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Comment: Re:Falsifiability (Score 1) 145

by Artifakt (#48230233) Attached to: High Speed Evolution

In Biology, there's the concept of Stochastic Mutation. It's most commonly attributed to viruses, for example HIV is a known stochastic mutator. In these cases, some (not all, just some), types of cell mutations occur, where there's no selection pressure - the virus changes its protein coat in one of several ways (4 for HIV), and type B is just as likely to mutate back to type A or into Type C or D, as to stick where its at. In equilibrium, none of the protein coats is preferred by natural selection, and there's no pressure for one type to come to dominate. HIV also undergoes non-stochastic mutations, just like (we think) everything else with a genetic code does, and stochastic mutation has been studied for many other viruses and probably happens in more complex species.

          That's the point - evolution is essentially a two part theory, a synthesis of Mendel's genetics including mutation, and Darwin's natural selection. Cases where all the organisms subject to selection pressure are identical, are not evolution*, and cases where the organisms are not identical but there's no selection pressure applied are not evolution either, and so there really are at least two categories of biological change which are not evolutionary. It's just that 'cases where there's no selection pressure' pretty much discribes some sort of paradise where nothing dies or is limited in how often it reproduces, so there are not a whole lot of known examples of that, especially over a long term, and it would be pretty expensive to create such an environment over a short term.

* If you had some organisms, and they have 0% chance of mutating in the particular way that responds to that particular selection pressure, then you could say that they are identical in that respect. Imagine for example a bunch of Leopards suddenly introduced to an environment where there are abundant fish in deep subsurface pools which can only be reached through narrow fissures. There's really no selection pressure sufficient for those Leopards to start adapting into creatures that can squeeze through six inch wide cracks and use their gills to dive deep enough to catch those tasty fish. All the Leopards are effectively identical, in that they are identically unsuited to take advantage of the new factor in their environment, tasty deep dwelling cave fish. However, I get a feeling you would reject generalizing that sort of example into one of the cases such as you are asking for, so let's just stick to Stochastic Mutation

Comment: Re:Falsifiability (Score 1) 145

by Artifakt (#48230061) Attached to: High Speed Evolution

Darwin himself was careful to specify what he was arguing for - His first book was, after all "On the Origin of Species", not "On the Origin of Life". His theory is about how existing life divides into distinct groups, and (in a modern version of his phrasings), why species are 'distinguishabe sets with fuzzy boundries', and doesn't really touch on where the first life forms came from, one way or another. We could start from some assumed single primative life form, or imagine a world where there was somehow only one very complex life form, say existing as millions of identical clones, and speciation would still occur, and the mix of species, once formed, would still change over time, according to the theory.

Darwin made predictions which were testable, and could have been falsified - for just one, there's a prediction that the genetic code (unknown at the time), wouldn't allow unlimited blending of traits (Mendel published the first proof of this as a general fact, and Crick and Watson's work in actually discovering the code confirmed it was the sort of coding that didn't allow blendable traits). One problem I see with the "anti-evolutionists", is they keep talking like 'testability' means we have to have two copies of Earth and run the great experiment twice, or there's no testability at all, when a little real familiarity with Darwin's work reveals lots of testable predictions of the same sorts we see in many other works of science. It's sort of like how early critics of Special Relativity dismissed the 1919 solar eclipse test as not sufficient by itself, and people who wanted to reject Relativity on any and all grounds turned that into its not being a test at all in popular discussions. I suspect there's real debate needed about just what the limits of the Theory of Evolution's predictions are, but those debates need to be among people who know what the theory does or doesn't predict, what testability itself means, and other fundamental ideas.

Comment: Re:Falsifiability (Score 3, Insightful) 145

by Artifakt (#48229885) Attached to: High Speed Evolution

It's not quite that simple, but you could probably simplify it to a few basic steps, like:
Is there a coding mechanism for heredity? - Yes, the genetic code.
Is there a way to generate new code? - Yes, mutation.
Does that code allow unlimited blending? - No, if it did the two sexes would completely blur together, among many other lesser examples.
Is there selection for fitness? - Yes, not everything gets to reproduce as much as it attempts to, and at least some of that is attributable to being "unfit".

Basically, people can point to examples where limited blurring may occur, or being taken out of the gene pool may have nothing to do with fitness (all dinosaurs are equally unfit to survive a 5 mile wide asteroid strike), or many other such factors, but they aren't really offering any effective criticism of evolution unless they want to claim things like selection or mutation never happen.

This is also why what Darwin did was science. His publication made several testable predictions - that there would be a genetic code, that the code could be altered on occasion, and that it would not allow unlimited blending of traits.

Comment: Re:This is silly (Score 1) 647

It may be good for the economy. It may not be so good for the people who can no longer support themselves because they just lost their minimum wage job to a robot.

Sure, because we have not made the necessary arrangement for those people (like, say, universal basic income). The more people are being driven out of jobs by automation, the faster we will do so, though the jury is still out on whether torches and pitchforks will be involved in that process.

Comment: Re:As expected from google (Score 1) 113

by PopeRatzo (#48228847) Attached to: BBC Takes a Stand For the Public's Right To Remember Redacted Links

it is stupid that a small error without much consequence ruin your life.

Come on. Tell us. What did you do?

Seriously though. I'm not sure how you think life works, but small errors without consequence ruin lives all the time. "I only had three beers" or "I forgot to wear a rubber" are small errors.

The only question I have about this law is how in the world could it NOT end up being abused? This law is designed to be abused.

Comment: So? Ballmer ist not a real manager (Score 2) 158

by Opportunist (#48228739) Attached to: Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a "Real Business"

Quite seriously, first he steered MS from having the muscle in any negotiation with whomever (from retailer to customer, they could say "my way or the highway" and their "partners" could only grin and bear it) to a mediocre company that has to accept setback after setback, only to blow the money he swindled our of piledriving MS on a mediocre (if that) sports team.

He'd probably be a great manager for GM, a bank or anything else that we have to prop up now because their managers are about as useful as monkey boy, but just like a company that makes no profit is no business, an idiot that drives companies into a freefall tailspin is no manager.

Comment: Re:Wow (Score 3, Interesting) 158

by dbIII (#48228643) Attached to: Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a "Real Business"

so it's probably the first instance of interesting business practices by MS

Starting up after dumpster diving for BASIC interpreter source code wasn't interesting enough?

The MS business model has always been to sell something that has already been demonstrated as a success by someone else and then use lawyers to stop the next in line doing the same thing. It's not unique (outside of computing) and it's not as bad as some of the practices of Cisco, HP etc (and MS being underhanded enough to deal with clones led to the cheap PC) - the only tragedy is they came to dominate so there wasn't really a lot of other stuff to copy and compete with. That's probably a major reason why computers generally still suck to use compared to what we would have expected by now. The MS Windows 10 desktop looks like a linux desktop from before this site even existed and the back end is nowhere near as good - how pathetic is that?

Receiving a million dollars tax free will make you feel better than being flat broke and having a stomach ache. -- Dolph Sharp, "I'm O.K., You're Not So Hot"