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Evolution Debate

Why I don't believe in Natural Selection: An alternative...

So no, I don't believe animals adapt to their environments at all. In my view, the environment does not change the animals at all, but it is the animals that change their environment. Let me explainI explain extinction precisely because animals are NOT adapting to their environment in my view. Their environment changes, while they do not, so they become extinct. At least one could classically argue that the environment changes faster than the animals are capable of adapting to it. Better would have been: "So no, I don't believe it is the usual mode of evolution whereby animals actively adapt to their environments. In my view, the environment does not cause the animals to adapt to it necessarily. It is the animals that are able change environments as they themselves change--as needed to survive or prosper." I hope that's clearer, and not worse ;p  (Jul 8, 2013 | post #16)

Evolution Debate

Why I don't believe in Natural Selection: An alternative...

Thanks everyone for their thoughtful comments! I should clarify a few things. Firstly as several people have pointed out, I realize now I wrongly wrote "Almost all mutations are bad, or worse...even lethal." Better, would have been "Almost all mutations are NEUTRAL, bad, or worse...even lethal." --That is to say, that almost all mutations are "not good" mutations in that they won't confer any special ability to survive more than your peers in your environment. Now, to bolster the main point. Different species do in fact live in different environments. Why is it so far fetched that I think this happens the moment they become new species? Imagine all bears have always been black, and suddenly you are born a white bear. This mutation isn't a "good mutation". Being white won't help you out much in your environment. So it's probably a "neutral mutation" in our discussion, or perhaps even a "bad mutation"...m aking you stand out like a sore thumb in the herd of black bears, or not able to lurk in the shadows and pounce onto prey. It won't take you long to find the first snow drift you come across and realize that you can hid in it and hunt more effectively than your counterparts. So you take the first breeding partner you find and wander off never to return. In some other way this also accounts for why unique mutations don't just get diluted back into the gene pool...the white bear just staying put with the herd and breeding itself back into the normal bear gene pool. Separate species are likely in my view because they move away and separated the moment they became their own species capable of finding their own niche environment. I know it's a radical idea because that's not the way it's been taught or understood, yet it's not so different really. People always speak of "animals adapting to their environments" . This requires a "good mutation" where-as the other way just requires any mutation that allows you to find and establish a separate breeding population in a better environment suited to your particular traits. Now, this can be done by freewill (like the hypothetical bear aforementioned, or by virtue of being ostracized by the herd.) We all know that metaphorically speaking, birds of a feather flock together. The moment you are born some other bird, you're usually not part of the flock anymore. We as humans are not much different. We view genetic weirdos as just that. You're not going to fit in in the human social network if you're born different. The animal kingdom is often more cruel (although I can think of a few exceptions). This would be the X-men factor I think...where you get some new genetic trait, and then get beat up for it by the rest of your kind, until you go off on your own. @Chimney1: I honest don't think it's an either/or thing. It's more of a blend probably in my view, but a lot heavier to the side that doesn't require necessarily good mutations...that makes the bad genetic hand in to a good one, by wandering off somewhere. So yeah, my problem with evolution is not that I don't understand it, it's that I challenge it, like people should challenge all science, and perhaps we all learn something along the way.  (Jul 8, 2013 | post #15)

Evolution Debate

Why I don't believe in Natural Selection: An alternative...

This is where you fail. Most mutations are NEUTRAL. -- Well to be more specific, good, bad, or NEUTRAL are kind of subjective. I'm wondering exactly what one would classify as neutral if anything. Mutations will (in the extreme unlikely case) benefit you in some way that makes you more likely to survive, or (in the more likely case) cause you to be stillborn, cause you to be born with (or at least highly susceptible to) any one or more of a long long list of diseases or disorders. I could post an insanely long list of "bad mutations" that cause everything from Down Syndrome to lactose intolerance to male pattern baldness and color blindness but I'm not sure it bolsters my case, which is that "Natural Selection" and/or "survival of the fittest", not only require a mutation to happen but one that at the same time confers some evolutionary advantage within your environment. The bad ones, or even neutral ones won't help you out in that case. Again, I disagree with "Natural Selection" and "survival of the fittest" in favor of "free will" and "survival of the misfits". From my view, it's the genetic misfits that turn their random (neutral or even bad) mutations into advantages by slightly switching their environment to one that suits their gifts. Take the finch born with the long beak. This might be considered a "neutral mutation", given that it wasn't born with a dysfunctional beak or no beak...that doesn't really help it out much, until it discovers the next island over that has flowers that it can use it's long beak to extract nectar from. It moves there and has more babies than the finches with shorter beaks. Hence my view doesn't require winning the genetic lottery twice (once to have a mutation, and then again to have a beneficial one). It only requires winning the lottery once...to be born with a mutation and then by good sense, or being outcast, find some environment that your uniqueness becomes your advantage. SO yes, FREE SERVANT, the food and climate are hugely important...and the ability of misfit animals to get to where the food and climate allow them to use their "weirdness ".--Survival of the misfits  (Jul 6, 2013 | post #5)

Evolution Debate

Why I don't believe in Natural Selection: An alternative...

I do not believe in the theory of evolution as guided by natural selection. I have remained a skeptic of Darwinian evolution my entire life because it seems to be so fraught with scientific nonsense and a catch-bucket-reaso n for every ridiculous biological observation without due scientific rigor to support it. I have heard evolution quoted as the underlying mechanism for everything from moth wing color to bird beak length to attached earlobes to wrinkled fingers. I'm not buying it because it's ridiculously improbable ...at least in its current accepted form. This is how it has been put forth to me: Firstly, evolution teaches us that there is an environment that contains living organisms within it. These organisms mutate over millions of years and some eventually develop anomalies that grant them distinct advantages over their peers. They of course, are able to hunt more efficiently, or breed more offspring, or somehow otherwise prosper more than the others. In this mode of thinking, the animals are adapting to their environment. The key here is that people assume animals adapt to their environments, and call this "natural selection". Here's the problem with "natural selection" as I see it. There is some statistically enormous probability of being born with a mutation. Let's call this P. Then there is another statistically enormous probability that whatever random mutation happens is actually good, and offers a distinct advantage. Let's call this Q. So then the probability of an animal being born with a mutation AND also being lucky enough to get a just the right mutation it needs is P*Q. Just think of all the weird mutations that happen and how many of them are actually good. Almost all mutations are bad, or worse...even lethal. So there is the slim chance of getting a mutation and at the same time the slim chance of getting a good one that doesn't kill you or make you lame. The chance is essentially "highly unlikely squared". This is the difference between "Once in a million years" and "Once in a trillion years"--The former being highly improbable but possible, the second, being near impossible. So no, I don't believe animals adapt to their environments at all. In my view, the environment does not change the animals at all, but it is the animals that change their environment. Let me explain: My view is quite simple. You have animals that are occasionally born with mutations, and these "outcasts from the herd" so-to-speak leave and seek out new environments that suit whatever advantage they happen to be born with. They settle there, and prosper. So in the end, I don't think it's "natural selection" at all. It's free-will of the animals. It's the animals that seek out the right environments to exploit their new traits, where their "weirdness " becomes a distinct advantage. In this way, the animal does not necessarily need a "good mutation" that helps it where it is...It just needs any mutation that makes it different enough where the herd rejects it, or it finds or it can exploit it's unique abilities just over the hill or on the next island over.  (Jul 5, 2013 | post #1)