Darwinism Evolution

Maximo Sandin

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As every child in our public school system knows, all critics of neo-Darwinism are religious fanatics. Except those who aren’t, such as University of Madrid biologist Maximo Sandin, whose dislike for Darwinism seem to be as much based on its association with capitalism (here) as with its inconsistency with the fossil record and other evidence.

The theories which have been proposed to replace neo-Darwinism tell us something about the respect that many biologists have for the official version. Sandin’s alternative theory involves viruses and bacterias (he refers more or less approvingly to Alfred Hoyle’s “Evolution from Space”). The following is excerpted from one of his essays , an English translation is here .

Viral and bacterial response capacity to environmental stimuli would justify the inevitably rapid and far-reaching changes shown in the fossil record, forcibly needed due to the complex interrelation between tissues and the whole organism. And their “infective” character would render these changes possible in a considerably large number of organisms simultaneously. On the other hand, this infective character could be implicated in mass and selective extinctions, often coinciding with episodes of environmental disruption, events that would therefore be part of the evolutionary process.

In this context, natural selection, whose lack of creative power has been previously discussed, would be relegated to a secondary plane in the evolutionary process, being occasional and void of meaning as a mechanism for evolution. Competition would no longer be the driving force behind evolution, since new species would arise and mature as a whole.

29 Replies to “Maximo Sandin

  1. 1
    poachy says:

    Maximo Sandin, whose dislike for Darwinism seem to be as much based on its association with capitalism

    I am confused by this. I thought that Darwinism was associated with Marxism and Nazism?

  2. 2
    jerry says:

    poachy,

    Darwinism hypothesizes competition for limited resources and then survival of the fittest which is at odds with socialism. It means there are winners and losers and that is associated with capitalism. Socialism emphasizes cooperation and equality of results which is certainly not natural selection.

    Don’t expect consistency. Both the Nazis and Communist were socialists. One rejected Darwin and one embraced him. Marx liked Darwinism because of its atheistic ideas while Stalin objected to it and forced through a different theory of evolution.

    Hitler’s race based theories used Darwin as justification for their attempts in purifying the race. Current socialist thought doesn’t like Darwin because of it says we are all not equal. So you will get nutty theories to fit in to their ideology.

    It would be funny if what kills Darwin in schools is socialism.

  3. 3
    Dembskian says:

    Hi Poachy, you’re right. This is a very complex issue.

    I think it is safe to say that there are connections between the untethered free market and social Darwinism. I don’t think this can be denied. Obviously the Nazi’s ideas on race and ‘living space’ were influenced by Darwin.

    Marxism believes that man is shaped by his economic environment Create a ‘better’ society and man will become better. I think this is Lamarkian.

    That is a brief and simplified summary. I think ‘survival of the fittest’ style capitalism and Nazi ideology are closer to Darwinism than Marxism.

  4. 4
    Dembskian says:

    By the way, I’m not advocating Marxism or anything. In case people misconstrue what I wrote.

  5. 5
    Ekstasis says:

    The theory has been proposed that Darwin’s mind was pre-disposed to his theory of evolution as a result of political economics such as that developed by Thomas Robert Malthus, writing between 1798 and 1826.

    Here is one of Malthus’ excerpts: ” …in all societies, even those that are most vicious, the tendency to a virtuous attachment is so strong that there is a constant effort towards an increase of population. This constant effort as constantly tends to subject the lower classes of the society to distress” Note the competition for resources and the survival of the fittest themes!

    So, while Darwinian evolution has influenced political thought, the reverse also happens. Yep, science in practice is still subject to all the foibles of the human psyche.

  6. 6
    Atom says:

    Salthe also touched on the connection between capitalism and Darwinism (). I elaborated on Salthe’s point here. (Under “Writings”.)

  7. 7
    Atom says:

    Hmm…it ate my link to Salthe’s article. Here is the URL, without the markup:

    http://www.nbi.dk/%7Enatphil/s.....elect_.pdf

  8. 8
    bFast says:

    So where can a person introduce a perfectly intriguing argument for a thread that doesn’t exist. I can’t find a better place to put it, so I’ll put it here.

    I have been looking for a way to illustrate what I call the signal to nose ratio problem.

    Consider five organisms that each contain 200 genes for which there are two alleles. Let us order the alleles, calling the slightly less fit for the current environment (possibly more fit for a slightly different environment) allele 1, and the more fit, allele 2. We can now determine the relative fitness of the organism by adding up the allele numbers.

    Now we throw in a new, slightly beneficial mutation, and give it allele #3. One of the organisms below has an allele 3. Do you really think that if we added reproduction, allele mixing (which doesn’t even happen in non-sexual organisms) and natural selection that natural selection is sensitive enough to cause allele 3 to spread throughout the population? I kinda doubt it. Now what if every cycle we also through in two or three allele 0s at random? Would that not make natural selection’s challenge even greater? What if we assumed an average of 2 alleles for each human gene. With this assumption, the one beneficial allele is lost in a jungle of 25,000 alleles (if you limit your count to coding genes.)

    Organism 1:
    1111111222 2212112211 1221212112 1112222121 1212221112 1112212112 1112122121 1122212212 1221122222 1121121121 2221122222 2221112122 1121121112 2221222212 1222211212 1221212121 1221111221 1122121111 1122212112 1212112222 SUM = 301

    Organism 2:
    2112121121 1111111222 2211121122 2211112111 2222221122 2212122222 2221111221 2212212122 2211211122 2121112222 1221222222 2112112112 1122222212 1121112121 1122221222 1112121111 2111222111 2221211121 2221121122 2222212111 SUM = 306

    Organism 3:
    2112111222 1111222221 2212222111 1211222211 1221121112 2211221121 1221212111 2111111112 1221221122 1212122211 1112111222 2111211111 2111221112 1122212212 1122211222 2211221112 2221211121 1211112221 1112122122 1222222212 SUM = 296

    Organism 4:
    1111211111 1122111121 2211222122 1212222121 2221111212 1222111221 2111121221 1122212112 1212111222 1121211122 2211121212 2312111211 1111212121 1221121222 1112211212 2222221112 1211122122 1211111112 2211212121 2212222121 SUM = 295

    Organism 5:
    1112221211 1111222221 1112112112 1211112222 2121211112 1112111121 2121112212 2222211121 2111221111 1111211222 1212122121 2221222221 1111222112 1222211211 1211212221 2222111212 1111211111 1222221122 2221221111 1121111212 SUM = 290

    Where is Waldo, anyway?

  9. 9
    Dembskian says:

    I LOVE WHERE’S WALDO!

  10. 10
    bFast says:

    Which one, this one or the original? Btw, have you found the 3 yet?

  11. 11
    Dembskian says:

    * ALSO

    I think capitalism is good.. but I am not sure a completely free market is a good thing.. but what do I know?

  12. 12
    Ahmed Aouin says:

    Ekstasis: “Yep, science in practice is still subject to all the foibles of the human psyche.”

    (Please gentleman forgive slow reply, I am spending time in translating)

    I argue this. In türkey we are witha new goverment, AKP partei. This is named > but is making fundamental creation teaching . It is not science!! It is not Inteligent Design! Science is ration, not foible.

  13. 13
    Ahmed Aouin says:

    Forgive please, AKP is name Moderate Islamic partei, but post it shows it not.

  14. 14
    Ekstasis says:

    Jerry says “Socialism emphasizes cooperation and equality of results which is certainly not natural selection….. It would be funny if what kills Darwin in schools is socialism.”

    Not likely. Most of our big secular humanists are big believers in both NDE and Socialism. How could this be? This certainly appears paradoxical at first blush. Well, perhaps it can be reconciled and explained if you look for the invisible common thread — control through manipulation, which requires elimination of transcendent truths and allegiances.

    Look at it this way, I cannot control you successfully if you already have a firm belief in a higher purpose that serves as your anchor. But if I can convince you that no such factor or power exists, than you are free to be manipulated by whatever enticement or fear grabs you and holds you.

    Then I go to phase two, preaching liberation to you while all the time I am covertly promoting your dependence. Oh yes, you must depend on us for your medicines, your free drug needles, your housing, and your environment, etc etc. It is all nearly free. But is it? Just ask those who got hooked on welfare.

    A near perfect strategy, is it not??

  15. 15
    j says:

    [Off-topic. Dr. Sewell, sorry for stepping on your post.]

    bFast,

    Several weeks ago, I actually started writing a program to evaluate something like the question you’re asking. My plan was to work out the basic architecture of the program using an Excel macro (written in Visual Basic for Applications), to make it easy to troubleshoot bugs, then eventually convert it into an executable program (for speed), with much, much larger populations and phenomes. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to develop it beyond the initial working model, which only shows mutations accruing in artificially-selected, asexually-reproducing organisms.

    The Excel VBA source code is below. If you have Excel, you should be able to run it by doing the following:
    1. Start a workbook and rename two workseets “E” and “P” (for “environment” and “phenome”).
    2. In the “E” sheet, enter the following values: 100 into cell B1; 100 into cell B2, 1 into cell B3; and 1 into cell B4. These values correspond to initial, working values for the number of “organisms”, the number of “phenes” each organism has, the overall mutation rate (%), and rate of beneficial to detrimental mutations (%).
    3. Create a macro and paste in the source code.
    4. Go to worksheet “P” and run the macro. The macro will automatically populate the cells and run 20 generations…

    Others are welcome to develop the program further, provided that they make the improved program(s) and source code freely available on the Internet to everyone. (BTW, I’m not a software engineer, so criticisms of my coding would be wasted effort.)

    Source code:
    ____________________

    Sub phenome1()

    Dim ic, ir As Integer

    ‘Beginning:

    ‘Initialize 100 phenomes, each broken into 100 “phenes” (traits) set at fitness of 100
    Worksheets(“P”).Range(Cells(1, 1), Cells(100, 100)).Interior.Color = RGB(255, 255, 255)
    Worksheets(“P”).Range(Cells(1, 1), Cells(100, 100)) = 100

    pop = Val(Worksheets(“E”).Cells(1, 2)) ‘Population of organisms
    phenes = Val(Worksheets(“E”).Cells(2, 2)) ‘Quantity of phenes in each organism
    mrate = Val(Worksheets(“E”).Cells(3, 2)) ‘Rate of mutations per generation (percentage)
    brate = Val(Worksheets(“E”).Cells(4, 2)) ‘Rate of beneficial mutations to detrimental mutations (percentage)
    mtot = pop * phenes * mrate ‘Total number of mutations per generation

    Do

    ‘Generation:

    a = Rnd
    ‘Apply random mutations
    k = 0
    Do
    k = k + 1
    ‘Generate discrete mutation with (detrimental) bias determined by rate of beneficial mutation
    m = Sgn(Rnd – (1 – brate))
    ‘Choose random phene (from entire population) to mutate by defining a 4-digit phene #
    pm = Int((pop * phenes) * Rnd)

    ‘Row of phene to mutate corresponds to the last two digits of 4-digit phene #
    ir = Int(Val(Right$(Str$(pm), 2))) + 1
    ‘Column of phene to mutate corresponds to the first two digits of 4-digit phene #
    ic = Int((pm – (ir – 1)) / 100) + 1
    Worksheets(“P”).Cells(101, k) = ic ‘Check to make sure that column makes sense
    Worksheets(“P”).Cells(102, k) = ir ‘Check to make sure that row makes sense

    ‘Apply mutation to value of phene
    Worksheets(“P”).Cells(ir, ic) = Worksheets(“P”).Cells(ir, ic) + m
    ‘Color code mutations to make it easy to see what’s happening: Red = detrimental, Green = beneficial
    Worksheets(“P”).Cells(ir, ic).Interior.Color = RGB(255 * Int((1 – m) / 2), 255 * Int((1 + m) / 2), 0)

    m = 0

    Loop While k Worksheets(“P”).Cells(ir + 1, ic) Then a = a + 1
    If Worksheets(“P”).Cells(ir, ic) a Then
    For ic = 1 To 100
    Worksheets(“P”).Cells(ir, ic) = Worksheets(“P”).Cells(ir + 1, ic)
    Next ic
    ‘Highlight in yellow to make it easy to see which was replaced
    ‘Worksheets(“P”).Range(Cells(ir, 1), Cells(ir, 100)).Interior.Color = RGB(255, 255, 127)
    End If

    If a > b Then
    For ic = 1 To 100
    Worksheets(“P”).Cells(ir + 1, ic) = Worksheets(“P”).Cells(ir, ic)
    Next ic
    ‘Highlight in cyan to make it easy to see which was replaced
    ‘Worksheets(“P”).Range(Cells(ir, 1), Cells(ir, 100)).Interior.Color = RGB(127, 255, 255)
    End If

    Next ir

    Gen = Gen + 1
    Worksheets(“P”).Cells(103, 10) = Gen

    Loop While Gen

  16. 16
    Mung says:

    I have been looking for a way to illustrate what I call the signal to nose ratio problem.

    Same here. In fact, I recently sneezed, reflectively wiped the detritus off my paper, and was immediately forced to stop and reflect on “the signal to nose problem.”

  17. 17
    bFast says:

    I am working on my own simulator (though I seem to do mostly other stuff). However, it is written in painfully optimized C++. It will take Dawkins’ “Methinks that it looks like a weasel” program and broaden it to its limits. Do you really think that we can get to a 50,000 character phraise by honest random mutation and selection in a population of 10,000? I personally don’t think that the program will get there once a genuine noise-level is introduced.

  18. 18
    j says:

    I noticed two lines that didn’t post properly (due “less than” signs being interpreted as HTML codes; “greater than” signs post properly, so I’ll use them instead):

    Change:
    Loop While k Worksheets(”P”).Cells(ir + 1, ic) Then a = a + 1

    To:
    Loop While mtot > k
    Worksheets(”P”).Cells(ir + 1, ic) Then a = a + 1

    Change:
    Loop While Gen

    To:
    Loop While 20 > Gen

  19. 19
    Bob O'H says:

    bFast @ 8 – you’re illustrating a well known problem, genetic drift. With a population size of 5, the relative fitness has to be very large to have a visible effect. Drift is a large factor in small populations, so even alleles which reduce fitness can become fixed.

    Actually, there’s another aspect in this. Any new allele that enters a population will start with a low frequency, so its dynamics are essentially stochastic. The upshot of this is that many mutations will not invade a population, they will go extinct first.

  20. 20
    j says:

    [Sorry, again, Dr. Sewell…]
    Actually, “less than” symbols had more of an effect than I first saw. Here’s the entire source code again, with only “greater than” symbols used:
    __________________

    Sub phenome1()

    Dim ic, ir As Integer

    ‘Beginning:

    ‘Initialize 100 phenomes, each broken into 100 “phenes” (traits) set at fitness of 100
    Worksheets(“P”).Range(Cells(1, 1), Cells(100, 100)).Interior.Color = RGB(255, 255, 255)
    Worksheets(“P”).Range(Cells(1, 1), Cells(100, 100)) = 100

    pop = Val(Worksheets(“E”).Cells(1, 2)) ‘Population of organisms
    phenes = Val(Worksheets(“E”).Cells(2, 2)) ‘Quantity of phenes in each organism
    mrate = Val(Worksheets(“E”).Cells(3, 2)) ‘Rate of mutations per generation (percentage)
    brate = Val(Worksheets(“E”).Cells(4, 2)) ‘Rate of beneficial mutations to detrimental mutations (percentage)
    mtot = pop * phenes * mrate ‘Total number of mutations per generation

    Do

    ‘Generation:

    a = Rnd
    ‘Apply random mutations
    k = 0
    Do
    k = k + 1
    ‘Generate discrete mutation with (detrimental) bias determined by rate of beneficial mutation
    m = Sgn(Rnd – (1 – brate))
    ‘Choose random phene (from entire population) to mutate by defining a 4-digit phene #
    pm = Int((pop * phenes) * Rnd)

    ‘Row of phene to mutate corresponds to the last two digits of 4-digit phene #
    ir = Int(Val(Right$(Str$(pm), 2))) + 1
    ‘Column of phene to mutate corresponds to the first two digits of 4-digit phene #
    ic = Int((pm – (ir – 1)) / 100) + 1
    Worksheets(“P”).Cells(101, k) = ic ‘Check to make sure that column makes sense
    Worksheets(“P”).Cells(102, k) = ir ‘Check to make sure that row makes sense

    ‘Apply mutation to value of phene
    Worksheets(“P”).Cells(ir, ic) = Worksheets(“P”).Cells(ir, ic) + m
    ‘Color code mutations to make it easy to see what’s happening: Red = detrimental, Green = beneficial
    Worksheets(“P”).Cells(ir, ic).Interior.Color = RGB(255 * Int((1 – m) / 2), 255 * Int((1 + m) / 2), 0)

    m = 0

    Loop While mtot > k

    ‘Artificial selection:

    ‘Compare the phenome of each organism to the phenome of the next organism
    ‘Use counters (a and b) to keep track of relative +’s
    For ir = 1 To 99 Step 2
    a = 0
    b = 0
    For ic = 1 To 100
    If Worksheets(“P”).Cells(ir, ic) > Worksheets(“P”).Cells(ir + 1, ic) Then a = a + 1
    If Worksheets(“P”).Cells(ir + 1, ic) > Worksheets(“P”).Cells(ir, ic) Then b = b + 1
    Next ic

    ‘If even phenome has more beneficial phenes, then replace odd phenome with even phenome
    If b > a Then
    For ic = 1 To 100
    Worksheets(“P”).Cells(ir, ic) = Worksheets(“P”).Cells(ir + 1, ic)
    Next ic
    ‘Highlight in yellow to make it easy to see which was replaced
    ‘Worksheets(“P”).Range(Cells(ir, 1), Cells(ir, 100)).Interior.Color = RGB(255, 255, 127)
    End If

    If a > b Then
    For ic = 1 To 100
    Worksheets(“P”).Cells(ir + 1, ic) = Worksheets(“P”).Cells(ir, ic)
    Next ic
    ‘Highlight in cyan to make it easy to see which was replaced
    ‘Worksheets(“P”).Range(Cells(ir, 1), Cells(ir, 100)).Interior.Color = RGB(127, 255, 255)
    End If

    Next ir

    Gen = Gen + 1
    Worksheets(“P”).Cells(103, 10) = Gen

    Loop While 20 > Gen

    End Sub

  21. 21
    bFast says:

    Bob O’H, “bFast @ 8 – you’re illustrating a well known problem, genetic drift.”

    Yes, I am suggesting that the new allele will fail or succeed almost totally because of drift, it will not be directly selected for.

    Bob O’H, “Drift is a large factor in small populations”

    Are you suggesting that if the population is large enough natural selection will be able to select for the advantageous allele? Show me the math.

  22. 22
    Bob O'H says:

    bFast – NTJ Bailey, The Elements of Stochastic Processes with Applications to the Natural Sciences.

    It might also be in Ewens’ book on mathematical population genetics.

  23. 23
    bFast says:

    Bob O’H, I asked for a formula, not the entire textbook!

    Please provide a formula, I’ll code it into a simulation, we’ll see if it works. ‘Bet it doesn’t.

  24. 24
    Bob O'H says:

    bFast – the book’s in my office, and I won’t be there until Monday afternoon. To be honest, I would suggest you read the book (it’s not a long section, IIRC), because only that way will you understand what you’re doing, and also know if the assumptions are appropriate.

  25. 25
    PannenbergOmega says:

    Alfred Hoyle’s “Evolution from Space”

    Isn’t it Fred Hoyle?

  26. 26
    Bob O'H says:

    bFast – Zachriel wants to check that he’s represented your model correctly but he’s not sure he’s got a good contact for you (he’s gone through ISCID).

  27. 27
    Granville Sewell says:

    PannenbergOmega

    Hmm, the article by Sandin that I link to above gives Alfred Hoyle as the author; from Google it appears you are right, though I did find 2 more places where the author of “Evolution from Space” is listed as Alfred Hoyle, one in Spanish and one which also refers to Sandin. So not sure what the deal is, maybe someone who cares more than I do can investigate this further.

  28. 28
    PannenbergOmega says:

    Hi, not a big deal.
    I sometimes have a tendency to “split hairs” so to speak.

    Have a nice weekend everyone.

  29. 29
    bFast says:

    Bob O’H, thanks for connecting me with Zachriel on antievolution.org. I have a lot of respect for Zachriel, he is clearly knowledgable, he is well spoken, and willing to look at real challenges. He certainly is on the other side of the fence, however he is one that I wish was not banned here. Uncommon Descent is too quick, in my opinion, to remove descenting voices.

    Zachriel has started a new thread:
    http://www.antievolution.org/c.....=5449;st=0
    You may want to join in on the conversation.

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