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NeoDarwinian Evolution Explains EVERYTHING

No matter whether we find randomly composed, unoptimized structures or whether we find super-optimized digital genetic codes, NeoDarwinian Evolution did it! There’s nothing it can’t do!

Oh hold it… why does the phrase “because it explains everything, it explains nothing” come to mind right now?

Read more about the theory of everything here.

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18 Responses to NeoDarwinian Evolution Explains EVERYTHING

  1. I wonder if I should tell Pim Van Meurs that the same Journal of Theoretical Biology that he plucked the theory of everything from is the same journal that published John Davison’s Semi-Meiotic Hypothesis. I’m afraid the cognitive dissonance that would cause in Pim’s pointy little head would actually cause physical harm (which is why I’m conflicted over whether or not to tell him).

  2. “…Karl Popper at one time wrote that Darwinism is not really a scientific theory because natural selection is an all-purpose explanation which can account for anything, and which therefore explains nothing. Popper backed away from this position after he was besieged by indignant Darwinist protests, but he had plenty of justification for taking it… C.H. Waddington['s] attempt to make sense of the matter deserves to be preserved for posterity:

    Darwin’s major contribution was, of course, the suggestion that evolution can be explained by natural selection of random variations. Natural selection, which was at first considered as though it were a hypothesis that was in need of experimental or observational confirmation, turns out on closer inspection to be a tautology, a statement of an inevitable but previously unrecognized relation. It states that the fittest individuals in a population (defined as those which leave the most offspring) will leave the most offspring. This fact in no way diminishes the maginitude of Darwin’s achievement; only after it was clearly formulated, could biologists realize the enormous power of the principle as a weapon of explanation

    “That was not an offhand statement, but a considered judgment published in a paper presented at the great convocation at the University of Chicago in 1959 celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species. Apparently, none of the distinguished authorities present told Waddington that a tautology does not explain anything. When I want to know how a fish can become a man, I am not enlightened by being told that the organisms that leave the most offspring are the ones that leave the most offspring.” — Phillip Johnson, Darwin on Trial, pp. 21-22.

  3. How does the data in the PT post in any way, shape, or form, demonstrate proof of unintelligent evolution?

    aye aye aye, these people.

  4. Evolutionism can splain everything only when the splaining is “just-so-stories” not based on anything scientific. It is true that evolutionism splains stasis. It is true that evolutionism splains vast morphological changes. It is true that evolutionism splains increasing genetic information to account for those vast changes as well as information stasis to splain the so-called “living fossils”.

    However evolutionism cannot splain the details- What mutaions (as in what locus/ loci changed and when)? How did blind and random processes put together a genetic code, complete with start & stop codons which signify which DNA sequences will code for an amino acid sequence? And evolutionism doesn’t even attempt to splain where the information came from in the first place.

    Evolutionism is also going to have a tough time splaining why only one side of the DNA double helix holds the information, while the other side holds all the “working” sequences. It also can’t splain the mechanism for downloading the information from the information side to the other (in the form of the information compliment) just before DNA replication.

    Yes that last paragraph are MY thoughts on DNA and information- one side holds the data that makes the organism what it is (ie system architecture) and the other side does all the “work” as directed by the info side. That hypothesis can be tested to see if it is always the same side that provides the RNAs (m,r, & t)/ amino acid sequences. And some time, just before replication, the data on the info side is copied to the other side. (as someone who designs and works with designs this hypothesis “makes sense” to me- more to come as I develop this thought…)

  5. “Karl Popper at one time wrote that Darwinism is not really a scientific theory because natural selection is an all-purpose explanation which can account for anything.”

    Classic quote mine that ignores the fact that Popper later reversed himself, and explained in great detail why he was wrong when he made the statement you quote above.

  6. Even a layman like myself can see through a non-answer such as the following given at PT…

    “A transcription system with a superior built-in error correction algorithm outperforms a transcription system with a crappy one. Organisms with the former therefore outcompete those with the latter. Next!” -Anton Mates

    And I love how those at PT think using cheap insults will somehow make their arguments more compelling…

    “Just in case go back and for once read about a subject that obviously you know nothing about. On the other hand keep on opening your mouth and inserting your foot in it, is so much fun :)” -Tyrannosaurus

    And these are the people who claim to be “objective scientists”?

  7. Let me highlight the verbs and nouns listed in the excerpt that imply intent, intelligece and information–including some of the ones used to describe what the researchers did, to show how deeply intuitive ID really is, even in the language of those trying to deny it:

    The standard genetic code, by which most organisms translate genetic material into protein metabolism, is non-randomly organized. The Error Minimization hypothesis interprets this non-randomness as an adaptation, proposing that natural selection produced a pattern of codon assignments that buffers genomes against the impact of mutations. Indeed, on the average any given point mutation has a lesser effect on the chemical properties of the utilized amino acid than expected by chance. Might it also, however, be the case that the non-random nature of the code effects the rate of adaptive evolution? To investigate this, here we develop population genetic simulations to test the rate of adaptive gene evolution under different genetic codes. We identify two independent properties of a genetic code that profoundly influence the speed of adaptive evolution. Noting that the standard genetic code exhibits both, we offer a new insight into the effects of the ‘‘error minimizing’’ code: such a code enhances the efficacy of adaptive sequence evolution.

  8. Abstract:
    “The standard genetic code, by which most organisms translate genetic material into protein metabolism, is non-randomly organized.”

    Imagine that…. non-randomly organized. lights on.

    “The Error Minimization hypothesis interprets this non-randomness as an adaptation…,”

    Light off, misinterpreting “non-randomness as an adaptation” is ignoring the obvious. A designer can and would create a robust “non-random” mechanism to adapt. Historically Darwinism did not predict “non-randomness”. Its adherants over the years however “evolved” adaptable to design concepts I see. As evidence kept piling on they had no choice. This brings them closer to characteristic properties of recognizable design, not farther away.

    “…proposing that natural selection produced a pattern of codon assignments that buffers genomes against the impact of mutations.”

    “Proposing” natural selection can produce any pattern is what “macro-evolutionist” apparently believe. As an old coder this is design theory 201. You realize code cannot predict every situation, determine areas of functionality, optimal, limited and failure. But you still write into the code “buffering” against possible bad input. Smart programs recognize mutational input, adapt, even correct bad data, before returning error codes. An old knowledge base program written in early 90′s for example adapted words, lines, paragraphs, pages into insurance documents based upon just 4 action verbs. Built into it however were intelligent recognition of ‘mutated input, words, lines, etc.,’ which it would internally correct or rebuff. Looking at it, you would say its evolving over time, but in reality, it just built up a large knowledge base of conditional circumstances. Each new circumstance, a new table entry accounted for “variable input”. Similar in nature: genetic code and codons(with ability of frame shifting) is designed to account for variable input and react. There is optimal, limited and failed reaction procedures that kick in with error checking/repair for each level of operation.

    “Indeed, on the average any given point mutation has a lesser effect on the chemical properties of the utilized amino acid than expected by chance.”

    Uh… process of variable input components do this whether as stress or other motives. This does not prove ‘macro-evolution’.

    “Might it also, however, be the case that the non-random nature of the code effects the rate of adaptive evolution?”

    Ding, faux light for wrong assumption – evolution.

    “To investigate this, here we develop population genetic simulations to test the rate of adaptive gene evolution under different genetic codes. We identify two independent properties of a genetic code that profoundly influence the speed of adaptive evolution. Noting that the standard genetic code exhibits both, we offer a new insight into the effects of the “error minimizing” code: such a code enhances the efficacy of adaptive sequence evolution.”

    Oyyyy…. the new insight is design. “adaptive sequence” is not random sequence another words, but a limited search space and macro-evolution is still not answered.

    No time to look back, but Dembski’s look at Steganography(?) as a form of cryptography is warranted. Except, I’m not sure its really hidden per say, just locked in. Its just we’ve yet to unseal the code. What we might find are knowledge bases on the genetic code level of what worked in the past or what did not with refer back loop communication systems. This would increase the “adaptive sequence” of “variation” in bacteria for instance. In the case of Nylon, it took longer precisely because the search space did not contain the past code in the knowledge base of non-coded DNA.

    Its a speculative hypothesis, but we are dealing with a code. And every coder I know has to deal with relational databases sooner or later in order to maintain efficient response mechanisms external to the “base” or in this case “standard genetic code” when dealing with large search spaces or with reaction to large input criteria.

    I’d say ID has a better answer. Look for knowledge bases in the non-coded areas.

  9. Evidence of error correcting capabilities in the genetic code not only suggests creator, but a very conscientious one, at that.

    But then, built-in adapative capacities suggest a creator that wants his creatures to survive – intact. That could be characterized as … loving.

    Not only does the genetic code suggest a creator, but it also suggests much of his character.

    Truly, one cannot isolate
    the dancer from the dance,
    the singer from the song,
    the poet from the poem …
    But our pride isolates us from God and each other.

  10. dhogaza:

    “Karl Popper at one time wrote that Darwinism is not really a scientific theory because natural selection is an all-purpose explanation which can account for anything.” Classic quote mine that ignores the fact that Popper later reversed himself, and explained in great detail why he was wrong when he made the statement you quote above.

    Unclassic quote mine that ignores the fact that Johnson’s very next sentence is, “Popper backed away from this position after he was besieged by indignant Darwinist protests, but he had plenty of justification for taking it…”

  11. ‘Unclassic quote mine that ignores the fact that Johnson’s very next sentence is, “Popper backed away from this position after he was besieged by indignant Darwinist protests, but he had plenty of justification for taking it…”’

    In other words, Johnson’s putting words into Popper’s mouth. Popper made clear that he didn’t have plenty of justification for taking that position, and made clear WHY that was true. He erred. He corrected his error. Johnson’s projection as to why he corrected his error is unimportant.

  12. dhogaza: “He erred. He corrected his error. Johnson’s projection as to why he corrected his error is unimportant.”

    Is it projection?

    There’s a commercial out these days where a wife asked her husband if he likes A or B. When the husband answers B, she tells him: “You mean you don’t think A is attractive?” He then answers: “Oh, no I meant A was what I liked”.

    I think Popper was more truthful when he wasn’t looking over his shoulder at how people would react to what he wrote. If you prefer to think otherwise, that’s your perogative; but, I think most people judge that if someone is saying something while a gun is being pointed at his head, then there’s good likelihood coercion is at play. And they don’t take his words seriously.

  13. Projection? Johnson putting words in Popper’s mouth. None of this follows from the quote.

    Darwinists did criticize Popper’s statement. Popper then “corrected his error” in light of that criticism.

    I’m just glad Darwinists don’t act like that nowadays.

  14. Karl “Kerry” Popper voted against evolution before he voted for evolution.

  15. ” ‘Kerry’ Popper voted against evolution before he voted for evolution.”

    Maybe not.

    Here is Karl Popper’s “recantation”:

    When speaking here of Darwinism, I shall speak always of today’s theory — that is Darwin’s own theory of natural selection supported by the Mendelian theory of heredity, by the theory of the mutation and recombination of genes in a gene pool, and the decoded genetic code. This is an immensely impressive and powerful theory. The claim that it completely explains evolution is of course a bold claim, and very far from being established. All scientific theories are conjectures, even those that have successfully passed many and varied tests. The Mendelian underpinning of modern Darwinism has been well tested, and so has the theory of evolution which says that all terrestrial life has evolved from a few primitive unicellular organisms, possibly even from one single organism.

    However, Darwin’s own most important contribution to the theory of evolution, his theory of natural selection, is difficult to test. There are some tests, even some experimental tests; and in some cases, such as the famous phenomenom known as “industrial melanism”, we can observe natural selection happening under our very eyes, as it were. Nevertheless, really severe tests of the theory of natural selection are hard to come by, much more so than tests of otherwise comparable theories in physics or chemistry.

    The fact that the theory of natural selection is difficult to test has led some people, anti-Darwinists and even some great Darwinists, to claim that it is a tautology. A tautology like “All tables are tables” is not, of course, testable; nor has it any explanatory power. It is therefore most surprising to hear that some of the greatest contemporary Darwinists themselves formulate the theory in such a way that it amounts to the tautology that those organisms that leave the most offspring leave the most offspring. And C.H. Waddington even says somewhere (and he defends this view in other places) that “Natural selection … turns out … to be a tautology”. However, he attributes at the same place to the theory an “enormous power … of explanation”. Since the explanatory power of a tautology is obviously zero, something must be wrong here.

    Yet similar passages can be found in the works of such great Darwinists as Ronald Fisher, J.B.S. Haldane, and George Gaylord Simpson; and others.

    I mention this problem because I too belong among the culprits. Influenced by what these authorities say, I have in the past described the theory as “almost tautological”, and I have tried to explain how the theory of natural selection could be untestable (as is a tautology) and yet of great scientific interest. My solution was that the doctrine of natural selection is a most successful metaphysical research programme. It raises detailed problems in many fields, and it tells us what we would expect of an acceptable solution of these problems.

    I still believe that natural selection works this way as a research programme. Nevertheless, I have changed my mind about the testability and logical status of the theory of natural selection; and I am glad to have an opportunity to make a recantation. My recantation may, I hope, contribute a little to the understanding of the status of natural selection.

    From “Natural Selection and the Emergence of Mind”, Dialectica, vol. 32, no. 3-4, 1978, pp. 339-355 [obtained from to http://www.geocities.com/criti.....lution.htm ]

    Now, consider this interpretation (by me):

    The claim that Darwinism explains all of biological complexity and diversity is a bold claim that is very, very, very, very, very, very, very far from ever being established. Mendelian genetics and common descent are well-supported, but Darwin’s theory of evolution by means of natural selection is not. The only thing we have seen is microevolution. Compared to comparable theories in physics and chemistry, Darwinism is a joke. It is essentially an untestable tautology, and great Darwinists such as Fisher, Haldane, and Simpson have recognized this.

    I mention this problem (for the Darwinists) because I too belong among those who consider Darwinism to be a tautology. Influenced by what these authorities say, I have in the past described the theory as “almost tautological” (rather than tautological, period, as I now consider it), and I have tried to explain how the theory of natural selection could be untestable (as is a tautology) and yet of great scientific interest. My solution was that the doctrine of natural selection is a most successful metaphysical research programme, and I still maintain this. It raises detailed problems in many fields, and it tells us what we would expect of an acceptable solution of these problems, although it does not provide them.

    I still believe that natural selection works this way as a metaphysical (i.e., philosophical) research programme. Nevertheless, I have changed my mind about the testability and logical status of the theory of natural selection, and I am glad to have an opportunity to make a recantation: I now consider it to be a tautology, plain and simple. My recantation may, I hope, contribute a little to the understanding of the real status of natural selection.

    Credit: Inspired by the analysis of Stephen E. Jones, who suggested: “Darwinists have seized on Popper’s word ‘recantation’ and have not taken notice of what he actually said. My interpretation of this, based on the evidence of what Popper actually said and why he said it, is that Popper was actually retaliating against the Darwinists, who had publicly criticised him for, by pretending to recant, but not really doing so.” http://www.asa3.org/archive/ev...../0035.html

  16. …Credit: Inspired by, and essentially just a concise rephrasing of, the analysis of Stephen E. Jones…

  17. 17

    I think your interpretation is off ever so slightly. Popper did recant that evolution is a tautology. And he replaced that belief with the claim that its a metaphysical research program. He recanted on the technicality that he had mis-labeled natural selection. In either case, its assumptions are untestable and unproveable.

  18. 18

    “No matter whether we find randomly composed, unoptimized structures or whether we find super-optimized digital genetic codes, NeoDarwinian Evolution did it! There’s nothing it can’t do!”

    The problem is, the same must be said for ID. Or God. The reason is that what ever theory we propose must account for emperical reality, of course, or the theory will be discarded immediately.

    This statment simply shows that both ID and evo are not emperically proveable. ID, however, admits its assumptions. Evo does not, thus labeling a belief system as science.

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