When we think of design, it is usually in the context of solving some sort of problem, … To be effective, the design must address a purpose to be achieved. … Thus, effective design requires some feedback mechanism to the designer.
But perhaps we can fit the square peg of purposeless blind watchmaker evolution into the round hole of purposeful intelligent design.
Some people here at TSZ seem to think that no one ever claimed that evolution is a designer. So let’s remind them.
Marks, Dembski, and Ewert open Chapter 3 by stating the central fallacy of evolutionary informatics: “Evolution is often modeled by as [sic] a search process.” The long and the short of it is that they do not understand the models, and consequently mistake what a modeler does for what an engineer might do when searching for a solution to a given problem. What I hope to convey in this post, primarily by means of graphics, is that fine-tuning a model of evolution, and thereby obtaining an evolutionary process in which a maximally fit individual emerges rapidly, is nothing like informing evolution to search for the best solution to a problem. We consider, specifically, a simulation model presented by Christian apologist David Glass in a paper challenging evolutionary gradualism à la Dawkins. The behavior on exhibit below is qualitatively similar to that of various biological models of evolution.
Animation 1. Parental populations in the first 2000 generations of a run of the Glass model, with parameters (mutation rate .005, population size 500) tuned to speed the first occurrence of maximum fitness (1857 generations, on average), are shown in orange. Offspring are generated in pairs by recombination and mutation of heritable traits of randomly mated parents. The fitness of an individual in the parental population is, loosely, the number of pairs of offspring it is expected to leave. In each generation, the parental population is replaced by surviving offspring. Which of the offspring die is arbitrary. When the model is modified to begin with a maximally fit population, the long-term regime of the resulting process (blue) is the same as for the original process. Rather than seek out maximum fitness, the two evolutionary processes settle into statistical equilibrium.
Various creationists and ID proponents, myself included, have raved about the work of elite scholar and clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson who connected the rise of Christianity with concepts in evolutionary theory. His recent 2.5-hour interview was profound on many levels. I provide a link to the interview below.
Even though Peterson is an die-hard evolutionist, many ID proponents and creationists have said they were blessed to hear what he had to say. I know I was. Since I know VJ studied the topic of animal intelligence, I thought Peterson’s work might be of interest to him since Peterson ties the rise of Christianity to behavioral and neurological traits he sees deeply conserved in the mammalian kingdom. Continue reading →
I wrote a thread once about Theropods having like anatomy with birds as possibly just a convergence of bone type with physics. So birds did not evolve from dinosaur types like theropods.
I have watched recently youtube docs on T-rex and theropods etc and how they are claimed to be birds.
Once again its ac classification error. First there was no dinosaurs. tHey are just KINDS with some trivial like traits. just as mammals or reptiles are just KINDS of creatures with like traits. no relationship otherwise from a creator ir from evolutionary lineage.
It occured to me as another option that these theropods and T-rex could be simply ground birds.
there was later, post flood or above the k-pg line, 6 and 9 foot moas and elephant birds on islans like New Zealand and madasgaschar, and South America, and elsewhere.
They also were meat eaters, sometimes, and could not fly or even had wings/yet flourished in great sizes.
I think its a very viable option that many KINDS of dinos who have very bird like anatomy were in fact just ground birds. So T-rex, despite its great head/teeth, was possibly just a ground bird that did not roar. I saw a Youtube doc by a Dino guy, who advised the Jurassic park movies, who argues T-Rex etc head shape changed greatly as they grew older.
I suggest its very likely true that some ‘dino” types like the bird bone ones were just birds. Not reptiles. Just adapted to a rough post fall world. Just that simple. Possible also for others to have like anatomy for like needs but I’m leaning towards like anatomy means the same thing.
So the evolution of birds from dinos is not true and based on a classification system more then observation and other options of anatomy origins.
Not much can be written after you watch the two videos above…
It is pretty easy to understand for those who choose to understand that the theory of abiogenesis and the probability of life spontaneously self-assembling is just a science-fiction story to fill the void for those who need to believe in something other than the obvious…
If the living cell can’t be reassembled in a lab, what evidence is there that life spontaneously self-assembled other than in science-fiction stories?
This has long been an interest of mine. It dates back to the old talk.origins days, prompted by a Creationist taunt with familiar tone – “I’d like to see someone explain the evolution of sex …” (with the implicit “hurr, hurr”). I articulated some thoughts, then was rounded on by the ‘mainstream’ community. I got a flavour of the world through Creationist eyes – an equally familiar tone: some very sharply expressed contempt and an invitation to f*** off back to high school and learn meiosis.
During my research on consciousness I have come across more than a few of the so-called mysteries of evolution mainly uttered by Richard Dawkins who seems to have no problem at all that science has not been able to explain them in terms of evolutionary processes… (More of them in my upcoming posts).
What I’ve found really interesting was Dawkins’ public statements that Darwinian evolution and its main mechanism–natural selection–are non-random.
… the authors establish that their mathematical analysis of search applies to models of evolution.
I have all sorts of fancy stuff to say about the new book by Marks, Dembski, and Ewert. But I wonder whether I should say anything fancy at all. There is a ginormous flaw in evolutionary informatics, quite easy to see when it’s pointed out to you. The authors develop mathematical analysis of apples, and then apply it to oranges. You need not know what apples and oranges are to see that the authors have got some explaining to do. When applying the analysis to an orange, they must identify their assumptions about apples, and show that the assumptions hold also for the orange. Otherwise the results are meaningless.
The authors have proved that there is “conservation of information” in search for a solution to a problem. I have simplified, generalized, and trivialized their results. I have also explained that their measure of “information” is actually a measure of performance. But I see now that the technical points really do not matter. What matters is that the authors have never identified, let alone justified, the assumptions of the math in their studies of evolutionary models.a They have measured “information” in models, and made a big deal of it because “information” is conserved in search for a solution to a problem. What does search for a solution to a problem have to do with modeling of evolution? Search me. In the absence of a demonstration that their “conservation of information” math applies to a model of evolution, their measurement of “information” means nothing. It especially does not mean that the evolutionary process in the model is intelligently designed by the modeler.1
The resident professional ‘philosopher’ of TSZ recently wrote this:
“’memes!’ is a dumb explanation.”
Yes, I agree! (Although that person doesn’t seem to know the difference between ‘memes’ and ‘memetics.’ – e.g. I don’t mind ‘memes’ used for popular shared internet links, but that’s not ‘memetics.’)
Well, given the weekend’s significance for a billion+, let’s ‘crucify’ memetics then. Why is ‘memetics’ a dumb explanation? And there’s no need to hold back with merely ‘dumb’. If one is an ideological ‘naturalist’, isn’t one forced into something like ‘memetics’ because they share the same materialist, naturalist, agnostic/atheist worldview as (chuckling at his own supposed lack of self-identity!) Daniel Dennett? Isn’t the built-in materialism of ‘memetics’ what made it so attractive to certain people and for the same reason obviously not attractive or believable to most others?
I wanted to bring to your attention a lovely profile piece on Dan Dennett, “Daniel Dennett’s Science of the Soul“. It’s nice to see a philosopher as respected and well-known as Dennett come alive as a human being.
I’d also like to remind those of you interested in this sort of thing that Dennett has a new book out, From Bacteria to Bach And Back: The Evolution of Minds. The central project is to do what creationists are always saying can’t be done: use the explanatory resources of evolutionary theory to understand why we have the kinds of minds that we do. There are decent reviews here and here, as well as one by Thomas Nagel in New York Review of Books that I regard as deliberately misleading (“Is Consciousness an Illusion?“).
[Note: The profile and/or the Nagel review may be behind paywalls.]
It has been widely advertised that nylon eating genes evolved after 1940. I have no problem with that claim in principle since new antibiotic and malaria resistances have evolved since 1940. Even though I can easily accept the possibility of post-1940 nylon-eating evolution in principle, where is the slam dunk evidence that this is actually the case? Did a significant portion of the ability for bacteria to digest nylon take place after 1940 (or 1935 when nylon was first created)? Continue reading →
Here, one of my brilliant MD PhD students and I study one of the “information” arguments against evolution. What do you think of our study?
I recently put this preprint in biorxiv. To be clear, this study is not yet peer-reviewed, and I do not want anyone to miss this point. This is an “experiment” too. I’m curious to see if these types of studies are publishable. If they are, you might see more from me. Currently it is under review at a very good journal. So it might actually turn the corner and get out there. An a parallel question: do you think this type of work should be published?
I’m curious what the community thinks. I hope it is clear enough for non-experts to follow too. We went to great lengths to make the source code for the simulations available in an easy to read and annotated format. My hope is that a college level student could follow the details. And even if you can’t, you can weigh in on if the scientific community should publish this type of work.
“Functional Information”—estimated from the mutual information of protein sequence alignments—has been proposed as a reliable way of estimating the number of proteins with a specified function and the consequent difficulty of evolving a new function. The fantastic rarity of functional proteins computed by this approach emboldens some to argue that evolution is impossible. Random searches, it seems, would have no hope of finding new functions. Here, we use simulations to demonstrate that sequence alignments are a poor estimate of functional information. The mutual information of sequence alignments fantastically underestimates of the true number of functional proteins. In addition to functional constraints, mutual information is also strongly influenced by a family’s history, mutational bias, and selection. Regardless, even if functional information could be reliably calculated, it tells us nothing about the difficulty of evolving new functions, because it does not estimate the distance between a new function and existing functions. Moreover, the pervasive observation of multifunctional proteins suggests that functions are actually very close to one another and abundant. Multifunctional proteins would be impossible if the FI argument against evolution were true.
For anyone interested in whether RMNS can create stuff, I recommend a relatively new book, Arrival of the Fittest. I just bought the Kindle version an haven’t finished, but it has a lot to say about how goldilocks mutations occur.
Testability is the main thing a concept needs in order to be considered science. If your claims cannot be tested then science doesn’t care about them. Enter evolutionism, also mistakenly called the theory of evolution, ie the concept that all biological diversity evolved via natural selection, drift and neutral construction starting from some much simpler biological replicator, which in turn evolved from much simpler molecular replicators.
None of that can be tested. Not only that the sub-claims are also untestable. Biology is full of biological systems, subsystems and structures. These too need to have testability, yet they do not. Evolutionists hide behind father time and think that excuses them from the testability criteria science requires. All that does is prove theirs is not a scientific position.
No one knows how ATP synthase arose and no one knows how to test the claim that natural selection, drift and neutral construction did it. Dembski tried to help by formulating a conditional probability but he was shrugged off. Evolutionists are fine failing on their own and don’t need no steenking help from Dembski!
So how can we test your claims, evolutionists? And why, in the absence of testability, do you think your position qualifies as science?
The edifice of the Modern Synthesis has crumbled, apparently, beyond repair.
– Eugene Koonin (2009)
Does this make Eugene Koonin an evolution skeptic?
The summary of the state of affairs on the 150th anniversary of the Origin is somewhat shocking: in the post-genomic era, all major tenets of the Modern Synthesis are, if not outright overturned, replaced by a new and incomparably more complex vision of the key aspects of evolution. So, not to mince words, the Modern Synthesis is gone.
I’m still struggling to incorporate Alan Fox’s allegation that I am an evolution skeptic. I still don’t really know what it means to be an evolution skeptic. Eugene Koonin rather obviously rejects the view of evolution held by Alan Fox. Is Eugene Koonin an evolution skeptic?
Or is this just another example of Creationist quote mining. Maybe it’s both.
The focus will be on “overregulation and micromanagement of higher education,” according to university spokesman Len Stevens. This would be consistent with Falwell’s past positions, in which he has opposed federal regulations on funding and accreditation for American schools of higher learning.
Following the appointment of (Calvinist?) Betsy DeVos as Education secretary, should we be concerned for the future of public education in the US?