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Author Topic:   Hoyle's Mathmatics of Evolution
MisterOpus1
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 18 (178556)
01-19-2005 12:24 PM


Hello All,

I will state right off that my knowledge of population genetics is pretty scant. But I've run across a review of Hoyle's book, "Mathmatics of Evolution", and part of it has caught my eye and interest:

quote:
* What is the effect of population size and generation time of organisms involved?
* What is the effect of asexual opposed to sexual reproduction?
* How severe must selection be to have effect?
* How long will it take that a population accumulates so many small deleterious mutations, that it will go extinct?
My training in mathematics doesn't permit me to evaluate Hoyle's calculations. I hope professional population geneticists will check Hoyle's results. Nevertheless it's easy to notice if the outcomes contradict or confirm standard textbook knowledge. Hoyle builds up a tension: it is not easy to get rid of all the bad mutations, let alone to improve a species! His calculations culminate in the result that mutation and natural selection can only find advantageous protein variants at most two base substitutions separated from the current status. That means that if 'only' 4 - 6 substitutions (9) are necessary to transform one enzyme into another, although a small number, this is still forbidden by neo-Darwinism according to Hoyle. These are the limits of the power of natural selection to change existing genes. In orthodox neo-Darwinism there are no such limits. "What the mathematics shows is that nineteenth- century biologists were correct as long as they remained within the range of practical experience. Where the situation went wrong was in making a huge extrapolation ..." (p108). So Hoyle arrives at rather pessimistic conclusions compared with the usual optimistic textbook view. Next it is a small step for Hoyle to claim that the protein histone-4 could never be produced in small steps. Why? Histone-4 has a chain of 102 amino acids and the structure is extremely conserved in all eukaryote species (16). Bovine histone-4 differs in only 2 positions with peas! And that means extreme functional constraints must exist (17). Histones are necessary for chromosome condensation during cell division. The traditional neo-Darwinian step-by-step method must fail claims Hoyle, because it implies 100 non-functional steps. The alternative: a jump of 100 mutations of exactly the right kind would be highly improbable. The histone-4 case is in fact a case of Michael Behe's Irreducible Complexity long before Behe published his Darwin's Black Box, since the hand-written version of Mathematics of Evolution was 'published' in 1987. Hoyle is an Intelligent Design Theorist 'avant-la-lettre'. What makes Hoyle different is that he doesn't talk about 'the supernatural' and the 3-letter word. Hoyle indignantly rejects Neo-Darwinists' "retreat in the unknowable and untestable" (p103), when they claim that histone-4 historically had a different function and so could evolve stepwise. Hoyle would be right if evolutionists just claimed it without doing research.

http://home.wxs.nl/~gkorthof/kortho46.htm


Now I think I'll go out on a limb and state that I'm pessimistic right off the bat of Hoyle's calculations, though I'm a bit unsure. It also seems apparent that Hoyle, or rather the reviewer, is contesting the notion of natural selection positively selecting "beneficial" mutations when the likelihood of such mutations is so small compared to non-beneficial ones (neutral or deleterious). In reading about mutations here and elsewhere, this seems to be incorrect reasoning. But my question is, how can we decisively demonstrate that positive selection of beneficial mutations is occurring, in the midst of all these detrimental or neutral mutations? Is there any empirical, laboratory evidence of such?

And feel free to rip and criticize this reviewer or Hoyle's arguments if necessary. Thanks for the help!


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AdminNosy
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Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 2 of 18 (178576)
01-19-2005 1:17 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 18 (178612)
01-19-2005 3:03 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by MisterOpus1
01-19-2005 12:24 PM


It's my understanding that they proved that all functional proteins are connected by single amino-substitution steps, but I don't know how this was proved.
This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19754
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 6.3


Message 4 of 18 (178786)
01-19-2005 11:31 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by MisterOpus1
01-19-2005 12:24 PM


mathematics is a model of reality and not reality
let me start off by pointing out that whenever there has been a significant disagreement between math and reality, reality has won.

take the (legend?) story of the engineer that calculated that bees cannot fly.

this story is humorous to most people because it shows how 'stupid' those engineers are, because he is obviously mistaken.

what is usually determined is that an assumption was in error or some other mistake or ommission was made in the mathematical model or that what is being modeled is not accurate.

math can help you find solutions but they are not THE solutions.

One thing is clear, regardless of the calculations, evolution is occuring and has occured. The bee flies.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
{{{Buddha walks off laughing with joy}}}


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by MisterOpus1, posted 01-19-2005 12:24 PM MisterOpus1 has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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Lammy
Member
Posts: 3607
From: Chicago
Joined: 03-29-2004
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 5 of 18 (178829)
01-20-2005 2:12 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by RAZD
01-19-2005 11:31 PM


Re: mathematics is a model of reality and not reality
PV = nRT is another example of how mathematical models do not fit the reality.


Proof that girls are evil.

We know that girls require time and money.
girls = time X money

We know that time is money, right?
Time = money
Girls = money2

According to a great philosopher, money is the root of all evil.
Money = Öevil
Girls = (Öevil)2 = evil

Therefore, we are forced to conclude that girls are evil.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 178 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 6 of 18 (178838)
01-20-2005 4:34 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by RAZD
01-19-2005 11:31 PM


Re: mathematics is a model of reality and not reality
take the (legend?) story of the engineer that calculated that bees cannot fly.

this story is humorous to most people because it shows how 'stupid' those engineers are, because he is obviously mistaken.

Off topic, I know, but I cannot let this one fly... what actually happened was the engineer demonstrated that Bees could not fly according to the understood principles of how planes fly and thus concluded that bees use a different method of flight. Good science. Good use of maths.

I actually took a course on the Mathematics of Evolution while at University, I don't recall having covered what Hoyle is talking about but I'd be willing to bet many shiny pennies that his Model does not match up to the reality of how evolutionary theory predicts things happen.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3106 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 7 of 18 (178850)
01-20-2005 7:11 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Dr Jack
01-20-2005 4:34 AM


Re: mathematics is a model of reality and not reality
Jack, elite evos use a real dodge often enough, "small diffusive effects" to get around the imbroglio. It is a stumbling block even to evoLUtionists.
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19754
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 6.3


Message 8 of 18 (178854)
01-20-2005 7:35 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Dr Jack
01-20-2005 4:34 AM


Re: mathematics is a model of reality and not reality
I know, but everyone knows the urban legend version.

and notice how, either way, this shows that the model was not correct ...


This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19754
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 6.3


Message 9 of 18 (178855)
01-20-2005 7:38 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Lammy
01-20-2005 2:12 AM


Re: mathematics is a model of reality and not reality
because there is no real "ideal gas" just some that come close, so it is an indicator of general trend of behavior but not an absolute model.

I think you find that in every mathematical model: it has to be an absolute answer for the math, but reality has to many little random elements to be that precise.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Lammy, posted 01-20-2005 2:12 AM Lammy has responded

Replies to this message:
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MisterOpus1
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 18 (178915)
01-20-2005 11:54 AM


Thanks for these answers. In large part I agree with your statements about math attempting to prove (or I suppose in some cases like IDers - disprove) evolution, only to come up short.

I think the crux of my problem, however, is a bit two-fold, and admittedly they both stem from either a misunderstanding or a lack of knowledge in the fields of math and evolutionary biology. So here is my central question that I'm trying to relate to in reading this Hoyle review -

We have plenty of evidence of the so-called "microevolution", and creationists are going to continue to deny "macroevolution", at least on a larger scale of changes. They may agree that reproductive isolation creates species changes eventually, which ironically is macroevolution (or speciation) defined, but they do not accept such accumulation over longer periods of time. So when I start reading folks like Hoyle, whom many IDers will borrow concepts from (among others), they will demonstrate mathematically just how highly improbable it is to have so many phenotypical accumulations giving rise to such biological diversity. Now in my gut I feel they're doing two things wrong:

1. Misunderstanding (sometimes deliberately) biological mutation and natural selection

2. Failing to take into account other factors such as PE, and so on.

I believe I can demonstrate #1 pretty well. But #2 is where I'm having a bit of difficulty - am I wrong about other factors playing a role in the so called "macroevolutionary" process? If so, how could I explain this a bit better? I've always been under the assumption that the primary role involved is slow-gradual steps. How about horizontal gene transfer, or cascade genes? Sorry if it sounds like I'm taking shots in the dark - as I mentioned my knowledge on this is a bit limited.

Thanks again for any help.


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Lammy
Member
Posts: 3607
From: Chicago
Joined: 03-29-2004
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 11 of 18 (178916)
01-20-2005 11:55 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by RAZD
01-20-2005 7:38 AM


Re: mathematics is a model of reality and not reality
Well, in a way, every gas is an ideal gas. However, what makes the ideal gas law not completely accurate is that we have to assume that there is no friction between the gas molecules and that energy is constant within the specific volume of space we are talking about. Neither of these are true because there is no true frictionless space and there is no true closed system.
This message is a reply to:
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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3106 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 12 of 18 (178929)
01-20-2005 12:40 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Lammy
01-20-2005 11:55 AM


Re: mathematics is a model of reality and not reality
...and thus not only is a tissue not that ideal, even if decomposed into constituent gas molecules by rasing temps but FORM itself has a causal role not contained thereat.
This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19754
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 6.3


Message 13 of 18 (179163)
01-20-2005 10:47 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by MisterOpus1
01-20-2005 11:54 AM


macro vs micro ... in DNA
The answer to me has always been that Macro = (N)x(Micro) ... it is just a matter of degree. And the proof to me is in the genetics, where the differences in genes between phylum are the same kind of differences as those seen between species, only more of them.

There waw a thread on this a little while back that got some interesting information into it.
{{"Macro" vs "Micro" genetic "kind" mechanism?}}
http://http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=5&t=494&m=1


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
{{{Buddha walks off laughing with joy}}}


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by MisterOpus1, posted 01-20-2005 11:54 AM MisterOpus1 has not yet responded

  
derwood
Member
Posts: 1457
Joined: 12-27-2001


Message 14 of 18 (179790)
01-22-2005 8:44 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Dr Jack
01-20-2005 4:34 AM


Re: mathematics is a model of reality and not reality
Most anti-Darwinians, when using math, utilize strawman arguments, and this is usually quite obvious. For example, Hoyle's original 'impossibility calculations' (the so-called tornado in a junkyard scenarios) were totally irrelevant as he calculated the odds of all things happening at once - that is, for example, a complete functioning cell popping out of its constituent molecules in one fell swoop.

Of course that is impossible.

It is also wildly misrepresenting evolutionary theory. Dembski has done the same.


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derwood
Member
Posts: 1457
Joined: 12-27-2001


Message 15 of 18 (179791)
01-22-2005 8:46 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Brad McFall
01-20-2005 7:11 AM


Re: mathematics is a model of reality and not reality
What 'imbroglio' is that?
This message is a reply to:
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