One more important reason to be skeptic about Darwins Theory


(Otangelo Grasso) #1

One more important reason to be skeptic about Darwins Theory

I don’t know if this has been apprechiated before, but in my view, following below is a MAJOR DIFFICULTY in the construct and concept of Darwins Theory, which justifies major skepticism and concern. What i post in sequence, puts the Theory of Evolution into speculation territory at best, fantasia-land at worst !!

One of the main tenets of the theory of evolution is:
Differential survival and reproduction. Individuals possessing traits well suited for the struggle for local resources will contribute more offspring to the next generation.

Understanding Evolution
http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_32
It’s more accurate to think of natural selection as a process rather than as a guiding hand. Natural selection is the simple result of variation, differential reproduction, and heredity — it is mindless and mechanistic. It has no goals; it’s not striving to produce “progress” or a balanced ecosystem.

What is the definition of “differential reproduction”?
This means that individuals with a certain genotype for a given locus or gene have more reproductive success than individuals within the same population that have other genotypes for for that same gene. This difference in reproductive success can be the result of longer survival that results in more reproductive events over a lifetime, more offspring per reproductive event, or more frequent successful reproductive events.
Differential reproduction is the idea that those organisms best adapted to a given environment will be most likely to survive to reproductive age and have offspring of their own. Organisms that are successful in their environments will be more likely to be successful in reproduction, and therefore the better-adapted organisms will reproduce at a greater rate than the less well-adapted organisms. 2
Differential reproduction is needed because for natural selection to occur, one group with a specific trait has to have more reproductive success than another group within the same population.

The Extended synthesis, Pigliucci , pg.13
A second restriction overcome by the new approach is externalism. The nearly exclusive concentration of the Modern Synthesis on natural selection gave priority to all external factors that realize adaptation through differential reproduction, a fundamental feature of Darwinism not rooted solely in scientific considerations (Hull 2005).

If a short definition that catches the core of the process is desired, we can say that natural selection is “the differential reproduction of hereditary variations,” which is how textbooks often define it. That is saying simply that useful variants multiply more effectively over the generations than less useful (or harmful) variants. Thus a cheetah able to run faster will catch more prey, and therefore live longer and leave more offspring than a slower cheetah. So, a hereditary variant that boosts fleetness will increase in frequency over the generations and eventually replace the slower variant.

Its evident that harmful variants, where the mutation influences negatively health, fitness, and reproduction hability of an organisms diminshes. These are sorted out, or die through desease. That says nothing however in regard of an organism gaining MORE fitness through evolution of new advantageous traits, and spreading these in the population, resulting in evolutionary advancement.

DOMINANCE RANK, COPULATORY BEHAVIOR, AND DIFFERENTIAL REPRODUCTION
http://www.journals.uchicago.edu.sci-hub.cc/doi/abs/10.1086/412672
The view that high social rank is associated with high levels of both copulatory behavior and the production of offspring is widespread in the study of animal social behavior.

This fact alone would falsify the claim that positive mutations would result automatically in higher replication of the animals with the evolved variations. At least in species which have the social hiearchy where higher ranked animals have preference to mate with females.

In order to demonstrate the validity of this hypothesis it is necessary first to resolve ambiguities in the concept of dominance and to assign ranks by means of valid procedures. Second, copulatory behavior must be properly sampled, measured, and related to rank. Finally, it must be demonstrated that rank and increased copulatory behavior actually lead to increased reproduction.

And it must be demonstrated that advantageous evolutionary traits outcompete social behavior and rank in terms of reproduction success.

Each step in this process entails conceptual and methodological difficulties. There have been many studies of rank and copulatory behavior, fewer of rank and differential reproduction, and very few of rank, copulatory behavior, and differential reproduction. The consistency of results obtained varies with taxon; results of particular consistency appear in studies of carnivores and ungulates. Both the concept of dominance and the validity of the hypothesis relating it to copulatory behavior and to differential reproduction appear viable for at least some species, although the body of data relating rank to both copulation and differential reproduction remains minimal.

This is highly telling, and of crucial importance. Think about it. The body of data and evidence in regard of elucidating one of the most important ingredients of the theory of evolution are minimal !! The author admits conceptual and methodological difficulties to study this issue. There are no relevant studies that provide empirical data that differential reproduction can outcompete rank and copulatory behavior.
This fact alone puts Darwins ToE into speculative territory at best. Fantasia land at worst !!

Among the most prominent hypotheses in the study of animal social behavior is the view that dominant animals gain differential access to mating partners and consequently leave more offspring than do their subordinates. This view was promulgated by some of the earliest students of dominance (e.g., Zuckerman, 1932; Mas- low, 1936) and is often asserted in secondary references. For example, Barash (1977) has written that “There is abundant evidence that such dominant individuals engage in more matings and hence are more fit than are subordinates” (p. 237). This hypothesis linking dominance, copulatory behavior, and differential reproduction has elicited vigorous skepticism as well as advocacy (e.g., Bernstein, 1976; Gartlan, 1968; Kolata, 1976; Rowell, 1974).

The important place given the problem of rank, copulatory behavior, and reproduction in the study of animal social behavior is appropriate because an understanding of these relationships could greatly facilitate an understanding of the broader problem of the evolution of social behavior.

The real issue is if copulatory behavior outperforms differential reproduction.

The importance of the problem should not be overstated, however;

The contrary is the case. If copulatory behavior outperforms differential reproduction, Darwins theory is falsified, since its a essential mechanism to spread new traits in the population.


(Phil) #2

I’m not sure what the problem would be, as if a copulatory behavior resulted in more offspring, then that behavior would be advantageous in an evolutionary sense, serving to confirm evolution. It is tempting for us to see one trait or another as advantagous, but ultimately the only measure of evolutionary success is reproductive success.


(Stephen Matheson) #3

This was pasted in from a different site (Sam Harris’ site). I would call it spam on that basis and on the basis of its content.


#4

Isn’t Harris an atheist? Why would he have a problem with the ToE?


(Stephen Matheson) #5

It was posted there by the same person (Otangelo) a few hours ago. Harris didn’t write it, it’s just a discussion board on his site, like this one.


#6

Ah, I see. Thank you. Love the comments he’s getting there. Should we cut and paste them also? What do you think, @Otangelo_Grasso1 ?


(Steve Schaffner) #7

It also makes not a lick of sense, if that matters.


(George Brooks) #8

@Otangelo_Grasso1,

oh my goodness. My dear sir, I think you have forgotten which blog you are on:

  1. BioLogos does not teach Darwinism;

  2. The mission statement of BioLogos states that God is involved in the evolution of all creation.

  3. Even many Creationists assert that the animals released from the Ark spread out into new environmental niches all around the world, and created new species faster than even Darwinists say speciation occurs - - because there are only a handful of eons between the time of the Ark and the splendid diversity of life we can see and document on today’s planet.

So, Otangelo, can we even count all the ways you have made a mess out of the writings of critics who really have no idea what they are talking about?

If you want to make a sacred stand for your faith, this is the position I recommend for you:

  1. the Earth is obviously millions of years old;

  2. and the genetic diversity of humanity clearly indicates that the first human couple had to have lived a at least a million years ago.

  3. and that Jesus is the indwelling of the spirit of Adam, sent to Earth at the instruction of the Father, come to reclaim his children. Then you can apply this perspective to the theology of Christianity for a modern world.

These are fairly bullet-proof positions… and it will give you something to talk about.

But if you insist that the Earth and humanity is less than 6000, you will be fighting the natural evidence opposing such claims for the rest of your life.


(Otangelo Grasso) #9

What determines whether they spread or not depends on an incredibly complex web of factors - the species’ ecology, its physical and social environment and mating behavior. To isolate these factors and see which is of selective importance, and quantify them, plug them into a mixed multivariate model, and see whats statistically significant, will never provide accurate outcomes. There are too many variables to take into consideration.


(Otangelo Grasso) #10

i have no problem in admitting that God created evolution or adaptation, no matter how you want to name it, as a mechanism for animals to adapt to the environment.

The crux or relevant question is not if evolution exists or not. Evidently it does. The question is, what is the mechanism that drives adaptation, and what are the relevant factors that determine body form , phenotype, and first degree speciation.

As i am pointing out, the variables , if it Darwins theory had to be put to test, are too many. That is

  1. Random mutations and which mutations would be beneficial in each specific species, in regard of survival, AND reproduction fitness ( that are two separate things )
  2. Ecology and evironment conditions which behave in a non predictable way , and the influece of given new traits in the genome.
  3. Competition of mating behavior of each species varies. In order to gain accurate data, it would have to be possible to quantify the rate upon which alpha males of each species outcompete their concurrent non-alpha males, and compare this data with reproduction success of other non alpha-males that gained the new positive mutation trait and so higher fitness, and measure if the alphas will win the battle for reproduction or not, and thus selection can either win the competition or not.

These are unquantifiable variables. They would have to be gained in a large number of different species to get a averabe number, and in a number of different environments and conditions. Thats a far fetch and impossible challenge even for the most advanced scientific methods of today.

I posted the article today in two or three forums, so at the Harris forum as well.

For example :

DIFFERENTIAL REPRODUCTIVE SUCCESS AND HERITABILITY OF ALTERNATIVE REPRODUCTIVE TACTICS IN WILD ATLANTIC SALMON (SALMO SALAR L.)

To conclude, although our results showed unequal reproductive success between salmon tactics, a clear demonstration of equality (or not) of lifetime fitness of alternative reproductive tactics would be very difficult to achieve under natural conditions. This is mainly because individuals originating from one tactic can potentially switch to the other tactic and also because heritability might be highly variable depending on different sets of environmental conditions. Also, the variation in heritability between habitats and tactics observed in this study shows that previous models aiming to explain the coexistence of alternative reproductive tactics in the context of the conditional strategy theory (Gross and Repka 1998a,b) based on a single heritability estimate for the entire population are likely inappropriate to capture the complexity of factors involved in the expression of alternative
life-history tactics.

Since this problem extends to almost all life, above makes the ToE basically a “theory” that CANNOT BE TESTED.


(George Brooks) #11

@Otangelo_Grasso1

You seem to think that nature works only if humans understand how it works.

We do not know all the molecular variables for how rain drops form in the upper atmosphere… and then (usually) fall down to Earth. Sometimes rain drops get sucked back up into the freezing temperatures of the upper layers … and there they freeze to become hail.

When does a frozen rain drop become heavy enough to fall to Earth? That is a tremendously complex equation! But the one thing you know for sure, hail isn’t going to stay up there forever!

You are worried about how complicated the natural world is for “Natural Selection” to work.
But you can be sure if there is a mysterious disadvantage to a trait that humans think is beneficial, natural processes are going to trump human expectations every time!

When you put a thermometer into a boiling pot of pasta, how much will the temperature change because the thermometer is cooler than the water? Physically speaking, the cooler temperature of the thermometer must affect the temperature of the boiling water. But the influence is never going to be significant enough to stop the water from boiling, or enough to ruin the final result of delicious pasta.

In natural selection, humans don’t have to be able to quantify all variables for natural selection to still function. But I see that your point is that because of these differences, you and your pals - - the Young Earth Creationists - - claim the Theory of Evolution is not testable.

This is a fool’s errand. Do we have to be able to quantify the movements of electrons to test Einstein’s theory of Evolution? Does the Double Slit experiment mean the Theory of Relativity is in doubt? No.

Read my copy of an earlier post (posted below this one), where we get to watch Natural Selection happen right in front of us! It’s a giant petri dish at Harvard, where colonies of bacteria compete with each other in an environment that becomes increasingly more toxic due to increased levels of antibiotics!

Can we predict which colonies will prevail? No. But we could run this test a dozen times and see - again and again - that while some groups of bacteria are stopped… eventually there will be a breakout of a group that has produced a new genetic combination making them more tolerant of what was deadly to its fellow bacteria.

Watch the video in the next post. Watch it a couple of times. No theory in the Universe can be tested in every aspect from every angle. But the Theory of Evolution is one of the most cross-referenced and independently confirmed aggregations of scientific corroboration in both Western academics … and commerce!


(George Brooks) #12

@Otangelo_Grasso1

As promised … the most testable demonstration of Natural Selection to date - -

Firstly, I will concede that this is not a demonstration of the creation of a new species of bacteria. And I must also disclose that I have added some colored lines to emphasize the exquisite drama being portrayed in this laboratory demonstration. Look at what it so beautifully demonstrates, and unequivocally so!:

  1. bacteria, confronted with toxic environmental factors cannot proceed past a virtual “line of death”;

  2. bacteria, known for being able to use “sloppy” genetic replication to rapidly create variants, very soon create multiple “ground zeros” where a mere speck of a new genetic variant, sprouts into expanding cones of robust penetration into the zone of death;

  3. once again confronted with geometrically more deadly levels of toxin, we see the process repeated over and over … not just from one unusual group, but from “ground zeros” springing up all over again, repeating the same process, but obviously with an even more resilient form of anti-toxin genetics;

  4. and all of this without benefit of any intelligent plan cooked up by the bacteria, either in local committee or in a table-wide federation of bacteria.

This demonstration brilliantly shows several things:
i) spontaneous variation at the genetic level;
ii) competition between expanding “cones” of different variants;
iii) replication of the process in multiple locations and multiple zones of toxin concentration;
iv) common descent from one cone of expansion, that produces yet another cone of expansion with a new genetic configuration > yielding survivors that are very different from the original bacteria that could not survive the lowest levels of toxin.

Do we have any doubt that this demonstration could be repeated hundreds of times and produce virtually the same behaviors and the same conquest of the growth media by bacteria who landed in the demonstration in an eerie “come as you are” party of Struggle and Survival?

I’m not sure what you think is so implausible or flawed about The Theory of Evolution … perhaps it is the issue of speciation that stops you. But certainly we can see right in front of us what Natural Selection and Common Descent can do when it can happen fast enough for us to note its adaptability.


(Jay Nelsestuen) #13

A few posts down on Harris’ site:

Do you know why Episcopalians are lousy chess players?
Because they don’t know the difference between a Bishop and a Queen.

I LOL’ed. :smile:


(Otangelo Grasso) #14

Well, how do you know and can know natural selection exists and is the decisive element that modifies descents ? based on what i posted above, you can’t. Its a idea out of hot air, and hot air it remains till today. But when the claim is repeated time and time again, it becomes, guess what… a FACT.
" We don’t know of an other mechanism which provokes organismal change, therefore NS '. You don’t know how many times i heard this in the last week…
Random mutations are a fact. Evolution, aka adaptation to the environment, is a fact.
The driving factors and mechanisms imho are still being discoverd. And its most probably not natural selection, and if, its not the only element. Other, epigenetic mechanisms, are in play.


#15

I take it you aren’t an alpha male?


(Otangelo Grasso) #16

Thanks for the post. Interesting.

I agree with everything you posted, except one thing in the article : we do not see natural selection


(Otangelo Grasso) #17

But are we witnessing evolution in this video?
Young-earth creationist leader Ken Ham has responded that this study is much ado about nothing, because it only demonstrates adaptation, not evolution. Ken Ham writes that the researchers did not “see molecules-to-man evolution in action.” After all, the bacteria didn’t change into a different kind of organism (which is how young-earth creationists define evolutionary change). However, the HMS researchers never claimed to witness the entire process of macroevolution taking place—but rather, they witnessed and tested the evolutionary mechanisms that can lead to new species formation over much longer stretches of time.

yes, Ken Ham is only concerned with macro-evolution. And acknowledges that NS occurs in small scale - overlooking that even this claim - is unfounded. The experiment - agreed - interesting, would have to demonstrate NS in action - which it hasn’t, just observing descent with moditications - two new variations ISN’T A BIG FEAT AT ALL - we see it all the time. What would have to be demonstrated is, that the random mutations provided a advantageous new trait AND a higher reproduction rate compared to the bacterias without the variation , and over time spreading the new trait to all population. Another limitation factor is the fact that laboratory conditions say nothing about real life conditions, where ecology - environmental conditions play another determinant role - but cannot be quantified.


(George Brooks) #18

@Otangelo_Grasso1,

Challenging the logic of Natural Selection is a lot like someone challenging the logic of black holes!

At the simplest level, without Natural Selection, you would not see the pattern of bacterial limits to its growth, followed by sudden breakthroughs, which lead to multiple small groups of bacteria suddenly being able to thrive in a formerly poisonous environment … not just once, but at several points in the Harvard demonstration!

There’s the hint of the “conspiratorial” in this odd objection to Natural Selection. One thing that Environmentalists have discovered (including Christian environmentalists) is that if a state or community passes fishing laws that requires a universal rule to throw back the smallest of fish (on the presumption that they are not yet mature) - - what in fact happens is that a percentage of these small fish are not immature, but adult fish with the genetic propensity for smallness.

By changing the rules of Natural Selection, what they found is that over a decade, the average size of a lake’s population actually starts to decline – because the new man-made enhanced Selection process now is more favorable to the survival of fish with genes for smallness. This has been “tested” in laboratories as well… with 3 different aquariums, where 3 different “selection” policies are applied:

Tank 1 has “n” number of fish randomly removed every month.
Tank 2 has “n” number of small fish randomly removed every month.
Take 3 has “n” number of large fish randomly removed every month.

And what we see happening is exactly what Natural Selection predicts would happen. The removal of small fish (in other words, harvesting) leads to the average size of the fish increasing. The removal of large fish leads to the average size of the fish decreasing. And the tank where removal is purely random creates an average in between.

There’s no magic wand here. It’s just logic.

Natural Selection is not some magical or mystical property that only the most naive or superstitious person “believes”. It is as logical as how dog breeders can influence an entire breed by “selection” of breeding pairs that represent the desired qualities.

If we compare skepticism regarding “Natural Selection” vs. skepticism regarding “Speciation”, -

  • then challenging “Natural Selection” is the least successful of the challenges. Because we see the logic, and the mathematics, of “Selection” on not just animal or plant populations … but on just about anything that persists from on generation to another:

  • computer software designs,

  • drug company R&D on uncovering new molecular configurations for drugs,

  • military strategies,

  • shifts in linguistics based on user preferences,

and dozens of other things.

Frankly, your ability to buy-in to the oddly irrational view that Natural Selection doesn’t make sense is one of the reasons the American public is so willing to resist/protest allowing Creationists to take over the public schools.

It’s just a little bit too “out there” for comfort.

Read the article about “throwing the small ones back” !!!
http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/conover_03


(George Brooks) #19

@Otangelo_Grasso1

I think what you really want to say is the one thing we are not seeing is Speciation.

Because when you force bacteria to “live or die” in an environment with increasing levels of toxicity - - all you really Do See is Natural Selection.

You know about fishing, right? Here’s another link on how human policies can change a population by changing the rules of Natural Selection:

I’m not going to hold your hand on this one any further, Otangelo. If you don’t “get it” now, you are never going to get it. It would be like having a grown up visit a Sunday School class and having him repeatedly interrupt the class with requests to the teacher to “prove prayer works”!

You either get it, or you don’t. After a while, the Sunday School teacher is going to leave it in the hands of God. And I’m going to have to do that with your objections over Natural Selection.

Dog breeders use selection.
Monks who raised corn used selection.

It’s everywhere … whether you grasp it or not.


#20

You can’t assume that a person wants to understand it.