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At Oscillations: Suzan Mazur wonders what’s got into Eugene Koonin and Dieter Braun

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Readers may recall Eugene Koonin as not particularly a Darwinian. As of 2018, Dieter Braun was more ambivalent.

But Mazur notes that something has changed:

The scientific establishment could not hope for two more effective polemicists than Eugene Koonin and Dieter Braun to guard the Darwinian thought-style. But why would Koonin and Braun want to do so when they are on record (I’ve interviewed both at length) as skeptics of its metaphorical language? Nevertheless, a recently published PNAS paper in the pipeline for five months and edited by Koonin (an NAS member) about an experiment led by Braun (and funded in part by the Simons Foundation) is rife with antiquated Darwinian selection references, such as: “Darwinian selection,” “naturally selected,” “some form of selection guiding single nucleotides,” “getting selected,” “fittest sequence,” “overall fitness,” “robust creation,” “survivor sequences,” “mass extinction” (partial list).

Suzan Mazur, “Let Darwinian Selection R.I.P.” at Oscillation

Is this some light they have seen or has someone warned them to be more submissive?

She notes that the paper has been hyped as suggesting that Darwinian evolution preceded life.

Eric Anderson notes that pre-life Darwinism is gaining traction as an idea now, even though — in the absence of as-yet-unknown laws of physics and chemistry that would support it, it doesn’t make sense.

Note: Suzan Mazur is the author of Darwin Overthrown: Hello Mechanobiology and other fine books, many of which are asking the hard questions about Darwinism, via interviews, that most journalists avoid.

See also: Suzan Mazur At Oscillations: “Natural Selection” Unit Removed From AP Biology Exam Most likely it was a combination of Mazur getting on the story and a general recognition that full-on Darwinism just isn’t cutting it any more. Stuff that worked in the 1980s isn’t going to fly now that genomes are routinely mapped.

3 Replies to “At Oscillations: Suzan Mazur wonders what’s got into Eugene Koonin and Dieter Braun

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Is this some light they have seen or has someone warned them to be more submissive?

    So they are either the victims of a Darwinian conspiracy or they have experienced a paradigm shift?

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    So Seversky, imagining, and not demonstrating, that there must be a prebiotic selecting mechanism is hard science in your book?

    Contrary to what you think constitutes hard science, this extension of an imaginary selecting mechanism into the prebiotic realm is just an extension of the Darwinian ‘just-so’ story telling, currently surrounding Natural Selection’, into the prebiotic realm.

    As Stephen Jay Gould himself noted, “When evolutionists study individual adaptations, when they try to explain form and behaviour by reconstructing history and assessing current utility, they also tell just so stories – and the agent is natural selection.”

    Sociobiology: The Art of Story Telling – Stephen Jay Gould – 1978 – New Scientist
    Excerpt: Rudyard Kipling asked how the leopard got its spots, the rhino its wrinkled skin. He called his answers “Just So stories”. When evolutionists study individual adaptations, when they try to explain form and behaviour by reconstructing history and assessing current utility, they also tell just so stories – and the agent is natural selection.
    Virtuosity in invention replaces testability as the criterion for acceptance.

    Gould is hardly alone in his critique of natural selection,

    “… another common misuse of evolutionary ideas: namely, the idea that some trait must have evolved merely because we can imagine a scenario under which possession of that trait would have been advantageous to fitness… Such forays into evolutionary explanation amount ultimately to storytelling… it is not enough to construct a story about how the trait might have evolved in response to a given selection pressure; rather, one must provide some sort of evidence that it really did so evolve. This is a very tall order.…”
    — Austin L. Hughes, The Folly of Scientism – The New Atlantis, Fall 2012

    “Grand Darwinian claims rest on undisciplined imagination”
    Dr. Michael Behe – 29:24 mark of following video
    Evidence of Design from Biology. A Presentation by Dr. Michael Behe at the University of Toronto

    Darwinists simply have no empirical evidence that Natural Selection is the ‘creative force’ that they falsely imagine it to be,

    “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.”

    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.”

    In fact, the mathematics of population genetics itself has falsified Natural Selection os the supposed ‘designer substitute’ that Darwinists falsely imagine it to be,

    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.

    “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)

    In fact, Darwinists who are familiar with the failings of Natural Selection within the mathematics of population genetics have, basically, completely abandoned Natural Selection as a creative force and now champion what is termed ‘Neutral Theory’, where all the amazing design we see in life is due to, (get this), ‘chance’ all by its lonesome, with Natural Selection playing a very negligible role, if any role at all.

    Austin Hughes and Neutral Theory – Laurence A. Moran – June 19, 2017
    Excerpt: Originally proposed by Motoo Kimura, Jack King, and Thomas Jukes, the neutral theory of molecular evolution is inherently non-Darwinian. Darwinism asserts that natural selection is the driving force of evolutionary change. It is the claim of the neutral theory, on the other hand, that the majority of evolutionary change is due to chance.

    Thus even leading Evolutionists themselves admit that natural selection is grossly inadequate as the supposed ‘designer substitute’ as Darwinists have falsely imagined it to be in their ‘just-so’ stories.

    So Seversky, again, does extending the evidence-free ‘just so story telling’ surrounding natural selection into the prebiotic realm constitute hard science for you?

  3. 3
    Fasteddious says:

    Pre-biotic selection is an obvious attempt by origin of life people to fill in the blanks. Since they all admit (reluctantly) that abiogenesis cannot get to a complete, living cell by mere chance and necessity, they have to invoke the magic of “selection” in some imagined but unspecified pre-biotic realm. They think that simple RNA sequences can somehow reproduce without the cellular mechanics, while “evolving” by Darwinian means. This is clearly a Darwinism of the gaps argument, totally devoid of evidence or even a coherent theory.

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