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Darwanism its false?

  1. May 3, 2003 #1
    Darwanism .... its false?

    While gathering information for a univeristy assignment, the group decided to base the topic on Natural Selection (against my topic of DNA vs Protien as the material for inheritance).

    Basically, we had to choose a theory, that was controversial, but later proven by scientific experimentation.

    Now, I thought this would be easy, just plunk a few pictures of Galapagos Finches, a few references to anti-biotic resistance of bacteria over generations, and Kattlewell's experiments on moths and volla, its done.

    However, the web being such an infinite trove of information i came across this web site - http://www.tdtone.org/darwin/Index.html

    A quote from http://www.tdtone.org/evolution/TDTns.htm

    That was the part i really don't understand. Can anyone explain exactly what the author is trying to describe?

    The final rhetorical question, "How then is Natural selection ... the cause of evolution?" (which i presumably believe the author wants a resounding no), seems to be answered in the preceding sentence "The only 'selection' made .. is simple survival". It was also stated that 'Natural Selection' was a cause, not an effect.

    Help please... could it be possible my logic is so completely indoctrinated by school science teaching that i can't see?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 3, 2003 #2
    BTW - this is not 'homework help', as this is out of completely person interest as to how 'Natural Selection' is a fallcy, as the website descibes it.

    This was a group assignment, and split into four parts, i was given the 'conclusion' section. Unfortunately for me, it appear much of the 'proof' such as Kattlewell's Moth (that natural selection caused the proliferation of black moths, and decline in white moths in polluted areas) experiments was grossly mishandled, invalidating the results. Indeed, there is increasing evidence that the pollution itself may have caused the colour changes, so in effect nothing was selected at all - simply that white became black.

    There's numerous other pieces of scientific evidence (such as antibiotic resistance as stated before, and the striking similarities between human and chicken embryos), that the conclusion I will write will be compatible with that of the rest of the groups.

    I'm just interested in the converse of popular scientific thought :)
     
  4. May 3, 2003 #3

    selfAdjoint

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    But it's easy to refute this guy. He pretends that evolution is only a function of the species, so different results for different species seems to set up a coontradiction. But evolution is a function of the species and the environment. It is the environment that does the selecting in natural selection. Sure, competition between individuals, but competition in coping with the environment.

    So some environments are stable - deep ocean - and some change regularly, and some sometimes change catastophically (the KT comet strike). So right there you have an explanation of why some species evolve very little over a long time and some evolve a lot.

    As far as human evolution goes, have a look of the climate changes during the Quaternary, the period in which genus homo evolved. Ice ages, remissions, war spells, forests spreading and declining savannahs turning into desert. Anthropologist can almost express human evolution as a function of all this challenge.
     
  5. May 3, 2003 #4

    russ_watters

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    His arguement is simply a misunderstanding of the way evolution works. Essentially he's saying that since evolution is fairly static in some cases and fairly dynamic in others its a contradiction. No. Like selfAdjoint said, since some ENVIRONMENTS are relatively static, the evolution in those environments is relatively static. And since some environments are dynamic, the evolution occurring in them is fairly dynamic.

    Evolution is universally accepted by mainstream scientists. The only "controversy" comes from people don't understand it or dont WANT to believe it (generally for religious reasons).

    One thing you should remember about the internet, Jikx, is the sqeaky wheel principle. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Evolution is a non-issue to most scientists except a few biologists and anthropologists. There is no open scientific debate on anything other than very specific aspects of evolution since evolution as a whole is so thoroughly proven. So there is very little real scientific debate to be found on the internet about it. But to people who WANT to believe evolution isn't true, its a hot issue. So they are the ones who have all the websites. So most of the sites purporting to "debate" evolution are actually trying to disprove it.
     
  6. May 3, 2003 #5

    FZ+

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    In addentum, Darwinism was never completely right. But modern evolutionary biology is much more than the original theories of Darwin. We now have also an understanding of the processes of co-evolution, intermittent adaptation, symbiosis, the "selfish gene" and other mechanisms that also play important part of adaptation.
     
  7. May 3, 2003 #6
    Isn't the term 'Darwinism' a Creationist invention?
     
  8. May 4, 2003 #7

    Another God

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    Yeah, it has been answered I guess.

    One thing you should have explained to you one day JikX, is the concept of..hmmm..whats it called. The 'evolutionary terrain'??? Its the concept of a diagram which shows the relative values of adaptaions in any given environment. If you draw a graph, where y = value of adaptation to a creatures chance of survival and procreation vs. x = the adaptation (and you have every possible adaptation listed next to each other), then you end up getting a graph of a long hilly looking terrain.

    ON this graph, each peak or each mound would be the local maxima, and the trough the local minima. If a creature exists with a phenotype which places it anywhere down the bottom or on the side of a hill, then natural selection will tend to 'push' the phenotype of that creature up the hill. If a creature exists with a phenotype which places that creature at the top of a hill, then NS will tend to hold the phenotype of that creature fixed on that point.

    BUT, and here is the point: If the environment changes (and the environment includes all factors: Plants, animals, temperatures, humidity, water availability...etc) then the terrain of the graph wilkl change. Phenotypes stay the same, but the relative value of any phenotype in a given environment is obviously different to the value of the same phenotype in another environment.



    THE POINT: If you understand what I am talking about (I will try to find an actual example of one of these), then you should be able to imagine one of these graphs. Now imagine that you have three hills on one of these graphs, hill one is middle sized, hill two is lower and hill three is the highest. A creature exists which has the phenotype expressed on hill one. It has a local maxima for the given environment, so it will probably survive and reproduce well. NO creatures exist for phenotype 2 or 3. Phenotype 3 would be better adapted for the environment than phenotype one, but for the creature to evolve into phenotype 3, it has to un-adapt itself down the trough between its phenotype and phenotype 2, survive as a lesser adaptation against the more competitive phenotype 1, and then un-adapt itself again before it could reach phenotype 3, the absolute maxima for that given environment.

    This just wouldn't happen in the wild. If a creature exists at a localk maxima, then it won't unadapt itself. It's just like a ball rolling uphill. It could....but it wouldn't unless pushed.
     
  9. May 4, 2003 #8

    Another God

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    Searching for 'Fitness Landscape + Evolution' on Google:

    I found this downloadable slideshow:

    Slideshow

    ..

    and well... a whole bunch of 'fitness landscapes' applied to AI, Economics, Physics...and periodically to biology. But not one damn website dedicated to explaining what they are.

    Ahhh, here we go. This site at least has a diagram of what I am trying to explain. SO if nothing else, you can look at them. (except in its example, it has shown the peaks to be least fit. This way a rolling ball can represent the way a phenotype will be pushed to evolve as such.)


    If you really care, check out talkorigins.org, and try searching it for fitness landscapes. It has some stuff in it...
     
  10. May 4, 2003 #9

    russ_watters

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    Yeah, I think so. Its supposed to make it sound like a religion.
     
  11. May 5, 2003 #10
    Darwinism might be but neo-Darwinism isn't. "Neo" is not part of the Creationist vocabulary. :wink:
     
  12. May 5, 2003 #11
    Nice explanation AG. I'll look at the slide shows and see what they are like, if they are crap I'll give you a hand explaining the concept. :smile:
     
  13. May 5, 2003 #12
    thanks for your explanations everyone.

    how is neo-darwanism different from classical darwanism? Is it drastically, or simply builds further?
     
  14. May 5, 2003 #13

    Another God

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    Neo Darwinism is just the continuation and correct of Darwins theory.

    It corrects his mistakes about genetic transfer etc (obviously by incorporating what we know about DNA, mutations etc), and also incorporates more complex issues. Rate of evolution, punctuated equilibrium models...etc...

    At least, that is my understanding. I am not certain about it, I just have an idea where Darwin is now considered 'wrong' or not completely there, and how our current understanding of evolution compares to what he wrote.

    And honestly, Darwin wasn't far from the mark. That man deserves all the respect in the world. If only he had of known about Gregor Mendels work...he would have had almost everything. True genius.
     
  15. May 7, 2003 #14
    Darwin's ideas on Natural Selection were pretty good, I will give him that much credit. But he was no genius. In fact, the same theory was formulated at the same time by a guy named Wallace, and if it wasn't for the goading of friends, Darwin never would have published. His ideas about sex were a little too "of his era" to be palatable.

    For a breakdown of evolution and some cool articles, go to talkorigins.com, I think it is.
     
  16. May 8, 2003 #15
    Wallace did indeed come up with a similiar theory, however both theories were arrived at independantly, with Darwin developing his before Wallace. There is nothing wrong with this situation, it happens now and then, look at Newton and Leibniz for example (calculus).
     
  17. May 8, 2003 #16

    Another God

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    Darwin had his theory of evolution for 20 years or so before he found out that Wallace was about to print his similar theory. Just because someone else came up with a similar theory at a similar time does not reduce the genius of the discoverer.

    And yeah, most of his work was very 'of his era'...but thus is life. Most people are of their era.
     
  18. May 8, 2003 #17
    evolution or creation

    Here's one way of thinking about creation or evolution Jikx.

    You have 100 ping-pong balls numbered 1 to 100. You put them in a big bag and shuffle them up. There is a room with 100 boxes numbered 1 to 100. You give your bag of ping-pong balls to a friend of yours and tell him, "Go into the room with the boxes and, starting with box #1, reach into the bag and pull out one ping-pong ball without looking at it and put it in box #1. Then do the same thing for every box all the way through box #100." Your friend agrees, then leaves, and returns a short time later. You ask your friend "Did you randomly put the ping-pong balls into the boxes?" Your friend says yes. You then go into the room with the boxes. You look at box number #1 and find ping-pong ball #1. You then look in box number #2 and find ping-pong ball #2 and so on all the way through box #100. You ask yourself, "How is this possible? The odds are only 1 in 100!"

    If you believe in creation, you think your friend is lying.
    If you believe in evolution, you think your friend is telling the truth.
     
  19. May 8, 2003 #18
    Actually the odds are a hell of a lot less than 1 in 100! More than likely even less than 1 in 1 000 000!

    I am extremely rusty with my probability, but I seem to recall that working out the probability of this problem would be similiar to working out the chance of winning a lottery, and that problem requires the use of permutations and combinations.
     
  20. May 8, 2003 #19

    russ_watters

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    Re: evolution or creation

    That is a completely flawed way of looking at the laws of probability. The probability of your friend putting the balls in *ANY* order is exactly the same. Just because him putting them in that particular order seems unlikely doesn't mean it is any less likely than any other order.
     
  21. May 8, 2003 #20
    I am not saying there was a problem with it. Darwin was not a genius just because he had a good idea. Some of his other ideas were lame, and he was pretty much a loser. His golden moment was the idea of natural selection. Wallace had much better character, and came from a lot less.
     
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