Random (was The NABT controversy)

David Campbell (bivalve@mailserv0.isis.unc.edu)
Thu, 19 Feb 1998 16:44:47 -0400

>I like to see the mathematical model which will give rise to the dynamics
>purported in evolutionary thought. I am afraid that is a monumental task. We
>cannot even deduce from theory the numerical values of the masses of
>particles and the numerical values of the coupling constants in physics.
>These problems are much simpler than those posed by evolutionary theory. Any
>physicist that can produce a theory which explains such numerical values
>would get an immediate Nobel prize.

There are several mathematical models that can replicate some of the
statistically random aspects of evolution. Specifically, there are several
theoretical models for mutation of a DNA or protein sequence, and empirical
models of how a particular feature has evolved (e.g., the number of spines
per whorl on some snails shows an increase in variance but no significant
trend over time and the size of forams may increase, decrease, or stay the
same over time). There are many models in population genetics for random
changes in gene frequency. These by no means approach a model that can go
from astrophysics to life, but do model the statistical randomness of