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frankcox; You are correct I don't understand the arguments of creationists.....they make no sense. I recommend reading "The Great Monkey Trial" by L. Sprague Decamp. It is long but very interesting book about the "Scopes Monkey Trial" and does a very good job of describing the arguments of both sides used for the trial and giving background for each. The long and short of it is that it was impossible for John Scopes to get a fair trail in the venue he was tried, yet the majority of jurors agreed that he should never have been tried even though they convicted him (the trial was not about the truth or falsehood of evolution, it was about whether he taught it in school as a substitute teacher). BTW I can provide more evidence for evolution than you can provide for "god"

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No offense but you seem to have no concept of the argument against evolution.

 

Well I certainly do. As a Christian, I've studied all the arguments against evolution I could find, especially the ones on the answers in genesis website. Much as I wanted to believe the creation story, I found that I could not -- it just didn't fit the facts.

 

The arguments against evolution are basically summed up as "its not a perfect theory". I don't know of any perfect theories though. When you want to replace a theory, you have to show that the theory is flawed, but more importantly, you have to show that there is a better theory. So far, creationists have yet to suggest a better theory, and the creation story not only makes less predictions (so is less useful) but those predictions are wrong.

 

Now you may have missed my previous post, on this, so I will repost it.

On the other hand, if Noah's Ark were true, then there would be a maximum of 4 alleles for "unclean" animals and 14 alleles for "clean" animals, and a maximum of 10 alleles for humans. That is a direct requirement given the limitation on genetic data that Noah could preserve, and last I checked there are far more alleles than that. Creationism cannot explain where these alleles come from; evolution can.

 

Also, why would God embed retroviruses throughout our lineage in the pattern expected by common ancestry? In fact, why would God embed retroviruses in our DNA at all? Evolution explains and even expects this, but creationism not so much.

 

Also, as mooeypoo mentioned, the theory of evolution predicts the observed arrangement of fossils, whereas the Flood predicts a different sorting that is not observed.

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Now you may have missed my previous post, on this, so I will repost it.

On the other hand, if Noah's Ark were true, then there would be a maximum of 4 alleles for "unclean" animals and 14 alleles for "clean" animals, and a maximum of 10 alleles for humans. That is a direct requirement given the limitation on genetic data that Noah could preserve, and last I checked there are far more alleles than that. Creationism cannot explain where these alleles come from; evolution can.

 

Also, why would God embed retroviruses throughout our lineage in the pattern expected by common ancestry? In fact, why would God embed retroviruses in our DNA at all? Evolution explains and even expects this, but creationism not so much.

 

Also, as mooeypoo mentioned, the theory of evolution predicts the observed arrangement of fossils, whereas the Flood predicts a different sorting that is not observed.

Precisely.

 

More on that here:

 

 

_sD_7rxYoZY

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I always wondered how Noah kept peace on his arc with a pair of T. rexes on board. If he hadn't done his job as ship captain it could have been a floating version of Jurassic Park.

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I always wondered how Noah kept peace on his arc with a pair of T. rexes on board. If he hadn't done his job as ship captain it could have been a floating version of Jurassic Park.

 

Well obviously he didn't take them onboard. That is why they became extinct, they were all drowned in the flood :D

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Well obviously he didn't take them onboard. That is why they became extinct, they were all drowned in the flood :D

 

Yeah, that's why we don't have any dinosaurs (aside from birds), but the modern oceans are teeming with 40-foot-long pliosaurs, snake-necked Elasmosaurs, and why no mammal has evolved to live in the sea, due to competition with our beloved Ichthyosaurs.

 

Oh, wait....

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Yeah, that's why we don't have any dinosaurs (aside from birds), but the modern oceans are teeming with 40-foot-long pliosaurs, snake-necked Elasmosaurs, and why no mammal has evolved to live in the sea, due to competition with our beloved Ichthyosaurs.

 

Oh, wait....

 

 

Well, fortunately, mammals have been able to compete with the 40-foot long plesiosars...but being water-loving creatures these prehistoric creatures certainly survived. This is confirmed by by coelocanths... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coelocanth

 

and the Loch Ness Monster http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loch_ness_monster

which as we all know is certainly a plesiosaur

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Look, this is just ridiculous. There are several problems wrong with this approach:

 

1. Extant cells are incredibly complex, the protobionts of the theory of abiogenesis were analogous to genetic material in soap bubbles.

 

2. The components of cells have a natural affinity to each other. The same way nebula coalesce to form stars, biotic material coalesces to form a biotic system.

 

3. Where do these probabilities even come from in the first place? I mean, come on.

 

 

you hit the nail on the head. He just showed the odds based on matieral in soap bubbles what would the odds be with something that is more complex.

 

I see this in every evolution argument "odds". Id like to see someone prove the odds arent really that much for evolution to take place.

 

Hell, the odds of a mutation are really high, thats why they will never win the odds debate. I think the idea evolution came about from wrong interpretations of the data based on a person perception. I say its half full you say half empty. Thats why this debate will never end. One side is going to eventually have to present data that is undeniable.

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I see this in every evolution argument "odds". Id like to see someone prove the odds arent really that much for evolution to take place

 

Sure: Every single human alive today has, on average, ten new mutations that affect final amino acid sequence.

 

Based on odds, in the current human population, there are thousands of people who even have duplicate genes, which are free to evolve new functions.

 

Oh, and because we're high-metabolism mammals, we're actually unusually sensitive to disruptive mutations. Other animals routines have more substantial changes. Check out genus Xenopus - within a single, small lineage of water frogs, whole genome duplication has occurred no less than 5 times.

 

Thats why this debate will never end. One side is going to eventually have to present data that is undeniable.

 

We did that ~120 years ago.

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Sure: Every single human alive today has, on average, ten new mutations that affect final amino acid sequence.

 

Based on odds, in the current human population, there are thousands of people who even have duplicate genes, which are free to evolve new functions.

 

Oh, and because we're high-metabolism mammals, we're actually unusually sensitive to disruptive mutations. Other animals routines have more substantial changes. Check out genus Xenopus - within a single, small lineage of water frogs, whole genome duplication has occurred no less than 5 times.

 

 

 

We did that ~120 years ago.

 

 

apparently it wasnt good enough.

 

just pulled this out of my text book.

A mutation happens roughly once every 1 billion base pairs of DNA that is copied. Most mutations result in negative consequences for a cell, a change in the Gene results in a change in protein such that the protein doesnt function well or not at all, which leads to a loss to the cell or death. Only rarely does it cause a cell to preform better.

 

So you got 1 out of 1 billion for a mutation to take place, which will most likely result in a negative consequence. Only rarely does it benefit the cell, and even still there is no guarantee it will be passed on to its off spring, and if the mutation doesn't increase the odds of you getting laid then its not going to get the extra shot to be passed down.

 

Now to me that seems far fetched to put all my hopes and dreams that this is how i came to be. I think we all can agree life is more complex then the lottery.

 

 

and thus this is why you will never get passed the "odds" the whole core of the theory is based on some pretty big odds, that a simple protein built itself into DNA from the ground up then created the first cell which somehow lead to us complex and foolish being. Life is too dilberate to happen. Every living thing that does exist does so with a purpose and intend in the grand scheme of things. The lion is build to hunt, the fish to swim, the bird to fly. A car for the road a plane for the sky, and a boat for the sea. All designed with an oblivious intent. If you read this and still thing me and the rest of society are wrong then i think you need to relook yourself and check are you looking for the truth, or your own agenda.

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Didn't you say you will never consider the idea of evolution? Why debating this subject in two different threads, then?

 

Either you are holding an agenda of converting us away from science, or you are being a bit inconsistent. We are a science forum, requiring scientific rigor, and as such we enter debates with an open mind.

 

There's not much use arguing with a closed-mindedness approach, because it leads to no benefit and no knowledge.

 

You stated you won't even consider the idea of evolution. Why would we waste our time answering these questions (and there *ARE* a lot of answers, as you could start seeing in this and the other thread) if, by your own claim, you are not even willing to consider any of them?

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Here is another example of the moral bankruptcy of the evolutionists.

Hey moral bankruptcy is terrific -- you get to wipe the slate clean and even invest on new morals...with a diverse portfolio of course.

 

But that seven years on the moral credit reports is a killer.

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A mutation happens roughly once every 1 billion base pairs of DNA that is copied. Most mutations result in negative consequences for a cell, a change in the Gene results in a change in protein such that the protein doesnt function well or not at all, which leads to a loss to the cell or death. Only rarely does it cause a cell to preform better.

 

Your textbook is out of date, and badly so. Neutral theory has been around since at least the 70's, and is backed by a wealth of experimental evidence.

 

Now to me that seems far fetched to put all my hopes and dreams that this is how i came to be. I think we all can agree life is more complex then the lottery.

 

You seem oddly fixated on mutation. Natural selection is what allows mutation to spread. Mutation is merely the 'fuel' of evolution - natural selection is the driving force.

 

and thus this is why you will never get passed the "odds" the whole core of the theory is based on some pretty big odds, that a simple protein built itself into DNA from the ground up then created the first cell which somehow lead to us complex and foolish being.

 

First, evolution is NOT abiogenesis. Evolution occurs only once life exists. A separate mechanism is responsible for life's origin.

 

Secondly, you clearly don't have the slightest clue about abiogenesis. Look at some of the other threads around here, because just about everything you'll find in a textbook is ~50 years out of date.

 

Every living thing that does exist does so with a purpose and intend in the grand scheme of things. The lion is build to hunt, the fish to swim, the bird to fly. A car for the road a plane for the sky, and a boat for the sea. All designed with an oblivious intent. If you read this and still thing me and the rest of society are wrong then i think you need to relook yourself and check are you looking for the truth, or your own agenda.

 

It's called "natural selection".

 

If you aren't going to make any effort to learn, why are you even here?

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apparently it wasnt good enough.

 

Sure it is. :D

 

just pulled this out of my text book.

A mutation happens roughly once every 1 billion base pairs of DNA that is copied. Most mutations result in negative consequences for a cell, a change in the Gene results in a change in protein such that the protein doesnt function well or not at all, which leads to a loss to the cell or death. Only rarely does it cause a cell to preform better.

 

Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the 1 mutation per billion bases was correct. You have about 3 billion bases in your genome, so could have about 3 mutations per cell.

 

It is not true that most mutations are deleterious: most have no effect at all. Many will result is some change, not significant enough to cause cell death. The mutation need not confer any benefit today, either: if that phenotype is present in the population, there is some possibility that the environment will change in a way that benefits those individuals having that phenotype.

 

Now to me that seems far fetched to put all my hopes and dreams that this is how i came to be. I think we all can agree life is more complex then the lottery.

 

Look at it this way: if you play the lottery every minute for 3 billion years, how many times will you win? Now, multiply that by the number of living organisms.

 

and thus this is why you will never get passed the "odds" the whole core of the theory is based on some pretty big odds, that a simple protein built itself into DNA from the ground up then created the first cell which somehow lead to us complex and foolish being. Life is too dilberate to happen. Every living thing that does exist does so with a purpose and intend in the grand scheme of things. The lion is build to hunt, the fish to swim, the bird to fly. A car for the road a plane for the sky, and a boat for the sea. All designed with an oblivious intent. If you read this and still thing me and the rest of society are wrong then i think you need to relook yourself and check are you looking for the truth, or your own agenda.

 

Cars, boats, and planes have purposes because they are designed by humans for particular functions. The only "true purpose" of lions is to make more lions: hunting is just one of the things they do that furthers that.

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Funny how creationists trust the scientific process that provides them with computers to talk nonsense on forums, but don't trust the same scientific process that comes up with evolution by natural selection.

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Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the 1 mutation per billion bases was correct. You have about 3 billion bases in your genome, so could have about 3 mutations per cell.

 

Mutation rates vary from species to species. Bacteria have the lowest and humans have the highest. In actual fact, each human has about 20 mutations.

 

It is not true that most mutations are deleterious: most have no effect at all.

 

The paper you want is:

PD Keightley and A Caballero, Genomic mutation rates for lifetime reproductive output and lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 94: 3823-3827, 1997

 

This study documents the rate of deleterious mutations in the worm C. elegans. Because they are hermaphroditic, the authors were able to separate the worms and run parallel populations descended from a single individual. By maintaining independent sublines, the effect of selection could be minimized, and thus the deleterious mutations could be kept in the population. Lethal mutations are still lethal, but the experimental design allows accumulation of deleterious mutations (as well as neutral mutations) and then the effect on lifespan and production of viable offspring, both of which are measurements of fitness. The estimated deleterious mutation rate per haploid genome (the whole organism) was 0.0026, or 2.6 per thousand.

 

Cars, boats, and planes have purposes because they are designed by humans for particular functions. The only "true purpose" of lions is to make more lions: hunting is just one of the things they do that furthers that.

 

Right. Hunting is a way for lions to earn a living. But instead of backing away from "design", I strongly suggest you face it directly. Natural selection is an unintelligent process that produces design. Yes, lions are designed for hunting. Designed by natural selection. Eyes were designed by natural selection for seeing, placentas for nurturing unborn young, etc.

 

Natural selection does have a short-term goal or purpose: designing the population for the particular envioronment. NS cannot have a long-term goal, simply because NS can't "see" ahead to what future environments will be. But in emphasizing that NS has no long term goal, we have unfortunately thrown the baby out with the bathwater and ended up falsely declaring that NS has no purpose whatsoever.

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NS cannot have a long-term goal, simply because NS can't "see" ahead to what future environments will be.

 

But it can appear to. For example, due to the inertia of the process, populations retain some adaptations to past environments -- environments that have a good chance of occurring again.

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Right. Hunting is a way for lions to earn a living. But instead of backing away from "design", I strongly suggest you face it directly. Natural selection is an unintelligent process that produces design. Yes, lions are designed for hunting. Designed by natural selection. Eyes were designed by natural selection for seeing, placentas for nurturing unborn young, etc.

 

Natural selection does have a short-term goal or purpose: designing the population for the particular envioronment. NS cannot have a long-term goal, simply because NS can't "see" ahead to what future environments will be. But in emphasizing that NS has no long term goal, we have unfortunately thrown the baby out with the bathwater and ended up falsely declaring that NS has no purpose whatsoever.

 

I could not disagree more.

 

Just for the avoidance of confusion, I am not the one opposing evolution here.

 

I cannot agree with the use of the term "design" in this context, nor the idea that NS has a goal of any kind, short-term or not. "Design" implies an intention or purpose: there is none in evolution. NS is not an entity, and cannot have a purpose. It does not design organisms to their environment: it does not care (and in fact, there is no "it" to do the caring). In the absence of variation in the population, NS does not do any "fitting", nor does it cause the variation (although we have no doubt evolved to have natural variation: diversity is a survival trait in a changing environment).

 

"Natural selection" is only a label for encapsulating a mathematical fact: the fact that organisms that reproduce more successfully than competing organisms will eventually dominate.

 

I am not "throwing out purpose with the bathwater", I am deliberately rejecting it. There is no purpose in NS, it just happens. You might as well ascribe purposes to gravity, and say that it "designs" the planets. Such attribution serves only to confuse people who do not understand, and to provide support to those who would deny evolution (or science in general) in the name of religion.

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I agree with that notion. It is more accurate to state that NS has a specific result, but it has no purpose.

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I agree with that notion. It is more accurate to state that NS has a specific result, but it has no purpose.

I couldn't agree more. This statement by lucaspa astonishes me:

 

But in emphasizing that NS has no long term goal, we have unfortunately thrown the baby out with the bathwater and ended up falsely declaring that NS has no purpose whatsoever.
I think he must have been using the term "purpose" metaphorically, which of course is teleological. Perhaps the word "function" would have been a better coice.

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frankcox; I would like to see your sources for the assertion that a significant percentage of scientists do not believe in evolution, since I happen to know a few people who make a living as scientists and all of them believe in evolution.

I cannot help but conclude two (or more) different things are being referenced by the same term. I have never once in my entire life encountered or heard of a single individual, scientist or otherwise, who denied that allele frequencies change. I should like to see some evidence that such people exist at all.

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I think he must have been using the term "purpose" metaphorically, which of course is teleological. Perhaps the word "function" would have been a better coice.

 

I was not. The problem is that "purpose" has been mistakenly linked with action by an intelligent agent. Like "design" has been mistakenly linked with action by an intelligent agent. The point here is that natural selection is an unintelligent method to get design.

 

Aristotle listed 4 types of causes. His example was a chameleon changing color bright green on a leaf to dull-gray on a twig.

1. Formal cause: Generalization of the conditions under which the change takes place. In this case the formal cause would be the chameleon moving from the leaf to the twig.

2. Material cause: the substance in skin that changes color. This gets us to the biochemistry of the skin cells and chemicals in them that are responsible for the color change.

3. Efficient cause. This is the transition of leaf to twig and the associated change in reflected light of the leaf vs the twig.

4. Final cause or teleological cause. This is that the chameleon is escaping

detection by predators. But notice that this is not conscious. The chameleon does not know it is escapting detection by predators. Nor did the chameleon "plan" to do this. But natural selection did "plan" it this way.

 

Natural selection is, in the Aristotlean view, a teleological cause event tho it is not intelligent. And that is the whole point of natural selection. It is the teleological cause instead of an intelligent agent who had to "design" and manufacture the chameleon so that it avoided predators.


Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged

 

But is that a correct implication? I submit "NO!" We have inserted a hidden prepositional phrase: designed by an intelligent entity. This is a holdover from the days when we did not know of any other way to get design. But now we do have another process that gives design: Darwinian (natural) selection. I strongly recommend you read Daniel Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea

 

there is none in evolution. NS is not an entity' date=' and cannot have a purpose.[/quote']

 

NS is an "entity" in the broad definition of the term. We know what it is. When certain conditions are met, natural selection exists. Those conditions include:

1. Populations, or groups, of entities

2. Variation among individuals in the populations

3. Hereditary similarity of individuals from generation to generation.

4. More individuals born or generated than can be supported by the environment. (from D. Futuyma Evolutionary Biology, 1988, pg 4)

 

When you say " In the absence of variation in the population, NS does not do any "fitting",", what you have done is remove one of the necessary conditions for the entity natural selection to exist. You do not have natural selection in this case. It is like saying "in the absence of oxygen, cytochrome c does not do oxidative phosphorylation". That is true, but ox phos depends on the existence of oxygen.

 

It does not design organisms to their environment: it does not care (and in fact, there is no "it" to do the caring).

 

But it does. If natural selection does not do the designing, then what does?

 

Natural selection is a two step process:

1. Variation

2. Selection

 

When you say "natural selection does not cause variation" that is true, but irrelevant. In order for the entity "natural selection" to exist, there must be variation. The source of that variation is immaterial. It can be sexual recombination, mutation, changes in syntax in computer code (in the case of genetic algorithms) etc. Natural selection will still happen.

 

"Natural selection" is only a label for encapsulating a mathematical fact: the fact that organisms that reproduce more successfully than competing organisms will eventually dominate.

 

That is the reductionist definition of "changes in allele frequency through time". But that is NOT the essence of natural selection. After all, genetic drift will have some organisms reproducing more successfully and will dominate.

 

Look at Darwin (why is it that so many "evolutionists" have never read Origin of Species?): " But if variations useful to any organic being do occur, assuredly individuals thus characterized will have the best chance of being preserved in the struggle for life;" It's not about just "reproduce more successfully", but why they reproduce more successfully: the variations are a better design ("useful to any organic being") than the other variations.

 

There is no purpose in NS, it just happens.

 

Again, there is no "long term" purpose. But there is a short term purpose. "Diversity" is not the criteria for a changing environment. As you noted, the overall parameters of the population change. Unless that is "random", then that change must be to some purpose. What's the purpose? That the individuals survive in that environment.

 

Look above to my discussion of the types of causes. The "purpose" of a chameleon changing color is to avoid predators. The purpose of your eyes is to detect light. The purpose of your ears is to detect sound. The purpose of cytochrome c is to transfer electrons to oxygen and, in the process, make ATP. Biological organisms are full of purpose. How did it get there? Natural selection.

 

Do NOT run away from "design" or "purpose". Embrace them. Natural selection provides the explanation for how those designs for particular purposes arose. Discard that and say there are no designs or purposes in biological organisms and you deny reality.

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But is that a correct implication? I submit "NO!" We have inserted a hidden prepositional phrase: designed by an intelligent entity. This is a holdover from the days when we did not know of any other way to get design. But now we do have another process that gives design: Darwinian (natural) selection. I strongly recommend you read Daniel Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea

 

I think the term "design" by definition presupposes a conscious designer. Considering the recent (and continuing) idiocy regarding "intelligent design", I prefer to avoid use of the term "design" when talking about anything other than the actions of intelligent, conscious beings. Thus, I would not say that river rocks are "designed" by the river, or that clouds are "designed" by the wind and atmosphere. Similarly, I will not say that organisms are "designed" by evolution. If you want to redefine the term idiosyncratically, you can deal with the confusion and misattribution that results.

 

NS is an "entity" in the broad definition of the term. We know what it is.

 

NS is no more an "entity" than the quadratic equation, unless you are considering abstractions to be entities. I cannot agree that either is an entity that is capable of design.

 

***

When you say " In the absence of variation in the population, NS does not do any "fitting",", what you have done is remove one of the necessary conditions for the entity natural selection to exist. You do not have natural selection in this case. It is like saying "in the absence of oxygen, cytochrome c does not do oxidative phosphorylation". That is true, but ox phos depends on the existence of oxygen.

 

The point you are missing is that "fitting" also implies a conscious design, as if NS were a being that deliberately caused particular variations to occur, in order to actively adapt a species to its environment. Your tailor does "fitting". NS does not. "Fitness" in the evolutionary sense is a shorthand for "degree of relative reproductive success as a species", which in turn refers to the ability of a species (or group within a species) to out-compete its competitors for resources and reproduce most effectively.

 

But it does. If natural selection does not do the designing, then what does?

 

But it doesn't. There is no designing.

 

Natural selection is a two step process:

1. Variation

2. Selection

 

When you say "natural selection does not cause variation" that is true, but irrelevant. In order for the entity "natural selection" to exist, there must be variation. The source of that variation is immaterial. It can be sexual recombination, mutation, changes in syntax in computer code (in the case of genetic algorithms) etc. Natural selection will still happen.

 

If you drop the word "entity", we agree.

 

That is the reductionist definition of "changes in allele frequency through time". But that is NOT the essence of natural selection. After all, genetic drift will have some organisms reproducing more successfully and will dominate.

 

Are you suggesting that evolution cannot occur by genetic drift?

 

Look at Darwin (why is it that so many "evolutionists" have never read Origin of Species?): "But if variations useful to any organic being do occur, assuredly individuals thus characterized will have the best chance of being preserved in the struggle for life;" It's not about just "reproduce more successfully", but why they reproduce more successfully: the variations are a better design ("useful to any organic being") than the other variations.

 

I have no problem with the quote: it means only that where there is a "useful" variation, individuals with that variation benefit -- which is what "useful" means in this context. It is a tautology. However, I can't agree that Darwin in any way implied a design. They reproduce more successfully only because we have defined "useful" to mean that, and that all the other "non-useful" variations (which still occur) do not confer any such benefit.

 

Again, there is no "long term" purpose. But there is a short term purpose. "Diversity" is not the criteria for a changing environment. As you noted, the overall parameters of the population change. Unless that is "random", then that change must be to some purpose. What's the purpose? That the individuals survive in that environment.

 

No, there is no short term purpose. I'm not sure what parameters you are referring to, but in any population you will have diversity due to random mutation. Yes, random. The environment also changes, due to changes in climate, erosion, insolation, and the activities of other organisms, etc. If your random mutation is lethal, you die, and your mutation is not passed on. If your random mutation is not lethal, but not beneficial, it may persist for generations, but will not come to dominate. If your random mutation is beneficial, or the environment changes in such a way that suddenly the mutation is beneficial, then the percentage of the population carrying that mutation will increase, and come to dominate. But none of that requires "purpose" or "design". The environment can change in such a way that none of the animals survive: more species have gone extinct than exist today.

 

Look above to my discussion of the types of causes. The "purpose" of a chameleon changing color is to avoid predators. The purpose of your eyes is to detect light. The purpose of your ears is to detect sound. The purpose of cytochrome c is to transfer electrons to oxygen and, in the process, make ATP. Biological organisms are full of purpose. How did it get there? Natural selection.

 

I don't see Aristotle using the term "purpose". "Cause", as in "cause and effect", yes. "Purpose", no.

 

Do NOT run away from "design" or "purpose". Embrace them. Natural selection provides the explanation for how those designs for particular purposes arose. Discard that and say there are no designs or purposes in biological organisms and you deny reality.

 

To the contrary, I suggest that you discard these terms, as your use of them makes it sound like you expect the universe to be full of purpose and design, anthropocentric. I think anthropomorphizing evolution and natural selection is pointless and misleading. Think of NS as a mathematical algorithm, and you will be right much more often.

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Think of NS as a mathematical algorithm, and you will be right much more often.

 

And I said originally (many posts back) that NS is an algorithm to get design. Very good! Yes, NS is an algorithm. Follow the steps and design is guaranteed! Maybe you did read Dennett after all.

 

I think the term "design" by definition presupposes a conscious designer.

 

It does not have to. From Merriam-Webster: "2c:to devise for a specific function or end" Nothing about consciousness here. An algorithm can (and does with NS) do the "devising". Here you are insisting on sticking with a preconceived idea. Discard that pre-Darwinian idea that design must mean an intelligent entity doing the designing.

 

Considering the recent (and continuing) idiocy regarding "intelligent design", I prefer to avoid use of the term "design" when talking about anything other than the actions of intelligent, conscious beings.

 

And here you are giving in to the IDers. I prefer to do good science and ignore what the IDers want to do. I refuse to let them dictate the terms I use.

 

Thus, I would not say that river rocks are "designed" by the river, or that clouds are "designed" by the wind and atmosphere.

 

And they are not. There is no specific "function or end" involved. But let's face it, eyes have a specific function: detection of visible light.

 

Similarly, I will not say that organisms are "designed" by evolution.

 

I said "Designed by natural selection." Evolution is more than natural selection. Also, some parts of organisms are NOT designed. They are the result of genetic drift or parts coded by genes that have a design in other parts of the organism but not there. Examples of the latter include male nipples and the boney spurs on the ankles of pandas.

 

NS is no more an "entity" than the quadratic equation, unless you are considering abstractions to be entities. I cannot agree that either is an entity that is capable of design.

 

We always consider abstractions to be entities. But in this case NS (or Darwinian selection) is a real entity. It produces real objects. And humans use NS (Darwinian selection) when the design problem is too tough for them. See Jr Koza, MA Keane, MJ Streeter, Evolving inventions. Scientific American, 52-59, Feb 2003 check out http://www.genetic-programming.com

 

Basically, GDG, you have just made the basic claim of ID. That is the central claim of ID: that NS is incapable of design. What you try to do is say "there is no design", but that simply will not work. I suggest you read some history about this (but you did not read Dennett, did you?). Paley made the basic Argument from Design in his Natural Theology. Darwin knew that an acceptable theory of evolution was impossible unless there was a process that produced the designs in living organisms. Lamarck's attempt was use/disuse. Darwin's was NS. Take away NS as a means of producing design and you are saying that ID is correct.

 

The point you are missing is that "fitting" also implies a conscious design, as if NS were a being that deliberately caused particular variations to occur, in order to actively adapt a species to its environment.

 

Not at all. You are stuck in your pre-conception of the terms.

 

"Fitness" in the evolutionary sense is a shorthand for "degree of relative reproductive success as a species",

 

That is the result of fitness. Look how Darwin phrased it: "I think it would be a most extraordinary fact if no variation ever had occurred useful to each beings welfare, in the same way as so many variations have occured useful to man. But if variations useful to any organic being do occur, assuredly individuals thus characterized will have the best chance of being preserved in the struggle for life;" Because a variation is "fit", then the individual possessing it will have reproductive success. What you have done is turn NS around and put the cart before the horse. Because of the result, we have an objective means of measuring "fitness". Fitness is the ratio of the progeny actually produced to the progeny expected from Mendelian inheritance. This allows us to avoid the tautology: the fittest survive; we know the fittest because they survive.

 

There is no designing.

 

Then how do you get organs that have a function/purpose? How did legs for running, eyes for seeing, biochemical cascade for blood clotting, etc. arise? These are designs. If they did not come about by natural selection, how did they arise?

 

Are you suggesting that evolution cannot occur by genetic drift?

 

Look what I said again: "That is the reductionist definition of "changes in allele frequency through time". But that is NOT the essence of natural selection. After all, genetic drift will have some organisms reproducing more successfully and will dominate. "

 

Changes in allele frequency through time is NOT the essence of natural selection. Genetic drift will do the same. But genetic drift does not produce eyes, blood clotting systems, placentas, etc. Stick to the conversation. Genetic drift can alter small populations. But the characteristics do not necessarily have anything to do with "fitness". Deleterious traits can be fixed by genetic drift. So, you tried to give a definition of NS which misses the essential features of NS. I called you on it.

 

I have no problem with the quote: it means only that where there is a "useful" variation, individuals with that variation benefit -- which is what "useful" means in this context. It is a tautology.

 

Are you sure you are not an IDer in disguise? This is another favorite IDer argument: NS is a tautology. But NS is not a tautology. You stated that "individuals with that variation benefit". How do they benefit? By doing better in the competition for scarce resources. Why do they do better? Because the variation is a better design for the purpose/function of getting scarce resources. Design.

 

They reproduce more successfully only because we have defined "useful" to mean that,

 

"We" haven't. You and a subset of molecular biologists have. I am saying that you (plural) are in error. Again, enhanced differential reproduction is a (just one of many) results of having that better design. But we haven't "defined" useful to mean that. In the work of the Grants on beak size in Galapagos finches, "useful" was not "defined" in terms of "reproduce more successfully". Instead, it was defined as better able to crack larger seeds. In the study on peppered moths, "useful" was "defined" in terms of being better able to avoid predators.

 

No, there is no short term purpose. I'm not sure what parameters you are referring to, but in any population you will have diversity due to random mutation. Yes, random. The environment also changes, due to changes in climate, erosion, insolation, and the activities of other organisms, etc. If your random mutation is lethal, you die, and your mutation is not passed on. If your random mutation is not lethal, but not beneficial, it may persist for generations, but will not come to dominate. If your random mutation is beneficial, or the environment changes in such a way that suddenly the mutation is beneficial, then the percentage of the population carrying that mutation will increase, and come to dominate.

 

Look what I bolded. Even you acknowledge that reproductive success is a result of "useful". The variation has to be useful for something other than just reproduction. Now some other points:

 

1. In evolutionary biology "random" means "random with respect to the needs of the individual or population". In an environment getting warmer, just as many deer will be born with longer fur as shorter fur. But only the shorter fur is "useful". So you have selection of the animals with shorter fur.

 

2. If the variation is neutral (not lethal or detrimental but not beneficial), it can still come to dominate. That is genetic drift. In fact, over time the variation has a 50% chance of being eliminated and a 50% chance of being fixed.

 

3. The process you descibe is design. It is designing a population for that particular environment. It is picking those designs thrown up by "random" variation that do better in that particular environment.

 

I don't see Aristotle using the term "purpose". "Cause", as in "cause and effect", yes. "Purpose", no.

 

You are not talking Aristotle but my summary of his ideas. But think about it. Under teleological cause, what is the purpose of the ability of the chameleon to change colors to match the background? The purpose is to avoid predators.

 

To the contrary, I suggest that you discard these terms, as your use of them makes it sound like you expect the universe to be full of purpose and design, anthropocentric.

 

Not at all.

 

1. I am not talking about the universe, but only about NS. Obviously NS exists only when fairly strict parameters are met. When those parameters are absent, there is no NS and no design.

2. Where do you get "antrhopocentric"? NS obviously isn't being done by human beings. Only when Darwinian selection is used by human beings to design would "anthropocentric" even be admissable for discussion. But even in those conditions we can't use the term, because the designs created by NS are not understood by humans; we don't know how they work. That is certainly not "anthropomorphizing".

Edited by lucaspa

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Utter bollocks.

 

Take five minutes out of your schedule, just five minutes, to search these very forums, and I promise you will find thread after thread after thread where myself and other very well qualified members have tirelessly debated creationists in discussions which lasted dozens if not hundreds of posts.

 

The reasons you are getting "personal attacks" is that you couldn't be bothered to check this site out properly before you came here to sneer at evolutionists. Everything we are going to say on the evolution versus religion "debate" we have already said. Your laziness is the only barrier to you seeing that.

 

I put "personal attacks" in quotes, because it is not a personal attack as such. It is an attack on the underhand tactics that the internet creationist tide teaches its followers. Since i have never met you I hope you realise the difference, just as I hope iNow realises I intended to refer to those creationists who make the effort to seek out science forums just so that they can decry our efforts to understand the way life works.

 

Much of the rest of your post is the same lies and misinformation we have seen and crushed time and time again. Change the record. You are not going to reinvigorate the creationist cause just by re-dressing some of its failed arguments and trying to sound more authoritative than the average footsoldier.

 

Show some evidence that you have read the extensive library of evolution versus special creation threads on this forum in your next post, because we will quickly grow tired of you if you do not.

 

BTW, American Heritage and Merriam-Websters (pfft) are emphatically not pan-discipline technical references.

 

wow, if that's the case why don't you forbid creationist vs evolutionist debates? the history of the forum is teeming with "hundreds if not thousands" of posts showing what has to be shown, so why keep it going? isn't that what you're scoffing at him for? for starting a debate which has been opened and closed a million times? well he's doing so because he's allowed to, what the forum is full off shouldn't change that, it has been discussed, let's discuss it again. if that's not required and unsupported, then forbid it, just like you forbid religion, why keep it open to be repeated over and over again if you don't approve of it? you're even an administrator.. it's within your duties to keep the forum healthy and in ship-shape..

why not raise a "no creationists" sign here? less headache for everyone, no benefit lost, and better atmosphere for everyone (i'm talking for real)

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