Intelligent Design

Plotting “Random” Mutations on a Fitness Curve

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Recently and many times in the past I’ve remarked that life doesn’t have the illusion of design. Design is real. It has the illusion of chance and neccessity. Over at ATBC I noticed a couple members of the anti-ID peanut gallery clucking to themselves that mutations plotted on a fitness curve have a random distribution. IOW there is no predictability in where any one mutation will fall on a fitness curve (harmful/neutral/beneficial). It will be a scattershot plot without any pattern. Thus even if the universe is deterministic and no mutation is truly random they appear random when plotted on a fitness curve.

This is just utter dreck. You can predict with almost 100% confidence that any given mutation will be either harmful or neutral on a fitness curve. That means that a large fraction of the plot, that portion of it in the beneficial third, will have few if any points plotted in it. In fact if you press the orthodox evolutionists to give you an example of an observed beneficial random mutation you’ll get a short list of a few micromutations that gave some lucky organism disease or toxin resistance. You can find an endless number of observed mutations that either reduced fitness or had no observed effect. Ask for a plot of mutations in humans known to cause genetic disorders, early spontaneous abortion, no effect, and/or are beneficial. The plot will be dominated by neutral and harmful mutations and if they give you any beneficial mutation at all it’s arguable about whether it’s really beneficial.

This is emphatically NOT a random distribution. Whoever made up that particular bit of idiocy about mutations being random with regard to fitness deserves many lashes with a wet noodly appendage and anyone who accepts the supposition uncritically should hang their head in shame too.

33 Replies to “Plotting “Random” Mutations on a Fitness Curve

  1. 1
    platolives says:

    Go to http://progettocosmo.altervista.org/rm.php ,
    “DNA Random Mutation Simulator v.1.1
    Do your own Darwinian Evolution experiments with the DNA Random Mutation Simulator
    Have fun: try to get the bonus of a beneficial mutation!”

  2. 2
    JGuy says:

    I’d agree that if they were aruging for a scatter plot, then it is unfounded – as far as I understand. Are you sure they didn’t mean the points are random..but fill in a distributuion pattern much like Kimura’s.

  3. 3
    DaveScot says:

    platolives

    I’ve corresponded on many topics with the author of that program and the first thing I asked when I saw the program is how are beneficial mutations discriminated. He told me he just chose a number from thin air – 1 of every 32,000 mutations is a good mutation. Obviously there’s no programmatic way of determining in real life whether any given mutation is good, bad, or neutral without observation of its effect on the host.

  4. 4
    kairos says:

    A question. A search in google for “random mutation simulation” and “random mutation simulator” yields only 3 hits!! It’s quite strange for a point that should be so importand for NDE plausibility.

  5. 5
    sabre says:

    DaveScot: Agree. Something that seems absent in all these evolution simulations is the random nature of the selection criteria. In other words, what constitutes a “good” versus “bad” mutation would also have to change randomly in a simulation, as a mutated entity’s relative fitness depends on the environmental conditions that exist at the quite random physical location at the moment in time where the mutation manifests itself. In other words, the mutation has to hit a moving fitness-target. For example, in real life a mutation that provides resistance to a toxin or bacterial infection would only be beneficial if that toxin or infection were a survival factor at the time the mutation occured. Otherwise, it would b neutral.

  6. 6
    chunkdz says:

    Does toxin resistance, or lactose metabolism really count as a beneficial random mutation? Aren’t they directed by a supervisory mechanism, and don’t they simply activate or repress another preexisting mechanism? Is this really what Darwin had in mind with his “small, successive modifications”?

  7. 7
    Tom Moore says:

    This is a great followup topic to the bit on doctors yesterday. Of course we all understand that engineers make better iterations of a design than would be achieved by monkeys or a shotgun approach. But if you don’t think NASA is in the process of learning from its mistakes right now, you haven’t thought about what it’s like to go out picking up shuttle pieces from all over six states, many of which are encrusted with the vaporized remains of your former colleagues and friends. (ok so that was a bit over the top; apologies to the faint of heart).

    But no one is claiming that nature learns from exercising natural selection how to more rapidly get to where things are going. Nevertheless, the simple fact that humans have successfully exercised artificial (even intelligent) selection for as long as there have been farmers, tells us beyond a doubt that life forms are malleable and can be reformed (or deformed), not by engineering the DNA, but simply by favoring the reproduction of desirable traits. It just takes a little patience, and not that much of that for an intelligent agent.

    Our success with artificial selection in animal husbandry proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the statistical distribution of random mutations contains enough of a vestigial tail, sticking out in the “advantageous” direction, that each advantage will in time be acquired by subsequent generations.

    Think about it! It’s pretty clear to me that if humans can turn a wolf into a pekingese in just a few generations, then any slight advantages imposed by nature will have tremendous effects on life when exercised consistently over millenia and billenia.

    Please, refute this argument if you know how. I haven’t seen a refutation here in my explorations to date, that I recognized as such.

  8. 8
    bFast says:

    Tom Moore:

    Please, refute this argument if you know how. I haven’t seen a refutation here in my explorations to date, that I recognized as such.

    Happy to oblige.

    First, though man has been practicing husbandry for thousands of years, man has yet to produce a new recognized animal species. (This is not so with plants. However plants can reproduce asexually, so are much more maliable to speciation.)

    Second, please consider the lowly wolf. It is my understanding that all domesticated dogs can be traced back to the wolf. Yet in the wild setting, though the wolf has all of the genetic variety of the pekingese and the great dane, yet it chooses to be a wolf with very little variety. As seen in this example, nature seems painfully determined to resist change, rather than seeking the threshold of what can be done. Please explain how nature pulled off all of the variety that it did, if it can’t even figure out how to make a toy poodle out of a wolf without man’s husbandry.

  9. 9
    Jehu says:

    bFast,

    In the case of the wolf, there is no selective advantage to any other morphology. Humans isolate pre-existing alleles through breeding and get a delightful amount of morphology. This is variation within a species, not creation of a new species. Nature can also drive variation within a species when the environment selects for certain alleles. Think about the morphological difference between a grizzly and a polar bear, which are able to interbreed. One can posit that introduced into a different type of environment, the wolf would change its morphology slightly to accommodate its new environ. (assuming it has the pre-existing genetic potential)

  10. 10
    jerry says:

    Tom Moore,

    If such a vestigial tail existed and if the elements of this tail were working its way through various populations according to the laws of genetics, we would be able to witness numerous examples of these populations in various forms of transition.

    Since there are no such populations existing in the world, the proposition that the tail exists is just a tale.

    Believe me if the Darwinists had such examples we would never hear the end of it. Darwinist are not original thinkers, just bearers of whatever tale they been told lately.

    Thus, you have just been refuted.

  11. 11
    Jehu says:

    Our success with artificial selection in animal husbandry proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the statistical distribution of random mutations contains enough of a vestigial tail, sticking out in the “advantageous” direction, that each advantage will in time be acquired by subsequent generations.

    That is not correct. The ability of humans to select for pre-existing traits has no bearing on whether random mutations are able to create new specified complex information which can confer a selective advantage. Nor does it demonstrate in any way the statistical distribution of beneficial mutations.

  12. 12
    jerry says:

    Tom Moore,

    You should read “The Natural Limits to Biological Change” by Ray Bohlin who I understand is revising it to reflect what has been discovered since the late 1980’s. You can get it used for as little as a buck on Amazon.

  13. 13
    Bob OH says:

    (This is not so with plants. However plants can reproduce asexually, so are much more maliable to speciation.)

    This is wrong. Wheat is unable to grow asexually, but we’ve been able to make it speciate. The reason is ploidy: bread wheat has three genomes in it (A, B and D), speciation occurs through the combining of the genomes. From Wiki:
    Wheat taxonomy:

    There are no wild hexaploid wheats, although feral forms of common wheat are sometimes found. Hexaploid wheats evolved under domestication. Genetic analysis has shown that the original hexaploid wheats were the result of a cross between a tetraploid domesticated wheat, such as T. dicoccum or T. durum, and a wild goatgrass, Ae. tauschii.

    Incidentally, there is such a thing as “synthetic wheat”, which was produced by geneticists, using the precursor species as progenitors.

    I use to work in a cereals department, which is where I learned this. The same principles hold for other plant species (e.g. primrose).

    Bob

  14. 14
    Jehu says:

    Bob,

    There is also a lot of stasis in plant morphology. Alleged 300 million year old fossils of plants look the same as plants today.

  15. 15
    DaveScot says:

    Bob OH

    Actually it’s you that’s wrong about wheat not being able to reproduce asexually. Wheat flowers are hermaphroditic (pistil and stamen is present together on the wheat flower) and seeds normally set through self-pollination. It’s arguable (I know your penchant for resorting to pedantry when you make a mistake)whether “asexual” should include self-pollination but it’s not arguable that the results of self-pollination are essentially the same as asexual reproduction.

    You really need to double-check things before you write them. A layman in botany (and fungi) like me shouldn’t be able to catch a PhD in these areas making mistakes but I caught you in yet another mistake.

    http://www.ossm.edu/biology/ecln4.htm

    Asexual vs. sexual reproduction:

    Advantages of asexual reproduction – asexual requires no fusion of gametes, or in some plants, self-pollination with out any cross-pollination may occur and result in essentially asexual populations in some spp.;

    http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng.....wheat.html

    Normally, self-pollination occurs, which means wheat plants fertilize themselves with their own pollen before flowers even open. Nevertheless – depending on genotype and climatic conditions – cross-pollination with other wheat plants is possible. It usually occurs at a rate of approximately one to two percent. The rate can increase up to 9.7 percent when weather conditions are dry and warm.

    It’s probably also a mistake to say that wheat has speciated in historic times. From the link above:

    The genome structure of modern wheat is much different than its wild ancestors. Its set of chromosomes has multiplied – sixfold in the case of bread wheat (T. aestivum) and spelt (T. spelta). These two forms can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. The fertility of hybrids between plants with different numbers of chromosome sets is very limited. Durum wheat (T. durum, T. trugidium) and emmer wheat (T. dicoccum) have four sets of chromosomes, which makes them very unlikely to form fertile hybrids with bread wheat. The offspring of crosses with T. monococcum (two sets of chromosomes) are usually sterile.

    So while hybrid fertility is compromised amongst the polyploid wheat varieties to some extent it isn’t impossible in any of them. Maybe you should try a different example of observed speciation in historic times. Oh hold it, you don’t have any inarguable examples of speciation. You boys just move the goalpost around so that “almost sterile” is as good as “sterile” in determining hybrid sterility for the purpose of discriminating between sub-species using the biological definition of species. I suppose I should be thankful that you aren’t moving the goalpost to another county by claiming that reproductive isolation is enough to make a new species. So thanks for not being extremely disingenuous. That’s why I keep you around. You’re much more honest than the average ID basher.

  16. 16
    DaveScot says:

    Tom Moore

    Our success with artificial selection in animal husbandry proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the statistical distribution of random mutations contains enough of a vestigial tail, sticking out in the “advantageous” direction, that each advantage will in time be acquired by subsequent generations.

    It proves nothing of the sort! There’s not a bit of creative (macro) evolution occuring in allele selection. Most if not all species have a range of variation in scale and cosmetics. A great example of a species with a rather wide range is the dog. 20,000 years of artificial selection has resulted in everything from Chihuahuas to Saint Bernards but they’re all still dogs. They don’t differ by any characters other than scale and cosmetics. Not a single anatomical feature (like a retractible claw, for instance) that wolves don’t have surfaced in any domestic dog breed.

    Moreover, the rule is that when domestic varieties are returned to the wild, if they survive they quickly become “feral” or IOW they quickly revert to their original form. Darwin’s finches are a classic example in nature. Their beaks got bigger for cracking harder seeds in times of drought but as soon as the drought ended the beaks returned to the pre-drought size. This isn’t evolution, it’s well bounded adaptation within species.

  17. 17
    Bob OH says:

    Wheat flowers are hermaphroditic … and seeds normally set through self-pollination. It’s arguable … whether “asexual” should include self-pollination but it’s not arguable that the results of self-pollination are essentially the same as asexual reproduction.

    No, Dave, selfing is not the same as asexual reproduction. In selfing, recombination still occurs, so the offspring can be genetically different. In commercial varieties of wheat, there won’t be a big difference between parent and offspring, because they go through several rounds of selfing, so that they are genetically pure. This is why it is described as resulting in essentially asexual populations, not in asexual populations.

    Selfing an F1 (i.e. the offspring of gentically different parents) will result in segregation at loci where the parent is heterozygous: if reproduction was asexual, there would be no segregation. The offspring would be genetically the same.

    I don’t know who the comment about observed speciation in historic times was aimed at: I didn’t make any such claims.

    Bob

  18. 18
    Tom Moore says:

    Thanks for the efforts, but I don’t see these refutations as compelling. You’re all saying that a pekingese does not differ genetically from a wolf, and DaveScot is even saying that a pekingese released into the wild will revert to a wolf. I hope he doesn’t mean to say that of a particular individual dog, but rather that the genetic bloodline would revert. Which actually may make sense because the wild selects for different things than a human breeder.

    bFast claims that any dog has the innate genetic variety to be anything from a wolf to a pekingese, but I’ve never seen a mixed litter, have you? I maintain that the difference between a wolf and pekingese is substantial enough to require mutations. Perhaps someone can define for me how one individual’s DNA can contain the “genetic variety” to be anything from wolf to pekingnese, and respond to selection by human breeders in a way other than that I cited?

    DaveScot says “most if not all species have a range of variation in scale and cosmetics.” I guess you are saying there is a statistical range of parameters with no genetic difference necessary. I would argue that those are variations of environment, and not DNA, and that the differences between a wolf and a pekingese are actual genetic differences in pigmentation, proportions, and even instinctive behavior. Perhaps there are better examples, for example the transformation that produced the dairy cow. Or take your pick of other domesticated animals that are very different from anything in the wild today.

    You can dig in your heels and maintain that humans have never had any success in selecting for genetic traits, which I guess is what y’all are doing. But this smacks to me of your having defined any variation you see as a result of husbandry as being other than that which would eventually lead to the full variety of life.

    Perhaps someone here has the expertise to straighten me out on whether or not breeds of dogs have bona fide genetic differences. But I can’t resist the feeling that your arguments amount to a denial that enough time has transpired for selection effects to accumulate into more substantial differences.

    Are you sure you aren’t all denying that the Earth has been here for 5 B years and that life has been exploding for 5 M years, so very long compared with humankind’s paltry 5 kK years of record keeping?

  19. 19
    Tom Moore says:

    Correction: Are you sure you aren’t all denying that the Earth has been here for 5 B years and that life has been exploding for 0.5 B years, so very long compared with humankind’s paltry 5 K years of record keeping?

  20. 20
    Jehu says:

    Tom Moore,

    Thanks for the efforts, but I don’t see these refutations as compelling.

    Apparently you don’t understand the issue enough to grasp it. I will try to make it as simple as possible. Selecting for pre-existing alleles by artificial selection has no relationship to the fitness curve. Can you grasp that? Okay, now when you post utter rubbish such as,

    Our success with artificial selection in animal husbandry proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the statistical distribution of random mutations contains enough of a vestigial tail, sticking out in the “advantageous” direction, that each advantage will in time be acquired by subsequent generations.

    the only thing you are doing is publicly demonstrating that you do not understand the issue.

  21. 21
    jerry says:

    Tom Moore,

    You are starting to behave like all Darwinists who can not back up what they say. You said there were positive mutations but offer no proof or examples of any. I am sure there are many trivial positive mutations but that is not what the whole debate is about. The debate is about mutations that actually provide non trivial novel and functional changes to the allele structure of a genome. You were challenged when I said there were none but yet you do not provide any examples to prove me wrong. I pointed out that if there were any we would never hear the end of it from the Darwinists. But they are silent. Why? We would love to hear good examples.

    No Darwinist ever has provided good examples except for some trivial example of micro-evolution which is why nearly everyone here thinks Darwinism is a fraud. Instead what all Darwinists end up doing is attacking the people here. As you have begun to do. You are just the current example of a long list that end up flailing away with inappropriate arguments and then imply we are dolts.

    You retreat into the pseudo religious argument implying we are young earth creationists. Maybe some are but I and many others are not and it is not an issue for the points you were discussing. Many of us accept 520-540 million years of multi-cellular life on the planet and love to discuss the Cambrian Explosion. But have seen no evidence other than conjecture that mutations and natural selection has effected any of the variety in life we observe both on earth today and in the fossil record. The question we have is what is the mechanism for the origin of all these life forms in the last 520 million years. Neo Darwinism or what is also called the “modern synthesis” has failed miserably at explaining anything but some aspects of micro-evolution

  22. 22
    Tom Moore says:

    Well, I did offer an opening for someone to straighten me out about whether animal husbandry has or has not produced significant genetic changes. And whether those changes are indeed sufficient to accumulate into the production of new species, with macroevolution over realistic time intervals. Enough issues were raised that I became unsure of my understanding of that (and sleepy, and busy with other things). So I went off for some reading. But I don’t see that anyone has really addressed my issues since I left. I regret that I gave you an excuse to retreat into trivializing my issues.

    My limited additional reading indicates that animal husbandry has indeed produced new species in some cases, notably that of sheep, though not in the cases I raised of dog breeding, or of dairy cows. The power of animal husbandry is quantitatively more limited than I thought, yet still when one considers how geologic time magnifies small rates of change into transformations, it does seems unquestionable to me that the changes we see in animal husbandry are dwarfed by the changes wrought by nature.

    I freely admit that I’m no expert in this area; and am more like a layperson wandering into this. Since I first heard of ID, it has been presented as as having quantitative things to say, showing that the amount of geologic time has been insufficient to explain the amount of change that is recorded in the fossil record. So I own and have read a fair number of things from the ID library. So far, I have not seen a “smoking gun” argument that demolishes the idea that a billion years accounts for macroevolution. I have seen some statistical arguments that mutation causes more damage than gain in the gene pool. I’m a reasonably competent mathematician, if rusty with management preoccupations. The arguments I’ve seen were unconvincing at the time but might be worth revisiting at some point. That’s what attracted me to this item about the statistical distribution of mutation changes.

    After all that has been said in this thread, I still feel that the success of animal husbandry is indeed a powerful argument that mutations do have a finite and important probability of positive gain in the gene pool, and that DNA is repaired and maintained with sufficient integrity that positive changes are carried forward while the negative changes are flushed by lower reproduction rates.

    But I’m still open to quantitative arguments, including modeling, that shows differently. Would someone kindly point me in that direction? It may take a while, but I will look into it.

  23. 23
    Jehu says:

    Tom Moore,

    Animal husbandry does not create genetic novelty in the sense that it creates new alleles, animal husbandry just selects for pre-existing alleles. After all, farmers don’t have millions of years to wait for a beneficial mutation to show up, they just breed to bring out traits that are already there. Also, regardless of how you “feel” about it, animal husbandry has nothing to do with the fitness curve.

  24. 24
    DaveScot says:

    Tom Moore

    Can you give me an example of a random mutation (the precise gene and precisely how the sequence mutated) that added a new and beneficial feature to a domesticated animal?

    I really don’t see how we can discuss beneficial random mutations until you’ve demonstrated that it even happened. Animals are able to change in scale and cosmetics without random mutation. This is done by prexisting alleles being mixed and matched differently in sexual reproduction.

    Please give an example of a beneficial mutation in a domestic animal that was not the result of using selective breeding to turn recessive traits into dominant traits or vice versa. You might also want to read up on zygosity before replying.

    To be blunt you’re asking questions that you should be getting answers to yourself. Our purpose here isn’t to teach you the basics of biology. This simply isn’t an appropriate venue for it.

    Here’s a good example of the limits of allelic adaptation that I learned as a young child over 40 years ago. My mother was a very accomplished rose gardener with scores of varieties growing in her garden. I am speaking of the non-existant blue rose. I have just now learned that a truly blue rose finally exists. It was created in 2004 by genetic engineering – taking the gene for the blue pigment from a petunia and inserting it into a rose. A blue rose has been the holy grail of rose breeders since like forever. Nobody was ever able to breed one. The reason was the blue pigment allele didn’t exist in the rose genome so the only way it could have appeared (other than by genetic engineering) was by random mutation of a differently colored pigment gene.

  25. 25
    Jehu says:

    DaveScot

    Please give an example of a beneficial mutation in a domestic animal that was not the result of using selective breeding to turn recessive traits into dominant traits or vice versa.

    Well siad, however, I think there should be a caveat that there are likely to be mutations where a gene is damaged by mutation and is effectively switched off, sometimes this will provide a trait that breeders will select. However, this type of information loss mutation would be the opposite of the creative mutation required to support Darwinism and is not relevant to arguments about the fitness curve.

  26. 26
    DaveScot says:

    Bob OH

    No, Dave, selfing is not the same as asexual reproduction. In selfing, recombination still occurs, so the offspring can be genetically different. In commercial varieties of wheat, there won’t be a big difference between parent and offspring, because they go through several rounds of selfing, so that they are genetically pure. This is why it is described as resulting in essentially asexual populations, not in asexual populations.

    I’m perfectly well aware that self-pollination doesn’t produce clones due to crossover during meiosis. However, I’m also perfectly well aware that no genetic information that isn’t in the self-pollinating parent can appear in the self-pollinated offspring. A hermaphrodite fertilizing itself is the penultimate in inbreeding and is as close as you can get to a clone without being a genetic twin. Your response was misleading at best as it suggested that wheat’s normal mode of reproduction is sexual without clarifying that sexual in this case doesn’t normally involve two parents.

  27. 27
    jerry says:

    Tom Moore,

    You may not read this since this thread is way down the list now but if you do, here is my take on what you have offered.

    I believe that if you follow your logic, it may not lead to what you think but actually to the opposite conclusion. You said

    “when one considers how geologic time magnifies small rates of change into transformations, it does seems unquestionable to me that the changes we see in animal husbandry are dwarfed by the changes wrought by nature”

    That seems like a very reasonable observation. And if all we had to explain were just one or two phenomena few would dispute it. Darwin’s hypothesis of the unfolding of life over time just seems reasonable when given 3.5 billion years to progress. It is so reasonable that nearly everybody nods their head in agreement as I did for most of my life. The idea of the fittest surviving and reproducing more is a “no brainer.”

    But then when you examine it more closely it was not just one or two fortuitous things that had to have happened in the last billion years but tens of thousands or possibly millions, each one of very low probability. If all that was needed was one or two or maybe a dozen we would accept that they probably happened even if there were no evidence. But tens of thousands or possibly millions of events are required. No way, unless there was some mechanism that was driving it.

    Occasional positive mutations even when stretched over several billion years does not add up to all that had to have happened even if trillions of organisms were alive and going through the process of occasionally mutating. But with all these organisms there is not one smoking gun to exhibit except for trivial examples of micro-evolution.

    So the hunt is on for one or more mechanisms that can cause anything but trivial changes but at present nothing but pure speculation is available. Neo Darwinism as a mechanism has not even one notch on its gun let alone the millions required. So time actually disproves the materialistic hypothesis since you would expect more from it in 3.5 billion years except speculation. That is all Darwin himself had and that is all anyone today has. 3.5 billion years and not one example, only speculation.

    It is logic and the lack of evidence that defeats Darwin and his successors. If you think you have any new insights or evidence then provide them. Nearly everyone I have ever talked to about this topic believes there is lots of evidence to support Darwin’s hypothesis but I have found no one that is able to provide any evidence. Ask yourself why and then go ask others and see what you find.

    Animal husbandry is a dead end so far and I don’t think provides any insight except for the limitation of artificial selection which as you admit is more powerful than natural selection since it is an example of intelligent design.

  28. 28
    Tom Moore says:

    Still reading and still don’t see the quantitative proof upon which I have heard ID is based.

    If animal husbandry can create a new species using only (intelligent) selection, that tells me that selection alone does more than “selecting alleles” or “converting recessive to dominant traits.” Which tells me that the distribution of mutations allows for new species to be created by selection alone without genetic engineering.

    I’ll look for that quantitative proof and be back if I find it, certainly.

  29. 29
    jerry says:

    Tom,

    If you ever find a proof of anything let us know. No one has ever provided any proof for any natural mechanism as the means of generating anything novel and functional in biology.

    If you find it, you are a shoe in for the Nobel Prize in science.

    Study up on what a species is. It is a controversial area and trivial differences between species are common. Sometimes it is nothing more than the song pattern in a bird.

    But the actual debate has nothing to do with new species formation but with the generation of new and useful biological functions. Also learn the difference between micro-evolution, macro evolution, novel evolution and origin of life issues. Each presents different problems and that ID could care less about micro evolution which is where your animal husbandry example is. And remember there are no examples of any mechanism ever producing anything novel and functional. They all seemed to pop out of nowhere with no obvious predecessor.

    Good luck in your search and remember to ask your friends or colleagues what they know to be true about evolution that is not trivial and then check it out to see if it is actually true. I have yet to find anyone who actually knew anything but speculation so maybe you will have better luck since you work primarily with scientists and engineers.

  30. 30
    Tom Moore says:

    I did find a nice proof of the unreasonable effectiveness of selection plus random modification to find a solution in a multidimensional space. http://www.complexity.org.au/v.....on/monkey/ This is an update of the Dawkins weasel experiment, which is now provided with several elaborations, but still converges on a specified answer much much faster than random chance alone would allow.

    Yes, I know, you don’t believe it proves anything because the answer is known before the experiement runs (would it be an experiment otherwise?). And the mutation rate is too large to mirror the real world (but now you can change it and wait 1000 years for the same answer if you’d like). And note that one can specify any target string whatever, unbeknownst to the computer code, and it will find your answer just as rapidly. One of the strings I tried is “Intelligent selection is a form of intelligent design”. It get’s that answer every time!

    Which only proves that there is no disproof of the power of natual selection, because is indeed an increasingly used method for the manageable design of complexity.

    Are there any ID-sponsored simulations that demonstrate the failure of natural selection with random variation?

  31. 31
    jerry says:

    Tom Moore,

    I think you should look in the real world for the answers to your quest. Ask yourself why Dawkins and fellow travellers make such a big deal out of a computer simulation.

    The reason is there is no evidence in the real world outside of trivial examples. If there were I would give them credit and maybe re-evaluate my conclusions about what caused the changes in multi-cellular life forms in the last billion years.

    My background is science though I never practiced it as part of my work but I have examined nearly all the science for the last 300 years and evolution is the only area that has nothing but hand waving to back it up. I thought Darwin was obvious till I started reading about the lack of evidence. Then every popular article I read on the subject was not only wrong about what is true but nearly all the time distorted the findings. Why?

    Don’t get hung up on whether ID is a science or not. It is a red herring that is used to deflect the discussion from whether what is taught in the schools has any evidence to support it. Ask yourself where is the overwhelming evidence for any naturalistic mechanism for the changes in life forms. Are computer simulations of a process they can not begin to model the only evidence.

    By the way origin of life issues is the main area ID is interested in and not the creation of minor variations in species that Darwinism likes to focus on. ID is also interested in creation of multi-cellular organism and thinks such as the origin of the Phyla.

    H

  32. 32
    Patrick says:

    Oh, gee, the fitness function knows the answer and it manages to find it. Imagine that.

    You do realize that even Dawkins says that this example doesn’t reflect biological reality.

  33. 33

    […] But even if we did know what a minimal function was, the question still remains, can a random occurrence (mutation) produce enough functional novel information for natural selection to recognize it? We know that natural selection recognizes loss in function, and often selects for that loss (color in a bear’s fur is quite harmful in snowy areas, hence the polar bear), but can mutation produce enough novel functional information for for natural selection to consider it more likely to survive than its peers? […]

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