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Natural selection as negative principle only

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A friend writes to note what philosopher of science, John Elof Boodin (1869-1950), had to say about natural selection:

The principle of natural selection is indeed an important contribution to biology. But it is a negative, not an architectonic, principle. It does not explain why variations appear, why they cumulate, why they assume an organization in the way of more successful adaptation. Organisms must, of course, be able to maintain themselves in their life environment and in the physical environment, in order to leave descendants and determine the character of the race. But that is all natural selection tells us. It does not explain the traits and organization of organisms nor why they become well or badly adapted to their specific environment.

Can’t seem to find this online, but it’s consistent with something we did find:

Even in such fields as science, where reason is supposed to be most at home, we drift invariably into traditions and schools. Darwin’s hypothesis of chance variations and natural selection has not merely become a dogma of science, but has been erected into a philosophy of the universe; and the limitations of the hypothesis and the empirical spirit of its creator have been lost sight of in an intolerant tradition which has had serious consequences, not only for the development of natural science but for the social ideals and progress of the race. This is only one instance where mysticism has supplanted reason in science and where the authority of facts has been forced to yield to the authority of tradition. In every field of science we are haunted by ghosts of the past to which lesser minds pay superstitious reverence and by which even greater minds are misled into false assumptions. And the most dangerous ghost of all is that mechanical materialism which, while it has no scientific credentials but is simply a false dogma tacked on to science, has become fashionable among scientists. If science is always in danger of subordinating reason and experience to dogmas, the danger is even greater iii philosophy and art where the emotional element naturally plays a greater part – John E. Boodin. “The Law of Social Participation”, American Journal of Sociology, 27, 1921: 22-53.

Imagine, 1921… Well before Mencken on the Scopes Monkey Trial (1925) and Buck v. Bell (1927). Also:

The modern point of view which finds its typical expression in Darwinism emphasizes change, history, mechanical causes, flux of species, determination of the higher by the lower. History runs on like an old man’s tale without beginning, middle, or end, without any guiding plot. It is infinite and formless. Chance rules supreme. It despises final causes.

More on Boodin’ approach here. See also: Natural selection: Could it be the single greatest idea ever invented?

193 Replies to “Natural selection as negative principle only

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    The Epicurean Escape Hatch — Richard Dawkins Responds to Stephen Meyer
    Paul Nelson March 24, 2016
    Excerpt: Here is a natural selection primer for anyone who has forgotten the basics of the theory. Selection operates only after a functional advantage occurs in some randomly arising variation. Until that happens, any search of sequence space necessarily will remain undirected — meaning that the small probabilities cannot be escaped. No functional variation, no selection.
    This unsolved problem has spawned an enormous literature within evolutionary biology, and represents one of the main reasons many biologists have quietly, or not so quietly, abandoned neo-Darwinian theory for more promising shores. Recently, Chatterjee et al. (2014) calculated the time required for the evolutionary process to search sequence space. Here’s how they formulated the problem:
    “Throughout the history of life, evolution had to discover sequences of biological polymers that perform specific, complicated functions. The average length of bacterial genes is about 1000 nucleotides, that of human genes about 3000 nucleotides. The longest known bacterial gene contains more than 10^5 nucleotides, the longest human gene more than 10^6. A basic question is what is the time scale required by evolution to discover the sequences that perform desired functions.”
    Their model shows that, as the length L of the target sequence grows, the search time required grows exponentially, and quickly becomes intractable. As they conclude:
    “We show that adaptation on many fitness landscapes takes time that is exponential in L, even if there are broad selection gradients and many targets uniformly distributed in sequence space. These negative results lead us to search for specific mechanisms that allow evolution to work on polynomial time scales.”
    Whether their solution works, I leave as an exercise for the reader. But nota bene: natural selection is no help.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02719.html

    About a Bike Lock: Responding to Richard Dawkins – Stephen C. Meyer – March 25, 2016
    Excerpt: Moreover, given the empirically based estimates of the rarity (of protein folds) (conservatively estimated by Axe3 at 1 in 10^77 and within a similar range by others4) the analysis that I presented in Toronto does pose a formidable challenge to those who claim the mutation-natural selection mechanism provides an adequate means for the generation of novel genetic information — at least, again, in amounts sufficient to generate novel protein folds.5
    Why a formidable challenge? Because random mutations alone must produce (or “search for”) exceedingly rare functional sequences among a vast combinatorial sea of possible sequences before natural selection can play any significant role. Moreover, as I discussed in Toronto, and show in more detail in Darwin’s Doubt,6 every replication event in the entire multi-billion year history of life on Earth would not generate or “search” but a miniscule fraction (one ten trillion, trillion trillionth, to be exact) of the total number of possible nucleotide base or amino-acid sequences corresponding to a single functional gene or protein fold. The number of trials available to the evolutionary process (corresponding to the total number of organisms — 10^40 — that have ever existed on earth), thus, turns out to be incredibly small in relation to the number of possible sequences that need to be searched. The threshold of selectable function exceeds what is reasonable to expect a random search to be able to accomplish given the number of trials available to the search even assuming evolutionary deep time.
    ——-
    (3) Axe, Douglas. “Estimating the Prevalence of Protein Sequences Adopting Functional Enzyme Folds.” Journal of Molecular Biology 341 (2004): 1295-1315.
    (4) Reidhaar-Olson, John, and Robert Sauer. “Functionally Acceptable Solutions in Two Alpha-Helical Regions of Lambda Repressor.” Proteins: Structure, Function, and Genetics 7 (1990): 306-16; Yockey, Hubert P. “A Calculation of the Probability of Spontaneous Biogenesis by Information Theory,” Journal of Theoretical Biology 67 (1977c): 377-98; Yockey, Hubert. “On the Information Content of Cytochrome C,” Journal of Theoretical Biology 67 (1977b) 345-376.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02722.html

    Stephen Meyer Critiques Richard Dawkins’s “Mount Improbable” Illustration
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rgainpMXa8

    Stephen Meyer – Functional Proteins And Information For Body Plans – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1140536289292636/?type=2&theater

    4-Dimensional quarter power scaling in life and the impotency of Natural Selection to explain it
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-601295

  2. 2
    Silver Asiatic says:

    About a Bike Lock: Responding to Richard Dawkins – Stephen C. Meyer – March 25, 2016

    That was worthwhile reading. Dawkins is quoted:

    Meyer was terrible, not because of his migraine but because of the content of his speech, which was written down BEFORE his migraine. When will these people understand that calculating how many gazillions of ways you can permute things at random is irrelevant. It’s irrelevant, as Lawrence said, because natural selection is a NONRANDOM process. You’d think they’d realise that if it were THAT easy to disprove evolution no scientist would take evolution seriously. Do they really think we are so very stupid? Or are they cynically playing to the gallery, dazzling the naive audience with big numbers like 10^77, while knowing full well they are irrelevant?

    It is THAT easy to disprove evolution. And it’s not a question of stupidity, but rather of intellectual blindness, which is a spiritual disorder. A person may have a very high IQ and yet still arrive at very stupid conclusions about important matters.

  3. 3
    Origenes says:

    One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.
    — Charles Darwin,

    The “let the strongest live and the weakest die” part refers to natural selection — ‘the elimination of the weakest’. Colin Patterson describes natural selection as a “weeding out process”.
    It’s important to note that “the strongest” are not created by the process of elimination of the weakest. Patterson again: “The stronger progeny must be already there; it is not produced by natural selection…selection is made from already existing entities.”
    The strongest are those who stayed under the radar of the weeding out process. They are the ones who got away. They are neither created nor preserved by it. All we can say is that they are untouched by “natural selection”.

    “To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances (…) , could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I confess, absurd (…)
    — Charles Darwin.

    My dear Charles, it is indeed absurd. Not only because of the complexity and specificity of the eye, but also because natural selection — the elimination of the weakest — is simply not a process that forms organs.

    “I am convinced that natural selection has been the main but not exclusive means of modification.”
    — Charles Darwin

    Charles, a weeding out process — the elimination of the weakest — is not creative and is incapable of modifying even one single part of an organism.

    “Natural selection is a mechanism for generating an exceedingly high degree of improbability.”
    — Ronald A. Fisher

    Mr. Fischer, you are dead wrong. All that the elimination of organisms accomplishes is that potentially valuable information is lost. So the opposite is true: if evolution is a search for information, then natural selection hampers that search.

    Two more quotes from Ernie and Bert:

    “Natural selection is not only a parsimonious, plausible and elegant solution; it is the only workable alternative to chance that has ever been suggested.
    — Richard Dawkins

    ????

    “Life on earth evolved gradually beginning with one primitive life form – perhaps a self-replicating molecule – that lived more than 3.5 billion years ago; it then branched out over time, throwing off many new and diverse species; and the mechanism for most (but not all) of evolutionary change is natural selection. ”
    — Jerry A. Coyne

  4. 4
    J-Mac says:

    Silver Asiatic

    “It is THAT easy to disprove evolution. And it’s not a question of stupidity, but rather of intellectual blindness, which is a spiritual disorder. A person may have a very high IQ and yet still arrive at very stupid conclusions about important matters.”

    Discussions with evolutionists/atheists remind of quote from a movie;

    “Theist 1: I’m just trying to get to the truth!

    Reasonable Theist: I get it! But what you need to remember is that there’s what people want to hear, there’s what people want to believe, there’s everything else, THEN there’s the truth!

    Theist 1. And since when it’s that OK? I can’t even believe you are saying this to me! The truth means responsibility!

    Reasonable Theist: Exactly! Which is why everyone (evolutionist/atheist) dreads it!

  5. 5
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: It’s important to note that “the strongest” are not created by the process of elimination of the weakest.

    It’s not the difficult. If taller makes one more fit, then those variations (existing or novel) that lead to greater tallness will become more prevalent in the population.

  6. 6
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Natural selection does not cause organisms to become taller or shorter, stronger or weaker. It doesn’t cause them to become more fit or less fit.

    In fact, mutations alone do not cause organisms to become more fit or less fit. Changes in the environment can do that. What was less-fit at one time can become more fit merely through a change in environment. No mutations required.

    Natural selection is a term that describes the process whereby in a competition for resources needed for survival, whatever is left over are the winners. The survivors won.

    Natural selection didn’t cause any organism to survive. It didn’t change or modify any organism. It didn’t create parameters for survival or fitness. It’s not a force that changes or moves anything. At best it can be said to ‘remove the losers’ but losers are removed by starvation or lack of fertility. Those are caused by random environmental changes or mutations.

    Natural selection is a powerful-sounding term. It sounds like it is an active process that selects outcomes, or it’s a mechanism that creates evolutionary changes.

  7. 7
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: Natural selection does not cause organisms to become taller or shorter, stronger or weaker. It doesn’t cause them to become more fit or less fit.

    What natural selection does is select from the available distribution of traits.

    Silver Asiatic: In fact, mutations alone do not cause organisms to become more fit or less fit.

    That is incorrect. A mutation may very well make an organism more fit.

    Silver Asiatic: Changes in the environment can do that. What was less-fit at one time can become more fit merely through a change in environment. No mutations required.

    That’s correct. Sometimes an existing trait may become beneficial if the environment changes.

    Silver Asiatic: {Natural selection} didn’t change or modify any organism.

    No. However, natural selection does modify the distribution of traits in a population.

  8. 8
    Mung says:

    SA: Natural selection is a powerful-sounding term. It sounds like it is an active process that selects outcomes, or it’s a mechanism that creates evolutionary changes.

    And people who tout the creative power of natural selection can’t say whether it’s the cause or the effect, or they say it’s both the cause and the effect.

  9. 9
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: And people who tout the creative power of natural selection can’t say whether it’s the cause or the effect, or they say it’s both the cause and the effect.

    Natural selection is a cause or mechanism of adaptive evolution, the effect of fecundity and differential reproduction due to heritable differences.

  10. 10
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel: Natural selection is a cause or mechanism of adaptive evolution (…)

    Suppose a mixed population of anaerobic and aerobic bacteria exposed to an environment without oxygen. Obviously only the anaerobic bacteria survive.
    Natural selection in action.
    ——
    Q: what has been formed or modified?
    A: the composition of the population of bacteria.
    Q: is it a creative process? Does it make the improbable probable?
    A: Nope. On the contrary, there is nothing new. Natural selection acts on already existing entities. After the cull we have less variety. Information has been lost. “Natural selection” is a destroyer of information, a destroyer of variety.
    Q: Do we explain anything additional when we call the death of aerobic bacteria due lack of oxygen “natural selection”?
    A: No. When we do know the cause it is entirely unnecessary to invoke the term “natural selection” to explain anything. The term comes in handy to mask our ignorance in cases where we don’t know why something happened.

  11. 11
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Mung

    And people who tout the creative power of natural selection can’t say whether it’s the cause or the effect, or they say it’s both the cause and the effect.

    I can see it considered an effect. It’s a pattern in the data – whatever is left over from a competition for resources. That is the supposed effect. The survivors were all “selected”. But there’s no creative power in that.
    I can’t see NS as a cause, and therefore it’s not a mechanism.

    Reproductive rates, competition, food supply, other environmental changes, longevity, death … those are causes. Natural selection doesn’t create any of that. It is caused by those things, in the same way that a puddle becomes distinct after rain evaporates. Something is removed and a puddle is left (the puddle was ‘selected’). We don’t need new terminology to describe that process. Natural selection is negative that way. After organisms have been removed, what is left is claimed to have been selected.

    All the inputs to the natural selection process are random also – except one.

    The only non-random aspect (it is assumed) is the survival instinct in living beings. That survival instinct gives the term ‘fitness’ its meaning. Since organisms have this non-random ‘desire’ to survive, the reductionist belief is that any physical feature that makes them more fit to survive, will necessarily cause them to be selected. This assumes that every organism has the same strength of survival instinct.
    Interesting, isn’t it?

    We know that assumption is false (as far as we can see) among human organisms. It’s not merely physical characteristics that enable one human competitor to out-survive another. The physical fitness traits for one group of humans may be far superior to another and yet they lose in a competition.

    Human history is full of those examples – in sports, warfare, business — almost every area of competition has this. The smaller, weaker, less-fit team, army, company – can out perform the bigger, more-evolved, smarter, more fit one.

    The driver or mechanism to this is a differential in survival instinct. Or in other words, it’s a “will to survive” or a “will to win”. The team that wants it more will win, even with less-fit traits for victory.

    We see that among mammals as well. Smaller, less physically capable animals defeat larger, more powerful, more fit animals. A mother defending babies has a stronger “will to win” in a fight. Thus, the smaller, weaker animal can win on the basis of this drive for survival.

    Some dogs are more fierce and want to survive over others who surrender and give up quickly. This is true even among young and old animals. Younger, with the same genetic traits, fight harder to survive than old.

    Evolution assumes that every organism has the same strength of survival instinct. In a competition, it is believed that all organisms give 100% effort to survive.

    Like most evolutionary claims, there’s no data to support that conclusion. We have no idea what the survival instinct is (or is it a “will to survive”) and therefore how strong or weak it is in various organisms.

    Here’s a case where the Old Testament gives an illustration. The ancient Israelites often faced armies that were far superior in size, armaments, resources, strategy and other military advantages. But those opponents often gave up and quit the battle. They lost the will to win, even though they were more fit for survival.

    It may be that through Intelligent Design, certain organisms are given greater impetus to win in competitive struggles — or even more clearly — given the desire not to fight at all. Thus a biosphere maintains an equilibrium. No evolution occurs and none is needed. Thus we have stasis which is evident everywhere.

  12. 12
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: Suppose a mixed population of anaerobic and aerobic bacteria exposed to an environment without oxygen.

    If they are different strains, then they aren’t a single population, even if they share a space.

    Let’s restructure your example somewhat. Let’s have a single population of E coli living in a standard broth.
    http://myxo.css.msu.edu/ecoli/dm25liquid.html

    As the bacteria grow within the flask they use up the glucose. At that point, they are transferred to a new flask. By chance, a series of mutations occur which give the ability to a bacterium to metabolize the citrate chelating agent. Due to selection, this bacterium then begins to become predominant in the population. The population now consists of a mixed population; those that can only metabolize glucose, and those that can metabolize glucose and citrate.

    Silver Asiatic: I can’t see NS as a cause, and therefore it’s not a mechanism.

    Selection is the mechanism that causes the citrate metabolizing E coli to become dominant in the population. Selection is the result of fecundity and differential reproduction due to heritable differences.

    Silver Asiatic: Evolution assumes that every organism has the same strength of survival instinct. In a competition, it is believed that all organisms give 100% effort to survive.

    Evolutionary theory makes no such assumption. Fierceness or competitiveness are just other traits to make up the whole organism. There are many survival strategies, not all of which entail fierceness or competitiveness.
    http://opossumsocietyus.org/images/opossu1.jpg

  13. 13
    Mung says:

    See, Zachriel claims natural selection is both the cause and the effect. What a wonderful opportunity for him to equivocate any time it’s convenient to do so.

    And no wonder then so many people think it’s a tautology.

  14. 14
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: Zachriel claims natural selection is both the cause and the effect.

    Natural selection is a cause or mechanism of adaptive evolution, the effect of fecundity and differential reproduction due to heritable differences.

    Are you saying a phenomenon can’t be an effect of something, and the cause of something else? Or for that matter, that it can’t be part of a feedback of cause and effect?

  15. 15
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    Natural selection is a cause or mechanism of adaptive evolution (…)

    Let me correct that for you:

    Natural selection is a cause or mechanism of information loss.

    IOWs natural selection is a destroyer of information, variety.
    ——

    Silver Asiatic: Since organisms have this non-random ‘desire’ to survive, the reductionist belief is that any physical feature that makes them more fit to survive, will necessarily cause them to be selected.

    Interesting observation.

  16. 16
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: Natural selection is a cause or mechanism of information loss.

    Shannon information is generally lost due to selection, but Shannon information is increased due to mutation. It is the interaction between these two mechanisms that leads to adaptation.

    Origenes: IOWs natural selection is a destroyer of information, variety.

    Diversifying selection can increase variety.

  17. 17
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel: It is the interaction between these two mechanisms that leads to adaptation.

    Nope. Elimination of the unfit leads to a remainder of fit organisms if and only if the latter already exist. Obviously elimination of the unfit (a.k.a. “natural selection”) does not create fit organisms.

  18. 18
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Z

    Selection is the mechanism that causes the citrate metabolizing E coli to become dominant in the population. Selection is the result of fecundity and differential reproduction due to heritable differences.

    The mechanism that caused the trait to become dominant was:

    The presence of the trait (not caused by natural selection)
    Competition (not caused by selection)
    Fecundity and reproduction rates (not caused by selection)
    The inheritance of the trait (not caused by selection)
    Winners in the competition for resources (not caused by selection).

    What remains after those causes is a pattern in the data – where the trait is dominant. That is where it is claimed that the trait was ‘selected’ – when actually, what is observed is the effect of factors not caused by selection.

    So, natural selection does not act as a cause or mechanism.

    Natural selection has no creative power. The environment, resources, reproduction rates and fitness determine which organisms will survive or dominate.

    I added “the survival instinct” to that list. That is either stronger or weaker or entirely equivalent in all species.

    There are many survival strategies, not all of which entail fierceness or competitiveness.

    This says nothing about the origin of a survival instinct – or about empirical measures of strength or weakness in that instinct found in various species.

    Some humans have less of a desire to survive than others. Some human communities have less of a desire to reproduce than others. The same may be true for all biological organisms.

    Natural selection is entirely dependent on a pre-existing survival instinct. Natural selection cannot have created it. The NS concept has to assume that the survival instinct is consistent and is possessed with equal strength among every species.

  19. 19
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: Elimination of the unfit leads to a remainder of fit organisms if and only if the latter already exist.

    That’s right. Natural selection works on existing variation. Adaptation is the result of the interaction between sources of variation and natural selection.

    Silver Asiatic: Competition (not caused by selection), Fecundity

    Those are the mechanics of natural selection, competition being due to fecundity and phenotypic variation.

  20. 20
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    Adaptation is the result of the interaction between sources of variation and natural selection.

    As I understand evolution, there is no “adaptation”. Instead organisms are fit by sheer dumb luck.

    Chance alone, is at the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, is at the very root of the stupendous edifice of creation.
    [Jacques Monod]

    So kindly explain how you use the term “adaptation”, and explain the relationship between natural selection and adaptation.

  21. 21
    ellazimm says:

    Origenes #20

    I’m sorry you seem to have abandoned our discussion on this other thread:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....Descent%29

    Am I to assume you have conceded or just lost interest?

  22. 22
    Origenes says:

    Ellazim #21,

    My mistake I didn’t notice your reply. Allow me to answer you in this thread:

    ellazimm : Every new generation has more genetic diversity than its parents, those ‘selected’ from the previous generation.

    Origenes: If so, then despite the cull.

    ellazimm : You’re not understanding me I think.

    Generation1 is culled down to a subset which generate offspring. Call them Parents1.

    Generation2 comes from Parents1 and Generation2 has more genetic variation than Parents1. Has to. Because of mutations during breeding.

    How does this contradict anything I have said?
    If Generation2 has more genetic variation than Parents1, then this is because of mutations. If, in its turn, Generation2 is culled down and still has more genetic variation than Parents1, then this is despite the cull.

    ellazimm : The cull helps ‘direct’ evolution.

    The cull destroys information and variety. The most positive thing one can say about the cull is that organisms that — by sheer dumb luck — have the capability to withstand the effect of the cull survive.
    IOWs if the mutations part is a blind search, then the cull, by continually removing acquired information, makes things a lot more difficult to find. Yet IOWs: evolution performs worse than a blind search, thanks to the cull.

  23. 23
    Me_Think says:

    Origenes @ 20

    So kindly explain how you use the term “adaptation”, and explain the relationship between natural selection and adaptation.

    Say a mutation allows birds to discern green insects on leaf clearly (by increasing the Green light receptor in cone cells of the eye or by ultraviolet light detection) – this allows the bird to better adapt to its environment. These birds will be able to glean more insects from leaves and will have better growth and survival rates than ‘normal’ birds. Over time the ability to pick out camouflaged insects gives the birds advantage over other ‘normal’ birds and hence the species with better eyesight will dominate in the environment. This is Natural selection. As you see, there is nothing magical about adaption and selection.

  24. 24
    ellazimm says:

    Origenes #22

    If Generation2 has more genetic variation than Parents1, then this is because of mutations. If, in its turn, Generation2 is culled down and still has more genetic variation than Parents1, then this is despite the cull.

    One of the important points here is that Parents2 will have genetic variation but it will be starting to be somewhat molded by the environment. It’s off spring will have new variations that are on top of other preserved variations on top of other preserved variations. The selection and variation have a cumulative effect.

    The cull destroys information and variety. The most positive thing one can say about the cull is that organisms that — by sheer dumb luck — have the capability to withstand the effect of the cull survive.
    IOWs if the mutations part is a blind search, then the cull, by continually removing acquired information, makes things a lot more difficult to find. Yet IOWs: evolution performs worse than a blind search, thanks to the cull.

    Evolution performs better than a blind search because it’s a cumulative process. Generation1000 will look different than Generation1 because, on average, the variations that give an environmental advantage will be preserved and new variations will be working from that new basis.

    Yes, there is a cull at each generation and a lot of those culled will be much less fit. The ones that survive might have just been lucky but some are better able to beat the competition; they are more fit. It’s not sheer dumb luck. At each generation a new fan of variation is created but it’s starting from a slightly different node from the previous generation. That’s why cumulative culling and variation beat a blind search: the stuff that works or is neutral is kept and the stuff that doesn’t work is abandoned.

    I’m not sure this is really worth arguing about. I’m sure you’ve heard all this before but continue to focus on one aspect of the situation.

  25. 25
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Z

    Those are the mechanics of natural selection, competition being due to fecundity and phenotypic variation.

    Those are the causes of the dominance of a trait in the population. Natural selection is an effect in that case.

    You could say that natural selection causes natural selection but that statement lacks clarity.

  26. 26
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel cannot understand the simple thing that novelty cannot be created by elimination. “Existing or novel” he says. How funny! Novelty must exist BEFORE it is naturally selected. This leaves evolutionists with only one novelty generator – chance. As simple as that. But I always forget that to expect an understanding from them is too much. Even Dawkins cannot get his head around it… Not only does volutionism lacks empirical support but it also lacks substance.

  27. 27
    Origenes says:

    Me_Think #23,

    In your example mutation produces a trait which offers a bird better eyesight than other birds. According to you, other things being equal, this bird will dominate in the environment. You go on to state: “This is Natural Selection.”

    What’s lacking in your story is the assumption of scarcity of resources for normal birds, because if there is plenty of food for them, then the new trait would prove to be irrelevant for survival. N.B. not all birds have the eyesight of a hawk.
    If we incorporate this scarcity, then what part of your story is “natural selection”? The production of the trait is not natural selection. The fit in the environment is by sheer dumb luck — not natural selection.
    The only activity of natural selection is the elimination of normal birds by lack of resources.

    Me_Think: As you see, there is nothing magical about adaption and selection.

    Recap: the adaptation is produced by mutation, the fitness of the new trait is by sheer dumb luck and lastly, there is no “selection”, there is only the elimination of normal birds due to lack of resources.

  28. 28
    Me_Think says:

    Origenes @ 27

    If we incorporate this scarcity, then what part of your story is “natural selection”? The production of the trait is not natural selection. The fit in the environment is by sheer dumb luck — not natural selection.

    I am not assuming unlimited resource.The scarcity of food for the ‘normal’ bird is due to the higher consumption of food by the better sighted bird. The trait of better sight is what causes scarcity of food. Because the bird with better sight exploits its environment better, it gets selected to survive the next generation. IOW, the number of better sighted birds are more in the next generation because the trait of ‘better sight’ led to selection of those birds.

  29. 29
    Origenes says:

    Me_Think, I already incorporated scarcity of food in your story. My objections still stand.

  30. 30
    Me_Think says:

    Origenes @ 29
    How? As I said,the trait of better sight is what causes scarcity of food. Because the bird with better sight exploits its environment better. The differential survival into the next generation is due to the superior adaptation to environment enabled by the better sight

  31. 31
    Origenes says:

    ellazimm: Evolution performs better than a blind search because it’s a cumulative process.

    You seem to be arguing that destroying information multiple times in a row is better than a single round of information destruction and beats a blind search. Well, you are free to hold that belief.

  32. 32
    ellazimm says:

    Origenes #31

    You seem to be arguing that destroying information multiple times in a row is better than a single round of information destruction and beats a blind search. Well, you are free to hold that belief.

    Sigh. You seem to be intentionally misinterpreting what I am saying. I don’t understand why you focus on the bad variation that is culled and refuse to accept that the preserved, good variation and multiple rounds of selection/honing can introduce new morphologies.

    New variation arises at each generation. The ‘spread’ of that variation starts from a different ‘average’ than previous generations. During each generation some variation (mostly bad, deleterious variation) is lost. Generally, variation that improves fitness (ability to exploit the local environment and resources) IS KEPT. Which shifts the ‘average’ for the next generation towards a higher level of fitness.

  33. 33
    Origenes says:

    Me_Think: How? As I said,the trait of better sight is what causes scarcity of food. Because the bird with better sight exploits its environment better.

    Okay.

    Me_Think: The differential survival into the next generation is due to the superior adaptation to environment enabled by the better sight.

    What’s being discussed here is what this has to do with “natural selection”. Let’s have a look again:

    The better sight is offered by mutation — not natural selection.
    “Superior adaptation” is a deceptive description of what is nothing over and beyond sheer dumb luck — not natural selection.
    Lastly, there is no “selection”, there is only the elimination of normal birds due to lack of resources.

  34. 34
    Origenes says:

    Ellazimm: You seem to be intentionally misinterpreting what I am saying. I don’t understand why you focus on the bad variation that is culled and refuse to accept that the preserved, good variation (…)

    Natural selection (NS) does not preserve. All it does is eliminate stuff. What survives is untouched by NS. “Untouched” in every sense of the word. NS did not create the surviving organism.
    A deadly virus can be said to eliminate half of the population, but it doesn’t make sense to say that it “preserves” half of the population and it makes even less sense to say that it “creates” half of the population.

    Ellazimm: (…) and multiple rounds of selection/honing can introduce new morphologies.

    Nope. Elimination is never creative. Not a single round and not multiple rounds. Those new morphologies would also be there without the cull(s).
    Like EugeneS said: “novelty cannot be created by elimination.”

  35. 35
    ellazimm says:

    Origenes #34

    Natural selection (NS) does not preserve. All it does is eliminate stuff. What survives is untouched by NS.

    Incorrect. If a variation gives one genome’s expression an advantage then ‘natural selection’ will favour it. So the ‘good’ variation will be preserved. On average.

    “Untouched” in every sense of the word. NS did not create the surviving organism.

    It didn’t create it but it ‘preferred’ it. It filtered out the less fit.

    A deadly virus can be said to eliminate half of the population, but it doesn’t make sense to say that it “preserves” half of the population and it makes even less sense to say that it “creates” half of the population.

    So, you don’t like the words. The fact is that organisms that resist the virus are ‘selected’ in that they survive and pass on their fitness to another generation. The ‘creation’ part comes from multiple rounds of variation and selection.

    Nope. Elimination is never creative. Not a single round and not multiple rounds. Those new morphologies would also be there without the cull(s).

    Not necessarily. The culls focus the next round of variation.

    Like EugeneS said: “novelty cannot be created by elimination.”

    IT’S NOT JUST ELiMINATION THAT DOES THE CREATING!!

    I’m starting to think that you are being purposely obdurate.

    It’s not just elimination, it’s successive rounds of elimination and then new variation which is centred around the new genome ‘average’.

    Clearly there is something about that concept that you cannot grasp or refuse to acknowledge. It doesn’t make you right but it might mean it’s time for me to stop trying to explain it to you.

  36. 36
    ellazimm says:

    Origenes

    Breeders have been creating new varieties and breeds for thousands of year via a process of culling from successive rounds of naturally occurring variation. Their culling directs a line of descent towards the goal they are trying to achieve.

    Natural selection works in much the same way. There is no conscious goal or guiding hand so the process is slower. But you can’t say a breeder can’t develop new breeds via successive rounds of elimination.

    And, you can’t say that those variations would have arisen naturally either. In the wild wolves never became dogs. Dogs arose from lots and lots and lots of culling acting on lots and lots of successive randomly occurring variation.

  37. 37
    Andre says:

    Natural selection works like artificial selection? It chooses? Really? But not really….

    Natural selection sure acts like a Creator God doesn’t it? Or does it?

    So you believe nothing is responsible for everything? I see you have copious amounts of faith.

    I honestly think that you have a problem. You should go see someone.

  38. 38
    Origenes says:

    Ellazimm ,

    Origenes: NS did not create the surviving organism.

    ellazimm: It didn’t create it but it ‘preferred’ it. It filtered out the less fit.

    You are a victim of Darwin’s inappropriate use of reificational and teleological terms. NS neither “prefers” nor “filters”. Certain organisms don’t survive low temperatures. However it is inappropriate use of language to say that low temperatures “prefer” penguins, since low temperatures don’t have preferences.

    ellazimm:

    Origenes: A deadly virus can be said to eliminate half of the population, but it doesn’t make sense to say that it “preserves” half of the population and it makes even less sense to say that it “creates” half of the population.

    So, you don’t like the words. The fact is that organisms that resist the virus are ‘selected’ in that they survive and pass on their fitness to another generation.

    Not only do I not like the words, they are misleading as they suggest a positive causal relationship between the virus and the surviving half of the population.

    ellazimm: The ‘creation’ part comes from multiple rounds of variation and selection.

    Nope. Elimination is never creative. Not a single round and not multiple rounds. Those new morphologies would also be there without the cull(s).

    ellazimm: Not necessarily. The culls focus the next round of variation.

    Elimination of half the population “focusses” the next round of variation, but it does not in any way help find new morphologies. Elimination is simply not creative.

    Origenes: Like EugeneS said: “novelty cannot be created by elimination.”

    ellazimm: IT’S NOT JUST ELiMINATION THAT DOES THE CREATING!!

    The elimination has zero positive effect on the creating. What’s even worse, it continually removes acquired information.

    ellazimm: I’m starting to think that you are being purposely obdurate.
    It’s not just elimination, it’s successive rounds of elimination and then new variation which is centred around the new genome ‘average’.

    Neither one round of elimination nor successive rounds of elimination are creative.
    —–
    edit: Dogs exemplify loss of information and are therefor illustrative for the not creative nature of culling.

  39. 39
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: As I understand evolution, there is no “adaptation”.

    That is incorrect. Take a simple case, tallness. If tallness provides a reproductive advantage (think of eating tree leaves), then those variations within the population that entail tallness will become predominant. That is adaptation.

    Origenes: So kindly explain how you use the term “adaptation”, and explain the relationship between natural selection and adaptation.

    “An adaptation is a feature that is common in a population because it provides some improved function.”
    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/.....cle/evo_31

    Origenes: The cull destroys information and variety.

    Sure, but mutation and selection don’t work in isolation. Consider again tallness. Let’s take it very schematically: Tallness is distributed in a wide normal curve; some short, some tall, a few very short, a few very tall. Let’s cull the short and very short. Given some replacement reproduction, we again have a bell curve, but it is narrower and the mean is higher. During reproduction, some mutations occur. The bell curve spreads out, only at a higher mean tallness. If continued tallness is advantageous, this process will continue to increase the mean height of the population. If tallness is no longer an advantage (such as matching the height of the trees), then the final result will stabilize at the current tallness. Notice the accumulative nature of the process. If we take a picture over generations, it will look like the organism is growing taller. This is adaptation.

    EugeneS: Those are the causes of the dominance of a trait in the population. Natural selection is an effect in that case.

    That’s right. Natural selection is the result of competition due to fecundity and phenotypic variation. Natural selection can be considered as a mechanism, just like a machine can be considered a mechanism even though it is made up of other parts.

    Origenes: You seem to be arguing that destroying information multiple times in a row is better than a single round of information destruction and beats a blind search.

    It does, because it limits the search to only those areas of the fitness landscape that provide a reproductive advantage.

  40. 40
    ellazimm says:

    Origenes #38

    You are a victim of Darwin’s inappropriate use of reificational and teleological terms. NS neither “prefers” nor “filters”. Certain organisms don’t survive low temperatures. However it is inappropriate use of language to say that low temperatures “prefer” penguins, since low temperatures don’t have preferences.

    Fine, you don’t like the wording. But it’s always made clear that the process is unguided and targetless.

    Not only do I not like the words, they are misleading as they suggest a positive causal relationship between the virus and the surviving half of the population.

    Fine, but it’s always clear if you read about the science that there is no conscious choosing going on.

    Nope. Elimination is never creative. Not a single round and not multiple rounds. Those new morphologies would also be there without the cull(s).

    All the breeds of modern dogs point out the flaw in your argument. As do almost all the modern varieties of food plants we consume.

    Elimination of half the population “focusses” the next round of variation, but it does not in any way help find new morphologies. Elimination is simply not creative.

    The combination of sequential cull and variation, repeat creates the new morphologies. Just like it does with breeding programs.

    The elimination has zero positive effect on the creating. What’s even worse, it continually removes acquired information.

    Elimination ‘prefers’ certain varieties over others, in that sense it helps direct the evolutionary process. ‘Information’ might be lost but species grow and split and are created.

    Neither one round of elimination nor successive rounds of elimination are creative.

    No one says it’s just elimination. You can keep arguing against a strawman if you like but people will stop taking you seriously.

    Dogs exemplify loss of information and are therefor illustrative for the not creative nature of culling.

    What about the brassicas?

    Besides, how do you know dogs exemplify loss of information? Are you saying that ever single modern breed of dog is the result of culling from the thousand year old wolf genome? That dogs have no new genes from wolves? Are you really saying that?

    Lets take a look at whales. Their fossil record only extends back so far. Are you seriously suggesting that modern whales are the result of a loss of information from land dwelling creatures? Really?

    How about birds? If you go back far enough they didn’t exist. Are you seriously suggesting that they are the result of a loss of information? Some time, many moons ago, there was some uber-animal which had an immense genome and that all living things are culls from that? It must have been a fern since they have the largest genomes of all living things. Is that what you believe?

    (I suspect is here where you’re going to bring out your designer argument. An undetected, undefined, unobserved, not subject to experiment designer.)

    Seriously, I think you’re being led astray by some people with a religious agenda.

  41. 41
    Mung says:

    Both selection and genetic drift remove diversity from the population.

  42. 42
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Notice how evolutionary examples are often given in teleological terms like, “seeing better”. That points to a hierarchy of value. But in a mindless worldview, vision is not ‘better’ than non-sight. In fact, survival is not ‘better’ than extinction.

    Natural selection not only doesn’t create better sight, it doesn’t care or know what is better or worse anything. It doesn’t define what fitness is for any organism. That’s all driven by the environment.

    Selection doesn’t determine that “better” vision makes an organism more fit. What is the cost of improved vision? Energy, nutrition, neural complexity, confusion or distraction (seeing more than needed)? In that case, worse sight may make an organism more fit.

    With that, the process is random. Mutations are only beneficial with respect to the environment. The mutations occur randomly and the environmental conditions change on a random basis.

    The only non-random variable is the survival instinct which, it is assumed, moves all organisms in a direct line, at equal strength, towards survival. It is believed to be like water running down hill, which we can predict the path of because gravity is constant.

    But if the survival instinct evolved (evolution depends on it, so it couldn’t evolve from a non-existent precursor), then how did it end up with exactly the same intensity (desire to survive) in every organism?

    That’s something nobody talks about, but Darwin assumed it at the beginning and everybody just fell in line after. That’s Darwin’s theology at work. Supposedly, there are “advanced” organisms that do things “better” than bacteria. Supposedly also, all organisms “want to survive” with exactly the same intensity. How do we know that organisms do not simply give up the struggle for survival at some point?

    We see humans doing that. They not only don’t want to survive, they actively end their own lives in some cases and cut off life for progeny (as declining birth rates indicate).

    If so, then even the survival instinct is a random variable.

    This makes all the well-known mathematical calculations of the astronomically improbable nature of evolution quite correct.

  43. 43
    Silver Asiatic says:

    EugeneS @ 26. It is just as simple as that. Well stated!

  44. 44
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: The mutations occur randomly and the environmental conditions change on a random basis.

    While there are random elements to environmental change; overall, the environment is highly structured.

  45. 45
    Me_Think says:

    Origenes @ 33

    Lastly, there is no “selection”, there is only the elimination of normal birds due to lack of resources.

    Silver Asiatic @ 42

    Natural selection not only doesn’t create better sight, it doesn’t care or know what is better or worse anything. It doesn’t define what fitness is for any organism. That’s all driven by the environment.

    Origenes as SA says,
    Natural Selection is just the differential survival and reproduction due to differences in phenotype. Nature selects the birds with better eye sight due to differential survival in the local environment- that’s it. Nature obviously doesn’t know if sight is better! . What ever adapts better to local environment has better chance of surviving and dominating over the next few generations.
    There is no elimination – if the left over ‘normal’ birds develop some better phenotype then they will be selected over the next few generations. Nature doesn’t select like a ‘Designer’- it is not a decision-making process.

  46. 46
    ellazimm says:

    Mung #41

    Both selection and genetic drift remove diversity from the population.

    Are you sure about genetic drift?

    Random mutations introduce new diversity at every incident of reproduction.

    As I said to Origenes, it’s obvious that successive rounds of ‘selection’ and variation can introduce wide, permanent variation in body plans. Breeders have been do it for millennia.

    You are trying to take apart two separate aspects of evolution: selection and random variation. First you say that randomness rarely comes up with something viable or worthwhile. And then you say that culling takes away information and diversity. But you ignore what happens when the two are linked together over many generations.

    It’s like taking a three-legged stool, considering each leg on it’s own and deciding they’re all unstable but never looking at the whole picture. I can’t blame you for trying, what else have you got to use to attack the process?

  47. 47
    Origenes says:

    Ellazimm,

    Sifting through your rubble I would like to address the heart of the matter one more time.

    Ellazimm: The combination of sequential cull and variation, repeat creates the new morphologies. Just like it does with breeding programs.

    You remain unresponsive to my argument. I have argued that without the cull those new morphologies would also be created by mutations. IOWs all a cull does (and culls do) is restrict the number of new morphologies. Yet IOWs there is not a single new morphology that exists because of a cull or a series of culls.

    A general thought: limited resources implies that there is a cull. Limited resources and the ensuing cull constitute a negative principle which hampers evolution. Strangely Darwin tries to sell it as some positive force labeled “natural selection”.

    Let’s return to your dog example:

    Ellazimm: But you can’t say a breeder can’t develop new breeds via successive rounds of elimination.

    Yet that’s what I’m saying. Without elimination those new breeds would also be present. IOWs elimination did not contribute.

    Ellazimm: And, you can’t say that those variations would have arisen naturally either.

    I take it you mean “in the wild”. Well, the culls that exist in the wild would eliminate the chiwawa variation.

    Ellazimm: In the wild wolves never became dogs.

    Thanks to culls present in the wild. So, natural selection, as it exists in the wild, hampers the evolution of dogs.
    See?

    Ellazimm: Dogs arose from lots and lots and lots of culling acting on lots and lots of successive randomly occurring variation.

    Nope, dogs arose because natural selection, as it exists in the wild, was suspended.

  48. 48
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Z

    While there are random elements to environmental change; overall, the environment is highly structured.

    Some of the aspects of the environment include:

    Temperature changes
    Availability of water
    Terrestrial/Geological changes
    Food supply
    Number of existing competitors within species
    Number of new competitors arising through adaptation
    Number of predators outside of species
    Number of non-competitors that are obstacles to survival (more or less trees, for example)
    At the genetic level, the presence of new traits beneficial, neutral or negative continually changes the environment.
    Disease

    Most of that is highly random and non structured.

  49. 49
    ellazimm says:

    Origenes #47

    You remain unresponsive to my argument.

    Then you haven’t been paying attention.

    I have argued that without the cull those new morphologies would also be created by mutations. IOWs all a cull does (and culls do) is restrict the number of new morphologies. Yet IOWs there is not a single new morphology that exists because of a cull.

    And I say: that is not true. Dogs would not exist except for selective culling. Humans would probably not exist if the dinosaurs hadn’t been wiped out. Brussels sprouts . . . again, the result of successive culling.

    A general thought: limited resources implies that there is a cull. Limited resources and the ensuing cull constitute a negative principle which hampers evolution. Strangely Darwin tries to sell it as some positive force labeled “natural selection”.

    You continue to misunderstand (on purpose). It’s the combination of culls and new variation that creates.

    Yet that’s what I’m saying. Without elimination those new breeds would also be present. IOWs elimination did not contribute.

    But they wouldn’t! They didn’t arise naturally before men starting selective culling. AND, if you let dogs go feral they return to an ‘average’ state. You are arguing but you’re ignoring the data and the history.

    I take it you mean “in the wild”. Well, the culls that exist in the wild would eliminate the chiwawa variation.

    Clearly. And if you eliminated all culling (an impossibility since it would be impossible to provide an environment where all wolves were allowed to interbreed without lack of resources or living space) you STILL wouldn’t get all modern breeds of dogs due to interbreeding. It just doesn’t work that way.

    Thanks to culls present in the wild. So, natural selection, as it exists in the wild, hampers the evolution of dogs.
    See?

    Dogs would even exist without culling because they’d all still be wolves.

    You armchair arguers are pretty funny sometimes.

    Nope, dogs arose because natural selection, as it exists in the wild, was suspended.

    Un huh. And your academic support for that idea is what exactly?

    I get what you are doing. You are trying to knock out evolutionary theory one thread at a time in hopes that you can, eventually, sever the whole rope. But that won’t work. Especially when the knife you are using is dull and unfit for purpose.

  50. 50
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Origenes: “Nope. Elimination is never creative. Not a single round and not multiple rounds. Those new morphologies would also be there without the cull(s).”

    then how do explain Michelangelo’s David? It was created through an elimination process. Although, I guess it could be argued that he destroyed the rock.

  51. 51
    Zachriel says:

    Me_Think: Nature obviously doesn’t know if sight is better!

    It doesn’t have to think any more than a natural sieve has to think in order to sort.

    Origenes: You remain unresponsive to my argument. I have argued that without the cull those new morphologies would also be created by mutations.

    If every possible organism that could live lived, then life would encompass the sun in a few thousand years, and the galaxy in a few thousands years more. In the real world, though, there are restrictions on resources, including space.

    Origenes: limited resources implies that there is a cull. Limited resources and the ensuing cull constitute a negative principle which hampers evolution.

    Consider tallness @39.

    Origenes: So, natural selection, as it exists in the wild, hampers the evolution of dogs.

    The mutations that lead to dogs get weeded out in nature, but lead to successful reproduction when in the human environment. We have two broad lineages that diversify within their own niches.

    Silver Asiatic: Temperature changes

    Not random.

    Silver Asiatic: Availability of water

    Not random.

    Silver Asiatic: Food supply

    Not random.

    Silver Asiatic: Number of existing competitors within species

    Not random.

    Silver Asiatic: Number of new competitors arising through adaptation

    Not random.

    Silver Asiatic: Number of predators outside of species

    Not random.

    Silver Asiatic: Number of non-competitors that are obstacles to survival (more or less trees, for example)

    Not random.

    Silver Asiatic: Disease

    Not random.

    Silver Asiatic: At the genetic level, the presence of new traits beneficial, neutral or negative

    Random.

  52. 52
    Origenes says:

    Ellazimm,

    Ellazimm: In the wild wolves never became dogs.

    Thanks to culls present in the wild. So, natural selection, as it exists in the wild, hampers the evolution of dogs.
    See?

    Ellazimm: Dogs would even exist without culling because they’d all still be wolves.

    Nope. Because, natural selection, as it exists in the wild, hampers the evolution of dogs. Which illustrates the point I have been stressing all along: natural selection is not creative and only hampers evolution.

    Origenes: Dogs arose because natural selection, as it exists in the wild, was suspended.

    Ellazimm: Un huh. And your academic support for that idea is what exactly?

    Obviously, breeders create an artificial environment for dogs, where natural selection, as it exists in the wild, does not exist.

  53. 53
    ellazimm says:

    Origenes #52

    Thanks to culls present in the wild. So, natural selection, as it exists in the wild, hampers the evolution of dogs.
    See?

    Natural selection, as it exists in the wild, produced wolves in the first place!! Wolves didn’t just poof into existence, we share a common ancestor with them. What happened between the time of that common ancestor and the arrival of wolves was down to natural selection and some other processes acting on random variations.

    Nope. Because, natural selection, as it exists in the wild, hampers the evolution of dogs. Which illustrates the point I have been stressing all along: natural selection is not creative and only hampers evolution.

    Then where did wolves come from? Are they limited versions of some uber-animal from the deep and distant past? You never addressed that when I brought it up before. A bit too close to your designer notions which you’d rather not bring up?

    Obviously, breeders create an artificial environment for dogs, where natural selection, as it exists in the wild, does not exist.

    Human breeders (so called ‘artificial selection’) work in the same way as ‘natural selection’. Some members of a generation survive and the genetic line leans towards an outcome. Natural selection is much slower but it works. But you refuse to address my question of how you think wolves and whales and such came into existence. You might as well just bring out the designer claims and be done with it.

    Natural selection (helped) bring about all the diversity of life we see today. You won’t want to admit that ’cause you’ve staked your claim on ‘culling’ being a negative influence. Which means you’re probably a front loading believer or a tweaking designer believer. Which is it?

  54. 54
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    Origenes: As I understand evolution, there is no “adaptation”.

    Zachriel: That is incorrect. Take a simple case, tallness. If tallness provides a reproductive advantage (think of eating tree leaves), then those variations within the population that entail tallness will become predominant. That is adaptation.

    So “adaptation” is a change in composition of the population; merely a redistribution of what is already there. First there are only a few tall organisms, later there are many. It is not adaptation in the sense that a new adaptive feature is being introduced. OK.

    Zachriel:

    Origenes: So kindly explain how you use the term “adaptation”, and explain the relationship between natural selection and adaptation.

    see the Berkeley website.

    An adaptation is a feature that is common in a population because it provides some improved function.
    [Berkeley]

    Let me see … a new feature, produced by mutations, provides some improved function. It provides reproductive advantage and becomes common in a population. We call such a feature an “adapation”.
    Ok got it.

    Adaptations are well fitted to their function and are produced by natural selection.
    [Berkeley]

    Whaaat???

    Adaptations can take many forms: a behavior that allows better evasion of predators, a protein that functions better at body temperature, or an anatomical feature that allows the organism to access a valuable new resource — all of these might be adaptations. Many of the things that impress us most in nature are thought to be adaptations. [Berkeley]

    So the Berkeley site states that adaptations are produced by natural selection. For instance proteins, is said to be the product of natural selection. This is utter nonsense. Proteins are the product of mutations. Natural selection can only act on what is already there. Natural selection can redistribute the composition of the population but is not creative at the level of an organism.

  55. 55
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Z

    Silver Asiatic: At the genetic level, the presence of new traits beneficial, neutral or negative

    Zach: Random.

    The genetic environment is random. That’s where traits are selected and where evolution occurs – with random mutations in a randomized environment.

  56. 56
    Andre says:

    Our opponents sure are religious people. Nothing made and betters everything. NS does not choose no matter what. I am absolutely gobsmacked by the superstition on display here.

  57. 57
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: So the Berkeley site states that adaptations are produced by natural selection.

    They are referring to evolution by natural selection, which entails a source of novel variation.

    Silver Asiatic: The genetic environment is random.

    That is incorrect. The genetic environment is highly ordered, and represents billions of years of evolution. Mutations are random, however.

    Silver Asiatic: That’s where traits are selected and where evolution occurs – with random mutations in a randomized environment.

    No. Traits are selected by phenotype, not by genotype.

    The environment is not randomized by any means, but highly structured. For instance, if you receive a photon of solar energy from, let’s call it “up”, then it is likely that another photon will soon be forthcoming from “up”.

  58. 58
    GaryGaulin says:

    Andre:

    I am absolutely gobsmacked by the superstition on display here.

    Verse and music:
    Stevie Wonder – Superstition [Lyrics]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qf9Jh-_9hY

  59. 59
    Andre says:

    Zachriel….

    You really ought to stop the nonsense coming out of your orifice….. unstructured can not make itself structured. Disorder does not make its own order no matter how much time you give it. What is wrong with you?

  60. 60
    Andre says:

    The genetic environment is highly ordered, the environment is highly structured…. who tinkered with this stuff to make it so?

  61. 61
    Zachriel says:

    Andre: unstructured can not make itself structured.

    Nature is full of structures that constitute the biological environment. For instance, the Earth’s rotation results in a regular day and night pattern.

  62. 62
    GaryGaulin says:

    Andre:

    Disorder does not make its own order no matter how much time you give it.

    Self-assembly:
    https://sites.google.com/site/garysgaulin/home/NSTA2007.pdf

  63. 63
    Andre says:

    Zachriel

    What is wrong with you?

  64. 64
    Zachriel says:

    Andre,

    Are you claiming that sunlight is random? That is doesn’t have a regular cycle and direction?

  65. 65
    Andre says:

    Zachriel

    Are you claiming sunlight poofed itself into existence?

  66. 66
    Andre says:

    Gary

    Seriously?

    What came first the chicken or the egg?

  67. 67
    GaryGaulin says:

    The egg.

    Seriously.

  68. 68
    Andre says:

    The egg came first? Who laid it?

  69. 69
    Andre says:

    Gary

    The article teaches us nothing about self assembly. Want to know why? You are firstly using someone else’s materials and they already have pre self-assembly instructions. You are going to have to do better. Where is your own stuff that can self assemble?

  70. 70
    Zachriel says:

    Andre: Are you claiming sunlight poofed itself into existence?

    The question was whether the environment was randomized. Regardless of the source of order in the environment (sunlight appears to be the result of the collapse of a molecular cloud), the environment is not randomized.

  71. 71
    Andre says:

    Zachriel

    I know the universe is structured and ordered. Why are you trying to preach to the converted?

    What is wrong with you?

  72. 72
    GaryGaulin says:

    The egg came first? Who laid it?

    The non-chicken that came before the first chicken laid it.

  73. 73
    GaryGaulin says:

    Gary

    The article teaches us nothing about self assembly.

    You are either utterly delusional, or trolling.

    By the way: I wrote that classroom self-assembly demonstration.

  74. 74
    Zachriel says:

    Andre: I know the universe is structured and ordered.

    Glad you agree. Please explain it to Silver Asiatic.

  75. 75
    asauber says:

    “The non-chicken that came before the first chicken laid it.”

    The non-chicken that probably had all qualifying properties of a chicken, but wasn’t a chicken.

    Andrew

  76. 76
    GaryGaulin says:

    The sentence now only needs a “yet” on the end and it looks fine by me.

    Since the word “chicken” is a rather colloquial the first one might have been the first “jungle fowl” to have ever been called that name, just before being eaten.

  77. 77
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel:

    Origenes: So the Berkeley site states that adaptations are produced by natural selection.

    They are referring to evolution by natural selection, which entails a source of novel variation.

    Indeed. And the source of new traits and variation is random mutation — NOT natural selection. Jacques Monod was right when he wrote about evolutionary theory:

    Chance alone, is at the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, is at the very root of the stupendous edifice of creation.

    At Berkeley they don’t fancy that one bit and decided to lie about it. Here is the lie again:

    Adaptations are well fitted to their function and are produced by natural selection.
    [Berkeley]

    Amazing.

  78. 78
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: And the source of new traits and variation is random mutation — NOT natural selection.

    Just like chance movement of molecules alone reliably fills your lungs with air.

    Origenes: Adaptations are well fitted to their function and are produced by natural selection.

    They are referring to evolution by natural selection, which entails a source of novel variation.

  79. 79
    Mung says:

    Mung: Both selection and genetic drift remove diversity from the population.

    ellazimm: Are you sure about genetic drift?

    Absolutely.

  80. 80
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel: They [Berkeley] are referring to evolution by natural selection, which entails a source of novel variation.

    Evolution by natural selection only makes sense if “natural selection” is defined as incorporating variation (mutations). If that is what they have done at Berkeley, it is certainly not for clarity. It is for obfuscation.
    “Variation” and “natural selection” are widely regarded as distinct processes. See for instance a Google search for the text natural selection acting on variation

  81. 81
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Andre: I know the universe is structured and ordered.

    Zachriel: Glad you agree.

    Your agreement supports Intelligent Design and opposes materialism.

    A thing that is ordered, is ordered by something else.

    By definition, chaos cannot produce order. Order is part of the design of the universe.

  82. 82
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Zach

    The question was whether the environment was randomized.

    If you’re saying that the environment is ordered, then mutations, which shape and build the environment, are not random.

    I’m ok with that. An ordered environment is an indication of Intelligent Design.

    It’s good to have you on-board.

  83. 83
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Zach

    The environment is not randomized by any means, but highly structured. For instance, if you receive a photon of solar energy from, let’s call it “up”, then it is likely that another photon will soon be forthcoming from “up”.

    You can offer a much simpler and less ambiguous proof.
    Start from chaos; randomness. A random generator will do. Then display results when complex, specified order emerges from it.

  84. 84
    Steve says:

    Zachriels definition of natural selection is incorrect.

    What we do know is that natural selection is the last step in the process of organisms ‘maintaining’ their fitness.

    Here is the process that actually takes place:

    Fit organism > excess reproduction > variation > natural selection > fit organism.

    The cause is excess reproduction. The effect is maintaining fitness.

    So it is clear that natural selection is not a cause nor an effect. It is simply a component of a complete process organisms use to maintain their fitness.

    Darwinian memes regarding natural selection, increasing/decreasing fitness are a distraction away from what is really happening in the genome.

    Zachriel: “Natural selection is a cause or mechanism of adaptive evolution, the effect of fecundity and differential reproduction due to heritable differences.”

  85. 85
    Andre says:

    Gary

    No trolling. The materials you used was made and fine tuned by someone else, if you want to talk self assembly make your own materials.

  86. 86
    Andre says:

    Silver

    Sometimes I am 100% sure Zachriel is a ID supporter.

  87. 87
    Andre says:

    Gary you know we are going to invoke an infinite regress if the egg was first again who laid it? Or did it just poof into existence?

  88. 88
    GaryGaulin says:

    Molecular self-assembly qualifies as being a “poof into existence”.

    I wrote this too:
    http://originoflifeaquarium.blogspot.com/

  89. 89
    Steve says:

    Zachriel:It’s not the difficult. If taller makes one more fit, then those variations (existing or novel) that lead to greater tallness will become more prevalent in the population.

    This is another misconception from Zachriel. Variation in a population will contain mutations that will lead to BOTH taller and shorter outcomes. The one that becomes prevalent in the population simply reflects the environment condition at that time.

    This is why finch beaks increase and decrease in size depending on the environment. There is never any guesswork or chance factored in. The genome prepares for any contingency. The genome does not know which way the environment will go. As long as it has the variations that can both lead to larger OR smaller beaks, it need not predict, direct, have foresight of the environment.

    Hence, populations are not getting more or less fit. Rather they are maintaining fitness.

    Only a designed system can equip an organism in advance with the tools required to move to the next round of reproduction regardless what the environment does.

    A non-teleological system would fail quickly since truly random variation would most likely NOT consistently contain variations that would lead to both large or small beaks, tall or short necks.

    IOW, a non-teleological system would halt much faster than a teleological system (which ensures both contingencies are covered).

  90. 90
    Andre says:

    Gary

    The molecules have those properties because someone before you designed them to be like that. Like I said make your own materials and have them do self assembly then you will impress me, right now you are just pirating from someone else.

  91. 91
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: Evolution by natural selection only makes sense if “natural selection” is defined as incorporating variation (mutations).

    That’s what evolution by natural selection means.

    Origenes: “Variation” and “natural selection” are widely regarded as distinct processes.

    Usually, but not always, e.g. On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.

    Silver Asiatic: Your agreement supports Intelligent Design and opposes materialism.

    Your claim was that the environment was “highly random and non structured”. Have you changed your position?

    Silver Asiatic: If you’re saying that the environment is ordered, then mutations, which shape and build the environment, are not random.

    The evidence indicates that mutations are random with respect to fitness.

    Silver Asiatic: You can offer a much simpler and less ambiguous proof.

    It’s not a matter of “proof”, but evidence. The evidence clearly indicates that the environment is highly structured. For instance, large bodies of water are separated from other matter and collected in basins called “oceans”.

    Silver Asiatic: Variation in a population will contain mutations that will lead to BOTH taller and shorter outcomes.

    That is correct, but as the mean moves towards tallness, there will be fewer mutations that result in very short, and fewer still that are viable. That’s because changes accumulate.

  92. 92
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel.

    “The genetic environment is highly ordered”

    Organisms are not ordered, they are organized. There is a huge categorical difference between crystal lattice (order) and a string of material symbols to be interpreted by a processor (organization).

    Please stop posting nonsense. Read a book.

  93. 93
    EugeneS says:

    Andre,

    “Sometimes I am 100% sure Zachriel is a ID supporter.”

    I have that suspicion too. He posts sometimes such utter rubbish that I am now more inclined to believe he is doing it on purpose 😉

  94. 94
    EugeneS says:

    ID: complex function is caused by intelligence. Plenty of empirical warrant.

    Evolutionism: complex function is caused by chance+NS. Hardly any empirical support.

    For a start, natural selection reduces information, not increases it. It is negative (and passive, by the way). The real killer is where the function comes from, in the first place. Therefore Dawkins and the likes of him are obfuscating the truth: the real source of novelty in evolutionism is only chance.

    Empirical observations exist of adaptation effects that are characterised by loss of information (such as antibiotic resistance in unicellular organisms). Because they demonstrate really loss of information, they cannot be regarded as empirical support for Darwinian grand claims that all observed biological complexity is a result of a combination of chance and natural selection.

  95. 95
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Zach

    The evidence clearly indicates that the environment is highly structured. For instance, large bodies of water are separated from other matter and collected in basins called “oceans”.

    Science cannot distinguish between what is structured or not. You’re not citing any evidence, but one can argue that “water is not separated from other matter” since there is water in the atmosphere. Mutations are beneficial, neutral or negative with regards to fitness – so they are non-random, if one wants to think that way. It depends on how you want to communicate, or how you build your worldview. There is no empirical data that defines what “structure” or “random” means. Those are abstract, non-observable mental concepts.

    Within this thread itself we see Moran disagreeing with Dawkins about the extent of randomness in evolution. You merely add another layer of disagreement, thus illustrating how confused evolutionary science really is. Key promoters of evolution cannot agree among themselves on what the basics of the theory actually mean. They (as you) have no scientific basis for defining the terminology. That is entirely a philosophical exercise and there are no authoritative philosophical references anyone can provide for support.

    Since you haven’t defined your terms, whatever you’re saying can only be understood by you. Many theistic scientists (Stephen Barr for one) argue that nothing is random. Everything in the universe exhibits order, in that viewpoint. Others could argue that everything is random. Science can say nothing about it either way.

    So, your personal opinions are appreciated but, frankly, for me they’re unclear and ill-defined.

  96. 96
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: Organisms are not ordered, they are organized.

    Now you’re arguing semantics. The term order and organization overlap in their meanings. For instance, you can organize things by putting them in a certain order.

    You had claimed that “The genetic environment is random.” That is simply false. The genetic environment exhibits many kinds of order, including a close relationship to phenotype.

    EugeneS: For a start, natural selection reduces information, not increases it.

    However, there are novel sources of variation, which increase Shannon information.

    Let’s start with what we can agree on. You now agree —apparently — that the environment is not random. You seem to agree that the genetic environment is not random.

  97. 97
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Interesting Wikipedia article (with the typical evolutionary bias) on environmental variables in evolution …
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_in_Variable_Environment

    The second challenge is the seemingly random environmental events. Ruling out circadian or temporal cycles, such as daytime versus nighttime or the different seasons, many events in the environment are unpredictable, such as weather patterns, water salinity, and oxygen levels.

    The author mentions only three of “many” random environmental events, one of which (weather) Zach claimed was non-random.

    As said above, there is widespread confusion about what evolution is and how it supposedly works among the most prominent spokespersons of the same theory.

  98. 98
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: The author mentions only three of “many” random environmental events, one of which (weather) Zach claimed was non-random.

    We didn’t say the environment didn’t have random elements, but that the environment isn’t random. Those are not the same things. More specifically, weather isn’t random, but chaotic, and falls within various parameters depending on climate.

    You also obviously don’t understand the experiment.

    An organism that learns to modulate its behavior and gene expression based on temporal interrelationships between environmental factors possesses a competitive advantage of over other organisms that are unable to make such predictions.

    You can’t predict something if it is random.

    However, it turns out that certain environmental factors are coupled temporally. For example, an increase in water temperature is frequently correlated with an increase in water salinity. These relationships allow organisms to respond to specific environmental factors in a timely manner and thus increase their biological fitness.

    And even unpredictable changes are often coupled with other factors, allowing the organism to better respond to changes.

    The frequency of occurrence of environmental factors exists between two extremes: the completely periodic events and completely random events. Certain events, when viewed in isolation, appear completely random. However, then taken in conjunction with another event, these events can appear highly “predictable.”

  99. 99
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Zach

    Now you’re arguing semantics. The term order and organization overlap in their meanings. For instance, you can organize things by putting them in a certain order.

    As above, you’re arguing semantics. Notice how you just defined organization with your own personal opinion of what you think it is. You’ve done the same with “random” and “structured”. You described an ordered environmental feature – day following night. That’s “order”. You then use the same term “order” to define the genetic environment. The effect of various biological changes in the genome are “ordered” like day follows night. That confuses the concepts under discussion. Genetic changes (which modify the genetic environment) occur in ways that are considered (by some) to be random.

    Multiplying any function by a random variable gives, by definition, a random output.

    You had claimed that “The genetic environment is random.” That is simply false. The genetic environment exhibits many kinds of order, including a close relationship to phenotype.

    I can argue in favor of any side of this debate as long as the terms are undefined. Sure, it’s highly ordered. The movement of every molecule in the universe is ‘non-random’ since they move within certain limits. At the same time, even the rotation of the earth includes some unpredictability at a certain level.

  100. 100
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: Science cannot distinguish between what is structured or not.

    Huh?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_structure

    Silver Asiatic: You’re not citing any evidence, but one can argue that “water is not separated from other matter” since there is water in the atmosphere.

    Water is not randomly distributed on Earth, but highly concentrated into basins.

    Silver Asiatic: Mutations are beneficial, neutral or negative with regards to fitness – so they are non-random, if one wants to think that way.

    The evidence indicates that mutations are random with respect to fitness.

    Silver Asiatic: You described an ordered environmental feature – day following night. That’s “order”.

    That’s correct. More particularly, it’s non-random, contrary to the claim above that the environment is random.

    Silver Asiatic: You then use the same term “order” to define the genetic environment.

    The genetic environment exhibits many kinds of order.

    Silver Asiatic: Genetic changes (which modify the genetic environment) occur in ways that are considered (by some) to be random.

    Mutations are random changes to highly structured genomes.

    Silver Asiatic: Multiplying any function by a random variable gives, by definition, a random output.

    It’s not multiplication. Most mutations don’t even change the phenotype significantly.

  101. 101
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Zach

    We didn’t say the environment didn’t have random elements, but that the environment isn’t random. Those are not the same things.

    Again, more semantics. As I said, there’s no scientific evidence that can indicate that your opinion on what random means is correct.

    More specifically, weather isn’t random,

    You’re contradicting the Wikipedia author, so that’s clearly a problem here.

    You can’t predict something if it is random.

    No, that’s false. The very same event that is claimed to be random can also be predictable to a certain level of statistical confidence. It depends on what margin of error you want for your prediction.

    Depending on what you’re measuring and what error rate you accept, the genetic environment can be considered ordered or random.

    1+2+3+4 = 10 is highly ordered, not random.

    1+2+3+(random variable x) = y has some order. But it’s random.

    If x is a random positive integer, then it is more predictable than if x is positive or negative.

    The output is random in either case.

    ID is about origins. Either you’re starting with order or with chaos. If chaos, then all the specified functional complexity we see has to emerge from that starting point.
    If starting with order – then that’s teleological and design.

  102. 102
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Zach

    Silver Asiatic: Science cannot distinguish between what is structured or not.

    Huh?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_structure

    That article offered no empirical evidence of what structure is and therefore it cannot show that crystals meet the standard of what is correctly meant by “structured” or give evidence of what is “non-structured”.
    Every element in the universe is highly structured.

  103. 103
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: As I said, there’s no scientific evidence that can indicate that your opinion on what random means is correct.

    We’re using the standard definition of random.

    Silver Asiatic: You’re contradicting the Wikipedia author, so that’s clearly a problem here.

    With your reading ability. From the article:

    The second challenge is the seemingly random environmental events.

    Notice the qualifier.

    The frequency of occurrence of environmental factors exists between two extremes: the completely periodic events and completely random events. Certain events, when viewed in isolation, appear completely random. However, then taken in conjunction with another event, these events can appear highly “predictable.”

    Again, notice the qualifier. They are specifically referring to the organism being able to make predictions based on correlations between various environmental factors.

    The very same event that is claimed to be random can also be predictable to a certain level of statistical confidence.

    In statistics, a random variable is an assignment of a numerical value to each possible outcome of an event space. When someone says the environment is random, that means there is no predictable outcome. If you want to say there are unpredictable elements to the environment, then sure. Tornadoes are essentially random from the vantage of an animal roaming the plains. However, the diurnal cycle is not random, and while rainfall is chaotic, there is enough regularity that you can count on some rain every year.

  104. 104
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: That article offered no empirical evidence of what structure is and therefore it cannot show that crystals meet the standard of what is correctly meant by “structured” or give evidence of what is “non-structured”.

    structure, the arrangement of and relations between the parts or elements of something complex. “flint is extremely hard, like diamond, which has a similar structure”
    http://www.oxforddictionaries....../structure

    Seriously. You’re arguing that crystal structure is not an example of structure. You seem to enjoy playing semantics. Not sure the point.

  105. 105
    wd400 says:

    Hence, populations are not getting more or less fit. Rather they are maintaining fitness.

    Steve, in a thread full of strange misunderstandings this might be the strangest. Consider a an allele “p” in a population with frequency 0.05 and phenotype such that “p/p” homozygotes have fitness 1, wild type homozygotes have fitness 0.9 and heterozygotes are exactly intermediate.

    In this population much less that one percent of the population has the most fit genotype, and the mean fitness is around 0.9. But after ten generations the expected frequency of “p” is ~0.81, about 65% of the population have the most fit genotype and the mean fitness is ~0.98.

    Do you really claim this population has not increased its fitness?

  106. 106
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel.

    Read a book.

  107. 107
    EugeneS says:

    Silver Asiatic

    Order vs chaos is a false dichotomy. This is evolutionistic pet toy. Function is organization i.e. a totally different concept.

  108. 108
    Silver Asiatic says:

    EugeneS

    Understood. I think function is a better term than either order or organization, since there’s no agreed-upon definition for the latter two. Specified complex function is even better, as I see it.

    This thread illustrates quite well that much of evolutionary thinking is just word games. Natural selection, evolution, fitness, random, non-random, order, species … the list goes on. They’re ambiguous terms used in manipulative ways.

  109. 109
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: Read a book.

    The Aeneid by Virgil: “I sing of arms and of the man who of old from the coasts of Troy came, an exile of fate”

    EugeneS: Order vs chaos is a false dichotomy.

    True. Many chaotic systems also exhibit order, such as storm complexes.

  110. 110
    Phinehas says:

    But they wouldn’t! They didn’t arise naturally before men starting selective culling.

    I thought they did it by selective breeding. If you breed selectively, then you will get something new without regard to what dies when.

  111. 111
    Origenes says:

    Ellazimm:

    Origenes: Dogs exemplify loss of information and are therefor illustrative for the not creative nature of culling.

    (…) how do you know dogs exemplify loss of information? Are you saying that ever single modern breed of dog is the result of culling from the thousand year old wolf genome? That dogs have no new genes from wolves? Are you really saying that?

    Yes. Really. I am really saying that.

    Excerpt: In his latest book, geneticist Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig of the Max Planck Institutes in Germany takes on the widespread view that dog breeds prove macroevolution. … He shows in great detail that the incredible variety of dog breeds, going back in origin several thousand years ago but especially to the last few centuries, represents no increase in information but rather a decrease or loss of function on the genetic and anatomical levels.

    “Dr. Lönnig shows forcefully that one of the chief examples Darwinists rely on to convince the public of macroevolution — the enormous variation in dogs — actually shows the opposite. Extremes in size and anatomy come at the cost of broken genes and poor health. Even several gene duplications were found to interfere strongly with normal growth and development as is also often the case in humans. So where is the evidence for Darwinian evolution now?
    The science here is indeed solid. Intriguingly, Lönnig’s prediction from 2013 on starch digestion in wolves has already been confirmed in a study published this year. … ”
    [Behe]

    link

  112. 112
    Me_Think says:

    Origenes @ 111
    What do you expect from a person who included this as hypothesis in a journal ? :

    Hypothesis C: The ICS is a result of intelligent design, and appeared independently irrespective of phylogeny

    Note: ICS is inverted calyx syndrome
    He is part of Euro-ID creationism movement. He was also on the editorial board of Biocomplexity. For more such ‘novel’ interpretation check out the German website
    http://www.evolutionslehrbuch.info/
    I understand that we should address the arguments of the person, but what you quote is equivalent to quoting Mapou on physics :-). I mean, who can you argue against their ‘profound’ knowledge ?

  113. 113
    Querius says:

    EugeneS,

    “Sometimes I am 100% sure Zachriel is a ID supporter.”

    I have that suspicion too. He posts sometimes such utter rubbish that I am now more inclined to believe he is doing it on purpose ????

    How deviously clever! So Z subtly lures WD400 and others off into dangerous territory for some perverse pleasure, and then advances rubbish arguments to make them look silly by association.

    Some people are way too smart. Plus Z never breaks character. I’m amazed!

    Thanks for pointing this out–I fell for it too. 😉

    -Q

  114. 114
    ellazimm says:

    Origenes #111

    Yes. Really. I am really saying that.

    Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig is a loon. I’ve heard him interviewed on ID: The Future. I wouldn’t base your beliefs on his work. Which has not been peer-reviewed. That means other people in his field have not had a chance to look it over and offer criticisms pre-publication. Are you a geneticist? Can you fairly evaluate his work? Or are you just agreeing with him because he supports a view you already hold?

    Following that logic you must think that all life forms are pared-down versions of some ancient genome. But you won’t make that commitment explicitly. I can’t blame you for that as there are clear problems with such a belief. Modern genome sizes are one issue. Also a massive genome which combines all the genetic diversity we see today would be for what kind of creature? A plantimal? I don’t think you’ve really thought this through.

  115. 115
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ, loon is a dismissive personal insult not the addressing of an argument on merits. I suspect also that a fellow of the Max Planck Institute would have a significant number of peer reviewd articles for what that is worth. The issue however is not the appeal to authority of a hidden magisterium, but the substantial matter. And if we see people on your side failing to police a refusal to recognise a material distinction between low information order, randomness and functionally specific, information rich functional organisation — now abundantly discussed in peer reviewed materials per Abel, Trevors et al — then that itself tells us in a back handed way just how strong the case is. Scorched earth rhetorical tactics are a sign of a desperate retreat, just as say the Russians did in the face of the advancing panzers in 1941. KF

  116. 116
    EugeneS says:

    Kairosfocus,

    I haven’t seen your comments here for a long time. Actually, I was going to ask a favour of you. Could you point me to a citation from Aristotle drawing an analogy between art and life. I seem to remember you using it.

    Many Thanks.

  117. 117
    EugeneS says:

    Silver #108

    Handshake! And Zachriel, of all people here, accusing others of playing word games. It is hilarious 😉

  118. 118
    Andre says:

    I think the good Doctor is an expert in his field, me thinks Ellazimm is a weasel…..

    http://www.amazon.com/Unser-Ha.....3956451082

  119. 119
    Me_Think says:

    Andre @ 118
    He worked at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research until 2008. He was such an embarrassment to Max Planck that it had to removed his publication list:
    http://www.mpipz.mpg.de/~loennig/literatur.html
    He surreptitiously ran personal homepage on Max Planck server to give credibility to his research

  120. 120
    ellazimm says:

    KF #115

    loon is a dismissive personal insult not the addressing of an argument on merits

    Interesting that you call me on this one, small incident whereas no one has been calling Mapou on much, much worse things. It’s your site so you can have a double standard if you wish.

    I suspect also that a fellow of the Max Planck Institute would have a significant number of peer reviewd articles for what that is worth.

    As Me_Think has pointed out already, his background is far from respectable.

    The issue however is not the appeal to authority of a hidden magisterium, but the substantial matter. And if we see people on your side failing to police a refusal to recognise a material distinction between low information order, randomness and functionally specific, information rich functional organisation — now abundantly discussed in peer reviewed materials per Abel, Trevors et al — then that itself tells us in a back handed way just how strong the case is.

    We disagree with you and we’re failing to police a refusal to accept your view?

    Scorched earth rhetorical tactics are a sign of a desperate retreat, just as say the Russians did in the face of the advancing panzers in 1941.

    Again, you’ve failed to ‘police’ similar tactics perpetrated on UD in the last few days. Secondly, just calling one person’s qualifications into question is NOT scorched earth rhetoric. I know you find it difficult to understand why some intelligent people disagree with you but quite a few do. That doesn’t excuse your use of a very crude and divisive metaphor.

    By the way, the recent comments sidebar on the home page is not updating. You might want to fix that.

  121. 121
    Steve says:

    WD400,

    I think the misunderstanding is on your part in not recognizing the fact that your asserting a population is increasing its fitness is to state the obvious.

    To be blunt, its one of those ‘no shit shirlock’ moments.

    An organism has to be constantly changing its allele frequency in order to stay viable. So there will always be an increase in a particular allele over another allele.

    It couldn’t be any other way. So what is the point of stating that a population is increasing its fitness? If it didnt increase its fitness, the population would not exist.

    IOW, a constantly increasing fitness is equal to no change in fitness.

    Organisms are always fit precisely because they continually shuffle their allele frequency to be ready for any change in environmental conditions.

    Steve, in a thread full of strange misunderstandings this might be the strangest. Consider a an allele “p” in a population with frequency 0.05 and phenotype such that “p/p” homozygotes have fitness 1, wild type homozygotes have fitness 0.9 and heterozygotes are exactly intermediate.

    In this population much less that one percent of the population has the most fit genotype, and the mean fitness is around 0.9. But after ten generations the expected frequency of “p” is ~0.81, about 65% of the population have the most fit genotype and the mean fitness is ~0.98.

    Do you really claim this population has not increased its fitness?

  122. 122
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF: “Scorched earth rhetorical tactics are a sign of a desperate retreat, just as say the Russians did in the face of the advancing panzers in 1941. KF”

    Based on your statement, Mapou’s antics must be a confirmation that ID is in full retreat.

  123. 123
    kairosfocus says:

    IE, Mapou speaks for himself and sees to have gone off rails recently. I have been too busy to watch and look closely but noticed something seems wrong. KF

  124. 124
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: A fellow of Max Planck will have had a long string of publications in the peer reviewed literature whatever debates or disagreements may have happened onward. Dismissing such a person as an unpublished loon is utterly inappropriate. KF

  125. 125
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ,

    again, it is quite plain that there is a distinction between say — WLOG — orderly and periodic, random and complex, specified strings, with extensions to 3-d structures.

    That goes back to Orgel, but can be seen in a simple case, as has been commonly put into ID literature since TMLO by Thaxton et al in 1984:

    RSC:rglercg ddkfow4o ayqgjtdirvmkcay7pycnire3uy

    OSC: SDSDSDSDSDSDSDSDSDSDSDSDSD

    FSC: This is a functionally specific, organised string of glyphs in English text coded for by use of ASCII codes or the like

    If you profess not to know the difference between the three, then that simply exposes the refusal to face patent facts.

    Here is Orgel, 1973:

    . . . In brief, living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity . . . .

    [HT, Mung, fr. p. 190 & 196:] These vague idea can be made more precise by introducing the idea of information. Roughly speaking, the information content of a structure is the minimum number of instructions needed to specify the structure. [–> this is of course equivalent to the string of yes/no questions required to specify the relevant “wiring diagram” for the set of functional states, T, in the much larger space of possible clumped or scattered configurations, W, as Dembski would go on to define in NFL in 2002, also cf here, here and here (with here on self-moved agents as designing causes).] One can see intuitively that many instructions are needed to specify a complex structure. [–> so if the q’s to be answered are Y/N, the chain length is an information measure that indicates complexity in bits . . . ] On the other hand a simple repeating structure can be specified in rather few instructions. [–> do once and repeat over and over in a loop . . . ] Complex but random structures, by definition, need hardly be specified at all . . . . Paley was right to emphasize the need for special explanations of the existence of objects with high information content, for they cannot be formed in nonevolutionary, inorganic processes. [The Origins of Life (John Wiley, 1973), p. 189, p. 190, p. 196. Of course, that immediately highlights OOL, where the required self-replicating entity is part of what has to be explained (cf. Paley here), a notorious conundrum for advocates of evolutionary materialism; one, that has led to mutual ruin documented by Shapiro and Orgel between metabolism first and genes first schools of thought, cf here. Behe would go on to point out that irreducibly complex structures are not credibly formed by incremental evolutionary processes and Menuge et al would bring up serious issues for the suggested exaptation alternative, cf. his challenges C1 – 5 in the just linked. Finally, Dembski highlights that CSI comes in deeply isolated islands T in much larger configuration spaces W, for biological systems functional islands. That puts up serious questions for origin of dozens of body plans reasonably requiring some 10 – 100+ mn bases of fresh genetic information to account for cell types, tissues, organs and multiple coherently integrated systems. Wicken’s remarks a few years later as already were cited now take on fuller force in light of the further points from Orgel at pp. 190 and 196 . . . ]

    That is the baseline from which all of this comes.

    The question now on the table for you is can you face patent facts, and — like onto it — are you willing to hold your fellow design objectors accountable to such patent facts?

    KF

  126. 126
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Selensky,

    Are you thinking of the reference in Plato to nature vs art, in The Laws, Bk X?

    If so, here is what I have:

    Ath. . . . we have . . . lighted on a strange doctrine.
    Cle. What doctrine do you mean?
    Ath. The wisest of all doctrines, in the opinion of many.
    Cle. I wish that you would speak plainer.
    Ath. The doctrine that all things do become, have become, and will become, some by nature, some by art, and some by chance.
    Cle. Is not that true?
    Ath. Well, philosophers are probably right; at any rate we may as well follow in their track, and examine what is the meaning of them and their disciples.
    Cle. By all means.

    Ath. They say that the greatest and fairest things are the work of nature and of chance, the lesser of art, which, receiving from nature the greater and primeval creations, moulds and fashions all those lesser works which are generally termed artificial . . . . . fire and water, and earth and air, all exist by nature and chance . . . The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them . . . After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only . . . . Nearly all of them, my friends, seem to be ignorant of the nature and power of the soul [i.e. mind], especially in what relates to her origin: they do not know that she is among the first of things, and before all bodies, and is the chief author of their changes and transpositions. And if this is true, and if the soul is older than the body, must not the things which are of the soul’s kindred be of necessity prior to those which appertain to the body? . . . . if the soul turn out to be the primeval element, and not fire or air, then in the truest sense and beyond other things the soul may be said to exist by nature; and this would be true if you proved that the soul is older than the body, but not otherwise.

    Could this be it?

    KF

  127. 127
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Thaxton et al in TMLO, 1984:

    1. [Class 1:] An ordered (periodic) and therefore specified arrangement:
    THE END THE END THE END THE END

    Example: Nylon, or a crystal . . . .

    2. [Class 2:] A complex (aperiodic) unspecified arrangement:
    AGDCBFE GBCAFED ACEDFBG

    Example: Random polymers (polypeptides).

    3. [Class 3:] A complex (aperiodic) specified arrangement:
    THIS SEQUENCE OF LETTERS CONTAINS A MESSAGE!

    Example: DNA, protein.

    So, there is no excuse for setting up strawman caricatures.

    KF

  128. 128
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF
    Thanks for offering a good example of how key distinctions are blurred and terminology is misused.

    RSC:rglercg ddkfow4o ayqgjtdirvmkcay7pycnire3uy

    OSC: SDSDSDSDSDSDSDSDSDSDSDSDSD

    FSC: This is a functionally specific, organised string of glyphs in English text coded for by use of ASCII codes or the like

    In the first example, Random Specified Complexity — through a manipulation of terminology and disguise, this is claimed as “Highly Structured”.

    Of course, it is “structured” even “ordered” if you want to play that game.

    Converting all terms to numerics, you can derive a range, mean, medium and plot the results and run a line through them. In the end, this is claimed to be “non-random” and a basis for prediction.

    So, Non-Random (a term that applies to every molecule in the universe if you want, since all have similar/predictable composition and movement) — is exaggerated to mean “Ordered”. Then Ordered is extrapolated out as “Structured”. From Structured, the distinction is blurred so it is equivalent to “Functional Specific Complexity”.

    Or at least, when we require examples of FSC, we hear the claim that we’re ‘moving the goalposts’.

    The process is the same with the most trivial adaptation one can observe in bacteria. That is extrapolated as clear evidence for the mechanism that produced all of the diversity of life on earth.

    It’s like saying that this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men's_high_jump_world_record_progression is clear evidence that natural selection is enabling humans to fly.

  129. 129
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: My clip from Trevors and Abel on OSC, RSC, FSC in my always linked background note: http://www.angelfire.com/pro/k......htm#orfsc KF

    PS: The paper: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g.....id=1208958 (onwards, in 2007, Durston et al provided a metric)

    PPS: For clarity the discussion was on orderly, random and functional sequence complexity. As any 3-d structure can in principle be described by a string of y/n q’s in a description language, discussion on strings is WLOG. Something I have pointed out for years and years. I get the feeling that polarisation in the penumbra of attack sites based on strawman caricatures has led to confusion and to ears closed to what we actually have to say so there is a loss of sense of duty of care to fairness, accuracy and truth. It is high time this stopped. In the wider circles, the Wikipedia article on ID has long been an open shame, an example of a willful hostile distortion presented in hopes of it being perceived as true. A hatchet job and proof of Wiki’s blatant lack of credibility and balance when addressing matters that are not aligned with the evolutionary materialist secularist statist agenda.

  130. 130
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Is this the thread where Mapou has been most aggressively fulminating recently? KF

  131. 131
    Zachriel says:

    Ellazimm: Are you saying that ever single modern breed of dog is the result of culling from the thousand year old wolf genome? That dogs have no new genes from wolves? Are you really saying that?

    Origenes: Yes. Really. I am really saying that.

    That’s something that can be tested — has been tested. It’s called the Dog Genome Project. The dog genome shows the signs of a complex evolutionary history. One finding is that all dog breeds are more closely related to one another than to wolves. Another finding is that dogs crossbred with wolves later in history.

    In any case, your claim is false. The dog genome has many features not found in wolves.

  132. 132
    Aleta says:

    re 130: see http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-601832 starting about comment 43.

  133. 133
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes,

    Take dog coats, for instance. Three genes have been identified, RSPO2, FGF5 & KRT71 that work in combination. Mutations to these genes, mutations not found in wolves, result in coats that are wiry, curly, long, or have furnishings (moustaches and eyebrows). (Short is the ancestral wolf condition.)
    http://www.bio.davidson.edu/co.....g3-Dog.png

  134. 134
    Mung says:

    Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig brings up to me what appears to be a very valid point.

    Randomness in Natural Selection

  135. 135
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Mung @ 134

    That was an excellent response from W-E L.

    Dawkins tries to claim that selection is the cause of innovated traits in the population and that evolution is non-random because the fittest, supposedly, are necessarily selected.

    He just ignores the “… never-ending changes of various environmental parameters … Hiding places of predator and prey, the distances between them, local differences of biotopes and geographical circumstances, weather conditions and microclimates [which] all belong to the repertoire of infinitely varying parameters. ”

    That kind of randomness can’t even be successfully modeled in the present day, much less for the distant past.

    Other evolutionists (I think I’ve heard of one, somewhere) simply claim that the environment is not “infinitely varying” with “never ending changes” but it’s actually highly ordered, structured and predictable, just like day following night. 🙂

    Others, I imagine, will counter W-EL’s detailed and substantial argument by investigating his on-line academic profile.

  136. 136
    EugeneS says:

    KF,

    Many Thanks.

  137. 137
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: Randomness in Natural Selection

    Population genetics deals with that problem. In a diploid population, if a trait results in an increase in the *average* number of fertile progeny of s, then the chance of fixation is 2s. The race is not always to the swift, but time and chance happens to all.

  138. 138
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: Other evolutionists (I think I’ve heard of one, somewhere) simply claim that the environment is not “infinitely varying” with “never ending changes” but it’s actually {has many aspects that are} highly ordered, structured and predictable, just like {for example}, day following night.

    Fixed it for you. You’re welcome.

  139. 139
    wd400 says:

    Steve

    IOW, a constantly increasing fitness is equal to no change in fitness.

    If you have to same something this stupid to maintain your original claim maybe it’s time to change you claim?

  140. 140
    ellazimm says:

    KF #125

    The question now on the table for you is can you face patent facts, and — like onto it — are you willing to hold your fellow design objectors accountable to such patent facts?

    You’re asking me to insist that others who disagree with you should agree with you? Considering the comment of mine you are replying to, are they slandering you by disagreeing? Are they threatening you? Are they even calling you names? Not that I’ve noticed on this thread. And on this blog on a whole I’d say the abusive behaviour is much more likely to have come from ID supporters like Joe and Mapou and Barry. Remember when Dr Dembski posted a rude video of famous evolutionists farting? You yourself frequently use Nazi-themed metaphors to refer to your adversaries.

    I’m happy to call people on abusive and inappropriate behaviour but there is no way I’m going to tell anyone else how to think. How can you possibly think that Mapou’s behaviour is in any way analogous to our disagreement over the interpretation of genomic data?

  141. 141
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Steve

    IOW, a constantly increasing fitness is equal to no change in fitness.

    That is a great insight. It requires some thought.

    It’s good you didn’t elaborate.

  142. 142
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel: The dog genome has many features not found in wolves.

    In the dog genome reductions and losses of functions of genes are found that are not found in wolves. If that’s what you are getting at, then we are in agreement.

    Zachriel: Take dog coats, for instance. Three genes have been identified, RSPO2, FGF5 & KRT71 that work in combination. Mutations to these genes, mutations not found in wolves, (…)

    To be clear, those genes are found in wolves but certain mutations in those genes are not found in wolves. Got it.

    Zachriel: (…) result in coats that are wiry, curly, long, or have furnishings (moustaches and eyebrows). (Short is the ancestral wolf condition.)

    Loennig explains in his manuscript that the RSPO2 mutation found in dogs is a ‘167-bp deletion’. Lönnig: “Der entscheidenede Punkt ist, dass es sich – gemessen am Wildtyp – um eine Deletion handelt (…).“
    Second the FGF5 mutation found in dogs is a highly conserved Cys changed to Phe (Cys95–>Phe) in exon 1 of FGF5. Loennig remarks: “Highly conserved heißt hoch funktionell und normalerweise notwendig (…)“ — Highly conserved means highly functional and normally necessary. IOWs a degenerative mutation.
    Lastly the KRT71 mutation found in dogs (associated with curly fur) is a coding SNP (single-nucleotide substitutions of one base for another). Again we witness degeneration of a highly conserved (1A) region. Several related health problems have been studied — see p. 90

    [Paragraph 9.10 “Haarformen des Haushunds” (p.86-91);
    Unser Haushund: Eine Spitzmaus im Wolfspelz? – Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig.]

  143. 143
    ellazimm says:

    Origenes

    So, given your view, where did the wolf genome come from?

    And, by extension, was there some ‘first’ creature from which all modern life forms descend? What kind of critter would that have been? Did plants come from the same ‘root’? Is there fossil evidence of this ultimate ancestor?

  144. 144
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: those genes are found in wolves but certain mutations in those genes are not found in wolves.

    That’s right. They are new information not found in the wolf genome.

    Origenes: Loennig explains in his manuscript that the RSPO2 mutation found in dogs is a ‘167-bp deletion’.

    No. It’s a 167-bp *insertion*. See Cadieu et al., Coat Variation in the Domestic Dog Is Governed by Variants in Three Genes, Science 2010: “Only an insertion of 167 base pairs (bp) within the 3’UTR at position 11,634,766 was perfectly associated with the furnishings trait in dogs from both the case/control study and the extended pedigree.”

    Origenes: Lastly the KRT71 mutation found in dogs (associated with curly fur) is a coding SNP (single-nucleotide substitutions of one base for another).

    Yes, and therefore represents new information in the dog genome.

    Origenes: Again we witness degeneration of a highly conserved (1A) region. Several related health problems have been studied

    The R151W mutation that causes curly hair in dogs does not result in health problems.

  145. 145
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    Origenes: those genes are found in wolves but certain mutations in those genes are not found in wolves.

    Zachriel: That’s right. They are new information not found in the wolf genome.

    Nope. It is degeneration, reductions and losses of functions of genes.

    Origenes: Loennig explains in his manuscript that the RSPO2 mutation found in dogs is a ‘167-bp deletion’.

    Zachriel: No. It’s a 167-bp *insertion*. See Cadieu et al., Coat Variation in the Domestic Dog Is Governed by Variants in Three Genes, Science 2010.

    Funny that you cite this paper.
    Lönnnig comments on that paper: “Die Autoren sprechen hier im Text der Originalarbeit einmal von “insertion” und zur Erklärung ihrer Fig. 1 (p. 151) von einer “deletion” (“A 167-bp deletion, indicated by the small red rectangle, is located within all three haplotypes in the 3’UTR of the RSPO2 gene.”) und nennen das Rechteck indel (insertion/deletion).
    Im Review sprechen sie jedoch nur von einer Deletion und im Supporting Online Material158 lesen wir: “Only the deletion at position 11 634 766 is perfectly associated with the dominant phenotype.” Der entscheidenede Punkt ist, dass es sich – gemessen am Wildtyp – um eine Deletion handelt (…).“

    [my translation]
    The authors use the term „insertion” only one time in the main text and use the term “deletion” in the explanation of Fig. 1 (p.151) “(“A 167-bp deletion, indicated by the small red rectangle, is located within all three haplotypes in the 3’UTR of the RSPO2 gene.”) and use the term rectangle indel (insertion/deletion).
    However in the review the authors use the term deletion and in the supporting online material we read: ”Only the deletion at position 11 634 766 is perfectly associated with the dominant phenotype.” The crucial point is that it is — relative to the wild type — about a deletion (…)

    Origenes: Again we witness degeneration of a highly conserved (1A) region. Several related health problems have been studied

    Zachriel: The R151W mutation that causes curly hair in dogs does not result in health problems.

    There may be some health problems related to keratin.

    Mouse/human: “A number of independent spontaneous mutations in this gene result in a similar dominant phenotype, with curved vibrissae and wavy hair. ENU mutants have also been characterized for abnormalities of keratinization in the inner root sheath of the hair follicle, including one recessive allele” (http://www.informatics.jax.org/marker/MGI:1861586).
    Dog: “R151W occurs within the highly conserved 1A region of the keratin alpha-helical rod domain, which is important for keratin dimerization (Hatzfeld and Weber, 1990) and which is a frequent site for curly/wavy coat mutations in other species” [several references] (Kaelin and Barsh 2012, p. 75). It seems to be more complex (related is the discovery of a “keratin cluster distinct from KRT71 cluster” – Kaelin and Barsh).
    [Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig. p. 90]

    [my translation]

  146. 146
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: It is degeneration, reductions and losses of functions of genes.

    You can attach your label, but doesn’t make the label appropriate. The gene does everything it’s supposed to do, and, depending on the particular mutations, also adds variety to the population. More variety means more information.

    Origenes: (“A 167-bp deletion, indicated by the small red rectangle, is located within all three haplotypes in the 3’UTR of the RSPO2 gene.”)

    The deletion refers to the ancestral state.

    All exons and conserved regions of RSPO2 were sequenced in dogs from seven breeds (table S4). Only an insertion of 167 base pairs (bp) within the 3’UTR at position 11,634,766 was perfectly associated with the furnishings trait in dogs from both the case/control study and the extended pedigree (table S5). The result was further confirmed in a set of 704 dogs of varying phenotypes. In total, 297 of 298 dogs with furnishings were either homozygous (268) or heterozygous (29) for the insertion, and all 406 dogs lacking the trait were homozygous for the ancestral state, as is consistent with a dominant mode of inheritance (table S1).

    Insertion is mentioned repeatedly throughout the text in relation to furnishing.

    Origenes: There may be some health problems related to keratin.

    Sure, but the specific mutation involved is not the trigger, as evidenced by health curly-haired dogs.

  147. 147
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    Origenes: It is degeneration, reductions and losses of functions of genes.

    Zachriel: You can attach your label, but doesn’t make the label appropriate. The gene does everything it’s supposed to do, and, depending on the particular mutations, also adds variety to the population.

    What is it that a gene is “supposed to do”? It’s hard to envision when it comes in handy to have long fluffy wire hair completely covering one’s eyes.

    Zachriel: The deletion refers to the ancestral state.

    Yes, a 167-bp deletion at the 3′ end of the R-spondin-2 (RSPO2) gene is strongly associated with wire hair and furnishings, the latter being the moustache and eyebrows characteristically seen, for instance, in the schnauzer.

    Origenes: There may be some health problems related to keratin.

    Zachriel: Sure, but the specific mutation involved is not the trigger, as evidenced by health curly-haired dogs.

    Dogs have numerous health problems compared to wolves.

  148. 148
    Me_Think says:

    Origenes @ 147

    Yes, a 167-bp deletion at the 3? end of the R-spondin-2 (RSPO2) gene is strongly associated with wire hair and furnishings, the latter being the moustache and eyebrows characteristically seen, for instance, in the schnauzer.

    one 167bp deletion out of 2.8 Gb ignoring other insertion is supposed to be reduction of gene function ?

    Dogs have numerous health problems compared to wolves.

    What are you trying to prove? We have more health problems than Dog. So?

  149. 149
    wd400 says:

    one 167bp deletion out of 2.8 Gb ignoring other insertion is supposed to be reduction of gene function ?

    It’s an insertion — supplimentary table 5 has the info (pdf). It doesn’t actually matter, a deletion that leads to increase transcription and a new phenotype is just as much and addition of information as an insertion that does so. It also disproves the original claim that dog variation is just “culled from the wolf genome”.

    But the mistake does suggest Lönnnig has only a superficial understanding of this paper.

  150. 150
    Andre says:

    If I have 2.8gb and I lose 167bp then I have loss of information. A loss always means less not same not more. Unless you are a materialist….. Then it’s no loss but an insertion. Phew it must be tough being dishonest with yourself.

  151. 151
    wd400 says:

    …. so, insertions are always gains of information?

  152. 152
    Andre says:

    Insertions may add information and it may add function but almost always at a cost to the organism….. These terms are used incorrectly in most cases anyway.

    The Best example that you guys have is sickle cell anaemia, but no matter how awesome the trait that you gained resistance to malaria, sickle cell anaemia kills you.

    Here is probably the best lecture I know of about insertions’ deletions, and function.

    http://mcb.berkeley.edu/course.....iewing.pdf

  153. 153
    Andre says:

    Andre @ 118
    He worked at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research until 2008. He was such an embarrassment to Max Planck that it had to removed his publication list:
    http://www.mpipz.mpg.de/~loennig/literatur.html
    He surreptitiously ran personal homepage on Max Planck server to give credibility to his research

    Your link is of course incorrect, the spelling is wrong, also please can you give me a source from Max Planck Institute that verifies your allegations please.

    I find it very peculiar that a Professor Emeritus was an embarrassment (your claim) to the institution.

  154. 154
    Me_Think says:

    Andre @ 153

    Your link is of course incorrect, the spelling is wrong, also please can you give me a source from Max Planck Institute that verifies your allegations please.

    Of course the spelling is right. Lönnig with double dot on O (Umlauted vowel) is ‘oe’- Umlauted vowels can’t be used easily in URL. In fact you will find the same link in Lönnig’s own external webpage at http://www.we-loennig.de/ under heading ‘Publikationen’
    There are multiple links to the sordid affair:
    http://www.zeit.de/2003/19/Kreationisten
    http://www.martin-neukamm.de/max-planck1.html
    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....2460b.html
    He is even featured in ID Movie ‘Expelled’ complaining about the institute.
    The press release in German :

    Der Präsident der MPG, Peter Gruß, verlangte von den vier Direktoren des Kölner Instituts eine Überprüfung der wissenschaftlichen Inhalte auf Lönnigs Seiten. Daraufhin wurden die Seiten zunächst gesperrt. Lönnig genoss zwar die Unterstützung seines direkten Vorgesetzten und MPI-Direktors Heinz Saedler (“Freie Meinung beflügelt die Wissenschaft”). Am Montag hat das vierköpfige Direktorium nach dreistündiger Debatte aber entschieden, dass Lönnigs Website in dieser Form “nicht akzeptabel” sei. “Wir hätten uns”, sagt Paul Schulze-Lefert, geschäftsführender Direktor des Instituts, “lächerlich gemacht, würden wir diese Verquickung von wissenschaftlich abgesicherten Befunden und persönlicher Meinung weiterhin auf unseren Sites dulden.” Nur eine “massiv entrümpelte” Web-Seite von Lönnig wird in Zukunft auf dem MPG-Server zu finden sein. Die am Montag beschlossenen neuen Regeln für das Gestalten von MPIZ-Websites seien jedoch keine “Lex Lönnig”. Sie gelten für alle Mitarbeiter. Unter anderem dürfen nur Publikationen, die ein peer rewiew durchlaufen haben, aufgelistet sein. Persönliche Meinungen, auch wenn sie (Schulze-Lefert) “vordergründig abstrus erscheinen”, werden explizit geduldet – müssen aber klar gekennzeichnet sein.

    Google Translation:
    The president of the MPG, Peter Greeting, demanded that the four directors of the Cologne Institute a review of the scientific content on Lönnig pages. Then the pages were initially blocked. Although Lönnig enjoyed the support of his immediate superiors and MPI Director Heinz Saedler ( “Freedom of inspired science”). On Monday, the four-member Board has after three hours of debate, but decided that Lönnig site in this form “unacceptable” was. “We could,” says Paul Schulze-Lefert, executive director of the Institute, “ridiculed, we would continue to tolerate this amalgamation of scientific findings and personal opinion on our sites.” Only a “massive entrümpelte” web page of Lönnig will be found in future on the MPG server. However, the agreed on Monday new rules for the design of MPIZ websites are not “Lex Lönnig”. They apply to all employees. Among others may only publications that have undergone a peer rewiew be listed. Personal opinions, even if they “appear superficially abstruse” (Schulze-Lefert), explicitly tolerated – but must be clearly labeled.

  155. 155
    Me_Think says:

    Andre @ 150

    If I have 2.8gb and I lose 167bp then I have loss of information. A loss always means less not same not more. Unless you are a materialist….. Then it’s no loss but an insertion. Phew it must be tough being dishonest with yourself.

    I said ‘reduction of gene function’ @ 148, not reduction in information.

  156. 156
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ,

    First, you are talking to a man subjected to online and on the ground stalking, outing and attempted career busting by darwinist anti-ID activists — including uninvolved family members, who has had to go to the police on the matter. So, I suggest you put things in proportion.

    Let us focus facts.

    Second, the key in-focus facts I have cited are patent and it is your side’s refusal to face such facts that is material, let me again clip from 1984 in Thaxton et al, TMLO . . . literally the first ID technical work:

    1. [Class 1, OSC in later terms:] An ordered (periodic) and therefore specified arrangement:

    THE END THE END THE END THE END

    Example: Nylon, or a crystal . . . .

    2. [Class 2, RSC:] A complex (aperiodic) unspecified arrangement:

    AGDCBFE GBCAFED ACEDFBG

    Example: Random polymers (polypeptides).

    3. [Class 3, FSC:] A complex (aperiodic) specified arrangement:

    THIS SEQUENCE OF LETTERS CONTAINS A MESSAGE!

    Example: DNA, protein.

    What your side is asked to do is to acknowledge, as a test, a patent and readily recognised fact, one put on the table in literally the first ID technical work, a decade before Dembski et al.

    First, OSC with an example of a regular repeating array similar to a crystal — though there is some info content there also. Second, a typical case of RSC . . . and yes in principle randomness can produce any pattern but the odds are overwhelmingly in favour of gibberish so a typical gibberish case is shown, yielding complexity without functional specificity. Third, a textual message that is instantly seen as functional and configuration-specific.

    In addition, relevant examples at molecular level are also given.

    What is the reaction?

    What looks a lot like stubborn resistance to patent facts multiplied by a resort to polarisng, atmosphere poisoning talking points.

    Revealing.

    And telling on why the debates over design inferenceon signs deadlocks and often ends in polarisation.

    Also, a sign that the issue at stake is not really facts and inference to best empirically grounded explanation but instead ideology. There is a dominant worldview, evolutionary materialism and its fellow travellers, and the design inference on signs patently threatens it.

    KF

    PS: A further full decade prior to Thaxton et al, we have an astonishing set of points from Orgel — in a book that has long been an ID sleeper:

    . . . In brief, living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity . . . .

    [HT, Mung, fr. p. 190 & 196:] These vague idea can be made more precise by introducing the idea of information. Roughly speaking, the information content of a structure is the minimum number of instructions needed to specify the structure. [–> this is of course equivalent to the string of yes/no questions required to specify the relevant “wiring diagram” for the set of functional states, T, in the much larger space of possible clumped or scattered configurations, W, as Dembski would go on to define in NFL in 2002, also cf here, here and here (with here on self-moved agents as designing causes).] One can see intuitively that many instructions are needed to specify a complex structure. [–> so if the q’s to be answered are Y/N, the chain length is an information measure that indicates complexity in bits . . . ] On the other hand a simple repeating structure can be specified in rather few instructions. [–> do once and repeat over and over in a loop . . . ] Complex but random structures, by definition, need hardly be specified at all . . . . Paley was right to emphasize the need for special explanations of the existence of objects with high information content, for they cannot be formed in nonevolutionary, inorganic processes. [The Origins of Life (John Wiley, 1973), p. 189, p. 190, p. 196. Of course, that immediately highlights OOL, where the required self-replicating entity is part of what has to be explained (cf. Paley here), a notorious conundrum for advocates of evolutionary materialism; one, that has led to mutual ruin documented by Shapiro and Orgel between metabolism first and genes first schools of thought, cf here. Behe would go on to point out that irreducibly complex structures are not credibly formed by incremental evolutionary processes and Menuge et al would bring up serious issues for the suggested exaptation alternative, cf. his challenges C1 – 5 in the just linked. Finally, Dembski highlights that CSI comes in deeply isolated islands T in much larger configuration spaces W, for biological systems functional islands. That puts up serious questions for origin of dozens of body plans reasonably requiring some 10 – 100+ mn bases of fresh genetic information to account for cell types, tissues, organs and multiple coherently integrated systems.]

    PPS: The attempts to “get” Loenig seem to me a case of poisoning the well rather than simply facing the fact that it is inappropriate to characterise a fellow of the Max Planck Institute — whatever onward debates he may have had and whatever the pros and cons of such — as an unpublished loon. The refusal to respond appropriately to such is an all too revealing sign of witch-hunt tactics.

  157. 157
    Andre says:

    Me_Think

    All your citations just point to one thing the Darwin lobby using its bullying tactics to supreme ID from getting equal air time. This has happened to allot of pro ID material and to deny it makes you a liar.

  158. 158
    Origenes says:

    A few notes based on Wolf-EkkehardLönnig’s “Unser Haushund: Eine Spitzmaus im
    Wolfspelz?“

    Dawkins argues in favor of “progressive evolution” towards more and more complexity, however he doesn’t seem to notice that the evolution from wolf to Chihuahua goes into the wrong direction: backwards!
    ——
    Not one of the dog races can survive in the wild — with the exception of the Dingo.
    —–
    The Irish Wolfhound (the largest dog) is not clearly larger and heavier than a wolf. The life span of a wolf is about 20 years. The Irish Wolfhound: 28% dies before the age of five; 63% before the age of eight, 91% before the age of ten.

    Wiki: Dilated cardiomyopathy and bone cancer are the leading cause of death and like all deep-chested dogs, gastric torsion (bloat) is common; the breed is affected by hereditary intrahepatic portosystemic shunt.

    Epilepsie, Rückenmarksembolien, Primäre Ciliäre Dyskinesie/Rhinitissyndrom, Progressive Retinaatrophie, Von-Willebrand-Krankheit, Calcinosis circumscripta.
    And much much more ….
    ——–
    Small dogs. “Dackelbeine” — short stumpy bow legs. Achondroplasie, Chondrodysplasie, Osteochondrodysplasie.
    Parker und Elaine A. Ostrander, Cancer Genetics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.”)
    “In the case of short-legged dogs, the inserted retrogene results in the overproduction of the FGF4 protein, which researchers hypothesize may turn on key growth receptors at the wrong times during fetal development. Veterinary researchers already know that in certain dog breeds the development of long bones is curtailed due to calcification of growth plates, resulting in short legs with a curved appearance. The trait, called disproportional dwarfism, or chondrodysplasia, is an American Kennel Club standard for more than a dozen domestic dog breeds, including the dachshund, corgi, Pekingese and basset hound.” http://www.science20.com/news_.....n_dwarfism. Originalartikel: Parker et al.
    (2009): An Expressed Fgf4 Retrogene Is Associated with Breed-Defining Chondrodysplasia in Domestic Dogs. Science 325: 995-998:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cont...../995.short.
    ——
    Türkischer Nackthund, Afrikanischer Nackthund, American Hairless Terrier, Mexikanischer Nackthund, Peruanischer Nackthund, Chinesischer Schopfhund.
    Loss of teeth.
    “Mutations in the EDA, EDAR, and EDARADD genes of the ectodysplasin signalling pathway produce a closely related phenotype called anhidrotic ectodermal dysplasia. Anhidrotic ectodermal dysplasia is characterized by the absence of hair, dentition abnormalities, and alterations in certain exocrine glands, the latter feature seen not at all or less severe in CED.”
    —-
    White skin and wrong colors. Related to deafness, albinos. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10390790 (G.M. Strain 1999): “Congenital deafness in dogs and cats is primarily of the hereditary sensorineural form associated with white pigmentation genes, although acquired forms of deafness are possible. Highest prevalence is seen in white cats, especially those with blue eyes, and the Dalmatian, with many other dog breeds affected to some extent. This deafness results from degeneration of the cochlear blood supply at age 3-4 weeks, presumably resulting from suppression of melanocytes by the white (cat) or merle or piebald (dog) genes.”

    Chihuahuas, and other toy breeds, are prone to the sometimes painful disease hydrocephalus. It is often diagnosed by the puppy having an abnormally large head, or hydrocephalus, during the first several months of life, but other symptoms are more noticeable since “a large head” is such a broad description. Chihuahua puppies exhibiting hydrocephalus usually have patchy skull plates rather than a solid bone and typically are lethargic and do not grow at the same pace as their siblings. A true case of hydrocephalus can be diagnosed by a veterinarian, though the prognosis is grim.
    Chihuahuas have moleras, or a soft spot in their skulls, and they are the only breed of dog to be born with an incomplete skull.

  159. 159
    ellazimm says:

    KF #156

    First, you are talking to a man subjected to online and on the ground stalking, outing and attempted career busting by darwinist anti-ID activists — including uninvolved family members, who has had to go to the police on the matter. So, I suggest you put things in proportion.

    Fine, but I wasn’t talking to or about you.

    Second, the key in-focus facts I have cited are patent and it is your side’s refusal to face such facts that is material, let me again clip from 1984 in Thaxton et al, TMLO . . . literally the first ID technical work:

    If you want to change the topic that’s fine but I think you should open up a new thread.

    What your side is asked to do is to acknowledge, as a test, a patent and readily recognised fact, one put on the table in literally the first ID technical work, a decade before Dembski et al.

    Again, is this part of this thread? And why do we/I have to agree with you?

    First, OSC with an example of a regular repeating array similar to a crystal — though there is some info content there also. Second, a typical case of RSC . . . and yes in principle randomness can produce any pattern but the odds are overwhelmingly in favour of gibberish so a typical gibberish case is shown, yielding complexity without functional specificity. Third, a textual message that is instantly seen as functional and configuration-specific.

    In addition, relevant examples at molecular level are also given.

    What is the reaction?

    What looks a lot like stubborn resistance to patent facts multiplied by a resort to polarisng, atmosphere poisoning talking points.

    Revealing.

    And telling on why the debates over design inferenceon signs deadlocks and often ends in polarisation.

    Also, a sign that the issue at stake is not really facts and inference to best empirically grounded explanation but instead ideology. There is a dominant worldview, evolutionary materialism and its fellow travellers, and the design inference on signs patently threatens it.

    We’ve been over all this many, many times before. Now you bring it up because you didn’t like the term I used to refer to someone whose self-publications are very questionable.

    Again, if you want to discuss all that then start another thread.

    The attempts to “get” Loenig seem to me a case of poisoning the well rather than simply facing the fact that it is inappropriate to characterise a fellow of the Max Planck Institute — whatever onward debates he may have had and whatever the pros and cons of such — as an unpublished loon. The refusal to respond appropriately to such is an all too revealing sign of witch-hunt tactics.

    I’m not trying to ‘get’ him. I’m not the only one who finds his ‘findings’ wrong and a bit bizarre. Go out an have a look. ‘Loon’ is far nicer of a term that what I’ve been referred to by people on this site including Barry. It took you two tries to get rid of Joe even though he admitted it was him creating his ‘Virgil’ persona the second time. Mapou has been rude and abusive for a very long time and it wasn’t until I pointed it out that anyone did anything about it.

    I don’t HAVE to agree with your interpretation of the genomic data. I don’t HAVE to convince other people to do that either. I am generally a pretty placid and courteous commentator on this blog, especially considering the abuse I’ve suffered over the years. I use one word you object to and you come down on my head. Where were you when Mapou was abusing people right and left? How many times did you have to tell Joe/Virgil to calm down until someone finally banned him? Twice. Have you even looked at the times Barry has called people he disagrees with liars and fools?

    I won’t use the term ‘loon’ anymore since it bothers you so much. And you won’t have to tell me again because I am better behaved than some of your cohorts.

    And I’m not going to raise to your bait on this occasion again. If you want to discuss those other issues that’s fine: start another thread.

  160. 160
    Silver Asiatic says:

    I became interesting in Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig’s work about 8 years ago and found him to be brilliant and original. I’ve followed him ever since.
    I notice from the press release cited above:

    “We could,” says Paul Schulze-Lefert, executive director of the Institute, “[be] ridiculed, [if] we would continue to tolerate this amalgamation of scientific findings and personal opinion on our sites.” … Personal opinions, even if they “appear superficially abstruse” (Schulze-Lefert), [are] explicitly tolerated – but must be clearly labeled.

    In none of that was Dr. Lönnig’s ‘scientific findings’ questioned or rejected. They just don’t like the addition of his “personal opinions”, to his papers.
    I find that humorous. Just about 100% of peer reviewed scientific papers include personal opinion. That’s what “interpretation of the data is” – it’s just opinion. Evolutionists draw supposed conclusions about data always based on personal opinion and a materialistic bias. In fact, I don’t recall any “clearly indicating” opinion from the actual findings, as the M.P. Institute is supposedly requiring.
    Finally, they could merely have appended footnotes to Lönnig’s work stating that some of what he said was opinion. Instead, they deleted links to everything.
    That’s the classic sign of over-reaction to the uncomfortable evidence that Lönnig provided so wonderfully.
    The key phrase in the press release is “we could be ridiculed …”
    That’s not a very good motive for shutting off free inquiry in science. But it’s understandable since evolutionists are known to be extreme and filled with hatred when it comes to ridiculing people. And the rank and file academics are not accustomed to that.
    So, it’s better to unjustly tarnish the reputation of one scientist rather than face the wrath of hostile opponents.
    That’s what’s known as intimidation.

  161. 161
    EugeneS says:

    KF,

    I think that this classification is not invariant. It is relative to the concrete information context. In particular, what may appear to be an unspecified random sequence, may in fact be specific in a given information processing system (e.g. it can be used as a cryptographic key). Again, what seems redundant may actually be there for a reason. In a biological context, this is exemplified by the C-value paradox.

    Basically, the determinant is whether the sequence is functional i.e. serves to achieve a pragmatic goal. The information context is represented, in Abel’s terms, by the pair {data,processor}.

    However, the bottom line is, as soon as it demonstrably functional, it is teleologic and, consequently, choice contingent. Function points to decision making.

  162. 162
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: What is it that a gene is “supposed to do”?

    FGF5 is one of a family fibroblast growth factors. A mutation to this gene causes dog hair to grow long.

    Origenes: It’s hard to envision when it comes in handy to have long fluffy wire hair completely covering one’s eyes.

    Long hair can be an advantage in hunting or herding dogs in cold or damp climates, such as the Skye and Tibetan Terriers.

    In any case, a peculiar species of ape will provide food and shelter to dogs with long hair. They’ll even cut their hair! You might think of it as a parasitic relationship, but the ape seems to derive some benefit from the dog.

    Origenes: Yes, a 167-bp deletion at the 3? end of the R-spondin-2 (RSPO2) gene is strongly associated with wire hair and furnishings, the latter being the moustache and eyebrows characteristically seen, for instance, in the schnauzer.

    Furnishings are not the ancestral state.

    To genotype the insertion in RSPO2, the size of each segment was checked on agarose gels to determine the presence or absence. (Figure S5)… Figure S5: For the mutation in RSPO2 , the size of each segment was checked on agarose gels to determine the presence or absence of the insertion (167 bp).

    Try reading the actual paper instead of relying upon a secondary source.

    Origenes: Dogs have numerous health problems compared to wolves.

    Some, but not all, breeds of dog do have specific genetic health problems. However, wolves have their own health issues. In any case, the curly-hair mutation is not the trigger for canine health problems — as evidenced by the existence of healthy curly-haired dogs.

    Origenes: Not one of the dog races can survive in the wild — with the exception of the Dingo.

    Actually, many dog breeds are capable of feral behavior.

  163. 163
    Silver Asiatic says:

    EugeneS & KF

    However, the bottom line is, as soon as it demonstrably functional, it is teleologic and, consequently, choice contingent. Function points to decision making.

    Is there are similar classification of what is meant by “function”? For example, there’s inorganic, mechanical, physical “functions”. Those are obviously different than biological function.

  164. 164
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, we are talking about functionality based on systemic interactions of correctly organised components (which is vulnerable to significant perturbation of organisation), starting with strings and structures specified through strings or WLOG reducible to such. We then may specify a quasi-space or virtual space with distance metrics based on number of edits to transform string A to string B, e.g. replacements/substitutions, deletions, additions, reorderings, thus also leading to the concept islands of function in seas of non-function in a configuration space omega [cases E from zones T in spaces W], cf Damerau–Levenshtein distance — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damerau%E2%80%93Levenshtein_distance as an extension of Hamming distance. I have repeatedly used the Abu 6502 C3 fishing reel as a paradigm. The Ribosome and its protein assembly system, the mRNA control tape, ATP Synthase and many other examples come to mind. KF

  165. 165
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, dogs that go feral and survive form populations that degenerate to mongrels that tend to move towards wolf-like or similar traits. KF

    PS: Wiki: >>The dingo (Canis lupus dingo) is a wild dog found in Australia. Its exact ancestry is debated, but dingoes are generally believed to be descended from semi-domesticated dogs from East or South Asia, which returned to a wild lifestyle when introduced to Australia. Both dingo and dog are classified as a subspecies of Canis lupus in Mammal Species of the World.>> and of course this illustrates the tendency.

  166. 166
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: dogs that go feral and survive form populations that degenerate to mongrels that tend to move towards wolf-like or similar traits.

    That contradicts Origenes’s claim that “Not one of the dog races can survive in the wild”. It also shows the effect of evolution on the domestic dog in a changed environment. And granted that they become more wolf-like, it shows that they are not merely degenerate wolves.

  167. 167
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel: The dog genome has many features not found in wolves. Take dog coats, for instance. Three genes have been identified, RSPO2, FGF5 & KRT71 (…)

    Okay, that didn’t turn out to be conclusive, to say the least. Why don’t you point out some of the many other unique features of the dog genome?

  168. 168
    kairosfocus says:

    Z are you aware coyotes eat dogs? That should show the relative fitness, even before the many health problems come to bear. KF

  169. 169
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KairosFocus: “Z are you aware coyotes eat dogs? That should show the relative fitness, even before the many health problems come to bear. KF”

    Relative fitness can only be looked at within an interbreeding population. Your statement has no more meaning than me swing that my relative fitness is greater than a lobster’s because I eat lobster.

  170. 170
    ellazimm says:

    Origenes #167

    Okay, that didn’t turn out to be conclusive, to say the least. Why don’t you point out some of the many other unique features of the dog genome?

    I’m kind of curious . . . where do you think the wolf genome came from? Is it a degenerate version of some other mammal genome? Where did the ‘first’ mammal genome come from?

  171. 171
    Origenes says:

    ellazimm: I’m kind of curious . . . where do you think the wolf genome came from?

    The genome and its information came into existence by intelligent design.
    Evolutionary theory can explain neither the existence of the genome nor the information. Random walks combined with continued rounds of information loss (a.k.a. “natural selection”) performs worse than a blind search.

  172. 172
    ellazimm says:

    Origenes #171

    The genome and its information came into existence by intelligent design.

    Was there a single, original genome or more than one? If more than one were they introduced at the same time or sequentially?

  173. 173
    Origenes says:

    Ellazimm #172,

    The answers to your questions are “more than one” and “sequentially.” However, these answers reflect my personal opinion. We are stepping outside the realm of science.

  174. 174
    EugeneS says:

    Silver,

    Yes, you are right in saying that contexts differ. However, what is common is the pragmatic aspect of a function.

    E.g. consider the accuracy of a missile strike. Obviously, the launching system is composed of physical parts subjected to the laws of nature (constraints in David Abel’s terminology). However, the launching system itself does not care if it hits the target at all. In other words, the laws of nature will admit a continuum of missile trajectories. It is then the decision maker’s responsibility to restrict the continuum to include only those trajectories that meet his/her quality criterion (whether the target is hit, in this case). From the point of view of the laws of nature, these quality criteria are arbitrary (in the same sense as the shape of a sculpture is arbitrary as different sculptures may come out from the same lump of gypsum under the guidance of a sculptor). In Abel’s work this sort of criteria are labelled as rules to be distinguished from the constraints of the laws of nature.

    So pragmatic utility is about quality. And as soon as we have a system with rules in addition to constraints, we know that they are a result of intelligent decisions. Nature does not choose, nor decide. It is always exclusively intelligence that decides between certain physical states in order to satisfy a pragmatic criterion.

    In the biological context we have multiple codes and its interpreters. The best known example is, of course, the genetic code. The codon-amino acid associations are rules, not laws. These associations are formal by nature even though they are implemented in chemistry. As one of my correspondents said, design cries out of there!

  175. 175
    ellazimm says:

    Origenes #173

    The answers to your questions are “more than one” and “sequentially.” However, these answers reflect my personal opinion. We are stepping outside the realm of science.

    Well, it should just be a matter of historical record, when things took place. But if you’re not sure then that’s that.

    I can never get anyone to try to estimate when such things took place. You’d there’d be some notion. It’s not a matter of faith, it’s just part of the past.

  176. 176
    kairosfocus says:

    IE are you aware coyotes can interbreed with dogs? cf: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coydog there are behavioural issues etc but the pattern is a sign that artificially selected dog breeds are not on par with the wild varieties in a natural envt, which was the point you are pulling away from on a tangent. KF

  177. 177
    Origenes says:

    Ellazimm: Well, it should just be a matter of historical record, when things took place.

    Sure it is.
    What I meant to convey was that, while it is scientific to conclude that an intelligent teleological cause must be involved in the coming into existence of life and its many forms, it’s a matter of personal opinion how to envision such an intelligent cause and its method of operation. There are several options to choose from, for instance atheist Prof. Nagel proposes that “principles of a different kind may also be at work in the history of nature, principles of the growth of order that are in their logical form teleological rather than mechanistic.” and Francis Crick proposed directed panspermia — intelligent aliens who seeded the earth. IOWs God is just one of several candidates.

  178. 178
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF: “IE are you aware coyotes can interbreed with dogs?”

    Yes. And so can tigers and lions. But they are still considered to be separate interbreeding populations because it is not all that common.

  179. 179
    Silver Asiatic says:

    EugeneS — good explanation. Thank you.

  180. 180
    Origenes says:

    EugeneS #174,
    Is there an argument to be made for the existence of “improvisational rules”? Decisions made by an organism/intelligence that are not reducible to genetic or otherwise instantiated code?

  181. 181
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: Z are you aware coyotes eat dogs?

    Are you aware that coyotes eat rabbits?

    Origenes: Okay, that didn’t turn out to be conclusive, to say the least.

    This is not a “degenerate” wolf, or a “loss of information”:
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/93/Bichon_Fris%C3%A9_-_studdogbichon.jpg

  182. 182
    EugeneS says:

    Origenes 181

    I kind of see what you mean but I am not a biologist, so the answer is I don’t know. The organism surely reacts to environmental cues. Judging from various discussions I had or read on the net, e.g. a majority of mutations are non-random responses of the organism so neo-Darwinists get it wrong anyway 😉

    In the literature there are striking examples of intelligent choices some organisms make depending on the parameters of the environment. Some species do such radical things as ‘go asexual’ in order to survive or something like that, switching back to normal when the emergency is over. Clearly, this is an example of some built-in logic.

    I only know that the interpreter(s) of those ‘improvisational rules’ must be sitting somewhere in the system. The logic of ‘IF-THEN-ELSE’ should be present in some form or another.

    Surely, DNA does not have every instruction there is to build an organism, but is rather a template akin to a quick set of instructions of a couch for a sportsman before the race (the issuer and the receiver kind of know what they are talking about, all they are interested in is key points). The knowledge what to do with this template (e.g. splicing) must be elsewhere in the organism. On the other hand, epigenetics is only developing, so… But I am sure the knowledge is somewhere distributed in the organism.

    In terms of irreducibility, agency stands at the outset of life, that is for sure. However, all organisms possess in varying degrees the decision making capabilities depending on their own complexity (chemotaxis is probably the simplest example). At least some organisms can develop new rules of behaviour. But I believe the ability to develop new rules is somehow bounded by the built-in intelligence they are given (by ‘intelligence’ I mean basically decision making and learning). E.g. the amount of paths through of a computer program execution grows quickly with its size. Hence the more complicated the organism is, the more it can do in terms of decision making but it is basically bounded from above.

  183. 183
    EugeneS says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    My pleasure.

  184. 184
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: Surely, DNA does not have every instruction there is to build an organism

    A lot of research has been done on embryogenesis. While there’s still a lot to learn, there is some understanding of the process. Changes are coordinated through highly conserved signal molecules which tell the cells which genes to activate and which to deactivate. It’s a tree-like process, which starts with very broad changes, such as the division of cells into endoderm and ectoderm, and the formation of the anterior-posterior axis, then refines those choices during further development.

  185. 185
    EugeneS says:

    Origenes 181

    In addition to my earlier comment… Regarding irreducibility, I was talking exclusively about the ‘mechanistic’ side of biological systems, leaving agent consciousness out of discussion. Decision making need not be conscious, of course. In the sense I am using, an autopilot is an example of a decision making agent while obviously not being conscious.

    Overall, I think that intelligent (choice contingent) causation is a separate kind of causation in nature and that it is not reducible to combinations of chance and necessity. I believe, ultimately intelligence causally depends on consciousness and therefore cannot be explained naturalistically.

  186. 186
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel,

    Thanks! That adds to the picture.

  187. 187
    Germanicus says:

    EugeneS@182

    I suggest you to read e.g. the book “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” of Sean B. Carroll. It is already 10 years old, but it can give you an interesting insight of what we know about how an organism is “built”. It is well suitable for not biologist like you (and I, so it is why I recommend it to you). It will explain you what Zachriel@184 summarized for you.

  188. 188
    ellazimm says:

    Origenes #177

    What I meant to convey was that, while it is scientific to conclude that an intelligent teleological cause must be involved in the coming into existence of life and its many forms, it’s a matter of personal opinion how to envision such an intelligent cause and its method of operation.

    But surely it’s not a matter of opinion of when new genomes were introduced. That happened at certain times (by your way of looking at things). Asking questions and looking for answers can’t just stop with the design inference.

  189. 189
    Origenes says:

    EugeneS,

    Thank you for your interesting response.
    One quick follow-up idea:
    A coherent controlled suite of responses by an organism to an event it never (could have) encountered in its evolutionary history may constitute proof of the existence of ‘improvisational rules’.
    The problem is what kind of event fits the bill?

    Here I would like to propose that surgery does:

    Surgery is war. It is impossible to envisage the sheer complexity of what happens within a surgical wound. It is a microscopical scene of devastation. Muscle cells have been crudely crushed, nerves ripped asunder; the scalpel blade has slashed and separated close communities of tissues, rupturing long-established networks of blood vessels. After the operation, broken and cut tissues are crushed together by the surgeon’s crude clamps. There is no circulation of blood or lymph across the suture.

    Yet within seconds of the assault, the single cells are stirred into action. They use unimaginable senses to detect what has happened and start to respond. Stem cells specialize to become the spiky-looking cells of the stratum spinosum; the shattered capillaries are meticulously repaired, new cells form layers of smooth muscle in the blood-vessel walls and neat endothelium; nerve fibres extend towards the site of the suture to restore the tactile senses . . . These phenomena require individual cells to work out what they need to do. And the ingenious restoration of the blood-vessel network reveals that there is an over-arching sense of the structure of the whole area in which this remarkable repair takes place. So too does the restoration of the skin. Cells that carry out the repair are subtly coordinated so that the skin surface, the contour of which they cannot surely detect, is restored in a form that is close to perfect.
    [Brian Ford 2009]

  190. 190
    wd400 says:

    IE are you aware coyotes can interbreed with dogs? cf: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coydog there are behavioural issues etc but the pattern is a sign that artificially selected dog breeds are not on par with the wild varieties in a natural envt, which was the point you are pulling away from on a tangent. KFv

    Coyotes interbreed with wolves too. In the natural envt and everything. Are we to conclude that wolves are degenerate?

  191. 191
    EugeneS says:

    Origenes, Germanic us

    Thanks a lot for your responses and suggestions. Much appreciated.

  192. 192
    kairosfocus says:

    WD 400 et al, tangents on tangents. The evidence is that dogs can and do interbreed with wild cousins leaving fertile offspring. At the same time, these cousins show themselves to be fitter in the wild to the point where they prey on dogs. KF

  193. 193
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF: “WD 400 et al, tangents on tangents”

    Your unsubstantiated claim is duly noted. It was you that said that coyotes are more fit than dogs. When it was pointed out that fitness cannot be compared between species, and not even between different populations of the same species.

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