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.


  1. neo-Darwinian processes, as Behe has revealed with his 2010 paper 'The First Rule', has an overwhelming tendency to degrade already existent molecular structures. Apparently this degradation neo-Darwinism imposes on anything it touches extends to the macro level of degrading science itself and even to the degradation of human morality:

    How Did Society Get to Where We Flush Babies Down the Toilet?
    Excerpt: The title of this article actually comes from a quote from an abortion facility employee in Bronx, New York.

    1. How Darwin's Theory Changed the World -
      Rejection of Judeo-Christian values
      Excerpt: Weikart explains how accepting Darwinist dogma shifted society’s thinking on human life: “Before Darwinism burst onto the scene in the mid-nineteenth century, the idea of the sanctity of human life was dominant in European thought and law (though, as with all ethical principles, not always followed in practice). Judeo-Christian ethics proscribed the killing of innocent human life, and the Christian churches explicitly forbade murder, infanticide, abortion, and even suicide.

      “The sanctity of human life became enshrined in classical liberal human rights ideology as ‘the right to life,’ which according to John Locke and the United States Declaration of Independence, was one of the supreme rights of every individual” (p. 75).

      Only in the late nineteenth and especially the early twentieth century did significant debate erupt over issues relating to the sanctity of human life, especially infanticide, euthanasia, abortion, and suicide. It was no mere coincidence that these contentious issues emerged at the same time that Darwinism was gaining in influence. Darwinism played an important role in this debate, for it altered many people’s conceptions of the importance and value of human life, as well as the significance of death” (ibid.).

    2. BA, those things have always been around to some degree or another. But, now such things are promoted by our government and many of the leaders of our society. Darwin made it intellectually acceptable to flush babies down the toilet.

    3. Notes as to simulating ‘evolvability’ with computer programs:

      Alan Turing and Kurt Godel – Incompleteness Theorem and Human Intuition – video (notes in video description)

      “Information is information, not matter or energy. No materialism which does not admit this can survive at the present day.”
      Norbert Weiner – MIT Mathematician -(Cybernetics, 2nd edition, p.132) Norbert Wiener created the modern field of control and communication systems, utilizing concepts like negative feedback. His seminal 1948 book Cybernetics both defined and named the new field.

      Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will and the Turing Test – Douglas S. Robertson
      Excerpt: Chaitin’s Algorithmic Information Theory shows that information is conserved under formal mathematical operations and, equivalently, under computer operations. This conservation law puts a new perspective on many familiar problems related to artificial intelligence. For example, the famous “Turing test” for artificial intelligence could be defeated by simply asking for a new axiom in mathematics. Human mathematicians are able to create axioms, but a computer program cannot do this without violating information conservation. Creating new axioms and free will are shown to be different aspects of the same phenomena: the creation of new information.

      “Darwin or Design” with Dr. Tom Woodward with guest Dr. Robert J. Marks II – video

      Before They’ve Even Seen Stephen Meyer’s New Book, Darwinists Waste No Time in Criticizing Darwin’s Doubt – William A. Dembski – April 4, 2013
      Excerpt: In the newer approach to conservation of information, the focus is not on drawing design inferences but on understanding search in general and how information facilitates successful search. The focus is therefore not so much on individual probabilities as on probability distributions and how they change as searches incorporate information. My universal probability bound of 1 in 10^150 (a perennial sticking point for Shallit and Felsenstein) therefore becomes irrelevant in the new form of conservation of information whereas in the earlier it was essential because there a certain probability threshold had to be attained before conservation of information could be said to apply. The new form is more powerful and conceptually elegant. Rather than lead to a design inference, it shows that accounting for the information required for successful search leads to a regress that only intensifies as one backtracks. It therefore suggests an ultimate source of information, which it can reasonably be argued is a designer. I explain all this in a nontechnical way in an article I posted at ENV a few months back titled “Conservation of Information Made Simple” (go here). ,,,
      ,,, Here are the two seminal papers on conservation of information that I’ve written with Robert Marks:

      “The Search for a Search: Measuring the Information Cost of Higher-Level Search,” Journal of Advanced Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Informatics 14(5) (2010): 475-486

      “Conservation of Information in Search: Measuring the Cost of Success,” IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics A, Systems & Humans, 5(5) (September 2009): 1051-1061

      For other papers that Marks, his students, and I have done to extend the results in these papers, visit the publications page at

    4. Here is what Gregory Chaitin said about the limits of the computer program he was trying to develop to prove evolution was mathematically feasible:

      At last, a Darwinist mathematician tells the truth about evolution - VJT - November 2011
      Excerpt: In Chaitin’s own words, “You’re allowed to ask God or someone to give you the answer to some question where you can’t compute the answer, and the oracle will immediately give you the answer, and you go on ahead.”

      Here is the video where, at the 30:00 minute mark, you can hear the preceding quote from Chaitin's own mouth in full context:

      Life as Evolving Software, Greg Chaitin at PPGC UFRGS

      Moreover, at the 40:00 minute mark of the video Chaitin readily admits that Intelligent Design is the best possible way to get evolution to take place, and at the 43:30 minute mark Chaitin even tells of a friend pointing out that the idea Evolutionary computer model that Chaitin has devised does not have enough time to work. And Chaitin even agreed that his friend had a point, although Chaitin still ends up just 'wanting', and not ever proving, his idea Darwinian mathematical model to be true!

      Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will and the Turing Test - Douglas S. Robertson
      Excerpt: The basic problem concerning the relation between AIT (Algorithmic Information Theory) and free will can be stated succinctly: Since the theorems of mathematics cannot contain more information than is contained in the axioms used to derive those theorems, it follows that no formal operation in mathematics (and equivalently, no operation performed by a computer) can create new information.

      In the following podcast, Robert Marks gives a very informative talk as to the strict limits we can expect from any evolutionary computer program (evolutionary algorithm):

      Darwin as the Pinball Wizard: Talking Probability with Robert Marks - podcast

      Here are a few quotes from Robert Marks from the preceding podcast, as well as link to further quotes by Dr. Marks:

      * [Computer] programs to demonstrate Darwinian evolution are akin to a pinball machine. The steel ball bounces around differently every time but eventually falls down the little hole behind the flippers.
      * It's a lot easier to play pinball than it is to make a pinball machine.
      * Computer programs, including all of the models of Darwinian evolution of which I am aware, perform the way their programmers intended. Doing so requires the programmer infuse information about the program's goal. You can't write a good program without [doing so].
      Robert J. Marks II - Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University

      Supplemental note:

      Are Humans merely Turing Machines?

    5. oleg, why not, evolution is a fact like gravity. If you think it acceptable to wildly extrapolate and equivocate to support evolution, why not do the same for Darwinisms affect on societial values? After all, nothing in biology makes sense without evolution... if it is as big as you say it is, then its affects must be far reaching and profound.

    6. Neal ignore Oleg. He makes no sense whatsoever

      It is apparent to any honest person that flushing a baby (referred to as a fetus) is far more acceptable if its just just a glob of biological material rather than if it is a living human being created in the image of God.

      People have and still do make amoral choices based upon Darwinism. Supporters of Evolution know this on some level. They would just rather lie that it is not so.

    7. But of course no one ever makes amoral/immoral choices based on their religious beliefs, eh elijah? The majority of people on this planet are religious, yet there are a LOT of amoral/immoral choices made by those people. How do you explain that, especially since most people don't have a clue about evolution or the theory of evolution or Darwin? Let's see you try to blame it on "Darwinism", with supporting, credible evidence of course.

  2. So CH, as usual you don't have any technical critiques of the work to offer, just bellyaching because you don't like the implications for your YEC views. Got it.

  3. CH: "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." (emphasis mine—OT)

    I think you forgot* to mention an important component of evolutionary theory in that italicized portion. Cumulative effects of selection.

    *I am kidding, of course. You deliberately chose to omit it.

    1. Selection or not it is still all about the mutations themselves and the mutations themselves ARE random. Only after that are they selected. So as usual the great distinction that Evolutionists try to conjure is far less than they claim although they must conjure away in preparation for the countless contrivances to follow.

      incidentally you forgot to address the existence problem/abiogenesis.

      Just kidding you deliberately chose to skirt it.

    2. Elijah,

      When you understand the the difference between a purely random walk and a random walk with drift, we can talk. Until then, your random ejaculations make no impression on me.

    3. I could care less about your impressions or your anthology of just so stories. Your random drift affects selection after the fact of fortuitous mutations. You still have to swallow all kinds of intellectual gymnastics like how many times did the random walk with drift independently come up with the evolution of eyes? ;)

      You even now have to create your just so stories for the occurence of molecular convergence. Meanwhile I have received confirmation of your deliberate attempt to skirt the abiogenesis issue in said quoted paragraph.

      or where you trying to say ejaculations had something to do with not being capable of addressing it?

    4. LOL, Elijah. I don't mean random drift. You have no idea what random walk with drift is, do you?

      As to abiogenesis, we have discussed many times that science is compartmentalized. You don't seem to understand that. If science were to play by your rules, we would never have a quantum theory of atoms because it would have to include a theory of atomic nuclei, which would have to also include a theory of nucleons (protons and neutrons), and everyone knows that without a theory of quarks and gluons that would be impossible! This is so funny.

    5. ROFL.. is that what you are now reduced to? trying to make an issue out of me leaving the word "walk with" out in my last paragraph.

      desperate little chap eh?

      Science does play by my rules. I said not a thing about having to understand everything. Thats just you getting characteristically lost in your own mind concocting a strawman. Science can be no more compartmentalized than nature is if it is to say anything about reality. WHich is never completely. See if you can keep up -

      If we were say to find that there is a particular law that governs abiogenesis (non-intelligent for your sake) what are the odds that it would have no affect whatsoever in the evolution of a species? slim to none. Nature does not compartmentalize itself because Oleg wishes to dodge.

      Since you can't see the forest for the trees we can have quantum theory quite find without understanding ton loads of things. What we can't do is pretend like we know what the answers will be or what the nature of those answers will be when we don't (like um non intelligent). Further when we don't have models that work we throw them out in every area of science. How long have models of origin of life not worked now?

      Think you are having a funny morning? Consider my bliss.

      Watching an evolutionist try to dodge the issue of abiogenesis by appealing to compartmentalization of Science is soooo hilarious.

    6. ELijah, what you say is silly. One does not have to solve the problem of abiogenesis before working on subsequent evolution any more than one has to understand the formation of stars before studying their motion. It's a clumsy creationist tactic.

      I will ignore your writings in the future until I see some inklings of understanding how science works.


    7. No Oleg its you again being vastly silly. You are creating strawman after strawman in order to dodge and choking on the chaff. Neither I nor Cornelius ever stated anywhere that you cannot work on evolution until you solve the problem of abiogenesis. What he does state rather succintly and logically is the following

      "One of the fundamental scientific problems with evolution is that in order for evolution to occur, there must be something already existing to evolve."

      Do you get that? can you finally comprehend what a toddler would?

      Regardless of Whatever you wish to work on it does not make the issue go away.

      Talk about stupid and clumsy. Now what I added was that it stands to reason that anytime we do figure out the genesis of life it is BOUND to have implications on Evolution. To use your weak analogy just as the formation of stars HAS affected their motion. lol

      You are begging bread thinking that ID should restrict itself merely to Evolution or allow you to compartmentalize the debate because you have no answer. In fact there are many IDist that ACCEPT evolution but Cornelius point is that it still does not make the issue of emergence go away.

      This is the tired illogical tactic of your side and hopefully there will be more and more people to point it out. The fact that you do not wish to address abiogenesis (because you can't) does not mean that IDist should not point out the very real issues on the table.

    8. "I will ignore your writings in the future"

      Thank you. With no responses to my posts I won't have to waste time pointing out the logical fallacies, strawmen and dodges in your responses.

  4. Evolutionists Are Now Saying They Have Solved the Problem of Evolvability

    Is there a typo in your title, Dr. Hunter? I couldn't find any claim in the paper about "solving the problem of evolvability" Did you mean "not saying" as that would be a better fit with the paper's content. And as you rightly point out, the work is based on computer modelling, not on field observation or bible readings.

    Notwithstanding, thanks for bringing it to my attention. And thanks for the stirling work you do in enabling the knock-about humour in the comment threads.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Hi Oleg


    Was hoping to see you over at TSZ as we have our own resident philosopher now for you to cross swords with!

    1. Hi Alan,

      I like Lizzie's latest thread, Might chime in when I get a chance.

  7. Old ideas about the central dogma and genetics are in the process of being overturned and rewritten and these guys think they can write a good computer program that mimics things that are poorly understood.

  8. Notice in that last quote the word "may" appears 7 times.

    1. That's because scientists understand all scientific findings are provisional and subject to change with the introduction of new evidence.

      It's only the Bible that claims to be perfect and inerrant.

  9. Fraught with all kinds of errors of logic. Anytime you use a computer model you inevitably end up introducing some component of Human intelligence. The resident atheists here arguing on the paper's behalf show their supreme bias. Not that it was not already evident.

    1. So according to the dimbulb Creationist every time we use a computer to model a naturally occurring process, that shows the naturally occurring process must be intelligently designed.

      Like when NOAA uses computers to model hurricane formation, that shows hurricanes are intelligently designed.

      Like when NASA uses computers to model the effects of planetary gravity on deep space probe trajectories, that means gravity was intelligently designed.

      (rolls eyes)

      Creation 'science". Sometimes all you can do is laugh.

    2. "So according to the dimbulb Creationist every time we use a computer to model a naturally occurring process, that shows the naturally occurring process must be intelligently designed."

      you are being even more stupid than usual (which is quite a feat). In the case of hurricanes we have a natural phenomenon that we can measure from beginning of process to the end of it. We can gather data from several hurricanes in that fashion. We don't don't model hurricanes exclusively by data from the aftermath (like um fossils).

      Your 12 year old thinking is showing itself up again.

  10. Hey, wait a minute, elijah, according to your way of thinking (LOL), to understand and model hurricanes "we" would have to know EVERY detail of how Earth's atmosphere came about, how the Earth came about, how our solar system came about, how the Milky Way Galaxy came about, and how the universe came about, and if there was anything before that how it all came about, because all those things have "implications" on hurricanes. Why are you compartmentalizing hurricanes?

    Hurricanes are a "natural phenomenon", eh? If hurricanes are a natural phenomenon, why can't abiogenesis and evolution be natural phenomena?

    1. whole truth the only thing sillier than your comments half the time is your username. We can model where hurricanes go and their intensity quite fine without knowing everything about the universe. If we try to claim that we KNOW that hurricanes have no connection to any given purpose in the universe then we are going outside of direction and intensity and yes we would end up requiring more proof because the premise is entirely different.

      I know.....The distinction is lost on you

      and the phrase "natural phenomenon" doesn't imply there is no design unless you circularly reason that since nature has no design then "natural phenomenon" means no design.

      In addition to all that failure in reasoning we might add that even giving you that we would still have the laughable attempt at you trying to compare howling winds to the complexity of Life.

      Hey why don't you put the two ideas together and propose that life arose from the forces of a tornado bringing the necessary components together. You might even get published since its bound to be at least successful as every attempt so far - laid flat out on the ground.

      LOL indeed. :)

    2. Well, elijah, that was a lot of bobbing and weaving but you you lost yardage. Want to try again?

      "...because all those things have "implications" on hurricanes. Why are you compartmentalizing hurricanes?

      Hurricanes are a "natural phenomenon", eh? If hurricanes are a natural phenomenon, why can't abiogenesis and evolution be natural phenomena?"

      Oh, and since you think that hurricanes are just simple, howling wind, let's see you predict the next one. The day and time it will start, the size, the strength, the duration, exactly where it will start, whether it will hit land and if so exactly where and when it will hit land, the amount of damage it will do, the number of injuries and deaths of people, animals, and plants, the day, time, and exact location it will end, and every other thing about it.

  11. To me it looks like the scientist could lose their credibility and proper place in society if they don't throw something out there that evolutionist can sink their teeth into. If one belongs to the part of society that is king-of-the-mountain, one would do or say anything to stay there. And government flunkies will finance it.

    1. Marcus, the paper described in the OP is available for free. Did you even bother to read it? Do you have any technical critiques of the procedures used or the results?

      If not, why should anyone care about your uninformed knee-jerk condemnations?

    2. No, I didn't read it. I take Cornelius at his word and I trust his interpretation. When people like yourself get into a tizzy over what he says, I take that as a confirmation that he is correct. :)

    3. OK, thanks for the admission. You're just another gullible Creationist tool who can't or won't investigate and think for yourself but only listens to what you want to hear.

      There's a reason you types are referred to as 'sheep'.

    4. I am a sheep in the fold of God. Not in the pejorative way you mean. I pick and choose which areas to investigate further because I don't have too much free time.
      One thing is for sure, what ever evolutionary scientists find, they will call it evolution.
      I don't think evolutionary scientists are looking for truth, but evidence that evolution is true. Maybe I'm wrong but I don't think so.
      Your free to ignore me too, but I think you get joy out of giving me and other people grief. I wonder why?
      Jesus separated Himself from every other man-made religion, He said, I am the way the truth and the life. Nobody comes to the father except through me.
      Have you thought about what happens when you die? No atheist knows scientifically but Jesus does and He speaks about it.
      I am praying for you Thorton.

  12. "One of the fundamental scientific problems with evolution is that in order for evolution to occur, there must be something already existing to evolve"
    No this is not a problem for the theory of Evolution. The theory of Evolution is concerned about how animals change in response to environmental pressures. The question of how life BEGAN on earth is an entirely different question.