Evolution Intelligent Design

At Quanta: Mathematical Analysis of Fruit Fly Wings Hints at Evolution’s Limits

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Apparently, constraint is quite strict:

On one hand, despite dramatic mutations in individuals’ genes and diverse environments in which they grow, members of a species develop into strikingly similar creatures. This robustness ensures that almost all individuals are functional. On the other hand, for evolution to occur, members of a species need diverse traits that natural selection can act upon. Those two forces — robustness and evolvability — tug in opposite directions. One wants less variation, and one wants more.

Around 20 years ago, biologists expected genetics and environmental factors to produce substantial heterogeneity, giving natural selection plenty of choice, said Alex Lancaster, an evolutionary biologist at the Ronin Institute in New Jersey who wasn’t involved in the new study. But, he said, more recent observations have attested to unexpected similarity across populations…

The photos of fly wings offered no clues as to the mechanisms that restrict the possible morphologies that can develop. Rather, the results substantiated the extensive power of these guardrails. Natural selection must mostly act on the significant diversity exhibited in the small number of linked, variable traits, while robustness tightly constrains the rest. Elena Renken, “Mathematical Analysis of Fruit Fly Wings Hints at Evolution’s Limits” at Quanta

Evolution has LIMITS? Isn’t it supposed to account for everything? Put another way, consider the Darwinian claim:

It may be said that natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good; silently and insensibly working, wherever and whenever opportunity offers, at the improvement of each organic being in relation to its organic and inorganic conditions of life.

The claim is doubtful, given the huge constraints on the system.

The paper is open access.

174 Replies to “At Quanta: Mathematical Analysis of Fruit Fly Wings Hints at Evolution’s Limits

  1. 1
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Exactly. Behe was ridiculed for ‘The Edge of Evolution’ .

    Now they discover:

    for members of a species to look as similar as they do, their variation must be severely restricted

    All evolutionary predictions have to work within those constraints and to my knowledge, nobody has ever done that before. It’s always the assumption that there is unlimited malleability and variation can be selected across the entire organism.

    As flies grow into adults, they have “this magical ability to correct for differences and create a very robust final form.”

    Magically they aim at a final form – as if purposefully designed to accomplish that end.

  2. 2
    Querius says:

    Also reminds me of Haldane’s dilemma:
    http://creationwiki.org/Haldane%27s_Dilemma

    I chose the Creation Wiki reference specifically to avoid all the hand-waving, Lamarkian personification, “musta” rationalizations, and “not fully understood” and similar euphemisms for clueless that permeate other sources.

    -Q

  3. 3
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius – great resource, thank you.

  4. 4
    Bob O'H says:

    It’s always the assumption that there is unlimited malleability and variation can be selected across the entire organism.

    This has been false for much longer than I’ve been working in evolutionary biology – we’re aware that there are constraints on what may evolve, e.g. the concept of trade-offs crops up all over the place.

  5. 5
    Hanks says:

    Bob O’H
    This has been false for much longer than I’ve been working in evolutionary biology – we’re aware that there are constraints on what may evolve, e.g. the concept of trade-offs crops up all over the place.

    I think that evolutionary biology is not science because people who want to become ev. biol. are brainwashed first with central dogma of evol. (bacteria to bacteriologist ) even before they start to do anything . Probably the most brainwashed are accepted to work in evol. biol.
    Question: for how long did you know that undeniable truth that the life is about nonrandom processes and why you still are a evol. biol. ? They pay well?

  6. 6
    Bob O'H says:

    Hank – selection is a non-random process.

  7. 7
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    This has been false for much longer than I’ve been working in evolutionary biology – we’re aware that there are constraints on what may evolve, e.g. the concept of trade-offs crops up all over the place.

    That’s good to hear. However, as I see it, that supposed knowledge of constraints and limits to what evolution can achieve are contradicted by at least two things from my experience:
    1. Michael Behe’s attempt to delineate the actual boundaries of evolution (The Edge of Evolution) was harshly rejected by the evolutionary community. And along with the ridicule and rejection – nothing replaced his proposals. Nobody else wrote a book saying what the “real Edge of Evolution is”. It has been left to an IDist to provide that. Why the fear of defining constraints?
    2. the researcher in this report says:

    Around 20 years ago, biologists expected genetics and environmental factors to produce substantial heterogeneity, giving natural selection plenty of choice, said Alex Lancaster, an evolutionary biologist at the Ronin Institute in New Jersey who wasn’t involved in the new study. But, he said, more recent observations have attested to unexpected similarity across populations…

    I’m assuming you’ve been around for more than 20 years in this field. They’re saying it’s a recent understanding that “variation must be severely restricted” in order to maintain continunity and “robustness”. That’s why they did the experiment. How much variation did they see? Not much.
    All that said – where are these constrains built into evolutionary predictions? These should be quantified and act as limits to what mutations can produce. But I rarely (and I would say never) have seen that in projections from fossil evidence.
    What are the boundaries of what a bacteria can evolve into?

  8. 8
    jerry says:

    he concept of trade-offs crops up all over the place.

    The DNA model of evolution is obviously very limited. This limited model is accepted by ID as viable and working but because it’s very limited does nothing to inform the Evolution debate.

    The origin of species lies somewhere else.

    The biggest misdirections in the Evolution debate were first, Darwin’s ideas, then Mendel’s gene observations but mostly Watson and Crick’s DNA discovery and the theory of codons. All true but all irrelevant.

    The OP is about irrelevant mechanisms. When will researchers in evolutionary Biology abandon DNA?

    The idea of selection is relevant only to genetics and should remain within this area of discussion. It has no relevance for Evolution.

  9. 9
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    selection is a non-random process.

    Just wondering how you would explain that.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    The other day, Brian Miller highlighted a very interesting quote on the very misleading way in which Darwinists use the term ‘selection pressure’ in their literature.

    Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection Has Left a Legacy of Confusion over Biological Adaptation
    Brian Miller – September 20, 2021
    Excerpt: Evolutionary biologist Robert Reid stated:
    “Indeed the language of neo-Darwinism is so careless that the words ‘divine plan’ can be substituted for ‘selection pressure’ in any popular work in the biological literature without the slightest disruption in the logical flow of argument.”
    Robert Reid, Biological Emergences: Evolution by Natural Experiment, PP. 37-38
    To fully comprehend the critique, one simply needs to imagine attempting to craft an evolutionary barometer that measures the selection pressure driving one organism to transform into something different (e.g., fish into an amphibian). The fact that no such instrument could be constructed highlights the fictitious nature of such mystical forces.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2021/09/darwins-theory-of-natural-selection-has-left-a-legacy-of-confusion-over-biological-adaptation/

    And as the late William Provine himself remarked, “Natural selection does nothing. Natural selection as a natural force belongs in the insubstantial category already populated by the Necker/Stahl phlogiston or Newton’s ‘ether'”

    “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. Natural selection as a natural force belongs in the insubstantial category already populated by the Necker/Stahl phlogiston or Newton’s ‘ether’…Having natural selection select is nifty because it excuses the necessity of talking about the actual causation of natural selection. Such talk was excusable for Charles Darwin, but inexcusable for Darwinists now. Creationists have discovered our empty ‘natural selection’ language, and the ‘actions’ of natural selection make huge vulnerable targets.”
    – William B. Provine, The Origins of Theoretical Population Genetics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001), 199-200

    Ouch!

    Moreover, Natural Selection ‘predicts’ completely opposite results with equal ease.

    As the late Philip Skell noted,, “Natural selection makes humans self-centered and aggressive ? except when it makes them altruistic and peaceable. Or natural selection produces virile men who eagerly spread their seed ? except when it prefers men who are faithful protectors and providers. When an explanation is so supple that it can explain any behavior, it is difficult to test it experimentally, much less use it as a catalyst for scientific discovery.
    Darwinian evolution, whatever its other virtues, does not provide a fruitful heuristic in experimental biology. ”

    “Certainly, my own research with antibiotics during World War II received no guidance from insights provided by Darwinian evolution. Nor did Alexander Fleming’s discovery of bacterial inhibition by penicillin. I recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin’s theory was wrong. The responses were all the same: No.
    I also examined the outstanding biodiscoveries of the past century: the discovery of the double helix; the characterization of the ribosome; the mapping of genomes; research on medications and drug reactions; improvements in food production and sanitation; the development of new surgeries; and others. I even queried biologists working in areas where one would expect the Darwinian paradigm to have most benefited research, such as the emergence of resistance to antibiotics and pesticides. Here, as elsewhere, I found that Darwin’s theory had provided no discernible guidance, but was brought in, after the breakthroughs, as an interesting narrative gloss.
    In the peer-reviewed literature, the word “evolution” often occurs as a sort of coda to academic papers in experimental biology. Is the term integral or superfluous to the substance of these papers? To find out, I substituted for “evolution” some other word – “Buddhism,” “Aztec cosmology,” or even “creationism.” I found that the substitution never touched the paper’s core. This did not surprise me. From my conversations with leading researchers it had became clear that modern experimental biology gains its strength from the availability of new instruments and methodologies, not from an immersion in historical biology.,,,
    Natural selection makes humans self-centered and aggressive ? except when it makes them altruistic and peaceable. Or natural selection produces virile men who eagerly spread their seed ? except when it prefers men who are faithful protectors and providers. When an explanation is so supple that it can explain any behavior, it is difficult to test it experimentally, much less use it as a catalyst for scientific discovery.
    Darwinian evolution – whatever its other virtues – does not provide a fruitful heuristic in experimental biology.” ?Philip S. Skell – (the late) Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor at Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. – Why Do We Invoke Darwin? – 2005?http://www.discovery.org/a/2816?

    If a theory can predict opposite results with equal ease, then, as Philip Skill pointed out, it is useless as a guiding principle in science. And indeed, Natural Selection, and/or evolution in general, has been useless as a catalyst for scientific discovery.

    “In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself. Molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all.”
    Marc Kirschner, founding chair of the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, Boston Globe, Oct. 23, 2005

    “While the great majority of biologists would probably agree with Theodosius Dobzhansky’s dictum that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, most can conduct their work quite happily without particular reference to evolutionary ideas. Evolution would appear to be the indispensable unifying idea and, at the same time, a highly superfluous one.”
    Adam S. Wilkins, editor of the journal BioEssays, Introduction to “Evolutionary Processes” – (2000).

    Even arch-Darwinist Jerry Coyne himself honestly admitted that, in direct contrast to every other hard science on the face of earth, ““Truth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits.”

    “Truth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits. Yes, bacteria evolve drug resistance, and yes, we must take countermeasures, but beyond that there is not much to say. Evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture because microbes evolve unpredictably. But hasn’t evolution helped guide animal and plant breeding? Not very much. Most improvement in crop plants and animals occurred long before we knew anything about evolution, and came about by people following the genetic principle of ‘like begets like’. Even now, as its practitioners admit, the field of quantitative genetics has been of little value in helping improve varieties. Future advances will almost certainly come from transgenics, which is not based on evolution at all.”
    (Jerry Coyne, “Selling Darwin: Does it matter whether evolution has any commercial applications?,” reviewing The Evolving World: Evolution in Everyday Life by David P. Mindell, in Nature, 442:983-984 (August 31, 2006).)

    In fact, instead of ever fostering any practical and commercial benefits for man, evolution has instead led scientists down scientific blind alleys and dead ends with its false predictions of junk DNA and Vestigial organs, etc.. etc..

    Moreover, besides being a complete bust as far a advancing science is concerned, evolutionary thinking has also had horrific social consequences on man.

    Hitler, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao – quotes – Foundational Darwinian influence in their political ideologies
    July 2020
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/michael-egnor-on-the-relationship-between-darwinism-and-totalitarianism/#comment-707831

    Francis Bacon, a devout Christian who is considered the father of experimental science, in his book “Novum Organum”, stated that the best way to tell if a philosophy is true or not is by the ‘fruits produced’. Specifically he stated that, “Of all signs there is none more certain or worthy than that of the fruits produced: for the fruits and effects are the sureties and vouchers, as it were, for the truth of philosophy.”

    Is Biology Approaching the Threshold of Design Acceptance? – January 8, 2019
    Excerpt: Simultaneously, biomimetics fulfills one of the goals of Francis Bacon (1561-1626), the champion of systematic, methodical investigation into the natural world. In Aphorism 73 of Novum Organum, Bacon told how best to judge good natural philosophy, what we call science: “Of all signs there is none more certain or worthy than that of the fruits produced: for the fruits and effects are the sureties and vouchers, as it were, for the truth of philosophy.” Good fruits are pouring forth from the cornucopia of biologically inspired design. What has Darwinism done for the world lately?
    https://evolutionnews.org/2019/01/is-biology-approaching-the-threshold-of-design-acceptance/

    And 150 years after the pseudoscience of Darwinian evolution burst onto the scene, and in regards to the ‘fruits produced’ by Darwinism, we can now accurately surmise that, scientifically and politically speaking, Darwinism has been worse than useless as a scientific theory and has also been a complete disaster for man as fas as it has influenced politics.

    Matthew 7:18-20
    A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

    Atheism’s Body Count *
    It is obvious that Atheism cannot be true; for if it were, it would produce a more humane world, since it values only this life and is not swayed by the foolish beliefs of primitive superstitions and religions. However, the opposite proves to be true. Rather than providing the utopia of idealism, it has produced a body count second to none. With recent documents uncovered for the Maoist and Stalinist regimes, it now seems the high end of estimates of 250 million dead (between 1900-1987) are closer to the mark. The Stalinist Purges produced 61 million dead and Mao’s Cultural Revolution produced 70 million casualties. These murders are all upon their own people! This number does not include the countless dead in their wars of outward aggression waged in the name of the purity of atheism’s world view. China invades its peaceful, but religious neighbor, Tibet; supports N. Korea in its war against its southern neighbor and in its merciless oppression of its own people; and Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge kill up to 6 million with Chinese support. All of these actions done “in the name of the people” to create a better world.
    https://www.scholarscorner.com/atheisms-body-count-ideology-and-human-suffering/

  11. 11
    ET says:

    Natural selection is nothing more than contingent serendipity. NS is non random in that not all variants have the same probability of being eliminated.

    But that is moot as natural selection, as it is currently formulated, doesn’t have a chance of being the designer mimic Darwin envisioned. Genetics does not determine biological form.

  12. 12
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 7 –

    That’s good to hear. However, as I see it, that supposed knowledge of constraints and limits to what evolution can achieve are contradicted by at least two things from my experience:
    1. Michael Behe’s attempt to delineate the actual boundaries of evolution (The Edge of Evolution) was harshly rejected by the evolutionary community. And along with the ridicule and rejection – nothing replaced his proposals. Nobody else wrote a book saying what the “real Edge of Evolution is”. It has been left to an IDist to provide that. Why the fear of defining constraints?

    There is no fear. But sometimes the right conclusion can be reached in an incorrect way. Nothing replaced his proposals because they weren’t accepted: they didn’t themselves replace anything.

    2. the researcher in this report says:

    Around 20 years ago, biologists expected genetics and environmental factors to produce substantial heterogeneity, giving natural selection plenty of choice, said Alex Lancaster, an evolutionary biologist at the Ronin Institute in New Jersey who wasn’t involved in the new study. But, he said, more recent observations have attested to unexpected similarity across populations…

    He doesn’t actually say that there aren’t evolutionary constraints, though. FWIW, I think most evolututionary biologists would side with Luisa Pallares, who is quoted in the piece.

  13. 13
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 9 – what part of what I wrote are you struggling with? I can’t give a helpful answer without a better idea about what you’re not understanding.

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob offering us help with understanding Darwinian evolution/Natural Selection??? 🙂

    Well by all means Bob, I am having a very difficult time understanding how anyone in their right mind can ever possibly believe that their ‘beyond belief’ brain was created by the unguided mindless processes of Darwinian evolution/Natural Selection,,,

    The Human Brain Is ‘Beyond Belief’ by Jeffrey P. Tomkins, Ph.D. * – 2017
    Excerpt: The human brain,, is an engineering marvel that evokes comments from researchers like “beyond anything they’d imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief”1 and “a world we had never imagined.”2,,,
    Perfect Optimization
    The scientists found that at multiple hierarchical levels in the whole brain, nerve cell clusters (ganglion), and even at the individual cell level, the positioning of neural units achieved a goal that human engineers strive for but find difficult to achieve—the perfect minimizing of connection costs among all the system’s components.,,,
    Vast Computational Power
    Researchers discovered that a single synapse is like a computer’s microprocessor containing both memory-storage and information-processing features.,,, Just one synapse alone can contain about 1,000 molecular-scale microprocessor units acting in a quantum computing environment. An average healthy human brain contains some 200 billion nerve cells connected to one another through hundreds of trillions of synapses. To put this in perspective, one of the researchers revealed that the study’s results showed a single human brain has more information processing units than all the computers, routers, and Internet connections on Earth.1,,,
    Phenomenal Processing Speed
    the processing speed of the brain had been greatly underrated. In a new research study, scientists found the brain is 10 times more active than previously believed.6,7,,,
    The large number of dendritic spikes also means the brain has more than 100 times the computational capabilities than was previously believed.,,,
    Petabyte-Level Memory Capacity
    Our new measurements of the brain’s memory capacity increase conservative estimates by a factor of 10 to at least a petabyte, in the same ballpark as the World Wide Web.9,,,
    Optimal Energy Efficiency
    Stanford scientist who is helping develop computer brains for robots calculated that a computer processor functioning with the computational capacity of the human brain would require at least 10 megawatts to operate properly. This is comparable to the output of a small hydroelectric power plant. As amazing as it may seem, the human brain requires only about 10 watts to function.11 ,,,
    Multidimensional Processing
    It is as if the brain reacts to a stimulus by building then razing a tower of multi-dimensional blocks, starting with rods (1D), then planks (2D), then cubes (3D), and then more complex geometries with 4D, 5D, etc. The progression of activity through the brain resembles a multi-dimensional sandcastle that materializes out of the sand and then disintegrates.13
    He also said:
    We found a world that we had never imagined. There are tens of millions of these objects even in a small speck of the brain, up through seven dimensions. In some networks, we even found structures with up to eleven dimensions.13,,,
    Biophoton Brain Communication
    Neurons contain many light-sensitive molecules such as porphyrin rings, flavinic, pyridinic rings, lipid chromophores, and aromatic amino acids. Even the mitochondria machines that produce energy inside cells contain several different light-responsive molecules called chromophores. This research suggests that light channeled by filamentous cellular structures called microtubules plays an important role in helping to coordinate activities in different regions of the brain.,,,
    https://www.icr.org/article/10186

    So Bob, do please help me try to understand, how is it remotely possible for anyone in their right mind to believe that such ‘beyond belief’ complexity is the result of mindless Darwinian processes?

    “It is not enough to say that design is a more likely scenario to explain a world full of well-designed things. It strikes me as urgent to insist that you not allow your mind to surrender the absolute clarity that all complex and magnificent things were made that way. Once you allow the intellect to consider that an elaborate organism with trillions of microscopic interactive components can be an accident… you have essentially “lost your mind.”
    Jay Homnick – American Spectator – 2005

    Of related note as to the very limited ‘creative power’ that is found for Natural Selection:

    Genome-wide analysis of a long-term evolution experiment with Drosophila – 2010
    Excerpt of concluding paragraph: “Despite decades of sustained selection in relatively small, sexually reproducing laboratory populations, selection did not lead to the fixation of newly arising unconditionally advantageous alleles. This is notable because in wild populations we expect the strength of natural selection to be less intense and the environment unlikely to remain constant for ~600 generations. Consequently, the probability of fixation in wild populations should be even lower than its likelihood in these experiments.”
    http://www.homepages.ed.ac.uk/.....202010.pdf

    “The Third Way” – James Shapiro, Denis Noble, and etc.. etc..,,,
    excerpt: “some Neo-Darwinists have elevated Natural Selection into a unique creative force that solves all the difficult evolutionary problems without a real empirical basis.”
    http://www.thethirdwayofevolution.com/

    The waiting time problem in a model hominin population – 2015 Sep 17
    John Sanford, Wesley Brewer, Franzine Smith, and John Baumgardner
    Excerpt: The program Mendel’s Accountant realistically simulates the mutation/selection process,,,
    Given optimal settings, what is the longest nucleotide string that can arise within a reasonable waiting time within a hominin population of 10,000? Arguably, the waiting time for the fixation of a “string-of-one” is by itself problematic (Table 2). Waiting a minimum of 1.5 million years (realistically, much longer), for a single point mutation is not timely adaptation in the face of any type of pressing evolutionary challenge. This is especially problematic when we consider that it is estimated that it only took six million years for the chimp and human genomes to diverge by over 5 % [1]. This represents at least 75 million nucleotide changes in the human lineage, many of which must encode new information.
    While fixing one point mutation is problematic, our simulations show that the fixation of two co-dependent mutations is extremely problematic – requiring at least 84 million years (Table 2). This is ten-fold longer than the estimated time required for ape-to-man evolution. In this light, we suggest that a string of two specific mutations is a reasonable upper limit, in terms of the longest string length that is likely to evolve within a hominin population (at least in a way that is either timely or meaningful). Certainly the creation and fixation of a string of three (requiring at least 380 million years) would be extremely untimely (and trivial in effect), in terms of the evolution of modern man.
    It is widely thought that a larger population size can eliminate the waiting time problem. If that were true, then the waiting time problem would only be meaningful within small populations. While our simulations show that larger populations do help reduce waiting time, we see that the benefit of larger population size produces rapidly diminishing returns (Table 4 and Fig. 4). When we increase the hominin population from 10,000 to 1 million (our current upper limit for these types of experiments), the waiting time for creating a string of five is only reduced from two billion to 482 million years.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC4573302/

    “Darwinism provided an explanation for the appearance of design, and argued that there is no Designer — or, if you will, the designer is natural selection. If that’s out of the way — if that (natural selection) just does not explain the evidence — then the flip side of that is, well, things appear designed because they are designed.”
    Richard Sternberg – Living Waters documentary
    Whale Evolution vs. Population Genetics – Richard Sternberg and Paul Nelson – (excerpt from Living Waters video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0csd3M4bc0Q

  15. 15
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H,

    selection is a non-random process.

    I think Silver Asiatic was hoping that you would actually support your statement in 6. I would imagine he understands each of the words and is not “struggling” with the concept of natural selection, but would like you to explain the application of “non-random” in context.

    -Q

  16. 16
    jerry says:

    selection is a non-random process

    Most definitely!

    Some characteristics result in better adaptations than others. It is certainly not random and based on the environment the organism finds itself in. At another place and time, the same characteristics may be detrimental or neutral.

    The main issue is not that it’s non random or not but that it’s irrelevant for the Evolution debate. It’s a non-issue.

  17. 17
    zweston says:

    Bob, sev, chucky…. have you ever questioned macroevolution? What is your best 2 or three evidences that it is true?

  18. 18
    Querius says:

    Zweston,
    You might be forgetting that nowadays, a person’s unsupported assertion qualifies as irrefutable proof in their own solipsistic worldview.

    I’m afraid the people you want to engage cannot accommodate the heretical questioning you’re suggesting. There’s simply too much at stake. It would be a divide-by-zero operation and their worlds would implode. ; -)

    But yes, it would indeed be interesting whether they had ever entertained a stray shard of doubt about macroevolution and what it might have entailed.

    -Q

  19. 19
    zweston says:

    Coronavirus has limits of adaptation apparently too… https://www.yahoo.com/news/nowhere-left-covid-mutate-deadly-175101965.html

  20. 20
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob

    what part of what I wrote are you struggling with? I can’t give a helpful answer without a better idea about what you’re not understanding.

    I was wondering how you would explain the idea that selection is non-random.

    In my view, it is random.

    Selection is a function of what can be selected and whether a trait can be preserved in the population. It’s a matter of what will survive and reproduce – fitness.
    “That which can be selected” is the function of multiple random factors (mutations and an enormous number of random environmental variables).
    To say that something is “non-random” means it either is “determined” – or directed by a natural cause towards a definite outcome. Or it’s “designed” to do the same.
    A non-random event would have a non-random outcome.
    Gravity is non-random. We can predict the trajectory of an apple falling from a tree because gravity is a non-random force that we can define mathematically.
    But natural selection doesn’t work like that, since it is dependent on random variables.
    Will a certain species survive and evolve? Natural selection doesn’t tell us. A drought comes and the species dies off. What did selection do? Another drought for another species and a drought-resistant organism evolves. Its the same force, natural selection, with two radically different outcomes under the same conditions.
    Yes, to say that “selection is non-random because it is the force that preserved whatever survived and reproduced most successfully” is just an after-the-fact statement.
    I would also propose that natural selection is considerably different than artificial selection.
    For example, artificially inducing mutations in a population and than watching what happens would be non-random, but that’s not nature working on its own.
    At any rate, those are my thoughts at the moment – understanding and accepting that the idea that “evolution is not random” is a very widespread teaching within evolution. I just disagree with it and wanted to see your thoughts on it.

  21. 21
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    It is certainly not random and based on the environment the organism finds itself in

    But the environment is a collection of random variables: temperature, access to food, presence of competitors, disease, geography, drought, flood, wind, accidental events, population increase/decrease.

  22. 22
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob

    Nothing replaced his proposals because they weren’t accepted: they didn’t themselves replace anything.

    True, he didn’t replace anything – his was a new idea. That was my first question: why wait for Michael Behe? Nobody else wanted to propose the limits to evolution? Those should be known as variables in any evolutionary predictions – but nobody has done it.
    But regarding Behe’s proposals being rejected – yes. He offered two proposals:
    1. There is an Edge to Evolution. There is a boundary.
    2. The boundary can be defined to the edge of what 2 coordinated mutations can produce. If something requires that, it’s outside the edge of evolution.

    As you say, his proposals were rejected. And that’s my point.
    Proposal 1 was rejected. Behe says there is a limit, a boundary. Response: “No, there isn’t”?
    But you’re saying here yourself that limits have been known for decades. Behe is only saying there is a boundary. Rejecting that is saying “evolution can act without limit”.
    That’s absurd.
    So, they might say “we only rejected the idea that 2 coordinated mutations is the limit”.
    Ok, fine. If you know what is not the limit, you must have an idea what is the limit.
    But no further response was ever forthcoming.
    This is why it seemed to me that the evolutionary community was afraid of the topic. No effort was made to correct Behe’s proposal, even though there has to be some boundary, and that limit is absolutely necessary to know when it comes to trying to predict evolutionary results.
    Instead, we see evolutionary claims quite often that never calculated any limits whatsoever.

  23. 23
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    I would imagine he understands each of the words and is not “struggling” with the concept of natural selection, but would like you to explain the application of “non-random” in context.

    Thanks for that clarification. When I look back at my question – it could have been saying “explain what natural selection is” so I can understand the confusion. As you rightly said, I was just wondering how Bob explained that selection is non-random (deterministic or designed).

  24. 24
    jerry says:

    But the environment is a collection of random variables: temperature, access to food, presence of competitors, disease, geography, drought, flood, wind, accidental events, population increase/decrease.

    So is the entire world since the beginning of time. The forces of nature respond to its environment which is other forces.

    You just made the point that selection is not random. Just because the environment has changed, does not mean what gets selected as a result is random.

    Once determined the environment leads to outcomes based on that environment. That is what selection is all about.

    Forget the idea of random. It gets one nowhere.

  25. 25
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Once determined the environment leads to outcomes based on that environment. That is what selection is all about.

    That’s how theistic evolution views it. They fully accept Darwinism with that one exception – nothing is random. Everything is purposeful by God’s design.
    This makes it impossible to test evolution because if mutations don’t occur, the answer would be that God just didn’t make them happen at that time.
    The one difference is that TE’s will say that “things appear designed, but they’re actually just the result of natural processes, but the natural processes are designed”.
    They do that because they don’t like ID.
    They could say, however, “things appear designed because they are, through purposeful mutations. Other things don’t appear designed, but they also are”.

    It’s impossible to refute either situation with theistic evolution. ID tries to do it by saying that some things are random. But you could just say that nothing is random – and therefore the Darwinist mechanisms and ideas are correct. Things evolved through mutations and whatever, it doesn’t matter. Whatever happened was determined by nature (first by God) to happen.

  26. 26
    Querius says:

    It’s my understanding that modern evolutionary theory suggests random genetic drift together with natural selection, however there are some disagreements among Darwinists.

    Here’s a good article on the subject published by the National Center for Science Education:
    https://ncse.ngo/defining-evolution

    What I especially enjoyed was a diagram of a historical “evolutionary tree” of evolution! Check it out.

    -Q

  27. 27
    jerry says:

    ID tries to do it by saying that some things are random

    Not the ID I understand. I have no idea how random is part of ID even if it does exist which I don’t believe.

    Also I have no idea how theistic evolutionists are relevant. They adhere to the same naturalistic model but cannot back it up anymore than atheists who support Darwinism can. They both subscribe to the DNA model which is inadequate.

  28. 28
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 20 –

    “That which can be selected” is the function of multiple random factors (mutations and an enormous number of random environmental variables).

    Right, but that doesn’t mean selection itself is random. If I was to randomly place some planets in a void, gravity would still act on them in a non-random way.

    To say that something is “non-random” means it either is “determined” – or directed by a natural cause towards a definite outcome. Or it’s “designed” to do the same.

    A non-random event would have a non-random outcome.

    True, if there were no random events also affecting the outcome. So if I have a large culture of bacteria that is a mix of penicillin resistant and penicillin sensitive strains, and then add penicillin, the resistant strain will survive, i.e. it will be selected for. That is clearly non-random: it is repeatable and predictable. I can even make it depend on random variables by making the proportions random, but selection is sill non-random.

  29. 29
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 22 –

    That was my first question: why wait for Michael Behe? Nobody else wanted to propose the limits to evolution? Those should be known as variables in any evolutionary predictions – but nobody has done it.

    You have totally missed my point – people had already proposed and discussed limits to evolution. For example Haldane’s dilemma (which reduces down to whether evolution can counter-act the effects of a degrading environment), and (as I had previously mentioned) trade-offs have all been discussed for a long time. The notion that evolution has limits was a long way from being new when Behe published his book.

  30. 30
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob

    So if I have a large culture of bacteria that is a mix of penicillin resistant and penicillin sensitive strains, and then add penicillin, the resistant strain will survive, i.e. it will be selected for. That is clearly non-random: it is repeatable and predictable. I can even make it depend on random variables by making the proportions random, but selection is sill non-random.

    That’s true, but I’d call your example “artificial selection” since it’s a lab test where something is added artificially. If nature worked like that, then yes – natural selection would be determinative of outcomes. But as you said, there are other random factors at work in any environment.
    I can accept that “selection” as a mechanism, would be non-random. I’m just questioning if we can say “natural selection” which is something that relies on random factors, is really non-random and predictive. As I see it, so much randomness goes into what could be selected that the entire process is randomized and unpredictable (in the wild, not in lab settings).

  31. 31
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob

    You have totally missed my point – people had already proposed and discussed limits to evolution. For example Haldane’s dilemma (which reduces down to whether evolution can counter-act the effects of a degrading environment), and (as I had previously mentioned) trade-offs have all been discussed for a long time.

    Ok, but I think the point still stands: Behe proposed that two-coordinated mutations are a limit – a boundary beyond which evolution cannot work. That was rejected, as you said. But then nothing further was proposed – why not?
    “No, two-coordinated mutations is not the limit”. Ok, then is it three? Four?

  32. 32
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    Not the ID I understand. I have no idea how random is part of ID even if it does exist which I don’t believe.

    There is either random or non-random. If there is no random, then there’s only non-random. That means, things are determined by natural processes (like gravity) or they’re designed. Those are the only options. What does your version of ID say to that? All evolutionary outcomes are designed? Or at they all part of a natural process? Or some mixture of both? If nothing is random, those are the options.

    Also I have no idea how theistic evolutionists are relevant. They adhere to the same naturalistic model but cannot back it up anymore than atheists who support Darwinism can. They both subscribe to the DNA model which is inadequate.

    If there is no randomness, then theistic evolution is irrefutable.
    First, they can adhere to Darwinism – except they say that mutations are not random. They are all directed by God. As I explained, materialists cannot back this up because they have to show that random mutations create the effects we see. Theistic evolutionists can merely say that God directs certain mutations to do certain things. Bacteria can evolve into humans because God made the mutations do that. It doesn’t matter how rare or improbable those mutations may be since they come from God – He can do whatever He wants.
    So, no matter what Darwinists say about “evolution did this or that”, the theistic evolutionist can agree. The support for it is “things exist and so they evolved”. That’s the same thing Darwnists say, except Darwinists have to prove that random, unguided mutations can do it. Theistic evolutionists do not have to prove that. They just say “God guided” mutations do everything. Why don’t we see those God-guided macro-mutations in the lab? Obviously, because God didn’t want to create them when we were studying them. You can’t force God to guide His mutations just because you want to.

    The DNA model is also fine for Theistic Evolution – but it also doesn’t matter what the actual mechanism is. Darwinists say it is DNA or emergence or some epigenetic factors – any or all of the above can go into the formula for Theistic Evolution. In the end, things evolve and they were guided by God to do so.

    That position is impossible to refute.
    Actually, if you get rid of randomness in ID – that’s what you’re left with.
    If there’s no randomness, then everything is designed either by designed-forces or direct design.
    There’s no reason to say “something appears to be designed” since there’s no randomness acting on events.
    That’s what most theistic evolutionists say – everything is designed.
    It’s a different version of creationism – everything is created to be exactly what it is.

  33. 33
    jerry says:

    If there is no randomness, then theistic evolution is irrefutable.

    No!

    Just the opposite.

    There are naturalistic processes and design. Nothing else. Theistic evolutionists are wrong because the naturalistic processes are not adequate to do the job.

    If they were adequate, then the mechanism has been hidden from observation. But no one can point to a mechanism. Like the atheists, theistic evolutionists beg the question. But they assume a different answer. The atheist assumes there must be a natural mechanism requiring no direction. The theistic evolutionists assume the initial conditions were designed to reach a specific outcome.

    Both beg the question or commit a logical fallacy to justify their beliefs. In other words neither have Justified True Beliefs.

    The DNA model is also fine for Theistic Evolution

    No it is not. The DNA model is inadequate for Evolution. It is marvelous for genetics but genetics is not adequate to explain evolution.

    The sooner everyone realizes the DNA model is a red herring and has nothing to do with evolution the sooner an intelligent discussion can take place.

    What seems to be random is just zillions of particles exerting pressure on each other using the basic laws of physics. Essentially it is the electro magnetic force which is 10 to the 36th power stronger than gravity.

  34. 34
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius @ 26

    Interesting summary. That definitely had Larry Moran’s influence all over it. He downplays selection in favor of random drift.

    Evolution may occur as a result of natural selection, genetic drift, or both; the minimum requirements are those for either process. Natural selection does not necessarily give rise to evolution, and the same is true for genetic drift (Endler 1986: 5).

    Whether selection occurs or not is a random outcome. Whether selection promotes or inhibits evolution is random also.
    There’s very little non-random about it. The only non-random thing that can be said about natural selection is “something might be selected for some reason”. Yes, that’s not totally random, but it’s not much of a predictive force either (in the wild, not in a lab setting). Lab testing selection excludes multiple random factors that occur in the environment.

  35. 35
    Silver Asiatic says:

    There are naturalistic processes and design. Nothing else. Theistic evolutionists are wrong because the naturalistic processes are not adequate to do the job.

    If you mean “materialism” is not adequate, that’s not what TE is arguing. They’re saying “guided mutations”. That’s not blind, mindless naturalism. That’s God directing mutations.
    Nowhere can it be proved that God-guided mutations cannot produce evolutionary outputs. God-guided mutations are certainly adequate to explain all the features (with the exception of consciousness and human soul, which TE’s usually grant as created by God directly).

    If they were adequate, then the mechanism has been hidden from observation. But no one can point to a mechanism.

    The mechanism is God guided mutations. Something caused organisms to exist:
    1. Creationism
    2. God-guided changes over time
    3. Intelligent design (whatever that may be)
    4. Materialism

  36. 36
    jerry says:

    Nowhere can it be proved that God-guided mutations cannot produce evolutionary outputs.

    Yes, it can. That is what ID is all about.

    First of all, theistic evolutionists are believers in ID if what you say is true. But I don’t believe that is what they are claiming. ID just says that things couldn’t have happened without a design intervention. If it happened by directed mutations or ad hoc mass changes, both then are consistent with ID.

    But both these mechanisms are opposed by the theistic evolutionists because it implies that God could not get it right to begin with and had to tinker with His creation because it wasn’t adequate to begin with. Or in the eyes of the theistic evolutionists either way implies an inferior creator.

    There are over 50 sources of variation that effect genetics. None have been shown to have the effect of creating anything of consequence. Thus, based on science, the only logical conclusion is that the DNA model has nothing to do with Evolution till proven otherwise.

    The primary argument supporting ID is the inadequacy of any mechanism to produce a viable protein and the creation of viable different body plans.

    Then there is the issue if there were evidence of viable proteins being produced, the right ones would have to show up together to be functional. This compounds the inadequacy of naturalistic mechanisms, but specifically the DNA model which people are stuck on.

    Then there’s the issue of Hansel and Gretel’s crumbs. If there were a pathway from A to Z life forms with all the letters in between there would be evidence of the path that was taken with these life forms and these genetic crumbs would be visible for science to observe. But they don’t exist. That is what supports ID.

  37. 37
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 30 –

    I can accept that “selection” as a mechanism, would be non-random. I’m just questioning if we can say “natural selection” which is something that relies on random factors, is really non-random and predictive. As I see it, so much randomness goes into what could be selected that the entire process is randomized and unpredictable (in the wild, not in lab settings).

    So selection is just as random as gravity. The movement of grains of dust are randomized and unpredictable, so therefore gravity must be random.

    Yes, populations are buffeted by a wide range of factors, so the outcome from all of these may be random. But that doesn’t mean that all of the processes are random.

  38. 38
    Silver Asiatic says:

    First of all, theistic evolutionists are believers in ID if what you say is true. But I don’t believe that is what they are claiming.

    Right – they’re saying that there is no evidence of ID since everything is designed by God. You can’t tell a designed thing from a supposed-random. Both a pile of rocks and Mt. Rushmore are non-random effects. Both are designed – one at the time of creation (since all molecules are God guided) the other by people.

    ID just says that things couldn’t have happened without a design intervention. If it happened by directed mutations or ad hoc mass changes, both then are consistent with ID.

    Right. That’s what theistic evolution says. The only difference is that ID says “some things show evidence of having been designed by intelligence”. TE says “everything was made by God-directed processes so it’s not possible to show evidence of one or the other.”
    As you have said ‘there’s no random’ – so raindrops can be traced back to the laws and forces (created by God) at the beginning of the universe.

    But both these mechanisms are opposed by the theistic evolutionists because it implies that God could not get it right to begin with and had to tinker with his creation because it wasn’t adequate to begin with. Or in the eyes of the theistic evolutionists either way implies an inferior creator.

    I think they’re saying that whatever we see in nature was directed by God to be what it is. They oppose ID which says “we see evidence of some things being designed but not all”. They’re saying “everything in nature is produced by nature – but nature is not mindless, it’s guided by God to achieve whatever”.

    There are over 50 sources of variation that effect genetics. None have been shown to have the effect of creating anything of consequence. Thus, based on science, the only logic conclusion is that the DNA model has nothing to do with Evolution.

    DNA has some effect. It’s not the only and probably not even the primary factor in development – but it’s something. For evolution it doesn’t matter. The idea is “things evolved”. Whatever number of known or unknown mechanisms used to claim this is irrelevant.
    The target of Darwin and his materialist followers has been Creationism. That’s what they used evolution to oppose. The old creationists opposed almost any kind of adaptation or change. Then the difference between micro-evolution and macro-evolution became the real issue.

  39. 39
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob

    So selection is just as random as gravity. The movement of grains of dust are randomized and unpredictable, so therefore gravity must be random.

    If selection was as predictable and regular as gravity then that analogy would work. But the randomization of dust does not affect the power of gravity or existence of gravity. But the randomization of the environment changes what selection can do or if it even exists.

  40. 40
    Bob O'H says:

    Ok, but I think the point still stands: Behe proposed that two-coordinated mutations are a limit – a boundary beyond which evolution cannot work. That was rejected, as you said. But then nothing further was proposed – why not?

    Because what he was suggesting was un-interesting. There’s little to no evidence that evolution proceeds by several coordinated mutations appearing at the same time, to go from no to full functionality. So why bother looking at it in more detail?

  41. 41
    jerry says:

    They’re saying “everything in nature is produced by nature – but nature is not mindless, it’s guided by God to achieve whatever”.

    This is getting nowhere. Let’s just say we have very different understandings of what theistic evolutionists are claiming. And that I don’t believe there is anything operating that is random.

  42. 42
    Bob O'H says:

    SA –

    If selection was as predictable and regular as gravity then that analogy would work. But the randomization of dust does not affect the power of gravity or existence of gravity. But the randomization of the environment changes what selection can do or if it even exists.

    In other words, if the environment changes, so does the effect of selection. Just like with gravity. The path of an object can look random because of changes in the environment around it. For a theoretical example, look at the three body problem. And then extrapolate that to the real world…

    Unless you want to argue that the 3-body problem shows that gravity doesn’t exist, of course.

  43. 43
    jerry says:

    There’s little to no evidence that evolution proceeds by several coordinated mutations appearing at the same time, to go from no to full functionality.

    There is no evidence that any of the coordinated mutations could have arisen ever by naturalistic methods at any time let alone at the same time.

    You must know that is the argument. Yet you refuse to address it.

  44. 44
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob

    For a theoretical example, look at the three body problem. And then extrapolate that to the real world…

    The three body problem is understood because gravity is a constant. It can be analytzed mathematically and formulaic solutions can be proposed.
    Natural selection is nothing like that. Even the terms “selection pressure” or “fitness” cannot be defined in mathematical terms. They’re ambiguous. Gravity can be modeled as an independent force working on objects. Selection is entirely dependent on the environment. This is why projections about historical evolution in deep time are virtually impossible, given that nobody knows even most of the environmental factors at work. Selection does not operate as a constant and even the very same environmental factors can create different results. With gravity, the same factors create the same results.

  45. 45
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic @39,

    If selection was as predictable and regular as gravity then that analogy would work. But the randomization of dust does not affect the power of gravity or existence of gravity. But the randomization of the environment changes what selection can do or if it even exists.

    Nicely stated. Notice that Bob O’H still hasn’t been able to support is assertion that natural selection is “non-random,” or even what he means by non-random.

    Bob O’H @40,

    Because what he was suggesting was un-interesting.

    Did you actually even bother to read Michael Behe’s “The Edge of Evolution”? What did you conclude from his ground-breaking research in malaria and cycle-cell anemia with regard to random variation and his successful predictions for the time it would take for malaria to evade human immunity? You really need to bone up on the subject before making such vacuous assertions.

    -Q

  46. 46
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob

    There’s little to no evidence that evolution proceeds by several coordinated mutations appearing at the same time, to go from no to full functionality. So why bother looking at it in more detail?

    For evolution to proceed, a certain number and a certain timing of mutations is required.
    You’re saying that several are not required and they do not need to occur at the same time. But the reason to look in more detail would be to answer precisely what the limits on evolution are in those cases. One mutation is sufficient?
    Here’s what Behe had to say:

    In The Edge of Evolution I had argued that the extreme rarity of the development of chloroquine resistance in malaria was likely the result of the need for several mutations to occur before the trait appeared. Even though the evolutionary literature contains discussions of multiple mutations (5), Darwinian reviewers drew back in horror, acted as if I had blasphemed, and argued desperately that a series of single beneficial mutations certainly could do the trick. Now here we have Richard Lenski affirming that the evolution of some pretty simple cellular features likely requires multiple mutations.
    https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/behes-multiple-mutations-needed-for-e-coli/

  47. 47
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    Notice that Bob O’H still hasn’t been able to support is assertion that natural selection is “non-random,” or even what he means by non-random.

    That’s a key point. I’m very open to Bob O’H’s explanation but I definitely cannot see natural selection operating as a physical force like gravity.

  48. 48
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 44 –

    The three body problem is understood because gravity is a constant. It can be analyzed mathematically and formulaic solutions can be proposed.

    And even in that simple case, the motions look random. So saying “it’s random so it can’t be non-random” is a non-starter as an argument.

    Natural selection is nothing like that. Even the terms “selection pressure” or “fitness” cannot be defined in mathematical terms.

    This has been wrong for over a century. There’s this whole area of study called population genetics.

    Gravity can be modeled as an independent force working on objects.

    But the effect also depends on the environment, i.e. the other objects and the forces they exert.

    With gravity, the same factors create the same results.

    Because if you drop a cannon ball and a feather from a great height, both will hit the ground at teh same time.

  49. 49
    Bob O'H says:

    Querius – if you’re going to talk about me behind my back, it really helps to do so somewhere where I can’t hear you.

  50. 50
    zweston says:

    Bob, have you ever doubted darwinism? And what do you think are the three best proofs of macroevolution?

  51. 51
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    And even in that simple case, the motions look random. So saying “it’s random so it can’t be non-random” is a non-starter as an argument.

    It”s an interesting way to look at it. First, we assume that gravity is a constant throughout the universe and even on earth, but we don’t know it. We build the math on that basis – that gravity always works this way. Then we see some chaos and apply the assumption that gravity is still the non-random element. But secondly, a materialist perspective could argue that “there is no randomness in the universe”. Everything is dictated by physical forces, laws, elements – we just aren’t able to trace everything back to the big-bang. I think that makes it tougher for evolution to be validated since you can’t speak of random mutations and all mutations would have to be traced to physical causes. This actually means that everything that exists on earth right now, had to exist in exactly this way at this time – since it all came from physical factors started at the big bang. That’s definitely an unusual way to look at evolution.

    This has been wrong for over a century. There’s this whole area of study called population genetics.

    I don’t think the theory lines up with reality. If it did, then evolution would be much more predictive than it is. In other words, if fitness was defined “in this situation” and selection pressures also, the same way we should be able to understand the trajectory of evolution. But we can barely say that certain viruses will adapt one way or another. And that says nothing about macro-evolutionary events.

    But the effect also depends on the environment, i.e. the other objects and the forces they exert.

    Yes, the effect can differ but the force itself does not change. That’s not the same with selection. It’s not only the effect but the presence of selection as a mechanism which may not exist at all. Natural events can cause nothing to be selected and an enormous quantity of mutations can do the same, causing no selection differential. Gravity, however, will persist, as below.

    Because if you drop a cannon ball and a feather from a great height, both will hit the ground at teh same time.

    If you drop 3 cannon balls, they hit the ground at roughly the same time. Three populations of bacteria will each see different numbers surviving and adapting. Gravity persists as a constant against the environment whereas selection is entirely dependent on the environment – it’s a function of the environment (which is random).

    Closing thought: I’m not pretending to know more about your field of study than you do. But even professional biologists take different points of view on these matters so I draw conclusions from what I know and then hope to learn more.
    So, I appreciate your commentary which to me, is valuable.

  52. 52
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H @49,
    Oh, so I managed to get a response from you . . . but you still haven’t answered the questions:

    1. What scientific support do you have for your assertion that natural selection is “non-random,” and what you mean by non-random in this context?

    2. Did you actually even bother to read Michael Behe’s “The Edge of Evolution”? What did you conclude from his ground-breaking research in malaria and cycle-cell anemia with regard to random variation and his successful predictions for the time it would take for malaria to evade human immunity?

    Incidentally, you have a lot of incorrect assertions in 48.

    1. No, the 3-body problem has never been “solved.” It’s a chaotic system that’s been addressed using probabilities and strange attractors.

    2. Population genetics analyzes Allele frequencies in large populations with selection pressures and random (!) mating. According to https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/population-genetics/

    Random(!) genetic drift refers to the chance fluctuations in gene frequency that arise in finite populations; it can be thought of as a type of ‘sampling error’. In many evolutionary models, the population is assumed to be infinite, or very large, precisely in order to abstract away from chance(!) fluctuations. But though mathematically convenient, this assumption is often unrealistic. In real life, chance(!) factors will invariably play a role, particularly in small populations.

    Thus, we’re dealing with a chaotic system again.

    So tell us, what is the actual mathematical value determined for the “selection pressure” or “fitness” on Ursus maritimus for example?

    3. No, a cannonball and a feather will NOT “hit the ground at the same time” unless they’re both dropped at the same time from the same height in a vacuum.

    -Q

  53. 53
    ET says:

    It is very telling that Bob O’H doesn’t understand the implications of:

    In other words if the environment changes, so does the effect of selection.

    And thus the fixation rate issue. It also makes a mockery out of “cumulative selection”.

    As for population genetics, it can’t say anything about the alleged evolution of humans from non-humans, for example. I doubt any model could deal with constant change. Do such models even deal with behavioral changes that affect fitness?

  54. 54
    Silver Asiatic says:

    ET – exactly.

    Fixation is a response to the environment – and since all the environmental variables are random, then there’s no way to accurately calculate a fixation rate. Even the survival and distribution of species is random in the environment (depending on how they move – crawling, flying, running – or how diet changes) and all of that affects whatever could be selected. Saying “selection is a non-random force like gravity” would mean that selection acts on organisms as an independent force, but it really doesn’t do that.

    I doubt any model could deal with constant change. Do such models even deal with behavioral changes that affect fitness?

    There is such an immense number of random variables, as you say – constantly changing depending on what organisms survive, reproduce and have an impact on the environment starting even from the presence of the smallest bacteria or viruses, to the competition of mammals in the geographic space, the availability and effect of various plants and insects (some poisonous some nutritious), the size or existences of niches (which have to change constantly also), the dependence of species on each other (elk rely on fish to attract bears, otherwise if less fish, bears will eat more elk) …
    I have never seen any model that captures all of that.
    In fact, I often see evolutionary claims that just look at fossils and claim that’s evidence.

  55. 55
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 51 – you’re arguing that the universe may be deterministic. Which may (or may not) be true. But in practice, we assume that there is some randomness in the phenomena we are studying. Essentially, we assume that there are a lot of other influences that can be treated as random. This is done throughout science, even in physics.

    I don’t think the theory lines up with reality. If it did, then evolution would be much more predictive than it is.

    I’m impressed. A day ago you didn’t know the theory existed. Now you’ve managed a thorough review of it and its predictive ability.

    Yes, the effect can differ but the force itself does not change. That’s not the same with selection. It’s not only the effect but the presence of selection as a mechanism which may not exist at all. Natural events can cause nothing to be selected and an enormous quantity of mutations can do the same, causing no selection differential. Gravity, however, will persist, as below.

    Selection will only not act (as one force amongst many) if all genotypes have the same fitness. And then, so what? It just means that selection isn’t acting.

    I don’t see how lots of mutations changes this, other than changing the selection coefficients. It doesn’t seem that different from a mote of dust being buffeted by lots of other particles, as well as being influenced by gravity.

    If you drop 3 cannon balls, they hit the ground at roughly the same time. Three populations of bacteria will each see different numbers surviving and adapting. Gravity persists as a constant against the environment whereas selection is entirely dependent on the environment – it’s a function of the environment (which is random).

    And if we drop 3 feathers, will they all fall in the same way? No. So even the effect of gravity depends on other factors.

    Closing thought: I’m not pretending to know more about your field of study than you do.

    Yes you are. You’ve told me that population genetics doesn’t exist, and now you’re telling me that that it isn’t very good.

    But even professional biologists take different points of view on these matters so I draw conclusions from what I know and then hope to learn more.

    I’d suggest learning more before you jump to conclusions.

  56. 56
    Bob O'H says:

    Querius @ 52 – seeing as you hadn’t asked me any questions, of course I wouldn’t answer them.

    FWIW:

    1. What scientific support do you have for your assertion that natural selection is “non-random,” and what you mean by non-random in this context?

    By definition it’s not random: it’s the expected (in the mathematical sense) change in allele frequencies.

    2. Did you actually even bother to read Michael Behe’s “The Edge of Evolution”?

    No, although I’ve read other writings of his, and also the responses to him.

    Incidentally, you have a lot of incorrect assertions in 48.

    No I don’t. Try reading what I wrote.

    1. No, the 3-body problem has never been “solved.” It’s a chaotic system that’s been addressed using probabilities and strange attractors.

    I didn’t write that it had been solved, did I? And when I wrote “And even in that simple case, the motions look random. ” I was trying to make the same point you were, but in different language.

    2. Population genetics analyzes Allele frequencies in large populations with selection pressures and random (!) mating.

    No, we also look at small populations, when drift becomes important. And assortative mating (i.e. non-random mating) has been part of population genetics from the start: it’s quite literally a section in Fisher’s seminal 1918 paper.

    Thus, we’re dealing with a chaotic system again.

    No we’re not. A chaotic system is one that is simple, but with dynamics that are complex because of the way the non-linearities behave. With natural populations, there are many small factors acting on them (the environment does a lot of things), and these cumulatively have an effect that is best modelled stochastically.

    So tell us, what is the actual mathematical value determined for the “selection pressure” or “fitness” on Ursus maritimus for example?

    I’m sorry, that’s not a coherent question.

    3. No, a cannonball and a feather will NOT “hit the ground at the same time” unless they’re both dropped at the same time from the same height in a vacuum.

    Yes, THAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT OF THE EXAMPLE.

    *sigh*

  57. 57
    jerry says:

    The modern theory of evolution is like a house with many rooms. It restricts itself to just one small room and in that small room to only one corner. Within that one corner the modern synthesis acts like the findings represent the whole house when in fact while often factual they don’t even represent the entire small room, just the small corner of a small room.

    While everyone here seems to understand that these limited findings represents just a small piece of the whole, they seem to be focused/obsessed on this one small irrelevant corner.

  58. 58
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    A day ago you didn’t know the theory existed.

    You’re confusing me with someone else – or perhaps your imagination is misfiring. Either way – not so.

    You’ve told me that population genetics doesn’t exist

    As above, you’re wildly incorrect about that.
    If you can’t respond accurately to text that is right in front of you, can we expect you to give an accurate assessment of more complex matters?

    And if we drop 3 feathers, will they all fall in the same way? No. So even the effect of gravity depends on other factors.

    Gravity has a precise and measurable effect on them – not true with selection.

    Selection will only not act (as one force amongst many) if all genotypes have the same fitness. And then, so what?

    If selection does not act then it does not exist. As I said, the environment eliminates selection – which is not what happens with gravity.

    It just means that selection isn’t acting.

    Gravity is a constant, whereas selection may not act at all. And selection is therefore a function of the environment, and not merely affected by it.

  59. 59
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    Within that one corner the modern synthesis acts like the findings represent the whole house when in fact while often factual they don’t even represent the entire small room, just the small corner of a small room.

    That’s a great analogy.
    What might be found in that small corner of one room, is then extrapolated across the entire house.
    The idea that selection is a force acting on organisms is a mistaken notion.

  60. 60
    jerry says:

    selection is a force acting on organisms is a mistaken notion.

    It is not a force but a process. And the process absolutely works on all organisms. It just has limited effects because it only operates in the one small corner.

    Arguing against the obvious just makes other arguments seem equally specious.

    A couple examples, polar bears are kissing cousins of grizzly bears. Why are they white? Most likely answer is natural selection. A substantial proportion of humans are not lactose intolerant of milk as adults. Most likely the reason why is natural selection operating on a mutation.

  61. 61
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    It is not a force but a process. And the process absolutely works on all organisms. It just has limited effects because it only operates in the one small corner.

    When there is nothing selected, then it doesn’t work. Bob made that point.
    That’s obvious in cases of stasis.
    In a multitude of changing environments, changing food supplies, climates, accidental conditions, diseases, presence of competitors among other things – no change, no selection in tens of millions of years. Crickets, spiders, sponges, jellyfish.
    It’s not a process that is independent of the variables – as gravity is a constant force.

  62. 62
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H @56,

    Querius @ 52 – seeing as you hadn’t asked me any questions, of course I wouldn’t answer them.

    Notice that I wrote THE questions, not MY questions in @52:

    Oh, so I managed to get a response from you . . . but you still haven’t answered the questions:

    You then wrote regarding Silver Asiatic’s question that I repeated:

    By definition it’s not random: it’s the expected (in the mathematical sense) change in allele frequencies.

    By whose definition? Fisher’s or the subsequent Gaussian breeding distributions in a population? I quoted from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/population-genetics/

    Random genetic drift refers to the chance fluctuations in gene frequency that arise in finite populations; it can be thought of as a type of ‘sampling error’. In many evolutionary models, the population is assumed to be infinite, or very large, precisely in order to abstract away from chance fluctuations. But though mathematically convenient, this assumption is often unrealistic. In real life, chance factors will invariably play a role, particularly in small populations.

    By what scientific support do you base your continued assertions that changes in allele frequencies, also called random genetic drift, is “non-random”?

    If I was to randomly place some planets in a void, gravity would still act on them in a non-random way.

    No, gravity would act on them in a chaotic way! That’s exactly why the three-body problem that you brought up hasn’t been solved as Silver Asiatic stated, nor is it a “simple case” as you replied.

    The effect of a gravitational field is relatively constant on objects in close proximity. The other factors you mentioned certainly affect the motion of the objects in a gravitational field, such as air resistance, air currents, static charges, etc. but they DO NOT affect gravity, which remains constant at relatively short ranges.

    It seems that many people see a binary choice between either deterministic and random events. There’s a third choice that you’re not taking into consideration, called a chaotic system.

    Chaotic systems are found everywhere as I mentioned. Just as multibody gravitational interactions are NEITHER random nor deterministic but chaotic, I have a strong hunch that population genetics is also chaotic, with allele frequencies curving around several strange attractors.

    So try this. Watch the following 12-13 minute video on the subject and try imagining allele frequencies in a large population:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDek6cYijxI

    The implication of my hunch is that several sets of alleles chaotically form around “genetic” attractors to form several species within the identical environment due to random genetic recombination.

    You quoted from a comment by Silver Asiatic @44:

    Even the terms “selection pressure” or “fitness” cannot be defined in mathematical terms.

    To which you DISAGREED in @48 like this:

    This has been wrong for over a century. There’s this whole area of study called population genetics.

    So, in context of your disagreeing with Silver Asiatic and that according to you, “selection pressure” and “fitness” therefore CAN be defined in mathematical terms, let me ask again

    So tell us, what is the actual mathematical value determined for the “selection pressure” or “fitness” on Ursus maritimus for example?

    I chose the polar bear genome on purpose to make it easier for you to compare with the genome of brown bears. So, in the mathematical terms of population genetics that you asserted, what’s the fitness of the polar bear genome? Or maybe you overstated your case.

    -Q

  63. 63
    jerry says:

    It’s not a process that is independent of the variables – as gravity is a constant force.

    Who said it was? Using gravity is really inappropriate as a comparison. Selection is an outcome not a force. Organism populations change allele frequency all the time based on the environment.

    This process of adapting leads to different frequencies of alleles most likely in sub populations based on the changing environment. It leads to minor variations. No one has shown it ever produced a new species or a major new capability which is why it is a non factor in the Evolution debate. It is however useful in genetics which is that small corner of the room I was referring to.

  64. 64
    Hanks says:

    By what scientific support do you base your continued assertions that changes in allele frequencies, also called random genetic drift, is “non-random”?

    To talk about population genetics when biologists “knew” that 2% of dna is functional .WHAT A COMEDY!
    When somebody tell you that he is a professional driver and doesn’t know where the steering wheel is…

    I have a strong hunch that population genetics is also chaotic,

    Your mind. Is. Chaotic..

  65. 65
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius @ 62 — interesting response. The three-body problem is a side issue attempting to say that, like natural selection, gravity is so affected by environment that it is unmeasurable. But it’s not a good analogy with cases where natural selection is entirely absent. In other words, saying “selection is non-random” and comparing it with a physical force like gravity is not accurate.

    I chose the polar bear genome on purpose to make it easier for you to compare with the genome of brown bears. So, in the mathematical terms of population genetics that you asserted, what’s the fitness of the polar bear genome?

    That’s a very good question.

  66. 66
    Querius says:

    Hanks,

    Your mind. Is. Chaotic.

    LOL. A distinct possibility.

    -Q

  67. 67
    Querius says:

    Jerry,

    Using gravity is really inappropriate as a comparison.

    Yes, there are severe limitations on all analogies. One must choose them with great care and they all eventually break down.

    Silver Asiatic,

    The three-body problem is a side issue attempting to say that, like natural selection, gravity is so affected by environment that it is unmeasurable.

    What I’m saying is gravity as a force is unaffected by the environment but there might be many effects (including gravity, air resistance, wind, electrostatic charge, magnetic forces, etc.) on the final location and trajectory of an object. Analogies are called “the strongest argument, but weakest proof” for good reason. They’re only good as a teaching aid for explaining something.

    Gravity is measurable as are differences in the frequencies of alleles. But I agree that “selection pressure” or “fitness” are far more vague. For example, “fitness” might be measurable at the scale of a decade, but it will certainly not be the same as “fitness” measured at the scale of a century or millennium. An example of this scale difference is manifested in the extinction of many species that have survived until recent times.

    -Q

  68. 68
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    What I’m saying is gravity as a force is unaffected by the environment but there might be many effects (including gravity, air resistance, wind, electrostatic charge, magnetic forces, etc.) on the final location and trajectory of an object.

    That’s what I’m saying also. Gravity has a measurable presence throughout the physical universe. I am questioning the idea that “selection is non-random” and in comparison with gravity in that sense. More than just changing an effect of a supposed-constant presence of selection, the environment actually eliminates selection as a factor. The reason gravity is non-random is because it has a stable, measurable presence. But selection is not the same. I used the example of organisms that have been in stasis for tens of millions of years – persisting through an enormous number of environmental changes. If selection was a constant force-like feature, then these organisms would have adapted to changes in the environment. The response “they were already well-adapted so they didn’t need to change” doesn’t work because selection does not know they were well-adapted to every environment and would have continually adjusted the population to shift with different features. Fitness is always “better or worse” and never a perfect fit – a single target. There will aways be organisms that are slightly better or slightly worse adapted. Selection should adjust the population so that over a course of 10 million years the organism would be significantly different in one direction or another. Some other feature would emerge, some other adaptation. But selection is actually turned-off in those cases of living-fossils. To me, that just indicates that selection is randomized by environment and it is not correct to say that it is non-random like gravity. It’s like having a geological feature unaffected by gravity over the course of 10 million years. It doesn’t happen (erosion is a function of gravity).

    For example, “fitness” might be measurable at the scale of a decade

    I guess that’s possible, but my concern is the number of variables even over a decade that need to be considered. I’d include deleterious mutations along with all other environmental factors like viruses and diseases.
    I never said that natural selection is necessarily a random event – I’m just questioning the non-random nature of it to see if it really makes sense to say that. The idea that in every population some organisms survive better and others worse is a “non-random” outcome but it’s not saying much especially if we decide that the survivors are the more fit, after the fact and not as a prediction for which part of the population will be selected in the wild, under unknown, unpredictable environmental factors.

  69. 69
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Q

    It seems that many people see a binary choice between either deterministic and random events. There’s a third choice that you’re not taking into consideration, called a chaotic system.

    I’ll accept that criticism myself because I presented those two options (actually a third as designed outcomes). I don’t understand how chaos can be non-random but therefore not determined also. I have always used non-random as a synonym for determined (or designed) and chaos would be an example of randomness.
    Some will say that since random outputs can be plotted on a distribution graph and probabilities established that they’re not really random and they are predictable. But I think it comes down to cause and effect and don’t quite get that in those situations.

  70. 70
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    Take a look at this 12-13 minute video and see what you think:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDek6cYijxI

    -Q

  71. 71
    Hanks says:

    But selection is actually turned-off in those cases of living-fossils.

    Living fossils do not exist, it’s a fake concept of evolutionists to explain away everything is not fitting in their frame. Think that all the “explanations” are not science because “explanations” are not visible for microscope, telescope, x-rays, tomograph ,etc. but are visible only for another mind. The trick is they glue word “science” on their materialism and some people eat it because they heard that only smart people are open to science and to reject the conclusions of a historic science like evolutionism is a “sin”. 🙂

  72. 72
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Hanks – I think living fossils argue against evolution but I’m not following your objection here.

  73. 73
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius @ 70 – great video, thanks. It leads to some complex issues that I’ve been thinking about:

    As he says, it’s a paradox. That’s where I often stumble because I put my mind in the materialist framework, or even using Aristotle’s idea of the Deity (clean, pure logic) – and forget a primary truth: The Paradoxical Nature of Reality. That’s essential. We cannot reduce reality to physics and therefore to determinism.
    Instead of “chaos” as a third option, for my own understanding I used the term “ordered unpredictability”. Gravity is ordered – deterministic. But the results can be unpredictable – or random.
    This brings us to the conflict. Some say “nothing is random”. But the only way to analyze that is from a theological perspective. Atheism cannot solve the problem.
    It comes to the origin of the universe – that’s where determinism would be held. We do not know if gravity is constant, or if it has been over 13 billion years. We also know that physical matter cannot truly determine events – they are contingent elements themselves and do not have the power to direct events to outcomes. Whatever created gravity is the solution.
    That way, we say “nothing is random” only because God must have knowledge of all things and everything occurs within His plan. Other than that, we don’t know if things are random or determined. As for “ordered unpredictability” – someone could say that’s what evolution is. There’s some non-random aspect but it’s ultimately unpredictable.
    I don’t see how that helps the evolution argument since there would be an enormous problem trying to model those unpredictable events, even if there was some non-randomness to selection events.

  74. 74
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 58 –

    A day ago you didn’t know the theory existed.

    You’re confusing me with someone else – or perhaps your imagination is misfiring. Either way – not so.

    Nope, that was you @44 who denied the existence of fundamental quantities in population genetic theory.

    OK, to be fair, you might have known of the existence of the theory, but have been almost totally ignorant of its content. Or you might have known that what you stated @ 44 was wrong. Neither option really bolster your credibility to comment on the content of the theory.

    And if we drop 3 feathers, will they all fall in the same way? No. So even the effect of gravity depends on other factors.

    Gravity has a precise and measurable effect on them – not true with selection.

    Sorry, are you conceding my point that gravity, like selection, is only one force amongst many that can affect bodies?

    If selection does not act then it does not exist. As I said, the environment eliminates selection – which is not what happens with gravity.

    So what if selection does not act in some circumstances (i.e. there is no differential fitness)? What’s your point?

  75. 75
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    OK, to be fair, you might have known of the existence of the theory

    Ok – thanks. Yes I did and you were incorrect about that. I appreciate you wanting to be fair about it.

    Sorry, are you conceding my point that gravity, like selection, is only one force amongst many that can affect bodies?

    I’m saying that selection is not a force like gravity for several reasons. I’m questioning whether one can say that “selection is non-random” as you did. That gravity is one force among many, just as selection is has not been up for debate so I don’t know what I’d “concede” – but yes, of course there are multiple forces at work. My point is that selection is entirely dependent on the environment but the same is not true for gravity. Gravity is a persistent element whereas selection may not be active at all for unknown reasons. But that’s only a point in favor – the idea that “selection is non-random” which is the point I’m disputing would mean that we could accurately explain the effects of selection over natural history but I can’t see that happening.

    So what if selection does not act in some circumstances (i.e. there is no differential fitness)? What’s your point?

    My point is that it doesn’t make sense to offer an unqualified statement like “selection is non-random” as you did. That’s what I’m questioning. The fact that selection does not act in some circumstances, along with the idea that we don’t know why it didn’t – means that is it more random than non-random, and it is more unlike gravity than it is similar to it. If it was comparable to gravity we should have more accurate measures of it – as we can measure the effect of gravity in space with some great accuracy (not in all cases but many). I don’t see that kind of accuracy with selection. Additionally, to what extent is selection independent of environment?

  76. 76
    ET says:

    Natural selection isn’t a force. And NS is non random in that not all variants have the same chance of being eliminated. NS is still nothing more than contingent serendipity. NS is impotent with respect to the diversity of life. There still aren’t any known naturalistic mechanisms capable of producing life or its diversity.

  77. 77
    Bob O'H says:

    Querius @ 62 –

    By definition it’s not random: it’s the expected (in the mathematical sense) change in allele frequencies.

    By whose definition? Fisher’s or the subsequent Gaussian breeding distributions in a population?

    I haven’t checked the history, but I doubt many “Gaussian breeding distributions” are very good at mathematics.

    By what scientific support do you base your continued assertions that changes in allele frequencies, also called random genetic drift, is “non-random”?

    I’ve never asserted anything so dumb. Drift is random, and is only one way allele frequencies change.

    If I was to randomly place some planets in a void, gravity would still act on them in a non-random way.

    No, gravity would act on them in a chaotic way!
    Why do you keep on saying you disagree with me and then agreeing? The whole point of chaos, and why it is interesting, is that it is non-random.

    It seems that many people see a binary choice between either deterministic and random events. There’s a third choice that you’re not taking into consideration, called a chaotic system.

    No, chaotic systems are deterministic. What I am advocating for is treating systems as having both stochastic and deterministic components. Depending on the system and circumstances one or the other might be stronger (e.g. stochastic components have a stronger effect on a feather than on a cannonball).

    So tell us, what is the actual mathematical value determined for the “selection pressure” or “fitness” on Ursus maritimus for example?

    I chose the polar bear genome on purpose to make it easier for you to compare with the genome of brown bears. So, in the mathematical terms of population genetics that you asserted, what’s the fitness of the polar bear genome? Or maybe you overstated your case.

    I’m sorry, but the question is still incoherent. It’s like asking what is the gravitational force of pink paint.

  78. 78
    ET says:

    Changing allele frequencies is impotent with respect to producing the diversity of life. Changing allele frequencies can only account for the variations WITHIN any given population.

  79. 79
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic @73,

    Great! I think the video was very well done.

    Chaos theory reveals how outcomes can be both random and deterministic at the same time–they can coexist and are compatible.

    This effect also emerges in quantum mechanics when you choose what to observe, collapsing the wavefunction and setting off a von Neumann chain (Von Neumann-Wigner interpretation), which is a sort of domino effect of wavefunction collapses.

    That these effects falsify deterministic materialism and realism in philosophy has been simply ignored for almost a century, but they can also be projected into theology as well. If God is able to create a world with such effects, then what about the apparent paradox between free will and God’s sovereignty and foreknowledge: why can’t these also coexist?

    Consider this passage in Matthew 26:24 (NASB translation):

    The Son of Man is going away just as it is written about Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”

    What Jesus is saying here is that it’s been predetermined in the prophetic writings about him that He will be betrayed and killed (detailed in several amazing passages), but through whom this is going to happen has not been determined.

    Perhaps, God created a system where what He chooses to look at collapses into certainty at a larger scale than what we are able to do at quantum levels. This is interesting to think about.

    To the OP, the formation and extinction of species through alleles and their epigenetic expression may be far more complex and chaotic (as in chaos theory) as is currently recognized. Extinctions might create increasingly large distinctions and contribute to drift from the spectrum of kinds of living things as were originally created. It shouldn’t be surprising that God is far for brilliant than we are. (smile)

    -Q

  80. 80
    Silver Asiatic says:

    And NS is non random in that not all variants have the same chance of being eliminated.

    I started the conversation asking Bob O’H to explain what he meant by the non-random nature of natural selection. What you gave there would have been a good response by him. The way I see it, NS is non-random in the sense that it is biased towards certain outcomes, but that’s a lot different than saying it is deterministic. In other words, we add the slightly non-random aspect of selection to the multiple random factors in the environment, plus random mutations and we can’t see how we end up with the claim (which I hear often) “evolution is not random”.

  81. 81
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    If God is able to create a world with such effects, then what about the apparent paradox between free will and God’s sovereignty and foreknowledge: why can’t these also coexist?

    Yes, exactly. Science shows that reality is paradoxical, even in terms of a constant force like gravity. There is order but unpredictability.
    Along with free will and sovereignty, I look also to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity – which is not reducible to logic but reflects a paradoxical reality and is thus paralleled by what we see in the world.
    “Classical theism” only gives part of the story – where God is all-powerful, all-knowing, purely simple, present everywhere beyond space and time, etc. Those attributes are the philosophical nature of God – but it’s missing what has been revealed directly to mankind. ID can only look at what is in nature, accessible to science, but divine communication is another aspect that has to be understood.

  82. 82
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    Well said!

    Of necessity, what we understand in science and math is a subset (or model) of a reality that we may or may not be able understand. Thus, what we think we know is still an abstraction, and abstractions/models, while useful, can carry us only so far and are likely to be discarded for a better abstraction/model at a later date.

    – The two most tested theories in all of science are Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. They are not compatible so far.

    – Kurt Gödel’s incompleteness theorems essentially prove that not all true statements can be proved in any single system of mathematics.

    Thus, what we observe should be taken in the humility of admitting that science has always been found to be more complicated than first thought.

    All these principles apply to genetics, populations, ecological interdependencies, and how living things adapt . . . to some limited degree.

    -Q

  83. 83
    Hanks says:

    ET
    Changing allele frequencies is impotent with respect to producing the diversity of life. Changing allele frequencies can only account for the variations WITHIN any given population.

    Exactly . Somebody got it wrong that DNA is the engine of “evolution” and lately they ignore epigenetics and sugar code(glycome) that are much more complex (non-liniar info)than DNA. Layer upon layer upon layer of coded information and exquisite interconnected systems that will never be decrypted and in the same time some people remain in 18th century with Darwin.

    the formation and extinction of species

    Querius do you believe God is the source of death ? Evolution is incompatible with God. You can’t have the cake and eat it.

  84. 84
    ET says:

    DNA is the engine of evolution as long as evolution is defined as the change in allele frequency, over time, within a population.

    Code Biology demonstrates it is codes, not turtles, all the way down. 😎

  85. 85
    Hanks says:

    Code doesn’t rhyme with Darwin.

  86. 86
    Querius says:

    Hanks @83,

    Querius do you believe God is the source of death ? Evolution is incompatible with God. You can’t have the cake and eat it.

    Do you believe that the God created both the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? And who created the Lake of Fire, the second death? And yet God wants us to choose life!

    To answer your question, I don’t believe that evolution is incompatible with God, but I think it’s more complicated than either/or. Here’s what I believe:

    – God created the universe and all life on earth.

    – Life did not “evolve” from non-living chemicals. I don’t believe in “goo to you.”

    – General body plans (kinds) were designed by God. Bears didn’t evolve into whales as Darwin proposed.

    – Living things were designed to adapt to changes in environment–fine tuning within a narrow range. There are several ingenious mechanisms for adaptation, perhaps five or six. Mutation is by far the weakest. For example, feathers might be homologous to scales, but they didn’t “evolve” from scales.

    – The fundamental nature of all things is information and consciousness. As John 1:1 states, “In the beginning was the Logos“–the Word, which is personified in the form of Yeshua, Jesus, “was with God and was God.”

    The choice isn’t between having a cake and eating it. God created amazing designs for His glory and for our delight in being able to try to figure out what He made and how it works. God is incredibly brilliant and loving, and He gave us the freedom to choose.

    -Q

  87. 87
    ET says:

    Hanks- Evolution by means of blind and mindless processes producing the diversity of life starting with some unknown populations of prokaryotes, is incompatible with God. Obviously God-guided evolution is compatible with God.

  88. 88
    ET says:

    Hanks- Evolution by means of blind and mindless processes producing the diversity of life starting with some unknown populations of prokaryotes, is incompatible with God. Obviously God-guided evolution is compatible with God.

  89. 89
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 75 –

    My point is that it doesn’t make sense to offer an unqualified statement like “selection is non-random” as you did.

    On the contrary, it does if you actually know what you are talking about.

    The fact that selection does not act in some circumstances, along with the idea that we don’t know why it didn’t – means that is it more random than non-random, and it is more unlike gravity than it is similar to it.

    But we do know why: the selection coefficients are 1.

    I think what you are trying to get at is that changes in allele frequency are random, and one reason for this is that the environment changes in (seemingly) random ways, and so the selection coefficients are random (or at least can be modelled as being random). But once we know the selection coefficients, selection is deterministic.

  90. 90
    Bob O'H says:

    Querius @ 79 –

    Chaos theory reveals how outcomes can be both random and deterministic at the same time–they can coexist and are compatible.

    NO! Chaos is deterministic: that’s the whole point. It can produce patterns that look random, but it is totally predictable.

    The notion that deterministic and random process can coexist is thoroughly uncontroversial, and is the basis of the analysis of pretty much any experiment.

  91. 91
    jerry says:

    This discussion is an illustration of the red herring nature of selection and the futility of discussing it. Selection definitely exist but is irrelevant in the Evolution debate.

    Some people are obsessed with this process when they should just accept that it’s real but irrelevant to the debate. And then move on to the real issues.

    Over and done with. Never to be revisited again except when someone suggest it has anything to do with the Evolution debate.

    Similarly the fixation on Darwin should be discarded. Taking the position that Darwin discovered something useful but what he discovered has nothing to do with the Evolution debate is the much more powerful argument. Trying to discredit him is actually counterproductive.

    The headline should be

    ID accepts Darwin’s ideas but show they have nothing to do with evolution

    Irony is the more powerful approach.

  92. 92
    ET says:

    Strange that evos say there is no way to predict what will be selected for at any point in time. Is contingent serendipity really deterministic?
    From “What Evolution Is” page 117:

    What Darwin called natural selection is actually a process of elimination.

    Page 118:

    Do selection and elimination differ in their evolutionary consequences? This question never seems to have been raised in the evolutionary literature. A process of selection would have a concrete objective, the determination of the “best” or “fittest” phenotype. Only a relatively few individuals in a given generation would qualify and survive the selection procedure. That small sample would be only to be able to preserve only a small amount of the whole variance of the parent population. Such survival selection would be highly restrained.

    By contrast, mere elimination of the less fit might permit the survival of a rather large number of individuals because they have no obvious deficiencies in fitness. Such a large sample would provide, for instance, the needed material for the exercise of sexual selection. This also explains why survival is so uneven from season to season. The percentage of the less fit would depend on the severity of each year’s environmental conditions.

    He goes on to clarify NS and chance’s role:

    The first step in selection, the production of genetic variation, is almost exclusively a chance phenomenon except that the nature of the changes at a given locus is strongly constrained. Chance plays an important role even at the second step, the process of elimination of the less fit individuals. Chance may be particularly important in the haphazard survival during periods of mass extinction.- Ernst Mayr “What Evolution Is”

    It isn’t clear that Bob O’H understands natural selection.

  93. 93
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H @90,

    NO! Chaos is deterministic: that’s the whole point. It can produce patterns that look random, but it is totally predictable.

    So, the weather, which is chaotic, is “totally predictable”? Do you even know what a strange attracter is? I bet you didn’t watch the video link.

    Now, how about the questions that you never got around to answering . . .

    ET @92,
    The effect of natural selection is actually pretty subtle. By far, natural selection is mostly about survival of the luckiest and, as you wrote, it’s all about elimination rather than innovation. Had Bob O’H actually read the book he’d dissed, he’d know about the “evolutionary” battle between malaria and humans and how long it takes in several relevant cases–as historically observed and confirmed by Michael Behe’s back-of-the-envelope calculations.

    -Q

  94. 94
    Bob O'H says:

    Queroius –

    So, the weather, which is chaotic, is “totally predictable”? Do you even know what a strange attracter is?

    The reason weather is not totally predictable is not because it’s chaotic, it’s because the system is too big, not because the earth’s atmosphere is a simple system with a large enough Lyopanov exponent.

    And yes, I do know what a strange attractor is. I even know that it’s a deterministic path, i.e. it is NOT RANDOM.

  95. 95
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    I think what you are trying to get at is that changes in allele frequency are random, and one reason for this is that the environment changes in (seemingly) random ways, and so the selection coefficients are random (or at least can be modelled as being random). But once we know the selection coefficients, selection is deterministic.

    Yes, that’s what I was getting at and that was a good response – answering my original request for an explanation of the idea “selection is non-random”. It lines up with my understanding.
    Where I expect you will add more is with the idea that environmental conditions are seemingly random. That is, the belief that “it appears random but is actually deterministic”. I don’t think we can know that. Normally, if it seems random, from a scientific perspective, we accept it as random.
    That said, you offered a good qualification on the statement: “selection is not random”.
    That is: “Selection is random except when we know the effect of a multitude of environmental factors and therefore know the selection coefficients.”
    I’d follow that by proposing, that over the past the 3 billion years of life on earth, we know very little if anything of the environmental factors affecting selection coeffieients. Changes in bacteria, viruses, plants, nutrition, climate, presences of competitors – collaborators, size and distribution of niches, geographical structures, droughts, floods, accidental occurences, adaptations to different diets, toxic substances-plants-insects …
    We know almost nothing about the combined effect of environmental factors for any single species.
    To quantify? We know 1% of the environmental changes? Maybe?
    If so – then we could say “selection is 99% random – we know only 1% of the selection coefficients in nature in the wild over the development of life on earth”.
    Agreed?

  96. 96
    Silver Asiatic says:

    The first step in selection, the production of genetic variation, is almost exclusively a chance phenomenon except that the nature of the changes at a given locus is strongly constrained. Chance plays an important role even at the second step, the process of elimination of the less fit individuals. Chance may be particularly important in the haphazard survival during periods of mass extinction.- Ernst Mayr “What Evolution Is”

    I notice that Mayr ignores environmental randomness as a factor except for “haphazard extinctions”. That’s a common strategy among evolutionists, even in this case where he admits how random the process is. When adding continual and an enormous number of random environmental factors (even mutations within species change the environment – not to mention climate, geographical changes, competition, nutrition changes, plant, insect, bacterial, virus additions and deletions, toxins, accidental deaths, changing food supplies – digestive abilities, size and number of niches, epigenetic factors, migration, changing reproductive strategies) … all of that is added randomness that is virutally impossible to model even for a single period of time for a single species over the course of 3 billion years of life on earth.

  97. 97
    Bob O'H says:

    Sa @ 95 –

    Where I expect you will add more is with the idea that environmental conditions are seemingly random. That is, the belief that “it appears random but is actually deterministic”. I don’t think we can know that.

    Indeed. That’s why I didn’t want to say more. It doesn’t matter when modelling evolution if it is random or deterministic, because we’ll model it with random processes anyway.

    We know almost nothing about the combined effect of environmental factors for any single species.
    To quantify? We know 1% of the environmental changes? Maybe?
    If so – then we could say “selection is 99% random – we know only 1% of the selection coefficients in nature in the wild over the development of life on earth”.
    Agreed?

    No, you’re conflating the environment, selection, and the response to selection. I could use the same argument to argue that gravity is random, because we know so little about the movement of all particles with mass.

  98. 98
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    I could use the same argument to argue that gravity is random, because we know so little about the movement of all particles with mass.

    Ok, we’re back to viewing selection as a force like gravity.

    But even so, I do not think we know much, if anything, of the environmental factors affecting selection coefficients over the course of 3 billion years of life on earth. We can’t even fully predict weather having direct measurements of conditions in the present day.

  99. 99
    Bob O'H says:

    But even so, I do not think we know much, if anything, of the environmental factors affecting selection coefficients over the course of 3 billion years of life on earth.

    Err, yes, of course. So?

  100. 100
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H @94

    And yes, I do know what a strange attractor is. I even know that it’s a deterministic path, i.e. it is NOT RANDOM.

    But I bet you didn’t watch the video. right?

    Again, the choice is not binary. Chaotic systems are neither deterministic nor random:

    1. If you pick a point in space, its measurement will (overwhelmingly) have irrational coordinates.
    2. Thus, any mathematical operation on it will of necessity involve rounding.
    3. The rounded off digits will introduce chaos surprisingly quickly, causing paths to diverge.

    This is why weather and other chaotic events are not predictable beyond a short amount of time.

    The reason weather is not totally predictable is not because it’s chaotic, it’s because the system is too big, not because the earth’s atmosphere is a simple system with a large enough Lyopanov exponent.

    A positive maximal Lyapunov exponent is said to indicate a chaotic system. With weather, we’re starting with a chaotic system. It’s not about complexity unless you want to argue that a double pendulum is a “complex” system. Good luck on that.

    After you watch the video that I previously linked to (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDek6cYijxI), watch this animation of the chaotic behavior or a double pendulum:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0Z8wLLPNE0

    It’s not about complexity, the unpredictability of outcomes is about the infinite number of digits required to compute any chaotic system deterministically. We don’t have them, so you can’t.

    Now, about the previous questions that you’re still refusing to answer . . .

    -Q

  101. 101
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    Err, yes, of course. So?

    Yes. Of course. As we agreed.

    We do not know much, if anything, of the environmental factors affecting affecting selection coefficients over the course of 3 billion years of life on earth. Therefore, we view the selection coefficients as random (or at least can be modelled as being random).

    That is -we don’t know much if anything of the environmental factors. “If anything” means, probably nothing.

    Yes, as agreed. If we knew the selection coefficients, then selection is deterministic.

    But as stated, one reason changes in allele frequency are random is that the environment changes in (seemingly) random ways, and so the selection coefficients are random.

    So, that’s good to know. Since we don’t know anything about the multitude of environmental factors affecting the selection coefficients as we Yes – both agreed – we don’t know for the history of 3 billion years of life on earth.

    That is, therefore, the selection coefficients are random – as stated and agreed upon.

    If most or all of the selection coefficients are random, because most or all of the environmental factors are random – then we say that the selection coefficients are random, or can be modelled as such.

    I’m just expressing the idea that “selection is non-random” – except in those cases where environmental factors are random. That is, except for the effect of combined environmental changes on the entire history of the 3 billion years of life on earth.

    That’s just another way of saying “selection is non-random” with some exceptions.

    It’s just qualifying the statement with what is random. Selection is non-random except for that which is random.

    I proposed some numeric values for that part which is random, but you didn’t like those numbers.

    Let’s just leave it with this general agreement between you and me – this has been good.

  102. 102
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    It’s not about complexity, the unpredictability of outcomes is about the infinite number of digits required to compute any chaotic system deterministically.

    If it cannot be demonstrated that the system is deterministic, then it is just an assumption waiting for some proof. It’s like saying that all environmental conditions on earth can be traced back to initial conditions present at the big bang – but we don’t know that.

  103. 103
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    Yes, exactly. And this hope of a future proof is like Darwinists hoping for some magical missing links to provide the evidence they need. Hope is another word for faith. Some people choose to put their faith in God, others choose put their faith in undiscovered and perhaps imaginary evidences for materialistic naturalism.

    -Q

  104. 104
    Hanks says:

    🙂 What is that? Bobby O’Hara flip-floped like Dawkins Dawkins contradictions on Junk DNA

  105. 105
    Bob O'H says:

    Querius @ 100 –

    Again, the choice is not binary. Chaotic systems are neither deterministic nor random:

    Again, no. This is simply wrong. Some of us (obviously not you) have looked at the mathematics, and yes the equations are totally 100% deterministic. That is the whole reason why they are interesting: you can get seemingly random behaviour from totally deterministic systems.

    1. If you pick a point in space, its measurement will (overwhelmingly) have irrational coordinates.
    2. Thus, any mathematical operation on it will of necessity involve rounding.

    No, the mathematical operations don’t involve rounding. The computational operation may do, though.

    This is why weather and other chaotic events are not predictable beyond a short amount of time.

    Do you know have any idea how weather models work? They don’t model behaviour at a small enough scale for chaotic behaviour to dominate the uncertainty: they split the world up into blocks, and model the large-scale behaviour within and between blocks. The blocks are large enough to contain hundreds of butterflies flapping their wings.

    Uncertain non-chaotic events will also not be predictable beyond a short time span, because the errors propagate through time. So that’s not diagnostic of chaotic (or, to be fair, uncertain) dynamics.

  106. 106
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    you can get seemingly random behaviour from totally deterministic systems

    That’s a paradox. Or, in other words, contradictory. I’m not saying it is false, but just that it violates logic given what we mean by deterministic and by random.
    The way to disprove that an output is random is by indicating where the deterministic outputs will land with precision.
    An aircraft flying from NY to Los Angeles is a deterministic process. We can indicate the endpoint with precise accuracy, the exact space where it will land – even within inches. There’s some randomness from environment and human involvement, but the precision of the measure far-outweighs the randomness of the system.
    We call the weather random because we can’t show that kind of precision as a deterministic output.
    From our perspective, the weather remains a random output until or unless it can be demonstrated as deterministic. Until then, we can assume that it’s deterministic, but we don’t know that and calling it random is more accurate (given that we accept the idea of randomness).
    Saying something is “seemingly random” – is the paradox.
    If it “seems random” to any and all human analysis – then it is random.
    If some human analysis clearly shows deterministic end-points for the process – then it doesn’t “seem random” after all. That’s how it is shown to be determined.
    Dawkins says that nature “seems designed” but is actually the output of blind, unguided, non-designing processes. Then evolutionary theory attempts to prove that by showing what blind processes can do.
    The same has to be true with a claim that “weather seems random but really is deterministic”. It’s not enough to just make the assumption – highly accurate demonstrations need to follow.
    If there are a multitude of errors or complexities or scale considerations that make it impossible to show that the process is determined – then calling it random is the most accurate definition and we’re not justified in calling it deterministic.

  107. 107
    jerry says:

    Is the concept of random, just deterministic events that are too complex to be understood exactly? So we make up a word to describe the unpredictability of the future outcomes of extremely complicated systems, that is called “random.”

    Extremely useful.

    It’s much much easier to deal with a range of outcomes rather than trying to be precise. Over time, predictions of the outcomes of these complicated systems gets better and better such as weather predictions.

    Or how frequently certain variations to genomes will show up. But this latter phenomenon has nothing to do with the Evolution debate, so worrying about it leads no where in that discussion. Extremely relevant in genetics though.

  108. 108
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Determinism is an assumption that covers for our lack of knowledge of the process built-in place at the Big Bang. We don’t know why physical processes give orderly outputs (which we call ‘deterministic’). Science does not know if there is an underlying, determined order producing laws and effects that determine outcomes.
    Actually, material processes cannot actually “determine” anything since they are mindless and just operate somewhat regularly. But there’s no reason why these could not change radically at any moment – we just assume they will stay constant.

  109. 109
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H @105,

    Again, no. This is simply wrong. Some of us (obviously not you) have looked at the mathematics, and yes the equations are totally 100% deterministic.

    This is hopeless. Yes, the equations are deterministic, but the variables need to have INFINITE precision for the outcomes to be deterministic. They aren’t, so we get observable and measurable chaos.

    No, the mathematical operations don’t involve rounding. The computational operation may do, though.

    Yes, finally you’re starting to get it! Now, please watch the double pendulum video linked above.

    Question: Why does the double pendulum system behave in such a bizarre way without repeating itself?

    Do you know have any idea how weather models work? They don’t model behaviour at a small enough scale for chaotic behaviour to dominate the uncertainty: they split the world up into blocks, and model the large-scale behaviour within and between blocks. The blocks are large enough to contain hundreds of butterflies flapping their wings.

    Yes, I do happen to know how weather models work.

    Question: If the models are so good, why is weather prediction so poor?

    If you did your homework, you might know about the famous theoretical computation of putting a complete weather station at the corners of every square meter on the surface of the earth, and then repeating the process at one-meter increments from the surface of the earth out to the practical limits of the atmosphere (the so-called “high-temperature cold zone”).

    Question: Do you know the computational result of this theoretical experiment with regard to weather prediction?

    What you still don’t get is that any of those butterflies can be the direct cause for rapid and surprisingly dramatic changes within a weather cell that can quickly amplify into, for example, a tornado at a great distance away.

    Oddly enough, chaotic systems are also observable in mathematics.

    Question: Since you’re claiming to be knowledgeable in chaos theory, can you provide an example of a chaotic system from mathematics?

    Oh, and what about the other questions previously posed to you?

    -Q

  110. 110
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 106 –

    you can get seemingly random behaviour from totally deterministic systems

    That’s a paradox. Or, in other words, contradictory. I’m not saying it is false, but just that it violates logic given what we mean by deterministic and by random.

    Like any good paradox, it’s only contradictory until you understand it. A lot of things are not what they appear at first sight. Chaos is seemingly random because the patterns look like they are not predictable, but if you look under the hood they are perfectly deterministic.

  111. 111
    Bob O'H says:

    Queriuys @ 109 –

    This is hopeless. Yes, the equations are deterministic, but the variables need to have INFINITE precision for the outcomes to be deterministic.

    You’re right, it is hopeless. You now don’t seem to be aware that rounding is a deterministic process. There are even standards for how to do it (e.g. see IEEE 754).

    Question: Why does the double pendulum system behave in such a bizarre way without repeating itself?

    Because it’s chaotic. But the finite representation will repeat, thanks to discretisation (and thus a finite state space), and hence be in a limit cycle.

  112. 112
    Hanks says:

    Bob O’H
    Like any good paradox, it’s only contradictory until you understand it. A lot of things are not what they appear at first sight. Chaos is seemingly random because the patterns look like they are not predictable, but if you look under the hood they are perfectly deterministic.

    You know that and you still believe in darwinist evolution? 🙂 Haha , you know the new studies on epigenetic that nothing in cell is random therefore all processes are goal oriented and you(as a darwinist) flip-floped from randomness to determinism but you keep the darwinist dogma. It’s like a commandment that biologists obey blindly no matter what evidences say. Big-time cognitive dissonance .

  113. 113
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    Like any good paradox, it’s only contradictory until you understand it. A lot of things are not what they appear at first sight. Chaos is seemingly random because the patterns look like they are not predictable but…

    I think any good paradox is something we cannot truly understand – that’s why it’s a paradox. In this case, it’s the same. What you provided was a paradoxical, contradictory explanation – not an understanding. You said “chaos is seemingly random because the patterns look like they’re not predictable, but …”

    What should follow from that is something like “but, it’s not random because it is predictable”.
    That’s the parallelism. “It seems random because it seems unpredictable, however, it’s deterministic because it is predictable”.

    Instead, however, you just preserved the paradox.

    Chaos is seemingly random because the patterns look like they are not predictable, but if you look under the hood they are perfectly deterministic.

    Chaos is seemingly random because it seems not predictable, however it’s not random because when you understand, it is perfectly predictable.
    But no – you didn’t say that. You said instead, Chaos seems random because it seems not predictable, however, if you look under the hood, it is deterministic.
    That doesn’t solve the contradiction. You should say “when you look under the hood, it is predictable”. That’s how to show the non-randomness. Just show the predictability and thus eliminate the illusion that it is random.
    But the fact is, it’s not predictable – therefore even though there is some mathematical modelling involved, chaos seems random and actually must be considered random until or unless it is predictable.
    Every natural occurrence, force or process contains some semblance of order. But that’s not enough to describe everything as deterministic.

  114. 114
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Hanks

    flip-floped from randomness to determinism

    You noticed that in a complicated switch that went back on itself. From a starting point forward circling back to the opposite.
    There’s always some semblance of order in all natural phenomena but we’re looking at a question of degree. We consider some forces deterministic because they are highly predictable (not absolutely perfectly predictable in any and all possible cases). Others we call random because they are mostly or highly unpredictable.
    Saying “some day we will be able to predict it perfectly” is an unproven assumption. Until we can predict it, the best description for the process is that it is random.
    That is, unless someone wants to assert the theological proposition that “nothing is random because all is known by God” – that’s certainly true but the proof for that has to go into the proofs for the existence and omniscience and omnipotence of God (which is not a bad idea to work from).

  115. 115
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 113 –

    What should follow from that is something like “but, it’s not random because it is predictable”.

    But that’s what I did do, when I quote “Chaos is seemingly random because the patterns look like they are not predictable, but if you look under the hood they are perfectly deterministic.”

    *sigh*

  116. 116
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H,
    You still have refused or been unable to answer any of the questions posed to you in 109 and before, and you haven’t bothered to look at the explanatory videos that might give you a clue to what you’re arguing.

    Next you’ll be telling us that rounding random numbers makes them deterministic.

    You assert that the double pendulum system behaves in such a bizarre way without repeating itself because (drumroll) . . .

    Because it’s chaotic. But the finite representation will repeat, thanks to discretisation (and thus a finite state space), and hence be in a limit cycle.

    “Finite representation” of the infinite number of points in the set of its positions? But we just have to wait an infinite amount of time? Random numbers then are also deterministic if you wait an infinite amount of time. So is evolution.

    But the determinism ascribed to chaos depends entirely on infinite precision in matching the initial conditions. As I said, this is not possible in our universe.

    Now, about the questions you’re still refusing to answer . . .

    Chaotic systems have been discovered even in mathematics.

    Question: Can you give us an example?

    -Q

  117. 117
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    What should follow from that is something like “but, it’s not random because it is predictable”.

    But that’s what I did do, when I quote “Chaos is seemingly random because the patterns look like they are not predictable, but if you look under the hood they are perfectly deterministic.”

    Ok, I didn’t see that as saying “Chaos is perfectly predictable”, but apparently that’s what you were trying to say there.

  118. 118
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic @117,
    Don’t let Bob O’H confuse you. There are many people who are ideologically committed to determinism and try to jam chaos into a deterministic mold, but this doesn’t work.

    You can see what I mean from reviewing this video starting here:
    https://youtu.be/fDek6cYijxI?t=422

    You’ll get to the place where Veritasium states the following at 7:31:

    It seems like a paradox, but this system is both deterministic and unpredictable.

    What this means is that this system is not exclusively random AND it’s not exclusively deterministic, but it’s BOTH, which is something different: a chaotic system.

    -Q

  119. 119
    Bob O'H says:

    Querius – I don’t see the point in discussing further questions about chaos until we’ve established that you understand that chaos is deterministic. Because if you don’t understand that, we’re not going to make any headway with anything else.

  120. 120
    Bob O'H says:

    Querius @ 118 –

    Don’t let Bob O’H confuse you. There are many people who are ideologically committed to determinism and try to jam chaos into a deterministic mold, but this doesn’t work.

    I’m quite literally a professor of statistics. That means I am quite literally considered an expert in analysing non-deterministic systems.

    The reason I am trying to “jam chaos into a deterministic mold” is because, quite literally, it is deterministic. There is no random component in the way the values change from one iteration to the next.

  121. 121
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H,
    Statistics is such a fascinating subject! So then, do you disagree with Vertiasium when he states the following in the video you haven’t watched:

    It seems like a paradox, but this system is both deterministic and unpredictable.

    Notice the critical word, “and.”

    Question: In statistics, do you have any examples of non-chaotic systems that are both deterministic and unpredictable (even from a probabilistic solution)?

    Question: What aspects of chaos theory do you teach or use in statistics?

    What about the previous questions you haven’t answered yet?

    -Q

  122. 122
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    You quoted:

    It seems like a paradox, but this system is both deterministic and unpredictable.

    My concern is the phrasing. “It seems like a paradox”. That’s like what I was concerned with before “it seems unpredictable but it’s deterministic”. In that case, it should be “chaos seems unpredictable but it is perfectly predictable”. That’s easy to prove – just show the chaotic system and give your predictions. It either works or it doesn’t.
    In the above “it seems like a paradox” – should then follow “but it’s not a paradox because it’s deterministic or its random – one or the other”.
    But to say something is both random and deterministic – is simply a paradox, not that it seems like a paradox. It is one.

    What this means is that this system is not exclusively random AND it’s not exclusively deterministic, but it’s BOTH, which is something different: a chaotic system.

    We can add the terms that Bob added “predictable or unpredictable”. Those are some measures that can be used. If the system is not-predictable, then it’s random. If the system is predictable, then it is deterministic.

    If I can predict with great precision, the exact output of the system – then call it random is a paradox.
    If I fail to predict the outputs of the system but then call it deterministic is also a paradox.

    If I say that I cannot predict the outcomes of a chaotic system, but that it’s deterministic anyway – that’s not different than just calling the outcomes random, because I can’t predict them.

  123. 123
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    In the Veritasium video (and you can confirm this in Gleich’s book, Chaos if you have the time), you can see that chaotic systems do not repeat themselves. The rules or equations of any chaotic system are deterministic, but the outcomes become less and less predictable over time. That makes chaotic systems unique. This is true even in examples of chaotic systems in mathematics.

    Try this thought experiment:

    1. Print out a large colorized copy of a portion of the Mandelbrot set such as this one:
    http://www.joachim-reichel.de/....._large.png

    2. Pin it to your dart board so that the large area in the center covers most of the board. At 7 feet, 9.25 inches, your throws will likely all land in the center dark area and you can claim the operation is deterministic.

    3. Now try it at 14, 21, 28 feet or more and your dart will start landing on different colors that you won’t be able to predict. The colors in the image are not random but your results will appear more and more random as your distance from the dart board increases.

    The problem with the experiment is that you’d need a dart with an infinitely thin point and a target with infinite detail to be absolutely certain of the color.

    -Q

  124. 124
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    Maybe I’m missing it but I wouldn’t call the process a deterministic one. First of all, I’m firing a dart – and the reason why a game of darts is fun and the reason why people put little bets on the game is that it is not deterministic. Even some with a lot of skill cannot perfectly hit every target where they want to. So, depending on the skill of the player, or the composition of the dart – there’s a random aspect. Taking the dart and sticking it directly into the board wherever you want – that would be deterministic. Or, making the bullseye 10 feet in circumference and standing 5 feet away, that’s deterministic. But making the bullseye 1/100th of an inch and standing 50 feet away – that’s going to be a random distance from the target – and the number of direct hits will be unpredictable. That’s a random output – not deterministic.
    We can model all of that with mathematics and physics – so we would say it’s determined, and non-random. But in fact, it’s unpredictable – and thus the definition of random in that sense.
    I think that’s the same with chaos – we can’t predict it.
    Bob O’H is saying “Chaos is perfectly predictable”.
    I didn’t question him on that – but we could think about your fractal experiment or even something like predicting the weather. I wouldn’t call that perfectly predictable – and therefore I wouldn’t call the outputs non-random.
    It’s like saying the pattern of raindrops on the ground is “non-random” because they all come from deterministic physical sources.
    That’s confusing what is meant by random – we can’t predict where or when the raindrops will fall just by standing in the rain. That’s why we call it a random pattern.
    (Please append “I think” or “Is it true that” – to my assertions. I’m not saying I know – I’m just offering what I think and I’m open to correction on this).

  125. 125
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic,
    I think you’re on the right track. From 50 feet the darts seem to land randomly, from 7 feet, the results seem deterministic. And there’s a gradient between the extremes.

    Or let’s say you pick a random point in 3D space using an arbitrary coordinate system. What do you know about the coordinates? They’re likely to be irrational numbers, right? That means even a double-precision floating point operation in a computer, for example, will round off the value at (arguably) 15 decimal digits (12-14 is more practical). The point of chaos theory is that any tiny round-off accumulates far more rapidly than we intuitively expect.

    And that’s why covering the earth with weather stations at the corners of every square meter and then successively larger spheres of weather stations at one-meter increments out to the extremes of the atmosphere only would increase our weather forecasting ability to maybe two weeks.

    At what point does a chaotic system produce random results? I don’t know. It’s likely asymptotic and subject to running statistical tests on the data for at least pseudo-randomness.

    -Q

  126. 126
    Bob O'H says:

    So then, do you disagree with Vertiasium when he states the following in the video you haven’t watched:

    It seems like a paradox, but this system is both deterministic and unpredictable.

    I do. Because these systems are determinstic, they are predictable. Of course, you need to know what the system is, and also the initial conditions, but once you have those, their dynamics can be predicted.

  127. 127
    Bob O'H says:

    Querius @ 125 –

    From 50 feet the darts seem to land randomly, from 7 feet, the results seem deterministic.

    You’ve obviously never seen me play darts.

  128. 128
    Hanks says:

    “Chaos is perfectly predictable” from the point of view of God not from the point of view of a troll.
    @Querius , Bob is just trolling you. The points of view should be reversed to correspond to your own worldviews.

  129. 129
    Bob O'H says:

    Hanks – despite what you may think, mathematicians are not God. Except possibly the head of my department.

  130. 130
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob: “mathematicians are not God”

    Yet God is. apparently, a mathematician

    As the British physicist James Jeans (1877-1946) once put it: “The universe appears to have been designed by a pure mathematician.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/books/chap1/godmath.htm

    “Mind-boggling, isn’t it? Centuries before the question of why mathematics was so effective in explaining nature was even asked, Galileo thought he already knew the answer! To him, mathematics was simply the language of the universe. To understand the universe, he argued, one must speak this language. God is indeed a mathematician.”
    – Mario Livio, Is God a Mathematician? – 2009 – page 77
    https://books.google.com/books?id=gwr4-n2ZnB0C&pg=PA77

    Why God Appears To Be A Mathematician (Freeman Dyson) – 2020
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/why-god-appears-to-be-a-mathematician/

  131. 131
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Well, it’s a clever game – even more clever than darts.
    Saying, “it’s perfectly predictable, but I just can’t predict it because I don’t have enough information” is the cleverness of it.
    If you can’t predict it – then it not only “seems random” but it is random.
    As Hanks points out above – it’s predictable from God’s point of view. But from your point of view, it’s random until you can predict it.
    Again, claiming a perspective from God’s point of view is taking on a very big assumption – starting from the creation of the universe, claiming to know with certainty that all effects we observe now are perfectly determined by physical causes (and will remain as such forever).
    We don’t know that. We can believe it by faith – and accept that God has created a natural order that is constant and predictable. But materialism gives us no such basis for faith.
    But certainly, if a materialist wants to claim that all evolutionary effects are deterministic that just raises not only the question “how do you know that?” but “what caused initial conditions in the big bang to be fine-tuned and amazingly determined to produce all of life on earth?”
    The universe itself cannot create its own deterministic powers.
    Knowing that, most atheists prefer to say that there is randomness in the universe – thus they don’t have to explain where determinism came from. Randomness reflects blind, mindless, unintelligent effects – of the sorts that Richard Dawkins was famous for claiming as the essence of the universe.
    Saying “there’s no randomness, it’s all deterministic” — is pointing directly to God as the cause. Nothingness and blind, lawless, unguided unintelligence cannot be deterministic sources.

  132. 132
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    I think you’re on the right track. From 50 feet the darts seem to land randomly, from 7 feet, the results seem deterministic. And there’s a gradient between the extremes.

    Thanks. Yes, I’d only object to the term “seems random”. If I cannot predict where the darts will fall with a certain (there’s a fuzzy boundary) degree of accuracy – then it not only “seems random” but it is a random output. If I can predict, perhaps 1 in 100 – that’s random. If I predict 99 of 100 – that’s deterministic. As stated – every deterministic process has some randomness at a certain scale.
    We can say “life is deterministic because all living beings come into existence and all die”. But there’s quite a lot of randomness (from our perspective) within that time-frame between birth and death.
    Also – there is no purely random occurence. Everything has some determination built in.
    I cannot accept Dr. O’Hara’s statement “Chaos is perfectly predictable” until he can demonstrate that level of “perfect prediction”. Saying “well, if we had all possible information, then it would be predictable” is an assumption and in the end, it ignores what we mean by the term random.
    If you can’t predict it, it’s random.
    “The lottery is perfectly predictable. If we knew exactly which numbers would be picked – then I could tell you every time what the winners are. It’s perfectly deterministic.”
    That doesn’t work for me. You can’t predict the lottery because it’s a random sort. Yes, there is some determination – the lottery will only pick numbers between a defined range. A probability can be assigned to the selection. But that’s not enough to say “the lottery is non-random”.
    In the same way, the phrase “natural selection is non-random” has the same problems.

  133. 133
    Bob O'H says:

    Saying, “it’s perfectly predictable, but I just can’t predict it because I don’t have enough information” is the cleverness of it.

    I don’t see anyone saying that, at least with respect to chaos.

  134. 134
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Hanks

    The points of view should be reversed to correspond to your own worldviews.

    It’s a good point. This is weird because I’m arguing for the materialist world-view trying to indicate that there’s no basis to claim that “it’s all deterministic” — so I argue in favor of the existence of randomness.
    But in a theistic worldview, we would accept God’s order in the universe – in fact, that’s the basis of science – and therefore the idea that “all is determined (planned, designed, directed) by God makes sense. We can say “nothing is random” because God has the knowledge.
    Materialism would have to object to this and claim randomness as the source of everything.
    So, to hear a materialist proclaim determinism as the source of all thingss is a contradiction, ultimately. That worldview cannot sustain that assumption. But it’s one way for materialism to escape the problems of a supposed blind, unintelligent, random universe.

  135. 135
    Bob O'H says:

    If I cannot predict where the darts will fall with a certain (there’s a fuzzy boundary) degree of accuracy – then it not only “seems random” but it is a random output.

    That’s a very Bayesian approach. The problem is that even if you can’t predict it, that doesn’t mean that nobody else can. With respect to chaotic systems, we know (by definition) they are deterministic, and thus 100% predictable, so what you describe as randomness is in fact wholly due to your own ignorance.

  136. 136
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    I don’t see anyone saying that, at least with respect to chaos.

    You said this: “chaos is perfectly predictable”.

    Following up, I see you have two choices:

    1. I can offer perfect predictions of outputs from chaotic systems. (No explanation necessary – just show us those predictions).

    Or

    2. Chaos is perfectly predictable, but I cannot predict the outputs because … [fill in the blank]

    I filled in the blank with , “because I don’t have enough information”.

    But you can choose your own reason why you can’t predict a perfectly predictable output.

  137. 137
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    The problem is that even if you can’t predict it, that doesn’t mean that nobody else can.

    Again, you just have to show someone who can do it. Failing that, it’s not predictable. Just claiming, “someone might be able to predict it” really doesn’t work.

    With respect to chaotic systems, we know (by definition) they are deterministic, and thus 100% predictable, so what you describe as randomness is in fact wholly due to your own ignorance.

    That kind of ignorance is a chronic condition of the human race – unless you’re going to exempt yourself from it. We don’t know what conditions God placed into the physical laws of the universe when He created it. Perhaps you know them, but if not – then this is the ignorance that you suffer with. But again, you’re not alone. We have ignorance of how the laws of the universe were created and how consistent they are now, or will be in the future.
    Thus, claiming “I could predict everything if only I wasn’t so ignorant” is not saying much.
    If you can’t predict it, within a high degree of accuracy – then it’s not “perfectly predictable”.
    “You” here – is “anybody on earth ever”.

  138. 138
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 136 –

    You said this: “chaos is perfectly predictable”.

    Following up, I see you have two choices:

    1. I can offer perfect predictions of outputs from chaotic systems. (No explanation necessary – just show us those predictions).

    Of course that can be done. e.g. the logistic map is defined as x_t+1 = m x_t(1-x_t) and is chaotic when m=4 (for example). I hope it is not difficult to see that this can be calculated without any randomness, but you don’t need to calculate each iteration: there is a solution for any t. So yes, it can be predicted.

    There is a lot of maths around this, e.g. a proof that if a system oscillates with a period of 3, then for other parameter values it will be chaotic.

    With respect to chaotic systems, we know (by definition) they are deterministic, and thus 100% predictable, so what you describe as randomness is in fact wholly due to your own ignorance.

    That kind of ignorance is a chronic condition of the human race – unless you’re going to exempt yourself from it.

    Oh no, I’m just exempting anyone who is not ignorant of the simple mathematical truism that deterministic systems are deterministic, and the mathematical fact that chaotic systems are by definition deterministic.

    Of course, whether a system is chaotic is a more difficult question, but one mathematicians have worked on. the nice thing is that if they prove a system is chaotic, then we can be certain about that.

  139. 139
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    Oh no, I’m just exempting anyone who is not ignorant of the simple mathematical truism that deterministic systems are deterministic, and the mathematical fact that chaotic systems are by definition deterministic.

    If you cannot predict the outcomes, then the system is random according to your perspective and knowledge. “I can perfectly predict the outcome, I just won’t demonstrate that for you”.
    It’s also definitional – if you know the initial state with 100% perfect accuracy, then and only then do you consider it a chaotic system. That’s a tautology. “Any result that I predict with 100% accuracy is non-random”. That’s begging the question — but I accept that’s part of the game.
    All of this aligns with the claim “natural selection is non-random” but clearly, that claim needs to be peeled apart and not taken at face value.

  140. 140
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic,
    Looks like you’ve shredded Bob O’H’s assertions better than I could. But the subject is fascinating! Mathematicians sometimes claim that they can tell “random number” sequences generated by humans from real ones simply by inspection. True random numbers will have some improbable sequences in them while human-generated ones often do not.

    But . . . if a sequence of numbers contains a longer string of such numbers, then it becomes more and more likely that it’s not. For example, examine PI to find improbable sequences such as double 3’s and double 8’s. presumably your telephone number is buried somewhere in PI as well. But a string such as 999999 only appears once in the first million digits of PI. Consider how long the string of zeros follows the exponent in the inverse square law?

    Hanks @128,

    @Querius , Bob is just trolling you. The points of view should be reversed to correspond to your own worldviews.

    Yeah, no doubt. But I suspect that God, in order to give us True Freewill, limits his absolute power. According to the scriptures, our God who exists simultaneously in the past, present, and future and who describes himself as I AM, provided prophecies that were and will be fulfilled, but might choose not to observe many other things. Pure speculation, but you know how tricky mathematicians can be! (wink)

    Bornagain77 @130,
    Yes, it really does seem that God is a mathematician! We seem to be existing in a probability field of some kind with the power to collapse wavefunctions at a tiny scale. Perhaps, God can do this at any scale . . . o.o

    Bob O’H,
    Did you forget to answer the questions addressed to you? If so, I can sympathize. They say that one’s memory is the second thing that goes with age. I can’t remember what the first thing was . . .

    -Q

  141. 141
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius – thanks. You’ve done a nice job in laying-out the issues clearly and adding details.
    I think the terms random, predictable, deterministic, chaos, non-random — all are used differently in different contexts. The fact that we can use mathematics to describe complex aspects of the universe is a point that supports ID. It’s something mysterious that did not have to occur. In fact, in a blind, mindless, unintelligent universe, precise mathematical models of nature should not occur at all.

  142. 142
    Querius says:

    Thank you, Silver Asiatic. What’s exciting it that a lot of these factors appear in odd corners of the sciences, computer science, and cryptography resulting in rich areas of further research and amazing discoveries! Not to mention that God may be completely comfortable with probabilities, which he created in the first place, Einstein’s understanding of God notwithstanding.

    -Q

  143. 143
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 139 –

    If you cannot predict the outcomes, then the system is random according to your perspective and knowledge

    But for chaotic systems you can predict the outcomes.

    It’s also definitional – if you know the initial state with 100% perfect accuracy, then and only then do you consider it a chaotic system. That’s a tautology.

    No it isn’t, because not all deterministic systems are chaotic. The logistic map, for example, is only chaotic for some values of its parameter.

  144. 144
    Bob O'H says:

    Querius –

    Bob O’H,
    Did you forget to answer the questions addressed to you?

    No, but it’s not worth answering those questions until you’ve understood the very basics (like how chaotic systems are deterministic).

  145. 145
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    No it isn’t, because not all deterministic systems are chaotic. The logistic map, for example, is only chaotic for some values of its parameter.

    As you said previously, deterministic systems are deterministic. This is a proof by definition. If the system possesses non-linear dynamics and is extremely sensitive to initial conditions, then we call it chaotic since it fits our model.
    If it fits the model, then we conclude that it fits the model.
    If it doesn’t fit, then we exclude it.
    Climate is, in this sense, not chaotic because we can’t model it from initial conditions. So, there’s no expectation of predictions for climate change. If the system is predictable, then it’s deterministic.
    This is just a matter of definitions and what gets included within the scope and what excluded.

  146. 146
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H @144,

    The poor, forlorn questions are sitting there earlier in the comments still waiting for you. Go ahead. Impress everyone here with your knowledge.

    -Q

  147. 147
    Bob O'H says:

    If the system possesses non-linear dynamics and is extremely sensitive to initial conditions, then we call it chaotic since it fits our model.

    The definition is actually more complex that that, otherwise there would be linear stochastic models that would fit this definition.

    If it fits the model, then we conclude that it fits the model.

    I don’t know what you mean here: the chaotic system is a model (well, it is if it is being used to model the real world), so either “it”

    Climate is, in this sense, not chaotic because we can’t model it from initial conditions.

    Err, we do model it from initial conditions: that’s what weather forecasts are. Do you mean that we don’t get perfect predictions? Because if so, the primary reason is that we don’t have all of the initial conditions, and also the models we use are approximations. Climate may or may not be chaotic, but there are plenty of other reasons for the lack of perfect predictability.

  148. 148
    Bob O'H says:

    Querius – the questions are probably feeling relieved that they aren’t being dragged into this mess. As I’ve already stated, I don’t see the point in dealing with other questions until we’ve established that you understand that chaos is a deterministic phenomenon. Because any further questions along those lines are going to be hampered by your not understanding the absolute basics.

  149. 149
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H, chaos, nonlinear dynamics sense is deterministic. However real systems all exhibit noise, which feeds into the chaos via butterfly effects. Further, there is a non technical sense of chaos, disorder opposite to cosmos. KF

  150. 150
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H,

    Do you mean that we don’t get perfect predictions? Because if so, the primary reason is that we don’t have all of the initial conditions, and also the models we use are approximations. Climate may or may not be chaotic, but there are plenty of other reasons for the lack of perfect predictability.

    Yes, weather prediction would indeed have “perfect predictability” . . . except for that pesky little detail of never having infinite precision and finite computing power. Haha.

    As I explained to Silver Asiatic, filling the earth and its atmosphere with a concentric matrix of weather stations at about one-meter intervals has been calculated to improve weather prediction only to maybe two weeks–kinda far from “perfect.”

    Climate is not the same thing as weather, but weather, along with many other systems have indeed been shown to be chaotic, as you would know if you bothered watching any of the video links I provided. And as I mentioned in one of the questions you haven’t answered, chaotic systems emerge even in purely mathematical systems.

    . . . the questions are probably feeling relieved that they aren’t being dragged into this mess.

    Not to mention your repeated inability or unwillingness to answer any of them.

    As I’ve already stated, I don’t see the point in dealing with other questions until we’ve established that you understand that chaos is a deterministic phenomenon.

    Oh, but you now have the *Golden Opportunity* to Impress and Enlighten the others here with your grasp of Chaos Theory.

    As I said before, the rules or computations of chaotic systems are deterministic, but the outcomes are not, precisely due to the requirement for infinite precision, without which those systems rapidly approach statistical randomness. Thus, chaotic systems exhibit both determinism and randomness at the extremes.

    Furthermore, this indeterminism is intrinsic to quantum mechanics where locations of subatomic particles exist as only probability waves until they are observed or measured, collapsing the wavefunction and they do not have deterministic locations.

    The “noise” (as Kairosfocus terms it) or fuzziness is intrinsic to and permeates our existence, enabling the fusion that powers or sun, the photosynthesis that powers plant life, effects that limit the miniaturization of microprocessors and result in errors in memory, and might even explain consciousness.

    -Q

  151. 151
    Bob O'H says:

    Querius @ 150 –

    And as I mentioned in one of the questions you haven’t answered, chaotic systems emerge even in purely mathematical systems.

    Errm I guess you haven’t noticed that I’ve been discussing chaos as a mathematical phenomenon all this time.

    As I said before, the rules or computations of chaotic systems are deterministic, but the outcomes are not, precisely due to the requirement for infinite precision, without which those systems rapidly approach statistical randomness.

    This sort of comment is why it’s not worth going further. Yes, the outcomes of chaos are deterministic. What you’re discussing here (I think. I hope) are iterative calculations, where errors will propagate. But as I pointed out @138, there are mathematical solutions to the (chaotic) logistic map, so for any i we can calculate it without needing i-1, i-2 etc.

    And, as I pointed out earlier, iterative calculation is also deterministic: rounding is a deterministic operation.

    Furthermore, this indeterminism is intrinsic to quantum mechanics where locations of subatomic particles exist as only probability waves until they are observed or measured, collapsing the wavefunction and they do not have deterministic locations.

    Oh come on, the issue of quantum indeterminism has nothing to do with chaos.

  152. 152
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H,

    Reading the link you referenced, you’ll notice the following:

    It is relatively easy to show that the logistic map is chaotic on an invariant Cantor set for r>2+sqrt(5) approx 4.236 (Devaney 1989, pp. 31-50; Gulik 1992, pp. 112-126; Holmgren 1996, pp. 69-85), but in fact, it is also chaotic for all r>4 (Robinson 1995, pp. 33-37; Kraft 1999).The logistic map has correlation exponent 0.500+/-0.005 (Grassberger and Procaccia 1983), capacity dimension 0.538 (Grassberger 1981), and information dimension 0.5170976 (Grassberger and Procaccia 1983). The logistic map can be used to generate random numbers (Umeno 1998; Andrecut 1998; Gonzáles and Pino 1999, 2000; Gonzáles et al. 2001ab; Wong et al. 2001, Trott 2004, p. 105).

    Then, please explain how a deterministic rather than a chaotic process can be used to generate random numbers.

    Oh come on, the issue of quantum indeterminism has nothing to do with chaos.

    Of course it does. It’s termed quantum chaos.

    Quantum Chaos An Introduction. Hans-Juergen Stoeckmann
    https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Chaos-Introduction-Hans-J%C2%BFrgen-St%C2%BFckmann/dp/0521027152

    This volume provides a comprehensive and highly accessible introduction to quantum chaos. It emphasizes both the experimental and theoretical aspects of quantum chaos, and includes a discussion of supersymmetry techniques. Theoretical concepts are developed clearly and illustrated by numerous experimental or numerical examples. The author also shares the first-hand insights that he gleaned from his initiation of the microwave billiard experiments. Additional topics covered include the random matrix theory, systems with periodic time dependencies, the analogy between the dynamics of a one-dimensional gas with a repulsive interaction and spectral level dynamics where an external parameter takes the role of time, scattering theory distributions and fluctuation, properties of scattering matrix elements, semiclassical quantum mechanics, periodic orbit theory, and the Gutzwiller trace formula. This book is an invaluable resource for graduate students and researchers working in quantum chaos.

    -Q

  153. 153
    Bob O'H says:

    Then, please explain how a deterministic rather than a chaotic process can be used to generate random numbers.

    As chaotic processes are deterministic, that’s obviously a nonsensically phrased question, although the underlying issue is an important one.

    All random numbers generated by your computer are deterministic: they’re actually pseudo-random numbers. There is a battery of tests that can be applied to see if a sequence of numbers looks random: Excel used to fail dismally (and perhaps still does). Amongst other things, the ideal pseudo-random number generator generates numbers that follow a uniform distribution, and look statistically independent. Chaotic dynamics are a good choice here, because they are an obvious place to look for something that looks random, even if it is actually deterministic.

    Oh come on, the issue of quantum indeterminism has nothing to do with chaos.

    Of course it does. It’s termed quantum chaos.

    Hm, the book doesn’t have indeterminism (or anything similar) in its index, which suggests that the author thinks it is less important than non-Euclidean billiards. So I think you’ll have to be more explicit and explain how the two are related: how is chaos intrinsic to quantum indeterminism?

  154. 154
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H,

    You’re sure stuck on the duality of determinism and randomness. You’re reminding me of Goodman’s green/blue/grue paradox in logic.

    So I think you’ll have to be more explicit and explain how the two are related: how is chaos intrinsic to quantum indeterminism?

    If you do a search on “quantum chaos,” you’ll find numerous papers that will explain the concept to you.

    I explained that the results of a chaotic system can range between determinism and randomness (likely asymptotic at both ends) depending on scale and precision. A simple double pendulum can demonstrate this transformation over t.

    Chaotic dynamics are a good choice here, because they are an obvious place to look for something that looks random, even if it is actually deterministic.

    So, you’re asserting that the output data of a chaotic system is, by definition, a pseudo-random number data that only approximates randomness?

    I would suggest to you that this is indeed the case when using a computer, because as you should know, computers round off numbers even with DPFP calculations.

    So, you might be able to get your physics department to rig up a couple of double pendulums for you with very low friction. Then, take your data periodically from the differences in distances between the ends of the double pendulums using a timed camera, let’s say once per second, and see how determinism decays to randomness over time. Normalize the distance data to between 0 and 1. You could then use the randomness tests of your choice to record this decay and prove whether such a chaotic system decays to either random numbers or pseudo random numbers. That would be interesting and perhaps even a fun lab!

    -Q

  155. 155
    Bob O'H says:

    So I think you’ll have to be more explicit and explain how the two are related: how is chaos intrinsic to quantum indeterminism?

    If you do a search on “quantum chaos,” you’ll find numerous papers that will explain the concept to you.

    Well, that’s a total non-answer. I’m pretty sure a lot won’t deal with quantum indeterminism, so can you be more specific, and point to a specific paper that explains how chaos is intrinsic to quantum indeterminism? Because even if is it, a lot of those papers won’t explain it, as they will be building on that result. Assuming your claim is based on some actual knowledge, and isn’t just BS, you’ll have a better grasp of the literature, and should be able to point to something that thinks that quantum indeterminism is more relevant than non-Euclidean billiards.

    If you can’t point to anything specific, will you concede that you might be wrong?

    I explained that the results of a chaotic system can range between determinism and randomness (likely asymptotic at both ends) depending on scale and precision. A simple double pendulum can demonstrate this transformation over t.

    You’ve claimed that, but you still haven’t shown how a chaotic system is anything but deterministic. In what way is the logistic map (x_{t-1}= r x_t(1-x_t)) not 100% deterministic?

    So, you’re asserting that the output data of a chaotic system is, by definition, a pseudo-random number data that only approximates randomness?

    No, I’m making the weaker claim that chaotic systems can be used to generate pseudo-random numbers.

    I would suggest to you that this is indeed the case when using a computer, because as you should know, computers round off numbers even with DPFP calculations.

    What has rounding got to do with this? If anything, it makes the numbers less random, because the period will be less. In practice, this shouldn’t be a problem because the period is so long (e.g. the Mersenne twister has a period of 2^19937 ? 1).

    So, you might be able to get your physics department to rig up a couple of double pendulums for you with very low friction. Then, take your data periodically from the differences in distances between the ends of the double pendulums using a timed camera, let’s say once per second, and see how determinism decays to randomness over time. You could then use the randomness tests of your choice to record this decay and prove whether such a chaotic system decays to either random numbers or pseudo random numbers.

    Of course the determinism it will decrease and then increase. And then, so what? The mathematical model of a double pendulum exhibits chaos, but real one will also have stochasticity (especially when measurement error is added). And how would you distinguish a random number from a pseudo-random number? (well, a good pseuso-random number, not the ones Excel used to produce, for example).

  156. 156
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H,

    Well, that’s a total non-answer. I’m pretty sure a lot won’t deal with quantum indeterminism, so can you be more specific, and point to a specific paper that explains how chaos is intrinsic to quantum indeterminism?

    You haven’t answered any of the questions posed to me, yet you judge my response and a non-answer? As I said, to educate yourself on quantum chaos, simply do a Google search on “quantum chaos.” I already gave you a book reference on the subject, and you won’t read or watch any of the previous links I provided.

    You’ve claimed that, but you still haven’t shown how a chaotic system is anything but deterministic. In what way is the logistic map (x_{t-1}= r x_t(1-x_t)) not 100% deterministic?

    Simply do my dartboard experiment described previously to convince yourself. But you won’t do that, so here’s another quote from a book on Chaos Theory:

    It has been known since the time of Poincare that simple deterministic systems can give rise to unpredictable behaviour.

    There are also examples of chaotic behaviors in iterative computational methods in mathematics, which I’ve posed as another question that you also haven’t answered.

    No, I’m making the weaker claim that chaotic systems can be used to generate pseudo-random numbers.

    Finally, you’re getting closer. Kicking and screaming.

    What has rounding got to do with this?

    That’s how Chaos Theory was first identified in a meteorological simulation by Ed Lorenz.

    Of course the determinism it will decrease and then increase. And then, so what?

    Of course? So, how would you define “a decrease in determinism” in context with “how a chaotic system is anything but deterministic” as you claimed? How would determinism “then increase” again?

    And how would you distinguish a random number from a pseudo-random number?

    Have you thought of using the diehard tests to track the rate of change in chaotic systems over time toward stochasticity?

    -Q

  157. 157
    Bob O'H says:

    Querius @ 156 –

    As I said, to educate yourself on quantum chaos, simply do a Google search on “quantum chaos.”

    I did do a google search. I couldn’t find anything on quantum indeterminism.

    I already gave you a book reference on the subject, and you won’t read or watch any of the previous links I provided.

    A book which, as I have already pointed out, does not have quantum indeterminism (or similar) in the index. You don’t seem capable of backing up your own claim.

    Oh, I did find that someone on Quora had asked Is chaos theory related in any way to quantum indeterminacy?. And the answers were (you can see the link for the full answers, with fuller explanations):

    No. Not without really stretching. They are different things.

    and

    That’s actually a great question that made some of the greatest minds of the 20th century busy, but now has been settled and the answer is No.

    (emphasis in original)
    and

    It may turn out that in some future universal theory of dynamical systems they turn out to be somehow related but for now they are unrelated in their origins.

    and

    No, not really.

    and

    No.

    and

    I would say – while you can describe how the two relate to each other (should both actually exist) one does not need to exist for the other to also exist,

    You did get one “yes”, from a Finn who says that quantum chaotic systems amplify quantum fluctuations. Which may well be true, but doesn’t show – as you claimed – that chaos is intrinsic to quantum indeterminism.

    You’ve claimed that, but you still haven’t shown how a chaotic system is anything but deterministic. In what way is the logistic map (x_{t-1}= r x_t(1-x_t)) not 100% deterministic?

    Simply do my dartboard experiment described previously to convince yourself.

    Eh? How does the dartboard relate to the logistic map? That’s like asking “what does 2 + 2 equal” and being told “go for a swim”.

    But you won’t do that, so here’s another quote from a book on Chaos Theory:

    It has been known since the time of Poincare that simple deterministic systems can give rise to unpredictable behaviour.

    How does that help you? It refers to deterministic systems, and you’re trying to argue that chaotic systems aren’t deterministic.

    There are also examples of chaotic behaviors in iterative computational methods in mathematics,

    Yes, I know. Like the logistic map – the very thing I was asking you about. I doubt many of them involve darts games.

    What has rounding got to do with this?

    That’s how Chaos Theory was first identified in a meteorological simulation by Ed Lorenz.

    You’ve just quoted a book that says that chaos was known since Poincaré. He died in 1912. Lorenz was born in 1917. You’re struggling with linear time now.

    And how would you distinguish a random number from a pseudo-random number?

    Have you thought of using the diehard tests to track the rate of change in chaotic systems over time toward stochasticity?

    I have not idea what you’re on about. But that seems fair – you have no idea what you are on about either.

  158. 158
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H,

    I did do a google search. I couldn’t find anything on quantum indeterminism.

    So did I. Here’s (predictably) the first result:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_indeterminacy
    Although, I wouldn’t use Wikipedia (or Quora) as a reliable source. And yes, I read your link.

    It has been known since the time of Poincare that simple deterministic systems can give rise to unpredictable behaviour.

    You’ve just quoted a book that says that chaos was known since Poincaré. He died in 1912. Lorenz was born in 1917. You’re struggling with linear time now.

    You’re grasping at straws. Yes, the polymath, Poincaré, is given indirect credit for finding what’s now known as chaotic behavior in his iterative computations for the three-body problem. Ed Lorenz is usually given direct credit when he found to his astonishment that repeated computer-based meteorological simulations rapidly diverged in deterministic computations due to rounding (which I don’t know why you’ve denied). And that was one of my original points about the results of a chaotic system trending toward randomness over time. I then suggested

    Have you thought of using the diehard tests to track the rate of change in chaotic systems over time toward stochasticity?

    I have not idea what you’re on about. But that seems fair – you have no idea what you are on about either.

    Nice. Ok, let me help you understand with the Wikipedia definition:

    The diehard tests are a battery (get the joke? -Q) of statistical tests for measuring the quality of a random number generator. They were developed by George Marsaglia over several years and first published in 1995 on a CD-ROM of random numbers.

    Taking the output of parallel chaotic systems such as two double pendulums, one can apply the diehard tests to these numbers at the beginning, middle, and end of a run. The quality of the results as a “random number generator” over several points in time can then be measured and compared.
    That quantum effects in reality are the result of the interaction of probability waves should not be in dispute. That chaos is also endemic to reality should also not be in dispute, and neither should be the observed fact that to make two chaotic systems maintain coincident behavior (output) requires infinite precision, without which they increasingly diverge. I don’t understand why you’re arguing against these.

    Back to the OP. The Japanese theoretical population geneticist Motoo Kimura emphasized the role of indeterminism in evolution.

    Do you agree or disagree with his conclusion?

    Are you familiar with Haldane’s Dilemma?

    -Q

  159. 159
    Bob O'H says:

    I did do a google search. I couldn’t find anything on quantum indeterminism.

    So did I. Here’s (predictably) the first result:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_indeterminacy

    Predictably? When I search for “quantum chaos”, like you said, I get a bunch of links to pages about quantum chaos, but this page isn’t in the first 5 Google pages.

    Also – there is no mention of chaos on that page. You’re really not doing a good job of showing that chaos is intrinsic to quantum indeterminism. So far you’ve given us nothing.

    You’re grasping at straws. Yes, the polymath, Poincaré, is given indirect credit for finding what’s now known as chaotic behavior in his iterative computations for the three-body problem

    Right. So we agree that he is given credit for first discovering it.

    Ed Lorenz is usually given direct credit when he found to his astonishment that repeated computer-based meteorological simulations rapidly diverged in deterministic computations due to rounding (which I don’t know why you’ve denied).

    I’m not sure what I’m meant to have denied here.

    Taking the output of parallel chaotic systems such as two double pendulums, one can apply the diehard tests to these numbers at the beginning, middle, and end of a run. The quality of the results as a “random number generator” over several points in time can then be measured and compared.

    And how would this help distinguish a random number from a pseudo-random number? I can’t see how it would help.

    That quantum effects in reality are the result of the interaction of probability waves should not be in dispute.

    That quantum effects have something to do with waves, and the effects are modelled with probabilities is certainly not in dispute. I’ll let a physicist decide if what you wrote is accurate.

    That chaos is also endemic to reality should also not be in dispute,

    I’m not sure I’d say endemic, but I wouldn’t dispute that there are systems that have processes that lead to chaotic dynamics.

    and neither should be the observed fact that to make two chaotic systems maintain coincident behavior (output) requires infinite precision, without which they increasingly diverge.

    I don’t disagree with this either.

    I don’t understand why you’re arguing against these.

    I’m not. I don’t know where you get the idea that I am.

    Unless you’re going to give up on trying to argue that chaos is not deterministic, I don’t see the point of getting side-tracked onto another topic. Especially one which is going to start off with a discussion of semantics.

  160. 160
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H,

    Predictably? When I search for “quantum chaos”, like you said, I get a bunch of links to pages about quantum chaos, but this page isn’t in the first 5 Google pages.

    No, you said in 157 that

    I did do a google search. I couldn’t find anything on quantum indeterminism.

    So, as apparently I’m now your obedient servant, I performed a search for you on “quantum indeterminism,“ and found this link as the first result (your search results may vary):
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_indeterminacy

    Now, you switch back to quantum chaos. Ok, here’s a paper called “Quantum Chaos, Classical Randomness, and Bohmian Mechanics”
    https://www.academia.edu/54098955/Quantum_Chaos_Classical_Randomness_and_Bohmian_Mechanics

    Regarding the discovery of chaos, Poincaré is now given indirect credit and Ed Lorenz is usually given direct credit.

    And how would this help distinguish a random number from a pseudo-random number? I can’t see how it would help.

    As I said before, we can see how the outcomes of a chaotic system over time changes from nearly deterministic to asymptotically approaching randomness. That was the point of my apparently futile attempt to explain it through throwing darts at a colorized Mandelbrot set as a target at increasing distances. The double-pendulum video I also provided you demonstrates this same process over time as did the video of the three-body problem.

    That quantum effects have something to do with waves, and the effects are modelled with probabilities is certainly not in dispute. I’ll let a physicist decide if what you wrote is accurate.

    Ok. Physicists Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner expressed it this way:

    The waviness in a region is the probability of finding the object in a particular place. But we must be careful: the waviness is not the probability of the object being in a particular place. There’s a crucial difference here! The object did not exist before you found it there.

    Emphasis added. The key insight here is realizing that when we simply observe light, electrons, even small molecules or viruses in the famous double-slit experiment, our conscious choice of what to observe determines whether the probabilities, termed the wavefunction collapse into matter or energy.

    Taking the output of parallel chaotic systems such as two double pendulums, one can apply the diehard tests to these numbers at the beginning, middle, and end of a run. The quality of the results as a “random number generator” over several points in time can then be measured and compared.

    And how would this help distinguish a random number from a pseudo-random number? I can’t see how it would help.

    I tried to explain to you that the diehard tests are statistical tests for measuring the quality of a random number generator. As such, one can use

    . . . the diehard tests to track the rate of change in chaotic systems over time toward stochasticity?

    The key here is the rate of change over time within any chaotic system toward stochasticity.

    Unless you’re going to give up on trying to argue that chaos is not deterministic, I don’t see the point of getting side-tracked onto another topic.

    As I repeatedly said, the rules of any chaotic system are deterministic, but the result and output of the system is indeterminate and likely asymptotic to random over time. You, on the other hand insist that both the rules and outcomes are deterministic. I objected to this conclusion on the grounds that infinite precision would be needed to make chaotic behaviors predictable. Neither we nor computers are capable of infinite precision, obviating your conclusion, so I suggested tracking the results or output of a chaotic system over time to show the trend as we do for limits. But you don’t get it. Ok.

    I’m now trying to drag you back to the subject of the OP, which is not a side track.

    The Japanese theoretical population geneticist Motoo Kimura emphasized the role of indeterminism in evolution.

    Do you agree or disagree with his conclusion?

    Are you familiar with Haldane’s Dilemma?

    -Q

  161. 161
    Bob O'H says:

    Querius – I’ve been trying to get you to explain the evidence for your claim that chaos is intrinsic to quantum indeterminism. I think it is reasonable to expect that you would already have some evidence to hand, and wouldn’t have to google it yourself! Anyway, it’s great that you’ve finally presented some evidence:

    Now, you switch back to quantum chaos. Ok, here’s a paper called “Quantum Chaos, Classical Randomness, and Bohmian Mechanics”
    https://www.academia.edu/54098955/Quantum_Chaos_Classical_Randomness_and_Bohmian_Mechanics

    But doesn’t the first paragraph demolish your claim, that chaos is intrinsic to quantum indeterminism? The nearest the paper gets is to not rule out quantum chaos (bottom of p266).

    So I’m still waiting to see something that backs up your specific claim that chaos is intrinsic to quantum indeterminism. TBH, I don’t think you have anything.

    And how would this help distinguish a random number from a pseudo-random number? I can’t see how it would help.

    As I said before, we can see how the outcomes of a chaotic system over time changes from nearly deterministic to asymptotically approaching randomness.

    Yes, but irrelevant. If we know we have a sequence of numbers that we know were produced by a chaotic process, then we know they are not random, so we know a priori that they were produced by a pseudo-random process.

    I tried to explain to you that the diehard tests are statistical tests for measuring the quality of a random number generator.

    Right, but as pseudo-random number generators are designed to pass these tests, they’re not very good at helping you to distinguish pseudo-random numbers from random numbers. Unless hte PRNG isn’t very good, of course.

    As I repeatedly said, the rules of any chaotic system are deterministic, but the result and output of the system is indeterminate and likely asymptotic to random over time. You, on the other hand insist that both the rules and outcomes are deterministic.

    Well, yes, because if the system starts at the same point each time, then the deterministic rules mean it has to follow exactly the same path. This is true with finite precision, because rounding is also deterministic.

    A simple example, using the R package. I set the seed (i.e. the starting value) to 1, and generate 10 million ransom numbers (from a standard uniform distribution). Then I set the seed again, and repeat. If, as you say, the process becomes random, I should get different values. But I don’t. Both times, the 10 millionth value is exactly the same.
    > set.seed(1)
    > runif(1e7)[1e7]
    [1] 0.6015152
    > set.seed(1)
    > runif(1e7)[1e7]
    [1] 0.6015152

    Now explain how his can be if the process is random.

  162. 162
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H,
    Ok, here are some specific quotes on the subject of chaos, quantum chaos, and what’s not determinate from credible sources.

    Randomness, like cards or dice, is unpredictable because we just don’t have the right information. Chaos is somewhere between random and predictable. A hallmark of chaotic systems is predictability in the short term that breaks down quickly over time, as in river rapids or ecosystems.

    Scientists define chaos as the amplified effects of tiny changes in the present moment that lead to long-term unpredictability.
    https://phys.org/news/2021-10-chaos-complex-scientist.html

    Emphasis added.

    Regarding the applicability of using diehard tests over time, I think you’re stumbling over a misconception that the systems producing chaotic results are static. They’re not. The results are dynamic over time and trending toward pseudo-random and random, which is why I’m trying to tell you that applying diehard tests over time will have different results that reveal the trend toward randomness. But, I have no idea about what shape the curve of diehard test results over time will actually look like.

    I previously used the word, endemic, because chaotic behavior is observed in weather, orbital mechanics (Pluto will likely be ejected from the solar system in a matter of millions of years), electrical circuits, solving for mathematical roots, population models, and almost everything else in science.

    Chaos is the science of surprises, of the nonlinear and the unpredictable. It teaches us to expect the unexpected. While most traditional science deals with supposedly predictable phenomena like gravity, electricity, or chemical reactions, Chaos Theory deals with nonlinear things that are effectively impossible to predict or control, like turbulence, weather, the stock market, our brain states, and so on. These phenomena are often described by fractal mathematics, which captures the infinite complexity of nature. Many natural objects exhibit fractal properties, including landscapes, clouds, trees, organs, rivers etc., and many of the systems in which we live exhibit complex, chaotic behavior. Recognizing the chaotic, fractal nature of our world can give us new insight, power, and wisdom.
    https://fractalfoundation.org/resources/what-is-chaos-theory/

    Emphasis added.

    What do these systems fundamentally have in common and why should the same chaotic behaviors emerge from these disparate sources?

    “It was appreciated around 1900 by the great French theorist Henri Poincaré, who discovered that there are some systems, which are unpredictable. You cannot solve them mathematically. If you try to predict the future mathematically, you find that the system behaves wildly. Behaving wildly means that if you change the initial conditions of the system infinitesimally, you get a totally different answer. For well-behaved systems, if you change the initial conditions a little bit, the motion will be a little different.”
    “. . . until the 1970s when a climatologist-mathematician here at MIT by the name of Ed Lorenz discovered that there are numerical equations which describes the atmosphere for which you cannot make predictions. He discovered this in a most interesting fashion. These were the early days of computers and he was using a rather simple computer to integrate a rather simple equation, and then he tried just doing it again and he found he got a different answer. And the reason was the computer itself had changed the initial conditions infinitesimally—I mean, computers are not infinitely accurate, and if you’re not infinitely accurate, you’re just going to get different results.
    MIT Physics Prof. Daniel Kleppner on quantum mechanics and chaos

    Emphasis added. Prof. Kleppner is describing the rounding done by older, single-precision computer programs.

    Let that last phrase sink in. Without infinite precision/accuracy (I prefer using the word precision in this case), determinate results are impossible. That’s my point. You cannot perfectly repeat a chaotic process, so the results diverge.

    Simple deterministic laws can generate very complicated and even random motion, because some systems are so unstable that the course of their trajectories depends sensitively on how they are started off.
    Quantum physics has its own randomness, to be sharply distinguished from any irregularity that Newtonian trajectories might possess. We cannot, for example, predict when a radioactive nucleus will decay, or where the next photon in a laser beam will strike a screen. But from the equations of quantum mechanics we can calculate with great accuracy the probabilities of these events from the intensities of the quantum waves. So quantum randomness lies not in the waves but in the processes the waves describe.
    – Prof. Michael Berry, a mathematical physicist at the University of Bristol, a leader in the research on quantum physics and chaos (aka quantum chaos)

    Now perhaps you will answer the questions:

    The Japanese theoretical population geneticist Motoo Kimura emphasized the role of indeterminism in evolution.

    Do you agree or disagree with his conclusion?

    Are you familiar with Haldane’s Dilemma?

    -Q

  163. 163
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius – Bob’s comment @29 references Haldane’s Dilemma

  164. 164
    Querius says:

    Thanks, Silver Asiatic. You’re right. He wrote in 29

    For example Haldane’s dilemma (which reduces down to whether evolution can counter-act the effects of a degrading environment), and (as I had previously mentioned) trade-offs have all been discussed for a long time. The notion that evolution has limits was a long way from being new when Behe published his book.

    But his mischaracterizes Haldane’s Dilemma–obviously Darwinists will affirm that, yes, evolution is indeed able to more than counteract the effects of a degrading (actually changing) environment, otherwise nothing would have evolved or survived to the present! My next questions will be

    Why then is/was Haldane’s Dilemma considered a dilemma?

    If Michael Behe’s book addresses the thoroughly ho-hum question of whether evolution has limits, why all the fuss then?

    Of course, he hasn’t answered any of the previous questions asked of him, but hope never dies.

    -Q

  165. 165
    Bob O'H says:

    Ok, here are some specific quotes on the subject of chaos, quantum chaos, and what’s not determinate from credible sources.

    aka one quote that says nothing about quantum chaos, from an article where the word “quantum” does not appear.

    Regarding the applicability of using diehard tests over time, I think you’re stumbling over a misconception that the systems producing chaotic results are static. They’re not. The results are dynamic over time and trending toward pseudo-random and random, which is why I’m trying to tell you that applying diehard tests over time will have different results that reveal the trend toward randomness

    Yes, for some chaotic systems that will be true, e.g. a chaotic logistic map with a starting value far enough away from attractor. But for other systems, e.g. the Mersenne twister or any other decent random number generator, this is not true. Also – stochastic systems can also show the same behaviour, starting off with relatively determinsitic paths as they approach their equilibrium distribution. So I’ve still got no idea how this will help. You might as well throw darts at a board.

    So we still haven’t discovered in what way chaotic systems are not deterministic. I think my question at the end of 161 probably gets to the point best: if chaotic systems are not deterministic, how can I run them multiple times from the same starting point, and get exactly the same results?

  166. 166
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H @165,

    What is it about

    Chaos is somewhere between random and predictable.

    that you don’t understand?

    And what about this?

    and if you’re not infinitely accurate, you’re just going to get different results.

    You can never start from the identical starting point with infinite accuracy. The universe doesn’t work that way.

    The information I provided you is sufficient.

    Simple deterministic laws can generate very complicated and even random motion

    Again, MIT Professor Michael Berry is a leader in researching quantum chaos. So starting with “simple deterministic laws,” you wind up with . . . only deterministic results? Nope.

    And your response to “. . . which is why I’m trying to tell you that applying diehard tests over time will have different results that reveal the trend toward randomness.”

    Yes, for some chaotic systems that will be true

    FINALLY!

    And you once again avoided the questions asked of you:

    The Japanese theoretical population geneticist Motoo Kimura emphasized the role of indeterminism in evolution.

    Do you agree or disagree with his conclusion?

    Are you familiar with Haldane’s Dilemma?

    -Q

  167. 167
    Bob O'H says:

    And what about this?

    and if you’re not infinitely accurate, you’re just going to get different results.

    You can never start from the identical starting point with infinite accuracy. The universe doesn’t work that way.

    Except it does. At least the bit of the universe that has computers in it. See my comment @ 161 for an example.

    FWIW, I think you are confusing two things: the process and the initial conditions. If initial conditions are different, then so will be the outcome of the (totally deterministic) chaotic dynamics. But if they are the same, then the outcome will be the same.

    The same is, of course, true for other deterministic processes, such as halving a number.

  168. 168
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H,

    Oh my. You don’t understand that computers don’t have infinite precision? What happens if your initial conditions require only 16 decimal places (i.e. not infinite) to be identical? You’ll get radically different results each time!

    Round PI to 4 decimal places and divide by 2. Is that identical with PI/2? You need an infinite number of decimal places and that’s not possible with computers.

    But there’s a way out. Assuming you’re a statistician, what is the probability for any measurement to be a number that ends with an infinite number of zeros?

    And while you’re at it

    The Japanese theoretical population geneticist Motoo Kimura emphasized the role of indeterminism in evolution.

    Do you agree or disagree with his conclusion?

    Are you familiar with Haldane’s Dilemma?

    -Q

  169. 169
    Bob O'H says:

    Oh my. You don’t understand that computers don’t have infinite precision?

    Err, I am well aware that computers have finite precision, but so what?

    What happens if your initial conditions require only 16 decimal places (i.e. not infinite) to be identical? You’ll get radically different results each time!

    I’m sorry, I have no idea what you’re trying to say. This is gibberish.

    Round PI to 4 decimal places and divide by 2. Is that identical with PI/2? You need an infinite number of decimal places and that’s not possible with computers.

    So what? We’re not discussing the difference between an exact calculation and a computer approximation.

    I’m ignoring your other questions until we get these issues sorted out.

  170. 170
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H,

    Err, I am well aware that computers have finite precision, but so what?

    So what? So, it’s only the entire basis of Chaos Theory. It’s those tiny differences such as a butterfly makes in Brazil that can be the direct cause of a tornado in Texas! Rounding them off is exactly the wrong thing to do.

    I’m sorry, I have no idea what you’re trying to say. This is gibberish.

    You either are clueless about Chaos Theory or hiding behind feigned ignorance. Chaos emerges out of the tiniest differences in phenomena that result in profound consequences.

    So what? We’re not discussing the difference between an exact calculation and a computer approximation.

    Anyone familiar with Chaos Theory knows that those tiny differences are exactly what defines chaos. That’s how Ed Lorenz discovered chaos in his meteorological simulation on a computer!

    I’m ignoring your other questions until we get these issues sorted out.

    No, you’re ignoring the questions because you either don’t want to answer them or you don’t know the answer to “Assuming you’re a statistician, what is the probability for any measurement to be a number that ends with an infinite number of zeros?

    -Q

  171. 171
    Bob O'H says:

    Err, I am well aware that computers have finite precision, but so what?

    So what? So, it’s only the entire basis of Chaos Theory.

    This is flat out wrong. Poincaré and Hadamard certainly didn’t use computers, did they? And Lorenz doesn’t discuss chaos as coming from rounding in his seminar paper.

    So what? We’re not discussing the difference between an exact calculation and a computer approximation.

    Anyone familiar with Chaos Theory knows that those tiny differences are exactly what defines chaos.

    No,. anyone familiar with chaos theory know that it is not defined by the differences between exact and simulated trajectories. Those differences are just an annoying consequence of them. Lorenz discusses chaos as “determinsitic nonperiodic flow”, and defines them mathematically, not computationally. He even points out that simulations on a computer are, strictly, not aperiodic.

    It’s amazing what you learn if you actually do the research and read stuff.

  172. 172
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H, yes hypersensitivity to initial conditions tied to nonlinearity in in principle deterministic systems that were expected to behave closely similarly on different runs led to distinct runs of seemingly simple weather models in the case of Lorenz diverging rapidly and the why had to be figured out. The noise from rounding or resolution more broadly — analogue cases — is associated with the heart of the effect as we observe it. That is how the hypersensitivity expresses itself in many cases. KF

  173. 173
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: A summary https://news.mit.edu/2008/obit-lorenz-0416

    >>A professor at MIT, Lorenz was the first to recognize what is now called chaotic behavior in the mathematical modeling of weather systems. In the early 1960s, Lorenz realized that small differences in a dynamic system such as the atmosphere–or a model of the atmosphere–could trigger vast and often unsuspected results.

    These observations ultimately led him to formulate what became known as the butterfly effect–a term that grew out of an academic paper he presented in 1972 entitled: “Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?”

    Lorenz’s early insights marked the beginning of a new field of study that impacted not just the field of mathematics but virtually every branch of science–biological, physical and social. In meteorology, it led to the conclusion that it may be fundamentally impossible to predict weather beyond two or three weeks with a reasonable degree of accuracy.

    Some scientists have since asserted that the 20th century will be remembered for three scientific revolutions–relativity, quantum mechanics and chaos.

    “By showing that certain deterministic systems have formal predictability limits, Ed put the last nail in the coffin of the Cartesian universe and fomented what some have called the third scientific revolution of the 20th century, following on the heels of relativity and quantum physics,” said Kerry Emanuel professor of atmospheric science at MIT.>>

  174. 174
    Querius says:

    Thank you, Kairosfocus. Well put.

    What amazes me is how fast the noise amplifies.

    What also intrigues me is the application or discovery of chaotic effects everywhere. For example, I’m not sure whether anyone has considered chaotic noise in genetic mutations that amplify quickly, either succeeding or becoming extinct. This might be a possible factor for those researchers pursuing a mechanism for the theory of punctuated equilibrium.

    -Q

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