Natural Selection – Evolution Magic

Natural Selection is described as “the differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in phenotype”. To this, some add “blind, mindless, and purposeless environmental process” that nonetheless is imagined turning random genetic mutations into superior new features enhancing descendants’ survivability (fitness). Accumulation of these features supposedly turns one lifeform into another over time. Natural Selection seeks to explain the appearance of design in nature without appealing to a designer.

This definition however fails the simplest test as different phenotypes survive different environments thus delinking phenotype from survivability. In a small farm, only organisms closely related to their wild cousins survive, but agribusinesses select for chickens with oversize breasts and research labs select for populations with specific genetic mutations requiring tight environments to survive. Although all these have different phenotypes, they do not possess an intrinsic phenotype “fitness” independent of the environment. In addition, who decides what is natural and what is not? Darwin considered domestication natural enough to include it as supporting argument. And as far as “blind, mindless, and purposeless”, all these are impossible to prove in addition to being utterly incompatible with the anthropic concepts of “better adapted” and “better fit”, both of which cannot be evaluated independent of survivability anyway.

Natural Selection is supposed to tie both ways survivability with phenotype, but this leaves out the environment which not only affects survivability directly, but also phenotype, itself a sum of genotype plus the environment, and even genotype that is a recurrent function of previous genotypes and the environment again. So in the end, survivability is a recurrent function of genotype, an infinite continuum of environments, and other unknown factors. While survivability can be measured as can be the individual genotype, measuring a population’s genotype is daunting at best, and the impact of the ever changing environment is simply impossible to evaluate. Phenotypes are impossible to define and measure in entirety even for one individual and, in addition, phenotype changes constantly from birth to adult to old age. We do see genetic mutations (unknowable if random) and we do know that, given a similar environment, extreme genotypes reduce survivability, yet we also know that a large variety of genotypes survive just fine in any population.

Fitness is never defined independently of survivability – this renders the fitness concept redundant especially since survivability can be measured while fitness cannot. Evolutionary Fitness is defined as the quantitative representation of natural and sexual selection (reproductive success) of a genotype or phenotype in a given environment. “Survival of the fittest” is interpreted as: “Survival of the form (phenotypic or genotypic) that will leave the most copies of itself in successive generations.” Not only is survivability the only measure, but survivability also changes with the environment.

Natural Selection is Intelligent Selection which is always done by an Intelligent Selector such as Darwin’s breeder which is an intelligent and willful player that takes intentional actions to reach preset goals. Predators, plants, birds, insects or bacteria, all show intelligence and the willful pursuit of predetermined goals. When interacting with the inert environment, organisms self-select rather than being selected by this environment. As soon as the organism dies and becomes part of the lifeless universe, all selection of that entity ceases.

Selection is limited to a narrow set of possible adaptations – what is not there, cannot be selected. Among the most common adaptations are body color/size/shape, hair type, antibiotic/chemical resistance, and behavior, and even these are limited in scope. Farmers would like to grow walking chicken breasts the size of hogs that grow much faster and come in various flavors, but this is not happening despite their best efforts. Antibiotic resistant bacteria still cannot survive extreme temperatures and chemical concentrations and their resistance decreases when the stimulus is removed. Rabbits cannot turn green when hopping over grass and white just over winter, despite the clear advantage such camouflage would bring. Size of tails, horns, beaks, trees, etc. are all stable over time as tradeoffs limit their growth. Human intelligence, flying, swimming, venom, and all other desirable capabilities remain restricted to specific organisms. Domestication has greatly helped mankind’s progress, but it has not changed the nature of the target animals and plants despite intensive efforts to accelerate their evolution. Instead, humans only enhanced the built in characteristics of domestic organisms and simply did without – a huge civilization disadvantage – when those plants and animals were unavailable. Hence, selection does not “design”, is limited in scope to a few available characteristics, and is reversed as soon as the selection pressure ends.

Extinct organism were not flawed and their features were not “selected away”. Most characteristics of the extinct survive just fine in current organisms of which some changed so little over time they are called living fossils. Sure, the mammal eye might provide superior vision to insect eye, but nothing comes for free and tradeoffs ensure both survive. Organisms that have completely vanished cannot be characterized as flawed and it would not take much imagination to see them thriving in a current landscape. The environment may have changed dramatically over time, however on a macro scale, the environment affected all organisms making the “natural selection” explanation highly doubtful regarding why some organisms survived in their old form, why some went extinct and why others would survive in a changed form. Humans and apes shared the same environment in Africa so common genotype would not have caused our dramatic differences just as lions are not that different than leopard, the cheetah and the others.

What if anything should replace Natural Selection? Humans have applied the most intensive and targeted selective pressure on us and others with great results for our existence. Yet we have not transformed even one organism into another – not even the lowly eColi after decades of laboratory work (Lenski). Our dogs are still basic canines and our cats are still basic felines, not much different than their wild cousins. If anything, we had to adapt to them rather than them to us. The finch, the moth, the antibiotic resistant bacteria are still the original organisms, their hailed changes having reverted or proven simple adaptations. We are no smarter, more powerful or longer living (in absolute) than out primitive ancestors. Selection is not transformative, much less creative.

Humans would apply the Natural Selection method if feasible. But we don’t because it isn’t. A Natural Selection software would use a random generator and a selection criteria to maximize survivability in an available niche. For instance, a family vehicle should optimize the transport function (survivability) given a set of environmental constraints (regulations) and an existing design as starting point. Random minute changes could be tested and retained if the transport function is improved. However, this method can only remove minor oversights but will never create any new designs. Any significant departure such as a new fuel, material or environment either results in a suboptimal design, or requires a cascade of changes to improve the survivability function. That is why the auto industry, like most other industries, introduces minor redesign annually and major revamps every few years. And while even the minor improvements must come in harmonized packages rather than one off (to reduce negative ramifications), in the absence of those major redesigns a firm would shortly go extinct.

Designs do not transform into better designs without crossing an inevitable optimization gap. Given a certain environment, once a design is optimized for a certain function, it becomes suboptimal as soon as the function, the structure, or the materials changes. Until the new design is optimized for that particular change, it remains inferior to an old design already optimized to that environment. Humans optimize new designs (with multidimensional differences from previous versions) conceptually before abruptly replacing old designs. A Darwinist biologic gradual design transition would thus be impossible hence never observed in nature. Had the compound eye been optimized first, a transition to non-compound eye would inevitably had to be suboptimal for a while and vice versa. Only if all eye designs had started from the same point, each following an independent path and at the same pace would we have so many different designs today, each optimized for its function. This however implies a coordinated original grand design incompatible with Darwinian evolution.

Pro-Con Notes

Con: What about organic design? Isn’t that natural selection at work?

Pro: No. This is just iterative optimization of a given design. In this case, the wing shape, the material, the environmental forces and the optimization target are all given. The algorithm will not generate a new wing shape or material and it will stop converging as soon as the environment is less than perfectly defined. In addition, this design is radically different from the previous one, and the next iteration will certainly be radically different than this one (no gradualism).

Con: You just don’t understand natural selection.

Pro: If “natural selection” were hard to understand it would not be taught to young children. Instead, “natural selection” is more like very bad street magic where the bus is covered with the cloth and we then are asked to imagine it disappeared without even removing the cloth and showing us the empty space.

663 thoughts on “Natural Selection – Evolution Magic

  1. John Harshman:
    a) What does “Survival is not directly tied to phenotype” mean? I have guessed twice: 1) there is a stochastic element contributing to survival and 2) survival for a given phenotype also depends on environment., but apparently neither of those, or even a combination of the two, is correct. What do you mean? You can’t just repeat the same examples in the same words and suppose you’re explaining anything. People have guessed repeatedly at your meaning and been told that they’re wrong, but you have never managed to explain what you mean, just repeated what you said before.
    b) You also seem confused about the nature of studies of natural selection. They don’t just involve determining the number of surviving offspring of a single individual and declaring that to be the individuals fitness. They involve large numbers of individuals and generally compare the effects on reproductive success of some particular genetic and/or phenotypic character across a large number of individuals. This has the effect of averaging out individual differences in other characters, stochastic effects, and small environmental fluctuations. It also results in the ability to predict the results of future studies of the same characters.
    c) And that keeps it all from being tautological.
    d) I believe I’ve asked before if you have ever read a scientific paper on natural selection, and the reason is that if you had, you might have noticed that your ideas don’t fit.

    Let’s try Biston betularia, a popular example that I would imagine you’re familiar with.
    1. The portion of its phenotype relevant to the current question would be the two color morphs, gray and black.
    2. English forests.
    3. You have me there. I don’t know what you mean by “fitness function”.
    4. In an environment in which trees are covered by lichen, the gray morph is well camouflaged but the black morph is visible to predators. The gray morph thus has greater reproductive success and fairly quickly approaches fixation in the population. Then again, in an environment in which pollution has killed off the lichen, the black morph is well camouflaged but the gray morph is visible to predators. The black morph has greater reproductive success and fairly quickly approaches fixation in the population. Nope, no tautology.

    a) It means that Wikipedia’s definition fails – you should agree that environment and others are also very important. For the 100th time: not my definitions. Present yours and we’ll discuss that one.
    b) You can call inheritance studies what you want, but that doesn’t make them so (“NS”). No need to explain the mechanics – that’s not in dispute.
    c) No, “NS” per other than Wikipedia definitions is “survival of the best adapted” and is tautological. Do you agree that descendants have to survive to show inheritance? Do you agree that “best adapted” is measured in number of descendants or other survival equivalent?
    d) You ask something different before. Yes, my ideas don’t fit in the Darwinist mind frame – why is this news?
    1. Not the “portion of”. Can’t you read? The phenotype, meaning the set of characteristics. Unless you think color is the 80/20?
    2. That’s too vague of course. Probably the moth does not live in the stream or grass or the coat of the fox and all those are part of the English forest. Also won’t survive if said forest is sprayed with some insecticide, if the lowest temperature drops under x deg. Etc. etc.
    3. To determine “fitness” you have to calculate something – some sort of math function presumably with the two variables from 1. and 2. and whatever else. Can you measure the “fitness” of X, Y and Z individuals? No.
    4. So your story doesn’t even match – you never said anything about pollution at 2. Shall we get into what ‘pollution’ means? In the end you just count grey vs black and tell a post-hoc story. “Better fit” is thus tautological with survival. Also they’re both the same identical species anyway, so how is this more than simple adaptation? Where is the transmutation into another species?

  2. Nonlin.org: 1GB of memory is insufficient, and that’s a fact.

    Please show your work.

    Just because you only know about the genome, doesn’t mean “the genome is the only thing”. Get it?

    Can you suggest where we might look for this unknown other thing? Is it perhaps present only on the astral plane?

    For your education, here’s a Darwinist that agrees “natural selection” is BS.

    How can one be a “Darwinist” and think that natural selection is BS? What does “Darwinist” even mean to you?

  3. Corneel:
    1. Correction: natural selection is a description of adaptive evolution, so yes it explains both evolutionary change (partly) and the existence of adaptations.
    2. Optimizations of what? Not survival?
    3. How is a camel adapted to desert? In what way is a polar bear adapted to the arctic? Please tell me how you know this without considering phenotypic traits.
    Regarding the miscellaneous points, here is how I understand the argument you have been making:
    i) Individual phenotypic traits are not in itself sufficient to tell us something useful about the phenotype; We need to know about ALL components. For example, we can measure height, but this is not the complete phenotype.
    but
    ii) Phenotypes are impossible to define and measure in entirety even for one individual and, in addition, phenotype changes constantly from birth to adult to old age.
    Hence, we can learn nothing about phenotypes.
    iii) This line of reasoning is damning to any line of enquiry, not just biology. But most devastating to your position is that it rules out that we can ever establish that organisms are designed. Just try it: explain to me how you can tell that organisms are designed, without referring to phenotypic traits (not the phenotype) or the complete phenotype (unknowable).

    1. You’re making up “adaptive evolution”. We see adaptation and have known about it for ever – way before Darwin and Lamarck came up with their nonsense.
    2. Of design in general. Adaptation is an optimization.
    3. They just live there 🙂 Once we know that, then we see that camels retain water and polar bear fat.

    i. No. I am saying that the only measure of what goes on is survival. This or that element of phenotype or environment won’t tell you who survives. I am also saying later on that there’s no mechanism for getting from one basic design to another without a designer. Yes, these designs show variability, but no drift into transmutation as far as we see. I asked for 80/20 Pareto, not ALL components of the phenotype.
    ii. You jump from “know all” to “know nothing”. We can know something, but insufficient.
    iii. Huh? Again, “we know something”. Even Dawkins admits organisms look designed, so the inference of design has been there all along. But I am not saying there’s proof of design – I am saying there’s proof that “natural selection” is BS. Get it?
    iv. Maybe this Darwinist that somehow agrees with me that “NS” is BS can explain it better to you in your native evo-speaks: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jerry-fodor-held-high-ground-to-evolutions-militant_us_5a3ec86ae4b0d86c803c722f

  4. colewd:
    Binding sites can evolve easily.Can they evolve easily in the right location?

    Yes. That’s what “can evolve easily” means.

    colewd:
    Transcription requires protein to protein binding also. Although we don’t know the origin of the 63 TFs we do know that they had to evolve at some point during the origin of multicellular life.

    Not always, but let’s say that’s the case for feather keratins. Exiting TFs already perform the “required” protein-protein interactions, so duplicated TFs will inherit the interaction from their precursors. Again, I see no problem. I also suspect a moving-the-goal-posts maneuver. We’re talking from flightless to flying, which already has quite a bit of TFDs at its disposal.

    colewd:
    The definition of irreducible complexity is if you remove one of the components then the function will cease. This is certainly true in flight. This does not make the blind watchmaker impossible it just creates a formidable obstacle.

    Nope. Your problem here is ignoring that even if an animal doesn’t fly, it might glide, for example. That makes the “irreducible complexity” in terms of flying, a moot point, and kind of a desperate attempt. Your other problem is that you’re ignoring that there’s from flying to flying. Some flying animals do fly, but are not as elegant as others. So there’s a plethora of ways to fly, which makes flight far from “irreducibly complex.”

    colewd:
    Prior to flight the components can change but flight is not on their radar screen. Until you show flight occurred you don’t know if the proposed “precursor components” really can match together and fly even with slight modification. I don’t believe there is enough data from the fossil records to determine how close the earlier dinosaurs were to achieving flight.

    Even if you were right (I don’t see a need to check), to me, it’s enough that I can witness lots and lots of animals with all kings of flying abilities, from the most elegant and sophisticated, to the most cumbersome. That there’s plenty of gliders, plenty of jumpers who stop their falling from being too abrupt, and a log etc. That shows that there’s potential for intermediary steps that don’t require anything to be “in the radar.”

    colewd:
    If we think about bird flight with the from a biological stand point it starts with flight feather expression in the right location along the birds skin covered bone. We know that this requires various types of keratin proteins along with regulation proteins around 100 in total.They have to be expressed in such a way as to create flight feathers of the right type and the right location in order for powered flight to occur.

    Birds with feathers expressed at the righter and righter location, would be more successful than birds with feathers at the wrong location. I still don’t see any problems here. I think you’re making too much out of a tiny thing, and also that you want a dinosaur to jump in one go from flightless to flying, in order to understand why this is so easily evolvable. It’s as if you didn’t know that steps are possible, and that those steps might not require that many interactions.

    colewd:
    This process started with around 100 genes translates to around 100000 nucleotides.

    You cannot know that. You’re taking the final product as the start, but the start can be much more modest.

    colewd:
    From a 4 bit DNA code of 100000 bits a flight feather is built from the ground up in somewhat the same way as a 3D printer. The flight feather has a very complex structure and the bird can reproduce the manufacturing process with incredible repeatability. If enough of these feathers are defective the bird cannot fly. This appears to be a very sophisticated manufacturing process. It originated how?

    By costly steps, aka by evolutionary processes.

  5. Nonlin.org: a)It means that Wikipedia’s definition fails – you should agree that environment and others are also very important. For the 100th time: not my definitions. Present yours and we’ll discuss that one.

    Why are definitions so important to you? At best, you can show that a particular definition doesn’t fit the concept well. And a definition doesn’t need to reflect every possible factor.

    b)You can call inheritance studies what you want, but that doesn’t make them so (“NS”). No need to explain the mechanics – that’s not in dispute.

    I don’t know what you mean by “inheritance studies”. I’m talking about studies of natural selection. Natural selection is a repeatable phenomenon.

    )No, “NS” per other than Wikipedia definitions is “survival of the best adapted” and is tautological. Do you agree that descendants have to survive to show inheritance? Do you agree that “best adapted” is measured in number of descendants or other survival equivalent?

    No, that’s a terrible definition. I’d go with “differential reproductive success causally correlated with genotype”. It can’t be shown with a single individual, which is why one has to assay a populuation. You can easily distinguish it from genetic drift.

    d)You ask something different before. Yes, my ideas don’t fit in the Darwinist mind frame – why is this news?

    I see you didn’t answer the question, which implies an answer. I think you have no familiarity with the scientific literature.

    1.Not the “portion of”. Can’t you read? The phenotype, meaning the set of characteristics. Unless you think color is the 80/20?

    This is part of your ignorance of the field. The point of having large numbers of individuals in a study is to allow you to isolate the effect of particular characters (as well as random events).

    2.That’s too vague of course. Probably the moth does not live in the stream or grass or the coat of the fox and all those are part of the English forest. Also won’t survive if said forest is sprayed with some insecticide, if the lowest temperature drops under x deg. Etc. etc.

    Whatever is the relevance of all that? Are you making some kind of real point, and if so, what is it?

    3.To determine “fitness” you have to calculate something – some sort of math function presumably with the two variables from 1. and 2. and whatever else. Can you measure the “fitness” of X, Y and Z individuals? No.

    The fitness contribution of an allele is measured by the change in its frequency from generation to generation. But one can also measure advantage in other ways and estimate fitness based on them.

    4.So your story doesn’t even match – you never said anything about pollution at 2.

    Why should I have done so?

    Shall we get into what ‘pollution’ means?

    I don’t see why. It’s just a factor that changes the environment. It’s the absence of lichen that’s relevant, not the pollution itself.

    In the end you just count grey vs black and tell a post-hoc story. “Better fit” is thus tautological with survival. Also they’re both the same identical species anyway, so how is this more than simple adaptation? Where is the transmutation into another species?

    You have a tendency to slip in words that imply a logical argument, like “thus”, without actually making a logical argument. It’s not tautological because the experiment can be reliably repeated with similar results, thus ruling out chance. And there we have causal correlation.

  6. John Harshman:
    1. Please show your work.

    2. Can you suggest where we might look for this unknown other thing? Is it perhaps present only on the astral plane?

    3. How can one be a “Darwinist” and think that natural selection is BS? What does “Darwinist” even mean to you?

    1. I did: http://nonlin.org/dna-not-essence-of-life/ . It’s very simple 3 billion nucleotides * 2 bits each (for ACGT) = 1 GB. Ask whomever to verify the math.
    2. Not in your dogma for sure. What part of “I don’t know” don’t you understand?
    3. Silly question. Follow the link and he’ll explain. There’s also the EES crowd out there: http://nonlin.org/ees/. You’re way behind on the learning curve, amigo.

  7. Maybe it’s a waste of time to point out that people have been carefully breeding many animals and plants throughout recorded history and probably long before. And I suppose it requires an impossible leap of faith to recognize that from the reference frame of the animal or plant, the people doing the selection ARE the environment, which is selecting for desired traits by the simple process of only letting those showing the desired traits survive.

    And (perhaps with another leap), we can see that selective breeding is “un-natural” only from OUR perspective. Biology really doesn’t care what the agency of selection might be, or whether it has any purpose at all. Any more than gravity “wants” water to reach the bottom of the hill, or erosion “intends” to carve rocks into interesting shapes.

  8. Nonlin.org: Also they’re both the same identical species anyway, so how is this more than simple adaptation? Where is the transmutation into another species?

    That’s you knowing nothing about the field again. You asked for an example of natural selection, which I gave you. Speciation is something else, and I don’t think you know what the word means. But if you had asked for an example of speciation, I could have given you one of those.

    Adaptation is evolution, though not the whole of evolution, and it happens through natural selection. Speciation is evolution too, but it isn’t usually adaptation, and it most often happens as a side effect of natural selection acting in different ways on two different populations.

    (There is sometimes some adaptation in speciation, such things as reinforcement or competitive character displacement, but that’s not central.)

    How can I convince you that you know nothing about evolution?

  9. Nonlin.org: 1. I did: http://nonlin.org/dna-not-essence-of-life/ . It’s very simple 3 billion nucleotides * 2 bits each (for ACGT) = 1 GB. Ask whomever to verify the math.

    That’s not the work you need to show. You need to demonstrate that 1 GB is insufficient to account for what gets inherited between generations.

    2. Not in your dogma for sure. What part of “I don’t know” don’t you understand?

    Your arrogant assurance that, even though you have no clue, it still must exist.

    3. Silly question. Follow the link and he’ll explain. There’s also the EES crowd out there: http://nonlin.org/ees/. You’re way behind on the learning curve, amigo.

    Not an answer. I don’t think you’re capable of answering questions. I don’t think you know anything about the EES either, particularly if you think those folks reject natural selection.

  10. Nonlin.org: You’re way behind on the learning curve, amigo.

    I’ve found it a helpful rule of thumb to presume that those who have dedicated their lives (who in turn stand on the shoulder of tens of thousands of those who previously dedicated their lives) probably know more about a topic I haven’t studied than I do.

    I would be especially leery of presuming they’re all “behind on the learning curve” and I am not, if my presumption rests on Certain Knowledge I’m Absolutely Correct Due To Childhood Indoctrination, though I can understand that this basis for my rejection of reality might therefore be impossible for me to see.

    And even though I might never be able to admit error, I might still recognize that my inability could cause me to look like a fool to anyone not blinkered in the same way I am.

  11. Nonlin.org: 1. You’re making up “adaptive evolution”. We see adaptation and have known about it for ever – way before Darwin and Lamarck came up with their nonsense.

    I never argued otherwise. But natural selection is supposed to explain adaptations, which is what you were denying.

    Nonlin.org: Me: 2. Optimizations of what? Not survival?
    Nonlin: 2. Of design in general. Adaptation is an optimization.

    What is the variable that is being optimised?

    Nonlin.org: Me: How is a camel adapted to desert? In what way is a polar bear adapted to the arctic?

    Nonlin: 3. They just live there 🙂 Once we know that, then we see that camels retain water and polar bear blubber.

    No that cannot be right. Water retention is not the complete phenotype, neither is blubber. They are phenotypic traits, like height is, and therefore insufficient as an explanation. “They just live there” is an amusing answer, but not really an explanation, is it?

    Please try again.

  12. Nonlin.org: i. No. I am saying that the only measure of what goes on is survival. This or that element of phenotype or environment won’t tell you who survives.

    Then why did you mention water retention in camels or blubber in polar bears? They are irrelevant to the survival of those animals in their environment.

    Nonlin.org: I asked for 80/20 Pareto, not ALL components of the phenotype.
    ii. You jump from “know all” to “know nothing”. We can know something, but insufficient.

    Not what you claimed previously. You claimed the phenotype was a theoretical concept, and that we couldn’t estimate it closely enough for practical purposes. But I am happy you are starting to change your mind about it. So how do we determine whether a trait (say blubber in polar bears) is an 80/20 Pareto?

    Nonlin.org: iii. Huh? Again, “we know something”. Even Dawkins admits organisms look designed, so the inference of design has been there all along. But I am not saying there’s proof of design – I am saying there’s proof that “natural selection” is BS. Get it?

    Dawkins admits that phenotypes can be linked to survival. You don’t! And until you do, we cannot discuss natural selection or evolution.

    Nonlin.org: iv. Maybe this Darwinist that somehow agrees with me that “NS” is BS can explain it better to you in your native evo-speaks:

    Yes, he explains it a lot better. As far as I can tell, he accepts that you can link the phenotype of organisms to their fitness, so you are not in agreement with him.

  13. John Harshman,

    Then you should actually say so. Who says that feather evolution requires any novel transcription factors?

    We know they are different then other keratin applications. You still need to explain how they came together to build a feather in production.

    Bill: This is just very different view of what mutations really do in biological systems based on experimental results.If a protein coding gene sequence of 240 nucleotides or 80 amino acids has 10^11 more unsuccessful ways of binding to ATP then successful binding, what do you think happens to it when its sequence starts changing randomly?

    John: So many problems with that. First, most of a protein doesn’t consist of active sites. Second, many mutations are silent. Third, many non-silent mutations are to similar amino acids that have no strong effect on activity. Fourth, most mutations do not get to high frequency or become fixed; once again you ignore natural selection.

    This number comes from the Szostak experiment which is only binding to ATP. If an active site is required the non functional space will probably get larger.

    Yes, and the existence of intermediates makes “the Darwinian mechanism” more credible while it simultaneously demolishes the notion of IC. By definition, there can be no functional intermediates in an IC system.

    Only if the intermediates perform the full function and you have demonstrated a Darwinian path from the intermediate to the current structure.

    I see you’re keeping it all vague enough that you can ignore the evidence. I have asked you repeatedly what muscle/bone structure you are referring to, and you have always ignored me. And your own reference shows that you can take away the secondaries and a bird can still fly.

    This is a valid point but I have not had time to research it yet. The paper says you can fly if you take away half the secondary feathers. You cannot if you take away the primary feathers.

    Where does it say “new”? I think you may be confused about what that paper says. Have you ever looked at the actual paper, rather than just that one figure?

    These are new regulators that are not present in the other keratin applications.

  14. colewd:
    John Harshman,

    We know they are different then other keratin applications.You still need to explain how they came together to build a feather in production.

    Can you never manage to say what you’re trying to say? What are “keratin applications”? And no, I don’t have to explain. You’re the one claiming it’s impossible. You have to explain why it’s impossible.

    This number comes from the Szostak experiment which is only binding to ATP.If an active site is required the non functional space will probably get larger.

    A site that binds to ATP is an active site. What does this have to do with what we’re talking about?

    Only if the intermediates perform the full function and you have demonstrated a Darwinian path from the intermediate to the current structure.

    That’s another common creationist tactic: every transitional fossil introduces a new gap. Once more: the existence of intermediate structures falsifies IC.

    This is a valid point but I have not had time to research it yet.The paper says you can fly if you take away half the secondary feathers.You cannot if you take away the primary feathers.

    If you don’t know anything about the subject how are you able to make claims? And if you can take away one part, any part, while retaining function, the system is by definition not IC. Hey, do you notice that you never answer my questions?

    These are new regulators that are not present in the other keratin applications.

    What do you mean by “new” and “other keratin applications”? If all you’re saying is that some transcription factors involved in feather development are not also involved in claw and scale development, so what?

  15. John Harshman,

    And no, I don’t have to explain. You’re the one claiming it’s impossible. You have to explain why it’s impossible.

    When did I say it was impossible?

  16. colewd: If a protein coding gene sequence of 240 nucleotides or 80 amino acids has 10^11 more unsuccessful ways of binding to ATP then successful binding, what do you think happens to it when its sequence starts changing randomly?

    You generate proteins that bind to ATP even better, of course. Did you not read Keefe and Szostak?

  17. John Harshman:
    1. Why are definitions so important to you? At best, you can show that a particular definition doesn’t fit the concept well. And a definition doesn’t need to reflect every possible factor.

    2. I don’t know what you mean by “inheritance studies”. I’m talking about studies of natural selection. Natural selection is a repeatable phenomenon.

    3. No, that’s a terrible definition. I’d go with “differential reproductive success causally correlated with genotype”. It can’t be shown with a single individual, which is why one has to assay a populuation. You can easily distinguish it from genetic drift.

    4. I see you didn’t answer the question, which implies an answer. I think you have no familiarity with the scientific literature.

    5. This is part of your ignorance of the field. The point of having large numbers of individuals in a study is to allow you to isolate the effect of particular characters (as well as random events).

    6. Whatever is the relevance of all that? Are you making some kind of real point, and if so, what is it?

    7. The fitness contribution of an allele is measured by the change in its frequency from generation to generation. But one can also measure advantage in other ways and estimate fitness based on them.

    8. Why should I have done so? …I don’t see why. It’s just a factor that changes the environment. It’s the absence of lichen that’s relevant, not the pollution itself.

    9. You have a tendency to slip in words that imply a logical argument, like “thus”, without actually making a logical argument. It’s not tautological because the experiment can be reliably repeated with similar results, thus ruling out chance. And there we have causal correlation.

    1. Hard sciences like physics and chemistry (includes genetics/biochemistry) are clearly defined, precise, measurable, and repeatable (this may exclude some cutting edge research areas). Soft sciences like economics and sociology are iffy but still clearly defined even if not too repeatable. Fake sciences like “evolution” and astrology are just stories that can never be verified or pinned down. If you claim to be a “real science” then you need to be clearly defined, measurable, repeatable, etc.
    2. Genetics /heredity. Genetics is science while “natural selection” is not – this is what I am demonstrating here.
    3. Why is your definition not popular if the others are “terrible”? Too bad it still fails. From Wikipedia: “ Mutations which are acquired rather than inherited, such as those in cancers, are not part of the individual’s genotype;”. Do you agree with them? Where’s the environment? Remember my example – one genotype lives in one environment but fails in others? Can you guess what’s wrong with “causally correlated”?
    4. Yes, I read and understood all kind of papers including those mischaracterized as “evolution”. Happy?
    5. No ignorance. I agree with averaging to remove stochastic errors, but this is not what we talk about. There might be something else other than color in the phenotype that accounts for what you see. Don’t you need to know THE phenotype even if 80/20
    6. The relevance is that very specific components of the environment matter. Which are those? Not “the forest” for sure and not “somewhere on Earth”. Do you even know if the moth rests on tree trunks for the bird to pick them up? Some say those pictures were staged. Do you even know that birds and not something else make the difference?
    7. In other words you’re defaulting yet again to survival. What “other ways”? Shouldn’t phenotype and environment determine “fitness”? Obviously a non-native moth won’t make it. What if the white moth is weakened by heat or black one by cold? How exactly does pollution contribute? Where is that math function showing the relationship between components of phenotype, environment and “fitness”? This is how science is done. Not story telling.
    8. Huh? What’s your basis for the “lichen story”? Wiki: “Special pigments, such as yellow usnic acid, give lichens a variety of colors, including reds, oranges, yellows, and browns, especially in exposed, dry habitats. In the absence of special pigments, lichens are usually bright green to olive gray when wet, gray or grayish-green to brown when dry.”
    9. What experiment? This was an ad-hoc “explanation” of some natural experiment. A children story full of holes. And we have not even begun to contemplate how on earth this “natural selection”, full of holes children story might lead to anything resembling the transmutation promised.

  18. Flint:
    Maybe it’s a waste of time to point out that people have been carefully breeding many animals and plants throughout recorded history and probably long before. And I suppose it requires an impossible leap of faith to recognize that from the reference frame of the animal or plant, the people doing the selection ARE the environment, which is selecting for desired traits by the simple process of only letting those showing the desired traits survive.

    And (perhaps with another leap), we can see that selective breeding is “un-natural” only from OUR perspective. Biology really doesn’t care what the agency of selection might be, or whether it has any purpose at all. Any more than gravity “wants” water to reach the bottom of the hill, or erosion “intends” to carve rocks into interesting shapes.

    Yes. But did you see this:
    “Domestication is the most sustained selection effort and has greatly helped mankind’s progress, but it has not changed the nature of the target animals and plants despite the intensity of the efforts to accelerate their evolution. Instead, humans only enhanced the built in characteristics of domestic organisms and simply did without – a huge civilization disadvantage – when those plants and animals were unavailable. “?
    Do you agree that we have not been able to do what Darwin promised, aka species transmutation?

  19. Nonlin.org: 1.If you claim to be a “real science” then you need to be clearly defined, measurable, repeatable, etc.

    I have just pointed out an example of measurability and repeatability in evolutionary biology. You will find such thousands of such examples if you just crack open the literature. I have suggested before that you try any issue of Evolution.

    2.Genetics /heredity. Genetics is science while “natural selection” is not – this is what I am demonstrating here.

    Yet what we’re talking about, specifically, is an example of natural selection, not just genetics/heredity.

    3.Why is your definition not popular if the others are “terrible”?Too bad it still fails. From Wikipedia: “ Mutations which are acquired rather than inherited, such as those in cancers, are not part of the individual’s genotype;”. Do you agree with them? Where’s the environment? Remember my example – one genotype lives in one environment but fails in others? Can you guess what’s wrong with “causally correlated”?

    Yes, I agree. Genotype is germ line, not soma. The environment is everywhere. I do not understand what you’re trying to convey with your example. It might be helpful if you explain rather than asking me to guess, for both your example and what’s supposed to be wrong with “causally correlated”. I gather you don’t have much experience with conversation.

    4.Yes, I read and understood all kind of papers including those mischaracterized as “evolution”. Happy?

    No. I don’t believe you. You show no understanding, and you provide no evidence that you have every dipped into the literature.

    5.No ignorance. I agree with averaging to remove stochastic errors, but this is not what we talk about. There might be something else other than color in the phenotype that accounts for what you see. Don’t you need to know THE phenotype even if 80/20

    This is where some familiarity with experimental science would help you. In the case of Biston betularia, the use of large numbers of individuals controls for all the variables other than the light/dark morphs that make up the two samples.

    6.The relevance is that very specific components of the environment matter. Which are those? Not “the forest” for sure and not “somewhere on Earth”. Do you even know if the moth rests on tree trunks for the bird to pick them up? Some say those pictures were staged. Do you even know that birds and not something else make the difference?

    Yes, I do. I see you have adopted the creationist nonsense about moths not resting on tree trunks. Just not true.

    7.In other words you’re defaulting yet again to survival. What “other ways”? Shouldn’t phenotype and environment determine “fitness”? Obviously a non-native moth won’t make it. What if the white moth is weakened by heat or black one by cold? How exactly does pollution contribute? Where is that math function showing the relationship between components of phenotype, environment and “fitness”? This is how science is done. Not story telling.

    You are making up imaginary difficulties. The moths are both natives, members of the same population. They differ genetically only by the dark/light alleles. Changes in frequency within the wild population can be estimated to come up with a fitness measure. The experiments are to determine the cause of the fitness difference, and differential predation is adequate to explain that difference.

    8.Huh? What’s your basis for the “lichen story”? Wiki: “Special pigments, such as yellow usnic acid, give lichens a variety of colors, including reds, oranges, yellows, and browns, especially in exposed, dry habitats. In the absence of special pigments, lichens are usually bright green to olive gray when wet, gray or grayish-green to brown when dry.”

    You are reading about lichens in general, all over the world, all sorts of species in all sorts of habitats. Is it surprising that the text is not specifically about the lichens on trees in an English deciduous forest?

    9.What experiment? This was an ad-hoc “explanation” of some natural experiment. A children story full of holes. And we have not even begun to contemplate how on earth this “natural selection”, full of holes children story might lead to anything resembling the transmutation promised.

    No, there were extensive experiments conducted on Biston betularia, which you could easily read about; you could even find the original papers with a tiny bit of effort. And the moth is only one example among thousands of species that have been used in experiments on natural selection.

  20. John Harshman: That’s you knowing nothing about the field again. You asked for an example of natural selection, which I gave you. Speciation is something else, and I don’t think you know what the word means. But if you had asked for an example of speciation, I could have given you one of those.

    Adaptation is evolution, though not the whole of evolution, and it happens through natural selection. Speciation is evolution too, but it isn’t usually adaptation, and it most often happens as a side effect of natural selection acting in different ways on two different populations.

    (There is sometimes some adaptation in speciation, such things as reinforcement or competitive character displacement, but that’s not central.)

    How can I convince you that you know nothing about evolution?

    I didn’t ask for “an example of natural selection”. I asked specific questions about a biologic entity.
    Speciation is another chimera – we’ll get into that, don’t worry.
    Adaptation is adaptation and happens because were designed with this capability.

    Just declaring something doesn’t make it so. Can you make an effort to present supporting arguments from now on?
    I know your dogma full well – that’s not an issue. The problem is, it just doesn’t work.

  21. John Harshman:
    1. That’s not the work you need to show. You need to demonstrate that 1 GB is insufficient to account for what gets inherited between generations.

    2. Your arrogant assurance that, even though you have no clue, it still must exist.

    3. Not an answer. I don’t think you’re capable of answering questions. I don’t think you know anything about the EES either, particularly if you think those folks reject natural selection.

    1. Your question doesn’t make any sense. I demonstrate that 8MB of data that separated chimp vs human (the 1% delta DNA) does not explain the differences between these two hence your “common origin because similar DNA” fails.
    2. The clue is that if it looks designed and we have no indication something can just arise for no reason, then it must be designed. And yes, some things are beyond our knowledge at least for now.
    3. Why answer questions about a third party when you can go to the source? EES is an indirect admission “evolution” is failing.

  22. Nonlin.org: I know your dogma full well – that’s not an issue.

    Yes it is. You completely confused evolution with speciation. You can protest all you like that you aren’t ignorant, but you demonstrate your ignorance regularly.

    I’m curious what you think the mechanism of adaptation is, since it isn’t natural selection. Why, for example, did dark-morph peppered moths rise from a frequency of zero to a frequency of nearly one, and then go back down to near zero?

  23. Flint: I’ve found it a helpful rule of thumb to presume that those who have dedicated their lives (who in turn stand on the shoulder of tens of thousands of those who previously dedicated their lives) probably know more about a topic I haven’t studied than I do.

    I would be especially leery of presuming they’re all “behind on the learning curve” and I am not, if my presumption rests on Certain Knowledge I’m Absolutely Correct Due To Childhood Indoctrination, though I can understand that this basis for my rejection of reality might therefore be impossible for me to see.

    And even though I might never be able to admit error, I might still recognize that my inability could cause me to look like a fool to anyone not blinkered in the same way I am.

    A lot of people dedicated their lives to Nazism while others to Communism, They also “stand on the shoulder of tens of thousands of…” Does that make them right?

  24. Nonlin.org: 1. Your question doesn’t make any sense. I demonstrate that 8MB of data that separated chimp vs human (the 1% delta DNA) does not explain the differences between these two hence your “common origin because similar DNA” fails.

    I didn’t see the demonstration. All you did was claim that it wasn’t enough. You presented no argument other than that it just doesn’t seem like enough to you. If you had a clue, by the way, you would realize that it’s worse than you suppose, since a good 90% or more of the 40 million differences between chimp and human genomes are in junk DNA, and around half the differences are in the chimp lineage, not ours. So only around 5% of the total difference can account for what makes us human.

    2. The clue is that if it looks designed and we have no indication something can just arise for no reason, then it must be designed. And yes, some things are beyond our knowledge at least for now.

    It looks designed to you, but your personal impression is not a good guide to science.

    3. Why answer questions about a third party when you can go to the source? EES is an indirect admission “evolution” is failing.

    Again, no answer. Your claims about EES show me you don’t understand your source, if you even have one. You are trying to disguise your ignorance with non-responses, but it leaks through anyway.

  25. Nonlin.org: Adaptation is adaptation and happens because were designed with this capability.

    uh huh

    Nonlin.org: Just declaring something doesn’t make it so. Can you make an effort to present supporting arguments from now on?

    oh, the irony!

  26. Corneel: Then why did you mention water retention in camels or blubber in polar bears? They are irrelevant to the survival of those animals in their environment.

    Not what you claimed previously. You claimed the phenotype was a theoretical concept, and that we couldn’t estimate it closely enough for practical purposes. But I am happy you are starting to change your mind about it. So how do we determine whether a trait (say blubber in polar bears) is an 80/20 Pareto?

    Dawkins admits that phenotypes can be linked to survival. You don’t! And until you do, we cannot discuss natural selection or evolution.

    Yes, he explains it a lot better. As far as I can tell, he accepts that you can link the phenotype of organisms to their fitness, so you are not in agreement with him.

    I see you’re trying to construct some argument but don’t like that you try to misquote and second guess. Why don’t you state your position and we’ll see from there.

    Post-hoc we observe water retention in camels and fat in polar bears. That makes sense but obviously is not the whole story. “Irrelevant” is going too far – how would you know?

    My point is you won’t be able to come up with the 80/20. That’s why I ask you to go through the futile exercise and see the problem.

    “you don’t” – see, you do it again. Of course the design (aka phenotype) links to survival. Rather than claim “dawkins is great” why don’t you make the case for “fitness” yourself?

  27. John Harshman: Nonlin.org: i. No. I am saying that the only measure of what goes on is survival. This or that element of phenotype or environment won’t tell you who survives.

    Then why did you mention water retention in camels or blubber in polar bears? They are irrelevant to the survival of those animals in their environment.

    Nonlin.org: I asked for 80/20 Pareto, not ALL components of the phenotype.
    ii. You jump from “know all” to “know nothing”. We can know something, but insufficient.

    Not what you claimed previously. You claimed the phenotype was a theoretical concept, and that we couldn’t estimate it closely enough for practical purposes. But I am happy you are starting to change your mind about it. So how do we determine whether a trait (say blubber in polar bears) is an 80/20 Pareto?

    Nonlin.org: iii. Huh? Again, “we know something”. Even Dawkins admits organisms look designed, so the inference of design has been there all along. But I am not saying there’s proof of design – I am saying there’s proof that “natural selection” is BS. Get it?

    Dawkins admits that phenotypes can be linked to survival. You don’t! And until you do, we cannot discuss natural selection or evolution.

    Nonlin.org: iv. Maybe this Darwinist that somehow agrees with me that “NS” is BS can explain it better to you in your native evo-speaks:

    Yes, he explains it a lot better. As far as I can tell, he accepts that you can link the phenotype of organisms to their fitness, so you are not in agreement with him.

    John Harshman: Susan Mazur explaining Jerry Fodor? One more and it’s a trifecta.

    John Harshman: Susan Mazur explaining Jerry Fodor? One more and it’s a trifecta.

    John Harshman: I have just pointed out an example of measurability and repeatability in evolutionary biology. You will find such thousands of such examples if you just crack open the literature. I have suggested before that you try any issue of Evolution.

    Yet what we’re talking about, specifically, is an example of natural selection, not just genetics/heredity.

    Yes, I agree. Genotype is germ line, not soma. The environment is everywhere. I do not understand what you’re trying to convey with your example. It might be helpful if you explain rather than asking me to guess, for both your example and what’s supposed to be wrong with “causally correlated”. I gather you don’t have much experience with conversation.

    No. I don’t believe you. You show no understanding, and you provide no evidence that you have every dipped into the literature.

    This is where some familiarity with experimental science would help you. In the case of Biston betularia, the use of large numbers of individuals controls for all the variables other than the light/dark morphs that make up the two samples.

    Yes, I do. I see you have adopted the creationist nonsense about moths not resting on tree trunks. Just not true.

    You are making up imaginary difficulties. The moths are both natives, members of the same population. They differ genetically only by the dark/light alleles. Changes in frequency within the wild population can be estimated to come up with a fitness measure. The experiments are to determine the cause of the fitness difference, and differential predation is adequate to explain that difference.

    You are reading about lichens in general, all over the world, all sorts of species in all sorts of habitats. Is it surprising that the text is not specifically about the lichens on trees in an English deciduous forest?

    No, there were extensive experiments conducted on Biston betularia, which you could easily read about; you could even find the original papers with a tiny bit of effort. And the moth is only one example among thousands of species that have been used in experiments on natural selection.

    1. What “measurability and repeatability”? I don’t do crack. You obviously refuse to understand that stuff belongs in genetics and is mislabeled “evolution” by people like you.
    2. Assuming the birds are responsible for the moth color mix, that would be Intelligent Selection anyway.
    3. Germ line is fine, but soma can kill too – think of epidemics. Then what? The problem is that “environment” is impossible to pin down and specific elements of the environment will dramatically change the result, so it can’t be ignored. Why do I have to cover these basics? “Causally correlated” of course has to be independently confirmed – correlation cannot infer causality. And if you already know causality, correlation becomes more or less irrelevant. So your definition fares no better than the others.
    4. I am disputing any “evolution” connection with the literature. How many times must I say?
    5. In this case, the two color moths were available, so the experiment just shows camouflage matters – why is this news to anyone? And they’re all the same organism anyway so where is “natural selection” creating anything new? We already know adaptations are possible and yet reversible within limits. And I already mentioned Intelligent Selection.

    What started this part of the discussion were the four basic questions which you never answered properly:
    1. What is that biologic entity’s phenotype?
    2. What is its environment?
    3. What is its fitness function?
    4. What is the relationship between its phenotype, environment, fitness, and survival/reproductive
    You can pick Biston betularia again but understand these questions were not about a simple comparative camouflage experiment.

  28. John Harshman: Yes it is. You completely confused evolution with speciation. You can protest all you like that you aren’t ignorant, but you demonstrate your ignorance regularly.

    I’m curious what you think the mechanism of adaptation is, since it isn’t natural selection. Why, for example, did dark-morph peppered moths rise from a frequency of zero to a frequency of nearly one, and then go back down to near zero?

    To “rise” from 0 to 1 and back, its design must have had that built in capability. Returning to 0 goes to show you reversibility rather than directionless drift – rest assured it won’t turn into a bee or anything else.

    Color changes as well as metabolic, antibiotic, antibiotic-resistance, and many other adaptations is what organisms do day in and day out. Yet none of these normal adaptations has ever been observed to cause transmutation into other organisms – the primary claim of Darwinism.

  29. John Harshman: I didn’t see the demonstration. All you did was claim that it wasn’t enough. You presented no argument other than that it just doesn’t seem like enough to you. If you had a clue, by the way, you would realize that it’s worse than you suppose, since a good 90% or more of the 40 million differences between chimp and human genomes are in junk DNA, and around half the differences are in the chimp lineage, not ours. So only around 5% of the total difference can account for what makes us human.

    It looks designed to you, but your personal impression is not a good guide to science.

    Again, no answer. Your claims about EES show me you don’t understand your source, if you even have one. You are trying to disguise your ignorance with non-responses, but it leaks through anyway.

    What are you talking about? The point was that “DNA is not the story” – this is what I demonstrate with the 1GB calculation, therefore whatever “non-junk” similarities you see are irrelevant. BTW, “junk DNA” is a concept that has been junked recently. Try to keep up.

    It looks designed to anyone, not just me. That’s how we look for signs of life in cosmos too – does it look designed?

    What “no answer”? Go to the source – enough that they admit failure of “evolution”.

  30. Nonlin.org:
    1.What “measurability and repeatability”? I don’t do crack. You obviously refuse to understand that stuff belongs in genetics and is mislabeled “evolution” by people like you.

    I have only your assurance that you don’t do crack; the evidence in your words might suggest otherwise. What is mislabeled “evolution” and what is your argument that it’s mislabeled?

    2.Assuming the birds are responsible for the moth color mix, that would be Intelligent Selection anyway.

    Is all predation intelligent selection, then? But the birds aren’t making a choice; they’re just grabbing whatever moths they see.

    3.Germ line is fine, but soma can kill too – think of epidemics. Then what? The problem is that “environment” is impossible to pin down and specific elements of the environment will dramatically change the result, so it can’t be ignored. Why do I have to cover these basics? “Causally correlated” of course has to be independently confirmed – correlation cannot infer causality.And if you already know causality, correlation becomes more or less irrelevant. So your definition fares no better than the others.

    What about epidemics? What does that have to do with somatic mutations? The rest is word salad too. Also, you used “infer” to mean “imply”, one of my main lexicological pet peeves.

    4.I am disputing any “evolution” connection with the literature. How many times must I say?

    Just saying is useless. You have to justify the claim.

    5.In this case, the two color moths were available, so the experiment just shows camouflage matters – why is this news to anyone? And they’re all the same organism anyway so where is “natural selection” creating anything new? We already know adaptations are possible and yet reversible within limits. And I already mentioned Intelligent Selection.

    You will just throw out anything that enters your head, won’t you?

    What started this part of the discussion were the four basic questions which you never answered properly

    You are not equipped to recognize answers. You are not equipped to carry on a dialogue. I don’t know what can be done with you.

  31. John Harshman: Fodor isn’t here. I can only argue with you. I suspect you misunderstand what he says, so trying to argue with him will whoosh right by you. So what do you think he says, and what point are you trying to make?

    So you want me to interpret what the guy said? You never argue against ideas because the author died? Ridiculous. As a Darwinist, he clearly states “natural selection” fails. The point is we agree on this one. Happy?

  32. Nonlin.org: What are you talking about? The point was that “DNA is not the story” – this is what I demonstrate with the 1GB calculation, therefore whatever “non-junk” similarities you see are irrelevant. BTW, “junk DNA” is a concept that has been junked recently. Try to keep up.

    Once again, just asserting a claim is not demonstrating. Why, you said so yourself. All you did was determine the size of the human genome and then asserted that was not enough. How is that a demonstration of anything? The death of junk DNA has been greatly exaggerated by the ignorant, like you.

    It looks designed to anyone, not just me. That’s how we look for signs of life in cosmos too – does it look designed?

    Neither of those claims is true.

    What “no answer”? Go to the source – enough that they admit failure of “evolution”.

    Are you sure? Can you quote anyone admitting failure of “evolution”? Exact quote, with source, please.

  33. Nonlin.org: So you want me to interpret what the guy said? You never argue against ideas because the author died? Ridiculous.

    Can’t, huh?

  34. Nonlin.org: So you want me to interpret what the guy said? You never argue against ideas because the author died? Ridiculous. As a Darwinist, he clearly states “natural selection” fails. The point is we agree on this one. Happy?

    What makes you think he’s a “Darwinist”? And where exactly does he state it?

  35. Nonlin.org: To “rise” from 0 to 1 and back, its design must have had that built in capability.

    What is the built-in capability you’re talking about? Mutation? Inheritance? Ability to be eaten? It seems to me that those aren’t design features, just something that can’t be avoided in a living thing.

    Returning to 0 goes to show you reversibility rather than directionless drift – rest assured it won’t turn into a bee or anything else.

    Ah, you’re locked into the “dog gives birth to a cat” view of evolution. Creationists just love that one. And of course selection is reversible and isn’t drift. How does that invalidate natural selection?

    Color changes as well as metabolic, antibiotic, antibiotic-resistance, and many other adaptations is what organisms do day in and day out. Yet none of these normal adaptations has ever been observed to cause transmutation into other organisms – the primary claim of Darwinism.

    All those adaptations arose through natural selection. What does “other organisms” mean to you? Now, we were talking about natural selection, not “transmutation”, so you’re changing the subject.

  36. Nonlin.org: I see you’re trying to construct some argument but don’t like that you try to misquote and second guess. Why don’t you state your position and we’ll see from there.

    I am, in fact, trying to understand your argument, which is no small feat, let me assure you. You seem to be anxious to shift the burden and push me into the defense, but I will not allow that yet. As stated twice before, discussing natural selection would be pointless as long as you refuse to acknowledge that we can confidently link phenotypic traits to components of fitness (like survival and reproductive output)

    So here is my position: Individual organisms with certain heritable traits are more likely to survive and reproduce than others.

    Nonlin.org: Post-hoc we observe water retention in camels and fat in polar bears. That makes sense but obviously is not the whole story.

    It doesn’t have to be the whole story. We just need to explain the presence of those adaptive traits. Any appreciable difference in reproductive success (or whatever trait you believe is being optimised) will do.

    Nonlin.org: “you don’t” – see, you do it again. Of course the design (aka phenotype) links to survival.

    This pisses me off: You are accusing me of second-guessing, but refuse to clarify your position: If you don’t want me guessing, then answer my questions: in what way is the design linked to survival? Is cryptic coloration a design feature that promotes this? Is survival the variable that is being optimised in organismal design?

  37. Nonlin.org: In this case, the two color moths were available, so the experiment just shows camouflage matters – why is this news to anyone?

    The reason everybody keeps mentioning this, is because it flatly contradicts your claim that individual phenotypic traits are insufficient to predict survival.

    Nonlin.org: To “rise” from 0 to 1 and back, its design must have had that built in capability. Returning to 0 goes to show you reversibility rather than directionless drift – rest assured it won’t turn into a bee or anything else.

    The built in capacity to do what? To change from one morph into another? Nope, the difference in the color morphs is 100% genetic. Hence, changes in the population frequency were not accomplished by individual morphs changing colour. Some species of butterfly actually do have that capability and have different morphs in different seasons e.g. the map (Araschnia levana). Peppered moths however do not.

    Nonlin.org: Yet none of these normal adaptations has ever been observed to cause transmutation into other organisms – the primary claim of Darwinism.

    Put those goal posts back where you found them, young man.

  38. Nonlin.org: It looks designed to anyone, not just me.

    No it doesn’t.

    Wow, that was easy. Taking my queue from you, I have now learned how easy it is to just blindly assert things without doing any work to demonstrating the truth of those assertions. Let me try that again:

    “No living organism looks designed.”

    Yep, definitely easier to argue like a creationist like you.

    That’s how we look for signs of life in cosmos too – does it look designed?

    No, that isn’t how we look for signs of life in the cosmos. You have been mislead.

  39. Nonlin.org: I know. Yet one of them Darwinistas explains it quite clearly that “NS” fails: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jerry-fodor-held-high-ground-to-evolutions-militant_us_5a3ec86ae4b0d86c803c722f

    Incidentally, I found that interview to be nearly incoherent. For one thing, Fodor seems incapable of making a clear statement, and for another, every time he starts to form an argument, Mazur tries to derail him into talking about one of her personal obsessions instead, and he has to waste time saying no, that isn’t it, and then try to get back to what he was saying. I can get from that no idea what Fodor thought was wrong with natural selection. But he clearly wasn’t anything that he or anyone else would call a “Darwinist”.

  40. Suzan Mazur’s questions are downright fatous. How many times must this Fodor person tell her that he doesn’t care about the subjects she keeps bringing up? And yes, that interview is downright incoherent. Including both what Mazur and Fodor says.

  41. John Harshman: I have only your assurance that you don’t do crack; the evidence in your words might suggest otherwise. What is mislabeled “evolution” and what is your argument that it’s mislabeled?

    Is all predation intelligent selection, then? But the birds aren’t making a choice; they’re just grabbing whatever moths they see.

    What about epidemics? What does that have to do with somatic mutations? The rest is word salad too. Also, you used “infer” to mean “imply”, one of my main lexicological pet peeves.

    Just saying is useless. You have to justify the claim.

    You will just throw out anything that enters your head, won’t you?

    You are not equipped to recognize answers. You are not equipped to carry on a dialogue. I don’t know what can be done with you.

    1. Nah, I’m immune. But you must stop selling the Darwin crack to the innocent out there.
    2. The birds are intelligent – don’t matter what their intention. Contrast that with a volcano or tornado.
    3. Virus epidemics change the genome and can wipe out the population. Why restrict to germline genome? “Word salad” = “me no understand”. Infer is right – “deduce or conclude (information) from evidence and reasoning “ – stop second guessing. So, what about your failed definition of “NS”?
    4. Ongoing.
    5. How is camouflage “natural selection” and “evolution”? The only thing good about H. B. D. Kettlewell is that he was right to think that the fossil record cannot possibly be evidence for evolution – after all, fossils do not come with proof of link to other existing or fossilized organisms. For one to see a link, one must presuppose a link, rendering the whole argument a classic example of circular logic. But is the peppered moth experiment any better? Of course not. Camouflage? Really?

  42. Rumraket: No it doesn’t.

    Wow, that was easy. Taking my queue from you, I have now learned how easy it is to just blindly assert things without doing any work to demonstrating the truth of those assertions. Let me try that again:

    “No living organism looks designed.”

    Yep, definitely easier to argue like a creationist like you.

    No, that isn’t how we look for signs of life in the cosmos. You have been mislead.

    John Harshman:
    1. Once again, just asserting a claim is not demonstrating. Why, you said so yourself. All you did was determine the size of the human genome and then asserted that was not enough. How is that a demonstration of anything? The death of junk DNA has been greatly exaggerated by the ignorant, like you.

    2. Neither of those claims is true.

    3. Are you sure? Can you quote anyone admitting failure of “evolution”? Exact quote, with source, please.

    It’s all spelled out in the essay – if you can’t understand with extra help, so be it.

    Show your work when you say “not true”. Dawkins admits life looks designed. Scientists searching for extraterrestrial life try to find nonrandom patterns that would have very low probability of occurrence if randomly generated (some call these complex and specified). Complex machines such as the circulatory system in many organisms cannot be found in the nonliving with one exception: those designed by humans. Therefore, the default assumption should be that life is designed.
    The shotgun marriage between Mendel and Darwin known as “Modern Synthesis” never made any sense. Blending inheritance in which offspring were thought to be the genetic intermediates of their two parents is the gradualism imagined by Darwin, but blending inheritance would result in the rapid end of genetic variation within a population contrary to biologic observations. Once demonstrated false, biologic gradualism should have been dropped altogether and without this pillar, Darwinism would have crumbled like the sandcastle it is. Time for a divorce.
    Mendel = science. Darwin = fake science
    EES is an indirect admission. And so is that interview with the Darwinista. No, I am not explaining what you can read for yourself – quit bugging.

  43. John Harshman:
    1. What is the built-in capability you’re talking about? Mutation? Inheritance? Ability to be eaten? It seems to me that those aren’t design features, just something that can’t be avoided in a living thing.

    2. Ah, you’re locked into the “dog gives birth to a cat” view of evolution. Creationists just love that one. And of course selection is reversible and isn’t drift. How does that invalidate natural selection?

    3. All those adaptations arose through natural selection. What does “other organisms” mean to you? Now, we were talking about natural selection, not “transmutation”, so you’re changing the subject.

    1. Color change within limits. I gave you the list of observed capabilities.
    2. Huh? To get from A to B you must move on, rather than go back to A. This is just an additional point, not the main argument. Just happens that it works against you like… (what do you know?)… all the others.
    3. What does “arose” mean? When was the last time you saw something “arise”? Stuff just doesn’t “arise”.
    4. I showed “natural selection” is not happening. You got intelligent selection and even that won’t get you to “evolution” – witness human efforts – Lenski’s eColi has been running since 1988 (16 million human-years equivalent!) and has produced a citrate-digesting e-coli strain as well as faster growing e-coli, but not a single bacteria that can be labeled anything other than eColi. It’s the same subject – “natural selection” magic getting you wings and donkey ears, Pinocchio.

  44. Rumraket:
    Suzan Mazur’s questions are downright fatous. How many times must this Fodor person tell her that he doesn’t care about the subjects she keeps bringing up? And yes, that interview is downright incoherent. Including both what Mazur and Fodor says.

    John Harshman: Incidentally, I found that interview to be nearly incoherent. For one thing, Fodor seems incapable of making a clear statement, and for another, every time he starts to form an argument, Mazur tries to derail him into talking about one of her personal obsessions instead, and he has to waste time saying no, that isn’t it, and then try to get back to what he was saying. I can get from that no idea what Fodor thought was wrong with natural selection. But he clearly wasn’t anything that he or anyone else would call a “Darwinist”.

    That’s your problem – you’re in denial. Don’t forget his paper too: http://ruccs.rutgers.edu/images/personal-jerry-fodor/fodor_against_darwinism.pdf
    The guy calls himself a Darwinista.

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