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Statistical analysis of evolution? Help!

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posted on Aug, 11 2005 @ 01:58 PM
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I need some help and I bet can get it here.

I've been arguing for evolution on another board against a guy that is constantly claiming that it has been shown statistically that random mutations plus natural selection cannot have resulted in the variation we see around us in the time period allowed (4.5 billion years.)

Anyone out there know about this argument? Can anyone link me to a website with some info on this?

Anybody got a handy rebuttal, other that to simply say "Oh, yeah? Prove it!"?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Harte




posted on Aug, 11 2005 @ 02:29 PM
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I believe EdSinger posted that "formula" as proof of God once upon a time here.

It relies on alot of fallacies most notably that low probability = zero probability, which of course it does not.

But if he can't even show you the formula, why bother? Sounds like a total butthead.



posted on Aug, 12 2005 @ 08:14 PM
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No, he's talking about some mathematical analyses done by Fred Hoyle, whom I disagree with but have immense respect for. The man was a genius, after all.

I don't find it too hard to believe that mutation and selection don't account for all the variation, but I don't know. I mean, seems to me like if this were true, then it would only mean that there are other, undiscovered drivers of evolution.

But I really would like to have some refutation of Hoyle handy next time we go at it.

Harte



posted on Aug, 14 2005 @ 04:59 PM
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Originally posted by Harte
No, he's talking about some mathematical analyses done by Fred Hoyle, whom I disagree with but have immense respect for. The man was a genius, after all.

Well, creationists often refer to astrofysicist Fred Hoyle to prove themselves correct, may I say that an astrofysicist better doesn't try to do calculations (a qualitative saying or summary of facts okay) regarding a field of science that isn't his own, especially if the calculations are statistical? I probably don't even need to mention that Fred Hoyle invented the term 'big bang', but was very opposed to the idea? Indeed, he developed the "steady state" theory for the universe. Further, there are lies, damned lies and statistics. A lot of so called "evidence" of creationists that is supposedly supported by some evolutionary scientists are quotes that either have been slightly changed, ripped out of their context and/or given a new meaning which it never was to say. I would ask them to back up exactly who has said so, using what calculations.



posted on Aug, 15 2005 @ 01:23 PM
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Originally posted by Simon666

Originally posted by Harte
No, he's talking about some mathematical analyses done by Fred Hoyle, whom I disagree with but have immense respect for. The man was a genius, after all.

Well, creationists often refer to astrofysicist Fred Hoyle to prove themselves correct, may I say that an astrofysicist better doesn't try to do calculations (a qualitative saying or summary of facts okay) regarding a field of science that isn't his own, especially if the calculations are statistical? I probably don't even need to mention that Fred Hoyle invented the term 'big bang', but was very opposed to the idea? Indeed, he developed the "steady state" theory for the universe. [url=http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/abioprob.html]


Simon,
I appreciate your turning your considerable intellect to this problem. But it's harder than it sounds. The guy is a dedicated devotee of I.D., and does not accept "God" as the designer. What's worse, he claims to have worked (or is working) in the genetics field. Here's a quote of what he typically says:



evolution by random mutations and selection has been proven antiscientific from the hard science and pure logic basis (see L. Spetner "Not by Chance" and F. Hoyle "Mathematics of Evolution", also F. Hoyle "The Intelligent Universe"; also about Hoyle at www.panspermia.org...).


I have pointed out to him a couple of times that evolution is not in conflict with panspermia.

Yes, I am very aware of Hoyle's failed steady state theory. I put no credence in it. But I will admit that Hoyle had more brains than I do, and I would accept any mathematical analysis of his if I could follow and somehow check the legitimacy of his assumptions of original conditions, such as mutation rates, mutation versus natural variations within species, percentages of "good" vs. "bad" vs. "neutral" mutations, emergence of "neutral" mutations as "good" resulting from environmental changes, etc. I just don't know enough in this field to try to go up against a guy like Hoyle.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Harte



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 02:23 AM
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The first link I gave already briefly mentioned the calculations of Fred Hoyle but was more in general talking about the incorrect assumptions and interpretation of such calculations. A number of such false assumptions were also made by Hoyle. An example is apparently the histone-4 case. From a review of one of Hoyle's books


home.wxs.nl...
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. But the question is open to further investigation. Evidence can and has been collected. Histone-precursors can be found in ancient bacteria Archaea (5). However the origin of histones is far from solved. This is not reported in the textbooks. It isn't even mentioned, let alone recognised as a difficult problem (7). On the other hand: does Hoyle seriously believe that histone-4 came hidden in a meteorite and incoporated itself into every eukaryotic cell? Is that itself not a "retreat in the unknowable and untestable"? More generally speaking: why does extraterrestrial evolution escape the problems that evolution encounters on Earth? More time? More space? Favourable conditions? Tell me!


This is exactly the kind of things that is addressed in the TalkOrigins page, there is also a specific address of the "irreducible complexity" issue on TalkOrigins.



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 01:01 PM
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Sometimes its best to advocate for a particular position, so as to better understand it.

So perhaps, Harte, you can advocate here for whatever position this guy is making. That way it'll be easier for the rest of us to discuss it, and you might see, in trying to defend it, and flaws in the logic.



As far as mutations and time, there are a few variations on this sort of arguement. As Rant notes, the 'blank' arguement that proteins are super complex and would take a trillion to one chance to form has been made here, probably a number of times.

That arguement calculates the 'chances' of it happening by looking at the arrangment of each amino acid within the protein in relation to one another. This is a poor way of looking at it tho, in fact, its a type of 'Straw Man" arguement (where you 'refute' a ridiciulously weak position that no one is actually claiming, and then claim victory). No one is saying that, for example, hemoglobin arose out of a soup of amino acids and elemental iron, in one step, ad hoc. It shouldn't come as a surprise to see that its so incredibly unlikely as to be basically immpossible.

I don't know the specific argument that this other guy is making, but I do recall there being concern amoung some biologists (in the somewhat distant past however, I think before the Evolutionary Synthesis (of genetics and population biology) even).

The important thing to remember is that, like in the example above, evolution does not say that these things happen all at once, nor does it say that they happen in an unguided manner.

Evolution produces 'objects' (organisms, or even characters of organisms) thru random mutation, but thru the guide and 'designing' effect of natural selection. A simple consideration of random mutation alone leads to failure, becuase much more than random mutation is going on. This is also why ID advocates can make a good case, organisms certainly look like someone said 'lets give this one a longer beak, so that it can get the nectar that's really deep in the flower'. Or who can not look at a wasp and a fig and think, 'dang, someone thought of this and then made it"?
No one thought of it tho, natural selection, an unthinking process, results in the exact same thing that people try to make when they design things, a matching of form to function. This has nothing to do with intelligence and forethought in the case of evolution tho.


As a side note there was also a geneticist-organic chemist who used to post here who seemed to feel that Intelligent Design could be a workable theory too, and that it could explain lots of the problems in evolutionary biology.




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