Joe Felsenstein, who posts and comments in The Skeptical Zone, presented the 37th Fisher Memorial Lecture on January 4, 2018. The video recording of his lecture is now available. I’d say that the cover frame, at the very least, was well worth the wait.
Rooting out confusion is much harder than sowing it
Excuse me for attaching to this post a brief rejoinder to a pathetic response to the lecture. Andrew Jones’s “The Law of Zero Magic” appeared in the flagship publication of the intelligent design (ID) movement, Evolution News & Science Today. The title is hugely ironic, inasmuch as the movement conceives of intelligent design as violation of a law of nature, and struggles to devise the law that is violated. Continue reading →
Congratulations to our resident theoretical biologist of high renown, Joe Felsenstein, on his presentation, yesterday, of the 37th Fisher Memorial Lecture. [ETA: I’ll post a separate announcement of the video, when it is released.] Following are the details provided by the Fisher Memorial Trust (with a link added by me).
Title: Is there a more fundamental theorem of natural selection?
Abstract. R.A. Fisher’s Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection has intrigued evolutionary biologists, who wondered whether it could be the basis of a general maximum principle for mean fitness of the population. Subsequent work by Warren Ewens, Anthony Edwards, and George Price showed that a reasonable version of the FTNS is true, but only if the quantity being increased by natural selection is not the mean fitness of the population but a more indirectly defined quantity. That leaves us in an unsatisfactory state. In spite of Fisher’s assertion that the theorem “hold[s] the supreme position among the biological sciences”, the Fundamental Theorem is, alas, not-so-fundamental. There is also the problem that the additive genetic variances involved do not change in an easily predictable way. Nevertheless, the FTNS is an early, and imaginative, attempt at formulating macro-scale laws from population-genetic principles. I will not attempt to revive the FTNS, but instead am trying to extend a 1978 model of mine, put forth in what may be my least-cited paper. This attempts to make a “toy” model of an evolving population in which we can bookkeep energy flows through an evolving population, and derive a long-term prediction for change of the energy content of the system. It may be possible to connect these predictions to the rate of increase of the adaptive information (the “specified information”) embodied in the genetic information in the organisms. The models are somewhat absurdly oversimple, but I argue that models like this at least can give us some results, which decades of more handwavy papers on the general connection between evolution, entropy, and information have not.
As some on you have probably realized, the time comes for everyone to move on…
This time came for me…I believe it is in the best interests of everyone…without getting into any details.
I have learned a lot here. It was fun too…
For those who care, I have several time-consuming projects going both in my professional life and in my very rich life of the many hobbies… Interestingly, some of my hobbies became more that just that, and today pay many of my bills…I just hope that my new hobbies will not join the other side as there are only 24 hours in each given day.. 🙂
I wish you all well and please keep seeking the truth… wherever it leads you…
I thought some of you might be interested in an online conference April 16, Alternatives to Methodological Naturalism. The goal of the conference is to have a discussion among interested researchers about what other modes of investigation one might employ that were counter to methodological naturalism. Continue reading →
This is essentially the heart of the complaints by Sal, and Lizzie and co.
I say no, it is not. We have a situation here where Lizzie and Patrick can chose to remove any post they don’t like, for any reasons they create, without explaining why, and relegate it to a garbage dump section. And then they claim, that because technically someone could go into the dump and read the banished posts, that this is somehow ethical moderation.
This is absurd of course, because the post is then taken completely out of context, and it does not show what the post was in reply to. It really is just a smokescreen technique for the site to fight their war on ideas, without admitting they are practicing censorship.
I see that Denyse has taken time away from misinterpreting / misrepresenting decade old articles she found on google to visit our little home. Come on in Denyse! Would you like a cuppa? Don’t worry, there are no “Brit Toffs” here.
Listen, as you’ve stopped by, we’d like to have a quick chat about UD:
Frankly, we’re a bit disappointed. We were hoping for some design science to chew on, some CSI calculations to review. But instead we were saddened when we learned that neither Barry Arrington nor KairosFocus understand CSI. We’re going to give you a little time to get up to speed with the literature so that we can re-engage when you know the stuff. You don’t need to make up more acronyms like FIASCO: FOCUS on mainstream ID concepts. We may find fault with Dembski’s work but he was leagues ahead of where you are now.
The new open policy at Uncommon Descent appears to have stalled somewhat. In trying to post a comment this morning I find it disappears. I tried on a couple of threads to no avail. Going on past behaviour, I suspect Barry Arrington has found having an open venue even less appealing than a blog dying from lack of traffic. Of course I could be wrong and will be ready to eat my hat if it turns out to be a glitch. Continue reading →
The game rules of this site are “assume other posters are posting in good faith”. This applies whether or the assumption is valid. The reason for this rule is that I set up this site to be a place where we could get past arguments about motivation and down to the nitty gritty of whether an argument actually makes sense, or is supported by evidence.
Things get a little tricky when it comes to perfectly valid topics like church-state separation, or other topics with a political dimension, for example anthropogenic climate change. But I want to make it clear to all readers that the game rules for this site are simply: for the purposes of debate here, assume other posters are posting in good faith. You do not have to assume that people are acting in good faith when they are acting as public figures, or elsewhere, but you do have to assume it when they are posting here.
So, no, I don’t think ID proponents “deserve” charity, nor do “Darwinists”. I don’t think that anyone “deserves” charity. I think charity is a good thing, but I think it is orthogonal to what anyone “deserves”. It is also irrelevant to the rules of this site, where the assumption that other posters are posting in good faith is simply a rule that applies irrespective of who the other poster is, or what anyone thinks they “deserve”.
Some folk might be having problems trying to login to the site. I don’t know much about this, but here’s what I do know:
When I tried to login today, I received a response “WordPress administrator area access disabled temporarily due to widespread brute force attacks.” As far as I know, you can neither login nor logout. However, your current login will still expire (as did mine).
In case you are wondering how I managed to post this – I was actually logged in with two different browsers. My login with “firefox” (my preferred browser) has expired. My login with “rekonq” has not yet expired. I think it has another week to go. So I am posting this from “rekonq”.
Yesterday, I upgraded some plug-ins, and one of them contained an error. As a result, yesterday member contact details were visible on the members page. I have temporarily deleted everything on that page, and will restore it to how it was later, now that they have corrected the error. I have now installed the correct update, and restored the page.
In future I will immediately check all visible pages after an update to prevent this happening again. Apologies to all for not being quicker off the mark, and thanks to Rich for the tip-off.