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What about Adaptation?

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  • Phil Schuster
    James Goff: ...George Gaylord Simpson, one of the founders of neo-Darwinism, wrote that (n)atural selection favors fitness only if you define fitness as
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 5, 2007
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      James Goff:
      "...George Gaylord Simpson, one of the founders of
      neo-Darwinism, wrote that '(n)atural selection favors fitness only if
      define fitness as leaving more descendants.' Also, Ernst Mayr,
      perhaps the
      foremost Darwinist of the 20th century, wrote that 'those individuals
      have the most
      offspring are by definition...the fittest ones.'"

      Phil: "So just because you can come up with a couple quotes that
      seem to imply that those who get run over by hit & run drivers by
      happenstance are automatically less fit, and those who develope
      disease on the island of Tristan de Cunha are more fit, you think
      this is
      what darwinian evolution actually states about natural selection."

      James Goff:

      Huh? How do the words of Simpson and Mayr imply what you say they

      Phil S:
      The key words, here, are "those individuals that have the most
      offspring...". That may include non-adaptive traits, like
      Huntington's disease as a result of statistical accidents in small
      populations (Tristan), environmental accidents (volcanoes / car
      accidents) or personal decisions (whether or not to have a
      vasectomy). These are clearly NOT what Darwin had in mind. He was
      obviously refering to reproductive success only with respect to
      adaptations to the environment. The key word, "adaptation", is what
      is missing.

      Also, the phrase: "survival of the fittest" is not a complete
      description of the process of natural selection BECAUSE it says
      nothing about ADAPTATION. It's actually more of a definiton than a
      description of a process, in that it defines the term, "fitness" in
      terms of survival. Of course, definitions, as such, are tautological.
      But a complete description of natural selection, which involves
      adaptation to the environment as the cause of survival and
      differential reproduction, is not tautological simply because it
      identifies adaptation as the cause and leaving more offspring as the
      result... not the other way around.

      Phil: "Why are you trying so hard to believe that 'Darwinism'
      states something it doesn't?"

      James Goff:
      Why are you trying so hard to deny that Darwinism states something
      that it clearly states? Fitness is necessarily defined in terms of
      reproductive success or natural selection can't do any evolutionary
      If a heritable adaptation gives a zebra greater speed than other
      the speedy zebra (and its offspring) will likely outsurvive, and thus
      outreproduce, the slower zebras (who are more likely to become lion
      than the speedy zebras). Natural selection favors the speedy zebras
      they're the fittest. In Darwinian terms, they are the fittest because
      they're more likely to survive and leave offspring, thereby advancing
      Darwinian evolution of zebras. The fittest zebras will survive to
      leave the
      most offspring, the fittest zebras being the zebras who survive to
      the most offspring. Differential reproduction is the essence of
      selection, not a "caricature" of it.

      Phil S:
      Wrong again... Adaptation to the environment is the cause of natural
      selection, differential reproduction being only a spinoff, or result,
      of this - not the essence of it. Why are you constantly ignoring this
      important aspect of darwinian evolution? I mean, if you want to
      contest the evidence for, or tesability of natural selection, as a
      mechanism, there would be more of value to discuss. The tautology
      argument is starting to be abandoned by creationists & IDers. Why
      belabor it?
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