Darwinism Intelligent Design Mathematics Natural selection

Basener stands his ground at Skeptical Zone: Fisher’s Darwinian theorem is clearly false.

Spread the love
William Basener

From William Basenerand John Sanford at The Skeptical Zone:

Joe Felsenstein and Michael Lynch (JF and ML) wrote a blog post, “Does Basener and Sanford’s model of mutation vs selection show that deleterious mutations are unstoppable?” Their post is thoughtful and we are glad to continue the dialogue. This is the first part of a response to their post, focusing on the impact of R. A. Fisher’s work.

Paper.

R. A. Fisher was one of the three founders of population genetics, and is considered by many to be the first and primary founder. His Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection contributed significantly to a “revival of Darwinism” (see Koonin quote above and Wikipedia). His theorem has been considered by many a significant and rigorous support for the Neo-Darwinian Theory (see quotes above).

Our paper shows that Fisher’s corollary is clearly false, and that he misunderstood the implications of his own theorem. He incorrectly believed that his theorem was a mathematical proof that showed that natural selection plus mutation will necessarily and always increase fitness. He also believed his theorem was on a par with a natural law (such as entropic dissipation and the second law of thermodynamics). Because Fisher did not understand the actual fitness distribution of new mutations, his belief in the application of his “fundamental theorem of natural selection” was fundamentally and profoundly wrong – having little correspondence to biological reality. Therefore, we have reformulated Fisher’s model and have corrected his errors, thereby have established a new theorem that better describes biological reality, and allows for the specification of those key variables that will determine whether fitness will increase or decrease.More.

But whether Fisher’s thesis is false or true does not really matter in today’s science culture. Darwinism is now a religion of the semi-educated classes. Fisher’s theorem can survive as a nuke tweet [!].

Real science will increasingly be elsewhere, skirting disapproval.

See also: On Basener and Sanford’s paper falsifying Fisher’s Darwinism theorem: It will be no small thing to make reality matter again.

6 Replies to “Basener stands his ground at Skeptical Zone: Fisher’s Darwinian theorem is clearly false.

  1. 1
    J-Mac says:

    But whether Fisher’s thesis is false or true does not really matter in today’s science culture. Darwinism is now a religion of the semi-educated classes. Fisher’s theorem can survive as a nuke tweet [!].

    Darwinism filled the void among the so-called enlightened class of intelligensia…“to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

    Before that they had no excuse for the existence of life…
    After Darwin, they still had no excuse but his fairy-tail did the job…The origins of life issue was swept under the rug and kept there as long as possible…

  2. 2
    Gordon Davisson says:

    AIUI, the headline here is wrong; Basener and Sanford argue that Fisher’s theorem as correct, but that his corollary is false. Roughly, Fisher’s theorem describes the effect of selection on population fitness; his corollary assumes that selection is the only thing affecting fitness, and therefore that fitness always increases. From their article:

    Central to our paper is that Fisher’s theorem, which Dawkins calls “biology’s central theorem” does not imply what Fisher thought it did (and by extension what many others thought it did). To clarify Fisher’s error, we distinguish between Fisher’s actual theorem (what he actually proved), and “Fisher’s Corollary”, which was unproven, and was really just an informal thought experiment based on his assumption that mutations have zero net effect on fitness. This corollary has clearly been falsified, which is essential to the popular concept that mutations simply supply genetic variance and natural selection converts this variance into ongoing increased fitness.

    While Fisher’s Theorem is mathematically correct, his Corollary is false. The simple logical fallacy is that Fisher stated that mutations could effectively be treated as not impacting fitness, while it is now known that the vast majority of mutations are deleterious, providing a downward pressure on fitness. Our model and our correction of Fisher’s theorem (The Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection with Mutations), take into account the tension between the upward force of selection with the downward force of mutations.

    But as far as I can see Fisher’s corollary doesn’t have any relevance to modern evolutionary theory. Everyone knows that mutations that have significant fitness effects are overwhelmingly deleterious, and therefore produce a downward force on fitness.

    What’s actually assumed in evolutionary theory is that under many (but certainly not all) situations, selection will remove significantly deleterious mutations from the population as fast as they’re introduced; therefore, deleterious mutations don’t have a lasting effect on fitness. Beneficial mutations, on the other hand, do accumulate over time and therefore have a lasting effect on fitness. In other words, the upward force from selection will often (but not always) overcome the downward force from mutations.

    Basener and Sanford’s current response doesn’t really address this; it’s more about the history. In the comments, Bill Basener said they’re going to get more into the math in “part 2”.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    The fact that slightly deleterious mutations, which are below the power of selection to remove, are building up in organisms is a empirical fact:

    In the following paper, Dr. Sanford states,,,,, “Yet such easily recognized deleterious mutations are just the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of deleterious mutations will not display any clear phenotype at all.”

    Critic ignores reality of Genetic Entropy – Dr John Sanford – 7 March 2013
    Excerpt: Where are the beneficial mutations in man? It is very well documented that there are thousands of deleterious Mendelian mutations accumulating in the human gene pool, even though there is strong selection against such mutations. Yet such easily recognized deleterious mutations are just the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of deleterious mutations will not display any clear phenotype at all. There is a very high rate of visible birth defects, all of which appear deleterious. Again, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Why are no beneficial birth anomalies being seen? This is not just a matter of identifying positive changes. If there are so many beneficial mutations happening in the human population, selection should very effectively amplify them. They should be popping up virtually everywhere. They should be much more common than genetic pathologies. Where are they? European adult lactose tolerance appears to be due to a broken lactase promoter [see Can’t drink milk? You’re ‘normal’! Ed.].
    African resistance to malaria is due to a broken hemoglobin protein [see Sickle-cell disease. Also, immunity of an estimated 20% of western Europeans to HIV infection is due to a broken chemokine receptor—see CCR5-delta32: a very beneficial mutation. Ed.] Beneficials happen, but generally they are loss-of-function mutations, and even then they are very rare!
    http://creation.com/genetic-entropy

    Human Genome in Meltdown – January 11, 2013
    Excerpt: According to a study published Jan. 10 in Nature by geneticists from 4 universities including Harvard, “Analysis of 6,515 exomes reveals the recent origin of most human protein-coding variants.”,,,:
    “We estimate that approximately 73% of all protein-coding SNVs [single-nucleotide variants] and approximately 86% of SNVs predicted to be deleterious arose in the past 5,000 -10,000 years. The average age of deleterious SNVs varied significantly across molecular pathways, and disease genes contained a significantly higher proportion of recently arisen deleterious SNVs than other genes.”,,,
    As for advantageous mutations, they provided NO examples,,,
    http://crev.info/2013/01/human-genome-in-meltdown/

    Can Purifying Natural Selection Preserve Biological Information? – May 2013 –
    Paul Gibson, John R. Baumgardner, Wesley H. Brewer, John C. Sanford
    In conclusion, numerical simulation shows that realistic levels of biological noise result in a high selection threshold. This results in the ongoing accumulation of low-impact deleterious mutations, with deleterious mutation count per individual increasing linearly over time. Even in very long experiments (more than 100,000 generations), slightly deleterious alleles accumulate steadily, causing eventual extinction. These findings provide independent validation of previous analytical and simulation studies [2–13]. Previous concerns about the problem of accumulation of nearly neutral mutations are strongly supported by our analysis. Indeed, when numerical simulations incorporate realistic levels of biological noise, our analyses indicate that the problem is much more severe than has been acknowledged, and that the large majority of deleterious mutations become invisible to the selection process.,,,
    http://www.worldscientific.com.....08728_0010

    Critic ignores reality of Genetic Entropy by Dr John Sanford – 7 March 2013
    Excerpt: For deleterious mutations, Kimura and most other population geneticists agree the distribution is essentially exponential. Figure 3c in my book (based upon Kimura) shows an exponential-type distribution of deleterious mutations, with most deleterious mutations being ‘nearly-neutral’ and hence un-selectable (effectively neutral). But, as I point out, Kimura’s picture is not complete, because degeneration is all about the ratio of good to bad mutations. Kimura does not show the beneficial distribution, which is essential to the question of net gain versus net loss! When I show the beneficial distribution (while Kimura did not do this, I suspect he would have drawn it much as I did), anyone can see the problem: the vast majority of beneficial mutations will be un-selectable (Figure 3d). Scott does not appear to contest my representation of the mutational effect distribution, which is the main issue here. Scott should easily be able to see that most mutations fall within the ‘no-selection zone’ and that almost all of them are deleterious. So even with strong selection, this entire zone can only undergo degeneration. Outside this zone, the substantially bad mutations will be selected away, and an occasional rare high-impact beneficial will be amplified (which can explain isolated events such as antibiotic resistance).
    – per Creation
    Kimura’s Distribution
    http://dl0.creation.com/articl.....-white.jpg
    Correct Distribution
    http://dl0.creation.com/articl.....-white.jpg

    The Human Gene Mutation Database
    The Human Gene Mutation Database (HGMD®) represents an attempt to collate known (published) gene lesions responsible for human inherited disease.
    Mutation total (as of Feb. 17 , 2018) – 220270
    http://www.hgmd.cf.ac.uk/ac/

    Moreover, as if all that were not bad enough, biological form, i.e. morphology, is not even reducible to mutations in DNA in the first place, (nor is morphology reducible to any other material particulars, i.e. proteins, RNA, atoms, etc..,, in biology)

    Darwinism vs Biological Form – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyNzNPgjM4w

    If Darwinian evolution were a normal science this, once again, should be the death blow for the theory. But alas Darwinian evolution is not, and never was, a normal science.

    Darwinian Evolution: A Pseudoscience based on Unrestrained Imagination and Bad Liberal Theology – video
    https://youtu.be/KeDi6gUMQJQ

    Verse:

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

  4. 4
    Bob O'H says:

    Interesting – the main critique by Felsenstein & Lynch is that Basener & Sanford use a mutation rate that is too high to be realistic, and also that the results would be very different in sexual populations. How do Basener & Sanford respond to these criticisms…?

    Hopefully that will be in Part II.

  5. 5
    ET says:

    Gordon:

    Beneficial mutations, on the other hand, do accumulate over time and therefore have a lasting effect on fitness.

    Except that “beneficial” is relative and includes loss of function.

    Beneficial could be smaller, larger, longer, shorter, faster, slower, long legs, short legs, no legs, eyes or no eyes- well you get the drift. Natural selection is nothing more than contingent serendipity. But they can’t teach that as contingent serendipity doesn’t have the creative sound as natural selection (which isn’t a creative process anyway, Darwin failed on that account).

  6. 6
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    and also that the results would be very different in sexual populations.

    Once sex hit the scene then Common Descent was doomed:

    Sexuality has brought joy to the world, to the world of the wild beasts, and to the world of flowers, but it has brought an end to evolution. In the lineages of living beings, whenever absent-minded Venus has taken the upper hand, forms have forgotten to make progress. It is only the husbandman that has improved strains, and he has done so by bullying, enslaving, and segregating. All these methods, of course, have made for sad, alienated animals, but they have not resulted in new species. Left to themselves, domesticated breeds would either die out or revert to the wild state—scarcely a commendable model for nature’s progress.

    After a brief discussion on peppered moths, he continues:

    Natural Selection, which indeed occurs in nature (as Bishop Wilberforce, too, was perfectly aware), mainly has the effect of maintaining equilibrium and stability. It eliminates all those that dare depart from the type—the eccentrics and the adventurers and the marginal sort. It is ever adjusting populations, but it does so in each case by bringing them back to the norm. We read in the textbooks that, when environmental conditions change, the selection process may produce a shift in a population’s mean values, by a process known as adaptation. If the climate turns very cold, the cold-adapted beings are favored relative to others.; if it becomes windy, the wind blows away those that are most exposed; if an illness breaks out, those in questionable health will be lost. But all these artful guiles serve their purpose only until the clouds blow away. The species, in fact, is an organic entity, a typical form, which may deviate only to return to the furrow of its destiny; it may wander from the band only to find its proper place by returning to the gang.

    Everything that disassembles, upsets proportions or becomes distorted in any way is sooner or later brought back to the type. There has been a tendency to confuse fleeting adjustments with grand destinies, minor shrewdness with signs of the times.

    It is true that species may lose something on the way—the mole its eyes, say, and the succulent plant its leaves, never to recover them again. But here we are dealing with unhappy, mutilated species, at the margins of their area of distribution—the extreme and the specialized. These are species with no future; they are not pioneers, but prisoners in nature’s penitentiary.- geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti, “Why is a Fly Not A Horse?”

    Not that evolutionism can account for sexual reproduction in the first place…

Leave a Reply