Intelligent Design Natural selection science education

At Oscillations: “Natural selection” issue stirs again at College Boards

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The course and exam framework put heavy emphasis on Darwinism even though, as noted earlier, it simply isn’t treated any more as an explain-all. Independent journalist Suzan Mazur asked Richard Phelps, founder and editor of theNonpartisan Education Review and an expert in educational testing for comment:

Suzan Mazur: Over the last decade or so, scientists relying on evidence arrived at through increasingly sophisticated microscopy and myriad other technologies have come to regard Darwinian natural selection as metaphorical—as a fairy tale of sorts, not to be taken literally as it was for a century and a half following Darwin’s publication of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life

Evolutionary science has deepened. However, College Board continues to put “iron bands” around the brains of America’s youth and its teachers by dictating in its biology course and testing framework that the Darwinian theory of natural selection is “the major mechanism of evolution.” It gives 24 pages to natural selection in its most recent AP Biology course and exam framework…

Richard Phelps: I don’t have a background in biology, but there is a problem with the AP exams in that they tend to side with whomever is in power at the time.

Suzan Mazur, “Richard Phelps Weighs In on College Board Natural Selection Racket” at Oscillations

It goes on and gets way better. You’ll be amazed at the idiocracy that the testing establishment takes for granted and promotes. Read at her site about how one testcrat even administered the same test twice, a fact advertised on the internet… and more. By the way, why don’t we hear much about this from other science writers?

Put another way: If natural selection explained as much as the College Board exam moguls think, they themselves would have been “eaten” a long time ago. They should be glad it isn’t true, that life’s more complicated.

The rest of us?… Hey, don’t push us, don’t push us… We’d rather be glad it isn’t true anyway

Suzan Mazur is the author of a number of books documenting the changes in the state of evolution theory, including The Paradigm Shifters: Overthrowing ‘the Hegemony of the Culture of Darwin’.

See also: At Oscillations: How The College Board Skews Students Toward Darwinism The course and exam framework put heavy emphasis on Darwinism even though, as noted earlier, it simply isn’t treated any more as an explain-all.

20 Replies to “At Oscillations: “Natural selection” issue stirs again at College Boards

  1. 1
    asauber says:

    “Natural Selection”

    bwahahaha!

    Happy Friday! 🙂

    Andrew

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    Thinking from another angle, this is just proper and valid testing.

    These tests are supposed to predict who will do well in college, and college is supposed to prepare you for “professional” jobs. You can’t get a job unless you ferociously support current orthodoxy, so a college that deviates from orthodoxy isn’t preparing the students for success. A test that doesn’t treat current fashion as the only correct answer isn’t predicting success in college and “professions”.

  3. 3
    Mimus says:

    This is such a bizarre interview, it’s just Mazur blurting out her own strange misunderstanding of this one comment Lewinton in a decadold article (selection as a metaphor). The interviewee makes it clear he knows nothing about biology, but she just presses on with her own perculiar story.

  4. 4
    Truthfreedom says:

    @3 Mimus

    Liwenton

    Lewontin.

    decadold

    Decade old.

    perculiar

    Peculiar.

    There. Fixed for you. 🙂

  5. 5
    Mimus says:

    Ok, I can’t spell especially well. Now, what about Mazur and News who don’t seem to be able to reason at all?

  6. 6
    News says:

    Mimus at 5: 1) Spellcheck is your friend, not your enemy. 2) Watch your comments. Mazur is doing a remarkable job of what six journalists would be needed for, just confronting all the unearned public credit Darwinism is given.

  7. 7
    Mimus says:

    Mazur is doing a remarkable job

    Is she, though? Recall, this last little adventure is based on the idea that natrual selection is understood to be “metaphorical” and not “literal” since no agent is doing the selection. She seems to think this is a new thing, rather than something that goes back to Darwin, and, most inexplicably of all, that this means natural selection is not an important part of biology. None of that makes any sense at all. Though, of course, this is very much par for the course for Mazur who constiantly mistakes cranks and thouse on the preiferey of evolutionary biology for the mainstream and misrepresents their position and findings.

    I think you should really consider whether she’s doing good careful journalistic work, or perhaps just aligns closely enough to your own biases that you let her lack of rigour or reasoning slide.

  8. 8
    ET says:

    Natural selection is nothing more than contingent serendipity. It has never been shown to be the designer-mimic Darwin envisioned. NS is just a process of elimination.

  9. 9
    Truthfreedom says:

    The Death of ‘Natural Selection’

    The National Center for Science Education states that “The only difference between natural selection and artificial selection is whether the difference in reproductive success is driven by naturally occurring processes, or whether the selection is imposed by humans.”

    But due to the fact that we humans are ‘another’ product and ONLY the product of ‘nature’ (according to naturalism/ materialism/ physicalism), THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE.

    YOU CAN NOT DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN TWO IDENTICAL PROCESSES.

    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/the-death-of-natural-selection/

  10. 10
    ET says:

    There is a HUGE difference between natural and artificial selection. As Ernst Mayr explained:

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

    and

    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.

    Artificial selection is actual selection, ie the first paragraph. NS is the second.

  11. 11
    Truthfreedom says:

    @10 ET:
    The problem of the false dichotomy ‘Artificial’ vs ‘Natural’ selection is for the naturalist (a.k.a. materialist/ physicalist =atheist).

    Because according to them, the human species is just another one among millions of species on Earth.
    – Is there for example ‘zebrafish’ selection vs ‘natural’ selection? Not, because ‘zebrafish’ are part of nature, therefore the selective pressures they exert upon other species are obviously ‘natural’. The distinction does not make sense.

    Only if you have a legitimate explanation for the difference between humans/ the rest of species, can you legitimately apply the dichotomy.

    The theist is not trapped here because the theist claims that humans are animals, but rational ones, created in the image of God (Imago Dei). The theist can logically make the difference without making a fool of himself.

  12. 12
    Ed George says:

    TF

    THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE.

    YOU CAN NOT DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN TWO IDENTICAL PROCESSES.

    They aren’t identical. Artificial selection is the result of intent. Breeding to get a bigger udder. Breeding for larger body size. Natural selection has no intent, just a consequence.

  13. 13
    Seversky says:

    The key point is that, for either artificial or natural selection to occur, certain processes must exist in nature such as random variation and heritability. We observe those processes to happen in nature so evolution, even if only based on natural selection, can happen. Any design theory will have to account for a designer who uses processes which, over time, lead to unpredictable outcomes as far as we can tell. Either that or sacrifice free will.

  14. 14
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    @Truthfreedom #9

    YOU CAN NOT DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN TWO IDENTICAL PROCESSES.

    Isn’t that what ID claims to be able to differentiate?
    Thanks for admitting that ID makes no sense.

  15. 15
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    The key point is that, for either artificial or natural selection to occur, certain processes must exist in nature such as random variation and heritability.

    Question-begging. One of the main points is that the variation isn’t all random.

    Any design theory will have to account for a designer who uses processes which, over time, lead to unpredictable outcomes as far as we can tell.

    Absolutely. It’s called intelligently designing organisms with the information and ability to adapt and evolve under given environments. It involves unpredictable contingencies.

  16. 16
    Truthfreedom says:

    @14 Pater Kimbridge
    Sorry to announce you that you have supremely bad reading skills. Please re-read posts 9 and 11.
    The problem is, again, for naturalism. Another nail in its coffin.

    As if naturalism’s epistemological blunder were not bad enough: 🙂
    https://strangenotions.com/materialisms-failures-hylemorphisms-vindication/

  17. 17
    Truthfreedom says:

    @12 Ed George

    They aren’t identical. Artificial selection is the result of intent. Breeding to get a bigger udder. Breeding for larger body size. Natural selection has no intent, just a consequence.

    How can ‘mindless processes’ create ‘intent’?

  18. 18
    Truthfreedom says:

    @13 Seversky

    Either that or sacrifice free will.

    Can we ‘sacrifice’ something we are ‘not sure’ it exists?

  19. 19
    critical rationalist says:

    @Truthfreedom

    There are two kinds of knowledge: explanatory and non-explanatory. To illustrate this distinction further…

    For example, imagine I’ve been shipwrecked on a deserted island and I have partial amnesia due to the wreck. I remember that coconuts are edible so climb a tree to pick them. While attempting to pick a coconut, one falls, lands of a rock and splits open. Note that I did not intend for the coconut to fall, let alone plan for it to fall because I guessed coconuts that fall on rocks might crack open. The coconut falling was random in respect to the problem I hadn’t yet even tried to solve. Furthermore, due to my amnesia, I’ve hypothetically forgotten what I know about physics, including mass, inertia, etc. Specifically, I lack an explanation as to why the coconut landing on the rock causes it to open. As such, my knowledge of how to open coconuts is merely a useful rule of thumb, which is limited in reach. For example, in the absence of an explanation, I might collect coconuts picked from other trees, carry them to this same tree, climb it, then drop them on the rocks to open them.

    However, explanatory knowledge has significant reach. Specifically, if my explanatory knowledge of physics, including inertia, mass, etc. returned, I could use that explanation to strike coconut with any similar sized rock, rather than vice versa. Furthermore, I could exchange the rock with another object with significant mass, such as an anchor and open objects other than coconuts, such as shells, use this knowledge to protect myself from attacking wildlife, etc.

    So, explanatory knowledge comes from intentional conjectures made by people and have significant reach. Non-explanatory knowledge (useful rules of thumb) represent unintentional conjectures and have limited reach. Knowledge can be created without intent in the form of useful rules of thumb. The knowledge of how to build biological adaptations isn’t explanatory in nature but a useful rule of thumb.

    Only people can create explanatory knowledge. Human beings are universal explainers. That is, they can create explanatory theories about how the world works, in response to problems. It’s possible that definition fits some advanced alien civilization in the universe, in which they would fall under what I’m calling people as well. People can create both explanatory and non-explanatory knowledge.

    However, natural processes, such as evolution, can only create non-explanatory knowledge. They cannot conjecture solutions to specific problems, because they cannot conceive of problems at all. Variations are not random, in this sense, but the are random to a specific problem to solve, as they represent a kind if feedback loop.

    Nature selection and artificial selection both fall under the same theory: that knowledge grows via variation controlled by criticism. Variation that is unique to people refers to conjecturing theories targeting problems and intentional criticism. Variation in the case of evolution refers to variation that is random to a specific problem to solve, as opposed to being completely and utterly random.

    We know that a page in a book was written by a person because it includes explanatory knowledge.It includes concepts, about love, hope, explanatory theories, etc. It refers to other theories, some of which are and include people.

    This is why the entire comparison of a genome with a sentence from a book has always seemed so disingenuous. Of course, it was designed. It contains explanatory knowledge. It refers to other people. And only people can create explanatory knowledge.

  20. 20
    critical rationalist says:

    From the perspective of constructor theory, we can model nature is a crude approximate of a constructor.

    From this paper (The constructor theory of life) …

    The first point is that the logic of evolution by natural selection is compatible with no-design laws because—in short—selection and variation are non-specific to its end products. This is explicated by modeling the logic of natural selection as an approximate construction, whose substrates are populations of replicators and whose (highly approximate) constructor is the environment. Evolution relies upon populations being changed by variation and selection over the timescale spanning many generations: replicators—constructors for self-reproduction, on the shorter timescale—become now sub- strates. Crucially, the mutations in the replicators, caused by the environment, are non-specific, (as in §3.1), to the ‘end product’ of evolution (as Dawkins put it, not ‘systematically directed to improvement’ [30]). This constructor-theoretic characterization of mutations replaces the less precise locution ‘random mutations’ (as opposed to non-random selection, [5]). These mutations are all transmitted to the successfully created individuals of the next generation, by heredity—irrespective of their being harmful, neutral or beneficial in that particular environment.

    Selection emerges from the interaction between the replicators and the environment with finite resources. It may lead to equilibrium, given enough time and energy. If so, the surviving replicators are near a local maximum of effectiveness at being replicated in that environment.

    Thus, the environment is passive and blind in this process. As it retains its ability to cause non-specific variation and passive selection again, it qualifies as a naturally occurring approximation to a constructor. Crucially, it is a crude approximation to a constructor: crude enough that it could have arisen by chance and requires no explanation. Its actions—variations and selection—require no design in laws of physics, as they proceed by non-specific, elementary steps. Indeed, such processes are highly faulty constructions that produce, aside from knowledge, many waste products. So, the logic of evolution by natural selection is compatible with no-design laws of physics.

    Note: constructors in constructor theory represent “anything that can cause transformations in physical systems without undergoing any net change in its ability to do so.”

    the term “no-design laws” refers to a universe with laws of physics that do not contain the design of high-fidelity replicators, already present. Our laws of physics are no-design in that sense.

    From the same paper….

    Thus the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution relies on the laws of physics to permit replication and the processes essential to the latter – including, as I shall explain, self-reproduction. Therefore, for the theory to explain fully the appearance of design in the biosphere, it is essential that those processes be possible under laws of physics that do not contain the design of biological adaptations – which I shall call no-design laws

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