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Author Topic:   Criticizing neo-Darwinism
Modulous
Member (Idle past 99 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 26 of 309 (297508)
03-23-2006 8:22 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by nwr
03-21-2006 4:09 PM


my muddled mind
This isn't a discussion of the biological basis for evolution. It is a discussion of whether the neoDarwinian account, as quoted in Message 1 (from a post by Parasomnium) is an adequate model for ToE.
I'm still confused - Parasomnium was discussing a biological basis for evolution. He talked about heredity.
But if neodarwinism were a good model, then you should not have to keep appealing to the biology to help the model over its weak points.
It doesn't make a lick of sense to me. Neodarwinism is an explanation for biological change. How does 'appealing to biology' present a problem for a biological theory, surely that is precisely what it should do?
My only conclusion is that we are using different meanings for neodarwinism. I take neodarwinism to another way of say 'the modern synthesis of the theory of evolution'. So what you are saying is you shouldn't have to appeal to biology to gloss over the weak points in your biological theory.
It makes my head spin, no matter how hard I try to comprehend what you are trying to communicate.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by nwr, posted 03-21-2006 4:09 PM nwr has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 28 by Brad McFall, posted 03-23-2006 8:46 AM Modulous has not replied
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 99 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 40 of 309 (297611)
03-23-2006 3:38 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by nwr
03-23-2006 2:46 PM


gould vs dawkins *ding ding*
I was going to bore you with mindless drivel - I've changed my mind so let me sum it up: I think I understand you. To pad this out, let's look what Dawkins and Gould have to say:
gould writes:
But the truly curious aspect of both Dawkins's and Dennett's charge lies in their subsequent recognition, and fair discussion, of the important theoretical implication of punctuated equilibrium”the establishment of species as Darwinian individuals, and the consequent validation of species sorting and selection as a prominent process in a hierarchical theory of Darwinian evolution. In 1984, Dawkins acknowledged that this aspect of punctuated equilibrium "does, in a sense, move outside the neo-Darwinian synthesis, narrowly interpreted. This is about whether a form of natural selection operates at the level of entire lineages, as well as at the level of individual reproduction stressed by Darwin and neo-Darwinism."
source
Dawkins writes:
The fact is that, in the fullest and most serious sense, Eldredge and Gould are really just as gradualist as Darwin or any of his followers. It is just that they would compress all the gradual change into brief bursts, rather than having it go on all the time; and they emphasise that most of the gradual change goes on in geographical areas away from the areas where most fossils are dug up.
So it is not really the gradualism of Darwin that the punctuationists oppose: gradualism means that each generation is only slightly different from the previous generation; you would have to be a saltationist to oppose that, and Eldredge and Gould are not saltationists. Rather, it turns out to be Darwin's alleged belief in the constancy of rates of evolution that they and other punctuationists object to...
What needs to be said now, loud and clear, is the truth: that the theory of punctuated equilibrium lies firmly within the neo-Darwinian synthesis. It always did. It will take time to undo the damage wrought by overblown rhetoric, but it will be undone. The theory of punctuated equilibrium will come to be seen in proportion, as an interesting but minor wrinkle on the surface of neo-Darwinian theory.
Source: The Blind Watchmaker
I like Gould the most (but Dawkins is growing on me), so I'll let him have the last say here:
gould writes:
I am puzzled by the discordance and inconsistency, but gratified by the outcome. Dawkins and Dennett, smart men both, seem unable to look past the parochial boundaries of their personal interest in evolution, or their feelings of jealousy towards whatever effectiveness my public questioning of their sacred cow of Darwinian fundamentalism may have enjoyed (see Gould, 1997d)”so they must brand punctuated equilibrium as trivial. But they cannot deny the logic of Darwinian argument, and they do manage to work their way to the genuine theoretical interest of punctuated equilibrium's major implication, the source of our primary excitement about the idea from the start.
That said, at this time I am more inclined to go with Dawkins' explanation, but I am currently reading his book so that might be why. I think Gould is upset that some respected evolutionists have said that his major contribution to evolutionary scientists is 'interesting but not as important as it has been made out.'

This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by nwr, posted 03-23-2006 2:46 PM nwr has replied

Replies to this message:
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 99 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 169 of 309 (403599)
06-04-2007 11:48 AM
Reply to: Message 168 by ICANT
06-04-2007 11:17 AM


differing degrees of faith
How is your faith that because we have this much evidence and that since we are here it had to happen.
The same reason that you can be removed from jury service if you express that you believe the defendant did it before hearing the evidence. We don't accept faith in convicting criminals, we only accept conclusions drawn from evidence that are beyond reasonable doubt. We do this, because we have noted that it is the most reliable way of arriving at truths about the world.
We can have faith that this system is the best one we have - but that faith is too founded in evidence: this same system of evidence has provided us with wonderful technology and consistent histories.
Still, as Descartes pointed out: Everything has to be taken with some degree of faith other than 'I am'. Believing that my table exists external to my mind is a far cry from believing the tooth fairy exchanges children's baby teeth for cash. The table only relies on the assumptions that allow us to function on a daily basis (the world is real etc etc). Those same assumptions lead us to conclude natural history in the way we do.
Having faith in the supernatural world requires additional faith since there is no testable evidence to lend it any credence. We can quite literally make anything we like up if it is a supernatural entity, so there is no telling what supernatural things are real and what are made up. Faith in the religious sense is arbitrarily picking some supernatural ideas up and rejecting others. It is this arbitrariness that makes it stand out from faith in the real world and conclusions drawn from it.
We look at the evidence and there is only one solution that stands out. Evolution. If we include supernatural possibilities there could be as many different solutions as our imagination allows.
Faith in the religious sense is basically a cultural tradition that has decided which supernatural entities to believe are real without any other reason than because our elders told us that this was so.
Even with the evidence stacked against it: Allowing cultural tradition determine what is real and what is not in the supernatural has shown constant changes, as if cultural tradition was a rubbish way of deciding which supernatural entities are real.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 168 by ICANT, posted 06-04-2007 11:17 AM ICANT has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 170 by ICANT, posted 06-04-2007 2:18 PM Modulous has not replied

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 99 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 203 of 309 (406335)
06-19-2007 11:31 AM
Reply to: Message 201 by MartinV
06-18-2007 4:10 PM


the changing fitness landscape
My point is mainly that (neo)darwinism is wrong. That there is concept claiming that Natural selection is no way evolutionary force and that Natural selection as well as sexual selection only maintain status quo of extant species removing extremities.
You are almost right. Natural selection is a process which drives a population towards an evolutionarily stable state, where it then hovers in an equilibrium. However, if a part of that population moves into a different environment or if the environment changes (a new predator or volcanic island etc) then the fitness landscape for that sub-population will be different than the fitness landscape of the parent population. Therefore, the evolutionarily stable strategy for the sub-population differs from the parent population. Since natural selection drives a population towards the evolutionarily stable state (by trimming those extremities away), the sub population will evolve in a different 'direction' than the parent.
Such processes occurring time and again lead to further and further divergence from the original equilibrium point.
This is how punctuated equilibrium is essentially looked at - times when the fitness landscape remains largely constant outnumber the times when changes occur. Thus we see a history of mostly equilibrium punctuated by relatively shorter periods of change.
It would be foolish to think fitness landscapes do not change - and every time one does natural selection will either trim the excesses away so that extinction occurs, or the survivors will be closer to the equilibrium as will their children (and the extremities here will be trimmed so the next generation either doesn't happen or is closer to the equilibrium).

This message is a reply to:
 Message 201 by MartinV, posted 06-18-2007 4:10 PM MartinV has not replied

  
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