Home » Natural selection, News » It is safer for Darwin’s followers to just ignore Andreas Wagner than to pick a fight.

It is safer for Darwin’s followers to just ignore Andreas Wagner than to pick a fight.

Andreas Wagner

Further to Cornelius Hunter’s observations on Santa Fe Institute’s Andreas Wagner’s admission that we know every little about how new traits emerge in evolution:

But this admission, while uncontroversial, is not well advertised. It is not typically found in textbooks or popular books. Evolutionists do not often discuss this shortcoming in their class lectures or public talks. For this shortcoming is rather embarrassing. In order to be taken seriously evolution must be able to explain how life’s various and incredible innovations arose, and it hasn’t been able to do that.

“Evolution” does not need to explain anything in order to be taken seriously. When people use the term, they always end up meaning “Darwin’s theory of evolution,” the only one that has launched a cult. And Darwin’s cult only needs to explain things in its own terms.

So whether you want to know why people get mad in checkout lineups or give to charity, you can consult a branch of Darwin’s theory of evolution (evo psych), and its practitioners will tell you an answer. It’s rubbish, of course, but it’s rubbish in support of the cult, so all is well. In fact, it is not at present possible to ask Darwin’s followers a question that is outside their remit.

All this said, here is the release that went out at ScienceDaily, on Wagner’s theme:

The findings underscore the idea that traits we see now — even complex ones, like color vision — may have had neutral origins that sat latent for generations before spreading through populations, Wagner says.

That is a better argument for design than for Darwinism, but don’t expect to hear it from the Darwin lobby.

“Our work shows that exaptations [“byproducts” that turn out to be useful later] exceed adaptations several-fold,” he says.

If exaptations are pervasive in evolution, he adds, it becomes difficult to distinguish adaptation from exaptation, and it could change the way evolutionary biologists think about selective advantage as the primary driver of natural selection.

It would actually make Darwin’s natural selection much less important to evolution than it is now claimed to be. Genomes may well be libraries of neutral changes that happen to become useful in a given environment, and were not selected for by a long slow process of weeding out all but the fittest.

Which is why nothing much is likely to come of Wagner’s work. It is safer for Darwin’s followers to just ignore him than to pick a fight.

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5 Responses to It is safer for Darwin’s followers to just ignore Andreas Wagner than to pick a fight.

  1. Natural selection is not as active as evolutionists pretend. It is presented old and new forms and then competition, environmental change and other stresses sort out the most fit to survive. Natural selection does actively select but is totally passive in the process of creation of new or modified forms. Viewed this way advancement toward complexity under Darwin’s theory is like pushing a rope. Exaptations equal teleology. For example, lowering of the larynx to provide for speech began to occur 500,000 years before H. erectus appeared. That downward movement required the invention of the eppiglottis to protect the windpipe from choking. How did natural selection sort that out? Letting a dangerous change remain for such a long period, when the change was not useful at the time? Exaptations imply active intelligent planning for the future.

  2. My favourite explanation of natural selection is Lynn Margulis’s (to Suzan Mazur), roughly paraphrased here: More life forms come into existence than can survive. So not all do. Not all reproduce. Not all the offspring are fertile or reproduce.

    That’s it. And it happens for all sorts of reasons, only some of which have anything to do with being generally more fit. Nor does the differential history cause complex new machinery to come into existence in life forms. That’s all moonshine.

    When arguing for such claims, people focus on the wolf pack, not on the worm in the apple. It is true that the wolf must be fit and cunning, or he won’t eat and won’t survive.

    Can the same be said of the worm in the apple? The worm has no shortage of food. And if he dies without pupating, it will likely be because a deer came along and ate the apple. And what can the worm do about it? Nothing. But worms survive, as do wolves.

    Darwinism is an impediment to understanding the history of life, but it makes for one corkeroo of a cult in science. – O’Leary

  3. Andreas Wagner unwittingly supported Behe!

    See:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-function/

    However, fitness is hard to define rigorously and even more difficult to measure….An examination of fitness and its robustness alone would thus not yield much insight into the opening questions. Instead, it is necessary to analyze, on all levels of organization, the systems that constitute an organism, and that sustain its life. I define such systems loosely as assemblies of parts that carry out well-defined biological functions.

    Andreas Wagner

    but Wagner’s definition of “system” sounds hauntingly similar to Michael Behe’s definition of Irreducible Complexity:

    A single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function of the system

    Michael Behe

    :-)

    Great minds think alike!

  4. O’Leary:

    My favourite explanation of natural selection is Lynn Margulis’s (to Suzan Mazur), roughly paraphrased here: More life forms come into existence than can survive. So not all do. Not all reproduce. Not all the offspring are fertile or reproduce.

    That’s it.

    No, it isn’t. There’s one more important important part to that (as I don’t know the quotation, I’m not sure whether she included it); if the reason that those who survive have something to do with heritable traits, then those traits will become more prevalent in the population.

    And it happens for all sorts of reasons, only some of which have anything to do with being generally more fit.

    Small correction: only some of which have anything to do with heritable traits. Exactly. But “only some” is not “none”.

    Nor does the differential history cause complex new machinery to come into existence in life forms. That’s all moonshine.

    Well, don’t leave out half the equation – new stuff comes from variance generation, not selection. Put the two together and you get complex solutions to the problem of breeding in an environment full of resources and threats. Neither alone will do the job, but that doesn’t mean that both together won’t, and they demonstrably do.

    When arguing for such claims, people focus on the wolf pack, not on the worm in the apple. It is true that the wolf must be fit and cunning, or he won’t eat and won’t survive.

    Can the same be said of the worm in the apple? The worm has no shortage of food. And if he dies without pupating, it will likely be because a deer came along and ate the apple. And what can the worm do about it? Nothing. But worms survive, as do wolves.

    Not the ones that eat apples that deer tend to like. You’ve set up a nice scenario for the evolution of a worm that likes the kind of apples that deer don’t like. Or make them taste nasty so the deer spit them out. Or any one of many solutions that may or may not come along.

    Darwinism is an impediment to understanding the history of life, but it makes for one corkeroo of a cult in science. – O’Leary

    Certainly misunderstanding Darwinism is an impediment to understanding the history of life, and unfortunately makes for one corkeroo of cargo cult science among those who misunderstand it.

  5. There’s one more important important part to that (as I don’t know the quotation, I’m not sure whether she included it); if the reason that those who survive have something to do with heritable traits, then those traits will become more prevalent in the population.

    If and only if specific pressures do not change. And we know that ain’t so in the real world.

    Certainly misunderstanding Darwinism is an impediment to understanding the history of life, and unfortunately makes for one corkeroo of cargo cult science among those who misunderstand it.

    Well I have shown that Lizzie does NOT understand Darwinism.

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