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The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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Comment by Shaun Johnston on February 14, 2015 at 9:22am

Quinton, I appreciate your close reading in this thread. I am pursuing two lines of argument at once, that I keep separate but you've brought together. Of course that's confusing. Summary, I'm a science - oriented atheist, who suspects the modern synthesis is faulty, the fault originating in Fisher's statistics. At the same time I am exploring other ways of thinking about evolution, such as my 'genies.' I recommend keeping them separate, because free speculation can't be defended as criticism of statistics can be. I think my Fisher review is clear. He doesn't include consideration, in his statistics, of the much greater number of harmful mutations. This is a statistical gaffe, I think. By the way, he thinks there are no neutral muations, because natural selection is so sensitive all mutations will register.
Some people think it's disloyal to question tthe basis for the modern syntheses. I think it's ok. What do you think?

Comment by Shaun Johnston on February 14, 2015 at 8:58am

Quinton, I appreciate that you reproduced my ideas accurately. We differ about the potency of different populations of mutations, and so arrive at different conclusions. 

Comment by Quinton Llewellyn on February 14, 2015 at 6:21am

Yeah he doesn't seem to give you a straight answer, maybe he thinks he is, but having looked through that whole dialogue I understand your frustration. It can come across much like Bill O'Reilly's "How do waves happen?" or The Insane Clown Posse's "Magnets, how do they work?" but I don't think he thinks natural selection is supernatural, I think he thinks it has a problem that can't be explained so the supernatural thing is done with a sarcastic voice "so how does that work unless you're invoking 'then something magic happens' to the middle of your argument?", he does in one reply say "I am accusing modern evolutionary theory of resorting to supernatural explanations.".
The idea he has is that if a mutation arises that hinders the organism but doesn't kill it or necessarily stop it from reproducing then it will be passed on (and for arguments sake let's always consider it as a dominate trait), lets say it slightly weaker knees. He then muses that thrown out at random there has to be many more mutations that will hinder you than help you (a long the lines of 'there is 100 ways to get this wrong, only 1 way to get it right') and so a beneficial mutation amongst mutations will be relatively a rarity. He concludes that if this is true, over time the resulting organism will be so weighed down by the mutations that hinder it that for whatever the benefits it gains from mutations that have happened in it's ancestry that favour survival and reproduction, they will do little to overcome the accumulation of the vastly more mutations that challenge it. He has clearly made a number of errors. The important error seems to me to be this, he discounts the range of organisms that are products of their parents traits (or combined traits) with the claim that it is only the exceptions that make a difference (he says "Only beneficial and harmful variations are relevant to how mutations induce the action of natural selection."). The problem with this is that the group he considers irrelevant is the largest group in pool that the organisms are fighting in, those with traits from these "harmful mutations" that lessen the organism's chances of survival and reproduction for the most part do so in relation to this group. Everything taken into account the mutations he talks about as being either "harmful" or "beneficial" are themselves the rarity in relation to the whole and so can easily be adopted or wiped out. By excluding anything but his "harmful and beneficial mutations" he is left with a group that might look likely to snowball into chaos. This I think is where his main mistake lies.
To me what would get my back up about how he has gone about this whole thing is that he has assumed that he has found a problem and proclaims it to be a problem without any sense of humility. If he had approached this by saying there was something he didn't get about natural selection and could anyone explain it to him he would of had a completely different conversation, but just assuming that he has found out something that no evolutionary biologist had noticed and attacking natural selection like he did was a bit of a dick move.

Comment by Lemual Poot on February 14, 2015 at 3:16am

Anyone who says the fact of evolution is unsound should take a look at the National Geographic enlarged photos of houseflies walking unharmed, on pure DDT crystals.

Or how about the "Devil's Lapdog."  Tea baggers and other fundamentalists should enjoy this one:

 I also read about a strain of rats in NYC that can create massive doses of vitamin K, the antidote to anticoagulant poisons.  They can be either Asian gray, or Norway brown, and they are not only able to eat Warfarin and other such poisons without problem, they can thrive on what it's mixed with to get the rats to eat it.  It's estimated that more than half NYC's rats have evolved resistance to the only rat poison currently legal for use in New York.

 Maybe their god is working on his new favorite species - rats!

Yeah, that's it; that's why he hasn't done too much to impress his people lately; he's moved on!

If you think about it, those idiots are just cutting nose to spite face.  If they worked it right, evolution could easily be spun as a greater proof of their "higher power" fable.  "Not only did "HE" create all things interactive with one another, his creatures have the ability to become whatever they need to be in order for their species to survive!"

 I can just hear Reverend Billy Sol Harkus, first church of the gooey death and discount house of worship, Del Rio Texas, gold buckle of the bible belt, (Imus circa 1975) as he belts it out over the airways.  They almost lost their shit by convicting Galileo, they may just topple over this one.

Comment by Joseph P on February 14, 2015 at 2:24am

Well, yeah, the supernatural agent just gave those animals those super powers, Lemual.  ^.^

Comment by Lemual Poot on February 14, 2015 at 1:49am

Thanks Patricia.  If I live long enough, I just may learn how to use this thing. ;)

Comment by Joseph P on February 14, 2015 at 1:04am

Oh, and Quinton, I know I'm kind of abusive towards Shaun, at this point, but you can see from the date on that discussion thread I linked that he's been at this for a while now.  He's like that crazy uncle who won't shut up about it at family gatherings, no matter how many times you tell him that putting us back on the gold standard won't magically fix the economy, and he doesn't have any clue how economics works.

And no, the Jews didn't orchestrate 9/11 to make the Muslims look bad ... although that narrative is at least more coherent than what you hear from most 9/11 Truthers.  Most never get beyond, "Oh yeah?  Well, what about building 7?  Oh yeah?  Well, why did they fall at free-fall speeds?  Oh yeah?  Well, why were there no Jews in the towers that day?"

No, uncle, we don't want to hear about chemtrails ...

Comment by Joseph P on February 14, 2015 at 12:57am

However, upon reading the whole thing he looked up and asked me, "So is this guy for or against evolution?"

Yeah, that's part of the problem.  Even after you decipher what he's talking about, his ideas are completely off target, and he has no clue what he's talking about.  But his arguments are so poorly constructed and his writing ability is so poor, by the time I wade through it all, I'm kind of annoyed that I had to spend so long trying to make sense of what he's trying to say.

Here's an idea for the bitter opponents of Eugenics.  How come Eugenics is bad simply because the Nazis believed in it?  They were devout Christians as well and most certainly believed in doG, and that part's OK huh?

It's pretty funny that you say that.  Look at the definition provided by Google, when you plug it in:

  1. the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics. Developed largely by Francis Galton as a method of improving the human race, it fell into disfavor only after the perversion of its doctrines by the Nazis.

Particularly now that it can be done with gene therapy, and we're advancing rapidly on that front, what's the freaking problem with it?  Don't you think that people with Huntington's disease would like to clean it out of their genes and not pass it onto their kids?  Don't you think they wish their parents had been able to do the same?

On that note, I'm so sick of hearing some dumb-ass witchburner call the Nazi regime a "godless “one through the (unproven) belief that Hitler himself was atheist.  So what if he was?

Yeah, it's a classic Christian apologist trope, blaming the atheists for Hitler and Stalin.  The fact that political ideology, rather than atheism, had everything to do with both situations somehow escapes them.

On top of that, there's the fact that Hitler wasn't an atheist.  It isn't even 'unproven', as much as it's just false.  He might not have been a traditional, orthodox Christian, mixing in all sorts of odd Norse mysticism and other stuff, but he doesn't seem to have been an atheist, in any respect.  And those he ruled over and used for his cause were mostly Christian.

As near as I can tell, most Christian apologists are just completely ignorant of Hitler's religious beliefs, and those who know repeat the crap anyway.  After all, he couldn't have been a REAL Christian, since the love of Jesus would never allow someone to do something like what he did.

Comment by Joseph P on February 14, 2015 at 12:19am

Yeah, it's one of the odd quirks of the site.  Discussion comments can be edited for 15 minutes after you post them.  Comment wall comments can't be edited after you post them, just deleted.  *shrug*  I'm sure someone had a reason when they set it up that way, but damned if I can figure out what it is.

Comment by Lemual Poot on February 13, 2015 at 9:06pm

Sorry 'bout the huge last paragraph and some spelling and syntax errors.  Whatever happened to the "edit comment" icon?  I could only find, "delete."


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