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Are there any practical uses for Darwin's tree in applied biology

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I'm no expert, but seems to me that there exist no practical uses for Darwin's tree of common descent in applied biology (or in any form of applied science, for that matter).  I find this rather curious.

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If you know who is your close relative (on the family tree we can check degree of kinship), this knowledge could be used during e.g. transplantation of organs, or predictions of possibility to have genetic illness in the case of marriage etc.

Animals that are closely related to humans are used to check drugs before being released for human use.

 

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12 hours ago, Francis said:

I'm no expert, but seems to me that there exist no practical uses for Darwin's tree of common descent in applied biology (or in any form of applied science, for that matter).  I find this rather curious.

This is such a ludicrous claim that I suspect it's something you've heard but don't understand, or choose to misunderstand as part of a larger, anti-science agenda. The fact that you're criticizing Darwin suggests you misunderstand evolution, and the theory that explains it.

Of course common descent has many practical uses in applied biology. This knowledge guides mainstream practice and keeps scientists from accepting bad hypotheses. The fossil records are understandable because we understand common descent.

Is this another version of the creationist macro vs micro argument? Are you claiming (as a non-expert) that you understand the differences between applied science and theoretical science? I'll make a prediction now and say you don't (only partly because you reference Darwin).

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14 hours ago, Francis said:

I'm no expert, but seems to me that there exist no practical uses for Darwin's tree of common descent in applied biology (or in any form of applied science, for that matter). 

One obvious practical use is using the evidence to confirm the theory of evolution. 

It is also valuable to understand how and where food crops originated. By understanding how they evolved to their current form (eg what they hybridised with) it can help us develop new crops to face the challenge of global warming, for example.

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There are tons of other uses. Functional genomics relies heavily on phylogenetic relationship to predict functions, for example.

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It doesn't matter if there are no "practical" uses. If by practical you mean directly productive. Knowledge is valuable for it's own sake. And it can become directly productive in the future in ways that we can't imagine now. 

Knowing where the HIV virus comes from, and why it was able to jump from one species to another, comes with an understanding of how we are related to other primates. That's just an example of how prior knowledge can help understand practical problems. 

But of course, science is about knowledge, not productive gain. Fathoming out the origin of the Universe isn't likely to help build cars. But I still want to know.

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35 minutes ago, mistermack said:

It doesn't matter if there are no "practical" uses. If by practical you mean directly productive. Knowledge is valuable for it's own sake.

Good point.

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On ‎27‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 2:34 AM, Strange said:
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One obvious practical use is using the evidence to confirm the theory of evolution.

How do you define "the theory of evolution"?  And do you realize that confirming a theory doesn't actually equate to a practical use in applied science?

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It is also valuable to understand how and where food crops originated. By understanding how they evolved to their current form (eg what they hybridised with) it can help us develop new crops to face the challenge of global warming, for example.

I would say that what is useful is what is here and now, and that how foods crops evolved from some plant millions of years ago is of no practical use at all to applied science.  But perhaps you can give me an example of how a theory of what happened millions of years ago has proven practically useful to applied science.  

 

 

On ‎27‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 2:56 AM, CharonY said:
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There are tons of other uses. Functional genomics relies heavily on phylogenetic relationship to predict functions, for example.

I don't think so.  My understanding is these techniques rely on only the principles of microevolution - eg, mutations and natural selection.  Darwins' tree - macroevolution - is therefore totally irrelevent to their success.

 

On ‎26‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 2:21 PM, Sensei said:
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If you know who is your close relative (on the family tree we can check degree of kinship), this knowledge could be used during e.g. transplantation of organs, or predictions of possibility to have genetic illness in the case of marriage etc.

Following one's family tree is not dependant in any way on the theory of Darwin's tree of common descent.  You are talking about micorevolution within a species.  Darwin's tree is about how life evolved from microbes over millions of years.

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Animals that are closely related to humans are used to check drugs before being released for human use.

No, you're barking up the wrong logic tree here.  Knowledge of the genetic similarities between human and other animals is not dependant in any way on the theory of Darwin's tree.  Those genetics similarities exist regardless of what anyone believes about what happened millions of years ago or any theories of human evolution.  Theories don't produce facts and theories don't change facts.

 

 

On ‎27‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 1:19 AM, Phi for All said:
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This is such a ludicrous claim that I suspect it's something you've heard but don't understand, or choose to misunderstand as part of a larger, anti-science agenda. The fact that you're criticizing Darwin suggests you misunderstand evolution, and the theory that explains it.

I would suggest you think it's ludicrous because you've been indoctrinated to believe that Darwin's tree is essential to all forms of biology and you've never stopped to question this myth.  And I believe it is a myth, because it seems to me that no practical use in applied science depends on it.  Darwin's tree is "useful' only for formulating evolutionary theory, and mere theory is not a practical applied use. 

So the D-tree is "useful" only in the minds of evolutionists - meanwhile, out in the real world, it has proven perfectly useless.

Furthermore, I am not "criticizing Darwin" - I am merely contending that Darwin's tree of commonse descent is a theory that has no practically use.

 

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Of course common descent has many practical uses in applied biology. This knowledge guides mainstream practice and keeps scientists from accepting bad hypotheses. The fossil records are understandable because we understand common descent.

As far as I can tell, you are referrring to theories and not practical uses.

Understanding the fossil record does not amount to a practical, applied use; it's more useless theory.

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Is this another version of the creationist macro vs micro argument? Are you claiming (as a non-expert) that you understand the differences between applied science and theoretical science? I'll make a prediction now and say you don't (only partly because you reference Darwin).

This comment seems to be irrelevant to the topic.

 

Edited by Francis

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1 hour ago, Francis said:

I don't think so.  My understanding is these techniques rely on only the principles of microevolution - eg, mutations and natural selection.  Darwins' tree - macroevolution - is therefore totally irrelevent to their success.

That is an artificial distinction. 

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So Francis, the argument is, that Darwin's tree is a myth, because you can't identify a practical use for it? 

What kind of reasoning is that? The one simply does not follow from the other. 

Can you explain how you got to that conclusion? 

 

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17 hours ago, Francis said:

How do you define "the theory of evolution"?  And do you realize that confirming a theory doesn't actually equate to a practical use in applied science?

I mean the theory of evolution by natural selection originally proposed by Wallace and Darwin and confirmed (and extended) by many experiments and observations since then.

As you didn't define what you meant by "practical" we were left to come up with our own. I think that progress in science is very practical.

17 hours ago, Francis said:

Knowledge of the genetic similarities between human and other animals is not dependant in any way on the theory of Darwin's tree. 

Of course it is. And is also confirmation of that tree (many relationships are known from genetics, where there is little fossil evidence).

17 hours ago, Francis said:

Those genetics similarities exist regardless of what anyone believes about what happened millions of years ago or any theories of human evolution.  Theories don't produce facts and theories don't change facts.

Theories explain "facts" (evidence). In this case, the theory of evolution explains the genetic relationships. And therefore the genetic relationships are yet more evidence confirming the theory.

17 hours ago, Francis said:

And I believe it is a myth, because it seems to me that no practical use in applied science depends on it.

That makes no sense at all. A theory doesn't rely on practical applications. It just has to successfully explain the evidence.

We have no practical use for neutrinos, that doesn't make quantum theory a myth.

17 hours ago, Francis said:

Understanding the fossil record does not amount to a practical, applied use; it's more useless theory.

Again, you may think that gaining knowledge of the world around us is a waste of time. Many of us think it is an admirably practical pursuit.

 

Edited by Strange

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On ‎30‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 11:15 PM, mistermack said:
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So Francis, the argument is, that Darwin's tree is a myth, because you can't identify a practical use for it?

Er, no ... read the OP

 

 

 

On ‎31‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 8:26 AM, Strange said:
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I mean the theory of evolution by natural selection originally proposed by Wallace and Darwin and confirmed (and extended) by many experiments and observations since then.

The theory of evolution doesn't include Darwin's tree of common descent.  The D-tree is a conclusion from the theory of evolution.

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As you didn't define what you meant by "practical" we were left to come up with our own.

You don't know what a practical use in applied science means?  Trying googling it; that might help you understand the concept ... or ask any Grade 8 science student.
 

 

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progress in science

Straw man. The OP is not about "progress in science", which is a very broad subject.

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Of course it is.

No, you're wrong.  Think about it.  We examine the DNA of a human and a chimp, and notice that there are similarities.  To notice these similarities, there is no need to resort to the concept of Darwin's tree ... or even be aware of Darwin's tree.  Techniques for analysing DNA don't need Darwin's tree at all.  You are conflating the EVIDENCE for common descent (ie, the aforementioned similarites in DNA) with the CONCLUSION of common descent.  The evidence is not at all dependant on the conclusion. 
If a fundamentalist creationist (who rejects the theory of Darwin's tree) examined the DNA of humans and chimps, he would notice exactly the same similarities as somone who accepts Darwin's tree.

 

On ‎31‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 8:26 AM, Strange said:
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On ‎27‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 6:21 AM, mistermack said:
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It doesn't matter if there are no "practical" uses. If by practical you mean directly productive. Knowledge is valuable for it's own sake. And it can become directly productive in the future in ways that we can't imagine now. 

Knowing where the HIV virus comes from, and why it was able to jump from one species to another, comes with an understanding of how we are related to other primates. That's just an example of how prior knowledge can help understand practical problems. 

But of course, science is about knowledge, not productive gain. Fathoming out the origin of the Universe isn't likely to help build cars. But I still want to know.

None of this is relevant to the OP.  You have not mentioned one practical use in applied science.

 

On ‎31‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 8:26 AM, Strange said:

And is also confirmation of that tree (many relationships are known from genetics, where there is little fossil evidence).

Theories explain "facts" (evidence). In this case, the theory of evolution explains the genetic relationships. And therefore the genetic relationships are yet more evidence confirming the theory.

This is irrelevant to the OP, which is about a practical use in applied science, not confirming a theory.

On ‎31‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 8:26 AM, Strange said:

That makes no sense at all. A theory doesn't rely on practical applications. It just has to successfully explain the evidence.

We have no practical use for neutrinos, that doesn't make quantum theory a myth

What are you talking about?  Re-read my post. The "myth" I refer to is not Darwin's tree

On ‎31‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 8:26 AM, Strange said:

Again, you may think that gaining knowledge of the world around us is a waste of time. Many of us think it is an admirably practical pursuit.

Another straw man ... and completely irrelevant to the OP

On ‎30‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 4:47 PM, CharonY said:

That is an artificial distinction.

Irrelevant to the OP.  

Edited by Francis

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On 10/26/2018 at 9:24 AM, Francis said:

I'm no expert, but seems to me that there exist no practical uses for Darwin's tree of common descent in applied biology (or in any form of applied science, for that matter).  I find this rather curious.

Francis, you have my sympathies. The savagery of the responses to what strikes me as a perfectly innocent and reasonable question you posed is quite staggering, though given my own experience on this site, not altogether surprising .

When you mention "practical uses" what comes to my mind immediately is technological applications. And it seems I'm not alone. Take a look at this page, for example, that I just googled.

https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-practical-uses-of-theoretical-physics

The question posed -- almost identical to your own -- is "What are some practical uses of theoretical physics?"

The answers, if you read through, take the form of practical applications of theoretical physics, including the writing of computer programs to simulate real-world engineering scenarios, nuclear power, rockets, high voltage transmission lines with small losses, airfoil designs in wind power turbines, etc., etc. Just the kind of answers I would have expected.

Now regardless of whether your own question can be answered in the affirmative, most of the responses above do not fit what I would personally characterize as practical applications. E.g. you've been told that "practical applications" include keeping scientists from accepting bad hypotheses, rendering the fossil record understandable, confirming the theory of evolution, predicting functions in functional genomics, and so on.

Meanwhile, other respondents have pointed out that knowledge is valuable for its own sake; perhaps true, but quite irrelevant to the question you posed.

And in return for your curiosity, in the space of just a meager few replies you've been described as, or implied to be, ludicrous, anti-science, incapable of understanding, a Creationist; not to mention being blatantly misrepresented with a transparent strawman attack ("So Francis, the argument is, that Darwin's tree is a myth, because you can't identify a practical use for it?) -- a miserable distortion of your words that seems to bother no one here but myself.

Speaking from personal experience of the savagery you were just subjected to, Francis, I generally just refrain from voicing any misgivings I have over evolutionary theory (and no, I'm not religious). The risks to health are just not worth it. One might be safer standing up in Mecca and shouting obscenities at a certain unnamed prophet.

Welcome to the Science Forums.

Edited by Reg Prescott

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On ‎27‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 6:21 AM, mistermack said:

 

Knowing where the HIV virus comes from, and why it was able to jump from one species to another, comes with an understanding of how we are related to other primates. That's just an example of how prior knowledge can help understand practical problems.

Thinking you "understand" a problem according to some theory is not the same as a practical use.  And we don't know that the HIV virus came from a monkey - it just a theory - and one that hasn't helped at all in curing the disease in question.

Edited by Francis

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5 hours ago, Francis said:
  On 10/30/2018 at 12:15 PM, mistermack said:
Quote

So Francis, the argument is, that Darwin's tree is a myth, because you can't identify a practical use for it?

Er, no ... read the OP

I've read the OP, and it says that you find it rather curious that there are no practical uses for Darwin's tree. And later you call it a myth. 

I'm asking you why you think it's curious, and why you think his tree of life is a myth. Because it simply doesn't follow. But maybe you can explain why it does, rather than dodging the question. 

On 10/30/2018 at 4:19 AM, Francis said:

And I believe it is a myth, because it seems to me that no practical use in applied science depends on it. 

You say in the OP that you are no expert. Well, you don't need to be. You just need to apply very average powers of reasoning. I had no trouble seeing the logic of evolution and common descent the first time I came across it, aged about 12 or 13. Because there's logic behind it. Your reasoning that it's somehow curious that there is no (in your opinion) practical use for his tree of descent, and why you think it's a myth, needs explaining, not dodging. 

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40 minutes ago, mistermack said:

I've read the OP, and it says that you find it rather curious that there are no practical uses for Darwin's tree. And later you call it a myth

He doesn't call Darwin's tree a myth.

 

40 minutes ago, mistermack said:

I'm asking you why you think it's curious, and why you think his tree of life is a myth. Because it simply doesn't follow. But maybe you can explain why it does, rather than dodging the question

 

He doesn't call his tree of life a myth, and he hasn't dodged the question.

 

40 minutes ago, mistermack said:

You say in the OP that you are no expert. Well, you don't need to be. You just need to apply very average powers of reasoning. I had no trouble seeing the logic of evolution and common descent the first time I came across it, aged about 12 or 13. Because there's logic behind it. Your reasoning that it's somehow curious that there is no (in your opinion) practical use for his tree of descent, and why you think it's a myth, needs explaining, not dodging. 

Ditto.

 

First of all, in the opening post it is stated, "there exist no practical uses for Darwin's tree of common descent in applied biology" which is already to presuppose the reality of Darwin's tree.

Next, in Francis' second post, we see:

"I would suggest you think it's ludicrous because you've been indoctrinated to believe that Darwin's tree is essential to all forms of biology and you've never stopped to question this myth.  And I believe it is a myth, because it seems to me that no practical use in applied science depends on it.  Darwin's tree is "useful' only for formulating evolutionary theory, and mere theory is not a practical applied use."

The first sentence in this passage is quite clear that the myth in question, the one that "you have been indoctrinated to believe", is not Darwin's tree per se, but that "Darwin's tree is essential to all forms of biology".

 

I know this isn't really my business. But as I've expressed concerns over in other places, it seems that on this site logical fallacies only constitute a problem -- even if none have been perpetrated -- when the perpetrator is a newbie, especially when advancing opinions that may not accord with the party line. When the big boys do it, everyone turns a blind eye. Reward it even with a few votes.
 

Edited by Reg Prescott

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Ok, I grant you that I misread his myth passage. Which is a bit convoluted, but nevertheless I misread it.                          

So the "myth" isn't Darwin's tree, but Francis's own hypothetical myth that we have supposedly been indoctrinated in. ie that "Darwin's tree is essential to all forms of biology" .          

I'm struggling to get my head around this. So Francis's point isn't about the validity of Darwin's tree, but about the fact that it's "considered essential" ????   Which is something, to be honest, that I've personally never even thought about. Nor cared about.

In that case it would be nice for Francis to declare his position on whether he thinks Darwin's tree picture is actually right or wrong

I personally  think it's right, it's self evident, and INTEGRAL to biology, but whether it's essential or not has never been mentioned to me, and I can certainly say with complete confidence that nobody has ever tried to indoctrinate me in that convoluted notion.    :D

Have you ever seen such a thing as a jigsaw? If that's the current state of biology, then Darwin's tree is one of the pieces to me. An integral part. That doesn't make it essential, you can do some sort of biology without it, but the puzzle isn't complete, if you leave it out.   

      

       

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The modern rendition of the tree of common descent would be the phylogenetic tree

There are extensive practical uses of phylogenetic trees and theory. Some examples include epidemiology and outbreak tracking, conservation biology, forensic investigation and drug discovery to name a few. 

The foundation for modern phylogenetic inference is coalescent theory. Using coalescent theory, we can generate predictions as to how traits or DNA/RNA sequences should have changed if the assumption that they arose from a common ancestor is true. Contemporary genetic sequences and physical characteristics can be evaluated to determine if they meet the predictions of common descent under the coalescent. Huge quantities of genetic, phenotypic, biogeographic, etc data have been tested under a wide range of models, and to date, the vast majority supports common ancestry of most of the tree of life, with the caveat of some uncertainty of branching and wtf viruses came from.  

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1 hour ago, Arete said:

wtf viruses

I just treat them as genetic tools with no agency. That will show them their place, right? Also, I campaign against unannounced HGT. 

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21 hours ago, Reg Prescott said:

Francis, you have my sympathies

Hello Reg!  Thank you very much for your insightful, intelligent and eloquent post.  You're the first poster on this thread who has made any sense.


Dobzhansky said "Nothing in biology makes sense in biology except in the light of evolution."   It obvious from his essay that what he meant by "evolution" is Darwin's tree.  But it seems to me that there is not even one use of applied biology (ie, the stuff that really matters) that owes its existence to the D-tree.  Therefore it appears that Dobzhansky's proclamation - which is accepted as dogma within the scientific community - is false.


I was once challenged on this topic  (on another forum) by an angry senior research scientist who claimed that he had found Darwin's tree "useful" in the treatment of various diseases.  But on closer inspection his claim turned out to be (as I suspected) completely bogus:  As it turned out, what he really meant was that he found the theory of common descent useful in explaining certain observations.  Moreover, he admitted that such theorising hadn't led to any practical use or benefit.  Dobzhansky's Delusion runs deep and wide in the scientific community and I find it quite a bizarre phenomenon, especially when one considers the high intelligence of the people involved.
 

16 hours ago, mistermack said:
22 hours ago, Francis said:

 

I've read the OP, and it says that you find it rather curious that there are no practical uses for Darwin's tree. And later you call it a myth

As Reg has pointed out, I didn't call Darwin's tree a myth.  The "myth" I was referring to in that post was the myth (aka Dobzhansky's Delusion) that Darwin's tree is essential to all biology.  Someone forgot to teach the delusion to applied biology (ie, the real world), which seems to function quite well without any need of Darwin's tree at all.  It appears that the only "use" for the D-tree is in evolutionary theories - otherwise known as useless talk.

16 hours ago, Reg Prescott said:

 

I know this isn't really my business

Thanks for your comments, Reg - spot on, as usual.

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50 minutes ago, Francis said:

I was once challenged on this topic  (on another forum) by an angry senior research scientist who claimed that he had found Darwin's tree "useful" in the treatment of various diseases.  But on closer inspection his claim turned out to be (as I suspected) completely bogus:  As it turned out, what he really meant was that he found the theory of common descent useful in explaining certain observations.  Moreover, he admitted that such theorising hadn't led to any practical use or benefit.  Dobzhansky's Delusion runs deep and wide in the scientific community and I find it quite a bizarre phenomenon, especially when one considers the high intelligence of the people involved.

Hi again,

I'm inclined to agree with you here, at least in so far as I often suspect myself that the "essentialness" of Darwinian theory to applied biology is frequently exaggerated. Like yourself, in a similar conversation somewhere else, I was told by a scientist, more or less, that flu vaccines would not be possible without Darwinian, or neo-Darwinian, theory. But wasn't Edward Jenner getting along just fine with his vaccine research before Darwin was even born?

I hasten to add, like yourself Francis, I'm no expert, and there are plenty around (so gotta watch my mouth, haha!), Perhaps other members might cast some light on this for me.

Furthermore, you've been told above by two different members that the micro-macro evolution distinction is "artificial" and a mere Creationist fallacy. I think this can be challenged. Might take us off-topic but I'll provide sources if necessary.

Edited by Reg Prescott

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14 hours ago, mistermack said:

       

I'm struggling to get my head around this. So Francis's point isn't about the validity of Darwin's tree, but about the fact that it's "considered essential" ????   Which is something, to be honest, that I've personally never even thought about. Nor cared about.

In that case it would be nice for Francis to declare his position on whether he thinks Darwin's tree picture is actually right or wrong

I personally  think it's right, it's self evident, and INTEGRAL to biology, but whether it's essential or not has never been mentioned to me, and I can certainly say with complete confidence that nobody has ever tried to indoctrinate me in that convoluted notion.    :D

Have you ever seen such a thing as a jigsaw? If that's the current state of biology, then Darwin's tree is one of the pieces to me. An integral part. That doesn't make it essential, you can do some sort of biology without it, but the puzzle isn't complete, if you leave it out.   

      

       

- No, my point is not whether or not Darwin's tree is "considered essential".  I already know that it is "considered essential" by the scientific community, but only in a theoretical sense.  In the real world of applied science it  appears to be the opposite of "essential" - ie, completely irrelevant and useless. 

- Whether I consider Darwin's tree to be "right or wrong" is irrelevant to the OP.

- No, I don't believe it is "INTEGRAL to biology", because biology includes a little ol' thing called applied biology - you know, the stuff that really matters and makes a difference to people's lives ... and Darwin's tree seems to be not at all INTEGRAL to applied biology.

- You obviously haven't noticed that you've been indocrinated, but I suggest you have.   Darwin's tree is the Great While Elephant of biology - it seems to me that no biologist working in the field of applied biology has any need of it - at all.

- The jigsaw of EVOLUTIONARY biology considers Darwin's tree to be essential - ie, a form of THEORECTICAL biology.  But theorising about the mechanism that allowed the history of life to unfold appears to irrelevant to applied biology - ie, the real world, where biologist actually DO useful stuff, not just TALK aboiut useless theories.

- You "can do SOME sort of biology without it"?  That's the understatement of the century - it appears that you can do ALL OF APPLIED BIOLOGY without Darwin's tree!

Edited by Francis

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14 minutes ago, Francis said:

- No, my point is not whether or not Darwin's tree is "considered essential".  I already know that it is "considered essential" by the scientific community, but only in a theoretical sense.  In the real world of applied science it  appears to be the opposite of "essential" - ie, completely irrelevant and useless. 

- Whether I consider Darwin's tree to be "right or wrong" is irrelevant to the OP.

- No, I don't believe it is "INTEGRAL to biology", because biology includes a little ol' thing called applied biology - you know, the stuff that really matters and makes a difference to people's lives ... and Darwin's tree seems to be not at all INTEGRAL to applied biology.

- You obviously haven't noticed that you've been indocrinated, but I suggest you have.   Darwin's tree is the Great While Elephant of biology - it seems to me that no biologist working in the field of applied biology has any need of it - at all.

- The jigsaw of EVOLUTIONARY biology considers Darwin's tree to be essential - ie, a form of THEORECTICAL biology.  But theorising about the mechanism that allowed the history of life to unfold appears to irrelevant to applied biology - ie, the real world, where biologist actually DO useful stuff, not just TALK aboiut useless theories.

- You "can do SOME sort of biology without it"?  That's the understatement of the century - it appears that you can do ALL OF APPLIED BIOLOGY without Darwin's tree!

So, what''s your beef? If one is looking to see how something evolved then it's essential. It has given researchers a blueprint  in where to search for solutions by classifying genetic progressions. If you haven't got a working theory you can't make predictions.

Edited by StringJunky

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9 hours ago, Arete said:

The modern rendition of the tree of common descent would be the phylogenetic tree

There are extensive practical uses of phylogenetic trees and theory. Some examples include epidemiology and outbreak tracking, conservation biology, forensic investigation and drug discovery to name a few. 

The foundation for modern phylogenetic inference is coalescent theory. Using coalescent theory, we can generate predictions as to how traits or DNA/RNA sequences should have changed if the assumption that they arose from a common ancestor is true. Contemporary genetic sequences and physical characteristics can be evaluated to determine if they meet the predictions of common descent under the coalescent. Huge quantities of genetic, phenotypic, biogeographic, etc data have been tested under a wide range of models, and to date, the vast majority supports common ancestry of most of the tree of life, with the caveat of some uncertainty of branching and wtf viruses came from.  

  I suspect that all the examples you have mentioned here are either based on microevolution (making Darwin's tree irrelevant) or they are theories ("coalescent theory ... predictions of common descent ... assumption ... models ... supports common ancestry") that actually have no practical use in applied science.

 

8 minutes ago, StringJunky said:
21 minutes ago, Francis said:

 

So, what''s your beef? If one is looking to see how something evolved then it's essential. It has given researchers a blueprint  in where to search for solutions by classifying genetic progressions. If you haven't got a working theory you can't make predictions.

Which practical use of applied biology owes its existence to the knowledge of Darwin's tree?

35 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

 

- I'm inclined to agree with you here, at least in so far as I often suspect myself that the "essentialness" of Darwinian theory to biology is frequently exaggerated.  Like yourself, in a similar conversation somewhere else, I was told by a scientist, more or less, that flu vaccines would not be possible without Darwinian, or neo-Darwinian, theory.

 

I come across this sophistry a lot.  If you dig a little into such a claim, you will find that what is happening is this:  Scientists discover certain facts pertaining to microbiology or genetics that prove useful in producing an effective vaccine.  These same facts may also be used as evidence of common descent - ie, Darwin's tree.  But then something strange happens in the minds of some of these scientists - they somehow CONFLATE the FACTS that proved useful with the THEORY that uses these fact as evidence.  But the facts came first and their usefulness in producing a vaccine doesn't depend in any way, shape or form on the theory that came later.  So in the case you allude to, the existence of the flu vaccine needed the useful facts, but the vaccine didn't need the Darwinian theory built on those facts - at all.

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23 minutes ago, Francis said:

  I suspect that all the examples you have mentioned here are either based on microevolution (making Darwin's tree irrelevant) or they are theories ("coalescent theory ... predictions of common descent ... assumption ... models ... supports common ancestry") that actually have no practical use in applied science.

 

Which practical use of applied biology owes its existence to the knowledge of Darwin's tree?

Have a chew on this: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA215.html

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