Introducing Bruce Fast

Welcome to the conversation @BFast. Are you able to respond to this post? Tell us about yourself.

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Hi, I am Bruce Fast. I have been following ID for many years. I come at this topic as a systems level software developer.

I consider myself TE, which is to say I currently hold to universal common descent. (I hold that view with a bit of a loose hand, and have been following the debate in the ID community.) I do not buy into neo-Darwinism as an adequate explanation for all of the complexities of life. In my view there must have been multiple points of information interjection to make life as we know it.

To make this thread interesting, swamidass, you said that current theory includes “a whole host of non-Darwinian mechanism(s)”. I haven’t found them.

There certainly is random mutation. Certainly random mutation consists of a host of variation other than point mutations. Insertions, deletions, inversions, and duplications come to mind. The one common feature of these is that they must happen without foresight to qualify as “random”. (Some have glommed onto the idea that certain areas within DNA are more susceptible to mutation, therefore true random doesn’t exist. That argument holds zero weight with me. Foresight is the judge.)

There is also a certain amount of DNA interchange between organisms. This includes retroviruses and horizontal gene transfer. Again these are presumed to be without fitness foresight.

The neo-Darwinian model would not be challenged, in my opinion, if non-foresighted events plus natural selection created a strategic tool, such as a “technology” to facilitate foresighted horizontal gene transfer. (If one organism finds a defence against a predator, a mechanism could be envisioned which would expressly share the DNA of that defence with neighboring organisms.) While such is within the purview of neo-Darwinism, I have seen nothing to confirm that such mechanisms have been found.

So am I missing something, or are there three general classes of mechanisms:
1 - Natural Selection
2 - Random variation (with complexity but NO FORESIGHT)
3 - Conceivable mechanisms developed via the above, none of which have yet been documented?

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I’m not sure what this is supposed to mean. Do you disagree that mutation rates vary across any given genome due to sequence context and chromatin structure?

You completely missed neutral drift.

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Mutation rates may vary. Some ID proponents say, “see, not random”. Not Chi-squared random, maybe, but still without foresight.

I do not believe that what I see in organisms can reasonably be accounted for by carefully selecting non-foresighted variation.

Fair enough. But why? Of course most of what we see in organisms, or at least their genomes, can be accounted for random fixation of non-foresighted variation (that’s “genetic drift”).

Evolution doesn’t “carefully select” anything. In a population where traits within a species vary some traits provide a statistically better chance of aiding survival and reproduction that others. In roulette the green 0 and 00 slots provide the house with a statistical 5% advantage. That guarantees the house always wins in the long run but the roulette wheel doesn’t “carefully select” the winning numbers.

I believe I did not. Neutral drift is merely that which happens to an organism when it encounters near-neutral mutations. In neutral drift theory, clearly deleterious mutations are filtered out via our friend natural selection. Neutral drift theory says that clearly beneficial mutations are outside of its scope. Neutral drift theorists say that the range of “near-neutral” is much broader than tight Darwinists would propose.

I think that neutral drift should be adequate to create simple speciation. However, I see no opportunity for neutral drift to produce, well, complexity.

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What if we could show you an example?

Neutral drift is one more mechanism to provide genetic diversity in a population, diversity which may then be subject to selection pressures. Evolution works as an iterative feedback process. It’s been empirically demonstrated many times such iterative processes with feedback selection and carrying forward heritable traits can produce increased complexity. You seem to believe an idea which has already been falsified.

Yeah this is a bad argument.

I like examples.

Fine enough. Let me suggest that “even if by carefully selecting”.

This thread has gone headlong into attempting to prove that the non-Darwinian mechanism of random variation is adequate to explain all of life.
However, the question I pose is, are there really “a whole host of non-Darwinian mechanism(s)” that I am unaware of? So far, no. Neutral drift seems to be suggested, but it is merely the case of random variation that produces no significant selective advantage or disadvantage.

To be clear, I’m not arguing this. What gave you that impression?

Sorry, words came out of my keyboard that don’t make sense to me as I read them. Let me try again.

This thread has gone headlong into proving that random variation plus natural selection is adequate to explain life’s variation. I was bringing forth a quote from you in another article where you said that there are “a whole host of non-Darwinian mechanism(s)”

Are there a whole host of non-Darwinian mechanisms at play, or is it merely that we have found a whole host of ways of considering the one mechanism that exists?

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That’s still wrong. Nothing gets “carefully selected”. You need to correct your rather bad misunderstanding.

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Where I have said that they are “adequate”? They are not.

We haven’t seen any patterns in the data that trouble evolutionary science, but there is quite a bit we don’t fully understand yet. It is also possible God needed to guide or direct evolution to give rise to us, though we can’t prove one way or another.


There are a whole host of mechanisms.

What are the whole host of mechanisms?

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