Comments on Darwinism's Falsification


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #1

Continuing the discussion from Darwinism Falsified in Science Long Ago?:

Comments on the main thread here. (also see @TSZ post here: Is it possible to ‘falsify’ Darwinism or neo-Darwinism? The ongoing confusion of S. Joshua Swamidass regarding ideology vs. science. | The Skeptical Zone)


I don’t think that Darwinism can rightly be defined as Positive Selection Dominated Change. Darwin’s theory had positive selection, negative selection, and even drift.

Also, he was trying to explain adaptation, and Darwinian selection still appears to be the only game in town as far as adaptation is concerned.

Further, he wasn’t concerned with evolution at the same level that Kimura was dealing with so Kimura did not falsify Darwinism because they are not about the same thing. Could we say there is an analogy in physics? Has Newtonion (classical) mechanics been falsified?

Darwinism Falsified in Science Long Ago?
(John Harshman) #3

If you think about it, the distinction between positive and negative selection is purely arbitrary. If there are a two alleles with different selection coefficients, the one with the higher coefficient is selected for and the one with the lower coefficient is selected against. We call it positive selection when the first one is new or at a lower frequency and negative when it’s the second one.

It’s generally said that it has. Obviously, then, being falsified doesn’t mean it’s useless.


I didn’t think we were discussing whether the Darwinian mechanism is sufficient to explain the diversity of life. I would certainly deny that it is. And so do other IDists. So I have every reason to doubt that @Agauger was presenting those links as if they supported that claim.

The original discussion was the statement by @TedDavis that Neo-Darwinism is the reigning paradigm in biology. This got lost due to the splitting of the thread so here it is again:

ID proponents (at least the folks I’ve read and interacted with) have always insisted that ID is scientific–that seems really important to them–and that ultimately (as in “some day,” often said in the past to be within one generation but still not yet attained) ID will actually replace neo-Darwinism as the reigning paradigm in biology.

The question I have is, if Neo-Darwinism has been falsified why is it still the reigning paradigm in biology?

(Bill Cole) #5

I am also interested in discussing exactly why it was falsified.

(Bill Cole) #6

Denial is a labeling word. You and Ann are scientists. Why the political spin? Can you just discuss the for and against evidence?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #7

It isn’t the reigning paradigm.

(John Harshman) #8

Ah, but there is no “against evidence”, so it would be hard to discuss. And you at least are apparently incapable of discussing the “for evidence”.

(Bill Cole) #9

Thats fine. All hypothesis have issues especially one’s that only indirectly test the hypothesis. I won’t accuse you of being in “denial”. Just selling a position vs finding out the real strengths and weaknesses of the working hypothesis.

(Bill Cole) #10

They have convinced me that even through there are scientific claims in the theory there are also ones that appear to be ideological. An example is text books insisting that evolution is blind and unguided.

(John Harshman) #11

Word salad again, Bill. “Strengths and weaknesses” is a code word for doctrinaire creationism. Your pretense that our claims are on an equal footing is ludicrous and, frankly, insulting.

(Bill Cole) #12

Thats because they know that the lack of questioning is a weakness of the hypothesis. When you get defensive about it you look bad to an objective observer.

Strengths and weaknesses is what we use for strategies is the business world so it is familiar to most people. If you are not questioning your assumptions what credibility does your hypothesis have? If you don’t question your hypothesis you are not doing critical analysis you are simply pushing ideology.


How is that ideological? That happens to be the scientific conclusion supported by mountains of evidence.

(Bill Cole) #14

I have looked at the evidence over 4 years and my conclusion it is simply ideology.

If we discuss the transition from prokaryotic cells to eukaryotic cells from blind and unguided processes the theory fails to create a tested hypothesis and even fails to create a reasonable story.

The claim that all life arose from a universal common ancestor by blind and unguided processes is an unsupported claim and is used to push an ideological agenda in my opinion.


Your conclusion is demonstrably wrong.

Luria-Delbruck fluctuation experiment

Lederberg’s plate replica assay

There are multiple tested hypotheses in the papers linked above. Check them out.

It is supported here:

(Bill Cole) #16

You hit the nail on the head. It is a working assumption and as long as it is stated as such that is fine. As Eugene Koonin stated neutral theory is the null hypothesis.

(Bill Cole) #17

I have looked at most these papers. There are only speculations on how this may have happened. There are huge probability challenges and chicken and egg challenges to even get this party started.


They are direct measurements of what did happen. The observation of mutations in modern populations is consistent with a statistical model of blind and unguided mutations. On top of that, the distribution of substitution mutations in large species groups is also consistent with these same mechanisms that are consistent with blind and unguided processes.

Do you understand how the Luria-Delbruck fluctuation assay and the Lederberg’s plate replica experiment demonstrated the blind and unguided nature of mutations?

(Bill Cole) #19

Do you understand that you are not addressing the issue that I am discussing?


I am addressing it.

Scientists don’t assume that mutations are blind and unguided as you are claiming. Scientists have done real world experiments, and the results of those experiments were consistent with blind and unguided mutations. We also see that the genetic differences between species is the same as the mutations we see happening in living populations.

How is this not evidence for blind and unguided mutations, at least from a methodological scientific standpoint?