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Posted by Bob on November 22, 1999, at 16:59:31

In reply to Re: calculus; monkeys (Scott), posted by Scott L. Schofield on November 20, 1999, at 8:20:54

> I remember hearing of an instance of speciation documented in the southwest. A population of gray coyotes became separated by a canyon as they migrated southward. After several years, a mere nanosecond relative to geological time, one of the populations had begun to show a trend towards having a red coat. Red or tan coloring made for better camouflage in that locale. Perhaps sexual-selection was the driving force. Regardless of the dynamics, this thing was actually observed with human eyes. Fact.

Thus, the fact was that one population had a higher percentage of red-coated individuals than the other. That is the only demonstrable truth. You say it yourself -- "regardless of the dynamics" -- I could just as easily state that since the sky is blue and the sky is made of nitrogen, mostly, that nitrogen must therefore be blue.

Evolution, as a theory, consists of a number of mechanisms that describe how species today may have derived from species in the past (and please note, folks, that evolution applies to species and not to individuals ... particularly if you want to talk about genetic mechanisms of evolution). There are number of possible explanations as to the difference in the groups. Better camouflage for the area is one. That does not necessarily lead to females choosing mates with redder coats. It might mean that males with grayer coats are less successful at hunting and, therefore, are too weakened from starvation or nutritional deprivation to successfully compete for mates with red coats. Alternately, if the area was at all populated by humans, the graycoats may have become easy targets, thus being thinned off through a more direct means. Given that coyotes also have a rather nasty competitor for their spot in the niche -- wolves (the increase in the wolf population in Yellowstone has led to a dramatic decrease in the coyote population, for example)-- this natural predation may have also led to the demise of the graycoats as well.

So, many potential mechanisms, all similar but not identical dynamics, and all support the general notions that are held in common as the THEORY of evolution. Again, tho, the only FACT is the measurable population density of red vs. gray coated coyotes in each group.

> As for the monkeys, there are some things that can be conceptualized that are excluded from existence because of the laws governing the Cosmos. Bob's analogy sound like one of them.
DOH! Positivism rears its ugly head once again!! My application of the Infinite Monkey Hypothesis here may be excluded from YOUR existence, but since you cannot ascertain the nature of all possible existences -- not for a moment, not during your life -- you cannot exclude my Monkey-produced copy of Leon Uris' Trinity (with scribble on the inside cover that looks suspiciously like a dedication from Leon to me) from existing SOMEWHERE in the Cosmos. Even if the Cosmos is bounded, it can still be infinite ... and I have quite an over-healthy sense of the immensitude of both time and space, thank you very much! ;^) =^P

(Devoted follower of Dr. Science ... that should explain some things....)




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