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Survival of the fittest - what does it mean ?

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metari1
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« on: January 17, 2008, 19:39:55 PM »

http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts/2007/04/what_makes_natural_selection_a.php

"...Charles Darwin adopted Herbert Spencer's metaphor "Survival of the Fittest" to describe how natural selection operates in the fifth and sixth editions of the Origin of Species at the urging of Alfred Wallace. Unfortunately "Survival of the Fittest" is a very misleading metaphor. It does not help students gain an adequate understanding of what the natural processes are that really make selection a powerful process..."

John Wilkins:
http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/browse_frm/thread/cc737705dbc10c8e?tvc=1
"... "survival of the fittest" is a verbal shorthand for complex math. The *math* is not a tautology - for the terms in the equations are interpreted, which means they are what gives the equations substance. For SotF to be an *empty* tautology, and not a contentful one (i.e., a definition), you would need to show that the terms are not interpretable...."

John Wilkins wrote:
http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/browse_thread/thread/38df9a9a127281a8/cea310284f6d201c#cea310284f6d201c
"Many were worried about the voluntaristic implications of the use of the term "selection": this is why Wallace and Spencer insisted on changing it to "survival of the fittest", which lacks that implication. Darwin adopted it, but it raised a whole host of other problems - the main one being that it made the whole thing into a tautology, which it wasn't. The main difficulty is that our language *is* voluntaristic, and we don't have a ready made vocabulary without connontations for
talking about an a posteriori outcome. "Goals" are unfortunately part of the vernacular - we talk about "in order to" in biology, but we *don't* mean that a particular biological property thereby happened with that outcome in "mind". Because it achieved that result, it was retained. That's selection in biology."

Chris Colby:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-intro-to-biology.html#natsel
The phrase "survival of the fittest" is often used synonymously with natural selection. The phrase is both incomplete and misleading.


If a monkey kicks over a box with letters forming the term SoF - it would have no intent. It would be as meaningless as picking up a piece of paper with "You have a green light", what was the intent of the author, without knowing the intent the sentence isn't even wrong.

Now would anybody around here know what was Spencer and Darwin's intent with SoF. Darwin said it is "..more accurate.." than NS.


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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2008, 00:30:53 AM »

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. It's genes are naturally selected and passed on because it fitted better into it's specific ecological niche, or because it was fitter to survive in its specific ecological niche.

So there is room for both terms when talking about evolution, depending on which part you are referring to.

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metari1
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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2008, 11:37:16 AM »

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.


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.

A tautology is defined as a series of statements that comprise an argument, which statements are constructed in such a way that the truth of the proposition is guaranteed. Consequently the statement conveys no useful information regardless of it's length or complexity. Thus, for a simple example, the statement "if you can't find something (that you lost), you are not looking in the right place" is tautological. It is also true, but conveys no useful information. As a physical example, to play a game of darts where the dart board was full of bullseyes, could be called a "tautological" game. You can't lose. Any argument containing a tautological statement is thus flawed logically and must be considered erroneous.

A tautological argument is not an argument; a tautological game is not a game. (As an aside, a great many of the later, "more advanced" books on evolution attempt to explain away this tautology by some beautiful, highly complex, arguments; e.g. Mayr and or, Gould. Upon close examination of these arguments it will be found that the conclusion is usually obtained by a metaphysical "division by zero"

For example Gould said at http://whatnaturaled.blogspot.com
"[T]he geological record features episodes of high dying, during which extinction-prone groups are more likely to disappear, leaving extinction-resistant groups as life's legacy."
S.J. Gould & N. Eldredge, "Punctuated equilibrium comes of age", Nature (1993) 366:223-7, p. 225.
Anyone wants to tell me how this "extinction-proneness" was measured, except by noting that the groups went extinct?

It should also be noted that some apologists for Darwinian logic claim that mathematical equations such as f = ma, or e = mc2 could also be termed tautologies. This is a faulted attempt to vindicate Darwinism which could be termed "innocence by association"; in either case, [and in every case of a mathematical expression] the terms on both sides of the equation are defined elsewhere independently, and thus the equal sign does not mean "is defined by" but rather {hate to say it} but is equal to, thus establishing an equivalence. This equivalence may establish a new "law", hitherto unknown.
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2008, 13:19:23 PM »

In what way would your sentence not be a tautology, …
In the way that it describes a statistical trend, not each and every specific instance.  In the same way as saying that a fair die will on average show a six once in six throws; however you cannot guarantee a six on any particular throw or series of throws of finite length.



… what test would you give me to disprove or to falsify what you have written.
For one example, breeding a colony of bacteria whose antibiotic resistance decreases with exposure to same over several generations.  A little imagination will throw up a glut of other conceivable counterexamples.



Upon close examination of these arguments it will be found that the conclusion is usually obtained by a metaphysical "division by zero"
Can you support this rather serious allegation of intellectual fraud with a source or a reference?  Or are they your own invention?  Because the last time I looked, Gould and Mayr were still held in very high esteem by their surviving peers.



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.  Your semantic ruses are growing tiresome.



It should also be noted that some apologists for Darwinian logic claim that mathematical equations such as f = ma, or e = mc2 could also be termed tautologies. This is a faulted attempt to vindicate Darwinism which could be termed "innocence by association"; in either case, [and in every case of a mathematical expression] the terms on both sides of the equation are defined elsewhere independently, and thus the equal sign does not mean "is defined by" but rather {hate to say it} but is equal to, thus establishing an equivalence. This equivalence may establish a new "law", hitherto unknown.
This is where your wilful ignorance really shines through in a big way because you creationists either don’t read or don’t want to understand what you read.  Anyone who argues as above is conflating a law of nature with a theorem in mathematics or formal logic.

Equations in physics like “F = m×a” or “E = m×c2” are abstract expressions of relationships about observables in the physical world.  They are descriptive, not prescriptive.  If you trace them back far enough, they are empirically derived: Newton’s Second Law of motion was the result of careful observation and experimentation.  If you look at the wording, the mathematical formulation is “F = k×dp/dt.”  With (1) a suitable choice of units of measure, (2) restricting the vectors F and p to be collinear and (3) the assumption that the mass remains constant, the formulation becomes the more usual “F = m×a” formula.  Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence is a logical consequence of the postulate that underpins Special Relativity, itself based on Galilean and Newtonian mechanics when applied to Maxwell’s equations.  There’s no hint of any tautology in such physical relationships because they are descriptions that bear a direct correspondence to things that are measurable, at least in principle.  Without that correspondence they are at best interesting baubles.

In contrast, pure mathematics and formal logic deal with so-called “axiomatic formal systems,” that is, systems that have (1) a set of basic axioms (basic assumptions that are thought to be self-evidently true), and (2) a set of rules of inference that describe valid procedures and methods for combining the axioms into so-called theorems.  Every theorem in an axiomatic formal system is necessarily a tautology because it is already inherent in the axioms and the rules of inference that govern the formal system.  But this is not the same thing as saying that such theorems are trivial or useless or fruitless – quite the opposite, in fact.  For examples, you need look no further than geometry, Euclidean as well as non-Euclidean.

Okay?

'Luthon64
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2008, 13:37:06 PM »

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.

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.

A tautology is defined as a series of statements that comprise an argument, which statements are constructed in such a way that the truth of the proposition is guaranteed. Consequently the statement conveys no useful information regardless of it's length or complexity. Thus, for a simple example, the statement "if you can't find something (that you lost), you are not looking in the right place" is tautological. It is also true, but conveys no useful information. As a physical example, to play a game of darts where the dart board was full of bullseyes, could be called a "tautological" game. You can't lose. Any argument containing a tautological statement is thus flawed logically and must be considered erroneous.
By your definition of a tautology, it is in itself a tautology, must I consider it is therefore logically flawed and erroneous? Wink

What I posted was in response to your question:
Now would anybody around here know what was Spencer and Darwin's intent with SoF. Darwin said it is "..more accurate.." than NS.
And even by your definition of a tautology, it can't be seen as such. It does not claim to be the truth, and it can be easily disproved by finding an organism in which genes or attributes that are detrimental as a whole to its survival are still being selected or carried over in some way.

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?

(As an aside, a great many of the later, "more advanced" books on evolution attempt to explain away this tautology by some beautiful, highly complex, arguments; e.g. Mayr and or, Gould.
May I ask what books on evolution you have read?
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metari1
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2008, 14:09:48 PM »

In what way would your sentence not be a tautology, …
In the way that it describes a statistical trend, not each and every specific instance.  In the same way as saying that a fair die will on average show a six once in six throws; however you cannot guarantee a six on any particular throw or series of throws of finite length.

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.
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2008, 15:33:16 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.

If not, there’s good reason to think that you’re having a nightmare instead.

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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2008, 16:04:54 PM »

To be more precise, if group two did have surviving kittens and they did not mutate any special ways of dealing with their stagnant environment as explained through NS or SotF, but instead required their new survival abilities through some other means - divine intervention or otherwise some unexplained phenomenon, then evolutionist will have to revise their theories.
The same goes if group one does not mutate and has surviving kittens and they are all still the same as the ones at the start.
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« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2008, 16:18:45 PM »

True enough, but in an answer to metari1's original question that I addressed, i.e. "In what way would the sentence, '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' not be a tautology," one need only consider differential survival rates.  Mutations can influence differential survival rates but are not required.  Ditto pre-existing genetic diversity.  The point is that these rates are the statistical results of interactions between individuals and their environment.

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« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2008, 17:16:55 PM »

Some reading matter:
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metari1
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« Reply #10 on: 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.. ?
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metari1
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« Reply #11 on: 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.
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« Reply #12 on: 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?
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« Reply #13 on: 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?
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« Reply #14 on: 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.


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« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2008, 12:31:24 PM »

New Findings Confirm Darwin's Theory: Evolution Not Random
Quote
Now, the findings of an international team of biologists demonstrate that evolution is not a random process, but rather occurs through the natural selection of successful traits.


It should be noted that the article is very, very badly titled.

'Luthon64
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« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2008, 14:12:07 PM »

How do one go about to read the actual study?
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« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2008, 14:52:31 PM »

Here you go.

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« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2008, 22:55:39 PM »


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


From bacteria to kittens to humans:

Sickle-cell disease in humans is caused by a simple and well-understood mutation. It is inheritable in the same way that blue eyes are. This, otherwise, somewhat debilitating disease occurs more commonly in people (or their descendants) from parts of the world where malaria is or was common, but it also occurs in people of other ethnicities. This is because those with one or two alleles of the sickle cell disease are resistant to malaria since the red blood cells are not conducive to the parasites - in areas where malaria is common there is a survival value in carrying the sickle cell genes.

I see no problem with cause and effect here, and no problem with measuring the survival value that the mutation confers to the "victim". 

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« Reply #19 on: February 29, 2008, 21:27:45 PM »

Sickle-cell disease in humans is caused by a simple and well-understood mutation.

There is another related blood disease which has a similar effect.  16% of the population of Cyprus (and lower percentages of the population of nearby Mediterranean countries) suffer from thalassaemia which was seen for centuries as a curse, having a visible presentation in the formation of facial features and causing shorter life expectancies for those afflicted.  As a result of the prevalence, all islanders carry the gene (most in the recessive form) and every Cypriot is immune to malaria.

I first heard about this story in a brilliant documentary by the geneticist Professor Robert Winston (not sure if it was "Threads of Life" or "The Human Body").  His point was that our understanding of genetics may lead us to want to "prune-out" genetic disorders like these and lose undiscovered benefits such as malaria resistance.  If we discovered genes which cause certain heritable diseases, would pruning them from the genome help us or possibly introduce a weakness to diseases discovered in the future or future mutations of current life-threatening diseases?
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« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2008, 13:51:48 PM »

I believe that is Cooley's Anemia  that is specific to the Mediterranean, right?
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« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2008, 14:25:02 PM »

Now, back to the dead horse that is the argument of survival of the fittest is a tautology.
I am not even going to go into explaining how it is not, as it is such a tired argument that has been shown to be false many times.  And, from what I have seen from Metari1, I believe he goes around to wacky creationist sites and comes back here and regurgitates what he has read with nothing novel to add.  But that is typical of many creationists I've heard, and is expected when reason is the enemy of your faith.

Jason Rosenhouse blogged (long ago now) about how to spot a bad argument, and it most certainly applies here.
If you hear someone say that a well supported theory is invalid, not because of some new evidence, but because of a basic flaw in logic, you should dismiss this argument out of hand.
How likely is it that generations of scientists have used a theory extensively and further developed the theory and produced mountains of experimental evidence for the theory, but somehow missed something very basic.  Further, it takes someone as brilliant as Metari 1 (or whoever it is that he is parroting) to point out this flaw to the stupid scientists who weren't clever enough to see it.
The tautological argument is word play.  I would say that I can't believe there is still any discussion on it, but the dishonesty of creationists have taught me that some things that should go away sometimes never do.
 
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« Reply #22 on: March 15, 2008, 11:11:56 AM »

Now, back to the dead horse that is the argument of survival of the fittest is a tautology.
I am not even going to go into explaining how it is not, as it is such a tired argument that has been shown to be false many times. 

Please provide references as to who has showed which individual with his particular intent was false.

The tautological argument is word play.  I would say that I can't believe there is still any discussion on it, but the dishonesty of creationists have taught me that some things that should go away sometimes never do.

Other than noting a particular creature survived how was its fitness measured ?
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« Reply #23 on: March 15, 2008, 23:02:25 PM »

Quote from: metari1
Other than noting a particular creature survived how was its fitness measured ?

Warmlug already provided a good example of sickle cell disease causing resistance to malaria. Therefore, if you live in a malaria area sickle cell disease makes you fitter to survive.

A simpler example. A lion chases 2 bucks, the one buck is fast and gets away, the slow buck is caught. The faster buck was more fit to survive and got away.

So, to answer your question, fitness is measured in terms of the trait or ability that gives an organism the ability to overcome an adverse condition.

Johan
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« Reply #24 on: March 16, 2008, 20:25:26 PM »

A simpler example. A lion chases 2 bucks, the one buck is fast and gets away, the slow buck is caught. The faster buck was more fit to survive and got away.

So, to answer your question, fitness is measured in terms of the trait or ability that gives an organism the ability to overcome an adverse condition.


Johan weet jy wat is die definisie van a tautologie? Ek gaan vir jou Wikipedia kwoteer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tautology_%28rhetoric%29
"...In colloquial terms a logical tautology can also be defined as a series of statements that comprise an argument, which statements are constructed in such a way that the truth of the proposition is guaranteed. Consequently the statement conveys no useful information regardless of its length or complexity. Thus, for a simple example, the statement "if you can't find something (that you lost), you are not looking in the right place" is tautological. It is also true, but conveys no useful information. As a physical example, to play a game of darts where the dart board was full of bullseyes, could be called a "tautological" game. You can't lose. Any argument containing a tautological statement is thus flawed logically and must be considered erroneous.

A tautological argument is not an argument; a tautological game is not a game. Mathematical equations, such as e = mc2, are not tautologies. The terms on both sides of the equation are defined elsewhere independently, and thus the equal sign does not mean "is defined by" but rather equal to, thus establishing an equivalence...."

So let me ask the question again:

"...fitness is measured in terms of the trait or ability that gives an organism the ability to overcome an adverse condition...."

Other than noting an organism had the ability to overcome an adverse condition, how was its fitness measured ?

Our observation was that an organism indeed had the ability to overcome and adverse condition, how does labeling this "fitness" tell us anything we don't already know.
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« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2008, 22:47:53 PM »

Metari1:

The reason these observations of survival of the fittest are not a tautology, is that it refers not to a single population from which the weaker individuals have been removed, but to a replicating gene pool with errors.  The conclusion is drawn that heritable traits are selected for and against. Heritable traits that confer superior benefits in survivability, will increase in the gene pool, over generations. 

How about this:
A herd of buffalo is only as fit as its weakest individual.  Because lions tend to catch the weaker individuals, the net effect of lion predation on a buffalo herd is an increase in its fitness (this is a tautology). 
Now, every time a person imbibes alcohol, a great number of neurons are killed off in his brain.  BUT! Its those weaker neurons that are killed off.  That's why we feel so clever after a couple of beers (OK, also a tautology, but have a couple of beers, Metar1, and you might see the light).

If the surviving buffalo have a heritable trait that confers upon them superior predator evasion abilities, their offspring will be fitter than those who do not have this inherited trait. The tautology becomes irrelevant, because we're examining a deeper level of interaction.  "Survival of the fittest" refers to the selection of genes that encode for this superior trait, whether it is superior by default (loss of the trait by the weaker ones) or by a fortunate set of mutations in the "fitter" ones.  It is the distinction between individuals who by some fortunate nurturing have superior but not heritable traits and those who have superior traits encoded in their genes that elevates "survival of the fittest" above a self-evident theory. The truth of the proposition is not guaranteed. Heritability and gene expression of traits have to be examined in every specific proposition.
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« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2008, 07:22:26 AM »

Other than noting a particular creature survived how was its fitness measured ?

Some good examples were provided by Warm Lug and Johan, but natural selection goes beyond the "faster = better" examples.  We know that using the predictive power of the theory of evolution, we can describe a scenario which has not happened yet which allows us to view the potential course of a life form's development.  We can look at a herd of antelope who have been shown to develop genes to become faster or more nimble or are hard-wired to "spronk", but could easily be wiped-out by a new hypothetical disease.  We might see that these fast individuals are not going to out run the disease and that a particular sub group of the less-fit-to-survive-lion-attacks group happens to have a blood disorder which causes deformed red blood cells (inhibiting the uptake of oxygen, thus making them unable to use the full potential of their muscles, thus slower).  The virus cannot use the deformed red blood cells.  This red blood cell deformity can be the "fitness" which the group of antelope is selected on in the future, but right now it is a hindrance, a disadvantage.

If I showed you a slow antelope with the blood cell deformity and said to you that this is a fit individual which will ensure the survival of the species for the next two hundred years, you would laugh; it is clearly not fit and likely to be eaten.

The thing to take from this is that fitness is not an obvious conclusion drawn from observation.  We do not say "look at the elephant, it is big and strong and thus it was fit to survive.  It's presence is proof of its fitness", we say "look at the elephant, it was fitter than the mammoth because of these traits which natural selection acted on to ensure its survival".

I would say that acinonyx jubatus - the cheetah - is probably a good example, it is my favourite animal and a great example of how fitness is hit-and-miss.  Unlike most animals around today which have many hundreds of thousands of years of genetic history, cheetahs were almost extinct ten thousand years ago.  There is some disagreement on the number of cheetahs who survived the climate change event (some say it was one small closely-related family, others say it was only one pregnant female) but the shallowness of their gene pool is evident today.  We very nearly lost a very "fit" (by today's standards) animal due to the catastrophic climate change event of 10 000 years ago.  How many other "fit" animals did we actually lose?  Cheetahs are very well adapted to their environment and nobody can argue that they are not fit to survive, and yet they almost didn't because they were not fit in the right way at the right time.
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« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2008, 09:28:44 AM »

Well, metari1 if you insist that “survival of the fittest” is a tautology by asking silly questions, then by extension so is every other empirical observation we make about the world: Other than noting that an oven plate produces a particular variety of physical actions or reactions, how do we measure that it is hot?

So why not do a proper job and criticise all scientific epistemology?  You can also add ontology, metaphysics and language while you’re at it.  That way at least you might contribute something useful to human knowledge instead of getting to pick the bits that suit and rejecting the bits that don’t.

'Luthon64
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« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2008, 16:44:20 PM »

"...fitness is measured in terms of the trait or ability that gives an organism the ability to overcome an adverse condition...."

Other than noting an organism had the ability to overcome an adverse condition, how was its fitness measured ?

Our observation was that an organism indeed had the ability to overcome and adverse condition, how does labeling this "fitness" tell us anything we don't already know.
Maybe the links in this post is relevant: Re: Myths of Origin and the Theory of Evolution

@metari1:
What do you agree with? Do you agree that traits are heritable in organisms via genes? And do you agree that one organism (collection of genes) will survive better in some environment than another organism?
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« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2008, 19:41:30 PM »

Metari1:

The reason these observations of survival of the fittest are not a tautology, is that it refers not to a single population from which the weaker individuals have been removed, but to a replicating gene pool with errors.  The conclusion is drawn that heritable traits are selected for and against. Heritable traits that confer superior benefits in survivability, will increase in the gene pool, over generations. 

"Survival of the Fittest" is a sentence a human being uses to project some sort of intent, it is not some formally defined established theory like newton's theory of gravity or something. The term was coined by Herbert Spencer and adopted by Darwin, where did Spencer have any intent about genes if he didn't know about genes ?

Lets get back the to the Perry Marshall green light example:
"You have a green light."
1) It could mean you are holding a green light bulb.
2) Or you have a green light to drive your car.
3) You can go ahead with the project.

Three completely different meanings based on intent. Intent changed but syntax and semantics, grammar didn't change. What is your intent with "Survival of the Fittest". Do you for example know that Spencer viewed evolution as a progressive upwards process that will eventually lead to an ideal society? That was his intent with SoF, but his intent differs from Robert Sapolsky who views evolution as non-directional.

Evolution, SoF, Selection - these are the semantics. You need in order syntax, grammar, semantics to finally get to the pragmatics or intent as you signal receiver send info to me signal decoder. I am trying to decode  your intent and thus I need to ask you a few questions such as where did you get your interpretation that SoF had anything to do with genes.

For this you would need to tell me who said SoF in relation to genes, where did this person derive a theory with genes and the label SoF. SoF is just a label, not some sort of abstract authority or entity in and of itself, the label SoF can only be used to communicate your intent - what is your intent with SoF and where did you derive  your intent.

"...Survival of the Fittest ...." Who says so ?
1) Herbert Spencer - what was his intent.  Evolution towards our higher destiny which differs from Robert Sapolsky.
2) General with Phd in philosophy saying SoF to bolster the morale of his troops in the heat of battle.
3) John Wilkins - What was his intent  ?
4) Mussolini repeating over and over in his speeches SoF
5) Charles Darwin quoting Spencer.

6) Cat walking over somebody's keyboard typing out -  SoF and then pressing print and the paper flies out the window. You pick it up tomorrow a single term SoF on a blank piece of paper. You have no idea who wrote it (the cat unintentionally) thus you don't know what was the will,motive,intent or pragmatics behind the words "Survival of the Fittest".

7) Eight year old kid thinking he is a genius by saying that those that survived are the fittest and those that are the fittest survived. Notice that the term ToE , ToNS are used by eight year olds and professors in quantum physics - are they talking about the same thing ? The very fact that little children can talk about the Theory of Natural Selection with a great sense of intellectual achievement - that alone should tell us that we need to look very carefully at what exactly is the Theory of Natural Selection and Evolution. Is there any other theory in physics, math etc. where everybody can all talk together about such a theory, only with the Theory of Natural Selection is everybody from a six year old to a 60 year old physicist under the illusion that they are talking about the same thing. They all use the same label but is their intent the same.
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« Reply #30 on: March 18, 2008, 07:18:37 AM »

 Roll Eyes Here we go again.  What on Earth makes you think that we want to answer your questions when you flat-out refuse to answer our questions?

We have shown you the respect of entering into a civilised discussion for many months now and you have not once reciprocated the patience that we have shown while letting you have your say.  Many of the participants here have run out of patience before I have and now I see why.

I will not answer any of your questions until you answer the questions from bluegrayV, Anacoluthon64 (those are the direct questions I can find) and the other statements made by participants here which you have completely ignored, not refuting them or accepting any part of what they said.  Here's a little guidance, try writing a few sentences which read "I agree with the observation that you made that ...AAA... but have you considered the conterposition ...BBB...".  Or "The reason that I do not accept ...AAA... is because ...BBB...".  In typical discussion, participants like it if BBB is directly related to the point made in AAA, rather than being a complete change to the focus of the discussion.

As for the theme of this thread, your question "What does survival of the fittest mean?" has been repeatedly answered.

The very fact that little children can talk about the Theory of Natural Selection with a great sense of intellectual achievement - that alone should tell us that we need to look very carefully at what exactly is the Theory of Natural Selection and Evolution. Is there any other theory in physics, math etc. where everybody can all talk together about such a theory[?]
Ask that child what happens when you release a ball ... "it falls".  No need to study advanced physics there.  Being an eight year old I'm sure s/he can tell you the motion and location of the eight planets without a degree in Astronomy.

A shameless dig - counterexample:
Ask a child (of any speaking age) where fluffy went after he died.  "To Heaven?" really? You don't have a degree in theology, how do you know that?

ummm, okay I answered a question there, but you know what I meanCheesy
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« Reply #31 on: March 18, 2008, 08:22:33 AM »

Good post ArgumentumAdHominem. Unfortunately it seems that they don't teach you how to answer simple questions in creationism school. Only elaborate statements and arguments that can easily be seen as flawed by even the slightest of real insight into the subject.

The very fact that little children can talk about the Theory of Natural Selection with a great sense of intellectual achievement - that alone should tell us that we need to look very carefully at what exactly is the Theory of Natural Selection and Evolution.
Yes, I agree with you here. And I suspect that when you talk about the Theory of Natural Selection, you have much the same comprehension of the term as an eight year old might have.
It does not matter what Darwin or Herbert Spencer or Bart Simpson meant when they used the term NS. What matters is what is understood by the term by scientists that work on the subject today. They might have (and did) get a lot of their ideas from people like Darwin and Mendel and they did indeed shape what we understand today under the term NS. But it is only because their ideas agreed with scientific experiment and evidence collected now for many years. Their work was merely the seed from which the modern theory have grown into a well tested and evidence based theory.

If you really want to learn about evolution and natural selection, you will have to read more recent publications and scholarly articles, which you will find in many of the links and references that we posted. Wikipedia has a long list of references that you can check out as well. We can only give you a short summary of the modern theory here - and of course answer any serious questions you might have, which I think we did numerous times by now.

I can see why you insist on asking what was meant by Darwin and his contemporaries by NS though. Because even though they understood how evolution and NS was supposed to work, they did not completely understand the mechanism by which this all took place. They did not have the evidence or insight or tools or complimentary theories that we have today. By attacking them you will have to ignore a much smaller body of evidence that if you attacked any modern biologist. If you attack Darwin, you only have one or two books to prove wrong. If you attack a modern biologist like Richard Dawkins, you have a whole library to proof wrong.
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« Reply #32 on: March 18, 2008, 14:13:27 PM »

"Survival of the Fittest" is a sentence a human being uses to project some sort of intent, …
Uh oh!  Presumably in the same essential way that “Vertical Falling of Apples” is a sentence (phrase, actually) a human being uses to project some sort of intent – an intent maybe to formulate a theory of gravity, one surmises…



… it is not some formally defined established theory like newton's theory of gravity or something.
Correct, that is, in and of itself: it is a bidirectional observation of great generality, a rule of thumb, concerning the progression of life forms over time.  It is bidirectional because wherever a particular organism is seen to thrive, that organism is with much certainty well-suited to its environment, and vice versa.  The phrase’s real value lies in guiding us in our examination of those factors that are relevant to the survival and/or proliferation of various organisms, including interactions with other organisms.  This is in stark contrast to any explanations that would invoke some form of magic or miracle.  The phrase is shorthand for a formally defined established theory (actually, a collection thereof), namely Evolution with Natural Selection.  It is, as already pointed out earlier in these pages, a statistical, a probabilistic theory, unlike General Relativity which is wholly deterministic.

But, as the saying goes, “the proof of the pudding…”  Numerous computer-based simulators have been prepared that – please note – do not rely on unsustainable sleight-of-mind.  Such simulators are in use for scenario modelling, chiefly with a view towards environmental and ecological management.  Like all good science, these simulators are continually being improved and updated for reliability, accuracy and flexibility as new knowledge emerges, and they provide results which have in many cases been validated through further observation and measurement.

Elsewhere, the manifest success of applying so-called “genetic algorithms” (actually, a family of algorithms) in the relatively efficient computerised solution of many-dimensional problems characterised by some combination of non-linearity, chaotic or quasi-chaotic solution spaces and/or complex boundary conditions attests to the great usefulness of “survival of the fittest” as a guiding principle.

Not at all a bad record of success for a mere “tautology,” should you actually bother to ask me.  Thus, it is blandly thoughtless to engage in some trumped-up sophistry concerning the finer points of language use.  On similar grounds you could make an equally compelling case for dismissing pretty much the whole of economics because “the rule of supply and demand” is a “tautology.”  Or, for that matter, the utility of any other broad probabilistic principle drawn from empirical observations.

But please feel free to persist in such foolish notions.

'Luthon64
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« Reply #33 on: March 18, 2008, 19:34:01 PM »

Not at all a bad record of success for a mere “tautology,” should you actually bother to ask me.  Thus, it is blandly thoughtless to engage in some trumped-up sophistry concerning the finer points of language use.  On similar grounds you could make an equally compelling case for dismissing pretty much the whole of economics because “the rule of supply and demand” is a “tautology.” 

"Rule of supply and demand" - who says so ? Lets presume a 12 year old posting on this forum and some professor in economics, now the question is what is the background knowledge of each and how does it impact what we should understand each motive,will,intent or pragmatics and even his aphobetics in Gitt information theory when each of them says "...rule of supply and demand ...."

The professor would know about the "survivalist, data snooping and forward looking" biases that plague stock market technical analysis and the statistical techniques such as bootstrapping used to counter the data snooping bias. This professor would be thinking in a much higher analytical dimension then a 12 year old merely parroting a phrase he heard somewhere.

In the same vane using the term SoF means what ? It depends on who says so what is your background knowledge. What is it that we know today that Spencer didn't know back then. SoF is not a theory it is just semantics, grammar and syntax - there is no intent or pragmatics behind it unless somebody says "SoF", thus who says so ? The same with "Rule of supply and demand" - who says so.

There is no such thing as a formal theory of SoF or theory of rule of supply and demand, these are just colloquial labels which are used to project some sort of intent of the individual using it. Newtons' theory of gravity is formally defined.
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« Reply #34 on: March 18, 2008, 20:36:05 PM »

"Rule of supply and demand" - who says so ?
Why, you yourself do!  It’s an unavoidable consequence of extending your argument concerning “survival of the fittest” to any other rule abstracted from empirical observations: How else do we measure supply/demand dynamics except by noting that the one drives the other?  By the way, your argument now seems surreptitiously to have changed from “‘survival of the fittest’ is a tautology” to “there is no consistent intent behind usage of the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ because the intent depends on who says it.”  So, which is it?



Lets presume a 12 year old posting on this forum and some professor in economics…

… This professor would be thinking in a much higher analytical dimension then a 12 year old merely parroting a phrase he heard somewhere.

In the same vane using the term SoF means what ? It depends on who says so what is your background knowledge.
Of course.  But I am hard pressed to think of anything more trivially obvious – trivially obvious, that is, than the observation that one’s understanding of a term depends on the level of one’s expertise in the pertinent field(s) of study.  As an irreverent and almost irrelevant aside, for someone who appears to care so deeply about ensuring that language adequately meets reality, you yourself certainly stretch the rules of spelling and grammar with considerable abandon.



There is no such thing as a formal theory of SoF or theory of rule of supply and demand, these are just colloquial labels which are used to project some sort of intent of the individual using it. Newtons' theory of gravity is formally defined.
I, along with several others here, have repeatedly explained the essential differences to you in several distinct ways.  Newton’s theory of gravity is deterministic, hence relatively straightforward, hence rather concisely expressible.  Ditto many other physical theories.  In contrast, evolution deals with aggregates of already significantly complex entities dynamically interacting – that is, changing others and themselves being changed in the process – with many others of a comparable kind, hence stochastic analyses are called for, hence elaborate illustration by means of multifarious examples is necessary to convey the theory’s quintessence, hence the need for mnemonics like “survival of the fittest.”  Just like economics, in fact.

'Luthon64
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« Reply #35 on: March 18, 2008, 22:46:18 PM »

In contrast, evolution deals with aggregates of already significantly complex entities dynamically interacting – that is, changing others and themselves being changed in the process ..... the theory’s quintessence, hence the need for mnemonics like “survival of the fittest.”  Just like economics, in fact.

The word "evolution" which is derived from the Latin word for "change" doesn't deal with anything. The word evolution is just semantics not pragmatics, there can only be pragmatics by an individual to communicate his motive using semantics. What is your intent in telling
us that the word "change" deals with complex entities, how is it possible for the word "change" to deal with entities if the word "change" is not a conscious being ?

Obviously your intent is not that the word change as some sort of abstract authority deals with things, thus I need to ask you what is your intent because I have no idea.
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« Reply #36 on: March 19, 2008, 10:00:08 AM »

The word "evolution" which is …
Okay, my fault for not being consummately diligent in my wording.  Imagine then, if you will, that in the cited excerpt the word “evolution” is spelled with a capital letter “e” and think instead of it as a term denoting a multifaceted area of active scientific inquiry.  That should, I expect, clear up for you any remaining semantic and intent issues, n’est-ce pas?



… I need to ask you what is your intent because I have no idea.
The latter is lavishly clear, and, if I may venture a guess, the direct result of a microscopic attention span.

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« Reply #37 on: March 19, 2008, 10:50:03 AM »

The latter is lavishly clear, and, if I may venture a guess, the direct result of a microscopic attention span.
Definitive proof that one unit of Planck Time is not actually the shortest timespan in the Universe.  Tongue
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« Reply #38 on: March 19, 2008, 18:04:26 PM »

Anacoluthon64
"..... think instead of Evolution as a term denoting a multifaceted area of inquiry....." ?

What has the word "change" or "evolution" got to do with making inquiries ?
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« Reply #39 on: March 19, 2008, 18:15:07 PM »

How likely is it that generations of scientists have used a theory extensively and further developed the theory and produced   

I presume you are refering to the ToE and ToNS. Would you mind showing me where is formally established Theory of Natural Selection on Wikipedia or anywhere else for that matter? (hint - you find it on Wikipedia).
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« Reply #40 on: March 19, 2008, 18:31:33 PM »


It is bidirectional because wherever a particular organism is seen to thrive, that organism is .... well-suited to its environment, and vice versa.

Other than noting the organism thrived how was its suitability to the environment derived ? Let me help you out here. Your argument rests on a truism:The organism exists or The organism is suited to its environment. And this is the essence of your statement which of course is just truism. So in order to disguise your truism you turn it into a tautology. You tell me the organism "thrived", obviously how else could it have thrived if it wasn't well suited to its environment? Telling me it "thrived" doesn't tell me anything more that what is implied with:" .... well-suited..."

The phrase is shorthand for a formally defined established theory (actually, a collection thereof), namely Evolution with Natural Selection.

Where can I read this formally defined and established theory which you label "Natural Selection". Is the term "natural selection" in an of itself the actual theory or is it a label for some yet to be defined theory that will explain how an egg turns into a chicken?
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« Reply #41 on: March 19, 2008, 20:00:44 PM »

What has the word "change" or "evolution" got to do with making inquiries ?

Quote from: Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1), Inquiry
1. a seeking [...] for truth, information, or knowledge.

[...]

4. a question; query.

You are limiting your understanding of the word to the forth definition, and ignoring the first definition.  This definition allows for the special definition of scientific inquiry which described the processes of undertaking scientific investigations - details at Wiki.  It is obvious to any reader familiar with the English language that 'Luthon's intent in using the phrase "think [...] of [the term "Evolution"] as a term denoting [an] area of [...] scientific inquiry" was to indicate that "Evolution" has a meaning beyond simply "change" and that meaning is the subject, the target, the focus of many diverse areas of scientific investigation from a variety of fields which all point to the same thing, the same theory of Evolution.  Remember in the distant past that I said that Evolution has it's own meaning in the field of biology?  Any dictionary will list this biological definition separately from the "change" definition that you are clinging to.

Would you mind showing me where is formally established Theory of Natural Selection on Wikipedia or anywhere else for that matter?

We did this for you on the previous thread about Natural Selection and triangular circles.  Here we go again.  Just ignoring what was posted there does not mean that it wasn't sufficient evidence.

Here are some ones which may have been posted already (if they were, you haven't commented on them)...

The definition of Evolution at the Talk Origins Archive.
The definition of Darwinism at the Talk Origins Archive includes the following on Natural Selection (but read that article before you ask what this has to do with Evolution)..
Quote from: Ernst Mayr, One Long Argument, Chapter 4
In both scholarly and popular literature one frequently finds references to "Darwin's theory of evolution", as though it were a unitary entity. In reality, Darwin's "theory" of evolution was a whole bundle of theories, and it is impossible to discuss Darwin's evolutionary thought constructively if one does not distinguish its various components.

[...]

1. Evolution [...]
2. Common Descent [...]
3. Multiplication of species [...]
4. Gradualism [...]
5. Natural selection. According to this theory, evolutionary change comes about throught [sic] the abundant production of genetic variation in every generation. The relatively few individuals who survive, owing to a particularly well-adapted combination of inheritable characters, give rise to the next generation.


In your latest post ...

Other than noting the organism thrived how was its suitability to the environment derived ? Let me help you out here. Your argument rests on a truism:The organism exists or The organism is suited to its environment. And this is the essence of your statement which of course is just truism. So in order to disguise your truism you turn it into a tautology.


No.  As I stated previously, "Survival of the Fittest" is not a theory, it is a pop-marketing phrase for the theory of Natural Selection.  In my example of the antelope with deformed blood cells I showed that it is not always the fittest that survive and will continue to guarantee the survival of the species.  I also said that we don't say that the elephant is fit because it is here and alive, no, we say that it is fitter than the mammoth because Natural Selection acted on these particular traits which the mammoth didn't have, or the mammoth had these particular adverse traits.

Here comes the most important link of this post - even if you don't follow any of the other links that I have provided - go to this document at the Talk Origins Archive and tell us what about this article you do not understand.

More reading on the same topic was provided by bluegrayV in this previous discussion.

Is the term "natural selection" in an of itself the actual theory or is it a label for some yet to be defined theory that will explain how an egg turns into a chicken?

We have theories for that, in case you didn't know, biologists have studied Fertilisation and Embryology for centuries.  If you think that Natural Selection is supposed to replace these theories then you are very misguided.
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« Reply #42 on: March 19, 2008, 21:14:29 PM »

What has the word "change" or "evolution" got to do with making inquiries ?
In view of ArgumentumAdHominem’s detailed elucidation which strongly suggests that I was hardly being obscure, I am forced to wonder whether you are being deliberately provocative because it seems nigh impossible that anyone really, really could mimic the spectacular density of a neutron star.



Other than noting the organism thrived how was its suitability to the environment derived ?
Other than noting that you keep asking the same silly question over and over, how is your inability to comprehend fairly simple abstract principles to be detected?  Your question is meaningless because it rests on the false assumption that “thriving” and “suitability to the environment” are statically equivalent to one other.  Neither the environment nor the organisms in it remain static in any sense of that word for any length of time.



Let me help you out here. Your argument rests on a truism:The organism exists or The organism is suited to its environment. And this is the essence of your statement which of course is just truism.
Please don’t help me, I implore you.  Of course it’s a truism if you implicitly assume that “thriving” is idempotent to “suited to the environment!”  This implicit assumption is probably the result of it being quite obvious to us today that there is an ongoing dynamic and competitive interplay between organisms and their environment, and forgetting – conveniently, I suspect – that this interdependence was not at all obvious in the past.

So you can insist on calling “tautology” and “truism” all you want because it’ll only show up your profound ignorance for what it really is.  And if you do, then you must necessarily also concede that “E = m∙c2” is a truism and a tautology because it has always been true and there is no reason to doubt that it will continue to be true.



So in order to disguise your truism you turn it into a tautology. You tell me the organism "thrived", obviously how else could it have thrived if it wasn't well suited to its environment?
The environment changed to be even more conducive to the proliferation of that organism, for example if a natural enemy went extinct.  Two words for you: “rabbits” and “Australia”.



Telling me it "thrived" doesn't tell me anything more that what is implied with:" .... well-suited..."
Rubbish.  See above.



Where can I read this formally defined and established theory which you label "Natural Selection".
Richard Dawkins’ book The Blind Watchmaker is just one of an almost endless list of places where good information is to be had.  If you’re really interested, there are many links to resources in this very forum.  You could even attend a reputable university if you want the nitty-gritty low-down.



Is the term "natural selection" in an of itself the actual theory or is it a label for some yet to be defined theory that will explain how an egg turns into a chicken?
Neither.  Think about it, unless you’re being either silly or disingenuous.

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« Reply #43 on: March 20, 2008, 12:14:54 PM »

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/darwinism.html

"...Natural selection. According to this theory, evolutionary change comes about through the abundant production of genetic variation in every generation. The relatively few individuals who survive, owing to a particularly well-adapted combination of inheritable characters, give rise to the next generation...."

Other than noting that the individuals were well-adapted how was it determined that they survived ?

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« Reply #44 on: March 20, 2008, 14:09:56 PM »

Other than noting that the individuals were well-adapted how was it determined that they survived ?
I think that this sentence demonstrates that your grasp of English is nearly as loose as your grasp on reality.

Would you like to try that again? Perhaps ...
Quote
Other than noting that the individuals [survived] how was it determined that they [were well-adapted] ?
Is this the question you wanted to ask?
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« Reply #45 on: March 20, 2008, 18:53:01 PM »

I think that this sentence demonstrates that your grasp of English is nearly as loose as your grasp on reality.
This “reality” includes, presumably, the notion that repeating ad nauseam the same nonsensical question will, at some indeterminate future point, imbue it with import.  In other words, it’s a “reality” where the ritualistic approach is both primary and pervasive.

Somehow, that does not surprise me.

'Luthon64
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