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  Topic: A proposal for discouraging Creationism, Possibly Darwinism is not the only way< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
DaveRAFinn



Posts: 15
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,05:33   

Caution, the following argument assumes at least some slight familiarity with logic. For example, given the following syllogism, you should no difficulty in recognising it as being logically faulty:

All Darwinian evolutionists are mammals.
All donkeys are mammals.

Therefore all Darwinian evolutionists are donkeys.


Many Creationist arguments only gain plausibility because of major deficiencies in evolutionary theory. Remove the deficiencies and their arguments lose plausibility.

There is one common logical error in many presentations of evolutionary theory, and this proposal is directed to that specific error. With a bit of cleaning up the argument can be expressed as:

The patterns of inheritance among fossils and between species shows that species have been produced by an evolutionary mechanism.
Individual variation plus natural selection gives an evolutionary mechanism.

Therefore the evolutionary mechanism that produces species is the evolutionary mechanism formed by individual variation plus natural selection.

The astute reader will recognise this as being a simple variant of the illogical argument with which I introduced this discussion. Indeed many of the more careful of the writers on evolution are careful to avoid this faulty argument. However many accounts of evolution, and much of the discussion in forums like this appear to assume the two evolutionary mechanisms are the same. This is strange since natural variation plus natural selection has been fairly fully explored as neo-Darwinism and is predominantly a fairly slow, gradual, reversible change in the proportions of alleles within populations of species and the evolutionary process that produces new species appears to be an irreversible, saltatory process that adds genes to a genome.

The issue can be settled as there are at least two very distinctive features of the two mechanisms which make it clear that there are two different mechanisms, which cannot be identified as variants of a single mechanism. The first is the appearance of major new families of organisms, such as insects. The neo-Darwinistic mechanisms must proceed according to the sequence:

The appearance of one or a few individuals forming a new family
Proliferation of the species represented by the individual/group.
Divergence of the species.

The actual fossil record in every case indicates a different sequence:

The appearance numerous wildly diverse species in a new family.
Selection of the most promising species within the new family
Divergence from this selection.

It is easy to come up with a natural evolutionary mechanism that will give year zero diversity for a new branch of the evolutionary tree. It is not possible to modify the neo-Darwinian mechanism to achieve such year zero diversity.

The second difference is a simple case of statistics. Consider three populations of a species, one with a thousand members, one with a million and one with a billion. Whatever mechanisms one assumes for natural individual variation it is obvious that however many genetic variants arise within a thousand individuals in a year the number will be a thousand times greater for a population of a million and a million times as great for a population of a billion. Moreover variants do not last forever and usually eventually become predominant or dropped. If it takes a thousand years to resolve a gene as dominant/lost in a population it will typically take 2 thousand years for a population of a million and 3 thousand for a population of a billion ? so variant genes hang about for longer in large populations. Also, for any characteristic of the species a population of a thousand will have most of its members near the average with only a few individuals found at two standard deviations from the norm. The population of a million will have a few thousand members at two standard deviations from the norm and even a few at four standard deviations. The population of a billion will have a few million at two standard deviations, a few thousand at four standard deviations and even a few at six standard deviations. This comparison can be extended out to species with populations of trillions of trillions.

In the event of a change in the environment which of these populations will be most likely to have a variant group able to survive in the new conditions? Obviously the larger population ? it covers a far greater ?gene space?.  This gives a definitive statistical test for evolutionary mechanisms based on individual variation. For any reasonably large sample of species produced by individual variation (and we have a sample in the millions) when, for each species, you look at the immediately preceding species in the evolutionary sequence it will, on average, be one of the most numerous species of its cohort. The actual pattern produced by the natural species-producing mechanism could hardly be more different ? hardly any species are directly descended from any of the most populous thousand species and the majority are descended from a species not even in the most populous million of species. This bit of statistics makes it absolutely certain that the majority of species are not produced by any evolutionary mechanism using natural individual variation as its source of genetic change. Basically neo-Darwinism is a lottery with the individual as the ticket, and observation shows that far too many species are winning descendant species than is accounted for by their ticketholding.

So this is my simple proposal:

Stop making the daft claim that all species are produced by neo-Darwinian evolution ? hardly any are. Research and write up both mechanisms and make it clear which mechanism has what effect (to a first approximation neo-Darwinism is alleles and tuning, the other is gene addition and new species formation). You are left with an evolutionary theory without the gaping holes by which Creationists obtain credibility.

From the point of view of most of my readers there will be one significant objection to this proposal. Few, if any, of you will have the slightest idea how the second evolutionary mechanism works. Be brave, have a go at working out how the second mechanism works. There may even be more than one answer. Some comments from my own analysis: First the good news, it is actually a simple mechanism that can be reasonably easily seen, demonstrated and understood. You quite probably already know all that is necessary to understand it. It provides natural explanations for most of the problem areas in evolution and the arithmetic gives the correct answers. Second, the bad news, it has, apart from being a natural evolutionary mechanism, absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to neo-Darwinism. This is hardly surprising as the driving source of genetic change is not, and cannot be, individual variation. This means that if you maintain a ?drowning man? grip on examples, principles and rules which work for (but only for) neo-Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms then you will have extreme difficulty in understanding the species producing mechanism.

If you can?t find an answer, or wish to check if yours is the same as mine, check out www.nsof.co.nz.

  
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,05:36   

Quote
Many Creationist arguments only gain plausibility because of major deficiencies in evolutionary theory. Remove the deficiencies and their arguments lose plausibility.


Name some.

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I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4807
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,06:24   

Quote

There is one common logical error in many presentations of evolutionary theory


Then it should be a matter of the utmost simplicity for you to provide full bibliographic references to the scientific peer-reviewed literature that propound that error. Since you claim "many", let's start with four such citations.

Ready, set... crickets chirp?

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"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,07:04   

All basement crackpots are mammals.
All mentally deficient posters are mammals.
Therefore all basement crackpots are mentally deficient.

But this does not follow. Not only is the logic faulty, empirical experience shows otherwise: Commentary on AtBC originating from creationist, ID, and otherwise anti-Darwinian camps shows that not all basement crackpots are mentally deficient.

The jury is out in this particular instance.

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Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,07:23   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Aug. 21 2007,14:24)
?  
Quote

There is one common logical error in many presentations of evolutionary theory


Then it should be a matter of the utmost simplicity for you to provide full bibliographic references to the scientific peer-reviewed literature that propound that error. Since you claim "many", let's start with four such citations.

Ready, set... crickets chirp?

Hahahahahahha

Is that Wes being cranky?

Of course the statement

?  
Quote
Many Creationist arguments only gain plausibility because of major deficiencies in evolutionary theory. Remove the deficiencies and their arguments lose plausibility.


..ntch ?should read

Many Creationist arguments only gain plausibility (to the great unwashed) because of major deficiencies in evolutionary theory the honesty of the creationist. Remove the deficiencies in the honesty of the creationist and their arguments lose plausibility.

It's logic Mr. Spok, but not as we nowit.

Bring on the dancing clowns ra ta diddle la ta dada.

Speaking of no wit Mr Spok:-

What do u say to a creationist without a theory?

Ur...*dribble*..I don't know Mr. Finn.


It's the end without a start before a Finish-man egg chicken cigarette.

Finn un-McCool you bring shame on the Irish and I hope...Kiwis.

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,08:17   

Viva Saltation!  Viva the Onion Genome!  Viva hack biology!

clearly the onion is at the end of a long line of gene addition speciation events, if we are to take you seriously.  I'm not convinced that we should though.

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You're obviously illiterate as hell.†Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,09:31   

Hi Dave,

The problem I am having with your contention is that I don't agree with the premises, nor do I think that the  overly simplistic application of logic to those premises sufficiently encompasses the actual state or theories of evolutionary biology.

Quote
Many Creationist arguments only gain plausibility because of major deficiencies in evolutionary theory. Remove the deficiencies and their arguments lose plausibility.


Like Ian and Wesley, I would love to see examples of those major deficiencies, the one you claim below doesn't cut the mustard for a few reasons (which I will get to below). I think the reason creationist arguments are treated as plausible by some (very few) people is because these people are either a) ignorant of what evolutionary biology actually is, b) decieved about what evolutionary biology actually is, c) insufficiently intelligent to understand evolutionary biology, d) mistaken about evolutionary biology (i.e. they are capable, informed, and undecieved, but they have made a simple error), e) predisposed to creationist claims for less than honest reasons. I also think this has been amply demonstrated in the public and academic literature.

So, whilst I sympathise with your desire to improve science and scientific communication (it's a desire I share) I am cautious about your choice of topic and manner of expressing said desire. Sadly, you will find a lot of caution, if not derision, from biologists and other scientists if you start claiming that evolutionary biology has gaping flaws in it. Not because of their predisposition to defend it irrationally, but because evolutionary biology has had so many utterly vacuous detractions thrown at it by so many utterly clueless (or mendacious) detractors that a certain ennui with anti-evolution has developed. That's not to say or imply that if genuine problems were to arise the theories would not be modified (of course they would), just that you might find a good degree of annoyance given the phraseology and issue you have chosen.

Quote
The patterns of inheritance among fossils and between species shows that species have been produced by an evolutionary mechanism.
Individual variation plus natural selection gives an evolutionary mechanism.

Therefore the evolutionary mechanism that produces species is the evolutionary mechanism formed by individual variation plus natural selection.


Given that (IIRC) this is not what is claimed by modern evolutionary biology, or to be precise, not exactly what is claimed by modern evolutionary biology, I think it can be discarded. Firstly there are more mechanisms for selection than natural selection, secondly there are different modes of speciation. I would humbly suggest that you read up a bit more on what evolution is rather than attacking caricatures of neo-Darwinism/modern evolutionary biology (for they are not the same thing).

Take the extreme ends of speciation as examples: allopatric speciation requires a geographical separation of two groups of organisms from the same species, sympatric speciation doesn't (it requires genetic separation). Those are two fundamentally different modes of speciation even though that at a very trivial level the two "daughter" species derive from the "parent" species by accumulating genetic differences. How those genetic differences arise and how they are then acted upon by selection (of various types) or how they impinge on the specific population's ability to survive in a new environment are very different. However, in terms of their mechanistic basis, i.e. accumulation of genetic differences and separation based on genetic distance, is always going to be similar because this is how organisms evolve full stop. It's no more significant than saying they are composed of atoms.

Your alternative saltationary idea (yes I did skim quickly through your document) is only a better alternative to your straw version of what evolutionary biology is, based I think, on your misunderstanding of it. I don't mean that as an insult, but I have to say I am finding it hard to see what your genuine objection is. I think what you've done is make a logical argument from a poor understanding of what evolutionary biology actually is. That's a perfectly understandable mistake, but the I freely admit I am not an evolutionary biologist, so I may have missed some nuance or another. I don't think I have, but the possibility exists! ;)

Louis

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Bye.

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,09:37   

FU Louis could you be more concise?

After all you're not Welsh or even Greek. Pray tell what do you have in your mouth? Don't answer that I am still reading your last epistle.


The espistle of St. Louis .....with extra words!

Look I know you get paid by the word but there are times when less is more.

"Only a poor man asks to be paid by the word" the gospel of k.e.

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,09:46   

Quote (k.e @ Aug. 21 2007,15:37)
FU Louis could you be more concise?

No. Fuck off!

Love

Louis

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Bye.

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,09:49   

Look here's what I mean.

Quote
The problem I am having with your contention is that I don't agree with the premises, nor do I think that the ?overly simplistic application of logic to those premises sufficiently encompasses the actual state or theories of evolutionary biology.


Maaaate you're talking out of your arse.

Quote
Like Ian and Wesley, I would love to see examples of those major deficiencies, the one you claim below doesn't cut the mustard for a few reasons (which I will get to below). I think the reason creationist arguments are treated as plausible by some (very few) people is because these people are either a) ignorant of what evolutionary biology actually is, b) decieved about what evolutionary biology actually is, c) insufficiently intelligent to understand evolutionary biology, d) mistaken about evolutionary biology (i.e. they are capable, informed, and undecieved, but they have made a simple error), e) predisposed to creationist claims for less than honest reasons. I also think this has been amply demonstrated in the public and academic literature.


Nobody gives a fuck what you say and they never will, the proof is you posted here!

Quote
So, whilst I sympathise with your desire to improve science and scientific communication (it's a desire I share) I am cautious about your choice of topic and manner of expressing said desire. Sadly, you will find a lot of caution, if not derision, from biologists and other scientists if you start claiming that evolutionary biology has gaping flaws in it. Not because of their predisposition to defend it irrationally, but because evolutionary biology has had so many utterly vacuous detractions thrown at it by so many utterly clueless (or mendacious) detractors that a certain ennui with anti-evolution has developed. That's not to say or imply that if genuine problems were to arise the theories would not be modified (of course they would), just that you might find a good degree of annoyance given the phraseology and issue you have chosen.


Sod off cunt.

Quote
Given that (IIRC) this is not what is claimed by modern evolutionary biology, or to be precise, not exactly what is claimed by modern evolutionary biology, I think it can be discarded. Firstly there are more mechanisms for selection than natural selection, secondly there are different modes of speciation. I would humbly suggest that you read up a bit more on what evolution is rather than attacking caricatures of neo-Darwinism/modern evolutionary biology (for they are not the same thing).


Twice!
Quote
Take the extreme ends of speciation as examples: allopatric speciation requires a geographical separation of two groups of organisms from the same species, sympatric speciation doesn't (it requires genetic separation). Those are two fundamentally different modes of speciation even though that at a very trivial level the two "daughter" species derive from the "parent" species by accumulating genetic differences. How those genetic differences arise and how they are then acted upon by selection (of various types) or how they impinge on the specific population's ability to survive in a new environment are very different. However, in terms of their mechanistic basis, i.e. accumulation of genetic differences and separation based on genetic distance, is always going to be similar because this is how organisms evolve full stop. It's no more significant than saying they are composed of atoms.


Extra words can lead to a Doctorate, bear with me on this.

Quote
Your alternative saltationary idea (yes I did skim quickly through your document) is only a better alternative to your straw version of what evolutionary biology is, based I think, on your misunderstanding of it. I don't mean that as an insult, but I have to say I am finding it hard to see what your genuine objection is. I think what you've done is make a logical argument from a poor understanding of what evolutionary biology actually is. That's a perfectly understandable mistake, but the I freely admit I am not an evolutionary biologist, so I may have missed some nuance or another. I don't think I have, but the possibility exists! ;)


Did I say I was talking Bs?

K.e.

*P.s.

Louis (I presume you play a trumpet) don't take this personally. I am mearly taking you to task on your prolixity which may or may not be a good thing, depending.

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,09:56   

K.E.

a) I wasn't offended/taking it personally, I was being concise.

b) I am more than fully aware of my personal tendancy towards circumlocution, verbosity and indeed sesquipedlian antics viz words.

c) Meh! I'm working on it.

Louis

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Bye.

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,10:00   

Quote
a) I wasn't offended/taking it personally, I was being concise.


Good , just don't expect a long answer.

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Henry J



Posts: 4565
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,21:13   

Quote
Whatever mechanisms one assumes for natural individual variation it is obvious that however many genetic variants arise within a thousand individuals in a year the number will be a thousand times greater for a population of a million and a million times as great for a population of a billion.


Which implies nothing about which of those groups will produce more descendant species than the others. A high population species is apt to be already quite well adapted to its current environment; if that doesn't change, there's no adaptation to be made. A low population species, in contrast, can easily change simply due to genetic drift.

Henry

  
Glen Davidson



Posts: 1014
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2007,10:48   

Quote
There is one common logical error in many presentations of evolutionary theory, and this proposal is directed to that specific error. With a bit of cleaning up the argument can be expressed as:

The patterns of inheritance among fossils and between species shows that species have been produced by an evolutionary mechanism.
Individual variation plus natural selection gives an evolutionary mechanism.

Therefore the evolutionary mechanism that produces species is the evolutionary mechanism formed by individual variation plus natural selection.

The astute reader will recognise this as being a simple variant of the illogical argument with which I introduced this discussion.


Yes, it's massively deficient, of the kind that crackpots make up and ascribe to science.  The primary deficiency exposed here is Dave's ignorance of science.

See, Dave, the thing is that science doesn't operate according to the false dichotomies and evidence-free assertions that you do.  It looks at the evidence, and makes conclusions based solely (in the ideal) on that evidence.

And because the only visible mechanisms found to cause evolution (and the only ones able to produce the familiar patterns of inheritance--vs. the different patterns in language evolution, for example) are those known as modern evolutionary theory, or to crackpots as "Darwinism", science indeed understands evolution as having occurred according to those mechanisms.

The little Phil 101 exercise that you proffer instead of the empiricism of science only proves that you don't recognize of what proper inference consists.  We have absolutely no legitimate evidence to suppose that evolution occurs by other than the known mechanisms, hence the term "known mechanisms".  And the fact that there could be unknown mechanisms hasn't passed by the notice of capable empiricists, they just don't base theories on vague notions of "possibilities" as people like Dave suppose that they ought to do.

Glen D

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http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p....p

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy

   
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2007,11:16   

BTW - Could the original post be from AFDave?

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2007,11:23   

Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 22 2007,19:16)
BTW - Could the original post be from AFDave?

Not unless he has moved to N.Z. check out the link at the bottom of his first post.

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
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