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Thread: Do Evolutionists Accept the Fundamental Principle of Science

  1. #1 Do Evolutionists Accept the Fundamental Principle of Science 
    Forum Freshman Shubee's Avatar
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    "The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." Richard P. Feynman.

    Curiously, the only experiments to test the theory of evolution versus the theory of devolution confirm devolution.


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  3. #2 Re: Do Evolutionists Accept the Fundamental Principle of Sci 
    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shubee
    Curiously, the only experiments to test the theory of evolution versus the theory of devolution confirm devolution.
    Still haven't given up?

    Generally, they are the same theory. The only difference (as far as I can see from what you've said) is that in devolution, DNA becomes increasingly damaged over time and cannot become more complicated by evolution. This is something you have to provide evidence for: nobody will take your word for it.


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  4. #3  
    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    Oh, and physics is the wrong subforum for this.
    "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair." ~ Douglas Adams
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  5. #4 Re: Do Evolutionists Accept the Fundamental Principle of Sci 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shubee
    "The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." Richard P. Feynman.

    Curiously, the only experiments to test the theory of evolution versus the theory of devolution confirm devolution.
    "Experiment" usually means coming up with a hypothesis that predicts something so specific that it would be a remarkable coincidence if observation were to match it and it were false. It's always possible, of course.

    And no, that is not the only experiment that has been conducted. Most of them were conducted on bacteria instead of complex life forms, but they are pretty conclusive. Heck, the theory is actually used as a means to design drugs these days, and with great success.

    However: there are certain conditions that will lead to "devolution" instead of evolution. For example, if the environment is too gentle, substantially easier to survive in than the organism's previous environment, then a sort complacency effect can occur where valuable survival traits start to diminish.

    The ideal condition is one where there's a very high birth rate, and the environment is so harsh that a very small percentage of the offspring are surviving long enough to reach maturity and have their own offspring. (In other words: the ideal condition is one that's so horrible that we would consider it unthinkable if it happened to us.)
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  6. #5 Re: Do Evolutionists Accept the Fundamental Principle of Sci 
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by Shubee
    "The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." Richard P. Feynman.

    Curiously, the only experiments to test the theory of evolution versus the theory of devolution confirm devolution.
    "Experiment" usually means coming up with a hypothesis that predicts something so specific that it would be a remarkable coincidence if observation were to match it and it were false. It's always possible, of course.

    And no, that is not the only experiment that has been conducted. Most of them were conducted on bacteria instead of complex life forms, but they are pretty conclusive. Heck, the theory is actually used as a means to design drugs these days, and with great success.

    However: there are certain conditions that will lead to "devolution" instead of evolution. For example, if the environment is too gentle, substantially easier to survive in than the organism's previous environment, then a sort complacency effect can occur where valuable survival traits start to diminish.

    The ideal condition is one where there's a very high birth rate, and the environment is so harsh that a very small percentage of the offspring are surviving long enough to reach maturity and have their own offspring. (In other words: the ideal condition is one that's so horrible that we would consider it unthinkable if it happened to us.)
    Is this discussion in the physics forum because Shubee was booted out of some more appropriate place for a discussion of evolution ?
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  7. #6 Re: Do Evolutionists Accept the Fundamental Principle of Sci 
    Moderator Moderator Janus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Is this discussion in the physics forum because Shubee was booted out of some more appropriate place for a discussion of evolution ?
    Not anymore it isn't. Off to join its brethern in Pseudo.
    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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  8. #7  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Shubee, there is no experimental evidence in support of your idea. I've given you opportunities, I've openly invited you to provide more evidence. You have not. And now I see you're avoiding me by posting about a biological topic in the Physics forum, which is simply poor debating form.

    Any further pushing of this idea with a lack of evidenciary support, and I will recommend that you be banned.
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  9. #8 Will you allow mathematicians to judge the argument? 
    Forum Freshman Shubee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Shubee, there is no experimental evidence in support of your idea.
    The experiment with Escherichia coli that I cited is evidence. Furthermore, there are many such experiments, the usual outcome being an intrinsic reduction in fitness, and there are no known examples of mutants that are unquestionably intrinsically healthier than the ancestral strains.

    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    And now I see you're avoiding me by posting about a biological topic in the Physics forum, which is simply poor debating form.
    It is simply my belief that mathematicians and physicists understand science better than biologists and that we should let them mediate the dispute.

    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Any further pushing of this idea with a lack of evidenciary support, and I will recommend that you be banned.
    Will you allow mathematicians to judge what is evidentiary support?
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  10. #9 Re: Will you allow mathematicians to judge the argument? 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shubee
    The experiment with Escherichia coli that I cited is evidence. Furthermore, there are many such experiments, the usual outcome being an intrinsic reduction in fitness, and there are no known examples of mutants that are unquestionably healthier than the ancestral strains.
    No it is not evidence. Because there is no such thing as intrinsic fitness. Fitness is by definition a relative measure that is [i]specific]/i] to the demands of the current environment. The study you provided shows an increase in fitness. Your other measure, that of efficiency of molecular machines, also does not support your idea, because while some of the machines were allowed to become less efficient due to a decrease in selection pressure, others become more efficient. There is no reason to conclude a net decrease in efficiency.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shubee
    It is simply my belief that mathematicians and physicists understand science better than biologists and that we should let them mediate the dispute.
    Regardless of your belief, they do not (in general) understand the mechanics of evolution and inheritance as well as biologists do. Thus they are not qualified to judge evidence on that subject anymore than your florist is qualified to figure out what's wrong with your car.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shubee
    Will you allow mathematicians to judge what is evidentiary support?
    If you can find mathematicians with a background in biology and evolution (and there are plenty of them out there), then of course. But as far as judging whether or not allowing further discussion of your idea in this forum is a good idea, that judgment lies with the moderators and admins of this site. And since you are following your old pattern of going in circles and ignoring previously stated rebuttals to your tired old arguments, I am now officially recommending your ban. Please feel free to appeal to the administrators if you feel I am being unfair.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  11. #10  
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    Sounds fair to me....
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  12. #11 Re: Will you allow mathematicians to judge the argument? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shubee

    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    And now I see you're avoiding me by posting about a biological topic in the Physics forum, which is simply poor debating form.
    It is simply my belief that mathematicians and physicists understand science better than biologists and that we should let them mediate the dispute.
    Just because a theory is well argued, or logically consistent, doesn't mean the assumptions you based that logic on are accurate. If you start with false assumptions, then even infinity sound logic won't take you to a true conclusion.

    Biologists are the only ones who can give you truly sound assumptions to work with.

    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Quote Originally Posted by Shubee
    The experiment with Escherichia coli that I cited is evidence. Furthermore, there are many such experiments, the usual outcome being an intrinsic reduction in fitness, and there are no known examples of mutants that are unquestionably healthier than the ancestral strains.
    No it is not evidence. Because there is no such thing as intrinsic fitness. Fitness is by definition a relative measure that is [i]specific]/i] to the demands of the current environment. The study you provided shows an increase in fitness. Your other measure, that of efficiency of molecular machines, also does not support your idea, because while some of the machines were allowed to become less efficient due to a decrease in selection pressure, others become more efficient. There is no reason to conclude a net decrease in efficiency.
    Intuitively, one is tempted to think of some situations as more "intrinsically fit" than others. For example, a long distance runner who trains at high altitudes will find that they can still run faster even when they run in a race at a lower altitude. In fact, that's the preferred way to train for a long distance race, regardless of where it's being held.

    There may occasionally be situations where two, initially identical, organisms find themselves in two separate environments which are similar except that one is more extreme than the other. I would expect that the selective pressures of the harsher environment would cause the organism that's trying to survive there to mutate more rapidly in the desirable direction, so that if some of its descendants were then introduced into the softer environment they would have little or no trouble out competing their distant relatives who'd been living there for a while.
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  13. #12 Re: Will you allow mathematicians to judge the argument? 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Intuitively, one is tempted to think of some situations as more "intrinsically fit" than others. For example, a long distance runner who trains at high altitudes will find that they can still run faster even when they run in a race at a lower altitude. In fact, that's the preferred way to train for a long distance race, regardless of where it's being held.
    Then what happens if you decide to measure the runner's fitness by his IQ? By how well his skin tone balances UV protection and vitamin D production? By his resistance to malaria? By his ability to use tools to build a house? By his ability to breathe underwater? By his ability to fly out of danger's way? By his ability to hibernate when he's trapped out in the cold?

    Fitness is environment dependent. There is no single species of organism on this earth that is equally fit to stand up to every single possible environmental challenge.

    There may occasionally be situations where two, initially identical, organisms find themselves in two separate environments which are similar except that one is more extreme than the other. I would expect that the selective pressures of the harsher environment would cause the organism that's trying to survive there to mutate more rapidly in the desirable direction, so that if some of its descendants were then introduced into the softer environment they would have little or no trouble out competing their distant relatives who'd been living there for a while.
    Kojax, I don't know how many times I have to tell you mutation rates don't simply increase like that. Mutation rates are for the most part constant within a population. The correct way to explain what you're describing is that one group evolves more quickly than the other. That's it. In one group selection removes change from the current state and in the other group selection favors change from the current state.

    Secondly, you're talking about two very similar environments. Now what happens when you throw both groups in a single radically different environment? Probably neither will do well. What you're talking about is still environmentally dependent.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  14. #13  
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    Let me put in another vote against this devolution thing.

    I have little more experience in biology than high-school classes and reading every article about evolution I come across in general scientific magazines. I had never even heard about this devolution thing before. However, I am quite proficient in mathematics, physics and scientific theory in general, and barely reading half the linked post about devolution reveals that it's complete rubbish. Paralith makes way more sense in his arguments.

    EDIT: wow, I just notice what forum that post about devolution was on. Seriously, this is a scientific forum (as the name implies), no place to discus religious wishful thinking.
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  15. #14  
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    I'll monitoring this thread closely. I don't want to see this end up like the last devolution thread, with several biologists patiently explaining and re-explaining the faults in this argument while Shubee parrots the same lines back over and again with no engagement. If that's how this pans out I will lock the thread.

    Now, I think paralith has made an excellent point regarding fitness. There is no absolute or intrinsic measure of evolutionary fitness and I should add that "robusticity" in itself is a trait that can be positively and negatively selected for.
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  16. #15 Re: Will you allow mathematicians to judge the argument? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Intuitively, one is tempted to think of some situations as more "intrinsically fit" than others. For example, a long distance runner who trains at high altitudes will find that they can still run faster even when they run in a race at a lower altitude. In fact, that's the preferred way to train for a long distance race, regardless of where it's being held.
    Then what happens if you decide to measure the runner's fitness by his IQ? By how well his skin tone balances UV protection and vitamin D production? By his resistance to malaria? By his ability to use tools to build a house? By his ability to breathe underwater? By his ability to fly out of danger's way? By his ability to hibernate when he's trapped out in the cold?

    Fitness is environment dependent. There is no single species of organism on this earth that is equally fit to stand up to every single possible environmental challenge.
    I would assume "ceteris paribus" about all those things. If the environments are identical except that one has a smaller air supply, I would expect one group to have a more strongly developed cardiovascular system, and nothing else.

    The only advantage the organism evolving at lower altitude should be expected to have is that it consumes fewer calories (by not having to maintain such a highly developed cardiovascular system).


    There may occasionally be situations where two, initially identical, organisms find themselves in two separate environments which are similar except that one is more extreme than the other. I would expect that the selective pressures of the harsher environment would cause the organism that's trying to survive there to mutate more rapidly in the desirable direction, so that if some of its descendants were then introduced into the softer environment they would have little or no trouble out competing their distant relatives who'd been living there for a while.
    Kojax, I don't know how many times I have to tell you mutation rates don't simply increase like that. Mutation rates are for the most part constant within a population. The correct way to explain what you're describing is that one group evolves more quickly than the other. That's it. In one group selection removes change from the current state and in the other group selection favors change from the current state.
    Direction is important to factor in. A stronger selection pressure gives the mutation a more defined direction. With no direction, an organism could mutate around in circles, so that in the long run it's not moving anywhere. I would think this would even be true in degrees. To the degree that your mutation has more direction, less of your time is spent going backwards, and that should mean you make more progress in the long run.


    Secondly, you're talking about two very similar environments. Now what happens when you throw both groups in a single radically different environment? Probably neither will do well. What you're talking about is still environmentally dependent.
    I doubt that a trait like fast movement would ever be totally obsolete in any but the most extreme environmental shifts. I think people are right to worry about transplanting organisms from one continent to another. Sometimes an adaptation that just barely gets you by in one environment will totally make you king in another. But sometimes it goes the other way too, from king to peasant.

    In this case, however, I would be defining "intrinsic fitness" either by the number of environments in can apply to, or the degree to which one is adapted to the one best environment available for them to occupy. And I guess neither of those would really be accurate.

    If a eugenicist wants to talk about fitness in the human organism, however, there's really only one environment they need to measure their claims against, because only one of them is relevant to the human condition: modern society.
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  17. #16 Re: Will you allow mathematicians to judge the argument? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Direction is important to factor in. A stronger selection pressure gives the mutation a more defined direction. With no direction, an organism could mutate around in circles, so that in the long run it's not moving anywhere. I would think this would even be true in degrees. To the degree that your mutation has more direction, less of your time is spent going backwards, and that should mean you make more progress in the long run.
    Selection has no effect whatsoever on the "direction" of mutation. First, mutation happens (directionlessly) and then selection determines what survives. At every iteration, mutation happens in many "directions" at once, and whatever takes, takes. There is no feedback from selection into the mutation process.
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  18. #17 Re: Will you allow mathematicians to judge the argument? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Direction is important to factor in. A stronger selection pressure gives the mutation a more defined direction. With no direction, an organism could mutate around in circles, so that in the long run it's not moving anywhere. I would think this would even be true in degrees. To the degree that your mutation has more direction, less of your time is spent going backwards, and that should mean you make more progress in the long run.
    Selection has no effect whatsoever on the "direction" of mutation. First, mutation happens (directionlessly) and then selection determines what survives. At every iteration, mutation happens in many "directions" at once, and whatever takes, takes. There is no feedback from selection into the mutation process.
    Suppose you have two initially identical groups of deer, with medium antlers on average, in two slightly different environments. In the first environment, having longer antlers would be nice, but is not absolutely necessary to survival. In the second environment, having longer antlers is crucial to survival.

    In the first group, there will be a lot of short antler deer surviving and having offspring. In the second group, a short antler deer will virtually never survive. It follows, therefore, that the first group must take longer to evolve long horns, because the short horned genes are holding their ground longer. They keep getting re-introduced, and watering everything down.
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  19. #18 Re: Will you allow mathematicians to judge the argument? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Direction is important to factor in. A stronger selection pressure gives the mutation a more defined direction. With no direction, an organism could mutate around in circles, so that in the long run it's not moving anywhere. I would think this would even be true in degrees. To the degree that your mutation has more direction, less of your time is spent going backwards, and that should mean you make more progress in the long run.
    Selection has no effect whatsoever on the "direction" of mutation. First, mutation happens (directionlessly) and then selection determines what survives. At every iteration, mutation happens in many "directions" at once, and whatever takes, takes. There is no feedback from selection into the mutation process.
    Suppose you have two initially identical groups of deer, with medium antlers on average, in two slightly different environments. In the first environment, having longer antlers would be nice, but is not absolutely necessary to survival. In the second environment, having longer antlers is crucial to survival.

    In the first group, there will be a lot of short antler deer surviving and having offspring. In the second group, a short antler deer will virtually never survive. It follows, therefore, that the first group must take longer to evolve long horns, because the short horned genes are holding their ground longer. They keep getting re-introduced, and watering everything down.
    Yes, but the mutation rates and any measurable "direction" in that mutation, are the same in the two groups. The selective pressures differ, and they are the what determines the difference between the two groups.
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  20. #19 Re: Will you allow mathematicians to judge the argument? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Yes, but the mutation rates and any measurable "direction" in that mutation, are the same in the two groups. The selective pressures differ, and they are the what determines the difference between the two groups.
    But, one group does grow its antlers faster than the other, right? I guess we could consider genetic variety to be a mutation as well, couldn't we? So the fact one population is more diverse than the other (greater range of antler sizes), could mean that one is mutating in the direction of diversity, while the other is mutating in the direction of longer antlers?

    I'm just trying to understand what you mean. My impression of the process is that a species mutates in all directions simultaneously, but natural selection cancels its momentum in all but the desired direction. Sort of like how the rudder on a boat steers the boat by slowing it down on one side.
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