Intelligent Design

Berlinski’s Question Remains Unanswered

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In a recent post I asked the following question.

I have a question for non-ID proponents only and it is very simple: Is there even one tenet of modern evolutionary theory that is universally agreed upon by the proponents of modern evolutionary theory?

Then I waited for the answers to come in. I was not disappointed, and I would like to express a hearty “thank you” to the proponents of modern evolutionary theory who participated in the exercise.

I have gone through the comments, and the proponents have nominated the following list as tenets on which all proponents of modern evolutionary theory agree:

1. Common descent

2. Modern organisms descend from very ancient ones.

3. The differences among related lineages have accumulated over many generations of change.

4. The basis of (some of) the differences among individuals is heritable.

5. The relative success of those heritable traits is the basis of evolutionary change.

6. Selection is an important evolution force.

7. Populations connected by gene flow evolve together absent very strong selection pull each population in different directions.

8. Selection is important (I am not sure how this is different from 6).

9. Drift exists.

10. Allopatric speciation is possible.

11. Most speciation processes fit somewhere between the extremes of sympatric speciation and allopatric speciation.

12. All of modern life shares common ancestry, HGT and orphan genes notwithstanding.

13. The following mechanisms of genetic change cause change in lineages, with a bias against reversal:
Mutation (point, indel, duplication and rearrangement)
Gene Conversion
Recombination (several mechanisms including HGT)

14. A parallel process of concentration/dilution of such variant alleles occurs (concentration of one is inevitably dilution of the other), by both sample error (drift) and systematic bias (selection).

15. Only frequency-dependent selection can oppose the progress of such an allele through to the fixation of one variant and elimination of the other. This is rare, so origin-fixation is the norm, long-term. [Later withdrawn]

16. Iterated occurrences of such fixations inevitably change lineages.

17. Isolated gene pools diverge.

18. Species differences are fundamentally due to the tendency of this divergence to proceed beyond the point of interfertility (isolation through prezygotic and postzygotic mechanisms).

19. Higher taxa result from ongoing divergences of historic species.

20. Transition-transversion biases in substitution are due to a biochemical tendency increasing yields of one product over the other.

21. Codon position biases occur and are due to the relative effects of selection and drift on synonymous vs nonsynonymous sites.

OK then. Let’s take a look at this list. They seem to fall into the following five categories.

Category 1: Who doesn’t believe that?

Pretty much everyone on the planet would agree with the following proposition: Animals and plants are different now than they were in the past. Thus, the proposition – while at some trivial level a tenant of modern evolutionary theory – is not that which sets it apart from other theories and accounts for its unique purported explanatory power. Even young earth creationists believe it. Therefore, these propositions cannot be the basis for any claim that the theory (as opposed to some other theory) is true. From the above list the following fall into this category: 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21.

Category 2: Trivial

4. The basis of (some of) the differences among individuals is heritable.

Yes, all evolution proponents agree that genetics exists.

Category 3. It is simply not true that all evolution proponents believe it

It is simply not true, for example, that all evolution proponents believe that natural selection plays more than a non-trivial role in the process. It is also not true that all proponents believe sympatric speciation occurs. 5, 8 and 11 fall into this category. See here and here.

Category 4. I Don’t know what claim is being made

13. The following mechanisms of genetic change cause change in lineages, with a bias against reversal:
Mutation (point, indel, duplication and rearrangement)
Gene Conversion
Recombination (several mechanisms including HGT)

Is the proponent of this claim stating that genetic change and only genetic change causes change in a lineage? If so, it is clearly not the case that all proponents of the theory agree with this; indeed most of them would dispute it. Is the proponent claiming merely that genetics change occurs and somehow that gets fixed in a species? If that is the case, it would fall under category 1.

Catategory 5. Withdrawn: claim 15.

CONCLUSIONS

My suspicions have been confirmed. Proponents of modern evolutionary theory all agree on a set of propositions that even most fervent young earth creationist would also agree on. And nothing more as far as I can tell.

What I was really trying to get at was this: Is there any “core” proposition on which all proponents of modern evolutionary theory agree. By “core” proposition, I do not mean basic facts of biology that pretty much everyone from YECs to Richard Dawkins agrees are true. I mean a proposition upon which the theory stands or falls, and, as I said above, sets it apart from other theories and accounts for its unique purported explanatory power

I have in mind a proposition that would answer David Berlinski’s famous question:

I disagree [with Paul R. Gross’ assertion] that Darwin’s theory is as “solid as any explanation in science.” Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?

Indeed. What does modern evolutionary theory offer in comparison? How can the theory ever hope to be as “solid as any explanation in science” when its proponents cannot seem to agree on a single tenet, the falsification of which would, in Berlinski’s words, shatter the theory?

UPDATE:

In the comments eigenstate pulls Haldane’s famous “rabbit in the Cambrian” out of his hat. I will address that here:

Everyone knows there are no rabbit fossils in the strata that have been labeled “Cambrian.” First, eigen’s sputtering to the contrary notwithstanding, the primary reason a stratum would be called “Cambrian” in the first place is because of the absence of rabbit fossils.

Set that aside for the moment and consider this. The fact that there are no rabbit fossils in the Cambrian strata is a datum. It is a datum for evolutionary theory; it is a datum for young earth creationists; it is a datum for ID proponents. It is a fact on the ground in the same way that people are stuck to the earth with a force of 1G is a fact on the ground. Saying “a rabbit in a Cambrian stratum would destroy Darwinism” is equivalent to saying “if people start floating off into space it would destroy general relativity.” Well, people are not floating off into space and they are not about to. No rabbits have been found in the Cambrian strata and none ever will be. Haldane’s observation amounts to nothing more than “if the facts were different the theory to explain those facts would have to be different too.” It is trivially true and singularly unhelpful.

I take it that Berlinski’s point is very different. The mathematical models of quantum electrodynamics and general relativity make extremely precise predictions (13 decimal points). It follows that those theories have exposed themselves to an enormously high degree of “risk,” because if an observation were to vary from prediction by even an astronomically small degree it would falsify the theory.

Now consider the following exchange:

Barry: And yet unlike respectable scientific theories, there is not universal agreement on a single one of those details that sets [evolutionary] theory apart as an explanatory mechanism.

eigenstate: so what?

Well, here is what. Paul R. Gross’ asserted that Darwin’s theory is as “solid as any explanation in science.” Berlinski retorted that the assertion is preposterous. The point of the OP is that Berlinski is certainly correct. There is not even agreement among evolutionary theorists on what the model should be in the first place; far less has anyone developed a model that would make exquisitely precise predictions equivalent to those made by quantum electrodynamics and general relativity. Thank you eigenstate for confirming Berlinski’s point with your “so what.’

303 Replies to “Berlinski’s Question Remains Unanswered

  1. 1
    eigenstate says:

    Haldane’s “rabbit in the Cambrian” suffices as a simple example of a devastating find for evolutionary theory’s basic model. Discovery of life (say from the deep sea) that wasn’t DNA based and didn’t harness genetic variation, that would do it. A visit from aliens or God showing us how evolution really happened as opposed to the model we have in evolutionary theory. The fantastic nature of these scenarios, though, underscores the “settledness” of the theory, in the same way it hardly seems right to consider that gravitational theory would be overturned if objects on the surface of the earth were not subject to the acceleration forces from the mass of the earth.

    As for “everyone agrees”, it’s not even substantial in a pedantic sense to be able to cite single cases of doubt or dispute over this aspect or that regarding evolutionary theory. Given the political, social, moral and religious implications of the science — Darwin overturns many of our most visceral conceits about ourselves and undermines many of our most beloved superstitions and intuitions — the broad and solid consensus of the informed that does is exist is remarkable. If gravitational theory had the same kind of implications for religion and the credulous intuition about ourselves that evolution does, we’d have the same kinds of disputes and apprehensions in that area.

    I have no idea how you suppose you could assign #1, #2 and #3 as you have to “everyone pretty much believes it”. #1 is anathema to YECs. Common descent is not something YECs endorse at all, in any fashion. Hundreds of citations from leading YEC web sites and leaders available on request.

    This is just clumsy as a means to avoid your trouble:

    Animals and plants are different now than they were in the past.

    That’s not the implication of #1. #1 holds that all species descended from ancient common ancestors, which NECESSARILY includes humans and other primates descending from common earlier ancestors. Go find me a YEC textbook or leader who endorses THAT. They don’t they won’t and you know it, so this a obvious and ham-fisted attempt to pass off the major, non-negotiable divide between biological science and YECs.

    I won’t even bother with #2 — the “Y” in YEC stands for “Young”, remember?

    Just on #1, #2, and #3, you have an uncrossable chasm between a huge number of religious fundamentalists and conservatives and consensus science. Worrying about allopatric speciation as an “equal in the list” to these three is crazy. #1 itself suffices to divide and divorce a huge religious faction, irreconcilable with modern biology.

    This is a howler of a fail, Barry. You either think people can’t read, or you haven’t familiarized yourself with the basics of evolutionary theory or YEC theology. Evolutionary theory doesn’t simply propose “Animals and plants are different now than they were in the past”. It is detailed in its proposal — all species share common ancestors. Those are not the same proposition — the former does not entail the latter, and the latter is the core thesis of evolutionary theory.

  2. 2
    Joe says:

    eigenstate- There isn’t any evolutionary theory and unguided evolution can’t account for rabbits.

  3. 3
    bFast says:

    I know that this is kinda off topic, but I’ll put it here anyway.

    I have been toying around with redundancy and natural selection. It appears that according to the modern evolutionary theory, natural selection plays two roles: purging deleterious mutations, and preserving beneficial mutations. Further, natural selection is the only mechanism available to provide these services. (Yes, I am aware that DNA has various amazing genetic repair mechanisms. These mechanisms are “inside the box”, however. And the box necessitates a certain amount of mutation for organisms to change with.)

    It appears to me that redundant genes are an absolute falsification of natural selection as the only mechanism that maintains genetic quality.

    This thought was brought to me by Denis Noble of “The Music of Life” fame. He said that gene knock out experiments were difficult because knocking out gene A produced no deleterious effects, knocking out gene B also produced no deleterious effects, but knocking out both did. He referred to this as redundancy.

    Let me clearly define my position. If it could be shown that: if the deletion of gene A, or gene B causes no deleterious effects, if knocking out both gene A and gene B produce deleterious effects, and if both gene A and gene B have been around for millions of years then natural selection as the universal agent of gene quality maintenance is falsified.

    My case is simple. Natural selection works on the level of the phenotype. If there is no change in the phenotype of an organism (ie, knocking out gene A or B) then natural selection cares not. Therefore, while gene A and B are both functional, either is available to take a deleterious mutation. That first deleterious mutation has no protection from natural selection. Now, mutations to a particular gene are unlikely to happen in 5 to 10 generations. So it is unlikely that the vulnerability that the other gene takes on will be a factor with sufficient resolution for natural selection to react to.

    Natural selection, therefore, simply cannot protect the redundant aspects of genetics.

    Corollary: Near neutral theory claims that natural selection will allow slightly deleterious mutations to fix in a population. Therefore neutral theory claims that natural selection is not a high precision instrument. This must be factored into the analysis above. If the knocking out of gene A or gene B produces only a slightly deleterious effect, natural selection will still not respond to protect these genes.

    Therefore, to falsify natural selection as the universal preserving agent, the threshold is lowered. If the knocking out of gene A or gene B does not produce greater than “slight” deleterious effects, natural selection as the universal preservative is falsified.

    It is my understanding that genetic redundancy is ubiquitous. I understand the argument that these redundancies may well show deleterious effects in a natural environment where they do not in a laboratory environment. This, therefore, is a potential path of ID research; the ID community needs to create real-world stress tests of known redundancies to show that they are truly redundant outside the lab. (Oh yea, ID never leads to new research possibilities — sorry.)

  4. 4
    Silver Asiatic says:

    eigenstate

    I think that says something about the nature of the theory.

    Haldane’s “rabbit in the Cambrian” suffices as a simple example of a devastating find for evolutionary theory’s basic model.

    The basic model of evolution is that rabbits appeared on earth later than Cambrian animals? Ok, that doesn’t say very much. Of course, if we discovered that Neanderthals actually built and raced a fleet of Lamborghini, that would be pretty devastating for evolutionary claims also.

    Discovery of life (say from the deep sea) that wasn’t DNA based and didn’t harness genetic variation, that would do it.

    Again, that’s pretty safe. If we found some non-carbon based lifeforms on earth, then evolution would be falsified. We haven’t found any, so evolutionary theory must be correct?

    A visit from aliens or God showing us how evolution really happened as opposed to the model we have in evolutionary theory.

    That sounds sort of like “only God knows if this theory is right or wrong”. For me, if that’s the case, then it’s probably wrong.

  5. 5
    Mapou says:

    Both creationists and Darwinists agree on one thing: Evolution can explain anything that is thrown at it, even a rabbit in the Cambrian. After all, genetically pre-programmed adaptation (e.g., changing bird beaks) is proof that we all evolved from dirt.

  6. 6
    eigenstate says:

    @Silver Asiatic,

    The basic model of evolution is that rabbits appeared on earth later than Cambrian animals? Ok, that doesn’t say very much. Of course, if we discovered that Neanderthals actually built and raced a fleet of Lamborghini, that would be pretty devastating for evolutionary claims also.

    The “safety” here just underscores the established grounding of the theory. If we understand that observing objects floating away from the surface of the earth sans the accelerating forces toward the center of the earth’s mass would be a problem for gravitational theory, we all feel pretty “safe” from that eventuality. But that’s only because of the equity that the gravitational model has. It’s a witness to its efficacy that the falsifications seemed far fetched. Like evolutionary theory, the falsifications are not hard to describe or enumerate, but they do seem quite far fetched, based on our experience. This is a “feature” of those theories, not a “bug”.

  7. 7
    eigenstate says:

    @Mapou,

    Both creationists and Darwinists agree on one thing: Evolution can explain anything that is thrown at it, even a rabbit in the Cambrian. After all, genetically pre-programmed adaptation (e.g., changing bird beaks) is proof that we all evolved from dirt.

    No. I don’t think you’ve grasped the implications of Haldane’s suggestion. Creationists will often say, putting their conspiracy-theory caps on, “oh, that would just be dismissed or flat out denied”. But that evades Haldane’s point: if a rabbit (skeleton) were to be found in pre-Cambrian strata, it’s back to the drawing board for the theory. For any who are interested in the theory as an actual model of how biology works, that would be an insuperable problem for the current model.

    Genetically “pre-programmed” (to indulge your anthropic language for the moment) can’t possibly account for all the variation and adaptation that is manifest across all the species. If common descent is true as given in the current model, The first genomes would have to have billions of petabytes more storage than it does to accommodate all the “pre-programming” needed.

    That’s another example. If “pre-programming” were to be shown to be necessary and actual as the mechanism for change, including all speciation, rather than inheritance with variation as the source of new information, then evolutionary theory would have to be scrapped. There’s no possible way to fit “pre-programming” in the bandwidth and storage resources evolutionary theory identifies. It would have to use some “supernatural storage”, or some kind of magical skill of some transcendent agent or something to make that happen, which would obviate modern biological models.

  8. 8
    groovamos says:

    eigenstate: A visit from aliens or God showing us how evolution really happened as opposed to the model we have in evolutionary theory.

    Wow pretty fantastic. Thanks go to you my friend for explaining that something fantasmogorical would so do the trick, even as non-repeatable we know it really would not.

    Thanks to you my friend for acquiescing to what we all know: Darwinian theory is just plain ole unfalsifiable.

  9. 9
    Joe says:

    eigenstate:

    I don’t think you’ve grasped the implications of Haldane’s suggestion.

    No, obviously you haven’t thought it through. There isn’t any evolutionary theory and there isn’t any model. Yours can’t even account for rabbits. You lose.

  10. 10
    Barry Arrington says:

    E @ 1:

    It is detailed in its proposal

    And yet unlike respectable scientific theories, there is not universal agreement on a single one of those details that sets the theory apart as an explanatory mechanism.

    You don’t understand YEC theory. YECs don’t believe every single critter presently on earth had a representative on the arc. They believe “kinds” were on the arc, and those kinds diversified after they got off. True, they reject universal common descent. But so do some Darwinists.

  11. 11
    Joe says:

    I congratulate Barry for being able to stomach eigenstate’s full response. I did not know that it contained:

    It is detailed in its proposal — all species share common ancestors.

    That is the biggest BS line there is as evolutionism is totally void of details. Universal common descent is totally void of details.

    This explains why there are evolutionists- confusion and delusion.

  12. 12
    Mung says:

    Evolutionary theory states that earlier things came earlier and later things came later, and if later things came earlier and earlier things came later then evolutionary theory would be falsified.

    You science deniers just need to get over it.

  13. 13
    Box says:

    bFast #3,

    Very clear and persuasive reasoning. Thank you!
    Redundancy seems impossible to accommodate by Darwinian theory.

  14. 14
    eigenstate says:

    @Barry,

    And yet unlike respectable scientific theories, there is not universal agreement on a single one of those details that sets the theory apart as an explanatory mechanism.

    So what? If you have even a passing familiarity with humans, you will understand that “universal agreement” is an oxymoron for large numbers of humans for just about any proposition. There’s no substance or probative value in “universal agreement”. There are still groups dedicated to the idea of geocentrism, fercryinoutloud. Why you’d concern yourself at all with “universal agreement” is beyond me.

    You don’t understand YEC theory. YECs don’t believe every single critter presently on earth had a representative on the arc. They believe “kinds” were on the arc, and those kinds diversified after they got off. True, they reject universal common descent. But so do some Darwinists.

    Was a raised a YEC. Spent untold hours being indoctrinated in YEC theology and, uh, “science” in my youth, including what was then the new-ish “discipline” of baraminology (and it’s “ark”, Barry, “arc” is a different word, btw).

    By saying “True, they reject universal common descent”, you’re OP collapses. If there are “kinds” — never mind later adaptations and variations within a “baramin”, for now — created by God, YECs are necessarily, unavoidably at odds with modern biology. Common descent is the sine qua non of Darwin’s theory. This is the central insight, the most fundamental and far reaching implication of the theory. And it’s also strictly anathema to YECs. Which makes your paragraph in the middle of you OP trying to paper that irreconcilable, fundamental opposition with “Animals and plants are different now than they were in the past.” comedic gold. That can only be offered as a matter of being disingenuous in what you write, or perhaps (?!) truly not understanding what evolutionary theory holds and what YECs believe.

    Darwinists like Craig Venter hold that a “single-root” model of the tree of life is problematic, a position that is well grounded (in my view, anyway) based on the horizontal transfer dynamics in the early phases of the the tree’s formation (“more bush-like than tree-like in its early stages). But any differences someone like Venter may have with “single root” proponents are internal to the theory, the theory doesn’t depend on or entail a “single root”, but is a mechanism for development from the root or roots, whichever the case may be. That stands in contrast to the adamant denials of the YEC community, who deny the efficacy and actuality of the basic model itself, the model that just for purposes of isolating a non-negotiable point of disagreement, places humans and other primates as descendants of a common ancestor.

  15. 15
    Axel says:

    Love that punchy, triumphalist, American coda, Joe : ‘You lose !’ A terse, emphatic consignment of any possible equivocation to File 13. As much as to say : ‘On your way !

  16. 16
    drc466 says:

    E @ 1:
    Regarding “rabbit in the Cambrian” as falsification: Evolutionary logic:
    1) Define Cambrian layer: Fossil layer without any modern mammals in it
    2) Define Layer with rabbit in it: Post-Cambrian
    3) Possibility of finding rabbit in Cambrian, under Evolution’s circular logic: 0%

    You know as well as I do that layers are “dated” by the types of fossils in them, and that any fossil/layer that shows up where it “shouldn’t” be is simply declared out-of-place, inverted, contamination, etc.
    “Rabbit in the Cambrian” is the fossil equivalent of “Dino DNA in fossilized Dinosaur bone”. It happens. It’s excused/explained away. Next.
    Think I’m overstating the tendency of evolutionists to “explain away” the evidence? Here’s what Wikipedia (yes, the YEC stronghold!) has to say on the subject:
    “Rabbits are mammals. From the perspective of the philosophy of science, it is doubtful whether the genuine discovery of mammalian fossils in Precambrian rocks would overthrow the theory of evolution instantly, although, if authentic, such a discovery would indicate serious errors in modern understanding about the evolutionary process“.
    See? No biggie, just means we didn’t completely understand how Evolution worked! (BTW, I expect those last couple sentences on Wikipedia to mysteriously disappear, now that they’ve been used by an anti-evolutionist!)

  17. 17
    eigenstate says:

    Barry,

    Here’s a trick question for you:

    Do you believe there is “universal agreement” — this is the term you used, right? — about relativity in the scientific community?

    I’m not even talking about all the disagreements and criticisms that were launched a century ago when Einstein produced the model. I’m talking about “universal agreement” in the modern community of physicists.

    Is there “universal agreement” there, in your view?

  18. 18
    Joe says:

    eigenstate- Please reference this alleged evolutionary theory so we can all see its exact entailments.

  19. 19
    Joe says:

    Axel, There was an arcade that had a gunfight game. You against this big cowboy figure. If you lost it said “Sorry partner, you lose”. Needless to say we used it as our own…

  20. 20
    eigenstate says:

    @drc466

    Regarding “rabbit in the Cambrian” as falsification: Evolutionary logic:
    1) Define Cambrian layer: Fossil layer without any modern mammals in it

    “Cambrian” is a geological classification. It is not defined or identified with respect to the presence or absence of any fossils or taphonomic features. It is a time measurement.

    2) Define Layer with rabbit in it: Post-Cambrian

    No, see above — the geological strata are not defined by their fossils (if any). Rather, fossils are dated by their presence in various strata.

    3) Possibility of finding rabbit in Cambrian, under Evolution’s circular logic: 0%

    See above.

    You know as well as I do that layers are “dated” by the types of fossils in them, and that any fossil/layer that shows up where it “shouldn’t” be is simply declared out-of-place, inverted, contamination, etc.

    I don’t know that, and geologists don’t know that. Dating of strata is established by isochrons, vertical stacking, inclusion, cross-cutting, etc. Seriously go do a little googling on this, or talk to any geologist, and you will see that what you “know” you don’t know.

    “Rabbit in the Cambrian” is the fossil equivalent of “Dino DNA in fossilized Dinosaur bone”. It happens. It’s excused/explained away. Next.

    That avoids the question I was answering, which was the grounds for falsification. Ideas about denialism or conspiracy theories do not change the falsification dynamics for the theory: if you find examples where the chronology, the developmental trajectory can’t work, your model is busted. Full stop. It doesn’t matter if this scientist or layperson or that one wants to dismiss it, or sweep it under the rug; epistemically, evolution can’t work if such evidence is uncovered.

    Think I’m overstating the tendency of evolutionists to “explain away” the evidence? Here’s what Wikipedia (yes, the YEC stronghold!) has to say on the subject:
    “Rabbits are mammals. From the perspective of the philosophy of science, it is doubtful whether the genuine discovery of mammalian fossils in Precambrian rocks would overthrow the theory of evolution instantly, although, if authentic, such a discovery would indicate serious errors in modern understanding about the evolutionary process“.
    See? No biggie, just means we didn’t completely understand how Evolution worked! (BTW, I expect those last couple sentences on Wikipedia to mysteriously disappear, now that they’ve been used by an anti-evolutionist!)

    See above. You are confusing dismissals of the evidence with the unavoidable implications of that evidence. It doesn’t matter if any or all want to ignore it: the implications of such evidence are devastating, no matter how much people want to avoid it. If we are considering falsification, that is what matters — that is the grounds for falsification. Dismissing the evidence in no way diminishes its falsification effects.

    See? No biggie, just means we didn’t completely understand how Evolution worked! (BTW, I expect those last couple sentences on Wikipedia to mysteriously disappear, now that they’ve been used by an anti-evolutionist!)

    That would be about as “big” as they come, as “biggie” as one could hope for. Which is why it’s held out as the simple example it is. Would science collapse, and the Rapture begin? No, but that would be a reboot for the theory. You aren’t holding your breath in anticipation of that anymore than I am, but that’s just evidence of how well established that part of our scientific understanding has become.

  21. 21
    Joe says:

    Well eigenstate thanks to the tetrapod tracks found in Poland and the finding of Tiktaalik, the succession now looks like this:

    fish-> tetrapods-> fishapods

    Whoopsie…

  22. 22
    Axel says:

    Yes, I’ve seen it before, Joe. Sometimes by you, and on one occasion, on a presidential-election thread in 2000. I love it!

    It’s partly, just in case the other guy hasn’t really processed the enormity of his failure; and partly because of it’s wonderfully consonant, ominous, doom-laden brevity!

  23. 23

    Why would a rabbit in the pre-Cambrian destroy evolutionary theory? Is it impossible for known evolutionary forces to produce a rabbit before the time frame we refer to as the Cambrian?

  24. 24
    eigenstate says:

    @WJM,

    <Why would a rabbit in the pre-Cambrian destroy evolutionary theory? Is it impossible for known evolutionary forces to produce a rabbit before the time frame we refer to as the Cambrian?

    Yes, you’ve got it, man!

    (Probably better to say “during” the Cambrian than “before”, but you’ve got the basic idea.)

  25. 25
    Mapou says:

    What if Darwin or some other joker traveled back in time with a rabbit to the Cambrian period and left the rabbit back in time? That would be a good materialist explanation, IMO. They believe in this sort of pseudoscientific crap. Heck, famous atheist Stephen Hawking believes in the possibility of time travel. If you can believe in time travel, you can believe in anything.

  26. 26
    Zachriel says:

    William J Murray: Why would a rabbit in the pre-Cambrian destroy evolutionary theory? Is it impossible for known evolutionary forces to produce a rabbit before the time frame we refer to as the Cambrian?

    It would mean the rabbit preceded any plausible ancestor.

    Could griffins and centaurs be dimly remembered real-life organisms? Why or why would you not expect to find the remains of such a creature? If we found a griffin, what would that mean in terms of the theory of evolution?

  27. 27
    eigenstate says:

    @Mapou,

    What if Darwin or some other joker traveled back in time with a rabbit to the Cambrian period and left the rabbit back in time? That would be a good materialist explanation, IMO. They believe in this sort of pseudoscientific crap. Heck, famous atheist Stephen Hawking believes in the possibility of time travel. If you can believe in time travel, you can believe in anything.

    Well share the wealth, give me a turn at the gigantic spliff you’re workin’. That is some seriously whack herbs, dude.

    Hawking’s conjecture about time travel only works *forward*, by the way, so your “what if” doesn’t work there if you know Hawking. But that would be nitpicking when we’re focused on tokin’, yeah?

    I heard a rumor Hawking has turned his attention to the book of Revelation, some hypothesis he has about the book and neurology. Those wacky scientists!! 😉

    ETA: blockquote fix

  28. 28
    Joe says:

    If we found a griffin, what would that mean in terms of the theory of evolution?

    Nothing, as there isn’t any theory of evolution. 😉

  29. 29
    Barry Arrington says:

    UPDATE:

    In the comments eigenstate pulls Haldane’s famous “rabbit in the Cambrian” out of his hat. I will address that here:

    Everyone knows there are no rabbit fossils in the strata that have been labeled “Cambrian.” First, eigen’s sputtering to the contrary notwithstanding, the primary reason a stratum would be called “Cambrian” in the first place is because of the absence of rabbit fossils.

    Set that aside for the moment and consider this. The fact that there are no rabbit fossils in the Cambrian strata is a datum. It is a datum for evolutionary theory; it is a datum for young earth creationists; it is a datum for ID proponents. It is a fact on the ground in the same way that people are stuck to the earth with a force of 1G is a fact on the ground. Saying “a rabbit in a Cambrian stratum would destroy Darwinism” is equivalent to saying “if people start floating off into space it would destroy general relativity.” Well, people are not floating off into space and they are not about to. No rabbits have been found in the Cambrian strata and none ever will be. Haldane’s observation amounts to nothing more than “if the facts were different the theory to explain those facts would have to be different too.” It is trivially true and singularly unhelpful.

    I take it that Berlinski’s point is very different. The mathematical models of quantum electrodynamics and general relativity make extremely precise predictions (13 decimal points). It follows that those theories have exposed themselves to an enormously high degree of “risk,” because if an observation were to vary from prediction by even an astronomically small degree it would falsify the theory.

    Now consider the following exchange:

    Barry: And yet unlike respectable scientific theories, there is not universal agreement on a single one of those details that sets [evolutionary] theory apart as an explanatory mechanism.

    eigenstate: so what?

    Well, here is what. Paul R. Gross’ asserted that Darwin’s theory is as “solid as any explanation in science.” Berlinski retorted that the assertion is preposterous. The point of the OP is that Berlinski is certainly correct. There is not even agreement among evolutionary theorists on what the model should be in the first place; far less has anyone developed a model that would make exquisitely precise predictions equivalent to those made by quantum electrodynamics and general relativity. Thank you eigenstate for confirming Berlinski’s point with your “so what.’

  30. 30
    Zachriel says:

    Barry Arrington: No rabbits have been found in the Cambrian strata and none ever will be.

    Why? How can you be sure?

  31. 31
    Barry Arrington says:

    Z @ 30. Well, I can’t be certain that people are not going to start floating off into space either. You’ve got me there.

  32. 32

    Zachriel said:

    It would mean the rabbit preceded any plausible ancestor.

    Why’s that? Could it not be that we just haven’t uncovered the pre-Cambrian rabbit’s ancestors?

  33. 33
    Zachriel says:

    Barry Arrington: Well, I can’t be certain that people are not going to start floating off into space either. You’ve got me there.

    Even though no one has ever landed on the far side of the Moon, we would expect the laws of gravity to still apply. What law or principle applies to the Cambrian rabbit? Why wouldn’t we expect a Cambrian rabbit?

    William J Murray: Could it not be that we just haven’t uncovered the pre-Cambrian rabbit’s ancestors?

    No. In evolutionary terms, rabbits are highly derived.

  34. 34
    Mapou says:

    Eigenstate:

    Well share the wealth, give me a turn at the gigantic spliff you’re workin’. That is some seriously whack herbs, dude.

    I only inhale Rocky Mountain grown, top-shelf weed. 😀

    Hawking’s conjecture about time travel only works *forward*, by the way, so your “what if” doesn’t work there if you know Hawking. But that would be nitpicking when we’re focused on tokin’, yeah?

    Nope. Hawkins fully accepts the possibility of time travel via a closed timelike curve (as suggested by that fruitcake Godel) because, he says, “it is not forbidden in Einstein’s universe.” But I’ll let you in on a little secret. There is neither forward nor backward time travel. It’s all crackpot nonsense. There is only the ever changing present. But don’t tell the atheist anything. Let him simmer in his ignorance. 😀

    I heard a rumor Hawking has turned his attention to the book of Revelation, some hypothesis he has about the book and neurology. Those wacky scientists!! 😉

    Which is more crackpottish in your opinion: time travel or the apocalyptic brain? LOL

  35. 35
    Mung says:

    Evolutionary theory predicts no rabbits will be found in the Cambrian. No rabbits have been found in the Cambrian. Therefore evolution is true.

    You people need to learn how to logic right.

  36. 36
    Joe says:

    In evolutionary terms, rabbits are highly derived.

    In evolutionary terms, all extant organisms are highly derived.

  37. 37

    Zachriel said:

    No. In evolutionary terms, rabbits are highly derived.

    I’m not sure what you mean here. Rabbits obviously evolved once. Are you saying something like a rabbit could not have evolved before the Cambrian from a entire line of evolutionary precursors that have not been found?

    If this is what you are saying, can you please explain why?

  38. 38
    Zachriel says:

    William J Murray: Rabbits obviously evolved once.

    Not everyone on this blog accepts common descent. But you’re right. A rabbit won’t be found in the Cambrian because it would predate any plausible ancestor.

    Similarly for this question: Could griffins and centaurs be dimly remembered real-life organisms?

  39. 39
    NetResearchGuy says:

    Z: It would mean the rabbit preceded any plausible ancestor.

    So the falsification of evolution requires simply showing an example of a fossil without any plausible ancestor? The problem is that to evolutionists, anything is a plausible ancestor. A 1m wolf like land mammal is a plausible ancestor for a 5m fully aquatic whale. And if there is no plausible ancestor, they propose an undiscovered “common ancestor”. Ancestors??? We don’t need no stinking ancestors!!!

  40. 40

    Z said:

    Not everyone on this blog accepts common descent. But you’re right. A rabbit won’t be found in the Cambrian because it would predate any plausible ancestor.

    Once again, I don’t understand what you’re saying. The rabbit evolved once. Why couldn’t a rabbit-like creature have evolved in the pre-cambrian and we just don’t happen to have any evidence of the precursor species?

  41. 41
    Yarko Matkewski says:

    Once again, I don’t understand what you’re saying. The rabbit evolved once. Why couldn’t a rabbit-like creature have evolved in the pre-cambrian and we just don’t happen to have any evidence of the precursor species?”

    A rabbit like creature could have evolved at any time. But it would have required the evolution of vertebrates first. And mammals. If we found a rabbit in the Cambrian, evolution as we currently be falsified. But that does not mean that design is the explanation. It would just mean that our current explanation isn’t.

  42. 42
    Joe says:

    Natural selection is the usual phrase attributed to the process of environmental design.

    Whatever survives isn’t a very good designing process.

  43. 43
    Yarko Matkewski says:

    Joe: “Whatever survives isn’t a very good designing process.”

    Who’s talking about a “design” process?

  44. 44
    Joe says:

    Yarko, you asked: Who’s talking about a “design” process?

    Aurelio Smith had posted:
    Natural selection is the usual phrase attributed to the process of environmental design.

    It was all right there in my post.

  45. 45
    Joe says:

    BTW, Yarko, the whole point of natural selection was to have design without a designer

  46. 46
    eigenstate says:

    @Barry,

    UPDATE:

    In the comments eigenstate pulls Haldane’s famous “rabbit in the Cambrian” out of his hat. I will address that here:

    Everyone knows there are no rabbit fossils in the strata that have been labeled “Cambrian.” First, eigen’s sputtering to the contrary notwithstanding, the primary reason a stratum would be called “Cambrian” in the first place is because of the absence of rabbit fossils.

    Are you just making stuff up here on the fly or is there a source for this claim you could point me to? “Cambrian” is an old name for “Wales”, where the rock layers they are named for were discovered. The geological strata are called “strata” because of how the rocks are found — they occur in identifiable layers, with boundaries that show differences in the makeup and configurations of the rock. The stacking, inclusion and cross-cutting of the rock formations is used to establish a general chronology, and isochron dating is the primary tool for estimating concrete age values for the various strata. If you have a source that argues for “establishing the Cambrian as the Cambrian because there’s no rabbits [or any mammals]”, I’d be interested to see that.

    Set that aside for the moment and consider this. The fact that there are no rabbit fossils in the Cambrian strata is a datum. It is a datum for evolutionary theory; it is a datum for young earth creationists; it is a datum for ID proponents. It is a fact on the ground in the same way that people are stuck to the earth with a force of 1G is a fact on the ground. Saying “a rabbit in a Cambrian stratum would destroy Darwinism” is equivalent to saying “if people start floating off into space it would destroy general relativity.”

    I’m not sure what effect that would have on GR or SR. I think you mean to say it would be problematic for our model of gravitation, and that would indeed be the case. Since GR predicts that mass will warp space/time, we might assume here that if gravitational effects are gone the warping is too, but anyway…

    Well, people are not floating off into space and they are not about to. No rabbits have been found in the Cambrian strata and none ever will be. Haldane’s observation amounts to nothing more than “if the facts were different the theory to explain those facts would have to be different too.” It is trivially true and singularly unhelpful.

    It’s only true and banal in both cases because everyone understands that that those scenarios are not like the universe we actually inhabit. The banality is a reflection of solidity of the model, in other words.

    I take it that Berlinski’s point is very different. The mathematical models of quantum electrodynamics and general relativity make extremely precise predictions (13 decimal points). It follows that those theories have exposed themselves to an enormously high degree of “risk,” because if an observation were to vary from prediction by even an astronomically small degree it would falsify the theory.

    The “significant digits of precision” is no more threatening than finding a single fossil where it can’t be resolved with evolutionary timelines. Evolutionary theory is just as at risk as GR. There’s no magic in “to the 11th decimal point”, here.

    Now consider the following exchange:

    Barry: And yet unlike respectable scientific theories, there is not universal agreement on a single one of those details that sets [evolutionary] theory apart as an explanatory mechanism.

    eigenstate: so what?

    Well, here is what. Paul R. Gross’ asserted that Darwin’s theory is as “solid as any explanation in science.” Berlinski retorted that the assertion is preposterous. The point of the OP is that Berlinski is certainly correct. There is not even agreement among evolutionary theorists on what the model should be in the first place; far less has anyone developed a model that would make exquisitely precise predictions equivalent to those made by quantum electrodynamics and general relativity. Thank you eigenstate for confirming Berlinski’s point with your “so what.’

    I don’t think you are getting what “solid” means here. Significant digits of precision is cool, but biological is a systems model rather than a mathematical/physics model. At some point done the road, we’ll understand enough to collapse the biology down to chemistry math and thus physics math, all with the same kind of precision (because it’s all the same dynamics at the most fundamental level — fermions and bosons, as they say), but “solid” for biology obtains in statistical models and feedback loops that explain and predict the diversification and changing characteristic of biological life.

    If we had some kind of prediction that was “precise to the 13th significant digit” that we wanted to exalt in Biology that wouldn’t make evolution any more solid (indeed, I’m sure we could find something passes muster that way in our biological calculations). More “solidness” obtains in continuing advances in our knowledge for how and why different phenomena happen the way they do in biology. How does the genetic code implement redundancy along the lines of scale-free networks, such that some configurations are conserved? We have a good start on it, but there’s a lot more “solidness” to be had there, and it’s not a matter of predicting a location to some arbitrary precision. The project of evolutionary theory has an enormous number of answers to pursue because of the variegation and complexity of phenomena that occur at the level at which it operates.

    Physics *is* rocket science, but it has some nice advantages in terms of its maths and models because it deals at a fundamental level, with fundamental dynamics.

    Even forgiving Berlinski’s (apparent, I’ve not read his comments on this beyond what you’ve represented, nor do I have enough interest in the guy to do so) goof on supposing that “solid” in terms of biological science delivering the goods was somehow analogous to predicting the perihelion of Mercury to some impressive number of digits of precision, his point, which you’ve adopted about universal agreement doesn’t even apply.

    You didn’t address my question about you (or Berlinski’s if you want to pass the buck to him) understanding about “universal agreement” on GR. Does that “universal agreement” you/Berlinski are using as your measure exist for GR, in your view?

  47. 47
    eigenstate says:

    @Mapou

    Which is more crackpottish in your opinion: time travel or the apocalyptic brain? LOL

    The apocalyptic brain, of course, hands down. 😉

    Enjoy the blunt, dood!

  48. 48
    Yarko Matkewski says:

    Yarko, you asked: Who’s talking about a “design” process?

    Aurelio Smith had posted:
    Natural selection is the usual phrase attributed to the process of environmental design.

    It was all right there in my post.”

    Sorry Joe. That’s what I get for responding to a comment without reading the entire thread. My bad.

    “BTW, Yarko, the whole point of natural selection was to have design without a designer”

    No it wasn’t. It was to explain the diversity of life that we see around us.

  49. 49
  50. 50
    bornagain77 says:

    It is interesting to note the context in which the infamous pre-Cambrian rabbit was uttered:
    When asked what would falsify Darwinism, J. B. S. Haldane, one of the founders of population genetics, did not refer to any laboratory test to perform, but instead stated that a ‘rabbit fossil in pre-Cambrian rocks would do quite nicely’.

    Five Questions Evolutionists Would Rather Dodge
    5. Testability
    What evidence would convince you that evolution is false? If no such evidence exists, or indeed could exist, how can evolution be a testable scientific theory?,,,
    The evolutionist J. B. S. Haldane, when asked what would convince him that evolution was false, replied that finding a rabbit fossil in pre-Cambrian rocks would do quite nicely. Such a fossil would, by standard geological dating, be out of sequence by several hundreds of millions of years. Certainly such a finding, if rigorously confirmed, would overturn the current understanding of the history of life. But it would not overturn evolution.
    Haldane’s rabbit is easily enough explained as an evolutionary convergence, in which essentially the same structure or life form evolves twice. In place of a common underlying intelligent design, evolutionists invoke evolutionary convergence whenever confronted with similar biological structures that cannot reasonably be traced back to a common evolutionary ancestor.
    So long as some unknown or unexplored evolutionary pathway might have led to the formation of some biological structure or organism, evolutionists prefer it over alternative explanations such as intelligent design. And since the unknown and unexplored allow for an infinity of loopholes, the committed evolutionist regards Darwinian and other materialist explanations of life’s origin and subsequent development as always trumping alternative explanations, regardless of the evidence.
    – By William A. Dembski

    That was a very interesting ‘non-laboratory’ test of evolution for Haldane to propose to falsify Darwinism since Haldane had played a large part in working out the mathematical foundation of Darwinism:

    J.B.S. Haldane worked out the mathematics of allele frequency change at a single gene locus under a broad range of conditions.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P.....cs#History

    That should tell you something very important right there about the non-scientific foundation of Darwinism, when one of the founding figures of population genetics does not even propose a laboratory test to test his own mathematics against to see if his mathematics of neo-Darwinism are true, but instead proposes a highly hypothetical historical contingency to test against!
    To say that is an unsatisfactory scientific test to test the validity of a theory against would be a severe understatement!

    It is easy to see why Haldane did not propose a rigorous laboratory test to see if his mathematical model was true. When applied rigorously, the mathematics of population genetics falsifies Darwinism:

    Evolution And Probabilities: A Response to Jason Rosenhouse – August 2011
    Excerpt: The equations of population genetics predict that – assuming an effective population size of 100,000 individuals per generation, and a generation turnover time of 5 years – according to Richard Sternberg’s calculations and based on equations of population genetics applied in the Durrett and Schmidt paper, that one may reasonably expect two specific co-ordinated mutations to achieve fixation in the timeframe of around 43.3 million years. When one considers the magnitude of the engineering fete, such a scenario is found to be devoid of credibility.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....osenhouse/

    Using Numerical Simulation to Test the Validity of Neo-Darwinian Theory – 2008
    Abstract: Evolutionary genetic theory has a series of apparent “fatal flaws” which are well known to population geneticists, but which have not been effectively communicated to other scientists or the public. These fatal flaws have been recognized by leaders in the field for many decades—based upon logic and mathematical formulations. However population geneticists have generally been very reluctant to openly acknowledge these theoretical problems, and a cloud of confusion has come to surround each issue.
    Numerical simulation provides a definitive tool for empirically testing the reality of these fatal flaws and can resolve the confusion. The program Mendel’s Accountant (Mendel) was developed for this purpose, and it is the first biologically-realistic forward-time population genetics numerical simulation program. This new program is a powerful research and teaching tool. When any reasonable set of biological parameters are used, Mendel provides overwhelming empirical evidence that all of the “fatal flaws” inherent in evolutionary genetic theory are real. This leaves evolutionary genetic theory effectively falsified—with a degree of certainty which should satisfy any reasonable and open-minded person.
    http://www.icr.org/i/pdf/techn.....Theory.pdf

    Even Richard Lewontin, Mr. ‘divine foot in the door’ himself, admits that, in regards to population genetics, ‘there are really no measurements that match the quantities’

    Lynn Margulis Criticizes Neo-Darwinism in Discover Magazine (Updated) – Casey Luskin April 12, 2011
    Excerpt: Population geneticist Richard Lewontin gave a talk here at UMass Amherst about six years ago, and he mathemetized all of it–changes in the population, random mutation, sexual selection, cost and benefit. At the end of his talk he said, “You know, we’ve tried to test these ideas in the field and the lab, and there are really no measurements that match the quantities I’ve told you about.” This just appalled me. So I said, “Richard Lewontin, you are a great lecturer to have the courage to say it’s gotten you nowhere. But then why do you continue to do this work?” And he looked around and said, “It’s the only thing I know how to do, and if I don’t do it I won’t get grant money.” –
    Lynn Margulis – biologist
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....45691.html

    Contrary to what Darwinists seem to believe about science, all solid scientific theories have rigorous ‘measurements that match the quantities’ and are falsifiable by experimentation in which measurements might not match predicted quantities. ,,, Hence Berlinski’s question:

    I disagree [with Paul R. Gross’ assertion] that Darwin’s theory is as “solid as any explanation in science.” Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?
    David Berlinski

    Popper is even more blunt:

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
    Karl Popper – The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014 edition), Routledge

    Moreover, Intelligent Design, instead of hiding behind non-falsifiable pre-Cambrian rabbits as Darwinism does, invites rigid laboratory testing to try to falsify its claim that intelligence, and only intelligence, can produce functional information:

    The Law of Physicodynamic Incompleteness – David L. Abel
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”
    If only one exception to this null hypothesis were published, the hypothesis would be falsified. Falsification would require an experiment devoid of behind-the-scenes steering. Any artificial selection hidden in the experimental design would disqualify the experimental falsification. After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided.
    The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction:
    “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.” https://www.academia.edu/9957206/The_Law_of_Physicodynamic_Incompleteness_Scirus_Topic_Page_

    It’s (Much) Easier to Falsify Intelligent Design than Darwinian Evolution – Michael Behe, PhD
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T1v_VLueGk

    Of related interest: Lakatos tipped toed around the fact that Darwinism has no demarcation criteria to separate it from pseudo-science,,,

    A Philosophical Question…Does Evolution have a Hard Core ?
    Some Concluding Food for Thought
    In my research on the demarcation problem, I have noticed philosophers of science attempting to balance (usually unconsciously) a consistent demarcation criteria against the the disruptive effects that it’s application might have with regard to the academic status quo (and evolution in particular)… Few philosophers of science will even touch such matters, but (perhaps unintentionally) Imre Lakatos does offer us a peek at how one might go about balancing these schizophrenic demands (in Motterlini1999: 24)
    “Let us call the first school militant positivism; you will understand why later on. The problem of this school was to find certain demarcation criteria similar to those I have outlined, but these also had to satisfy certain boundary conditions, as a mathematician would say. I am referring to a definite set of people to which most scientists as well as Popper and Carnap would belong. These people think that there are goodies and baddies among scientific theories, and once you have defined a demarcation criterion. you should divide all your theories between the two groups. You would end up. for example, with a goodies list including Copernicus’s (Theory1), Galileo’s (T2), Kepler’s (T3), Newton’s (T4) … and Einstein’s (T5), along with (but this is just my supposition) Darwin’s (T6). Let me just anticipate that nobody to date has yet found a demarcation criterion according to which Darwin can be described as scientific, but this is exactly what we are looking for.”
    So basically, the demarcation problem is a fun game philosophers enjoy playing, but when they realize the implications regarding the theory of evolution, they quickly back off…
    http://www.samizdat.qc.ca/cosm.....ore_pg.htm

    Lakatos, although he tipped toed around the failure of Darwinism to have a rigid demarcation criteria, he was brave enough to state that a good scientific theory will at least make successful predictions in science and a bad theory will generate ‘epicycle theories’ in science to cover up embarrassing failed predictions:

    Science and Pseudoscience (transcript) –
    “In degenerating programmes, however, theories are fabricated only in order to accommodate known facts”
    – Imre Lakatos (November 9, 1922 – February 2, 1974) a philosopher of mathematics and science, , quote as stated in 1973 LSE Scientific Method Lecture
    http://www2.lse.ac.uk/philosop.....cript.aspx
    Here’s the audio:
    Science and Pseudoscience – Lakatos – audio lecture
    http://richmedia.lse.ac.uk/phi.....nce128.mp3

    In his 1973 LSE Scientific Method Lecture 1[12] he also claimed that “nobody to date has yet found a demarcation criterion according to which Darwin can be described as scientific”.
    Almost 20 years after Lakatos’s 1973 challenge to the scientificity of Darwin, in her 1991 The Ant and the Peacock, LSE lecturer and ex-colleague of Lakatos, Helena Cronin, attempted to establish that Darwinian theory was empirically scientific in respect of at least being supported by evidence of likeness in the diversity of life forms in the world, explained by descent with modification. She wrote that:
    “our usual idea of corroboration as requiring the successful prediction of novel facts…Darwinian theory was not strong on temporally novel predictions.” …
    per wikipedia

  51. 51
    bornagain77 says:

    Dr. Hunter comments here on the fact that Darwinism is a bad scientific theory that continuously generates ‘epicycle theories’ to cover up embarrassing failed predictions:

    “Being an evolutionist means there is no bad news. If new species appear abruptly in the fossil record, that just means evolution operates in spurts. If species then persist for eons with little modification, that just means evolution takes long breaks. If clever mechanisms are discovered in biology, that just means evolution is smarter than we imagined. If strikingly similar designs are found in distant species, that just means evolution repeats itself. If significant differences are found in allied species, that just means evolution sometimes introduces new designs rapidly. If no likely mechanism can be found for the large-scale change evolution requires, that just means evolution is mysterious. If adaptation responds to environmental signals, that just means evolution has more foresight than was thought. If major predictions of evolution are found to be false, that just means evolution is more complex than we thought.”
    ~ Cornelius Hunter

    “When their expectations turn out to be false, evolutionists respond by adding more epicycles to their theory that the species arose spontaneously from chance events. But that doesn’t mean the science has confirmed evolution as Velasco suggests. True, evolutionists have remained steadfast in their certainty, but that says more about evolutionists than about the empirical science.”
    ~ Cornelius Hunter

    Here’s That Algae Study That Decouples Phylogeny and Competition – June 17, 2014
    Excerpt: “With each new absurdity another new complicated just-so story is woven into evolutionary theory. As Lakatos explained, some theories simply are not falsifiable. But as a result they sacrifice realism and parsimony.”
    – Cornelius Hunter
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....uples.html

    audio: Darwin’s (Many Failed) Predictions: An Interview with Cornelius Hunter, Part I and II
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....21311.html
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....21321.html

    Chuan He: Evolution Created Epigenetics – Cornelius Hunter – PhD in Biophysics – May 3, 2015
    Excerpt: They never predicted it, then they denied it could be heritable, and then they denied it could cause lasting change. “It” in this case is epigenetics and in spite of being wrong, wrong and wrong again, and in spite of the fact that there is no scientific explanation for how epigenetics could have evolved, evolutionists nonetheless insist that it, in fact, must have evolved. Evolution loses every battle but claims to win the war.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....etics.html

    Without a testable demarcation criteria so as to separate Darwinism from pseudo-science, whatever Darwinian explanations might be, they are certainly not scientific.

    Here are a few supplemental quotes that are of related interest:

    Anti-Science Irony
    Excerpt: In response to a letter from Asa Gray, professor of biology at Harvard University, Darwin declared: “I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science.”
    When questioned further by Gray, Darwin confirmed Gray’s suspicions: “What you hint at generally is very, very true: that my work is grievously hypothetical, and large parts are by no means worthy of being called induction.” Darwin had turned against the use of scientific principles in developing his theory of evolution.
    http://www.darwinthenandnow.co.....nce-irony/

    An Early Critique of Darwin Warned of a Lower Grade of Degradation – Cornelius Hunter – Dec. 22, 2012
    Excerpt: “Many of your wide conclusions are based upon assumptions which can neither be proved nor disproved. Why then express them in the language & arrangements of philosophical induction?” (Sedgwick to Darwin – 1859),,,
    And anticipating the fixity-of-species strawman, Sedgwick explained to the Sage of Kent (Darwin) that he had conflated the observable fact of change of time (development) with the explanation of how it came about. Everyone agreed on development, but the key question of its causes and mechanisms remained. Darwin had used the former as a sort of proof of a particular explanation for the latter. “We all admit development as a fact of history;” explained Sedgwick, “but how came it about?”,,,
    For Darwin, warned Sedgwick, had made claims well beyond the limits of science. Darwin issued truths that were not likely ever to be found anywhere “but in the fertile womb of man’s imagination.”
    The fertile womb of man’s imagination. What a cogent summary of evolutionary theory. Sedgwick made more correct predictions in his short letter than all the volumes of evolutionary literature to come.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....ed-of.html

    SKEPTICS OF DARWINIAN THEORY
    Sedgwick to Darwin
    “…I have read your book with more pain than pleasure. Parts of it I admired greatly, parts I laughed at till my sides were almost sore; other parts I read with absolute sorrow, because I think them utterly false and grievously mischievous.”
    Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873) – one of the founders of modern geology. – The Spectator, 1860
    http://veritas-ucsb.org/librar.....itics.html

    Verse and Music:

    2 Peter 1:16
    For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

    MercyMe – Flawless (Official Music Video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjLlLPZderk

  52. 52

    AS said:

    Zachriel is saying that, for evolution to be true, the nested hierarchy of common descent must be observed. Descendants cannot appear in the fossil record prior to their ancestors.

    I didn’t say that a descendant would appear prior to their ancestors. I said, is it not possible that there could have existed some pre-cambrian evolutionary lineage that we don’t know anything about that produce what appears to be a pre-cambrian rabbit?

    YM said:

    YM A rabbit like creature could have evolved at any time. But it would have required the evolution of vertebrates first. And mammals. If we found a rabbit in the Cambrian, evolution as we currently be falsified. But that does not mean that design is the explanation. It would just mean that our current explanation isn’t.

    If we found a pre-cambrian “rabbit”, then, evolutionary theory (RM & NS, basically, generate everything we see in biology) “as we know it” would not be falsified, but rather timelines, lineages and categorizations might have to be adjusted to accommodate the existence of that creature and an appropriate preceding lineage, correct?

  53. 53
    Joe says:

    Find the evolutionary theory and you will found something.

  54. 54
    Joe says:

    Yarko, read it and weep: Darwin’s greatest discovery: Design without designer– I can present plenty more if you like.

  55. 55
    sean samis says:

    I have a question for non-ID proponents only and it is very simple: Is there even one tenet of modern evolutionary theory that is universally agreed upon by the proponents of modern evolutionary theory?

    Sure. Again, you people are making it too hard.

    First, “universal agreement” is a red herring; there are always folks who disagree. In the age of spaceflight, we can’t even get universal agreement that the Earth is round.

    Second, “proponents of modern evolutionary theory” is also a red herring. I am a proponent of modern evolutionary theory, but I’m not a scientist, much less a biologist. Anyone can claim to be a proponent, even if they don’t know a thing. I’ve met a few of those.

    Third, just to be sure, I reminded myself what a tenet is:

    1. any opinion, principle, doctrine, dogma, etc., especially one held as true by members of a profession, group, or movement.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/tenet

    What matters is if there are tenets that are agreed to by the vast majority of biologists. There are.

    1. Evolution happens.
    2. The Earth is billions of years old.
    3. There is a physical mechanism that provides for the inheritance of traits.
    4. Traits can be passed from parent to offspring even if not manifested in the parent or the offspring.
    5. The physical mechanism of inheritance must be stable enough to preserve traits but unstable enough to provide natural variations to drive evolution.
    6. Successful variants will most often be those that confer a reproductive or survival advantage, however slight.

    I am sure there are others, but these are a good start.

    I can anticipate your objections. You will shove some or all of these into your Category 1: Who doesn’t believe that? or Category 2: Trivial.

    Well, now yes. But in 1859 when Darwin and Wallace published the theory, almost no one believed these things. Those still count as Wins for Evolution.

    sean s.

  56. 56
    eigenstate says:

    If we found a pre-cambrian “rabbit”, then, evolutionary theory (RM & NS, basically, generate everything we see in biology) “as we know it” would not be falsified, but rather timelines, lineages and categorizations might have to be adjusted to accommodate the existence of that creature and an appropriate preceding lineage, correct?

    No, there’s nothing to adjust the rabbit “to” as a lineage, then. It’s just over for evolution “as we know it”, now we’ve got nothing as even plausible precursors available for our problematic rabbit. If the dynamics of evolution are to be restored (albeit with a very different Tree of Life due to the find), it would be done on the basis being able to find a fossil lineage that can place vertebrate mammals in the Cambrian — something not in view here in this scenario.

    If such a salvage were to ultimately succeed, it would not be “evolution as we knew it”, circa 2014.

  57. 57
    Zachriel says:

    William J Murray: I didn’t say that a descendant would appear prior to their ancestors. I said, is it not possible that there could have existed some pre-cambrian evolutionary lineage that we don’t know anything about that produce what appears to be a pre-cambrian rabbit?

    A rabbit is a highly derived mammal. It’s far too modern to have plausibly evolved in the Cambrian, not only before the first known mammal, but before the first known amniote, even before the first known land tetrapod.

    William J Murray: If we found a pre-cambrian “rabbit”, then, evolutionary theory (RM & NS, basically, generate everything we see in biology) “as we know it” would not be falsified, but rather timelines, lineages and categorizations might have to be adjusted to accommodate the existence of that creature and an appropriate preceding lineage, correct?

    There’s no plausible reworking of historical descent that would be consistent with a Cambrian rabbit and the current theory of evolution. Either a new theory of evolution would have to be proposed, or a entirely new theory.

  58. 58
    Upright BiPed says:

    #55

    There is a physical mechanism that provides for the inheritance of traits.

    Yes, it’s called semiosis, or more broadly, representationalism. You can’t organize an autonomous self-replicating cell capable of open-ended evolution without it. It is an irreducibly complex system that must arise from an inanimate (non-information) environment, and the details of its construction must be simultaneously encoded in the very information it makes possible.

    Materialists don’t miss a beat in ignoring these observable facts; a wayward rabbit should be no problem.

  59. 59
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    There’s no plausible reworking of historical descent that would be consistent with a Cambrian rabbit and the current theory of evolution.

    There isn’t any current theory of evolution you confused loser.

  60. 60
    Box says:

    Eigenstate:
    If such a salvage were to ultimately succeed, it would not be “evolution as we knew it”, circa 2014.

    Can you provide a link to “evolution 2014”? 🙂

  61. 61
    mike1962 says:

    eigenstate: A visit from aliens or God showing us how evolution really happened as opposed to the model we have in evolutionary theory.

    Silver Asiatic: That sounds sort of like “only God knows if this theory is right or wrong”. For me, if that’s the case, then it’s probably wrong.

    Indeed. Can you imagine someone saying that about Quantum Thermodynamics with a serious look on their face?

  62. 62
    mike1962 says:

    Mung: Evolutionary theory states that earlier things came earlier and later things came later, and if later things came earlier and earlier things came later then evolutionary theory would be falsified. You science deniers just need to get over it.

    Good comedy 😀

  63. 63
    Mung says:

    Upright BiPed:

    Materialists don’t miss a beat in ignoring these observable facts; a wayward rabbit should be no problem.

    At least a wayward rabbit might provide nutrition. Observable facts, not so much. Rabbit Soup for the Soul?

  64. 64
    Mapou says:

    Eigenstate:

    @Mapou

    Which is more crackpottish in your opinion: time travel or the apocalyptic brain? LOL

    The apocalyptic brain, of course, hands down. 😉

    Absolutely. I would not want it any other way.

    Enjoy the blunt, dood!

    Always. How could I possibly meditate about the scientific meaning of the “beast with seven heads and ten horns full of blasphemies against God and those who dwell in heaven” without it? I’d be lost in a lost world. 😀

  65. 65
    eigenstate says:

    @Box.

    Can you provide a link to “evolution 2014”?
    Since we are talking fossils, I’d offer this:

    Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters

  66. 66
    Querius says:

    William J Murray @ 52 noted

    If we found a pre-cambrian “rabbit”, then, evolutionary theory (RM & NS, basically, generate everything we see in biology) “as we know it” would not be falsified, but rather timelines, lineages and categorizations might have to be adjusted to accommodate the existence of that creature and an appropriate preceding lineage, correct?

    Indeed. Pity the fool that discovers such a thing and reports it! His or her career would be over.

    However, after careful microscopic analysis, it would be discovered that the PCR was actually discovered in what would now be known as the pseudo Cambrian layer.

    And everyone would breathe a collective sigh of relief! 😉

    -Q

  67. 67
    Querius says:

    Zachriel @ 57 announced

    A rabbit is a highly derived mammal. It’s far too modern to have plausibly evolved in the Cambrian, not only before the first known mammal, but before the first known amniote, even before the first known land tetrapod.

    Exactly! A rabbit is far too modern to have evolved in the Cambrian because the Cambrian is far too ancient to have evolved rabbits because rabbits are far too modern. O.o

    Behold! Circular logic of steel!

    Or maybe fossilized rabbits haven’t been found in the Cambrian for the same reason that fossilized rabbits haven’t been found in more recent deep sea layers—apparently benthic rabbits are extremely rare! 😉

    -Q

  68. 68
    Joe says:

    The fossils can only tell us what once around and was fortunate enough to be fossilized. Without a biological mechanism capable of producing the changes required they can’t say anything beyond that.

  69. 69
    Mung says:

    Upright BiPed:

    Yes, it’s called semiosis, or more broadly, representationalism. You can’t organize an autonomous self-replicating cell capable of open-ended evolution without it. It is an irreducibly complex system that must arise from an inanimate (non-information) environment, and the details of its construction must be simultaneously encoded in the very information it makes possible.

    There’s even a word for this in the literature.

    In computer programming, genetic representation is a way of representing solutions/individuals in evolutionary computation methods. Genetic representation can encode appearance, behavior, physical qualities of individuals. Designing a good genetic representation that is expressive and evolvable is a hard problem in evolutionary computation. Difference in genetic representations is one of the major criteria drawing a line between known classes of evolutionary computation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G.....esentation

    The simplest algorithm represents each chromosome as a bit string.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G.....esentation

    Meanwhile, Zachriel maintains that the representation is not part of the algorithm.

  70. 70
    bornagain77 says:

    Saying that a pre-Cambrian rabbit would falsify Darwinism is ludicrous. If Darwinism were a true science instead of being a cornerstone in the faith based belief system for atheists, the entire fossil record should have falsified Darwinism long ago. This is especially true for the Cambrian Explosion itself. It would be hard to imagine a more un-Darwinian feature of the fossil record than the Cambrian Explosion. In regards to the Cambrian Explosion Darwin himself stated the Cambrian Explosion could be “truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained”:

    “Consequently, if the theory be true, it is indisputable that, before the lowest Silurian or Cambrian stratum was deposited long periods elapsed, as long as, or probably far longer than, the whole interval from the Cambrian age to the present day; and that during these vast periods the world swarmed with living creatures…
    To the question why we do not find rich fossiliferous deposits belonging to these assumed earliest periods, I can give no satisfactory answer…
    The case at present must remain inexplicable; and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained.
    —Chapter IX, “On the Imperfection of the Geological Record,” On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin – fifth edition (1869), pp. 378-381.

    The evidence for the Cambrian Explosion has only gotten worse, not better, for Darwinists since Darwin wrote those words.

    Materialistic Basis of the Cambrian Explosion is Elusive: BioEssays Vol. 31 (7):736 – 747 – July 2009
    Excerpt: “going from an essentially static system billions of years in existence to the one we find today, a dynamic and awesomely complex system whose origin seems to defy explanation. Part of the intrigue with the Cambrian explosion is that numerous animal phyla with very distinct body plans arrive on the scene in a geological blink of the eye, with little or no warning of what is to come in rocks that predate this interval of time.” —“Thus, elucidating the materialistic basis of the Cambrian explosion has become more elusive, not less, the more we know about the event itself, and cannot be explained away by coupling extinction of intermediates with long stretches of geologic time, despite the contrary claims of some modern neo-Darwinists.”,,,
    serving as perennial fodder for creationists. The reasoning is simple — as explained on an intelligent-design t-shirt.
    “Fact: Forty phyla of complex animals suddenly appear in the fossil record, no forerunners, no transitional forms leading to them; ”a major mystery,” a ”challenge.” The Theory of Evolution — exploded again (idofcourse.com).”
    Although we would dispute the numbers, and aside from the last line, there is not much here that we would disagree with. Indeed, many of Darwin’s contemporaries shared these sentiments, and we assume — if Victorian fashion dictated — that they would have worn this same t-shirt with pride.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....mater.html

    A Graduate Student (Nick Matzke) Writes – David Berlinski July 9, 2013
    Excerpt: Representatives of twenty-three of the roughly twenty-seven fossilized animal phyla, and the roughly thirty-six animal phyla overall, are present in the Cambrian fossil record. Twenty of these twenty-three major groups make their appearance with no discernible ancestral forms in either earlier Cambrian or Precambrian strata. Representatives of the remaining three or so animal phyla originate in the late Precambrian, but they do so as abruptly as the animals that appeared first in Cambrian. Moreover, these late Precambrian animals lack clear affinities with the representatives of the twenty or so phyla that first appear in the Cambrian.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....74221.html

    Ediacaran embryos in retrospect – David Tyler – January 28, 2013
    Excerpt: “there is currently no convincing evidence for advanced animals with bilateral symmetry in the Doushantuo biota”. This particular quest for animals preceding the Cambrian Explosion has drawn a blank. Needless to say, Darwin’s dilemma remains in full force.
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....retrospect

    Dr. Stephen Meyer: Darwin’s Dilemma – The Significance of Sponge Embryos – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPs8E7y0ySs

    Deepening Darwin’s Dilemma – Jonathan Wells – Sept. 2009
    Excerpt: “The truth is that (finding) “exceptionally preserved microbes” from the late Precambrian actually deepen Darwin’s dilemma, because they suggest that if there had been ancestors to the Cambrian phyla they would have been preserved.”
    http://www.discovery.org/a/12471

    A book, Darwin’s Doubt, and a movie, Darwin’s Dilemma, both highlight the impossibility of Darwinian explanations to account for the Cambrian Explosion.
    If anyone has not read Stephen Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt yet, Dr. Paul Giem has done a chapter by chapter ‘cliff notes’ video series on the book here:

    Darwin’s Doubt – Paul Giem – video playlist
    http://www.youtube.com/playlis.....Ow3u0_mK8t

    For an even shorter ‘cliff notes’ version, here is the movie on the Cambrian Explosion:

    Darwin’s Dilemma
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxh9o32m5c0

  71. 71
    bornagain77 says:

    Here is a short excerpt from the movie that highlights just how explosive the Cambrian Explosion was:

    Cambrian Explosion Ruins Darwin’s Tree of Life (2 minutes in 24 hour day) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQKxkUb_AAg

    , as Dr. Wells pointed out in the preceding video, Darwin predicted that minor differences (diversity) between species would gradually appear first and then the differences would grow larger (disparity) between species as time went on. i.e. universal common descent as depicted in Darwin’s tree of life. What Darwin predicted should be familiar to everyone and is easily represented in the only illustation in his book and in the following modern graph.,,,

    Darwin’s illustration of an evolutionary tree, from The Origin of Species (1859).
    http://diogenesii.files.wordpr.....iagram.jpg

    The Theory – Diversity precedes Disparity – graph
    http://www.veritas-ucsb.org/JOURNEY/IMAGES/F.gif

    But that ‘tree pattern’ that Darwin predicted is not what is found in the fossil record. The fossil record reveals that disparity (the greatest differences) precedes diversity (the smaller differences), which is the exact opposite pattern for what Darwin’s theory predicted.

    The Actual Fossil Evidence- Disparity precedes Diversity – graph
    http://www.veritas-ucsb.org/JOURNEY/IMAGES/G.gif

    Investigating Evolution: The Cambrian Explosion Part 1 – (4:45 minute mark – upside-down fossil record) video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DkbmuRhXRY
    Part 2 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZFM48XIXnk

    Timeline graphic on Cambrian Explosion from ‘Darwin’s Doubt’ (Disparity preceding Diversity)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....74341.html

  72. 72
    bornagain77 says:

    James Valentine, whom some Darwinists tried to call on for support when Darwin’s Doubt came out, contrary to what the Darwinists had hoped for, agreed with Dr. Meyer’s assessment of the fossil record. Here is particularly damning quote from Valentine:

    “Darwin had a lot of trouble with the fossil record because if you look at the record of phyla in the rocks as fossils why when they first appear we already see them all. The phyla are fully formed. It’s as if the phyla were created first and they were modified into classes and we see that the number of classes peak later than the number of phyla and the number of orders peak later than that. So it’s kind of a top down succession, you start with this basic body plans, the phyla, and you diversify them into classes, the major sub-divisions of the phyla, and these into orders and so on. So the fossil record is kind of backwards from what you would expect from in that sense from what you would expect from Darwin’s ideas.”
    James W. Valentine – as quoted from “On the Origin of Phyla: Interviews with James W. Valentine” – (as stated at 1:16:36 mark of video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtdFJXfvlm8&feature=player_detailpage#t=4595

    Moreover, there are ‘yawning chasms’ in the ‘morphological space’ between the phyla which suddenly appeared in the Cambrian Explosion,,,

    “Over the past 150 years or so, paleontologists have found many representatives of the phyla that were well-known in Darwin’s time (by analogy, the equivalent of the three primary colors) and a few completely new forms altogether (by analogy, some other distinct colors such as green and orange, perhaps). And, of course, within these phyla, there is a great deal of variety. Nevertheless, the analogy holds at least insofar as the differences in form between any member of one phylum and any member of another phylum are vast, and paleontologists have utterly failed to find forms that would fill these yawning chasms in what biotechnologists call “morphological space.” In other words, they have failed to find the paleolontogical equivalent of the numerous finely graded intermediate colors (Oedleton blue, dusty rose, gun barrel gray, magenta, etc.) that interior designers covet. Instead, extensive sampling of the fossil record has confirmed a strikingly discontinuous pattern in which representatives of the major phyla stand in stark isolation from members of other phyla, without intermediate forms filling the intervening morphological space.”
    Stephen Meyer – Darwin’s Doubt (p. 70)

    Moreover, this top down pattern in the fossil record, which is the complete opposite pattern as Darwin predicted in his book for the fossil record, is not only found in the Cambrian Explosion, but this ‘top down’, disparity preceding diversity, pattern is found in the fossil record subsequent to the Cambrian explosion as well.

    Scientific study turns understanding about evolution on its head – July 30, 2013
    Excerpt: evolutionary biologists,,, looked at nearly one hundred fossil groups to test the notion that it takes groups of animals many millions of years to reach their maximum diversity of form.
    Contrary to popular belief, not all animal groups continued to evolve fundamentally new morphologies through time. The majority actually achieved their greatest diversity of form (disparity) relatively early in their histories.
    ,,,Dr Matthew Wills said: “This pattern, known as ‘early high disparity’, turns the traditional V-shaped cone model of evolution on its head. What is equally surprising in our findings is that groups of animals are likely to show early-high disparity regardless of when they originated over the last half a billion years. This isn’t a phenomenon particularly associated with the first radiation of animals (in the Cambrian Explosion), or periods in the immediate wake of mass extinctions.”,,,
    Author Martin Hughes, continued: “Our work implies that there must be constraints on the range of forms within animal groups, and that these limits are often hit relatively early on.
    Co-author Dr Sylvain Gerber, added: “A key question now is what prevents groups from generating fundamentally new forms later on in their evolution.,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2013-07-s.....ution.html

    “In virtually all cases a new taxon appears for the first time in the fossil record with most definitive features already present, and practically no known stem-group forms.”
    TS Kemp – Fossils and Evolution,– Curator of Zoological Collections, Oxford University, Oxford Uni Press, p246, 1999

    “What is missing are the many intermediate forms hypothesized by Darwin, and the continual divergence of major lineages into the morphospace between distinct adaptive types.”
    Robert L Carroll (born 1938) – vertebrate paleontologist who specialises in Paleozoic and Mesozoic amphibians

    Thus, as far as the fossil record itself is concerned, Darwinian evolution is falsified.

    Another place that Charles Darwin said a potential falsification for his theory could be had was when he said this:

    “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”
    – Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

    Doug Axe comments here on meeting that falsification threshold:

    “Charles Darwin said (paraphrase), ‘If anyone could find anything that could not be had through a number of slight, successive, modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.’ Well that condition has been met time and time again. Basically every gene, every protein fold. There is nothing of significance that we can show that can be had in a gradualist way. It’s a mirage. None of it happens that way.
    – Doug Axe PhD. – Nothing In Molecular Biology Is Gradual – video
    https://vimeo.com/118128889

    Moreover, Michael Behe, who also quoted the ‘slight, successive, modifications’ passage when he elucidated ‘irreducible complexity’ in his books ‘Darwin’s Black Box’ and ‘The Edge Of Evolution’, has recently been empirically vindicated in his ‘irreducible complexity’ falsification of that ‘slight successive modifications’ threshold when laboratory work confirmed his 1 in 10^20 number for the probability of Darwinian processes producing a single protein-protein binding site::

    How Many Ways Are There to Win at Sandwalk? – Michael Behe – August 15, 2014
    Excerpt: ,, with chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum. The best current statistical estimate of the frequency of de novo resistance is Nicholas White’s value of 1 in 10^20 parasites. That number is now essentially fixed — no pathway to resistance will be found that is substantially more probable than that. Although with more data the value may be refined up or down by even as much as one or two orders of magnitude (to between 1 in 10^18-10^22), it’s not going very far on a log scale. Not nearly far enough to lift the shadow from Darwinism.
    What’s more, we can also conclude that the mutations that have already been found are the most effective available of any combination of mutations whose joint probability is greater than 1 in 10^20, since more effective alternatives would already have occurred and been selected if they were available.,,,
    The bottom line for all of them is that the acquisition of chloroquine resistance is an event of statistical probability 1 in 10^20.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....88981.html

    Guide of the Perplexed: A Quick Reprise of The Edge of Evolution – Michael Behe – August 20, 2014
    Excerpt: *Any particular adaptive biochemical feature requiring the same mutational complexity as that needed for chloroquine resistance in malaria is forbiddingly unlikely to have arisen by Darwinian processes and fixed in the population of any class of large animals (such as, say, mammals), because of the much lower population sizes and longer generation times compared to that of malaria. (By “the same mutational complexity” I mean requiring 2-3 point mutations where at least one step consists of intermediates that are deleterious, plus a modest selection coefficient of, say, 1 in 10^3 to 1 in10^4. Those factors will get you in the neighborhood of 1 in 10^20.)
    *Any adaptive biological feature requiring a mutational pathway of twice that complexity (that is, 4-6 mutations with the intermediate steps being deleterious) is unlikely to have arisen by Darwinian processes during the history of life on Earth.,,,
    What’s more, Nicholas White’s factor of 1 in 10^20 already has built into it all the ways to evolve chloroquine resistance in P. falciparum. In the many malarial cells exposed to chloroquine there have surely occurred all possible single mutations and probably all possible double mutations — in every malarial gene — yet only a few mutational combinations in pfcrt are effective. In other words, mutation and selection have already searched all possible solutions of the entire genome whose probability is greater than 1 in 10^20, including mutations to other genes. The observational evidence demonstrates that only a handful are effective. There is no justification for arbitrarily inflating probabilistic resources by citing imaginary alternative evolutionary routes.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....89161.html

    Thus, it is simply ludicrous for Darwinists to pretend a pre-Cambrian rabbit would falsify Darwinism. The entire fossil record itself, as well as all relevant lab work seeking to find the ‘edge of evolution’, both, resoundingly, falsify Darwinian claims.

    As I’ve heard said before, the only evidence we really have supporting Darwinian claims of unlimited plasticity is in the theory itself. Darwin’s theory is forever plastic. Always able to morph itself into entirely new shapes, (i.e. just so stories), so as to accommodate any disconfirming evidence that falsifies its claims.

    Verse and Music:

    2 Peter 1:16
    For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

    MercyMe – Flawless (Official Music Video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjLlLPZderk

  73. 73
    Mapou says:

    You atheists/materialists/Darwinists ought to be ashamed of yourselves. You’re truly pathetic. Take bornagain77. He is not a scientist. He is a creationist, a biblical literalist (AFAICT) and a believer in near death experiences. I personally do not subscribe to BA77’s brand of Christianity or his worldview. Yet, BA77 consistently kicks your sorry asses on this forum. It’s a relentless, merciless ass-whipping, day in and day out. The shame, the humiliation, the horror, the humanity! What gives? It’s almost too painful to watch.

  74. 74
    logically_speaking says:

    Zachriel,

    “Could griffins and centaurs be dimly remembered real-life organisms? Why or why would you not expect to find the remains of such a creature? If we found a griffin, what would that mean in terms of the theory of evolution”?

    Hi Zachriel, here’s something for you to read,

    http://www.scienceagainstevolution.org/v6i8f.htm

  75. 75
    Robert Byers says:

    One is not failing to find bunny’s in the cambrian but instead one is being told the deposition of the cambrian fossils is a biological paradigm. In fact its a geological one. There are no rabbits there because the cambrian never existed.
    Find the cambrian deposits and one will find the rabbit or its ancestor.

  76. 76
    Andre says:

    We found Metaspriggina, in the Cambrian, Not a single materialist/Darwinist/Atheist stopped to reflect on it……

    The don’t choose beliefs because they are true, they choose them because they find them helpful.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....13414.html

  77. 77
    Bob O'H says:

    We found Metaspriggina, in the Cambrian, Not a single materialist/Darwinist/Atheist stopped to reflect on it……

    Really?

  78. 78
    Zachriel says:

    Upright BiPed: it’s called semiosis, or more broadly, representationalism.

    Individual molecules can self-replicate, at least in principle.

    Querius: A rabbit is far too modern to have evolved in the Cambrian because the Cambrian is far too ancient to have evolved rabbits because rabbits are far too modern.

    We have a great deal of detailed historical information which provides the order of arrival of various life forms. Turns out that land vertebrates didn’t come until well after aquatic vertebrates. Playing with words won’t change this basic finding.

    logically_speaking: Hi Zachriel, here’s something for you to read

    So are you saying we might possibly find evidence of a griffin? The article discusses protoceratops, but protoceratops only had four limbs, while a griffin has six.

  79. 79
    bornagain77 says:

    picture – 550 million year old fossil fish – “Most major animal groups appear suddenly in the fossil record 550 million years ago, but vertebrates have been absent from this ‘Big Bang’ of life. Two fish-like animals from Early Cambrian rocks now fill this gap.”
    “Lower Cambrian Vertebrates from South China” – Nov. 1999
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/cambrianfish.jpg

    Metaspriggina: Vertebrates Found in Cambrian Explosion – August 29, 2014
    Excerpt: Now that some months have passed since the discovery of another rich trove of Cambrian fossils 26 miles from the Burgess Shale, scientists are starting to publish findings from the new Marble Canyon site. One amazing find just published by Simon Conway Morris and Jean-Bernard Caron is putting more bang in the Cambrian explosion.,,,
    ,,,confirms that this animal was far more than a chordate: it was a vertebrate fish, right there in the Lower Cambrian! Imagine a vertebrate fish, with a skeleton, binocular vision, muscles, nerves, gut and blood vessels: it is so complex compared to what came before, it makes the suddenness and explosive increase in complexity undeniable.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....89471.html

    in the recent ‘Mother-Lode of Fossils’ from the Cambrian Explosion, they found retinas and corneas:

    ‘Mother Lode’ of (505 million years ago Cambrian) Fossils Discovered in Canada – Feb. 11, 2014
    Excerpt: Retinas, corneas, neural tissue, guts and even a possible heart and liver were found.
    http://www.scientificamerican......in-canada/

    Half-Billion-Year-Old Heart Found More Complex than Today’s – April 24, 2014
    Excerpt: “520 million years ago, the first known animal heart was formed.
    It was the heart of an ancient shrimp, and quite a heart it was. For it, and its vascular system, have been found to be more complex than that of modern shrimp,”
    http://www.biosciencetechnolog.....8;type=cta

    Neural tissue preservation in a Cambrian arthropod – David Tyler – 11/05/13
    Excerpt: However, the neural architecture is essentially modern.,,,
    “Professor Strausfeld said: ‘Greg plugged these characteristics into a computer-based cladistic analysis to ask, “where does this fossil appear in a relational tree?” ‘Our fossil of Alalcomenaeus came out with the modern chelicerates.”
    “No one expected such an advanced brain would have evolved so early in the history of multicellular animals,” said Strausfeld, a Regents Professor in the UA department of neuroscience. [. . .] “In principle, Fuxianhuia’s is a very modern brain in an ancient animal.”
    So we have the interesting situation that both groups of arthropods have neural patterns that are essentially modern.,,,
    The research considered in this blog shows that the neural pathways for arthropods must be dated at least to the Early Cambrian. This provides an additional dimension to the Cambrian Explosion phenomenon,,,
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....a_cambrian

    “In fact, this doublet is a device so typically associated with human invention that its discovery comes as something of a shock. The realization that trilobites developed and used such devices half a billion years ago makes the shock even greater. And a final discovery – that the refracting interface between the two elements in a trilobite’s eyes was designed in accordance with optical constructions worked out by Descartes and Huygens in the mid-seventeenth century – borders on sheer science fiction” [Lev93p57].

    “The trilobites already had a highly advanced visual system. In fact, so far as we can tell from the fossil record thus far discovered, trilobite sight was far and away the most advanced in Kingdom Animalia at the base of the Cambrian,,, There is no other known occurrence of calcite eyes in the fossil record” [FM-trib].

    Complex Arthropod Eyes Found in Early Cambrian – June 2011
    Excerpt: Complex eyes with modern optics from an unknown arthropod, more complex than trilobite eyes, have been discovered in early Cambrian strata from southern Australia.,,, Here we report exceptionally preserved fossil eyes from the Early Cambrian (~515 million years ago) Emu Bay Shale of South Australia, revealing that some of the earliest arthropods possessed highly advanced compound eyes, each with over 3,000 large ommatidial lenses and a specialized ‘bright zone’. These are the oldest non-biomineralized eyes known in such detail, with preservation quality exceeding that found in the Burgess Shale and Chengjiang deposits. Non-biomineralized eyes of similar complexity are otherwise unknown until about 85 million years later. The arrangement and size of the lenses indicate that these eyes belonged to an active predator that was capable of seeing in low light. The eyes are more complex than those known from contemporaneous trilobites and are as advanced as those of many living forms. They provide further evidence that the Cambrian explosion involved rapid innovation in fine-scale anatomy as well as gross morphology,
    http://crev.info/content/11062.....y_cambrian

    500 million-year-old super predator had remarkable vision – Dec 07, 2011
    Excerpt: The fossils represent compound eyes – the multi-faceted variety seen in arthropods such as flies, crabs and kin – and are amongst the largest to have ever existed, with each eye up to 3 cm in length and containing over 16,000 lenses. The number of lenses and other aspects of their optical design suggest that Anomalocaris would have seen its world with exceptional clarity whilst hunting in well-lit waters. Only a few arthropods, such as modern predatory dragonflies, have similar resolution.,,,
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....ision.html

  80. 80
    harry says:

    Mapou @73,

    BA77 consistently kicks your [atheists/materialists/Darwinists] sorry asses on this forum. It’s a relentless, merciless ass-whipping, day in and day out. The shame, the humiliation, the horror, the humanity!

    I agree. Risking sounding like I would have enjoyed watching gladiatorial carnage, I must admit that I find it quite entertaining.

  81. 81

    Z said:

    A rabbit is a highly derived mammal. It’s far too modern to have plausibly evolved in the Cambrian, not only before the first known mammal, but before the first known amniote, even before the first known land tetrapod.

    There’s no plausible reworking of historical descent that would be consistent with a Cambrian rabbit and the current theory of evolution. Either a new theory of evolution would have to be proposed, or a entirely new theory.

    (1) If such a fossil was found in pre-cambrian strata do you think the actual reaction of the scientific community would be that evolutionary theory was wrong or that the fossil find was the result of some kind of fraud or anomalous set of natural circumstances that just made it look like the rabbit was in the pre-cambrian?

    (2) Do you really think that the scientific commumnity would throw out a theory that supposedly works for 99.9999% of the evidence because of a single fossil find that appeared to call the current timeline into doubt?

    (3) Even if the scientific community agreed that the fossil represented a bona-fide rabbit-like creature in the pre-cambrian, and even if current views of the progress of evolutionary “historical descent” were thrown into chaos, would the find serve to disprove the theory that evolution proceeds by chance mutational variance and natural selection?

  82. 82

    (1) If such a fossil was found in pre-cambrian strata do you think the actual reaction of the scientific community would be that evolutionary theory was wrong or that the fossil find was the result of some kind of fraud or anomalous set of natural circumstances that just made it look like the rabbit was in the pre-cambrian?

    (2) Do you really think that the scientific commumnity would throw out a theory that supposedly works for 99.9999% of the evidence because of a single fossil find that appeared to call the current timeline into doubt?

    The first step would have to be the same step as we do when we find any outlying datapoint: check that it is not an error: for example, as you say, fraud, or the remains of a regular rabbit that had managed to burrow itself into a crack in some Cambrian rock, and died in situ.

    Often, in science, we find that all our points lie on a nice line, or on a sensible curve, except for one. We don’t throw out the line or the curve – we examine the outlying point to find out whether there is some other processing going on that accounts for it. These can range from contamination; data-entry error; a quite separate but rare phenomenon that affects a very small number of observations; etc.

    So the first thing that the scientists would have to do would be to test the fossil for evidence that it really was the remains of an animal that had lived and died at the same time as the rest of the Cambrian fauna and flora. Which would mean testing the hypothesis that it was either an aquatic mammal-like animal, or a terrestrial mammal-like animal that had somehow ended up at the bottom of an ocean.

    But…

    (3) Even if the scientific community agreed that the fossil represented a bona-fide rabbit-like creature in the pre-cambrian, and even if current views of the progress of evolutionary “historical descent” were thrown into chaos, would the find serve to disprove the theory that evolution proceeds by chance mutational variance and natural selection?

    It would certainly suggest that this particular animal was the result of some quite different and totally unknown process, possibly magic.

  83. 83
    Starbuck says:

    the primary reason a stratum would be called “Cambrian” in the first place is because of the absence of rabbit fossils.

    Wow. That statement is as unbelievably stupid as it is false.

  84. 84
    Barry Arrington says:

    Wow Starbuck. Where did you acquire the Marvel comics-like superpower of trolling through the internet and pronouncing arguments “stupid” and “false” as if that settles the matter without the slightest nod toward an argument to support your assertion. Were you bitten by a radioactive slug? Can slugs bite? Do you always have this power or do you have to go through a painful Hulk-like metamorphosis?

  85. 85
    Bob O'H says:

    Barry – if you’re right that a stratum without rabbit fossils would be called “Cambrian”, what do you make of Silurian strata? Are they also Cambrian, as they have no fossil rabbits?

  86. 86
    Joe says:

    Evolutionism can’t explain rabbits, so how would finding a pre-cambrian or a cambrian rabbit refute it?

  87. 87
    harry says:

    Starbuck @83

    the primary reason a stratum would be called “Cambrian” in the first place is because of the absence of rabbit fossils.

    Wow. That statement is as unbelievably stupid as it is false.

    The very notion that nanotechnology the functional complexity of which is beyond the ability of modern science to create intentionally came about mindlessly and accidentally is what is as unbelievably stupid as it is false. If atheistic science knew even one way to build technology from scratch that could also manufacture more instances of itself from available raw materials, then it might be able to begin explaining how such a technological feat could have occurred mindlessly and accidentally, because it would then at least have some idea of what would be required for something like that to take place. As it is, atheistic science insists that that which it has no idea how to make happen on purpose happened accidentally. The stupidity of that is something like jungle savages insisting, even though they didn’t have any idea how to manufacture one, that the laptop PC they found came about accidentally.

    The functional complexity of life’s nanotechnology is light years beyond our own. Since we don’t know how inanimate matter could have ever accidentally assembled itself into anything as unlikely as the digital-information driven, self-replicating nanotechnology of which that first, single-celled, reproducing life form consisted, about all we could conclude with certainty from a rabbit-like fossil being found where we didn’t expect it is that our categories and classifications of nanotechnology that is beyond us are even more tentative than we thought.

  88. 88
    steveO says:

    BA77

    I hope you’re up to date with backups and/or disk redundancy technology.

    Your database of sources is astonishing!

    Actually it’s not enough to just take backups, it’s important to keep a backup “off site” e.g. at a parent’s or relative’s house.

  89. 89
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob @ 85. I never said the Cambrian was the only layer with no rabbits. Nor did I imply it. I can’t imagine why you would ask that question.

  90. 90
    eigenstate says:

    @WJM

    (1) If such a fossil was found in pre-cambrian strata do you think the actual reaction of the scientific community would be that evolutionary theory was wrong or that the fossil find was the result of some kind of fraud or anomalous set of natural circumstances that just made it look like the rabbit was in the pre-cambrian?

    Of course there would be an intense focus on the integrity of the data. But the example given — a rabbit found in the Cambrian layer — was given to be just what is stated, at face value, as an example of falsifying evidence. Given the example is what it’s posited as, then it’s not a fraud, and is deeply problematic for evolutionary theory.

    (2) Do you really think that the scientific community would throw out a theory that supposedly works for 99.9999% of the evidence because of a single fossil find that appeared to call the current timeline into doubt?

    We didn’t completely throw out Newton when Einstein came along. GR + SR became the best theories, but Newtonian physics was sufficient for putting astronauts on the moon, with the systems and computers that made that happen. GR + SR can be seen as “upgrades” or “refinements” to Newtonian physics, rather than a repudiation of it. Current evolutionary theory has a huge amount of explanatory power and fit to the evidence, but it would have to be replace by some new framework. This framework may well incorporate the “old evolutionary” theory in big chunks, using much of what we understand currently, but it would have to be a new framework that did so, and one that accounted for our famous rabbit (and ostensibly, more like it, when found).

    The bottom line, though, is all bets are off in that situation until a new model can be advanced that accommodates all the evidence.

    (3) Even if the scientific community agreed that the fossil represented a bona-fide rabbit-like creature in the pre-cambrian, and even if current views of the progress of evolutionary “historical descent” were thrown into chaos, would the find serve to disprove the theory that evolution proceeds by chance mutational variance and natural selection?

    Yes. See above on a new framework possibly incorporating much of the old, including genetic variance and natural selection, but the point of the example is that all of that would be cast in doubt, because a theory can’t just arbitrarily divide the evidence and point at one model for “everything but this rabbit”, and another for the rabbit, without providing a theory-internal rationale for doing so. If RV+NS works for all but our Cambrian Rabbit, unless we have an empirically testable basis for segregating that rabbit off, we could no longer make the general statements about RM + NS that we do under the current model.

  91. 91
    Joe says:

    eigenstate:

    If RV+NS works for all but our Cambrian Rabbit, unless we have an empirically testable basis for segregating that rabbit off, we could no longer make the general statements about RM + NS that we do under the current model.

    There isn’t any such model you delusional loser.

  92. 92

    Of course there is, Joe. It’s the one you keep saying there isn’t any evidence for.

  93. 93
    Joe says:

    Elizabeth, You are all bluff and bluster. You have never supported anything you have said about evolutionism. You can’t even find the alleged theory of evolution.

    So either produce this model for unguided evolution or admit that you lack integrity and are as dishonest as they come.

  94. 94
    Joe says:

    OK Elizabeth’s bluff has been called and I bet she folds or just bluffs some more.

  95. 95
    Bob O'H says:

    Barry, according to you, the lack of rabbit fossils is the primary distinguishing feature of Cambrian strata. However, a lot of other strata also don’t have rabbit fossils. So how do we tell those apart from Cambrian strata?

    UDEditors: I never said that are anything like that Bob.

  96. 96
    Zachriel says:

    William J Murray: (1) If such a fossil was found in pre-cambrian strata do you think the actual reaction of the scientific community would be that evolutionary theory was wrong or that the fossil find was the result of some kind of fraud or anomalous set of natural circumstances that just made it look like the rabbit was in the pre-cambrian?

    Because the vast majority of evidence against rabbits existing in the Cambrian, other possibilities would be strongly considered.

    William J Murray: (2) Do you really think that the scientific commumnity would throw out a theory that supposedly works for 99.9999% of the evidence because of a single fossil find that appeared to call the current timeline into doubt?

    The question isn’t just being found in the strata, but that its existence in the Cambrian is established. Most scientists would probably be highly skeptical of such a finding as it would contradict “99.9999% of the evidence”.

    William J Murray: (3) Even if the scientific community agreed that the fossil represented a bona-fide rabbit-like creature in the pre-cambrian, and even if current views of the progress of evolutionary “historical descent” were thrown into chaos, would the find serve to disprove the theory that evolution proceeds by chance mutational variance and natural selection?

    It would throw the entire theory of evolution into doubt.

  97. 97
    Joe says:

    Zachriel the bluffing troll:

    It would throw the entire theory of evolution into doubt.

    There isn’t such a theory so you lose, loser.

  98. 98

    Joe, I’m not sure whether you are seriously querying whether there is a theory of evolution or not.

    But there is. You may even have heard of it. Charles Darwin laid it out in 1859, and it’s been steadily added to since.

  99. 99
    EugeneS says:

    Replication is just one of the many simultaneous requirements of life. Some others are autonomy, metabolism, control and decision making as part of reaction to external stimuli. When one disassembles life trying to reduce it to chemistry, it is possible to satisfy some of those requirements in isolation by physical means alone. However, to satisfy all of them at the same time critically needs intelligence.

    Crystals replicate but that is not enough to categorize them as living. What there also needs to be is control to harness replication, metabolism and other vital functions. Controlled replication of autonomous chemically sustainable structures needs a program that involves physically inert code and its interpretation, hence the ‘data+processor’ irreducible semiotic core.

    Physicality cannot explain logic because physicality itself presupposes logic as the existence of science demonstrates. The absence of the primacy of underlying logic means no possibility of science. As William Ross Ashby rightly put it, organization means irreducibility.

  100. 100
    Carpathian says:

    EugeneS:

    Physicality cannot explain logic because physicality itself presupposes logic as the existence of science demonstrates. The absence of the primacy of underlying logic means no possibility of science. As William Ross Ashby rightly put it, organization means irreducibility.

    Are you saying here that logic existed before the physical universe did?

  101. 101
    Joe says:

    Elizabeth, Darwin’s tripe hasn’t panned out so his “theory”, if you can even call it that, is crap. Darwin had bears evolving into whales. How did that pan out?

    Science requires quantification and darwin didn’t provide any way to quantify his concept.

    What are the entailments of this alleged theory, Lizzie? What does it predict?

    So please reference a modern theory of evolution or admit that it doesn’t exist. Thank you.

    BTW why haven’t you posted a model of unguided evolution?

  102. 102

    Zachriel: thanks for honestly admitting that it is highly doubtful that finding a rabbit fossil in the pre-cambrian strata would by itself would undermine the theory at all – it would more likely be considered an anomaly or a fraud.

    You said:

    It would throw the entire theory of evolution into doubt.

    Why would it throw the core tenets of chance variation and natural selection into doubt? Is there some other possible way that a rabbit-like creature could have come into existence, scientifically speaking? Regardless of how the rabbit fossil found its way into that strata, or regardless of how a rabbit found is way into the precambrian, what other way could a rabbit come to exist if not via chance variation and natural selection from a primordial origin-of-life scenario?

  103. 103
    Carpathian says:

    Joe:

    BTW why haven’t you posted a model of unguided evolution?

    Why hasn’t anyone come up with a model of biological ID?

    Question 1: How do you determine what to design?

  104. 104
    Zachriel says:

    William J Murry: Is there some other possible way that a rabbit-like creature could have come into existence, scientifically speaking?

    Who knows. When you find such evidence, let us know. The Theory of Evolution is so strongly supported that we can be confident that rabbits never existed in the Cambrian.

    Nearly everyone on this thread knows it, just like they know that griffins never existed as naturally occurring organisms. The reason is because of common descent and the historical progression of forms. Griffins and cambrian rabbits have no plausible evolutionary ancestors.

  105. 105

    82: EL said:

    It would certainly suggest that this particular animal was the result of some quite different and totally unknown process, possibly magic.

    So you’re saying that “magic” would be a scientific possibility that evolutionary biologists would consider if they found such a rabbit-like fossil?

    Why would scientists think that something other than natural selection and chance variance was at work to produce the rabbit- like fossil just because it was found in the pre-cambrian? Wouldn’t they start looking for previously unknown lineages of major forms of life preceding the Cambrian that could have led to the rabbit-like creature – IOW, looking for evidence in the area of perhaps a more niche, local generation of what appeared to be land mammals much farther back than currently known?

    Is evolution incapable of producing mammals and rabbit-like creatures twice? Is it impossible that most of the evidence of this prior development of larger forms was somehow wiped out or is somewhere we cannot find it?

  106. 106
    Joe says:

    Carpathian- Your dodge is duly noted. ID wouldn’t even be considered if unguided evolution could be modeled and supported.

    You only attack ID because you have nothing and you don’t even know where to start. Intelligent Design Evolution is modeled by artificial selection, evolutionary and genetic algorithms.

  107. 107
    Joe says:

    The Theory of Evolution is so strongly supported

    It can’t even be found!

    People know exactly where to look to read about Newton’s concepts of gravity and Einstein’s General and Special Relativity. Those concepts have specific testable entailments that everyone can read about.

    There isn’t anything like that for evolution.

  108. 108
    Carpathian says:

    Joe:

    Carpathian- Your dodge is duly noted. ID wouldn’t even be considered if unguided evolution could be modeled and supported.

    Evolution is not unguided.

    Evolution is limited by the environment and that is its “guide”.

    Biological ID has no methodology to determine what organism to design and that is a reason to reject it.

    There is no way for intelligence, no matter how sophisticated, to perform ID.

    Absolute infallible knowledge of the future is required.

    Show me I’m wrong by stating how you would write an ID design spec for a new biological organism.

  109. 109
    Zachriel says:

    William J Murray: Wouldn’t they start looking for previously unknown lineages of major forms of life preceding the Cambrian that could have led to the rabbit-like creature

    They would certainly try to collect additional evidence, but an anatomically modern rabbit in the Cambrian can’t possibly have evolved by the processes involved in the current theory of evolution.

  110. 110
    Joe says:

    Carpathian- Your version of evolution means nothing. Natural selection is blind, mindless and without purpose. That is not a guiding process- whatever survives is not a guide.

    Biological ID has no methodology to determine what organism to design and that is a reason to reject it.

    And yet all the evidence says that biological organisms are intelligently designed. That is in part due to your position’s failure to provide a mechanism capable.

    Absolute infallible knowledge of the future is required.

    You don’t get to decide that and your “arguments” are nothing more than childish assertions.

  111. 111
    Mapou says:

    Carpathian:

    There is no way for intelligence, no matter how sophisticated, to perform ID.

    Absolute infallible knowledge of the future is required.

    Show me I’m wrong by stating how you would write an ID design spec for a new biological organism.

    Why are you arguing with this moron, Joe? I’d rather argue with a watermelon.

  112. 112
    Carpathian says:

    Joe:

    Carpathian: Absolute infallible knowledge of the future is required.

    Joe: You don’t get to decide that and your “arguments” are nothing more than childish assertions.

    Prove me wrong by actually thinking about doing it.

    You or anyone else here will be stuck at the point you roll out your design.

    A mistake could wipe out more than a single species.

    How do you recall a design?

    Unless you’re infallible, you have to consider that.

    Another real question is how large should your initial populations be and how far apart do you put them.

    Too small a population and you suffer from in-breeding and epidemic dangers.

    Too large and you can’t recall them to make a fix.

    Show how ID can overcome those problems.

  113. 113
    Carpathian says:

    Mapou:

    Why are you arguing with this moron, Joe? I’d rather argue with a watermelon.

    Sounds like you have no idea how ID could be implemented either.

    Is there anyone who can draft a spec for an organism to design?

    Is there anyone who can plan the logistics required for a rollout?

    What about a recall of a failed design?

  114. 114
    Joe says:

    Carpathian, How old are you?

    Absolute infallible knowledge of the future is required.

    Show us that those alleged problems exist some place other than your mind.

  115. 115
    Carpathian says:

    Joe:

    Show us that those alleged problems exist some place other than your mind.

    I don’t understand why no one has an answer to this question.

    I’ve explained the problem.

    An error on roll out cannot be tolerated.

    Tell me why you believe this problem doesn’t exist.

    This is a question that would be asked by any student studying ID if it were ever taught in a science class.

    How do we address the problems ID brings?

  116. 116
    Carpathian says:

    If only God can introduce new organisms via ID, then ID is creationism since no one but God could do it.

  117. 117
    Joe says:

    Carpathian, We have explained that your alleged problems with ID are straw men.

    Hump them if you want but we don’t have to play…

  118. 118
    Carpathian says:

    Joe:

    Carpathian, We have explained that your alleged problems with ID are straw men.

    I’m not the only one with these questions.

    Any student in a science class discussing ID would ask the same questions.

  119. 119
    Joe says:

    Carpathian, Any student in biology class worth their salt would question the claims of evolutionism until the professor gave up and admitted it is all crap.

    Then they could start discussing alternatives until they find one that fits.

  120. 120
    EugeneS says:

    Carpathian,

    Not all our experiences are formalizable, that’s for sure. Notably supernatural reality is beyond rational understanding. But there is definitely logic underpinning science, which itself is a way to describe ‘regularities of nature’. I think that science utilizes some basic properties of the physical world. And that makes science the great enabler of technology.

  121. 121
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Carpathian, How old are you?

    I’d like to know that also. I made a guess.

  122. 122
    Upright BiPed says:

    An error on roll out cannot be tolerated.

    We are told (without end) that all one needs is a replicator with feedback. From that insignificant organization, the wizards of natural selection can then do all things. Yet, now we are told that the slightest imperfection burns the roux.

    good grief

  123. 123

    OT:

    I see that Aurelio Smith has not only been banned, but silently vaporized, not just from one thread, but from the entire site.

    He persists in negative space, his outline visible in responses to his posts.

    Dog bites man, I suppose.

  124. 124
    Seversky says:

    Reciprocating Bill @ 123

    It reminds me of the beginning of one of the Stargate: SG-1 movies where the leading characters start winking out of existence one by one leaving only memories ….

  125. 125
    Querius says:

    Carpathian,

    There seem to be a lot of frustrated people on this thread, and in some cases it might be due to misunderstanding what ID really is, how it’s different than creationism, and what one of the many versions of the theory of evolution.

    Since Seversky mentioned science fiction, let’s play a science fiction game. Do you like games? 😉

    In the far future, if a small blue planet remarkably like ours were seeded with an amazing spectrum of *human-designed* organisms that were left to adapt, migrate, or die, what would the result look like after millions of years, and how would that result differ from what we observe on our own small blue planet?

    By “spectrum,” I mean that these human-designed species are incredibly numerous due to the fact that undergraduates in future terrestrial college classes frequently design new species under the supervision of a qualified professor and then observe and analyze the results.

    What would you expect to find on that planet?

    -Q

  126. 126
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: Individual molecules can self-replicate, at least in principle.

    According to what principle?

  127. 127
    Mung says:

    Elizabeth Liddle:

    The first step would have to be the same step as we do when we find any outlying datapoint: check that it is not an error

    iow, look for more rabbits!

  128. 128
    Mung says:

    Joe: There isn’t any such model you delusional loser.

    Elizabeth: Of course there is, Joe. It’s the one you keep saying there isn’t any evidence for.

    Joe: So either produce this model for unguided evolution or admit that you lack integrity and are as dishonest as they come.

    Wrong answer Joe.

    The correct response is to point out that they are conflating the model with what is being modeled.

  129. 129
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: Because the vast majority of evidence against rabbits existing in the Cambrian, other possibilities would be strongly considered.

    You’re confused. Again. There is a lack of evidence of rabbits existing in the Cambrian.

    Zachriel: Most scientists would probably be highly skeptical of such a finding as it would contradict “99.9999% of the evidence”.

    You’re confused. Again. You cant’ contradict 99.9999% of a lack of evidence. That’s just silly.

    Zacriel: It would throw the entire theory of evolution into doubt.

    Your story changes daily. Doesn’t that bother you?

  130. 130
    Mung says:

    Elizabeth: Joe, I’m not sure whether you are seriously querying whether there is a theory of evolution or not.

    There is no “the theory of evolution.”

    There are “theories of evolution.”

    Zachriel, in a more lucid moment, recently admitted such.

    He seems to have forgotten, already.

    Modern evolutionary theory is a smorgasbord. It lacks what it most needs, which is a unifying coherence. Something that could rightly be called, The Theory of Evolution.

    Unless and until, we will continue to mock it.

    Elizabeth: Joe, I’m not sure whether you are seriously querying whether there is a theory of evolution or not.

    A theory of evolution just isn’t going to cut it. No one but you knows which one of the many theories you’re referring to.

    You people kill me, you really do.

    THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION:

    Those organisms which leave more offspring have more offspring in the following generation than those organisms which leave fewer offspring.

    That is not a theory. Sorry.

  131. 131
    Mung says:

    Zachriel:

    The Theory of Evolution is so strongly supported that we can be confident that rabbits never existed in the Cambrian.

    Nearly everyone on this thread knows it

    Now Zachriel’s just lying. Again.

  132. 132
    Box says:

    What unites all those theories of evolution is that natural selection (NS) is not a creative force. NS throws stuff out. New things are not created by throwing old things out. NS is death, and death has never created anything new.
    NS kills off perfectly viable organisms on a whim. Without NS evolution would be much better off, it’s simply a hindrance—a conservative anti-creative force.

  133. 133
    logically_speaking says:

    Zachriel,

    “logically_speaking: Hi Zachriel, here’s something for you to read

    So are you saying we might possibly find evidence of a griffin? The article discusses protoceratops, but protoceratops only had four limbs, while a griffin has six”.

    Ok so I don’t want to get into an off topic debate with you, but I am quite surprised that the only comment you make on this is that griffins have more limbs than protoceratops.

    Firstly I take it that when you say limbs you are including the supposed wings of the griffin. But of course the obvious answer for this supposed discrepancy is down to simple embelishment of the real creature in stories, you were the one to suggest that maybe they are “dimly remembered” after all.

    You ingore the fact that almost everything else matches, infact it’s official cus they were in a museum,

    “Millions of years before humans arrived in the Gobi, the desert was home to strange animals that seemed to combine body parts of eagles and lions. But these animals weren’t griffins; they were dinosaurs”.
    http://www.amnh.org/exhibition.....ffin-bones

    So zachriel maybe you can answer your own question now;

    “Could griffins and centaurs be dimly remembered real-life organisms? Why or why would you not expect to find the remains of such a creature? If we found a griffin, what would that mean in terms of the theory of evolution”?

    Please tell us what it means in terms of the theory of evolution? Maybe you can pull a rabbit out of a precambian hat!

  134. 134
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: According to what principle?

    It’s been known for decades that RNA acts as memory and enzyme, which, along with studies of mitochondria, led to the hypothesis of RNA World. More recent studies have shown RNA can catalyze its own replication, a confirmation of the hypothesis. See Robertson & Joyce, Highly Efficient Self-Replicating RNA Enzymes, Chemistry & Biology 2014.

    Mung: There is a lack of evidence of rabbits existing in the Cambrian.

    Not only is there a lack of rabbits in the Cambrian, the strength of the Theory of Evolution means we can state confidently that there never was a Cambrian rabbit.

    Box: What unites all those theories of evolution is that natural selection (NS) is not a creative force.

    The ‘force’ of adaptation is the interplay between variation and selection.

    logically_speaking: Ok so I don’t want to get into an off topic debate with you, but I am quite surprised that the only comment you make on this is that griffins have more limbs than protoceratops.

    It’s a defining characteristic of griffins. No one who takes even a close look would confuse the archetype of the griffin with a protoceratops. It doesn’t have wings. It has a skull plate.

    If you want to propose that the mythical griffin is a fanciful version of a fossil species of ornithischia, it’s certainly possible! Maybe the myth of the centaur came about because ignorant people thought early horse-riders were single organisms. That doesn’t make centaurs actual organisms.

    Protoceratops fits snugly within the nested hierarchy. Our conclusion, then, is that the combination of traits of lion and eagle are not consistent with what is expected from evolution, but consistent with human imagination (design).

    Not only is there a lack of archetypal griffins, the strength of the Theory of Evolution means we can state confidently that there never was an archetypal griffin, or centaur for that matter.

  135. 135
    Zachriel says:

    Zachriel: The Theory of Evolution is so strongly supported that we can be confident that rabbits never existed in the Cambrian. Nearly everyone on this thread knows it.

    Who on this thread thinks that Cambrian rabbits are a real possibility? Why or why not?

  136. 136
    Box says:

    Zachriel,

    Box: What unites all those theories of evolution is that natural selection (NS) is not a creative force.

    Zachriel: The ‘force’ of adaptation is the interplay between variation and selection.

    NS only hampers evolution.

    (1) replicator –>
    (2) mutations –>
    (3) filling of “viable replicators space”.

    The role of NS is hampering step (3). In no way can this be described as a creative process. In fact the opposite is true: NS is a restrictive conservative anti-creative force.

  137. 137
    Zachriel says:

    Box: (3) filling of “viable replicators space”.

    There’s only so many resources. It’s competition for resources that determines which lineages will persist.

    Box: NS is a restrictive conservative anti-creative force.

    Again, it’s the interplay between variation and selection that represents the ‘force’ of adaptation.

  138. 138
    Bob O'H says:

    Barry @ 89 –
    What you wrote in 29 was “the primary reason a stratum would be called “Cambrian” in the first place is because of the absence of rabbit fossils.” But if there are a lot of other strata without rabbits, then not having rabbits fossils is a poor diagnostic criterion. So anyone saying “this stratum doesn’t have rabbit fossils, therefore we’ll call it Cambrian” would be viewed as decidedly odd. So why, then would anyone using rabbit fossil absence as the primary reason for calling a stratum Cambrian?

  139. 139
    Box says:

    Zachriel,

    Box: NS only hampers evolution.

    (1) replicator –>
    (2) mutations –>
    (3) filling of “viable replicators space”.

    Zach: There’s only so many resources. It’s competition for resources that determines which lineages will persist.

    Lack of resources is simply part of NS. Drawing attention to lack of resources only underscores my point that NS is a restrictive conservative anti-creative force.

    Box: NS is a restrictive conservative anti-creative force.

    Zach: Again, it’s the interplay between variation and selection that represents the ‘force’ of adaptation.

    There is not one animal form that can be explained by NS or by an interplay of variation and NS. All animal forms are explainable by mutation and the subsequent filing of ‘viable replicators space’.
    The only thing NS does is exterminate a lot of creatures and not exterminate some creatures.

  140. 140
    Zachriel says:

    Box: Lack of resources is simply part of NS. Drawing attention to lack of resources only underscores my point that NS is a restrictive conservative anti-creative force.

    You can keep repeating it, but doesn’t make it true. Assume a simplified case where the mutation rate is such that every mutation is tried once (not uncommon in large bacterial populations). If there is an improvement in function in any of those mutations, then selection will tend to move the population in that direction. Repeat. The only question, then, is whether the landscape is amenable to step-wise movement. If it is, then variation and selection will move the population towards increasing fitness; much like a gas will fill every nook-and-cranny of a vacuum chamber, even though the movement of gas molecules is random.

    So, simply saying it can’t happen a priori is fallacious. It depends on the relationship of variation and the fitness landscape.

  141. 141
    logically_speaking says:

    Zachriel,

    “No one who takes even a close look would confuse the archetype of the griffin with a protoceratops”.

    Except the experts in the field of paleontology who look closely at the protoceratops and say that it’s quite possibly the mythical griffin of old.

    Thank goodness nobody takes your opinion seriously.

  142. 142
    Box says:

    Zachriel #140,

    Box: Natural selection (NS) is a restrictive conservative anti-creative force.

    Zach: You can keep repeating it, but doesn’t make it true. Assume a simplified case where the mutation rate is such that every mutation is tried once (not uncommon in large bacterial populations).

    So, what we see is mutations creating new viable life forms—making headway filling up ‘viable replicator space’.

    Zach: If there is an improvement in function in any of those mutations, then selection will tend to move the population in that direction.

    NS steps in and wipes out new viable life forms and doesn’t wipe out some—doesn’t touch some.

    Zach: Repeat.

    That doesn’t make NS any more creative …

    Zach:The only question, then, is whether the landscape is amenable to step-wise movement. If it is, then variation and selection will move the population towards increasing fitness;

    All you get is a subset of viable life forms that happen to get around the restrictions imposed by NS. A subset that would also be there if NS was not operational—if ‘replicators+mutation’ was unhampered by NS.

    Zach: much like a gas will fill every nook-and-cranny of a vacuum chamber, even though the movement of gas molecules is random.

    If “viable replicator space” is a vacuum chamber, which gas (replicator+ mutation) ‘wants’ to fill, then NS is a pipe network in that vacuum chamber where the “gas” is forced into.

    Zach: So, simply saying it can’t happen a priori is fallacious. It depends on the relationship of variation and the fitness landscape.

    I don’t understand. What can’t happen?
    My point is that natural selection is a restrictive conservative anti-creative force.

  143. 143
    Joe says:

    Nice to see that Elizabeth Liddle ran away as opposed to producing a model and a theory for unguided evolution.

  144. 144
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob O’H @ 138:

    But if there are a lot of other strata without rabbits, then not having rabbits fossils is a poor diagnostic criterion. So anyone saying “this stratum doesn’t have rabbit fossils, therefore we’ll call it Cambrian” would be viewed as decidedly odd. So why, then would anyone using rabbit fossil absence as the primary reason for calling a stratum Cambrian?

    Bob, you have misunderstood my statement. I said:

    the primary reason a stratum would be called “Cambrian” in the first place is because of the absence of rabbit fossils

    If you ignore context I suppose you can get to “Barry is saying that the primary criterion for determining whether a stratum is Cambrian is whether it has no rabbit fossils.”

    But in the context of the discussion, it should have been clear that I meant that the whole reason any particular stratum would have been designated “Cambrian” in the first place is because the fossils in it are the type of fossils we have come to associate with the strata we call “Cambrian” and not other fossils, which other fossils would include rabbit fossils. The point, Bob, is that designating “rabbit fossil in the Cambrian” as a datum that would falsify Darwinism is disingenuous when “Cambrian stratum” is defined as a stratum that does not include fossils of that type.

  145. 145
    Carpathian says:

    Upright BiPed:

    Carpathian: An error on roll out cannot be tolerated.

    Upright BiPed:We are told (without end) that all one needs is a replicator with feedback. From that insignificant organization, the wizards of natural selection can then do all things. Yet, now we are told that the slightest imperfection burns the roux.

    good grief

    This quote from me applies to rolling out an organism that is produced with ID, not evolution so this is an ID problem, not evolution’s.

    If you have a mechanism for successfully releasing and recalling changes in an ID population could you please briefly explain it?

  146. 146
    Carpathian says:

    Querius:

    In the far future, if a small blue planet remarkably like ours were seeded with an amazing spectrum of *human-designed* organisms that were left to adapt, migrate, or die, what would the result look like after millions of years, and how would that result differ from what we observe on our own small blue planet?

    We could probably see something like we do now.

    If this was ID’s position, I would have no problem at all with ID.

    By “spectrum,” I mean that these human-designed species are incredibly numerous due to the fact that undergraduates in future terrestrial college classes frequently design new species under the supervision of a qualified professor and then observe and analyze the results.

    This is the detail of ID I’d like to see someone explain.

    While the actual biological engineering of a simple single organism would be difficult, releasing it may be impossible once that ecosystem is populated by a large number of different species living in populations.

    My question is how do you insert a population of a new type of organism without having detailed knowledge of the future environment that would have incorporated these new organisms?

    How would these students recall a mistake?

    I’m also uncomfortable with the thought that students would risk real lives for their education.

  147. 147
    Zachriel says:

    logically_speaking: Except the experts in the field of paleontology who look closely at the protoceratops and say that it’s quite possibly the mythical griffin of old.

    Someone might suggest it was the inspiration for the griffin, but no paleontologist conflates the archetypical winged griffin for a protoceratops. Even if the origin of the centaur myth was ignorant people seeing horse-riders crossing the plain, that doesn’t mean centaurs exist as actual creatures.

    Not only is there a lack of archetypal griffins, the strength of the Theory of Evolution means we can state confidently that there never was an archetypal griffin, or centaur for that matter.

    Box: NS steps in and wipes out new viable life forms and doesn’t wipe out some—doesn’t touch some.

    It tends to reduce those with lower fitness in favor of those with higher fitness. The population changes. This can also result in cladogenesis.

    Box: That doesn’t make NS any more creative …

    It’s the interplay between variation and selection that constitutes the creative ‘force’.

  148. 148
    Joe says:

    It’s the interplay between variation and selection that constitutes the creative ‘force’.

    Except the interplay between variation and elimination has proven to be impotent as a creative ‘force’.

    the strength of the Theory of Evolution means we can state confidently that there never was an archetypal griffin, or centaur for that matter.

    Liar.

  149. 149
    Joe says:

    This quote from me applies to rolling out an organism that is produced with ID, not evolution so this is an ID problem, not evolution’s.

    It isn’t ID’s problem. Why isn’t it evolutionism’s problem?

  150. 150
    Carpathian says:

    It’s ID’s problem because ID needs to insert large-scale changes which will have large-scale impact.

    Evolution doesn’t have this problem because evolution makes small changes which have a small impact.

    ID also has to release populations all at once of new species while evolution simply mutates members of a population slowly.

  151. 151
    Box says:

    Zachriel #147,

    Box: NS steps in and wipes out new viable life forms and doesn’t wipe out some—doesn’t touch some.

    Zach: It tends to reduce those with lower fitness in favor of those with higher fitness. The population changes.

    Not one single life form is the result of the alleged creative powers of Natural Selection (NS). NS just reduces the variety in ‘viable replicator space’. In no way shape or form does it create anything. It throws things out and leaves other things alone.

    Zach: This can also result in cladogenesis.

    There is no cladogenesis that would not have also taken place without NS being in operation. All life forms that roamed the earth (and many more) would also be here if NS was not in operation. Everything that took and takes place in life is because natural selection did not touch it.

    Zach: It’s the interplay between variation and selection that constitutes the creative ‘force’.

    Nope, there is nothing creative about NS and there is also nothing creative about the interplay between variation and selection. NS is a restrictive conservative anti-creative force.

    Joe: Except the interplay between variation and elimination has proven to be impotent as a creative ‘force’.

    Elimination (nor its interplay with variation) is not a creative force—not even an impotent one.

  152. 152
    Carpathian says:

    Box:

    Nope, there is nothing creative about NS and there is also nothing creative about the interplay between variation and selection. NS is a restrictive conservative anti-creative force.

    Using a command line Weasel program, a group of students could demonstrate how the interplay between variation and selection could create something new.

  153. 153
    Box says:

    Carpathian #152,

    The Weasel program is an example of creating something new due to variation. Natural selection is of no help at all.

  154. 154
    Joe says:

    Carp:

    It’s ID’s problem because ID needs to insert large-scale changes which will have large-scale impact.

    And your evidence for that straw man is?

    Evolution doesn’t have this problem because evolution makes small changes which have a small impact.

    You are proud to be a willfully ignorant arse.

    ID also has to release populations all at once of new species while evolution simply mutates members of a population slowly.

    You have no clue and just spew whatever you want.

  155. 155
    Carpathian says:

    Box:

    Not “The Weasel Program” but rather an interactive one.

    After each mutation, all the mutated strings would be displayed and a prompt would appear to allow entry of the string selected by the students as being the new parent.

    Since the new target string for each stage of mutation is selected by the students after variation, the target will assume a configuration not foreseen when the program was started.

    Since the children have to vote on the new target, no sole person knows what the target will be.

    This is novel creation by selection and variation.

  156. 156
    eigenstate says:

    @Barry,

    But in the context of the discussion, it should have been clear that I meant that the whole reason any particular stratum would have been designated “Cambrian” in the first place is because the fossils in it are the type of fossils we have come to associate with the strata we call “Cambrian” and not other fossils, which other fossils would include rabbit fossils. The point, Bob, is that designating “rabbit fossil in the Cambrian” as a datum that would falsify Darwinism is disingenuous when “Cambrian stratum” is defined as a stratum that does not include fossils of that type.

    In context — and this is how I understood it despite the clumsy wording provided — it’s incorrect on several levels.

    First, as a historical matter, that is not the criterion applied for naming, identifying or placing the Cambrian as a stratum. It’s a geological classification.

    Second, even in in some hypothetical universe where the Cambrian *was* defined as a “stratum without rabbits (er, mammals)”, that would still be all the more reason evolutionary theory would be cast into doubt, upon finding a rabbit fossil. If scientists in the hypothetical universe thought they were “safe” in cordoning off some layer(s) in the geological column free from certain kinds of fossils, then my point with the rabbit still holds a fortiori.

    Third, the “crisis factor” does not arise from a “fossil within a layer that no such fossils, supposedly”. The problem, regardless of the particular stratum for the discovery, is that the developmental timeline is wrecked, and there now exists no remotely plausible path via the mechanisms of evolution to support a rabbit hopping around that long ago. So “Cambrian” is just a handy shorthand for “way too far back” — “Ediacaran” would have worked just as well as “Cambrian”.

    There’s nothing in evolutionary theory that precludes rabbits in the Cambrian per se. If our fossil finds were different, and generally much earlier, then finding mammals in the Cambrian could be a perfectly mundane discovery; in that universe, the fossils of the precursors and ancestors of such mammals would be found much earlier, establishing a similar ‘tree of life” but shifted back in time as a whole such that mammals were around at -500MYA.

    That is not this universe. Our fossil evidence cannot even hope to support such a timeline with a rabbit in the Cambrian. There’s nothing special or “defined” about the Cambrian, as you seem to think, though. The Cambrian just has to be a geologic era came and went before mammals evolved.

    Your clarified point is now clear, for Bob O’H and others, but even clarified, it’s still just confused and mistaken as it was when you first offered it.

  157. 157
    Carpathian says:

    Joe:

    You are proud to be a willfully ignorant arse.

    I guess you don’t want to talk me anymore.

    That’s fine with me.

  158. 158
    Joe says:

    No Carp, you are incapable of thought and reason. ID is not anti-evolution- search this blog using those words and then read the article with that title.

  159. 159
    Box says:

    Carpathian #155,

    That’s amusing story, but the involvement of intelligent agents doesn’t model NS.

  160. 160
    Carpathian says:

    Box,
    It models variation and selection.

    Since predators are acting intelligently, natural selection is taking place as far as the prey/predator relationship is concerned. This behaviour is countered by the prey using their intelligence to avoid being consumed.

    Students are allowed to use their intelligence when selecting sentences.

    It doesn’t go against what we see in nature.

    Lastly, the computer keyboard used by weasel works whether you intelligently select a new parent or roll a pair of dice.

    The result would still be a real English sentence due to selection.

  161. 161
    Box says:

    Carpathian

    Carp: It models variation and selection.

    ‘Intelligent selection’ not ‘natural selection’.

    Carp: Since predators are acting intelligently,

    Irrelevant. They are not acting intelligent in the sense of having foresight wrt evolution.

    Carp: natural selection is taking place as far as the prey/predator relationship is concerned. This behaviour is countered by the prey using their intelligence to avoid being consumed.

    Intelligence is the result of evolution/variation. Not the cause of evolution/variation.

    Carp: Students are allowed to use their intelligence when selecting sentences.
    It doesn’t go against what we see in nature.

    Sure, it does. Despite appearances to the contrary, change of the nucleotide sequence is not modeled by students using their intelligence.

    Carp: Lastly, the computer keyboard used by weasel works whether you intelligently select a new parent or roll a pair of dice.
    The result would still be a real English sentence due to selection.

    Only if it’s intelligently pre-programmed to evolve certain targets. This is a well-known fact.

  162. 162
    Zachriel says:

    Box: Not one single life form is the result of the alleged creative powers of Natural Selection (NS).

    Hmm, for the umpteenth time, the ‘force’ of adaptation is the interplay between variation and selection.

    Box: All life forms that roamed the earth (and many more) would also be here if NS was not in operation.

    Natural selection is the inevitable result of fecundity and limited resources. Positing no natural selection means positing one of these mechanisms doesn’t exist.

    Box: there is also nothing creative about the interplay between variation and selection.

    It’s easy to show otherwise with evolutionary algorithms, which often create original solutions to problems of various sorts.

  163. 163
    Querius says:

    Mung @ 126

    Z: Individual molecules can self-replicate, at least in principle.
    Mung: According to what principle?

    According to the principle of spontaneous evolution, which supports the assertion that individual molecules must have self-replicated, which demonstrates the principle of spontaneous evolution, which supports the assertion . . . .”
    Mung, Z’s circular logic is apparently ironclad. 😉

    -Q

  164. 164
    Querius says:

    Box @ 132

    What unites all those theories of evolution is that natural selection (NS) is not a creative force. NS throws stuff out. New things are not created by throwing old things out. NS is death, and death has never created anything new.

    Nicely stated!

    This is where variation comes in. But as Michael Behe pointed out, while variation can result in 1-2 small changes at a (low) frequency that has been successfully predicted by mathematical probability, the results have so far been deleterious. In rare instances, random changes conferred a benefit by disabling a cellular process (the examples Behe used came from his study of malaria).

    However, what such small changes cannot do is build a functional aircraft by shaking pieces together, which is ridiculously simple compared to a living cell, a virus, or a self–sustaining biochemical cycle such as ADP-ATP by chance and small changes. What Darwinists try to do is insert a “memory” in the process that preserves intermediate benefit.

    The example that’s been used has to do with birds that *could* have used their wings to catch insects before they were used for flying. No fossils were produced of course, and the mathematical probabilities are ludicrously low–many ages of the universe would be needed.

    -Q

  165. 165
    Zachriel says:

    Querius: According to the principle of spontaneous evolution, which supports the assertion that individual molecules must have self-replicated, which demonstrates the principle of spontaneous evolution, which supports the assertion . . . .”

    Well, no. We happen to have evidence that organisms reproduce, and that they share primitive ancestors. We also have evidence that molecules can self-replicate.

    Querius: But as Michael Behe pointed out, while variation can result in 1-2 small changes at a (low) frequency that has been successfully predicted by mathematical probability, the results have so far been deleterious.

    A counterexample would be the many beneficial mutations in Lenski’s E. coli long term evolution experiment.

  166. 166
    Box says:

    Zachriel,

    Box: Not one single life form is the result of the alleged creative powers of Natural Selection (NS).

    Zach: Hmm, for the umpteenth time, the ‘force’ of adaptation is the interplay between variation and selection.

    Again, NS did not produce the adaptation, nor did the interplay with variation. All NS did was not touching it. Now, I’m no sucker for ‘wu wei’, so I give all the credit for the adaptation to variation. Variation produced the adaptation on its own and for once NS did not hamper variation by throwing things out.

    Box: All life forms that roamed the earth (and many more) would also be here if NS was not in operation.

    Zach: Natural selection is the inevitable result of fecundity and limited resources. Positing no natural selection means positing one of these mechanisms doesn’t exist.

    Oh, but I do posit NS. However, I see it as it is: a restrictive conservative anti-creative force.

    Box: there is also nothing creative about the interplay between variation and selection.

    Zach: It’s easy to show otherwise with evolutionary algorithms, which often create original solutions to problems of various sorts.

    All these original solutions are more ‘easily’ produced by variation unhampered by NS.
    – –
    Note, that what I’m saying is totally in line with ‘conservation of information’. Filling the ‘viable replicator space’ can be modeled as a blind search for viable replicators. There is no way to beat a blind search without adding information.
    IOW I’m saying that NS does not add information to evolution. If you think it does, then show me how.

  167. 167
    Querius says:

    Carpathian,

    Q: In the far future, if a small blue planet remarkably like ours were seeded with an amazing spectrum of *human-designed* organisms that were left to adapt, migrate, or die, what would the result look like after millions of years, and how would that result differ from what we observe on our own small blue planet?
    C: We could probably see something like we do now.

    Exactly.

    If this was ID’s position, I would have no problem at all with ID.

    I think it is. ID is a paradigm that presupposes function and design when unknown structures are encountered. It defends this stance from a basis of pragmatism. A good example is the way non-coding DNA was investigated:

    * Dr. Ohno assumed it was “junk” DNA and ascribed its presence as the genetic “fossil” remnants of evolution—a good hypothesis in my opinion.
    * ID proponents assumed that non-coding DNA had an unknown design and purpose behind it.

    History shows that the Darwnist assumption hindered scientific progress, that a “Darwin of the gaps” explanation is as unscientific as a “God of the gaps” explanation. That’s why I invoke pragmatism.
    In contrast, Creationism is the assumption that God created the universe and life. This might be true, but it’s not scientifically testable. It’s a belief.

    Q: By “spectrum,” I mean that these human-designed species are incredibly numerous due to the fact that undergraduates in future terrestrial college classes frequently design new species under the supervision of a qualified professor and then observe and analyze the results.
    C: This is the detail of ID I’d like to see someone explain. While the actual biological engineering of a simple single organism would be difficult, releasing it may be impossible once that ecosystem is populated by a large number of different species living in populations.

    Great observation. The “hopeful monster” would either go extinct, which is likely, or it would disrupt the existing ecosystem. This is what the fossil record shows in my opinion.

    My question is how do you insert a population of a new type of organism without having detailed knowledge of the future environment that would have incorporated these new organisms?

    One cannot and should not. The ecological history of introducing species into Hawaii should serve as a warning: as one introduces species became a “pest” others were introduced to combat it, and successively became pests themselves. The introduction of feral pigs in the southern US and Asian fish species into mid-western rivers are also good examples of what not to do.
    Achieving a balanced ecosystem is surprisingly hard to do! As a project, I once tried writing a computer simulation of an ecosystem. I kept adjusting various parameters, but the inevitable result was always the destruction of the carrying capacity of the ecosystem.

    How would these students recall a mistake?

    This would be extremely difficult. One could try to deal with the mistake by introducing a specific pathogen as was done in Australia to combat the exploding rabbit population (the myxoma virus).

    I’m also uncomfortable with the thought that students would risk real lives for their education.

    But these experiments are happening here, and it’s not the students, but their professors, government agencies, and commercial interests operating in profound ignorance, arrogance, or greed.

    For example, where I live, local agencies are currently bulldozing the topsoil off of thousands of acres of land to “restore” them as wetlands while Federal agencies are ordering them to restore the topsoil. I believe the local plan is to allow developers to build on the wetlands that they own in trade for other land to be designated as “wetlands” such as the tops and sides of hills, and long-established farms and meadows.

    -Q

  168. 168
    Box says:

    Zachriel: It’s easy to show otherwise with evolutionary algorithms (…)

    Here an article in which it is explained that evolution has no algorithm.

    The only algorithm possible for evolutionary theory is what we might dub (after Berlinski) the SDLA: the “Sheer Dumb Luck” Algorithm.

    – –
    [source: evolutionnews.org]

  169. 169
    Querius says:

    Zachriel @ 165 speculated

    We happen to have evidence that organisms reproduce, and that they share primitive ancestors. We also have evidence that molecules can self-replicate.

    Round and round the circle of mutually self-supporting speculation and tautology we go. Wheee!

    – That organisms reproduce is not an issue. It can be observed.

    – Ancestors are not primitive, they are well–adapted to their environments.

    – The fossil record shows that speciation leads to extinction.

    – There’s no evidence in the fossil record of common ancestry by way of intermediate forms rather than by way of speculative assertion.

    – Lenski’s experiments actually lend support to Behe’s position in his book, The Edge of Evolution.”

    E. coli already has the enzymes to metabolize citrate, but under aerobic conditions, it requires a citric permease to import citrate through the cell membrane. Lenski’s group has not reported the underlying molecular changes, but based on their previous results, this change seems likely due to a couple of knock-out mutations of the regulation mechanism of a citrate-transport gene, causing over-expression and an overall loss of function.

    Lenski called his talk, “Time Travel in Experimental Evolution.” 🙂 If he really wanted to accelerate evolutionary time (I do time travel too, but just at the normal rate that everyone else does), his team should have subjected the nearly 60,000 generations to significantly elevated levels of background radiation.

    -Q

  170. 170
    Box says:

    Zachriel,

    I was not making myself clear on natural selection. I said:

    IOW I’m saying that NS does not add information to evolution. If you think it does, then show me how.

    I still stand by what I said, but what I would like to add is that not only is NS not adding evolutionary information, but NS eliminates huge amounts of evolutionary information. Every viable replicator form, produced by variation and SDL (see #168), that is killed off for whatever temporary whim NS has, constitutes a huge loss of evolutionary information.

    IOW evolution is the blind search for viable replicators and the name of its saboteur is “Natural Selection”.

  171. 171
    jw777 says:

    Hi Darwinian enthusiasts. Can someone explain to me the evolutionary or adaptation advantage of aging versus not-aging. It seems to me that not-aging is a superior biological trait which confers endless selfish-gene benefit. However, aging is literally statistically and mathematically infinitely less effective at propagating. So, given that we exist in an alleged open system that does not defy laws of thermodynamics, why have all life forms preferentially evolved aging versus not-aging? This has always seemed to me more damning a fact than a Precambrian rabbit, because, as was conjectured on sand walk not all that long ago, evolutionary theory could still square a Precambrian rabbit, since it already operates outside the domain of reproducibility and falsifiability.

    So, again, why does biology keep choosing aging over not-aging despite the obvious contradiction to the basic premise of evolutionary theory?

  172. 172
    Zachriel says:

    Box: NS did not produce the adaptation, nor did the interplay with variation.

    If every organism that ever existed still existed, then we might imagine all manner of organisms hobbling around, some barely sustainable, some not even viable.

    But that’s not the universe life finds itself in. Resources are necessarily limited. As organisms compete for resources, they become part of the environment itself. The effect over historical periods is the observation of trends. The end result is gazelles, quick and graceful.

    Box: All these original solutions are more ‘easily’ produced by variation unhampered by NS.

    If you had some familiarity with evolutionary algorithms, you would understand why this is not so. Resources are limited, and evolutionary algorithms only explore a tiny portion of possible solutions. It’s because they only explore a tiny portion of possible solutions, and given a suitable landscape, that they can rapidly converge on the solution. You don’t have to cover every step of a mountain to reach the top.

    Box: There is no way to beat a blind search without adding information.

    A hill-climber doesn’t have to ‘add information’ to reach the top of a simple hill.

    Querius: History shows that the Darwnist assumption hindered scientific progress, that a “Darwin of the gaps” explanation is as unscientific as a “God of the gaps” explanation.

    The Darwinist assumption is that junk DNA would be minimal due to natural selection. Since Ohno, this has been a constant source of discussion and research, but the necessary tools for determining possible uses of non-coding DNA weren’t available until recently. The Onion Test still implies that much of the genome is not necessary to the organism, and most evolutionary biologists today understand that drift and selection are both important mechanisms.

    Box: Here an article in which it is explained that evolution has no algorithm.

    The argument is fallacious. While an evolutionary algorithm doesn’t reasonably model all aspects of the process, what it does model can provide important information about the process. That data doesn’t go away because it misses other features of the process.

    The claim is “there is also nothing creative about the interplay between variation and selection.” Evolutionary algorithms show otherwise.

    Querius: – That organisms reproduce is not an issue. It can be observed.

    We’re agreed then. You had claimed circular reasoning, when we were pointing to empirical evidence.

    Querius: – Ancestors are not primitive, they are well–adapted to their environments.

    Primitive does not mean not well adapted. Modern organisms are derived from primitive ancestors, for instance, humans evolved from a rodent-like mammal, which was well-adapted to its own environment.

    Querius: – The fossil record shows that speciation leads to extinction.

    Not all speciation leads to extinction. Sometimes it leads to even more speciation.

    Querius: – There’s no evidence in the fossil record of common ancestry by way of intermediate forms rather than by way of speculative assertion.

    We not only have the fossil succession, successful expeditions to find intermediates, and microscopic studies of fossils, but the nested hierarchy, embryology, molecular studies, long term studies of evolution, and examples of speciation.

    Querius: – Lenski’s experiments actually lend support to Behe’s position in his book, The Edge of Evolution.” … Lenski’s group has not reported the underlying molecular changes, but based on their previous results, this change seems likely due to a couple of knock-out mutations of the regulation mechanism of a citrate-transport gene, causing over-expression and an overall loss of function.

    Funny thing about that. Behe said, “If the phenotype is due to one or more mutations that result in, for example, the addition of a novel genetic regulatory element, gene duplication with sequence divergence, or the gain of a new binding site, then it will be a noteworthy gain-of-FCT {Functional Coded elemenT} mutation.”

    Turns out that the evolved trait required at least two potentiating mutations, a tandem duplication placing the gene under control of a different regulatory module (rnk-citT), then copied repeatedly. This is a “noteworthy gain-of-FCT” per Behe. See Blount et al., Genomic Analysis of a Key Innovation in an Experimental E. coli Population, Nature 2012.

    Box: I still stand by what I said, but what I would like to add is that not only is NS not adding evolutionary information, but NS eliminates huge amounts of evolutionary information.

    Sure. It eliminates the less successful making room for the more successful. Important, evolution doesn’t have to explore every branch of the less successful nodes. Natural selection hones the search.

    jw777: Can someone explain to me the evolutionary or adaptation advantage of aging versus not-aging.

    In complex organisms, the body is make up of cells that are multiple divisions of a single-celled zygote. Mutations occur during this process. As the organism ages or suffers injuries, these errors accumulate. Consequently, it takes increasing energy to maintain the organism, and there is increasing chance of a fatal mutation.

    Another factor is that, in nature, there are extrinsic dangers, so that selection for somatic maintenance is relaxed as the organism ages. We can test this by subjecting a species to different levels of extrinsic mortality. Those populations subject to high extrinsic mortality evolve to age more rapidly.

  173. 173
    Zachriel says:

    Box: What unites all those theories of evolution is that natural selection (NS) is not a creative force.

    Selection is critical to the creative process.

    The painter can paint a picture of a cat, a flower, or a house. The painter selects a house. The painter can paint his own house, a farmer’s house, or the mansion on the corner. The painter selects the farmer’s house. The painter can paint the farmer’s house with the farmer and his daughter in front, or just the house. The painter selects to have the farmer and daugher in front. The painter can paint the farmer’s house with them in front just standing there, or the farmer holding a farm tool.
    http://www.artic.edu/aic/colle.....056034.jpg

    Creativity is all about selection.

  174. 174
    Bob O'H says:

    Thanks for your clarification, Barry. But I now think you’ve also totally mis-understood Haldane’s point.

    The point, Bob, is that designating “rabbit fossil in the Cambrian” as a datum that would falsify Darwinism is disingenuous when “Cambrian stratum” is defined as a stratum that does not include fossils of that type.

    That rabbit fossils are not “of that type” is the whole point – all of the Cambrian fossils we have are much smaller and look nothing like vertebrates, let alone mammals. So to find something so obviously different, and particularly which looks like fossils from hundreds of millions of years later, would be a decided oddity. It would be like (warning. poor analogy) buying a packet of blue M&Ms, and finding that one of them was red. You wouldn’t then conclude that these were not M&Ms, you would conclude that that M&M was an oddity.

  175. 175
    Mung says:

    I think it would be more like opening up a box of cracker jacks or breakfast cereal and finding a toy.

  176. 176
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: Selection is critical to the creative process.

    Right.

    Zachriel: Creativity is all about selection.

    Right again

    That’s why evo theory loses.

  177. 177
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob, you don’t seem to understand my point. I will use your M&M analogy to explain it. Suppose you look though a packet of M&M’s and determine it contains only blue M&Ms. After your investigation in which you determine there are only blue M&Ms in the packet you give that packet a label. You call it “Blue M&M Packet.” It would be disingenuous for you to say, my view of M&Ms would be challenged if you showed me a red M&M in “Blue M&M Packet.” Why? Because the whole reason you called it “Blue M&M Packet” in the first place is that you examined it and found no red M&Ms.

  178. 178
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: A hill-climber doesn’t have to ‘add information’ to reach the top of a simple hill.

    You mean ‘add information’ beyond what the hill climber already knows about the hill?

    And the hill climber would need to have something driving it toward the local maxima.

  179. 179
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: You mean ‘add information’ beyond what the hill climber already knows about the hill?

    A hill-climber doesn’t have know if it is a hill. If it’s a hill, the hill-climber will climb it without having to step at every point on the hill. It’s a consequence of the algorithm with the given landscape.

    Barry Arrington: After your investigation in which you determine there are only blue M&Ms in the packet you give that packet a label.

    But scientists haven’t exhaustively searched Cambrian strata, but because of the strength of the evidence supporting the Theory of Evolution, they are confident rabbits never existed in the Cambrian. Why would you or why would you not expect a rabbit existing in the Cambrian?

  180. 180
    Carpathian says:

    Box:

    Carp: Lastly, the computer keyboard used by weasel works whether you intelligently select a new parent or roll a pair of dice.
    The result would still be a real English sentence due to selection.

    Box:Only if it’s intelligently pre-programmed to evolve certain targets. This is a well-known fact.

    That is not the case.
    A Weasel program that accepts a command-line target has no information about the target.

    This is because a program must be compiled before it can run but the target string is provided when the the program is run, which is after the program is designed.

  181. 181
    Carpathian says:

    Box:

    Intelligence is the result of evolution/variation. Not the cause of evolution/variation.

    Of course intelligence is a cause of evolution.

    An intelligent predator can affect the ecosystem and drive evolution of the prey. If the prey don’t evolve a biological response to a successful predator, the prey may go extinct.

    Look what man has done to marine life. With our technology, i.e., intelligence, we have fished some species nearly to extinction.

    Carp: Students are allowed to use their intelligence when selecting sentences.
    It doesn’t go against what we see in nature.

    Box: Sure, it does. Despite appearances to the contrary, change of the nucleotide sequence is not modeled by students using their intelligence.

    It is the environment, i.e, ecosystem that does the “selection” for DNA and it is the environment, i.e., the students in the classroom that do the “selection” for sentences.

    The “environment” is the term used that which “rejects” certain sequences.

    The selection/variance “algorithm” is not concerned with what the parameters mean to the population.

  182. 182
    Barry Arrington says:

    Carpathian, even Dawkins admits that Weasel does not model evolution. Why are you insisting that it does?

  183. 183
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: A hill-climber doesn’t have know if it is a hill.

    In which case it won’t know if it’s headed up or down the hill. Good luck with that.

    And just a bit silly to call it a hill-climber then.

    Does the hill know it’s a hill?

  184. 184
    Mung says:

    Carpathian: A Weasel program that accepts a command-line target has no information about the target.

    And now you’re contradicting yourself.

  185. 185
    Carpathian says:

    Barry, Weasel does not model all of evolution as that would require a modelling of all forms of mutation and all selection pressures. This would be a huge undertaking.

    That does not mean that a simple Weasel program cannot model simple variation and selection to allow us to see the difference between purely random “selection” of mutations versus some degree of “guidance” from the environment the software is simulating.

    The point is that a “run-time” Weasel program has no knowledge of the targets it is looking for. By having a group of people select mutations, we can demonstrate that “selection” responds to changes in the “environment”

    The “environment” is simply a label for the mechanism that rejects some members of the population and not others.

    The “target string” does necessarily have to be an English string, as it could easily be a million char sequence of a type like “GGGAAACCC”.

    The “environment” need not be students but rather farmers planting GMO crops.

  186. 186
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:

    Carpathian: A Weasel program that accepts a command-line target has no information about the target.
    Mung: And now you’re contradicting yourself.

    Here’s the whole quote:

    Carpathian: A Weasel program that accepts a command-line target has no information about the target.

    This is because a program must be compiled before it can run but the target string is provided when the the program is run, which is after the program is designed.

    Where is the contradiction?

  187. 187
    mike1962 says:

    Carpathian: Weasel does not model all of evolution as that would require a modelling of all forms of mutation and all selection pressures.

    The “problem” with Weasel with respect to modelling “evolution” is that it has a search target, and the fitness function is biased in such a way that it guarantees that the target will be hit within a relatively small number of iterations. Dawkins himself called this “a bit of a cheat.” It’s not a bit of a cheat, it’s a fundamental cheat, if one is trying to demonstrate Darwinian evolution. Of course, Dawkins was not attempting demonstrate Darwinian evolution, only cumulative selection. Whoopdie doo. But if you look on Youtube comments, you’ll see all kinds of dunderheaded comments to the effect that this “demonstrates evolution.” Problem is, it’s the wrong kind of evolution, and a lot of people get the wrong idea when they see it.

    While Weasel does demonstrate cumulative selection, Weasel models a rudimentary intelligent design evolution not Darwinian evolution.

  188. 188
    Barry Arrington says:

    Carpathian,

    Weasel does not model any sort of evolution (as Dawkins freely admits), because it is front-loaded to conform to a distant goal where the intermediate steps provide no advantage.

    I take that back. Weasel does model a front-loaded ID form of evolution.

  189. 189
    Querius says:

    jw777 @ 171,

    Micro-organisms that reproduce by fission do not age.

    * Darwinists will assert that this is proof of evolution through natural selection.

    * Darwinists will also assert that ageing and death of other organisms is also proof of evolution through natural selection.

    They will not notice the contradiction because everything they observe gets filtered through their world view and they are completely unwilling or incapable of grasping any other.

    -Q

  190. 190
    Carpathian says:

    mike1962,

    By replacing the target English string with a string representing DNA code, the Weasel output could be directly used for GMO engineering.

    Without knowing what the string contains, farmers could simply reply with the product number of the code of the seeds that in their opinion was most commercially viable. The DNA information of this product code would be used as the new parent and the process repeated.

    In this case,neither the farmer nor Weasel would know what the target string was and yet the crops from that process would change into something the farmer could market.

  191. 191
    Carpathian says:

    Barry:

    I take that back. Weasel does model a front-loaded ID form of evolution.

    Let’s put that to a test.

    1) Predict what the goal string will be and put it into an envelope.

    2) Write your initial target string with up to 50% of the characters in the goal string you put in the envelope.

    3)Have a class full of students start a command-line Weasel with your initial string.

    4)After each mutation, display all the strings and have the students vote on the new parent.

    6) Compare your results whenever the students say they’re done.

    Who here believes that the final string will match the string in the envelope.

  192. 192
    Box says:

    Zachriel,

    Box: NS did not produce the adaptation, nor did the interplay with variation.

    Zach: If every organism that ever existed still existed, then we might imagine all manner of organisms hobbling around, some barely sustainable, some not even viable.

    The primary evolutionary search is for viable organisms which are subsequently offered to natural selection (NS).

    Zach: But that’s not the universe life finds itself in. Resources are necessarily limited.

    This fact is an element that co-defines NS.

    Zach: As organisms compete for resources, they become part of the environment itself.

    These facts are elements that co-define NS.

    Zach: The effect over historical periods is the observation of trends.

    The trends we see are the ones that are ‘spared’ by NS—untouched by NS. The trends we don’t see are eliminated by NS or never existed. Either way, there is no observed trend with any causal relationship to NS—only the fact that some trends no longer exist has a causal relationship to NS.

    Zach: The end result is gazelles, quick and graceful.

    The gazelles slipped untouched through the net of NS. However this fortunate event didn’t add one single bit of information to the quick and graceful gazelles.

    Box: All these original solutions are more ‘easily’ produced by variation unhampered by NS.

    Zach: Resources are limited, and evolutionary algorithms only explore a tiny portion of possible solutions.

    Again, the fact that resources are limited is just a fact that co-defines NS.
    Only if evolutionary algorithms add information to the evolutionary search can a blind search be improved upon. If this is the case then these ‘evolutionary algorithms’ are intelligently pre-programmed to evolve certain targets.

    Zach:
    Selection is critical to the creative process.

    Natural selection is the great saboteur of evolution. All it does is eliminate huge amounts of information.

    Zach: The painter can paint a picture of a cat, a flower, or a house. The painter selects a house. The painter can paint his own house, a farmer’s house, or the mansion on the corner. The painter selects the farmer’s house. (…)

    Natural selection is like this guy with a beret who cannot paint and carries dynamite around instead of a brush. All he can do is blowing things up.
    He is offered a picture of a cat, a flower, and a house. On a whim he blows up the picture of the cat and the picture of the flower. Next he is offered a picture of his own house, a farmer’s house, and the mansion on the corner. On a whim he blows up the picture of his own house and the picture of the mansion on the corner. (….)
    And so forth ….
    The picture that ‘survives’ is the one that he didn’t blow up.

    Zach: Creativity is all about selection.

    That may be so, but the destruction of creativity and information—the killing of viable creatures—bares no relationship to creativity.

  193. 193
    Querius says:

    Zachriel

    Primitive does not mean not well adapted. Modern organisms are derived from primitive ancestors, for instance, humans evolved from a rodent-like mammal, which was well-adapted to its own environment.

    Apparently primitive is applied to organisms that pre-dated contemporary organisms because they were more primitive than contemporary organisms because they pre-dated contemporary organisms . . .”

    And around the circle we go.

    There are no primitive organisms.

    -Q

  194. 194
    Zachriel says:

    Box: Again, the fact that resources are limited is just a fact that co-defines NS.

    That’s right. Natural selection is an inevitable part of the process.

    Box: Only if evolutionary algorithms add information to the evolutionary search can a blind search be improved upon.

    That’s false, and shows you haven’t really thought about it. Given appropriate landscapes, evolutionary search is much faster than a random search or a random walk. For example, for a simple hill, a random walk or random sampling will take a long time to climb the hill, while a hill-climbing algorithm will go straight to the top.

    Box: Natural selection is like this guy with a beret who cannot paint and carries dynamite around instead of a brush.

    Natural selection is the process which hones the search. It’s the road not taken.

  195. 195
    mike1962 says:

    Carpathian: By replacing the target English string with a string representing DNA code, the Weasel output could be directly used for GMO engineering…

    Without knowing what the string contains, farmers could simply reply with the product number of the code of the seeds that in their opinion was most commercially viable.

    Product number of the code of the seeds?

    The DNA information of this product code would be used as the new parent and the process repeated.

    In this case,neither the farmer nor Weasel would know what the target string was and yet the crops from that process would change into something the farmer could market.

    Weasel has to know the target string before it can start running. That’s how weasel works.

    METHINKS YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW WEASEL WORKS.

    But do go ahead and code whatever you’re trying to describe using Weasel as your base and let’s have a look at your code. Your description is incoherent.

  196. 196
    Zachriel says:

    Querius: Apparently primitive is applied to organisms that pre-dated contemporary organisms because they were more primitive than contemporary organisms because they pre-dated contemporary organisms . . .”

    Primitive, relating to, denoting, or preserving the character of an early stage in the evolutionary or historical development of something; closely approximating an early ancestral type.

  197. 197
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: Weasel has to know the target string before it can start running. That’s how weasel works.

    That is incorrect. You could have a phrase in your own mind. As long as you return the fitness function, Weasel would converge on the phrase much faster than random guessing.

  198. 198
    mike1962 says:

    Carpathian: Let’s put that to a test.

    1) Predict what the [Weasel] goal string will be and put it into an envelope.

    2) Write your initial target string with up to 50% of the characters in the goal string you put in the envelope.

    3)Have a class full of students start a command-line Weasel with your initial string.

    4)After each mutation, display all the strings and have the students vote on the new parent.

    6) Compare your results whenever the students say they’re done.

    Who here believes that the final string will match the string in the envelope.

    Now I’m convinced you have no idea how Weasel works.

  199. 199
    mike1962 says:

    mike1962: Weasel has to know the target string before it can start running. That’s how weasel works

    Zachriel: That is incorrect.

    No it isn’t.

    You could have a phrase in your own mind. As long as you return the fitness function, Weasel would converge on the phrase much faster than random guessing.

    Oh, so now I act as the fitness function in real-time?

    That’s not Weasel.

    Why are you changing the subject attempting to obfuscate?

    At any rate, your tweak obfuscation changes nothing. In your variant, the fitness function and the target string are still in the same domain, my mind. Either way the string would have to be fixed before the first invocation of the fitness function, wherever it is, otherwise you have changed the nature of the algorithm.

  200. 200
    Carpathian says:

    mike1962:

    Weasel has to know the target string before it can start running. That’s how weasel works.

    METHINKS YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW WEASEL WORKS.

    But do go ahead and code whatever you’re trying to describe using Weasel as your base and let’s have a look at your code. Your description is incoherent.

    A Weasel implementation does not need to know the target string before it can start running.

    You can even change strings between mutation passes.

    int Weasel( char *Target, char *Pop[]);
    int WeaselPass( char *Target, char *Pop[], int NumPasses);

    If you can’t understand by looking at this why I am right about my position, no amount of code will help you understand it.

    I’ve already gone over this with Mung and code didn’t help.

  201. 201
    mike1962 says:

    Carpathian: A Weasel implementation does not need to know the target string before it can start running. You can even change strings between mutation passes.

    If the program can change the target string or the fitness function itself after the first invocation of the fitness function, it is not Weasel.

  202. 202
    mike1962 says:

    Carpathian:

    int Weasel( char *Target, char *Pop[]);
    int WeaselPass( char *Target, char *Pop[], int NumPasses);

    If you can’t understand by looking at this why I am right about my position, no amount of code will help you understand it.

    Bwahahaha.

    I’ve already gone over this with Mung and code didn’t help.

    I pity Mung. 😀

    The comedy never stops on UD.

  203. 203
    Barry Arrington says:

    Carpathian,

    Although the monkey/Shakespeare model is useful for explaining the distinction between single-step selection and cumulative selection, it is misleading in important ways. One of these is that, in each generation of selective ‘breeding’, the mutant ‘progeny’ phrases were judged according to the criterion of resemblance to a DISTANT IDEAL target . . . Life isn’t like that.

    Guess who wrote that.

  204. 204
    Carpathian says:

    mike1962:

    Carpathian: 4) After each mutation, display all the strings and have the students vote on the new parent.

    mike1962: Now I’m convinced you have no idea how Weasel works.

    One us definitely doesn’t know.

    Show me code that demonstrates why a Weasel implementation cannot accept a new target string between mutation passes.

  205. 205
    mike1962 says:

    Carpathian: Show me code that demonstrates why a Weasel implementation cannot accept a new target string between mutation passes.

    Are you drunk? Sure, you could modify Weasel so that it accepts a new target between mutations, you could modify it any way you like, but if you did, it is no longer Weasel. You have changed the nature of the algorithm.

    Why do keep trying to change the subject?

  206. 206
    Carpathian says:

    mike1962:

    If the program can change the target string or the fitness function itself after the first invocation of the fitness function, it is not Weasel.

    What a Weasel implementation does is what makes it a Weasel program.

    Where it gets its data has nothing to do with its functionality.

    If you don’t understand this basic concept of programming, (called indirection), you don’t understand enough to ask for code.

    You can prove me wrong by simply demonstrating that where a program gets its data has something to do with how it processes it.

    If a program is written that does what I say, how would it not validate my position?

    Lastly, are you saying that if Dawkin’s original program had accepted an interactive input, none of your arguments against it would be valid?

  207. 207
    Carpathian says:

    Barry:

    One of these is that, in each generation of selective ‘breeding’, the mutant ‘progeny’ phrases were judged according to the criterion of resemblance to a DISTANT IDEAL target . . . Life isn’t like that.

    I agree 100%.

    That’s why I want multiple students selecting each generation.

    That means the “final” string is not some foreseen “target” string since each mutation can be selected according to new criteria.

  208. 208
    mike1962 says:

    Carpathian,

    Well, you just have a nice day, OK?

  209. 209
    Carpathian says:

    mike1962:

    Are you drunk? Sure, you could modify Weasel so that it accepts a new target between mutations, you could modify it any way you like, but if you did, it is no longer Weasel. You have changed the nature of the algorithm.

    Why do keep trying to change the subject?

    If that’s the only objection you have, that I shouldn’t call it Weasel, I’m agreeable to that.

    We’ll call the program Carp and it will allow students to use it as I’ve described.

    Carp will allow students to select targets between mutations thus allowing a final string that may have no relation to the initial target just as evolution describes.

    This would be a better demonstration of variation/selection than the original Weasel.

  210. 210
    Mung says:

    Carpathian: Where is the contradiction?

    HERE

    Carpathian:
    The designer of the program included all components of Weasel into one program but nothing stops someone from removing the target string and passing it as a parameter from a console or a client on the web.

    Mung:
    I would like to see Carpathian code this wonderful weasel that can find any target.

    Carpathian:
    Wonderful Weasel cannot find any target anymore than a chicken egg could contain any bird species.

  211. 211
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:

    Mung:
    I would like to see Carpathian code this wonderful weasel that can find any target.

    Carpathian:
    Wonderful Weasel cannot find any target anymore than a chicken egg could contain any bird species.

    I’ve answered this the last time you brought it up.

    It will find any ASCII string.

    It cannot find any scalar or floating point arrays, etc.

  212. 212
    Carpathian says:

    mike1962:
    You have a nice day too mike1962.

  213. 213
    Mung says:

    Carpathian: I’ve already gone over this with Mung and code didn’t help.

    Haha. Funny.

    Your first attempt at code didn’t even have an implementation of your fitness function. Remember? So it was impossible to test.

    So when I pointed that out you wrote the function. So yes, code helped. It helped us see what you were missing from your model.

    And then your fitness function helped us see some other problems and exposed the fact that you were mistaken that the modules didn’t need to know anything about each other or about the target.

    So yes, the code helped a great deal.

    You cannot code a program that does what you assert.

    And you make unwarranted assumptions about whether people can understand the code you write.

    If you permit the target to be entered on the command line, how will your code know how long to make the candidate solutions? Or what character set to use?

    If your code does not create candidate solutions of the correct length, how will it find the target?

    Talk less. Code more. 🙂

  214. 214
    Mung says:

    Carpathian: I’ve answered this the last time you brought it up. It will find any ASCII string.

    No, it won’t. And you have already pointed out why it won’t find any ASCII string in the thread linked to in my post @ 210.

    I’ll leave you to think about it.

  215. 215
    Mung says:

    Carpathian: A Weasel program that accepts a command-line target has no information about the target.

    We’ve already discovered that it has information that the target will be an ASCII string. That leaves out a lot of strings. It is also information about the target.

  216. 216
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:

    Carpathian: I’ve already gone over this with Mung and code didn’t help.

    Haha. Funny.

    Your first attempt at code didn’t even have an implementation of your fitness function. Remember? So it was impossible to test.

    Again your poor memory comes to bite you.

    The fitness function was not written because it was expected that anyone with even a small level of programming experience wouldn’t need to be shown code that simply counts how many chars match in two strings.

    After I wrote it, you couldn’t understand it. We’re talking about less than ten lines of really simple code.

    You claimed that there were problems with it which I helped you to understand weren’t problems at all but rather, necessary.

    And you make unwarranted assumptions about whether people can understand the code you write.

    You didn’t understand what I wrote although anyone with very little programming experience would have understood.

    An experienced programmer should be able to write everything I’ve said in half a day, without asking me any questions at all.

  217. 217
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:

    We’ve already discovered that it has information that the target will be an ASCII string. That leaves out a lot of strings. It is also information about the target.

    Again your inexperience bites you.

    When a program asks you to input a HEX number you don’t actually enter a HEX number, rather you will enter a series of ASCII chars ranging from ‘0-9’ and ‘A-F’. Despite the fact that you have entered ASCII chars, they will be converted to binary by the program.

    Simply asking for input in one format does not tell the computer anything extra about a target than the data itself does.

    The string could be of the form ‘ATCG’.

    The program gets no extra information about the string signifying it is DNA code.

    It doesn’t care.

    It simply matches patterns.

  218. 218
    Box says:

    Carpathian,

    Here is an exhaustive analysis of the Weasel program.
    This excellent article by Dembski on ‘conservation of information’ may also interest you.

  219. 219
    Mung says:

    Carpathian: Again your inexperience bites you.

    Now that’s funny. Is there a point to your post @ 217?

    I gave you an opportunity to correct yourself. I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for you to provide a working program.

    You claimed your modules were independent and didn’t need to know anything about each other or about the target. But when it got down the the level of the actual code, what do we discover?

    while( Target[Position] && PopMember[Position] )

    I pointed out that your while loop didn’t know when to terminate. Your response was that you are using a null terminated C string, so it would terminate automatically upon encountering the null.

    So you were wrong. Your modules know that the target (and presumably each population member) is a null terminated C string. Also that they are the same length.

    I pointed out that your while loop would terminate on any zero or null. You claim your program accepts any ASCII string. ASCII strings don’t have to be null terminated and can contain a zero. So your program will fail to perform a proper comparison of all characters in the target string if the target string contains a zero or if the candidate string contains a zero (in C, zero when evaluated in a boolean expression is false). I pointed this out to you and you ignored it.

    So you were wrong again. Your target cannot contain zeros nor can your population members.

    And you haven’t even addressed yet what else your population module needs to know about the target string, even though I brought up that question.

    You can rehabilitate yourself by providing working code that does what you claim, or that shows that I am wrong. You may convince yourself that I don’t know what I am talking about, but I predict when all is said and done you will be all talk and we still won’t have from you any working code. Talk is cheap.

  220. 220
    jw777 says:

    Querius @ 189, thanks.

    However, that still doesn’t make clear how, even with the philosophical gymnastics, humans have not selected for not-aging versus aging. Out of all the organisms, humans especially would be most susceptible to understanding the benefit in choosing genes of not-aging. The fertility would be indefinite. The propagation would drown out all genetic aging. Why, if Darwinism is even plausible or PARTLY right, would aging be so overselected to the total exclusion of not-aging?

  221. 221
    goodusername says:

    Barry,

    Suppose you look though a packet of M&M’s and determine it contains only blue M&Ms. After your investigation in which you determine there are only blue M&Ms in the packet you give that packet a label. You call it “Blue M&M Packet.” It would be disingenuous for you to say, my view of M&Ms would be challenged if you showed me a red M&M in “Blue M&M Packet.” Why? Because the whole reason you called it “Blue M&M Packet” in the first place is that you examined it and found no red M&Ms.

    Do you really think our knowledge of the Cambrian compares with that of an M&M box that we’ve thoroughly looked through? To follow the analogy, you’d have to be talking about an M&M packet in which only a small fraction has been investigated.

    The reason for believing that rabbits won’t be found in the pre-cambrian (or cambrian) is not because we’ve thoroughly searched and didn’t find any, but because from the fossils that have been found, in all geologic layers, there is a an obvious correlation between when features are found in fossil record and when they appear on the taxonomic tree.

  222. 222
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: Oh, so now I act as the fitness function in real-time? That’s not Weasel.

    Of course it is. The fitness function is an oracle which is distinct from the evolving population. It doesn’t matter how the fitness function is returned.

    mike1962: Either way the string would have to be fixed before the first invocation of the fitness function, wherever it is, otherwise you have changed the nature of the algorithm.

    In the original Weasel, the target is fixed. Indeed the target is a specific phrase, “Methinks it is like a weasel.” But you can certainly modify the algorithm so that the target migrates, in which case, the population would track the migration.

    jw777: However, that still doesn’t make clear how, even with the philosophical gymnastics, humans have not selected for not-aging versus aging.

    We provided that explanation, and even provided an empirical test. That you chose to ignore that explanation is on you.

  223. 223
    mike1962 says:

    mike1962: Either way the string would have to be fixed before the first invocation of the fitness function, wherever it is, otherwise you have changed the nature of the algorithm.

    Zachriel: In the original Weasel, the target is fixed.

    Correct. And there is only the “original” Weasel algorithm. There is no other Weasel.

    Indeed the target is a specific phrase, “Methinks it is like a weasel.”

    Correct.

    But you can certainly modify the algorithm so that the target migrates, in which case, the population would track the migration.

    You can modify the program any way you like, but then it is not the Weasel algorithm anymore. It’s something else. This should be trivially obvious.

  224. 224
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: You can modify the program any way you like, but then it is not the Weasel algorithm anymore. It’s something else. This should be trivially obvious.

    Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel?

  225. 225
    Silver Asiatic says:

    jw

    Why, if Darwinism is even plausible or PARTLY right, would aging be so overselected to the total exclusion of not-aging?

    There are bacteria that have been revived from a millions of years back.

    There are tree colonies living today that are 80,000 years old.

    There are fish (sturgeon) that live over 100 years that show no signs of aging.

    Darwin is not even close to being plausible.

  226. 226
    jw777 says:

    Zachriel @ 222, hi.

    I am ignoring nothing. I did not see the post. Please point it out and I will gladly check it out. Keep in mind that I check in very infrequently to UD, and always from an iPad or iPhone. When I pose a question, I check more often to see if someone attempted answering. Usually, no one has. Occasionally people are trying to get into a debate, in which I have no interest. These questions are not worldview face-offs to determine who’s right and who’s wrong. I’m genuinely looking for a satisfying answer; and at best, the most cogent response, if proferred, is an ad hoc or post hoc bolt-on hypothesis. And even that’s fine if it really makes sense and has few holes. I’m intrigued by your comment that there’s a testable prediction model. Be assured I’d love to hear about it.

    Nevertheless, I may not check this for a few days; and if I do I won’t sift through every single thread so I may miss a real response if someone put one up. For that, my apologies.

  227. 227
    jw777 says:

    Hi, silver asiatic, @ 225. Thanks for giving examples of statistical outliers. I think everyone is fully aware of long-lived things. I think we would predict the opposite though, that is, that long-lived or essentially eternal organisms are the norm, and there are these outliers, rare, sad creatures who come to an end by some odd process called “aging.”

    The question, as fairly clearly stated, asks, “why, following Darwinian/classical evolutionary theory (I.e. – improved propagating and survival traits are what take over and/or survive [yes, I realize it is circular and says nothing interesting; but alas, this is sort of the crux of evolutionary biology]), aging is overselected versus not-aging when it confers far less benefit?”

    I get it. The answer, though totally unsatisfying, may be “that’s just the way it is” or “the ‘organism’ is the group or species, and thus, die-off of some may play into the benefit of the whole” or some mix up of these. Pretty straight forward: which is why I included a hat tip to entropy in the first question. It just seems very convoluted and implausible that we at one moment must bow to the “open system” to explain why abiogenesis and macro evolution don’t violate physics; and then in the next breath say that aging just sort of “had to happen”.

    Why would a progressive shortening of telomeres stick in the population? Why wouldn’t they lengthen or vacillate or exist in stasis?

    I’ll stay tuned.

  228. 228
    Zachriel says:

    jw777: I am ignoring nothing. I did not see the post. Please point it out and I will gladly check it out.

    We apologize for our presumption. The comment was at the bottom of a long post, so it is likely you simply missed it.

    In complex organisms, the body is make up of cells that are multiple divisions of a single-celled zygote. Mutations occur during this process. As the organism ages or suffers injuries, these errors accumulate. Consequently, it takes increasing energy to maintain the organism, and there is increasing chance of a fatal mutation.

    Another factor is that, in nature, there are extrinsic dangers, so that selection for somatic maintenance is relaxed as the organism ages. We can test this by subjecting a species to different levels of extrinsic mortality. Those populations subject to high extrinsic mortality evolve to age more rapidly.

  229. 229
    Silver Asiatic says:

    It just seems very convoluted and implausible that we at one moment must bow to the “open system” to explain why abiogenesis and macro evolution don’t violate physics; and then in the next breath say that aging just sort of “had to happen”.

    I can only agree and contribute nothing to whatever evolutionary explanation is proposed for this. Supposedly, chemicals all of a sudden want to survive. So, they struggle to do this. They get ‘hungry’ and want to propagate. This is so important to them, that they diversify and fill the entire planet with an enormous variety of life forms. Selection enables them to run, swim, fly and survive in every niche. It’s all about the species surviving.

    But for some reason, most of the individuals die in a certain limited, relatively short life-span.

    On this point alone, the Darwinian story is nonsense.

  230. 230
    Carpathian says:

    Mung & mike1962:

    mike1962: Correct. And there is only the “original” Weasel algorithm. There is no other Weasel.

    Putting aside all the talk of the internals of Weasel, if I wrote a program that did everything that Weasel does, but accepted any input string without changing the algorithm, would that make any impact on you about this argument?

    To put it in a shorter way, if I could actually prove with running code that you are wrong about Weasel and Weasel type programs, would that mean anything?

  231. 231
    Carpathian says:

    mike1962:

    mike1962: You can modify the program any way you like, but then it is not the Weasel algorithm anymore. It’s something else. This should be trivially obvious

    It is not trivially obvious at all.

    Companies sue when they catch someone using their algorithm in a competitors product.

    The programs may look completely different but the actual algorithm is the same.

    If you put an algorithm in a PC using one compiler versus another, the code that is run may not look in any way alike despite the fact that they behave identically.

    The high level code may also look completely different but the algorithm doesn’t change.

  232. 232
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:

    So you were wrong again. Your target cannot contain zeros nor can your population members.

    It is an ASCII string, not binary.

    If you want zero to be represented type ‘0’ on your keyboard.

    A string of zeros would look like this: “00000”.

    ASCII strings are representations of data as is all human input to a computer.

    With your reasoning floating point numbers are impossible to input to a computer since you can’t actually put floating point numbers into an array of type ‘char’.

  233. 233
    Mung says:

    Carpathian,

    You claim your program accepts any ASCII string. It won’t.

    The following are from Wikipedia:

    In computer programming, a null-terminated string is a character string stored as an array containing the characters and terminated with a null character (”, called NUL in ASCII). Alternative names are C string, which refers to the C programming language and ASCIIZ (note that C strings do not imply the use of ASCII).

    The length of a C string is found by searching for the (first) NUL byte. This can be slow as it takes O(n) (linear time) with respect to the string length. It also means that a NUL cannot be inside the string, as the only NUL is the one marking the end.

    But NUL is a valid ASCII character.

    The null character (also null terminator), abbreviated NUL, is a control character with the value zero. It is present in many character sets, including ISO/IEC 646 (or ASCII), the C0 control code, the Universal Character Set (or Unicode), and EBCDIC. It is available in nearly all mainstream programming languages.

    The null character is often represented as the escape sequence in source code string literals or character constants. In many languages (such as C, which introduced this notation), this is not a separate escape sequence, but an octal escape sequence with a single octal digit of 0; as a consequence, must not be followed by any of the digits 0 through 7; otherwise it is interpreted as the start of a longer octal escape sequence. Other escape sequences that are found in use in various languages are 00, \x00, \z, or the Unicode representation \u0000. A null character can be placed in a URL with %00.

    The ability to represent a null character does not always mean the resulting string will be correctly interpreted, as many programs will consider the null to be the end of the string.

    ASCII abbreviated from American Standard Code for Information Interchange, is a character-encoding scheme. Originally based on the English alphabet, it encodes 128 specified characters into 7-bit binary integers as shown by the ASCII chart on the right. The characters encoded are numbers 0 to 9, lowercase letters a to z, uppercase letters A to Z, basic punctuation symbols, control codes that originated with Teletype machines, and a space. For example, lowercase j would become binary 1101010 and decimal 106.

    ASCII codes represent text in computers, communications equipment, and other devices that use text.

  234. 234
    Mung says:

    Carpathian:

    To put it in a shorter way, if I could actually prove with running code that you are wrong about Weasel and Weasel type programs, would that mean anything?

    You might learn something 🙂

    So as far as I am concerned this started out as a disagreement over whether different parts of the program had to have awareness (information about) the target and whether a modular version would solve that issue.

    Hasn’t this been settled already? For example:

    Your program has to know how long the target is. That just is information about the target. Sure, you can give it a different set of characters at runtime, but it still needs to know the length of the target else you cannot generate candidate solutions of an appropriate length to compare to the target sequence.

    Don’t you agree?

  235. 235
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:
    The way this started is that you asked me what parts of the code had to be re-written if a different target was desired.

    I said none and you disagreed.

    After all we’ve talked about, do you still believe that to be true?

  236. 236
    jw777 says:

    Hi Zachriel @ 228. Thank you.

    I have a strong biology background, so I understand the zygotic and gametic meiosis and eukaryotic life cycles and how this might reflect on the discussion.

    Again, REALLY not looking for entrenched debate. We may be talking about different things. I may be asking a different question than you are answering. You might not have caught it, but you yourself took “aging” as a given. So, maybe more simply, why aging at all?

    Physics – entropy. Chemistry – atomic decay. Ok. I get it. Biology – aging? But biology is a gestalt contingent on open system aggregating energy to even explain it in the first place and get chemistry across the threshold to life and even physiological systems. So why aging? Well, because entropy, because atomic decay. And still, ok. I’m ok with that. It’s a bit unsatisfying. But I can have some sublimity with it. However, according to classical evolutionary biology, why would natural selection naturally select predominantly for biology that goes along for the ride of aging?

    Yes, we take it as a given. We can describe it. Given is not explanation. Description is not explanation.

    Here’s where I’m stuck: So nature decided to put enough of a hand in for a ONE TIME EVENT of upward building abiogenesis, which has never happened since, we observe nowhere and cannot be replicated. However, since that day, aging, atomic decay and entropy is the rule of the day, it’s a given and governs all of biology (except, of course, when it doesn’t)? Add to that the fact of evolution, which we know sends on the traits which confer the best propagating and survival advantage, decided in MOST cases to go on vacation when it comes to THE trait which confers THE best propagation and survival advantage? No matter how sophisticated the cheap tuxedo we put on this, to me, it sounds just like any other origin myth. But I am earnestly trying to hear out a sensible explanation, really.

    So far, the best one may be that we are actually moving toward not-aging. We just haven’t gotten there yet. As we become increasingly aware of our universe and have greater volition (technology) we can artificially deselect it. And in a sense that is natural selection.

  237. 237
    Silver Asiatic says:

    jw

    However, since that day, aging, atomic decay and entropy is the rule of the day, it’s a given and governs all of biology (except, of course, when it doesn’t)?

    That’s why I posted the outliers. The outliers are built of the same material components, via the same process. As you point out, they should be the rule not the exception. There is no selective advantage to all of the problems with aging and eventually death itself – except for the fact that in the materialist model, there is no meaningful difference between non-living chemical compounds and “chemical combinations we call ‘life'”.

    Why should chemicals care if they ‘die’ and return to being non-living chemicals?

  238. 238
    Zachriel says:

    jw777: So, maybe more simply, why aging at all?

    Because resources are necessarily limited. There’s a trade-off between the diminishing returns of maintaining an increasingly damaged organism or of producing young. In addition, producing young allows for more rapid evolution of traits, giving a long-term survival advantage to the lineage.

    jw777: why would natural selection naturally select predominantly for biology that goes along for the ride of aging?

    The hypothesis is that the more likely the organism is to meet an early death, the faster it will age, in other words, the more energy it will expend on producing young, and the less energy on repairing damage. And this can and has been tested. Species subjected to higher levels of extrinsic mortality evolve to age more rapidly.

    jw777: However, since that day, aging, atomic decay and entropy is the rule of the day, it’s a given and governs all of biology (except, of course, when it doesn’t)?

    Such as biological growth and reproduction.

  239. 239
    Querius says:

    jw777,

    Notice that Zachriel’s answers, when applied to microorganisms, fail completely?

    -Q

  240. 240
    EugeneS says:

    Mike1962,

    Thank you for your efforts. But don’t waste your time. Your interlocutors don’t understand what they are talking about.

    Only given a target (e.g. by way of providing an explicit fitness function), does the ‘trick’ work. But the objective function need not be explicit. What it does (be it explicit or implicit) is provide non-zero active information about where the desired solutions may be in the search space. For this one needs prior experience and foresight. The more active info you provide to the search, the more chance the search has to converge to a solution in a limited timescale (which is also a factor).

    Informally speaking, the mythical power of evolution will only be demonstrated if one has spare parts for a clock, but evolution uses them to assemble a fridge.

    As soon as a target is provided (by whatever means) the ‘process’ is not evolution by definition. Your interlocutors seem to have a problem with this simple idea.

    Natural selection only ‘chooses’ from among existing functions. Intelligent artificial selection chooses for future functions. Therefore intelligent selection is orders of magnitude more powerful than natural selection. To say that NS has creative capacity is an evolutionist figure of speech.

  241. 241
    mike1962 says:

    EugeneS: “As soon as a target is provided (by whatever means) the ‘process’ is not evolution by definition. Your interlocutors seem to have a problem with this simple idea”

    I would say it is intelligently designed evolution, not Darwinian (blind) evolution. But, yes, conceptually you are spot on. Thanks.

  242. 242
    EugeneS says:

    Mike,

    Great, I think we are in agreement. However, following David Abel I would personally choose not to use the term ‘evolution’ for an artificially controlled process at all. Control and evolution are mutually exclusive. I can see problems even in speaking about evolution as a process. A process to me suggests having a target and information processing.

    But that’s detail. I think we are talking about the same thing.

  243. 243
    Zachriel says:

    Querius: Micro-organisms that reproduce by fission do not age.

    That is incorrect.

    Querius: Notice that Zachriel’s answers, when applied to microorganisms, fail completely?

    Unicellular organisms that exhibit asymmetrical division show signs of aging, consistent with the above. See Watve at al., Aging may be a conditional strategic choice and not an inevitable outcome for bacteria, PNAS 2005.

    EugeneS: Only given a target (e.g. by way of providing an explicit fitness function), does the ‘trick’ work.

    It doesn’t have to be a target, just a fitness landscape, and that landscape can be external to the algorithm. The fitness landscape can even change over time.

    EugeneS: Natural selection only ‘chooses’ from among existing functions. Intelligent artificial selection chooses for future functions.

    If it is “looking ahead”, then it’s not an evolutionary algorithm. With the abstraction Weasel, a closer fit is more functional by definition. Instead of a single sentence, the fitness landscape could be vast with no specific target; nonetheless, fitness would increase.

  244. 244
    Mung says:

    Carpahtian:

    The way this started is that you asked me what parts of the code had to be re-written if a different target was desired.

    I said none and you disagreed.

    After all we’ve talked about, do you still believe that to be true?

    Yes, I still believe that to be true, and it should be obviously true.

    First and foremost you never had working code. It follows that your code would need to be re-written just to get it to compile much less function.

    Second, and this is a point you’ve still failed to admit to as far as I can tell, it will not accept any ASCII string as a target. And for it to do so, you will need to re-write the code.

    Third, you already admitted it would not accept just any target. So what are you arguing about? I ask if the target is changed will the code need to be modified, and your answer is not as long as the target isn’t changed to something the code would have to be modified to handle?

  245. 245
    Mung says:

    Carpathian:

    … if I wrote a program that did everything that Weasel does, but accepted any input string without changing the algorithm, would that make any impact on you about this argument?

    To put it in a shorter way, if I could actually prove with running code that you are wrong about Weasel and Weasel type programs, would that mean anything?

    By all means code something up. You can find weasel programs on the web coded in many different languages.

    http://rosettacode.org/wiki/Ev.....lgorithm#C

    But whether it will mean anything will depend on the claims you make for it. For example, what do you mean when you say we are wrong about the Weasel program?

    I don’t think you can write the program that you apparently think you can write.

    Perhaps start with a simple Weasel itself, a version of Dawkins original program, and we can go from there. That way we can track how the program needs to be modified from the original and how performance is affected.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W....._algorithm

    With your reasoning floating point numbers are impossible to input to a computer since you can’t actually put floating point numbers into an array of type ‘char’.

    You’re missing the point. The question to ask is, can an ASCII NUL be entered from the keyboard?

  246. 246
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:

    Second, and this is a point you’ve still failed to admit to as far as I can tell, it will not accept any ASCII string as a target. And for it to do so, you will need to re-write the code.

    You are talking about ASCII as if it is purely binary.

    I am using ASCII as per spec.

    ASCII is a specification for communication between computers, not simply a table of values.

    Chars such as ACK, NAK, STX, ESC, etc., are signaling and control chars, and are used for transmission control and are not printable.

    NUL is a special char that is neither a printable or control char.

    I will not treat any out of band data as data when ASCII doesn’t define it as such.

    I am using ASCII as it was intended.

    I accept ASCII, not binary.

  247. 247
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:

    I don’t think you can write the program that you apparently think you can write.

    I have done just that.

    With all the frustration of talking to you I bit the bullet and started writing it Sunday night.

    I accept all printable chars and support command-line args.
    One of those args is to put it into what I call DNA mode where the set of chars accepted are restricted to ‘ATCG’.

    It very quickly converges on the target string with only 4 codes.

    But whether it will mean anything will depend on the claims you make for it. For example, what do you mean when you say we are wrong about the Weasel program?

    Your claim and those of others is that a Weasel implementation cannot be written without re-compiling the code.

    That is wrong.

  248. 248
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel,

    Again you disregard the fact that in order for the ‘evolutionary’ algorithm to succeed it needs to be able to:

    1. measure fitness with enough accuracy;
    2. steer search towards better fitness according to the measured gradient (that is usually amplified in the algorithms to get what the programmer wants).

    For this, it needs foresight and knowledge of previous ‘hits and misses’. In other words, every ‘evolutionary’ algorithm presupposes control and the existence of a target (or targets). Even the blind search algorithm needs to be able to know what it wants to achieve.

    Nothing of the sort is happening in life. Evolutionists don’t realize that they are trying to sell Artificial Selection algorithms as ‘algorithms that mimic natural selection’. They do not mimic it.

    The phrase ‘evolutionary algorithm’ is bogus. As soon as there is an algorithm, there is an intended target, fitness function and control that steers search towards the goal state. The fitness function may be implicit but in order for the ‘evolutionary’ algorithm to succeed in practice, it needs to be more than blind search, i.e. it needs to employ artificial selection.

    Everything else is the usual smoke in mirrors.

  249. 249
    Mung says:

    Carpathian:

    You are talking about ASCII as if it is purely binary.

    No I am not. ASCII is an encoding.

    You seem to think that because you use a char pointer that your program is comparing, for example, an A to an A. It’s not.

    Convert text into ASCII number format. For example A is 065. Text in a computer is stored as numbers called ASCII numbers with each letter having its own number. Input text to convert to these ASCII numbers. ASCII is short for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. With applications in computers and other devices that use text, ASCII codes represent text. Based on the English alphabet, ASCII is a character-encoding scheme. ASCII was originally developed from telegraphic codes.

    Computers can only understand numbers, and ASCII codes are numerical representations of characters that a computer can understand. Examples of characters are a, 1, or >. For example, 097 is the ASCII numerical representation of the character a. ASCII covers over 100 characters with some of these characters being control characters that control how text appears.

    http://www.unit-conversion.info/texttools/ascii/

    I am not confusing characters with numbers, nor am I confusing numbers with what they represent. That is what you are doing.

    Further, you ought to be smart enough to know this since it’s staring you in the face right there in your own code.

    if(Target[Position] == PopMember[Position])

    Which of the following statements will evaluate to true, and why?

    ‘A’ > ‘a’

    ‘A’ > ‘a’

    C:projectsruby_scripts>irb
    irb(main):001:0> ‘A’ > ‘a’
    => false
    irb(main):002:0> ‘A’ true

    What does it even mean to say that one letter is greater than or less than a different letter? Is the computer comparing letters or numbers?

  250. 250
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: Again you disregard the fact that in order for the ‘evolutionary’ algorithm to succeed it needs to be able to: 1. measure fitness with enough accuracy; 2. steer search towards better fitness according to the measured gradient (that is usually amplified in the algorithms to get what the programmer wants).

    Fitness doesn’t have to be entirely accurate, can be balanced against other factors, and it is quite possible to include stochastic events. The “steering” is intrinsic due to the relationship of the evolving population and the fitness landscape, just like water is steered as it flows over a geographic landscape.

    EugeneS: For this, it needs foresight and knowledge of previous ‘hits and misses’.

    Evolutionary algorithms have no foresight. Whatever knowledge there of the past is entailed in the composition of the current population.

    EugeneS: Even the blind search algorithm needs to be able to know what it wants to achieve.

    The evolving population has no general knowledge of the fitness landscape, only the relative fitness value for a given individual at a given time.

  251. 251
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:

    I have written the program and the code you keep having trouble with runs just fine.

    Secondly, ASCII defines the purpose of chars in the code.

    If I send another computer the value 7, it is supposed to ring the “bell” and not use that char for another purpose.

    That’s what standards are for.

    I usually send and receive binary data when I expressly need it but I don’t here.

    I use ASCII as the standard is defined both as data and as a means of control over that data.

    When you are dealing with modems, teletypes or other computers, if you don’t comply with their protocol, it’s your fault when your data doesn’t get through.

    If I allow someone to log on to my computer through a modem, I can’t assume that the modem will allow every char through.

    These are real world problems I have constantly dealt with in the field.

    There is no need to send a zero value across a communications link over even to another task on your own computer.

    If every other device my system talks to cannot handle a binary zero, how can I force them?

    Again, this has nothing to do with whether a Weasel implementation needs to be re-compiled when changing a target string as my program handles it fine.

    You simply just type in a new string.

  252. 252
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:

    Here is a little history of NUL:

    “Code 127 is officially named “delete” but the Teletype label was “rubout”. Since the original standard did not give detailed interpretation for most control codes, interpretations of this code varied. The original Teletype meaning, and the intent of the standard, was to make it an ignored character, the same as NUL (all zeroes). This was useful specifically for paper tape, because punching the all-ones bit pattern on top of an existing mark would obliterate it.[28] Tapes designed to be “hand edited” could even be produced with spaces of extra NULs (blank tape) so that a block of characters could be “rubbed out” and then replacements put into the empty space. “

  253. 253
    Mung says:

    Carpathian:

    I have written the program and the code you keep having trouble with runs just fine.

    Good. Do we get to see it? There are sites where you can share code, such as GitHub.

    See also:

    https://gist.github.com/

    [Can’t recall if that requires having an account or not.]

  254. 254
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:

    I could send the EXE to you if you give me an email address.

  255. 255
    Mung says:

    >irb
    irb(main):001:0> “hello\u0000world”.force_encoding(“UTF-8”).ascii_only?
    => true
    irb(main):002:0> “hello\u0000world”.each_codepoint {|c| print c, ‘ ‘}
    104 101 108 108 111 0 119 111 114 108 100 => “hello\x00world”
    irb(main):003:0> exit

  256. 256
    Querius says:

    Zachriel @ 243 . . .

    Querius: Micro-organisms that reproduce by fission do not age.

    Zachriel: That is incorrect.

    Perhaps someone should have informed you that in science or any other intelligent endeavor, your opinion to the contrary does not constitute irrefutable proof.

    Goodbye.

    -Q

  257. 257
    Zachriel says:

    Querius: Perhaps someone should have informed you that in science or any other intelligent endeavor, your opinion to the contrary does not constitute irrefutable proof.

    Perhaps someone should have informed you that ignoring evidence that is provided doesn’t make the evidence go away. As noted above, see Watve at al., Aging may be a conditional strategic choice and not an inevitable outcome for bacteria, PNAS 2005.

    See also Ackermann et al., Senescence in a Bacterium with Asymmetric Division, Science 2003; and Stewart et al., Aging and death in an organism that reproduces by morphologically symmetric division, PLOS Biology 2005;.

  258. 258
    Mung says:

    Carpathian,

    I am capable of compiling source code into an executable, but I would need the source code. Any reason you’re being coy about the source?

    There are web sites that will host your source code for free. If you don’t like GitHub (assuming a Gist won’t suffice) there is also BitBucket. Want more?

    Alternatively, I could write the code in a language of my choosing and post it online and you can tell me how to modify it to be like yours. But that seems to be a rather silly approach to this, since you already have source code that compiles and runs.

  259. 259
    Mung says:

    Carpathian, you’re a hoot. I’ll give you that. Your article @ 252 is not a history of NUL. It’s about DEL.

    Further, this:

    Secondly, ASCII defines the purpose of chars in the code.

    So it is ASCII that defines the purpose of an A or of a 6? Prior to ASCII the purpose of ringing a bell had never been revealed?

    There is no need to send a zero value across a communications link over even to another task on your own computer.

    Not true.

    Say your program was running on my computer. I’d want to send it a NUL value just to see how it was programmed to handle NUL.

    Don’t want to reveal your source? Create a web site with an interface. I might want to send a NUL to see if I could hack your site

  260. 260
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel,

    “Evolutionary algorithms have no foresight”.

    The current population is composed by the progammer with neighbourhood operators known to be successful in the past. GAs model artificial selection, not natural selection.

    The value of the fitness is the key. In nature you have two ‘values’: ‘survive’ and ‘die’.

    Blind search does work. But it does not go far especially given the limited time budget. Natural selection is nowhere near artificial selection. You have no idea what you are talking about.

  261. 261
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: The current population is composed by the progammer with neighbourhood operators known to be successful in the past.

    ‘Knowing’ they were successful in the past isn’t required. That’s within the blackbox of the evolving population. We surmise that’s the case based on our knowledge of how evolution works.

    EugeneS: The value of the fitness is the key. In nature you have two ‘values’: ‘survive’ and ‘die’.

    That is incorrect. In evolution, healthy offspring is the measure of success.
    http://www.alternet.org/files/.....on_run.jpg

    EugeneS: Blind search does work. But it does not go far especially given the limited time budget.

    Across non-chaotic landscapes, evolution is much faster than random guessing or a random walk.

  262. 262
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: Across non-chaotic landscapes, evolution is much faster than random guessing or a random walk.

    Unfortunately, only you know what you mean by “evolution.”

    If you mean an algorithm that guides the search toward specific areas that have a higher probability of success, yes. We know that from intelligently designed programs.

  263. 263
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: Unfortunately, only you know what you mean by “evolution.”

    Replication with variation and selection. This occurs in nature, and can be simulated with computers.

  264. 264
    jw777 says:

    Thank you Zachriel @ 238. I’m hearing you on the energy argument. But it seems a little unconvincing. Autophagy in a fasted state uses far less energy to maintain cellular integrity and mitochondrial function than the creation of a new organism to have “fresh cells”. Sleep, in order to repair dendritic health, uses far less energy than the production of a new nervous system. Maintaining a stable adult organism requires orders of magnitude less energy than the nascent life cycle stages.

    And it doesn’t pan out with reference to similar genus and species. All things being equal, big fish live longer than small fish. Small dogs live longer than big dogs. And I get it: we have to factor in extrinsic mortality. But even that seems a little simplistic. Perceived stress (not real threat) also shortens life by sympathetic nervous pathways corrupting DNA transfer and shortening telomeres. We have genetic anxious mice who die younger under no threat than genetically fearless mice who endanger themselves all the time.

    Q @ 239: I’m just trying to see where the dots connect and where they don’t. I’m not looking to dismiss the entirety of Z’s proposition even if it falls apart when overlaid in certain domains of life.

  265. 265
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:

    Carpathian: ..and the intent of the standard, was to make it an ignored character, the same as NUL (all zeroes).

    ..the same as NUL..

    This whole dialogue is not about any specific char at all, it is rather about using out-of-band chars for control, as ASCII defines.

    If you have ever programmed on a multi-drop platform you would know this.

    I’ve written code for clearing credit cards and the bank I had to communicate with used ASCII control codes with a very specific protocol that I and everyone else involved had to follow.

    Standards are written for a reason, so that everyone uses them in a standard way thus allowing computers to talk to each other with a known protocol.

    Your are reducing the ASCII spec to a binary look-up table.

  266. 266
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:

    I am capable of compiling source code into an executable, but I would need the source code. Any reason you’re being coy about the source?

    First of all, thanks to you I actually invested the time to do this.

    Secondly, you’re not as capable as you think.

    You asked me to write a function to show you how to get a count of matching chars in two strings as if that were relevant to the question of whether a Weasel type program needed to be re-compiled if the target string changed.

    Now you’re arguing about the use of ASCII chars that are defined by the standard to be communication and terminal control codes, chars whose standard use is accepted by the real world vendors and customers.

    Anything I show you will involve my experience trying to debate your inexperience over trivial things like zeros at the end of C strings.

  267. 267
    Mung says:

    Carpathian:

    You asked me to write a function to show you how to get a count of matching chars in two strings as if that were relevant to the question of whether a Weasel type program needed to be re-compiled if the target string changed.

    And now you’re just making things up.

  268. 268
    Mung says:

    Carpathian:

    This whole dialogue is not about any specific char at all, it is rather about using out-of-band chars for control, as ASCII defines.

    Actually, for me, it’s something a bit simpler even that that. It’s about the decision to use a C string which does not permit the inclusion of an ASCII NUL within the string itself.

    Carpathian:

    Your are reducing the ASCII spec to a binary look-up table.

    Just what do you suppose goes on inside your computer?

    You have no answer to my questions @249?

    What does it even mean to say that one letter is greater than or less than a different letter? Is the computer comparing letters or numbers?

  269. 269
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:

    Actually, for me, it’s something a bit simpler even that that. It’s about the decision to use a C string which does not permit the inclusion of an ASCII NUL within the string itself.

    Again, if someone wanted to send binary data, from 0 to 255, he could write his own binary protocol.

    I don’t need that.

    What I am demonstrating is that a Weasel type program doesn’t need to be recompiled if you change the fitness string.

    Here is what I am concerned with:

    GEN 16: 40 AAAAA?AAAAAAAAAAA
    #Matches: 16 AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    GEN 17: 39 AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
    #Matches: 17 AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    Population Size/Fitness Length = 17.647059 Size Char Set = 93
    Number of generations = 17

    Notice that I am using 93 chars in my text char set.

    That is more than enough for getting the information I need.

  270. 270
    Zachriel says:

    jw777: Autophagy in a fasted state uses far less energy to maintain cellular integrity and mitochondrial function than the creation of a new organism to have “fresh cells”.

    Sure, which is why most organisms won’t reproduce when energy levels are low.

    However, they do have to eventually reproduce to continue the line. A single organism, even if otherwise immortal, and even if incredibly well-adapted, will eventually die either due to accumulated damage or extrinsic mortality. Because reproduction is essential, it becomes a matter of finding the right balance between survival and reproduction.

    jw777: APerceived stress (not real threat) also shortens life by sympathetic nervous pathways corrupting DNA transfer and shortening telomeres.

    The test wasn’t of stress in an individual, but the evolution of populations over generations under differing rates of extrinsic mortality.

  271. 271
    Carpathian says:

    Mung,
    Here is the char set.

    It is text, not binary.

    Marriage Mode

    Fitness string = 1234567890.
    CharSet = !”#$&'()*+,-./0123456789:;?@ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ[]^_`abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz{|}~

    1234567890 – 10

    GEN 1: 0 ??c???????
    #Matches: 0 1234567890

  272. 272
    Mung says:

    Carpathian:

    Notice that I am using 93 chars in my text char set.

    That is more than enough for getting the information I need.

    In those few words, you have said more than you will ever likely know.

    You, the intelligent designer, have injected information into your program which drastically reduces the size of the search space.

    And ASCII supports 128 characters, not 93. (One of which is the NUL character.)

    So are you finally admitting that I was right all along?

    Carpathian: Here is the char set. It is text, not binary.

    In computing, a character encoding is used to represent a repertoire of characters by some kind of an encoding system. Depending on the abstraction level and context, corresponding code points and the resulting code space may be regarded as bit patterns, octets, natural numbers, electrical pulses, etc. A character encoding is used in computation, data storage, and transmission of textual data. Terms such as character set, character map, codeset or code page are sometimes used as near synonyms; however, these terms have related but distinct meanings described in the article.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Character_encoding

  273. 273
    Mung says:

    And still no source code. Carpathian, you are not the first to ever write a Weasel program. Why is yours so special that you cannot release it into the public domain?

    Does it use a secret sauce?

  274. 274
    Mung says:

    Still no source code.

  275. 275
    computerist says:

    One of the problems with evo algorithms that posit to create information of functional significance, is that unless you have top-down intelligent selection, nothing you do will matter.

    Take for instance this fictitious compiled binary string, assume subsets (previous iterations) of this string were functional, and that step-by-step, it happened to reach a more sophisticated functional state.

    1101010100101010101010101010010010101010001010101010101010

    At the next iteration (generation), you have a random mutation that comes along.

    1100010100101010101010101010010010101010001010101010101010

    Oops. At this point, it’s no more significant (including has no more selective/fitness advantage) than any other string you can randomly pick out of a hat. The single mutation overridden the entire functional state, rendering it meaningless.

    Garbage “collection” mechanism is at the heart of Darwinian Theory, IMHO.

  276. 276
    Mung says:

    Yes, GA’s use a mark and sweep GC. 🙂

  277. 277
    computerist says:

    haha…well not that kind of GC, that’s too smart!

  278. 278
    eigenstate says:

    @computerist

    One of the problems with evo algorithms that posit to create information of functional significance, is that unless you have top-down intelligent selection, nothing you do will matter.

    Take for instance this fictitious compiled binary string, assume subsets (previous iterations) of this string were functional, and that step-by-step, it happened to reach a more sophisticated functional state.

    1101010100101010101010101010010010101010001010101010101010

    At the next iteration (generation), you have a random mutation that comes along.

    1100010100101010101010101010010010101010001010101010101010

    Oops. At this point, it’s no more significant (including has no more selective/fitness advantage) than any other string you can randomly pick out of a hat. The single mutation overridden the entire functional state, rendering it meaningless.

    Garbage “collection” mechanism is at the heart of Darwinian Theory, IMHO.

    If by “garbage collection” you mean “selection” (which really, for clarity, in biology, should be called “selection-against”, as it is a negative filter), then yes. Selection is a key dynamic in evolution.

    The origin of the fitness landscape does not matter to the rm+ns cycle. In biology, the environment, constantly changing, provides the selection filter. In a GA-based program, the fitness function may be simple and static (“find ‘weasel'”), or highly dynamic and complex, and changing itself based on stochastic inputs that render the fitness filter unknowable at compile time.

    Doesn’t matter for the creative process, for the origination of novel information. All you need is a source of random input (or for most computer simulations, “pseudo random” source like a Mersenne Twister. Once you have a source for novel information, functionality information obtains through iterative testing of the functionality of mutations.

    In your example, the system is already able to create novel functions — you’ve stipulated in your setup (“and that step-by-step, it happened to reach a more sophisticated functional state”). So when a mutation produces the resulting string in your example, if it’s non-function (something like “will die in in utero” in biology — completely non viable, not even able to reach ‘fetus’ stage), that’s the end of the road for that particular thread.

    Perhaps you are referring to some fitness filter I missed upthread or something, but while the mutation does produce a different (hence, ‘mutated’) string, that change is not as a general rule lethal or deleterious, just by virtue of being new/different. Ostensibly, that’s how the system got where you picked up (“… it happened to reach a more sophisticated functional state.”). All of which to ask, why this statement, then:

    At this point, it’s no more significant (including has no more selective/fitness advantage) than any other string you can randomly pick out

    That’s not the case, or at least that can only be the case when the fitness function is a pure random number generator. The mutated string may (and in most cases will — evolution works by lots of fails that get discarded and a few wins that get preserved and accumulated) be “dead on arrival”, functionally. But it may be functionally inert, or advantageous.

    You don’t know until you apply the fitness function to it — let it “makes its way in the (digital) world” you’ve created .

    One cannot say before hand that the mutated string has “no more significant (including has no more selective/fitness advantage) than any other string you can randomly pick out of a hat”. If the fitness function does have means for providing higher fitness scores for some candidates than others, that claim won’t work (in other words, if your fitness function does more than produce random testing criteria).

    Furthermore, “The single mutation overridden the entire functional state, rendering it meaningless” may certainly be the case, but this is fitness function specific. In many GAs I run, such mutations don’t have any effect at all, for the immediate generation, or even for many generations hence, because the mutation doesn’t ‘code for’ behaviors that the fitness function will discriminate against (at least at this time). The whole point of running GAs is that one cannot say “this small mutation will ruin everything, necessarily”. That may be (and usually is) true for the vast majority of permutations, but evolution, as I said above, harnesses this imbalance by discarding fails that occur in great numbers, and keeping the few wins (or ‘ties’ as the case may be).

    Perhaps the “mutated string” you’ve defined out there is one that enables significantly enhanced functionality. In this case, it would be much more “than any other string you can randomly pick out of a hat”.

    Right?

    (hint: true by definition, which is the point of asking!)

  279. 279
    Mung says:

    eigenstate:

    Doesn’t matter for the creative process, for the origination of novel information. All you need is a source of random input (or for most computer simulations, “pseudo random” source like a Mersenne Twister. Once you have a source for novel information, functionality information obtains through iterative testing of the functionality of mutations.

    Could you please say a bit more of what you mean by functional information? Perhaps include an example?

    It seems to me that, at least in your typical GA, all candidate solutions are functional in the sense you are using the term, but some are seen to be more functional (whatever that means, lol) than others. These then typically become the foundation for the next generation.

    There is no non-functional information to be found.

    In many GAs I run, such mutations don’t have any effect at all, for the immediate generation, or even for many generations hence, because the mutation doesn’t ‘code for’ behaviors that the fitness function will discriminate against (at least at this time).

    Do you write the code or just run the code?

  280. 280
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:

    You, the intelligent designer, have injected information into your program which drastically reduces the size of the search space.

    And ASCII supports 128 characters, not 93. (One of which is the NUL character.)

    So are you finally admitting that I was right all along?

    No.

    I have not introduced anything into the program.

    The program processes data
    .

  281. 281
    Mung says:

    Here’s code from a Python version of the WEASEL program:

    # Target sequence
    target = list(“METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL”)

    # Alphabet of possible symbols (uppercase letters + blank)
    alphabet = “ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ ”

    # Number of offspring per generation
    n_offspring = 50

    # Mutation rate: probability that any given letter will change
    mut_rate = 0.09

    This is all data introduced into the program

    You likewise have introduced similar data into your program. You’ve already admitted to it up thread.

    Further:

    # Construct random starting string of same length as target
    parent = []
    for i in range(len(target)):
    parent.append(random.choice(alphabet))

    Yes, it’s true. Knowledge of the target, in this case, it’s length. That’s data about the target.

    Carpathian, you’re just not believable. Sorry.

  282. 282
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:
    The program has no information about the target when it is created.

    That is the point you and I were in disagreement on.

    The program does not need to be recompiled when changing target strings.

    Microsoft Word does not need to be recompiled when presented with a new document.

    Excel does not need to be recompiled when reading in a new spreadsheet.

    This is all data introduced into the program

    Again, the data is being processed by a program that doesn’t change.

    Your claim was that the program would have to recompiled when the string changed.

    It doesn’t, agreed?

  283. 283
    Mung says:

    Carpathian: The program has no information about the target when it is created.

    So?

    Carpathian: The program does not need to be recompiled when changing target strings.

    Hardly a point that bothers me. I program primarily in a dynamic language. Recompilation isn’t the issue.

    Carpathian: Your claim was that the program would have to recompiled when the string changed.

    Wrong again.

    And now you’re changing the subject to avoid the blatantly obvious.

    How does the program know the length of the candidate solutions that it must generate? Are you telling us that you did not program it to look at the target string at any other point in the program than when it compares a candidate string to the target string to derive the “fitness” of the candidate?

    You’re just not believable.

  284. 284
    Mung says:

    Carpathian: The program has no information about the target when it is created.

    Let me quote you:

    Notice that I am using 93 chars in my text char set.

    Are you saying the target is not limited to this set of 93 text characters? If it is, then your statement that the program has no information about the target when it is created is simply false.

  285. 285
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:

    You again show your inexperience.

    There is a protocol to be followed in any data being loaded or communicated.

    That protocol is in itself not data.

    Data has to be in some agreed upon format otherwise Word could not load files, and the Internet would not be possible.

    Data content is independent of the protocol required to exchange it.

    My program does not know anything about the data it requires.

    It knows about the protocol.

    If the protocol was a header prepending the data or whether a string is zero terminated, makes no difference.

    I will coin a new term for data of indeterminate length.

    I will call it a Mung packet.

    Anyone who gets one can then say, “I’ve got Munged data”.

  286. 286
    Mung says:

    Here’s one definition of protocol:
    a system of rules that explain the correct conduct and procedures to be followed in formal situations

    So you designed the rules and that is precisely what I am saying you’ve done. Are you going to stop denying it now?

    Meanwhile, you refuse to answer simple questions.

    What protocol (rule or procedure) did you implement that restricts the length of the target phrase?

    What protocol (rule or procedure) did you implement that restricts the permissible characters of the target phrase?

    What protocol (rule or procedure) did you implement that determines the length of your candidate solutions.

    And I have all the experience I need in dealing with people who avoid answering the simplest of questions and who refuse to make available their source code.

  287. 287
    Mung says:

    Carpathian, do you honestly expect us to believe that the protocols you designed into your program were chosen for their lack of effect?

  288. 288
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:

    Protocols are agreed upon queries and responses to allow communication between active nodes.

    Rules, procedures and algorithms are not protocols.

    The target phrase is delimited by a zero.

    The user can select options from the command line.

    example:

    GEN 12: 0 ATCGATCGAACGATCG
    #Matches: 15 ATCGATCGATCGATCG

    GEN 13: 27 ATCGATCGATCGATCG
    #Matches: 16 ATCGATCGATCGATCG

    ————————–

    carp /lLog.log /s /p64 /g16 /i10 /c6 /d /m5

    Population Size = 64
    Fitness String Len = 16
    Pop Len/Fit Len = 4.000000
    No Change = 1
    PosChange = 16
    NegChange = 0
    Multiple Change = 4
    % MultiBit changes = 30.77
    Number of generations = 13

    In a lab, a technician can use an oscilloscope to probe an electronics circuit. The scope has dials and switches on it so the user can modify parameters of the tool for whatever experiment he is doing.

    No one would accuse the manufacturer of “smuggling information” into the experiment because he has allowed the user to control the test.

    The same goes for programmers, especially “evolution” programmers.

    The questions you ask are of the level, “Why are stripes on a resistor different colours?”

  289. 289
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:

    What protocol (rule or procedure) did you implement that restricts the permissible characters of the target phrase?

    A command line option, (/d), selects a 4 char DNA mode while the default is a 93 char text set for Weasel type of operation.

    I think ID and evolution is primarily concerned with the ‘ATCG’ set.

  290. 290
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:

    Here are the available options.

    /c[num] – number of children
    /d – DNA mode ‘ATCG’
    /f[string] – optional target entry
    /g[size] – generate target string
    /i[runs] – number of trials
    /j[length] – length of coding DNA
    /l[filename] – log to filename
    /m[type] – type of marriage
    /n – don’t display individuals
    /p – population size
    /r[n] – remove 1/n mutations
    /s – no console output

  291. 291
    Mung says:

    Dear Carpathian,

    Did you give your program a choice in the matter or were these design decisions you dictated to it and forced it to follow?

    You keep dancing around, you’re quite the accomplished dancer. Still no source code though.

    All you’ve done is make these things user selectable before running the program. They don’t for that reason just up and disappear.

  292. 292
    Mung says:

    Carpathian:
    /c[num] – number of children

    You could hard code the number of children into the program as a fixed value. Why didn’t you?

    You could have the program generate the number of children according to some algorithm. Why didn’t you?

    What’s the point of making the value of this parameter settable on the command line if it has no effect on the outcome?

    How did the program determine that this setting could have an effect on the outcome, or was it a design decision on your part?

    What if the user sets the number to 0?

    What if the user supplies no number? Do you provide a default? If so, what default do you provide, and why?

    Design. Design. Design. LoL.

  293. 293
    Mung says:

    Meanwhile, in another thread, Carpathian admits to his role as the designer/overseer, performing experiments in order to observe the results. The why of it all is left as a mystery.

    One might conjecture, however, that the reason is to determine whether the program performs according to the expectations of the designer and if not to make the necessary adjustments.

    Intelligent Design.

  294. 294
    eigenstate says:

    Could you please say a bit more of what you mean by functional information? Perhaps include an example?

    Sure. An accessible example would be measuring the time to visit all of the “cities” given for solving the Traveling Salesman Problem with GA. The fitness function represents the scoring metric for a given specimen at a given time. So, if permutation X yields a “time to visit all nodes” of 44 days, and permutation Y comes in at 35 days, Y is more likely to be kept/reproduced with permutations than X. This isn’t “functional information” in the FSCO bafflegab sense that is often used here. Rather, we have metrics that we calculate about our candidates. It’s fine and clear to call this “performance information” in this example, for many tasks I’ve worked on, “functionality” is a better word to describe the fitness/results.

    It seems to me that, at least in your typical GA, all candidate solutions are functional in the sense you are using the term, but some are seen to be more functional (whatever that means, lol) than others. These then typically become the foundation for the next generation.

    Yes, you have it.

    ;
    There is no non-functional information to be found.

    If you mean that in “FSCO/I” sense, I guess not. But probably because I can’t pull anything meaningful or substantive out of that… nonsense.

    In many GAs I run, such mutations don’t have any effect at all, for the immediate generation, or even for many generations hence, because the mutation doesn’t ‘code for’ behaviors that the fitness function will discriminate against (at least at this time).

    Right, but it’s interesting when we do find novel solutions and look at the lineage, often we find “sleepers”, and several of them at points in the evolutionary history, mutations that didn’t come into play until long after when a copy op made an otherwise inert change many generations back “the ticket”.

    Do you write the code or just run the code?

    The systems I work on are a mix (or collaboration, more precisely) of GA and agent-based modeling and simulation frameworks. I worked on the GA side more heavily a few years ago, am more focused on the ABM side now. But for the most part I write code, and work on system architecture for the projects. None of the systems I work with are “all written by me”, though, these are all large commercial projects.

    ETA: blockquote

  295. 295
    kairosfocus says:

    ES, When you composed a text string to make a comment, you created functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information, FSCO/I. Similarly, when you create an algorithm and data structures then code to program a solution to a travelling salesman problem etc, you do the same. Your refusal to acknowledge the descriptive relevance of the term, the underlying reality and the implication, speaks inadvertent volumes to the force of the implications of that reality. Especially, just how strongly such points to design as key cause. KF

  296. 296
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:

    Design. Design. Design. LoL.

    Map. Territory. LOL

  297. 297
    Mung says:

    Still no “code.”

  298. 298
    Carpathian says:

    Mung:

    Still no “code.”

    Presumably you want to see the source to see if it would run, but when I offered to send you the running code, which runs, you declined, because you’d rather see the source, to see if it would run.

    Funny.

  299. 299
    Mung says:

    No, I want to see the source code so I can point out to anyone still watching how it has the designer’s fingerprints all over it and how if I tweak it just a little bit it won’t work.

    So not only is it designed to do what it does it’s also fine-tuned.

  300. 300
    Carpathian says:

    Mung,

    Modeling random processes has been accepted by gaming commissions in Nevada and Atlantic City.

    The operation of these random slot and poker machines are also accepted by the customers who use them.

    They are also random enough to prevent people from determining beforehand what the results might be.

    As far as needing the source, you can select attributes that will cause it to fail to “find” the “target” simply by using command line arguments.

    I am now adding a special mode that does not eliminate members that don’t meet the environment’s requirements.

    It simply mutates and marries which ripples random changes through the population.

    This is to show that without some sort of negative feedback, random change can completely change massive amounts of DNA.

    If biology changed at that random speed, we would not be here.

  301. 301
    Mung says:

    Carpathian, you are not modeling a random process. In fact, you are not modeling anything at all, which is why I said you suffered from map/territory confusion.

    You are writing a program that can search for a target.

    It may or may not meet that goal. If it does meet that goal, it is because it was designed to do so. The opposite of random.

  302. 302
    Mung says:

    And still no code.

    Carpathian, if you are so concerned that your idea is so original and valuable and you don’t want it copied, please hurry up and apply for the patent so we can see your code.

  303. 303
    Mung says:

    Still no code.

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