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Is Darwinism “completely worthless to science”?

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Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor doesn’t mince words:

I despise Darwinism. It is, in my view, an utterly worthless scientific concept promulgated by a third-rate barnacle collector and hypochondriac to justify functional, if not explicit, atheism. Richard Dawkins got it right: Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. A low bar, admittedly, but “natural selection” satisfied, and still satisfies, many. Even bright Christians, regrettably.

Darwin still has some cache among design advocates — the usual trope is that he provided evidence for common descent and explained microevolution. In this I differ from some of my friends and colleagues sympathetic to ID/Thomism. Darwin’s “theory” is completely worthless to science, a degradation of philosophy, and lethal to culture.

As Jerry Fodor (an atheist philosopher) has pointed out, natural selection is an utterly empty concept. It does no work; it explains nothing. Evolution is driven by natural history and genetic and phenotypic constraint. “Natural selection” adds nothing to our understanding of the process. Of course things change and survivors survive. Any real understanding of change in populations entails understanding the natural history of the changes and the biological constraints imposed by nature. Some of this evolutionary change is best explained as accidental. Some is best explained as design, and the conjunction of accident and design is where evolutionary change takes place. “Natural selection” is meaningless junk science — dismal logic put to the service of atheism. Darwinism is the most effective engine of atheism in modern times, except perhaps for consumer culture, for which Darwin bears some responsibility. “Survival of the fittest” casts a scientific imprimatur on acquisition as a life-goal. Michael Egnor, “A Darwinian Pilgrimage” at Evolution News

Hat tip: Philip Cunningham

See also: The brain is not a “meat computer.” Dramatic recoveries from brain injury highlight the difference

and

Neurosurgeon outlines why machines can’t think: The hallmark of human thought is meaning, and the hallmark of computation is indifference to meaning.

116 Replies to “Is Darwinism “completely worthless to science”?

  1. 1
    daveS says:

    That vitriol, though.

    I can think of one contribution Darwin’s theory (at least the modern version) made to science, even if “Darwinism” is false—evolutionary algorithms.

  2. 2
    BartM says:

    The journal Nature says that evolutionary algorithms were inspired by Darwinism. That hardly qualifies as a “contribution”.

  3. 3
    daveS says:

    BartM,

    I’m happy to rephrase a bit. Darwin’s theory inspired the field of evolutionary algorithms, so it is arguably not worthless to science.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    There is no such thing as a true ‘evolutionary’ algorithm. Only ‘guided searches’ with a fixed goal.

    Top Ten Questions and Objections to ‘Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics’ – Robert J. Marks II – June 12, 2017
    Excerpt: There exists no (computer) model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution. Period. By “model,” we mean definitive simulations or foundational mathematics required of a hard science.,,,
    We show that no meaningful information can arise from an evolutionary process unless that process is guided. Even when guided, the degree of evolution’s accomplishment is limited by the expertise of the guiding information source — a limit we call Basener’s ceiling. An evolutionary program whose goal is to master chess will never evolve further and offer investment advice.,,,
    There exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution. Hard sciences are built on foundations of mathematics or definitive simulations. Examples include electromagnetics, Newtonian mechanics, geophysics, relativity, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, optics, and many areas in biology. Those hoping to establish Darwinian evolution as a hard science with a model have either failed or inadvertently cheated. These models contain guidance mechanisms to land the airplane squarely on the target runway despite stochastic wind gusts. Not only can the guiding assistance be specifically identified in each proposed evolution model, its contribution to the success can be measured, in bits, as active information.,,,
    Models of Darwinian evolution, Avida and EV included, are searches with a fixed goal. For EV, the goal is finding specified nucleotide binding sites. Avida’s goal is to generate an EQU logic function. Other evolution models that we examine in Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics likewise seek a prespecified goal.,,,
    The most celebrated attempt of an evolution model without a goal of which we’re aware is TIERRA. In an attempt to recreate something like the Cambrian explosion on a computer, the programmer created what was thought to be an information-rich environment where digital organisms would flourish and evolve. According to TIERRA’s ingenious creator, Thomas Ray, the project failed and was abandoned. There has to date been no success in open-ended evolution in the field of artificial life.5,,,
    We show that the probability resources of the universe and even string theory’s hypothetical multiverse are insufficient to explain the specified complexity surrounding us.,,,
    If a successful search requires equaling or exceeding some degree of active information, what is the chance of finding any search with as good or better performance? We call this a search-for-the-search. In Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics, we show that the search-for-the-search is exponentially more difficult than the search itself!,,,
    ,,,we use information theory to measure meaningful information and show there exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution.,,,
    ,,, if the fitness continues to change, it is argued, the evolved entity can achieve greater and greater specified complexity,,,
    ,,, We,, dub the overall search structure ‘stair step active information’. Not only is guidance required on each stair, but the next step must be carefully chosen to guide the process to the higher fitness landscape and therefore ever increasing complexity.,,,
    Such fine tuning is the case of any fortuitous shift in fitness landscapes and increases, not decreases, the difficulty of evolution of ever-increasing specified complexity. It supports the case there exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution.,,,
    Turing’s landmark work has allowed researchers, most notably Roger Penrose,26 to make the case that certain of man’s attributes including creativity and understanding are beyond the capability of the computer.,,,
    ,,, there exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution. According to our current understanding, there never will be.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/06/top-ten-questions-and-objections-to-introduction-to-evolutionary-informatics/

    Mind Matters
    https://mindmatters.today/
    “It is straightforward to see that zero evidence supports the view that machines will attain and ultimately exceed human intelligence. And absent such evidence, there is zero reason to worry or fear that they will. So how do we see that? We see it by understanding the nature of true intelligence, as exhibited in a fully robust human intelligence, and not letting it be confused with artificial intelligence.
    What has artificial intelligence actually accomplished to date? AI has, no doubt, an impressive string of accomplishments: chess playing programs, Go playing programs, Jeopardy playing programs just scratch the surface. Consider Google’s search business, Facebook’s tracking and filtering technology, and the robotics industry. Automated cars seem just around the corner. In every case, however, what one finds with a successful application of AI is a specifically adapted algorithmic solution to a well-defined and narrowly conceived problem.”
    – William Dembski

    “Captcha” Breakthrough by AI (Artificial Intelligence) Illustrates Biomimetic Design – November 26, 2013
    Excerpt: Since intelligent design presupposes a mental act directed toward a purpose, AI is a misnomer. It should more properly be described as “artificial execution of human-designed algorithms.”
    This is really a story about biomimetics — a form of intelligent-design science. The engineers looked to the way a brain solves a problem and tried to imitate it. It took human intelligent design to design the computer. It took intelligent design to write the software. It took human ID to test it, tweak it and perfect it till it succeeded. It requires human intelligence to see a good design. It takes ID to formulate a purpose. Then it requires human intelligence and will to move things in a preferred direction for that purpose. Nothing is left to unguided processes. Even selection from random trials (falsely called “Darwinian” algorithms) employs human purposeful choice.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....79551.html

    etc.. etc.. etc..

  5. 5
    Nonlin.org says:

    Of course “natural selection” is nonsensical. It’s beyond comprehension how this guy Darwin has been fooling so many people for so long:
    http://nonlin.org/natural-selection/
    1. Natural Selection concept fails since phenotype does not determine survival which is also tautological with “best adapted”
    2. “Blind, mindless, purposeless, natural, and process” qualifiers fail
    3. Phenotype is an unstable infinite set (hence unknowable and theoretical)
    4. Fitness concept is redundant since never defined independently of survival
    5. “Selection” is Survival
    6. The only selection is Intelligent Selection – always done by an Intelligent Selector
    7. Selection is limited to a narrow set of adaptations – one cannot selected what is not there
    8. Selection and Mutations lack creativity, therefore cannot explain body designs
    9. We do not observe “divergence of character” but ‘limited variations around a mean’
    10. Extinct organism were not flawed and their features were not “selected away”
    11. Intelligent Selection should replace Natural Selection but only if we ever transmutate organisms
    12. Humans do not apply Natural Selection because it doesn’t work
    13. Designs must cross an inevitable optimization gap making evolution impossible
    14. Breeding is much more than “artificial selection” and unrelated to any natural process

    “Natural selection” proponents must answer these simple questions – pick any biologic entity including populations and give the 80/20 Pareto without too much accuracy or precision :
    1. What is that biologic entity’s phenotype?
    2. What is its environment?
    3. What is its fitness function?
    4. What is the relationship between its phenotype, environment, fitness, and survival/reproductive success?

    The five ridiculous claims of “natural selection”
    1. “Design by multiple choice” is ridiculous
    2. “Multiple choice from ALL random answers” is ridiculous
    3. “Designing without trying” is ridiculous
    4. “Self design” is ridiculous
    5. “Design by incremental optimization” is ridiculous

  6. 6
    Amblyrhynchus says:

    Is Darwinism “completely worthless to science”…

    Well, no. The use of evolutionary principals and methods across the life sciences demonstrates this is not the case.

    One example that Egnor might find interesting is “fitCons“, an approach to identifying potentially pathogenic mutations that relies on population and phylogenetic estiamtes of the stength of selection. It’s used widely in clinical genetics.

  7. 7
    Seversky says:

    Whose word shall we take on the value of Charles Darwin’s contribution to the science of evolutionary biology, that of a neurosurgeon or that of biologists themselves?

    What I despise is the form of religious Lysenkoism practiced by Egnor and his kind. Anything which is perceived as a threat to their beliefs and cannot be bent to conform to them is to be reviled and rejected.

    The irony is that Egnor’s professional career as a neurosurgeon is founded on a naturalistic, materialistic understanding of the brain as an immensely complex physical organ. When he operates, I seriously doubt he puts on a helmet, lowers the “blast shield” and “reaches out” with his feelings to perform the procedure. “Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them”. He would certainly lose his license if he tried.

    What Egnor preaches is both bad science and bad Christianity.

  8. 8
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    Whose word shall we take on the value of Charles Darwin’s contribution to the science of evolutionary biology, that of a neurosurgeon or that of biologists themselves?

    What do the biologists say? Have they found any evidence for Darwin’s claim about natural selection? No.

    The irony is that Egnor’s professional career as a neurosurgeon is founded on a naturalistic, materialistic understanding of the brain as an immensely complex physical organ.

    No, that is only your misguided opinion. Materialism is useless in trying to understand anything. Naturalism is useless when trying to understand anything. Those are both dogmas which are the antithesis of science.

    As if any doctor treats people by saying life arose from non-life just because. You are deluded, Seversky- deluded and clueless.

  9. 9
    ET says:

    Amblyrhynchus:

    The use of evolutionary principals (sic) and methods across the life sciences demonstrates this is not the case.

    Nice equivocation. No one uses blind watchmaker principles for anything.

  10. 10
    ET says:

    daves:

    Darwin’s theory inspired the field of evolutionary algorithms, so it is arguably not worthless to science.

    And yet those same algorithms use telic processes to solve the problems they were designed to solve. So even though Darwin’s ideas may have inspired them they don’t use Darwin’s ideas as he intended. His was design without a designer without any telic processes.

  11. 11
    Bob O'H says:

    Darwin’s work on earthworms was pretty neat, though.

  12. 12
    Eugene S says:

    DaveS

    Of course, not worthless. However, its benefits are indirect. I respect Darwin’s work. Now we know that it is not a working model in general (there are some corner cases of corner cases where it works). But anyway… it does Darwin credit anyway. By the way, he was not a biologist himself, was he?

    I completely agree with ET on evo algorithms. GAs model artificial selection, not natural selection and therefore the fact itself that GAs exist does not lend any support to (neo)-Darwinian claims.

    It is probably fair to say that GA are inspired by, but not based on, biological processes. GAs assume perfect no noise conditions. They employ explicit fitness function and carefully constructed neighborhood operators. They measure the delta(fitness) with high accuracy, and control the search for a solution based on the deltas. In biological systems there is noise (such as drift), there is no explicitly defined fitness function, and selection filtering is very coarse grained.

    Nonlin.org

    Too many too terse points. If you want to engage anyone in a discussion, please provide some wording to support your claims. To my estimation, it is not ridiculous or tautological. The Darwinian model does have feedback from environment to phenotype to adjust the system parameters to make sure there takes place fixation of traits. It is just that this feedback is too weak to lead to anything non-trivial in practice. It is a valid model but it cannot achieve anything in practice. That is why it has taken people time and computational resources to realize that.

    I agree that the word ‘selection’ is a misnomer and Darwin himself realized it. True, nothing is being actively selected, it is only culling that takes place.

    Your using of the word ‘ridiculous’ suggests that Darwinists are fools. Maybe some of them are, but surely not all 😉

    The best characterization of the Darwinian model I came across was due to David Abel. The Darwinian selection is from among available functions, not for a future function. The question is, where these available functions came from in the first place. That is the real question. The Darwinian model cannot have any means to address it other than random variation (the only “creator” of information in it). Random variation can only operate in a given functional context, but I agree, new sophisticated function cannot arise by random variation selecting away non-viable options. New sophisticated function can only arise by intelligence.

    The starting point for Darwinian evolution is a population of biological replicators. However, to get a biological replicator one must have a code translator. How does this translator arise? Only by intelligence since it is only intelligence that can instantiate logic relationships “A represents B” into physicality.

  13. 13
    aarceng says:

    daveS @ 3

    Evolutionary algorithms are just glorified trial and error solutions aided by computers. Nothing evolutionary there.

  14. 14
    jawa says:

    Eugene S,

    Excellent commentary. Definitely worth reading.
    Thanks.

  15. 15
    PaoloV says:

    Eugene S,

    I coincide with PeterA on his comment about what you wrote.

    Well done! Thanks.

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    Of further (humorous) note to the claim in post 1, “I can think of one contribution Darwin’s theory,, made to science,, evolutionary algorithms.”

    Is Natural Selection Like a Computer Algorithm? – July 23, 2014
    Excerpt: The only algorithm possible for evolutionary theory is what we might dub (after Berlinski) the SDLA: the “Sheer Dumb Luck” Algorithm. Unfortunately, that algorithm is weighted heavily in favor of entropy and extinction. We would hope that Darwinists would not try to transfer their algorithm back onto the computer scientists. It may be too late for the economists.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....88121.html

  17. 17
    PaoloV says:

    Some of the main Darwinian ideas seem to be a product of our human tendency to easily read too much into things. Apparently some of those ideas resulted from a gross extrapolation of what the guy observed in some islands near Ecuador.

    We miss the point of what we see, read or hear. We tend to make any text to mean either less or more than what it really says. We humans also easily miss to grasp the meaning of our experiences. We all have experiences, but perhaps not many think deeply about their meaning.

    Then, to make things worse, we humans don’t test everything to hold only what is good. We pretty much go with our emotions, preferences, desires.

    In the first verse of the third chapter of Genesis someone reacted to the question “Did God actually say…?” tragically wrong. We’re still doing the same today.

    We humans communicate with one another very poorly. Communication requires that all the involved parties are similarly interested in the truth about what is being communicated. We must meet important conditions to communicate: sufficient time, same protocol and language, interest in understanding what others are trying to say and what they mean, interest in presenting one’s ideas as clearly as possible, so that others can understand well the meaning of what we are trying to convey.

    We see examples of these problems all over. For example, just take a look at the discussions going on here in this website. Note how we talk past each other.

    Also we have lost the sense of wonder we had as small children. As consequence, rather than singing worship hymns and joyfully surrendering our will to our Creator, we prefer Paul Anka’s hit song “My way”.

    This is a pathetically sad situation. Unfortunately there’s no natural way to get out of this mess.

    Why?

    Because “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

    The only hope is to genuinely repent and follow the One who claimed to be “The Way, The Truth and The Life” and proved it with His death on a Roman cross and His supernatural resurrection.

    Only He can bless us by making us poor in spirit.

    Then we will be humble enough to look at amazing things in awe.

    That will solve all these misunderstandings and miscommunications too.

    Being made in IMAGO DEI implies that we are the only creatures in this planet with the capacity to communicate with our Creator, who is the absolutely perfect communicator. Only God’s spirit can restore us to that level of communication and understanding.

    Praise Adonai!

  18. 18
    polistra says:

    “Evolutionary algorithms” are just a software implementation of a feedback loop. The analog version was well-developed in clocks by 1500 and in steam technology by 1800. Long before Darwin. Turning it to software didn’t require any contribution from Darwinism.

  19. 19
    PaoloV says:

    polistra,

    I like your comment.
    Thanks.

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    As Egnor (and Fodor) alluded to, “natural selection is an utterly empty concept. It does no work; it explains nothing.”,,,

    “As Jerry Fodor (an atheist philosopher) has pointed out, natural selection is an utterly empty concept. It does no work; it explains nothing. Evolution is driven by natural history and genetic and phenotypic constraint. “Natural selection” adds nothing to our understanding of the process.”

    Even the late William Provine himself admitted, “Natural selection does not act on anything, nor does it select (for or against), force, maximize, create, modify, shape, operate, drive, favor, maintain, push, or adjust. Natural selection does nothing…”

    “Natural selection does not act on anything, nor does it select (for or against), force, maximize, create, modify, shape, operate, drive, favor, maintain, push, or adjust. Natural selection does nothing…. Having natural selection select is nifty because it excuses the necessity of talking about the actual causation of natural selection. Such talk was excusable for Charles Darwin, but inexcusable for evolutionists now. Creationists have discovered our empty “natural selection” language, and the “actions” of natural selection make huge, vulnerable targets.”
    The Origin of Theoretical Population Genetics, 2001 (pp. 199-200) William Provine – Professor of Evolutionary Biology – Cornell University

    Jerry Fodor (and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini) went further and stated “the theory of natural selection is internally flawed; it’s not just that the data are equivocal, it’s that there’s a crack in the foundations.”

    “We’ll argue presently that, quite aside from the problems it has accommodating the empirical findings, the theory of natural selection is internally flawed; it’s not just that the data are equivocal, it’s that there’s a crack in the foundations.”
    Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini – “What Darwin Got Wrong”

    Michael Egnor explores that ‘crack in the foundations’ of natural selection in a bit more detail here

    Natural Selection Is Empty – Michael Egnor – August 30, 2013
    Excerpt: “What’s essential about adaptationism, as viewed from this perspective, is precisely its claim that there is a level of evolutionary explanation. We think this claim is just plain wrong. We think that successful explanations of the fixation of phenotypic traits by ecological variables typically belong not to evolutionary theory but to natural history, and that there is just no end of the sorts of things about a natural history that can contribute to explaining the fixation of some or other feature of a creature’s phenotype. Natural history isn’t a theory of evolution; it’s a bundle of evolutionary scenarios. That’s why the explanations it offers are so often post hoc and unsystematic.” –
    Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini’s – What Darwin Got Wrong – 2010
    Natural selection is not a level of explanation. In F&P-P’s cogent phrase, natural selection is empty.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....75991.html

    ,,, simply put, despite what is falsely imagined, natural selection simply does no real work in the real world. As Adam Sedgwick originally pointed out to Charles Darwin himself about his theory of natural selection, “what is it but a secondary consequence of supposed, or known, primary facts.”

    An Early Critique of Darwin Warned of a Lower Grade of Degradation – Cornelius Hunter – December 2012
    Excerpt: And as for Darwin’s grand principle, natural selection, (Adam Sedgwick asked Charles Darwin) “what is it but a secondary consequence of supposed, or known, primary facts.” Yet Darwin had smuggled in teleological language to avoid the absurdity and make it acceptable. For Darwin had written of natural selection “as if it were done consciously by the selecting agent.” Yet again, this criticism is cogent today. Teleological language is rampant in the evolutionary literature.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....ed-of.html

    Since natural selection does not actually exist in the real world as a scientifically rigorous definable force of some kind,,,

    Where is the purposelessness of evolution? – 23 March 2012
    Excerpt: John O. Reiss also make the following interesting remark:
    “The rigor of this approach, however, is lessened because there is as yet no universally agreed upon measure of fitness; fitness is either defined metaphorically, or defined only relative to the particular model or system used. It is fair to say that due to this lack, there is still no real agreement on what exactly the process of natural selection is. This is clearly a problem.”
    Without a proper definition of fitness, we can’t really say what natural selection is in the first place. Also, without a proper definition of fitness we can’t really make any sense of how variation can be random relative to fitness in the first place. Still, evolutionary biologists would like to see evolution as “random, purposeless variation acted on by blind, purposeless natural selection”.
    https://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Where-is-the-purposelessness-of-evolution-20120322

    ,,, Since natural selection does not actually exist in the real world as a scientifically rigorous definable force of some kind, the primary ‘work’ of natural selection has never ever really been in the real world but has always been in the realm of man’s imagination.

    As Gould himself honestly admitted (and caught flak for), “When evolutionists study individual adaptations, when they try to explain form and behaviour by reconstructing history and assessing current utility, they also tell just so stories – and the agent is natural selection.”

    Sociobiology: The Art of Story Telling – Stephen Jay Gould – 1978 – New Scientist
    Excerpt: Rudyard Kipling asked how the leopard got its spots, the rhino its wrinkled skin. He called his answers “Just So stories”. When evolutionists study individual adaptations, when they try to explain form and behaviour by reconstructing history and assessing current utility, they also tell just so stories – and the agent is natural selection.
    Virtuosity in invention replaces testability as the criterion for acceptance.
    https://books.google.com/books?id=tRj7EyRFVqYC&pg=PA530

    And as Crevinfo stated, “Fodor’s beef with natural selection appears to stem from its storytelling propensity”.

    Hopeful Monsters and Other Tales: Evolutionists Challenge Darwin – Feb. 2010
    Excerpt: Jerry Fodor, a (atheistic) philosopher at Rutgers, is angry at the dogmatic Darwinists who see natural selection as the be-all and end-all of evolutionary change.,,, Fodor’s beef with natural selection appears to stem from its storytelling propensity. Why do people have traits like hair on their heads and dark hair with dark eyes? “You can make up a story that explains why it was good to have those properties in the original environment of selection,” he said. “Do we have any reason to think that story is true? No.”
    Fodor co-authored the book “What Darwin Got Wrong”
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20100224a

    And as Masatoshi Nei stated, “If you say evolution occurs by natural selection, it looks scientific compared with saying God created everything.”

    Mutation, Not Natural Selection, Drives Evolution
    Molecular evolutionary biologist Masatoshi Nei says Darwin never proved natural selection is the driving force of evolution — because it isn’t.
    By Gemma Tarlach|Sunday, March 16, 2014
    “But among the people working on evolution, most of them still believe natural selection is the driving force.
    If you say evolution occurs by natural selection, it looks scientific compared with saying God created everything. Now they say natural selection created everything, but they don’t explain how. If it’s science, you have to explain every step. That’s why I was unhappy. Just a replacement of God with natural selection doesn’t change very much. You have to explain how.”
    – Masatoshi Nei
    http://discovermagazine.com/20.....-evolution

    Here are a few more quotes along that ‘designer substitute’, ‘story telling’, line

    “The Third Way” – James Shapiro, Denis Noble, and etc.. etc..,,,
    excerpt: “some Neo-Darwinists have elevated Natural Selection into a unique creative force that solves all the difficult evolutionary problems without a real empirical basis.”
    per “The Third Way”

    “the uncritical acceptance of natural selection as an explanatory force for all aspects of biodiversity (without any direct evidence) is not much different than invoking an intelligent designer”
    Michael Lynch – The Origins of Genome Architecture, p 368

    “Darwinism provided an explanation for the appearance of design, and argued that there is no Designer — or, if you will, the designer is natural selection. If that’s out of the way — if that (natural selection) just does not explain the evidence — then the flip side of that is, well, things appear designed because they are designed.”
    Richard Sternberg – Living Waters documentary
    Whale Evolution vs. Population Genetics – Richard Sternberg and Paul Nelson – (excerpt from Living Waters video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0csd3M4bc0Q

    Simply put, Natural Selection is ‘not even wrong’ as an explanation for the ‘apparent design’ we see pervasively throughout life:

    The abject failure of Natural Selection on two levels of physical reality – video (2016) (princess and the pea paradox & quarter power scaling)
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-619802

    To sum up, the primary ‘work’ of Natural Selection has always been in the realm of man’s imagination to function as a ‘designer substitute’. i.e. To function as a ‘stand in’ for God for people who find the idea of being personally accountable to the God, who ‘designed’ them, to be unpalatible.

    As Michael Ruse honestly confessed, “Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion a full-fledged alternative to Christianity.,, This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.”

    “Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint, and Mr. Gish is but one of many to make it, the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.”
    Ruse, M., How evolution became a religion: creationists correct? Darwinians wrongly mix science with morality, politics, National Post, pp. B1, B3, B7 (May 13, 2000)

    Basically Darwinists, with natural selection, have constructed, as the ancient pagans in the Bible constantly did, an imaginary false idol to worship instead acknowleging the true and living God who alone is worthy of our supreme worship and love.

    198. What is the first commandment of God?
    The first commandment of God is: I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.

    Thou shalt not have strange Gods before me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. (Exodus 20:3-4)

    199. What are we commanded by the first commandment?
    By the first commandment we are commanded to offer to God alone the supreme worship that is due Him.

    It is written, “The Lord thy God shalt thou worship, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Luke 4:8)
    per Catholic city

  21. 21
    daveS says:

    Eugene S,

    Thanks for the substantive response.

    Of course, not worthless. However, its benefits are indirect.

    I would agree with this, especially wrt the example of EA’s I suggested.

    I respect Darwin’s work. Now we know that it is not a working model in general (there are some corner cases of corner cases where it works). But anyway… it does Darwin credit anyway. By the way, he was not a biologist himself, was he?

    I know almost nothing about Darwin, including whether or not he actually should be called a biologist (or even a “citizen scientist”, like Forrest Mims). Did he contribute anything valuable to science? I think that’s a better question.

    But more importantly, it’s clear you are able to evaluate this material dispassionately, and even give some credit where it’s due. I think Egnor might have more difficulty keeping his emotions in check.

    I completely agree with ET on evo algorithms. GAs model artificial selection, not natural selection and therefore the fact itself that GAs exist does not lend any support to (neo)-Darwinian claims.

    I agree.

    It is probably fair to say that GA are inspired by, but not based on, biological processes. GAs assume perfect no noise conditions. They employ explicit fitness function and carefully constructed neighborhood operators. They measure the delta(fitness) with high accuracy, and control the search for a solution based on the deltas. In biological systems there is noise (such as drift), there is no explicitly defined fitness function, and selection filtering is very coarse grained.

    Yes, I would even say it’s conceivable that while GA’s are effective at solving certain problems, the biological analog is completely ineffective at generating now species.

  22. 22
    Nonlin.org says:

    Eugene S @12

    To my estimation, it [natural selection] is not ridiculous or tautological. The Darwinian model does have feedback from environment to phenotype to adjust the system parameters to make sure there takes place fixation of traits. It is just that this feedback is too weak to lead to anything non-trivial in practice.

    Since you cannot be bothered to open the link provided and read the proofs http://nonlin.org/natural-selection/, here are just a few points with detailed explanations:

    2. No. Natural Selection fails since survival is not directly tied to phenotype and “survival of the best adapted” is tautological. In a small farm, only organisms closely related to their wild cousins survive, but agribusinesses select for chickens with oversize breasts and research labs select for populations with specific genetic mutations requiring tight environments to survive. As shown, all these different organisms may or may not survive regardless of their phenotype. The only measure of “selection” is survival – we only know if and organism was selected if it survives and reproduces. “Best adapted” is also unknowable separate from survival. [This proof contradicts your statement, Eugene]

    5. Plant and animal breeding is not the “artificial selection” described by Darwin and has nothing to do with any natural process. Breeding requires a desired outcome, selection (just a minor step!) and isolation of successive generations of promising individuals, active mating or artificial insemination, optimization of growth conditions for the selected individuals, and/or other genetic technologies. Without most of these active steps nothing happens. Chihuahua and Poodle have no superior survivability to common dog or wolf, but happened anyway because humans worked hard to make them possible. But no one ensures all these active steps in nature. To take only one example, how could humans have “evolved” distinctly from chimps when no one separated each and every new generation based on a teleological model? Why did the proto-human not mate back with his/her regular chimp cousins to put an end to the split? Who and how could have separately optimized conditions for both chimp and human so both lineages survived in what looks like very much similar environments? ‘Selection’ of both “artificial” and “natural” type is thus the wrong word and should be phased out.
    6. Natural Selection is Intelligent Selection which is always done by an Intelligent Selector such as Darwin’s breeder which is an intelligent and willful player that takes intentional actions to reach preset goals. Predators, plants, birds, insects or bacteria, all show intelligence and the willful pursuit of predetermined goals. When interacting with the inert environment, organisms self-select rather than being selected by this environment. As soon as the organism dies and becomes part of the lifeless universe, all selection of that entity ceases. Rocks do not select each other, do not self select and are not selected by the environment.

    12. Humans would apply the Natural Selection method if feasible, but we don’t because it isn’t. A Natural Selection software would use a random generator and a selection criteria to maximize survivability in an available niche. For instance, a family vehicle should optimize the transport function (survivability) given a set of environmental constraints (regulations) and an existing design as starting point. Random minute changes could be tested and retained if the transport function is improved. However, this method can only remove minor oversights but will never create any new designs. Any significant departure such as a new fuel, material or environment either results in a suboptimal design, or requires a cascade of changes to improve the survivability function. That is why the auto industry, like most other industries, introduces minor redesign annually and major revamps every few years. And while even the minor improvements must come in harmonized packages rather than one off (to reduce negative ramifications), in the absence of those major redesigns a firm would shortly go extinct.
    13. Designs do not transform into better designs without crossing an inevitable optimization gap. Given a certain environment, once a design is optimized for a certain function, it becomes suboptimal as soon as the function, the structure, or the materials changes. Until the new design is optimized for that particular change, it remains inferior to an old design already optimized to that environment. Humans optimize new designs (with multidimensional differences from previous versions) conceptually before abruptly replacing old designs. A Darwinist biologic gradual design transition would thus be impossible hence never observed in nature. Had the compound eye been optimized first, a transition to non-compound eye would inevitably had to be suboptimal for a while and vice versa. Only if all eye designs had started from the same point, each following an independent path and at the same pace would we have so many different designs today, each optimized for its function. This however implies a coordinated original grand design incompatible with Darwinian evolution.

    Hope this helps 🙂

  23. 23
    Eugene S says:

    BA

    “As Michael Ruse honestly confessed…”

    Impressive!

  24. 24
    bornagain77 says:

    In addition to Egnor and Fodor’s observation that, “natural selection is an utterly empty concept. It does no work; it explains nothing.”,,,

    “As Jerry Fodor (an atheist philosopher) has pointed out, natural selection is an utterly empty concept. It does no work; it explains nothing. Evolution is driven by natural history and genetic and phenotypic constraint. “Natural selection” adds nothing to our understanding of the process.”

    In addition to that, Fodor also observed that, “The conclusion here is inescapable, that the driving force for these invariant scaling laws cannot have been natural selection. It’s inconceivable that so many different organisms, spanning different kingdoms and phyla, may have blindly ‘tried’ all sorts of power laws and that only those that have by chance ‘discovered’ the one-quarter power law reproduced and thrived.”

    Post-Darwinist – Denyse O’Leary – Dec. 2010
    Excerpt: They quote West et al. (1999),
    “Although living things occupy a three-dimensional space, their internal physiology and anatomy operate as if they were four-dimensional. Quarter-power scaling laws are perhaps as universal and as uniquely biological as the biochemical pathways of metabolism, the structure and function of the genetic code and the process of natural selection.”
    They comment,
    “In the words of these authors, natural selection has exploited variations on this fractal theme to produce the incredible variety of biological form and function’, but there were severe geometric and physical constraints on metabolic processes.”
    “The conclusion here is inescapable, that the driving force for these invariant scaling laws cannot have been natural selection. It’s inconceivable that so many different organisms, spanning different kingdoms and phyla, may have blindly ‘tried’ all sorts of power laws and that only those that have by chance ‘discovered’ the one-quarter power law reproduced and thrived.”
    Quotations from Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini, What Darwin Got Wrong (London: Profile Books, 2010), p. 78-79.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com/evolution/16037/

    That is to say that although the ‘utterly empty concept’ of natural selection is suppose to work on the ‘3-Dimensional’ level when supposedly selecting an organism, “their internal physiology and anatomy operate as if they were four-dimensional”.

    And again, as usual, Darwinists have no clue why these things should be as they are:

    The predominance of quarter-power (4-D) scaling in biology
    Excerpt: Many fundamental characteristics of organisms scale with body size as power laws of the form:
    Y = Yo M^b,
    where Y is some characteristic such as metabolic rate, stride length or life span, Yo is a normalization constant, M is body mass and b is the allometric scaling exponent.
    A longstanding puzzle in biology is why the exponent b is usually some simple multiple of 1/4 (4-Dimensional scaling) rather than a multiple of 1/3, as would be expected from Euclidean (3-Dimensional) scaling.
    http://www.nceas.ucsb.edu/~dre.....18_257.pdf

    Of Life’s Laws And Unity – May 11, 2016
    Excerpt: Life obeys certain allometric scaling laws that seem to reveal a sort of overarching design principle at work. We don’t know what this principle is, although it’s probably related to optimization: What’s the best shape for the least amount of energy consumption? A famous allometric law is known as Kleiber’s Law, where the metabolic rate of an animal grows as its mass to the 3/4 power. (The metabolic rate can be measured in terms of the rate at which an animal consumes oxygen, for example.) Although there are small variations (due to motion, disease, aging), the relation holds over a wide range of masses. (There are disputes for very small animals without a circulatory system.)
    Geoffrey West, Brian Enquist and James Brown proposed a model based on blood flow to explain this and a few other general allometric scaling laws with body weight observed in animals (for a review paper see this): Apart from Kleiber’s Law mentioned above, life span scales as 1/4 power (so take two square roots of the mass), and heart rate as -1/4 power. Put together, these two laws explain why all species have a similar amount of heartbeats, 1.5 billion, over their life spans.
    Pause for amazement.
    The laws are not absolutely precise but do indicate a common trend across an enormous variety of living creatures. On Monday night, I was on a panel on Complexity with Geoffrey West at the New York Academy of Sciences. At some point, I asked West whether alien life, if it exists, would follow the same sort of unifying allometric laws. With a twinkle in his eye, West replied, a big smile on his face: “Well, I can only speculate here, but it seems plausible that this sort of design principle for life does have universal characteristics.”
    It would be amazing if life as we don’t know it is, after all, life as we do know it.
    http://www.npr.org/sections/13.....-and-unity

    The reason why these ‘universal’ and ‘uniquely biological’ ’4-Dimensional’ quarter power scaling laws are impossible for Darwinian evolution to explain is that Natural Selection operates at the 3-Dimensional level of the organism and the ’4-Dimensional’ quarter power scaling law are simply ‘invisible’ to natural selection. The reason why 4-Dimensional things are, for all practical purposes, completely invisible to 3-Dimensional things is best illustrated by ‘flatland’:

    Dr Quantum – Flatland – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWyTxCsIXE4

    And the reason why living things operate as if they were 4-Dimensional, instead of operating as if they were 3-Dimensional, is because, contrary to the materialistic framework upon which Darwinism sits, it is ‘physically real information’ which is foundational to life and it is not matter and energy that are foundational to life as is presupposed in the materialistic foundation of Darwinian evolution.

    Here are a few notes on the physical reality of ‘immaterial’ information:

    Information is Physical (but not how Rolf Landauer meant)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H35I83y5Uro

    Darwinian Materialism vs. Quantum Biology – video
    https://youtu.be/LHdD2Am1g5Y

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

    As Talbott observes, it is readily apparent that it must be this ‘information’ that is keeping us alive “precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer”

    The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings – Stephen L. Talbott – 2010
    Excerpt: Virtually the same collection of molecules exists in the canine cells during the moments immediately before and after death. But after the fateful transition no one will any longer think of genes as being regulated, nor will anyone refer to normal or proper chromosome functioning. No molecules will be said to guide other molecules to specific targets, and no molecules will be carrying signals, which is just as well because there will be no structures recognizing signals. Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary.
    ,,, the question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?
    Despite the countless processes going on in the cell, and despite the fact that each process might be expected to “go its own way” according to the myriad factors impinging on it from all directions, the actual result is quite different. Rather than becoming progressively disordered in their mutual relations (as indeed happens after death, when the whole dissolves into separate fragments), the processes hold together in a larger unity.
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....-of-beings

    This higher dimensional information that is keeping us alive for ‘precisely a lifetime and not a moment longer’, also provides evidence that we do indeed possess a soul that is capable of living beyond the death of out temporal, material, bodies, As Stuart Hameroff stated.

    “Let’s say the heart stops beating. The blood stops flowing. The microtubules lose their quantum state. But the quantum information, which is in the microtubules, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed. It just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large. If a patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says, “I had a near death experience. I saw a white light. I saw a tunnel. I saw my dead relatives.,,” Now if they’re not revived and the patient dies, then it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”
    – Stuart Hameroff – Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death – video (5:00 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/jjpEc98o_Oo?t=300

    Verses:

    James 2:26
    As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

    Matthew 16:26
    For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

  25. 25
    ET says:

    No one uses blind watchmaker evolution for anything. It is a useless and worthless heuristic.

  26. 26
    Eugene S says:

    Nonlin.org

    Thanks.

    “we only know if and organism was selected if it survives and reproduces”

    What about fixation of traits?

    “Best adapted” does not just mean survival. It means reproductive success. A differential in phenotypes leads to a differential in reproductive rates. The best adapted individuals possessing a trait will tend to leave most offspring. At some point, theoretically, all the population will have that trait, which is the fixation point.

    In practice, there is drift that eliminates beneficial mutations. So the real problem of Darwinian model is to get over the statistical barriers of visibility. In actual environments, for Darwinian process to kick off the percent of the population possessing the trait in question must be statistically significant.

    That is the real problem of the Darwin’s model, not that it has something ill defined or tautological.

    I do not understand your problem with this. Maybe I am missing something.

    “Chihuahua and Poodle have no superior survivability to common dog or wolf, but happened anyway because humans worked hard to make them possible.”

    Agreed. It is an artificially controlled telic process.

    “Selection” is the wrong word, I agree.

    “Rocks do not select each other”

    Chemists could say otherwise 😉 Again, “selection” is a misnomer, but bubbles go up and dust settles down. It is this regularities that all amount to minimization of total potential energy that evolutionists try to employ.

    I do not believe in the power of chemical “selection” on the prebiotic stage at all (because I do not see the principle for selection on the prebiotic stage, is it stability or instability or what?), but I have to be a chemist to defend my disbelief professionally.

    Evolution is a random walk in the parameter space and, as such, faces all the troubles random walk can face in astronomically large configuration spaces. It means that occasionally, it can climb a hill (and it will, if all the relevant conditions are met). However, on average it does not do well.

    Another reason why this is so is because biologically meaningful configurations in that space may be confined to relatively small and sparsely scattered islands. E.g. recently an estimate of the sparseness of functional polypeptides in the space of possible polypeptides was worked out to be 1 in 10^77.

    Sparseness of function and the vanishingly small fraction of the astronomical configuration space that evolution could have ever visited by random walk are the two real problems of biological evolution.

    “but will never create any new designs”

    Absolutely!

    I also agree with you point against Darwinian gradualism.

    Overall, in my estimation, your arguments are sound except the one about tautology 😉

  27. 27
    jawa says:

    Paolo,
    Give me a break! First you posted a misleading comment referring to me as PeterA, but soon after that you wrote a long sermon on miscommunication. Can you explain?

  28. 28
    Nonlin.org says:

    BA, Egnor, News,

    Jerry Fodor is useless. Yes, he denies NS, but he still thinks incoherently that “evolution” is true.

  29. 29
    Nonlin.org says:

    Eugene S @26

    My “survives and reproduces” means “reproductive success”. One has to survive to reproductive age to reproduce.

    How can you not see the tautology? Survival of descendants is the ONLY thing out there, not “fit”, not “best adapted”, not “selection”, not “beneficial mutations”. To see this, imagine an experiment where you want to determine one of those four without any information whatsoever about survival of descendants. Can you? No way! Even the improperly called “artificial selection” does not become effective until survival is affected. Until then it’s just an empty declaration of intent.

    Interesting challenge, but “bubbles go up and dust settles down” and chemicals react with particular other chemicals because something else causes that, not because they “select” each other.

  30. 30
    bornagain77 says:

    at 28 Nonlin.org states:

    “Jerry Fodor is useless”

    Yet aside from the fact that Jerry Fodor was in fact “useful” for teaching me and many others that “natural selection is an utterly empty concept. It does no work; it explains nothing” (even if he has not yet fully embraced the fact that life is “Intelligently Designed”), Jerry Fodor is not now, nor has ever been, intrinsically ‘useless’.

    Only under a Atheistic Darwinian worldview are people intrinsically and completely “useless”.

    Perhaps the greatest proof that Darwinism is “an utterly worthless scientific concept” is the fact that Darwinism and/or Atheistic materialism renders humanity itself “utterly worthless” since our lives, under Darwinism, truly are utterly meaningless.

    As Adam Sedgwick warned Charles Darwin of the dire consequences of his theory, (and as testified to by abortion, euthanasia, concentration camps, gulags, etc..,,), “humanity in my mind, would suffer a damage that might brutalize it—& sink the human race into a lower grade of degradation than any into which it has fallen since its written records tell us of its history.”

    “There is a moral or metaphysical part of nature as well as a physical A man who denies this is deep in the mire of folly Tis the crown & glory of organic science that it does thro’ final cause , link material to moral; & yet does not allow us to mingle them in our first conception of laws, & our classification of such laws whether we consider one side of nature or the other— You have ignored this link; &, if I do not mistake your meaning, you have done your best in one or two pregnant cases to break it. Were it possible (which thank God it is not) to break it, humanity in my mind, would suffer a damage that might brutalize it—& sink the human race into a lower grade of degradation than any into which it has fallen since its written records tell us of its history.”
    Letter from Adam Sedgwick to Charles Darwin – 24 November 1859 – Cambridge
    https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-2548.xml

    Indeed, the social consequences of the Atheistic Darwinian worldview have been devastating.

    Here’s what happens when Atheists/evolutionists/non-Christians take control of Government:

    “169,202,000 Murdered: Summary and Conclusions [20th Century Democide]
    I BACKGROUND
    2. The New Concept of Democide [Definition of Democide]
    3. Over 133,147,000 Murdered: Pre-Twentieth Century Democide
    II 128,168,000 VICTIMS: THE DEKA-MEGAMURDERERS
    4. 61,911,000 Murdered: The Soviet Gulag State
    5. 35,236,000 Murdered: The Communist Chinese Ant Hill
    6. 20,946,000 Murdered: The Nazi Genocide State
    7. 10,214,000 Murdered: The Depraved Nationalist Regime
    III 19,178,000 VICTIMS: THE LESSER MEGA-MURDERERS
    8. 5,964,000 Murdered: Japan’s Savage Military
    9. 2,035,000 Murdered: The Khmer Rouge Hell State
    10. 1,883,000 Murdered: Turkey’s Genocidal Purges
    11. 1,670,000 Murdered: The Vietnamese War State
    12. 1,585,000 Murdered: Poland’s Ethnic Cleansing
    13. 1,503,000 Murdered: The Pakistani Cutthroat State
    14. 1,072,000 Murdered: Tito’s Slaughterhouse
    IV 4,145,000 VICTIMS: SUSPECTED MEGAMURDERERS
    15. 1,663,000 Murdered? Orwellian North Korea
    16. 1,417,000 Murdered? Barbarous Mexico
    17. 1,066,000 Murdered? Feudal Russia”

    This is, in reality, probably just a drop in the bucket. Who knows how many undocumented murders there were. It also doesn’t count all the millions of abortions from around the world.
    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM

    Atheist Myth: “No One Has Ever Killed in the Name of Atheism” – Nov. 2016
    Excerpt” “where are the army of atheists humanitarian traipsing about Africa and Asia giving hope to the poor and disadvantaged? Certainly none of the famous atheist polemicists have ever done so. Christopher Hitchens was asked on multiply occasions if he or other atheists who similarly had a poor opinion of St. Mother Teresa have actually gone to India and rolled up their sleeves to bathe lepers. I’ve asked many atheists including P.Z. Myers, Patricia Churchland and Christopher Hitchens and none have responded in the positive. Madalyn O’Hair never mentioned having done so. Mao and Stalin were busy killing tens of millions of their compatriots by engineering famines in their respective countries so it’s hard to imagine they also helped poor people. When I volunteered at Mother Teresa’s street clinics in Calcutta, I never met an atheist doing the same work but I routinely met Catholics doing so.”
    http://www.ncregister.com/blog.....of-atheism

    And here are a few quotes, out of many quotes I could list, that reveal their depressing, “useless”, view of humanity.

    “The human race is just a chemical scum on a moderate-sized planet, orbiting around a very average star in the outer suburb of one among a hundred billion galaxies. We are so insignificant that I can’t believe the whole universe exists for our benefit.,,,”
    – Stephen Hawking – 1995 TV show, Reality on the Rocks: Beyond Our Ken,

    “Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either.”
    – William B. Provine

    “The law of selection exists in the world, and the stronger and healthier has received from nature the right to live. Woe to anyone who is weak, who does not stand his ground! He may not expect help from anyone.”
    – Adolf Hitler
    http://www.wnd.com/2014/09/cha.....rld-war-i/

    Fortunately, we now have abundant scientific evidence that strongly indicates that man is not nearly as “useless” and/or “worthless” as atheists have presupposed us to be

    Atheistic Materialism vs Meaning, Value, and Purpose in Our Lives – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqUxBSbFhog

    Verse:

    1 Samuel 2:8
    He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. “For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; on them he has set the world.

  31. 31
    PaoloV says:

    jawa,

    That was a mistake, a mental lapse. I’m sorry that happened.
    Apparently I was thinking about what you wrote in the “chromatin” thread, where you treated me a little harsh.

  32. 32
    Fasteddious says:

    We may be missing a different take on this. I suspect that Dr. Egnor is at least partly parodying the way that Darwinists and atheists often belittle and put down ID — giving them back a taste of their own medicine, as it were. We all know how ID is often treated in articles and Internet postings. Regardless of the truths behind his polemic, Dr. Egnor may simply be reflecting some of that diatribe back to its usual source. Just a thought.

  33. 33
    Amblyrhynchus says:

    Was reminded of this thread when I ran into this paper today. Population genetics an natural selection models being used to predict the progress of individual tumours. Evolutionary genetics approaches are now used very widely in cancer biology.

  34. 34
    EricMH says:

    Despite the name, an evolutionary algorithm is an example of intelligent design.

    Also, the key feature of the evolutionary algorithm, variation of the genome, is better attributed to Mendel than Darwin.

    If we were to make the evolutionary algorithm Darwinian, we would have some kind of artificial life simulation with living, dying and procreating programs, and the actual problem to be solved would not be used for selection.

  35. 35
    bornagain77 says:

    Jonathan Wells Dismantles Joshua Swamidass’s Argument for Evolution from Cancer – September 11, 2017
    Excerpt: it requires a certain daring that one can’t help but admire to offer, as proof of unguided evolution’s creative prowess, something as thoroughly counterintuitive as…cancer.
    Think of it: the world’s most feared disease and one of its most destructive, presented as knock-down evidence for evolution’s power not to destroy — but to create! Yet this is the argument that Dr. Swamidass, a theistic evolutionist, has advanced over at the BioLogos website.,,,
    the cancer-proves-evolution argument seems hopeless at first glance. Building a tumor, a potentially lethal instance of unregulated cell growth, as a parallel to building all the wonderful novelties, features, and functions of animal and plant life? No one is going to buy that.
    What about on closer inspection, though? As biologist Jonathan Wells demonstrates in an excellent response published by Salvo Magazine, the Swamidass cancer argument is not much more plausible when you look at it in detail.
    What Dr. Swamidass has going for him is primarily a quirk of semantics.
    “[C]omputational biologist Joshua Swamidass argues that “cancer regularly innovates with proteins of novel function.”2 He calls this “neo-functionalization.” According to Swamidass, this “casts serious doubt on the ID arguments from molecular biology,” namely, that proteins cannot evolve novel functions without the aid of intelligent design. He concludes that if ID were true, “then cancer as we know it would be mathematically impossible, or regularly require the direct intervention of God to initiate and be sustained.”3”
    That does sound bad for the design argument, doesn’t it? If cancer “regularly innovates,” producing new if malignant functions, via “neo-functionality”?,,,
    Yet it all falls apart after that, as Dr. Wells goes about his work quickly and dispassionately. As you might suspect, the neo-functions aren’t really functions at all, in the sense of what Darwinian theory struggles to explain. They are functional losses or “perversions” of preexisting function:,,,
    ,,, As Dr. Wells concludes, originating species and originating tumors are really “polar opposites” and you can’t learn anything about the former from the latter. This really should settle the question, and I would encourage Dr. Swamidass and other writers and commenters at BioLogos to read and think about Dr. Wells’s dismantling of his case.
    Is cancer, then, the latest “icon of evolution,” that stands to be embraced by Darwin proponents as a rhetorical mascot for their argument, only to be knocked down by Jonathan Wells? See his books Icons of Evolution and Zombie Science. Wells does deal with the cancer argument, as innovated by Joshua Swamidass, in Zombie Science.
    The problem is that unlike with other icons (such as whale evolution, Darwin’s finches, or peppered moths), the feature of surface plausibility is, as I mentioned earlier, so conspicuously missing here. That is going to hamper this would-be icon from finding its way into the textbooks.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/09/jonathan-wells-dismantles-joshua-swamidasss-proof-for-evolution-from-cancer/

  36. 36
    ET says:

    Ambly:

    Was reminded of this thread when I ran into this paper today. Population genetics an natural selection models being used to predict the progress of individual tumours. Evolutionary genetics approaches are now used very widely in cancer biology.

    DARWINIAN evolution. This thread pertains to DARWINIAN evolution. Don’t drop the meaningful adjective and act like all is well. That is called equivocation.

    That said, I do agree that DARWINIAN evolution can cause cancer. That is most likely the most creative thing it can accomplish

  37. 37
    Amblyrhynchus says:

    I’m not sure what’s more Darwinian than natural selection?

  38. 38
    jawa says:

    Paolo,

    i apologize for sounding so harsh to you.

    it was not my intention.

    however, i still don’t understand what you wrote here.

    Can you explain?

    thanks.

  39. 39
    PaoloV says:

    jawa,

    it’s alright. You’re forgiven.

    Are you referring to my comment @154?

    George Castillo,

    Please, do me a favor:

    Open this website https://uncommondescent.com/ in a separate tab of your internet browser. Then slowly scroll down the front web page. What is the first reference to this current discussion thread that you see? What does it say? What does it mean to you? Thanks.

  40. 40
    jawa says:

    Paolo,

    Yes, that’s exactly.

    Why did you write that?
    What’s that for?
    What do you expect from that exercise?

    It’s really so off-topic for that discussion thread.

  41. 41
    PaoloV says:

    jawa,

    that was my reaction to something George Castillo wrote in the preceding comment (@153):

    Why don’t we just start with this:
    I believe this conversation began with Peter and OLV harping on the fact that eukaryotes have histones and a complex genome organization, while prokaryotes do not have histones. (see #125)

  42. 42
    Seversky says:

    For those interested in an actual discussion of the “tautology argument”, you could start here :

    The simple version of the so-called ‘tautology argument’ is this:

    Natural selection is the survival of the fittest. The fittest are those that survive. Therefore, evolution by natural selection is a tautology (a circular definition).

    The real significance of this argument is not the argument itself, but that it was taken seriously by any professional philosophers at all. ‘Fitness’ to Darwin meant not those that survive, but those that could be expected to survive because of their adaptations and functional efficiency, when compared to others in the population. This is not a tautology, or, if it is, then so is the Newtonian equation F=ma [Sober 1984, chapter 2], which is the basis for a lot of ordinary physical explanation.

    The phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ was not even Darwin’s. It was urged on him by Wallace, the codiscoverer of natural selection, who hated ‘natural selection’ because he thought it implied that something was doing the selecting. Darwin coined the term ‘natural selection’ because had made an analogy with ‘artificial selection’ as done by breeders, an analogy Wallace hadn’t made when he developed his version of the theory. The phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ was originally due to Herbert Spencer some years before the Origin .

  43. 43
    ET says:

    Ambly:

    I’m not sure what’s more Darwinian than natural selection?

    Natural selection- the elimination process that should get rid of cancer-prone genomes?

    What do you think natural selection is doing with respect to cancer?

  44. 44
    Seversky says:

    bornagain77 @ 30

    Indeed, the social consequences of the Atheistic Darwinian worldview have been devastating.

    Here’s what happens when Atheists/evolutionists/non-Christians take control of Government:

    “169,202,000 Murdered: Summary and Conclusions [20th Century Democide] …

    Yet the US, according to the faithful a Christian nation founded by Christians on Christian principles, had a murder rate of 5.35 per 100,000 while more atheist-leaning countries such as the UK had a murder rate of 1.20 per 100,000, Sweden was at 1.08, Norway 0.51 and Iceland 0.30. Should we assume on this basis that Christian belief makes people more likely to kill one another unlawfully?

  45. 45
    ET says:

    Seversky references:

    ‘Fitness’ to Darwin meant not those that survive, but those that could be expected to survive because of their adaptations and functional efficiency, when compared to others in the population.

    Yes, and in the end it is all just contingent serendipity. That is because those adaptations and functional efficiency can be something that makes you slower, faster, less functional such that the anti-biotics no longer bind but take away the anti-biotics and you are the weakling, taller, shorter, striped, dotted, fur, no fur, translucent fur that looks white because the way the light refracts inside of it, eyes, no eyes, wings for flying, wings that don’t help you fly- it all depends-> ie contingent serendipity.

    With a process of elimination only a small % fails to make the cut. As Ernst Mayr said in “What Evolution Is”:

    What Darwin called natural selection is actually a process of elimination. page 117

    Page 118:
    Do selection and elimination differ in their evolutionary consequences? This question never seems to have been raised in the evolutionary literature. A process of selection would have a concrete objective, the determination of the “best” or “fittest” phenotype. Only a relatively few individuals in a given generation would qualify and survive the selection procedure. That small sample would be only to be able to preserve only a small amount of the whole variance of the parent population. Such survival selection would be highly restrained.

    By contrast, mere elimination of the less fit might permit the survival of a rather large number of individuals because they have no obvious deficiencies in fitness. Such a large sample would provide, for instance, the needed material for the exercise of sexual selection. This also explains why survival is so uneven from season to season. The percentage of the less fit would depend on the severity of each year’s environmental conditions.

    Behavioral changes are the most likely to aid in survival. They are inheritable and can effect larger portions of a population than waiting for some just-so/ right mutation to offer a variation that can help. If it ain’t already in existence the wait could kill ya.

  46. 46
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    Yet the US, according to the faithful a Christian nation founded by Christians on Christian principles, …

    False premise

  47. 47
    bornagain77 says:

    Amblyrhynchus per post 33, 36 and 37,

    You speak of natural selection as if it were a real thing instead of a figment of Darwinian imagination.

    Could you please tell me exactly what the basic units of measurement are for the ‘evolutionary pressure’ of natural selection? i.e. Exactly what is natural selection measured in?

    I can’t seem to find anything listed in the SI units of measurement which would be applicable to Natural Selection.

    There are seven base units in the SI system:

    the kilogram (kg), for mass
    the second (s), for time
    the kelvin (K), for temperature
    the ampere (A), for electric current
    the mole (mol), for the amount of a substance
    the candela (cd), for luminous intensity
    the meter (m), for distance
    https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-chemistry/chapter/units-of-measurement/

    Nor can I find anything listed in the Table of Physical Constants

    Table of Physical Constants
    https://cosmologist.info/teaching/Cosmology/Physical_constants.pdf

    This is not a minor omission, and is the primary reason why Darwinism fails to qualify as a real science (instead of being the pseudoscience that it actually is).

    “On the other hand, I disagree 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, “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003

    The primary reason why Darwinian evolution lacks any of the rigor that is usually associated with the hard sciences is because Darwinian evolution has no mathematical model to test against. As Dr. Robert Marks states “Hard sciences are built on foundations of mathematics or definitive simulations. ,,, there exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution. According to our current understanding, there never will be.,,,”

    “There exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution. Hard sciences are built on foundations of mathematics or definitive simulations. Examples include electromagnetics, Newtonian mechanics, geophysics, relativity, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, optics, and many areas in biology. Those hoping to establish Darwinian evolution as a hard science with a model have either failed or inadvertently cheated. These models contain guidance mechanisms to land the airplane squarely on the target runway despite stochastic wind gusts. Not only can the guiding assistance be specifically identified in each proposed evolution model, its contribution to the success can be measured, in bits, as active information.,,,”,,, “there exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution. According to our current understanding, there never will be.,,,”
    – Robert J. Marks II – Top Ten Questions and Objections to ‘Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics’ – June 12, 2017
    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/06/top-ten-questions-and-objections-to-introduction-to-evolutionary-informatics/

    The primary reason why nobody has ever been able to build a realistic mathematical model for Darwinian evolution to test against is simply because there is no ‘law of evolution’ within the known physical universe for mathematicians and physicists to ever build a realistic mathematical model upon:

    Laws of science
    1 Conservation laws
    1.1 Conservation and symmetry
    1.2 Continuity and transfer
    2 Laws of classical mechanics
    2.1 Principle of least action
    3 Laws of gravitation and relativity
    3.1 Modern laws
    3.2 Classical laws
    4 Thermodynamics
    5 Electromagnetism
    6 Photonics
    7 Laws of quantum mechanics
    8 Radiation laws
    9 Laws of chemistry
    10 Geophysical laws
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_of_science

    As Ernst Mayr himself conceded, “In biology, as several other people have shown, and I totally agree with them, there are no natural laws in biology corresponding to the natural laws of the physical sciences.”

    The Evolution of Ernst: Interview with Ernst Mayr – 2004 (page 2 of 14)
    Excerpt: biology (Darwinian Evolution) differs from the physical sciences in that in the physical sciences, all theories, I don’t know exceptions so I think it’s probably a safe statement, all theories are based somehow or other on natural laws. In biology, as several other people have shown, and I totally agree with them, there are no natural laws in biology corresponding to the natural laws of the physical sciences.
    ,,, And so that’s what I do in this book. I show that the theoretical basis, you might call it, or I prefer to call it the philosophy of biology, has a totally different basis than the theories of physics.
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/media/pdf/0004D8E1-178C-10EB-978C83414B7F012C.pdf

    In the following article, Roger Highfield makes much the same observation as Ernst Mayr and states, ,,, Whatever the case, those universal truths—’laws’—that physicists and chemists all rely upon appear relatively absent from biology.

    WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Evolution is True – Roger Highfield – January 2014
    Excerpt: If evolutionary biologists are really Seekers of the Truth, they need to focus more on finding the mathematical regularities of biology, following in the giant footsteps of Sewall Wright, JBS Haldane, Ronald Fisher and so on.
    ,,, Whatever the case, those universal truths—’laws’—that physicists and chemists all rely upon appear relatively absent from biology.
    Little seems to have changed from a decade ago when the late and great John Maynard Smith wrote a chapter on evolutionary game theory for a book on the most powerful equations of science: his contribution did not include a single equation.
    http://www.edge.org/response-detail/25468

    Professor Murray Eden of MIT, in a paper entitled “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory” stated that “the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws—physical, physico-chemical, and biological.”

    “It is our contention that if ‘random’ is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws—physical, physico-chemical, and biological.”
    Murray Eden, “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, editors Paul S. Moorhead and Martin M. Kaplan, June 1967, p. 109.
    https://people.eecs.berkeley.edu/~christos/evol/compevol_files/Wistar-Eden-1.pdf

    Bottom line, natural selection does not exist in the real world but only exists in the imagination of Darwinists when they try to weave their ‘just so stories’ in which Natural Selection plays the role of ‘Designer Substitute”.

    As Gould himself honestly admitted (and caught flak for), “When evolutionists study individual adaptations, when they try to explain form and behaviour by reconstructing history and assessing current utility, they also tell just so stories – and the agent is natural selection. Virtuosity in invention replaces testability as the criterion for acceptance.”

    Sociobiology: The Art of Story Telling – Stephen Jay Gould – 1978 – New Scientist
    Excerpt: Rudyard Kipling asked how the leopard got its spots, the rhino its wrinkled skin. He called his answers “Just So stories”. When evolutionists study individual adaptations, when they try to explain form and behaviour by reconstructing history and assessing current utility, they also tell just so stories – and the agent is natural selection.
    Virtuosity in invention replaces testability as the criterion for acceptance.
    https://books.google.com/books?id=tRj7EyRFVqYC&pg=PA530

  48. 48
    Amblyrhynchus says:

    ET

    Natural selection- the elimination process that should get rid of cancer-prone genomes?

    What do you think natural selection is doing with respect to cancer?

    No, natrual selection the differential survival of heritable phenotypes. One way you might learn what selection has to do with cancer is reading the paper I linked to.

    BA,

    Could you please tell me exactly what the basic units of measurement are for the ‘evolutionary pressure’ of natural selection? i.e. Exactly what is natural selection measured in?

    I can’t seem to find anything listed in the SI units of measurement which would be applicable to Natural Selection.

    We measure the strength of selection using the selection coefficient (s), which can be defined such that the fitness of a wildtype (or the mean fitness of a population) is set to 1 and the fitness of some variant is 1+s (so positive values correspond to traits that we expect to increase). Fitness is, of course, the expected contribution of a given variant to the next generation.

    I’m not sure why any of that should matter, but hope it helps.

  49. 49
    bornagain77 says:

    And Seversky, just why do you, an amoral atheist, find murder to be morally offensive in the first place? After all, it is just survival of the fittest is it not?

    And if you are going to be, without a moral foundation, morally offended by murder rates then own up to the incomprehensible horror manifested by what Darwinian thinking has wrought when it had free reign over the government of people, instead of trying to unjustly equivocate comparatively trifling details about murder rates when compared to the wholesale slaughter of people by their own Atheistic governments.

  50. 50
    ET says:

    Ambly:

    No, natrual selection the differential survival of heritable phenotypes.

    Ernst Mayr, one of the architects of the modern synthesis, says that NS is an eliminative process, which is as you say, so I don’t understand your issue unless it is that you cannot think.

    One way you might learn what selection has to do with cancer is reading the paper I linked to.

    So that’s it? A literature bluff? How do we know that you have read the paper? If you had then you should be able to make a case.

  51. 51
    bornagain77 says:

    Amblyrhynchus, “fitness is either defined metaphorically, or defined only relative to the particular model or system used. It is fair to say that due to this lack, there is still no real agreement on what exactly the process of natural selection is.”

    Where is the purposelessness of evolution? – 23 March 2012
    Excerpt: John O. Reiss also make the following interesting remark:
    “The rigor of this approach, however, is lessened because there is as yet no universally agreed upon measure of fitness; fitness is either defined metaphorically, or defined only relative to the particular model or system used. It is fair to say that due to this lack, there is still no real agreement on what exactly the process of natural selection is. This is clearly a problem.”
    Without a proper definition of fitness, we can’t really say what natural selection is in the first place. Also, without a proper definition of fitness we can’t really make any sense of how variation can be random relative to fitness in the first place. Still, evolutionary biologists would like to see evolution as “random, purposeless variation acted on by blind, purposeless natural selection”.
    https://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Where-is-the-purposelessness-of-evolution-20120322

    Further notes on the inadequacy of Darwinian evolution as a scientific theory:

    The Fate of Darwinism: Evolution After the Modern Synthesis – David J. Depew and Bruce H. Weber – 2011
    Excerpt: We trace the history of the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, and of genetic Darwinism generally, with a view to showing why, even in its current versions, it can no longer serve as a general framework for evolutionary theory. The main reason is empirical. Genetical Darwinism cannot accommodate the role of development (and of genes in development) in many evolutionary processes.,,,
    http://www.springerlink.com/co.....03g3t7002/

    With a Startling Candor, Oxford Scientist Admits a Gaping Hole in Evolutionary Theory – November 2011
    Excerpt: As of now, we have no good theory of how to read [genetic] networks, how to model them mathematically or how one network meshes with another; worse, we have no obvious experimental lines of investigation for studying these areas. There is a great deal for systems biology to do in order to produce a full explanation of how genotypes generate phenotypes,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....52821.html

    Not Junk After All—Conclusion – August 29, 2013
    Excerpt: Many scientists have pointed out that the relationship between the genome and the organism — the genotype-phenotype mapping — cannot be reduced to a genetic program encoded in DNA sequences. Atlan and Koppel wrote in 1990 that advances in artificial intelligence showed that cellular operations are not controlled by a linear sequence of instructions in DNA but by a “distributed multilayer network” [150]. According to Denton and his co-workers, protein folding appears to involve formal causes that transcend material mechanisms [151], and according to Sternberg this is even more evident at higher levels of the genotype-phenotype mapping [152]
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....onclusion/

    The Fairyland of Evolutionary Modeling – May 7, 2013
    Excerpt: Salazar-Ciudad and Marín-Riera have shown that not only are suboptimal dead ends an evolutionary possibility, but they are also exceedingly likely to occur in real, developmentally complex structures when fitness is determined by the exact form of the phenotype.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....71901.html

    The next evolutionary synthesis: from Lamarck and Darwin to genomic variation and systems biology – Bard – 2011
    Excerpt: If more than about three genes (nature unspecified) underpin a phenotype, the mathematics of population genetics, while qualitatively analyzable, requires too many unknown parameters to make quantitatively testable predictions [6]. The inadequacy of this approach is demonstrated by illustrations of the molecular pathways that generates traits [7]: the network underpinning something as simple as growth may have forty or fifty participating proteins whose production involves perhaps twice as many DNA sequences, if one includes enhancers, splice variants etc. Theoretical genetics simply cannot handle this level of complexity, let alone analyse the effects of mutation..
    http://www.biosignaling.com/co.....X-9-30.pdf

    Gene previously linked to obesity is unrelated – June 29, 2015
    Excerpt: … in the real world of careful analysis, scientists are just not finding the “genes” that the headline writers need. British geneticist Steve Jones points out that most human traits are influenced by so many genes that there is no likely systematic cause and effect:
    “We know of more than 50 different genes associated with height … That has not percolated into the public mind, as the Google search for “scientists find the gene for” shows. The three letter word for — the gene FOR something — is the most dangerous word in genetics.”
    And the craze is not harmless, he warns. …
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....unrelated/

    Theory Suggests That All Genes Affect Every Complex Trait – June 20, 2018
    Excerpt: Mutations of a single gene are behind sickle cell anemia, for instance, and mutations in another are behind cystic fibrosis.
    But unfortunately for those who like things simple, these conditions are the exceptions. The roots of many traits, from how tall you are to your susceptibility to schizophrenia, are far more tangled. In fact, they may be so complex that almost the entire genome may be involved in some way,,,
    One very early genetic mapping study in 1999 suggested that “a large number of loci (perhaps > than 15)” might contribute to autism risk, recalled Jonathan Pritchard, now a geneticist at Stanford University. “That’s a lot!” he remembered thinking when the paper came out.
    Over the years, however, what scientists might consider “a lot” in this context has quietly inflated. Last June, Pritchard and his Stanford colleagues Evan Boyle and Yang Li (now at the University of Chicago) published a paper about this in Cell that immediately sparked controversy, although it also had many people nodding in cautious agreement. The authors described what they called the “omnigenic” model of complex traits. Drawing on GWAS analyses of three diseases, they concluded that in the cell types that are relevant to a disease, it appears that not 15, not 100, but essentially all genes contribute to the condition. The authors suggested that for some traits, “multiple” loci could mean more than 100,000.
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/omnigenic-model-suggests-that-all-genes-affect-every-complex-trait-20180620/

  52. 52
    ET says:

    The Strength of Natural Selection in the Wild– to wit:

    Natural selection disappears as a biological force and reappears as a statistical artifact. The change is not trivial. It is one thing to say that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution; it is quite another thing to say that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of various regression correlations between quantitative characteristics. It hardly appears obvious that if natural selection is simply a matter of correlations established between quantitative traits, that Darwin’s theory has any content beyond the phenomenological, and in the most obvious sense, is no theory at all.

  53. 53
    ET says:

    OK the paper Ambly linked to above is about SUBCLONAL selection, not natural selection. Natural selection doesn’t even appear in the paper.

    Yes I found the paper for free Quantification of subclonal selection in cancer from bulk sequencing data

  54. 54
    Amblyrhynchus says:

    I believe I’ve found a photograph of ET writing the above comment: http://i670.photobucket.com/al.....DOCTOR.png

  55. 55
    Amblyrhynchus says:

    (If it’s not abundantly clear, subclonal selection is natural selection that occurrs at the level of cell lineages within a tumour. It is quite understandable for someone to not know this, but what sort of idiot makes the sort of comment ET does in #53 about a topic they are clearly ignorant about?)

  56. 56
    jawa says:

    Paolo @41:

    that was my reaction to something George Castillo wrote in the preceding comment (@153):

    Why don’t we just start with this:
    I believe this conversation began with Peter and OLV harping on the fact that eukaryotes have histones and a complex genome organization, while prokaryotes do not have histones. (see #125)

     

    What does that have to do with what you wrote @39?

    Are you referring to my comment @154?

    George Castillo,

    Please, do me a favor:

    Open this website https://uncommondescent.com/ in a separate tab of your internet browser. Then slowly scroll down the front web page. What is the first reference to this current discussion thread that you see? What does it say? What does it mean to you? Thanks.

  57. 57
    PaoloV says:

    jawa,

    Don’t you see the problem? Did you read everything carefully?

  58. 58
    jawa says:

    Paolo,

    I think I read everything carefully to no avail.

    Please, give me a hint. Thanks.

  59. 59
    PaoloV says:

    jawa,

    did you notice the bold text? What does it say?

  60. 60
    jawa says:

    Paolo,

    I see this bold text:

    “prokaryotes do not have histones”

  61. 61
    PaoloV says:

    jawa,

    That’s not all the bold text, is it?

  62. 62
    jawa says:

    Paolo,

    you’re right, that’s not all the bold text.

    This text is also in bold characters:

    (see #125)

  63. 63
    PaoloV says:

    jawa,

    That’s correct. Did you open the link and read the comment #125?

  64. 64
    jawa says:

    Paolo,

    I have to admit that I had not opened that link or read the comment associated with it. My response @58 wasn’t accurate to say it nicely.

    My fault.

  65. 65
    jawa says:

    Paolo,

    here’s the text I missed reading before (@125):

    George Castillo,

    PeterA posted this in #115:

    Eukaryotic genomes are stored in the form of chromatin. The fundamental building block of this polymeric structure is the nucleosome in which the DNA is tightly associated with an octameric assembly of the highly basic histone proteins, H2A, H2B, H3, and H4.

    and this in #116:

    In eukaryotic cells, genetic information stored in DNA is present in a highly organized chromatin structure. The nucleosome, the basic unit of chromatin, is composed of two copies of each core histone, H2A, H2B, H3 and H4, wrapped by about two turns of DNA.

    Do not elaborate. At this point just answer yes or no. Thanks.

    Do you know how the genetic information is stored in prokaryotes?

    Do you know how the eukaryotes got this chromatin structure?

    Some folks here claim it was designed and they back it with a rational explanation.
    Do you have a different explanation?

    Do you require more precise questions?

    Do these questions make sense to you?

  66. 66
    jawa says:

    Paolo,

    Now I see a problem:

    George Castillo wrote that Peter and OLV were writing persistently and tediously “on the fact that eukaryotes have histones and a complex genome organization, while prokaryotes do not have histones.”

    However, I don’t see where PeterA or OLV wrote that prokaryotes don’t have histones.

    Apparently they didn’t say so. Is this correct?

  67. 67
    PaoloV says:

    jawa,

    that’s it! You’ve got it right.

    Now, in light of your new “discovery”, would you mind going back to your comment @27 and reviewing it?

    Thanks.

  68. 68
    jawa says:

    Paolo,

    I think now I understand what you wrote better.

    Your comment @17 makes more sense to me now.

    Thanks for helping me to understand this better.

    I agree with you.

    Perhaps George Castillo could benefit from reading your “long sermon” @17 too. It might help him to read text more carefully next time. 🙂

  69. 69
    Eugene S says:

    Nonlin.org 29

    “How can you not see the tautology?”

    Because there is none. Think in terms of populations, not individual organisms. It is a differential to differential relation. “More adapted” = “possessing a set of traits better suited for the environment” => “produces more offspring”. Over time, with all other things being equal, the best fit traits will be fixed in the population. This accounts for microevolutionary population dynamics, given a population and the environment.

    The real problem of the neo-Darwinian model is in this bit: all other things being equal. The problems I am aware of are:

    genetic drift,
    rarity of beneficial mutations,
    low sensitivity of natural selection (statistical barriers),
    the limit on the speed of evolution (Holdane’s dilemma).

    On average, Darwinian evolution does not work but in rare cases it does (e.g. antibiotic resistance). That said, to my knowledge, cases of evolution leading to rapid substantial increases in functional complexity (real innovations) are nowhere to be found in the literature.

    “and chemicals react with particular other chemicals because something else causes that, not because they “select” each other.”

    Of course, they do not select! Selection is always done from among a set of alternatives, where each alternative state is characterized by minimum potential energy, on a pragmatic utility-based criterion. It can be done automatically (like in artificial decision making systems) but ultimately there is always consciousness involved in order to steer events towards optimum utility.

    Nature can only steer events towards min potential energy states. Fluctuations occur but statistically the tendency towards min potential energy holds nonetheless. This is no true choice, of course.

  70. 70
    bornagain77 says:

    Amblyrhynchus apparently holds that differential survival among cancer cells within an organism is proof of the efficacy of natural selection to create all life on earth.

    And what obvious fact is Amblyrhynchus missing in his ‘cancer’ demonstration of the all creative power of his ‘designer substitute’ of Natural Selection?

    “The Gaping Hole in Evolutionary Theory: Evolutionary theory ascribes inventive power to natural selection alone. However, because selection can only home in on the fitness signal from an invention after that invention already exists, it can’t actually invent.”
    — Douglas Axe, Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition that Life Is Designed (2016), p. 97

    Contrary to what Amblyrhynchus may believe, differential survival of deadly cancer cells within an organism is NOT proof that his imagined ‘designer substitute’ of Natural Selection can create the organism, or any other organism, in the first place. (See Jonathan Wells – Does Cancer Really Innovate?)

    Mutant Destruction – Does Cancer Really Innovate?
    by Jonathan Wells – 2017
    http://www.salvomag.com/new/ar.....uction.php

    Amblyrhynchus, nor any other neo-Darwinist, has any real evidence that Natural Selection can do what he and other neo-Darwinists claim it can. Namely create all the different variety of life on earth.

    The Third Way” – James Shapiro, Denis Noble, and etc.. etc..,,,
    excerpt: “some Neo-Darwinists have elevated Natural Selection into a unique creative force that solves all the difficult evolutionary problems without a real empirical basis.”
    http://www.thethirdwayofevolution.com/

    “the uncritical acceptance of natural selection as an explanatory force for all aspects of biodiversity (without any direct evidence) is not much different than invoking an intelligent designer”
    Michael Lynch – The Origins of Genome Architecture, p 368

    Mutation, Not Natural Selection, Drives Evolution
    Molecular evolutionary biologist Masatoshi Nei says Darwin never proved natural selection is the driving force of evolution — because it isn’t.
    By Gemma Tarlach|Sunday, March 16, 2014
    “But among the people working on evolution, most of them still believe natural selection is the driving force.
    If you say evolution occurs by natural selection, it looks scientific compared with saying God created everything. Now they say natural selection created everything, but they don’t explain how. If it’s science, you have to explain every step. That’s why I was unhappy. Just a replacement of God with natural selection doesn’t change very much. You have to explain how.”
    – Masatoshi Nei
    http://discovermagazine.com/20.....-evolution

    Genome-wide analysis of a long-term evolution experiment with Drosophila – 2010
    Excerpt of concluding paragraph: “Despite decades of sustained selection in relatively small, sexually reproducing laboratory populations, selection did not lead to the fixation of newly arising unconditionally advantageous alleles. This is notable because in wild populations we expect the strength of natural selection to be less intense and the environment unlikely to remain constant for ~600 generations. Consequently, the probability of fixation in wild populations should be even lower than its likelihood in these experiments.”
    http://www.homepages.ed.ac.uk/.....202010.pdf

    Besides a lack of empirical evidence to support his claims, mathematical modeling also fails to provide any evidence that the ‘pressure’ of Natural Selection is anything other than a figment of Darwinian imagination:

    The waiting time problem in a model hominin population – 2015 Sep 17
    John Sanford, Wesley Brewer, Franzine Smith, and John Baumgardner
    Excerpt: The program Mendel’s Accountant realistically simulates the mutation/selection process,,,
    Given optimal settings, what is the longest nucleotide string that can arise within a reasonable waiting time within a hominin population of 10,000? Arguably, the waiting time for the fixation of a “string-of-one” is by itself problematic (Table 2). Waiting a minimum of 1.5 million years (realistically, much longer), for a single point mutation is not timely adaptation in the face of any type of pressing evolutionary challenge. This is especially problematic when we consider that it is estimated that it only took six million years for the chimp and human genomes to diverge by over 5 % [1]. This represents at least 75 million nucleotide changes in the human lineage, many of which must encode new information.
    While fixing one point mutation is problematic, our simulations show that the fixation of two co-dependent mutations is extremely problematic – requiring at least 84 million years (Table 2). This is ten-fold longer than the estimated time required for ape-to-man evolution. In this light, we suggest that a string of two specific mutations is a reasonable upper limit, in terms of the longest string length that is likely to evolve within a hominin population (at least in a way that is either timely or meaningful). Certainly the creation and fixation of a string of three (requiring at least 380 million years) would be extremely untimely (and trivial in effect), in terms of the evolution of modern man.
    It is widely thought that a larger population size can eliminate the waiting time problem. If that were true, then the waiting time problem would only be meaningful within small populations. While our simulations show that larger populations do help reduce waiting time, we see that the benefit of larger population size produces rapidly diminishing returns (Table 4 and Fig. 4). When we increase the hominin population from 10,000 to 1 million (our current upper limit for these types of experiments), the waiting time for creating a string of five is only reduced from two billion to 482 million years.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC4573302/

    In fact, because of this failure of natural selection within the models of population genetics, most Darwinists, such as Graur and Moran, who are aware of this insurmountable difficulty, have ditched natural selection as a driver of evolution in favor of a theory called ‘neutral theory’ and/or ‘genetic drift’.

    Austin Hughes and Neutral Theory – Laurence A. Moran – June 19, 2017
    Excerpt: Originally proposed by Motoo Kimura, Jack King, and Thomas Jukes, the neutral theory of molecular evolution is inherently non-Darwinian. Darwinism asserts that natural selection is the driving force of evolutionary change. It is the claim of the neutral theory, on the other hand, that the majority of evolutionary change is due to chance.
    http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2.....heory.html

    “many genomic features could not have emerged without a near-complete disengagement of the power of natural selection”
    Michael Lynch – The Origins of Genome Architecture, intro

    “a relative lack of natural selection may be the prerequisite for major evolutionary advance”
    Mae Wan Ho – Beyond neo-Darwinism – Evolution by Absence of Selection

    Thus, with Natural selection being tossed aside by the mathematics of population genetics, and by empirical evidence, as the explanation for the ‘appearance of design’ that we see in life, Darwinists did not accept such a devastating finding from mathematics as an outright falsification for their theory, as they should have done, but are instead now reduced to arguing that the ‘appearance of design’ that we see in life is, basically, the result of pure chance with natural selection now playing a very negligible role if any role at all.
    To call such a move on the part of Darwinists disingenuous would be an understatement.

    As William Murray comments on this development within Darwin’s theory,

    “One wonders what would have become of evolution had Darwin originally claimed that it was simply the accumulation of random, neutral variations that generated all of the deeply complex, organized, interdependent structures we find in biology? Would we even know his name today?
    What exactly is Darwin really famous for now? Advancing a really popular, disproven idea (of Natural Selection), along the lines of Luminiferous Aether?
    Without the erroneous but powerful meme of “survival of the fittest” to act as an opiate for the Victorian intelligentsia and as a rationale for 20th century fascism, how might history have proceeded under the influence of the less vitriolic maxim, “Survival of the Happenstance”?”
    – William J Murray

    Secondly, the mathematics of population genetics has forced Darwinists to claim, via the genetic load argument, (and against all common sense and the results of ENCODE), that the vast majority of our DNA is junk.

    Revisiting the genetic load argument with Dan Graur – Larry Moran – JULY 14, 2017
    Excerpt: The deleterious mutation rate is calculated using the lowest possible mutation rate and the smallest percentage of deleterious mutations (4%). Under these conditions, the human population could survive with a fertility value of 1.8 as long as less than 25% of the genome is functional (i.e. 75% junk) (red circle). That’s the UPPER LIMIT on the functional fraction of the human genome.
    But that limit is quite unreasonable. It’s more reasonable to assume about 100 new mutations per generation with about 10% deleterious. Using these assumptions, only 10% of the genome could be functional with a fertility value of 1.8 (green circle).
    Whatever the exact percentage of junk DNA it’s clear that the available data and population genetics point to a genome that’s mostly junk DNA. If you want to argue for more functionality then you have to refute this data.
    http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2.....-with.html

    To put this kindly, anyone who claims the vast majority of our DNA is junk, especially after ENCODE, is not playing with a full deck.

    Why Are Biologists Lashing Out Against Empirically Verified Research Results? – Casey Luskin July 13, 2015
    Excerpt: no publication shook this (ID vs Darwin) debate so much as a 2012 Nature paper that finally put junk DNA to rest–or so it seemed. This bombshell paper presented the results of the ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) Project, a years-long research consortium involving over 400 international scientists studying noncoding DNA in the human genome. Along with 30 other groundbreaking papers, the lead ENCODE article found that the “vast majority” of the human genome shows biochemical function: “These data enabled us to assign biochemical functions for 80 percent of the genome, in particular outside of the well-studied protein-coding regions.”3
    Ewan Birney, ENCODE’s lead analyst, explained in Discover Magazine that since ENCODE studied 147 types of cells, and the human body has a few thousand cell types, “it’s likely that 80 percent will go to 100 percent.”4 Another senior ENCODE researcher noted that “almost every nucleotide is associated with a function.”5 A headline in Science declared, “ENCODE project writes eulogy for junk DNA.”6,,,
    Evolutionists Strike Back
    Darwin defenders weren’t going to take ENCODE’s data sitting down.,,,
    How could they possibly oppose such empirically based conclusions? The same way they always defend their theory: by assuming an evolutionary viewpoint is correct and reinterpreting the data in light of their paradigm–and by personally attacking, (i.e. ad hominem), those who challenge their position.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....97561.html

  71. 71
    bornagain77 says:

    And last but not least, Amblyrhynchus claims that natural selection is defined by ‘fitness”

    We measure the strength of selection using the selection coefficient (s), which can be defined such that the fitness of a wildtype (or the mean fitness of a population) is set to 1 and the fitness of some variant is 1+s (so positive values correspond to traits that we expect to increase). Fitness is, of course, the expected contribution of a given variant to the next generation.

    Yet, in this following video and article, Donald Hoffman has, through numerous computer simulations of population genetics (where ‘fitness’ plays the key role), shown that if Darwinian evolution were actually true then all our observations of reality would be unreliable.

    Donald Hoffman: Do we see reality as it is? – Video – 9:59 minute mark
    Quote: “fitness does depend on reality as it is, yes.,,, Fitness is not the same thing as reality as it is, and it is fitness, and not reality as it is, that figures centrally in the equations of evolution. So, in my lab, we have run hundreds of thousands of evolutionary game simulations with lots of different randomly chosen worlds and organisms that compete for resources in those worlds. Some of the organisms see all of the reality. Others see just part of the reality. And some see none of the reality. Only fitness. Who wins? Well I hate to break it to you but perception of reality goes extinct. In almost every simulation, organisms that see none of reality, but are just tuned to fitness, drive to extinction that perceive reality as it is. So the bottom line is, evolution does not favor veridical, or accurate perceptions. Those (accurate) perceptions of reality go extinct. Now this is a bit stunning. How can it be that not seeing the world accurately gives us a survival advantage?”
    https://youtu.be/oYp5XuGYqqY?t=601

    The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality – April 2016
    The cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman uses evolutionary game theory to show that our perceptions of an independent reality must be illusions.
    Excerpt: “The classic argument is that those of our ancestors who saw more accurately had a competitive advantage over those who saw less accurately and thus were more likely to pass on their genes that coded for those more accurate perceptions, so after thousands of generations we can be quite confident that we’re the offspring of those who saw accurately, and so we see accurately. That sounds very plausible. But I think it is utterly false. It misunderstands the fundamental fact about evolution, which is that it’s about fitness functions — mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of survival and reproduction. The mathematical physicist Chetan Prakash proved a theorem that I devised that says: According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness. Never.”
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160421-the-evolutionary-argument-against-reality/

    Thus, in what should be needless to say, a worldview that undermines the scientific method itself by holding all our observations of reality are unreliable is NOT a worldview that can ever be firmly grounded within the scientific method!

    Steps of the Scientific Method
    Observation/Research
    Hypothesis
    Prediction
    Experimentation
    Conclusion
    http://www.sciencemadesimple.c.....ethod.html

    Moreover, completely contrary to what Donald Hoffman found from the mathematics of population genetics,, conscious observation, far from being unreliable, is experimentally found to be far more integral to reality, i.e. far more reliable of reality, than the mathematics of population genetics had predicted. In the following experiment, it was found that reality doesn’t exist without an observer.

    New Mind-blowing Experiment Confirms That Reality Doesn’t Exist If You Are Not Looking at It – June 3, 2015
    Excerpt: The results of the Australian scientists’ experiment, which were published in the journal Nature Physics, show that this choice is determined by the way the object is measured, which is in accordance with what quantum theory predicts.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said lead researcher Dr. Andrew Truscott in a press release.,,,
    “The atoms did not travel from A to B. It was only when they were measured at the end of the journey that their wave-like or particle-like behavior was brought into existence,” he said.
    Thus, this experiment adds to the validity of the quantum theory and provides new evidence to the idea that reality doesn’t exist without an observer.
    http://themindunleashed.org/20.....at-it.html

    Apparently science itself could care less if Darwinists are forced to believe, because of the mathematics of population genetics, that their observations of reality are unreliable!

    Moreover, as if all that was not bad enough, Darwinian evolution, since it is based on ‘reductive materialism’, denies the reality of the immaterial realm. That is to say, there simply is no place for the immaterial, “Platonic”, realm of mathematics to find grounding for its reality within the reductive materialism that undergirds Darwinian thought.

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    Excerpt: In fact, more problematic for the materialist than the non-existence of persons is the existence of mathematics. Why? Although a committed materialist might be perfectly willing to accept that you do not really exist, he will have a harder time accepting that numbers do not exist. The trouble is that numbers — along with other mathematical entities such as classes, sets, and functions — are indispensable for modern science. And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

    Platonic World vs Physical World
    https://i2.wp.com/abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/images/platonic_physical.gif

    Therefore, besides Darwinian evolution already being shown to be mathematically impossible (by Sanford, Dembski, Marks, Axe, Behe, Durston etc.. etc..), Darwinian evolution is further falsified by mathematics as being a scientific theory since Darwinism denies the very reality of one the thing it most needs, i.e. mathematics, in order to be considered scientific in the first place.

    Darwinian Evolution vs Mathematics – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3gyx70BHvA

    Of supplemental note on ‘fitness’, Sanford and Basener have, (by including realistic mutation rates into the model) recently falsified Fisher’s supposed mathematical proof that fitness must always increase

    The fundamental theorem of natural selection with mutations – William F. Basener,John C. Sanford – June 2018
    Excerpt: Because the premise underlying Fisher’s corollary is now recognized to be entirely wrong, Fisher’s corollary is falsified. Consequently, Fisher’s belief that he had developed a mathematical proof that fitness must always increase is also falsified.
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00285-017-1190-x

  72. 72
    ET says:

    Ambly:

    If it’s not abundantly clear, subclonal selection is natural selection that occurrs at the level of cell lineages within a tumour.

    That’s your opinion. Unfortunately for you, you cannot support it. Clearly you have issues, Ambly

  73. 73
    daveS says:

    EricMH (and Eugene S if interested):

    Despite the name, an evolutionary algorithm is an example of intelligent design.

    Also, the key feature of the evolutionary algorithm, variation of the genome, is better attributed to Mendel than Darwin.

    Agreed on both counts.

    Here’s an interesting application of evolutionary computation to a mathematical problem, namely finding new lower bounds for Van der Waerden numbers (which you might already be aware of).

    Intuitively, it seems reasonable that EC might be relatively effective strategy for a problem such as this. This problem has to with sequences of integers 1, 2, 3, …, N with certain properties.

    For example, to find a lower bound for W(7, 3), you search for integers N (as large as you can find) for which there is a 7-coloring of the integers 1 through N such that are no 3 elements of the sequence in arithmetic progression with the same color. You would not want 1, 5, and 9 to all be red, for example.

    My question is, if we consider other properties these integer sequences could have, for which would evolutionary computation be relatively effective?

    Perhaps an intractable problem, but it might give insight into when evolution “works” or not.

  74. 74
    john_a_designer says:

    Why do people keep clinging to Darwinism like a child’s security blanket? Because it provides a metaphysical hand and glove fit with atheistic naturalism/materialism. However, what Darwinism– specifically “modern” Neo-Darwinism– doesn’t fit with is the scientific evidence.

    I disagree with Egnor when he says, “Darwin still has some cache among design advocates — the usual trope is that he provided evidence for common descent and explained microevolution.” I am very open to other non-Darwinian forms, of evolution. However, the problem for the Darwinist (read: naturalist/materialist) is that any other form of evolution brings in teleology or design. That’s anathema for the Darwinist who is so wedded to his paradigm that he must force fit the evidence into his theory. Unfortunately that is exactly backwards from the way empirically objective science is supposed to work.

  75. 75
    Nonlin.org says:

    Eugene S @69

    “How can you not see the tautology?”
    Because there is none.

    You keep talking about “better suited”, “best fit”, “beneficial mutations” and “natural selection”, but why not do the thought experiment I asked @29?

    It’s not that beneficial mutations are a rarity. Instead they are all trade-off mutations, not “beneficial”.

    How does “evolution” work in antibiotic resistance? If antibiotic resistance were an absolute “beneficial mutation” it would spread in the bacteria population and never disappear. But this is NOT what happens contrary to the alarmist predictions. Antibiotic resistance is a problem only in hospitals and a few isolated places. But cut the use of antibiotics and it GOES AWAY in time! And this is not even “evolution” but a built in defense mechanism of bacteria. Our immune system works the same way and we don’t call that “evolution”.

  76. 76
    ET says:

    For Ambly- According to Ernst Mayr the individual is the target of natural selection. He says it is quite clear that a gene as such can never be the object of natural selection.

  77. 77
    Amblyrhynchus says:

    Why do you keep doing this ET? Doubling down on your ignorance like this?

    In the cancer of tumour evolution, the individual is a cell. If cells with a particular genotype divide more rapidly than other cells that genotype will become more common. A heritable variant will rise in frequency as the result of increased reproductive success. That’s natural selection.

    The importance of evolutionary biology to cancer biology is no so great that Nature has a special page highlithing their papers on this topic. So, perhaps it’s time to step back from the keyboard and learn about this topic, instead of embarrassing yourself like this?

  78. 78
    ET says:

    Ambly:

    In the cancer of tumour evolution, the individual is a cell.

    Total nonsense. Also in order for it to be natural selection the variation has to be due to chance (Mayr) and there isn’t any way you can demonstrate such a thing.

  79. 79
    Amblyrhynchus says:

    Do you think there is a program in human cells designed to introduce cancer mutations? Or are you just making sh*t up as you go along now?

  80. 80
    bornagain77 says:

    Amblyrhynchus

    In the cancer of tumour evolution, the individual is a cell. If cells with a particular genotype divide more rapidly than other cells that genotype will become more common. A heritable variant will rise in frequency as the result of increased reproductive success. That’s natural selection.

    And that is precisely the point. Natural Selection is not an actual cause of anything but is defined as an after the fact ‘effect’. Yet in the literature, Darwinists continue to talk of natural selection as if it had some sort of causal power.

    As Adam Sedgwick originally pointed out to Charles Darwin himself about his theory of natural selection, “what is it but a secondary consequence of supposed, or known, primary facts. Development is a better word because more close to the cause of the fact.”,,, and yet,,, “You write of “natural selection” as if it were done consciously by the selecting agent.”

    From Adam Sedgwick to Charles Darwin? 24 November 1859
    Cambridge
    Excerpt: As to your grand principle—natural selection—what is it but a secondary consequence of supposed, or known, primary facts. Development is a better word because more close to the cause of the fact. For you do not deny causation. I call (in the abstract) causation the will of God: & I can prove that He acts for the good of His creatures. He also acts by laws which we can study & comprehend— Acting by law, & under what is called final cause, comprehends, I think, your whole principle. You write of “natural selection” as if it were done consciously by the selecting agent. ’Tis but a consequence of the presupposed development, & the subsequent battle for life.—
    https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-2548.xml

    And as Egnor pointed out in the OP “Evolution is driven by natural history and genetic and phenotypic constraint. “Natural selection” adds nothing to our understanding of the process.”

    As Jerry Fodor (an atheist philosopher) has pointed out, natural selection is an utterly empty concept. It does no work; it explains nothing. Evolution is driven by natural history and genetic and phenotypic constraint. “Natural selection” adds nothing to our understanding of the process. Of course things change and survivors survive. Any real understanding of change in populations entails understanding the natural history of the changes and the biological constraints imposed by nature. Some of this evolutionary change is best explained as accidental. Some is best explained as design, and the conjunction of accident and design is where evolutionary change takes place. “Natural selection” is meaningless junk science — dismal logic put to the service of atheism.

    And to reiterate, despite the fact that natural selection has no causal power within itself, but is in reality ‘but a secondary consequence of supposed, or known, primary facts’, Darwinists continue to talk in the literature of Natural Selection as if it has some sort of causal power. As Philip Skell noted, “Natural selection makes humans self-centered and aggressive – except when it makes them altruistic and peaceable. Or natural selection produces virile men who eagerly spread their seed – except when it prefers men who are faithful protectors and providers. When an explanation is so supple that it can explain any behavior, it is difficult to test it experimentally, much less use it as a catalyst for scientific discovery.
    Darwinian evolution – whatever its other virtues – does not provide a fruitful heuristic in experimental biology. ”

    Why Do We Invoke Darwin?
    Aug 29, 2005
    PHILIP SKELL
    Excerpt: Natural selection makes humans self-centered and aggressive – except when it makes them altruistic and peaceable. Or natural selection produces virile men who eagerly spread their seed – except when it prefers men who are faithful protectors and providers. When an explanation is so supple that it can explain any behavior, it is difficult to test it experimentally, much less use it as a catalyst for scientific discovery.
    https://www.the-scientist.com/opinion-old/why-do-we-invoke-darwin-48438

    The false attribution of ‘causal power’, even agent causality itself, to natural selection in evolutionary ‘just so stories’ is what makes ‘natural selection’, and Darwinism in general, pathetically unscientific.

    As Gould himself honestly admitted (and caught flak for), “When evolutionists study individual adaptations, when they try to explain form and behaviour by reconstructing history and assessing current utility, they also tell just so stories – and the agent is natural selection.”

    Sociobiology: The Art of Story Telling – Stephen Jay Gould – 1978 – New Scientist
    Excerpt: Rudyard Kipling asked how the leopard got its spots, the rhino its wrinkled skin. He called his answers “Just So stories”. When evolutionists study individual adaptations, when they try to explain form and behaviour by reconstructing history and assessing current utility, they also tell just so stories – and the agent is natural selection.
    Virtuosity in invention replaces testability as the criterion for acceptance.
    https://books.google.com/books?id=tRj7EyRFVqYC&pg=PA530

  81. 81
    bornagain77 says:

    As to this claim in particular from Amblyrhynchus, “In the cancer of tumour evolution, the individual is a cell.”

    That reminds me of this:

    if evolution by natural selection were actually the truth about how all life came to be on Earth then the only life that should be around should be extremely small organisms with the highest replication rate, and with the most ‘mutational firepower’, since only they, since they greatly outclass multi-cellular organism in terms of ‘reproductive success’ and ‘mutational firepower’, would be fittest to survive in the dog eat dog world where blind pitiless evolution ruled and only the fittest are allowed to survive. The logic of this is nicely summed up here in this Richard Dawkins’ video:

    Richard Dawkins interview with a ‘Darwinian’ physician goes off track – video
    Excerpt: “I am amazed, Richard, that what we call metazoans, multi-celled organisms, have actually been able to evolve, and the reason [for amazement] is that bacteria and viruses replicate so quickly — a few hours sometimes, they can reproduce themselves — that they can evolve very, very quickly. And we’re stuck with twenty years at least between generations. How is it that we resist infection when they can evolve so quickly to find ways around our defenses?”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62031.html

    In other words, since successful reproduction is all that really matters on a neo-Darwinian view of things, how can anything but successful, and highly efficient reproduction, be realistically ‘selected’ for?

    The Logic of Natural Selection – graph
    http://recticulatedgiraffe.wee.....35.jpg?308

    Any other function besides successful reproduction, such as much slower sexual reproduction, sight, hearing, thinking, etc.., would be highly superfluous to the primary criteria of successful reproduction, and should, on a Darwinian view, be discarded, and/or ‘eaten’, by bacteria, as so much excess baggage since it obviously slows down successful reproduction which is practically the central, primary, tenet of Darwinian theory.

    In fact, Darwin himself stated that “Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species”…

    Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species; though throughout nature one species incessantly takes advantage of, and profits by, the structure of another. But natural selection can and does often produce structures for the direct injury of other species, as we see in the fang of the adder, and in the ovipositor of the ichneumon, by which its eggs are deposited in the living bodies of other insects. If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.
    – Charles Darwin – Origin of Species
    http://darwin-online.org.uk/Va.....-1859.html

    Yet, contrary to this central ‘survival of the fittest’ assumption of Darwinian evolution, instead of eating us, time after time we find micro-organisms helping each other, and us, in ways that have nothing to with their own ‘survival of the fittest’’ concerns.

    The following researchers said they were ‘banging our heads against the wall’ by the contradictory findings to Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking that they had found: (May 2018),,,
    Moreover, if anything ever went against Darwin’s claim that “Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species”, it is the notion that a single cell somehow became tens of trillions of cells that cooperate “exclusively for the good of other cells” in a single organism.
    https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/external-testicles-another-instance-of-bad-design/#comment-658573

  82. 82
    ET says:

    Ambly:

    Do you think there is a program in human cells designed to introduce cancer mutations?

    Non-sequitur. Cancer hijacks the existing intelligently designed system. And given an intelligently designed system chance mutations are the bane of its existence. Most genetic changes are by design. That means that cancer took it over and is having its way.

    Also unless you can link to the scientific theory of evolution where it says that cancer is treated like an individual you don’t have anything but you making crap up as you go.

  83. 83
    Amblyrhynchus says:

    Non-sequitur. Cancer hijacks the existing intelligently designed system. And given an intelligently designed system chance mutations are the bane of its existence. Most genetic changes are by design. That means that cancer took it over and is having its way.

    So, you agree that cancer is the result of random mutations that increase in frequency as a result of their relative reproductive success. Which is to say Darwinian natural selection is crucial for the formation of cancer? Almost as if Darinian evolution is not “completely worthless to science”?

  84. 84
    ET says:

    Ambly:

    So, you agree that cancer is the result of random mutations that increase in frequency as a result of their relative reproductive success.

    The cancer is the result of Darwinian evolution. What it does after that is not.

    But yes, Darwinian evolution brings us disease and deformities. So are you saying those are a help to science?

  85. 85
    Amblyrhynchus says:

    Some progress, I guess. But the paper I linked to demonstrates that evolutionary models (which include selection) are able to predict the progression of tumours. So seems like “what it does after” is also the result of Darwinian evolution.

    Again, I think it would really be a good idea to read about this topic before you get into an argument you are so clearly ill-equipped for.

  86. 86
    ET says:

    Ambly:

    But the paper I linked to demonstrates that evolutionary models (which include selection) are able to predict the progression of tumours.

    Evolutionary does not equal Darwinian evolution. And NS does NOT relate to cells on/ in an individual.

  87. 87
    Amblyrhynchus says:

    I think you might be the stupidest person I’ve ever tried to communicate with. You just agreed Darwinian evolution occurs among cells in tumor, know you are backtracking on that? Or do you just have no idea what you are saying now?

  88. 88
    ET says:

    Wow, no way I am as stupid as you are. I said that Darwinian evolution CAUSES cancer. I never said Darwinian evolution causes cancer to change to become whatever you think is more fit.

    But all that is moot as natural selection does not pertain to individual cells of a metazoan. And you cannot link to the scientific theory of evolution tat says otherwise.

  89. 89
    Amblyrhynchus says:

    I really don’t see any prospect of you doign anything but parrot the same ill-informed lines you have so far. But, jut to round things off.

    You are now claiming that random variations that spread in a population as a result of their heritable effects on reproductive success are not an example of natural selection.

    Your reason for saying this is because you personally hold that natural selection can’t operate on individual cells in a metazoan.

    Even if this was the case. Who impact would giving the special case of natural selection acting on cells within a multi-cellular creature have on anything? You can give it a special name if you’d like. But we could still apply the tools of evolutionary biology to study. Egnor’s ignorant claim at this start of this thread is that Darwinian evolution is a “useless” field for the rest of biology. Whether or not you personally want to call natural selection acting within a body natural selection (and, again, I can think of no good reason to give them different names), it’s still the case that the methods of “Darwinian evolution” are being used to analyse, predict and even treat cancers.

  90. 90
    ET says:

    Ambly:

    I really don’t see any prospect of you doign anything but parrot the same ill-informed lines you have so far.

    Whatever you say projector-boy

    You are now claiming that random variations that spread in a population as a result of their heritable effects on reproductive success are not an example of natural selection.

    I made no such claim. You have to be desperate to say such a thing.

    Your reason for saying this is because you personally hold that natural selection can’t operate on individual cells in a metazoan.

    Ernst Mayr said it in “What Evolution Is”- He said natural selection pertains to the individuals in the population- the phenotype.

    He does say that if the individual genes make the phenotype less or more fit but the phenotype is still the object of NS. So that would be the humans/ organisms.

    Intelligent Design is NOT anti-evolution

    Analyzing, tracking and treating cancer has nothing to do with Darwin’s great idea that natural selection is a designer mimic capable of producing Paley’s appearance of design. It has nothing to do with universal common descent. But it does fly in the face of his fit individuals within a population- those with the adaptions that help them survive- are those who will take over a population given time.

  91. 91
    Amblyrhynchus says:

    individuals in the population

    What are cells in a tumour if not individuals in a population?

  92. 92
    ET says:

    Ambly:

    What are cells

    It all depends on the context. Google helps- What are cells

  93. 93
    ET says:

    “It’s NOT a tumah”!

    When tumors are stand-alone organisms, nay, when individual tumor cells are stand-alone organisms, come back and talk to us.

  94. 94
    HeKS says:

    daveS #3 & Eugene S #6

    I haven’t had a chance to read the whole thread, so I don’t know if anyone else made this point, but I thought I’d make it just in case.

    daveS: Darwin’s theory inspired the field of evolutionary algorithms, so it is arguably not worthless to science.

    Eugene S: GAs model artificial selection, not natural selection and therefore the fact itself that GAs exist does not lend any support to (neo)-Darwinian claims.

    I agree with Eugene here. This means, though, Darwin’s theory did not inspire evolutionary / genetic algorithms. In reality, the algorithms and Darwin’s theory about natural selection are both inspired by artificial selection, which is a form of design. It’s rather clear how design is worthwhile to science, and this is just one more example. On the other hand, if Darwin’s theory is somehow useful to science, it doesn’t seem to me like this would be a good example of it.

    Take care,
    HeKS

  95. 95
    daveS says:

    Greetings, HeKS.

    Is the question of what inspired GAs not really an historical one? I have not read much about this, but my understanding was that the pioneers in the field were trying to simulate evolutionary processes which they believed occur in nature. At least some were “evolutionists” who accepted, rightly or wrongly, Darwin’s theory, at least broadly.

    PS: I have looked only at genetic algorithms specifically, and essentially nothing else in the very diverse field of EC, so my perspective may be skewed by that.

  96. 96
    Amblyrhynchus says:

    When tumors are stand-alone organisms, nay, when individual tumor cells are stand-alone organisms, come back and talk to us.

    By why should that matter. Unless you want to get into some bullshit syntactic argument based on your own shallow understanding of this topic?

  97. 97
    ET says:

    Ambly:

    By why should that matter.

    Because it is the individual who has the cells that is the object of natural selection.

    Unless you want to get into some bullshit syntactic argument based on your own shallow understanding of this topic?

    Syntactic argument? Are you daft?

    The shallow misunderstanding is all yours, mr syntactic argument.

    Do you apply natural selection to skin cells also? Does it apply to hair? Is hairier better? Is having excess skin mean the skin is winning?

    What if one cancer cell in the tumah wants to take over and starts eating the other cancer cells? Would the others stick together (he he) to prevent it?

  98. 98
    ET says:

    daves has a valid point. Even though they missed the mark the GAs were based on their misunderstanding of what Darwin was saying. They thought they were mimicking natural selection but they just didn’t fully understand the concept so their product didn’t reflect their intent. The solution or solutions are actively searched with the program providing everything needed to achieve the goal. Natural selection isn’t even a search heuristic let alone one dedicated to solving specific problems

  99. 99
    daveS says:

    HeKS,

    PS to my #95: Here is an excerpt from Mitchell’s An Introduction to Genetic Algorithms, pages 2–3. I added bolding to highlight the beginning of the part on genetic algorithms.

    In the 1950s and the 1960s several computer scientists independently studied evolutionary systems with the idea that evolution could be used as an optimization tool for engineering problems. The idea in all these systems was to evolve a population of candidate solutions to a given problem, using operators inspired by natural genetic variation and natural selection.

    In the 1960s, Rechenberg (1965, 1973) introduced “evolution strategies” (Evolutionsstrategie in the original German), a method he used to optimize real-valued parameters for devices such as airfoils. This idea was further developed by Schwefel (1975, 1977). The field of evolution strategies has remained an active area of research, mostly developing independently from the field of genetic algorithms (although recently the two communities have begun to interact). (For a short review of evolution strategies, see Back, Hoffmeister, and Schwefel 1991.) Fogel, Owens, and Walsh (1966) developed “evolutionary programming,” a technique in which candidate solutions to given tasks were represented as finite-state machines, which were evolved by randomly mutating their state-transition diagrams and selecting the fittest. A somewhat broader formulation of evolutionary programming also remains an area of active research (see, for example, Fogel and Atmar
    1993). Together, evolution strategies, evolutionary programming, and genetic algorithms form the backbone of the field of evolutionary computation.

    Several other people working in the 1950s and the 1960s developed evolution-inspired algorithms for optimization and machine learning. Box (1957), Friedman (1959), Bledsoe (1961), Bremermann (1962), and Reed, Toombs, and Baricelli (1967) all worked in this area, though their work has been given little or none of the kind of attention or followup that evolution strategies, evolutionary programming, and genetic algorithms have seen. In addition, a number of evolutionary biologists used computers to simulate evolution for the purpose of controlled experiments (see, e.g., Baricelli 1957, 1962; Fraser 1957 a,b; Martin and Cockerham 1960). Evolutionary computation was definitely in the air in the formative days of the electronic computer.

    Genetic algorithms (GAs) were invented by John Holland in the 1960s and were developed by Holland and his students and colleagues at the University of Michigan in the 1960s and the 1970s. In contrast with evolution strategies and evolutionary programming, Holland’s original goal was not to design algorithms to solve specific problems, but rather to formally study the phenomenon of adaptation as it occurs in nature and to develop ways in which the mechanisms of natural adaptation might be imported into computer systems. Holland’s 1975 book Adaptation in Natural and Artificial Systems presented the genetic algorithm as an abstraction of biological evolution and gave a theoretical framework for adaptation under the GA.

  100. 100
    hnorman5 says:

    Eugene S @12
    The words you bolded “selection from among” and “selection for” led to me having a eureka moment with respect to understanding Fodor and Piatelli-Palmarini’s book. As of now, in my opinion, their book becomes a little less opaque if you read it not as about “selection” versus “selection for” but as about “selection from” versus “selection for”. So now I’ve achieved about a 15 percent understanding of that book.

    And-

    As far as the debate over cancer is concerned, a Darwinian interpretation is in a Catch 22 situation. If the probablistic resources exist for the tumors to gain mutations that give it an advantage, then we’re looking at “selection from”. That can be modeled scientifically but it gives no insight into how evolution achieves the illusion of design. If the cancer does not have such probablistic resources, then the question becomes how does it achieve the variation. That would be “selection for” and that requires a designer.

  101. 101
    john_a_designer says:

    Notice how Jerry Coyne along with many others (Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins etc.) argue that Darwin’s theory of evolution virtually proves that atheism and atheistic materialism are true. In other words, Darwinist’s are using “science” to establish a metaphysically based world view.

    From Egnor’s article:

    Coyne tells of a summer course at Oxford for Harvard undergrads. The young pilgrims tour “Darwinland” (Coyne’s word). They visit the messiah’s birthplace, his hometown (Shrewsbury/Nazareth), the sites of his revelations, and walk in the footsteps of his prophets and apostles. Pilgrims can finger his artifacts and gaze on his holy books. It’s quite a spectacle. It is clearly a religious journey, with the reverence and fervor of a cult.

    And that is the meaning of Darwinism. This worthless science, idiot philosophy, and cultural rot is the creation myth of atheists, and homage is paid, as a duty, to the prophet and to his priests. Darwinian idolatry would be funny, if not for the trail of misery and horror Darwin left in his wake.

    The salient influence of Darwinian worship is not on science, but on ethics. With the Origin of Species and Descent of Man, vindication of the strong and eradication of the weak was, for the first time in history, given a scientific imprimatur. The ugliest impact of the Darwinian understanding of man is this lie: man is an evolved animal, nothing more, and all of man’s highest qualities evolved from the victory of the strong over the weak.

    There is no doubt that Darwin was not primarily motivated by science but by a materialistic world view which he came to embrace because of the influence of family and friends. He saw design in nature and was trying to disprove it. Two biographies by Adrian Desmond and James Moore, Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist and Darwin’s Sacred Cause: Race, Slavery and the Quest for Human Origins clearly documents Darwin’s personal evolution from a Christian theist to an atheistic materialist. His “theory” resonated with 19th century scientists not because of its science but because of its materialistic worldview.

    Up above @ 74 I asked: “Why do people keep clinging to Darwinism like a child’s security blanket?”

    The answer: “Because it provides a metaphysical hand and glove fit with atheistic naturalism/materialism.”

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/is-darwinism-completely-worthless-to-science/#comment-663097

    No other theory of evolution will do. In other words, Darwin’s theory and Darwinism are not falsifiable.

  102. 102
    Nonlin.org says:

    john_a_designer @101

    Actually, Darwinism and its neo is falsifiable and proven false:
    Gradualism fails – http://nonlin.org/gradualism/
    Natural selection fails – http://nonlin.org/natural-selection/
    Divergence of character fails – http://nonlin.org/evotest/
    Speciation fails – http://nonlin.org/speciation-problems/
    DNA “essence of life” fails – http://nonlin.org/dna-not-essence-of-life/
    Randomness fails – http://nonlin.org/random-abuse/
    Abiogenesis fails – http://nonlin.org/warmpond/
    Science against Religion fails – http://nonlin.org/philosophy-religion-and-science/
    etc., etc.
    And let’s test it again and make sure it fails again and again: http://nonlin.org/evotest/

  103. 103
    john_a_designer says:

    Not for a dogmatic Darwinist.

  104. 104
    Eugene S says:

    HeKS @94

    An excellent point.

    hnorman5 @100

    I had a similar eureka moment when I read about it in David Abel’s articles. Yes, the concept of probabilistic resources is key.

  105. 105
    Eugene S says:

    Nonlin.org

    I am sorry if we have gone a full circle but I still think ‘fitness’ is about a population of organisms (not an individual) and it is measured ‘post-factum’ based on the number of offspring having a particular trait as a proportion of the population. We can do predictions about if and how fast this or that trait is fixed in the population before fixation happens. It seems really straightforward and I still see no tautology there 😉 Maybe I am missing something.

  106. 106
    Eugene S says:

    daveS @73

    You raise a very interesting question. I have no ready answer to it.

  107. 107
    HeKS says:

    daveS #95 and #99

    It’s possible I was not as clear about my meaning as I should have been.

    What I was trying to point out is that Darwin was inspired by artificial selection, and then when it came to Genetic / Evolutionary Algorithms, what they actually ended up modeling was artificial selection, not natural selection. So they ended up modeling the thing Darwin’s theory was inspired by rather than the theory itself.

    That said, you’re right that as a purely historical issue they were inspired by Darwin’s theory. I guess what I would ask, though, is whether GAs would have failed to have ever been conceived of in the absence of Darwin’s theory about Natural Selection? Perhaps so. But given that they ultimately ended up modeling a process that had been around and known long before Darwin came on the scene, and given that Darwin made specific reference to that process (Artificial Selection) as his own inspiration, it seems rather questionable to me that Darwin’s theory about Natural Selection was a necessary condition for the eventual creation of GAs. That they happened to have been inspired by Darwin’s theory seems more like an historical accident than an historical necessity because, in the end, all the roads lead back to artificial selection. And if that’s the case, the creation of GAs really doesn’t give us much reason to disagree with Egnor’s assessment of the value of Darwinism to science as expressed in the OP.

    Still, it was inaccurate for me to say that GA’s were inspired by artificial selection and you were correct in your statement about their inspiration. I should have said that it was Darwin who was inspired by artificial selection, while evolutionary and genetic algorithms ultimately modeled the thing that Darwin was inspired by (regardless of the fact that they were technically inspired by natural selection), making artificial selection the idea that was actually useful to science.

    Take care

  108. 108
    daveS says:

    HeKS,

    I also doubt that Darwin’s theory was a necessary condition for the creation of genetic algorithms and evolutionary computation in general. I thought about asking in my first or second post where this field would stand if “Darwinism” (or some equivalent) had never caught on. I suspect something like EC would have eventually come about, so I agree there is indeed some factor of historical accident involved.

    I would like to come back to the statement that, say, genetic algorithms (and EC generally) model artificial selection, not natural selection.

    The examples of computation via GAs that I’ve looked at are very abstract, and quite far removed from physical reality. It’s not clear to me how we know a particular GA models one kind of selection but not the other. What features of GAs allow one to make that determination?

  109. 109
    ET says:

    Genetic algorithms use an active search heuristic to solve the problems they were intelligently designed to solve. Natural selection is not a search heuristic and it is not actively trying to solve anything. Natural selection is really nothing more than contingent serendipity.

  110. 110
    daveS says:

    HeKS,

    This might serve as a good example. This response to a question (“What is a simple example of a genetic algorithm?”) on the website quora.com explains very briefly a GA approach to the Traveling Salesman problem. Here’s the essential part:

    Problem statement : Given a function that takes bit strings as inputs, and produces a score, find the bit string with the maximum/minimum score.

    Notice that you need bit strings as inputs, because the genetic operations are defined on bit strings. (You may be able to define mutation operations for other kind of inputs, but the original framework only allows bit strings).

    Now, this is an NP-hard problem, that is, there is no efficient way to solve this problem exactly. So we resort to approximate methods, that search the space of all bit strings. Because we cannot search the entire space efficiently, we use heuristics to navigate the space, to maximize the probability of finding a good solution.

    Genetic algorithms is one such class of heuristics.

    Let’s look at an example. Say you want to solve Travelling Salesman Problem (TSP) on a given graph with 16 vertices. So there are 16! possibilities. This problem can be modelled using bit strings — represent each vertex using 4 bits, 0000 to 1111. So a path on the graph can be represented as a 64-bit string by concatenating the bit representations of consecutive vertices on the tour. Consequently, each 64-bit string can be assigned a score — if the tour is valid, the score is equal to the path length, if it is invalid (repeated vertices), then the score is ∞. You want to find the minimum of this function.

    The basic framework of genetic algorithms looks like the following:

    1. Start with some randomly generated bit strings, called population.

    2. Choose 2 [or more] bit strings from the current set of bit strings, and perform genetic operations (cross-over, mutation, etc.) to generate new bit strings.

    3. Evaluate newly generated bit strings, and update the best bit string found so far.

    4. Update the current population.

    5. Go to step 2.

    You repeat the steps until convergence, or for a fixed time.

  111. 111
    Nonlin.org says:

    Eugense S @105

    So you agree “fitness” can only be measured by survival (not independent). If so, what is the point of “fitness”?

    Isn’t a population made of its members? What can be a property of the population but not of the individual in this case? Any gene variant is a property of the individual and only then of the population, right?

    What predictions can you make on “fitness” traits other than status quo aka stasis? Example? If you’re thinking something like “the spread of a virus in a population”, that is not “fitness”.

  112. 112
    evilution says:

    @ET
    The % of biologists that support ‘natural selection’ is in the high 90s. Until you convince most of them, well, you’re not even wrong.

    UD Editors: Wow evil. Around 1500 the % of scholars who believed the sun orbited the earth was in the high 90s. So was Copernicus not even wrong? *palm forehead* We suppose appealing to consensus is comforting if all you want is a confirmation of your bias. It also allows you to draw conclusions without all of that messy and tiresome examination of the evidence. You’ve got that going for you too.

  113. 113
    Eugene S says:

    Nonlin

    “What is the property of the population but not of the individual in this case?”

    Percent C of individuals with a given trait.

  114. 114
    Eugene S says:

    Nonlin

    ‘that is not “fitness”.’

    I don’t really mind what you call it. A population responds to the environmental impetus by adjusting itself to produce maximum amount of offspring. That is all there is to it at a high level. Whatever the other disadvantages of the model, it is not circular. I do not understand why you are having a such an issue with it.

  115. 115
    ET says:

    evolution:

    The % of biologists that support ‘natural selection’ is in the high 90s.

    Support it with what? What does that even mean?

    Natural selection has never been observed to produce anything more than a change in allele frequency over time within a population. And given that we don’t understand the true nature of genetic change we can’t even be sure about that.

    They can’t even convince themselves that natural selection can do any more than that.

  116. 116
    Nonlin.org says:

    Eugene S @ 113 114

    You missed: “Any gene variant is a property of the individual and only then of the population, right?”

    You say: “A population responds to the environmental impetus by adjusting itself to produce maximum amount of offspring” yet that is directly contradicted by dying populations that DO NOT “respond to the environmental impetus…”

    Not a matter of “what you call it”. The problem is that Darwinism invents all kind of crazy concepts with no basis in reality. This includes “natural selection” and “fitness” and you not being able to answer the simple questions asked is a direct proof of that.

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