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Re: Thank you everyone/answers for Phares

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  • teleocat
    ... mutations. ... Any ... predictions ... A claim such as there has been no external influence on the evolutionary process on earth or all significant
    Message 1 of 233 , Aug 2, 2003
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      --- In creationism@yahoogroups.com, Paul Andrew King <paul@m...>
      > >--- In creationism@yahoogroups.com, Paul Andrew King <paul@m...>
      > >wrote:
      > >> > > Population genetics can handle the changes in frequency of
      > >existing
      > >> >> genes, provided their effects on fitness can be accurately
      > >> >> represented. Predicting which mutations will appear or even
      > >> >> producing a list of possible mutations is not possible. The
      > >best
      > >> >> that we can manage is predict some of the more likely
      > >> >>
      > >> >
      > >> >Well, whoever's fault it is, the question is still "what can it
      > >do?"
      > >> >It's only as falsifiable as it ventures to make predictions.
      > >of
      > >> >the claims which can't be tested through falsifiable
      > >(for
      > >> >whatever reason) would remain categorized as hypotheses.
      > >>
      > >> And the relevance of this comment is ?
      > >
      > >Whether the reason for lack of evidence is lack of fossils,
      > >complexity, or long periods of time, claims still have to be
      > >supported.
      > And the relevance is ?

      A claim such as "there has been no external influence on the
      evolutionary process on earth" or "all significant mechanisms of
      evolution are known" would have to be shown empirically.

      > >
      > >
      > >> >> > Can it show how or why species
      > >> >> >evolve to take advantage of new environmental resourcese,
      > >rather
      > >> >than
      > >> >> >just optimize their efficiency of using known resources?
      > >it
      > >> >> >post-dict the distribution of past evolutionary changes
      > >could
      > >> >> >then be used to judge whether the fossil record is
      > >with
      > >> >it?
      > >> >> > Has anyone shown that all intermediate forms of any
      > >have
      > >> >in
      > >> >> >fact been functional?
      > >> >>
      > >> >> Can you find any "non-functional" species in the fossil
      record ?
      > >> >
      > >> >No, but I haven't found any black holes either. If a claim
      > >> >falsifiable, that's not scientifically a virtue.
      > >>
      > >> And what exactly is your problem ?
      > >
      > >Just that there is a difference betwee circumstantial and direct
      > >evidence.
      > And there is a difference between circumstantial evidence and no
      > evidence - which is what the idea that there were "non-functional
      > intermediates" has.

      I don't need to claim that there are non-functional intermediates. If
      biology claims that there aren't any, it needs to show it according to
      the rules of science. If it does so only with circumstantial
      evidence, then its claim is only circumstantially supported.

      > But you aren't answering the question.

      Because you're changing the subject.

      > >
      > >
      > >> >> >Can it calculate how long it would take to
      > >> >> >evolve from one specific point to another (i.e., frog to
      > >chipmunk,
      > >> >or
      > >> >> >any other segment)?
      > >> >> >
      > >> >> >Can it actually describe what mechanism is meant by the
      > >> >"natural
      > >> >> >selection"?
      > >> >>
      > >> >> Well that's easy. Natural selection describes the fact that
      > >traits
      > >> >> which increase the number of offspring surviving to the
      > >are
      > >> >> capable of reproduction will increase in frequency by
      virtue of
      > >that
      > >> >> fact.
      > >> >>
      > >> >
      > >> >Then the word "natural" is simply an assumption.
      > >>
      > >> You really seem determined to twist things around.
      > >
      > >What kind of argument is that?
      > It isn't one. It is an observation on your argument. Can't you
      > work that our ?

      Obviously I was giving you the benefit of the doubt.

      > > There is evidence that selection
      > >happens. If the word "natural" is added to it, it has to be
      > >too.
      > There is evidence that natural selection happens - including
      > observation. If you want to attribute any particular example to
      > something extra then THAT needs support.
      > >
      > >> >> > For example, if one looked at dog breeds (or their DNA)
      > >> >> >can one figure out whether the selection was *natural*?
      > >> >>
      > >> >> Since the distinctions between breeds are largely
      controlled by
      > >> >human
      > >> >> breeding, the answer is yes. Allow a mixed group of dogs to
      > >breed
      > >> >as
      > >> >> they will and the "breeds" will disappear.
      > >> >
      > >> >Sure, they'll settle into the current conditions, but without
      > >> >knowledge that the breeds where shaped artificially, can one
      > >> >the difference between being artificially shaped, and simply
      > >> >from a natural environment which shaped that breed?
      > >>
      > >> I just told you how to do it. So yes, we can.
      > >
      > >Just because they will adapt to an environment of your chosing
      > >prove whether the environments they evolved in were artificial or
      > That isn't the test I proposed at all. I suggest that you reread
      what I wrote.

      Your test is either weaker or not described in sufficient detail.
      Allowing a mixed group of non-artificially altered breeds to
      interbreed will *not* result in reduced differences?

      > >> >> > If not, then
      > >> >> >the current theory can't rule out purposeful evolution,
      > >dog
      > >> >> >breeds were purposefully "designed" to be what they are
      > > > >>
      > >> >> If you can find a species with the same artificial divides
      > >the
      > >> >> breeds of dogs existing in the wild you might have a case.
      > >> >> without evidence of intelligent intervention, nor even
      > >of
      > >> >> anything that might intervene then there's no reason to
      > >consider it
      > >> >a
      > >> >> serious possibility.
      > >> >>
      > >> >
      > >> >Then the "natural" in "natural selection" is an assumption
      > >arbitrarily
      > >> >attached to a theory which makes no such claim.
      > >>
      > >> You mean that since there is no evidence at all of intervention
      > >> must only be an assumption that there has been no intervention.
      > >Your
      > >> logic is none too good.
      > >
      > >I'm saying that scientific claims need to be supported.
      > By which you seem to mean that first we must be capable of making
      > prophecies - beyond the capability of any predictive theory as well
      > as disproving unfalsifiable speculations.

      I don't need to make any speculations. Biology needs to support its

      > > If it is
      > >"natural selection" and not just "selection" then there must be a
      > >reason for it, and the reason must be subject to the usual
      > >tests of falsifiability.
      > Well you have the example of dog breeds - and we could add similar
      > examples for other domesticated species (such as Darwin's favourite
      > example - pigeons). So natural selection is falsifiable in that
      > artificial selection - and genetic engineering can produce results
      > that natural selection does not. If you wish to assume, say, that
      > artificial selection is going on in a way that mimics natural
      > selection then THAT would be unfalsifiable.

      I don't need to assume anything but the methodological requirements of
      science. Does evolution theory claim that historically the process of
      selection has been natural (not externally influenced) or does it
      *assume* that selection has been natural by definition? If the
      theory asserts it then it needs to support it. If it assumes it, then
      the theory doesn't contradict claims of any potentially unpredictable
      influences, such as divine influence, or others.

      I'm not bringing this up because I'm a creationist, but because
      science is not just another fundamentalism. It's not about beating
      the creationists at any cost. As the saying goes, it's about doing
      right, not being right.

      > >
      > >>
      > >> > It's a good thing
      > >> >too, because if evolution theory did have a mechanism which
      > >> >that it really is "natural" then it would be equivalent to the
      > >> >mechanism that the intelligent design people are trying to
      come up
      > >> >with.
      > >>
      > >> ROTFL!
      > >>
      > >> >
      > >> >> >
      > >> >> >"Descent with modification" isn't a model and it can't
      > >any
      > >> >> >sense of inevitability. Without a working model the theory
      > >can be
      > >> >> >subject to radical reinterpretation as new evidence is
      > >> >>
      > >> >> Descent with modification is not going to change. The
      > >is
      > >> >> too pervasive. Even artificial selection is "descent with
      > >> >> modification".
      > >> >>
      > >> >Right, evolution theory is quite convincing (to me, at least)
      > >that
      > >> >level of generality (which is about as broad as it can be).
      At the
      > >> >more detailed level, it could say something more meaningful
      and it
      > >has
      > >> >to be judged by its predictive power
      > >>
      > >> It says plenty that is meaningful - you just want a level of
      > >> that is not practically available. Biology is complicated.
      > >Working
      > >> out detailed accounts of events millions of years in the past
      > >not
      > >> easy.
      > >>
      > >> >. If there's a missing variable,
      > >> >it wouldn't just reduce the accuracy, but could cause the
      theory to
      > >> >make predictions which are systematically wrong.
      > >>
      > >> Well there's no sign of that.
      > >>
      > >
      > >Of course, there isn't. The theory needs to make specific
      > >with calculated ranges of error before we can see whether the
      > >error falls within the calculated ranges.
      > Well that isn't much of an objection, is it ? Any "missing
      > variables" will be unfalsifiable speculation.

      There's no need for any speculation. The theory needs to calculate
      error ranges along with its predictions and show that observations
      fall within the predicted error ranges. If it doesn't then it hasn't
      shown that it has no significant holes.

      > >> > When a theory is
      > >> >missing important pieces the empiricallly observed errors don't
      > >fall
      > >> >within the error range that was calculated by the model which
      > >the
      > >> >prediction. However, the theory isn't at a point where it can
      > >> >many useful predictions, so I don't see that it can pass that
      > >at
      > >> >this point.
      > >>
      > >> The problem is that we don't even have the knowledge to apply
      > >> theory we do have to the past course of evolution.
      > >
      > >Sure, the math just isn't there yet to prove the kinds of claims
      > >evolution theory makes.
      > That's because the claims you are talking about aren't based on
      > But that doesn't mean that evolutionary theory does not make
      > predictions - even ones that do have mathematical content (as in
      > population genetics).

      Yes it does make some general verifiable predictions, and the theory
      is validated only at that generalized level.

      > > That doesn't mean they're not science, it
      > >just means they're on the level of economics, psychology,
      > >anthropology.
      > >
      > >
      > >> > Creationism seems to overshadow the healthy dose of
      > >> >skepticism which any science requires in order to advance, but
      > > > >creationism is commited to biblical account. It doesn't
      speak for
      > >> >anyone else who, for whatever reason, would like to see a
      > >scientific
      > >> >theory of origins. Current evolution theory isn't it.
      > >>
      > >> Evolution doesn't deal with the origin of life. For origins you
      > >want
      > >> disciplines like abiogenesis (origin of life and cosmology
      > >of
      > >> the universe).
      > >
      > >Not just the origin of life, but the origin of humans.
      > What is wrong with what we have ? There are details like the exact
      > line of descent which may not even be knowable but we have a good
      > idea of the immediate ancestry (we even have some species level
      > intermediates - the "archaic homo sapiens" remains).

      I can see weather happening too, but that doesn't mean I can predict
      it. Understanding our origins isn't the same as showing that
      evolution happens. It would have to show that given certain initial
      conditions, a particular result is inevitable. Complete precision
      isn't necessary, just as meteorologists don't predict the path of a
      hurricane with complete precision.

      > >> > It has enough
      > >> >to counter biblical creationism, but not enough to obviate the
      > >> >for superstition the same way that superstition became
      > >> >when other gaps have been filled with amoral explanations
      > >> >lightning, illness, etc). Overcoming superstition may seem
      like a
      > >low
      > >> >threshold if it's seen as just a frivolous diversion.
      However, I'd
      > >> >suggest that superstition is as necessary as science is
      > >> >and incomplete. A theory of origin would have to be compelling
      > >> >the various relevant points of view, not just *possible*
      > >> >circumstantially. Biologists may not have asked for that kind
      > >> >role, but they *are* inevitably treading on holy ground, so to
      > >speak.
      > >>
      > >>
      > >> You really haven;t made a case for that.
      > >
      > >The case for what?
      > The idea that superstition is necessary, and the idea that
      > are "treading on holy ground" as you put it/

      Let's just say that some people find it a personally significant

      > >> >> > Newton
      > >> >> >didn't just say "what goes up must come down" but he came
      > >with a
      > >> >> >way to predict planetary positions. His theory *did*
      > >something. A
      > >> >> >theory doesn't have to be complete in terms of precision,
      > >it
      > >> >> >*does* have to be complete in the sense of not missing any
      > >> >variables
      > >> >> >that are significant at its own level of precision.
      > >> >>
      > >> >> And what do you have in mind. What sort of "variables" are
      > >> >thinking of ?
      > >> >>
      > >> >Nothing in particular. I could come up with some
      speculations, but
      > >> >it's hard to pre-judge what kind of mechanisms could be at work
      > >>
      > >> Well then, if you can't come up with falsifiable ideas of your
      > >> what's the point of discussing it ?
      > >
      > >I'm not making a case for or against the theory of evolution. I'm
      > >saying that it needs to support its claims like any other science.
      > Which for some reason involves making unreasonable demands and
      > to pretend that a failure to meet those demands means that
      > evolutionary theory lacks support for its claims.

      If by "unreasonable" you mean unreasonable due to practical
      considerations, that's irrelevant to the requirements of science. Any
      of the claims are only theoretical until verified experimentally.

      The bar isn't set by practical considerations, but by the claims made
      on behalf of the theory.

      > >> >because life and evolution are quite different from other
      > >mechanisms
      > >> >which we understand more fully. It's just that the theory is
      > >as
      > >> >good as its predictions, and right now it only makes
      > >about
      > >> >the boundaries of the process, not predictions of evolution at
      > >work.
      > >>
      > >> Predictions of evolution AT WORK are precisely where it is good.
      > >> Dealing with existing populations and how they change over
      years to
      > >> decades is where the theory does work.
      > >
      > >So is the current environment making humans more or less resistent
      > >disease?
      > Which environment ? A third world slum is different from a first
      world suburb.
      > Which disease ? AIDs resistance is going up, smallpox resistance
      > probably coming down. I've already pointed out the problem of
      > - and here you are asking vague questions like the above.

      Take your pick. Predict anything useful. If the theory understands
      the real process of evolution, then it has a causal model. If it has
      a causal model, then it can make (possibly stochastic) predictions of
      causation from one state to another, with a known margin of error. If
      it can't make such predictions, then it doesn't have a causal model,
      but only an accomodating description.

      If the model is claimed to be of the process which brought humans into
      existence, then it needs to make predictions which support that claim.
      Such a model would be able to make predictions about the
      probabilities and directions of evolution on a planet with starting
      conditions similar to those on earth several billion years ago. There
      are practical obstacles to making such predictions, but that doesn't
      absolve a scientific theory from empirical verification of a well
      chosen set of predictions which rule out significant potential holes.

      > >Is our genetic code gaining or losing complexity in the
      > >current environment.
      > Probably neither to any appreciable degree. But unless you can
      > translate that into the actual alleles in the current population -
      > and their phenotypic effects there would be no way to answer that
      > question no matter how good the theory.
      > > How can we use the theory of evolution to
      > >predict the course of antibiotic resistence by bacteria?
      > Probably yes - with sufficient detail on the environment and the
      > starting population.
      > >What is it
      > >that it can do ?
      > Predict the distributions of genes in existing populations. (Look
      > Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium sometime).

      Yes, it shows that some process of evolution is happening and that
      selection, mutation, and random mating are significant variables in
      that process. Their equation is a start. It shows that under stable
      conditions, the given genetic information spreads out in a predictable

      > Having discovered a phylogenetic relationship based on fossils and
      > the morphology of existing species we can predict genetic
      > relationships.

      Ok, not a bad thing, but is that enough to contradict creationist
      claims of influence from outside the system? Or can it answer
      anyone's innocent question of "is it known whether there was any
      external influence?" A scientific theory doesn't necessarily have to
      answer such a question, but if it had a causal model (one which shows
      an unbroken chain of causality), the question would be automatically

      > --
      > --
      > "The T'ang emperors were strong believers in the pills of
      > immortality. More emperors died of poisoning from ingesting
      > in the T'ang than in any other dynasty" - Eva Wong _The Shambhala
      > Guide to Taoism_
      > Paul K.
    • Paul
      ... ... Teleocat, Re; post 12517 You said: Perhaps your quoting style has something to do with it. In your previous post your question wasn t
      Message 233 of 233 , Aug 7, 2003
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        --- In creationism@yahoogroups.com, "teleocat" <cat.c@n...> wrote:
        > --- In creationism@yahoogroups.com, "Paul" <jacor@t...> wrote:
        > > --- In creationism@yahoogroups.com, "teleocat" <cat.c@n...>
        > > > --- In creationism@yahoogroups.com, "Paul" <jacor@t...> wrote:
        > > > > --- In creationism@yahoogroups.com, "teleocat" <cat.c@n...>
        > > wrote:
        > > > > > --- In creationism@yahoogroups.com, "Paul" <jacor@t...>
        > > > > > > --- In creationism@yahoogroups.com, "teleocat"

        > > > > wrote:
        > > > > > > In post 12355
        > > > > Re: post 12376
        > > >Teleocat
        > > Re post 12514


        Re; post 12517

        You said:
        "Perhaps your quoting style has something to do with it. In your
        previous post your question wasn't anywhere near the quoted sentence
        that you are refering to. I understand your question now. I was
        accused of being anti-science, and by my response I meant that my
        accusations of posts made on a yahoo discussion group are not
        accusations of science itself."

        BS. My statements are always close to what I am talking about.

        The relevant, complete text of original post 12355 to which I
        > >
        > >> >I don't need to claim that there are non-functional
        > >>
        > >> OK, then we can rule out the idea that here were since there is
        > >> reason to expect it and no evidence to support such an idea.
        > >
        > >You can rule them out, you can leave them for later and not make
        > >assumptions about them, you can investigate further, or you can
        > >a model which contradicts them.
        > Actually we can decide that it is a silly idea not worthy of
        > consideration. Unless you can give some reason why it should be
        > considered otherwise.

        You said: "The reason is that the TOE depends on it. If I were to
        point out in a physics group that physics needs to prove empirically
        that the speed of gravity waves is the same as the speed of light,
        should someone reply that if I don't believe the theoretical
        prediction by General Relativity then I should show why, and that GR
        is a fact proven in many ways, and besides no one has seen gravity
        go any slower or any faster, and it's too hard to do in practice, so
        I must be anti-science."

        My reply was in post 12371
        and read:
        "(Speaking about transitional forms and the theory of evolution)"
        teleocat says: "The reason is that the TOE depends on it. If I were
        to point out in a physics group that physics needs to prove
        empirically that the speed of gravity waves is the same as the speed
        of light, should someone reply that if I don't believe the
        theoretical prediction by General Relativity then I should show why,
        and that GR is a fact proven in many ways, and besides no one has
        seen gravity go any slower or any faster, and it's too hard to do in
        practice, so I must be anti-science."

        I said: "The problem with "proving" transitionals is mostly one of
        definition. Any animal, be it found only in the fossil record or
        currently living, is either a transitional form between the past and
        the future (evolutionary definition) or a "complete" animal that is
        not transitional (Creationist definition). Using your example of
        physics, the speed of light needs to be defined as the speed of
        light in a vacuum in order for your statement to be true. If a group
        demands that since the speed of light in water is much slower than
        your definition, then your "proof" of gravity and light speed being
        equal is BS. Which is precisely what (BS) and why (unreasonable
        definition) Creationists claim of transitional fossils."

        >>inserted note this post: (BS has been used to replace what the
        lord and master objects to, spelling out the word)

        Observation this posting:
        At worst, you and I are in disagreement about "transitional forms"
        and non-functional intermediaries not being different aspects of
        essentially the same subject. However, my reply is right under your
        quote to which I responded. I did not include the rest, because I
        was not responding to the rest. I gave a summation of my
        interpretation of the exchanges to that point immediately prior to
        your quote. It was therefore more appropriate for you to correct my
        reading of the argument, rather than accuse me of getting my science
        from yahoo chat rooms. None of which alters the fact my response
        was appropriate to your statement and right under your statement.

        The only person, even in a complete quotation, that accuses you of
        being anti-science is you. I read your comment as supporting the
        Creationist argument because the theory of evolution does not meet
        your standards of proof. Hence the wording of my answer.

        Paul D
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