Tuesday, November 12, 2013

David Evans Says, "Teach What the Vast Majority of Scientists Affirm as Settled Science"

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is responsible for The Adaptation Assessment Probe that I criticized last week. It's a remarkably poor question on adaptation—expecially considering that it was designed by teachers.

David Evans1 is the Executive Director of NSTA and he has written about the recent attempts to insert creationism into textbooks in Texas [In Texas, Standing Up for Science]. He says one very good thing in these two paragraphs.
There are many ways that humans come to know, experience, understand and appreciate the world in which we live. Consider, for example, the different realms of religion, science and art. We can all appreciate the beauty of a sunset without understanding that its beauty comes from the energy of a thermonuclear reaction and the refraction of its light in the atmosphere. Likewise, understanding the scientific processes of the sunset does not prevent one from capturing its beauty on canvas or making a spiritual connection.

There are countless differing opinions about how best to educate our children, but presenting non-scientific or religious ideas in science class or in science textbooks is simply wrong and blurs the line about what is and what is not science. This will only confuse and mislead students and does nothing to improve the quality of science education and everything to weaken it. Decisions about what counts as science should not be a popularity contest. No matter how many people object, public schools must teach what the vast majority of scientists affirm as settled science.
I like the way he expresses the idea that we "must teach what the vast majority of scientists affirm as settled science." This avoids getting into definitions about what counts as science. It avoids the "methodological naturalism" trap. Well done!

The next paragraph isn't quite as good. It could have been a lot better. All he had to do was leave out the little phrase that I underline and enclose in brackets. It would not change the meaning but it would properly reflect "what the vast majority of scientists accept as settled science."
Texas students deserve the best science education possible, as do students everywhere. This means teaching them sound science, including evolution [by natural selection] as a major unifying concept in science. It is firmly established as one of the most important and robust principles in science, and is the best and most complete scientific explanation we have for how life on Earth has changed and continues to change. Furthermore, the very foundation of science is grounded in, and based upon, evidence. Classrooms will use the textbooks Texas adopts for years (the last science textbook adoption was a decade ago). Compromising the integrity of science for a whole generation of students to satisfy a few vocal ideologues is simply not acceptable.


1. From the website: "Evans holds a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania. He studied for his teaching certification at Villanova University."

59 comments :

  1. The problem with leaving out the underlined suggestion is that it then leaves in theologically-directed evolution. Perhaps change it to "by natural mechnisms", but then we're back to methodological naturalism.

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    1. If you don't want to imply methodological naturalism, then you need to consider the possibility of directed evolution. (Though you can also reject it after examining the evidence, including the evidence for the existence of any directing entity.) I think Larry's deletion is perfectly appropriate.

      Delete
    2. You could specify "biological evolution" to make sure you're talking about real science. But there's no reason to eliminate the possibility of directed evolution. If the evidence supports the direct intervention of the Flying Spaghetti Monster then that's fine by me. I agree with John Harshman.

      The problem with leaving the phrase is that it eliminates evolution by random genetic drift and that's definitely known to occur. This means that the statement from David Evans is actually incorrect and not what the vast majority of expert scientists believe.

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    3. """This means that the statement from David Evans is actually incorrect and not what the vast majority of expert scientists believe. """

      I'm not so sure as you are that the "vast majority" of scientists thinks that genetic drift plays a big part in evolution. I think they pay some lip service to genetic drift but for the most part think that the evolution "that maters" is mostly by NS.

      By the same token, I also disagree with the statement in your textbook that "most biologists" agree that the 3 domain hyphotesis is wrong. Virtually all microbiologists I've met, as well as every general microbiology textbook, do support the hyphotesis. The same for your claim that "most biologists" agree that photosynthesis doesn't include the reduction of CO2 (because it is decoupled). Most texbooks, including in biochem, do include the reduction of CO2 in the definition (e.g. the highly respected Biochemical Pathways: An Atlas of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, by Michal and Schomburg), though there are some exceptions (e.g. The Physiology and Biochemistry of Prokaryotes, by Drummond and Fuqua).

      I'm not saying these views are correct, but they are certainly NOT the views of the "vast majority" of experts.

      I totally agree with you that Evans should not have equated evolution with NS, as if that was the only mechanism that matters. Unfortunately, THAT is the majoritiy's view, except among molecular evolutionists.

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    4. @Pedro
      In his Linus Pauling lecture, James Shapiro recently re-stated his belief in the three-domain hypothesis (and also the stuff that appears in his book):
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agYo_1Whvp0

      Delete
    5. Rkt,

      I don't think James Shapiro counts in any way for what "most experts" believe or don't believe, even when he happens to agree with the majority (right or wrong), as in this case. But thanks for the link.

      Delete
    6. @Pedro Pereira

      You raise some interesting points. We have debated this extensively when writing the textbook. Our rule of thumb is that when we talk about scientific consensus we are talking about the consensus among knowledgeable experts in the specific field.

      So, when I say that most expert scientists know that random genetic drift is an important mechanism of evolution, I am not referring to physicists or even physiologists. I'm referring to evolutionary biologists who have thought seriously about the issue.

      In this particular case I rely on what's in the college-level evolutionary biology textbooks and those on population genetics and I stand by my claim.

      In the case of the Three Domain Hypothesis I don't say that "most biologists" think that it's wrong. However, I do think that those who have thought seriously about the issue, including Carl Woese himself, have come to the conclusion that the simple version is incorrect. I know full well that the average microbiologist is not particularly knowledgeable about evolution and the problems with the tree of life.

      In the case of photosynthesis we used a somewhat different criterion.We imagined teaching the average biochemist about photosynthesis in bacteria (e.g purple bacteria) and explaining how the light-driven creation of a proton gradient results in synthesis of ATP. Then we imagined showing them all the uses of ATP including nucleic acid synthesis, proteins synthesis, lipid synthesis, carbohydrate synthesis, and cellular transport. Next we imagine showing them the traditional photosynthesis equation indicating that the exclusive role of photosynthesis is synthesis of glucose from CO2.

      We ask them whether this equation makes sense in light of what we know about photosynthesis in diverse organisms, including bacteria.

      When this is explained to them, most biologists will agree that the old-fashioned equation that combines two separate pathways ("light" reactions and "dark" reactions) is out-dated and doesn't apply to the majority of photosynthetic species. We then show them that CO2 fixation and versions of the Calvin cycle are present in nonphotosynthetic organisms..That usually convinces them

      I don't say in my textbook that "most biologist" agree with the my definition of photosynthesis. I'm well aware of the fact that this is still a minority position even though I'm right. Here's what I say in my textbook, "The fixation of CO2 and the synthesis of carbohydrates are often described as "photosynthesis." In this textbook we refer to photosynthesis and the Calvin cycle as two separate pathways."

      This is related to an evolutionary approach to teaching biochemistry. You start with the simple systems that probably resemble the primitive pathway then you add complexity until you can explain the more complex versions in some modern species. The old-fashioned definition of photosynthesis is based entirely on looking at plants and it makes no sense at all when you start off by teaching simple bacterial photosystems where the ATP molecules enter directly into the cytoplasmic pool.

      Delete
    7. Pedro: I don't think James Shapiro counts in any way for what "most experts" believe or don't believe, even when he happens to agree with the majority (right or wrong), as in this case.

      Why do you think so? Aren't you confusing James Shapiro with the late Robert Shapiro, by any chance?

      Delete
    8. @Moran:

      Good points, but I feel that sometimes you give the impression that everyone moved on from the 3 domain hypothesis, and this is decidedly not true for the majority of microbiologists, which is what I would say are the "experts" (discussable, I know, but that opens up another can of worms). As for evolution, I think that saying that " I'm referring to evolutionary biologists who have thought seriously about the issue." isn't exactly the same as "most experts". That's a judgement call. I still think that most evolutionary biologists (and most tend to be zoologists) do think more along the lines of Dawkins than anything else. Most pay lip service to neutral evolution, because they see it as something that is relevant at the "molecular level" but not "where it matters". I agree that most textbooks do cover genetic drift and its importance decently but for some strange reason that doesn't seem to have clicked yet on most zoologists brains (and unfortunately those tend to be the majority of evolutionists). Maybe I'm wrong but my experience has been apparently different from yours in that regard. As for photosynthesis, you're right, I don't know where I got the idea that you had claimed most biologists thought of it as not being coupled to CO2 reduction (maybe one of your old posts? Dunno). But as we agree, most still do define it the old way.


      @Piotr

      No, I mean James Shapiro, of Natural Genetic Engineering (in)fame.

      Delete
    9. The title of his lecture is "What DNA Teaches About Evolution". Again, he makes bold claims about mobile elements, and about the cell being able to change its own DNA. Again short of real evidence which would stand any of this stuff up. Pretty thin all round. It did not ring true, as usual. The audience questions were benign, with not much attempt at skepticism (he was asked mostly things of a general nature). Twice during this video, he remarks on how it pains him whenever he hears the phrase "Junk DNA"! (Or was it 3 times?). Seems as though he is sounding more and more like a broken record (which is, I imagine, the way Shapiro views people like Larry, so it's a stand off ) - I feel more convinced than ever, after watching this lecture, that Larry & co. have it right about the genome, but conversely I still can't take sides (yet) on the 3-domain hypothesis. Fascinating stuff.

      Delete
    10. No, I mean James Shapiro, of Natural Genetic Engineering (in)fame.

      Oh, yeah, of course. I plead guilty of confusion.

      Delete
    11. Rtk,

      in one of the forums (or maybe comments section in some website) someone asked Shapiro very plainly "how do cells do it?". Shapiro said quite honestly "I don't know". That says it all. Natural Genetic Engineering is a belief. He says mobile elements, etc are the "tools" used by cells to do that self-engineering, but he admits he has no clue how would cells do that teleologically. His book is little more than a list of genetic elements and rambling. Even worse, he thinks the probabilistic arguments used by Fred Hoyle and later re-used by IDers are real problems, even though they've been delt with countless times. NGE is ID with intelligent cells swaped for God.

      I have to find some time to watch that video.

      Delete
    12. @Preod
      Maybe you have a view on this from Carl Zimmer ... brings to y mind Mattick's similar remarks:
      http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/11/13/how-our-minds-went-viral/

      Robert

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  2. I agree with Peter. "Evolution" has many meanings and biological evolution is misunderstood by a majority of the public, more so by creationists. "Evolution of diverse organisms from a common ancestor" might have been better but is bulkier and would not really have improved the understanding of someone who already misunderstands the subject.

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  3. I like this better:

    "This means teaching them pseudoscience, including evolution, whatever that means, by unknown mechanism, as a major confusing concept in science..."

    How could teaching students evolution without explaining what it means and by what mechanism it is supposed to happen be a unifying concept? The is bullying and tyranny of the 21 century, nothing else...

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    1. Give it a rest. Nobody is paying attention to anything you say. I'm getting tired of seeing you spam my blog.

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    2. Spam? Just say it Larry what you really mean to say.... I don't like double talk... Go ahead!!! I'm listening...

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    3. """Just say it Larry what you really mean to say.... I don't like double talk..."""

      Oh, the irony!

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  4. Lets think about this.
    This guy is just saying again that the people are not to decide what is censored in schools on origin subjects. He will decide what is to be censored.

    Its not the overwhelming head count of scientists, whatever a scientist is, but rather it would only be those scientists who have studied origin issues as their work. Otherwise why would other scientists know more about evolution etc then anybody else and so why would the rest of the population be irrelevant relative to their opinions.
    Once again invoking scientists only works if those scientists do their science on these subjects. Thats the only claim to knowing better. Not just the scientist degree on the wall!
    Anyways creationism is science as much as evolutionism. We say so and judge so.
    Who's the judge. This guy!
    The people have already agreed to allow both sides and so this guy is aggresively rejecting the peoples will.
    further he's rejecting Christian teachings and demanding they are false in a free and mutually held country.

    The equation is about who decides what is censored in school teachings.
    The people or some small group. Who decides which small group!
    Censoring one side is official state doctrine that side is wrong because these are subjects of truth.
    Surely a interference with religion and illegal.

    Who decides/the people have already decided .

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  5. Larry, you know you're doing something right when you attract such loyal trolls and spammers. I love that they follow the typical creationist commenting style: heavy use of exclamation marks, ellipsis, and line breaks after every one-liner (reads like a schizophrenic mind). Stupidity absolutely deserves to be "censored" in public. It has its own tax-free establishments where it's allowed to procreate, and that ought to be more than enough for creationists.

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  6. I am curious to know what is the "methodological naturalism trap". Is it a trap b/c it asserts that scientists, as methodological naturalists, limit their research to the natural causes of things?

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    1. It's a trap because some scientists and philosophers want to restrict science to studies of the natural world. They do this as a way of protecting religion from scientific investigation or as a way of excluding supernatural explanations from the American classroom.

      In fact, the scientific way of knowing can been applied to ALL questions, including hypothesis that involve the supernatural. That kind of inquiry has been used in the past to ask whether miracles actually happen or whether the Earth really was created in six days.

      There are no limits or restrictions on the kinds of questions that science can address. It a widely accepted myth that all scientists and philosophers accept such limits.

      Delete
    2. But how can science answer a question like "Is Christianity correct when it states that mankind exists in a 'fallen state' that can only be redeemed thru the sacrifice of Jesus Christ?" That's a different sort of question that whether miracles actually occur or whether the earth was created in six days, which I agree are scientific quesitons.

      I think the most you can say about the question I mention is that it is stated in terms that cannot be assessed by any known means, and therefore it is pointless to expect it to be answered. But in theory, it could be true. We just have no way of knowing it.

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    3. It's a trap because some scientists and philosophers want to restrict science to studies of the natural world. They do this as a way of protecting religion from scientific investigation or as a way of excluding supernatural explanations from the American classroom.

      Larry, that's unfair and I think you know it. There is a legitimate philosophical debate about what science is and how it operates.

      In fact, the scientific way of knowing can been applied to ALL questions, including hypothesis that involve the supernatural. That kind of inquiry has been used in the past to ask whether miracles actually happen or whether the Earth really was created in six days.

      But that only goes to whether or not a a particular phenomena is scientifically established... is real... not the causation of the phenomena.

      Take, for example, spontaneous remission of cancer. We know scientifically that a particular cancer phenomena exist in a particular patient. We also know scientifically that a particular phenomena of remission occurs in the same particular patient. All well and good. If there is a "spontaneous remission" we don't know the causation of the remission ... or else we wouldn't call it "spontaneous."

      There are two parts of every scientific investigation: determining whether or not a phenomena exists ...is real ... and determing the cause of the phenomena. The first is purely naturalistic but the second requires a heuristic. Science assumes the cause is naturalistic (as a heuristic, it has been wildly successful) but science itself can't establish that causation is necessarily naturalistic. The spontaneous remission of a cancer is assumed to be the result of some, presently not understood, natural process but science can never rule out the working of non-naturalistic forces. That is methodological naturalism.

      Claiming more for science than it can deliver is just the same sort of error that the IDers propagate ... just from the other side.

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    4. I'm not sure what could constitute a non-naturalistic force in the first place. But it is not the purpose of science to rule out things in any case. I think the point is, if a proposed phenomenon is truly outside the realm of scientific investigation, what other way of knowing can possibly have anything (that is in any sense reliable) to say about the matter including that the phenomenon even exists in the first place, let alone its cause?

      Even as we recognize that the scientific method will fail to find the answer to some questions, we must recognize that this is not a flaw of science and it in no sense should open the door to non-scientific ways of knowing, beyond that which we call the (very unreliable) act of guessing at possibilities

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    5. John Pieret, while we may not be able to rule out non-natural causes, science would let us recognize some versions of them if they occurred. So science does not assume that causes are always natural.
      For example, we could ask a Catholic priest, a Muslim imam, and a Jewish rabbi, all on the opposite side of the world, to pray for different sets of cancer patients. If the ones prayed for by the Muslim always went into remission, and the ones prayed for by the Catholic and the Jew went into remission at the background rate expected when there was no prayer, this would be prima facie scientific evidence for supernatural causes.
      Lou Jost

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  7. Evolution of transcriptional enhancers and animal diversity http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/368/1632/20130017.abstract

    This is the third attempt that I've seen to remove physics from mutation-initiated natural selection. "...there will probably be no fixed law, like gravity, to explain at the molecular level how endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved. It rather seems that a wide variety of peculiar molecular mechanisms perform, together, the complex task of putting the genome in action, in each cell type of each animal species, at every moment in life and under every possible physiological and environmental circumstance."

    That is probably the most desperate attempt to convince others that the epigenetic 'landscape' becomes the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genomes of species from microbes to man via non-conserved molecular mechanisms (i.e., mutation-driven evolution "just happens"). By removing the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, organismal complexity just happens to somehow occur without selection that involves seemingly futile thermodynamic cycles of protein biosynethesis and degradation that enable organism-level thermoregulation via the conserved nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled molecular mechanisms exemplified in species from microbes to man.

    The biological facts of adaptive evolution were removed soon after Darwin noted that there were 'conditions of life' that must precede natural selection. Now, natural selection is being removed because it never addressed the nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled conditions of life, and theoretical biologists have begun to realize that mutation-driven evolution will never address any aspect of biological evolution.

    So, first they trashed Darwin's ideas about cause and effect by removing biology and substituting mutations. Now, physics must go. All to support what? Can you say NONSENSE? This certainly is not science.

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  8. If you can figure out what they are saying:

    "Each of these papers, in one way or another, consolidates the idea that there will probably be no fixed law, like gravity, to explain at the molecular level how endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved."

    -- you may be able to figure out what I'm saying. If not, I'll try to tailor my responses to the "Evolution for Dummies" crowd that may think physics can be removed from biophysics.

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    1. Try not to assume that your reader is an idiot, and consider the possibility that you may have been unclear. So, what were you trying to say?

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  9. Oh, and the authors of that little snippet explained quite clearly what they meant, in the sentence immediately following the one you quoted: "It rather seems that a wide variety of peculiar molecular mechanisms perform, together, the complex task of putting the genome in action, in each cell type of each animal species, at every moment in life and under every possible physiological and environmental circumstance." It isn't, as you seem to think, an attack on physics. The mention of gravity was purely metaphorical. They just mean that there is no single regulatory mechanism; instead, there are many. Do you take issue with that?

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  10. I noted that "This is the third attempt that I've seen to remove physics from mutation-initiated natural selection." You attacked when you could have asked for more information. I assumed you were an idiot on that basis, and nothing you have told me suggests I am likely to change my mind.

    If you want discussion, ask questions. If you want to argue, find someone else to challenge.

    The single regulatory mechanism of adaptive evolution is the epigenetic effects of nutrients that metabolize to species-specific pheromones. Pheromones control the physiology of reproduction by epigenetically effecting the same signaling pathway involved in nutrient uptake.

    Remove the physics and you can not get to the chemistry or the biology of adaptive evolution. You're left with a ridiculous theory of mutation-initiated natural selection that is now being changed to mutation-driven evolution without natural selection (e.g., Evolution for Dummies). James Shapiro's works predict this rather nicely.

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    1. I get that a lot! But only from anonymous fools who don't know anything about the basic principles of biology or levels of biological organization required to directly link sensory cause to effects on hormones that affect behavior. Those fools are not capable of understanding anything except mutations theory.

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    2. "I get that a lot!". Unsurprising. Please understand that you are coming across as incoherent. I'm sure you know what you're trying to say, but your familiarity with your point is leading you to write so elliptically that only a person, like you, who already knows what you mean will understand it.

      But as nearly as I can puzzle out, you are in fact some kind of monomaniac who has a hammer and thinks that all problems are nails.

      And "Can anyone figure out what JVKohl is saying?" is indeed a question, and still unanswered.

      Delete
    3. I wonder. It might be a Sokal-style prank, or perhaps somebody is testing a new random sentence generator.

      Delete
    4. Thanks, Piotr. That might make sense if I were an anonymous participant with no publication history in peer-reviewed journals. Instead, it sounds more like you are as simple-minded as my antagonists here, and that surprises me.

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    5. I'm not familiar with your publication history. What I can sense in the postings above is some kind of obsession with pheromones, declared incoherently, with the use of a private jargon that I (and evidently others) find obscure.

      Delete
    6. Pheromones control the physiology of reproduction in species from microbes to man, Piotr. Thus, their role in adaptive evolution should be somewhat clear and my perspective should probably not be dismissed as an obsession with the biological facts of reproduction simply because you can't comprehend what I'm saying.

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    7. I don't know. It may be salesmanship rather than pure monomania. Don't you by any chance manufacture and sell perfumes containing snake oil... I mean human pheromones?

      http://scentoferos.com/

      Delete
    8. I get that a lot, too. Let's compare it to selling a snake-centric approach to predation-driven evolution of the human brain.

      "Isbell calls these findings “the first neuroscientific support” for her snake-centric evolutionary theory." excerpted from http://news.sciencemag.org/evolution/2013/10/did-snakes-help-build-primate-brain

      Q: What happens when thousands of imbecilic academics accept mutation-driven evolution, without questioning how it happens in moths via bird predation, or in any other species?
      A: The academic imbeciles must attack anyone who offers others an explanation of cause and effect that cannot be refuted, having already been supported by experimental evidence from every species on the planet.

      Do you think by any chance that you are an academic imbecile supported by government funding for non-exemplary work with no meaningful value to scientific pursuits whatsoever?

      James V. Kohl
      Founder: www.pheromones.com

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    9. Whatever you say, Mr. Perfumist. If you manage to convince some credulous suckers that your products will make their sex appeal irresistible, bully for you. But pretending it's science just won't work in front of genuine scientists, and it won't help if you insult everybody in the bargain. It's EOT, as far as I'm concerned.

      Delete
    10. (James gets that a lot, too, Piotr. Tough assignment being a misunderstood genius).

      Delete
  11. Let's face it gentlemen. You don't know enough about either biology or physics to discuss "settled science" in the context of evolution. Besides that, you're unwilling to learn. That's what I meant when I said " I get that a lot!" In this case, however, you infer that Carl Zimmer is a monomaniac. He wrote: "Others maintain that as random mutations arise, complexity emerges as a side effect, even without natural selection to help it along. Complexity, they say, is not purely the result of millions of years of fine-tuning through natural selection—the process that Richard Dawkins famously dubbed “the blind watchmaker.” To some extent, it just happens." That's what happens when you extract physics from the biophysics of adaptations: evolution "just happens." http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-surprising-origins-of-evolutionary-complexity&WT.mc_id=SA_CAT_EVO_20130722

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    1. You haven't supported any claim you've made so far. You've made no attempt to teach anyone anything, as the first requirement of teaching is comprehensibility. Nobody has inferred anything about Carl ZImmer, and your attempt to support that claim is to quote a statement that isn't even about his opinions. The rest of your claim is, as far as anyone can tell, incoherent. You may be right about something, but until we know what you're saying, that's impossible to tell. You certainly have misinterpreted everything you have quoted so far, which doesn't inspire confidence.

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    2. Neither have you...What can you prove JOHN?

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  12. Thanks, Quest.

    This is not about proof, however.

    The issue is this statement: "...evolution [by natural selection] as a major unifying concept in science. It is firmly established as one of the most important and robust principles in science, and is the best and most complete scientific explanation we have for how life on Earth has changed and continues to change."

    The "most complete scientific explanation" is not supported by any experimental evidence, which is why natural selection is being removed from mutation-initiated natural selection -- as I have tried to show, with links to articles that support my claim. The fact that extraction of natural selection requires the extraction of physics from biophysics is beyond Harshman's capability to grasp, which indicates he has less than the minimum intellect required for discussion of this topic.

    No matter what I claim, people like him simply respond with "Nuh uh" and expect me to prove something to them that they are not capable of understanding -- like the fact that there is no experimental evidence for mutation-initiated natural selection. Clearly, when the director of the NSTA can't keep his biological facts straight, today's students are doomed. They will be led to believe in the nonsense that Harshman was led to believe in (to the point where he can't even comment intelligently on the fact that theoretical biologists no longer believe in it).

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    1. What is "mutation-initiated natural selection"? Do you mean selection in which one allele arose by mutation? If so, how else do alleles arise? If not, then what do you mean?

      And who, exactly, doesn't believe in it (by which I take you to mean they think it doesn't happen in nature)? Every evolutionary biologist I know thinks that natural selection is an important mechanism of evolution.

      Accusing readers of being too stupid to understand you so as to avoid making any sort of argument is transparently dishonest.

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  13. Thanks for asking: "What is "mutation-initiated natural selection"?. --after telling me I had misinterpreted everything I had quoted so far. HOW WOULD YOU KNOW THAT?

    Excerpted from "Mutation-Driven Evolution" (THE BOOK)
    "...natural selection is an evolutionary process initiated by mutation." p 196.

    There has never been any experimental evidence to support that concept. Thus, every biologist you know may be incapable of thinking clearly and differentiating between theory and experimentally established scientific facts. But I am not accusing them of being stupid; just gullible.

    I'm not going to spend time explaining copy number variations and how alleles arise via experience dependent epigenetic effects, because you are gullible, rude, and have ignored the information in the links I have already provided that clearly states that natural selection is being removed from the theory of mutation-driven evolution because there has never been any evidence to suggest that natural selection occurs. But if you inform yourself by reading the article excerpted below and then ask pertinent questions, I may have time to waste on you in hopes that I will benefit others.

    "Scientists are exploring how organisms can evolve elaborate structures without Darwinian selection..." Carl Zimmer "The Surprising Origins of Evolutionary Complexity" July 2013

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    1. Not only a crank, but an insulting crank. I don't think my time would be well invested in dealing with you further.

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  14. I wrote: You don't know enough about either biology or physics to discuss "settled science" in the context of evolution."

    Harshman asked: What is "mutation-initiated natural selection"?

    I wrote: "...natural selection is an evolutionary process initiated by mutation."

    Harshman wrote: I don't think my time would be well invested in dealing with you further.
    ----------------------------------------
    He's right. First you must be intelligent enough to know something about what is "Settled Science" and differentiate it from the NONSENSE you've been taught.

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  15. An experimental test on the probability of extinction of new genetic variants Open access at http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2013/130913/ncomms3417/full/ncomms3417.html

    "... classical theory in population genetics is confirmed, but natural selection might not be of invariable magnitude and sign. Our findings thus set the stage for the development of more general theoretical models explaining the fate of new alleles across long evolutionary timescales22,42–44."

    So much for "Settled Science." We need "more general theoretical models" because people simply will not accept "Nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model" as an accurate representation of cause and effect in species from microbes to man.

    They were taught to believe in a ridiculous theory and must continue to believe in it, no matter what.

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    1. A decidely refreshing in your face approach to dismantling the facade of natural selection as having any thing more important to do than tally the score.

      Hey Kohl, don't stop here. There's The Panda's Thumb and The Skeptical Zone to rewire out as well.

      ...if you can spare a dime that is.

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    2. Thanks Steve. I'm trying to move forward after passing on the nonsense of natural selection in our Hormones and Behavior review article section on molecular epigenetics in 1996. But, I'm up against a wall with the physics, which is why I've asked Larry to step in and help.

      It's hard to imagine why antagonists here seem to not have learned anything in the past two decades. But, as I indicated, I get that a lot.

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    3. "... classical theory in population genetics is confirmed, but natural selection might not be of invariable magnitude and sign."

      Well no, it certainly might not. Is anyone surprised? How Steve and the late JVK leap from a paper that says "classical pop gen is confirmed", albeit with temporal, spatial and frequency-dependent variation in s values, to the dismantling of the entirety of NS as a causal mechanism of allele frequency change, is elusive.

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  16. Larry,
    It might benefit others and me if you would comment on the most likely role of the achiral glycine substitution in the molecule of GnRH. I have the impression that the added stability of protein folding caused it to be conserved across 400 million years of vertebrate evolution because GnRH integrates all sensory input and its pulses of GnRH distribute information to every neuron in the vertebrate brain. The link from the epigenetic landscape via olfactory/pheromonal input to the physical landscape of DNA becomes clearer in the context of thermodynamically controlled alternative splicings and protein folding. It is that link that excludes mutations theory from further consideration at a time when people here seem destined to believe in nonsense unless you step in.

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  17. JVKohl, I may not be understanding you correctly but in regard to this:

    "We need "more general theoretical models" because people simply will not accept "Nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model" as an accurate representation of cause and effect in species from microbes to man."

    Will you please state how "pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution", whether "Nutrient-dependent" or otherwise, could occur in populations of organisms that don't exude or sense pheromones?

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    1. Thanks for asking, which allows me to make the following two points in my answer.

      1) All organism synthesize species-specific pheromones via the metabolism of the nutrients that enables nutrient-dependent species-specific adaptive evolution.
      2) All organism respond to pheromones just as all organisms respond to food odors. See for example:

      "Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors"

      [open access] http://www.socioaffectiveneuroscipsychol.net/index.php/snp/article/view/17338

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    2. Your claims are quite interesting. I had no idea that maple trees and E. coli responded to pheromones and food odors. In fact, I didn't even know they had noses.

      James Vaughn Kohl, your posts are very much like spam because your profile links to for-profit websites where you have a vested interest and because you really don't have anything to say about the subject of this post. You don't seem to be very knowledgeable about biology and evolution.

      I've decided that you should take a little break from commenting here.

      Goodbye for now.

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