Darwinism Evolution Intelligent Design

Contradiction at the heart of evolutionary biology?

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There is a direction for change:

Clearly, there is an apparent contradiction at the heart of evolutionary biology. On one hand, the mechanisms of evolution have no predisposition for change in any particular direction. On the other hand, let those mechanisms get going, and beyond some threshold, the interwoven ecological and developmental systems they generate tend to yield more and more species with greater maximum complexity.

So can we expect more diversity and complexity going forward? We are now at the beginning of a sixth mass extinction, caused by humans and showing no signs of stopping – wiping out the results of millions of years of evolution. Despite this, humans themselves are too numerous, widespread and adaptable to be at serious risk of extinction any time soon. It is far more likely that we will extend our distribution yet further by engineering habitable biospheres on other planets.

Matthew Willis, “Evolution: why it seems to have a direction and what to expect next” at The Conversation

So the pattern is, lfe forms became larger and increasingly complex. One life form has even developed an immaterial mind. If a theory of evolution can provide no account of this, it is not going to be particularly useful at predicting the future.

On the other hand, its premises might make good science fiction. Which is a high art form, handled with artistic integrity.

11 Replies to “Contradiction at the heart of evolutionary biology?

  1. 1
    Querius says:

    The problem is that the theory of evolution can explain anything but predicts nothing. Headlines usually have evolutionary biologists expressing surprise at some finding, which is quickly followed by an explanation of what “musta” happened in this case.

    -Q

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    What a hopeless idiot. He’s worried about the mythical mass extinction, but he’s not bothered that the most complex life form just decided to kill itself by mass imprisonment and starvation. Apparently this REAL INTENTIONAL SELF-EXTINCTION fits into Darwin just fine. Well, maybe it does. A species that allows its most evil and monstrous and grotesque members to take charge of 98% of its hives isn’t fit.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    There are indeed several contradiction at the heart of evolutionary biology, but the main contradiction at the heart of evolutionary biology is the contradiction that evolutionary biology has with the science itself.

    Take his primary claim,,,

    “the mechanisms of evolution have no predisposition for change in any particular direction.”

    That claim, scientifically speaking, is simply a false claim. Both John Sanford and Michael Behe have now shown that “the mechanisms of evolution” do indeed have a ‘predisposition’ for change in a particular direction, and that predisposition for change in a ‘particular direction’ is overwhelmingly “down not up”

    Both John Sanford and Michael Behe have written books on the subject,

    Genetic Entropy – 4th Edition – by John C. Sanford
    Excerpt: Genetic Entropy presents compelling scientific evidence that the genomes of all living creatures are slowly degenerating – due to the accumulation of slightly harmful mutations. This is happening in spite of natural selection. The author of this book, Dr. John Sanford, is a Cornell University geneticist. Dr. Sanford has devoted more than 10 years of his life to the study of this specific problem. Arguably, he has examined this problem in greater depth than any other scientist. The evidences that he presents are diverse and compelling. He begins by examining how random mutation and natural selection actually operate, and shows that simple logic demands that genomes must degenerate. He then makes a historical examination of the relevant field (population genetics), and shows that the best scientists in that field have consistently acknowledged many of the fundamental problems he has uncovered (but they have failed to communicate these problems to the broader scientific community). He then shows, in collaboration with a team of other scientists, that state-of-the-art numerical simulation experiments consistently confirm the problem of genetic degeneration (even given very strong selection and optimal conditions). Lastly, in collaboration with other scientists, he shows that real biological populations clearly manifest genetic degeneration.
    Dr. Sanford’s findings have enormous implications. His work largely invalidates classic neo-Darwinian theory. The mutation/selection process by itself is not capable of creating the new biological information that is required for creating new life forms. Dr. Sanford shows that not only is mutation/selection incapable of creating our genomes – it can’t even preserve our genomes. As biochemist Dr. Michael Behe of Lehigh University writes in his review of Genetic Entropy, “…not only does Darwinism not have answers for how information got into the genome, it doesn’t even have answers for how it could remain there.”
    https://www.amazon.com/Genetic-Entropy-John-C-Sanford/dp/0981631606

    Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA That Challenges Evolution – February 26, 2019 – by Michael J. Behe
    Excerpt: Behe contends that Darwinism actually works by a process of devolution—damaging cells in DNA in order to create something new at the lowest biological levels. This is important, he makes clear, because it shows the Darwinian process cannot explain the creation of life itself. “A process that so easily tears down sophisticated machinery is not one which will build complex, functional systems,” he writes.
    https://www.amazon.com/Darwin-Devolves-Science-Challenges-Evolution/dp/0062842617

    A few more notes:

    GENETIC ENTROPY – “It’s Down NOT Up”… John Sanford
    http://www.geneticentropy.org/

    Dr. John Sanford – Links to Selected Papers
    https://www.logosresearchassociates.org/john-sanford

    Dr. John Sanford Lecture at NIH (National Institute for Health): Genetic Entropy – (Human Genetic Degeneration) Can Genome Degradation be Stopped? (Short answer, NO!)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Mfn2upw-O8

    Michael Behe: – Darwin Devolves – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNe-syuDJBg

    Experimental Evolution, Loss-Of-Function Mutations, and “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”
    Michael J Behe
    Excerpt: I review molecular changes underlying some adaptations, with a particular emphasis on evolutionary experiments with microbes conducted over the past four decades. I show that by far the most common adaptive changes seen in those examples are due to the loss or modification of a pre-existing molecular function,
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21243963/

    I can think of no greater contradiction with evolutionary dogma than the scientific fact that ‘evolutionary mechanisms’ will overwhelmingly drive organisms in a downhill direction rather than ever driving them towards greater and greater levels of complexity.

    Romans 8:18-21
    I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77 @ 3

    Both John Sanford and Michael Behe have now shown that “the mechanisms of evolution” do indeed have a ‘predisposition’ for change in a particular direction, and that predisposition for change in a ‘particular direction’ is overwhelmingly “down not up”

    You still haven’t explained how, if genetic entropy is such an irresistible process, any life at all is still around or how it even got started in the first place.

    And neither you nor any of the engineers have explained why a designer should use such a fundamentally flawed process in any of its works in the first place. I doubt any responsible human civil engineer would build a bridge using materials that they knew would doom the structure to collapse.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, preservation is by active error correction. Origin of a system pivoting on alphanumeric, coded linguistic information and associated execution machinery is obvious save to the ideologically blind. KF

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky claims that.

    “You still haven’t explained how,,,, any life at all is still around or how it even got started in the first place.”

    If ID advocates have no explanation as to how “any life at all is still around or how it even got started in the first place”. then Seversky also has no explanation as to how he could have possibly written his very own post at 4.

    In other words, the explanation is ‘intelligent causation’. And if intelligent causation does not exist then Seversky could not have possibly of written his own post, whereas is if intelligent causation does exist, then Seversky can explain not only how he wrote his own post but he can also offer an explanation as to how life got started and how it is ‘still around’. (Not to mention, being able to explain the existence of the computer sitting right in front of his face).

    A few notes to that effect:

    Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let’s Dump Methodological Naturalism – Paul Nelson – September 24, 2014
    Excerpt: Assessing the Damage MN Does to Freedom of Inquiry
    Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism. If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.
    MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural?,,,
    You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2014/09/do_you_like_set/

    Recognising Top-Down Causation – George Ellis
    Excerpt: Excerpt: Causation: The nature of causation is highly contested territory, and I will take a pragmatic view:
    Definition 1: Causal Effect If making a change in a quantity X results in a reliable demonstrable change in a quantity Y in a given context, then X has a causal effect on Y.
    Example: I press the key labelled “A” on my computer keyboard; the letter “A” appears on my computer screen.,,,
    Definition 2: Existence If Y is a physical entity made up of ordinary matter, and X is some kind of entity that has a demonstrable causal effect on Y as per Definition 1, then we must acknowledge that X also exists (even if it is not made up of such matter).
    This is clearly a sensible and testable criterion; in the example above, it leads to the conclusion that both the data and the relevant software exist. If we do not adopt this definition, we will have instances of uncaused changes in the world; I presume we wish to avoid that situation.,,,
    ,,, Causal Efficacy of Non Physical entities:
    Both the program and the data are non-physical entities, indeed so is all software. A program is not a physical thing you can point to, but by Definition 2 it certainly exists. You can point to a CD or flashdrive where it is stored, but that is not the thing in itself: it is a medium in which it is stored.
    The program itself is an abstract entity, shaped by abstract logic. Is the software “nothing but” its realisation through a specific set of stored electronic states in the computer memory banks? No it is not because it is the precise pattern in those states that matters: a higher level relation that is not apparent at the scale of the electrons themselves. It’s a relational thing (and if you get the relations between the symbols wrong, so you have a syntax error, it will all come to a grinding halt). This abstract nature of software is realised in the concept of virtual machines, which occur at every level in the computer hierarchy except the bottom one [17]. But this tower of virtual machines causes physical effects in the real world, for example when a computer controls a robot in an assembly line to create physical artefacts.,,,
    The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.
    http://fqxi.org/data/essay-con.....s_2012.pdf

    And as Paul Davies touches upon in the following article, “Trying to make life by mixing chemicals in a test tube is like soldering switches and wires in an attempt to produce Windows 98. It won’t work because it addresses the problem at the wrong conceptual level.”

    How we could create life – The key to existence will be found not in primordial sludge, but in the nanotechnology of the living cell – Paul Davies – 2002
    Excerpt: the living cell is best thought of as a supercomputer – an information processing and replicating system of astonishing complexity. DNA is not a special life-giving molecule, but a genetic databank that transmits its information using a mathematical code. Most of the workings of the cell are best described, not in terms of material stuff – hardware – but as information, or software. Trying to make life by mixing chemicals in a test tube is like soldering switches and wires in an attempt to produce Windows 98. It won’t work because it addresses the problem at the wrong conceptual level.
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2002/dec/11/highereducation.uk

  7. 7
    ET says:

    seversky:

    You still haven’t explained how, if genetic entropy is such an irresistible process, any life at all is still around or how it even got started in the first place.

    Intelligent Design, duh. Intelligent agents have the ability to fight back entropy. We see it on a daily basis.

    And neither you nor any of the engineers have explained why a designer should use such a fundamentally flawed process in any of its works in the first place.

    Neither you or any engineer can design and manufacture living organisms. You are just a clueless rube.

    I doubt any responsible human civil engineer would build a bridge using materials that they knew would doom the structure to collapse.

    And yet they do. No bridge will remain forever. All bridges has a life span. And that life span depends on humans to fight back entropy.

  8. 8
    Fasteddious says:

    IF Darwinism were true – a very large IF – then as time went on, one would expect ever more species, ever more differentiation, and occasionally, ever more complexity. Place a hundred random walkers at the same starting point, and an hour later they will cover a certain area. After two hours, the area will be larger. Indeed, there are mathematical analyses of this sort of random spreading effect: diffusion of ink in water, and similar events. Clearly, if Darwinism worked as we are told, then the longer you observe the biosphere, the more species would diversify, and along the way, some would gain more complex functions and features. In that sense, the author is sort of correct. However, this is nor evolutionary “direction” at all, any more than the random walk pattern has a direction. Most living organisms are still tiny and relatively simple (and largely unchanged over time). The more complex ones are few and on one fringe of Earth’s biome.
    Of course, Darwinism is not the mechanism by which the biosphere evolved to where it is today. Over and over it has been shown incapable of adding new functionality or adding new genomic information. Indeed, as Behe has clearly shown, Darwinism, left to its own devices, leads to devolution, wherein genomic information is lost or garbled as time goes on.

  9. 9
    Seversky says:

    Kairosfocus @ 5

    Sev, preservation is by active error correction. Origin of a system pivoting on alphanumeric, coded linguistic information and associated execution machinery is obvious save to the ideologically blind. KF

    Genetic entropy is presented as an inexorable process of degradation, regardless of any error correcting mechanisms that might be incorporated. Again, what intelligent designer in their right mind would use such a system for anything?

  10. 10
    ET says:

    seversky:

    Genetic entropy is presented as an inexorable process of degradation, regardless of any error correcting mechanisms that might be incorporated.

    Evidence please. You don’t just get to say stuff like that without support.

    Again, what intelligent designer in their right mind would use such a system for anything?

    One that didn’t have an option, I would suspect. Duh.

  11. 11
    Querius says:

    Vlatko Vedralis a professor of Physics at the University of Oxford specializes in quantum theory and whose research papers are widely cited expresses the concept this way:

    The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.

    So biological information is also subject to entropy, which can be counteracted to a degree with designed error-correction mechanisms. However, genetic load has always been slowly increasing, generation by generation. Natural selection can eliminate organisms but at the cost of reduced genetic diversity, leading to reduced adaptability and then to extinction.

    With enough knowledge, design can be reintroduced or repaired by genetic editing through the infusion of specific information and the reduction of genetic noise, but we first have to correctly recognize the difference in a genome.

    This is why the assumption that unknown aspects in DNA are junk is detrimental to scientific progress while the assumption of design promotes scientific progress.

    -Q

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