Biological "Relativity" (and the family farm?)

Ken Kinman kinman at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 8 05:23:36 CDT 2003

     Well, I am talking about punctuated-equilibrium theory in the broad
sense, in which "punctuated anagenesis" can play a major role.  Such
punctuations do not require speciation (peripatric or otherwise).   And even
if you don't accept such a view, the number of cladogenetic events (by
whatever measure one might choose) is most likely much higher in the human
lineage than that of chimps.
     However, if you do accept such a broad view, the greater number of
cladogenetic events plus the greater rate of punctuated anagenesis in
between those speciation events would most likely increase the divergence of
humans relative to chimps even further.
       As for you (or any other human) and their relationship to their
sister, that is a poor analogy for species relationships.  Clonal
reproduction is perhaps more instructive, where a mother and one daughter
can be identical, whereas another daughter (due to mutation) is different
from BOTH sister and mother.  If such a mutation increases the chances for
further mutations, it can snowball into a series of punctuations (none of
which necessarily requires cladogenesis).
      But I guess most strict cladists abhore the thought of significant
anagenesis without cladogenesis.  But that is just one more side-effect of
the whole paraphyly thing which I believe strict cladists are trained to
simply dismiss as irrelevant---- or of which the philosophical repercussions
are just too painful to contemplate for those who even begin to dig down
that deeply.  Perhaps a self-reinforcing delusion of sorts, but I don't care
to delve further into the psychology of that which I find not only
frustrating but increasingly baffling in a scientific context (even more so
today that it was 20 years ago).
     ----- A bit weary,
P.S.  What is perhaps most disturbing is that strict cladism and strict
molecularism may well be triggering some of the unfortunate recent cutbacks
at various museums due to the painting of traditional taxonomy as
"old-fashioned".  In the process, what is thought to be "pruning" is
actually an assault on the very roots which will eventually cripple the
whole organism.  The extravagance and hubris of certain powers that be (like
AMNH) are perhaps being inordinately paid for in America's heartland.  It's
really not much different than what the federal government has done to the
family farm.  Screw the provinces whether it was their fault or not.  I am
personally sick and tired of it.
>From: Curtis Clark <jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU>
>Reply-To: Curtis Clark <jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU>
>Subject: Re: Biological "Relativity" (was: Human and ape phylogeny)
>Date: Sun, 6 Apr 2003 22:23:50 -0700
>At 21:19 2003-04-06, Ken Kinman wrote:
>>      Yes, chimps have evolved since their common ancestor with humans,
>>obviously a lot less than humans have.
>Like I might tell my students, "Ask yourself which species is telling you
>this." Yes, humans have a lot of autapomorphies, but "obviously"? Clearly
>it is our autapomorphies that allow us to discuss the issue, but I would
>suggest that we have always needed more data than that.
>>Punctuated-equilibrium theory almost guarantees that some
>>descendants of a common ancestor will often be largely unchanged (very
>>little punctuation) compared to other descendants (with large amounts of
>Punctuated equilibrium is the result of peripatric speciation (what you
>have referred to as "paraphyletic speciation", iirc). Although the human
>lineage may have arisen as a peripheral isolate, so might the chimp
>lineage. It's difficult to study a speciation event that occurred several
>million years ago--it involves multiple inferences based in part on those
>same autapomorphies, and also a clear understanding of the phylogeny.
>>     I am really tired of the erroneous belief of many strict cladists
>>all descendants of a common ancestor are equally "related" just because
>>are separated by an equal length of time.
>So you are saying that my sister might be more closely related to me than I
>am to her?
>>P.S.  It's really not qualitatively different from the Theory of
>>in Physics.
>I'll leave this one to the physicists.

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