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Walter Remine: A paper analysis & a lesson in dishonesty.

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Walter Remine: A paper analysis & a lesson in dishonesty.
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InfernoContributorUser avatarPosts: 2298Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:36 pmLocation: Vienna, Austria Gender: Cake

Post Re: Walter Remine: A paper analysis & a lesson in dishonesty

scientia wrote:1. Variation exists in all populations and increases with population size. A large population has more variation than a small population within the same species.


Overly complicated for this list. Remember that this is a list creationists need to be able to understand.
Also, that's one big DUH! There's a bit of difference between 1 and 2, there's a lot of difference between 1, 2, ..., 1000. What's the relevance?

scientia wrote:2. Almost all of that variation is heritable.


We don't know how much will be inherited, so "some" is a good enough qualifier.

scientia wrote:3. Some of that variation has an effect on survival or mating opportunities. However, most of the variation is neutral, conferring neither an advantage nor disadvantage to the individual. Secondly, characteristics can exist that benefit the group as a whole or a segment of the group rather than one individual.


Overly complicated. "Some" already conveys that not all of that variation has an effect, so it's obvious to assume that the rest is neutral. It could be added that "some of that variation has a negative, some a positive effect on survival..."
The last sentence would suggest some form of group selection, which is contentious and distracts creationists from the core issues of understanding evolution.

4. Saying that characteristics tend to increase or decrease is not correct. A characteristic that increases survival or mating opportunity has an increased chance of being passed to the next generation and spreading among the population. A characteristic that decreases survival or mating opportunity has a decreased chance of being passed to the next generation or spreading among the population. However, a characteristic can have both positive and negative pressures. A peacock's tail may increase an individual's chances of mating but may also make him more susceptible to predators. And, cooperative care of offspring can prevent an individual from mating while also increasing the survival of the group. In general, positive characteristics have greater odds of increasing unless countered by negative pressures while negative characteristics have greater odds of decreasing unless countered by positive characteristics. However, gene association can also limit variation in a characteristic until a mutation occurs that breaks the association; this is true even if the characteristic has high positive pressure. Conversely, an associated gene with negative characteristics can be continued in the population because it is associated with a gene that is essential.


Again, overly complicated, though correct. As I said before, it "distracts creationists from the core issues of understanding evolution", which is what this graphic is basically about. The image should convey evolution in its details and most basic form to see where creationists disagree. (Usually 11 and/or 12)

Rejected on all counts.
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed." ― Friedrich Nietzsche

"I shall achieve my objectives through the power... of Science!" --LessWrong
Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:35 pm
scientiaPosts: 22Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:06 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Walter Remine: A paper analysis & a lesson in dishonesty

Inferno wrote:Overly complicated for this list.
Overly complicated.
Again, overly complicated, though correct.

I find it strange indeed that you claim that something is correct but less suitable.

Rejected on all counts.

Assuming the count is not based on correctness, apparently. If the goal is to keep the description vague enough that overly generalized arguments are available then I would agree with you that the original list is superior.
Last edited by scientia on Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:01 pm
scientiaPosts: 22Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:06 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Walter Remine: A paper analysis & a lesson in dishonesty

One of the issues with Haldane's Dilemma itself is that it describes common breeding practices rather than actual, natural selective pressures. A good example of this is that most registered breeds of dogs in the AKC have serious genetic defects due specifically to the practice of lineage culling as suggested by Haldane. These practices similarly led to the Great Potato Famine of the 1840's and early 1850's, the Great French Wine Blight of the 1860's, devastation of cotton plants by boll weevils from 1915 into the 1920's and later in the 1950's, the Great Corn Blight of the late 1960's and early 1970's, and similar disasters. Today's hybrid corn is unable to signal nematodes for protection from root eating pests.

Specifically for dogs: http://phys.org/news138025054.html

The researchers' analysis showed that, for example, Boxer dogs were so closely related to one another and had such little genetic variation between them that genetically, 20,000 dogs looked like a population of about 70. In the Rough Collie breed, 12,000 dogs looked in genetic terms like a population of about 50.


Now, let's compare this fact with Haldane's characterization.

I shall investigate the following case mathematically. A population is in equilibrium under selection and mutation. One or more genes are rare because their appearance by mutation is balanced by natural selection. A sudden change occurs in the environment, for example, pollution by smoke, a change of climate, the introduction of a new food source, predator, or pathogen, and above all migration to a new habitat. It will be shown later that the general conclusions are not affected if the change is slow. The species is less adapted to the new environment, and its reproductive capacity is lowered. It is gradually improved as a result of natural selection. But meanwhile, a number of deaths, or their equivalents in lowered fertility, have occurred.

Haldane only saw the cost in terms of reduction of reproductive capacity. However, with the UK study above we have substantial breeding populations of both Boxers and Rough Collies (and therefore a success by Haldane's equations). Yet, the true genetic diversity is comparable to a severely reduced population and therefore in reality a disaster. In contrast, the breed of Texas Longhorn cattle developed almost entirely due to natural, selective pressures over about two centuries and became a much more suitable breed. This fact cannot be understated as Haldane specifically mentions cattle:

especially in slowly breeding animals such as cattle


and makes a claim that:

the mean rate of gene substitution, as has been suggested, is one per 300 generations

Yet, at 5 years per generation, this would only be about 40 generations for the Longhorn breed.
Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:15 pm
InfernoContributorUser avatarPosts: 2298Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:36 pmLocation: Vienna, Austria Gender: Cake

Post Re: Walter Remine: A paper analysis & a lesson in dishonesty

scientia wrote:I find it strange indeed that you claim that something is correct but less suitable.


I'm a teacher in training. I try to teach concepts that are as close to the current state of knowledge as possible without making things too complicated. For example, a colleague teaches a certain model of physics but tells students that this model is subject to change, may not be 100% exact and is, for the purpose of this exercise, a good enough approximation.
The same is true for creationists. You're never going to get into a discussion about anything proper with them, so the goal of any discussion must be to relate, in as short a time/read/text as possible, the core concepts of evolution. These concepts may be dumbed down too much, but I can guarantee you that any text that is too "high" will pass straight over your head.
And that's exactly the problem with your text. It's correct, of course, but they won't grasp it. A scientific paper may be correct, but you won't give it to a lay person, because they won't grasp it. A 9th grade text book may be correct, but a 1st grader won't grasp it.

I wrote something about that here:
5) Use simple and brief arguments. Use simple language and sentence structure. Use clear graphs where appropriate. Use few arguments.


Assuming the count is not based on correctness, apparently. If the goal is to keep the description vague enough that overly generalized arguments are available then I would agree with you that the original list is superior.


If you read what I said, you'll notice none of what you said relates to my rebuttals. Some of my rebuttals are very specific and did not suffer in the least from your reply, the rest are based not so much on correctness as on comprehensibility. Read your list. Can an eight year old understand it? If not, a creationist probably won't.

Again, note that I would agree with your list if it were in the context of a semi-educated discussion, but you're completely missing that this list is for the benefit of creationists.
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed." ― Friedrich Nietzsche

"I shall achieve my objectives through the power... of Science!" --LessWrong
Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:16 pm
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