(New) Creationist canard

"A new genus has never been observed"

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(New) Creationist canard

#1  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Dec 03, 2017 12:18 am

I keep seeing more and more creationist apologists making statements like these:
There is a dirty little secret that evolution cultists do not want anyone to know about, which is why they rely so heavily on constant insults, imaginary facts and vacuous rhetoric to hide it.

The creation of a new family, or even a new genus for that matter, through evolutionary change has NEVER ever been observed, nor has it EVER been recreated through testing, in any type of organism. In fact, several experiments have been conducted that have attempted to recreate and observe it, breeding thousands and thousands of generations in order to give it sufficient time, but EVERY single one has failed to do so. The actual observable, testable (scientific) evidence has ONLY ever demonstrated a non-event, thus strongly suggesting that the process actually does not take place, nor ever has.

Additionally, when one considers that all of the alleged evidence supporting the claim, is nothing more than data that has been analyzed and interpreted by those who already have that presupposition, to support their presupposition, and is thus based on circular reasoning... the case for it becomes even weaker still.

Therefore, a belief in the made-up story of evolutionary changes resulting in the creation of new genera, families, etc, is not based on any legitimate evidence, but is based exclusively on blind faith... a blind faith that actually contradicts all of our real science.

Now, I've already found several studies into new geni/usses? But it seems to me that this argument is also a case of not understanding how evolution works. I just can't put my finger on it, since it's not my area of expertise.
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Re: (New) Creationist canard

#2  Postby SafeAsMilk » Dec 03, 2017 3:01 am

I find it quite telling that they don't link to any of the experiments they're referring to.
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Re: (New) Creationist canard

#3  Postby Calilasseia » Dec 03, 2017 3:30 am

The idiot in question needs to be taught some elementary lessons about taxonomy. One of which being, that the higher level taxonomic constructs are human inventions, to facilitate our cataloguing of the natural world. The only taxonomic construct that has an actual physical basis independent of our choice of classification scheme, is species. New species have been observed emerging by the dozen.

Another case of a creationist mistakenly thinking that [1] the Linnaean taxonomic scheme is prescriptive rather than descriptive, [2] that the higher taxonomic categories are somehow set in stone (anyone familiar with taxonomic revision knows this is manifestly false), and [3] that the higher taxonomic categories enjoy a special metaphysical status, when they don't. The higher taxonomic categories are constructed as a means of allowing us to organise the data. Ultimately, they're a database entity, not a physical entity, providing us with a useful shorthand for "organisms X, Y and Z are more closely related to each other than they are to W". Which is why Genera have a habit of changing over time, as more data becomes available, and allows us to revise our understanding of the requisite relationships.

For example, back in the early days of the taxonomic endeavour, a disparate array of Cyprinid fishes were all dumped into a single Genus, the Genus Barbus, which ended up becoming what is known in the requisite professional circles as a "wastebasket taxon". Later on, once more data became available, a large number of these fishes were moved into completely new Genera, constructed to reflect our better knowledge of the granularity of relationships between these fishes. A process that became something of a necessity, when the original Genus Barbus, as first formulated, ended up containing fishes as diverse as the originally named Barbus gelius, a tiny fish popular in aquarium circles that grows to a maximum length of 4 cm, and the originally named Barbus tor, a honking great monster from Indian rivers that reaches 2.4 metres in length and a mass of 100 kg. The originally named Barbus gelius is now placed in a new Genus, the Genus Pethia, and the originally named Barbus tor is now placed in the Genus Tor, alongside several other large relatives.

Likewise, a whole brace of aquarium Barbs, that were all originally placed in Barbus, are now spread across multiple Genera - Pethia, Barbodes, Puntius, Capoeta, Enteromius, Dawkinsia (which contains the former Barbus arulius, a species I've kept myself in the aquarium in the past), Haludaria, Schizothorax, Desmopuntius, Oliotius, Barbonymus and Puntigrus - that's a dozen new Genera that were constructed over the past 70 years or so. Toss in the Genera to which the bigger fishes have been assigned, and you have another 10 or so new Genera to join those.

Indeed, the phylogeny of the Barbs is still awaiting a thorough, rigorous treatment, with several fishes in this group still labelled 'incertae sedis', or "uncertain placement", because scientists still don't have enough data on the fishes in question to place them properly.

As for the Rift Lake Cichlids, well they've been subject to a lot of revision after Dr Humphrey Greenwood's landmark 1977 paper on Cichlid phylogeny and development. The Genus Haplochromis has now been split into something like 22 new Genera, and that's all been done since 1977. Likewise, fishes that were all once lumped into Pseudotropheus have now been spread across Metriaclima and Melanochromis, to name but two of several Genera that were newly defined in the post-1977 era, with Pseudotropheus now reserved for a much more limited selection of species. Fortunately, the phylogeny of the Rift Lake Cichlids is much better resolved than that of the Barbs, and a huge amount of work has been done ensuring that these fishes are properly classified, but all of this goes to demonstrate that a Genus, at bottom, is nothing more than our description of the known relationships between the requisite organisms, and is subject to constant revision as new data is collected.

As a corollary, this creationist canard doesn't even rise to the level of competence required to be wrong. It's simply lame, full stop.
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Re: (New) Creationist canard

#4  Postby Calilasseia » Dec 03, 2017 4:47 am

Meanwhile, here's another example, this time from the insect world, that blows this idiot's canard out of the water with a nuclear depth charge.

Wind the clock back to the 150s, for example, and the following list of Families was considered the standard taxonomic arrangement for butterflies:

Hesperiidae
Papilionidae
Pieridae
Lycaenidae
Riodinidae (=Nemeobiidae in some texts)
Nymphalidae #
Satyridae *
Amathusiidae *
Brassolidae *
Morphidae *
Heliconiidae *
Ithomiidae *
Acraeidae *
Danaidae *
Libytheidae *

Notice the ones I've marked with a "*" above, along with the "#" I've placed alongside Nymphalidae.

What has happened since?

Well, those Families were defined on a morphological basis, in classic Linnaean fashion. The organisms contained therein, were considered to exhibit shared features that were distinct enough in each group, for that group to warrant Family status. Then, it became possible to apply cladistic methods, using data from genetic analysis. When that data was analysed, ALL of the Families marked with a "*", were found not to be sister clades to the Nymphalidae, but nested within the Nymphalidae.

This, of course, meant that the taxonomy of the Nymphalidae had to be rearranged wholesale. The definition of the Family Nymphalidae had to be reworked, to account for the new data, and all of those groups marked "*", previously thought to be Families proper in their own right, were found to be either SubFamilies of the new, redefined Nymphalidae (with the butterflies in the old Nymphalidae moved into an expanded SubFamily Nymphalinae, or to other SubFamilies as required), or, in some cases, mere Tribes within the new, redefined Nymphalidae.

Consequently, the new scheme looks like this (with "#" denoting the destination of some of those "old" Nymphalidae butterflies in this new scheme) - SubFamilies ending in -inae, Tribes ending in -ini, groups separated according to clade status:

Hesperiidae
Papilionidae
Pieridae
Lycaenidae
Riodinidae
Nymphalidae

---Libytheinae (Formerly Libytheidae, basal clade)

---Danainae (basal clade)
------Danaiini (Formerly Danaidae)
------Tellervini (contains one Genus, Tellervo, with just 6 species, including the formerly enigmatic Tellervo zoilus)
------Ithomiini (Formerly Ithomiidae)

---Satyrinae
---Calinaginae #
---Charaxinae #
---Morphinae (Formerly Morphidae)
------Brassolini (Formerly Brassolidae)
------Amathusiini (Formerly Amathusidae) [note below]

---Heliconiinae
------Acraeini (Formerly Acraeidae)
------Heliconiini (Formerly Heliconiidae)
------Vagrantini #
------Argynnini #
---Limenitidinae #

---Nymphalinae #
---Apaturinae #
---Cyrestinae #
---Biblidinae #

Note that as of the time of writing (December 2017), the Amathusiine butterflies are still awaiting confirmed resolution - most treatments currently place them as a Tribe within the Morphinae, but evidence may arise warranting their reassignment to a SubFamily, the Amathusiinae, though still within the Satyrine clade containing the Satyrinae as type SubFamily. Also, bear in mind that I haven't presented the full phylogeny covering all known Tribes, only those Tribes formerly regarded as higher taxa, because the resulting phylogeny is bloody huge. You'd need a 5 foot tall poster to do justice to the full phylogeny! :)

So, organisms that were, in the pre-genomic era, thought to be members of well-defined Families on morphological grounds, have since been found to be members of an entirely different phylogenetic arrangement. As a corollary, anyone who wants tell me that "no new Genus or Family has been created", will be treated with appropriate scorn and derision on the basis of the data I've provided in this and the previous post.

Plus, there's one other little matter that the creationist idiot in question manifestly doesn't understand, namely, nested hierarchies. Species are nested in Genera, and consequently, any new species arising via various means, will by definition still remain in the same Genus, courtesy of the fact that the taxonomy is a nested tree structure. However, this misses another point entirely, namely that our current taxonomic arrangement is based upon current data. At some point in the future, if a well-defined genus (as of the year 2017), ends up containing numerous new species via the usual observed speciation mechanisms, and the data on those far future organisms warrants a reclassification into new Genera, because the far future organisms have departed significantly anatomically from the 2017-vintage organisms used to define the original Genus, then that reclassification will take place.

Which points to a concept I've been expounding here for some time, namely that taxonomy, when done properly, is a dynamic enterprise. Practitioners thereof take new data as and when that new data arises, and apply judgements about the state of the classification scheme based on the totality of the data, including the new data.

Which points to a big problem taxonomists are going to have to face in the future, and one for which the Linnaean taxonomic scheme was not originally designed to handle, namely, taking account of temporal variations in populations and assigning taxa thereto in a rigorous manner. The Linnaean scheme was originally invented to account for the here and now, and was fortuitously extendable to fossil taxa, because fossils are static entities. Though I hasten to remind everyone that the data provided by those fossils, can still result in taxonomic revision, and so, even fossil taxa are not as set in stone as the fossils themselves. For example, with the emergence of new data, the Miocene animal I originally learned about as Baluchitherium, has over time been reassigned to Indricotherium, and more recently to Paraceratherium, as new data has arisen. In the case of zoology, there's also the Rule Of Priority to think about, but that's a separate administrative issue not related to the nature of the data.

But, whilst a particular living organism at a particular time, may present a partly deceptive impression of being a static entity, populations of organisms over time are anything but static, as I've covered at length with Cynotilapia afra in Lake Malawi in past posts. (The diligent won't find it difficult to track down those posts and read them, of course, but creationists rarely bother with due diligence, when this threatens their attachment to mythology). Quite simply, what constitutes a particular taxonomic assemblage today, could undergo huge changes over many thousands of generations, to the point where a completely new taxonomic arrangement is warranted to encompass that future state of those populations. Anyone who thinks species are static, should start disabusing themselves of that myth by looking through their own family albums for one, in which the individual differences in human faces alone point to the dynamic nature of human populations, and related provisos apply elsewhere in the biosphere. The idea that the enormous number of different genotypes that will arise in the future in the biosphere, will somehow magically preserve the status quo we observe today, is laughable to the point of being pathetic.

But I don't expect any creationist to bother with any of the above data or analysis, because creationists are wedded to the idea that 3,000 year old mythology is somehow magically always right, regardless of how much the data delivers a size 12 steel toe-capped boot to the genitals of this palsied idea.
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Re: (New) Creationist canard

#5  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Dec 03, 2017 10:00 am

SafeAsMilk wrote:I find it quite telling that they don't link to any of the experiments they're referring to.

When I linked studies about the discoveries of new geni/usses, he blindly dismissed them out of hand with this:

Regarding your links:

I hate to have to break this to you, but discovering new organisms that require man to create a new genus classification for them, is NOT directly observing the creation of a new genus through evolutionary changes. It is not even close. You just told on yourself again.

Thank you for once again completely validating my original reply. Please keep going.
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Re: (New) Creationist canard

#6  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Dec 03, 2017 10:01 am

Thanks Cali for ameliorating my ignorance. :cheers:
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: (New) Creationist canard

#7  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Dec 03, 2017 10:02 am

The person from the OP has since responded with nothing but invectives, blind dismissal and mindless regurgitation of their initial script, so I've decided to stop feeding him.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: (New) Creationist canard

#8  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Dec 03, 2017 1:02 pm

You linked studies regarding speciation, which has nothing to do with the point I made in my initial reply... and studies that discuss the discovery of organisms that require the creation of a new man-made genus classification, which also has nothing to do with the point I made in my initial reply. You are telling on yourself again.

Examples of speciation only prove that speciation is a fact, and that is only according to man's made-up classification system. Anything claimed beyond that, is nothing more than a made-up story.

You have once again demonstrated your failure to comprehend what I clearly wrote... or a profound ignorance of evolutionary principles. The articles you linked to only showed the discovery of organisms that required the creation of new man-made genus classifications to place them in. Discovering a previously unknown organism that requires the creation of a new genus to classify it, is NOT the same thing as directly observing the creation of one through evolutionary changes, which is precisely what I specified. It is like I claimed that 6+6=12, and you provided links to studies in order to try to refute it, that show that purple is a color... and then claimed that I failed to refute your studies, or even address them. WOW. You are SERIOUSLY telling on yourself, while also doing some major projecting, which also reveals quite a bit about you.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: (New) Creationist canard

#9  Postby SafeAsMilk » Dec 03, 2017 1:20 pm

:facepalm: "Man-made genus classification"...so he admits it, but still demands that you come up with an experiment that shows the creation of a new man-made classification in nature :lol: What a fucking turd. If you can find the energy, keep making your direct and clear point for the benefit of the other people reading, that species is a hard, well defined thing while the higher groups are largely subjective categories for taxonomical purposes.
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Re: (New) Creationist canard

#10  Postby theropod » Dec 03, 2017 1:48 pm

I participated in that shit show. I posted lonks to two full papers documenting the emergence of multicellar morphology from unicellular progenitors, and it was summarily ignored. I told the mental giant how Morton’s Demon was whispering sweet nothings to him. It all just goes to show how indoctrination can destroy critical thinking skills.

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Re: (New) Creationist canard

#11  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Dec 03, 2017 3:45 pm

theropod wrote:I participated in that shit show. I posted lonks to two full papers documenting the emergence of multicellar morphology from unicellular progenitors, and it was summarily ignored. I told the mental giant how Morton’s Demon was whispering sweet nothings to him. It all just goes to show how indoctrination can destroy critical thinking skills.

RS

He's also a classic case of Dunning Kruger.
And has a really silly catchphrase: "You just told on yourself." :crazy:
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: (New) Creationist canard

#12  Postby Calilasseia » Dec 04, 2017 6:46 am

If this is a FB exchange, these I tend to avoid, because [1] FB is a lousy platform for presentation of rigorous data, and [2] wilful morons appear there in disproportionate numbers, pretending that they're something other than legends in their own bathrooms. This one you've told us about appears to be a particularly florid case.
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Re: (New) Creationist canard

#14  Postby SafeAsMilk » Dec 04, 2017 6:35 pm

That's why he doesn't mention species. Even if genus and family were what he's implying they are and new ones were "found in nature", he'd just move back to the next group. It's like a god of the gaps argument, only even more inept.
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Re: (New) Creationist canard

#15  Postby Calilasseia » Dec 06, 2017 8:21 am

Of course, there's another reason why the creationist idiot in question is also hoist on his own petard. This is because, by treating Linnaean taxonomy in the manner he does, requires him to accept the underlying foundational premises of that taxonomic system, including the premise that anatomically similar organisms are related to each other.

Now this central idea - that organisms in the biosphere are related to each other - pre-dates Darwin by 112 years, courtesy of its implicit inclusion within the scheme of Linnaean taxonomy, though Linnaeus simply treated this as a brute fact that was useful for his purposes as a taxonomist. He didn't bother asking himself what reasons underpinned the existence of those relationships, because that wasn't his remit. We had to wait for Darwin to provide an answer to that question, followed by all the subsequent work on molecular phylogeny, etc.

But, and this is an important 'but', the interrelatedness of the biosphere is one of those concepts that creationists routinely reject. A central creationist assertion, one that everyone here is tiresomely familiar with, is that the invisible magic man of the mythology in question, conjured living organisms into existence by magic acts, without any connections via inheritance existing between any of the species in question. Leaving aside for a moment how that assertion is utterly destroyed by vast mountains of phylogenetic data, there's another issue applicable here. Namely, that attempting to use Linnaean taxonomy, with its in-built concept of relatedness of living organisms, to try and provide apologetic support for a diametrically opposed creationist assertion, is fundamentally discoursively dishonest. Especially as Linnaeus himself accepted that concept of relatedness of living organisms, whilst being a de facto creationist himself. Though, to be fair here, Linnaeus was only a 'creationist' in the sense of having no access to a competing hypothesis for the origin of biodiversity. If a naturalistic alternative hypothesis had been available in his day, I suspect he would have exhibited the scientific integrity required to accept it.

However, we see once again, the self-contradictory nature of creationist apologetics in action, in which a product of scientific thinking, containing within it a particular concept, is subject to blatant misuse by pedlars of creationist apologetics, in a failed attempt to prop up the negation of that embedded concept, because that negation is seen as necessary to uphold mythology-based doctrine. Some may be tempted to consider this a "stolen concept" fallacy, but there are problems with the "stolen concept" idea I'd prefer to avoid introducing here. Rather, the resulting edifice is self-defeating and self-contradictory, because it requires the original concept to be true, in order to proceed to the conclusion that the concept is purportedly false, but gymnastic contortions of this sort frequently constitute a definition of the creationist modus operandi.
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