You must define all the terms you use.
Newton already knew that things evolve.
The question is how much they actually did.
We can tinker with existing things and nature
may do the same, but how much change is possible
or allowable? We can get gold out of lead, but
can we get cats out of dogs.
Comparing "measurements" in the evolution of a species
with measurements in the evolution of a well defined
dynamic system is bound to lead to this intractable
For example, in the broadest of generalities, quantum
mechanics and evolution are both a matter of probabilities.
Since reproducible transitions of the H atom (the Balmer
series for example) are obtained regularly in every
undergraduate physics lab, this makes QM "believable", but
not so for evolution. For evolution, once it happens,
it's done. The observations of the H atom are also made
in real time whereas evolutionary observations are based
upon interpretation. Further, Rather than simply reporting
"uncertainty" (or variation in the measurement), claims
related to the evolution can in fact be completely wrong.
Thus it should be no surprise that experts might disagree
about whether Archaeopteryx was the first bird or not.
Perhaps a closer approximation to the correct word *might*
be "consensus". Then the general "consensus" amongst
biologists is that the data _strongly_ suggests that life
evolved typically from primitive organisms toward more
complex organisms. It could be made a bit stronger by
something like "corroborative consensus" in the sense
that observations and interpretations are not independent,
but usually rely on multiple pathways. Thus, radioactive
dating is not done with only one element, but several when
possible and a series of transitional forms (Trilobites for
example) are desirable for understanding an organism's
development and spread throughout the earth, etc.
Next, people who might agree to accept the differences
between a measurement science, and an interpretive science,
seem to be disagreeing on how to describe the conditional
probabilities. An extreme view is to say that if one is
wrong, they all must be wrong. They forget that this is
only true if the conditions are mutually exclusive. For
something like evolution, that is unlikely. An equally
extreme view is to think that if even one is true, it must
be true. It's similar to the situation where
the defiant smoker claims that he/she did not get lung
cancer and therefore the experts are wrong. Likewise,
not every wrongdoer is brought to justice, but it seems
that many are.
Lastly, to link this,
as Tim pointed out, the genetic algorithm certainly uses
the principles of evolution in its realization and is
itself essentially a deterministic model because "selection"
is made from known libraries of random sequences. It is
an application of evolution to find new drugs to fight
cancer (for example). It should be pointed out that the cancer
cells also "evolve" and in effect, "evade" the chemotherapies.
So the application of a monolithic drug to fight such a scourge
is ludicrous from the very start.
by Grace alone we proceed,
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sat Oct 13 2001 - 11:05:24 EDT