Discoveroids: Selection Can’t Be Measured

Sometimes we wonder whether the Discovery Institute can possibly become more ridiculous than it has already been throughout its 20 years of existence. Then we see a new post at their creationist blog and we realize that there is no limit.

Take a look at Natural Selection Is Hard to Measure. It has no author’s byline. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Charles Darwin’s idea that an unguided natural process led to all the beauty and diversity of the world, including its Undeniable [that was a link to Doug Axe’s book] appearance of design, guides scientific thinking to this day. But what if his signature mechanism — natural selection — cannot be measured?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That may be the silliest question we’ve encountered for a long time. Then they say:

Without measurement, a theory reduces to anecdote. A recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences threatens to do that, at least in regard to “the evolution of human body form.” The implications go far beyond human physiology.

They’re referring to this article: Constraint, natural selection, and the evolution of human body form, which you can’t read without a subscription. However, there’s a recent article at PhysOrg that discusses the paper: Tall or short? Thick or thin? Study shows many factors affect arm, leg size. Let’s read on from the Discoveroids’ post:

Consider limb length. Say you want to deduce how natural selection has affected the dimensions of the femur bone. The authors point out that one cannot measure directional selection on one bone without taking into account how all the other bones are affected.

Shocking. Absolutely shocking. The Discoveroids continue:

Let that sink in for a moment. (And set aside the astonishing confession that “evolutionary processes” that yield variation “are not yet established” even 157 years after Darwin published his Origin.)

Gasp — that is indeed an astonishing confession! Here’s more:

A Darwin advocate might complain that these three authors only studied three bones in the human anatomy (femur, tibia, and humerus) among a finite number of human individuals in a finite number of population groups. They certainly can’t draw conclusions about natural selection in general, supported (as it is assumed) by overwhelming evidence.

Those Darwinists are just making assumptions! Moving along:

Game over? No. They believe their findings support general principles about measuring natural selection that apply anywhere. [Skipping a quote alleged to be from the published paper.] They deduced that while femur length might have contributed to fitness, it caused covariant changes to the humerus that decreased fitness. You can’t vary one trait without mucking up the works elsewhere.

That’s not quite what the paper says, but we’ll allow the Discoveroids a bit of latitude. According to them, evolution is an incomprehensible process. Another excerpt:

We’re not trying to turn these authors into anti-evolutionists. Surely they believe in natural selection. The question is, How is selection to be measured?

While they’re asking that question, we might inquire of the Discoveroids: How does one measure Specified complexity? If you’re not sure what that is, dear reader, see Casey Defines “Complex and Specified Information”. It’s at the core of their “theory” of intelligent design, but it’s a concept with no coherent definition and no known units of measure. We once tried to solve the problem — see Curmudgeon Computes Specified Complexity — but the Discoveroids never acknowledged our breakthrough.

After some out-of-context quotes from the published paper, the Discoveroids end their post with this:

This paper sounds like a sermon from Darwin insiders telling the choir they have been singing off key. But then, they provide no “A 440” tuning fork to get them back on key. The result is atonality, confusion, dissonance.

So there you are, dear reader. Once again, the Discoveroids have demonstrated that Darwinism is a failed theory. When — oh when? — will the world accept the only logical alternative — intelligent design?

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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15 responses to “Discoveroids: Selection Can’t Be Measured

  1. Once again the discoveroids demonstrate that don’t understand natural selection. It doesn’t astonish any scientist that changes in one characteristic might affect other characteristics in a population. But apparently that idea twists the knickers of the DI crew.

  2. I wonder if Douglas Axe has written a new book lately. Does anyone know where I could get that information?
    .
    .
    kidding.

  3. michaelfugate

    Apologetics as usual.

  4. So the IDiots complain that Evolution Theory is guilty of something they do themselves as well. Well, that’s what they’re IDiots for.

  5. Without measurement, a theory reduces to anecdote.

    This is like Klankerwanker writing, “Some people would say that I’m a disgusting grubby sociopath who fouls polite society,” which is actually projecting the truth about himself.

    The hallmark of the “theory” of ID creationism is “specified complex information” for which there is no definition, no metric, no units, no measurement and, therefore, no way to calculate it. All the Tooters will say is that things are designed if they have lots of it. One might even say “full of it,” like the Tooters

    Design – no measurement.
    Intelligent – no measurement.
    “Irreducibly complex” – no measurement.
    “Complex” – no measurement.
    Nixplanatory filter – no measurement.
    Purposeful – no measurement.

    Seems to be anecdotes, er, turtles all the way down.

    Oh, wait, I just had a thought! This was written by the Tooters newest Fellow, Donaldski Trumplethinskin, and it’s SARCASM! Silly us! Man, they got us good!

  6. Doctor Stochastic

    Discovery Institute’s inability to make certain measurements does not devolve upon me.

  7. Charles Deetz ;)

    docbill1351 you forgot Axe’s scientific tool:

    Intuition – no measurement.

  8. You sure can measure natural selection.

    *holds one hand at the base of the clade of life, and the other one at the other end*

    It’s about yeah big. Roughly.

  9. I’d like 3 pounds of intuition, please, and does that measure up to 1.5 liters?

  10. The DI can start measuring things when they can standardize units of incredulity.

  11. Mike Elzinga

    The DI can start measuring things when they can standardize units of incredulity.

    That’s not likely to happen soon.

    People like Granville Sewell, “PhD” mathematician, can’t even get units correct when plugging his “X-entropies” into his diffusion equation.

    “Dr. Dr.” Dembski thinks that the probability of the occurrence of a molecular assembly is calculated in the same way one calculates the probability of a bunch of ASCII characters coming together out of an alphabet soup to form a Shakespearean sonnet; and, furthermore, he can’t even get that calculation correct.

    And the entire process of doing measurements is just too far over their heads. They sit at desks and write pseudo-philosophical screeds.

  12. If they’re paid per word I’m pretty sure IDiots are very good at measuring how many words their crap consists of.

  13. Of course we can measure selection. The mathematical tools for inferring degree of selection pressure from rate of change were developed by people like JBS Haldane almost a century ago. Haldane’s discussion, incidentally, took as one example the peppered moth; when, I wonder, are the seekers after truth at the Discovery Institute going to stop promoting Wells’s thoroughly exploded critique of this example (see e.g. https://paulbraterman.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/creationism-as-conspiracy-theory-the-case-of-the-peppered-moth/)?

  14. We’re not trying to turn these authors into anti-evolutionists. Surely they believe in natural selection. The question is, How is selection to be measured?

    How is creation to be measured, if it happened all at once (or in six days)?

    Actually, natural selection can be observed. Usually, though, creationists react to such observations as reflecting “microevolution” within “kinds,” not “macroevolution”–without quite defining where the boundary is, because they don’t quite define “kinds” in any consistent way. A “kind,” for creationists, seems to be as broad or narrow as it needs to be in any particular case to preserve their phony micro-macro distinction.

  15. Of course natural selection can be measured.
    I just googled, “how do you measure natural selection”, and got over 3,000,000 results.
    In olden days, one would have to go to a library and read a book about natural selection to find out the basic concepts, such as how to measure it. Today, there is no excuse.