Andre: “PCD stops unguided evolution in its tracks”

UD commenter Andre has a bad case of PCD OCD.

PCD stands for “programmed cell death”. Andre is convinced that it is the death knell not only of cells, but of modern evolutionary theory. He has been spamming the “bomb” thread at UD in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade us of this. (112 mentions of PCD in that thread, but no intelligible argument from Andre.)

Rich suggested that we set up a thread for him here, which I think is a great idea.

Here you go, Andre.  Tell us why PCD is an unguided evolution killer, and be prepared to learn why it is not.

343 thoughts on “Andre: “PCD stops unguided evolution in its tracks”

  1. DNA_Jock,

    And this is why you logic fails so spectacularly Jock. There is only ONE way to measure fitness, and that is to see what survives.

    If you start to use your subjective opinion about what should have survived better in your opinion, because you think something should be more fit, according to some definition of what you think is good, you are no longer measuring fitness, you are measuring a quality of good.

    For instance, if the slowest gazelles in the pack keep surviving, then they are the survivors. You don’t get to say, well, actually slow is bad for a gazelle, so we won’t count the fact that the slow ones survive. If the diseased ones survive, then they are the fittest, if the ones with bad fur, and missing teeth survive, then they are by definition fit. It is all after the fact observations of what survived. You don’t get to decide what you think is luck, and what isn’t. When a healthy gazelle, with great teeth, and terrific speed dies before he can reproduce, because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and the lion ate him-he is by definition not fit. Fitness is measured by survival, nothing more nothing less.

    If you can’t get this, then of course you can’t get the tautology aspects of trying to separate the concept of survival with fitness. They are the same thing. You don’t understand science.

  2. phoodooWhen a healthy gazelle, with great teeth, and terrific speed dies before he can reproduce, because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and the lion ate him-he is by definition not fit.

    You should write a paper based on this and publish it. There are many ID journals desperate for content. Explain where everyone else has gone wrong!

    Again, I repeat my offer. For every word you give me explaining the ToID I will give you an equivalent number of words explaining the ToE.

    Are you up for it? As you claim the ToE does not exist, well, how can you pass up this opportunity to demonstrate the truth of that claim?

  3. phoodoo: The ToE only exists if the theory of Id is explained? How strange, then why are you teaching it in school?

    I did not make that claim.

    Try to concentrate. I’m making a specific offer, quid pro quo.

    If you don’t want to take me up on it, just say so. But what have you got to lose exactly?

  4. OMagain,

    I already know the theory of evolution has no definition. It used to , before you found out that the concepts were wrong, so now it just represents a nebulous plea to keep insisting that whatever causes adaptations or changes in organisms must come from some naturalistic place, even if you have no idea how.

    Its a term that is taught, that in fact has no meaning. Its a blanket way of saying, I don’t want to believe in anything outside of the material world, so I can use this phrase to say it doesn’t exist, without saying why.

    So indeed, the term is taught in school, just not the definition, because there is none. Its an empty plea, designed to fool.

  5. phoodoo: There is only ONE way to measure fitness, and that is to see what survives

    You still don’t get it. Check this:

    Fertilizers increase yields. So, I make an experiment to check if a fertilizer increases yield in a particular crop. I got some plots fertilized and some plots not fertilized. YES, THE ONLY WAY TO DETECT THOSE THAT YEILD MORE IS DETECTING THOSE THAT YIELD MORE. But the point is to check the relationship with fertilizers.

    Again with the example of chloroquine. If survival was not affected by resistance to chloroquine in the parasite, a population of resistant parasites and a population of susceptible parasites exposed to chloroquine should have SIMILAR FITNESS, i.e. survival rate. They don’t. Fitness, i.e. survival and reproductive rates, depend on the characteristics of the individuals.

    Survival of the fittest refers to survival being related to the characteristics of the individuals. The phrase is confusing, but the important thing is the concept, not the summarizing phrase. Read the article, not the title!!!!

  6. phoodoo: For instance, if the slowest gazelles in the pack keep surviving, then they are the survivors.

    Right. Almost the entire rest of your post is wrong, however. We CAN find that qualities expected to enhance survival chances actually don’t do that.

    Using the baseball analogies that everybody here seems to like so much, we expect those with higher batting averages to get more hits. To analogize, we can say they are fitter (ex ante). But perhaps, as sometimes happens in various games, they DON’T get more hits (i.e. survive). As there was no tautology in the expectation, there is no contradiction in the event.

    Now, you may say, “Ah but according to (the non-existent) evolutionary theory, those who have survived are the ‘fittest’–and they infer this precisely from the fact of their survival! How can they do this if the ascription of fitness isn’t exactly the same thing as the fact of the greater survival?” As I pointed out in an earlier post, what the questioner is doing there is confusing ratio essendi (being) with ratio cognoscendi (being known). It’s true that we must often use the facts of survival to infer fitness characteristics: that is an epistemological point. If we want to make an initial stab at which species have most fitness characteristics, a good START is to take a look at which ones have managed to survive. But how do we know or why do we think that such and such species is REALLY more fit? that this survival has not just been a lucky break? We take a look at the various properties this species has–to use your example the slowness of some species of gazelle–and we see if there is a correlation between those properties and survival of species generally. If slowness and a bunch of other properties that this gazelle has are not generally survival-enhancing, we will be able to say that this species has survived IN SPITE OF its not being particularly fit. Again, we may LEARN about fitness from survival statistics, but it doesn’t follow from this that fitness is identical to survival statistics.

    I hope this is helpful.

  7. Guillermoe: YES, THE ONLY WAY TO DETECT THOSE THAT YEILD MORE IS DETECTING THOSE THAT YIELD MORE. But the point is to check the relationship with fertilizers.

    Right. One is a matter of how we learn something, the other is a matter of the actual relationships that we have discovered to exist between various properties.

    Nice post.

  8. phoodoo: If you start to use your subjective opinion about what should have survived better in your opinion, because you think something should be more fit, according to some definition of what you think is good, you are no longer measuring fitness, you are measuring a quality of good.

    FITNESS IS NOT MEASURED BY OPINION!!!!!

    Why don’t you read before talking bullshit?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fitness_(biology)#Measures_of_fitness

    phoodoo: You don’t get to say, well, actually slow is bad for a gazelle, so we won’t count the fact that the slow ones survive. If the diseased ones survive, then they are the fittest, if the ones with bad fur, and missing teeth survive, then they are by definition fit. It is all after the fact observations of what survived.

    Yes, and in all those cases YOU SEE THAT A CHARACTERISTIC OF INDIVIDUAL AFFECTS THEIR REPRODUCTION AND/OR SURVIVAL. THAT’S THE IMPORTANT THING!!!

    phoodoo: You don’t get to decide what you think is luck, and what isn’t.

    YES, YOU DO, BECAUSE YOU SELECT A SAMPLE SIZE BIG ENOUGH TO REDUCE THE EFFECT OF CHANCE. That’s what statistics are for!!!

    phoodoo: then of course you can’t get the tautology aspects of trying to separate the concept of survival with fitness

    WE ARE NOT TRYING TO SEPARATE FITNESS FROM SURVIVAL, WE ARE RELATING FITNESS (SURVIVAL/REPRODUCTION) TO CHARACTERISTICS OF INDIVIDUALS IN A POPULATION!!!

  9. phoodoo: I already know the theory of evolution has no definition. It used to , before you found out that the concepts were wrong, so now it just represents a nebulous plea to keep insisting that whatever causes adaptations or changes in organisms must come from some naturalistic place, even if you have no idea how.

    Then, let’s talk about ID.. Can you explain anything with it?

    Also, what definitions does ID give?

  10. walto: Right.One is a matter of how we learn something, the other is a matter of the actual relationships that we have discovered to exist between various properties.

    Nice post.

    Thanks. You are doing much better than I.

  11. phoodoo: I already know the theory of evolution has no definition.

    You spend many words answering a different point. The point is not if the theory of evolution exists, it’s that are you willing to explain the ToID to me and in return I will explain the ToE to you.

    phoodoo: I don’t want to believe in anything outside of the material world, so I can use this phrase to say it doesn’t exist, without saying why.

    Do I take it that that the ToID has components that exist outside of the material world? If so, I’m intrigued. But I’m not going to ask you to explain that without something in return.

    Hence my offer. You explain ToID to me, I’ll explain ToE to you.

    If you want, you can write another 100 words about how the ToE does not exist, that’s fine, but note that would be non-responsive to my offer. I don’t care what you think of the ToE, I’m offering to explain it to you in return for you explaining the ToID to me.

    Take me up or not on that offer, that’s fine, but don’t make out that you are unwilling to do it because you already know that the ToE has no definition. Ever consider the possibility that you might learn something, or that you might be wrong? If so, you’ve literally nothing to lose by taking me up on my offer.

  12. Guillermoe,

    Are people with sickle cell anemia fit or unfit, compared to people without this disease?

  13. phoodoo:
    Guillermoe,

    Are people with sickle cell anemia fit or unfit, compared to people without this disease?

    What effect does it have on reproductive rate?

  14. phoodoo: You mean you need to know if they survive and reproduce, in order to know if they are fit?

    Typically things that don’t survive are not very good at surviving.

    About that theory of ID?

  15. phoodoo:
    Guillermoe,

    You mean you need to know if they survive and reproduce, in order to know if they are fit?

    I agree.

    Have you read what I wrote? Biological fitness (today) measures reproductive rate. So, if today you ask me if individuals with a trait are fit, you are asking me about their reproductive rate, which I don’t know.

    From the link in Wiki:

    Fitnes (…) describes the ability to both survive and reproduce, and is equal to the average contribution to the gene pool of the next generation that is made by an average individual of the specified genotype or phenotype. The term “Darwinian fitness” is often used to make clear the distinction with physical fitness.

    “”Survival of the fittest” is a phrase that originated in evolutionary theory as a way of describing the mechanism of natural selection. It is more commonly used today in other contexts, to refer to a supposed greater probability that “fit” as opposed to “unfit” individuals will survive some test. In this contexts, “fit” refers to “most well adapted to the current environment,” which differs from common notions of the binary ‘fit’ and ‘unfit.'”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival_of_the_fittest

    You are messing with two different concepts of fitness. I answered using the modern biological concept.

    OMagain answered with the older, more common, concept: How well adapted are you to your environment if you have sickle cell anemia.

    The point is that you missed, though it was right under your nose,is that YOU ASKED ME IF A TRAIT AFFECTS FITNESS!!! That’s what the phrase “survival of the fittest” refers to: SOME TRAITS AFFECT FITNESS AND OTHERS DON’T!!!

    If it was a tautology, you woldn’t need asking!!!

  16. phoodoo,

    Luckily, someone trusted your intelligence:

    In other words, natural selection does not simply state that “survivors survive” or “reproducers reproduce”; rather, it states that “survivors survive, reproduce and therefore propagate any heritable characters which have affected their survival and reproductive success”. This statement is not tautological: it hinges on the testable hypothesis that such fitness-impacting heritable variations actually exist (a hypothesis that has been amply confirmed.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival_of_the_fittest#Is_.22survival_of_the_fittest.22_a_tautology.3F

  17. phoodoo,
    For every paragraph you give me explaining the ToID I’ll give you one explaining the ToE. If it does not exist, as you claim, how can I explain it?

    Why are you so reluctant?

  18. Rumraket: phoodoo:
    … Andre talked about Programmed Cell Death (which is clearly impossible for the nonexistent ToE to explain)

    I have to agree, a nonexistent theory cannot possibly explain programmed cell death.

    However, that says nothing about the actual existing theory’s capability. Do you wish to assert that is impossible too? If so, prove it.

    Phoodoo? That claim of impossibility you failed to support, will you ever get around to that or should I just dismiss it as the empty claim it was?

  19. The term airworthy implies that an aircraft has passed certain objective inspections and that its design meets objective criteria.

    Those inspections and criteria are the result of experience.

    Assigning a fitness label to a physical attribute will be the result of observing the behavior and success of organisms having the physical attribute. But having cataloged physical attributes according to observed success, the fitness label can be assigned to an individual without knowing whether it survived or reproduced.

    The same can be said of any manufactured product. We read reviews to gain knowledge of the worthiness of a product. The review is based on testing — not of the item we might buy — but of a representative sample.

  20. Deleterious mutations associated with human diseases are predominantly found in conserved positions and positions that are essential for the structure and/or function of proteins. However, these mutations are purged from the human population over time and prevented from being fixed. Contrary to this belief, here I show that high proportions of deleterious amino acid changing mutations are fixed at positions critical for the structure and/or function of proteins. Similarly, a high rate of fixation of deleterious mutations was observed in slow-evolving amino acid positions of human proteins. The fraction of deleterious substitutions was found to be two times higher in relatively conserved amino acid positions than in highly variable positions. This study also found fixation of a much higher proportion of radical amino acid changes in primates compared with rodents and artiodactyls in slow-evolving positions. Previous studies observed a higher proportion of nonsynonymous substitutions in humans compared with other mammals, which was taken as indirect evidence for the fixation of deleterious mutations in humans. However, the results of this investigation provide direct evidence for this prediction by suggesting that the excess nonsynonymous mutations fixed in humans are indeed deleterious in nature. Furthermore, these results suggest that studies on disease-associated mutations should consider that a significant fraction of such deleterious mutations has already been fixed in the human genome, and thus, the effects of new mutations at those amino acid positions may not necessarily be deleterious and might even result in reversion to benign phenotypes.

    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/28/9/2687.full

    That deleterious genes become fixed in the (reproductively) “fittest,” if at a rather lower rate than favorable genes do, indicates just how ridiculous the notion that natural selection is a tautology really is.

    Biologists routinely deal with neutral, deleterious, and favorable mutations and their relative rates of survival. We should be so lucky if only the “fittest” genes survived, but a host of genetic diseases proves otherwise (yes, some are recent mutations, many are not).

    I tend to think, if only IDists/creationists would bother to learn what they presume to discuss. But, of course, there would be very few of them around if they actually studied evolution and what has been learned about it.

    Glen Davidson

  21. I admit to being confused. I would like to see a thread dealing with drift, selection, and such.

  22. phoodoo:
    Guillermoe,

    I thought Steve asked which is fitter, not which will have a higher survival rate…oh, wait wait, they are the same thing.Now I see why you didn’t need to ask which is fitter-same thing.

    I told you that you could answer either one — which is fitter, or which survives and reproduces better, since they mean the same thing. And then there’s still the second question, but you can’t get to that one until you answer the first one. Why won’t you answer it?

    He couldn’t answer this question. And his claiming its because he doesn’t like my answer about which survives better is really childish and transparently dishonest.But I think Alan would just prefer I say that he is a fucking idiot, as that is more acceptable behavior here.

    Come on, phoodoo, try harder. You can make me look like a complete idiot, force me to expose the fact that I don’t even know what evolution is, just by answering two simple questions. You don’t have to know anything about malaria or evolution to answer them. You just have to be able to say “yes”, “no” or “I don’t know”. But you can’t, can you?

    As I’ve said before, this is not some abstract thought experiment. Chloroquine resistance is real. Doctors in Southeast Asia began to notice that malaria patients treated with chloroquine were no longer responding to treatment with chloroquine. Researchers studied the parasites and identified pfcrt as the likely gene. So the questions followed naturally: Does this set of mutations make parasites resistant to chloroquine? Does this mean they reproduce better? Does this mean they’ll spread wherever chloroquine is used? The answers were yes, yes and yes. As a result, millions of people, mostly small children, died.

    Those were real questions about the real world. The same questions are being asked today about artemisinin-resistant parasites (again in Southeast Asia) and mutations on chromosome 13. Again, millions of lives are on the line.

    Scientists can answer those questions. But phoodoo is so paralyzed by his semantic games that he cannot even think about them. I think it’s a pretty good example of the utter sterility of ID thinking.

  23. petrushka:
    I admit to being confused. I would like to see a thread dealing with drift, selection, and such.

    Start one and ask some questions.

  24. Steve Schaffner: Start one and ask some questions.

    I don’t seem to know enough to ask an intelligent question. I believe there is a controversy among biologists regarding the importance of natural selection vs drift. I do not seem able to formulate the positions accurately.

  25. petrushka: I don’t seem to know enough to ask an intelligent question. I believe there is a controversy among biologists regarding the importance of natural selection vs drift. I do not seem able to formulate the positions accurately.

    I am not an expert, but I think that it’s very hard to get to absolute positions like “natural selection is more important than genetic drift”. I think that in some cases one would be more important and in other cases it will be the other.

  26. Guillermoe: I am not an expert, but I think that it’s very hard to get to absolute positions like “natural selection is more important than genetic drift”. I think that in some cases one would be more important and in other cases it will be the other.

    That is what I understand

    What I don’t understand is the claims that drift accounts for the majority of change — more than fifty percent. I thought that was nearly settled, but apparently not.

    So either my reading of the debate is defective (likely) or there is actual disagreement.

  27. Wow,
    phoodoo,
    There really is nothing about statistics that you understand.
    I also like the “airworthiness” analogy: airworthy planes crash – quite often – and unairworthy planes land safely – quite often. But, over the long run, you’re better off in an airworthy plane.
    [Bonus joke: What’s the definition of a good pilot? One with as many landings as take-offs.]
    And to answer your sickle cell anemia question: someone homozygous for the S allele is less fit; someone heterozygous for the S allele is more fit, to a degree depending on location.
    But, IIRC, you ran away from my question to you about the S allele: is it dominant or recessive? This is an introductory genetics question, that I used to use back when I had students. It’s really easy. Give it a go.

  28. Steve Schaffner,

    So you agree that survival of the fittest is a tautology correct?

    And secondly, where the fuck do you get off saying that I haven’t answered your questions, in order to avoid the obvious that YOU HAVE REFUSED REPEATEDLY to state what the theory of Evolution is?

    You claim to be a scientist (perhaps that is also a lie) and yet you simply come here to play games, because you have no answers for anything. Do all scientists just want to play these kinds of games-because truth means nothing, they just have a socio-political agenda to push, just as Kantian Naturalist said?

    Who ever said that there can’t be resistance to pathogens or to chemicals? Certainly not me. Does that mean they are fitter? Well it certainly depends on what happens to them in the future, is someone with sickle cell anemia more fit? You avoided this question as well conveniently.

    So don’t ever tell me I avoided a question and expect me to take you seriously. You are not a scientist, you are a preacher, trying to win converts through deception. You stain the profession of searching for knowledge.

  29. DNA Jock,
    “someone heterozygous for the S allele is more fit, to a degree depending on location.”

    Gee Jock, doesn’t this present a problem for the WHOLE POINT being discussed? No wonder you don’t get the problem.

    They are fit “to a degree” depending on location. What do you mean to a degree? And what do you mean depending on their location? They are fit unless they walk a certain distance? They are fit, unless their father takes a new job? This is the whole point professor. They are fit until they are not fit. Fitness is a rubberized concept which changes with every possible circumstance. You don’t know the circumstance until you have the circumstance.

    So you are the one who avoided the question-how do you eliminate luck from your description of fitness. Steve just reiterated that survival and fitness mean the same thing. The exact same thing! Go back and read it, and decide for yourself if you want to say he is wrong that they are the same thing. Luck determines survival. Location determines survival, circumstance determines survival.

    But in this (non existent) theory that the best will survive better than the worst, the VERY DEFINITION of the best, are the ones who survived. THAT is your tautology professor. Its an explanation of nothing. You don’t know what the best is until AFTER it has survived.

    Save your preaching for someone dumb enough to not see right through your nonsense. Fitter to a degree? Depending on the location??? Haha. Right. They survive to a degree, depending on whether or not they survive.

  30. phoodoo,

    We’re really, really looking forward to your explanation of how fitness is useless and tautological if batting averages are not.

    Please don’t disappoint us.

  31. phoodoo,

    I repeat:

    We’re really, really looking forward to your explanation of how fitness is useless and tautological if batting averages are not.

    Please don’t disappoint us.

  32. petrushka: I don’t seem to know enough to ask an intelligent question. I believe there is a controversy among biologists regarding the importance of natural selection vs drift. I do not seem able to formulate the positions accurately.

    FWIW, Larry Moran provides the following, carefully worded assessment, which may help in understanding the situation:

    The controversy is over how much of evolution is due to drift and how much is due to natural selection. Excellent arguments have been advanced to prove that most of evolution is due to random genetic drift and that’s the position I take. Thus, in a discussion about the role of chance and accident in evolution I would say that most of evolution is accidental because of the frequency of drift vs. selection. Note that this says nothing about the perceived importance of these mechanisms. That’s a value judgement. Some evolutionists think that adaptation, or evolution by natural selection, is the only interesting part of evolution. These evolutionists don’t deny that random genetic drift occurs; instead, they simply relegate it to the category of uninteresting phenomena. Others, like me, think that random genetic drift is far more interesting than natural selection because drift is responsible for junk DNA, molecular phylogenies, molecular clocks, and DNA fingerprinting.

  33. phoodoo: So you agree that survival of the fittest is a tautology correct?

    Dislexia?

    phoodoo: And secondly, where the fuck do you get off saying that I haven’t answered your questions, in order to avoid the obvious that YOU HAVE REFUSED REPEATEDLY to state what the theory of Evolution is?

    And which population you said has the higher survival rate: the resistant or the susceptible one?

    phoodoo: Do all scientists just want to play these kinds of games

    The game of asking and answering? Yes, we prefer this game instead of your fucking uo with rethoric game.

    phoodoo: Does that mean they are fitter?

    This is the question we made to you, you idiot. You see how you are admitting you didn’t answer it?

    Anyway, we did it for you, asshole. The future is just a quick experiment. Resistant ones have a higher survival rate: their are fitter BECAUSE THEY HAVE RESISTANCE TO THE CHLOROQUINE, in this example.

    Read this several times and perhaps you’ll understand it: they ARE NOT fitter because they have higher survival rate (saying they are fitter is saying they have a higher survival rate); they are fitter because THEY ARE RESISTANT TO CHLOROQUINE.

    phoodoo: is someone with sickle cell anemia more fit?

    If ypu expect it to increase his/her survival rate, sickle cell anemia would increase fitness. But it’s not an absolute thing, you moron; you need to analyze the context: the environment these people live. We gave you the context in the case of the parasites.

    phoodoo: So don’t ever tell me I avoided a question

    You did, stupid asshole. You answered with the sickle anemia question. You answer question with a different question and pretend to be not avoiding the question?

    phoodoo: You stain the profession of searching for knowledge.

    You are an asshole, so what do you know?

  34. phoodoo,

    In other words, natural selection does not simply state that “survivors survive” or “reproducers reproduce”; rather, it states that “survivors survive, reproduce and therefore propagate any heritable characters which have affected their survival and reproductive success”. This statement is not tautological: it hinges on the testable hypothesis that such fitness-impacting heritable variations actually exist (a hypothesis that has been amply confirmed.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival_of_the_fittest#Is_.22survival_of_the_fittest.22_a_tautology.3F

    It’s not really that hard to understand.

  35. phoodoo:
    Steve Schaffner,

    So you agree that survival of the fittest is a tautology correct?

    Of course not. The fitter frequently don’t survive, as has already been told you repeatedly.

    And secondly, where the fuck do you get off saying that I haven’t answered your questions, in order to avoid the obvious that YOU HAVE REFUSED REPEATEDLY to state what the theory of Evolution is?

    I get the fuck off saying that you haven’t answered the questions because YOU HAVEN’T ANSWERED THE FUCKING QUESTIONS. “The mutants are more fit if and only if they reproduce better” (or whatever exactly it is you’ve said) doesn’t answer the question. It tells me how you might go about answering the question if you got off your ass and answered it. If I ask you whether Jean-Claude Van Damme is heavier than Ellen Page, responding “He’s heavier if and only if he weighs more on a scale” does not answer the question.

    So I’ll try yet again: In the presence of chloroquine, do parasites with triple-mutant pfcrt genes survive and reproduce better than those without the mutations?

    And the second question, that you keep pretending doesn’t exist: Is the statement, “parasites with the mutations survive and reproduce better” a tautology?

    Who ever said that there can’t be resistance to pathogens or to chemicals?

    No one. You, in particular, refuse to say anything about the subject at all.

    Does that mean they are fitter?Well it certainly depends on what happens to them in the future,

    Yes, it means they are fitter if they’re in a place where chloroquine is routinely administered — which was a lot of places for a long time. What makes you unable to say that? If you’re giving someone chloroquine, the resistant parasites in him really, truly are fitter.

    is someone with sickle cell anemia more fit?

    I assume you’re asking about the fitness of the sickle cell mutation, not the disease. That variant is clearly less fit in much of the world, where P. falciparum is uncommon. How much less fit depends on the frequency of the allele in that population. 100 years ago in West Africa, say, it was clearly more fit, as long as the frequency didn’t get too high. Today, it would take careful study to figure out the answer.

    You avoided this question as well conveniently.

    You didn’t ask me this question.

    So don’t ever tell me I avoided a question and expect me to take you seriously.You are not a scientist, you are a preacher, trying to win converts through deception. You stain the profession of searching for knowledge.

    You’re in gross violation of the forum rules.

  36. Steve Schaffner: You’re in gross violation of the forum rules.

    Yes, that’s right. Phoodoo has been commenting long enough on this site to be aware of them. I’ve moved a comment of his to guano.

    @ Phoodoo. You are at liberty to repost any part of such comment that does address the comment rather than the integrity of the commenter.

  37. I’ve moved one of Guillermoe’s comments to guano.

    @ Guillermoe. You can repost using any part of a moved comment that does not break the rules.

  38. Steve,

    Now the gloves are coming off. I gave you the benefit of the doubt early on, but then when you just want to deceive and squirm of out things, I find you no longer deserving of respectful replies.

    Your question about chloroquine resistant parasites being more fit or less fit has a fatal flaw from the outset-but you are not clever enough to see it. You are saying that you are going to expose them to chloroquine and see which parasites survive better. There are so many thngs wrong with this its almost hard to know where to start. First, how much chloroquine are you gong to expose them to? Maybe it wont be enough to harm the non-chloroquine resistant parasites. Oh, but no, you must be saying you are going to make sure you expose them to enough to kill the non-resistant ones. So you have already decided the condition before you even decide the fitness. Its like saying, who are more fit, people under 6 feet or over 6 feet? But I have to tell you first, I am going to put all these people in a pool of water for a week, which is filled with 5 feet, eight inches of water. So everyone under 6 feet is going to drown in an hour. Who is more fit, people good hearing or people who are deaf? because the environment we are going to put them in is going to have a high pitched whistle which is going to drive all the people with hearing crazy in a day.

    So you have now proven that there are NO universal characteristics of fitness, and anything can be called fit or unfit, and the designation can change by the minute. You can define what are good characteristics or bad, because you don’t know what the survival requirement is going to be before hand. How long are the parasites going to be exposed to chloroquine? Are there any other factors? Is a slow gazelle fit or unfit? Its unanswerable before the fact.

    You claim that sometimes fit organisms don’t reproduce, and sometimes unfit ones do. Can you prove this? Can you predict which humans are going to pass on their genes best-handsome ones, ugly ones, strong ones, weak ones, smart ones, dumb ones, tall ones, short ones….? No, you certainly can’t. Claiming you are going to rig the game, by insuring that those that you deem are unfit are going to be eradicated, is not determining fitness beforehand. Its simply saying, we found a way to kill something, so we know if we die this it will likely die. That says nothing about fitness.

    And perhaps you are right, I shouldn’t have said you lied about being a scientist, what I should have said was, even if someone told you you were a scientist, that doesn’t make you one. They lied to you.

    What are your examples of unfit organisms surviving better than fit ones?

  39. phoodoo,

    You don’t seem to grasp the concept of a niche, phoodoo. Fitness is assessed in the context of a niche. As someone remarked elsewhere on your comment at UD

    Try putting a couple of chihuahuas into a forest in Alaska and see how well it does. Or better still, put it anywhere and don’t feed it, let’s see how great their genetics are.

    Indeed. Put a dolphin up a tree and we’ll see how great it is then.

    Resistance to an anti-malarial drug is an advantage to those P. falciparum that carry it in the presence of the drug

  40. And finally we get to keiths doozy. His desperate batting average analogy that he is sure is going to rescue his failing logic. In fact, he couldn’t have picked a more perfectly bad analogy for his point. I gave him the answer why, and he still doesn’t realize it. What is Mickey Mantles Jr’s batting average. Or let me make it even more apt for his analogy. What is his anticipated batting average? And you know what the answer is? There is no idea. His fitness “prediction” can predict nothing. Because everything about his analogy is after the fact construction of a story.

    So what are the features that lead to a good batting average? Being fast? Ok. Being slow? Ok. Fat? Sure why not. Skinny? Ok. Tall? Maybe? Short? Why not. So how do we know who has the good batting averages? Well, that’s simple, the guy who is the good hitter is the guy who has the good batting average. That’s the tautology, NOT the fact that we can test people’s batting average. The guy with the good batting average is the good hitter, and guy who is the good hitter is the guy with the good batting average. But we need to be careful here, because this is where Keith really gets confused with his analogy. This DOES NOT mean that batting averages are not useful. Try to pay attention now Keith.

    Batting averages tell us about past performances. PAST performances Keith. If a guy bats well in the past, does that mean he will bat well in the future? Well it certainly could. It means he has developed a talent for batting. It tells you about ONE individual at ONE discreet place and time. In five years will that same person still be a good hitter? Maybe yes maybe no. Will his son be a good hitter? No clue. Will someone else with the same physical features as a good hitter also be a good hitter? There is no way to know. Are there physical features that could help someone to learn to hit-perhaps yes, perhaps no. We certainly can’t look at a person, r do a DNA test and say, YOU have a good batting average. Because the only test for having a good batting average is having a good batting average! It is an AFTER THE FACT OBSERVATION, KEITH!

    We find out if a person is a good hitter, and once we find that out, we determine that they are a good hitter. And its the same thing with fitness. We find out if something is good at surviving, and if it is, we determine, AFTER THE FACT, that it is good at surviving.

    But just as Steve can not predict which kind of human will be the best at reproducing, until after they reproduce, Keiths can’t tell who will be a good hitter, until after they are a good hitter. Because the definition of being a good hitter, is being a good hitter!!! The definition of being a good hitter is not being fat, or skinny, or slow or fast. Keith somehow (in his infinite lack of wisdom) managed to chose the worst analogy that could be found. A good hitter is someone who has become a good hitter.

    Is that useful information? Its only useful information for that individual. After we see if they are a good hitter!

    And by the way, what is the batting average of Mickey Mantle Jr? Not good. I guess he didn’t possess his father’s trait of “goodness.”

  41. Alan Fox,

    But Alan, so what? How does that take care of the problem of the tautology that is evolution? There is no given condition that we can call the “condition” of life. If there was, then of course you could decide what is fitter and what wasn’t.

    If the condition for life was everything had to have a fist fight, and who ever survived the fist fight, could then reproduce. So those who were good at punching would be more fit than those who weren’t good at punching. We could even make predictions! But that is not the analogy of life, and that is why “fitness”, when it is used to mean survival, makes the concept of natural selection a tautology. There is no magic “punching better” is better at surviving, then not punching better. See where punching better, and surviving have TWO very different meanings, so the problem is not tautologous? Punching better leads to surviving better.

    But what is the “punching better” of fitness? There isn’t one. Because there are 100, 1000, 1 million solutions to surviving better.

    What does fitness mean Alan? It means surviving better. Just ask Steve. Just ask Guillermore. They know it means the same thing.

    By presetting the requirements for survival, you are no longer saying survival of the fittest. Instead you are saying survival of those that have chloroquine if the solution for life is chloroquine resistance. So when you said “survival of those with chloroquine resistance” you would no longer be using a tautology!

    But that is NOT what natural selection says. Get it yet Alan?

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