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Monday, March 27, 2017

A theory, falsified, again

One wonders how many times evolutionary biologists are going to see their hypotheses falsified before they finally give up and abandon ship on their pet theory.
Before the advent of rapid, accurate, and inexpensive DNA sequencing technology in the early 2000s, biologists guessed that genes would provide more evidence for increasing complexity in evolution. Simple, early organisms would have fewer genes than complex ones, they predicted, just as a blueprint of Dorothy’s cottage in Kansas would be less complicated than one for the Emerald City. Instead, their assumptions of increasing complexity began to fall apart. First to go was an easy definition of how complexity manifested itself. After all, amoebas had huge genomes. Now, DNA analyses are rearranging evolutionary trees, suggesting that the arrow scientists envisioned between simplicity and complexity actually spins like a weather vane caught in a tornado.
In summary:
  1. Biologists predicted genome size would increase over time, and that was wrong. 
  2. Biologists then predicted that gene number would increase over time, and that was wrong. 
  3. Biologists predicted that complex body parts would develop after simpler body parts, and that was wrong.
  4. Biologists have now found that the oldest living ancestor of animals, comb jellies, already had brain, nervous system, and muscles, and that sponges later lost those genes. Complexity was there at the start. 
  5. Biologists have also found, through experiment, that most mutations cause a loss of complexity.
The latter is particularly important, because it renders evolution statistically improbable to the point of impossibility. How many scientific theories can produce so many predictions that are completely proven wrong, so many hypotheses that are falsified, and still be considered orthodox dogma that one must be a madman or a barbarian to question?

I don't have the answer, but frankly, at this point, I am more inclined to believe in the possibility either alien breeding programs or the grand simulation hypothesis I am in the combination of abiogenesis and the neo-Darwinian synthesis. The combination is not only too temporally difficult and statistically improbable, but reliably produces incorrect hypotheses. I wouldn't go so far as to say it isn't science, merely that it is bad and outdated science that is unlikely to ever have any engineering relevance.

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257 Comments:

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Anonymous One Deplorable DT March 27, 2017 2:38 PM  

@197 - one does not need a competing theory to prove an existing theory false.

Blogger SirHamster March 27, 2017 2:38 PM  

Forrest Bishop wrote:Our entire Universe is actually just a sim being run on a giant computer named Turtle. But Turtle isn't actually a real computer, it's merely an emulation being run on an even bigger computer, coincidentally also named Turtle. And that Turtle of course is also just a sim running on an even bigger sim (also named Turtle), and it's Turtles all the way up.

The first (and last) Turtle is named Logo.


Jose wrote:Incorrect! Our universe is carried by four elephants, standing on the back of the great Turtle A'Tuin, swimming forever in the Ocean of Existence.

That turtle, too, is named Logo.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 27, 2017 2:40 PM  

Balázs Varga wrote:This is the reason why evolution takes so long to work. It is literally trial and error at its most unreasoning style. It does not take ten years, but millions of years. This also explains why no organism on Earth is perfect, and why are life forms so full of errors and mistakes.
The problem here is that the math has been done. Given known rates of mutation, and known prevalence of detrimental to beneficial mutations, it would take, not millions of years, not billions of years, but trillions of years. Thousands of times greater than the age of the universe.

But your childlike faith in a scientific impossibility is touching.

We need to keep in mind that precise details can change about theories. Mind in the good old Eastern Europe, evolution is called fact, not theory.
Because Eastern European education has never been used to indoctrinate the young.

Blogger James Dixon March 27, 2017 2:41 PM  

> And the competing theory is what?

Why don't you tell us, since you seem to be such an expert on how science works.

Hint, the correct answer is "We don't know".

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 27, 2017 2:51 PM  

Forrest Bishop wrote:

We can't ever know if the Universe is open or closed. It's untestable.

Actually it is testable. If the Universe is an open system, by definition, that means that entropy is violated. So any universe-scale entropy violation is prima facie demonstration of an open universe.
C.F. the big bang.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop March 27, 2017 2:51 PM  

Dire Badger wrote:mm... that is an interesting question, that assumes that the universe's maximum compression were coded... but what if it is uncoded?

If the universe contains common 'themes', that could be applied across all subsystems, couldn't it be considered more like object-oriented programming? ie each object does not have to be fully encoded, but simply has pointers to a default item?

As the complexity increases, so do the 'default' items... like in a computer game, where there is an engine for creating a default tree, but that tree (along with any pointers to a uniqueness randomiser) is replicated across the landscape, rather than each tree containing all the information for the 'tree' object?


Is 'maximal compression at all times and at all scales' incompatible with OOP? I don't think so.

OOP is akin to the 'as if from ideas plucked from the air' observation or Sheldrake's morphogenic field hypothesis. Briefly, once an object is formed, it becomes easier to form another one like it, anywhere in the Universe.

Why are all electrons the same size? Why can't they be all different sizes (charges)? When a new electron is born (electron-positron creation), it's also exactly the same size as all the old ones. Why? What was the pointer; what was the default item?

Blogger SirHamster March 27, 2017 3:09 PM  

Forrest Bishop wrote:OOP is akin to the 'as if from ideas plucked from the air' observation or Sheldrake's morphogenic field hypothesis. Briefly, once an object is formed, it becomes easier to form another one like it, anywhere in the Universe.

Ha, that's a fun idea. Sounds rather like a programmer mucking around in his own digital universe sandbox.

"I have created a LinkedList class and will now instantiate objects of it"

Blogger James Dixon March 27, 2017 3:20 PM  

> Ha, that's a fun idea. Sounds rather like a programmer mucking around in his own digital universe sandbox.

As has already been pointed out, DNA bears a striking resemblance to programming code. Why wouldn't the programmer practice "code reuse"?

Blogger SirHamster March 27, 2017 3:24 PM  

Cail Corishev wrote:Yes, I got the same impression from my studies that they're very analogous. A string of ribosomal RNA, which was transcribed from a section of DNA, is used to assemble a protein that carries out a particular function. The assembly is much like a CPU carrying out instructions one-by-one: each codon (a set of three "letters" in the strand) corresponds to aa amino acid, and they are assembled in order until the ribosome hits a "stop" sequence. Voila, a new protein custom-built according to the instructions in your DNA, ready to do its thing for you.

They are not just analogous, they are the same sort of "thing", but the human creation of electronic software/hardware is the lesser thing, and the biological life is the greater.

If we built anything that had half of life's features, it'd be an amazing engineering feat.

"It just happens with enough Magic Dirt and Time!" is not a serious theory of origins or development for life - not when we're paying millions of engineers and programmers just to keep the current Internet of Things running, never mind the attempts at improvement.

Anonymous MendoScot March 27, 2017 3:56 PM  

TENS is sooooo 20th century, dude. It's all genetic networks in the 21st! Evolution occurs by system reconfiguration and the mutations are just baggage.

And who is this Darwin, anyway?

Blogger Jack Ward March 27, 2017 4:10 PM  

@186 Resident Moron:
Check out Isiah 2 and 4. Easy way google up beating the heck out of plowshares. And, Micah 4 and 3.
pax to you, boo boo.

Anonymous sqeekie March 27, 2017 4:29 PM  

Cornelius Hunter has an interesting blog called, Darwin's God, which continually documents Darwinian fake news.

Anonymous Anonymous March 27, 2017 4:47 PM  

20 years of working for an evolutionary biologist have quietly changed me from a believer in science and evolution into a more of a not-quite-young-earth-intelligent-design person. Did you know whales give birth tail-first? Otherwise the baby whale drowns before it's even born. I tried very hard to figure out how that evolved step by step by accident. Did the change from head-first birthing happen before or after they went into the water? Surely it happened first, entirely randomly. Exactly what sort of random mutation in the whale's pelvis could have caused the change? How many baby whales drowned first? "A lot," says my boss. Scientists wave away the implied consciousness and will in the supposed process of evolution, although it is conveniently personified on various smiley-face isn't science cool websites: Look, kids, whales evolved flippers instead of feet then evolved tail-first birth! As if "whales" "did" anything, consciously or unconsciously, to somehow will it to happen correctly. But nobody supposedly did anything. It just happened. I don't believe it anymore.

Blogger Jose March 27, 2017 5:02 PM  


@201:
"Jose wrote:
Incorrect! Our universe is carried by four elephants, standing on the back of the great Turtle A'Tuin, swimming forever in the Ocean of Existence.

That turtle, too, is named Logo."

Ah, you're obviously not familiar with the work of the great prophet Terry Pratchett.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 27, 2017 5:03 PM  

Jack Ward wrote:Check out Isiah 2 and 4. Easy way google up beating the heck out of plowshares. And, Micah 4 and 3.

You mistake a description of the Kingdom of heaven for a command for the current world. Are you a Methodist?

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 27, 2017 5:13 PM  

Evolutionary theory, as practiced, is a series of just-so stories.
In the beginning of years, when the world was so new and
all, and the Animals were just beginning to work for Man, there was a Camel, and he lived in the middle of a Howling Desert because he did not want to work; and besides, he was a Howler himself. So he ate sticks and thorns and tamarisks and milkweed and prickles, most 'scruciating idle; and when anybody spoke to him he said 'Humph!' Just 'Humph!' and no more.

Blogger Jack Ward March 27, 2017 5:25 PM  

@214
Resident Moron specified NOT in the Bible. He was wrong. Description of Kingdom of Heaven or not.
Yeah, I'm Methodist, you heathen. [just joshing with ya]

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 27, 2017 5:46 PM  

I ask because that's the hermeneutic that Methodism is based on, bringing the kingdom now.
I tend to look favorably on Methodists, mostly because of my ancestor who spent 18 months in His Majesty's gaols because he refused militia drill on Sundays. That's the sort of steel we need more of right now.

Anonymous Anonymous March 27, 2017 6:01 PM  

@216: there is no such instruction in the bible.

In fact the only instruction (not given but predicted) is to do the reverse.

Stop trying to shift the goalposts and misrepresent what I wrote. The bible does not, anywhere, tell people to beat their swords into plowshares.

Anonymous Ominous Cowherd March 27, 2017 6:23 PM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote:Evolutionary theory, as practiced, is a series of just-so stories.

Yes, that's evolution in a nasty little nutshell, except Kipling was a good story teller, and the Darwinists are generally not.

Anonymous Evolutionist March 27, 2017 6:27 PM  

Vox is confusing the trees for the forest. This reminds me of the cosmic age problem, which didn't mean the Big Bang theory was bunk. I expect it will get sorted in much the same way.

The evidence for evolution from various sources—including biogeography, genetics, and the fossil record—remains overwhelming.

Anonymous Avalanche March 27, 2017 6:36 PM  

@79 "Why are there few intermediate forms?
I think a lot were found, actually. Especially hominids."

Yeah, go watch Lloyd Pye and see what they ACTUALLY found, and how they mis-presented it....

Blogger S1AL March 27, 2017 6:39 PM  

@Evolutionist - You're mistaking "evolution, generally" for "TENS, philosophical statement disguised as empirical science".

@Jack Ward - He specified that the command "neat your swords into plowshares" was not in the Bible.

Anonymous One Deplorable DT March 27, 2017 6:48 PM  

@220 - oh boy. I was afraid of this. Looks like the debate is over. There is overwhelming evidence guys. Just...overwhelming.

Kind of like the consensus in global warming. Con-sen-sus. Who can argue with that?

Vox? Vox...if you're still following comments, pack it up man. No more posts about origins. Overwhelming bro. Over. Whelming. There's just no point arguing against that.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 27, 2017 6:54 PM  

Evolutionist wrote:This reminds me of the cosmic age problem, which didn't mean the Big Bang theory was bunk. I expect it will get sorted in much the same way.
So, you expect evolutionists to invent an entirely new class of physical phenomena, with exactly zero evidence for it's existence, in order to make their theories appear, with plenty of handwaving, to work. And despite never being able to demonstrate the existence of the new class of phenomena, and every single search for it coming up empty, to have it taught as a standard model of the universe?
Yeah, sounds like good bet.

The evidence for evolution from various sources—including biogeography, genetics, and the fossil record—remains overwhelming.
No, that evidence simply doesn't exist. Well, the evidence exists, but it does not support evolution. Particularly genetics.
How do you address the time-to-speciate problem discussed above?

Anonymous SanityClause March 27, 2017 7:12 PM  

There are a number of ways that life could have come about on this planet, the commons ones talked about are:
1. Evolution (starting with abiogenesis, life from non-life). This one appears to be impossible, that is, statistically impossible by random chance.
2. Miracle, breaking natural laws. This one has the problem that there appears to have been life on this planet for 4 billion years, if you can do miracles, why take so long about it, and why do it gradually, rather than all at once?
About that, Christianity has this book of Genesis thing, which states that first plants were made, then the atmosphere changed, then sea critters, then birds (dinosaurs), then mammals, then man, this matches the fossil record. Note that in the original language, no method is stated as to how this was done, only who did it, and also no time scale is given, only that thing A came, then thing B, etc. Thus, I propose a new idea:
3. "Natural Miracle". This is something that is statistically impossible, yet is done without breaking natural laws. Basically, you arrange the universe such that, over a span of 9 billion years from it's creation to 4 billion years ago, a series of events happen at one place and time such that a statistically impossible, by random chance, series of events happen such that one minute there is no life, and then there is. This is similar to tossing a coin, knowing all the possible future forces that will effect it, and then tossing it at the selected time and place to make sure every coin ends up heads up, no matter how much it bounces around beforehand, based purely on knowing all futures and using skill in the coin toss. This would take infinite knowledge and skill, including knowledge of all possible futures, both possible and impossible. Do you know any being who can do that? Note that man was made in the image of God, man can write fiction, therefore God can write all possible fictions, plus the one universe chosen as fact.
Following that, you arrange for planned mutations. Example, lets say this time you plan to arrange the mutation by hitting a gene with a cosmic ray. Starting from the creation of the universe, you arrange form a 9+ billion year series of events to happen such that the cosmic ray arrives in just the right way so that the planned mutation appears, repeat as necessary (using the same or other methods to produce the mutations).
This idea, a "natural miracle", has the advantage that it matches the data, where as the first idea, random chance, has (so far) been scientifically falsified, and the second idea, miracle breaking natural law, does not match the fossil record, and in addition is not stated by Genesis to have been done.

Blogger Koanic March 27, 2017 7:16 PM  

They should just admit that DNA is newly discovered and they don't understand it very well yet.

Anonymous Walter March 27, 2017 7:28 PM  

I got for the simulation hypothesis, makes a lot of sense. Have you guys read what Scott Adams has written on the topis? Is really good:

"If you were the designer of this simulation you would need to strike a delicate balance. You want the characters to have your curiosity and intelligence but you also need to prevent them from realizing their true nature within the simulation. That means creating boundaries that don’t look like boundaries. For example, you might program the simulation to have an infinite size (as if that even makes sense), but limit the maximum speed of things to the speed of light, making it impossible for the simulated people to examine the edges of their universe.

As a designer, you’d also need to make the quantum world totally freaky and endlessly puzzling. What are the tiniest particles in the universe made of? Answer: waves. What is a wave? Answer: Something that makes sense only in the realm of math. When you look for the boundaries of reality you always bump into a wall that defies common sense so aggressively that it looks intentional."

http://blog.dilbert.com/post/102964866811/living-in-a-computer-simulation

Blogger Dire Badger March 27, 2017 8:22 PM  

SanityClause wrote:There are a number of ways that life could have come about on this planet, the commons ones talked about are:

1. Evolution (starting with abiogenesis, life from non-life). This one appears to be impossible, that is, statistically impossible by random chance.

2. Miracle, breaking natural laws. This one has the problem that there appears to have been life on this planet for 4 billion years, if you can do miracles, why take so long about it, and why do it gradually, rather than all at once?

About that, Christianity has this book of Genesis thing, which states that first plants were made, then the atmosphere changed, then sea critters, then birds (dinosaurs), then mammals, then man, this matches the fossil record. Note that in the original language, no method is stated as to how this was done, only who did it, and also no time scale is given, only that thing A came, then thing B, etc. Thus, I propose a new idea:

3. "Natural Miracle". This is something that is statistically impossible, yet is done without breaking natural laws. Basically, you arrange the universe such that, over a span of 9 billion years from it's creation to 4 billion years ago, a series of events happen at one place and time such that a statistically impossible, by random chance, series of events happen such that one minute there is no life, and then there is. This is similar to tossing a coin, knowing all the possible future forces that will effect it, and then tossing it at the selected time and place to make sure every coin ends up heads up, no matter how much it bounces around beforehand, based purely on knowing all futures and using skill in the coin toss. This would take infinite knowledge and skill, including knowledge of all possible futures, both possible and impossible. Do you know any being who can do that? Note that man was made in the image of God, man can write fiction, therefore God can write all possible fictions, plus the one universe chosen as fact.

Following that, you arrange for planned mutations. Example, lets say this time you plan to arrange the mutation by hitting a gene with a cosmic ray. Starting from the creation of the universe, you arrange form a 9+ billion year series of events to happen such that the cosmic ray arrives in just the right way so that the planned mutation appears, repeat as necessary (using the same or other methods to produce the mutations).

This idea, a "natural miracle", has the advantage that it matches the data, where as the first idea, random chance, has (so far) been scientifically falsified, and the second idea, miracle breaking natural law, does not match the fossil record, and in addition is not stated by Genesis to have been done.



Despite the lack of paragraph breaks, I figured out What you mean. God plays dice, but those dice are loaded. That's sort of what I meant by evolution and creation are not necessarily opposed philosophies.

When you look at it, all exploratory science is simply us trying to figure out HOW god did what he did... There's no reason to think that god did not use the rules of the universe he'd already established in order to accomplish miracles. If you own a jack, why not use it to change a tire instead of doing it with your bare hands?

Anonymous Barko March 27, 2017 8:25 PM  

I'll buy the idea that molecules take on super intelligence over time when Earth hets bombarded with interstellar radio waves and I shake hands with the tree in front of my house.

Blogger Dire Badger March 27, 2017 8:34 PM  

Joshua_D wrote:Dire Badger wrote:I disagree with the idea that there are 'things man was not meant to know'. If we were not intended to question, we would not be able to.

Being able to question != know all the things.

"The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. ...

"Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”


You know, sometimes biblical stories are not metaphorical. Sometimes they are very direct indeed.

"Knowledge of good and evil" in exchange for losing immortality... well, we are mortal. The Damage is done. We strive to understand the workings of god, and I do not see anywhere in the bible where god has commanded everyone to 'cease your attempts to understand me, my works, and my will." Quite the opposite, actually.

Obviously, as flawed beings and mortals with less than perfect omniscience we will trip and stumble, make mistakes, and potter up flawed assumptions along the way... but isn't it worth it to learn of the mind of god? God himself my be unknown and unknowable, but that sounds like a self-correcting problem. If he is unknowable, we simply will not be able to comprehend him. That implies, not that we should avoid understanding, but that we should avoid attempting to become gods against his will.

Yet another argument against transhumanism.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 27, 2017 8:37 PM  

Dire Badger wrote:Yet another argument against transhumanism.
Saint Kurzweil pronounces an anaethma against you.

Blogger tz March 27, 2017 9:06 PM  

Darwin, after Lord Kelvin proved the earth - because it was still hot inside hence volcanoes - could not be more than 100,000 years old, instead of getting Curie-ous just called him an "odious spectre" (Technically radiation doesn't work, we'd be molten or a cold rock over the cited 4.5).

This is what I find stupid, evil, bad about evolutionists. They can't say "I don't know but I'll look". Darwin and his contemporaries didn't seek the energy source keeping the inner earth warm or the Sun shining. Current evoloutionsts aren't looking for a force that opposes entropy, perhaps in a very narrow way, perhaps quantum physics (consider factoring a large number takes billions of years normally, but a quantum computer can do it almost instantly) or bending the arrow of time.

Instead they point and shriek.

Anonymous Anonymous March 27, 2017 10:24 PM  

>most mutations cause a loss of complexity.
>The latter is particularly important, because it renders evolution statistically improbable to the point of impossibility

The second line does not logically follow from the first, mainly because most substantive mutations will be culled by natural selection. If 99% of mutations result in greater simplicity, and 98% of those mutations also result in either death or failure to procreate, that still leaves a 50:50 ratio of surviving genes when balancing those mutations that actually survive.

What is interesting about these findings in total is the more complex the life form the more likely their genetic structure will be to self-optimize over many generations.

As someone with a background in computer science I can't help but smile at the similarity between genetics and software.

Blogger Silly But True March 27, 2017 10:41 PM  

The first step is recognizing science has no idea. We base our assumptions on what is known and extrapolated from what is known. But we know only about 1.5m species. And there could be as much as 1t. As many species as we've discovered, there's more than 5 times that many yet again

That's why each discovery screws everything up.

If someone finds a 200m year old lactating fish with tits, it's just going to upend the basic ideas of the whole system.

Anonymous Anonymous March 28, 2017 12:12 AM  

@James

"When the figures they themselves accept illustrate the problems with the theory, why should I use ones they won't accept?"

Good point. As you were.

Anonymous Anonymous March 28, 2017 12:16 AM  

Re decay rate variability,

the experimental results are now disputed and later experiments have not reproduced them.

So, if you like your decay rate, you can keep your decay rate.

From what I could find the controversy is ongoing.

Anonymous Anonymous March 28, 2017 12:27 AM  

"They should just admit that DNA is newly discovered and they don't understand it very well yet."

Every scientist, no matter their position on religion, admits this every time they apply for more funding.

It's typically the science journalists and evangelicals like Dawkins who have trouble with it, preferring the pretense of knowledge to the humility of uncertainty.

Anonymous Anonymous March 28, 2017 1:16 AM  


The second line does not logically follow from the first, mainly because most substantive mutations will be culled by natural selection. If 99% of mutations result in greater simplicity, and 98% of those mutations also result in either death or failure to procreate, that still leaves a 50:50 ratio of surviving genes when balancing those mutations that actually survive.


Probability doesn't work that way. If you randomly change something an infinite number of times you still end up (on average) exactly where you started. This is a law of nature.

If you want the changes to get you somewhere then you need some sort of guided selection process -- scientifically speaking, that's 'intelligent design'.

In your paragraph you're effectively positing that natural selection is intelligent.

P.S. Probability theory really is the most important branch of math. Sadly, our curricula are still calculus-heavy, even though it turned out that calculus has extremely limited practical applicability. (You can't use calculus to smell-test bullshit statements and faulty logic.)

Anonymous Mr. Rational March 28, 2017 2:53 AM  

Mastermind wrote:That would only be the case if the reproduction rates of organisms that mutate into something simple reproduce MORE than those that mutate into something more complex. There's absolutely no reason to assume this. Their survival and reproduction depends entirely on whether the mutation was good, bad or neutral. So simplifying mutations could be more common but if they kill the organism ten times more often than those that increase complexity then complexity would still increase over time.
You are absolutely correct in this, and Vox proves that he can use half-truths to evade unpalatable conclusions with the best of them (he does have years of practice; Mark is probably the purest example of this):

VD wrote:You're wrong. That would be true if the number of simpler and complex mutations were roughly equivalent. But they aren't. So, whatever benefits complexity conveys also has to make up for the ratio.
TWO gross omissions here:

1.  Vox's obsession with simplicity vs. complexity harks back to his days of trying to win the rhetoric with PZ Myers while losing the dialectic.  It is simply irrelevant; what matters is survival.  Creatonuts can't let go of "irreducible complexity" because it's a rhetorical killshot... in their own minds.  But in an abiogenetic scenario, there is NO competition for even the most accidental self-reproducer until its mutated offspring generate that competition.  Simplicity is no handicap.
2.  The number of mutations in each direction are irrelevant to the advantage or disadvantage they create.  More on this next comment, as this can't be contained in 4K of text.

And, of course, we now have evidence that complexity does not necessarily increase over time anyhow, contra the predictive model.
This begs the question of why a bacterium needs to increase its complexity.  If it achieves no advantage from the increase, it's wasted.

End of 1/2

Anonymous Mr. Rational March 28, 2017 2:56 AM  

2/2

This can actually be modeled mathematically, and has been.  I'm far from skilled at this but I'll try.

Consider a bacterial environment where the average number of surviving offspring per bug is 1.  The population is stable.

When a bug reproduces, one of its offspring has a 10% chance of acquiring a mutation through imperfect copying of DNA.  These mutations may be duplications, deletions or point mutations.

Further assume that 10% of these mutations are fatal (delete or disable some essential function), 80% are negative, 9% are neutral and 1% advantageous.  Posit some numbers:

Relative reproductive potential of fatal mutation: 0
Relative reproductive potential of negative mutation: 0.9
Relative reproductive potential of neutral mutation: 1.0
Relative reproductive potential of positive mutation: 1.1

The offspring with fatal mutations disappear from the population immediately.  The un-mutated daughter cells which inherit the original DNA go on.

The offspring with negative mutations decline in population by 10% per generation.  By 20 generations they've decreased to 12% of their original fraction.  After 60 they're effectively gone... unless they've acquired some countervailing mutation which eliminates or reverses the disadvantage.

Neutral mutations remain steady, by definition.  Further mutations may add traits, e.g. mutations occurring on a redundant copy of a gene generated by a duplication event.  (Note that a mutation on a redundant copy is likely to be close to neutral even if it would be fatal on the only copy of the gene.)

The offspring with positive mutations increase by 10% per generation.  After 20 generations they are 6.7 times their original population.  After 60 they are 304 times as much.  So long as the survival value of the mutated bugs is not heavily affected by the fraction of their kin, the mutation will sweep through the bacterial population very quickly.

It doesn't matter if the mutation increases or decreases "complexity".

Blogger Unknown March 28, 2017 3:34 AM  

I have two degrees in biology. I'm not ready to abandon neo-Darwinism, but I do endorse questioning the theory. Questioning is part of science after all.

I never bought into the idea of spontaneous abiogenesis being a valid theory. The chance of it occurring seems effectively zero, and the more we learn about genetic coding the more complex the system gets.

The "Intelligent Design the Future" podcast is an interesting ongoing presentation of the weaknesses and alternatives to neo-Darwinism. They occasionally stray from the realm of science, but they typically remain scientific.

http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com

Anonymous One Deplorable DT March 28, 2017 5:36 AM  

@239 - But in an abiogenetic scenario, there is NO competition for even the most accidental self-reproducer until its mutated offspring generate that competition. Simplicity is no handicap.

You've just demonstrated that you have no idea what you're talking about when you use words like "complexity" and "simplicity" in this context.

The most simple reproducing biological life form, with the bare minimum features necessary to serve as the ancestor to all life on Earth, would still be so complex that it could not form accidentally in our bound universe. Not under any conditions short of intelligent intervention by life not of this universe.

If you had an unbounded universe, infinite in space and/or time, it's reasonable to believe first life would occur somewhere. Unfortunately it would never get much beyond its primordial pool because any significant step up the evolutionary ladder would require more time than exists in a star's habitable zone given our physical laws.

"Irreducible complexity" is not a rhetorical kill shot, but a mathematical one. When you try to model these events that evolutionists claim happen all of the time you find the same statistics that govern Shannon entropy, and the same statistics that govern thermodynamics. You might as well tell an investigator that you didn't steal Microsoft Office, you waved a magnet over your hard drive and it "just appeared."

In your next post you speak of "advantageous" mutations. But that's a sleight of hand. "Advantageous" != "new, functional information." It's just a minor alteration of what's already there. It's cosmic radiation flipping a bit in RAM. Maybe that changed bit will cause the computer to run its backup every hour instead of every 24 and that could be deemed "advantageous." But it's not going to lead to a new OS no matter how much you wish it.

Better theories than evolution have been shelved for far less damning math than the math that confronts Darwin's little theory.

Blogger SirHamster March 28, 2017 2:27 PM  

anonymos-coward wrote:Probability doesn't work that way. If you randomly change something an infinite number of times you still end up (on average) exactly where you started. This is a law of nature.

You are too generous with that statement. If I took your paragraph and applied random to it an infinite number of times, you'd end up with something like the following:

wDFVJO3dxcZaZ3OLennDou5GQetQ4hRlGbDb5YH9tLVueidCQYHoDnfHyC2qZUXqZJ2A4aUvf5sSeFT5ix2WdmPEnR5oJsGQBmaYsHUqX5vdZYszzdHuKPBqbXXz5D9NpzhWN2w6AsEUIcdoQliSfkcKuLJwwTinuZHnbrhLQMfMb1amK

That's just noise, and I limited it to alphanumeric characters, too.

Anonymous Anonymous March 28, 2017 3:31 PM  

It's aliens all the way down.

Blogger Gospace March 28, 2017 9:41 PM  

There appear to be several things affecting Half-Life. Primary is solar activity. The more neutrinos passing through, the shorter the half-lifes. Local gravity also appears to affect decay rates. Don't know if there's been research on magnetic fields, but if neutrino flux and gravity affect decay rates, I'd place money on magnetic fields doing the same.

Blogger Jaycephus March 28, 2017 11:32 PM  

Genuinely curious, but does specifics of current evolution theory correctly inform engineering of anything (such as drugs)? Listening to evolutionary psychologists just makes me laugh out loud at all the aesoptic hand-waving. Need hard scientific papers, not "sure, 'cause bacteria breed immunity to some anti-biotics."

Blogger Dire Badger March 29, 2017 12:23 AM  

@Jaycephus-

Why does evopsych make you laugh? I find their theories to be vastly more realistic than the idea that persoanlities 'just happen' to be nearly identical among certain groups.

Admittedly the NAME is an absolute misnomer... a more appropriate term would be 'psychological anthropologist', or perhaps even 'apropological realist".

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Blogger Jaycephus March 29, 2017 11:18 AM  

"As someone with a background in computer science I can't help but smile at the similarity between genetics and software."

As someone who programs robots and machine vision for a living, I can't help but laugh at the naive comparison between modern software programming and genes, especially in conjunction with the implication that our programs "self-optimize." lel

And of course, we should realize that the push to make software "self-optimize" will only lead to the 'Corroding Empire' timeline. ;)

Blogger Jaycephus March 29, 2017 11:43 AM  

@ 247. Dire Badger
Because even someone like Gad Saad is only generating 'just-so stories,' from all that I've heard him say on YT. I mean, if you simply accept evolution as true, then you may not see these as just-so fables, but that is all the foundation they have: the assumption that current evolutionary theory is all true. But it's no different from assuming the Big Bang really happened and then basing a lot of theoretical particle physics on that basis. If the base assumption that the Big Bang really did happen as theorized, then the theoretical particle physics has a decent chance of being correct, given the math is correct. But if anti-Big Bang researchers are correct, then they're highly likely to be about as true as 'wanderers' in the night sky going through epicycles. Even with the assumption of the theory of evolution, much of evopsych still reads like just-so stories. For some reason, many people are willing to accept stories like these with very little critical analysis.

Anonymous Mr. Rational March 29, 2017 12:29 PM  

Chris Lutz wrote:The problem is they are talking thousands to tens of thousands of mutations that have to come together in the right sequence to simply achieve an eye.
You realize that eyes (with lenses) have evolved several times just on Earth?  Scallops have eyes which are better than ours in some ways.  If we're "the pinnacle of creation" and "made in His image" it would be the other way around.

If you have a population of a hundred billion of something, one such mutation probably occurs literally a thousand times per generation.  If it confers even a slight advantage it will spread to fixation in just a few hundred generations, and every carrier is ready for the next mutation that builds on the previous advance.

Once you have an eye, you have to have the software that actually can process what it sees.
Neural networks which can discern patterns from sequences of tactile or chemical sensors firing can do the same for photosensors.

Troy Lee Messer wrote:Life, at least locally, impedes entropy.
Life accelerates entropy.  Life in general appears to follow the maximum power principle, tapping as much of the available flow of energy for itself as possible.  This achieves maximum relative advantage.  The low-entropy state of the living thing itself is achieved by converting a lot of other matter/energy to a much higher entropy state.

Consider a plant which uses sunlight (effective temperature 5700K) to convert water and CO2 into glucose and oxygen at 3% efficiency.  The oxygen has 0 entropy by definition, and let's assume that the glucose does also.  The CO2 has 213.80 J/g-K entropy and the water has 69.92 J/g-K.

The glucose has ~4 kcal/g heat of combustion (about 16.7 kJ/g), so about 560 kJ of sunlight are "consumed" to produce one gram.  At 293 K ambient, this is 560,000 * (1/293 - 1/5700) = 1.8 kJ/g-K of entropy produced.  Maybe I should multiply the 1/293 by 0.97 to account for energy in the product?  If so, that's about 1.75 kJ/g-K of entropy.

Producing one gram of glucose requires 1.47 g (0.0333 mol) of CO2 and 0.6 g (0.0333 mol) of water.  The total entropy of the chemical inputs is 356.2 J/g-K of product.  The net entropy of the process is in excess of 1400 J/g-K, which is VERY much entropically downhill.

Blogger James Dixon March 29, 2017 9:37 PM  

> Thus, I propose a new idea:

I hate to break this to you, but there's nothing particularly new about your concept.

Anonymous Mr. Rational March 29, 2017 11:42 PM  

Cail Corishev wrote:the evolutionists are looking at all this complexity that we're just starting to understand, and throw up their hands and say, "It must have just happened." But you could just as easily throw up your hands and say, "God did it." The only reason to prefer the former over the latter is to remove God.
Is that your appraisal, or is it the implicit POV of the course writer?

Regardless, it's wrong.  The instant you insert God, you replace what might be deciphered with ineffable divine action that is untestable by definition.  That is not science; the only way to get science done is NOT to do that.

there are all these enzymes that have exactly the right structure for molecules to fit into so that certain processes can take place.... I thought, "And all this just happened? Because billions of years? You've gotta be kidding me."
It happened at least twice; eukaryotes and eubacteria use a slightly different DNA code than archaebacteria, and we have no idea how many other different systems arose but died off completely.

Both mitochondria and chloroplasts have their own ribosomes and DNA and use the archaebacterial DNA coding.  It appears that they developed from archaebacterial endosymbionts.

Some Guy wrote:Example: (Simple one)

Uranium Lead dating

There was only Uranium int the rock when it was formed

No Uranium was added to or taken from the rock

No Lead was added to or taken from the rock

If you weren't a dogmatic halfwit, you'd realize that those assumptions are testable AND HAVE BEEN TESTED.

Crystals formed from melts containing uranium and lead incorporate uranium and exclude lead.

Once the crystal is solidified, there are no mechanisms to get lead in or uranium out.  Re-melt it and you exclude the lead on re-solidification.

Further, there's also potassium-argon dating.  K-40 decays to Ar-40.  If you have a rock that can be dated both by U-Pb and K-Ar dating, and the dates agree, that's a pretty good confirmation.

We don't know how old the earth is, we have guestimates at best and out right lies at worst.
Translation:  You don't want to know how old the earth is, because it rubbishes some of your most cherished ideas.

James Dixon wrote:So you'll be eager to debate him on the subject at the first opportunity, right?
TRUTH IS NOT SETTLED BY RHETORIC, INCLUDING DEBATES.  It is approached by dialectical processes to weed out error, which is what the scientific method is supposed to be.  If someone isn't following it, call them out on it; if you can prove that any major notion is wrong, there may be a Nobel for you.

(ye gods I'm only halfway through this thread.)

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 03, 2017 12:54 AM  

William Meisheid wrote:Random errors introduced into code do not make the code better; generally they crash it or cause problematic anomalies
What kind of idiot are you?  DNA is not a set of instructions for a CPU.  To even touch on such a faulty analogy is to show yourself incompetent to weigh the question.

The exons are a sequence of specifications for amino acids to make a protein.  The code has 64 values for 20 amino acids, so a single-base mutation has about a 2/3 chance of making no change at all in the product.  A single amino acid changed in the product may alter the functionality of the resulting protein only slightly, or not at all.

I would argue even if you expect a beneficial error, it would take an awful lot of random errors (millions and millions) to find even one that worked in any meaningful way
There are trillions and trillions of bacteria.  If such a beneficial error exists, experience proves that they are very good at finding it.

and could be passed on to the next iteration.
Precisely what do you think DNA is, if not instructions to make the next iteration?

The rest of your nonsense is too stupid to deal with.

Javier wrote:The mechanism for the so called change is still shit, inefficient.
It's exactly what you'd expect if there was no omniscient designer.

Cicatrizatic wrote:I listened to a debate between Perry Marshall and PZ Myers. Marshall puts forward the above comparison of DNA transmission to digital communications theory. Myers simply waives it way, "wrong paradigm", "doesn't apply here".

Yet new research shows that it does.

Wrong.  So-called "communications errors" are the essential basis of improvement.  If you're stuck on the "intelligent design" dogma where every mis-copied base or copy-number duplication/deletion is assumed to be a degradation, you are going to get it wrong EVERY TIME.

Javier wrote:If I put a chihuahua and a wolf in the he fossil registry you would probably say there is good evidence of transition from chihuahua to wolf.
One rabbit fossil in a Cambrian stratum would utterly disprove evolution.  None has been found, and I dare to say none ever will be.

aeolipera wrote:Neo-Darwinism served its purpose as a weapon directed at Western religiosity.
Fool.  Western religiousity either conforms itself to testable reality or it is WRONG.  If your god is responsible for creation, its written dicta must be interpreted in conformance with same, or tossed out.

@171  "Morphic fields" is the epitome of magical thinking.

SanityClause wrote:Christianity has this book of Genesis thing, which states that first plants were made, then the atmosphere changed, then sea critters, then birds (dinosaurs), then mammals, then man, this matches the fossil record.
No it doesn't.  Land plants came after sea life (Genesis 1:11 is wrong) and the atmosphere changing.  Stromatolites were made by the first oxygen-evolving life, some 3.7 billion years BP.

Genesis 1 is completely wrong in several respects.  There is no "vault" and no "waters above".  Aside from the fireball conditions of the Big Bang, there was always a distinction between light and darkness.  There was light billions of years before there was an Earth, or even the elements required to make rocky planets.  The "lights in the vault of the sky" existed long before there was a sky in which to see them.

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 03, 2017 12:56 AM  

One Deplorable DT wrote:You've just demonstrated that you have no idea what you're talking about when you use words like "complexity" and "simplicity" in this context.
I'm refuting the use of those words by you creatonuts.  Pay attention.

The most simple reproducing biological life form, with the bare minimum features necessary to serve as the ancestor to all life on Earth, would still be so complex that it could not form accidentally in our bound universe.
Prove it.  There are self-duplicating RNA strands which have been evolved in the laboratory.  What you are saying is that an accomplishment of a few years or months in a few liters of test volume in a laboratory has created things that could NEVER happen in millions of years, in thousands of cubic kilometers of volume, on an entire planet.  Even if the environment required to give rise to the first self-replicator is an extreme outlier, a planet has lots of such outliers.

If you had an unbounded universe, infinite in space and/or time, it's reasonable to believe first life would occur somewhere.
The DNA code occurred at least twice, in slightly different variants (archaebacteria vs. all other survivors).  This suggests that there are a bunch of things that work, but some work better than others and those push everything else out.

"Irreducible complexity" is not a rhetorical kill shot, but a mathematical one. When you try to model these events that evolutionists claim happen all of the time you find the same statistics that govern Shannon entropy, and the same statistics that govern thermodynamics.
Except your statistics and notions of entropy are based on bogus assumptions, and your math is an attempt to assume your conclusion.

Your nonsense about "advantageous mutations" ignores everything about how DNA works.  You can alter or duplicate a non-coding region, which may increase or decrease the activity of a gene or give it another route to activation/deactivation.  In a coding region, a duplication will extend the peptide product, a deletion will shrink it, and a single-nucleotide change may alter how it folds or functions... or may not.  DNA is NOTHING like computer code.  Altering a DNA base cannot change a branch to a multiply.  I've hot-patched running code, I know.

Your fervent desire to be right does not make you so.

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