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Topics - socrates1

Alfred Russel Wallace advocated what is best described as a theory of "intelligent evolution."

Intelligent Evolution Defined
Intelligent evolution is a theory of common descent based upon natural selection strictly bounded by the principle of utility (i.e. the idea that no organ or attribute of an organism will be developed and retained unless it affords it a survival advantage). Where utility cannot be found in a known organ or attribute, some other cause--an intelligent cause--must be called upon.

In sum, intelligent evolution is directed, detectably designed, and purposeful common descent.

Wallace's Intelligent Evolution Contrasted with Darwinian Evolution
Both forms of evolution describe change through time, but only Wallace's intelligent evolution limits the power of natural selection to effect biological change. It suggests that in those areas of the biological world beyond the scope of natural selection's operations, some purposive intelligence must be called upon to explain their existence. In contrast, Darwinian evolution claims that all biological life can be explained through a directionless process of "survival of the fittest" and random mutation.

Wallace, basing his theory on Darwin's own principle of utility (the cornerstone of natural selection that says attributes in an organism will only develop when they accord the organism a survival advantage), insisted that where no clear survival advantage can be found some teleological (purposive) and intelligent agency must be the cause.

Both Wallace and Darwin were committed to science, but their conceptions of science were dramatically different: for Wallace science was simply the search for truth in the natural world; for Darwin science must invoke only natural processes functioning via unbroken natural laws in nonteleological ways. Wallace's view of science was unencumbered by philosophical assumptions whereas Darwin's science was pigeonholed by the philosophical presumption known as methodological naturalism (or methodological materialism).
Alternative Reality Science Extravaganza / A blue halo
Fascinating subject:

Some flowers have found a nifty way to get the blues.They create a blue halo, apparently to attract the bees they need for pollination, scientists reported Wednesday. Bees are drawn to the color blue, but it's hard for flowers to make that color in their petals.
Instead, some flowers use a trick of physics. They produce a blue halo when sunlight strikes a series of tiny ridges in their thin waxy surfaces. The ridges alter how the light bounces back, which affects the color that one sees.
Brusatte et al
Supplementary Appendix 1: Character List
Character 1: Feathers, vaned feathers on forelimb, form:
0: symmetric
1: asymmetric
Xu et al
Character list (Characters 1-363 are from Hu et al. (2009), whereas 364-374 are newly
1. Vaned feathers on forelimb symmetric (0) or asymmetric (1). The barbs on opposite
sides of the rachis differ in length; in extant birds, the barbs on the leading edge of flight
feathers are shorter than those on the trailing edge.

Odd. No value for lack of feathers.

Alternative Reality Science Extravaganza / Bremer
Notice the abysmally low Bremer support values:

Maniraptoriformes--is only poorly supported (Bremer support of 1 and jackknife percentage of less than 50%), and relationships at its base are unresolved. There is a basal polytomy consisting of four clades: Ornitholestes, Compsognathidae, Ornithomimosauria, and Maniraptora (i.e., the clade of all taxa more closely related to birds than to Ornithomimus: [S52]).

Maniraptora--the clade defined as all taxa closer to birds than to Ornithomimus--is comprised in the present study of Alvarezsauroidea, Therizinosauroidea, Oviraptorosauria, and Paraves. This clade is supported by a Bremer value of 2 but a jackknife percentage of less than 50%.

Oviraptorosauria and Paraves is supported by a Bremer value of 1 and a jackknife percentage of less than 50%.

Paraves--consisting of dromaeosaurids, troodontids, and avialans--is also poorly supported, as it also has a Bremer value of 1 and a jackknife of less than 50%.
As a rule of thumb, a Bremer score of 3 is good and a score of 5 is "highly supported."

Unfortunately, some ardent supporters of cladistics thought that this method might work well in terms of classification.
Now some of you might be shaking your head right now thinking that phylogeny and classification are the same thing. They are not.
Classification is the act of categorization. It is an arbitrary way for humans to order what they see in the world around them. We classify everything!
The statistical rigor of the bootstrap test has been empirically evaluated using viral populations with known evolutionary histories,[35] finding that 70% bootstrap support corresponds to a 95% probability that the clade exists. However, this was tested under ideal conditions (e.g. no change in evolutionary rates, symmetric phylogenies). In practice, values above 70% are generally supported and left to the researcher or reader to evaluate confidence. Nodes with support lower than 70% are typically considered unresolved.

Anyone notice the support value below 70% on the Brusatte et al cladogram between tyrannoraptora and paraves? The entire dinosaur to bird theory is based on this unresolved node.
Imaginary nodes
Yi qi, and presumably other scansoriopterygids, possessed a type of wing unknown among any other [dinosaur] prehistoric bird  relatives. Unlike other paravian dinosaurs, they seem to have replaced bird-like feathers with membranous wings, in what may have been one of many independent evolutionary experiments with flight close to the origin of birds.[1]

A variant of the bat model might be the "pterosaur model" in which the styliform bone would have been directed obliquely to the outside, with a narrower wing as a result.

Other vertebrate fossils found in the same rock quarry as Yi qi, which would have been close contemporaries, included salamanders like Chunerpeton tianyiensis, the flying pterosaurs Changchengopterus pani, Dendrorhynchoides mutoudengensis, and Qinglongopterus guoi, as well as the early tree-dwelling mammal species Arboroharamiya jenkinsi.[1]
Which is more parsimonious?
Oviraptorids as ground based, feathered dinosaurs? Or secondarily flightless members of Paraves?
Bootstrapping calculates a support value for each node based on the fraction of samples that support that node. The highest support value is 100, while values below 70 are usually considered weak. Values below 50 aren't shown; in fact, branches below 50 are collapsed and shown as a polytomy.
The similarity of the forelimbs of Deinonychus (left) and Archaeopteryx (right) led John Ostrom to revive the link between dinosaurs and birds.

"Filamentous integumentary structures are preserved in all three [Yutyrannus]
specimens. Those preserved in ZCDM V5000 are evidently associated
with the posterior caudal vertebrae. As preserved, they are parallel to
each other and form an angle of about 30u with the long axis of the tail.
The filaments are at least 15 cm long. They are too densely packed for it
to be possible to determine whether they are elongate broad filamentous
feathers (EBFFs) like those seen in the therizinosauroid Beipiaosaurus,
slender monofilaments, or compound filamentous structures."

Yutyrannus is often referenced as having feathers. In fact what they had was simply filaments.

I ran Hublin's paper and conclusions by two other anthropologists -- Ian Tattersall, the curator emeritus of human origins at the American Museum of Natural History, and John Hawks, a professor at the University of Wisconsin. And while they don't doubt the dating of these findings, they do question whether we can really call these specimens Homo sapiens.

After all, they do have some significant differences with us when it comes to the shape of their brains, which is a defining characteristic of our kind.

"I think you have to be fairly rigorous [with] what you admit into Homo sapiens," Tattersall says. "There are plenty of people out there who are willing to take a much looser view of what Homo sapiens is, and would be happy to cram this into Homo sapiens as a matter of convenience, or a matter of philosophy even. I wouldn't go along with that."