Notices
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 100 of 187
Like Tree30Likes

Thread: Take On Darwin

  1. #1 Take On Darwin 
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    155
    I have been reading a Non-Darwinian evolution website recently. One of the authors posted this:

    Take on Darwin

    DARWINISM
    • Darwinism is a fairy story; to accept it you have to believe in magic.
    • Natural selection isn't a force, it's more like friction; it's offers a little resistance to the flow of harmful mutations entering the gene pool.
    • How efficient is natural selection at eliminating harmful mutations? 100% would involve magic. Anything less would involve extinction. Likely value 1-2%. So where's the mechanism?
    • Darwin didn't discover evolution, he merely dumbed it down so natural selection could account for it.
    • Natural selection can't account for the origin of species, all it could lead to is all creatures varying gradually within a single species.
    ADAPTATION
    • Add a stone and a kitten to a pile of stones. Which is better adapted to its environment? Does adaptation mean anything?
    • Evolution is living creatures becoming more independent of, not more adapted to, their environment.
    • Is the Internet us "adapting" to electricity? Is symbiosis "adaptation" to the environment?
    • Adaptation is the lowest common denominator of all possible mechanisms of evolution. What would distinguish the best mechanism from all the others?
    • Adapting living creatures to their environment is the least you can ask of evolution. Shouldn't we ask more?
    MUTATION
    • Mutation followed by natural selection is like saying you can make a big mountain out of a small mountain just by shaking it. But avalanches make a mountain smaller, not bigger.
    • You can't evolve new living creatures just by damaging the old ones.
    • Beneficial mutations are like unicorns: Everyone's heard of them but no one's ever seen one.
    • If something other than mutation was what made changes to genes beneficial, how could you tell?

    What do you think about this? Does he have a valid case?


    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    16,532
    What evidence did they present?

    I have seen lots of evidence for evolution so the first point is obviously wrong. I gave up at that point.


    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    155
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    What evidence did they present?

    I have seen lots of evidence for evolution so the first point is obviously wrong. I gave up at that point.
    You make the familiar mistake of equating Darwinism with evolution. The author is a firm evolutionist, just not a Darwinian one, he claims natural selection is not driving evolution and presents alternatives.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    16,532
    What evidence did they present?

    I have seen lots of evidence for natural selection so the first point is obviously wrong. I gave up at that point.

    [and obviously natural selection is not the only factor]
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    16,532
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    You make the familiar mistake of equating Darwinism with evolution.
    Well, if you are going to use words with no clear definition what do you expect.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Forum Senior TheObserver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    351
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    What do you think about this? Does he have a valid case?
    No.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    Forum Isotope
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Western US
    Posts
    2,640
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    I have been reading a Non-Darwinian evolution website recently. One of the authors posted this:

    Take on Darwin

    What do you think about this? Does he have a valid case?
    This was clearly written by someone with a poor understanding of the subject, and likely a closet Creationist. The giveaway for me is his assertion that natural selection cannot lead to speciation -- only "variations within a species." He makes assertions with nothing to back them up. Repeatedly.

    If you don't want your brain to rot, put him on Ignore.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    16,532
    Problems:

    1) He is apparently largely ignorant of evolutionary biology

    2) The focus on Darwin: Darwin is irrelevant; the science of evolution is based on evidence not personalities

    3) Lack of honesty:

    Quote Originally Posted by Take on Darwin
    I studied biochemistry at University College London ... but was denied my degree
    Can't admit he failed, huh?
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    155
    The giveaway for me is his assertion that natural selection cannot lead to speciation -- only "variations within a species."
    You might want to look beyond wikipedia or talk.origins on this issue and actually discuss this with a scientist in the field. The late Brian Goodwin has stated very clearly in two interviews and his book that natural selection is only a minor mechanism in evolution, ie it only kills off species never adds anything new in the genome and does not lead to any kind of major speciation, scientists from Lev Berg to Pierre Grasse have stated in the past that natural selection if anything is just a filter process and in most cases is more destructive than good. The late Lynn Margulis said exactly the same thing in an interview before she died, she claimed natural selection does occur in nature but it only causes variation within a species, above the species level there must be another mechanism, for her it was symbiosis. None of this is the words of a creationist.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    155
    Can't admit he failed, huh?
    You offer nothing more than an opinion and then try and attack the author not the evidence. You are the one claiming natural selection is a main mechanism for evolution and that evolution can not occur without it, so the burden is on you, to produce some evidence. (not on wiki though please). Gotta think for yourself
    Reply With Quote  
     

  12. #11  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    16,532
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    You are the one claiming natural selection is a main mechanism for evolution and that evolution can not occur without it
    I am claiming nothing of the sort. In fact, I am not claiming anything.

    Gotta think for yourself
    Yeah. Try it some time.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
    Reply With Quote  
     

  13. #12  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    155
    1) He is apparently largely ignorant of evolutionary biology
    Would you like to back this claim up with some evidence.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  14. #13  
    Forum Senior TheObserver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    351
    And do you have a proposed mechanism for this "evolution by symbiosis"?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  15. #14  
    Forum Senior TheObserver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    351
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    1) He is apparently largely ignorant of evolutionary biology
    Would you like to back this claim up with some evidence.


    I can!!

    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post

    DARWINISM
    • Darwinism is a fairy story; to accept it you have to believe in magic.
    • Natural selection isn't a force, it's more like friction; it's offers a little resistance to the flow of harmful mutations entering the gene pool.
    • How efficient is natural selection at eliminating harmful mutations? 100% would involve magic. Anything less would involve extinction. Likely value 1-2%. So where's the mechanism?
    • Darwin didn't discover evolution, he merely dumbed it down so natural selection could account for it.
    • Natural selection can't account for the origin of species, all it could lead to is all creatures varying gradually within a single species.
    ADAPTATION
    • Add a stone and a kitten to a pile of stones. Which is better adapted to its environment? Does adaptation mean anything?
    • Evolution is living creatures becoming more independent of, not more adapted to, their environment.
    • Is the Internet us "adapting" to electricity? Is symbiosis "adaptation" to the environment?
    • Adaptation is the lowest common denominator of all possible mechanisms of evolution. What would distinguish the best mechanism from all the others?
    • Adapting living creatures to their environment is the least you can ask of evolution. Shouldn't we ask more?
    MUTATION
    • Mutation followed by natural selection is like saying you can make a big mountain out of a small mountain just by shaking it. But avalanches make a mountain smaller, not bigger.
    • You can't evolve new living creatures just by damaging the old ones.
    • Beneficial mutations are like unicorns: Everyone's heard of them but no one's ever seen one.
    • If something other than mutation was what made changes to genes beneficial, how could you tell?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  16. #15  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    155
    Quote Originally Posted by TheObserver View Post
    And do you have a proposed mechanism for this "evolution by symbiosis"?

    How do new species evolve? Although Darwin identified inherited variation as the creative force in evolution, he never formally speculated where it comes from. His successors thought that new species arise from the gradual accumulation of random mutations of DNA. But despite its acceptance in every major textbook, there is no documented instance of it. Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan take a radically new approach to this question. They show that speciation events are not, in fact, rare or hard to observe. Genomes are acquired by infection, by feeding, and by other ecological associations, and then inherited. Acquiring Genomes is the first work to integrate and analyze the overwhelming mass of evidence for the role of bacterial and other symbioses in the creation of plant and animal diversity. It provides the most powerful explanation of speciation yet given.




    That is all you need
    Reply With Quote  
     

  17. #16  
    Forum Senior TheObserver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    351
    Evolutionary Biology
    • Evolution by natural selection is a well tested and thoroughly developed theory; it was actually the first time evolution was explained without using magic.
    • Natural selection isn't a force, but it is nothing like friction; it's offers a little increased chance of survival for particular genes in gene pools.
    • How efficient is natural selection at eliminating harmful mutations? ~80-90% (random numbers) since those individuals with harmful mutations will likely die out in a generation or two.
    • Darwin didn't discover evolution, but he did show that natural selection could account for it.
    • Natural selection can account for the origin of species, by a long process of creatures varying gradually within a single species.
    ADAPTATION
    • Add furry variations of select individuals in cold climates. Which is better adapted to its environment? Does adaptation mean anything? - yes, increased chances of survival.
    • Evolution is lineages of creatures becoming more adapted to, not more independent of their environment.
    • Is the Internet us "adapting" to electricity? - No. Is symbiosis "adaptation" to the environment?- Yes.
    • Adaptation is not a mechanism of evolution. It is the result.
    • Natural selection is an explanation. Should we be asking anything of it? No. We don't get to shape science to our desires.
    MUTATION
    • Mutation followed by natural selection has absolutely nothing to do with shaking mountains, I didn't even have a good come back for how silly this point was.
    • You can't evolve new living creatures just by damaging the old ones. However genetic shuffling combined with variation in genes together with natural selection can.
    • Beneficial mutations are like blue whales: Most people have heard about them but never seen them...however most people are not biologists and aren't interested in the actual details of science.
    • If something other than mutation was what made changes to genes beneficial, how could you tell? We would study it and do our best to determine what other mechanisms are also involved in the process.
    What do you think about this? Do I have a valid case?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  18. #17  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    16,532
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    1) He is apparently largely ignorant of evolutionary biology
    Would you like to back this claim up with some evidence.
    What, apart from the nonsense you quoted in your OP (and the fact he failed biochemistry)?
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
    Reply With Quote  
     

  19. #18  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    16,532
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    That is all you need
    But we know, from direct observation, that there is not just one single mechanism. And that selection is one mechanism (the main one for most species most of the time, less important for some species at some times).

    I am just not sure why you are so blinkered and closed-minded. Why do you have to find anything (however poorly supported) that challenges natural selection to be convincing. While anything that demonstrates that natural selection has a role is "Darwinian dogma".

    Why are you so absorbed by this weird anti-darwin dogma?

    And why argue against the straw man that "there is only natural selection"?
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
    Reply With Quote  
     

  20. #19  
    Forum Isotope
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Western US
    Posts
    2,640
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TheObserver View Post
    And do you have a proposed mechanism for this "evolution by symbiosis"?
    How do new species evolve? Although Darwin identified inherited variation as the creative force in evolution, he never formally speculated where it comes from. His successors thought that new species arise from the gradual accumulation of random mutations of DNA. But despite its acceptance in every major textbook, there is no documented instance of it. Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan take a radically new approach to this question. They show that speciation events are not, in fact, rare or hard to observe. Genomes are acquired by infection, by feeding, and by other ecological associations, and then inherited. Acquiring Genomes is the first work to integrate and analyze the overwhelming mass of evidence for the role of bacterial and other symbioses in the creation of plant and animal diversity. It provides the most powerful explanation of speciation yet given.

    That is all you need
    Geez. I don't think you made the picture big enough.

    I am wholly unimpressed by your argument by authority, especially when that authority is Lynn Margulis. Among other decidedly cranky beliefs, she held that HIV was not infectious. Throughout her career, she delivered every opinion with the same confident conviction. Only a small fraction were based on sound science, and even fewer were confirmed. If you live long enough and say enough things, some of them are bound to be correct. Those hits aren't necessarily good indicators that the other pronouncements weren't misses.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  21. #20  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    155
    Among other decidedly cranky beliefs, she held that HIV was not infectious.
    And what has this got to do with her fine work on symbiosis?

    Remember Alfred Wallace believed angels were real, Robert Broom claimed spirits talked to him, William Crookes and most of the inventors of such things as the telephone all believed in the afterlife and mediumship, Hans Bender believed in Telepathy so did Einstein, the inventor of radio Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of telephone Alexander Graham Bell, and the inventor of television technology John Logie Baird all believed in spirits. Are you going to dismiss all of the work of these scientists aswell just becuase they had certain other beliefs? If that is the case then from now on never use your telephone or TV again I mean why would you want to use inventions by scientists with "cranky beliefs".
    Reply With Quote  
     

  22. #21  
    Forum Isotope
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Western US
    Posts
    2,640
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    Among other decidedly cranky beliefs, she held that HIV was not infectious.
    And what has this got to do with her fine work on symbiosis?

    Remember Alfred Wallace believed angels were real, Robert Broom claimed spirits talked to him, William Crookes and most of the inventors of such things as the telephone all believed in the afterlife and mediumship, Hans Bender believed in Telepathy so did Einstein, the inventor of radio Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of telephone Alexander Graham Bell, and the inventor of television technology John Logie Baird all believed in spirits. Are you going to dismiss all of the work of these scientists aswell just becuase they had certain other beliefs? If that is the case then from now on never use your telephone or TV again I mean why would you want to use inventions by scientists with "cranky beliefs".
    The point is simple if you allow yourself to think about it. When a biologist is cited for her credentials in biology, then it is absolutely relevant to examine critically her bona fides in that field. The nature of HIV is within the realm of biology, last time I checked.

    In contrast, I note that every single one of your examples is of a scientist in one field holding cranky beliefs in a completely different field. I would have trusted Crookes in matters relating to, say, radiometer design, but not so much on the nature of the afterlife.

    Do you not see the great difference?

    Think logically, man!
    Reply With Quote  
     

  23. #22  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    16,532
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    Would you like to back this claim up with some evidence.
    Does your "Take on Darwin" hero back up his claims of "magic" with any evidence?
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
    Reply With Quote  
     

  24. #23  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    155
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    Would you like to back this claim up with some evidence.
    Does your "Take on Darwin" hero back up his claims of "magic" with any evidence?
    I have asked the owner of Take on Darwin who is the author of the information in the original post to join this forum, so perhaps he can clear up some of these issues which you bring up.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  25. #24  
    Forum Ph.D. stander-j's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Winnipeg
    Posts
    854
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    Would you like to back this claim up with some evidence.
    Does your "Take on Darwin" hero back up his claims of "magic" with any evidence?
    I have asked the owner of Take on Darwin who is the author of the information in the original post to join this forum, so perhaps he can clear up some of these issues which you bring up.
    I've always felt like Evolution is an Abbott and Costello routine between Chaos and Order. So in regards to the OP I'd say, from what I understand, the current status quo makes the most sense.
    "Cultivated leisure is the aim of man."
    Reply With Quote  
     

  26. #25  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    ADAPTATION
    • Add a stone and a kitten to a pile of stones. Which is better adapted to its environment? Does adaptation mean anything?
    • Evolution is living creatures becoming more independent of, not more adapted to, their environment.
    • Is the Internet us "adapting" to electricity? Is symbiosis "adaptation" to the environment?
    • Adaptation is the lowest common denominator of all possible mechanisms of evolution. What would distinguish the best mechanism from all the others?
    • Adapting living creatures to their environment is the least you can ask of evolution. Shouldn't we ask more?

    No major advance, that I am aware of, ever came in science from thinking the same thing. Advances come when we think something different. Kuhn called it a paradigm shift. The observations and questions posed in the opening post challenge us to think differently about Adaptation. Such a challenge is a good thing. Unfortunately, after considerable thought and effort, I can find nothing of value and much faulty thinking.

    We are asked, does adaptation mean anything? Yes, it does. We are speaking of biological adaptation It means adjustment to environment in a way that will enhance the probability of survival and ultimately of reproduction. So, it makes no sense to speak of stones adapting to a river bed, or the internet adapting to electricity.

    We are asked to believe that evolution is living creatures becoming more independent of their environment. Superficially this seems to have an element of truth in it. Birds construct nests as an effective repository for eggs and fledglings, rather than leaving them exposed in their 'environment'. Rabbits dig burrows for similar purposes. There are countless examples. But do these actually represent a greater independence from their environment, or a manipulation of that environment. The bird depends upon twigs and mud and feathers to construct its nest. The rabbit depends upon soil soft enough to dig, but frim enough to avoid collapse.


    The writer asks, what would distinguish the best mechanism of evolution? I sense teleology rearing its head. Best for what purpose? There is a strong implication here that evolution is trying to achieve something and that it could do this better if it had a mechanism superior to adaptation. (Though even here there is a problem: adaptation, which the writer appears to believe is a mechanism, is a process that arises from a suite of mechanisms, of which natural selection is one of the more important.)

    Finally, why should we ask more of evolution? Should we ask more of nucleosythesis? I say old chap, but I really think this business of needing supernovae for the heavier elements just won't do. I must insist on asking for better?

    In short, these few observations and questions about adaptation seem ill conceived and based upon a serious misunderstanding of evolution in general and adaptation in particular. Perhaps in context they make more sense, but not here, not now.
    tk421 likes this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  27. #26  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New York's mid Hudson Valley
    Posts
    43
    I am the publisher of takeondarwin.com, and writer of the string of one-liners this thread started with. I'm impressed with how thoughtful this thread has been, in particular how TheObserver took the trouble to consider each of my one-liners and civilly rebut them.

    I came to question the modern synthesis, in my fifties, through writing novels. One was a utopian fiction that projected stages in the past 200 years' evolutionary theory onto a succession of civilizations over the coming four thousand years. The other was a romantic fiction involving a Chinese scriptwriter with evolutionary theory serving as the prize in a global media war. Being an avid Darwinist is what made me start writing these novels, but a decade spent writing them changed how I looked at evolution. From thinking of myself in my childhood as "Mechanical Boy", in my thirties becoming an epiphenomenalist ("behavior is driven by brain chemistry, not by consciousness"), in my sixties I became skeptical about the Modern Synthesis for how it failed to account for consciousness and free will. As I continued to write (nonfiction), the soundness of the foundations for the modern synthesis faded away, until I saw modern evolutionary theory as completely bankrupt.

    It's hard to communicate over the resulting gap. The "me" who was an avid Darwinist would be unable to conceive of what it's like, decades later, to see natural selection and genetic mutation as ludicrously inadequate to account for evolution. I now am unable to imagine on what basis others still believe what for me has become a fairy story, on the lines of the moon being made of green cheese. Think of what's happened over the past few decades to the "blank slate" theory, it's simply become unconvincing. I see Darwinism going the same way, hanging on by a thread, as acknowledged by Massimo Pigliucci in "Evolution: The Extended Synthesis," probably the latest honest assessment of the status of the modern synthesis.

    For the time being, physicalism and the modern synthesis make up an internally consistent natural philosophy invulnerable to disproof because the world is reduced to only what they can "prove." I've made for myself a natural philosophy composed of a mishmash of science plus humanism plus traditional notions of consciousness and free will, also internally consistent. For want of a common set of assumptions you can't argue from one to another. I've stopped trying.

    Instead I maintain the website takeondarwin.com in case Darwinism collapses in my lifetime and people need an alternative to lean on. It's addressed primarily to students of the humanities. Physicalists such as Edward O. Wilson ("Consilience") and Edward Slingerland ("What Science Offers the Humanities") are pressing the humanities to re-establish themselves on Darwinian principles. I encourage them not to. I encourage them to come up with an alternative theory of evolution, able to account for the traditional experiences of consciousness and free will on which the humanities are largely based.

    On that website I offer a demonstration of how to come up with such a theory. I don't think it's "true." With respect to evolution I think we're at roughly the stage of Aristotle. We still need a Newton to come up with a theory based on the specifics of evolution, not on 18th century economics or 19th century artificial selection or 20th century genetics. And beyond that we'll need an Einstein to really probe to the deep meaning of evolution. We're far, far, from the concepts needed to understand it, as Aristotle was from an understanding of gravity or general relativity. In the meantime we need "make do" theories. In my opinion, the modern synthesis isn't good enough even for that. We need better theories. I don't expect them to come from the science. Of the early pioneers in evolutionary theory only Lamarck was a professional scientist.

    Given this context, I'm not inclined to reply to criticism of my one-liners. I wasn't the one who posted them here. My concern is more with saving traditional cultures elsewhere, outside UK and USA where Darwinism is dominant, from the harmful effects of physicalism and Darwinism.

    Does that leave us anything to talk about? Are you curious what evolution looks like from a non-Darwinian viewpoint? Well, I'll say this much: to me there are only matter and physical processes, and life and living processes. Whatever can't be accounted for in terms of matter and physical processes must be accountable for in terms of life and living processes. Evolution offers us our best view of life and living processes free of material interpretation (the rest of life we frame mainly in terms of biochemistry). Once there no elephants, now there are elephants. We are conscious. Is it interesting to reconsider how to account for these facts?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  28. #27  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Welcome to the forum Shaun. Any discussion that develops from your participation here is going to be informed by a critical pair of sentences in your post:

    " For want of a common set of assumptions you can't argue from one to another. I've stopped trying."

    This leaves us in an awkward position on a science forum: good science forums, or certainly the better threads on the better forums, seek to mimic the scientific process by challenging and questioning concepts. If you have stopped trying to make the detailed argument for your case in those terms it makes 'conversion' of Darwinists an unlikely event and the philosophy of the approach a barren one. I hope, therefore, that you will reconsider that position and perhaps engage in one or two specific areas.

    Since you have been good enough to share something of yourself so we may understand the platform on which your thoughts are based I will provide some brief, I hope relevant background on myself. In the 1960s, while an Earth science undergraduate, I was uncomfortable with the efficacy of natural selection alone to generate the observed biodiversity. I was wholly comfortable that we were on the right track, just that we hadn't identified all the key 'players'. In the intervening years the discovery of such things as hox genes and of epigenetics has filled in some of the gaps. More remain.

    I have been working, as a hobby, on a couple of 'papers' that address two of these gaps. One explores the importance of cooperation rather than competition within evolution, not because I think the latter is unimportant, but because the former has been overly neglected. The other has some almost revolutionary aspects to it and I should prefer not to discuss it until it has taken clearer form. I mention these points to show that I am open to a different approach to evolution, to the extent that I think we need one.

    That said - and please take this this the right way, as you might were we sitting over a beer in a pub overlooking a sunny beach, just having a chat - you are talking bollocks.

    Now since your embargo on talking point by point of the OP one liners exists, will you entertain discussion around a couple of related thoughts? If so, these are they.

    Your thesis seems to be, in short, Darwinism is wrong and we need a replacement. What don't I like about this? Two things, when evolution is attacked and is called Darwinism it is nearly always by religious fundamentalists. You don't appear to be one of these, but if you bathe with the hippos then mud may stick. Secondly, to call present evolutionary theory Darwinism is like calling present atomic theory Daltonism. I think it weakens and distracts from your central thesis and I wonder why you insist upon it. Perhaps you could comment?

    The second thing that troubles me, despite the mention of elephants, is a sense that when you think evolution, you spend a lot of time considering human evolution. As a lover of graptolites and trilobites I find that wayward. Again, perhaps you would comment.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  29. #28  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    155
    One explores the importance of cooperation rather than competition within evolution, not because I think the latter is unimportant, but because the former has been overly neglected.
    This is a very truthful comment, and is exactly what Lynn Margulis said and wrote about. Interestingly the users Strange and tk421 would not agree, in other threads they have spent a lot of time insulting cooperation and calling Margulis a "crackpot". I suppose now that you have made your comment, then they will retract and deny their previous comments. A bit of crowd psychology I guess.

    Your thesis seems to be, in short, Darwinism is wrong and we need a replacement. What don't I like about this? Two things, when evolution is attacked and is called Darwinism it is nearly always by religious fundamentalists.
    Julian Huxley used the term neo-Darwinism for the modern synthesis. Dawkins, Gould, Simpson, Mayr, Myers, Dennett, Coyne etc etc all refer/reffered themselves as neo-Darwinians and used the term.

    It is also interesting to note that almost every Darwinist has always been a humanist. Dawkins, Myers and Dennett all very strong humanists and so is Jerry Coyne. When Gould was alive so was he and so was Mayr. These men are sheep and can not think for themselves. Also note all of these men have far left political views. There definitely is a social-political side to Darwinism.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  30. #29  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    This is a very truthful comment, and is exactly what Lynn Margulis said and wrote about. Interestingly the users Strange and tk421 would not agree, in other threads they have spent a lot of time insulting cooperation and calling Margulis a "crackpot". I suppose now that you have made your comment, then they will retract and deny their previous comments. A bit of crowd psychology I guess.
    That is your hypothesis and you have made a prediction which can falsify it. You have, perhaps, not fully considered the environmental aspects, since your hypothesis also requires that I be seen as a leader and that they are individuals who bow to authority. I suspect you will be in error on both these points.

    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    Your thesis seems to be, in short, Darwinism is wrong and we need a replacement. What don't I like about this? Two things, when evolution is attacked and is called Darwinism it is nearly always by religious fundamentalists.
    Julian Huxley used the term neo-Darwinism for the modern synthesis. Dawkins, Gould, Simpson, Mayr, Myers, Dennett, Coyne etc etc all refer/reffered themselves as neo-Darwinians and used the term.
    .
    You failed to note the logical structure of my statement. It contains a Boolean AND.

    When evolution is attacked AND it is called Darwinism it is nearly always by religious fundamentalists.

    The corollary applies: When evolution is supported AND it is called Darwinism it is nearly always by educated biologists.

    Your comments about Huxley et al support my point and leave you looking foolish.

    It is also interesting to note that almost every Darwinist has always been a humanist. Dawkins, Myers and Dennett all very strong humanists and so is Jerry Coyne. When Gould was alive so was he and so was Mayr. These men are sheep and can not think for themselves. Also note all of these men have far left political views. There definitely is a social-political side to Darwinism.
    This is laughable!

    How are you now defining a Darwinist? Anyone who accepts the Modern Synthesis? Those who declare themselves to be Darwinists? Only famous researchers who declare themselves to be Darwinists? I don't mind which definition you use, but please let us hear it then show the peer reviewed research that justifies your claim.

    Actually, don't bother. Guess what? A very high proportion of scientists are humanists. Is it surprising if a subset of them happen to be humanists too?

    Then the classic - I paraphrase it : 'because they are humanists and because they are Darwinists they must also be sheep'. Give me a frigging break! That is so assinine it does not deserve a response, but I'll still give you one. Every one of these individuals is known for original thinking. They are known for breaking the mould. They are known for being different. Some of them, as a consequence, are known for being wrong. You can say many things about them and be correct, but calling them sheep is probably the dumbest claim you have made on this forum yet and that takes some doing.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  31. #30  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    155
    that I be seen as a leader and that they are individuals who bow to authority
    I studied psychology for a year, I really enjoyed the book crowd psychology by Gustave Le Bon, I know how it works. The majority of the Darwinist crowd are sheep and can not think for themselves. Same old natural selection status quo and Darwin hereo worship no new ideas. Anything which goes against their religion will be shunned or worse just resort to personal attacks instead.

    When evolution is attacked AND it is called Darwinism it is nearly always by religious fundamentalists.
    And what has this actually got to do with this thread, for starters theres no religious fundamentalists here, and the the work of Sean who is mentioned in the OP and who has come to this forum to explain himself is an atheist and not a creationist, he has made it clear he accepts evolution.

    How are you now defining a Darwinist? Anyone who accepts the Modern Synthesis? Those who declare themselves to be Darwinists? Only famous researchers who declare themselves to be Darwinists? I don't mind which definition you use, but please let us hear it then show the peer reviewed research that justifies your claim.
    You know what they mean! its quite clear what a Darwinist is, yes its these dogmatic defenders of the modern synthesis (neo-Darwinism) such as Richard Dawkins or Mayr, Dennett etc and probably most folk on this forum. They defend natural selection like a religious script and also are very dogmatic about there being no cooperation in nature and claim that all organisms are in "struggle", "competition" etc. They downplay, shun or ignore any alternative mechanism and they believe evolutionary mechanisms are solved they don't want to look for any new mechanism they ignore the debate. They also seem to think Darwin and his book origin of the species is immune from any kind of criticism whatsoever. I have met, debated 1000s of these clones.

    What was the other point which even you admit? Yes they are all humanists aswell, putting humans first above all the other animals and organisms, what was it Dawkins said in one of his books? "man is the highest evolved in the universe" these Darwinists have a very similar mind to creationists, "God created man in his image" etc. Creationism, Darwinism are a disease and pretty much most isms are, these are dogmatic belief systems similar to marxism, freudism etc. Now I won't keep mentioning Margulis but she admitted most of this, she claimed that neo-Darwinism had turned into a "religious sect" and a social political tool. She was honest enough to admit it and she was not alone! Interestingly Brian Goodwin came close to admitting it, C. H. Waddington admitted it and many others the problem is, is that most of the public don't know about it, read the book by the science journalist Richard Milton called Shattering the Myths of Darwinism and you will see how Darwinism is political socially motivated and how little science supports it.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  32. #31  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    I studied psychology for a year,
    I've been studying it for over half a century at the coal face of life and I have your card well marked.

    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    The majority of the Darwinist crowd are sheep and can not think for themselves.
    Provide evidence to support this contention or concede it only an opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    Anything which goes against their religion will be shunned or worse just resort to personal attacks instead.
    Would that be similar to the personal attacks where you call them sheep and question their intelligence?

    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    When evolution is attacked AND it is called Darwinism it is nearly always by religious fundamentalists.
    And what has this actually got to do with this thread, for starters theres no religious fundamentalists here, and the the work of Sean who is mentioned in the OP and who has come to this forum to explain himself is an atheist and not a creationist, he has made it clear he accepts evolution.
    I explained to Sean that I was concerned that his language was similar to that of religious fundamentalists. I think it is helpful to point out to people when their message may be lost in the noise of the medium. You tried to defend the use of the term Darwinism, but failed because you were arguing illogically and not paying attention to what was actually said.

    (I'll give you some free advice. Your debating skills are sub-par and even if you had a valid argument I believe I could run rings aournd you with my eyes shut and one brain hemisphere on standby. Try editing what you write before you post and you won't look so foolish quite so often.)

    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    How are you now defining a Darwinist? Anyone who accepts the Modern Synthesis? Those who declare themselves to be Darwinists? Only famous researchers who declare themselves to be Darwinists? I don't mind which definition you use, but please let us hear it then show the peer reviewed research that justifies your claim.
    You know what they mean! its quite clear what a Darwinist is,
    If it was clear what you meant by a Darwinist I would not have asked you to clarify. A fundamental principle for the good practice of science is to ensure the terms in use are clearly defined. An emotional outburst ('you know what they mean!') suggests you don't understand that principle.

    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    yes its these dogmatic defenders of the modern synthesis (neo-Darwinism) such as Richard Dawkins or Mayr, Dennett etc and probably most folk on this forum. They defend natural selection like a religious script and also are very dogmatic about there being no cooperation in nature and claim that all organisms are in "struggle", "competition" etc. They downplay, shun or ignore any alternative mechanism and they believe evolutionary mechanisms are solved they don't want to look for any new mechanism they ignore the debate. They also seem to think Darwin and his book origin of the species is immune from any kind of criticism whatsoever. I have met, debated 1000s of these clones.
    1. The defence of natural selection is based upon a century and a half of evidence from palaeontology, embryology, genetics and comparative anatomy. I agree that sometimes there is a trace of knee jerk reaction when someone comes along with a half baked thesis, based on an ill conceived revolutionary angst. (I take it you are between 17 and 23 years of age. The good news is that you will likely grow out of this affectation.)
    2. I know of none of the regular members here who think that On the Origin of Species is immune to criticism. In fact such an idea is farcical, yet typcial of your misapprehension of almost every aspect of this debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    I have met, debated 1000s of these clones.
    I should prefer to debate a clone than a clown, but one takes what one is offered.

    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    What was the other point which even you admit? Yes they are all humanists aswell, putting humans first above all the other animals and organisms,
    Your understanding of the nature of humanism is flawed. Humanists reject religious or supernatural explanations for the world, and like any sensible entity in a species pay particular concern to their fellows. This most certainly does not mean they are indifferent to animals and other organisms. A reading of the works of any of these, even the nut case Dawkins, would reveal this to be true. Do your homework before indulging in foolish pontification.

    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    Now I won't keep mentioning Margulis but she admitted most of this, she claimed that neo-Darwinism had turned into a "religious sect" and a social political tool.
    She didn't admit it, she claimed it. Do you understand the difference? Now provide evidence, not opinion, that this is true.

    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    , read the book by the science journalist Richard Milton called Shattering the Myths of Darwinism and you will see how Darwinism is political socially motivated and how little science supports it.
    So it is all one huge global conspiracy of humanist neo-Darwinists out to corrupt the world. Are you just sore that we didn't invite you to our last super secret meeting in the Austrian Alps?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  33. #32  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New York's mid Hudson Valley
    Posts
    43
    John, some responses:

    You say, "to call present evolutionary theory Darwinism is like calling present atomic theory Daltonism. I think it weakens and distracts from your central thesis and I wonder why you insist upon it. Perhaps you could comment?" Here was my first paragraph after introducing myself. Note: no use of "Darwinism":

    "I came to question the modern synthesis, in my fifties, through writing novels. One was a utopian fiction that projected stages in the past 200 years' evolutionary theory onto a succession of civilizations over the coming four thousand years. The other was a romantic fiction involving a Chinese scriptwriter with evolutionary theory serving as the prize in a global media war. Being an avid Darwinist is what made me start writing these novels, but a decade spent writing them changed how I looked at evolution. From thinking of myself in my childhood as "Mechanical Boy", in my thirties becoming an epiphenomenalist ("behavior is driven by brain chemistry, not by consciousness"), in my sixties I became skeptical about the modern Synthesis for how it failed to account for consciousness and free will. As I continued to write (nonfiction), the soundness of the foundations for the modern synthesis faded away, until I saw modern evolutionary theory as completely bankrupt."

    Later I say "...are pressing the humanities to re-establish themselves on Darwinian principles." but this is how the consilience promoters speak, since they are addressing the humanities. Justified in this context. In my one-liners I have a section labeled "Darwin" in which I confine myself to natural selection, and another section labeled "Mutation," I don't confuse Darwin with the synthesis of the two.

    All pro forma. No "bollocks" here, I think. The phrase "Darwinism is wrong and we need a replacement" was yours and not mine, you put your words in my mouth. By bringing up such a peripheral issue and criticizing me on the basis of careless reading on your part, you in effect announce the ground rules, which are "We're watching you carefully, like how you misapply terms, so mind your ps and qs," You meanwhile don't need to watch yours, as in your criticisms of me, for example, because you feel you represent the received wisdom. You express no interest, merely cautions. I'm a supplicant, you imply, requesting admission.

    That's how I felt welcomed. Is that OK with you, or was it a slip on your part?

    ---------------------------
    [Me] " For want of a common set of assumptions you can't argue from one to another. I've stopped trying." [You] "This leaves us in an awkward position on a science forum: good science forums, or certainly the better threads on the better forums, seek to mimic the scientific process by challenging and questioning concepts."

    Physicists in the late 19th century believing light consisted of waves found no grounds for dialog with those believing light consisted of particles. It took Einstein to provide those grounds. Sometimes a science forum cannot provide a venue for questioning concepts until the necessary concepts arise. I don't think you can't make those concepts arise merely by arguing across the divide. I don't expect that to work between us. It may just not be worth trying. What do you think?

    --------------------------

    "you spend a lot of time considering human evolution. Again, perhaps you would comment."

    You can't imagine, from inside the citadel, how odd this question sounds to those of us outside. We are a product of evolution. We've abandoned one origin story based on special creation and adopted another based on evolution, but when we very naturally ask what this new origin story can tell us about ourselves evolutionists say, "Oh, it doesn't apply so much to us, it applies more to trilobytes." I despair of getting you to see how odd that is, I meet this attitude all the time, from inhabitants of the citadel.

    Let me tell you some other things that seem odd to us outsiders. The creationists have very cleverly, by adopting the phrase "intelligent design,"made you deny it. To everyone else it's obvious that living creatures are intelligently designed. "Oh, no," you say, "We mean..." and you go into a long explanation. But we don't hear that explanation, we just feel distaste for someone apparently blind to how wonderfully designed living creatures are. Can you see what a bad impression that makes on the public? Here's something else--if living creatures were conscious they could drive their own evolution consciously, so evolutionists deny that any of them, including us, have consciousness and free will, even retreating into physicalism and claiming our experience of free will is an illusion. Logical to you, perhaps, but grotesque to those of us outside the walls. We experience consciousness and free will as primary data, way before we give any credence to physics. Those inside the citadel who favor physics over free will seem like zombies.

    The greatest threat modern evolutionary theory poses to those of us outside the citadel, implicit in the modern synthesis and physicalism, is fatalism. Even Edward O. Wilson, in advocating the widespread adoption of neo-Darwinism in "Consilience: The Unity of All Knowledge," warns against it. His warning, from an authority of the highest caliber within the citadel, shows it's a real threat. If the modern synthesis could lead impressionable children into fatalism, I think evolutionists should be careful not to also teach the physicalism and material monism implicit in it.

    How can an individual contribute to our evolutionary progress? According to the modern synthesis, only by suffering random mutations to his or her genes and then submitting to natural selection. Inspiring? What do you think? To make one's genes enter the gene pool involves being violent and aggressive to overcome competition, promiscuous to ensure reproduction, and nepotistic to one's one progeny and a bully to others, to favor one's own genes. How do you think this looks to people outside the citadel with a sense of ordinary morals? And the citadel's treatment of "altruism"? Don't get me started!

    Inside the citadel it's easy to think you're in charge of evolutionary theory and qualified to set the rules of debate. But actually you're not. When people outside the citadel decided, in the late twenties and early thirties, to stop the evolutionists' practice of eugenics--and go to your history books to see this was driven from the very top of the profession!--it was stopped, pronto. Evolutionists never came up with a reason why they stopped, they stopped because the public put its foot down. And it can do so again if the practices of the citadel get too odious, as in preaching physicalism and fatalism to children.

    In the citadel people tell each other that the enemy is creationists. That's a self-serving fiction. The enemy is the weakness of the modern synthesis, and the vile implications it holds for human nature, that make it unacceptable to most everyone. Until that's acknowledged there can be no further progress in evolutionary theory, at least within the citadel. Meanwhile outside, we're working on alternatives that can account for human nature and bring us greater wisdom.

    I've taken so long to say why I consider human evolution, as you asked, that I've run out of time to present arguments against natural selection and genetic mutation.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  34. #33  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    shaun,
    let me address your post in two separate parts. First the confusion over the use of Darwinism. Forest said this in post #23:

    I have asked the owner of Take on Darwin who is the author of the information in the original post to join this forum, so perhaps he can clear up some of these issues which you bring up.
    The original post contained these words:


    Take on Darwin

    DARWINISM
    • Darwinism is a fairy story; to accept it you have to believe in magic.
    • Natural selection isn't a force, it's more like friction; it's offers a little resistance to the flow of harmful mutations entering the gene pool.
    • How efficient is natural selection at eliminating harmful mutations? 100% would involve magic. Anything less would involve extinction. Likely value 1-2%. So where's the mechanism?
    • Darwin didn't discover evolution, he merely dumbed it down so natural selection could account for it.
    • Natural selection can't account for the origin of species, all it could lead to is all creatures varying gradually within a single species.
    So, I was informed that you were the author of these words.
    You gave no indication that you were not the author of these words.
    These words contain Darwinism both as a title and as the subject of one of the bullet points.
    Indeed, your opening words in your first post were these:
    I am the publisher of takeondarwin.com, and writer of the string of one-liners this thread started with.
    I'm sorry Shaun, but you can't have it both ways. You emphasised Darwinism in the words that were used in the OP. You did not repudiate them when you introduced themselves, indeed you toolk clear ownership of them. It is therefore rather much to complain when I offer you my thinking on how they come across.

    I am also disappointed by your accusation of putting words in your mouth. Here is what I said:
    Your thesis seems to be, in short, Darwinism is wrong and we need a replacement.
    Please note the use of the phrase 'seems to be'. In other words this is my interpretation of what you have been saying. I emphasise the interpretative nature of it by italicising the words. If it is a misinterpretation all you had to do is say, "No John, you have that wrong. What I mean is this......" Job done.

    So there was no careless reading on my part. I would welcome an apology from you on that score.

    For my part I regret that the motivation for my remarks on your use of the word Darwinism were misunderstood. Clearly as the writer that is my responsibility. You felt that my attitude was "We're watching you carefully, like how you misapply terms, so mind your ps and qs,". This is virtually opposite my intent.

    Please entertain the possiblity that while I still believe you are talking bollocks I am committed to aiding you in getting your message across in the clearest possible and most convincing way. I firmly believe that using the term Darwinism, as you did in the words quoted in the opening post, detracts from the impact of your thesis.

    Now you say, rightly, that this is a peripheral matter. However, your first post left me unsure what discussion, if any, you were ready to engage in. It seemed to me you might have come just to explain the background to your thinking then leave. I thought some minor points would be a good way of dipping toes in the water. I'm sorry you feel this was somehow disrespectful. That was not my intent.

    I'll adress the second part of your post later. I'm sure that is more than enough to be going on with.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  35. #34  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New York's mid Hudson Valley
    Posts
    43
    John, fine, a quick exchange. Under "Darwinism," in my list of one-liners, all the points concern natural selection, which is fairly called Darwinism. The other primary part of the modern synthesis I dealt with under the separate title "Mutation." So I nowhere, there or elsewhere, used "Darwinism" when I should have said "the modern synthesis." Surely my usage was orthodox. And, surely you, not I, must take responsibility for what "seems" to you, if you misread what I wrote.

    This really isn't important to me, I do sometimes carelessly use "Darwinism" for the modern synthesis, I was miffed at being called on it here when I hadn't. A lot of the friction I experience on boards such as this I'm sure comes from a guard being put up as this critic of Darwinism rears his head. That friction gets in the way, though, so I'm in the habit of acknowledging it when I feel it, either to clear the air or to learn quickly that I won't enjoy myself. I like the feel of this board and find the treatment fair. We got off on the wrong foot with this issue of "Darwinism." And you raised the issue of "human evolution, which brought out the worst in me. I deal with the causes of science's denial of the self as a subject for analysis at length in my "Save our Selves From Science Gone Wrong: physicalism, natural selection," and it's remained a very sore point for me.

    You wrote earlier, "If you have stopped trying to make the detailed argument for your case in those terms it makes 'conversion' of Darwinists an unlikely event and the philosophy of the approach a barren one." I no longer make any effort to convert "Darwinists" (your word). I see them as believers for whom the modern synthesis has become the core doctrine underpinning their sense of a secular self. Their response to criticism of Darwin, in my experience, is a reflexive attack in defense of that core doctrine. I no more wish to attack such core secular beliefs than I wish to convert Christians from their beliefs. I have found "believers" in "Darwinism" (name the belief goes by) totally revolted by the prospect of having to examine the principles of current evolutionary theory, concerned only with gathering support from other nearby loyalists in order to drown out any opposition. The modern synthesis is the only scientific theory that employs privately funded foundations to suppress dissent--the National Center for Science Education in the USA and the Dawkins Foundation. This is not science, it is politics.

    Am I invited to be an Aunt Sally for the citadel's archers to use for target practice? I don't do that anymore. I prefer to communicate with non-scientists who I see as at risk from physicalist sophistry. The one-liners with which this thread began are talking points I've composed for addressing them. I plan to expand those one-liners into essays over the coming months, ready to use in presentations. I have just spent $3000 for a year's PR program in support of my campaign against physicalism, which I see as a potent force for barbarism. I am serious.

    There may be no point in our going further. Except, I have a problem. Supposing I'm wrong! So defensive have people been on the boards I've visited that I've never had what I regard as fair consideration of my criticisms of the modern synthesis. But if I thought I could have my criticisms analyzed and a judgment made that convinced me that I was wrong, I'd be delighted. Such analysis and judgment is a lot to ask though, isn't it? And why would anyone bother? What's in it for anyone capable of such criticism and judgment?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  36. #35  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Shaun, a brief response in executive summary form.

    I'm not concerned with what you meant by Darwinism in your posts. I was first and foremost concerned that by using it you immediately run the risk of creating a negative reaction from those of us who follow the Modern Synthesis or some variant of it. Hell man, I was giving you advice. Perhaps you see enemies everywhere because you are looking for them.

    You say you've developed those initial one liners to be talking points with non-scientists. Well, I wish you had found some with more traction, ones that didn't distort the truth so much.

    You asked this:
    What's in it for anyone capable of such criticism and judgment?
    The satisfaction of you confusing laypeople with what is likely incorrect. The other thing that is in it for them is if you turn out to be right then they gain that knowledge too. It's a win-win situation, so the real question is why would anyone not do it?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  37. #36  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New York's mid Hudson Valley
    Posts
    43
    OK, let's give it a try. The first question is, is my data OK? I take the first two items from Julian Huxley's "Evolution: The Modern Synthesis."

    First, an efficiency for natural selection of 1%. That's the figure Huxley uses in examples of how evolution works, and that I've seen most people use, though I have seen a 1-3% range. No matter how small the efficiency is, acting over millions of generations it can make a beneficial mutation gradually spread throughout a breeding population.

    Then, what's the proportion of beneficial to harmful mutations? Huxley says the "great majority" of mutations are harmful. Most of the rest are fatal or neutral. Beneficial mutations of course are rare. So I propose a ratio of one beneficial mutation to 100 harmful mutations. And I assume that the gain in fitness from a beneficial mutation is around the same as that lost through a harmful mutation, there's no magical difference. No reason why there should be.

    How'm I doing? Am I still in the game? If I've got those figures wrong, please let me know what figure's correct. Or at least, reasonable.

    It's quite nerve-wracking to submit to this analysis. If I'm wrong in the figures I'll retire gracefully and no one will know but you.
    Last edited by shaun2000; March 25th, 2012 at 05:39 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  38. #37  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Go ahead - run with it. If I don't reply today it's because of work and sleep and, if required, literature research. We are agreed, are we that the modern synthesis has itself evolved somewhat since it inception?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  39. #38  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New York's mid Hudson Valley
    Posts
    43
    Ah, extension of the modern synthesis!

    Massimo Pigliucci in Evolution: the Extended Synthesis--"...individual tenets of the Modern Synthesis can be modified or even rejected, without generating a fundamental crisis in the structure of evolutionary theory--just as the Modern Synthesis itself improved upon but did not cause the rejection of either Darwinism or neo-Darwinism." So we're still talking about natural selection plus genetic mutation as the root of the mechanism, though with overlays? His accompanying diagram shows Darwinism involving Variation, Inheritance and Natural selection, being joined in the Modern Synthesis by gene mutation, Mendelian inheritance, Population genetics (Singer?), Contingency (what's that?) and Speciation and trends (trends?), being in turn joined today by Evo-Devo, Plasticity, Niche construction, Epigenetics, Replicator theory, Evolvability(?), Multilevel selection, and genomic evolution. Anything missing I need to account for?

    As I understand it, the entire edifice rests on the foundation of genetic mutation providing variation, and natural selection acting on that to generate increase of fitness. Without that there is no mechanism for the others to extend. Right?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  40. #39  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    16,532
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    This is a very truthful comment, and is exactly what Lynn Margulis said and wrote about. Interestingly the users Strange and tk421 would not agree, in other threads they have spent a lot of time insulting cooperation and calling Margulis a "crackpot".
    I'm pretty sure I have not called Margulis a crackpot. Feel free to provide a reference to the post where I did so. Rather, I think I questioned you including her (and numerous other evolutionary biologists) in your list of crackpots.

    That was, perhaps, before I had realised quite how bizarre your closed-minded dogma is: anyone who says, "well, I'm not sure Darwin was 100% right" is hailed as a revolutionary free thinker and opponent of the scourge of "Darwinism" (1). Anyone who says "Darwin was largely correct" is damned as a dogmatic, hero-worshipping sheep who is unable to think for themselves.

    Combine that with your frequent insults of everyone you disagree with and lack of critical thinking skills (2) and I find your arguments hard to take seriously.

    (1) This "Darwinism" appears to be an an extremist philosophy that you have invented to which nobody subscribes. A straw man, in other words.
    (2) For evidence, note your frequent admiring references to Sheldrake rather than scientific data.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
    Reply With Quote  
     

  41. #40  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    I largely agree with you Strange. I think now that the organ grinder has arrived we can safely ignore the monkey. While Shaun's ideas are radical (and probably wrong) I believe we have already seen clear evidence in his short visits here that he genuinely knows his subject and can argue logically. (I do question his 'marketing approach' to the layman, but that is form - not substance.) I think the discussion could be interesting and potentially rewarding for all parties.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  42. #41  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    16,532
    Quote Originally Posted by shaun2000 View Post
    I encourage them [the humatities] to come up with an alternative theory of evolution, able to account for the traditional experiences of consciousness and free will on which the humanities are largely based.
    This is one of the things I found off-putting on your website and that I don't really understand now. Would you expect the humanities to come up with a theory of quantum gravity, or a better design for optical switches?

    We still need a Newton to come up with a theory based on the specifics of evolution, not on 18th century economics or 19th century artificial selection or 20th century genetics. And beyond that we'll need an Einstein to really probe to the deep meaning of evolution.
    Both of whom were scientists, of course.

    But more importantly, I don't think evolution (or most aspects of biology for that matter) are amenable to the same sort of solution. Gravity can be reduced to a single equation (a simple one in the case of Newton, something rather more complex for Einstein). Evolution can't be. There are too many factors at work: mutation and other sources of diversity, natural selection, horizontal gene transfer, epigenetics, cooperation, symbiosis, competition, and many, many others. (Which is why forests' two extreme poles of Darwinist and anti-Darwinist are so risible.)

    So it is going to need much more evidence, and much more detailed understanding of the chemical, biological, ecological, environmental, etc mechanisms as well as some very bright people. There isn't going to be a "Newton" (I guess you could argue that Darwin was "the Newton of evolution") to explain it all because there isn't a single problem to be solved. There are a whole set of interconnected problems which will be incrementally solved by different (teams of) people.

    I don't expect them to come from the science.
    I don't see how they can come from anywhere but science. But perhaps your problem is more with science than evolution per se?

    Of the early pioneers in evolutionary theory only Lamarck was a professional scientist.
    I'm not sure why you would say he was a scientist and not, for example, Darwin and Mendel. If you are focussing on the "professional" aspect then that is purely an accident of history.

    to me there are only matter and physical processes, and life and living processes
    I don't understand this distinction. Living things are made of matter. Living processes are [bio]chemical, and therefore physical, processes. What else is there? Are you suggesting a form of vitalism; some "life force" that makes living things different from non-living?
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
    Reply With Quote  
     

  43. #42  
    Forum Isotope
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Western US
    Posts
    2,640
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    to me there are only matter and physical processes, and life and living processes
    I don't understand this distinction. Living things are made of matter. Living processes are [bio]chemical, and therefore physical, processes. What else is there? Are you suggesting a form of vitalism; some "life force" that makes living things different from non-living?
    Strange, you have hit the nail on the head. From a brief perusal of Shaun's writings, it's clear that he rejects outright the idea there are only matter and physical processes. He's on record as specifically denying "physicalism" and argues that consciousness and free will cannot emerge from purely physical processes. Although he does not seem to use the term "vitalism" explicitly to describe his stance, his views are clearly a close intellectual cousin of vitalism. I look forward to hearing from him whether I have characterized his position fairly, and whether that position is informed by hard data, or whether his is essentially an argument from incredulity.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  44. #43  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New York's mid Hudson Valley
    Posts
    43
    I am impressed with the tone of this board.

    Now, arguments against the modern synthesis presented for rebuttal.

    First, I believe natural selection and genetic mutation remain the foundation of the current evolutionary theory. The population statistics that modern theory is based on arose from Ronald Singer translating mutation and selection into statistical form, as population statistics. If mutation and selection fail as a mechanism, none of the extensions to the synthesis since can alone constitute an alternative mechanism.

    Second, I repeat the data I base my initial criticisms on. An efficiency for natural selection of 1%--that's the figure Huxley uses in examples of how evolution works, and that I've seen most people use. No matter how small the efficiency is, acting over millions of generations it can make a beneficial mutation gradually spread throughout a breeding population. Then, what's the proportion of beneficial to harmful mutations? Huxley says the "great majority" of mutations are harmful. Most of the rest are fatal or neutral. Beneficial mutations of course are rare. So I propose a ratio of one beneficial mutation to 100 harmful mutations. And I assume that the gain in fitness from a beneficial mutation is around the same as that lost through a harmful mutation, there's no magical difference. No reason why there should be.

    Start by considering mutation alone. In each generation harmful mutations are 100 times as frequent as beneficial mutations. Without mutations being favored or eliminated for their effect on fitness (natural selection) in each generation newly-mutated genes enter the gene pool in the proportion they are created. The great majority of mutated genes are harmful. With each generation more damage accumulates until it drives the species into extinction. So, without natural selection, mutation leads to rapid extinction .

    Now let’s add in natural selection. As before, with each generation new mutations enter the gene pool. The great majority are harmful. This time, one percent of the harmful ones are eliminated by natural selection (efficiency 1%), the rest accumulate as before and the species goes extinct. So, with natural selection, extinction still takes place, it just happens a little less rapidly.

    What about population statistics? I see Singer having applied his maths to calculate the spread of beneficial mutations alone, forgetting to take into account the spread of the far greater number of harmful mutations. If he made this mistake, then population statistics is a case of GIGO.

    Look at this another way. Imagine one species not being damaged by mutation competing with a second species evolving through mutation and natural selection. In this second species, natural selection first reduces variation among existing genes, then mutation damages what’s left. In this situation natural selection and mutation would prove a fatal handicap. Natural selection cannot select on the basis of future benefit, such as becoming more evolved over time, it acts only for present fitness, and on this basis creatures not suffering mutation and natural selection will be favored.

    Given what I've just said, and accepting that mutations are inevitable, there should be no living creatures, they should all have been driven to extinction through inevitable random damage to their genes. Yet living creatures do exist. Why? Because living tissues have almost perfect repair mechanisms, that can repair any single point mutation almost perfectly, and on detecting a break in a chromosome through mutations in both bases in a pair terminate the life of that cell so that mutation won't survive. These repair mechanisms can and do eliminate almost all harmful mutations. But they will eliminate beneficial genes, too. They cannot make any distinction between a mutation being harmful or beneficial, they repair all mutations without distinction. So beneficial mutations aren't just rare, they're in effect non-existent. There are no beneficial genes for natural selection to favor over millions of years.

    Where can we look for a mechanism of evolution? A clue--the final coordination of hundreds or thousands of genes into harmoniously-coordinated wholes such as an elephant's trunk requires newly-created precise control (eg, over timing during development). The genes involved in that control must all emerge together or the trunk can't function well enough to be further selected for fitness itself. I submit that for these changes to embody such precision of action, and to arise together in precise coordination, they can't depend on point-mutations being selected individually for some other kind of fitness. If such changes can emerge within the cell then it must be able to generate genetic changes itself without requiring random mutations. If it can do that for the genes needed for coordinating the harmonious development and functioning of other genes, it can do that for all the changes involved in a new feature such as a trunk. Variation can arrive without genetic mutation.

    Note, this is not quite the same as "irreducible complexity." I'm not saying some organs are too complex to be coded for by single-point-mutations, I'm saying that the coordination of such point-mutations into harmonious paths of development and final working function requires synchronized extreme precision, which it is less easy to imagine arising through selection of separate point-mutations at different times.

    James Shapiro in "Evolution: the View from the 21st Century" hints at all this. He supposes the same mechanisms, acting over different time scales, are responsible for development, homeostasis and evolution. We have no reason to assume evolution operates through a mechanism separate from the other two. If natural selection and mutation don't account for development and homeostasis, we have no reason for imagining them accounting for evolution, except for Darwin's example. Whatever can account for development and homeostasis should be considered likely to be capable of accounting for evolution, too.

    One does not need to have a replacement theory ready before considering that an existing theory may be flawed. If Darwinism is found to not work, we should just acknowledge that we don't have a working theory.

    Once one's belief in neo-Darwinism collapses, the whole of modern evolutionary theory comes to seem like a monstrous shared delusion by which scientists collaborate to make science look ridiculous. I've moved on to a focus on the harmful social effects of this shared delusion. But at root the above are my primary arguments against modern evolutionary theory, and I would appreciate having an opportunity to consider rebuttals of them. If you can persuade me, you can save me a lot of effort, money, and embarrassment.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  45. #44  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    8,822
    Quote Originally Posted by shaun2000 View Post
    Now let’s add in natural selection. As before, with each generation new mutations enter the gene pool. The great majority are harmful. This time, one percent of the harmful ones are eliminated by natural selection (efficiency 1%), the rest accumulate as before and the species goes extinct. So, with natural selection, extinction still takes place, it just happens a little less rapidly.
    Where do you get this 1%? If there is a change in environmental conditions, it can wipe out almost all of a population at once.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  46. #45  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New York's mid Hudson Valley
    Posts
    43
    Harold, I pointed out that natural selection is usually quoted in my experience as having an efficiency of 1%. That is true for Julian Huxley, and I remember Stephen Pinker using it, I think in his brain book. I expect everyone to have drawn on Singer's original book where, to demonstrate natural selection's effectiveness over millions of generations, he must have fed some figure for natural selection's efficiency into his equations. I have seen an estimate as high as 3% in an exceptional circumstance. I think no one imagines it could be as high as 5%.

    Actually, no one seems to know. And that's one of the weaknesses of the modern synthesis, it's largely conjecture. Here, from an article of mine at takeondarwin.com, quoting John Maynard Smith:

    ------------
    In a 1989 essay titled “The Limitations of Evolutionary Theory” this eminent evolutionist admitted mutation can’t be measured.


    "It is possible to measure mutation rates in very special circumstances in some microorganisms…. But in most situations, mutation rates cannot be measured…"


    It not just mutation evolutionists can’t measure. They can’t measure “selection” or migration between populations (“genetic drift”). Of these Smith says:


    "Thus we have three processes which we believe to determine the course of evolution, and we have a mathematical theory which tells us that these processes can produce their effects at levels we cannot usually hope to measure directly. It is as if we had a theory of electromagnetism but no means of measuring current or magnetic force…. It means that we can think up a number of possible evolutionary mechanisms, but find it difficult to decide on the relative importance of the different mechanisms we have conceived…"


    “If the mutation rate is doubled, does this double the maximum rate at which a species can evolve?” [The question has no simple and agreed answer, he says.]

    But my reason for raising the question….was to make the point that a theory of evolution which cannot predict the effect of doubling of one of the major parameters of the process leaves something to be desired."


    Summing up he says,


    It is rarely possible in evolutionary theory to think of a single decisive experiment or observation that will settle a controversy.
    The Limitations of Evolutionary Theory" by Maynard Smith, John in "Did Darwin Get It Right?" New York: Chapman and Hall (1989).


    ------------
    An estimate of the efficiency of natural selection will suffer from the same inherent vagueness. But the point of Singer's work was to show that, no matter how small that efficiency is, even as low as 1%, over suffficiently vast times it can lead to substantial changes in the gene pool. It's inconsistent to at one time make that point and then at another another say, Oh no, the efficiency is high, around 90%. If Singer says 1% to make his point and builds population statistics on top of it I don't approve of others just changing their minds and making up another figure.

    Your point, that catastrophe can wipe out an entire breeding population, is an example of non-natural selection, the other 99%. Natural selection applies only to selection on the basis of a fitness difference between harmful and beneficial mutations, other things being equal.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  47. #46  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    8,822
    Quote Originally Posted by shaun2000 View Post
    Your point, that catastrophe can wipe out an entire breeding population, is an example of non-natural selection, the other 99%. Natural selection applies only to selection on the basis of a fitness difference between harmful and beneficial mutations, other things being equal.
    I'm no expert on evolution, but I think you are grossly misinterpreting what natural selection is. A natural catastrophe is natural selection. It is certainly not artificial. And if 99% of the population is wiped out, except for the most adapted members of the population, then it doesn't matter how many "bad" mutations there were. They would have all been killed off.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  48. #47  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    I would like to make an observation: there are several of us here, with varying levels of knowledge of evolution, but a shared interest in it. Shaun, on the other hand, is a single individual. It would be easy for him to be overloaded with questions coming from all directions, which he would be at pains to handle. Perhaps Shaun can pick, sequentially, the important items from his post#43 and we work through these one at a time then move on. The rest of us restrain ourselves from 'pouncing' on other items till they come around, or until there is a prolonged lull. Thoughts?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  49. #48  
    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    55° N, 3° W
    Posts
    1,082
    Post #43 is so full of misconceptions and factually incorrect statements that I don't think shaun can go through that post himself without guidance. I'd rather he clear up those errors before he himself picked out what parts he thought to be important and worthy of further discussion. So much of his argument, as presented here, rests upon outdated opinion or information that is just plain wrong.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  50. #49  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    I felt that by tackling one at a time we could clear up what also seem to me as misinterpretations, or outdated info. Perhaps if we pick those out. Which most concerned you. I was taken by the the claim that most mutations were harmful. My understanding is that most mutations are neutral. I imagine you could put your hands on relevant citations to that effect? What I think we want to avoid is the usual free for all that seems to accompany these discussions where seven arguments are proceeding in a network of confusion.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  51. #50  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,232
    I agree with John's last post. Let us choose each point at a time and discuss it 'till it is resolved or at an impass. This might be a rare opportumity, though I would object to forrests joining the discussion, since he hasn't shown to know much of anything.

    As far as I remember, most mutations are indeed neutral, or at least those in the gametes that successfully produce a viable offspring. Apart from the effects of recombination of the male and female DNA to produce variation, each viable gamete is different from the other for instance.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  52. #51  
    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    55° N, 3° W
    Posts
    1,082
    Yeah, I suppose. I must admit it does get tiring when a thread descends into a mess of questions and side-tracks over minor points and the argument itself slips by.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  53. #52  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    8,822
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    I agree with John's last post. Let us choose each point at a time and discuss it 'till it is resolved or at an impass. This might be a rare opportumity, though I would object to forrests joining the discussion, since he hasn't shown to know much of anything.

    As far as I remember, most mutations are indeed neutral, or at least those in the gametes that successfully produce a viable offspring. Apart from the effects of recombination of the male and female DNA to produce variation, each viable gamete is different from the other for instance.
    I think the core of his argument is the ratio of harmful to beneficial mutations rather than anything to do with the neutral mutations. I can easily believe that ratio is at least 10 to 1, as there are a lot more ways to screw things up with random change, than to improve the organism. However, I think he is drawing the wrong conclusion from it.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  54. #53  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,232
    My basic point is that no matter what number of mutations in the gametes are beneficial or not, the operative statistic is how many of those combinations that come to term produce a non-viable offspring, considering that chances are good that all the gametes produced are unique. Is that iniqueness of each gamete due to mutation? It is my understanding that the largest number of bad mutations get weeded out even before the embryo develops very far. That would make the 1% statistic rather redundant. I suspect shaun's point about the 1% relates to normal body cells, not gametes, so does not impact on evolution at all.

    I am open to correction of course.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  55. #54  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New York's mid Hudson Valley
    Posts
    43
    I suggest we arrive at consensus on the figures I use.

    Efficiency of natural selection 1%: I wrote "Natural selection applies only to selection on the basis of a fitness difference between harmful and beneficial mutations, other things being equal." I stand by that. Most failures to survive are the result of factors in which fitness due to mutations are not a factor, eg inadequate care of young, catastrophes, random location of predators who simply pick off the nearest individual prey, sickness from epidemic, famine, fights etc. Compared to these, variations in fitness through mutation of one among 3 billion DNA bases makes little difference, on average. The 1% is widely quoted. I think it's reasonable.

    Proportion of beneficial to harmful mutations 1:100: Huxley says harmful mutations are the "great majority." I've seen a figure of 60% quoted in an article in Wikipedia. I don't know how we arrive at a valid figure. But it's important, so I ask we come up with a consensus. The issue is not how many are neutral, but how many are beneficial compared to harmful, that is what natural selection is supposed to correct for. If it passes even one harmful mutation for each one that's beneficial, given they alter fitness to the same degree in opposite directions, it cannot lead to improved fitness and hence not to evolution. Bear in mind, random changes to specs for a complex organism are most likely to be either neutral or harmful. I believe the value of mutations to neutral genes is now in question, so it is only beneficial and harmful genes that count. I've not seen a figure for this proportion but I think 1:100 seems reasonable, given how rarely beneficial genes are likely to result from random changes to specs for a complex organism.

    If you say harmful genes are only ten times as likely as beneficial genes, and the efficiency of natural selection is as high as 90%, you still can't get greater fitness from the action of natural selection on mutations. The survival of one beneficial mutation will be balanced by the removal of only nine of the ten harmful mutations.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  56. #55  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New York's mid Hudson Valley
    Posts
    43
    About humanities coming up with a new theory. Darwin was a failed medical student training as a clergyman when taken on board the Beagle as a gentleman's companion. Wallace had no scientific credentials, he was an entrepreneurial collector, later concerned with socialism and spiritualism. Erasmus Darwin was a physician and poet. Samuel Butler was classically trained, an amateur art historian and painter. These appear to be the kind of people who can surmise their way to new hypotheses. Those are the kinds of people I maintain takeondarwin.com for. What's needed for a new theory of evolution, I believe, is more the panoramic breadth of a humanities' worldview than the xray and logic of a scientist's eye.

    Here are examples of what a theory of evolution should account for.

    1. A mechanism that depended on reproductive events would slow down as generation times got longer, there were fewer progeny per litter, larger animals tended to circulate in smaller breeding populations. Yet evolution has not seemed to slow down (Simpson on mammals). This makes it unlikely that a mechanism such as natural selection, that does depend on reproductive events, is involved.

    2. During the Cambrian explosion all the current phyla of animals, plus some that went extinct, came into existence in a blink of an eye, yet there have been no new ones since. That's a major fact that needs accounting for.

    3. Evolution can be affected by conscious decisions. For example, we can contribute to a fund to save endangered species, a major intervention in the course of evolution. So in at least one species consciousness has to be included as a factor in evolution. That must be accounted for by any theory since we are products of evolution.

    4. Each of us becomes conscious and develops free will on a fairly predictable basis. Living processes can generate consciousness by evolving it in our species, through it appearing in each individual among us, and by maintaining it in each of us throughout life. Yet we die without any power to make ourselves or our progeny conscious. It's a feature of the process that generates us.

    5. Living creatures appear to come in species that stay much the same for a million or so years, then relatively suddenly become replaced by a new species.

    6. As one goes from species to phyla, there are fewer intermediaries between them, though one would expect more to account for the greater gap in features between them.

    I think the record shows that scientists haven't proved capable of dealing with issues such as these. In my experience they've become so conservative that they are totally incapable of taking the above factors into account. So it will fall again to people in the humanities.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  57. #56  
    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    55° N, 3° W
    Posts
    1,082
    Quote Originally Posted by shaun2000 View Post
    I suggest we arrive at consensus on the figures I use.

    Efficiency of natural selection 1%: I wrote "Natural selection applies only to selection on the basis of a fitness difference between harmful and beneficial mutations, other things being equal." I stand by that. Most failures to survive are the result of factors in which fitness due to mutations are not a factor, eg inadequate care of young, catastrophes, random location of predators who simply pick off the nearest individual prey, sickness from epidemic, famine, fights etc. Compared to these, variations in fitness through mutation of one among 3 billion DNA bases makes little difference, on average. The 1% is widely quoted. I think it's reasonable.

    Proportion of beneficial to harmful mutations 1:100: Huxley says harmful mutations are the "great majority." I've seen a figure of 60% quoted in an article in Wikipedia. I don't know how we arrive at a valid figure. But it's important, so I ask we come up with a consensus. The issue is not how many are neutral, but how many are beneficial compared to harmful, that is what natural selection is supposed to correct for. If it passes even one harmful mutation for each one that's beneficial, given they alter fitness to the same degree in opposite directions, it cannot lead to improved fitness and hence not to evolution. Bear in mind, random changes to specs for a complex organism are most likely to be either neutral or harmful. I believe the value of mutations to neutral genes is now in question, so it is only beneficial and harmful genes that count. I've not seen a figure for this proportion but I think 1:100 seems reasonable, given how rarely beneficial genes are likely to result from random changes to specs for a complex organism.

    If you say harmful genes are only ten times as likely as beneficial genes, and the efficiency of natural selection is as high as 90%, you still can't get greater fitness from the action of natural selection on mutations. The survival of one beneficial mutation will be balanced by the removal of only nine of the ten harmful mutations.


    Most mutations are in fact deleterious - at least those that have a direct impact on fitness (see the Neutral Theory of Motoo Kimura and its offshoot the Nearly Neutral Theory of Tomoko Ohta). Obviously they occur against a far larger background of mutations that are utterly invisible to selection. I think this has been a point of confusion and it's important that you made this disctinction (or did I misread you?).


    Where you are going wrong is in how you envision these mutations spreading through a population over time, as compared to those that are beneficial. In small populations or populations immune to selective forces these harmful mutations may well accumulate to worrying levels and lead to potential extinction. Not so in larger populations.

    This efficiency angle you mention is very confusing to me. I think it's confusing you too. Maybe you could link me to some sources for this?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  58. #57  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New York's mid Hudson Valley
    Posts
    43
    "This efficiency angle you mention is very confusing to me. I think it's confusing you too. Maybe you could link me to some sources for this?"

    Julian Huxley "Evolution: the Modern Synthesis," page 58. "Even with a definite selective advantage such as 1 per cent, which is of the order of magnitude for rapid evolutionary change, the chances are strongly against a lone mutation surviving in the species (see Haldane...)."

    I repeat, can someone report what figure Singer (or Haldane) used in his examples of how natural selection, acting over millions of years, would lead to the spread of individual beneficial mutated genes to dominance in the gene pool? He must have used a percent efficiency in his formulae. I don't know statistics well enough to probe his formulae, but popular accounts of his principles often use 1% for the figure. Unless someone can come up with a more authoritative figure, I suggest using Huxley's.

    "Where you are going wrong is in how you envision these mutations spreading through a population over time, as compared to those that are beneficial. In small populations or populations immune to selective forces these harmful mutations may well accumulate to worrying levels and lead to potential extinction. Not so in larger populations."

    Whatever formula Singer used to demonstrate the spread of beneficial genes, in populations of any size, he should have applied to calculate the spread of harmful mutations. If a positive value in favor of beneficial genes led to their slow spread through the gene pool, he should have used the same value, negative, for how harmful mutations would spread. That's a measure of the effect of natural selection, in populations big or small. Because of the greater preponderance of harmful over beneficial mutations, whatever value you choose will result in more harmful mutations getting through than beneficial ones, until you get up to figures for the efficiency of natural selection of close to 100%, the preponderance of harmful mutations is so great.

    Here are the two factors:

    what proportion of mutated genes are harmful compared to those that are beneficial.

    what proportion of harmful mutations are eliminated by natural selection compared to beneficial mutations surviving (efficiency of natural selection).

    For evolution to occur the first figure must be less than the second. Suppose harmful mutations start out as 100 times as frequent as beneficial mutations, but only 90 times as many harmful mutations are eliminated by natural selection as beneficial ones survive it, then extinction follows. That's what I think must happen in the large populations in which natural selection operates with maximum efficiency.

    You may assume I must be leaving something out. You may be right. But I think the issue of eliminating harmful mutations has been left out of population statistics, so the issue I raise appears unfamiliar.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  59. #58  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    This is a good plan. Let's focus on the thrust of shaun's last thread (#54) till we either have broad agreement, or find ourselves irreconcilably in disagreemnt. I'm confident that there is more current, well validated data out there. We just need to go find it.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  60. #59  
    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    55° N, 3° W
    Posts
    1,082
    That reference is not teling me anything, especially since I do not own a copy of the work in question. If it's widely used as you say then I'd expect to be able to find it myself, but I've had no luck. I was hoping for a link that I could read for myself rather than you quote a sentence from it. In the quote provided Huxley speaks of selective advantage NOT selection efficiency. As a consequence I still don't have a clue what you mean by "efficiency of natural selection".


    Do you mean selection coefficient? Or selective advantage?


    Do any of these references help you?


    Z Patwa and L.M Wahl (2008)
    The fixation probability of beneficial mutations
    Interface 6 November 2008 vol. 5 no. 28 1279-1289


    H. Allen Orr (2010)
    The population genetics of beneficial mutations
    Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 1195-1201 365 2010

    EDIT:

    if you want to plug mutant alleles into an equation of the sort you are referring to you'd be using a selection coefficient presumably. Again though I'm not 100% sure what you are referring to by "efficiency" so I'm going to assume you mean selection coefficient since that makes more sense in the context of your argument.


    A selection coefficient (s) of 0 is a selectively neutral allele an s of 1 is a lethal allele. From this you can see that beneficial and deleterious mutations are not treated the same way. So, where you say "Whatever formula Singer used to demonstrate the spread of beneficial genes, in populations of any size, he should have applied to calculate the spread of harmful mutations" can't be true. The reason it's wrong is because you are forgetting to account for the very thing you're arguing against - selection itself. The numbers MUST be different.
    Last edited by Zwirko; March 27th, 2012 at 04:22 AM. Reason: clarification
    Reply With Quote  
     

  61. #60  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New York's mid Hudson Valley
    Posts
    43
    I think we've got distracted. Here's the point I'm making:

    "Start by considering mutation alone. In each generation harmful mutations are 100 times as frequent as beneficial mutations. Without mutations being favored or eliminated for their effect on fitness (natural selection) in each generation newly-mutated genes enter the gene pool in the proportion they are created. The great majority of mutated genes are harmful. With each generation more damage accumulates until it drives the species into extinction. So, without natural selection, mutation leads to rapid extinction.

    "Now let’s add in natural selection. As before, with each generation new mutations enter the gene pool. The great majority are harmful. This time, one percent of the harmful ones are eliminated by natural selection (efficiency 1%), the rest accumulate as before and the species goes extinct. So, with natural selection, extinction still takes place, it just happens a little less rapidly."

    I'll rephrase the second paragraph to eliminate the concept of natural selection having a percent efficiency:

    "Now let’s add in natural selection. As before, with each generation new mutations enter the gene pool. The great majority are harmful. This time, some, but not all, of the harmful ones are eliminated by natural selection, the rest accumulate as before and the species goes extinct. So, with natural selection, extinction still takes place, it just happens a little less rapidly."

    John, can you put this in terms acceptable to everyone so we can move on. That is, selection for fitness resulting in genes passing on to the next generation due only to the contribution of mutations, as a proportion of selection from all causes such as famine, disease, failure to care for progeny, random predation, sexual attractiveness and so on. I'd accept without question any figure short of 50%, though I think for most evolutionists the taken-for-granted figure is closer to 1%.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  62. #61  
    Forum Isotope
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Western US
    Posts
    2,640
    Quote Originally Posted by shaun2000 View Post
    I think we've got distracted. Here's the point I'm making:

    "Start by considering mutation alone. In each generation harmful mutations are 100 times as frequent as beneficial mutations.
    @John: If my post here gets in the way, please feel free to PM me and I'll shut up.

    @shaun2000: I'm having difficulty finding a modern source for your percentages. Perhaps part of the problem is that we may not be sharing a common criterion for "harmful." A typical human carries somewhere between 50 and 100 mutations (relative to his or her parents). Of those, only a few actually affect proteins; the rest are neutral in their effect, as far as reproductive fitness is concerned. And of the few (e.g., three) that do affect proteins, reproductive fitness is almost never affected as well (otherwise humans would be dying out).

    Could you please clarify your definitions of "harmful," and also provide modern citations for your figures? I am assembling a list of references from peer-reviewed journals that support the numbers I've provided, and will post those soon.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  63. #62  
    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    55° N, 3° W
    Posts
    1,082
    Shaun,

    There is always a pool of deleterious mutations in the population - the so called mutational load. Deleterious mutations are alwayds being eliminated from large populations by selection. These mutations can, of course, be fixed by drift in very small populations - so called mutational meltdown. They don't accumilate in the way you imagine in larger populations. In fact, they are very efficiently removed.


    If deleterious mutations did accumulate as you suggest then your argument would have to be taken seriously. Very seriously. Fortunately this is not how the world works.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  64. #63  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    155
    Non-Darwinian Evolution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    http://authors.library.caltech.edu/5456/1/hrst.mit.edu/hrs/evolution/public/papers/kingjukes1969/kingjukes1969.pdf


    protein evolution is due to neutral mutations and genetic drift, so no-Darwinian evolution has already been proven, theres no debate here.

    Evolution without Darwinian selection has also been proven:

    Evolution of adaptive phenotypic traits without positive Darwinian selection

    Recent evidence suggests the frequent occurrence of a simple non-Darwinian (but non-Lamarckian) model for the evolution of adaptive phenotypic traits, here entitled the plasticity–relaxation–mutation (PRM) mechanism. This mechanism involves ancestral phenotypic plasticity followed by specialization in one alternative environment and thus the permanent expression of one alternative phenotype. Once this specialization occurs, purifying selection on the molecular basis of other phenotypes is relaxed. Finally, mutations that permanently eliminate the pathways leading to alternative phenotypes can be fixed by genetic drift. Although the generality of the PRM mechanism is at present unknown, I discuss evidence for its widespread occurrence, including the prevalence of exaptations in evolution, evidence that phenotypic plasticity has preceded adaptation in a number of taxa and evidence that adaptive traits have resulted from loss of alternative developmental pathways. The PRM mechanism can easily explain cases of explosive adaptive radiation, as well as recently reported cases of apparent adaptive evolution over ecological time.
    Published in nature:

    Heredity - Evolution of adaptive phenotypic traits without positive Darwinian selection
    Reply With Quote  
     

  65. #64  
    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    55° N, 3° W
    Posts
    1,082
    forests,

    You seem to be learning that evolution is more complicated than you thought it was. Why do you assume we also think as you did?

    Yes, so-called non-Darwinian processes are a very active area of research. What of it?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  66. #65  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    155
    Yes, so-called non-Darwinian processes are a very active area of research. What of it?
    This is from the biologist Brian Goodwin:

    "Clearly something is missing from biology. It appears that Darwin's theory works for the small-scale aspects of evolution: it can explain the variations and the adaptations within species that produce fine-tuning of varieties to different habitats. The large-scale differences of form between types of organism that are the foundation of biological classification systems seem to require a principle other than natural selection operating on small variations, some process that gives rise to distinctly different forms of organism. This is the problem of emergent order in evolution, the origins of novel structures in organisms that has always been a primary interest in biology." - Brian Goodwin from his book "How The Leopard Changed Its Spots: The Evolution of Complexity"

    The above is not the words of a creationist or a crackpot. Darwins theory may explain variation within a species but nothing else certainly nothing above the species level. "Something is missing from biology" Yes a mechanism is. So when scientists such as Lynn Margulis put symbiosis in the gap, or Sheldrake and his field theory and actually try and test their mechanisms - why are certain users agressive on this forum and refer to these scientists as cranks? Have you users thought up a mechanism to fullfil the missing gap?? Are you trying like these scientists to test these new mechanisms?

    Neo-Darwinism has failed as an evolutionary theory that can explain the origin of species, understood as organisms of distinctive form and behaviour. In other words, it is not an adequate theory of evolution. What it does provide is a partial theory of adaptation, or microevolution (small-scale adaptive changes in organisms)." - "Neo-Darwinism has failed as an evolutionary theory" Brian Goodwin in an interview for the The Times Higher Education Supplement

    Non-Darwinian evolution theory may be able to explain the origin of the species, becuase it's quite clear that nearly 100 years and neo-Darwinism has clearly failed to do so, so why are certain users going mad at non-Darwinian evolution, these scientists are trying to improve evolution.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  67. #66  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New York's mid Hudson Valley
    Posts
    43
    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko View Post
    There is always a pool of deleterious mutations in the population - the so called mutational load... If deleterious mutations did accumulate as you suggest then your argument would have to be taken seriously. Very seriously.
    That's my first argument. Eithor that is true, or:

    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko View Post
    Deleterious mutations are always being eliminated from large populations by selection... In fact, they are very efficiently removed.
    That's my third argument. Because repair eliminates mutations efficiently it eliminates both harmful and beneficial ones. Hence there's nothing for natural selection to work on, to increase fitness. "Progress" in evolution must be due to some other mechanism.

    You say "Deleterious mutations are always being eliminated from large populations by selection" but I believe they can't be removed by selection, it isn't efficient enough, they are removed by repair. We do differ there. Can you explain how selection reduces the incidence of harmful mutations to below that of beneficial mutations, ie is able to discriminate between harmful and beneficial mutations with almost perfect efficiency?

    I do appreciate the close reading of my themes.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  68. #67  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    16,532
    Quote Originally Posted by shaun2000 View Post
    That's my third argument. Because repair eliminates mutations efficiently it eliminates both harmful and beneficial ones.
    As far as I know, repair mechanisms mechanisms only operate to prevent mutations, not to remove them after they occur.

    You say "Deleterious mutations are always being eliminated from large populations by selection" but I believe they can't be removed by selection, it isn't efficient enough, they are removed by repair. We do differ there. Can you explain how selection reduces the incidence of harmful mutations to below that of beneficial mutations, ie is able to discriminate between harmful and beneficial mutations with almost perfect efficiency?
    That is the definition of harmful and beneficial, surely.

    Harmful mutations are those which will affect the viability, health, long term survival or reproductive success of the organism. If it didn't have these negative effects then it wouldn't be a harmful mutation, would it.

    On the other hand, a beneficial mutation, by definition, is one that improves the viability, health, long term survival or reproductive success of the organism.

    And the combination of those two factors is selection.

    And, of course, the vast majority of mutations are neutral and simply increase the diversity in the population. (Which may be operated on if there is a change in the environment and hence selection.)

    So I'm not really sure where the problem lies?
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
    Reply With Quote  
     

  69. #68  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New York's mid Hudson Valley
    Posts
    43
    The problems lies in mutations and natural selection not being a mechanism for evolution. They can't because many more mutations are injurious than beneficial, and natural selection can't reverse that proportion so the majority of mutations going into the gene pool are beneficial. Without that there's no mechanism.

    Mutations are called harmful or beneficial only in reference to how natural selection is supposedly able to distinguish between them. If mutations are in fact controlled through a repair mechanism within the cell, not through their different contributions to fitness in the environment, then there is no point in distinguishing them, as you say. If you suggest eliminating the distinction, then you are agreeing, yes, the mechanism of evolution no longer involves natural selection or mutations.

    As for repair mechanisms removing mutations, see Shapiro "Evolution: View from the 21st Century" pages 14-20. He reports they can repair the mutation, except in cases of breaks in chromosomes, in which cases the cells are killed.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  70. #69  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    16,532
    Quote Originally Posted by shaun2000 View Post
    The problems lies in mutations and natural selection not being a mechanism for evolution.
    You haven't presented any reason to think that.

    They can't because many more mutations are injurious than beneficial
    I don't believe the number is that much greater.

    and natural selection can't reverse that proportion so the majority of mutations going into the gene pool are beneficial. Without that there's no mechanism.
    You seem to be using words in an odd way that I can't quite understand. "Harmful" is effectively selection. So, by definition, harmful mutations must be reduced (that is what "harmful" means).

    Mutations are called harmful or beneficial only in reference to how natural selection is supposedly able to distinguish between them.
    Quite.

    If mutations are in fact controlled through a repair mechanism within the cell, not through their different contributions to fitness in the environment, then there is no point in distinguishing them, as you say. If you suggest eliminating the distinction, then you are agreeing, yes, the mechanism of evolution no longer involves natural selection or mutations.
    It isn't one or the other. Yes, there are repair mechanisms. But, in the same way that the replication process is not perfect, neither is the repair process. Some mutations are repaired (both beneficial and harmful - obviously, repair can't distinguish them). Some are selected for or against. And most remain unnoticed.

    As for repair mechanisms removing mutations, see Shapiro "Evolution: View from the 21st Century" pages 14-20. He reports they can repair the mutation, except in cases of breaks in chromosomes, in which cases the cells are killed.
    I don't have that text but I assume he is referring to repairs when a mutation occurs not to mutations inherited by an organism.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
    Reply With Quote  
     

  71. #70  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,232
    Another thing is that a bunch of neutral mutations can suddenly ad up to one larger mutation that again can turn into a deleterious or beneficial mutation, or a bunch of neautral mutation can suddenly become important when the environment changes with different selection pressures after certain events.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  72. #71  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New York's mid Hudson Valley
    Posts
    43
    tk421 "Could you please clarify your definitions of 'harmful,' and also provide modern citations for your figures? I am assembling a list of references from peer-reviewed journals that support the numbers I've provided, and will post those soon."

    Julian Huxley "Evolution: The Modern Synthesis", page 421. "...the observed fact that the great majority of mutations are deleterious." By "great majority" I assume he means around 70-80%. By contrast beneficial mutations are usually referred to as "rare" or "occasional." So I suggest a proportion of beneficial to deleterious mutations of 1:100.

    It really doesn't matter much. Make up your own numbers, based on common sense, to an order of magnitude. If you change the specs of a complex mechanism like a living creature, at random, you're likely to cause more damage than benefit to the mechanism, maybe ten times as much, maybe 100 times as much. Settle on a figure.

    Then come up with an order of magnitude figure for how much the loss of progeny over the course of a generation is due to natural selection, as opposed to other causes such as failure of parents to rear progeny, random predation, famine, flood, drought, fights, fire etc. You don't need to look it up, just estimate it from common sense, from watching Nova programs. I suggested 1%, but you could say, 10%, a quarter.

    Suppose you say there are only twice as many harmful mutations as beneficial mutations, and natural selection is responsible for one quarter of selection for all causes.

    Then take an average 12 mutations, four beneficial and eight harmful. Natural selection alone will let through all four beneficial mutations, while eliminating two of the 8 harmful mutations, leaving 6. Then, in each generation, more harmful mutations enter the gene pool than beneficial mutations, and the species will slowly go extinct.

    You don't need references from peer-reviewed journals. I doubt if anyone's got a figure for the ratio of beneficial to harmful mutations, or the efficiency of natural selection, it's all theory. No one knows how to identify beneficial mutations, anyway, they're imagined to exist else the modern synthesis can't be made to work. Just use common sense.

    Why am I having to define everyday words like "harmful"? Are basic principles of the modern synthesis dependent on one or two percentage points for news of which we have to wait while references are sought? Don't evolutionists have the basic principles behind mutation and natural selection at their finger tips? What's the problem? Am I raising objections to something peripheral to modern evolutionary theory?

    John, help!
    Reply With Quote  
     

  73. #72  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    8,822
    Shaun, that is just a lot of hand-waving which proves nothing. I happen to accept your idea that the vast majority of mutations will be harmful. I don't know how you get from there to natural-selection-can't-work. Also, failure of parents to rear progeny, random predation, famine, flood, drought, fights, fire etc. are all mechanisms of natural selection, which certain individuals will be better adapted than others to deal with.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  74. #73  
    Forum Isotope
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Western US
    Posts
    2,640
    Quote Originally Posted by shaun2000 View Post
    tk421 "Could you please clarify your definitions of 'harmful,' and also provide modern citations for your figures? I am assembling a list of references from peer-reviewed journals that support the numbers I've provided, and will post those soon."

    Julian Huxley "Evolution: The Modern Synthesis", page 421. "...the observed fact that the great majority of mutations are deleterious." By "great majority" I assume he means around 70-80%. By contrast beneficial mutations are usually referred to as "rare" or "occasional." So I suggest a proportion of beneficial to deleterious mutations of 1:100.
    Thanks for your reply, Shaun. Here's why what I am asking is important, and certainly not obvious or superfluous. First, your figures seem to derive from no more modern a source than Huxley, who died in 1975. It's an understatement to observe that much has been learned about molecular biology since that time.

    We can categorize mutations into three broad groups:

    1) Mutations that reduce reproductive fitness.
    2) Mutations that (under present circumstances, at least) seem to be neutral in their effect on reproductive fitness
    3) Mutations that enhance reproductive fitness.

    From what you've written, you seem to think that the ratio of category 1 mutations to category 3 mutations is somehow dispositive. But suppose that category 2 mutations vastly outnumber all mutations (this is in fact the case). Reproduction happily carries on, largely unimpeded. You've not taken into account this important factor. I point out that humans are not currently dying out in large numbers from harmful mutations, so there is certainly ample experimental evidence in that observation to bolster that obtained in other settings.

    It's very important for you to provide an actual mathematical model that supports your assertion that only the ratio of harmful (again, we may still need a more refined definition) to beneficial mutations matters. From such a model -- and perhaps only from such a model -- you can assess quantitatively the sensitivity of a population's health to a range of parameters. And then you can compare that identified range of parameters to values that have been obtained from experiments. So far, you've been arguing with relatively low quantitative fidelity, leaving you vulnerable to charges of arguing from incredulity.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  75. #74  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New York's mid Hudson Valley
    Posts
    43
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Shaun, that is just a lot of hand-waving which proves nothing. I happen to accept your idea that the vast majority of mutations will be harmful. I don't know how you get from there to natural-selection-can't-work.
    If the vast majority of mutations are harmful then they go straight into the gene pool and that species will go extinct, and there's no evolution. Most evolutionists say what stops harmful mutations from entering the gene pool is natural selection. The question is, can natural selection do that? That's the issue. I say, it can't, all it can do is pose a little resistance to those harmful mutations as they flow into the gene pool so extinction happens just the same but not quite so fast. If I'm right then mutation and natural selection are not the mechanism of evolution and the modern synthesis loses its foundation principle. That's why I'm waving my hands. It's a big deal.

    The problem for the neo-Darwinist is to explain how natural selection can stop all the harmful mutations from entering the gene pool while letting only the beneficial mutations through. It's having just those beneficial mutations enter the gene pool that's supposed to be responsible for evolution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Also, failure of parents to rear progeny, random predation, famine, flood, drought, fights, fire etc. are all mechanisms of natural selection, which certain individuals will be better adapted than others to deal with.
    Failure of parents to rear progeny, random predation, famine, flood, drought, fights, fire etc. are the opposite of natural selection, they are random catastophies that kill whether creatures have mutations or not. Natural selection in the modern synthesis is only about creatures with mutations winning or losing in competition with their peers that don't have those mutations. Not being quite so fit, quite as successful, so a little less likely to reproduce and pass on their genes. That's all. Mutations cause only small differences that natural selection takes millions of years to sum up so they spread in the gene pool, or leave it. Most pre-reproduction deaths come from random factors like those I listed, or differences in inherited characteristics, that have nothing to do with whether creatures have beneficial or harmful mutations.

    Mutations are not what makes creatures vary, most of the time. It's more the particular combinations of characteristics they inherit. That's what determines how well adapted they are. The effects of mutations are minor in comparison, as I understand things, and have very little to do with whether they're adapted, until they're spread through the gene pool.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  76. #75  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New York's mid Hudson Valley
    Posts
    43
    Quote Originally Posted by tk421 View Post
    your figures seem to derive from no more modern a source than Huxley, who died in 1975. It's an understatement to observe that much has been learned about molecular biology since that time.
    It is the reference volume the modern synthesis was named after. A third edition was published in 1974, that's not so long ago. The 2011 book "Evolution: the Extended Synthesis" reports that nothing substantial has changed up to last year.

    Quote Originally Posted by tk421 View Post
    We can categorize mutations into three broad groups:

    1) Mutations that reduce reproductive fitness.
    2) Mutations that (under present circumstances, at least) seem to be neutral in their effect on reproductive fitness
    3) Mutations that enhance reproductive fitness.

    From what you've written, you seem to think that the ratio of category 1 mutations to category 3 mutations is somehow dispositive. But suppose that category 2 mutations vastly outnumber all mutations (this is in fact the case).
    Category 2 are invisible to natural selection and so have no part in a mechanism of evolution based on it. They can be ignored in the context of my argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by tk421 View Post
    It's very important for you to provide an actual mathematical model that supports your assertion that only the ratio of harmful (again, we may still need a more refined definition) to beneficial mutations matters. From such a model -- and perhaps only from such a model -- you can assess quantitatively the sensitivity of a population's health to a range of parameters. And then you can compare that identified range of parameters to values that have been obtained from experiments. So far, you've been arguing with relatively low quantitative fidelity, leaving you vulnerable to charges of arguing from incredulity.
    I address primarily the public and members of the humanities, pointing out they don't need to pay attention to modern evolutionary theory because there's no explanation for it, there's only abstruse mathematical models that no one actually understands, not even professional evolutionists. No one on this board seems to have a copy of Ronald Singer's 1930 book to refer to.

    Look through this thread and you'll see the onus is on you to come up with an account of the mechanism of evolution that will persuade me not to take my message to the public. When you criticize proffered references and retreat into mathematical models you are in effect retiring from the field. You're saying, the mechanism of evolution can no longer be described in regular English. That's fine by me, but do you really want to leave that impression? That quote from you, above, is a typical retreat-into-the-ivory-tower defense of something that has ceased to be convincing when said in plain prose. It's great material for my presentation to humanities' students. Is that what you want?

    Darwin could communicate his theory with no maths and only one diagram. I see no reason why it should require more to communicate today's evolutionary theory. I really don't.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  77. #76  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    16,532
    Quote Originally Posted by shaun2000 View Post
    If the vast majority of mutations are harmful then they go straight into the gene pool and that species will go extinct, and there's no evolution.
    So you accept that selection would operate in those circumstances?

    Most evolutionists say what stops harmful mutations from entering the gene pool is natural selection.
    It doesn't stop them entering the gene pool, it limits their spread.

    The question is, can natural selection do that?
    Of course. As you noted in your first sentence.

    I say, it can't
    You can keep repeating that but the evidence says otherwise.

    all it can do is pose a little resistance to those harmful mutations as they flow into the gene pool so extinction happens just the same but not quite so fast.
    Well, if we agree that the subset of the population carrying those mutations becomes extinct, then that is natural selection at work. You seem to distinguish between (groups of) organisms being killed off by a harmful mutation, on the one hand, and natural selection, on the other. They are the same thing.

    If I'm right then mutation and natural selection are not the mechanism of evolution and the modern synthesis loses its foundation principle. That's why I'm waving my hands. It's a big deal.
    It might be a big deal if there was any evidence for it beyond your incredulity and hand waving.

    The problem for the neo-Darwinist is to explain how natural selection can stop all the harmful mutations from entering the gene pool while letting only the beneficial mutations through.
    Because the harmful ones are ... erm ... harmful. And the beneficial ones aren't.

    It's having just those beneficial mutations enter the gene pool that's supposed to be responsible for evolution.
    Gross simplification.

    Failure of parents to rear progeny, random predation, famine, flood, drought, fights, fire etc. are the opposite of natural selection, they are random catastophies that kill whether creatures have mutations or not.
    And if some individuals are more or less able to cope with those things than others, perhaps because of their inherited traits, then that is natural selection at work.

    Natural selection in the modern synthesis is only about creatures with mutations winning or losing in competition with their peers that don't have those mutations.
    As you appear to have a rather odd idea of what natural selection means, it is not surprising you have trouble understanding how it works.

    Not being quite so fit, quite as successful, so a little less likely to reproduce and pass on their genes. That's all. Mutations cause only small differences that natural selection takes millions of years to sum up so they spread in the gene pool, or leave it.
    Sounds reasonable.

    Most pre-reproduction deaths come from random factors like those I listed, or differences in inherited characteristics, that have nothing to do with whether creatures have beneficial or harmful mutations.
    What is the difference between "differences in inherited characteristics" and having "beneficial or harmful mutations"?

    Mutations are not what makes creatures vary, most of the time. It's more the particular combinations of characteristics they inherit. That's what determines how well adapted they are. The effects of mutations are minor in comparison, as I understand things, and have very little to do with whether they're adapted, until they're spread through the gene pool.
    So why do you focus so much mutation if you think it so unimportant?

    However, I largely agree with you. Mutation is almost irrelevant. It is one source of variation within a population, not much more than that. Selection then operates on that diversity.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
    Reply With Quote  
     

  78. #77  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    16,532
    Quote Originally Posted by shaun2000 View Post
    Category 2 are invisible to natural selection and so have no part in a mechanism of evolution based on it. They can be ignored in the context of my argument.
    I don't know for sure, so it will be interesting to see what others say, but I assume that these are the most important category as far as the evolutionary process is concerned.

    Darwin could communicate his theory with no maths and only one diagram. I see no reason why it should require more to communicate today's evolutionary theory. I really don't.
    Firstly, we have learnt a lot more about the many processes involved since Darwin's time. Obviously, as he didn't even know about the genetic mechanism. It has become a lot more complex with many more factors to be taken into account. (Which is why it is so annoying when people refer to "Darwinism" - he is effectively irrelevant other than being one of the main people to get the ball rolling.)

    Secondly, you are trying to make a statistical argument. Your rather simplistic approach won't work. A more detailed mathematical model is required.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
    Reply With Quote  
     

  79. #78  
    Forum Isotope
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Western US
    Posts
    2,640
    Quote Originally Posted by shaun2000 View Post
    The effects of mutations are minor in comparison, as I understand things, and have very little to do with whether they're adapted, until they're spread through the gene pool.
    The effects of mutations are in fact usually minor, but there's a world of difference between "minor" and "irrelevant." In this specific instance, I'll simply point out that the gene that causes sickle-cell anemia happens to confer a reproductive advantage by providing protection against malaria. That reproductive advantage increases the prevalence of that gene in populations under selection pressure from malaria.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  80. #79  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    16,532
    And that is another good point, of course. Mutations can't just be labelled "good" or "bad". They may be both. It may depend on what other alleles the organism that inherits (or develops) the mutation has. It may depend on diet or any number of other environmental factors.

    It seems that Shaun has developed a mental model where things don't work as he thinks they should. I suspect the problem is with that model rather than evolution as a whole.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
    Reply With Quote  
     

  81. #80  
    Forum Isotope
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Western US
    Posts
    2,640
    Quote Originally Posted by shaun2000 View Post
    I address primarily the public and members of the humanities, pointing out they don't need to pay attention to modern evolutionary theory because there's no explanation for it, there's only abstruse mathematical models that no one actually understands, not even professional evolutionists. No one on this board seems to have a copy of Ronald Singer's 1930 book to refer to.
    You seem to be arguing that a theory is invalid if it cannot be understood by a lay audience. By that artificial criterion, quantum chromodynamics is an invalid theory.

    Look through this thread and you'll see the onus is on you to come up with an account of the mechanism of evolution that will persuade me not to take my message to the public.
    I was unaware that the purpose of this discussion was to persuade you of anything. I actually have no such expectation, but I am happy to engage you in a discussion to see if you have any ideas of merit.

    When you criticize proffered references and retreat into mathematical models you are in effect retiring from the field.
    You and I differ fundamentally on the value of mathematics which, ultimately, is the language of science. Rhetoric impresses me not a whit. Many ideas may sound good at first hearing, but fail miserably once all the math is studied. If I propose a new theory of gravitation, I can construct a large number of appealing narratives that the lay person might readily accept. But we must aspire to a higher set of standards. You cannot avoid mathematics in making the necessary evaluations. Rather than "retiring from the field," invoking mathematical models expands the field into one which is actually accessible to determinations of error. In short, it allows the application of the scientific method, the most powerful means by which civilization has advanced its knowledge.

    You're saying, the mechanism of evolution can no longer be described in regular English. That's fine by me, but do you really want to leave that impression?
    I don't add the artificial constraint that any theory be describable fully in regular English, so I do not mind leaving the impression that math is required to distinguish between one story that sounds good, and one that actually is good. Popular votes do not count in the world of science.

    That quote from you, above, is a typical retreat-into-the-ivory-tower defense of something that has ceased to be convincing when said in plain prose. It's great material for my presentation to humanities' students. Is that what you want?
    I note that you've not rebutted the substance of what I've been saying. Instead you are yourself retreating into a tired old defense of painting the contest as one between a stuffed-shirt academic and a plain-speaking humanitarian. That's fundamentally an ad-hominem based method of argument. I prefer to address the science, not the scientist, and I ask you to do the same. And that will require you to back up your assertions with more than additional assertions and hollow appeals to "plain speaking."

    Darwin could communicate his theory with no maths and only one diagram. I see no reason why it should require more to communicate today's evolutionary theory. I really don't.
    Yes, and Aristotle told us how many teeth a horse should have. And people believed his plain-spoken, non-mathematical, diagram-free assertions for centuries. It's that sort of pseudo-intellectualism that science works hard to overcome.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  82. #81  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,232
    Quote Originally Posted by Shaun
    Category 2 are invisible to natural selection and so have no part in a mechanism of evolution based on it. They can be ignored in the context of my argument
    The majority of mutations are not bad, but neutral and neutral mutations are not irrelevant. They can suddenly come into play when a new selection pressure arrises or can add up to a big one that does in the end confer advantage or disadvantage.

    Look at domesticated dogs for instance as a ready example. If you have all the different breeds as simple pets, then all the variation means nothing and all those mutations can be deemed as entirely neutral, but suddenly put them in situations where they have to fend for themselves and they damn sure will get selected upon by the environment. Similar things happen in nature all the time.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  83. #82  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New York's mid Hudson Valley
    Posts
    43
    Quote Originally Posted by tk421 View Post
    I prefer to address the science, not the scientist.
    I will grant you that you prefer one form of discourse, I prefer another, and I withdraw criticism of yours.

    Here is a repeat of the establishing post in this thread, arguments against the modern synthesis, of the kind I use at takeondarwin.com where I encourage humanities students to come up with alternative theories of evolution.
    ------------------------------------------------

    Now, arguments against the modern synthesis presented for rebuttal.

    First, I believe natural selection and genetic mutation remain the foundation of the current evolutionary theory. The population statistics that modern theory is based on arose from Ronald Singer translating mutation and selection into statistical form, as population statistics. If mutation and selection fail as a mechanism, none of the extensions to the synthesis since can alone constitute an alternative mechanism.

    Second, I repeat the data I base my initial criticisms on. An efficiency for natural selection of 1%--that's the figure Huxley uses in examples of how evolution works, and that I've seen most people use. No matter how small the efficiency is, acting over millions of generations it can make a beneficial mutation gradually spread throughout a breeding population. Then, what's the proportion of beneficial to harmful mutations? Huxley says the "great majority" of mutations are harmful. Most of the rest are fatal or neutral. Beneficial mutations of course are rare. So I propose a ratio of one beneficial mutation to 100 harmful mutations. And I assume that the gain in fitness from a beneficial mutation is around the same as that lost through a harmful mutation, there's no magical difference. No reason why there should be.

    Start by considering mutation alone. In each generation harmful mutations are 100 times as frequent as beneficial mutations. Without mutations being favored or eliminated for their effect on fitness (natural selection) in each generation newly-mutated genes enter the gene pool in the proportion they are created. The great majority of mutated genes are harmful. With each generation more damage accumulates until it drives the species into extinction. So, without natural selection, mutation leads to rapid extinction .

    Now let’s add in natural selection. As before, with each generation new mutations enter the gene pool. The great majority are harmful. This time, one percent of the harmful ones are eliminated by natural selection (efficiency 1%), the rest accumulate as before and the species goes extinct. So, with natural selection, extinction still takes place, it just happens a little less rapidly.

    What about population statistics? I see Singer having applied his maths to calculate the spread of beneficial mutations alone, forgetting to take into account the spread of the far greater number of harmful mutations. If he made this mistake, then population statistics is a case of GIGO.

    Look at this another way. Imagine one species not being damaged by mutation competing with a second species evolving through mutation and natural selection. In this second species, natural selection first reduces variation among existing genes, then mutation damages what’s left. In this situation natural selection and mutation would prove a fatal handicap. Natural selection cannot select on the basis of future benefit, such as becoming more evolved over time, it acts only for present fitness, and on this basis creatures not suffering mutation and natural selection will be favored.

    Given what I've just said, and accepting that mutations are inevitable, there should be no living creatures, they should all have been driven to extinction through inevitable random damage to their genes. Yet living creatures do exist. Why? Because living tissues have almost perfect repair mechanisms, that can repair any single point mutation almost perfectly, and on detecting a break in a chromosome through mutations in both bases in a pair terminate the life of that cell so that mutation won't survive. These repair mechanisms can and do eliminate almost all harmful mutations. But they will eliminate beneficial genes, too. They cannot make any distinction between a mutation being harmful or beneficial, they repair all mutations without distinction. So beneficial mutations aren't just rare, they're in effect non-existent. There are no beneficial genes for natural selection to favor over millions of years.

    Where can we look for a mechanism of evolution? A clue--the final coordination of hundreds or thousands of genes into harmoniously-coordinated wholes such as an elephant's trunk requires newly-created precise control (eg, over timing during development). The genes involved in that control must all emerge together or the trunk can't function well enough to be further selected for fitness itself. I submit that for these changes to embody such precision of action, and to arise together in precise coordination, they can't depend on point-mutations being selected individually for some other kind of fitness. If such changes can emerge within the cell then it must be able to generate genetic changes itself without requiring random mutations. If it can do that for the genes needed for coordinating the harmonious development and functioning of other genes, it can do that for all the changes involved in a new feature such as a trunk. Variation can arrive without genetic mutation.

    Note, this is not quite the same as "irreducible complexity." I'm not saying some organs are too complex to be coded for by single-point-mutations, I'm saying that the coordination of such point-mutations into harmonious paths of development and final working function requires synchronized extreme precision, which it is less easy to imagine arising through selection of separate point-mutations at different times.

    James Shapiro in "Evolution: the View from the 21st Century" hints at all this. He supposes the same mechanisms, acting over different time scales, are responsible for development, homeostasis and evolution. We have no reason to assume evolution operates through a mechanism separate from the other two. If natural selection and mutation don't account for development and homeostasis, we have no reason for imagining them accounting for evolution, except for Darwin's example. Whatever can account for development and homeostasis should be considered likely to be capable of accounting for evolution, too.

    One does not need to have a replacement theory ready before considering that an existing theory may be flawed. If Darwinism is found to not work, we should just acknowledge that we don't have a working theory.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  84. #83  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,232
    Why post all of that again after all this discourse? I don't understand. Was it all for nothing?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  85. #84  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New York's mid Hudson Valley
    Posts
    43
    I think I've exhausted everyone's interest, and we're all getting tetchy. I think the gap between what my arguments represent and your concerns as supporters of the modern synthesis is unbridgable. I feel my arguments stand, no more than nibbled around the edge, and I found no reason to suspend my campaign at takeondarwin.com. I'm going to disengage from this thread and not return unless John suggests it.

    Thanks for kicking the tires of my arguments. It was interesting, and helpful.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  86. #85  
    Forum Isotope
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Western US
    Posts
    2,640
    Quote Originally Posted by shaun2000 View Post
    I think I've exhausted everyone's interest, and we're all getting tetchy. I think the gap between what my arguments represent and your concerns as supporters of the modern synthesis is unbridgable.
    That's a mischaracterization. We've established that your philosophical approach dismisses the value of the scientific method, and in fact recalls Aristotle ("I imagine thus, therefore it must be thus"). Without a common epistemological framework, no progress is possible.

    I feel my arguments stand, no more than nibbled around the edge, and I found no reason to suspend my campaign at takeondarwin.com.
    Again, it was never anyone's stated purpose to effect a conversion (and as I said before, I never entertained the notion that this was even possible), so you are declaring victory in a contest with no contestants.

    As for your arguments standing, it is difficult to find independent support for that assertion. You've chosen repeatedly to cite a 35-year-old work by Huxley as the source of some numbers concerning mutation rates, rather than use much more recent data with far more reliable quantitative values. You have also neglected the important fact that the vast majority of mutations are essentially neutral in their effect (at least for the environmental conditions prevailing at the emergence of those mutations). Instead of acknowledging that this neglect obligates an intellectually honest individual to revisit conclusions based on only two of three categories of mutations, you offered an argument that, effectively, "math is for elitist snobs." By precluding the use of mathematics, you have precluded also the use of the scientific method. Your enterprise is therefore fated to produce only stories. These qualitative narratives may well satisfy some human, psychological need, but they cannot ever constitute a theory of evolution, nor ever provide a refutation of any other theory.

    I'm going to disengage from this thread and not return unless John suggests it.

    Thanks for kicking the tires of my arguments. It was interesting, and helpful.
    Thanks for offering up the tires.
    KALSTER and Strange like this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  87. #86  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    16,532
    Quote Originally Posted by shaun2000 View Post
    I think the gap between what my arguments represent and your concerns as supporters of the modern synthesis is unbridgable.
    Not much to add to tk421's summary. Except to say that I am not a supporter or defender of the modern synthesis, I am just interested in good science and the effective use of evidence.

    You are clearly not interested in the scientific method and are simply looking for bits of evidence (even if out of date) that can prop up a particular philosophical position. That is fine, if that is what you want to do, but don't expect it to be taken seriously by scientists or those interested in science.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
    Reply With Quote  
     

  88. #87  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Quote Originally Posted by shaun2000 View Post
    I I'm going to disengage from this thread and not return unless John suggests it.
    I should like to thank you for participating in the discussion. I agree with tk421's views expressed in his last post.I think he has pretty well captured my thinking. I do not wish to be offensive, but it just seems intellectually dishonest (to yourself) to use at the core of your argument old data that are demonstrably inaccurate.

    It will also likely come across as patronising if I say that you are one of the few 'alternative thinkers' I've encountered on several years of forum time whose thought processes are largely logical, who is ready to listen, no matter how briefly, to contrary arguments and who avoids at least some of the cliches. Ending such a discussion on a civilised note is, as far as I can recall, a first, so thank you for that. (But remember I still think you are talking bollocks. )

    If at any point you wish to reconsider your attachment to faulty data and resume the discussion I am sure you would be welcome here.
    KALSTER and tk421 like this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  89. #88  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    16,532
    I will also add that these discussions are always interesting and useful; I have learnt far more from these sorts of debates than I ever would from a straightforward, and possibly dull, discussion of the established science.
    KALSTER and tk421 like this.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
    Reply With Quote  
     

  90. #89  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    155
    Strange/Kalster/John Galt/tk421 do you guys just agree on 100% everything with eachother, so far that is what we see, I am yet to see a single post where any of you disagree with eachother. Or do you view evolution differently but do not wish to voice this. If you have some differences then perhaps you can post them up becuase it would be very interesting to read about.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  91. #90  
    Forum Isotope
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Western US
    Posts
    2,640
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    Strange/Kalster/John Galt/tk421 do you guys just agree on 100% everything with eachother, so far that is what we see, I am yet to see a single post where any of you disagree with eachother. Or do you view evolution differently but do not wish to voice this. If you have some differences then perhaps you can post them up becuase it would be very interesting to read about.
    You leave out the most likely possibility: We all subscribe to the scientific method and value logical thinking. Search out our posts on other topics (the others have been here much longer than I), and you will see a consistency of affect that is independent of the topic. We don't start with a belief and then search for only those references that confirm our beliefs -- we instead see where the evidence leads. That is the essence of the scientific method, and it requires an often ego-crushing intellectual honesty, because humans are wrong more often than they are right (well, perhaps I should speak only for myself).

    As with Strange, I am not a stakeholder in the modern synthesis argument. Indeed, discoveries from molecular biology, the fossil record, and results from computational models constantly force an updating of theories (this is the way science works, as opposed to how faith- and authority-based belief systems operate), and I watch with great interest from the sidelines. In short I am interested in good science, as are many -- most -- of the folks who inhabit this forum. Interest in good science is what motivates us to consider the views of others. However, views that are based on magical thinking, appeals to authority, "science" by polling, cherry-picking of data or quotations, or even the outright denial of evidence, will meet with uniform disdain by the scientifically-minded. Rather than merely noting the uniformity itself, you might pause to consider why that uniformity exists.
    Last edited by tk421; March 28th, 2012 at 11:46 AM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  92. #91  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    New York's mid Hudson Valley
    Posts
    43
    Quote Originally Posted by tk421 View Post
    As with Strange, I am not a stakeholder in the modern synthesis argument. Indeed, discoveries from molecular biology, the fossil record, and results from computational models constantly force an updating of theories.... Rather than merely noting the uniformity itself, you might pause to consider why that uniformity exists.
    I continued to lurk. I am more in listening mode now. If there is a growing consensus among members of this board about the primary mechanisms driving evolution I would welcome hearing about them. I will continue to browse to take them in.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  93. #92  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    155
    You leave out the most likely possibility: We all subscribe to the scientific method and value logical thinking.
    But natural selection was never based on the scientific method, it came from an economics essay about populations. You accept this yes? And theres also many scientists who have criticised it, yes? So then what I have been advocating is not really pseudoscience is it? If natural selection is not the full picture then there must be a mechanism more important than it driving evolution. The search is on, yet some folk don't want to search they seem to think the modern synthesis is solved and there is nothing left to work out in evolution. As I understand it you have expressed the modern synthesis is not solved (yet) and there is still room for debate about the mechanisms in evolution, so which alternative mechanisms are you advocating and why, if any?

    Shall I help you out?

    http://www.takeondarwin.com/index.ph...dern&Itemid=14

    Big list of alternatives, is there any there that you would support?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  94. #93  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    16,532
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    If natural selection is not the full picture then there must be a mechanism more important than it driving evolution.
    That is not logical. Perhaps what you mean is: If natural selection is not the full picture then there must be other mechanisms more important than it driving involved in evolution.

    And, clearly, there are many other mechanisms. And new ones being discovered all the time. Different mechanisms are important for different species at different times.

    The search is on, yet some folk don't want to search they seem to think the modern synthesis is solved and there is nothing left to work out in evolution.
    I'm curious, who thinks that?
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
    Reply With Quote  
     

  95. #94  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    11
    Whooopeeee!!! I can finally say something.

    Sorry; I haven't read a single post on this thread. It took almost two days to get myself registered. I'm just so happy...

    I'll say something meaningful next time...
    Reply With Quote  
     

  96. #95  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    155
    That is not logical. Perhaps what you mean is: If natural selection is not the full picture then there must be other mechanisms more important than it driving involved in evolution.
    Yes good point that makes most sense, but when it comes to the modern synthesis we do not get that - becuase natural selection is apparently the main "creative force" in other words natural selection is never a secondary mechanism in the modern synthesis it is always the main mechanism.

    And, clearly, there are many other mechanisms. And new ones being discovered all the time. Different mechanisms are important for different species at different times.
    New mechanisms being discovered, could you name some of them? From what I have seen nothing new has been proposed for the modern synthesis in years. No new mechanisms at all. And when scientists suddenly propose a non-Darwinian mechanism they are shunned!




    I'm curious, who thinks that?
    Pretty much all the advocates of the modern synthesis from Dawkins, Coyne, Myers to Michael Shermer. Probably most on this forum?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  97. #96  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,232
    But natural selection was never based on the scientific method, it came from an economics essay about populations. You accept this yes?
    Will you stop with these nonsense points? What does it matter where it came from? I don't care if a 5th grader came up with it. The fact is, it remains to be the most powerful explanation as a primary driver for evolution. It was not just decreed and then stuck to as a religious teaching or something, it has been examined from every angle and still garners the support of the vast majority of evolution scientists.

    The search is on, yet some folk don't want to search they seem to think the modern synthesis is solved and there is nothing left to work out in evolution
    Utter nonsense. Who thinks that?

    You just have no idea what you are talking about, do you? I know I keep saying this, but you seem unfazed by your own ignorance. Do you really think gathering a long list of alternatives, no matter how stupid they might be, gives you any real insight? You have continuously plastered nonsense misconceptions and distortion all over this board and I am getting tired of it.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  98. #97  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    16,532
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    New mechanisms being discovered, could you name some of them?
    Huh? Well, you have already mentioned Shapiro (in another thread) who has some interesting ideas. I'm not convinced all of them will be confirmed but there are certainly intersting ideas there. And then there is the role of epigenetics. Symbiosis. Prions. The effect of changing structure of chromatin. And on and on.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
    Reply With Quote  
     

  99. #98  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    Strange/Kalster/John Galt/tk421 do you guys just agree on 100% everything with eachother, so far that is what we see, I am yet to see a single post where any of you disagree with eachother.
    I know I have corrected both Wayne and I think Kalster (though in that case before you joined) on matters of fact concerning how theory has developed, or what people have said.

    Unlike yourself, I only resort to terms like Darwinism and Modern Synthesis when responding to implicit or explicit challenges to evolutionary theory. I find it more productive to think in terms of evolutionary theory which is itself evolving. I no more think of Darwin as being right or wrong than I do of Wegner, or Holmes being right or wrong. They laid groundwork - in Darwin's case amaxingly important groundwork - but it is really only of historical interest to compare and contrast current theory with where we are now. Further, theory has advanced significantly so that probably were we prone to give names then a new one would be needed to reflect current thinking - The Modern Synthesis is after all over 3/4 century old. Modern seems inappropriate now.

    I can't post differences because I don't know precisely what the others think. As noted earlier in this thread that I think cooperation as well as competion is improtant in implementing natural selection. I think this is wholly within standard theory, I just think many supporters of active theory don't properly recognise it. I strongly suspect that there are teleological aspects to evolution. This is heresy and since I have not yet a constructed a single long argument in support I do not mention it. Related to that is a belief that much of the impetus for change comes from variations of behaviour - organisms impose, unsconsciously, direction on their evolutionary trajectory. Recently I stumbled across the concepts of niche construction in a book on language development and believe that may match this concept.

    However, I think the perception of heresy is more a matter of perspective rather than reality and feel such thoughts are stll compatible with what you would call Darwinism. (Hell in several editions of On the Origin Lamarck was compatible with Darwinism.)

    Executive Summary: You are creating artificial distinctions between evolving versions of a fundamentally sound theory. John 14:2
    Reply With Quote  
     

  100. #99  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    155
    The search is on, yet some folk don't want to search they seem to think the modern synthesis is solved and there is nothing left to work out in evolution Utter nonsense. Who thinks that?
    You think it! I have presented 100s of alternatives theories to you, but you have ignored all of them! So what is left???


    This is pretty much all the scientists or philosophers who have attempted to propose alternative mechanisms in the last 150 years.

    James A. Shapiro,
    Herbert Graham Cannon,
    Eva Jablonka,
    Lev Berg,
    Marcel-Paul Schutzenberger,
    Michael Denton,
    Michael Pitman,
    Periannan Senapathy,
    Chandra Wickramasighe,
    Murray Eden,
    Stanly Salthe,
    Christian Schwabe,
    Gerald Kerkut,
    Lime-De-Faria,
    Pierre Grasse,
    Soren Lovtrop,
    Fred Hoyle,
    Stuart Pivar,
    Guy Berthault,
    Roberto Fondi,
    Giuseppe Sermonti,
    Edward Sisson,
    Richard Sternberg,
    Brian Goodwin,
    Peter Saunders,
    Richard Milton,
    Robert Wesson,
    Francis Hitching,
    Frank Ryan,
    Gordon Rattray Taylor,
    James Lovelock,
    Lynn Margulis,
    Rhawn Joseph,
    Henry Fairfield Osborn,
    Charles Otis Whitman,
    Austin Hobart Clark,
    Theodor Eimer,
    Erwin Schrödinger,
    Hans Dreisch,
    John Scott Haldane,
    James Le Fanu,
    Johannes Reinke,
    Guy Coburn Robson,
    Rupert Sheldrake,
    Robert Broom,
    Thomas Hunt Morgan,
    William Bateson,
    Edward Drinker Cope,
    Richard Owen,
    George Henslow,
    Carl Von Nageli,
    Karl Von Baer,
    Wilhelm Haacke,
    William Lang,
    Hans Prizibram,
    Otto Schindewolf,
    Daniel de Rosa,
    Paul Davies,
    Robert Lanza,
    George Greenstein,
    Mae-Wan Ho,
    JohnJoe McFadden,
    Bruce Lipton,
    Ervin Lazlo,
    Amit Goswami,
    Hubert Yockey,
    David Stove,
    Jerry Fodor,
    James N. Gardner,
    Jean Staune,
    Lee Spetner,
    Gordon Rattray Taylor,
    Francis Hitching,
    Norman Macbeth,
    Alfred Russel Wallace,
    James Le Fanu,

    Key non-Darwinian Evolutionary Scientists in the 20th Century
    • William Bateson (1861-1926) & Hugo de Vries (1848-1935): abrupt variation as a source of evolutionary novelty
    • Richard Goldschmidt (1878-1958): altering developmental processes as a source of rapid evolutionary novelty (“hopeful monsters” and Evo-Devo)
    • Barbara McClintock (1902-1992): genetic change as a biological response to danger and evolutionary novelty through genome restructuring resulting from “shocks”
    • G Ledyard Stebbins (1906-2000): hybridization between species as a source of evolutionary novelty
    • Carl Woese (1928- ): molecular phylogeny and the existence of at least three distinct cell kingdoms
    • Lynn Margulis (1938- ): cell mergers/symbiogenesis as a source of evolutionary novelty



    21st Century Non-Darwinian evolutionists to look out for, would be:

    * Bruce Lipton author of The Biology of Belief and more recent books, his latest book came out in 2009, he has criticised neo-Darwinism and the gene centric view of evolution – he claims that genes and DNA do not control biology, instead DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell.

    * Rupert Sheldrake author of A New Science of Life and more recent books – claims a process known as morphic resonance: the past forms and behaviors of organisms, influence organisms in the present through direct connections across time and space. Strong critic of reductionism and neo-Darwinism.

    * Stuart Pivar author of On the Origin of Form: Evolution by Self-Organization and more recent books (even publishing a new book in 2012)- claims the body form of all organisms is not in genes, genetic code, or DNA but is encoded in the Urform a universal “archtype” substance which Pivar identifies as a primordial germ plasm. His theory rejects natural selection, instead complex biological forms arise through self-organization of embryological processes.

    * Antonio Lima-de-Faria author of Evolution without Selection Form and Function by Autoevolution and more recent books. – Claims evolution occurs due to internal physico-chemical factors and not natural selection.
    You have ignored and dismissed ALL of them. And you are saying you are open to new evolutionary mechanisms? Really? What other alternative evolutionary mechanisms are left then which you advocate?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  101. #100  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    16,532
    Quote Originally Posted by forests View Post
    This is pretty much all the scientists or philosophers who have attempted to propose alternative mechanisms in the last 150 years.
    Once again with the meaningless list. Most of those people aren't scientists. The few who are scientists are not biologists. You seem to be able to distinguish between science and random fantasy (<cough>Sheldrake<cough>).
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
    Reply With Quote  
     

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. The Truth About Darwin
    By John Galt in forum Biology
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: March 16th, 2012, 05:27 PM
  2. Darwin and Albinism
    By OwlEyes in forum Biology
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: October 3rd, 2011, 03:11 PM
  3. Darwin and evolution
    By Ted in forum Biology
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: March 27th, 2010, 06:32 AM
  4. Darwin and Lamarckism
    By Cran in forum Biology
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: March 23rd, 2010, 02:33 AM
  5. Darwin the movie.
    By Cat1981(England) in forum In the News
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: April 2nd, 2009, 03:20 PM
Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •