Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Richard Dawkins on Visible Changes and Adaptationism

On another thread [Visible Mutations and Evolution by Natural Selection] we are discussing a common adaptationist claim that once a mutation has a visible phenotype it is almost certainly subject to selection. Some people have questioned whether there is anyone who actually believes in such a thing. Here's Richard Dawkins writing in The Extended Phenotype (1982).
The biochemical controversy over neutralism is concerned with the interesting and important question of whether all gene substitutions have phenotypic effects. The adaptationism controversy is quite different. It is concerned with whether, given that we are dealing with a phenotypic effect big enough to see and ask questions about, we should assume that it is the product of natural selection. The biochemist's 'neutral mutations' are more than neutral. As far as those of us who look at gross morphology, physiology and behaviour are concerned, they are not mutations at all. It was in this spirit that Maynard Smith (1976b) wrote: "I interpret 'rate of evolution' as a rate of adaptive change. In this sense, the substitution of a neutral allele would not constitute evolution ..." If a whole-organism biologist sees a genetically determined difference among phenotypes, he already knows he cannot be dealing with neutrality in the sense of the modern controversy among biochemical geneticists.
In 2007 Dawkins would probably admit to some neutral examples of "genetically determined differences among phenotypes" but his position hasn't changed very much from 1982. For example, in The Ancestor's Tale (2005) he writes,
Contrary to my rather ludicrous reputation as an "ultra-Darwinist" (a slander I would protest more vigorously if the name sounded less of a compliment than it does), I do not think that the majority of evolutionary change at the molecular level is favoured by natural selection. On the contrary, I have always had a lot of time for the so-called neutral theory associated with the great Japanese geneticist Motoo Kimura, or its extension, the "nearly neutral" theory of his collaborator Tomoko Ohta. The real world has no interest in human tastes, of course, but as it happens I positively want such theories to be true. This is because they give us a separate, independent chronicle of evolution, unlinked to the visible features of the creatures around us., and they hold out the hope that some kind of molecular clock might really work.

Just in case the point is misunderstood, I must emphasize that the neutral theory does not in any way denigrate the importance of selection in nature. Natural selection is all-powerful with respect to those visible changes that affect survival and reproduction. Natural selection is the only explanation we know for the functional beauty and apparently "designed" complexity of living things. But if there are any changes that have no visible effect—changes that pass right under natural selection's radar—they can accumulate in the gene pool with impunity and may supply just what we need for an evolutionary clock.
Pluralists believe that all kinds of alleles are neutral or nearly neutral and are fixed in a population by random genetic drift. This includes alleles that produce a visible phenotype. Pluralists do not believe that there is a major distinction between the mechanisms of evolution at the molecular level and the mechanisms at the morphological level.

Contrary to Dawkins, I believe that Neutral Theory has reduced the importance of selection in nature. Prior to 1968 it was common to attribute almost all changes to natural selection and it was common to advocate that the presence of variation in a population was due to balancing selection. Today, one has to consider the evidence for adaptation; you can no longer just assume that it is the only game in town.

Of course it's true that natural selection is the only mechanism that affects allele frequencies once you can demonstrate that a visible change affects survival and reproduction. But Dawkins goes farther than that. He strongly implies that all visible phenotypes are subject to selection and neutral alleles are confined to the molecular level.

53 comments :

  1. Do you really mean to stress the word 'visible'? If the phenotype happens to exhibit visible morphological changes that might play an important part in the visible spectrum channel - say, sexual selection in things like colours and size - then that stress might be justified.

    But there are a very large number of phenotypical changes that are not detectable 'visibly' (and who's looking - us? Why are we important in the scheme of things?)

    I may have missed the point, but 'visible adaptations' are a very small proportion of those that affect selection pressures.

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  2. The question of visibility is contingent upon the random nature of selection itself. For example, many phenotypic characteristics of humans that would have been selected against thousands of years ago, are now ignored. Who knows what will become "visible" at the next bottleneck - i.e. environmental catastrophe, plague, global war, etc. Would they be small mutations? Large "spandrels"? More likely a complex combination of many things, all selected for or against over a short period of time.

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  3. we are discussing a common adaptationist claim that once a mutation has a visible phenotype it is almost certainly subject to selection.

    all mutations that have an effect are, *of course*, a priori subject to selection. whether a mutation will be fixed by natural selection is different-- that's a function of the selection coefficient (which could be zero), the effective population size, and the mode of action of the mutation (and it's not deterministic-- most benficial mutations are lost).

    Dawkins tends to think, for his reasons, visible differences are largely under selection. you think they're neutral for your reasons. but this is an empirical question. I'm perfectly willing to discuss specific cases.

    I study humans, for example. If you want to make a list of phenotypes that differ between the human HapMap populations (where there's extensive DNA data-- humans are arguably the best "model organism" for studying population genetics right now), we can absolutely count up the number that seem to be under selection versus those that don't (including a category where the genetics of the phenotype is unknown), based on molecular data. Otherwise, this whole thing is an excercise in academic bloviation.

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  4. Dawkins (2nd citation) says: Natural selection is all-powerful with respect to those visible changes that affect survival and reproduction.

    That is a bit of a self evident statement, as 'affecting survival and reproduction' is part of selection. Anyway, the sentence implies that there are visible changes that do not affect survival and reproduction I don't see the citations as a very good example of "everything in morphology, behaviour, physiology is always selected"..

    Anyway: is Dawkins really the most relevant person to cite for making your point? Some people would see the following question as screamingly out-of-tune, but is Dawkins the ultimate arbiter of evolutionary biology? Is he not a writer of popular books and popular science books, rather than a practicing evolutionary biologist? Has Dawkins contributed to the field, apart from restating in more popular or understandable terms theories by others (Hamilton, standard population genetics)? The books might be nice reads, but do they constitute the hottest edge of scientific progress?

    If Larry really wants to make his point, he should come with a citation from John Endler, Hopi Hoekstra, Marty Kreitman, Martin Feder or Peter Grant ... anyway, I hope it is clear what sort of people.

    How do you choose which characters to study if you don't know at the start whether they are adaptive or not?
    The best work on adaptation is by ecologists or physiologists who know their animals: what means they have a reasonably good idea where to look. Even then it doesn’t always work out as the starting hypothesis had it. (example in jackdaws doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2003.12.020 ). The problem of spuriously invoking adaptation is more in work by people that do not know their animals, and cannot make much head or tail from their experimental results.

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  5. "Natural selection" has nothing to do with evolution. NS is purely conservative mechanism that removes extremities. Forces driving evolution are different.

    The selection of "visible phenotype" is another darwinian fairy-tale. I wrote at AtBC about striking coloration of fruiting bodies of mushrooms where natural or sexual selection are both excluded as valid explanation of the phenomenon. Poisonous mushrooms do not tend to be more colorful as edible ones.

    The same for mimicry - to explain butterflies mimicry patterns on their wings via natural selection is implausible considering the fact that on the same area live and thrive related butterlies species from which one is mimic and the second no.

    VMartin

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  6. p-ter says,

    Dawkins tends to think, for his reasons, visible differences are largely under selection. you think they're neutral for your reasons. but this is an empirical question. I'm perfectly willing to discuss specific cases.

    We're discussing evolutionary theory, not specific cases. The question before us is whether natural selection rules at the level of morphological change or whether random genetic drift plays an important role at this level.

    For a very long time, evolutionary biologists believed that natural selection was the only game in town. They dismissed random genetic drift as an unimportant mechanism of evolution. Those people are called ultra-Darwinists because their view of evolution is based on the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection.

    The pluralists consider many different mechanisms of evolution. They do not automatically assume that (almost) everything is due to natural selection. The pluralists are willing to examine the evidence for and against adaptation and they question the implicit assumption behind most just-so stories.

    It goes without saying that the best way to resolve specific cases is to examine the evidence. You claim to have done so. Please let us know what you think. Do you believe that many visible characters have become fixed in a population by random genetic drift or do you think that the majority have selection coefficients that are invisible to natural selection?

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  7. heleen says,

    If Larry really wants to make his point, he should come with a citation from John Endler, Hopi Hoekstra, Marty Kreitman, Martin Feder or Peter Grant ... anyway, I hope it is clear what sort of people.

    Heleen, I'm not sure what your point is. If all you're trying to say is that intelligent evolutionary biologists have moved beyond ultra-Darwinism then I agree with you.

    If you want to make a contribution then you could help immensely by explaining to the average person on the street that the Dawkins worldview is not representative of modern evolutionary theory.

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  8. Richard Dawkins lives in a world entirely of his own construction. He has contributed absolutely nothing to our understanding of the only thing that has ever been in question which is the MECHANISM of a long past evolution. He and his New World surrogate, P.Z. Myers are among the last of the Darwinian mystics, each a helpless victim of his "prescribed," "born that way," "dyed-in-the-wool" fate which was to be congenitally incapable of recognizing that there was a purpose in the history of life. That purpose was finally realized with the production of Homo sapiens, the youngest and most probably the last mammal species ever to appear.

    As for Myers and Dawkins, both rabid atheists -

    "Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is the same as that of the religious fanatics, and it it springs from the same source... They are creatures who can't hear the music of the spheres."
    Albert Einstein

    "A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable."
    John A. Davison

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  9. Dawkins (2nd citation) says: Natural selection is all-powerful with respect to those visible changes that affect survival and reproduction.

    The sentence implies that there are visible changes that do not affect survival and reproduction.

    If Larry concedes that intelligent evolutionary biologists have (long!) moved beyond "ultra-Darwinism" = "adaptationism", why does he bother to attack it? Isn't that fighting yesterday's war?

    I am hoping people should read Carl Zimmer's : Evolution: the Triumph of an Idea rather than Dawkins for their general evolutionary biology, but with Dawkins making so much noise there is little chance.

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  10. In 2007 Dawkins would probably admit to some neutral examples of "genetically determined differences among phenotypes"

    so dawkins is a "pluralist".

    Do you believe that many visible characters have become fixed in a population by random genetic drift or do you think that the majority have selection coefficients that are invisible to natural selection?

    in humans, many (if not the majority) of differencs between population like the Yoruba in Nigeria and Western Europeans have been fixed by selection. These things include skin color, hair morphology, blood pressure differences, ability to digest lactose, and differences in the immune system.

    here's one reference for a number of those claims, in particular about hair morphology. See that one, and this one for skin color, lactose tolerance and immunity. see this one for the claim about blood pressure.

    In Drosophila, I know less about actal phenotypes, but this paper uses a population genetics model to claim that: "{approx}95% of fixed [nonsynonymous] differences between species are positively selected".

    so on the whole, yes, much (though not all) of phenotypic evolution seems to be governed by selection.

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  11. Homo sapiens, the youngest and most probably the last mammal species ever to appear

    The Polar Bear is younger. So are the mouse species (according to the species definition) on Madeira (nature 13 January 2000). And anyway, before making such a statement, it would be better that to possess a list of the age of all mammal species.

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  12. We're discussing evolutionary theory, not specific cases.

    if your theory doesn't fit the data from the specific cases, maybe it's time to rethink.

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  13. heleen

    Everybody keeps yakking about the Polar bear. For all we know the polar bear is a white grizzly. The criteria for separate species are infertile hybrids. Such tests have not been made. Until they are I stand by my statement. It is unfortunate that an apparent hybrid was killed and probably was not even examined for its karyotype. Darwinians don't like to test their hypotheses any more. They never did. Darwinian mysticism is the most failed hypothesis in the history of science. The Phlogiston of Chemistry and the Ether of Physics pale in comparison. Only confirmed atheists like P.Z. Myers and Richard Dawkins manage somehow to keep it alive.

    It is hard to believe isn't it?

    Besides, since we are not at all certain about when Homo sapiens last appeared we canot draw any firm conclusions. You see it is very possible that, like the modern horse, Homo sapiens may have been produced on more than one occasion. That is certainly conceivable within the realm of the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis. The fossil record is the undeniable record of profound discontinuities, none of which will ever be reconciled with a model based on chance.

    "Any model that purports to account for evolution must invoke a mechanism not mutational amd aleatory."

    Pierre Grasse, Evolution of Living Organisms, page 245, in italics for emphasis.

    A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable."
    John A. Davison

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  14. John Davison:

    ...of recognizing that there was a purpose in the history of life. That purpose was finally realized with the production of Homo sapiens, the youngest and most probably the last mammal species ever to appear.


    That's the point John. Darwinists now obscure the whole mystery of life by dividing themselves into fractions - ultra-darwinists versus neutral-driftists. They pretend to make science, to have some internal scientifical dispute. They remind me of marxists. There were once also fractions: opportunists, reformists, neo-marxists etc...


    Of course both neo-darwinistic camps still consider random mutation as only source of evolutionary novelties. On their opinion homo sapiens arouse by chance.

    VMartin

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  15. Thank you Martin.

    The Marxists were all atheists as well and look at what happened to them.

    Marx, Darwin, and Freud are the three most crashing bores of the Western World."
    William Golding

    "A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable."
    John A. Davison

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  16. "Homo sapiens may have been produced on more than one occasion. That is certainly conceivable within the realm of the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis."

    Realm? That's mighty big word there. So what testable predictions does this circumcised evolutionary hypothesis of yours (which is yours) actually make?

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  17. p-ter tries again to make it an empirical question. Fails again.

    Larry, I think you could do a service by simply writing on the notion of morphological characters possibly being neutral. For many among the general public it may be a new thought. Unfortunately you insist on turning it into beating your favorite strawman. Do you notice that people's reaction is Who are you kidding? Even Darwin wasn't one of these ultra so and sos.

    Part of the problem is that your stock of examples is meager. This is due in part to it being hard to prove a negative, but how large a part? My taste would run to getting more examples and doing a post purely on the point (means: forget the strawdarwinians).

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  18. No! Noooo!!! PLEASE do not engage Dr. Davison and his pet monkey VMartin in dialogue. Nothing--nothing!!--good or useful can come of this.

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  19. I've got to agree with the first comment. By "visible" you mean "accesible to the environment of the phenotype" right? A fish's skin color is not a visible trait if it is living in a pitch black cave, while the chemicals on the cell wall of a bacteria are visible to other microscopic creatures.
    So I'm not really getting the visible vs molecular dichotomy you've set up. Can you give an example of something that creates a visible phenotypic change and is NOT subject to selection?

    Thanks,
    David vun Kannon

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  20. Can you give an example of something that creates a visible phenotypic change and is NOT subject to selection?


    Coloration of fruiting bodies of musrooms. There is no reason to believe that Natural or Sexual selection is behind coloration of mushrooms. According Adolf Portmann we encounter in coloration of animals creative forces of species, so called self-representation, " die Selbstdarstellung".

    VMartin

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  21. Natural selection is very real.
    it PREVENTS evolutionary change.That is why every chickadee looks looks and sounds like every other chickadee - chickadee dee dee, chickadee dee dee.

    Don't take my word for it.

    "The struggle for existence nad natural selection are not progressive agencies, but being, on the contrary, conservative, maintain the standard."
    Leo Berg, Nomogenesis, page 406

    Richard Dawkins is to Darwinism what Paul Kammerer was to Lamarckism, the perfect charlatan. There are two major differences. First, Kammerer acually did experiments some of which were valid, something Dawkins would never dream of doing. Second, Kammerer, once exposed, killed himself which I don't think Dawkins is up to. I sure don't want him to as I can't wait to read his next fantasy.

    I can't believe that blogs like Sandwalk, Pharyngula, EvC, and Panda's Thumb still exist. It boggles my ancient mind!

    Now don't forget to continue to heap the insults on Martin and myself. That has come to be expected from Darwinian mystics.

    I love it so!

    "A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable."
    John A. Davison

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  22. http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?s=468d6cabb6fdef4f;act=ST;f=14;t=5054;st=240

    As you can see, my friend Martin continues to bring out the very best from the animals at After The Bar Closes, especially Arden Chatfield.

    I love it so!

    "A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable."
    John A. Davison

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  23. Can you give an example of something that creates a visible phenotypic change and is NOT subject to selection?


    Coloration of fruiting bodies of musrooms. There is no reason to believe that Natural or Sexual selection is behind coloration of mushrooms.

    What, are you kidding? The big red mushrooms with white spots say very clearly, "DON'T EAT ME". Like the opposite of Lewis Carroll. Because they're, you know, toxic. Now, hmm...why would a mushroom fruiting body be toxic? And why would it want to advertise that fact to silly Alice or any other animal?

    I have the feeling this entire comment thread is psychedelic...

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  24. John.

    You applicated darwinistic mantras. Never mind. First read this please:


    Poisonous mushrooms do not tend to be more colorful or aggregated than edible mushrooms, but they are more likely to exhibit distinctive odors even when phylogenetic relationships are accounted for.


    http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/resolve?id=doi:10.1086/497399

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  25. You applicated darwinistic mantras. Never mind. First read this please:

    Poisonous mushrooms do not tend to be more colorful or aggregated than edible mushrooms, but they are more likely to exhibit distinctive odors even when phylogenetic relationships are accounted for.

    That study considered all poisonous mushrooms as a group, finding that they do not share, as a group, a strategy to communicate toxicity with bright coloration. Since there are many non-colorful poisonous mushrooms, this must be true. It further concluded that brightly colored mushrooms such as Amanita may themselves be communicating toxicity.

    Now, I suppose that bright red mushrooms with white spots might have emerged completely randomly, and are equally likely to be tasty and delicious as fatal. Or perhaps they are merely mimicking a fatal mushroom; a little bird told me that viceroy butterflies are also quite tasty.

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  26. P-ter, to have evidence that selection occurs, is not to have evidence that selection is the manin force behind phenotypic evolution.
    Specially if selection does not shape adaptations. If this is true, and specially so if observed evolutionary adaptations have been observed to have occurred by a mutations with a high effect, then natural selection cannot be argued to be the main influence on phenotypic evolution. It is a restriction and as such it keeps phenotypic evolution within limits, but variation is truly not random, tehrefore selection is not alone in determining the direction of phenotypic evolution. Variation will follow preferred pathways of structural transformation according to the nature of the developmental mechanisms in place. This is what Gould meant by considering structural constraints and possibilities play an importante role, as well as the phylogenetic group, and history of an organism.
    I think this is a conceptual point that you cannot wave away. You demand evidence, but what precisely do you want? You know that non- adaptive traits can exist, you know some cases. So? Is this the typical "everything happens but mine is the most frequent"? A true dead end of pseudoempiricism. Never will there any convincing way to measure which is most frequent in nature. This kind of silly "frequency" talking has been going on for decades now, so I think that it is abut tie we accept it leads nowhere as far as an "empirical proposal" of resolution goes.

    Again, we have obserbed adoataion in natural cases o have originated by mutation, We have obserbed uncounted times how the frequency of a trait in a population changes by selection. We can infer from gene sequences that genes get selected too. But never has a single case been documented in which the origin of an dpataion has been shown to be the result of adn accmulaion by directional selection of everla genes with small effects. Therefore, it is legitimate to place into question whether selection indeed shapes adaptation.

    I think it is very funy that the creationist can't figure what is going on. Antidawinian evolutionists must have been pretending to debate darwinism for like a century and a half now!!
    Well, that's about what you'd expect from people limited enough to say there is no tree of life.

    -Alipio

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  27. I rate forums and blogs on the incidence of anonymity they present. This one is about as low as they get. When someone can't sign his real name to his comments, he should be ignored. I have found this to be very effective in separating the unfulfilled sociopathic blowhards from the serious students of the great mysteries of ontogeny and phylogeny. It is always the ones with the phony names or no names at all that are the most vicious.

    Imagine, if you can, a scientific literature with anonymous authors.

    "A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable."
    John A. Davison

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  28. St George Jackson Mivart was one of the first (1871) to expose the myth of natural selection when he asked the simple question - How can natural selection be involved in a structure which has not yet appeared? That question has never been answered because it cannot be answered. Neither natural selection nor allelic mutation ever had anything to do with either ontogeny or phylogeny. Both have been determined entirely internally with no role for the environment except that of allowing those transformations to take place.

    Furthermore phylogeny is finished without a new genus appearing in the last 2 million years and not a new documentable species in historic times. All we see today is extinction without a single replacement. Ontogeny remains the best model for phylogeny. The death of the individual is the model for the extinction of the species. I doubt very much if there is a living organism that will ever become anything substantially different from what it is right now.

    Pierre Grasse asked three questions after properly describing the present scenario -

    "The period of great fecundity is over: present biological evolution appears as a weakened process, declining or near its end. Aren't we witnessing the remains of an immense phenomenon close to extinction? Aren't the small variations which are being recorded everywhere the tail end, the last oscillations of the evolutionary movement? Aren't our plants, our animals lacking some mechanisms which were present in the early flora and fauna?"
    Evolution of Living Organisms, page 71.

    I am happy to answer yes to each of his questions.

    When did a Darwinian last ask a question? I can't remember. Instead they blindly adhere to a mechanism that has never been observed, namely the appearance of a new life form produced through natural selection.

    Let me now ask a question.

    Exactly when in the course of creation did the Creator or Creators pass the power of creation to that which had previously been created?

    My answer - NEVER.

    "A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable."
    John A. Davison

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  29. If you follow links you can figure who I am. My name is Alexander Vargas. The reason I began posting with a pseudonym is because I used to post with my real name in pharyngula until PZ banned me and posted my name on a list, such that I found myself banned upon entering in some blogs. So, when I began commenting on sandwalk, I used a pseudonym to avoid that, just in case.
    The reason PZ banned me? for being loudly and irreverently anti-dawkins. It drove him nuts!!!!

    Alexander Vargas aka Alipio, Sanders

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  30. "Alexander Vargas aka Alipio, Sanders"

    Ah yes, that explains why Alipio and Nucleo are unreasonable alike. (I stopped reading them a long time ago.)

    So, as a public service for this now sorry thread. let us see what Pharyngula's killfile dungeon by PZ Myers says [table format removed]:

    "
    John A. Davison
    Stupidity, Wanking, Insipidity
    Automatically Junked
    A Legend. Has set up multiple blogs; each one consists of one post, inviting comments. ...
    "

    "
    VMartin
    AKA Huslista, jenik, janko, anodano, Pjetiir, DobzhanskyisInvalidFly, Pjeter, pjotr, FRANK2, SKAS, skuska, deletedtext, John's friend, ForbiddenTruth, anti-darwinians, Peppered-antimoth, CharlatanDarwin, Anti-darwin, skusto, zakazaneovocie, and others
    Stupidity, Insipidity, extreme Morphing
    Automatically Junked
    A John A. Davison sycophant. Tried reposting Davison screeds after they were deleted; basically talks about nothing but Davison, bringing up his name in irrelevant threads. They belong in the dungeon together, sharing a cell.
    "

    "
    Alexander Vargas
    Slagging, Insipidity
    Automatically Junked
    He's been banned before, but like Charlie Wagner , believes it is his right to post on Pharyngula. Can be sensible, but prone to obsessive fits ... [on Dawkins, but I cut there because I think it is more in line with observed behavior. :-P ]
    "

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  31. "unreasonable alike"

    Bad parsing. I meant 'unreasonable, both'. But the above is true as well. :-P

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  32. Alipio said...
    Yes, Pharyngula is definitley not the place to get anti-dawkins anger off your chest, haha. I admit that!! It' a dawkins fan comfort zone and PZ has the right to keep his blog that way if he wants. I'm not saying I am right, that PZ is a crook or anything like that, though of course I don't agre with his description of me haha.
    I just want to make clear that I am a very angrily anti-dawkins evolutionary biologits. Thats' all. No intention of initiating a spiral of muck-raking, animosity or bitterness.

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  33. I also want to say that Larry Moran's blog rulez! He has my respect, even if I may strongly disagree with him on some points. I feel like part of the ecosystem here, haha. He often hits topics that need to be debated. He is a positive infuence.

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  34. I am sorry I wandered a bit off entertaining these creationists with my personal story, but hey: banned from PZ? This should confuse them yet more!!! hahaha.
    What's interesting in this thread? The debate about the importance of selection on pheotypic evolution, however, is interesting. And I really mean it when I argue that the "frequency in nature" argument is not going to be reasy to measure, specially at the level of pneotyic traits. If not, I'm all ears.

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  35. I have tried to comment at Pharyngula problem of coloration. You know Adolf Portmann had his own concept of it. I dare say his explanation is very intresting but non-darwinian one. I have tried to comment and discuss at Pharyngula also some problems of mimicry and some of John Davison's claims. And as a response I received only denigration and ignorance par excellence. Guys there have no slightest idea about complicated process of color perception and yet they are experts on origin of animals coloration. Myeres banned me pretended I am John's sockpuppet. Of coure he knew I am not. Than he denigrated me and he was very upset I used different nicks to get at Pharyngula. But neverthenless the docotr of Darwinism wrote a stupid response denigratin me and signatured himself like John Davison.

    Just for a record.

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  36. Larry

    I am obviously wasting my time here as long as you allow all sorts of denigration to freely reign. Just remember what I posted abot Richard Dawkins and his surrogate P.Z. Myers. They are both losers. If you would like to promote a more civilized dialogue you better clean up your act. I don't care to deal with mouthy unpublished blowhards like torbjorn laarson. What are his credentials concerning the mechanism of organic evolution? He is obviously just an unfulfilled sociopath.

    It is only the MECHANISM of a long past evolution that has ever been in question. Apparently no one wants to discuss that.

    "A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution udemonstrable."
    John A. Davison

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  37. PZ is not in agreement with facile genetics " a la Dawkins". He also has an epigenetic, developmental conscience, something evolutionary psychologists and Dawkins will never have, I assure you. The only thing you can say towards PZ being and adaptationist is that he does not seem too interested in criticizing adaptationism or Dawkins in general. But PZ's tastes in evolutionary biology are not very "darwinian" at all. PZ is definitely not an ultradarwinian like Dawkins.

    And then, we have Larry Moran, who unlike PZ has taken it a step further, openly criticizing darwinism and adaptationism.
    Both of them know quite a bit of biology and realize that Dawkins's ideas of selfish genes and lumbering robots are more of an uncompromising ideology than practicable science.
    In general, a substantial part of reserach on evolutionary biology has moved beyond darwinism.
    Some people like to dismiss anything someone says by assigning that person to "camps" . That's what you guys try to do when you conflate Moran or PZ, with Dawkins.... you can lump them as "atheists" (me too, BTW) but you cannot conflate them under the term "darwinists"

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  38. If you would like to promote a more civilized dialogue you better clean up your act. I don't care to deal with mouthy unpublished blowhards like torbjorn laarson.

    Why not write a nasty letter to Larry's employers and have him disciplined? It worked for PZ. And I have to agree about that laarson fellow - a dangerous troublemaker if there ever was one.

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  39. I agree about Larry Moran. He is a cut above both Dawkins and Myers because he hasn't banned Martin and myself - YET!

    Guys like Laarson do not help a blog's image. He belongs over at After The Bar Closes in "The Bathroom Wall" department. Here is a current example.

    http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?s=468f48a523dab331;act=ST;f=14;t=1272;st=2610

    Laarson would fit right in.

    Like Albert Einstein I am a convinced determinist by believing that we are all victims of a predetermined fate. Myers and Dawkins represent an extreme in the degree to which they are both absolutely rabid atheists. That has so clouded their interpretation of the real world that they are unable to see that chance could not possibly have played any role whatsoever in either ontogeny or phylogeny.

    "Neither in the one nor in the other is their room for chance."
    Leo Berg, Nomogenesis, page 134.

    Having rejected chance, what remains? My answer is summarized in the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis.

    I sincerely believe that there is absolutely nothing in the Darwinian model that has anything whatsoever to do with the origin of true species. All that selection, natural or artificial, can accomplish is the generation of intraspecific varieties and subspecies none of which are incipient species. Furthermore, I believe that creative evolution is a phenomenon of the distant past, a conclusion shared with Pierre Grasse, Julian Huxley, Robert Broom and to a large extent with Otto Schindewolf.

    The persistence of the Darwinian fairy tale constitutes the biggest hoax in the history of science. It has been a century and a half of continuous mass hysteria fueled by a congenital inability to recognize that everything in the universe was the result of a plan, a word Robert Broom had the temerity to capitalize as Plan. Furthermore, there is every reason to believe that Homo sapiens was the terminal product of that Plan, a Plan which I am convinced has been comopleted.

    It is for these reasons alone that Martin and I are treated with contempt on blogs like Dawkins' fan club, Pharyngula, Panda's Thumb, EvC, etc, etc. I am not surprised to see that same contempt here. I have been banned even from Uncommon Descent apparently because I don't subscribe to the letter to the views of Dembski's blog czar David Springer.

    The religious fanatics are no better than the atheists like Dawkins and Myers. Forums which must ban, insult and denigrate their critics do so for one reason only. They are unable to counter those critics with reasoned responses. It is gloriously revealing!

    "And then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is the same as that of the religious fanatics and it springs from the same source. They are creatures who can't hear the music of the spheres."
    Albert Einstein

    I repeat - we are all victims of our predetermined or what I have called our "prescribed" fate. Einstein said the same thing -

    "Our actions should be based on the ever-present awareness that human beings in their thinking, feeling, and acting are not free but are just as causally bound as the stars in their motion....Everything is determined...by forces over which we have no control."

    "A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable."
    John A. Davison

    ReplyDelete
  40. Meanwhile, my friend Martin is destroying the animals at Elsberry's "inner sanctum," "our forum," "After The Bar Closes" as you can see from the following -

    http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?s=468f6a282b72c0d7;act=ST;f=14;t=5096;st=90

    It is just a mtter of time before Martin is banned - again. That is all ideological monomaniacs know what to do with their intellectually superior critics.

    Of coursre I was banned there long ago just as I was at Uncommon Descent (three times), EvC (twice), Pharyngula ("your stench has preceded you"), ARN (they won't even let me view it) Dawkins' fan club (I can't view that one either), The Austringer, And God only knows how many other blogs. I forget. Presently I am still able to post at major forums only here and ISCID's "brainstorms." Any port in a storm I always say.

    I love it so!

    "A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable."
    John A. Davison

    ReplyDelete
  41. A person who will not defend his convictions in a neutral arena is of no value to scientific progress.
    - John A. Davison

    ReplyDelete
  42. I see Alan Fox has surfaced here. He follows me around "like a dog" from forum to forum to offer his mindless comments wherever he has the opportunity. Fox is to Wesley Elsberry what David Springer used to be to William Dembski and what P.Z. Myers, Wesley Elsberry and Alan Fox, all three, are to Richard Dawkins, nothing but homozygous atheist Dawkins-worshipping ideologues out to preserve, by denigrating and abasing all adversaries by every shabby means imaginable, the biggest and longest lived myth in the history of science, an evolution governed by chance and natural selection. Equally significant, not one of them has published a word on the only issue at stake. Neither has Dawkins. He just thinks he has!

    Natural selection is very real. Its sole function is to maintain the status quo as long as possible. That is all that it ever did and all that it does now. Not one of these individuals has ever published a word in a refereed journal about the only matter which has ever been in question - the MECHANISM of a long ago finished organic evolution. Well I have and so did all my sources, not a Darwinian or a religious fanatic in the lot.

    Dawkins has no sources. He lives in an entirely self-generated fantasy world. Those who endorse his fantasies are fools.

    To continue blindly to adhere to a purposeless evolution is intellectually inexcusable.

    It is hard to believe isn't it?

    I love it so!

    "A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable."
    John A. Davison

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  43. I don't know John, you sound a little bitter. Dawkins is a very intelligent and gracious man. I'm sure that if you and he had lunch together, he'd be very happy to explain the basics of evolution to you, and where you went wrong. You'd come away being the best of friends!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Wo are these anonymous posters who refuse to sign their comments even with a phony name? You shouldn't permit that Larry.

    I am the one who was gracious to Dawkins by not exposing him sooner. His only communication to me was his one email in which he identified me as a "time waster" whose emails would all be automatically deleted. The man is an intellectual coward just like Pharyngula Z. Myers, his New World surrogate. I challenged both of them on One Blog A Day on the thread that Myers so arrogantly introduced. Not a peep out of either of them after nearly a thouand messages. They are both "prescribed," "born that way," "dyed-in -the-wool" Ultra-Darwinian atheists, living proof of Einstein's insights into such types.

    "Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intoleranoce is the same as tha of the religious fanatics.... They are creatures who can't hear the music of the spheres."

    and

    "Our actions should be based on the ever-present awareness that human beings in their thinking, feeling, and acting ARE NOT FREE but are just as causally bound as the stars in their motion."
    my emphasis.

    "A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemnstrable."
    John A. Davison

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  45. Larry,

    Shame on you for permitting the F word. That puts Sandwalk on the same level as After The Bar Closes. I recommend you delete all such comments if you expect any respect from me.

    "A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable."
    John A. Davison

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  46. John A. Davison syas,

    Larry, Shame on you for permitting the F word. That puts Sandwalk on the same level as After The Bar Closes. I recommend you delete all such comments if you expect any respect from me.

    I don't fucking care if someone uses the F word on my blog. Furthermore, I don't give a fuck whether you respect me or not.

    I'm not going to censor anyone here—that includes you.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Good for you Larry. You are a class act. I see no reason to cast any more pearls here. Sandwalk is just another flame pit. They are a dime a dozen. If you ever decide you want a serious discussion, come over to "brainstorms." They don't tolerate your methods there. I hope they never do.

    "A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable"
    John A. Davison

    ReplyDelete
  48. http://www.iscid.org/boards/ubb-get_topic-f-6-t-000370-p-47.html

    ENJOY especially my comment July 8, 17:36

    ReplyDelete
  49. http://www.iscid.org/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=6&t=000370&p=47#000705

    and this one too at July 8, 22:27

    Adios

    ReplyDelete
  50. Poor John, senile dementia?

    http://www.ehow.com/how_7379_recognize-signs-senile.html

    ReplyDelete
  51. Do you reqally want to know the truth about life here on Earth?
    Do you believe in Continental Drift?
    You shouldn’t.
    The whole concept of Earth History, as presently being taught in our schools, is nothing more than an elaborate myth.
    And the site listed below, will prove it to any open-minded person.
    No fees ask or accepted.
    All I am trying to peddle is the truth.
    And no! I am not a religious zealot.
    See: HTTP://PlanetEarthRevisited.blogspot.com/
    I DARE YOU TO READ IT.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hi there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form? I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having problems finding one? Thanks a lot!

    ReplyDelete