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Let’s open minds, textbooks to intelligent design theories


A thoughtful article by a perceptive engineer. A good example of priming the Origins Debate pump.


Let’s open minds, textbooks to intelligent design theories

Intricacies of Earth life-forms, microscopes challenge evolution ideas

Gordon Rose, Letter, Indianapolis Star Dec. 15, 2007

“In our school systems today, science, with its dramatic and continual advancement in knowledge, has to be one of the most interesting as well as important subjects being taught.

Strangely enough, it is here that we are teaching unchallenged, the biggest lie in education — the theory of evolution. Not that the theory shouldn’t be taught — it should, simply because it is believed to be true by so many scientists. But the latest research with modern tools such as the electron microscope, have ruled out any possibility of life on our planet occurring by accident. Modern, competent scientists can show that the unbelievable complexity of design of the human cell, for example, demands the acknowledgement of a designer, or an intelligence far higher than anything we can imagine. . . .”   See full article

like the theory of gravitation, the theory of evolution is both obvious and unproven. this reminds me of arguments people have as to whether animals feel pain. if you've ever been subjected to the torture of watching a kid mutilate a cat - then the answer is obvious - yes, they feel pain. but try to prove it! you can't. in fact there's lots of things we can't prove that aren't true. in fact, one of the things we *can* prove is that it's impossible to prove all true things! in the area of the unproven, faith is what we need to use. i have faith that i live in a real universe - not a matrix-like simulation. i have faith that animals feel pain i have faith that we are, through evolution, connected to all other creatures on this planet and through this faith i believe we have a moral obligation to care for the planet we live on i don't need or want a scientist or a mathematical proof to to tell me these things sim
Jerry, It was not my intent to either distort what you've said or to frustrate you. I'm sure you aware of that. You say that ID must be made to look scientific. In my opinion, this is just a matter of time. When I was in graduate school in Microbiology years ago, I would have never dreamt that science could do what they are doing now. Back then the electron microscope was a marvel. Well, that's like a regular, old microscope of yore these days. Just consider what's happened with genomic studies of late, just this past year, there was a consortium (I forget their name) of various scientists, unviversities, and disciplines within the universities, who collaborated in analyzing the genome. They discovered that there are extensive ares of regulation to be found in "junk-DNA". As biological science progresses, the more it is able to cheaply, reliably, and quickly analyze genomes of various organisms, then the whole notion of 'genetic drift', changed gene frequencies and such will all be clarified. The Darwinists complain that IDers don't do any experimental work, that it's all left to them to do. And, for the time being that's the case. But until such time as the work that the biological community is now doing allows us to understand the genome with greater exactitude, NS will be the only paradigm that they will accept. However, as their work reveals more and more, ID, within the context of what is newly learned, might appear to be a more and more compelling explanation. Meyers now argues that ID has greater "explanatory power" than RM+NS. Only with time, and new information, will this be more clearly seen. And, in all honesty, I should add this: I'm not so much 'in favor' of ID as I am 'against' Darwinism. As I see it, for those who want to willingly believe that matter itself can explain the development of life, no amount of evidence to the contrary will change their minds. ID is simply just better science as far as I'm concerned. Lastly, I think I've been very careful, when attacking so-called 'microevolution' and such, to point out that the majority of those who hold ID readily accept 'microevolution'. So it's not as if I'm trying to pass off my own personal views as the stuff of ID. If people want to learn about ID, they should read "No Free Lunch". It's excellent (but not easy to read in its entirety). Although I haven't read it yet, we have "The Design of Life" by Demski and Wells, which should turn out to be another great source for understanding ID. People can, and should be, directed to those texts if they want to understand ID better. I know you worry about people not taking ID seriously, but scientific facts will take care of all of that. ID predicted that 'junk-DNA' would turn out to have a function. And it does. ID somewhat implicitly predicts a kind of 'front-loading'. Within the last six months they found a sea anemone (something that appears, by form, to be an invertebrate) that had a gene for the formation of 'digits'. This is a quasi confirmation of 'front-loading'. I think that it is clear that ID will become more and more accepted simply as science is able to learn more than more. ID is criticized, ludicrously, as 'creationism'. Yet, it has been information science that has wrought ID. If computers didn't exist, if digital code didn't function in stupendous ways, I don't think anybody would be talking about ID. Just think of Demsbki's example: it was in being able to detect the presence of the first 100 prime numbers in a 1000-bit string that convinced him of his notion of the "design inference". So, it is clear at least to me, that it has been the advance of science that has brought about the development of ID. Thus, the future is ours. Pace. PaV
Pav, I give up. Go think what you want to think. But you keep on distorting what I say so it is no use continuing this debate. I don't believe attacking natural selection does any good. It is not Darwinists that have to be confronted. What has to be done is to make ID look scientific. You seem to want to change the whole genetics community when they are not the problem in the evolution debate. Have at it but I believe it is a cul de sac with no consequential points to be made. By the way I did not mean horizontal gene transfer. I meant gene flow when individuals outside the population mate with members of a population. This could change the frequencies in the gene pool. jerry
Jerry, You say this: Something is causing allele frequencies to change. The three mechanism identified are natural selection, genetic drift and gene transfer. First question: do you know of a biologist who can look at DNA and say, "You see there, that's an allele"? Second question: when you say that 'something is causing allele frequencies to change', what proof do you have of that statement other than assertions of Darwinists? Again, the only study I know of that actually looked at the genome, isolated a genetic trait, and looked at what happened to that trait frequency over time is that of sickle-cell anemia. The result of that study.........drum roll, please........NO change in frequency. Third question: I stated that you looked at NS as a causative agent. You vehemently denied it. Then you say that NS is 'identified' as 'something causing allele frequencies to change.' Do you see how confusing this use of language is? Here's Provine again: "Natural selection does not act on anything, nor does it select (for or against), force, maximize, create, modify, shape, operate, drive, favor, maintain, push, or adjust. Natural selection does nothing." How much more strongly can Provine say that NS is an illusion? Now maybe he's wrong; but what if he's right? My position is that he's right. One of the three 'causes' you mention is genetic drift. What does Provine say about genetic drift? In 1971, "Random genetic drift was a clear concept. . . . Analysis of experimental work, mostly with Drosphila melanogaster in the mid-1950's, showed the obvious effect of random drift in small populations and further experimental evidence was hardly required." And then in 2001: "I never suspected that I would doubt this concept in Wright's sense of "kaleidoscopic" shifting of gene frequencies in small populations. Now I think that Wright's concept of random drift is hopeless both in theory and in the experimental basis provided in the mid-1950's, and I have offered a prize (a pristine copy of Wright's famous 1931 paper, "Evoluton in Mendelian Populations") to anyone who can furnish proof of random genetic drift in a natural or experimental population. The experimenter , however, is not allowed to artificially supply "random binomial sampling" for the demonstration." The third mechanism you mention is horizontal gene transfer. While this is well-established for bacteria, much less is known in the case of eukaryotes, although the chloroplast and the mitochondria might represent such a transfer. But, of course, mitochondrial DNA is different than nuclear DNA. Why do you care what Darwinists think? I only care about what they can prove. PaV
Patrick, What I am arguing is that part of the modern synthesis is mainly correct and spending a lot of time arguing against it does not move the ball forward for ID. Accept this half of the theory with the proviso that all it explains is trivial. The real debate is on the other side of the theory where ID claims that the variation that naturalistic processes can produce is also trivial. It is here the grandiose claims are made by Darwinists and there is nothing to back it up. It is the Edge of Evolution debate and where ID's efforts should be focused. It is also here that ID research should be focused. I accept that natural selection can operate but it rarely or if ever has anything to work on. When it does it can be effective in producing changes in the gene pool even if some of the gene pool changes are only temporarily or trivial. jerry
jerry and PAV, You two seem to be advocating different viewpoints or "camps" within Darwinism. Now from what I've seen and heard the viewpoint that Provine (and MacNeill and some others who have visited UD) represents is fairly small, and the viewpoint Jerry is discussing is more generally accepted. In my mind the real question is not which viewpoint is correct. The real question is whether the slightly different hypotheses of either camp are capable of the grand claims of Darwinism. Patrick
Pav, You said "Jerry, here is where the confusion lies. Look at your wording. You imply that NS CAUSES differential reproduction." To support your point of view you accuse me of something that I do not hold. No where do I say that natural selection causes change in an active manner and if I do then assume what I really mean is the process. This distinction is something you are making up. I fully acknowledge that what is happening is that environmental factors are causing changes in the reproduction rates that favor some alleles over others and this what I call the natural selection process and this is what is meant by evolutionary biologists who use the term. It maybe that the amateur Darwinist who show up here use it incorrectly but I do not. That is why I used the term "natural selection process" and not the term "natural selection" to emphasize this. But I do not think it necessary to use natural selection process all the time when just shorten it to natural selection and you can assume the same thing. Something is causing allele frequencies to change. The three mechanism identified are natural selection, genetic drift and gene transfer. So when you see me use the term natural selection assume I am using just as the evolutionary biologist are using the term, as a process. Again you make my point by retreating to arguments about mutation rates when that has nothing to do with natural selection. The natural selection process exists, it acknowledged by nearly everyone and it is foolish to try to undermine it. What good does it do? I have no position on your ideas about mutation rates but I do know they have nothing to do with natural selection. You have not made any connection between the two. You constantly mix the two. Don't discuss natural selection and mutation rates in the same argument. They are distinct concepts that have nothing to do with each other. You want to change a lot of the terminology in evolution when all of us here are no more than pimples on an elephant's rear. Good luck but in the meantime I believe the current terminology works and it what evolutionary biologist use so it is best to stick with it if we are going to be more than just pimples in the evolution debate. jerry
(#108) My guess is that your brother and yourself are the products of better nutrition, especially during gestation and after birth. This was my whole point, Jerry. An obvious phenotypic change, over time, has nothing to do with gene frequencies, but with an environmental cause. Darwinists are not careful to rule out the latter before declaring that the former has taken place. Richard Goldschmidt, in 1940, was already complaining about this. PaV
Two, when this variation arises the natural selection process will determine a differential reproduction rate based on environmental factors for some of these variations and this is the genetic side of the modern synthesis. Jerry, here is where the confusion lies. Look at your wording. You imply that NS CAUSES differential reproduction. That's not what Provine says. Again, Provine states: "Natural selection is the necessary outcome of discernable and often quantifiable causes. Some of these causes produce heritable differences between individuals of most populations, and between populations." You're making the same mistake Provine** accuses himself of having made when he first published his book. NS doesn't 'cause' differential reproduction---that just happens. [[**(Provine, it would seem, is an adherent of Kimura's Neutral Theory. The Neutral Theory proposes just that: neutrality. There's no room for "selection" of any kind. That's why Provine also says: "Natural selection does not act on anything, nor does it select (for or against), . . . ")]] You mention the Modern Synthesis. Well, that theory is principally based, per Thomas Huxley, on R.A. Fisher's 'fundamental theorom of natural selection', which is meaningless if nothing is being selected "for or against". Hence, Provine, a population geneticist himself, abandons the Modern Synthesis. But now you want to insist that I not abandon it for the sake of otherwise giving ID a bad name? You retreated to the variation side to support your attack on natural selection. That does not make sense. I don't think you're understanding my argument. You are---despite any protestations to the contrary---looking upon NS as a cause. As long as you do that, then you won't understand my argument. My argument about mutation rates was this: (1) different length genomes have different mutation rates (2) the mutation rates are proportional to genomic length (3) that the mutation rates differ for different taxa indicates that the mutation rates are not a function of just DNA chemistry, for, if it were, then one would expect a constant mutation rate no matter what the size of the genome (4) the fact that the mutation rate is just slightly less than the genome length in each of these instances suggests some needed correspondence between genome length and mutation rate (5) noting that recombination, rather than being considered the source of variation, is more likely a mechanism of conserving proper DNA sequencing; and, considering that DNA repair mechanims exist in bacteria, the first form of life, as well as considering that the fundamental "law" of heredity is the Hardy-Weinberg Law, which tends to keep genes stable, it is logical to conclude two things: (A) cellular structures, for the most part, are set up to 'conserve' DNA, and not allow 'variation', and (B) in order to be able to adapt to differing environments, some measure of variablility is needed, and this, coupled to the fact that there is a close correlation between genomic length and mutation rate, suggest that the mutation rate is carefully designed for each taxa, and is not the result of blind chance. This, in turn, means that building in an 'adaptive response mechanism' into the organism also presupposes an interaction with the environment that will lead to differential reproduction across generations.(Provine's 'heretable differences'). [[(As an analogy, think of mutual funds. I'm aware of one mutual fund that is investing heavily in all sorts of nano-technology companies. No one can predict the future. No one knows who will be the winners and who the losers ahead of time. But as the technology progresses, based on 'differential cash flows', those who administer the mutual fund will cash out on some companies, and invest more heavily in others. This is a strategy. A rational approach. And it involves an interaction with the real world. As the mutual fund changes its 'company frequencies', would you attribute this to 'blind forces'? I wouldn't, although 'blind forces' are part of the process.)]] Biologists talk about "adaptive radiation". Why don't you look that up? I think you'll see that it fits your idea of microevolution. I don't consider adaptive radiation to be evolution---it's, in my estimation, simply adaptive change. So, why don't we just use "adaptive radiation' for what is normally termed microevolution, and then we can reserve the word 'evolution' more properly for phenomena that involve progressive, distinct, and significant changes in organisms,and thus avoid equivocating when it comes to the word 'evolution'. I consider this type of equivocation a real problem in discussions with Darwinists. But novelty in organic life is all on the variation side and this is the area of real debate. We must learn to separate the two. Too many times here people confuse the arguments. What mechanism do the Darwinists propose for variation? Think of Behe's book, EoE: he showed that the only "evolution" that took place were two point mutations. How did those point mutations work? By shutting down one of the organism's normal processes, with the side-benefit that this could counteract the effects of chloroquinone. This isn't 'evolution'; it's 'devolution'. Remember that argument I had here about sickle-cell anemia sometime back? In one of the only longitudinal genetic studies conducted that I'm aware of, it turns out that the gene frequency of sickle-cell anemia, in the absence of 'selective pressure', remained the SAME. This is real data, using real genomic evidence. And what do we see? Gene frequencies don't change when theory says they should. If you want to talk about 'alleles', remember that Mendel came up with 'alleles', and he'd never seen DNA. So what do population geneticists actually mean when they talk about 'gene frequencies', and those frequencies 'changing'? Why swallow their musings uncritically? I, unlike Darwinists, am willing to change my point of view if the evidence suggests it. And I'm sure that over the next few years, as whole genomic studies of organisms become cheaper and cheaper, and as computer algortihms become better and better at identifying the contents of these whole genomes, many surprises are in store for us. I'm willing to wait to be vindicated---or to be corrected. PaV
PaV, just a brief comment, since this is ostensibly a thread about ID in education. In 107 you post some rates. Those need units to be meaningful. For instance, if they are mutations/reproduction for the organism, that would be wildly different from mutations/generation or mutations/reproducton for each genome. Q
PaV, This is becoming clear what this is all about. You have your own theory of evolution and you are mixing apples with oranges. You are mixing up several different things and at the same time proposing your own theories. I think you have to be logical and clear about what you say. Mutation rates and natural selection are two completely different things. The modern synthesis is based on two independent assumptions. One is that random variation arises somehow and changes the gene pool and this is the variation side of the modern synthesis. Two, when this variation arises the natural selection process will determine a differential reproduction rate based on environmental factors for some of these variations and this is the genetic side of the modern synthesis. They are essentially independent unless you want to argue for some reason they are not and that particular environments cause mutations that somehow will survive better. Yes, we can disagree, but you should point out the basis for your disagreement more clearly. If you go against an innocuous part of the modern synthesis with little support, it just gives ID more of a reputation of anti-science. You may be right that something other than natural selection is working on the genetic side, but you do not present what it is. You retreated to the variation side to support your attack on natural selection. That does not make sense. The whole argument in the evolution debate is on the variation side and not on the genetic side. Yes there is lots of things to be investigated in genetics but most will not affect the evolution argument very much. What will affect the argument probably relates to human development and if there was ever enough time for many of their pet adaptations to permeate the gene pool in the time alloted. But novelty in organic life is all on the variation side and this is the area of real debate. We must learn to separate the two. Too many times here people confuse the arguments. As an aside: I am 6'2 and have a son that is 5'9 and another that is 6'0. My father was 5'8 and mother 5'7 and she had uncles born in Europe who were well over 6 feet tall. I have a brother who is 6'3 and one who is 5'8 and a sister who is 5'2. My guess is that your brother and yourself are the products of better nutrition, especially during gestation and after birth. My two smaller siblings were born first and the taller ones were born later. Probably just by chance but maybe the diet and nutrition affects changed and my mother stopped smoking during that period too. Who knows. jerry
Jerry, The point of the European story is this: I'm 6'; my brother is 5'11". My dad (5'6") and mom(5'2") were raised in Italy. How do you explain this? It is obviously an environmental effect. We know that because we know the facts involved. But if from on generation to the next a species of moths increased in size, the Darwinist's answer to that would probably be the same: simply environmental. But if they studied this particular moth in 1925, and then again in 1950, with the entire growth occurring in one generation, unbeknowst to the biologists, they would then proclaim that these moths had "evolved". And I'm sure they would tell us that the gene frequency for the gene controlling growth factor had obviously changed. Population genetics is, for the most part, simply "just-so" stories. I'm convinced that when all is said and done, it will become abundantly clear that the genetic system of animals has a built-in 'adaptive' ability. It is this 'adaptive ability', working in conjunction with envirnomental changes, that brings about the various forms we see, and the changes of these forms over time. Part of this 'adaptive ability' built into the genetic system of organisms relies on 'differential reproduction'. This means that NS, just as Provine says, is an illusion---meant to be stacked upon the dustbin of history that includes phlogiston and the electromagnetic ether. You are indifferent to the use of NS; I am not. I'll continue to punch it out with the Darwinists until such time as my position is simply obvious---and they relent---or, until such time as I need to admit that there is more to NS than I can see at this time. I think we should just agree to disagree on this point. Where we do agree, though, is that in the big scheme of things, whether NS is conceded or not doesn't make a big difference. Behe, as you've pointed out, sees a role for NS, and simply is interested in how much it can, or cannot do. I consider his approach to be very fruitful. Behe sees in the mutations that can, and do occur, the action of NS. I suppose for him, this is all the random action of nature. Well, I don't know if you've noticed, but the mutation rate of humans, with a genome size of 3x10^9, is about 3x 10^-8. The genome size of bacteria, with a genome size of about 10^6 to 10^7, is about 10^-5 to 10^-6. In viruses, HIV, e.g., the genome size is 10^5 and the mutation rate is 10^-4. This is all DNA, so why the difference in the mutation rates? Obviously it is NOT a function of DNA chemistry. So, then, whence the origin of the differing mutation rates? To me it appears that the mutation rate is "designed" to fit the particular genetic system we look at, meaning that mutation rates are planned, not random. I think you would begin to view NS differently if you accepted this premise. PaV
maybe a change in height just doesn't make much of a difference either way. I mean... with a little imagination one can make up a story explaining why some people are short. ari-freedom
PaV, No one has said that natural selection is the cause of anything. It is a process that results in different frequencies of alleles or as I said whatever element of the genome you designate. The actual causes of the changes are differential environmental factors. If you want to change the name of natural selection to adaptation, then fine but few will follow your lead. So why bother. All the evolutionary biologist understand that natural selection is not an active process. I have no idea what your example of Europeans coming to America means. I have been to Europe several times and never thought the people there were smaller than Americans. If ture, I do not believe it is an example of evolution unless you can show the changes are due to allele changes. My guess is that it is mostly due to nutrition but there are some scenarios where it could be due to actual changes in alleles. For example, I can see some scenarios that may explain taller people, namely life was harsh in America and those who were stronger survived more, especially in the mines and on the plains. This may be an example of natural selection and thus represents evolution. I have no idea if this is true but if it is then it represents natural selection and evolution. Or maybe men chose wives who were more sturdy and stronger and taller because of the tough life on the plains. Again I have no idea if this is true but if true would explain the increased height and while this represents more of an artificial selection, would cause changes in the population and be evolution. But in terms of the overall argument for macro evolution over deep time these examples are meaningless. jerry
p. 200 their environments, as long as the environments don't change too rapidly. Otherwise, the same basic set of cuases results in extinction of the population. Understanding natural selection as the result of specific causes requires the researcher to understand ecological settings, life histories, and development in relation to differential leaving of offspring. There's a post of mine hung up somewhere that uses almost the exact language that Provine uses here. Notive he says this (p199-200): "A complicated demographic process follows, resulting in organisms adapted to their environments, as long as the environments don't change too rapidly." The biggest point is this: NS is not a cause. It is the effect of causes. Thus, NS is NOT a causative agency, and what we see is: life, death, differential reproduction, and "adaptation". So, let's call it what it is: ADAPTATION? PaV
Jerry (#100) "But to deny changes that take place to species in the wild due to changes in the environment is a fools game. And if you accept the changes then you are affirming natural selection as an instrument of micro evolution." Europeans come over to America and grow, on average, 5-6". This is evidence that "changes . . . take place to species in the wild due to changes in the environment", and, in " . . . accept[ing] the changes then [we] are affirming natural selection as an instrument of micro evolution." This seems like a fool's game to me. As gpuccio has pointed out here up above, let's not confuse "facts" with the theory that tries to explain those facts. I readily admit the "facts"; I don't accept the theory behind it. There is no 'evolution' involved; only change. There is no 'natural selection', only 'life' and 'death' and 'differential reproduction'. 'Natural selection' is but a theory. PaV
It seems to me that there isn't a clear dividing line between the sort of differential selection of variant alleles within an original species genome exampled in artificial selection with dog breeding, for instance, and gradual genetic change of a population with time due to "natural selection" or adaptation within the existing gene pool plus occasional origination of new variant alleles. It is a continuum shading from one to the other. Single point and more complex random mutations forming variant alleles from duplicates accidentally formed during meiotic recombination must necessarily sometimes occur. The modern synthetic theory seems to suppose that these are the main source of the genetic variation used by selection, and that selection must be the primary source of order and apparent design. If selection isn't this source and random variation (obviously) isn't the source, what could it be? Of course, ID has an answer here (in principle), but what would evolutionary biology propose? It would seem NDE theory has no choice than to posit "NS" as that source, however inadequate and trivial it is. Some of the severe weaknesses of NS as an ordering and creative principle that have been pointed out by ID advocates are Sanford's "genetic entropy", loss by genetic drift of most near-neutral mutations, and Haldane's Dilemma (explicated by Remine). I think Haldane's Dilemma is especially devastating to proposing NS of RV as the "creative" principle, due to the complex interdependency of biological systems (related to irreducible complexity). To explain existing complex interdependent biological systems a large number of different accidentally occurring variant alles for different physiological changes needed to have been selectively spreading through the population at the same time during the period shown by the fossil record. Unfortunately they inevitably and severely conflict with each other in terms of the "cost of selection". Of course, Haldane's Dilemma itself assumes that selection is a major force. Complex interdependent biological systems require that most individual changes to particular parts be small enough that the viability of the entire organism isn't degraded due to the complex interdependency. Then genetic entropy and genetic drift become big problems for the mechanism to really do anything. Some evolutionary biologists also admit to the triviality of NS. This would seem to leave the source of genetic variation as the issue. magnan
Jerry, I brought up dog breeding because it sheds light on the very quibble I have with the whole notion of microevolution and natural selection. Breeding doesn't 'evolve' dogs, it just changes the expression of genes. Artificial selection takes the variability of the genome and pushes it in all kinds of directions. And, of course, we all know full well that this variability has its innate limits. In nature, changing environments move the genome in different directions---within natural limits. And this change enables the organisms to adapt to their environment. In the case of humans and dog breeding, it makes sense to talk about selection---afterall, an active agent is involved. But why then carry the term over to nature and call it natural selection? This simply obfuscates. Further, why call 'adaptation', a process that 'fits' the organism to the environment it finds itself in, by the term 'evolution', a word that implies that an organism has made some kind of step forward to higher being. We see moths change color and cry out, "Evolution". This is crazy. Is the moth now on the verge of becoming a dragonfly? I'm reading Sean Carroll's new book, Endless Forms Most Beautiful. There's a photo in there of a "cyclops" sheep. Do you know what caused the "cyclops"? A nearby plant that produces a toxic compound. Further, the compound was ingested by the mother at a particularly sensitive time of development. If a native plant can cause a "cyclops" to be born, then how easy would it be for some native plant to change the coloration of a species? Should we call the "cyclops" evolution at work (and, it's obviously a "macroevolutionary" transformation of the sheep)? I wouldn't. I would say that there can easily be a way in which the naturally occurring chemicals in a native environment can effect the incredibly complex chemical interactions that are involved in embryological development. This could quite frequently lead to phenotypic 'changes'. Would we then be correct in assuming that a genotypic 'change' has occurred? Of course not. Then is every 'change' the same as 'evolution'? Of course not. But this is the kind of silliness that Darwinists insist on. (Remember, Kettlewell's moths 'prove' evolution!) Unless it can be proven that NS eliminates so-called "alleles" from populations, and further, is able to produce such "alleles" as needed, then I say you have the same organism the whole time; that organims haven't 'changed'; and that the change of incidental moprhological features in no way constitutes sufficient enough criteria for it to go by the name 'evolution'. (Let's remember that recombination simply shifts things around. And, of course, it wasn't NS that invented recomination. Ask yourself the question: why does recombination exist? The most likely answers are: (1) to protect genetic information; and (2) to be able to adapt. Or to put it another way. IOW, NS didn't invent 'recombination'. What are the first life-forms? Bacteria. Do bacteria exhibit recomination? You bet ya---they do it in spades. Have a look see. If I were a designer, this is how I would design the genetic program.) PaV
PaV, As I read the Provine's piece you linked to I find nothing that says natural selection does not operate. I find the position that it has been over blown which is what I have been saying in all my posts. So Provine and I are on the same page. There is a page missing, #200 so I do not know what is said there. Natural selection operates. MacNeill made a big deal of it. Provine admits the process exists and that changes in allele frequencies or whatever other frequencies you care to consider happen. Adaptation is the process by which a population's gene pool changes over time in response to an environmental change and as such is an example of evolution. Why distinguish between adaptation and micro evolution. There is no necessity to introduce new alleles into the population in order to have evolution. It is micro evolution when the gene pool frequencies change. See the examples by Dembski and Wells in the Design of Life. As I said, I agree with Provine that natural selection is a side show and a minor factor in the real evolution debate. But to deny changes that take place to species in the wild due to changes in the environment is a fools game. And if you accept the changes then you are affirming natural selection as an instrument of micro evolution. I have no idea why you brought up dog breeding because it not relevant to anything I have said in this thread nor is it relevant to evolution as a naturalistic phenomena. I find the process very illuminating though and have said that much of what is called evolution is better described by the term "devolution" or the loss of variation in the gene pool. jerry
Q, I appreciate your honest and unbiased attempt to get to the heart of the ID/neo-Darwinist debate. If I were a teacher, it would seem to me that I would have to present to those in the classroom what the science regards as the consensus vis-a-vis evolution. Genetics has it's limitations; but, undoubtedly there is some underlying basis to it. Mathematics can be applied, etc. I think what would be helpful to the kids would be to try and point out where the limits of our knowledge lie. Science, in general, balks at this. For example, scientists talk about "dark energy"; since it has a label there appears to be some kind of understanding of it, when in fact it is a label that only describes something that science can't explain. Yet, that's not the impression given. As well, I think something should also be said about "irreducible complexity", the problem that the Cambrian Explosion presents, the problem now of the "Mammalian Explosion" which is beginning to surface, and the argument of ID that, on the basis of 'information theory', the genetic code is suggestive of design. (Which is easier to construct, an Apple computer, or a human being; yet nature never 'built' an Apple computer). BTW, is your screen symbol here 'jungle talk'? As in, "IQ; you Jane!"? PaV
PaV, in 96 asks, "Do we, 100 years after Mendel’s Laws were re-discovered, still don’t know exactly how “dominance” and “recessivesness” work." I don't the right answer to that question. After stumbling and falling down for millenia, do we yet know "how" gravity works? My point is that we know, as in observe, that dominance and recessivness happens. But how? That is a wholly different question. Your description of the melanin of the moths is a good illustration of various methods that ID could be introduced into the classroom, especially if it is linked to observations. One explanation of the observed evidence could be that there are separate populations - one with one light and the other dark. Another explanation could be that there is one population, part expressing for now and the other expressing light for now. Other explanations are also possible. ID provides one set of explanations, and commensurate implications, just as evolutionary theory provides a set of explanations, and commensurate implications. Contrary to your suggestion, I can't recommend that a teacher say that the scientists don't know "much" about evolution, as that is subjective, and easily interpreted as a lie of omission. In my opinion, many of the elements of evolutionary theory are observable - as I've been implying throughout this thread. A teacher can, however, present the observations - even the ones that ID considers as trivial and the ones that ID sees as significant, as well as the ones that evolutionary theory sees as trivial and the ones that evolutionary theory sees as significant. Q
Jerry, Since you apparently need to read it yourself, here it is. God to page 199 PaV
Q: (#81) "The second, however doesn’t, because an unrelated event - like famine or flood - could reduce both segments of the population equally, and once the population uniformaly drops enough, one trait will be gone. " Do we, 100 years after Mendel's Laws were re-discovered, still don't know exactly how "dominance" and "recessivesness" work. If the melanic form of the peppered moth is being reduced in numbers, do we know for sure that the recessive melanic allele is on the verge of extinction? What if some kind of epigenetic effect is involved? IOW, is some kind of regulatory mechanism involved, tied up in some way with 'alleles', in what we call 'dominance'. If it is a strictly regulatory effect, then the genotype would not have changed. I'm not sure that anybody knows the answers to these questions. Technology is now on the verge of giving us the possibility of testing these kinds of hypotheses. As to neo-Darwinism/Modern Synthesis, to me it's no more than mere conjecture; and unsubstantiated conjecture at that. Why don't you tell the kids the truth. Biologists don't know much when it comes to evolution. They just speculate. They love conjectures---and, of course, 'just-so' stories. PaV
Check out the back cover, the top section. PaV
Jerry, With the peppered moth example, let's consider two scenarios: (1) allele frequencies of M and G change over time; or (2) first a M allele is somehow assembled; then it is eliminated; and then the G allele is constructed again. magnan has made my point about conceding anything to Darwinists. You concede gene frequency change, and they say, "Yeah, and eventually, a new allele is formed." So, which scenario is it? The second one is certainly not favored as the simplistic solution. In fact, it's about as complicated as it can get. So, let's assume it's scenario (1). Let me ask you this: how in the world can a predominantly grey species of moths becoming much darker in response to a changed environment, and then changing back to its original coloration when the environment shifts back to its normal mode, be called "evolution". If you call that "evolution", then please explain to me what "adaptation" is? Think of dog-breeders. I'm sure that the gene frequencies of a St. Bernard and that of a Chihuahua are very different. So, did the St. Bernard "evolve" from the Chihuahua, or vice versa? It is ridiculous to apply the word "evolution" to breeds of dogs. It is likewise ridiculous to apply it to moth populations. Richard Goldschmidt discovered that a particular "species" of butterfly had a different coloration because of the different type of soil in its breeding area. Bacteria cannot process galactose. Finally, one (or more) bacteria are able to process it. The bacterial strain that then develops can now 'lose' this ability and go back to processing glucose. Is this "evolution"? Or is this a built-in ("front-loaded") capability that all life forms have to be able to adapt to changing environments? Think of Behe's book, EofE. Fred Hoyle, using a much more realistic method than Fisher for analyzing what NS can, or cannot do, concludes---just like Behe---that, at most, NS can only take a particular genotype forward or backwards 2 steps. This completely rules out the possibility that alleles are created from scratch. Provine, in his book on the origins of population genetics points out two things: (1) experimentalists were able to inter-breed certain forms that would no longer "regress" to their original wild type form. It was said that a new stability had been formed (different from the original Hardy-Weinberg stability); and (2) there were certain traits that involved the interaction (epigenetics) of many alleles. Using the binomial expansion to work out the individual contribution of each allele demonstrated that "gradual" evolution, not "macroevolution", was possible. Fisher capitalized on all of this in developing his statistical theorem. My point in recalling all of this is to say how much do population geneticists really know what's going on, even a hundred years after these original experiment? These experiments were needed because, per Mendelian theory, and the Hardy-Weinberg Law, evolution shouldn't happen. Bateson argued this. I'm on Bateson's side. As to your comment about Provine and MacNeil: when I have a book in front of me, and I'm typing what Provine wrote in the afterword, and then you question what I've typed in, what am I to make of that? Look here. PaV
magnan, I agree that the real debate in evolution is the origin of new alleles or variety in the gene pool and the discussion of natural selection is a minor side show. That is why I think discussing it is a waste of time and we all should move on to the real issues. The official definition of evolution just recognizes that already existing variance in the gene pool can lead to differences in species through natural selection. Most of the time natural selection does not affect the gene pool and genetic drift then slowly works to change the allele frequencies. That is why our friend Larry Moran says genetic drift is probably more important. But he has no answer for how variation arises in the first place except for "just so" stories. I think we should concentrate on the variation side of evolution and not worry about how the genetic side operates. The science is very good on the genetic side but at best specious on the variation side. That is the weakness of the Darwinists and discussions of natural selection just get in the way. jerry
Ari-freedom, I don't disagree with your claim of "Who will win? Life isn’t so simple." But, by the time the bear feasts or dies, a selection process would have occured. Maybe not predictable, but at least observable. That is an example of an observation that can be presented in the classroom regarding a selection process that occurs in nature. In the classroom, we could say (because of inference) that if six fingers are an advantage to survival, they could be selected by that natural selection process just mentioned. That claim wouldn't misrepresent any theory. Q
Let's say you can run faster than the bear but I have a gun to shoot the bear. On the other hand the bear is very close and not easy for me to get out my gun in time but on the other hand you are tired at this time of night. Who will win? Life isn't so simple. If the demonstrations of natural selection only come from "obvious" extreme examples, maybe they are just the artifacts and natural selection isn't real. Even if they were the result of natural selection, one wouldn't have a theory just to explain a few cases and natural selection as an idea would be dead practically speaking. The 6 fingers and toes...genetic drift happens. It is the null hypothesis. It's a thermodynamic necessity. Reproduction is not...far from it. Darwinists would like to say that a population has 6 fingers because that trait is beneficial in some way. They then try to come up with a story. I say enough with the stories. ari-freedom
ari-freedom mentions "You’re not going to get microevolution as a result of natural selection in normal conditions." But, in a classroom, it can be explained that natural selection occurs, because it can be observed, even if trivial. Remember the bear chase? Likewise, it can be explained that variation amongst descent can be observed. All of the students have some morphological differences, even if minor, from their parents. In fact, kids in Philadelphia can visit the Mutter museum, and observe larger variations between parent and child. It can be safely shown in biology classes that extreme morphological variations are observed, apparently spontaneously - just visit the history of six fingers and toes, superfluous organs like uteruses, etc. It seems that a main issue about getting ID into the biology classroom hinges on its ability to provide a better explanation tying these, and other, observable events together. As jerry mentions, it is not simply enough to make assertions such as ari-freedom's about microevolution in normal conditions, because "normal" conditions aren't always observed. Outlier conditions do occur with a real probability. I don't see that anyting in evolutionary theory or in ID prevents these observable events, including natural selection. I also don't see anything in either which would preclude that in extreme conditions, the environment wouldn't increase the percentage that various traits would be expressed. Whether that's called micro-evolution, natural selection, aspects of common descent, or whatever, it's still the result of observable events. The question of how the traits originate isn't specifically answered by these observations, however. Q
if there was a major catastrophe then yes that would lead to selection. An unusual defect would be selected against. But most detrimental changes will not be selected against and will be distributed evenly across all life. The natural world is like a kibbutz. Everyone works together and tolerates mistakes but you'll get kicked out if you really push it... Any given change of trait would have to be very slight survival value (if any). If it spread through the population it would either be the result of genetic drift via a founder effect (and not because it was "beneficial" and selected for) or from some preloading on the level of the organism. You're not going to get microevolution as a result of natural selection in normal conditions. ari-freedom
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