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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Greg Laden: What is meant by "mosaic evolution" and other matters

Greg Laden has another wonderful post on his ScienceBlog page.  Well worth reading the whole thing.  Again, I am usually very concerned at how poorly the general public understands what the theory of evolution even states.  Most of what people think is part of the theory isn't.  As a matter of fact, most of what people think are part of the theory are just lies told by denialists.  That is why it is incumbent upon education and individuals to fight for the truth as opposed to a rehash of lies and fables...

What is meant by "mosaic evolution" and other matters

Category: EvolutionEvolutionary Biology
Posted on: January 3, 2011 12:10 PM, by Greg Laden
A discussion of misconceptions in evolution ... about missing links, or great chains of being, or teleology (the idea that evolution is goal-directed) has got to be the most fun you can have with your pants on. Pursuant to this, let's sharpen and clarify our evolutionary theory mojo by considering the concept of "mosaic evolution" ... what is it, and what isn't it?

Of course, the concept of mosaic evolution, meant to clarify how evolution works, is often itself misunderstood. From Wikipedia:

"Mosaic Evolution is the concept that major evolutionary changes tend to take place in stages, not all at once." .. well, sort of, but that is not the main point and it is not well stated. Continuing, "...It is a pattern in evolution ..." "a" pattern? I wouldn't have said it that way. It is more like a general characteristic of macroevolution ... "... in which the rates of evolution in one functional system vary from those in other systems." .. like, different rates of mutation? of selection? No, no, that's not it, it's about timing, not rates "...For example, in hominid evolution, the dental system, locomotor system, and neurological system, evolved at markedly different rates." Almost. These differed systems have different histories. They do not co-evolve (see below). The word "rate" is ill advised in this context. I'll explain shortly.
Click here to read the rest of the post.

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