Accomplishing Innovation Through Mistakes?

Nature is remarkably designed for instance, one-cell animals that were once considered simple creatures, have mind-blowing complexity with more of it yet to be uncovered, how could such innovations be created in the first place? The story begins in science daily with an idea that claims that evolution accomplishes it through mistakes.

“Some individuals are better adapted to a given environment than others, making them more likely to survive and pass on their genes to future generations. But exactly how nature creates variation in the first place still poses somewhat of a puzzle to evolutionary biologists.”

“Now, Joanna Masel, associate professor in the UA’s department of ecology and evolutionary biology, and postdoctoral fellow Etienne Rajon discovered the ways organisms deal with mistakes that occur while the genetic code in their cells is being interpreted greatly influences their ability to adapt to new environmental conditions — in other words, their ability to evolve.”

So here we have the implication of  animals having the ability to evolve which then leads to innovation like bacteria to man because later. How can they get  from errors to innovation? Here is an interesting analogy…

“Evolution needs a playground in order to try things out,” Masel said  who had his paper published in PNAS,  “It’s like in competitive business: New products and ideas have to be tested to see whether they can live up to the challenge.”

Random mutations are like an idea formulated by intelligence? Certainly natural selection has no ability to think in order to direct what mutations are produced in the first place while knowing which ones should be tested and others that should be discarded. What’s more puzzling about that analogy is the fact that when companies are originally created, there is a purpose in place for it. It’s basically intelligently designed to either provide a particular service or sell a particular product.

In no way does innovation of companies comes from no ideas and no purpose or direction. Some companies may fail do to lack of direction and purpose or no market for what product or service they are offering. Certainly evolution with its lack of purpose, and non-thinking process doesn’t remotely compare with a business. So overlooking that error, evolutionists go into detail about accomplishing innovation through various mistakes…

“In nature, it turns out, many new traits that, for example, enable their bearers to conquer new habitats, start out as blunders: mistakes made by cells that result in altered proteins with changed properties or functions that are new altogether, even when there is nothing wrong with the gene itself.  Sometime later, one of these mistakes can get into the gene and become more permanent.”

Keep in mind, we want to see how innovations like brains, eyes, or wings, got there. All we have are protein mistakes. The gene was fine, then something happened… “Sometime later, one of these mistakes can get back into the gene,” they claimed. Is there any evidence for this claim?  None found in the article.

The explanation then takes a more bizarre turn, by invoking global and local solutions. A global solution has “a proofreading mechanism to spot and fix errors as they arise.”  Something “watches over the entire process,” wait a minute, how can an entire process that oversees errors and being able to fix them be a product of errors itself?  It appears that global solutions nothing more than about preserving integrity of the genome, not innovating brains, eyes or wings.  So that means innovation must be local…

“The alternative is to allow errors to happen, but evolve robustness to the effects of each of them.  Masel and Rajon call this strategy a local solution, because in the absence of a global proofreading mechanism, it requires an organism to be resilient to each and every mistake that pops up.”

“We discovered that extremely small populations will evolve global solutions, while very large populations will evolve local solutions,” Masel said.  “Most realistically sized populations can go either direction but will gravitate toward one or the other.  But once they do, they rarely switch, even over the course of evolutionary time.”

Using a purposeful concept, the explanation in the evolutionary framework entails a lot of strategy like a chess game! Now if an organism has an ability to use strategy in order to allow some errors to creep in, but then “evolve robustness” to their effects, did that strategy itself evolve through step by step mistakes?  The article doesn’t say.

The story plot thickens with the introduction of a contrast between “regular variation”, and what they call “cryptic variation.” Regular variation for the majority of it’s production, produces something non-useful or bad with very slim odds of producing something useful. While on the other hand, cryptic variation is supposed to produce something non-deadly and mostly harmless. Even so, cryptic variation doesn’t have the power to innovate.  Here they come up with a story about it for it to supposedly work…

“So how does cryptic variation work and why is it so important for understanding evolution? By allowing for a certain amount of mistakes to occur instead of quenching them with global proofreading machinery, organisms gain the advantage of allowing for what Masel calls pre-selection: It provides an opportunity for natural selection to act on sequences even before mutations occur.”

While Masel’s recalls Darwin’s personified depiction of his theory, yet even Darwin might have had doubts of natural selection keeping harmless variations in the junkyard for later analysis and future usage. Masel argued that “the organism doesn’t pay a large cost for it, but it’s still there if it needs it.”

So now we know how important cryptic variation is to evolution but still one asks…Is natural selection a person?  Does it have a plan?  How would natural selection have any precognition of the need for an eye, a wing, or a brain? A mistake that leads to a misfolded protein are very deadly for the organism.

Purifying selection (eliminating mistakes) and compensating selection (tolerating mistakes) are not controversial for creationists. But having those protections still won’t give you a brain, eye or a wing! The analogy they made between a business and evolution demonstrates they have the idea it’s intelligent design but they are trying desperately to invoke miracles in evolution.

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18 thoughts on “Accomplishing Innovation Through Mistakes?

  1. Do we need any further proof tht Michael has not the slightest idea what he is talking about?

    “The story plot thickens with the introduction of a contrast between ‘regular variation’, [sic] and what they call ‘cryptic variation.’ Regular variation for the majority of it’s [sic] production, produces something non-useful or bad with very slim odds of producing something useful. While [sic] on the other hand, cryptic variation is supposed to produce something non-deadly and mostly harmless.”

    Michael is blissfully unaware that “cryptic variation” is a well-known term in this field, and was not, as he imagines, a nonce word made up for this paper.

    Listen up, Michael! Cryptic variation is simply a genomic variation which produces no phenotypic effects. In words of fewer syllables, a “regular” mutation produces a faulty p53 protein, causes Down syndrome, or leads to acute creationism. A cryptic variation causes nothing at all—the only way to tell whether you have one is to take down your genes and look.

    Who feeds you this stuff? Michelle Bachmann?[1]

    ,

    “Even so, cryptic variation doesn’t have the power to innovate.”

    The whole point of this paper is to demonstrates how cryptic variation DOES produce novelty. Or, more accurately, how cryptic variation is allowed to produce novelty which would otherwise be dumped out of the genome. DON’T YOU EVEN READ THE STUFF YOU QUOTE? It’s right there, just after your sneer—

    “So how does cryptic variation work and why is it so important for understanding evolution? By allowing for a certain amount of mistakes to occur instead of quenching them with global proofreading machinery, organisms gain the advantage of allowing for what Masel calls pre-selection:[2] It provides an opportunity for natural selection to act on sequences even before mutations occur.”

    Think iof it this way. You chop down a bunch of trees for a log cabin. Some of them don’t fit, so you stack them in the yard. Later—perhaps much later in Michael’s case—you decide to build an outhouse. And guess what? Some of the logs that were scrap from the cabin are the right size for a comfy two-holer. BUT, if you had been able to saw all the cabin logs correctly in the first place, there would be no materials for the outhouse, and you’s have to go in the woods with the bears.

    And that’s how erorrs allow inovationns.

    ==========

    [1] Who said the other day that George Washington eliminated slavery, that John Quincy Adams was a founding father, that slaves were equal to everyone else, that health care is 50% of the GDP — and on and on and on…

    [2] Other call it “pre-adaptation.” It is one of several ways in which irreducible complexity can be achieved.

  2. In this post, Michael displays his utter Lacie of understanding at greater length than usual. A larger load of the same old organic offal.

    Michael’s two major mistaken themes here are (a) mistaking an analogy for the thing it is analogized to, and (b) unshakable assumptions of agency, of the type which small children have, but grow out of by ages 4 to 7.

    Analogy is not identity. Marshall McLuhan warned us not to mistake the map for the territory. Who among us, when finding an ‘H’ in a blue circle on the map, would expect to see a round blue hospital beside the road? When we analogize the human brain to a fine watch, would even Michael expect to see tiny gears and springs if he peered into his skull?

    We analogize natural selection to a market which tests new products in order to illustrate a selection process in which progress occurs by both failure and success. Michael reads this as implying that mutations have minds, because human products are created by minds. This is either incredibly ignorant or deliberate deception. Take your pick.

    Small children infer agency everywhere. When asked why a rock has a pointy top, they may say it is to prevent anyone from sitting on it. They cannot distinguish between function and purpose.

    Michael cannot seem to understand that mutations—point substitutions, duplications, transpositions—are ordinary physico-chemical effects according to natural law, but occurring at times and places that are not practically predictable. Thus we call them “random”—meaning only that their effect upon fitness is not weighted a priori.

    .

    The most introductory biology lesson teaches that evolution has two primary mechanisms: mutation, which is random, and selection, which responds to the environment. Mutation provides the innovation, selection determines which innovations will persist.

    Such a simple idea should be easy to understand. But, for creationists, it seems insuperable—like a German phrase that they can pronounce but not translate. Otherwise, why would Michael ask the simple question—

    “So here we have the implication of animals having the ability to evolve which then leads to innovation like bacteria to man because later.[sic] How can they get from errors to innovation?”

    Here’s how we get from errors to innovation. Assume a genomic sequence GGGGGGGG. A random mutation copies it as GGGGGUGG. Hey, an error! Because of the error, this sequence is propagated to following generations as a different sequence, with different effects. Hey, an innovation! Something that had not existed before! Wow! Even the average gerbil should be able to comprehend that.
    .

    Once again, I must thank Michael for pointing out an interesting paper in PNAS. It does seem ironic that his “New Discoveries and Comments About Creationism” turn out instead to be a source of “New Discoveries and Comments About Evolution.”

    The word “evolvability” has come increasingly to the fore. Not just the capacity to evolve, but the evolution of evolution itself.. For example, environmental stress causes heat-stress proteins to change the amount of protein repair, which allows more mutations, and thus allows selection to search over a greater range of potential ways to overcome the stress.

    To learn about evolvability, I would recommend Kirschner & Gerhart, The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin’s Dilemma (Yale University 2005). But then, I keep getting books for Michael, and he just eats the covers.

  3. Nothing interesting here..which is why I didn’t comment earlier. But I have a couple of hypothesis as to why Michael continually posts on subjects he knows absolutely nothing about.

    Hypothesis # 1: Michael posts to give the impression to people more ignorant than himself that he actually knows the subject.

    Most creationists do not even pick up a science paper or even read actually science literature. — Micheal tends to quote, however badly, the literature at certain points. The simple minded creationist can easily be impressed.

    Now, the best act backing up the thought that Michael doesn’t understand the subject is that he seems to prefer popular sites that are not peer-reviewed such as ScienceDaily and NewScientist, sites that use “little words” so that the uninformed can get a small grasp..And even then, those sited have been known to misrepresent the scientific findings that they report.

    Hypothesis #2: Michael’s over all reason for this blog is not simply to further keep the simple minded simple….The real reason behind this blog is for the purpose of convincing himself! — I do not think that Michael is as stupid as he comes across on this blog. I think he realizes that the evidence against his position is strong, and he simply thinks that by pretending that it doesn’t exist, he will never really have to confront it.

    The test and confirmation of this second hypothesis is the fact that Michael continually repeats certain claims….despite the fact that they have been debunked in comments on his own blog many times.. For example, he continually repeats the old, dry argument that the formation of a canyon in a rapid amount of time means the Grand Canyon must have formed fast as well… I have repeated the evidence against that position many times, and the fact that he never answered or even tried to debunk the evidence indicates that he has decided to pretend it doesn’t exist.

    But I think the second hypothesis is the most likely. I think Michael created this blog in the first place in order to convince himself… Kind of like how an abused spouse tried to convince him/herself that the significant other in the relationship is not really abusive. — Mainly, I believe this one because…when i was a creationist, I posted promoting creationism as well.. My reason WAS to convince myself more than anything else.

  4. @Michael,

    You say, “Thanks, Glenn! Welcome to the blog! The Creation Museum is outstanding!”

    Michael, interesting how you give more reaction to people who praise and agree with you. More proof of hypothesis #1 in my post right above.

    Not to mention, it also shows you are into monologue, not dialogue.

  5. Micheal,

    It appears some one wants to debate. Not much accomplished when the mind is closed and not willing to be truly tolerant. Is that not what science is, always willing to explore. Open mind?

    John 1
    5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

    10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

    11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

    12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

    Until they come to the Light there will be no changing them with debate while in darkness. At that cross roads in their life, when they are truly ready to open their mind, heart and soul, then there is hope for them.

    God Bless.

  6. @Glenn

    You say, “It appears some one wants to debate. Not much accomplished when the mind is closed and not willing to be truly tolerant”

    Question: How open are you to accepting the evidence for evolution? If you aren’t, you have no place to talk.

    Having used to be a creationist myself, I can actually claim to be open minded…more so than any Young Earth Creationist and any atheist.

    Then you add, “Until they come to the Light there will be no changing them with debate while in darkness.”

    So, are you insinuating that those who accept evolution are, by definition, in the darkness? — If so, what about those of us who accept both God and Evolution?

    Creationism causes darkness by taking the position that if something cannot yet be explained, then there is no explanation. That sort of thinking puts an end to all investigation, constantly with the insistence that there can be no natural explanation.. This would leave us in the “darkness” maintaining ignorance in the future.

    You then say “At that cross roads in their life, when they are truly ready to open their mind, heart and soul, then there is hope for them.”.

    I ask again: How open is your mind. If there is nothing that could convince you that your position is wrong, then you have no place to talk.

  7. @Glenn’s CLS: “Not much accomplished when the mind is closed and not willing to be truly tolerant. Is that not what science is, always willing to explore. Open mind?”

    Michael’s most frequent criticism of scientists is that they are always changing to another theory, finding out that the old one was wrong. Ha ha, he sneers; stupid scientists![1]

    How many times have you seen a creationist change his mind and admit that new evidence does not support his claim? How about NEVER.[2] One still hears, for example, that the second law of thermodynamics prohibits evolution presented, despite the fact that the same argument would also prohibit intelligent design.

    Tell us again who has and has not an open mind. This time, with a straight face..

    ============

    [1] Although he seems to have no qualms about allowing evilutionists to develop antibiotics for him, trusting their theories of drug resistance.

    [2] Well, hardly ever. Creationists finally gave up on geocentrism in the 1950s, three centuries after the rest of the world and the Catholic Church. See, e.g., Garwood, “Flat Earth” (St. Martin’s 2007); Numbers, “The Creationists” (Harvard U. 2d Ed., 2006); Bowler & Morus, “Making Modern Science” (U. Chicago 2005), Ch. 15 “Science and Religion”.

    Remember Ben Voliva, City of Zion founder and Scopes trial figure? Here’s what he had to say to a large, enthusiastic audience in 1915:

    “I believe this earth is a stationary plane, that it rests upon water, and that there is no such thing as the earth moving, no such thing as the earth’s axis or the earth’s orbit…. I get my astronomy from the Bible.”

  8. Michael mangles analogies horribly, abstracting irrelevant details and elevating them to unwonted prominence, at the expense of the intended gist.

    But analogies are extremely useful—not to prove the truth of a hypothesis, but to allow an old subject to be viewed in a manner that yields new insights.

    My younger daughter tosses me her cast-off copies of the Journal of the American Medical Association. A paper entitled “A Prosthetic Approach for Individuals with Dementia?”[1] caught my eye.

    The authors complain that current dementia therapies concentrate only upon trying to retain function as long as possible. However, the reality is that ability degrades inexorably, and almost always cannot be arrested, or even slowed.

    So they propose instead to treat the loss of mental function as one might treat the loss of a leg or an arm—with a “prosthesis” that substitutes for portions of the lost function. Their idea of a prosthesis includes the environment of the patient, the people who deal with the patient, and activities for the patient, all in an interactive stew.

    The point of the paper is not so much to offer specific remedies, but rather to engage caregivers to think differently about how the disease is handled, to open up new avenues of thought. If a patient tends to wander off, don’t put him in restraints; design the room so that he won’t hurt himself. When memory fails, try to provide someone who knows his family, and can remind him of names. Such simple concepts—yet not obvious until the analogy is made.

    .

    This is the proper use of analogy. Will Michael understand? No, but others might.

    ============

    [1] Guuita & Jones, JAMA 305:402-403 (Jan 26, 2011).

  9. @ Olorin

    You say, “Michael mangles analogies horribly, abstracting irrelevant details and elevating them to unwonted prominence, at the expense of the intended gist.”

    I have yet to see a subject Michael posts on in which he shows any semblance of understanding a certain topic. I have rarely ever even seen him defend his own posts…Or if I had, he does it so badly that it doesn’t even look like a defense,

    As I have been typing this, I have tried to remember a time from my old Creationist days when I began commenting here of a certain time when I defended even a single post that Michael had been posting on…. No matter how much I try to remember, I can remember not a single post Michael published that I even thought about defending, and I think I know why: Michael is a Young Earth Creationist; I was an Old Earth Creationist. Even back then I knew as much as I do now that Young Earth Creationists like Michael are the reason people turn away from God. People like Michael turn potential converts to Christianity into Atheists.

    That is an ugly fact, but ugly or not, it is the truth.

  10. @Kris: “I have tried to remember a time from my old Creationist days when I began commenting here of a certain time when I defended even a single post that Michael had been posting on…. No matter how much I try to remember, I can remember not a single post Michael published that I even thought about defending,”

    And you’re not alone. Michael fawns over the occasional supporter who appears, such as RoT Glenn above. But. Have any of them ever actually defended Michael’s arguments or conclusions?

    I can think of only a single instance, more than a year ago. One supporter misquoted Karl Popper about Darwin. Otherwise, it’s been soothing words only. Glenn quotes John 1:5-12 in support of Michael’s contention that cryptic variation cannot produce novelty. Lance Ponder adds an attaboy here and there. Mcoville says he agrees with … with … with whatever it was that Michael said—that copper is a dinosaur soft tissue, or zinc is a complex biological compound, or whatever.

    Glenn educates himself at Glen Rose, home of the dinosaur/human footprints that have been shown to be fabrications for so long that they are known as the “Piltdown Man of Creationism.” The laughter is loud enough to embarrass even Answers in Genesis, who list the footprints under “Arguments that should be avoided.”

    Some education. Lest we forget, Texas is the home of Don McLeroy, recently booted off as chairman of the State Board of Education for pushing creationism in the schools. Well, at least Texas denied academic accreditation to the Institute for Creation Research. Who recently reorganized as a religious school; religious schools don’t need academic accreditation. Sort of defeats their claim to a scientific basis, but they can now offer courses in angel aerodynamics and the physiology of exorcism.

    Glenn could try the University of California’s “Understanding Evolution” website, although it might not sink in right away.

  11. Krissmith777: “People like Michael turn potential converts to Christianity into Atheists.”

    Well, if that is actually true, I’d say to Michael: keep going ! You’re doing it very well !

    Although I think the term ‘atheist’ is a bit silly: how can one be against something for which no evidence exists ? One could be against an aweful lot of things for which no evidence exists … a-loch-ness-monster-ist, etc. etc.

    In principle, the agnostic viewpoint is the more defensible one, as it is very difficult to both prove or disprove the existence of a deity (whichever one you prefer), so I rather see myself as an agnostic.

  12. @Eelco: “so I rather see myself as an agnostic.”

    Then there was the dyslexic insomniac agnostic, who lay awake nights wondering whether there is a dog.

  13. You’ve lost me, Olorin. Too clever for me, I’m afraid …

    Who’s dyslexic ? And which dog (there are so many, and I don’t like any of them … cats, please !) ?

  14. I knew someday I’d have to explain that ione.

    Someone who is dyslexic often reads words backward. So this person does not wonder about the existence of a g-o-d, but of a d-o-g-. The sleeplessness gets tossed in so there are 3 words in a row ending in “-ic.” Makes the whole thing harder to pronounce, too.

  15. Ah … didn’t get the backwards reading bit … that’s new to me, that dyslexic people do that.

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