because it is false unless you play fast and loose with definitions. Biology is a bad place to go looking for laws, as the systems studied are so complex and varied that there are few fundamental rules that can be laid out. If the examples given so far are for some reason unsatisfactory, wikipedia conveniently gives an incomplete list of scientific laws that you can look through.

 

"Evolution has no sense of direction, it does not repeat itself. "

 

By what authority do you make this statement? Though they are few, there are instances on convergent evolution. Evolution most definitely does have a direction; evolution of organisms moves in a direction that makes them more adapted to their (sometimes changing) environment. Notice the difference in your statement and mine from the beginning of this thread, "The concept [de-evolution] implies that there is a preferred direction for evolution and that change is moving against that direction." In this case, the preferred direction would be that direction which leads to Homo sapiens as they exist now, or in the OP's case, as they were dreamt to have existed after some agent placed them here.

 

Goulds argument approximately is:

"Were we to rewind the tape no Humans will be the result. (Because Evolution has no sense of direction!)"

 

Perhaps a better way to phrase is that it would be incredibly unlikely that Homo sapiens as they are now would evolve. How you extend this into presuming that Gould is claiming no species would ever evolve the ability to create technologies and societies and indeed even something we'd recognize as civilization is beyond me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Observe a system. Collate empirical data. Notice fundamental principles which describe the observed data. State those fundamental principles as laws. Develop a hypothesis(/theory) to explain why those fundamental principles exist. Test, rinse, and repeat.

 

"All ecological niches will get filled" is what I would call a rule of thumb because there is no attempt to accurately describe collated empirical data. The statement is a bad rule of thumb because it is false unless you play fast and loose with definitions. Biology is a bad place to go looking for laws, as the systems studied are so complex and varied that there are few fundamental rules that can be laid out. If the examples given so far are for some reason unsatisfactory, wikipedia conveniently gives an incomplete list of scientific laws that you can look through.

 

"Evolution has no sense of direction, it does not repeat itself. "

 

By what authority do you make this statement? Though they are few, there are instances on convergent evolution. Evolution most definitely does have a direction; evolution of organisms moves in a direction that makes them more adapted to their (sometimes changing) environment. Notice the difference in your statement and mine from the beginning of this thread, "The concept [de-evolution] implies that there is a preferred direction for evolution and that change is moving against that direction." In this case, the preferred direction would be that direction which leads to Homo sapiens as they exist now, or in the OP's case, as they were dreamt to have existed after some agent placed them here.

 

 

 

Perhaps a better way to phrase is that it would be incredibly unlikely that Homo sapiens as they are now would evolve. How you extend this into presuming that Gould is claiming no species would ever evolve the ability to create technologies and societies and indeed even something we'd recognize as civilization is beyond me.

 

Darwin said that given enough time a species will have individual variation due to random causes(what we today call"mutations")

and that the best adapted to environmental change will survive.

 

The keyword here is "environmental change"...Either the environment itself changes like when seawater gets saltier or one or more individuals enters a new environment! Darwins theory applies to both situations and as he obviously intended to explain why fish get lungs and legs, why birds get wings etc, his theory explains why ecological niches get filled with life.

 

My "Bad Rule of Thumb" is nothing but "Darwinism" explaining why ecological niches gets occupied.I dont think I add much to the theory when I assume that the process will continue until all available ecological niches are filled! (That is why i said "if unclaimed i claim that...")

 

The key word here is "available",in order to enter some new territory a species may have to acquire remarkable skills, skills like Mathemathics and Engineering...in short "Civilisation".

 

I think the matter hasnt been studied in a satisfactory way, im happy if im wrong but the cases of Gould, and Moontanman above assures me it is not so.

 

But I find it strange that a thread where everybody except the vacant OP discusses Scientific Method or Darwinism gets moved into strange territory... I suggest we continue the discussion elsewhere.

 

Why not in space?

Link to post
Share on other sites

My "Bad Rule of Thumb" is nothing but "Darwinism" explaining why ecological niches gets occupied.I dont think I add much to the theory when I assume that the process will continue until all available ecological niches are filled! (That is why i said "if unclaimed i claim that...")

 

Meh, your bad rule of thumb is practically useless and explains nothing. For the statement "All available ecological niches are filled" to be correct in a meaningful way, you must be careless with your definitions. For instance, in what way does an ecological niche exist without the species that fills it? How long a period of time are we talking about? How do you measure a niche to be filled? Why is it that some introduced species are able to devastate stable ecosystems if all available niches were already filled? What observations have led you to this, or do you just assume it to be true?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Meh, your bad rule of thumb is practically useless and explains nothing. For the statement "All available ecological niches are filled" to be correct in a meaningful way, you must be careless with your definitions. For instance, in what way does an ecological niche exist without the species that fills it? How long a period of time are we talking about? How do you measure a niche to be filled? Why is it that some introduced species are able to devastate stable ecosystems if all available niches were already filled? What observations have led you to this, or do you just assume it to be true?

 

Perhaps we should work out Darwins Theory together, slowly a few steps at the time?

 

Darwin thought life arose in some pool of water, I think we now rather thinks of sees and oceans...

Can we start from the assumption that lifes original environment was water somewhere

on Earth?

 

Next to water (w) I see three surrounding environments:

u Underground

e Surface of earth

a The air

And there is a fifth environment Space close to Earth (s)

 

In the beginning of Darwins story life exists only in the w-environment.

The environments u,e,a and s are empty of life.

 

And here I stop and ask you if the stage is set for explaining Darwins theory!

Is something wrong or missing?

All I aim at yet is a short but accurate description of Darwinism.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sigurd, it's simple. An ecological niche has a particular meaning. Saying an ecological niche is equivalent to the environment is a dramatic departure from the definition. As I said, the statement "All available ecological niches are filled" is meaningless unless you do not stick to the definitions. It should be obvious that I refuse to accept statement 2 above.

 

If you want to go over the theory of evolution, that's fine, though I question the value of either of our contributions to that discussion, unless you plan an exploration of the limits of our knowledge.

 

Are we going over what Darwin said or our current understanding of evolution?

 

EDIT: Goddamnit Sigurd, you edited out the portion of your post that I was responding to. Please stop doing that.

Edited by JMJones0424
Link to post
Share on other sites

Sigurd, it's simple. An ecological niche has a particular meaning. Saying an ecological niche is equivalent to the environment is a dramatic departure from the definition. As I said, the statement "All available ecological niches are filled" is meaningless unless you do not stick to the definitions. It should be obvious that I refuse to accept statement 2 above.

 

If you want to go over the theory of evolution, that's fine, though I question the value of either of our contributions to that discussion, unless you plan an exploration of the limits of our knowledge.

 

Are we going over what Darwin said or our current understanding of evolution?

 

EDIT: Goddamnit Sigurd, you edited out the portion of your post that I was responding to. Please stop doing that.

 

On Edit: ill try but i wanted common ground to stand on.

 

Is this what you found me editing out?

 

"Darwin said that given enough time a species will show individual variation due to random causes(what we today call"mutations")

and that the best adapted to environmental change will survive to reproduce."

 

The expression "ecological niche" has a meaning, in particular a vague layman meaning. My intent was to start with interpretating Darwinism as close to the original as possible since i felt you were deliberately trying to misunderstand what my intent is and what i intend with the terms i use.

 

We are different as personalities and thinkers i first try to use only my memory and the concepts I use in my own thinking when i solve problems...The strategy has drawbacks i have reinvented lots of things ...on the other hand i think rather sharp (given time).

 

I think you tend to find the solution in sources which is a faster method with the drawbacks that you cant use it on unknown territory and that you perhaps will not recognize truth when dressed extravagantly. I think most ppl actually mix the strategies and i dont claim any strategy is the best.

 

So: I edited out anything not necessary to begin stating what Darwinism is...If you make the road shorter then fine do so.

 

In my earlier use of "ecological niche" I only meant what mrD meant in stating that a certain environment could be lived in by life suitably blessed by evolution.

 

So I meant something like: If there is an environment empty of life then if there is a modification of life making it possible for life to survive in that environment then ,given time, life will enter it and survive.

 

I should edit this but i dont feel like it

Link to post
Share on other sites
You are misrepresenting this from the very start, devolution is not a new theory, it is a tired and well debunked old idea that creationists came up with to try and misrepresent the science of evolution.

 

Not to be critical but if you knew anything about the history of biology you would not of said this. Devolution is a not a creationist idea it was originally presented as an evolutionary mechanism in around 1880-1910. Ray Lankester an evolutionary biologist was the first biologist to come up with the theory of devolution, he was not a creationist. In his book Degeneration: A Chapter in Darwinism he points to many examples in nature of where organisms have degenerated into simpler forms. Anton Dohrn another early evolutionary biologist also due to his study of vertebrates came to the conclusion in some cases that the environment could make certain forms regress ie cause certain vertebrates to lose certain features.

 

You might want to read this article:

 

http://www.springerlink.com/content/7n0p7j3254952418/

 

Losing Sight of Regressive Evolution

 

When we teach evolution to our students, we tend to focus on “constructive” evolution, the processes which lead to the development of novel or modified structures. Most biology students are familiar with the subjects of finches’ beaks, giraffes’ necks, and hair in mammals. Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with a constructivist approach to teaching evolution, but if it is our only focus, we may overlook the flip side of the coin. By the flip side of the coin, of course, we are referring to regressive evolution: the loss or degeneration of a trait. Regressive evolution does not often make its way into biology textbooks, but it is of great relevance nonetheless. In all likelihood, when a new trait evolves or an existing one is modified, something is sacrificed in return. In order to develop a flipper, a marine mammal must sacrifice individual digits. You may be familiar with one or more of the following familiar characters lost through regressive evolution: teeth in birds, scales in mammals, and tails in higher primates. For aficionados of cave biology like us, one of the most interesting examples of regressive evolution concerns cave fish: Why do cave fish lose their eyes?

 

Regressive evolution does occur, just it is a rather uknown evolutionary mechanism, and very little modern studies focus on it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not to be critical but if you knew anything about the history of biology you would not of said this. Devolution is a not a creationist idea it was originally presented as an evolutionary mechanism in around 1880-1910. Ray Lankester an evolutionary biologist was the first biologist to come up with the theory of devolution, he was not a creationist. In his book Degeneration: A Chapter in Darwinism he points to many examples in nature of where organisms have degenerated into simpler forms. Anton Dohrn another early evolutionary biologist also due to his study of vertebrates came to the conclusion in some cases that the environment could make certain forms regress ie cause certain vertebrates to lose certain features.

 

You might want to read this article:

 

http://www.springerlink.com/content/7n0p7j3254952418/

 

Losing Sight of Regressive Evolution

 

 

 

Regressive evolution does occur, just it is a rather uknown evolutionary mechanism, and very little modern studies focus on it.

Interesting, thanx for entering the discussion.

Biologically oriented entries has been few so far!

You are appreciated, post on!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not to be critical but if you knew anything about the history of biology you would not of said this. Devolution is a not a creationist idea it was originally presented as an evolutionary mechanism in around 1880-1910. Ray Lankester an evolutionary biologist was the first biologist to come up with the theory of devolution, he was not a creationist. In his book Degeneration: A Chapter in Darwinism he points to many examples in nature of where organisms have degenerated into simpler forms. Anton Dohrn another early evolutionary biologist also due to his study of vertebrates came to the conclusion in some cases that the environment could make certain forms regress ie cause certain vertebrates to lose certain features.

 

You might want to read this article:

 

http://www.springerlink.com/content/7n0p7j3254952418/

 

Losing Sight of Regressive Evolution

 

 

 

Regressive evolution does occur, just it is a rather uknown evolutionary mechanism, and very little modern studies focus on it.

 

Cave fish or any other animal losing it's eyesight is not regression. It is adaptation to it's environment. Eyes are not useful to animals that live in caves, food is so difficult to obtain in that environment the growth of eyes is a determent to their existence.

 

To call it regression shows a deep misunderstanding of what adaptation by natural selection really is. From our perspective it might seem like a regression but it is a positive adaptation. Growing eyes takes energy that is best expended growing the organism, since eyes convey no advantage to animals that live in the dark losing them is not regression. Blind cave animals are better adapted to their low nutrient environment.

 

http://ncse.com/cej/8/2/caves-evolution

 

In the context of the OP of this thread it is a creationist idea and most definitely not his original idea...

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devolution_(biology)

 

According to Christian creationists, devolution is:

A theory of origins based on scripture which begins with the ultimate complexity of all living things at the time of creation. This was followed by degeneration and the break down of all living things on the genetic level beginning at the Curse (Genesis 3) and continuing to this day with increased momentum.[22]

The term was used in the play Inherit the Wind (a parable that fictionalizes the 1925 Scopes "Monkey" Trial), when the character of Matthew Brady (representative of William Jennings Bryan) argued that "Ladies and gentleman, devolution is not a theory but a cold fact ... the ape devolved from man",[23] mocking evolutionary theory by offering an alternative he considers just as plausible. During the Scopes Trial itself, a report in The New York Times said "After flocking to view the monkeys, Dayton has decided that it was not man who evolved from the anthropoid, but the anthropoid which devolved from man; and it points now at the two chimpanzees and the "missing link" to prove the assertion".[24] The suggestion of ape degenerating from "man" had already been brought up by the early young-earth creationist George McReady Price in a work published before the trial:

Accordingly, by every just rule of comparison and analogy, we may well declare that if there is any blood relationship between man and the anthropoid apes, it is the latter which have degenerated from the former, instead of the former having developed from the latter. I do not say that this is the true solution of this enigma; but I do say that there is far more scientific evidence in favour of this hypothesis than there ever has been in favour of the long popular theory that man is a developed animal.[25]

An early creationist to discuss devolution was the ornithologist Douglas Dewar, writing about the subject of the fossil record for the carboniferous period Dewar wrote:

A few of the carboniferous insects were larger than any now existing; one of the dragon-flies had a wing-span of 28 inches. This suggests devolution rather than evolution![26]

The Young Earth creationist Ken Ham claims Adam and Eve were made into a state of perfection, with perfect DNA, no mistakes or mutations and that because of man sinning against God in Genesis of the Bible, that God cursed the ground and animals and sentenced man to die. Ham claims this is where mutations come from, and the incredible amount of genetic information that God had created at the beginning has been devolving ever since; according to Ham organisms in nature are losing genetic information.[27]

Creationists like Ham claim that mutations lead to a loss of genetic information and this is evidence for devolution. Ken Ham for example has stated:

Observations confirm that mutations overwhelmingly cause a loss of information, not a net gain, as evolution requires.[28]

Young Earth creationist Joseph Mastropaolo,[29] argues that "Change over time, 'definition one' of evolution, actually describes devolution to extinction, the exact opposite of evolution.... actual epidemiological data from human genetic disorders and fatal birth defects, identify 'natural selection,' the alleged 'primary mechanism' for evolution, as actually a mechanism for devolution to extinction, the exact opposite of evolution." and elsewhere,[30] "Evolution is the development of an organism from its chemicals or primitive state to its present state. Devolution is the sequence toward greater simplicity or disappearance or degeneration."

John C. Sanford a plant geneticist and creationist has argued for devolution, he has written a book entitled Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome (2005)[31] in which he claims that the genome is deteriorating and therefore could not have evolved in the way specified by the Modern evolutionary synthesis. Sanford has published two peer reviewed papers modeling genetic entropy.[32][33]

The creationist author Lee Spetner is a critic of the role of mutations in the modern evolutionary synthesis, he has argued in his book Not by Chance: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution that mutations cause devolution.[34]

Peter Stoner an old earth creationist claimed that the universe was immensely old, writing on astronomy he wrote that "every star is losing energy and mass", he claimed that the second law of thermodynamics proves "cosmic devolution".[35]

Brian Regal associates devolution with the work of dentist and creationist Jack Cuozzo. Cuozzo in his book Buried Alive (1998) claims that Neanderthal dentition proves that the Neanderthals lived much longer than modern humans and that modern humans have devolved, according to Cuozzo "it seems as if human jaws are becoming smaller over time".[36][37]

The concept of devolution is also found in the teachings of Hindu creationism. Michael Cremo a member of ISKCON has authored a book titled Human Devolution: A Vedic alternative to Darwin's theory, published by ISKCON's Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing,[38] Cremo suggests that Darwinian evolution should be replaced with "devolution" from the original unity with Brahman.

Examples of devolution cited by creationists, include vestigial organs,[39] Stickleback, Amblyopsidae and the Greta oto.[40] Evolutionary biologists point out that examples such as this are not evidence for devolution and the creationists have misunderstood the mechanisms of evolution.[41]

Link to post
Share on other sites

[ad hom snipped]

 

Devolution is a not a creationist idea it was originally presented as an evolutionary mechanism in around 1880-1910. Ray Lankester an evolutionary biologist was the first biologist to come up with the theory of devolution, he was not a creationist. [snip]

 

From Moontanman's wiki link:

 

The concept of devolution or degenerative evolution was used by scientists in the 19th century, at this time it was believed by most biologists that evolution had some kind of direction.

 

In 1857 the physician Bénédict Morel influenced by Lamarckism claimed that environmental factors such as taking drugs or alcohol would produce degeneration in the offspring of those individuals, and would revert those offspring to a primitive state.[6] Morel a devout Catholic had believed that mankind had started in perfection, contrasting modern humanity to the past, Morel claimed there had been "Morbid deviation from an original type".[7] The theory of devolution, was later advocated by some biologists. [...]

 

One of the first biologists to suggest devolution was Ray Lankester...

 

Bold added.

 

Clearly what you write is incomplete. Lankester was perhaps the first "biologist" to come up with the theory of devolution. But devolution was originally a creationist idea, first presented as an evolutionary mechanism in 1857 by a devout Catholic, not circa 1880-1910 (as you write).

 

Whether the physician Bénédict More should be considered a biologist is irrelevant, so too is the possibility that Lankester may have been the first biologist to adopt the idea of devolution. Key, is that Morel (the devout Catholic) produced the hypothesis of devolution prior to Lankaster (in excess of 20 years prior). Lankester could have been aware of Morel's work, though Morel is not mentioned in Lankester's book: Degeneration: a chapter in Darwinism, 1880 (Lamarck is, however). In 1857 Morel published Traité des dégénérescences physiques, intellectuelles et morales de l'espèce humaine et des causes qui produisent ces variétés maladives, in which he explains the nature, causes, and indications of human degeneration. This book may not have been translate into English at the time, so it's excusable if Lankester was not aware that Morel published first. He may well have been oblivious to what was transpiring across the English Chanel.

 

Interestingly enough, the idea of degeneration was not new, even at the time of Morel's publication (though he gave the expression a biological twist).

 

One of the earliest scientists to advocate degeneration was Johann Friedrich Blumenbach [1752 – 1840] and other monogenists such as Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon [1707 - 1788], they were believers in the "Degeneration theory" of racial origins the theory claims that races can degenerate into "primitive" forms. Blumenbach claimed that Adam and Eve were white and that other races came about by degeneration from environmental factors such as the sun and poor dieting. Buffon believed that the degeneration could be reversed if proper environmental control was taken and that all contemporary forms of man could revert to the original Caucasian race.

 

Bold added.

 

 

CC

Link to post
Share on other sites

What a strange thread...can't believe there are six pages....

 

It seems to be all about semantics. "Degeneration" vs. "Devolution" vs. "Retro-evolution".

 

Call it what you will, but the initial premise is false from the beggining. It assumes variables that may or may not have existed.

 

It is true that organisms can lose traits, whether evolutionarily beneficial or not. These are typically extreme cases that manifest over thousands of generations. It's not something that we would likely notice in the short time that humans have been writing.

 

It always amuses me when people talk about the "speed" of evolution. It's like physics...it's relative.

 

What is the speed of evolution for an African crocodile? What about a cockroach?

 

Are they speeding up...slowing down...going in reverse?

 

If you're getting it, then you can see how this penguin can't fly...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Your idea is so-so as a science fiction plot (though it is rather cliched), but as science it fails every test. However, if you are a teenager, then I applaud your imagination, but suggest you learn a little more of the basics. Then your imaginative ideas may actually find some purchase within science.

 

I disagree...it's no worse than a bad 'Outer Limits' episode. As a sci-fi fan, I'd like to know the cliche you are referring to. I'm not familiar with...hmmm...*any* sci-fi that features Adam and Eve (well...Star Trek and others have kinda dealt with it)...oh wait...you're referring to the perfect genetics...right...loads of them....;)

 

Nonetheless, this theory starts making me think about Eugenics...bleh...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...