Re: Challenge

Date: Sat Oct 13 2001 - 11:04:29 EDT

  • Next message: "relativity and YEC"

    Moraad wrote:
    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,


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