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.

573 thoughts on “Natural Selection – Evolution Magic

  1. Corneel: 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 traitsto 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.

    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.

    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?

    What is fitness? Define and calculate for yourself.

    “certain heritable traits” – what is this vague concept? Define and calculate for yourself. Same for “more likely to survive and reproduce”.

    “in what way is the design linked to survival?” We observe design and we observe survival. In extreme cases we observe “no survival” and we think we can link to design and environment. But we don’t have nowhere near the full picture claimed. On the other hand, you do or claim knowledge and “process”. So where is it?
    🙂 ?

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

    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.

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

    “phenotypic traits are insufficient to predict survival” BY THEMSELVES as in the definition that leaves out the environment. And they do not predict survival (absolute) but MAY explain the (relative) differential in this simple camouflage study. Big caveats.
    Changing color is a built in capability that humans have too – genetic or not. Why is this a big deal to you?
    What “goal posts”?

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

    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.

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

    “phenotypic traits are insufficient to predict survival” BY THEMSELVES as in the failed “natural selection” definition that leaves out the environment. And they do not predict survival (absolute) but MAY explain the (relative) differential in this simple camouflage study. Big caveats.
    Changing color is a built in capability that humans have too – genetic or not. Why is this a big deal to you?
    What “goal posts”? “Natural selection” is supposed to lead to transmutation of species.

  4. Nonlin.org: Show your work when you say “not true”.

    Me. I don’t think it looks designed. At all. Done.

    Dawkins admits life looks designed.

    I’m not Richard Dawkins, and his opinions don’t dictate to reality.

    Scientists searching for extraterrestrial life try to find nonrandom patterns that would have very low probability of occurrence if randomly generated.

    So when you said they look for signs of “it looks designed”, you were in contradiction to what you are saying now.

    Now you’re telling me they’re looking for “nonrandom patterns that would have very low probability of occurrence if randomly generated”.

    (some call these complex and specified).

    You can call them whatever you want. I don’t obsess over labels.

    Complex machines such as the circulatory system in many organisms cannot be found in the nonliving with one exception: those designed by humans.

    So what?

    Therefore, the default assumption should be that life is designed.

    That conclusion doesn’t follow from the premise. Just because intelligent design can in principle explain some entity’s existence doesn’t mean we should assume it does by default.

    Particularly when the entity to be explained predates the existence of any designer known to be capable of designing and then manufacturing the entity in question.

    Intelligent design can in principle explain the arrangement of all the grains of sand on the local beach, which are arranged nonrandomly according to their size and density. Yet the exact position of each of them in relation to each other is unfathomably unlikely. So the pattern is both nonrandom and extremely unlikely to have been generated by pure chance, yet it was generated by the unintelligent mechanical action of waves and wind while under the force of gravity, rather than intelligent design.

    The quintessential false dichotomy of the confused creationist mind is pure chance vs intelligent design. Completely neglecting the actions of consistent biasing forces like gravity, mechanical waves, electromagnetic attractions between components etc. etc.

    We don’t live in this strange world you seem to imagine where things happen either by pure chance, or by deliberate design. You are neglecting the influence of regularities like the laws of physics, and the biasing of outcomes by historical circumstances that were themselves contingent on what happened before them.

    The shotgun marriage between Mendel and Darwin known as “Modern Synthesis” never made any sense.

    It makes perfect sense.

    Blending inheritance in which offspring were thought to be the genetic intermediates of their two parents is the gradualism imagined by Darwin

    No, you are confusing how Darwin imagined the mechanism of inheritance of traits took place, with how he imagined evolutionary change manifested over geological time.

    You can still get gradualistic evolutionary change over geological time with Mendel’s laws of inheritance.

    but blending inheritance would result in the rapid end of genetic variation within a population contrary to biologic observations.

    Which is partially why Mendelism replaced blending inheritance.

    Once demonstrated false, biologic gradualism should have been dropped altogether and without this pillar, Darwinism would have crumbled like the sandcastle it is.

    Cool story bro. Shame it’s mostly fictional.

    Time for a divorce.
    Mendel = science. Darwin = fake science

    If you can just sit there and declare things, I can do the same. Here goes.

    The marriage is solid. Mendel + Darwin = science.

    EES is an indirect admission.

    EES is nothing of the sort.

    And so is that interview with the Darwinista.

    Actually it’s incoherent, and really just reveals that some people can be confused and mislead. Like you. 🙂

  5. Nonlin.org: 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?

    If you are attempting to communicate, you are failing. You answered none of my questions.

    No, virus epidemics do not change the genome, though they may act as agents of selection. Are they intelligent, incidentally? Of course, retroviral insertions do change the genome, but that doesn’t seem to be what you were talking about.

    Why restrict to the germline genome? Because that’s what is inherited across generations.

    “Ongoing”? When do you intend to begin?

    No, camouflage is not evolution. Differential reproductive success of genetic variations in camouflage by environmental factors is evolution.

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

    I refuse to read your essay. If you can’t make a coherent argument here, I have no reason to believe you have made one elsewhere.

    Show your work when you say “not true”.

    You first. Offer something other than naked asssertion.

    Nonlin.org: The guy calls himself a Darwinista.

    Where, exactly? Certainly not in the cited paper. You can’t just make shit up, especially if it can be checked easily.

  6. Nonlin.org: Changing color is a built in capability that humans have too – genetic or not.

    Are you claiming that color differences among peppered moths do not have a genetic basis, that the melanistic variant is not a mutation, or what?

  7. Nonlin.org: “certain heritable traits” – what is this vague concept? Define and calculate for yourself.

    There exists heritable phenotypic variation: Va > 0

    Nonlin.org: Same for “more likely to survive and reproduce”.

    There is variation in survival and fecundity, that is correlated with the phenotypic variation.

    Nonlin.org: “in what way is the design linked to survival?” We observe design and we observe survival. In extreme cases we observe “no survival” and we think we can link to design and environment. But we don’t have nowhere near the full picture claimed.

    What is this vague concept?
    You are not explaining and you are not answering my questions, Nonlin. Why do some designs work better than others? Is cryptic coloration a design feature that promotes this? Is survival the variable that is being optimised in organismal design? I am beginning to think that you have no clue yourself.

  8. Nonlin.org: “phenotypic traits are insufficient to predict survival” BY THEMSELVES as in the definition that leaves out the environment. And they do not predict survival (absolute) but MAY explain the (relative) differential in this simple camouflage study. Big caveats.

    So obviously camouflage works, but the increase in survival probability conferred by cryptic coloration is not sufficient to explain why these adaptations exist?

    You realise you are not making much sense at the moment, I hope?

    Nonlin.org: Changing color is a built in capability that humans have too – genetic or not. Why is this a big deal to you?

    Because you invoked it as an explanation for the change in the frequency of melanistic peppered moths. To the best of my knowledge, peppered moths do not tan.

    Nonlin.org: What “goal posts”? “Natural selection” is supposed to lead to transmutation of species.

    We weren’t discussing transmutations of species, we were discussing whether natural selection could explain the presence of adaptations.

  9. This is pretty cool, too:

    Statistical inference based on the distribution of recombined carbonaria haplotypes indicates that this transposition event occurred around 1819, consistent with the historical record.

  10. Rumraket: Me. I don’t think it looks designed. At all. Done.

    I’m not Richard Dawkins, and his opinions don’t dictate to reality.

    So when you said they look for signs of “it looks designed”, you were in contradiction to what you are saying now.

    Now you’re telling me they’re looking for “nonrandom patterns that would have very low probability of occurrence if randomly generated”.

    You can call them whatever you want. I don’t obsess over labels.

    So what?

    That conclusion doesn’t follow from the premise. Just because intelligent design can in principle explain some entity’s existence doesn’t mean we should assume it does by default.

    Particularly when the entity to be explained predates the existence of any designer known to be capable of designing and then manufacturing the entity in question.

    Intelligent design can in principle explain the arrangement of all the grains of sand on the local beach, which are arranged nonrandomly according to their size and density. Yet the exact position of each of them in relation to each other is unfathomably unlikely. So the pattern is both nonrandom and extremely unlikely to have been generated by pure chance, yet it was generated by the unintelligent mechanical action of waves and wind while under the force of gravity, rather than intelligent design.

    The quintessential false dichotomy of the confused creationist mind is pure chance vs intelligent design. Completely neglecting the actions of consistent biasing forces like gravity, mechanical waves, electromagnetic attractions between components etc. etc.

    We don’t live in this strange world you seem to imagine where things happen either by pure chance, or by deliberate design. You are neglecting the influence of regularities like the laws of physics, and the biasing of outcomes by historical circumstances that were themselves contingent on what happened before them.

    It makes perfect sense.

    No, you are confusing how Darwin imagined the mechanism of inheritance of traits took place, with how he imagined evolutionary change manifested over geological time.

    You can still get gradualistic evolutionary change over geological time with Mendel’s laws of inheritance.

    Which is partially why Mendelism replaced blending inheritance.

    Cool story bro. Shame it’s mostly fictional.

    If you can just sit there and declare things, I can do the same. Here goes.

    The marriage is solid. Mendel + Darwin = science.

    EES is nothing of the sort.

    Actually it’s incoherent, and really just reveals that some people can be confused and mislead. Like you.

    You got Darwinist religion impenetrable to logic. I’ll skip most of your opinions and nonsense arguments.

    How is “it looks designed” in contradiction with “nonrandom patterns that would have very low probability of occurrence if randomly generated”?

    This is how it works:
    Take an x-bit message – the more bits, the lower the likelihood of that random pattern if random and we can never tell from the results whether an outcome is random or not because any particular sequence of outcomes has an equal probability of occurrence. If a coin is fair, 10 Heads in a row has a probability of about 1 in 1,000, but so does HTHTHTHTHT or HHHHHTTTTT or any other sequence of 10 tosses. We can get suspicious and investigate by other means whether the coin is loaded or not, but absent those other findings, the outcome does not tell us anything about the Randomness of this process.
    When we see HTHTHTHTHT… we suspect a nonrandom pattern simply described as “reverse the previous outcome”. This would generate the pattern with 50% probability as opposed to 1 in 1000 (if no rule applies) since all you need is “start with H”, and follow the rule (“start with T” is the other 50%). And we see these patterns in life forms all the time.

    Yes, patterns like sand/water wave are explained by certain forces – which you abusively call “unintelligent” since you don’t know the ultimate driving force behind the universe. The important part is that these patterns beg for an explanation other than “random”.

    “The quintessential false assumption of the confused Darwinist” is randomness: http://nonlin.org/random-abuse/

    “The laws of physics, and the biasing of outcomes by historical circumstances” do not explain in any way the patterns we see in the living. And that’s your big, big problem.

    Gradualism / blending inheritance was just Darwin’s brain-fart to “explain” his nonsense. Just look around you in nature – there’s no gradualism whatsoever: http://nonlin.org/gradualism/ Just because Hollywood can dream it, doesn’t make it true.

  11. Nonlin.org: Just look around you in nature – there’s no gradualism whatsoever: http://nonlin.org/gradualism/

    I looked at your screed. It collapses immediately when you claim that gradual equals continuous. No it doesn’t. Darwin explicitly referred to slight variations, not continuous variation: small but discrete steps. Thanks for playing, though.

  12. John Harshman:
    1. If you are attempting to communicate, you are failing. You answered none of my questions.

    2. No, virus epidemics do not change the genome, though they may act as agents of selection. Are they intelligent, incidentally? Of course, retroviral insertions do change the genome, but that doesn’t seem to be what you were talking about.

    3. Why restrict to the germline genome? Because that’s what is inherited across generations.

    4. “Ongoing”? When do you intend to begin?

    5. No, camouflage is not evolution. Differential reproductive success of genetic variations in camouflage by environmental factors is evolution.

    6. I refuse to read your essay. If you can’t make a coherent argument here, I have no reason to believe you have made one elsewhere.

    7. You first. Offer something other than naked asssertion.

    8. Where, exactly? Certainly not in the cited paper. You can’t just make shit up, especially if it can be checked easily.

    1. These questions?
    Q: “1. What is the built-in capability you’re talking about? Mutation? Inheritance? Ability to be eaten? “
    A: “1. Color change within limits. I gave you the list of observed capabilities.”
    Q: All those adaptations arose through natural selection. “What does “other organisms” mean to you? “
    A: “What does “arose” mean? When was the last time you saw something “arise”? Stuff just doesn’t “arise”. ADD here – organisms that you think “arose” – like human supposedly from chimp-like-ape.
    2. Yes, I was talking about retroviruses. And what about your utterly failed definition? “Differential reproductive success causally correlated with genotype” – fails
    a. “differential” – you won’t see differential in nature – just in contrived experiments like Kettlewell’s
    b. “reproductive success” is nothing but survival – the only way you know “selection” and of course no such thing as “fitness”
    c. Where’s the environment in your definition? And for that matter where are all the “omes” (see Eric Topol) like microbiome, and epigenome?
    d. “causally correlated” fails as explained
    e. Wow, your definition fails worse than Google and Wikipedia – no wonder no one uses it.
    3. You just don’t know. Let me repeat this simple logic: “just because you only know about the genome, doesn’t mean the genome is the only thing”
    4. Huh?
    5. See your failed definition at 2.
    6. See 3. Also, (for little kids) “yes, the chair has 4 legs like a cat but is not a cat because both the cat and the chair are more than their 4 legs” – replace “4 legs” with “the common genome”, “cat” with “human” and “chair” with “chimp” and see if you understand why the DNA doesn’t prove lineage from chimp to human.
    7. You disagree with this common knowledge: “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.”? Which one is “naked asssertion“?
    8. “Except, perhaps, in remote backwaters of the American Midwest, the Darwinian account of our species’ history is common ground in all civilised discussions, and so it should be. The evidence really is overwhelming.” – he is wrong of course about overwhelming evidence. – https://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n20/jerry-fodor/why-pigs-dont-have-wings

  13. John Harshman: I looked at your screed. It collapses immediately when you claim that gradual equals continuous. No it doesn’t. Darwin explicitly referred to slight variations, not continuous variation: small but discrete steps. Thanks for playing, though.

    Darwin didn’t know math and he cannot redefine as he pleases.
    Some say he didn’t read Mendel’s letter because he didn’t understand Mendel’s math. That’s why you can verify Mendel today but none of Darwin’s nonsense. See? Science vs pseudoscience.

  14. John Harshman: Are you claiming that color differences among peppered moths do not have a genetic basis, that the melanistic variant is not a mutation, or what?

    Why is “genetic” so important to you? Are white people not genetically different than the black ones? Are you not genetically different than your twin brother https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/03/scott-kellys-medical-monitoring-has-spawned-some-horrific-press-coverage/ ? Total nonsense.

  15. Corneel: There exists heritable phenotypic variation: Va > 0

    There is variation in survival and fecundity, that is correlated with the phenotypic variation.

    What is this vague concept?
    You are not explaining and you are not answering my questions, Nonlin.Why do some designs work better than others? Is cryptic coloration a design feature that promotes this? Is survival the variable that is being optimised in organismal design? I am beginning to think that you have no clue yourself.

    I was pointing out that your position “Individual organisms with certain heritable traits are more likely to survive and reproduce than others.” is not at all scientific aka clearly defined and measurable. Your additional “explanations” don’t help you.

    What “vague concept”? How do you know “some designs work better than others”? Do they? Which one’s the winner here: “. 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. “?

  16. Corneel:
    1. So obviously camouflage works, but the increase in survival probability conferred by cryptic coloration is not sufficient to explain why these adaptations exist?

    You realise you are not making much sense at the moment, I hope?

    2. Because you invoked it as an explanation for the change in the frequency of melanistic peppered moths. To the best of my knowledge, peppered moths do not tan.

    3. We weren’t discussing transmutations of species, we were discussing whether natural selection could explain the presence of adaptations.

    1. Of course not. I can imagine Corneels with wings taking over the world, but that’s just not going to happen, will it?
    2. Huh? What if they don’t tan? Humans come in different colors too – a Mexican born in Boston will still look like his parents.
    3. The whole purpose of this nonsense “natural selection” is to explain “the origin of species”, remember?

  17. Sigh. Another creationist proud of his ignorance, unable or unwilling to discuss any question seriously or coherently. Why is that all we get here?

  18. Nonlin.org: Why is “genetic” so important to you?

    Why are you unwilling to answer any simple question or explain when you have been unclear?

  19. Nonlin.org: Darwin didn’t know math and he cannot redefine as he pleases.

    Darwin wasn’t redefining anything. He was just talking about something different from what you claim he was. You refer to continuous variation, and Darwin was talking about slight but discrete variations.

  20. Nonlin.org: “Except, perhaps, in remote backwaters of the American Midwest, the Darwinian account of our species’ history is common ground in all civilised discussions, and so it should be. The evidence really is overwhelming.” – he is wrong of course about overwhelming evidence. – https://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n20/jerry-fodor/why-pigs-dont-have-wings

    Congratulations. You have managed to quote from a source that actually says what you quote. That’s progress. But the point you were supposed to be offering evidence for is that Fodor considered himself a “Darwinist”, and your quote doesn’t do that. All it says is that Fodor agreed that Darwin was right about common descent of humans and other apes (which he was). That doesn’t make him a “Darwinist”, and it certainly doesn’t show him identifying himself as a “Darwinist”. Try again.

  21. Nonlin.org: 2. Yes, I was talking about retroviruses.

    Then you’re wrong. Retroviral insertions modify the genome, but don’t result in viral epidemics. Epidemics are caused by viruses not inserting into the genome but being replicated, lysing cells, and wandering off to infect elsewhere. You really have no idea what you’re talking about.

    And what about your utterly failed definition? “Differential reproductive success causally correlated with genotype” – fails

    Perhaps, but I have no idea why you think so. Why won’t you explain anything?

    a. “differential” – you won’t see differential in nature – just in contrived experiments like Kettlewell’s

    What does this mean? Of course you see “differential” in nature. It just means “different”. I don’t see the problem.

    b. “reproductive success” is nothing but survival – the only way you know “selection” and of course no such thing as “fitness”

    Reproductive success is survival, but not survival of the individual having the reproductive success: survival of the offspring instead. I don’t see the problem with that either.

    c. Where’s the environment in your definition? And for that matter where are all the “omes” (see Eric Topol) like microbiome, and epigenome?

    None of those are relevant to the definition. Of course it’s the interaction of the individual with the environment that results in the correlation of reproductive success with genotype, but I don’t see a need for a definition to explain every process. The microbiome is part of the environment. The epigenome is not inherited and is not relevant.

    d. “causally correlated” fails as explained

    I either did not see or failed to recognize the explanation. What is the explanation?

  22. Nonlin.org: You got Darwinist religion impenetrable to logic.

    Or I just saw straight through your nonsensical pile of assertions.

    I’ll skip most of your opinions and nonsense arguments.

    All I did was point out how your own misunderstandings are tripping you over. Don’t be sad about it.

    How is “it looks designed” in contradiction with “nonrandom patterns that would have very low probability of occurrence if randomly generated”?

    I already explained that by giving an example of a “nonrandom pattern that would have a very low probability of occurrence if randomly generated” which wasn’t designed. The very fact that such a thing is even possible shows that “it looks designed” isn’t a good way to detect design.

    This is how it works:
    Take an x-bit message – the more bits, the lower the likelihood of that random pattern if random

    What? Likelihood of that random pattern if random? Try to make sense.

    and we can never tell from the results whether an outcome is random or not because any particular sequence of outcomes has an equal probability of occurrence.

    This doesn’t make sense. There are statistical tests for randomness, not that it matters, because randomness is not evidence for or against design. Things that aren’t designed aren’t necessarily random. The order of the grains of sand on the beach isn’t random, but it also was not designed. The mechanical but unintelligent action of waves, wind and gravity will sort the grains according to their shape, density and size. So the pattern is nonrandom. And there is an unfathomable number of such grains, so the exact pattern in which all those grains are arranged is practically incalculably improbable. But there it is, and it was not designed. Blind, unintelligent physical actions without foresight or intent sorted them into that pattern.

    Done. Case closed. Game over. Your “it looks designed when it is nonrandom and unlikely to have been produced by a random process” is false. That is not what makes something “look designed”.

    If a coin is fair, 10 Heads in a row has a probability of about 1 in 1,000, but so does HTHTHTHTHT or HHHHHTTTTT or any other sequence of 10 tosses.

    Yes.

    We can get suspicious and investigate by other means whether the coin is loaded or not, but absent those other findings, the outcome does not tell us anything about the Randomness of this process.

    Please define randomness for me. What is randomness? How do you measure randomness?

    I’m asking because I want to understand how you use that word. It has several different meanings in philosophy, mathematics, and science. It is meaningless for us to argue any further before you give a rigorous definition of what you mean when you use the word.

    When we see HTHTHTHTHT… we suspect a nonrandom pattern simply described as “reverse the previous outcome”.

    We do? Why do we suspect that? I can think of an almost endless number of ways that pattern could have been generated. Some of them designed, some of them random, some of them due to blind, unintelligent mechanical forces.

    This would generate the pattern with 50% probability as opposed to 1 in 1000 (if no rule applies) since all you need is “start with H”, and follow the rule (“start with T” is the other 50%). And we see these patterns in life forms all the time.

    Maybe we do (give an example), but even then so what?

    Yes, patterns like sand/water wave are explained by certain forces – which you abusively call “unintelligent” since you don’t know the ultimate driving force behind the universe.

    And here you’re assuming there’s a “driving force behind the universe”. How do you know that?

    Also, if you’re going to claim that the laws of physics were themselves designed, it still doesn’t mean that everything produced by those laws were intended to result from them. The laws could still be blind and unintelligent.

    And if you’re going to claim that since the laws of physics were designed, therefore everything that results from those laws is thus also designed, then literally everything around us is in your view designed, and then how can you even give an example of something non-designed to compare to something designed? What would something non-designed then even look like?

    I’m sorry to tell you this, but you sound like a person who has never heard any of the arguments against your position and have never spend as much as a minute genuinely thinking critically about the things you believe.

    The important part is that these patterns beg for an explanation other than “random”.

    Again, define random and then explain how, for example, evolution by natural selection qualifies for that definition.

    Make sure to point out how selection is random. Have fun 🙂

    “The quintessential false assumption of the confused Darwinist” is randomness:

    I have to agree with myself here, I think my words still stand.

    “The laws of physics, and the biasing of outcomes by historical circumstances” do not explain in any way the patterns we see in the living. And that’s your big, big problem.

    Give an example of such a pattern and show that it could not have been produced by a combination of the laws of physics operating on a set of initial conditions.

    Gradualism / blending inheritance was just Darwin’s brain-fart to “explain” his nonsense. Just look around you in nature – there’s no gradualism whatsoever

    I look around me and I see dogs, birds, humans, cows, pigs, plants and.. well basically all of life comes in a wide range of sizes and morphological features.

    Even within the same species, there is clearly a range of sizes, colours, weights, athletic performance, with very fine gradations between them. Humans range from smaller than 1 metre tall, to almost 3 metres, and seem to come in íncrements of millimeters or even less from the smallest to the largest. And height is known to have a very strong heritable component. That’s gradualism, and selection could easily force alleles associated with a particular range of heights to sweep the population and rise to near-total fixation.

    Darwin was right and it’s obvious. Gradualism is all around us.

    Just because Hollywood can dream it, doesn’t make it true.

    Just because you don’t like facts about reality doesn’t make them not true. You’re going to die and then that’s it. Just grow up and accept it. Make the most of this one life you have.

  23. Nonlin.org: I was pointing out that your position “Individual organisms with certain heritable traits are more likely to survive and reproduce than others.” is not at all scientific aka clearly defined and measurable.

    “more likely to survive and reproduce than others” is measurable, and clearly defined. So it’s science. And we know examples. Case in point already mentioned, the peppered moths.

  24. Nonlin.org: I was pointing out that your position “Individual organisms with certain heritable traits are more likely to survive and reproduce than others.” is not at all scientific aka clearly defined and measurable. Your additional “explanations” don’t help you.

    Eh, didn’t you agree that camouflage increases probability of survival? Like in the OP:

    Rabbits cannot turn green when hopping over grass and white just over winter, despite the clear advantage such camouflage would bring.

    or earlier in the thread:

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

    So how does camouflage “clearly matter” and bring “clear advantage” and simultaneaously not have a clearly defined or measurable survival benefit?

    Nonlin.org: How do you know “some designs work better than others”? Do they?

    I don’t really see the point of optimising design if this wasn’t he case, do you?

    By the by, you seem to have forgotten to answer my questions (again). No fear, I’ll just ask them again:

    Why do some designs work better than others? Is cryptic coloration a design feature that promotes optimisation of design? Is survival the variable that is being optimised in organismal design?

  25. Guys, Nonlin is unable to focus and understand what you’re writing. She’s right because she thinks she’s right. Nothing else makes sense in her mind.
    Just so you know.

  26. Nonlin.org: What if they don’t tan? Humans come in different colors too – a Mexican born in Boston will still look like his parents.

    Not only do you not answer questions, you also seem to have a problem following an argument. Let me recap that for you: As an explanation for the rise and decrease of the number of melanistic peppered moths, you offered that the moths changed color individually. But, several people point out, the melanism is due to a genetic difference, so your explanation is incorrect.

    So now you can either: 1) think of another explanation or 2) deny that the difference in coloration is genetic or 3) accept that the difference in survival between the color morphs is responsible for the change in frequency.

    You cannot just state that different skin colors in humans are partly genetic as well, because that would be completely irrelevant, not even support your initial argument and you would end up looking silly.
    Oh wait, you did.

  27. John Harshman: Why are you unwilling to answer any simple question or explain when you have been unclear?

    What are you talking about? Repeat the question instead of this useless question about question.

    John Harshman: Darwin wasn’t redefining anything. He was just talking about something different from what you claim he was. You refer to continuous variation, and Darwin was talking about slight but discrete variations.

    What is “slight but discrete variations”? More nonscientific BS. Just because he was doing his own crack and imagined stuff doesn’t mean he makes any sense. Go see a Mendelian table and understand why “slight but discrete variations” is total crap.

  28. John Harshman: Congratulations. You have managed to quote from a source that actually says what you quote. That’s progress. But the point you were supposed to be offering evidence for is that Fodor considered himself a “Darwinist”, and your quote doesn’t do that. All it says is that Fodor agreed that Darwin was right about common descent of humans and other apes (which he was). That doesn’t make him a “Darwinist”, and it certainly doesn’t show him identifying himself as a “Darwinist”. Try again.

    He’s a “reformed” Darwinist. What do I care? Just wanted to see if you understand from him why “ns” fails so badly… with different arguments of course.

  29. Nonlin.org: What are you talking about? Repeat the question instead of this useless question about question.

    John Harshman: Darwin wasn’t redefining anything. He was just talking about something different from what you claim he was. You refer to continuous variation, and Darwin was talking about slight but discrete variations.

    What is “slight but discrete variations”?

    Maybe a slightly larger beak to break larger seeds?

    More nonscientific BS. Just because he was doing his own crack and imagined stuff doesn’t mean he makes any sense.

    This is presenting a position?
    I’m reminded of Einstein’s response to a book in which 100 scientists claimed he was wrong. Einstein said “Why 100 authors? If I were wrong, then one would have been enough!” Suppose Einstein had been accused of “doing his own crack and imagining stuff.” Would this undermine his theories in any way?

    Go see a Mendelian table and understand why “slight but discrete variations” is total crap.

    I did that, and I don’t understand yet. Can you explain why it’s “total crap” logically, rather than by pure insult?

  30. John Harshman:
    1. Then you’re wrong. Retroviral insertions modify the genome, but don’t result in viral epidemics. Epidemics are caused by viruses not inserting into the genome but being replicated, lysing cells, and wandering off to infect elsewhere. You really have no idea what you’re talking about.

    2. Perhaps, but I have no idea why you think so. Why won’t you explain anything?

    3. What does this mean? Of course you see “differential” in nature. It just means “different”. I don’t see the problem.

    4. Reproductive success is survival, but not survival of the individual having the reproductive success: survival of the offspring instead. I don’t see the problem with that either.

    5. None of those are relevant to the definition. Of course it’s the interaction of the individual with the environment that results in the correlation of reproductive success with genotype, but I don’t see a need for a definition to explain every process. The microbiome is part of the environment. The epigenome is not inherited and is not relevant.

    6. I either did not see or failed to recognize the explanation. What is the explanation?

    1. https://www.kff.org/global-health-policy/fact-sheet/the-global-hivaids-epidemic/
    2. Exactly what I did
    3. Not the contrived “differential” from the moth experiment where someone introduces organisms from a different environment. Of course we’re all different and some survive so in that context “differential survival” means absolutely nothing.
    4. That’s what I said. Not what you think I might have said. The problem is the only thing you will ever see is survival of the offsprings. No “selection” and no “fit”. Beyond that, it’s all post-hoc 1001 nights story telling. Not a mechanism and most definitely not a process. If the only measure of “ns” is survival, then there’s no such thing as “ns”.
    5. Remember the 3 organisms (chicken types): wild, farm and lab. They all survive or don’t regardless of their genotype. Shows your definition is meaningless. Microbiome can be from mother. Also epigenome http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/epigenetics/inheritance/. No big deal.
    6. You’re not keeping up. To establish “causally correlated” you need a second proof for causality as correlation doesn’t prove causality. If you have causality then you don’t need correlation.

    The only measure of “selection” is survival – we only know if an organism was “selected” if its progeny survives. This makes “ns” a BS just-so story.“Best adapted” is also unknowable separate from survival.

  31. Rumraket: Or I just saw straight through your nonsensical pile of assertions.

    All I did was point out how your own misunderstandings are tripping you over. Don’t be sad about it.

    1. I already explained that by giving an example of a “nonrandom pattern that would have a very low probability of occurrence if randomly generated” which wasn’t designed. The very fact that such a thing is even possible shows that “it looks designed” isn’t a good way to detect design.

    What? Likelihood of that random pattern if random? Try to make sense.

    2. This doesn’t make sense. There are statistical tests for randomness, not that it matters, because randomness is not evidence for or against design. Things that aren’t designed aren’t necessarily random. The order of the grains of sand on the beach isn’t random, but it also was not designed.
    3. The mechanical but unintelligent action of waves, wind and gravity will sort the grains according to their shape, density and size. So the pattern is nonrandom. And there is an unfathomable number of such grains, so the exact pattern in which all those grains are arranged is practically incalculably improbable. But there it is, and it was not designed.
    4. Blind, unintelligent physical actions without foresight or intent sorted them into that pattern.

    Done. Case closed. Game over. Your “it looks designed when it is nonrandom and unlikely to have been produced by a random process” is false. That is not what makes something “look designed”.

    Yes.

    5. Please define randomness for me. What is randomness? How do you measure randomness?

    I’m asking because I want to understand how you use that word. It has several different meanings in philosophy, mathematics, and science. It is meaningless for us to argue any further before you give a rigorous definition of what you mean when you use the word.

    6. We do? Why do we suspect that? I can think of an almost endless number of ways that pattern could have been generated. Some of them designed, some of them random, some of them due to blind, unintelligent mechanical forces.

    Maybe we do (give an example), but even then so what?

    7. And here you’re assuming there’s a “driving force behind the universe”. How do you know that?

    8. Also, if you’re going to claim that the laws of physics were themselves designed, it still doesn’t mean that everything produced by those laws were intended to result from them. The laws could still be blind and unintelligent.

    9. And if you’re going to claim that since the laws of physics were designed, therefore everything that results from those laws is thus also designed, then literally everything around us is in your view designed, and then how can you even give an example of something non-designed to compare to something designed? What would something non-designed then even look like?

    10. I’m sorry to tell you this, but you sound like a person who has never heard any of the arguments against your position and have never spend as much as a minute genuinely thinking critically about the things you believe.

    Again, define random and then explain how, for example, evolution by natural selection qualifies for that definition.

    Make sure to point out how selection is random. Have fun

    I have to agree with myself here, I think my words still stand.

    11. Give an example of such a pattern and show that it could not have been produced by a combination of the laws of physics operating on a set of initial conditions.

    12. I look around me and I see dogs, birds, humans, cows, pigs, plants and.. well basically all of life comes in a wide range of sizes and morphological features.

    Even within the same species, there is clearly a range of sizes, colours, weights, athletic performance, with very fine gradations between them. Humans range from smaller than 1 metre tall, to almost 3 metres, and seem to come in íncrements of millimeters or even less from the smallest to the largest. And height is known to have a very strong heritable component. That’s gradualism, and selection could easily force alleles associated with a particular range of heights to sweep the population and rise to near-total fixation.

    Darwin was right and it’s obvious. Gradualism is all around us.

    Just because you don’t like facts about reality doesn’t make them not true. You’re going to die and then that’s it. Just grow up and accept it. Make the most of this one life you have.

    1. It’s not up to you to decide if something looks designed or not. The Dawkins and Hawkins of this world don’t like design any more than you do, but they have no choice so they waste page after page trying to explain why something “just looks designed”. Basically a sequence can either appear “random” or “designed” or “don’t know”.
    2. A test like this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistical_randomness returns this: “If a given sequence was able to pass all of these tests within a given degree of significance (generally 5%), then it was judged to be, in their words “locally random”. Not an absolute truth but exactly what I was talking about.
    3. You are repeating and are still wrong. The pattern looks designed if you like it or not and that’s why we try to understand how those patterns form. If they looked random, no one would bother: http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/waves/Lesson-4/Formation-of-Standing-Waves
    4. Just like “natural selection process”, the ‘Natural’ qualifier is arbitrary and “blind, mindless, and purposeless” are all impossible to prove in addition to a process being a set of steps taken towards an end, hence incompatible with “blind, mindless, and purposeless”.
    5. http://nonlin.org/random-abuse/
    6. I gave you the probabilities. Of course that’s only 10 bits, but organisms have many, many patterns. If you think there’s a chance in hell an organism is just random atoms, you’re a kook and we’re done. Remember the Dawkins and Hawkins – we’re not talking about “design” or “no design” – just about “looks designed”.
    7. No. You wrongfully assume the opposite: “no design, blind, unintelligent”.
    8. No claiming at this point – just countering your false certainty.
    9. That doesn’t follow. I can design a random generator. Easy-peasy.
    10. I have seen plenty, but nothing challenging so far. Why do you think I engage with you? Looking for some brains, that’s why (not a zombie). 🙂
    11. Nice try putting the burden on me, but that’s not how it works. I present you the human kidney or anything else. If you claim “produced by a combination of the laws of physics operating on a set of initial conditions”, you need to show that mechanism. Hint: can’t.
    12. Yes, but “sizes, colours, weights, athletic performance” are not true biologic properties as these change over the life of organisms and are primarily statistical measures at population level in particular populations, environments and time. See why gradualism fails: http://nonlin.org/gradualism/

  32. Rumraket: “more likely to survive and reproduce than others” is measurable, and clearly defined. So it’s science. And we know examples. Case in point already mentioned, the peppered moths.

    Nah. The guy released moths captured in one forest into another. If he can intervene, then I can also intervene either chasing birds away or changing the environment. The moth itself is not “more likely to survive and reproduce than others”.

  33. Nonlin.org:
    What is “slight but discrete variations”? More nonscientific BS. Just because he was doing his own crack and imagined stuff doesn’t mean he makes any sense. Go see a Mendelian table and understand why “slight but discrete variations” is total crap.

    Mendel worked with very simple traits: two alleles, one locus, and unlinked to other studied loci. Strict, binary Mendelian traits are easy to study, which is why Mendel picked them, but most genetics is more complicated than that. In particular, most traits depend on variation at multiple loci. Height in humans, for example, depends on a host of alleles at many loci, which is why human height variation is as close to continuous as can be measured. (Environmental variation also plays a role, but the pattern would exist even given a uniform environment.) In nature, as opposed to Mendel’s pea garden, most genetics is more like human heights than Mendel’s smooth and wrinkled coats. And that’s what Darwin was looking at.

  34. Nonlin.org: He’s a “reformed” Darwinist. What do I care? Just wanted to see if you understand from him why “ns” fails so badly… with different arguments of course.

    So you can’t actually show what you claimed about Fodor and are now willing to abandon the claim. Fine. No, I don’t understand from him even what he thinks the problem is, much less what you think your arguments are.

  35. Corneel:
    1. Eh, didn’t you agree that camouflage increases probability of survival? Like in the OP:

    or earlier in the thread:

    So how does camouflage “clearly matter” and bring “clear advantage” and simultaneaouslynot have a clearly defined or measurable survival benefit?

    I don’t really see the point of optimising design if this wasn’t he case, do you?

    By the by, you seem to have forgotten to answer my questions (again). No fear, I’ll just ask them again:

    2. Why do some designs work better than others? Is cryptic coloration a design feature that promotes optimisation of design? Is survival the variable that is being optimised in organismal design?

    1. Nothing works better in isolation. How many times do I have to repeat? Say you raise white cats “more likely to survive” say in the White house (camouflage). Haven’t you heard they also have other medical problems? Are their traits more likely to survive or not? You just don’t know until you see who survives. “Natural selection” has zero predictive power hence it’s just bogus.

    2. Who’s “optimising design”? Design of what? If you’re talking about organisms, I replied to this:
    ” We observe design and we observe survival. In extreme cases we observe “no survival” and we think we can link to design and environment. But we don’t have nowhere near the full picture claimed. On the other hand, you do or claim knowledge and “process”. So where is it?”

    Why are you asking me those questions? This is what I said about optimization:
    “11. 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.
    12. 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. “

  36. Nonlin.org: 1.https://www.kff.org/global-health-policy/fact-sheet/the-global-hivaids-epidemic/

    You must understand that when an HIV virus integrates into the genome it stops being infectious. Endogenous retroviruses don’t cause disease. Retroviruses that aren’t incorporated into the genome cause disease. That link doesn’t support your claim, though I don’t expect you to understand that.

    2.Exactly what I did

    Doesn’t it concern you that you aren’t communicating at all?

    3.Not the contrived “differential” from the moth experiment where someone introduces organisms from a different environment. Of course we’re all different and some survive so in that context “differential survival” means absolutely nothing.

    See, right there I have no idea what you think your argument is. This is generally the case. Consider the possibility that at least some of my cluelessness is due to your inability to articulate what you mean.

    4.That’s what I said. Not what you think I might have said. The problem is the only thing you will ever see is survival of the offsprings. No “selection” and no “fit”. Beyond that, it’s all post-hoc 1001 nights story telling. Not a mechanism and most definitely not a process. If the only measure of “ns” is survival, then there’s no such thing as “ns”.

    No, that isn’t what you said. It might have been what you intended to say or what you thought you said. But you are very, very bad at explaining what you mean. Usually you don’t even seem to try. Now, that whole tautology thing has been refuted many times. Simply put, if we can predict the result of an experiment or a replication of an experiment, or if the difference in reproductive success of genotypes in one study is too great to to be attributed to chance, that shows that there’s a real phenomenon at work: natural selection.

    5.Remember the 3 organisms (chicken types): wild, farm and lab. They all survive or don’t regardless of their genotype.

    No, that isn’t true. They survive depending on their genotypes; it’s just that different genotypes are favored in different environments. How does that invalidate natural selection?

    Shows your definition is meaningless. Microbiome can be from mother. Also epigenome http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/epigenetics/inheritance/. No big deal.

    Sure, some of the environment comes from the mother; no shock there. And there is even a little bit of epigenetic inheritance, but it doesn’t last long enough to matter in the long run. How does that invalidate natural selection? And neither of those things can possibly account for any of the differences between species.

    6.You’re not keeping up. To establish “causally correlated” you need a second proof for causality as correlation doesn’t prove causality. If you have causality then you don’t need correlation.

    Actually, correlation can show causality in a properly controlled experiment with a large enough sample size. You seem to be playing with words, not data.

  37. Corneel: Not only do you not answer questions, you also seem to have a problem following an argument. Let me recap that for you: As an explanation for the rise and decrease of the number of melanistic peppered moths, you offered that the moths changed color individually. But, several people point out, the melanism is due to a geneticdifference, so your explanation is incorrect.

    So now you can either: 1) think of another explanation or 2) deny that the difference in coloration is genetic or 3) accept that the difference in survival between the color morphs is responsible for the change in frequency.

    You cannot just state that different skin colors in humans are partly genetic as well, because that would be completely irrelevant, not even support your initial argument and you would end up looking silly.
    Oh wait, you did.

    This is what I said:
    “Nonlin.org: Changing color is a built in capability that humans have too – genetic or not. Why is this a big deal to you?”

    What do you mean “offered that the moths changed color individually”?

    What explanation is incorrect?

    Look, I am conversing with several individuals here and this commenting tool is one of the most awkward I have ever seen. Feel free to go again to the original essay or to the [minor] updated one http://nonlin.org/natural-selection/ and dispute or question anything you see there.

  38. John Harshman: Mendel worked with very simple traits: two alleles, one locus, and unlinked to other studied loci. Strict, binary Mendelian traits are easy to study, which is why Mendel picked them, but most genetics is more complicated than that. In particular, most traits depend on variation at multiple loci. Height in humans, for example, depends on a host of alleles at many loci, which is why human height variation is as close to continuous as can be measured. (Environmental variation also plays a role, but the pattern would exist even given a uniform environment.) In nature, as opposed to Mendel’s pea garden, most genetics is more like human heights than Mendel’s smooth and wrinkled coats. And that’s what Darwin was looking at.

    Nonsense.
    4. The list of discrete elements in biology includes but is not limited to: atoms, molecules, biochemical reactions, DNA, RNA, proteins, enzymes, genes, chromosomes, organelles, cell types (pro/eukaryote), cell division (mitosis/meiosis), sex type (male/female), body organs, organ systems, and organism classification. Changes at the discrete micro level including mutations and exposure to free radicals, radiation, and misfolded proteins are not cumulative and can potentially impact the entire organism. Continuous measure such as temperature, volume and weight are not true biologic properties as these change over the life of organisms and are primarily statistical measures at population level in particular populations, environments and time.

  39. John Harshman: So you can’t actually show what you claimed about Fodor and are now willing to abandon the claim. Fine. No, I don’t understand from him even what he thinks the problem is, much less what you think your arguments are.

    You don’t understand anything from anyone.

  40. Nonlin.org: Nonsense.
    4.The list of discrete elements in biology includes but is not limited to: atoms, molecules, biochemical reactions, DNA, RNA, proteins, enzymes, genes, chromosomes, organelles, cell types (pro/eukaryote), cell division (mitosis/meiosis), sex type (male/female), body organs, organ systems, and organism classification. Changes at the discrete micro level including mutations and exposure to free radicals, radiation, and misfolded proteins are not cumulative and can potentially impact the entire organism. Continuous measure such as temperature, volume and weight are not true biologic properties as these change over the life of organisms and are primarily statistical measures at population level in particular populations, environments and time.

    That’s another of your problems: when challenged, you just repeat whatever you have said previously without trying to offer a response to the challenge. Nothing you said above is in any way a response to what I said. Or was that first word intended as a title?

  41. John Harshman:
    1. You must understand that when an HIV virus integrates into the genome it stops being infectious. Endogenous retroviruses don’t cause disease. Retroviruses that aren’t incorporated into the genome cause disease. That link doesn’t support your claim, though I don’t expect you to understand that.

    2. Doesn’t it concern you that you aren’t communicating at all?

    3. See, right there I have no idea what you think your argument is. This is generally the case. Consider the possibility that at least some of my cluelessness is due to your inability to articulate what you mean.

    4. No, that isn’t what you said. It might have been what you intended to say or what you thought you said. But you are very, very bad at explaining what you mean. Usually you don’t even seem to try. Now, that whole tautology thing has been refuted many times. Simply put, if we can predict the result of an experiment or a replication of an experiment, or if the difference in reproductive success of genotypes in one study is too great to to be attributed to chance, that shows that there’s a real phenomenon at work: natural selection.

    5. No, that isn’t true. They survive depending on their genotypes; it’s just that different genotypes are favored in different environments. How does that invalidate natural selection?

    6. Sure, some of the environment comes from the mother; no shock there. And there is even a little bit of epigenetic inheritance, but it doesn’t last long enough to matter in the long run. How does that invalidate natural selection? And neither of those things can possibly account for any of the differences between species.

    7. Actually, correlation can show causality in a properly controlled experiment with a large enough sample size. You seem to be playing with words, not data.

    1. This is what I said: “Virus epidemics change the genome and can wipe out the population.” HIV clearly supports this.
    2. Do you have a question or argument? If not, move on.
    3. A. “differential” from the moth experiment was contrived – someone introduces organisms from a different environment. B. Since “we’re all different and some survive”, “differential survival” is meaningless. Get it?
    4. “Refuted many times” how? Make an effort and refute if you can. You can predict the result of an experiment when you control it, and that makes you the ‘intelligent selector’.
    5. Short of completely crippled, the genotype doesn’t matter when the ‘intelligent selector’ is involved. And an ‘intelligent selector’ is always involved if human, bird, or bacteria. Still, our best efforts have not produced tetrapods from fish or dogs with wings – Darwin’s fantasy.
    6. Just to show you wrong. I said, “no big deal”. 5 above invalidates “natural selection”
    7. A “properly controlled experiment” is the second proof for causality and if you have causality then you don’t need correlation.

  42. John Harshman: ontinuous measure such as temperature, volume and weight are not true biologic properties as these change over the life of organisms and are primarily statistical measures at population level in particular populations, environments and time.

    Can you read? Height is not a biologic property:
    “Continuous measure such as temperature, volume and weight are not true biologic properties as these change over the life of organisms and are primarily statistical measures at population level in particular populations, environments and time.”

  43. Nonlin.org: 1. This is what I said: “Virus epidemics change the genome and can wipe out the population.” HIV clearly supports this.

    How?

    2. Do you have a question or argument? If not, move on.

    Continuing your perfect record of never answering a question, and doing it several layers deep.

    3. A. “differential” from the moth experiment was contrived – someone introduces organisms from a different environment. B. Since “we’re all different and some survive”, “differential survival” is meaningless. Get it?

    No, I don’t get it. Nobody has a clue what you’re trying to say.

    4. “Refuted many times” how? Make an effort and refute if you can. You can predict the result of an experiment when you control it, and that makes you the ‘intelligent selector’.

    There really is no point in responding to you. It’s a character flaw in me that I do at all. I apologize.

    5. Short of completely crippled, the genotype doesn’t matter when the ‘intelligent selector’ is involved. And an ‘intelligent selector’ is always involved if human, bird, or bacteria. Still, our best efforts have not produced tetrapods from fish or dogs with wings – Darwin’s fantasy.

    What best efforts? Who has ever tried any of those things? And again I have no idea what point you are attempting here. Are you saying that bacteria are intelligent?

    6. Just to show you wrong. I said, “no big deal”. 5 above invalidates “natural selection”

    Again, no idea what you’re trying to say.

    7. A “properly controlled experiment” is the second proof for causality and if you have causality then you don’t need correlation.

    Repeating your claims neither makes them true nor clarifies your point. Despite my character flaws I’m about ready to give up.

  44. Nonlin.org: Can you read? Height is not a biologic property:
    “Continuous measure such as temperature, volume and weight are not true biologic properties as these change over the life of organisms and are primarily statistical measures at population level in particular populations, environments and time.”

    Yeah, you’re just wrong about that. Individuals have heights. They change during development, as do all characteristics; height is no different in that respect. (I should note that height is one of the characters Mendel used with his pea plants.) And the point, which you ignore, is that one’s height at maturity is influenced by a host of loci. Again, quantitative traits are more common than binary ones.

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