The Third Way?

Over at the “IDM collapse” thread I rather churlishly rejected CharlieM’s invitation to read an extensive piece by Stephen L. Talbott. Discovering he is a fan of Velikovsky did little to encourage me (that is, I fully realise, an argument from authority, but life is short and authors many. One needs a filter). What did catch my eye, however, is the fact that he is a contributor to Third Way of Evolution. This, on their front page, is what one might term their ‘manifesto’.

The vast majority of people believe that there are only two alternative ways to explain the origins of biological diversity. One way is Creationism that depends upon intervention by a divine Creator. That is clearly unscientific because it brings an arbitrary supernatural force into the evolution process. The commonly accepted alternative is Neo-Darwinism, which is clearly naturalistic science but ignores much contemporary molecular evidence and invokes a set of unsupported assumptions about the accidental nature of hereditary variation. Neo-Darwinism ignores important rapid evolutionary processes such as symbiogenesis, horizontal DNA transfer, action of mobile DNA and epigenetic modifications. Moreover, some Neo-Darwinists have elevated Natural Selection into a unique creative force that solves all the difficult evolutionary problems without a real empirical basis. Many scientists today see the need for a deeper and more complete exploration of all aspects of the evolutionary process.

That puzzles me. We need a root-and-branch rethink because of the widely-accepted phenomena of endosymbiosis, HGT, transposons and epigenetics? I honestly don’t get it. These are refinements easily, and already, accommodated. Neo-Darwinists do not ‘ignore’ these phenomena, nor consider them unimportant. They may fall outside a strict framework of genetic gradualism by ‘micromutation’, but are hardly keeping anyone awake nights.

Perhaps, on reflection, I should punt them my musings on the Evolution of Sex. It is non-Darwinian in the sense they appear to mean, so it should be right up their street!

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500 thoughts on “The Third Way?

  1. Nonlin.org: 4. there is no “fitness” (thank you bullshit truck driver for this monster nugget cleanly perched on top of your steaming pile).

    Will you be citing references in your published work in a similar way?

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  2. DNA_Jock: “Independent” doesn’t do it, unless they are also equiprobable, but you made me realize that there’s another way of getting there…

    Better focus on “evolution”. It is going down in flames under your nose. But on the other hand, there’s not much you can do, is it?

    Corneel: Up to 80% of the genome can vary between different isolates of E. coli, so yes, the genomic variation among E. coli strains is on par with that observed in animals.

    Then why the different “species”? Let’s have one big family and call all e coli.

    Corneel: What is an “e coli” in your view?

    Look it up. Maybe you do, but I don’t claim “a view” on something observable. But I do have a view on your bullshit “evolution”. Know why? Because it doesn’t make any sense as we have seen together. Never did. Never will.

    Corneel: Backpedaling alert! Remember that you claimed evolutionary theory predicted its spread to 100% of the “e coli” . Given the tremendous diversity within this bacterial species that is completely unrealistic.

    It does. But then you come with lame excuses and I am just trying to accommodate. But to what point? Are you too of the opinion that e coli are incapable of “evolving”?

    Corneel: Please note: Massive spreads of genomes with beneficial mutations in microbial populations are in fact known to occur, a phenomenon known as episodic selection.

    I love it when “evolution” fails and you have to come up with yet another failed concept to cover your previous failures. Haha “episodic selection”. Does anything ever “evolve” in a lab experiment? It seems not. But given a thick curtain, a few trillion of years and crazy old man’s magic wand, sure “evolution” could happen if you also refrain from questioning the magic.

    Corneel: I predict that, given the opportunity, it will spread to all other laboratories using Davis minimal broth.

    Sterile broth? Is this even “evolution”?

    But hold on. This e coli is same as the original only better because “beneficial”. Why won’t it out-compete its “cousins”? In fact, how come all its cousins everywhere (or, to accommodate again, its more recent cousins) don’t already have this wonderful “beneficial” feature? This is as basic as “evolution” is supposed to work. And yet it doesn’t.

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  3. Joe Felsenstein,

    Corneel: It is quite bizarre. Instead of admitting that fitness is a real thing, they rather sink the entire scientific enterprise!

    What “scientific enterprise”? Very funny 🙂

    Corneel: “How did you decide men were taller then women? Oh, you measured height? Hohoho. So you found the people with the largest height were the tallest? Amazing!”

    Not the same. You don’t get to say the “fit” are those that survived when surviving is supposedly an outcome of the “fit” being “selected”. And let’s not forget that entire other craziness called “natural selection”. This three step “process” is what makes it circular. As opposed to a simple identity. Get it?

    Now, if you wanted to say “fit” are those that survived, that would be fine, but then “selection” cannot act on something that will only come later after the “selection” already happened. And that’s your big problem, the arrow of time. And that’s why that guy with his crazy “R0 is fitness” didn’t even get your support.

    Entropy: For example, we could quote Nonlin’s assertion that Darwin taught about ecologically/environmentally-independent, absolutely beneficial mutations and just insist on point 1: Darwin never taught about mutations.

    Sure he did. Only called ‘mutations’ “variations” and “beneficial” “advantageous”. The stupidity is that old: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_selection#Darwin's_theory

    But now we’re much smarter than that old retard and know that a “conditional beneficial” is not at all same as a “beneficial”. Right, math genius? You told them ignorants, right?

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  4. Entropy: But I doubt that it’s possible to have an actual conversation with Nonlin.

    What’s to doubt? It is obviously not possible to have an actual conversation with Nonlin.

    It’s OK, there is no hope that he will engage with the argument, but far more than enough has been said in this thread to convince 99% of lurkers that nonlin.org’s objections to natural selection are vacuous. Trying to convince the last couple of people (nonlin.org and phoodoo) is a huge waste of time.

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  5. Nonlin.org: But hold on. This e coli is same as the original only better because “beneficial”. Why won’t it out-compete its “cousins”? In fact, how come all its cousins everywhere (or, to accommodate again, its more recent cousins) don’t already have this wonderful “beneficial” feature?

    You are not paying attention. Several people have already told you multiple times: It did outcompete its cousins within the population into which it was introduced. However, the ability to aerobically use citrate is only adaptive in an environment where other carbon sources, like glucose, are limited. So your claim that evolutionary theory predicts it ought to arise and spread in other microbes labeled Escherichia coli is a fabrication by you.

    My guess is this misunderstanding is fueled by your inclination to view all life as being neatly categorized into separately created kinds, which is why I keep asking you to articulate what you believe “e coli” to be. So far you just try to bluff your way out:

    Nonlin.org: Look it up. Maybe you do, but I don’t claim “a view” on something observable.

    Then you must have excellent eyes. Bacteria are reeeallly small, you know. So what is it exactly that you observe when deciding a microbe is an “e coli”?

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  6. Nonlin.org: Me: “How did you decide men were taller then women? Oh, you measured height? Hohoho. So you found the people with the largest height were the tallest? Amazing!”

    Nonlin: Not the same. You don’t get to say the “fit” are those that survived when surviving is supposedly an outcome of the “fit” being “selected”. And let’s not forget that entire other craziness called “natural selection”. This three step “process” is what makes it circular. As opposed to a simple identity. Get it?

    No, I don’t get it. What is it that makes, say, a penguin a good “design”, if not its ability to survive and successfully reproduce in its habitat? Are we completely unable to measure or quantify that without making a circular argument? Of course not.

    I don’t understand why you keep trying to sink the ship to kill the captain. Obviously, organisms are adapted to their natural environment and it is that fit that helps them persist and multiply. The design arguments you so admire rely as much on that fact as evolutionary theory does.

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  7. Nonlin.org:
    Better focus on “evolution”. It is going down in flames under your nose. But on the other hand, there’s not much you can do, is it?

    Oh! Impressive! Strawmen of evolution burning!

    Nonlin.org:
    I love it when “evolution” fails and you have to come up with yet another failed concept to cover your previous failures.

    I love it when you fail to understand that whatever you have in mind doesn’t correspond with evolution, yet you celebrate burning your own strawman as if that meant something other than you playing with your silly toys.

    Nonlin.org:
    Haha “episodic selection”. Does anything ever “evolve” in a lab experiment?

    Of course it does. The point of experimentation is controlling as many variables as possible to check for the effects for particulars. That doesn’t stop bacteria from mutating and having differential survival given the conditions of the experiment. This is science 101.

    Nonlin.org:
    But given a thick curtain, a few trillion of years and crazy old man’s magic wand, sure “evolution” could happen if you also refrain from questioning the magic.

    Do you mean like the biblical crazy old man? Like that? Nice shot at your own foot Nonlin. Always remember, you’re the one defending a magical-being-in-the-sky position.

    Nonlin.org:
    Sterile broth? Is this even “evolution”?

    Of course you fool. It’s called experimentation. It would be evolution under a sterile broth environment.

    Nonlin.org:
    But hold on. This e coli is same as the original only better because “beneficial”. Why won’t it out-compete its “cousins”?

    It did outcompete its cousins. Seems like you truly do not understand the concept of natural selection. Not a surprise though.

    Nonlin.org:
    In fact, how come all its cousins everywhere (or, to accommodate again, its more recent cousins) don’t already have this wonderful “beneficial” feature?

    Because their environment is different. This is evolution 101.

    Nonlin.org:
    This is as basic as “evolution” is supposed to work. And yet it doesn’t.

    No it isn’t. Again: Darwin summarized the interplay between variability and the environment into the concept of natural selection. This is as basic as evolution is supposed to be understood, yet you keep ignoring the role played by the environment. This is so basic it’s astounding that you keep missing it. You must be truly mentally challenged by the simplest of abstractions.

    But you read Darwin’s book, right? Nah! You didn’t. Since you cannot read simple comments in a blog, I’m sure Darwin’s books would be like hieroglyphics to you.

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  8. Nonlin.org:
    Sure he did. Only called ‘mutations’ “variations” and “beneficial” “advantageous”. The stupidity is that old: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_selection#Darwin's_theory

    Thanks for admitting that the farther you go is poorly reading wikipedia. This semantic game, however, doesn’t fool anybody. The fact thus remains that Darwin never taught about mutations.

    Nonlin.org:
    But now we’re much smarter than that old retard and know that a “conditional beneficial” is not at all same as a “beneficial”. Right, math genius? You told them ignorants, right?

    You’re not smarter than anyone I know. Actually, you must be the most mentally-challenged creationists I’ve ever witnessed.

    Differences in knowledge across generations doesn’t make older civilizations stupid, just more ignorant than ours for obvious historical reasons. A modicum of intelligence would have spared you stupidly mistaking historical ignorance for “retard.”

    Nonlin.org:
    and know that a “conditional beneficial” is not at all same as a “beneficial”.

    Beneficial is always conditional. Again, Darwin talked about the interplay of variation and the environment. Is this really that hard for you to understand? Are you truly challenged enough not to understand something this simple?

    Nonlin.org:
    Right, math genius? You told them ignorants, right?

    I have kept trying hard for a zillion comments, yet the only ignorant fool around here refuses to understand that Darwin never taught about mutations, let alone about environmentally-independent beneficial ones.

    I keep reminding some imbecile that natural selection is about the interplay between variation and the environment, yet the imbecile keeps ignoring the obvious to repeat, ad nauseam, that evolution is about “magically environmentally-independent beneficial mutations.” Yet, such things don’t figure out anywhere in evolutionary theory, and never did.

    Keep burning your straw-men, but nobody here is going to be impressed by that. What’s truly impressive is how hard it is for you to grasp a few simple concepts.

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  9. Moved a comment to guano. It is against the rules to impugn the mental capacity of fellow members.

    ETA and another

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  10. OMagain: Contingent on what?

    I know you’re a starving, unemployed impresario, but DO make an effort and follow the thread.

    Joe Felsenstein: far more than enough has been said in this thread to convince 99% of lurkers that nonlin.org’s objections to natural selection are vacuous.

    If you don’t understand something, like the very clear and well documented objections I presented, shouldn’t you doubt yourself first and foremost?

    Corneel: You are not paying attention. Several people have already told you multiple times: It did outcompete its cousins within the population into which it was introduced. However, the ability to aerobically use citrate is only adaptive in an environment where other carbon sources, like glucose, are limited.

    Very funny coming from someone that doesn’t pay any attention. The claim was that cit plus is “beneficial”, so why should it be “only adaptive in an environment”?!? It’s a FREEBIE because “beneficial”. So they should out compete all e coli. And at the very least its closest cousins.

    And another thing you’re not paying attention to: if “evolution” is not happening in e coli, what are the chances said “evolution” is happening anywhere else?!? “Zero” is the right answer. That’s right.

    BTW, when you claim e coli differ 80% in their genes, you’re committing a fallacy – namely the assumption that we are the sum of our genes. That assumption is demonstrably false.

    Corneel: My guess is this misunderstanding is fueled by your inclination to view all life as being neatly categorized into separately created kinds,

    Your guess is false. Next?

    Corneel: Then you must have excellent eyes. Bacteria are reeeallly small, you know. So what is it exactly that you observe when deciding a microbe is an “e coli”?

    This is plain stupid. And you know it full well.

    Corneel: What is it that makes, say, a penguin a good “design”, if not its ability to survive and successfully reproduce in its habitat?

    I didn’t say that. This is just the incorrect mental frame you’re banging on 🙂 The penguin is no better designed than any other organism existing or extinct. And that’s another failure of “evolution”, the assumption that extinct organisms were somehow inferior.

    Corneel: Obviously, organisms are adapted to their natural environment and it is that fit that helps them persist and multiply.

    Your problem is that “fit” is not observable as truck driver admitted. Yes the crazy story is built on that mandatory step: “some selection happening based on a fit”. So how is that step actually happening?!? Let’s retrace that, shall we? Because without it, your captain and his ship full of shit is going down.

    Corneel: The design arguments you so admire rely as much on that fact as evolutionary theory does.

    Yeah… no, not really. See? Your incorrect mental frame is playing tricks on you again.

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  11. Nonlin.org to Corneel:
    Very funny coming from someone that doesn’t pay any attention.

    My irony-meter exploded!

    (Maybe you should check the idea of leading by example.)

    Nonlin.org to Corneel:
    The claim was that cit plus is “beneficial”, so why should it be “only adaptive in an environment”?!?

    Because that’s what adaptation means Nonlin:

    Wikipedia (since that’s the only thing you might pseudo-read):
    In biology, adaptation has three related meanings. Firstly, it is the dynamic evolutionary process that fits organisms to their environment

    See that? To their environment! The environment has always been there. I keep wondering how could you miss, time and again, something that obvious.

    Nonlin.org to Corneel:
    It’s a FREEBIE because “beneficial”. So they should out compete all e coli. And at the very least its closest cousins.

    Had you read anything, you’d know that this has been addressed, many times, by Corneel and many others. Yet, you keep missing it: it outcompeted its relatives in that environment.

    If only you did pay attention.

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  12. Nonlin.org: So how is that step actually happening?!? Let’s retrace that, shall we?

    https://sicklecellanemianews.com/2016/06/30/why-sickle-cell-and-other-harmful-mutations-persist-across-generations/

    Several human diseases are caused by genetic defects, mutations that are heritable and transmitted from generation to generation. This raises the question: Why, as we evolve as a species across generations, aren’t these prejudicial alterations in our DNA singled out and eliminated?

    Scientists have hypothesized that some beneficial traits may be associated with such mutations, and that these potentially favorable effects work toward a mutation’s long-term survival.

    Researchers Tobias Lenz, Shamil Sunyaev, and colleagues performed the first systemic test of balancing selection, which may be the force that maintains mutations throughout evolution. Sickle cell anemia is a good disease example of a balancing selection, with affected individuals carrying mutations in both the paternal and maternal inherited hemoglobin gene. As a consequence, their red blood cells are less efficient at carrying oxygen throughout the body. But there is a biological advantage associated with sickle cell anemia: patients are better protected against malaria.

    The step is “happening” because you live or die.

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  13. Nonlin.org: The claim was that cit plus is “beneficial”, so why should it be “only adaptive in an environment”?!?

    I think we are going around in circles here. Basta!

    Nonlin.org: when you claim e coli differ 80% in their genes, you’re committing a fallacy – namely the assumption that we are the sum of our genes.

    Not at all! If you don’t like genetic measures, then I am willing to accept any non-genetic measure of variation within “e coli” and animals that you prefer. Bring it on.

    Nonlin.org: Me: So what is it exactly that you observe when deciding a microbe is an “e coli”?

    Nonlin: This is plain stupid. And you know it full well.

    So you don’t know. Look it up: growth conditions and biochemical characteristics play a large role in classifying bacteria. Given that E. coli cannot aerobically use citrate as a carbon source, does the evolved strain still qualify as “e coli”? Why (not)?

    Nonlin.org: This is just the incorrect mental frame you’re banging on 🙂 The penguin is no better designed than any other organism existing or extinct.

    So if the Designer were to design a creature that would thrive on a diet of fish it would catch in antarctic waters, she might as well adopt a hummingbird design and this wouldn’t make any difference? Are you sure?

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  14. Corneel,

    Not at all impressed. Based on his own incorrect statements and an older admission of his to the effect he doesn’t understand what I argue. Fact!

    OMagain,

    Well, we were already looking at two different “beneficial” mutations that turned out to be nothing of the sort. But if you must introduce yet another one (because the previous failed?) let’s look at yours too: if the sickle cell gene were “beneficial” it would have spread to all human population (or at least to all exposed) and would not have harmed those with double inheritance. So obviously, it’s not at all “beneficial” but just another boring “contingent” gene variant like all others, thus proving my point.

    In general, I have yet to see an acknowledgement (or a push back) to this simple logic statement:

    “Contingent beneficial” ≠ “Beneficial”

    So, if the environment plays any role in heritage, as of course we all agree it does, then it’s simply incorrect to talk about “beneficial” or “deleterious” mutations.

    Corneel: I think we are going around in circles here.

    Then you agree with the inequality above?

    Corneel: If you don’t like genetic measures, then I am willing to accept any non-genetic measure of variation within “e coli” and animals that you prefer.

    Not what I said if you read more carefully. But you do draw the wrong conclusions from these measures. This explains.

    Corneel: Given that E. coli cannot aerobically use citrate as a carbon source, does the evolved strain still qualify as “e coli”? Why (not)?

    You do know I don’t put much basis on classifications, right? Remember the TOL long discussion? But regardless, if e coli or not, it is supposed to be an “evolved” life form. One that should be taking over its world like the story goes. Are you now doubting the “beneficial” powers of cit plus? Because it was sold as a “beneficial” mutation. The other “beneficial” mutation sold by math genius also being nothing of that sort: http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/the-third-way/comment-page-2/#comment-278147. That’s how this whole thing started.

    Corneel: So if the Designer were to design a creature that would thrive on a diet of fish it would catch in antarctic waters, she might as well adopt a hummingbird design and this wouldn’t make any difference?

    Not what I said if – once again – you read more carefully. BTW, why “design” in your previous comment? Maybe you mean “natural design”, whatever that means, but you shouldn’t doubt that they are all designs.

    The thing with ‘adaptation’ is that it’s part of the design instead of coming from nowhere and “driving the design” as you likely imagine. So, for instance, antibiotic resistance is to be expected instead of a “miracle of evolution”.

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  15. Nonlin.org:…he doesn’t understand what I argue

    I would think at the moment Professor Felsenstein is one of several people who no longer care what you argue.

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  16. Nonlin.org: So, if the environment plays any role in heritage, as of course we all agree it does, then it’s simply incorrect to talk about “beneficial” or “deleterious” mutations.

    Good grief!
    It’s the whole point of evolutionary biology that contextually beneficial alleles are preserved and contextually deleterious alleles eliminated from breeding populations. For goodness sake, stop and think before typing nonsense..

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  17. nonlin,
    We’re all aware of what you speak. Perhaps you should actually crack open a textbook?

    Being able to ingest citrate is not so useful when there is none to ingest. Nobody disputes this. Just like mutations relating to antibiotic resistance. Not so useful unless you are actually being exposed to said antibiotics. But nonetheless they happen without regard for the _need_ of them. We get it. It seems you are about to.

    Is the context of “it being less hot then the surface of the sun” relevant to biological life?

    Annyyyway,
    I think he must be, what, 12-13? Probably home schooled with a hard case of “little emperor” syndrome.

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  18. Alan Fox: It’s the whole point of evolutionary biology that contextually beneficial alleles are preserved and contextually deleterious alleles eliminated from breeding populations.

    Right. And definition of beneficial is those that are preserved. And the definition of deleterious are those that are eliminated. I guess it must be true.

    And all of you evolutionists are too stupid (or something) to acknowledge the circularity.

    Insanity.

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  19. Corneel: It is quite bizarre. Instead of admitting that fitness is a real thing, they rather sink the entire scientific enterprise!

    One wonders how science was even possible before we knew about expected fitness for doing science.

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  20. Nonlin.org: In general, I have yet to see an acknowledgement (or a push back) to this simple logic statement:

    “Contingent beneficial” ≠ “Beneficial”

    So, if the environment plays any role in heritage, as of course we all agree it does, then it’s simply incorrect to talk about “beneficial” or “deleterious” mutations.

    Oooh! I love sets!
    Let me try:

    “Black cats” ≠ “Cats”
    So, if fur color plays any role in life, as of course we all agree it does, then it’s simply incorrect to talk about “cats” or “dogs”.

    That doesn’t seem right. But in reality:

    “Black cats” ∪ “Non-black cats” = “Cats”

    and the presence or absence, or relative frequencies of the two types of cat does NOTHING to prevent us from talking about “cats”.
    Your “logical” argument is irrelevant; hence the lack of “a push back”…
    People use the word “beneficial” to refer to things that are beneficial within the context(s) they are discussing.
    The set of “uncontingent beneficial” mutations is small, and by and large irrelevant to discussions about evolution. If you want to claim that that set is empty (which you have argued at great length) then, suddenly

    “Contingent beneficial” ≡ “Beneficial”

    Awkward.

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  21. OMagain: I think he must be, what, 12-13? Probably home schooled with a hard case of “little emperor” syndrome.

    The mentality matches.

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  22. Mung,

    Bingo!
    I got
    1. “How could the first [species X] find a mate?”, but re Orchid pollinators
    2. “If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys”, re multicellularity [WTF?]
    3. “Irreducible complexity” re benthic organisms (and a repeat of #2)
    4. “But if land-dwelling was such an advantage, why did aquatic lineages continue to thrive?” (not a repeat of #2, but a repeat of IC folded in there)
    5. “You cannot prove it happened that way” (Were you there? v2.3)
    That’s the “G” column on my Creationist Bingo Card.
    Bingo!

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  23. phoodoo:
    Right. And definition of beneficial is those that are preserved.

    The identification of beneficial ones starts with looking into those that are preserved, for obvious reasons.

    However, any textbook in population genetics will tell you, and mathematically explain, that beneficial mutations can be lost and neutral-to-semineutral ones can be fixed into a population just by chance. What changes is the probability of fixation given the mutation’s effects, but all sorts of things can happen before fixation.

    phoodoo:
    And the definition of deleterious are those that are eliminated. I guess it must be true.

    Again, not necessarily, depends on how strong is the deleterious effect. Again, what changes is the probability of fixation.

    It’s obvious that a mutation deleterious enough to render an organism unviable will thus be eliminated. How’s that circular?

    phoodoo:
    And all of you evolutionists are too stupid (or something) to acknowledge the circularity.

    It’s nor circular to define your terms. It’s not circular to identify items that match a description. It’s not circular to define a creationist as someone who believes that some god created everything and then identify them by their belief that some god created everything. You’re mistaking identification for argumentation.

    By your definition of circularity, every scientific experiment would be circular. Every observation would be circular. It’s hard for me to imagine anything that would not be circular by your mistaken notion. The very identification of circularity by your definition of circularity would be circular.

    phoodoo:
    Insanity.

    Indeed.

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  24. DNA_Jock: Bingo!

    I see you’re familiar with the evolution of the red herring. 🙂

    Despite some of the silly creationist arguments the fact remains that “evolutionary theory” remains little more than a collection of ad hoc just-so stories. It isn’t science.

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  25. Mung: Despite some of the silly creationist arguments the fact remains that “evolutionary theory” remains little more than a collection of ad hoc just-so stories. It isn’t science.

    Isn’t this just another silly creationist argument?

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  26. Mung: …“evolutionary theory” remains little more than a collection of ad hoc just-so stories. It isn’t science.

    I don’t think this is correct. Evolutionary theory began to be formalized (it was already dawning on some) with Darwin’s voyage on the Beagle. Observe first, then hypothesize!

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  27. Mung: Despite some of the silly creationist arguments the fact remains that “evolutionary theory” remains little more than a collection of ad hoc just-so stories. It isn’t science.

    What counts as ‘”evolutionary theory”‘ to you? To you, is population genetics or inference of phylogenies part of this “evolutionary theory”-that-is-not-science?

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  28. Mung:
    Despite some of the silly creationist arguments the fact remains that “evolutionary theory” remains little more than a collection of ad hoc just-so stories. It isn’t science.

    Leaving aside the ignorance revealed by comments like this, anybody who believes in a god should exercise a bit more self-awareness before spouting something like this. You have no status to judge if anything is a collection of just-so stories.

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  29. Mung:
    Why “evolutionary theory” continues to b a joke:

    https://evolutionnews.org/2020/07/the-fairly-tale-world-of-an-evolution-textbook/

    OMFG! Talk about lack of self-awareness!

    One of the headings:

    The Fairy Tales Continue

    Oh, but look at the grand finale!

    Given the lack of substantive scientific argumentation in these attempts to account for major transitions in the history of life, Strickberger’s Evolution might be a textbook better suited to an English course on fantasy literature. It really doesn’t belong in a science classroom.

    I’d explain the idiotic author that to understand the science he should have read the textbook, rather than exercise classic creationist quote mining, but, if the author doesn’t understand the irony of calling something he opposes a fairy tale, and then claiming that the textbook belongs with fantasy literature, I doubt the author would understand the idea of reading a textbook for comprehension. I’d be wasting my time.

    P.S. At a bookstore I visited last year I found the bible where it rightly belongs: the fantasy section.

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  30. Mung,
    I see you’re familiar with how this game is played.
    “Just-so story” and “Not Science” are both on my diagonal!

    ETA: center square is wild-card, so all I need is “Darwinist Omerta”
    I’m so excited!

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  31. Joe Felsenstein: What counts as ‘”evolutionary theory”‘ to you?

    The content of the book in question.

    Joe Felsenstein: To you, is population genetics or inference of phylogenies part of this “evolutionary theory”-that-is-not-science?

    I thought I was clear that it is the story-telling that is not science.

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  32. Mung: I thought I was clear that it is the story-telling that is not science.

    I thought I heard you say that the evolutionary theory is story-telling, and not science.

    Now I hear you say that the story-telling (in that book) is story-telling and not science.

    There is a difference between those statements.

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  33. Mung:
    I thought I was clear that it is the story-telling that is not science.

    I wonder, at what point does a story that best fits all the relevant known facts become scientific? I’m convinced that you don’t think the evolution story has achieved this goal, but I’m not quite sure why. Candidate possibilities are:
    1) There simply isn’t enough evidence yet.
    2) The relevant known facts are incoherent or inconsistent.
    3) The evolution story conflicts with accepted religious doctrine (and by corollary, the relevant known facts can NEVER be sufficient).
    4) There are too many known facts to grasp all at once, or they are too widely spread around notions of fitness, genetic analysis, population genetics, ecology, the fossil record, possible plausible rearrangement of clade diagrams, etc.
    5) Different aspects of evolutionary theory are supported by different amounts of evidence, or by evidence too indirect.
    6) Too many of the known facts aren’t actually relevant.
    7) Other. Your proposals are welcome.

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  34. Mung,

    “Despite some of the silly creationist arguments the fact remains that ‘evolutionary theory’ remains little more than a collection of ad hoc just-so stories. It isn’t science.”

    Relapse? Hit your head? Too many hours behind the screen got the wires tangled? Wazzup “theistic science apologist” again like an IDist, cuz?

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  35. Nonlin.org: Me: If you don’t like genetic measures, then I am willing to accept any non-genetic measure of variation within “e coli” and animals that you prefer.

    Nonlin: Not what I said if you read more carefully.

    Please, engage with the arguments. Is “one e coli strain to another e coli strain as an elephant is to a grasshopper?” I said it is. You disagreed. So how do you support your assertion?

    Nonlin.org: You do know I don’t put much basis on classifications, right?

    LOL, you care a great deal about classifications, especially humans. You’re just evading the fact that reality doesn’t comport with the classification that you prefer.

    Nonlin.org: […] if e coli or not, it is supposed to be an “evolved” life form. One that should be taking over its world like the story goes.

    It did take over its world. You keep missing the point, buster.

    Nonlin.org: Me: So if the Designer were to design a creature that would thrive on a diet of fish it would catch in antarctic waters, she might as well adopt a hummingbird design and this wouldn’t make any difference?

    Nonlin: Not what I said if – once again – you read more carefully.

    Please engage with the arguments -once again-. Is a hummingbird a good design for fishing in the antarctic sea? If not, how could you demonstrate this without making a circular argument? Also, how can “good design” be conditional on the environment in which the organism is to operate?

    You can read design/Design however you like.

    Nonlin.org: The thing with ‘adaptation’ is that it’s part of the design instead of coming from nowhere and “driving the design” as you likely imagine. So, for instance, antibiotic resistance is to be expected instead of a “miracle of evolution”.

    Whether it is “to be expected” or a “miracle of evolution”, antibiotic resistance is only useful to a bacterial strain if an antibiotic is present in its environment. The design must be tailored to its intended environment in order to be functional. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, Nonlin.

    1+
  36. Mung: dazz: Isn’t this just another silly creationist argument?

    Mung: No.

    Creationism remains little more than a collection of silly arguments.

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  37. Corneelto Nonlin:
    Please, engage with the arguments.

    I doubt that Nonlin is able to put things in context. This is why (s)he’s having such a hard problem to understand that evolution has never been about context-free beneficial mutations.

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  38. Mung: The content of the book in question.

    I thought I was clear that it is the story-telling that is not science.

    True , it is how you test the the narrative that makes it science.

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  39. Mung: Despite some of the silly creationist arguments the fact remains that “evolutionary theory” remains little more than a collection of ad hoc just-so stories. It isn’t science.

    Despite your silly opinion the fact remains that evolutionary theory is a scientific theory for life’s history of diversification from common ancestors, and the processes and mechanisms responsible.

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  40. Rumraket: Despite your silly opinion the fact remains that evolutionary theory is a scientific theory for life’s history of diversification from common ancestors, and the processes and mechanisms responsible.

    What is it that makes the storytelling in the book any more scientific than the book of Genesis?

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  41. Mung: What is it that makes the storytelling in the book any more scientific than the book of Genesis?

    Connection to observed reality, perhaps.

    2+
  42. Alan Fox: Connection to observed reality, perhaps.

    Agreed. If evidence matters, the scientific story is well supported. If evidence doesn’t matter, than Genesis is as good as any other fable. In fact, if evidence doesn’t matter, Genesis is a better story than science, because the scientific story is so annoyingly complex and requires actual knowledge.

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  43. Alan Fox: It’s the whole point of evolutionary biology that contextually beneficial alleles are preserved and contextually deleterious alleles eliminated from breeding populations.

    And that’s simply illogical given that no context is ever discussed. Not the first or last such thing in “evolution”.

    OMagain: Being able to ingest citrate is not so useful when there is none to ingest. Nobody disputes this. Just like mutations relating to antibiotic resistance. Not so useful unless you are actually being exposed to said antibiotics.

    So are you saying these “beneficial” mutations get lost because they’re not used? That would kind of make sense, but how do you reconcile that with “vestigial organs” and “junk DNA” that refuse to (ever?) go away despite being costly, not just neutral. Also, why would bacteria so readily “evolve” for cit plus and ab-resistance and then just as readily “devolve”? Could it be something else? Something other than “evolution”? Remember “your inner fishy”? Bacteria loses it so easily but you retain “your inner fishy”?!? Something’s fishy. You’re a smart boy, aren’t you?

    DNA_Jock: “Black cats” ∪ “Non-black cats” = “Cats”

    Wrong analogy. It’s rather “the black chameleon” which now is black and later is whatever the background happens to be.

    DNA_Jock: People use the word “beneficial” to refer to things that are beneficial within the context(s) they are discussing.

    Lame attempt. When I asked for a “beneficial mutation” and you replied with your example that turned out to be nothing of that sort, you didn’t mention any “context”, so by default, the context is “all environments”. Which was so very wrong.

    As extensively discussed before: http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/natural-selection-evolution-magic/)
    “2. No. Natural Selection fails since survival is not directly tied to phenotype and “survival of the best adapted” is tautological. 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. As shown, all these different organisms may or may not survive regardless of their phenotype. The only measure of “selection” is survival – we only know if an organism was selected if it survives and reproduces. “Best adapted” is also unknowable separate from survival.”

    So yes, the context is crucial. “Extremely big breasts is a beneficial mutation in chickens” can be both true and laughable depending on the context.

    The very context that is always missing from “evolution” is missing for a reason: to tell a story that cannot be double-checked. Because when checked it invariably falls apart – see cit plus in e coli.

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