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

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1 hour ago, Reg Prescott said:

 

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.

I don't think it's necessary for me to make any such distinction (even if I could!) on this thread as it seems irrelevant to the topic.

1 hour ago, Reg Prescott said:

But wasn't Edward Jenner getting along just fine with his vaccine research before Darwin was even born?

Darwin's tree seems to be just as irrelevant and useless to applied biology now as it was then.

1 hour 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 applied biology is frequently exaggerated. 

"frequently exaggerated" is a gross understatement - it's like some kind of weird, irrational cult worship.  I suspect most biologist have been indoctrinated from Biology 101 to believe that Darwin's tree is "the unifying concept of all biology", and for some odd reason, they've never stopped to consider the veractiy of this dogma, which appears to me to be a full-blown myth.

Edited by Francis

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17 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

Thank you.  You seem to be the one making the claim that Darwin's tree has proven practically useful in applied science, so now the onus is on you to choose just one example from the talkorgins list and explain to me how it demonstrates that Darwin's tree has proven practically useful in applied science.  

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4 minutes ago, Francis said:

Thank you.  You seem to be the one making the claim that Darwin's tree has proven practically useful in applied science, so now the onus is on you to choose just one example from the talkorgins list and explain to me how it demonstrates that Darwin's tree has proven practically useful in applied science.  

Darwin described descent with modification, which the tree illustrates, and those subjects/discipines exploit that principle.

Edited by StringJunky

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59 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.

Despite multiple, cited examples you're going to go ignore them and hand wavingly dismiss them without actually doing any investigation whatsoever. Right. I guess we're done here.

Two points of clarification for those playing along;

One - theory is as good as it gets in science. A theory is a an explanation, supported by evidence, which accurately predicts observations.  Gravity, relativity, plate tectonics, etc are all theories. Dismissing a concept because it is called a theory demonstrates a lack of fundamental, grade school knowledge of science. As to not convolute them, Scientific laws are sets of observations which tend to remain constant E.g. The LAW of gravity dictates that if I drop a pen it accelerates towards the ground at 9.8m/s/s. The THEORY of gravity is that the pen and earth respond to a force of attraction cause by an unequal distribution of mass in the universe. 

two - evolution is an incremental process - the accumulation of mutations, over generations through time. The distinction between macro and micro evolution is simply a categorization of convenience of the same phenomenon  over different scales. Much like time into minutes, days, weeks, years, etc. Believing in micro but not macro evolution is like believing in hours, but not weeks. 

 

8 minutes ago, Francis said:

 the onus is on you to choose just one example  

I gave you five. 

11 hours ago, Arete said:

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. 

Edited by Arete

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29 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

I haven't read this list yet, but I notice it relates to practical uses for "the theory of evolution".  I agree that there are many, many practical uses for the theory of evolution in applied science.

Be aware that Darwin's tree is not part of "the theory of evolution"; rather it is a conclusion of ToE.   The theory of evolution goes something like this:  Some mutations are favoured by natural selection, which are then inherited by the next generation, allowing the possibility of that mutation becoming dominant".  This being so, I wholeheartedly accept the theory of evolution, because it is can demonstrated to be a fact - indeed, I have never heard of anyone who disputes it. 

Also be aware that the OP is not asking for practical uses for the theory of evolution, but practical uses for Darwin's tree, which is an entirely different matter.

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1 minute ago, Arete said:

One - theory is as good as it gets in science. A theory is a an explanation, supported by evidence, which accurately predicts observations.  Gravity, relativity, plate tectonics, etc are all theories. Dismissing a concept because it is called a theory demonstrates a lack of fundamental, grade school knowledge of science. As to not convolute them, Scientific laws are sets of observations which tend to remain constant E.g. The LAW of gravity dictates that if I drop a pen it accelerates towards the ground at 9.8m/s/s. The THEORY of gravity is that the pen and earth respond to a force of attraction cause by an unequal distribution of mass in the universe. 

 

Hmm, so much could be said about this (hope Francis doesn't mind -- just shout if you do)

First, not all theories are explanatory, as you assert. Newton had no explanation to offer whatsoever for his action-at-a-distance gravity.

With regards explanatory theories, what is taken as an explanation in one age is often mocked by those of a later age: See Aristotelian physics, for example. There are many (well, a few) among us -- non-religious included, like myself -- who feel that Darwinian-type explanations are as vacuous as Aristotelian "the rock falls to achieve its natural place" type, or "morphine puts you to sleep because it has a dormitive virtue".

Also beware of the ambiguity in the word explanation: Do you mean "an" explanation or "the" explanation"?

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10 minutes ago, Arete said:

two - evolution is an incremental process - the accumulation of mutations, over generations through time. The distinction between macro and micro evolution is simply a categorization of convenience of the same phenomenon  over different scales. Much like time into minutes, days, weeks, years, etc. Believing in micro but not macro evolution is like believing in hours, but not weeks. 

 

Not everyone thinks so.

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1 minute ago, Reg Prescott said:

Not everyone thinks so.

Those people are wrong. 

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4 minutes ago, Arete said:

Those people are wrong. 

Problem solved then. Would that it were always this easy.

 

8 minutes ago, Francis said:

Be aware that Darwin's tree is not part of "the theory of evolution"; rather it is a conclusion of ToE.   The theory of evolution goes something like this:  Some mutations are favoured by natural selection, which are then inherited by the next generation, allowing the possibility of that mutation becoming dominant".  This being so, I wholeheartedly accept the theory of evolution, because it is can demonstrated to be a fact - indeed, I have never heard of anyone who disputes it. 

I could name a few. Haha!

Edited by Reg Prescott

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18 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

 

The Darwinian naysayer just has to be discredited somehow or other

The cult does not tolerate dissenters.

As an aside, you might be interested in reading the views of the late Pierre-Paul Grasse, one of France's most distinguished scientists (zoologist) ever, who believed in evolution, but claimed that Darwin's theory for how it happened was completely inadequate as an explanation.  Nothing to do with the thread, however.

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1 minute ago, Francis said:

This comment appears to be irrelevant to the question posed in the OP

But it would explain your antagonism. Experience over the last 10 years here caused me to suspect. One gets this deja vu feeling... 

1 minute ago, Reg Prescott said:

Problem solved then. Wish it was always this easy.

This subject is Arete's day job.

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3 minutes ago, Francis said:

The cult does not tolerate dissenters.

I agree. The consequences of dissent are ferocious indeed.

 

3 minutes ago, Francis said:

As an aside, you might be interested in reading the views of the late Pierre-Paul Grasse, one of France's most distinguished scientists (zoologist) ever, who believed in evolution, but claimed that Darwin's theory for how it happened was completely inadequate as an explanation.  Nothing to do with the thread, however.

Never heard of him. I'll look him up. Merci!

 

I know a few more who say pretty much the same thing. Their voices are seldom heard, and on the rare occasions when they are, the ridicule is merciless.

Edited by Reg Prescott

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3 minutes ago, Francis said:

As an aside, you might be interested in reading the views of the late Pierre-Paul Grasse, one of France's most distinguished scientists (zoologist) ever, who believed in evolution, but claimed that Darwin's theory for how it happened was completely inadequate as an explanation.  Nothing to do with the thread, however.

So, why didn't you post about that, as an opposing theory to Darwin instead of just knocking his tree?

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21 minutes ago, Arete said:

Despite multiple, cited examples you're going to go ignore them and hand wavingly dismiss them without actually doing any investigation whatsoever. Right. I guess we're done here.

You made the claim, so now the onus is on you to back it up - instead of throwing vague examples at me, take just of these examples and explain in specific terms how it demonstrates that Darwin's tree has proven practically useful in applied science.  I'd bet my bottom dollar that you can't.

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1 minute ago, Francis said:

You made the claim, so now the onus is on you to back it up - instead of throwing vague examples at me, take just of these examples and explain in specific terms how it demonstrates that Darwin's tree has proven practically useful in applied science.  I'd bet my bottom dollar that you can't.

 Rather than being vague, I linked to a peer reviewed publication in each instance. Click the links. 

 

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6 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

This subject is Arete's day job.

And the people I have in mind who disagree (about the micro-macro thing) do the same day job. 

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28 minutes ago, Arete said:

 

two - evolution is an incremental process - the accumulation of mutations, over generations through time. The distinction between macro and micro evolution is simply a categorization of convenience of the same phenomenon  over different scales. Much like time into minutes, days, weeks, years, etc. Believing in micro but not macro evolution is like believing in hours, but not weeks

This is  irrelevant to the OP

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2 minutes ago, Francis said:

This is  irrelevant to the OP

It's directly relevant to your own response: 

1 hour ago, Francis said:

  I suspect that all the examples you have mentioned here are either based on microevolution (making Darwin's tree irrelevant)

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3 minutes ago, Arete said:

 Rather than being vague, I linked to a peer reviewed publication in each instance. Click the links.

In other words, as I suspected, you can't tell me how Darwin's tree has proven practically useful in applied biology.

Besides that, it's not up to me to substantiate your claim by chasing links - the onus is on you to back up your claim with an explanation.

15 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

I agree. The consequences of dissent are ferocious indeed.

I find it really bizarre that something so useless is worshipped with such quasi-religious intensity, and that anyone who appears to disrespect this useless thing is demonised.  It's a truly strange phenomenon.

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34 minutes ago, Francis said:

In other words, as I suspected, you can't tell me how Darwin's tree has proven practically useful in applied biology.

No, I just didn't feel it necessary to duplicate literature which already exists because you're too lazy to click a link, but I'll play: 

Here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00182388

Is an investigation of the genus Neisseria  - which includes the pathogens N. meningitidis and N. gonorrhoeae  as well as a number of non-pathogenic commensal species. Both pathogens have been observed in the clinic to be penicillin resistant. By reconstructing the phylogeny ("Darwin tree" if you insist) we can determine that the resistance genes are mosaic genes resultant of ectopic recombination rather than vertical transfer, and horizontal exchange with commensal species is a probable route for inheritance of resistance in pathogenic species. 

TlDr: by Making a Darwin tree of a genus of bacteria, we can show that they share and recombine genes that encode antibiotic resistance, and come up with better management plans for controlling the spread of drug resistance in those pathogens. 

Edited by Arete

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18 minutes ago, StringJunky said:
23 minutes ago, Francis said:

 

So, why didn't you post about that, as an opposing theory to Darwin instead of just knocking his tree?

"knocking his tree"?  I don't know what you mean by that.    I am looking for a practical use for it - without success, so far.  I am getting lots of claims, but no specific explanations that demonstrate anything.

25 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

Never heard of him. 

A dissenting scientist like P-P Grasse is not exactly a hero in evolutionist circles.  Best to sweep him under the carpet so he is not seen and not heard.

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4 minutes ago, Francis said:

"knocking his tree"?  I don't know what you mean by that.    I am looking for a practical use for it - without success, so far.  I am getting lots of claims, but no specific explanations that demonstrate anything.

I don't think you'll be interested in any answer because you've already made up your mind.

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7 minutes ago, Francis said:

A dissenting scientist like P-P Grasse is not exactly a hero in evolutionist circles.  Best to sweep him under the carpet so he is not seen and not heard.

He was a proponent of Neo-Lamarkian evolution. It wasn't that he has been shunned or ignored, simply that Lamarkism was disproven. 

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34 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

And the people I have in mind who disagree (about the micro-macro thing) do the same day job. 

It's impossible. I have never heard of virologist or microbiologist disagreeing with microevolution and macroevolution, when they simply see it in their labs on daily basis. That's why they have so much of work (finding new medicament for viruses and microbes), just because of little mutations in microbes every day..

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28 minutes ago, Francis said:

A dissenting scientist like P-P Grasse is not exactly a hero in evolutionist circles.  Best to sweep him under the carpet so he is not seen and not heard.

If you have to go back to the beginning of the 20th century to cite someone clinging to a disproven hypothesis to invalidate a routine methodology used by thousands of researcher, you are doing something wrong (and the something wrong is simply being uninformed on the subject matter).

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