Robert Sheldon on Mark Pagel – update

Following further discussion Uncommon Descent I want to slightly modify my previous post.  I said that both models – speciation through accumulation of “small” changes and speciation as the result of single “large” changes – were random in the sense of relying on events that are independent of each other.  This is wrong.  It is only the large change (exponential) model that entails random events.  The small changes in the “small change”  model could be distributed in a large number of different ways, some of which would hardly count as random, and still provide an approximately normal distribution for speciation events.  This is, of course, almost the exact opposite of what Sheldon is trying to prove.

In summary the exponential distribution suggests that the steps were large and random while the Gaussian distribution suggests that they were small and may or may not be random.


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