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That new “non-Darwinian mechanism” guy is attracting attention

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Remember the “Heredity” paper we noted here? There’s a buzz about it, for example, here

A new study (Hughes 2011) in the Nature Publishing Group journal Heredity proposes a new non-Darwinian mechanism for the origin of adaptive phenotypes. Its author, Austin L. Hughes of the University of South Carolina, pioneered statistical methods for detecting positive selection at the molecular level with geneticist Masatoshi Nei (Hughes & Nei 1988). He later had the hubris in 2007 to question the majority of inferences to positive selection based on those methods (Hughes 2007). Now he’s proposing a mechanism for adaptive evolution that renders Darwin unnecessary.

If positive selection may be thought of as the promulgator of novelties, purifying selection is the damage control. The latter is an easy affair; selection has only to “nip in the bud” any mutations that render an organism disadvantaged. However, only the former is Darwinian, and it is much more ambitious; positive selection may only act effectively on a mutation that increases the fitness of an organism’s phenotype so as to overwhelm random noise.

– P.J. Levi , No Positive Selection, No Darwin: A New Non-Darwinian Mechanism for the Origin of Adaptive Phenotypes, Evolution News & Views, November 14, 2011.

Note to bench scientists: There is still time to back out of reading this and forget you ever heard it. Your career tending Darwin’s idol is at stake. You were born for that, right?

Maybe the thing needs new dresses or something. Not that we care. We just think that a scientist should be looking to the evidence, not the Word from the Beard. Sorry.

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Me too- and that is why I chose Intelligent Design. Joseph
They never wanted Darwin. They just wanted an alternative to the bible and a God. Robert Byers
Extreme Fine Tuning of Light for Life and Scientific Discovery - video http://www.metacafe.com/w/7715887 bornagain77
Pardon, but 'twas Michelangelo. :-) kairosfocus
OT: Epistemology - Why Should The Human Mind Even Comprehend Reality? - Stephen Meyer video - (Notes in description) http://vimeo.com/32145998 bornagain77
BA77, I was very loosely drawing on the familiar anecdote, but the details didn't make for the best analogy. Hughes is suggesting that before a species got "stuck" in its current state it had the ability to rapidly ('plastically') vary between different states and then lost that because at some point the genes for the alternate state were discarded. In other words, this is another loss-of-function scenario, except without any benefit associated with the loss of function. It's like explaining the origin of a VW Jetta with snow tires by saying that it used to be able to switch between snow tires and regular tires whenever it snowed, but now it's stuck with snow tires. It explains neither the snow tires, the regular tires, nor the Jetta. Again, I'm not arguing for or against the hypothesis. But if Hughes is correct, it tells us absolutely nothing about the origins of anything. Or it makes the non-teleological argument even harder because now, in addition to explaining the Jetta, the road tires, and the snow tires, it has to explain the pre-existing Jetta with additional ability to alter its tires as needed. If the plasticity he describes existed, it's just one more thing requiring an explanation on top of all the other things that already weren't explained. ScottAndrews2
Scott I believe you mean this: There is an apocryphal story that one day the Pope came to visit Michelangelo in his studio while he as sculpting his "David". The Pope marveled at the partially completed work, and asked, "How do you know what to cut away?" Michelangelo's response was, "It's simple. I just remove everything that doesn't look like David." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/und-crop.shtml bornagain77
David in the marble is a poor illustration. A better one is that Da Vinci just took a piece of soft clay that looked like David and hardened it. Explaining why the clay lost its plasticity doesn't explain how it got to look like David. And the "explanation" implies that it might have looked like Moses before it looked like David, but you just can't tell because now it's stuck looking like David. Where did the David and the Moses come from? ScottAndrews2
Hughes is suggesting that Da Vinci (selection) didn't carve David out of the marble - David was already there but you just couldn't see him. The "plasticity" is the potential of the organism to take on many adaptive states, and the fixation into one form is the loss of that plasticity. Is this another non-teleological mechanism that drives a nail into ID? No. What do you mean "another?" Traditional darwinism doesn't actually explain anything. Neither does this. The proposition is that the variations weren't "created" by variation and selection, they were already there. How is that a mechanism, and how does that explain anything? I'm not reflexively arguing that Hughes is wrong. Maybe he's on to something. But this is like rearranging a difficult equation rather than solving it. ScottAndrews2
As I keep on pointing out this is a new non-teleological mechanism for evolution and (using the ID definition) for accumulating “information”. As such it potentially expands modern evolutionary biology and drives yet another nail into the argument for ID.
No, sheer dumb luck does not drive any nails into any ID argument. It's not even science... Joseph
Yes Eocene, it certainly is a pleasure to listen to Alexander Tsiaras 'appropriately' express such awe and wonder at the 'divinity' of human development in the womb, as well as such awe and wonder in the birth process. It truly is a breath of fresh air for me to listen to him marvel at the process, especially since neo-Darwinists continually try to belittle human life as 'vestigial and junk'. It is really nice to see someone finally appreciate what a true miracle human life is, instead of deceptively trying to tear it down to a state of 'meaninglessness' just so to match their atheistic philosophy. notes:
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made - Glimpses At Human Development In The Womb - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4249713 How many different cells are there in complex organisms? Humans have an estimated 10^14 cells, mostly positioned in precise ways and with precise organization, shape and function, in skeletal architecture, musculature and organ type, many of which (such as the nose) show inherited idiosyncrasies. Even if the actual number of cells with distinct identities is discounted by a factor of 100 (on the basis that 99% of the cells are simply clonal expansions of a particular cell type in a particular location or under particular conditions (for example, fat, muscle or immune cells)), there are still 10^12 (1 trillion) positionally different cell types. http://ai.stanford.edu/~serafim/CS374_2006/papers/Mattick_NRG2004.pdf
The Human Body is simply amazing:
The Human Body - You Are Amazing - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5246456 Human Anatomy - Impressive Transparent Visualization - Fearfully and Wonderfully Made - video http://vimeo.com/26011909 The 'Fourth Dimension' Of Living Systems https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1Gs_qvlM8-7bFwl9rZUB9vS6SZgLH17eOZdT4UbPoy0Y Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff - video (notes in description) http://vimeo.com/29895068 Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;,,
Chris Tomlin - The Way I Was Made http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF5SZWox_JE
Thanks BA77 I enjoyed that. It certainly illustrates as he said, informationally driven instructions driven without error. The term mechanism used is also important as we see in the article above, they have no option but to acknowledge informationally run nano-machines being guided and directed with purpose, goals and intent. So by hijacking these brilliant observations, they lable them evolutionary and try and distance themselves from the dumb idea of a mindless machine that spits out copying errors and once in a while gets lucky. I actually wouldn't have a problem if they'd just come clean and prove by a repeatable experiment that anyone can do, where by we see nothing more than dirt, water and other fliuds, gases, voltage and magnetism bring about codes and sophisticated nano-machines. At that point, we could then debate and calmly discuss directed guided evolution. But 'IF' even there were such a thing, there still is no evidence of that even being a driver behind MACRO. Instead we are force fed mountains upon mountains of conjecture, speculations, assertions and assumptions of what is actually scientific faith being pimped as FACT. If anything the strategy has been nothing more than repetious factoidal echo chamber religious chantings. Eocene
markf you state (apparently without a moments thought as to the implications truly are):
this is a new non-teleological mechanism for evolution and (using the ID definition) for accumulating “information”. As such it potentially expands modern evolutionary biology and drives yet another nail into the argument for ID.
and yet the implications are:
No Positive Selection, No Darwin: A New Non-Darwinian Mechanism for the Origin of Adaptive Phenotypes - November 2011 Excerpt: Hughes now proposes a model he refers to as the plasticity-relaxation-mutation (PRM) model. PRM suggests that adaptive phenotypes arise as follows: (1) there exists a phenotypically plastic trait (i.e., one that changes with the environment, such as sweating in the summer heat); (2) the environment becomes constant, such that the trait assumes only one of its states for a lengthened period of time; and (3) during that time, deleterious mutations accumulate in the unused state of the trait, such that its genetic basis is subsequently lost. ,,,But if most adaptations result from the loss of genetic specifications, how did the traits initially arise? One letter (Chevin & Beckerman 2011) of response to Hughes noted that the PRM "does not explain why the ancestral state should be phenotypically plastic, or why this plasticity should be adaptive in the first place." http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/11/no_positive_selection_no_darwi052941.html
Thus apparently markf, in your twisted world of Darwinian logic (where anything goes), this represents 'another nail into the argument for ID', when the reality of the implications is completely opposite!!!. Positive selection, which is a primary cornerstone of Darwinian thought, is severely undermined in this study as a 'real mechanism' in the adaptations of 'sub-species', and yet, no consequence to your worldview, you count it as evidence against ID??? And you can sleep at night with such lack of integrity??? bornagain77
As I keep on pointing out this is a new non-teleological mechanism for evolution and (using the ID definition) for accumulating "information". As such it potentially expands modern evolutionary biology and drives yet another nail into the argument for ID. markf
This news is certainly going to put a damper on Darwin Day celebrations. Oh wait, they're Darwinists...they won't let a little thing like evidence deter them. Blue_Savannah
OT: Be prepared to be blown away:
Alexander Tsiaras: Conception to birth -- visualized - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKyljukBE70

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