Home » Darwinism, Mathematics » Can Darwin’s enemy, math, rescue him?

Can Darwin’s enemy, math, rescue him?

Oxford is hiring a mathematician to try to rescue Darwinism. Because it was the math that got Darwinism into trouble in the first place:

The concept of fitness optimization is routinely used by field biologists, and first-year biology undergraduates are frequently taught that natural selection leads to organisms that maximize their fitness. Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene (1976) promoted a conceptual integration of modern evolutionary theory in which genes are viewed as optimising agents, which is extremely influential and widespread today and encompasses inclusive fitness theory and evolutionarily stable strategies as well as general optimality ideas. However, mathematical population geneticists mainly deny that natural selection leads to optimization of any useful kind. This fifty-year old schism is intellectually damaging in itself, and has prevented improvements in our concept of what fitness is. One underlying cause is that the link between natural selection and fitness optimization is much more sophisticated than the usual optimization principles associated with dynamical systems, namely Lyapunov functions and gradient functions. (P. 2)

The aim is to formalize relevant links between the mathematics of motion (representing the known process of gene frequency change as the dominant mechanism of evolution) and the mathematics of optimization, in a rigorous way”

One source comments: “I remember working with software programmers who told me that 1 + 1 = 3 for EXTREMELY LARGE values of 1. Maybe this could work for them.”

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11 Responses to Can Darwin’s enemy, math, rescue him?

  1. Perhaps they should work on a little more basic math first, like how to get a single functional protein in the first place???

    Stephen Meyer – Proteins by Design – Doing The Math – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6332250/

  2. Someone should warn the poor mathematician. Once he shows conclusively that natural selection is impotent to achieve anything beyond the most trivial of changes he will be black-listed and denied tenure.

  3. Notes on the ‘math’ of evolution:

    This following study is very interesting for the researcher surveyed 130 DNA-based evolutionary trees to see if the results matched what ‘natural selection’ predicted for speciation and found:

    Accidental origins: Where species come from – March 2010
    Excerpt: If speciation results from natural selection via many small changes, you would expect the branch lengths to fit a bell-shaped curve.,,, Instead, Pagel’s team found that in 78 per cent of the trees, the best fit for the branch length distribution was another familiar curve, known as the exponential distribution. Like the bell curve, the exponential has a straightforward explanation – but it is a disquieting one for evolutionary biologists. The exponential is the pattern you get when you are waiting for some single, infrequent event to happen.,,,To Pagel, the implications for speciation are clear: “It isn’t the accumulation of events that causes a speciation, it’s single, rare events falling out of the sky, so to speak.”
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....tml?page=2

    Whale Evolution Vs. Population Genetics – Richard Sternberg PhD. in Evolutionary Biology – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4165203

    further note;

    Dr. Sanford calculates it would take 12 million years to “fix” a single base pair mutation into a population. He further calculates that to create a gene with 1000 base pairs, it would take 12 million x 1000 or 12 billion years. This is obviously too slow to support the creation of the human genome containing 3 billion base pairs.
    http://www.detectingtruth.com/?p=66

    Waiting Longer for Two Mutations – Michael J. Behe
    Excerpt: Citing malaria literature sources (White 2004) I had noted that the de novo appearance of chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum was an event of probability of 1 in 10^20. I then wrote that ‘for humans to achieve a mutation like this by chance, we would have to wait 100 million times 10 million years’ (1 quadrillion years)(Behe 2007) (because that is the extrapolated time that it would take to produce 10^20 humans). Durrett and Schmidt (2008, p. 1507) retort that my number ‘is 5 million times larger than the calculation we have just given’ using their model (which nonetheless “using their model” gives a prohibitively long waiting time of 216 million years). Their criticism compares apples to oranges. My figure of 10^20 is an empirical statistic from the literature; it is not, as their calculation is, a theoretical estimate from a population genetics model.
    http://www.discovery.org/a/9461

    Darwin and the Mathematicians – David Berlinski
    “The formation within geological time of a human body by the laws of physics (or any other laws of similar nature), starting from a random distribution of elementary particles and the field, is as unlikely as the separation by chance of the atmosphere into its components.”
    Kurt Gödel, was a preeminent mathematician who is considered one of the greatest to have ever lived. Of Note: Godel was a Theist!
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....cians.html

    “Darwin’s theory is easily the dumbest idea ever taken seriously by science.”
    Granville Sewell – Professor Of Mathematics – University Of Texas – El Paso

    In Barrow and Tippler’s book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, they list ten steps necessary in the course of human evolution, each of which, is so improbable that if left to happen by chance alone, the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and would have incinerated the earth. They estimate that the odds of the evolution (by chance) of the human genome is somewhere between 4 to the negative 180th power, to the 110,000th power, and 4 to the negative 360th power, to the 110,000th power. Therefore, if evolution did occur, it literally would have been a miracle and evidence for the existence of God. William Lane Craig

    William Lane Craig – If Human Evolution Did Occur It Was A Miracle – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUxm8dXLRpA

    etc.. etc.. etc..

    Math is not kind to Darwinism in the least!!!

  4. Please any of you could advise me a book on mathematics of Evolution that include recent discoveries?

  5. So if you open up the pdf it actually has some links to other material.

    Looks like this guy Alan Grafen has done some work.

  6. 9

    In biology I only see math as useful to demonstrate the unlikelyness of probabilities of mutual zillions of changes leading to the present reality in biology.
    Otherwise i see math as wrongly esteemed as a high intellectual achievement. if someone discovers something its cool but still not a big deal. Its obscure still in the higher study of it.
    Boundaries in any study diminishes its need for imagination or insightful discovery since wrong turns are quickly found out and right turns quickly settled leading to easier advancement.
    Biology’s boundaries are not discovered and its all about insight or imagination or wisdom. Pick your word.
    Creationism must insist that biological studies be on biological investigation.
    Math is just a hic cousin to great systems of life.
    numbers don’t exist in biology.

  7. @Mung: Thank you very much for these links. I wasnt aware of this research about the cost of substitution. UD doesn’t speak about it either.

  8. @Mung: Thank you very much for these links. I wasnt aware of this research about the cost of substitution. UD doesn’t speak about it either.

    Thank you. I’d speak about it more if it weren’t for the fact that I’m even more of a MathIdiot than I am of an IDiot.

    As you can see, the cost of substitution has been known about since at least the 1950′s.

    Even the original reviewers of ReMine’s paper agreed the math was essentially correct. So then the goal has to be to keep it out of any mainstream scientific publications.

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