Vincent strikes me as a genuinely nice guy whose views are very different from mine on many issues. Possibly one of his most remarked-upon idiosyncracies is his tendency to publish exceedingly long posts at Uncommon Descent but (leaving Joseph of Cupertino in the air for a moment) lately Vincent has become a little more reflective on the merits of “Intelligent Design” as some sort of alternative or rival to mainstream biology. Continue reading
Tom English: (If Mung does not know that authors at Evolution News and Views often disagree with one another, but never point out their disagreements, then I’ve given him way too much credit. For instance, Dembski told us that “evolutionary search” really does search for targets. But Meyer and Axe have both gone out of their ways to explain that “evolutionary search” actually does not search.)
Did Tom ever reveal his sources?
I am neither YEC nor OEC, so don’t really know of a label I can give you.
I accept that the universe is old, that the earth is old. No problem with dating as provided by the latest science.
I am a theist and a Christian. I am not a deist. I am not a naturalist. I reject the idea of “nature acting alone.”
I believe the universe is created and sustained by God I believe the same of all living beings. I accept common descent or descent with modification as the best explanation for the history of life on earth, but reject the idea that this happens without God (by a random undirected process).
I’ve not identified myself as a theistic evolutionist because I find myself in disagreement with theistic evolutionist authors.
So the best description I can offer is “intelligent design” proponent.
I recently found Patrick Matthew , some 20 years before, had some important conclusions about how natural selection can lead to new species. Darwin agreed he had come to like conclusions, on main points, as he did. This is not known well and indeed they emphasis wAllace as a co discoverer of evolution but say nothing about Matthew.
This brings up a good YEC creationist point.
Matthew did do just what darwin did. he observed the seeming hand of selection controling survival/reproduction of individuals and so new environments bring new controls and so new species.
this is fine for creationism. its minor changes in types/kinds of biology. Yet matthew, a little, and darwin, a great deal, then went on to extrapolate from this the entire creation of biology. Its entire complexity and diversity as from selection on traits. Yet Matthew did no more investigation then his idea of selection. So it follows the both men ‘s conclusions on evolutions story in biology are just lines of reasoning from simple raw data points.
Both desperately embrace the fossil record, geology concepts for deposition, to make thier lines of reasoning.
I say Matthew’s existence in these matters proves Darwins idea was mostly lines of reasoning from a minor trivial observation of selections ability to determine success in creatures survival.
So evolutionism really is based on a real selection truth and then is wild extrapolation.
Micro does not equal Macro after all. Macro needs to cross boundaries beyond selection on traits. It needs these mutations desperately and thats the great error in the lines of reasoning.
The Lenski lab has just published a new paper in Nature that looks at the dynamics of genome evolution in E. coli populations over the course of the LTEE. Here is the abstract:
Adaptation by natural selection depends on the rates, effects and interactions of many mutations, making it difficult to determine what proportion of mutations in an evolving lineage are beneficial. Here we analysed 264 complete genomes from 12 Escherichia coli populations to characterize their dynamics over 50,000 generations. The populations that retained the ancestral mutation rate support a model in which most fixed mutations are beneficial, the fraction of beneficial mutations declines as fitness rises, and neutral mutations accumulate at a constant rate. We also compared these populations to mutation-accumulation lines evolved under a bottlenecking regime that minimizes selection. Nonsynonymous mutations, intergenic mutations, insertions and deletions are overrepresented in the long-term populations, further supporting the inference that most mutations that reached high frequency were favoured by selection. These results illuminate the shifting balance of forces that govern genome evolution in populations adapting to a new environment.
I’m assuming the whole thing is pay-walled, but a pre-print copy (which may or may not be identical to the final version) is freely available here.
I’ve only read the abstract thus far, but the paper seems likely to touch on a variety of topics that folks here like to discuss. Have at it!
A prominent ID supporter at UD, gpuccio, has this to say:
My simple point is: reasoning in terms of design, intention and plans is a true science promoter which can help give new perspective to our approach to biology. Questions simply change. The question is no more:
how did this sequence evolve by some non existent neo darwinian mechanism giving reproductive advantage?
why was this functional information introduced at this stage? what is the plan? what functions (even completely unrelated to sheer survival and reproduction) are being engineered here?
On the thread entitled “
Species Kinds”, commenter phoodoo asks:
What’s the definition of a species?
A simple question but hard to answer. Talking of populations of interbreeding individuals immediately creates problems when looking at asexual organisms, especially the prokaryotes: bacteria and archaea. How to delineate a species temporally is also problematic. Allan Miller links to an excellent basic resource on defining a species and the Wikipedia entry does not shy away from the difficulties.
In case phoodoo thought his question was being ignored, I thought I’d open this thread to allow discussion without derailing the thread on “kinds”.
The writings and life work of Ed Thorp, professor at MIT, influenced many of my notions of ID (though Thorp and Shannon are not ID proponents). I happened upon a forgotten mathematical paper by Ed Thorp in 1961 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that launched his stellar career into Wall Street. If the TSZ regulars are tired of talking and arguing ID, then I offer a link to Thorp’s landmark paper. That 1961 PNAS article consists of a mere three pages. It is terse, and almost shocking in its economy of words and straightforward English. The paper can be downloaded from:
Thorp was a colleague of Claude Shannon (founder of information theory, and inventor of the notion of “bit”) at MIT. Thorp managed to publish his theory about blackjack through the sponsorship of Shannon. He was able to scientifically prove his theories in the casinos and Wall Street and went on to make hundreds of millions of dollars through his scientific approach to estimating and profiting from expected value. Thorp was the central figure in the real life stories featured in the book
Fortune’s Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System that Beat the Casino’s and Wall Street by William Poundstone.
In the “Elon Musk” discussion, in the midst of a whole lotta epistemology goin’ on, commenter BruceS referred to the concept of a “Boltzmann Brain” and suggested that Boltzmann didn’t know about evolution. (In fact Boltzmann did know about evolution and thought Darwin’s work was hugely important). The Boltzmann Brain is a thought experiment about a conscious brain arising in a thermodynamic system which is at equilibrium. Such a thing is interesting but vastly improbable.
BruceS explained that he was thinking of a reddit post where the commenter invoked evolution to explain why we don’t need extremely improbable events to explain the existence of our brains (the comment will be found here).
What needs to be added is that all that does not happen in an isolated system at thermodynamic equilibrium, or at least it has a fantastically low probability of happening there. The earth-sun system is not at thermodynamic equilibrium. Energy is flowing outwards from the sun, at high temperature, some is hitting the earth, and some is taken up by plants and then some by animals, at lower temperatures. Continue reading
Seems like this new thing in the Atlantic’d be up y’all’s alley:
A New Theory Explains How Consciousness Evolved
Ever since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, evolution has been the grand unifying theory of biology. Yet one of our most important biological traits, consciousness, is rarely studied in the context of evolution. Theories of consciousness come from religion, from philosophy, from cognitive science, but not so much from evolutionary biology. Maybe that’s why so few theories have been able to tackle basic questions such as: What is the adaptive value of consciousness? When did it evolve and what animals have it?