Re: That (not so) idiot Darwin

From: John Marlow (
Date: Wed Jan 17 2001 - 20:51:52 MST

If you're referring to this link, I don't follow. Obviously anyone
attacking evolution is going to attract creationists, fanatical and
otherwise, but the guy is referring to works such as Stuart

A sample:

"Two examples of the kinds of results that emerge--(very readably
derived and easy to follow, I might add):
Oddsagainst a new species coming into existence via the NDT, less
    than one in 102,700
Oddsagainst the kinds of similarities conventionally explained away
    by "convergence" when impossible to explain by descent, less than one
    in 1054
Pretty daunting, to say the least.
One of the most interesting, and rarely attempted, aspects of
Spetner's book is the application of information theory (he is a
physicist, specializing in signal processing) to the NDT and its
assumptions, with devastating results. Clearly, the DNA of all
biological organisms constitute immense repositories of information,
not only in the form of an assembly program to construct the
organism, but also a maintenance program to regulate its functioning
and behavior afterward. But it turns out that this information cannot
have come about through the gradual accumulation of selected random
variations in the way NDT says. The process simply doesn't have the
power to create enough variety to be selected. And more, no known
mutation or other instance cited of evolution in action has ever
added any information to a genome. All have deleted from it.
The bacteria that evolve strains resistant to antibiotics such as
streptomycin, for example, do so by losing the specificity that makes
it possible for the streptomycin molecule to attach. The much-quoted
example of the British peppered moth that altered from predominantly
light to predominantly dark when industrial soot darkened the tree
barks that they settle on illustrates simply a change in population
mix when the camouflage advantage of one type over another altered.
No mutation was involved. Both strains were present from the
beginning. Nothing genetically new was created. Yet these are among
the textbook examples given of the strongest evidence in support of
the NDT that can be found.
In place of randomness, discredited as the driving force of
evolution, Spetner develops a convincing case supporting the NDT
heresy that the variation responsible for the big leaps of macro
evolution is directed, induced by environmental cues. This is another
way of saying that the genetic information needed to switch between
different body plans is already in there, like a computer program
written to function in different modes. Where it comes from is a good
question, and random variation can't be the answer.
Two examples that I found stunning:
A strain of e.coli bacteria was produced that lacked the enzyme
    needed to metabolize the milk sugar lactose, which is their normal
    food supply. Two particular mutations occurring together will create
    an alternate mechanism. The calculated chance of this variation
    coming about through random mutation under the conditions of the
    experiment described was about once in a hundred thousand years.
    Nevertheless, 40 instances were found within a few days.
Speciesof finches introduced into a bird sanctuary comprising a
    group of islands in the north west Pacific were found to have
    developed new beak forms in 20 years. The results suggest that
    variations qualifying in every respect as a new species could arise
    in a single generation, a result utterly impossible within the NDT.
    But there it is.
The explanation seems to be that the diet and eating habits of young
animals profoundly affects the shape and form of things like beaks,
teeth, jaws, and attached muscle structures that develop. In other
words, there's an amazing amount of plasticity built into the
program. This raises the intriguing question of whether the
variations that Darwin observed in his famous Galapagos finches were
in fact a product of the random variation followed by selection that
he attributed them too, at all. And more. Since so much of the fossil
record consists of just bones and teeth, how much of the differences
conventionally interpreted as indicating evolutionary change might be
simply differing expressions of the same genome to different
environments, with no significant genetic modification occurring at
all? "

On 18 Jan 2001, at 10:44, Emlyn wrote:

> > John Marlow wrote:
> > >
> > > A little something wriiten by James P. Hogan--writer, engineer, etc.
> which
> > > may (or may not) be of interest:
> >
> > Hogan is not the best of sources. He, for example, ferverently believes
> > in the theories of Velikovsky.
> >
> I checked that link to Hogan's site regarding the deficiencies of natural
> selection, which John posted a few days back. It's a forum of religious
> types, all harping on about how "that can't possibly work, nah", and lots of
> mojambo about mutation taking too long. Blech.
> I have some qualified respect for those who say that natural selection might
> not be the whole answer. However, the burden of proof/evidence is upon them
> at this point; they must show in convincing ways that natural selection has
> flaws or is too weak, and make at least some cogent argument as to the
> alternative, tangible mechanism.
> Emlyn

John Marlow

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