Why is natural selection not random?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by darryl, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. darryl Banned Banned

    This does not add up.

    Natural selection has been described as "mindless" and "blind", yet if a bird is doing the selecting (a bird is not blind or mindless). And if the selection factor is not a living one such as what? Firstly how can we define "non living" , I personally don't see anything as non living buts thats a whole different debate over the meaning of life... so you must mean "abiotic" factors such as weather, so if the selection factor is weather then how can natural selection then not be random? remember natural selection has been described as "non-random" and "directed" so there has to be a conscious agent behind it, so the weather has a mind and can select? How can anything at all in nature be "selected" if it is "mindless"?
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  3. darryl Banned Banned

    Shaun Johnston has written an excellent critique of natural selection. You can read it here.


    To quote from the article:

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  5. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    Even if something like the weather is more or less random, the effect it has on a life form is not random. A duck will love the rain, but a worm might drown in a puddle. So the outcome isn't random, it's due to the fitness of the life form in it's environment.

    Sometimes evolution is directed in a sense, an example of this is the evolution of biomimicry. But the direction is coming from another creature's or plant's traits.
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  7. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    In some cases, as in the poisonous species, it did.

    Remember now, I gave this one highly simplified example of the green bug because for pages you (pl.) have been disputing the classroom level of instruction on evolution. It has nothing to do with any of countless pressures for survival other than the problem of being detected.

    In the example cited two kinds of bugs are available for the bird to eat. The example presumes you understand that the bird can and will eat either bug if it sees it. But it doesn't see the camouflaged bug. So that one survives. This settles the definition of natural selection from the very elementary position you and darryl are taking.

    As for the taste aspect of predation, note that many plants and animals evolved toxicity and/or the immunity to toxicity as a means of survival. For example:


    As I'm sure you know, bright coloration is often associated with poisonous species.

    This is the problem with oversimplification. The more you continue to draw conclusions while ignoring the evidence the farther and farther you get from science. This is why there is no merit to the arguments against science. They run contrary to hard evidence.
  8. origin Heading towards oblivion Valued Senior Member

    I am afraid, after reading most of your posts that, that natural selection and evolution are just too difficult for you to understand. I always considered evolution to be largely common sense and straight forward but I guess not.:shrug:
  9. darryl Banned Banned

    You just ignore what you dont want to see. Explain this to me:

    Natural selection is mindless I then ask for an example of natural selection and an example of a bird is given but a bird is not mindless. If something is mindless then how can it select? That is just not logical.
  10. darryl Banned Banned

    confusing so its the "fitness" that is directed and not random... who can define "fitness" such a subjective term.

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  11. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Really? So I can pick a subject from science and you will dig up identical definitions? Here are a few that come to mind: gravity, the definition (in words) of Maxwell's equations, and the definition of atomic radius.

    False. It's been defined here. Your reluctance to demonstrate that you are able to define it yourself is at the core of your problem.

    Scientists, educators, and students would agree on the the definition just as much as they would agree on the definitions of any other axiom, theory or postulate.

    You have demonstrated a fundamental lack of understanding of the subject. Perhaps that's why you're having a problem. The other possibility is that you are in denial.

    There are many ways to say the same thing. Besides the nature of language itself, which you are ignoring, different authors have different reasons for saying things a little differently. A book on kinematics will describe gravity in one way. A book on relativity will describe it differently.

    No. There is nothing peculiar about the definition of natural selection that makes it stand apart from any other scientific term, except this: it involves several basic concepts - mutation, the resources of the niche, and the facets leading to selection of one phenotype over another. Now: to say that concisely might bother you. It might bother you to say it verbosely. It might bother you to say it using the lexicon of a geneticist, a biologist, or physical scientist. But so what?

    All you are doing is pretending to create a controversy where none exists. You want one to exist, but it doesn't, so you are trotting out a handful of unauthoritative sources who have made one kind of comment or another that you think creates a controversy. But here's the problem: You can't reverse what nature is actually doing by deeming that controversy says it must reverse. You have to follow nature, and report accurately on what nature is actually doing. Until you are able to do that, none of what you are saying has any merit.
  12. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    Fitness is a vague term, that is true, because it can mean so many things. Fitness isn't necessarily strength, it could be some behavior, a coloration of the skin, a slight difference in the shape of the teeth, anything that ultimately improves survival and thus reproductive success. Fitness can only be defined in terms of a specific environment.
  13. Neverfly Banned Banned

    The only person ignoring anything is you.
    What I think is that you do not want to understand the topic.

    I've never seen someone make so many excuses for even the simplest of definitions.
    You're not even making a strong case against Natural selection, which you've already chosen to oppose. You're making a weak and vague effort- halfway between acting like you want to ask and acting like you just find it to be nonsense.

    I call bull. You've decided that it opposes your world view and you seek to validate that to yourself by misrepresenting Evolution in order to refute it. It's the same dishonest tactics the guys you're quoting are using. I mean quoting, not thread reply quotes.

    You want to believe. Well, the difference between you and us is that we who accept evolution didn't want to believe it. We couldn't deny the evidence. So we accepted it.
  14. darryl Banned Banned

    Keep your comments on natural selection not going into any personal. Please see this comment.

    Explain how something mindless can select.
  15. Neverfly Banned Banned

    The statement is not logical.
    Evolution is mindless. DNA is mindless. A bird is not mindless. A bird has a mind and that mind is governed illogically. It will select a mate by that mind.

    It's not hard, is it?

    You're spewing out your own distorted definitions and then asking people to explain what YOU said. No, you explain what you said.
    Those of us that know a little bit about Evolution can answer honest questions; Not hold your hand and force you to see what is clear and in front of you.
  16. Mazulu Banned Banned

    I was trying to make a joke. Well, I thought it was funny.:roflmao:
  17. darryl Banned Banned

    Natural selection has been described as "mindless", I then ask for a definition of natural selection and a bird is given, but a bird is not mindless. :shrug:

    I then ask for further examples of natural selection and we come to the weather, but the users on this forum say the weather is indeed mindless, but if it is mindless then how can it select anything? If the weather is mindless then how can natural selection be "directed", how can something select if it has no mind? This is the arguement of this thread and nobody has explained it except one user talking about "fitness" which I did not understand.
  18. Neverfly Banned Banned

    A process can be mindless even if there are minds involved in it. So while a process is mindless (In other words, the process does not choose it's own direction) there can be minds involved in its direction.

    Example: Voting. You fill out a registration card to be a voter.

    So you cast your vote for president. Will who you voted for certainly become president? Only if the majority of other minds agreed with your mind.

    But the election process itself has no mind. It's mindless. The process doesn't sit down and vote 50 million times, sometimes against itself.
    People vote and that combined effort makes a result.
  19. RJBeery Natural Philosopher Valued Senior Member

    A harsh winter kills off the weakest and least-prepared members of a species. The subsequent generations are more likely to survive the next harsh winter, and there was no "mind" involved in selecting those that died.
  20. Neverfly Banned Banned

    Now, let's get complicated. Humans.
    Some humans like blue eyes and some like brown.

    This means that the process of natural selection is not directed toward blue or brown. One is not mightier than the other- one is not fitter. Not for natural selection.
    People will choose a breeding mate, not by examining their DNA for good traits- but by seeing what's in front of them. Not the best way to choose.
    Desirable breeding traits show a higher rate of breeding.
    In the case of blue vs. brown, both traits can be chosen by mates.

    If blue eyed people, develop sensitivity to sunlight and lose eyesight or what have you- this can stunt blue eyed breeding. Now, brown is "fitter.: Not because anyone decided so, and not because of any guided direction. Some people may still choose to breed- but the numbers will decrease. No one directed those numbers to decrease. It wasn't some unanimous decision.
    Nonetheless, that's the result of Selection.

    I reserve the right to tell you what you need to hear whether you like it or not. A person who was sincere about wanting to ask questions and learn about evolution would look up talkorigins not look up whoever opposes evolution and promote their comments.

    The link's been posted before, by me- and noted that it contains a FAQ, organized and clear explanations and everything you need to know. You choose to not read it.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
  21. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    Natural selection is not directed. Maybe you have to give up on that concept. Even if a bird is the agent of selection, the bird doesn't know that it's selecting something. If tree trunks turn black due to pollution, and the white moths get eaten by birds, the birds aren't deliberately directing evolution to make moths darker, but that is the result.
  22. gmilam Valued Senior Member

    Wow... Just wow... Willful ignorance is a painful thing to watch.
  23. darryl Banned Banned

    Please go back a few pages, many websites described natural selection as a "directed process". And I disagree... it quite clear to me that the bird knows it's selecting something.

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