Deterministic Evolution
Posted: 20 November 2007 08:49 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I’ll bet this one’s gonna cause a bunch of zany and inappropriate conclusions among the ID crowd…

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071119123929.htm


Seems to me this can be explained becauses evolution “favors” energy and mass conservations, when the results of such conservation on organism reproduction success are zero or less.  I hate to use anthropomorphic terms like “favors”.  It’s probably better to say, “All things being equal, the less energy and matter-intensive variation will be selected”.  Saving energy and matter allows such resources to be used elsewhere in the organism, or conserved overall, which *can* provide a survivial/reproduciton benefit.

In any case, I’ll bet the crazies will latch on to “deterministic”.

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Posted: 20 November 2007 09:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Well, as I pointed out in another thread, the idea of evolution being “random” is a misunderstanding siezed upon by the ID crowd to make it seem less probable. Genetic mutations are random, but the changes and modifications of structures over time are clearly not. Their variation is constrained by the necessity of using antecedant structures as the basis for new structures, by the culling of ineffective or less effective variations, perhaps by the kinds of “conservation of energy” principle you suggest, and other factors. The whole point of natural selection theory is that it is describes a mechanism that explains how random genetic changes are channeled into “constructive” development and change.

Still, as you say even though the finding actually supports the Darwinian principle that structures can evolve in orderly ways despite the underlying random nature of genetic mutations, the ID folks will spin it to find the invisible hand of god.

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Posted: 20 November 2007 10:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Actually this news can be used both ways: the ID/believer crowd is always accusing Darwinian evolution of being a “random process”, and dismissing it on those grounds. This sort of result shows how evolution is nonrandom.

As Brennen pointed out, we already knew that evolution was nonrandom; so for anyone really familiar with the Darwinian picture this won’t be news.

FWIW, the Darwinian picture is nonrandom because it is all based around a process of selection which is itself nonrandom. That process is, of course, natural selection, which (usually) chooses organisms to survive and reproduce that are better fit to their environment than their competitors.

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