Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Those Bothersome Tiny Eye Movements Really Do Have a Purpose

More Incredible Vision Functions

A few years ago we reported on fascinating eye movement research. If you stare at a horizontal line first, then a circle appears stretched out, like an ellipse. This simple fact was ingeniously used in an experiment to study how signals from the eye are processed. Our eyes move several times per second. If we were aware of what our eyes were seeing we’d have difficulty making sense of such rapid movements. As it is we don’t sense such movements, and one theory held that the signal processing in our vision system deleted certain scenes to keep the image steady in our brains. But when human subjects were shown a horizontal line too quickly to be sensed, they nonetheless then saw a circle as an ellipse. In other words, even those scenes of which we are not aware have an effect on the scenes that we do see. Now an equally ingenious and complicated experiment helps to explain tiny eye movements of which we are barely aware.

When you are trying to fix your gaze on an object your eyes will occasionally, and seemingly without reason, make rapid, tiny movements away, temporarily disrupting your focus and concentration. Evolutionists long thought that these so-called microsaccades were nothing more than useless, random twitches. But the new research found that just prior to a microsaccade our visual perception is altered in a very specific, repeatable manner. Specifically, objects in the center of our vision appear more toward the periphery, and objects in the periphery appear more toward the center. In a complicated way this spatial compression works together with the microsaccade in allowing us to maintain our situational awareness while otherwise concentrating and focusing on one object.

Once again science finds that our vision system is even more complex than we thought, and the evolutionary narrative, that a few mutations created and modified a few genes from which arose fancy new vision capabilities, has become that much more unlikely. How could microsaccades and the spatial compression logic and wiring have evolved to all work together?

Evolutionists call this the fallacy of incredulity. Complex organs and structures, they say, are not problems for evolution just because we cannot explain how they could have evolved. These are not problems, evolutionists explain, because they will be resolved by future research. But how do we know that? So while evolution is a fact, there nonetheless are myriad biological designs which evolution cannot explain.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Why Penguins Can’t Fly

Another Violation of Ockam’s Razor

One of the problems Aristotelianism faced in the sixteenth century was that it had become gratuitous. A hot fire dried out a damp cloth because, Aristotelians explained, fire has the quality of dryness and heat. But these were nothing more than descriptive labels. The qualities did not explain how the fire dried the cloth. As Descartes later complained:

If you find it strange that … I do not use the qualities called “heat,” “cold,” “moistness,” and “dryness,” as do the philosophers, I shall say to you that these qualities appear to me to be themselves in need of explanation.

Descartes helped to defeat Aristotelianism but as it faded a similar form of explanation emerged to replace it. Like Aristotelianism this new, but not really new, program tended to rely on goal-seeking, teleological explanations. And like Aristotelianism the new program failed to fulfill the Cartesian criterion of explaining how. And like Aristotelianism the new program’s followers were certain it was true. That new program provided a foundation for Charles Darwin and is now called evolution.

Consider for example a recent paper explaining why penguins cannot fly. The answer, it seems, is that through evolution penguins lost the ability to fly as they gained their fantastic swimming skills. The physics of swimming and flying do not go well together and if a species is a great swimmer then it won’t be able to fly very well, if at all. Diving into the water must have been more important to the penguin so it evolved swimming skills at the cost of losing its flying abilities. It was an evolutionary tradeoff.

But the evolution part, like the Aristotelian qualities, is gratuitous. In yet another violation of Ockam’s Razor the evolutionists continue to multiply entities. You see the actual science that was done had nothing to do with evolution. Instead what the science suggested is that good swimming and good flying skills likely do not easily fit into one package.

What the scientific analysis did not find was any explanation for how the penguins could have undergone such an evolutionary transition, let alone how penguins could have evolved in the first place.

The explanation is, itself, in need of explanation.

In fact, the scientific evidence does not indicate that penguins, and all the rest of biology for that matter, arose spontaneously. Yet evolutionists claim this is a fact.

The king (Aristotelianism) is dead, long live the king (Darwinism).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Evolution Cycle: Watch Out For That Last Step, It’s a Doozy

Just Like the Movies

You know the pattern: First they deny the evidence and blackball, then they acknowledge with caveats, and finally they incorporate the evidence and celebrate. First you’re told you don’t know what you’re talking about, and then you’re told they knew it all along. But beware of that final phase, for as with the Star Wars bar fight scene, when the dust settles nothing has changed. It’s the same old lies, just with new data. Or as Ned Ryerson put it, “It’s a Doozy.” To wit, here is Denis Noble’s new paper on the inheritance of acquired characteristics, epigenetics, physiology, and all that, where Noble admits there was denial but, in fact, evolutionists really knew it all along and, in any case, evolution will simply subsume the once denied evidence anyway:

The “Modern Synthesis” (Neo-Darwinism) is a mid-twentieth century gene-centric view of evolution, based on random mutations accumulating to produce gradual change through natural selection. Any role of physiological function in influencing genetic inheritance was excluded. The organism became a mere carrier of the real objects of selection: its genes. We now know that genetic change is far from random and often not gradual. Molecular genetics and genome sequencing have deconstructed this unnecessarily restrictive view of evolution in a way that reintroduces physiological function and interactions with the environment as factors influencing the speed and nature of inherited change. Acquired characteristics can be inherited, and in a few but growing number of cases that inheritance has now been shown to be robust for many generations. The twenty-first century can look forward to a new synthesis that will reintegrate physiology with evolutionary biology.

That would be a new new synthesis. Actually a new new new new new new synthesis, but who’s counting? Like Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars, evolution rises up every time after getting shot down by the evidence. Non random genetic change that responds rapidly to environmental shifts? No problem, evolution did it. It’s a Doozy.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Look at This Incredible Insect Wing Design

A Rational Design

It is intuitively obvious that insect wings, such as these shown from the desert locust, did not evolve from random chance events as evolutionists insist they did, and new research is helping to elucidate the underlying reasons. One glance at the insect wings pictured here reveals something special, but what is it? There is a definite pattern revealed by the crisscrossing veins and the new research demonstrates that the cells formed by the intersecting veins are optimized to minimize the weight of the wing while maximizing the wing’s resistance to cracks. Specifically, the cell’s are sized according to the so-called “critical crack length” which is the length at which a crack becomes a structural threat—a property of the wing material. Cracks shorter than this length tend not to grow and so need not be stopped. So the mechanical properties of the wing material (cuticle), and the structural design of the veins, work together to form an optimized wing. As the research concluded:

the biomechanical properties and the morphology of locust wings are functionally correlated in locusts, providing a mechanically ‘optimal’ solution with high toughness and low weight.

The research also found that distribution of the cell size across the wing followed the pattern of smaller cells tending to cluster along the wing edges where cracks might be more likely to begin. As one of the researchers concluded:

Thanks to this precise spacing of the cross veins, the cracks are always stopped before they can reach this critical length and start growing themselves. Nature has found a mechanically “optimal” solution for the locust wings, with a high toughness and a low weight.

It is another example that, as William Bialek has pointed out, biological designs are rational. That is, rather than explaining that the species are the way they are because that is the way they happened to evolve, the species have designs that can be understood according to the underlying engineering and physics principles.

And so using this rational, mathematical, approach to biology the researchers were able to do something that consistently eludes evolutionists—produce a successful prediction:

An optimal cell size of a grid-like structure such as the wing can be predicted using the “critical crack length” of the membrane, which is determined by the material’s fracture toughness and the stress applied. … An “optimal” wing cell should have a diameter of around 1132 µm. Is this the case in locust wings? Our results show that the distribution of the wing cell size in locust wings corresponds very well to this prediction, with the most common wing-cell “class” being between 1000 and 1100 µm.

These wing designs enable the desert locust to achieve tremendous feats of flying, and the designs are yet another example of evolution’s anti-realism. Biological structures certainly appear to be designed but, evolutionists insist, it is a case of false appearances. The designs are that way because that is how they happened to evolve. That, evolutionists say, is a scientific fact that we must not question.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

That “Inexorable March of Science” Has Finally Reached its Goal

But to the Victors Go the Spoils

Aristotle explained how objects in the sky move laterally whereas objects here on Earth move vertically, but how did it all start? The philosopher needed his Prime Mover to avoid an infinite regress in motion. The Unmoved Mover initiated motion without any prior motion. Isaac Newton overthrew Aristotle, but while the physicist’s new laws explained cosmic motion, they did not explain how the cosmos originated. For that a Creator was needed. Immanuel Kant provided an early version of how the cosmos could have evolved, but he remained in awe of the moral law within. Charles Darwin explained how the species, including any so-called moral laws, evolved, but how did life begin? Did not the Creator breath to life “a few forms”? In the twentieth century evolutionists explained how life could begin, but cosmologists discovered that the universe itself had a beginning. Did not that mean there was an Initiator? Now finally in the twenty first century cosmologists such as Lawrence Krauss explain how even the universe and its natural laws could have originated. It is the ultimate example of something from nothing.

To be sure evolutionists will agree that these great breakthroughs can be improved. Researchers don’t know everything and there are always details to be explored. But nonetheless the inexorable march of science is undeniable. Do not plug God in to handle the unsolved problems, they warn, for one day, in its inexorable march, science will replace your “God of the gaps.”

Well now that warning appears to have reached its ultimate fulfillment. If everything came from nothing then it is pretty obvious that the naturalistic origins narrative has succeeded. That inexorable march has finally reached its goal.

There’s just one problem: None of this is real.

That is, there is no “inexorable march” of science providing scientific explanations for the origins of the world. What Kant provided were powerful religious arguments for why God never would have designed or created the solar system. Kant then added to this a few bits of vague speculation of how the sun and planets formed by themselves. After Kant cosmologists never looked back.

Likewise for Darwin. The Sage of Kent issued all manner of theological mandates for the naturalistic origin of the species. And ever since 1859 those mandates have only become stronger.

This isn’t science, this is religion. Yes there is an “inexorable march,” but it is not of science but rather of religion wrapped in a scientific patina.

Evolutionists insist there is no teleology, no final causes and no design. The world must have arisen by itself. Imagine you have a box with nothing in it. Then later there is an entire universe inside the box, with all manner of cosmic structures and life forms of untold complexity. This, according to evolutionists, occurred. The universe and everything in it arose spontaneously.

Evolutionists view their work and results as a great triumph. But their triumph is their very downfall, for their religious mandates have led to absurdity.

To the victors go the spoils.

Evolution: A Course for Educators

Now You Too Can Be Indoctrinated

Evolutionist Joel Cracraft’s course Evolution: A Course for Educators is “informed” by those Next Generation Science Standards. That reminds us of how after the 2005 Dover trial, kangaroo-court Judge John Jones explained that his education for the case came from popular culture. And in this case, “popular culture” means evolutionary lies:

When I went to law school in the late ’70s, I followed the progression of cases that we talked about before. I understood the general theme. I'd seen Inherit the Wind

For anyone, much less a federal judge, to cite Inherit the Wind as a legitimate, educational resource reveals how deeply evolutionary thought and its lies have penetrated the culture. The only educational value of Inherit the Wind is its lesson in evolutionary lies, and just how far they will go.

You see the main tools of evolutionists are lies, and if evolution is to survive they must indoctrinate students with those lies, and if students are to be indoctrinated then teachers must first be indoctrinated. Enter Joel Cracraft who will teach educators about the “evidence” that supports evolution. While he is at it perhaps he can include the “evidence” that supports blood-letting and the flat Earth.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Oops, Feathers Came Before Flight

Another Revolution in our Knowledge of Evolution

Your evolution instructor informed you that feathers evolved so creatures could fly but now it seems that could not have occurred. As a new paper explains:

Until recently, evolutionary hypotheses envisioned their [feathers] origin through elongation of broad, flat scales driven by selection for aerial locomotion such as gliding or flapping flight. Over the course of the past two decades, fossil discoveries, especially from northeast China, have revealed that the early precursors of feathers were filament-like rather than expanded scales and that branched pinnate feathers of modern aspect predate the origin of active flight. The revolution in our understanding of feather evolution continues, driven by rapid fossil discoveries and by new information from the study of extant birds.

So in other words, feathers evolved, and as luck would have it they were a great solution for flight. So with feathers already available, flying later evolved. Evolution got lucky again. And here all along we thought feathers evolved so creatures could fly.

It’s another giant leap forward in our knowledge of how the world came to be. It is literally a revolution in our knowledge of evolution. But how, on the one hand, can our knowledge be so flawed while, on the other hand, we can know for certain that evolution is a fact?

Friday, May 10, 2013

ATPsynthase: A Case Study of Evolutionary Blowback

What Goes Around Comes Around

A generator converts water pressure behind a dam into electrical energy and at the molecular level ATPsynthase converts proton “pressure” behind a membrane into chemical energy. ATPsynthase is a fantastic machine and it hardly conjures up images of chance mutation and spontaneous evolution doing the creating. Yet that is precisely how evolutionists reflexively describe it.

When I pointed out this basic problem an evolutionist scathingly criticized me for issuing “propaganda” and  ignoring “scientific facts.” And what were those “scientific facts” that I was ignoring? He cited a paper describing the evolution of these types of machines. The paper is even entitled “The evolution of A-, F-, and V-type ATP synthases and ATPases: reversals in function and changes in the H+/ATP coupling ratio.”

From the title it might appear that evolutionists have already solved the problem of how these fantastic molecular machines evolved. After all, does the paper not demonstrate “the evolution of … ATP synthases and ATPases”?

Unfortunately this is an all too common misinterpretation of the evolution literature. It is important to understand evolutionary thought and the genre of literature that has grown around it. Evolutionists believe evolution is a fact, no less than gravity, cancer or the roundness of the earth. In other words, evolution may be false but only if our entire existence is some sort of fiction.

Such certainty that the world arose spontaneously from random chance events lies at the foundation of evolutionary thought and its literature. From popular works to textbooks to research papers, evolution is simply assumed from the outset. The evolution literature does not demonstrate or prove that evolution occurred. It does not confirm the fact of evolution. Rather it presupposes the fact of evolution.

This explains how research papers such as the one above can speak of “The evolution of A-, F-, and V-type ATP synthases and ATPases” without explaining how such wonders actually evolved. The machines are simply assumed to have evolved.

From there, this paper explores what must have occurred in order for such evolution to occur. Functions were gained, functions were lost, genes evolved, devolved, turned on and off, and so forth. It would be like explaining that automobiles evolved from motorcycles by adding some tires, increasing the engine size, and making a few other changes.

Of course this does not prove or demonstrate evolution. Rather, it is a high-level discussion of how evolution must have worked, assuming that it did work.

Unfortunately students too often misunderstand the evolution genre. They see research papers such as this one and think that evolution has been demonstrated and confirmed. Instead, the initial belief that evolution is true drives the interpretation of empirical evidence and its presentation, leading readers to false conclusions. There is no “fact” of ATPsynthase evolution, in this or any other paper. Rather, it is the ultimate example of blowback.

Religion drives science and it matters.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

ATPsynthase: It’s Elegant, It’s Conserved, It’s Magnificent, It’s Efficient, It’s Fast, It’s Reversible … It Evolved?

Worshipping the Creation

Still think the world evolved? Wondering why anyone would doubt the unquestionable fact that random chance events created everything? Well there’s nothing like an ATPsynthase animation to awaken one out of one’s slumber. Or you can believe ATPsynthase, and everything else for that matter, just spontaneously self-assembled billions of years ago for no reason in some warm little pond from various parts that, as luck would have it, just happened to be “lying around,” and subsequently was “selected” by no one or no thing and has been with us ever since. That’s just good solid scientific research.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Do Genes Switch Between Opposing DNA Strands For Adaptive Purposes?

As Luck Would Have it

In recent decades biologists have discovered that organisms possess a variety of adaptation mechanisms far more sophisticated than ever imagined. Some of these mechanisms are regulatory in that they influence which genes are used at a given time. Other mechanisms change the genes themselves by mutating the DNA sequences. These adaptive mutations respond to the current environmental challenge and such findings contradict contemporary evolution’s view that mutations are blind to need and are preserved only by the action of natural selection. Now, new research suggests yet another adaptive mutation mechanism.

The DNA double helix consists of two long strands wrapped around each other. Protein-coding genes can be on either strand, but one strand is more prone to mutations. This is because on that strand the DNA copying (replication) machine and the gene copying (transcription) machine move in opposing directions, and so head-on confrontations can occur. The new paper makes good arguments that these confrontations result in a higher mutation rate for genes on that strand.

Yet there are many genes on the “head-on” DNA strand. Why would that be? The new paper provides multiple evidences that not only these genes have incurred more mutations than normal, but that those mutations have often been helpful. That is, those mutations often have been adaptive.

So the paper hypothesizes that those genes are in the “head-on” orientation for good reason. They were genes that needed more mutations. The authors hypothesize a “replication–transcription conflict-mediated mutagenesis” strategy where genes that the organism particularly needs to modify are in the “head-on” DNA orientation.

This new hypothesis is not without its questions. For instance, while the “head-on” genes seem to reveal elevated levels of adaptive mutations, they do not show higher levels of mutations that do nothing to the protein’s amino acid sequence (the so-called synonymous mutations). Synonymous mutations are normally taken to reflect the underlying mutation rate. So if the mutation rate is higher due to a “head-on” orientation, then one would expect the synonymous mutation rate to be higher. That is standard evolutionary reasoning.

Another question is how and why do the genes switch from one DNA strand to the other, in the first place? In other words, this new strategy requires that genes switch from one strand to the other at some regular frequency. Whatever the mechanism, it must perform this switching at a rate that is not too low (or else very few genes would ever switch and evolutionary experimentation would be impossible) and not too high (or else the distribution between strands would be more random).

Finally there is, once again, the issue of serendipity. Under this new hypothesis evolution must have created a gene strand switching mechanism with an appropriate frequency. Such a mechanism would not provide any fitness improvement immediately. Instead the mechanism would set about switching, at random, genes from the strand they are on to the opposing strand.

And any such switches would also fail to provide fitness improvement immediately. But over time, some switches would help when certain genes undergo higher mutation rates. All of this means that evolution would have to create a sophisticated mechanism that only much later would provide benefit.

A typical explanation is that the new mechanism was simply a result of the combining of existing parts that were “lying around.” But this does nothing to reduce the serendipity involved. The bottom line here is that the new evidence forces evolutionary theory to take on even more complexity and serendipity. Evolution creates evolution.

Friday, May 3, 2013

More Warfare Thesis Lies, This Time From CNN

The Battle Continues

When nineteenth century evolutionist Andrew Dickson White constructed a false history of science, casting evolutionists as the latest in a long history of heroic truth seekers who faced religious intolerance and opposition at every turn, he set in motion a powerful genre that would be difficult to stop. From White’s A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom to the mythical Inherit the Wind, a fictional account of the famous 1925 Monkey Trial that evolutionists use to indoctrinate students such as Judge Jones, to today’s pundits and even President Obama, the false Warfare Thesis, which pits religion against science, is too powerful and alluring to allow the truth to get in the way. And so it is no surprise that with all the news surrounding the new Pope taking charge, evolutionists would be sure to reinforce and remind everyone of their whig history we are supposed to believe. Enter Florence Davey-Attlee and her recent CNN piece where she wrote, among other things that:

Italian astronomer Giordano Bruno, an Italian philosopher who argued that the universe was infinite, was burned at the stake.

The key to a good lie is to leverage the truth as much as possible. In this instance, we have two truths juxtaposed to make a lie. You see Bruno did argue for an infinite universe, and he was burned at the stake. But those are two distinct and separate facts. The implication is that the Church burned Bruno at the stake because of his scientific investigations about the universe—a perfect example of the Warfare Thesis. And it is a perfect example because it is false, as is the Warfare Thesis. But that doesn’t mean evolutionists won’t teach it.

The Kermit Gosnell Trial is Finishing Up

But the Media is Avoiding it

Ideas have consequences and evolution, the most influential theory in the history of science, has plenty of them. In addition to science, evolution influences such fields as public policy, media, education, history, philosophy, law, medicine and health care. Evolutionary thought is ubiquitous and underlies assumptions that may seem to be completely unrelated to the origin of species. On the other hand the path to evolution is sometimes easier to trace. For example, evolution encourages a reductionist, materialistic view of life. “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” proclaims the Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” But with evolution the Creator is distant and aloof, more like Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover whose main function is simply to initiate motion so we can avoid the problem of an infinite regress. Life just happened to happen. It seems there is no divine spark and consequently life loses an inherent and important property—those God-given unalienable Rights. So not surprisingly it was only a few short decades after Darwin that evolutionists were ramping up the modern eugenics movement. And not long behind was the abortion movement. When I explained the link between evolution and today’s abortion movement evolutionists had two responses. First, they vigorously denied any such link. Second, they vigorously defended abortion. It was another example of an internal contradiction within evolutionary thought which this week is on display in the final phases of the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

It had all the making of the Trial of the Century. Gruesome and gory murders of innocent babies that are alleged to have been done over many years and with the full knowledge of assistants, peers and even government regulators. The implications are staggering and the trial provided a stream of increasingly shocking daily updates to keep the story alive. It is the kind of trial the media loves. There was only one problem: it was all about abortion.

You may not have heard much about Kermit Gosnell and his murder trial, for the media coverage has been spotty at best. And what coverage there has been has often been more euphemistic than factual. Consider Vivian Yee’s piece for last Sunday’s New York Times which described Gosnell as a doctor charged with killing “viable fetuses.”

For most people what Yee refers to as “viable fetuses” are simply “babies.” But evolutionists use euphemistic terminology to avoid the problem that abortion is a violation of the right to life. In fact the concept of viability is a long-standing attempt to rationalize abortion. Viability refers to the ability of a baby to survive outside the mother’s body. If the baby cannot survive then, so goes the argument, it has no right to life.

You can see the connection with evolution for which death and survival are key. It is natural selection and the survival of the fittest as those that are strong live and participate in evolution, whereas those that are weak die off. Jesus said “Blessed are the meek” but evolution celebrates the strong. As Nietzsche warned, it is the weak “who most undermine life among human beings.” If the baby cannot survive on its own, then it has no right to life.

The Gosnell trial reveals fundamental problems with evolutionary thought. Don’t count on hearing about it on the nightly news.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Evolutionists Are Now Saying They Have Solved the Problem of Evolvability

More Government Waste

It is remotely possible that Joel Lehman’s and Kenneth Stanley’s new paper on evolvability might have some useful, practical application. Perhaps it could help in designing better self-learning systems. Or maybe it could lead to improved training software. I certainly hope it leads to something useful because I paid for it—me and my fellow taxpayers. Unfortunately the paper appears to be yet another waste of taxpayer’s hard earned money in support of the unscientific, religiously-driven belief that the entire world of biology, and everything else for that matter, arose by itself.

One of the fundamental scientific problems with evolution is that in order for evolution to occur, there must be something already existing to evolve. Darwin imagined how one species could evolve into another, but from where did the first one come?

Evolutionists have usually handled this existence problem by either ignoring it or by using vague speculation about how life somehow first began. And if you can go that far, then from there it is all about mutations randomly altering DNA nucleotides and sometimes getting lucky with a better design.

What that simple-sounding narrative doesn’t fully explain is the context of those DNA mutations. For DNA exists in a genome, and genomes are immensely complicated. And furthermore the evolution of new species occurs within populations.

So the existence problem is more than some heritable material in some sort of self-replicating organism. There are genomes, genes, and populations as well.

But that is only the beginning of the existence problem. For in recent decades evolutionists have had to construct a far more bizarre version of evolution in response to scientific findings. For instance, if evolution is true then it must occur via profoundly complex molecular machines and mechanisms. These include horizontal gene transfer, epigenetics, and regulatory networks.

In other words, we must believe that evolution created unbelievably complex designs which then created more evolution.

Evolutionists call it evolvability, and that is the topic of Lehman’s and Stanley’s new paper. It has been a huge problem for evolutionists to explain this serendipity on steroids, but according to Lehman and Stanley the whole problem is actually rather trivial.

In recent years evolutionists have tried to explain how evolvability evolves because it is needed. In other words, evolvability arises as a consequence of competition. Of course that doesn’t actually explain how horizontal gene transfer, epigenetics, and regulatory networks evolved.

And so fortunately for evolutionists, Lehman and Stanley have now solved the problem. The answer is that evolvability just kind of happens by itself (sound familiar?):

The explanation is that evolvable organisms separate themselves naturally from less evolvable organisms over time simply by becoming increasingly diverse. When new species appear in the future, they are most likely descendants of those that were evolvable in the past. The result is that evolvable species accumulate over time even without selective pressure.

Well that was easy. Thankfully a devastating theoretical problem for evolution has now been resolved. And how did Lehman and Stanley make their profound discovery? Well they, err, wrote a computer program that used a simplified simulation of the evolutionary process. No actual real-life species were modeled.

In fact, those thorny mechanisms such as horizontal gene transfer, epigenetics, and regulatory networks were not explicitly modeled either.

Instead, they used a conceptual algorithm.

That is not to say it was not a complex computer program. The team had to work hard at designing and developing the program. And of course it was written in a language. A language for which there is an interpreter within the computer that translates the program into a low-level set of instructions the computer can understand.

And of course the entire experiment required the computer itself. It also required the electrical energy to run the computer.

In short, a tremendous level of technology, design and labor were required to demonstrate that the most complex structures known, indeed all of biology, required no such technology, design or labor. The biological world just happened to arise, all by itself.

So problems such as evolvability are now known not to be problems after all. That even though the experiment bears little if any resemblance to the real world that evolution would have had to work in. Here is the paper’s final conclusion:

In this view increasing evolvability may simply be an inevitable result of open-ended exploration of a rich genetic space. Importantly, in nature this passive drive towards evolvability may have bootstrapped the evolution of the genotype-phenotype map itself. That is, the genotypic code and biological development themselves are encoded within organisms, and mutations that alter the structure of the genetic space or genotype-phenotype map may also lead to more or less phenotypic possibilities. In this way, the emergence of a complex evolvable genotypic code and biological development may have been bootstrapped from far simpler reproductive processes by similar non-adaptive mechanisms. In other words, there may be no selective benefit for development or a complex genetic system, which may do no more than potentiate greater phenotypic possibilities. In this way the story of biological evolution may be more fundamentally about an accelerating drive towards diversity than competition over limited resources.

Evolvability may be an inevitable result of open-ended exploration of a rich genetic space? I recently paid my taxes and it is disturbing to see public funds wasted on such junk science.