Saturday, March 18, 2006
Darwinism and the Integration of the Sciences
Darwinian evolutionary biologists have enjoyed a privileged position of authority, especially in academia, because anyone who questions their theses, whether on the grounds of theoretical principle or evidence, is immediately labeled an enemy of science. Never mind that the hypotheses are built on a foundation of wishful speculation, and that contradictory evidence is consistently ignored or dismissed with ridicule.
The essence of the Darwinian evolutionary hypothesis can be comprehended with little effort by almost anyone: Vary stuff randomly, and keep the stuff that works the best. The stuff that works the best will make copies of itself. This explains everything!
But an interesting turn of events has occurred in the last 30 or so years.
Scientists in other fields have started to question the “vary stuff” part of the hypothesis. Engineers, mathematicians, computer programmers and information theorists understand the statistical problems presented by the phenomenon of combinatoric explosion, which evolutionary biologists ignore as being surmountable with time and probabilistic resources, with no hard analysis of the probabilities involved.
Great post! Also, you all might want to take a look at Part 2 of Paul Nelson's account of his debate with Sarkar.
Who better to discuss biology than the folks listed here...
You don't think that mathematicians would be well-qualified to understand the combinatorial and probabilistic issues in the claims of evolution? You don't think that engineers and information theoriests don't understand the issues involved in functional constraints of complex systems?
As for a role for chance in ontogeny and phylogeny:
"Neither in the one nor in the other is there room for chance."
Leo Berg, Nomogenesis, page 134
I regard Leo Berg as the greatest evolutionist of all time.
"A past evolution is undeniable. A present evolution is undemonstrable."
John A. Davison
Providing that they have an understanding iof the underlying biology, sure. Problem is, most of these folks don't. Same with engineers and computer programmers. They tend to make the same elitist and arrogant (not to mention incorrect) assumptions that you have done - that since you think biology is just like a computer, you have some sort of special insight.
Sorry, you don't. You cannot take the tenets of one field of knowledge and apply them directly to another. This is what creationist computer programmers, engineers, mathematicians, etc. always do. And they always make the same stupid mistakes, like equating genome function to software, or equating abiogenesis with evolution.
Or claiming that haldane's model isa major problem for human evolution then riunning away from refutations of their assertions.
That is the creationist way.
I don't disagree.
"since you think biology is just like a computer, you have some sort of special insight."
I think I have a decent insight into the biological aspects that do behave like computers. And I think the idea that many parts of biology does in fact do this is well-supported. If it is not, then simulations such as Avida are absolutely worthless.
"And they always make the same stupid mistakes, like equating genome function to software, or equating abiogenesis with evolution."
Hmmmm... genome function exhibits numerous logic functions, is symbolic, is made of discrete values, and has an essential equivalence between programs and data. I think that's a lot like software. The primary difference I see is that biology is (a) massively parallel and (b) the addressing mechanism of the genome is structural rather than strictly positional.
The thing about abiogenesis, as I have pointed out several times on this site, is that monophyly is based on specific views of abiogenesis. If those views are incorrect, then there is no reason at all to hold to monophyly. The attempt to separate origin of life issues from universal common ancestry is simply a ploy to separate evolutionary theory from the place where it is the weakest. They are conceptually bound together. For a discussion of this, see here.
"Or claiming that haldane's model isa major problem for human evolution then riunning away from refutations of their assertions."
What do you consider running away? We went through every argument. I don't enjoy repeating myself, so when we hit an impass, rather than rant on endlessly I let others decide.
You asked for what are the beneficial differences, I referenced papers which discuss numerous genes, many having multiple changes.
You mentioned achondroplasia, and I pointed out that while small changes can lead to big effects, getting small changes to lead to _useful_ big effects usually requires that a system have multiple, coordinated changes in a variety of subsystems. The only real exception to this is when the change is pre-planned, in which case the subsystem changes are ready-to-go in one shot, with the change simply switching between two complete subsystems.
I still find it odd that you still cling to that study as an "empirical result" of how fast substitutions are fixed in the population, when all that study does is take the number of differences and divide by the estimated timeframe of divergence. I also find it odd that you were shown why this is circular reasoning 4 years ago and still try to use it in your posts.
I've posted why I think the evidence leads to believe that it would take more than 1,667 mutations (in a Darwinian system) to go from Chimp/Human common ancestor to human. If you think it would require fewer, and it is invalid of me to hold to my claims without naming which mutations are essential, should you not also be held to the same standard? Name _all_ of the beneficial mutations between Chimp/Human Common Ancestor and Human and let's see if they add up to less than 1,667. If you can't do that, then your complaints about my inability to name the mutations explicitly is hypocritical.