Piling up facts is not science--science is facts-and-theories. Facts alone have limited use and lack meaning: a valid theory organizes them into far greater usefulness. To be valid a theory must be confirmed by all the relevant facts. ... A powerful theory not only embraces old facts and new but also discloses unsuspected facts.
Expanded Universe, pp. 480-481.
The obligatory SJG quote:
quote:Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other, yet to be discovered.
Moreover, "fact" does not mean "absolute certainty." The final proofs of logic and mathematics flow deductively from stated premises and achieve certainty only because they are not about the empirical world. Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth, though creationists often do (and then attack us for a style of argument that they themselves favor). In science, "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms. Stephen Jay Gould, "Evolution as Fact and Theory" http://www.stephenjaygould.org/...gould_fact-and-theory.html
For the pro-evolution side, common ancestry between species is considered a fact. It is "confirmed to such a degree" as defined by SJG. When someone claims that God could have produced the fossil and genetic evidence, to us it sounds like someone saying that God could have planted DNA evidence at a crime scene, so we should just ignore it.
What we look for in a theory is the ability to predict what we will see in nature. With evolution, we predict we should see a nested hierarchy (i.e. phylogeny), at least for multicellular animals. This allows us to make tons of interesting and testable predictions, such as the prediction that we will not find a fossil species with feathers and three middle ear bones. This separates evolution from pseudoscience where such precise and interesting predictions are hardly ever brought forward.
We evolutionists don't reject creationism because we are afraid of the concept. We reject creationism because it is useless in the field of science.
Let's try to be a little more precise on the problem. Let's assume that it takes 3 mutations to give resistance to a single drug.
Let's not assume that, since it is rarely true. Even in Behe's famous example of drug resistance in falciparum it turned out to be false. Behe tried to claim that there were only two mutations that could confer resistance, and that they had to happen at the same time. He was wrong on both counts.
Your first job is to show that there are only 3 mutations that can produce HIV resistance to a given drug.
The point of doing the probability calculations is to determine the population size necessary based on a given mutation rate to determine the probability of a beneficial mutation occurring. Fixation of a given variant is neither necessary nor sufficient for this process to work. It is even possible for the relative frequency of a variant in a population to decrease yet the variant is still able to evolve to the selection pressure.
The hardest part is knowing how many beneficial mutations there are to begin with. Looking backwards, we can only see the beneficial mutations that did occur. Jumping to the much larger conclusion that these beneficial mutations are the only ones possible is what leads to bad conclusions. Like the old saying goes, there is more than one way to skin a cat, and that usually applies to be beneficial mutations.
So do you want to try to compute the probability that a single beneficial mutation will occur on some member of a lineage?
The problem is determining how many beneficial mutations are possible in a given lineage in a given environment.
For example, let's look at flight in terrestrial animals. Many different lineages have evolved the ability to fly, and each independent lineage found different ways to achieve that ability. Bats, birds, and dragonflies all have different adaptations. There are many, many possible ways of achieving the benefit of flying. There is no way that we can currently know how many beneficial mutations are possible in a lineage to attain flight. They are probably nearly infinite in number, given background DNA sequences and possible solutions.
So how in the world do we compute the odds of beneficial mutations occurring when we can't even know which mutations would be beneficial?
Yes. But the probability problem you must solve is the probability of a beneficial mutation occurring in a given number of replications. The analogous dice rolling problem would be for example the probability of rolling at least a single 1 in a given number of rolls.
The probability of a beneficial mutation occurring is nearly guaranteed since no lineage is perfectly adapted to their environment. There are multiple adaptations that could occur, and multiple mutations that can achieve each adaptation.
The problem you keep having is that you are committing the Sharpshooter fallacy. What you have is a person firing a bullet into a forest 1 km away. When the bullet strikes a tree, you paint a tiny little bullseye around it, and tell everyone just how improbable it is that the sharpshooter could hit that tiny target.
That is what you are doing here. You are pretending that the observed beneficial mutations are the only ones possible. You are painting the bullseye around the mutations that did occur.
We could discuss our own lineage, if you like. I am unaware of a single genetic difference between humans and chimps that rmns could not produce, and I have yet to see you present one. As long as the common ancestor of chimps and humans did not go extinct, some sort of change and possibly more than one species would have evolved. What did evolve (us and chimps) is a highly unlikely outcome given all of the possible species and adaptations that could have occurred. However, it is inevitable that a highly improbable nearly impossible species will evolve as long as a lineage survives, just as a highly improbable and nearly impossible shot will be made by a person firing a rifle into a forest 1 km away.
Just a very cursory glance at reality should be sufficient to support that.
We could even point to specific examples involving known DNA sequences. For example, different solutions for erythromycin resistance.
"We identified a novel erm gene, designated ermTR, from an erythromycin-resistant clinical strain of S. pyogenes (strain A200) with an inducible type of MLSB resistance. The nucleotide sequence of ermTR is 82.5% identical to ermA, previously found, for example, in Staphylococcus aureus and coagulase-negative staphylococci. Our finding provides the first sequence of an erm gene other than ermAM that mediates MLSB resistance in S. pyogenes." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC105397/
Even Behe's original example of drug resistance in malaria failed to support the idea that you need 2 specific mutations, and they have to occur simultaneously. Instead, these mutations occur sequentially and there are more than 2 which confer drug resistance.
Theodoric, my argument is that randommutationandnaturalselectioncan'tdoit. And the reason rmns can't do it is the multiplication rule of probabilities.
Let's use the lottery as an analogy to show how you are improperly using probabilities.
Let's say that the odds of winning our example lottery is 1 in 1 million. In 10 drawings there are 10 winners. What is the probability that those specific people are the winners?
If, as you claim, we multiply the probabilities that those specific people would win, then it is 1 million to the 10th power, or 1x10^60. That's a 1 with 60 zeros after it. The odds of winning real lotteries is even less than 1 in 1 million. If we took the odds of the last 10 winners of the Powerball lottery being the winners, we would have an even larger number on our hands. The fact that those specific people won the lottery is nearly impossible, yet it happened.
In reality, the odds of those people winning the lottery is 1 in 1, BECAUSE IT HAPPENED. That's the part you keep ignoring.
If you want to make realistic interpretations of the fossil record, you need to take into account the mechanisms of genetic transformation.
We already have. The divergence between the genomes of species matches up with the age of morphological divergence seen in the fossil record when we include population sizes, mutation rates, and the rest.
Re: Mathematics cannot change reality but when done correctly can predict it
Let's say that in order for your family to survive, your family must win two lotteries.
I will repeat my challenge from earlier.
Can you point to any two vertebrate species where two simultaneous mutations had to happen in one of those lineages since the time that they shared a common ancestor?
If you can't, your analogy is completely irrelevant.
Added in edit . . .
Now let's extend this idea to a real example of random mutation and natural selection. Let's say I want to treat someone with an infection with an antibiotic. And let's say the bacteria I'm treating need 3 mutations to become resistant to the antibiotic.
Can you name a single example of antibiotic resistance that required 3, and only those 3, mutations to occur simultaneously in order to get resistance? If not, your question is completely irrelevant.
Are you arguing that conservative selection pressures are what transformed dinosaurs into birds. It's not just scales to feathers, it's mouths to beaks, limbs to wings, muscles suited for weight bearing into muscles suited for flight, bones suited for weight bearing into bones suited for flight..., all the alleles which differentiate reptiles from birds.
Can you show how any of those adaptations required 2 simultaneous mutations? If not, what are you going on about?
I have empirical examples of rmns for microbes, plants, insects, rodents, cancers, some of these examples are for clonal replicators, some for sexually reproducing replicators. All show the same thing, there ability to evolve against selection pressures efficiently only occurs when there is a single selection pressure targeting a single gene.
Where did you show this? If what you claim is true, then you need to show how all genes in the genome were experiencing neutral driftm, including non-synonymous mutations, while only a single gene showed selection for specific mutations. Where is that evidence?
For humans, we can find areas around the equator where mutations for malaria resistance and mutations for skin color are being simultaneously selected for. Same for lactose intolerance and skin color in northern latitudes.
Re: Mathematics cannot change reality but when done correctly can predict it
These papers correctly describe the physics and mathematics of rmns including the mathematics or rmns to multiple simultaneous selection pressures, as well as a paper on random recombination. I've already posted the layman's description of how this phenomenon works several times on this thread but you with your skill in probability theory might be interested in the mathematics which goes along with it. All real, measurable and repeatable examples of rmns obey the mathematics in these publications.
Can you point to a single genetic difference between two species that couldn't be produced by rmns, and also have the math to back it up? Be specific.
If you can't supply a single example, why do you claim that it falsifies evolution?