Survival of the fittest - what does it mean ?

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metari1 (January 18, 2008, 20:05:56 PM):
Darwin was refering to animals. Give me a way of disproving, falsifying what he said in relation to what he was refering to in terms of kittens for example.
It seems that on metari1-world, bacteria don’t count among animals.

All right then, kittens it is: Divide a population of about 1,000 kittens into two groups of roughly equal size. Isolate them from one another. Let group one have free access to good quantities of clean, fresh water, while group two has access only to a small stagnant, arsenic-laced cesspool. If, after a few generations, group two is larger in number than group one, your dream will have been realised.

What you have described in relation to kittens is of course true by definition. Those with clean water will be stronger and those with not will be weaker. What label would you give to the process of dividing a group of kittens into two and everything else as you described, clean and dirty water etc.. ?
metari1 (January 20, 2008, 14:11:45 PM):
http://whatnaturaled.blogspot.com/
"..For example Gould said… Anyone wants to tell me how this "extinction-proneness" was measured, except by noting that the groups went extinct?

Only if you tell us how Newton arrived at the idea of universal gravitation except by noting that everything is gravitationally attracted to everything else.


In other words you are incapable of answering the question and brought up a red herring.

Here is another one:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-meritt/evolution.html
According to the Talk.Origins Archive, sharks haven't changed because they "are excellently adapted to their particular niche in their environment."
Does anyone know how this "excellent adaptation" was measured (apart from observing that sharks haven't changed, that is)?

And where did I say that SoF is a tautology? It all depends on the person's intent with SoF, without knowing Spencer and Darwin's intent with SoF how do we know that stated a tautology.
metari1 (January 20, 2008, 19:27:03 PM):
Here is another one this time from wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_selection tells us:
"..... Natural selection is the process by which favorable traits that are heritable become more common in successive generations ....."

Now other than noting that traits which become common are heritable, how were their favoribility actually measured?
bluegray (January 21, 2008, 09:48:44 AM):
By studying animals, observing behavior, it is not that difficult, even for the layperson to notice that certain species have traits that give them an advantage over other species and which will therefore be favorable. You can also study population sizes and growth and compare that to other similar species. I'm no biologist, so I'm not sure if there is some "favorability index" by which you can measure species or traits against, but it is certainly possible to say that this animal is better adapted to it's environment than that animal because it is faster and can smell better, and in a contest this animal will always be the favorite to win.

Although I haven't read it yet, I think this book should explain it much better than is possible here: The Beak of the Finch.
with another review here: http://www.lifesci.sussex.ac.uk/home/John_Gribbin/reviews.htm#Beak

You also haven't answered my questions I posted a while ago:
What Darwin and others proposed was a method to explain the physical evidence that we see in nature, and that explanation is still the best one we have. It has since been refined and reinforced by new evidence. By rejecting NS or SotF you will have to come up with some other explanation, and since by your definition any religion is a prime example of your tautology, I am curious to hear your explanation for all the physical evidence and observations in nature. How did we and all the millions of other species come to be?

May I ask what books on evolution you have read?
Mefiante (January 21, 2008, 11:30:20 AM):
What you have described in relation to kittens is of course true by definition.
No, it isn’t. If we are to accept an omniscient and/or omnipotent and/or supremely beneficent and/or some super-intelligent designer, the kittens will already be equipped to deal with such an adverse environment. Moreover, there is a tiny (but nonetheless non-zero) probability that the original group of kittens just happens to be split in such a way that group two (which is confined to the bad water) consists mostly or entirely of specimens that already have a higher resistance to bad water – maybe because they need less water to survive or are better equipped to utilise contaminated water – and the other group consists mostly or entirely of sickly and sterile specimens, so that your expectation may be violated on entirely naturalistic grounds. Ergo, your claim that “it is true by definition” doesn’t hold water.



What label would you give to the process of dividing a group of kittens into two and everything else as you described, clean and dirty water etc.. ?
Possibly “incipient speciation.” There is good reason to believe that geography and/or topography are frequently instrumental in species bifurcations simply because two branches of what was once the same ancestor species no longer interbreed owing to geographical and/or topographical obstacles that separate them. Over time, their genomes diverge because they develop in isolation of one another, usually in environments where different selection pressures prevail. Eventually, said divergence is sufficient so that if any interbreeding was to happen, they can no longer produce any fertile offspring (e.g. a mule) or any offspring at all. At this point they become properly different species. This idea is given powerful support by the existence of so-called “ring species.”



In other words you are incapable of answering the question and brought up a red herring.
No, the red herring is all yours, which my response was intended to expose: Empirical observations allow us to infer apparent rules that govern natural phenomena. Such apparent rules become hypotheses and eventually full-blown scientific theories if borne out by many further observations. These theories become part of the (always tentative) canon of science and allow us to make sense of certain observables and facts in terms of abstract and overarching principles embodied in these theories. Now, how do you propose to advance human knowledge if any and all such observations immediately become meaningless as soon as they happen to conform to a particular explanatory principle? Because that is what your errant little semantic quibble about “survival of the fittest” being post hoc and/or tautological actually comes down to. In effect, your suggestion is that General Relativity is no use in studying binary star systems because their behaviour conforms to Einstein’s equivalence principle which states that inertial and gravitational mass are physically indistinguishable from one another.



Anyone wants to tell me how this "extinction-proneness" was measured, except by noting that the groups went extinct?
Red herring. The real question is what factors (environmental, genetic, behavioural) may have brought these extinctions about because the extinctions themselves are qualitative, not quantitative, observations of a bygone effect. Also, see previous.



Does anyone know how this "excellent adaptation" was measured (apart from observing that sharks haven't changed, that is)?
See previous.



Now other than noting that traits which become common are heritable, how were their favoribility actually measured?
See previous.



And where did I say that SoF is a tautology? It all depends on the person's intent with SoF, without knowing Spencer and Darwin's intent with SoF how do we know that stated a tautology.
Why, here:
A tautology is defined as something which is true by definition and for which not test can be devised to disprove. In what way would your sentence not be a tautology, what test would you give me to disprove or to falsify what you have written. Because your sentence is true by definition.
Given in response to the following definition of “survival of the fittest” supplied by bluegray V:
An individual that is better adapted to it's environment than another member of it's species, that it is in competition with for resources, will be more likely to survive and pass on it's genes.


'Luthon64

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