Scott, ReMine & Natural Selection

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Dave Horn

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Sep 2, 2000, 10:46:21 AM9/2/00
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I need to create a new thread, I think, because the other has gotten to be
too much of a pain to wade through at Deja. Unfortunately, a lot of the
messages never seem to show up on my end at MSN. My *kingdom* for perfect
technology...!

Anyway...

Those following the other thread on Walter ReMine's book may have noticed
that Scott has decided to enter the fray and has done so rather clumsily.
Following the lead of "laser_thing," who claims to be Walter, Scott has
failed to address the specifics of the discussion (i.e., "formulations" of
natural selection and whether or not Walter ReMine argues that natural
selection as described and applied by biologists is a tautology). Scott has
chosen, instead, to claim alternately that I either haven't read "The Biotic
Message" or that I fail to understand it.

Let the reader decide.

On page 98 of the book, Walter begins a discussion of tautologies. He
starts by explaining what is meant by a tautology and he does so
condescendingly (let's remember that his intended audience is not the
science-minded, but creationists or those who are already of a mind to agree
with his conclusions even before they bother reading the book). He then
moves on to what is an implied sinister intent by adding,

"Tautologies are most dangerous when they are unobvious and escape our
detection. In such cases we must unmask the tautology by plugging in the
definitions of the words."

Which "definitions?" Why...Walter's, of course.

He then begins his discussion of natural selection. At no time does Walter
accurately or completely present a discussion of natural selection or the
evidence for it. Instead, he launches into various pieces of quote-mining
in which "evolutionists" address the issue. After quoting Caplan from
Godfrey's 1985 volume, "What Darwin Began," he writes:

"Natural selection is often formulated as a tautology."

ReMine doesn't say just who does this "formulating" (and chances are, this
is where Scott gets the word, "formulation."). The reader is to assume that
it's the evolutionists, themselves, who do this "formulating." He then
writes,

"Natural selection is survival of the fittest, and the tautology hinges on
the word _fittest_ [emphasis in original]."

ReMine has thus "defined" natural selection for us (remember his emphasis on
the definition of words). He then declares that natural selection is a
tautology based on a single word in *his* definition. He continues,

"When the fittest are identified by their survival then there is a
tautology. We ask, who are the fittest? We are told, the survivors. We
ask, who will survive? We are told, the fittest. Natural selection is then
"the survivor of the survivors." It is a tautology."

These are *ReMine*'s statements - his definition followed by *his*
application. He has not quoted any evolutionist actually definining natural
selection (check it out...this discussion starts on page 98). *He* has
defined it, and then adds "it is a tautology."

He then goes on,

"The tautology problem causes evolutionists to disagree among themselves
about how natural selection should be formulated.

So ReMine tells us that there *is* a "tautology problem" and that this
requires us to decide how "natural selection should be formulated."

Is Walter ReMine arguing that natural selection is a tautology? Walter says
he's been misrepresented but won't discuss it further. Scott parrots this
charge, but also won't elaborate. His questions imply that ReMine is *not*
making this argument.

Walter's argument hinges largely on interpretations of Spencer's "survival
of the fittest" summarizing statement with respect to Darwinian natural
selection, a a summarizing statement, Walter claims, "Darwin himself
endorsed." We are not told where Darwin did this, but I am checking his
autobiography. We are then treated to a series of quotes from
"evolutionists" in which this issue is allegedly addressed. I am checking
the accuracy of the representation of the quoted material but, for the
moment, this argument is limited to what is being claimed about natural
selection in "The Biotic Message."

[There's no point in my reinventing the wheel to discuss here the refutation
of the tautology argument. An excellent treatment may be found at
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolphil/tautology.html - a reference I have
already provided in the discussion but which, apparently, neither Scott nor
"laser_thing" bothered to check.]

So ReMine presents us with a rapid-fire series of quotes and inserts his
comments here and there, including,

"Thomas Bethell attacked natural selection as a tautology, and Gould
acknowledges there is some truth to the charge."

...and...

"John Maynard Smith acknowledges that natural selection is often formulated
tautologically."

...and...

"Even more surprising is the admission by Waddington that natural selection
is a tautology."

Creationist arguments are generally about rhetoric and sophistry - not about
the facts of the matter. Walter want us to know that Gould "acknowledges
there is some truth to the charge" that natural selection is a tautology.
Maynard Smith "acknowledges" this, as well, and Waddington even makes an
"admission."

Walter is not just claiming that natural selection is a tautology, he's
quote-mined so that he can presume to show his readers that evolutionists
agree with this "charge."

Is Walter ReMine claiming that natural selection is a tautology?

Page 100:

"Natural selection says "the adapted individuals will survive." If
adaptation and survival are synonymous [this is a big "if," in my opinion -
DH], then natural selection is a tautology. To demonstrate an absence of
tautology, evolutionists must show that adaptation and survival are
different concepts. They must show that adaptation can be measured
_independently of survival_ [emphasis in original]. In a direct rebuttal to
the tautology objection, Norman Newell writes:

Adaptation and survival are different concepts. The
comparative
utility of a trait within a particular environmental context
can be
assessed and _the way in which this trait spreads or
diminishes
in a population is [emphasis Walter's] a test of the
pressure of
natural selection and _a measure of adaptation_ [emphasis
Walter's]. (Newell, 1982 [Creation and Evolution - Myth or
Reality?], p. 167)

Walter goes on:

"He claims that adaptation and survival are different concepts. Yet next he
says the way a trait survives (spreads or diminishes) in a population is a
measure of adaptation. The two concepts are then the same. Contrary to
Newell's intention, he has provided a tautology."

[I was not aware that a trait survives by diminishing, and even a
first-semester logic student can see that Newell has not created his own
tautology, as Walter claims. I suspect an examination of the original
comments by Newell in context would be in order here. I am looking for this
reference.]

Walter goes on:

"Douglas Futuyma also unintentionally gives a tautology."

Natural selection is merely the replacement of the less able
by the more able. Able at what? At survival and reproduction.
["Science on Trial," p 211]

And Walter translates for us:

"_Replacement_ [emphasis Walter's] in his context is just a different word
for survivorship. So, we may substitute _survivorship_ [emphasis Walter's]
into his statement along with his definition of _able_ [emphasis Walter's].
HIs statement then becomes, 'natural selection is merely the survivorship of
the less able to survive by the more able to survive.' With this we see he
has given a tautology."

I've already provided the above "translation" and more than one commented on
the clear sophistry found within it. But the point here is that Walter is
arguing that natural selection is a tautology. His own tactic, as he has
said, is to define terms. He did that with "tautology," but, interestingly
enough, he never really does that with "natural selection." He simply
launches into a series of quotes from evolutionists that allegedly "admit"
the "charge" that there is tautology in natural selection or "some
formulations" of natural selection (depending on which quote we're reading).

In my view, ReMine is clearly arguing that natural selection as it is
commonly understood and applied by biologists is a tautology. ReMine has
responded by saying I have misrepresented him and that I have not read the
book. Scott has replied and parroted those charges, but it's interesting
that I'm the only one who pointed out that later, ReMine does add
qualifications to natural selection to make it non-tautologous, but then it
stops being natural selection, really. Walter chose not to acknowledge that
or invite discussion. Scott and Walter both have not provided any specific
citations from the book to show that there is *no* claim that natural
selection is a tautology or any citation in which Walter says that natural
selection is not tautologous. Alternatively, Walter himself could have gone
beyond the claim that he was being misrepresented and he could have said
outright that "natural selection is not a tautology" or some variation of
that. He didn't do that. Newsgroup messages are generally saved for quite
a while and those archiving services that don't keep them can at least
provide them and that leaves the possibility that someone will keep it and
quote it. If Walter claims in his book that natural selection is a
tautology and then says in talk.origins that it is not, that will be a
contradiction. Someone will remember it and use it and I'm sure Walter is
sophist enough to know that.

Did Walter claim that natural selection is a tautology? Of course he did.


---
"Virtue is not photogenic. What is it to be a nice guy? To be nothing,
that's what. A big fat zero with a smile for everybody." - Kirk Douglas

Dave Horn

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Sep 2, 2000, 12:57:59 PM9/2/00
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As a post script to the "Comments about Walter Remine's book or major
point" thread, please check out...

http://www.deja.com/=dnc/getdoc.xp?AN=593699394

...and note the following comment by Scott:

"We ought to make a rule. All assertions require an accompanying
argument."

...and...

"You provide no actual evidence that what you assert is actually the
case, you merely proclaim that it is so."

...and this apparent chastizement of Wesley:

"Do you ever intend to rise above this sort of tactic?"

So the "tactic" from which Wesley (and presumably, according to the
first quote, all of us) should "rise above" is the making of an
assertion without an accompanying argument?

Hmmmm...

Scott's comments in the thread:

-----
[Me]
>... there simply is no new argument in "The Biotic Message."
[Scott]
"An outright falsehood."
-----
"Walter's book presents an entirely new argument and presents the
evidence to support that argument. It is obvious to me that Dave Horn
does not even comprehend that basic thesis of the book."
-----
"What it shows is that you fail to understand his argument and what
constitutes the foundation of his message theory."
-----
"You completely missed Walter's point."
-----
"I look forward to Mr. Horn's attempts to show that Walter has merely
copied from the works of other 'creationists.' The bibliography alone
would lead one to think otherwise."
-----
"His [ReMine's] book is competently written."
-----
"Whether natural selection is a tautology is dependent upon how it is
formulated."
-----
"You represent that Walter's argument regarding Natural Selection is
that it is a tautology. This is plainly NOT Walter's argument regarding
Natural Selection."
-----
"His argument is that one formulation of natural selection is a
tautology." [contradicts the comment immediately above] This is a fact
recognized by evolutionists themselves."
-----
[Walter]
>> Yet evolutionists here allow his error to thrive.
[Me]
>Perhaps this is because no one seems to see the error,
>and Walter seems very reluctant to describe the error
>specifically. All he says is that there is error.
[Scott]
"I agree with him. I also see the error."
-----
[Me]
>I have quoted specific sections. Walter - once - referred
>to a couple of pages but again was not specific as to what
>the error or misrepresentation was supposed to be.
[Scott]
"It's obvious to anyone who has actually read what Walter wrote on the
subject of natural selection."
-----
"Walter's chapter on Natural Selection points out that this is precisely
what evolutionists avoid when it comes to their formulations of Natural
Selection."
-----
"If you've read his book, you've seen examples of different
formulations of Natural Selection, including ones that are mere
tautologies."
-----
"Someone who has read his book and can see through your dissembling."
-----
"Walter provides examples of quotes from evolutionists where Natural
Selection *is* a tautology. Does this mean that his argument is that
Natural Selection is a tautology? By no means."
-----* * *-----
These are all assertions without an accompanying argument, a "rule"
Scott insisted we should follow back in March. He's even presumed to
chide others for this behavior (and right in the middle of being caught
in a misquote, too...imagine that!).

I realize that not everyone will find that as interesting as I do...but
there *is* a difference between "interesting" and "surprising."

It's not "surprising."


-----


"Virtue is not photogenic. What is it to be a nice guy? To be nothing,
that's what. A big fat zero with a smile for everybody." - Kirk Douglas

Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Noelie S. Alito

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Sep 2, 2000, 5:55:15 PM9/2/00
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Dave Horn <Dave...@msn.com> wrote in message
news:0411923451402...@msn.com...
> <snip>

>
> "Natural selection is often formulated as a tautology."
>
> ReMine doesn't say just who does this "formulating" (and chances are, this
> is where Scott gets the word, "formulation."). The reader is to assume
that
> it's the evolutionists, themselves, who do this "formulating." He then
> writes,
>
> "Natural selection is survival of the fittest, and the tautology hinges on
> the word _fittest_ [emphasis in original]."
>
> ReMine has thus "defined" natural selection for us (remember his emphasis
on
> the definition of words). He then declares that natural selection is a
> tautology based on a single word in *his* definition. He continues,
>
> "When the fittest are identified by their survival then there is a
> tautology. We ask, who are the fittest? We are told, the survivors. We
> ask, who will survive? We are told, the fittest. Natural selection is
then
> "the survivor of the survivors." It is a tautology."
>
> <snip other comments and examples>

> And Walter translates for us:

>


> In my view, ReMine is clearly arguing that natural selection as it is
> commonly understood and applied by biologists is a tautology. ReMine has
> responded by saying I have misrepresented him and that I have not read the
> book. Scott has replied and parroted those charges, but it's interesting
> that I'm the only one who pointed out that later, ReMine does add
> qualifications to natural selection to make it non-tautologous, but then
it
> stops being natural selection, really. Walter chose not to acknowledge
that
> or invite discussion.

[Isolating:]


> Scott and Walter both have not provided any
specific
> citations from the book to show that there is *no* claim that natural
> selection is a tautology or any citation in which Walter says that natural
> selection is not tautologous.

It is _incorrect_ to request that anyone quote _tBM_ "to show that
there is *no* claim that natural selection is a tautology," since that
is tantamount to asking someone to prove a negative. Furthermore,
it is _unnecessary_ to ask for a quote in which "Walter says that natural
selection is not tautologous," since you have already provided excerpts
which show _tBM_ [mis]representing natural selection as a tautology,
and if someone showed the inverse claim the best it could indicate is
that the book contradicted itself (hmm, somewhat the point that you
yourself make below).

> Alternatively, Walter himself
could have gone
> beyond the claim that he was being misrepresented and he could have said
> outright that "natural selection is not a tautology" or some variation of
> that. He didn't do that. Newsgroup messages are generally saved for
quite
> a while and those archiving services that don't keep them can at least
> provide them and that leaves the possibility that someone will keep it and
> quote it. If Walter claims in his book that natural selection is a
> tautology and then says in talk.origins that it is not, that will be a
> contradiction. Someone will remember it and use it and I'm sure Walter is
> sophist enough to know that.
>
> Did Walter claim that natural selection is a tautology? Of course he did.

Uh, you wouldn't happen to have pointy teeth which are angled
toward your throat...?

Noelie Alito
---
Don't hate yourself in the morning; sleep til noon.

Adam Noel Harris

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Sep 3, 2000, 7:08:52 AM9/3/00
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Stephen Poley <sbp...@xs4all.nl> wrote:
:On 2 Sep 2000 10:46:21 -0400, "Dave Horn" <Dave...@msn.com> wrote:
:
:>So ReMine presents us with a rapid-fire series of quotes and inserts his

:>comments here and there, including,
:>
:>"Thomas Bethell attacked natural selection as a tautology, and Gould
:>acknowledges there is some truth to the charge."
:
:In the light of ReMine's repeated complaints about misrepresentation, this
:is a fascinating one. Anyone wanting to check this out can (re-)read
:"Darwin's Untimely Burial" in "Ever Since Darwin".
:
:Gould agrees that "much of what passes for evolutionary theory is as
:vacuous as Bethell claims". But he then goes on to explain why natural
:selection is not a tautology. He says, for example, "I believe that Darwin
:was right and that Bethell and his colleagues are mistaken: criteria of
:fitness independent of survival can be applied to nature and have been used
:consistently by evolutionists."
:
:So who is misrepresenting who?

It is IMPOSSIBLE for someone to have seriously read ReMine's book and
thought that he misrepresents Gould. Simply IMPOSSIBLE. And yet several
evolutionist here have claimed to have read the book, but NOT ONE has
objected to this misrepresentation. Talk.origins is a culture of people
who read ReMine's book and fail to be utterly convinced by it.

-Adam
--
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Stanford University.
PGP Fingerprint = C0 65 A2 BD 8A 67 B3 19 F9 8B C1 4C 8E F2 EA 0E

Stephen Poley

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Sep 3, 2000, 6:47:23 AM9/3/00
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On 2 Sep 2000 10:46:21 -0400, "Dave Horn" <Dave...@msn.com> wrote:

>So ReMine presents us with a rapid-fire series of quotes and inserts his
>comments here and there, including,
>
>"Thomas Bethell attacked natural selection as a tautology, and Gould
>acknowledges there is some truth to the charge."

In the light of ReMine's repeated complaints about misrepresentation, this


is a fascinating one. Anyone wanting to check this out can (re-)read
"Darwin's Untimely Burial" in "Ever Since Darwin".

Gould agrees that "much of what passes for evolutionary theory is as

vacuous as Bethell claims". But he then goes on to explain why natural


selection is not a tautology. He says, for example, "I believe that Darwin
was right and that Bethell and his colleagues are mistaken: criteria of
fitness independent of survival can be applied to nature and have been used
consistently by evolutionists."

So who is misrepresenting who?

Stephen Poley
Barendrecht, Holland

Ian Musgrave & Peta O'Donohue

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Sep 5, 2000, 2:30:25 AM9/5/00
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G'Day All
Address altered to avoid spam, delete RemoveInsert

On 4 Sep 2000 23:35:31 -0400, sc...@home.com wrote:

>Horn is misrepresenting ReMine, as has been charged.

On the contrary, he has fairly represented Mr ReMine's out of context
quotes

>If you had a copy of _tBM_ you could read for yourself
>that ReMine discusses these "criteria of fitness independent
>of survival (read "formulations").

Could you now, page and paragraph number please.

Cheers! Ian
=====================================================
Ian Musgrave Peta O'Donohue,Jack Francis and Michael James Musgrave
reyn...@werple.mira.net.au http://werple.mira.net.au/~reynella/
a collection of Dawkins inspired weasle programs http://www-personal.monash.edu.au/~ianm/whale.htm
Southern Sky Watch http://www.abc.net.au/science/space/default.htm

Ian Musgrave & Peta O'Donohue

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Sep 5, 2000, 2:30:48 AM9/5/00
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G'Day All
Address altered to avoid spam, delete RemoveInsert

On 4 Sep 2000 23:30:09 -0400, sc...@home.com wrote:

>In <0411923451402...@msn.com>, "Dave Horn" <Dave...@msn.com> writes:
>>
><snip>


>>
>>Those following the other thread on Walter ReMine's book may have noticed
>>that Scott has decided to enter the fray and has done so rather clumsily.
>>

>At least I can read.

Given the blooper in the "eye" thread, this is rather amusing.

[snip]


>> Instead, he launches into various pieces of quote-mining
>>in which "evolutionists" address the issue. After quoting Caplan from
>>Godfrey's 1985 volume, "What Darwin Began," he writes:
>>
>>"Natural selection is often formulated as a tautology."
>>
>>ReMine doesn't say just who does this "formulating" (and chances are, this
>>is where Scott gets the word, "formulation."). The reader is to assume that
>>it's the evolutionists, themselves, who do this "formulating." He then
>>writes,
>>

>More reason to believe that you either haven't
>read the book or cannot comprehend what is
>written.

Dave quotes from the book and Scott says he hasn't read it? Weird.

>Please post for us the quote from Maynard Smith
>found on p. 99.

Doesn't help in the slightest, it doesn't address the issue of who is
formulating the tautology, which is the issue here.

[snip]

Ghostview

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Sep 5, 2000, 4:01:37 AM9/5/00
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In article <9PezOV0ljpi3c9...@4ax.com>, "Ian
Musgrave & Peta O'Donohue"

<e21092...@minyos.its.rmit.edu.au> wrote:
> G'Day All
> Address altered to avoid spam, delete RemoveInsert
> On 4 Sep 2000 23:30:09 -0400, sc...@home.com wrote:
> >In <0411923451402...@msn.com>, "Dave Horn"
> <Dave...@msn.com> writes:
> >>
> ><snip>
> >>
> >>Those following the other thread on Walter ReMine's
> book may have noticed
> >>that Scott has decided to enter the fray and has
> done so rather clumsily.
> >>

> >At least I can read.
> Given the blooper in the "eye" thread, this is rather
> amusing.
> [snip]

Indeed. That is what crossed my mind as well.

[...]

> >More reason to believe that you either haven't
> >read the book or cannot comprehend what is
> >written.
> Dave quotes from the book and Scott says he hasn't
> read it? Weird.
> >Please post for us the quote from Maynard Smith
> >found on p. 99.
> Doesn't help in the slightest, it doesn't address the
> issue of who is
> formulating the tautology, which is the issue here.
> [snip]


Ouch, Walter's insistance that people should read the book
is really 'paying off' just not as expected. :-)


* Sent from AltaVista http://www.altavista.com Where you can also find related Web Pages, Images, Audios, Videos, News, and Shopping. Smart is Beautiful

sc...@home.com

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Sep 5, 2000, 9:03:06 PM9/5/00
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In <vvezOXnWgTOf5w...@4ax.com>, "Ian Musgrave & Peta O'Donohue" <e21092...@minyos.its.rmit.edu.au> writes:
>G'Day All
>Address altered to avoid spam, delete RemoveInsert
>
>On 4 Sep 2000 23:35:31 -0400, sc...@home.com wrote:
>
>>In <39b22bf...@news.xs4all.nl>, sbp...@xs4all.nl (Stephen Poley) writes:
>>>On 2 Sep 2000 10:46:21 -0400, "Dave Horn" <Dave...@msn.com> wrote:
>>>
>>>>So ReMine presents us with a rapid-fire series of quotes and inserts his
>>>>comments here and there, including,
>>>>
>>>>"Thomas Bethell attacked natural selection as a tautology, and Gould
>>>>acknowledges there is some truth to the charge."
>>>
>>>In the light of ReMine's repeated complaints about misrepresentation, this
>>>is a fascinating one. Anyone wanting to check this out can (re-)read
>>>"Darwin's Untimely Burial" in "Ever Since Darwin".
>>>
>>>Gould agrees that "much of what passes for evolutionary theory is as
>>>vacuous as Bethell claims". But he then goes on to explain why natural
>>>selection is not a tautology. He says, for example, "I believe that Darwin
>>>was right and that Bethell and his colleagues are mistaken: criteria of
>>>fitness independent of survival can be applied to nature and have been used
>>>consistently by evolutionists."
>>>
>>>So who is misrepresenting who?
>>>
>>Horn is misrepresenting ReMine, as has been charged.
>
>On the contrary, he has fairly represented Mr ReMine's out of context
>quotes
>
I notice that you provide no evidence of
these "out of context" quotes but merely
assert that his quotes are out of context.

>> If you had a copy of _tBM_ you could read for yourself
>> that ReMine discusses these "criteria of fitness independent
>> of survival (read "formulations").
>
>Could you now, page and paragraph number please.
>

You have the book.

ReMine expends 2+ chapters and an Appendix on the
subject of Natural Selection. He identifies at least
four different formulations. You and Horn wish us
to believe that Walter's argument consists wholly
of "Natural Selection is a tautology" and nothing
more, and that the only formulations he presents
are ones that he identifies as being tautologies?

Oh, I see Horn is waffling on this now.


Scott

sc...@home.com

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Sep 5, 2000, 9:07:44 PM9/5/00
to
In <9PezOV0ljpi3c9...@4ax.com>, "Ian Musgrave & Peta O'Donohue" <e21092...@minyos.its.rmit.edu.au> writes:
>G'Day All
>Address altered to avoid spam, delete RemoveInsert
>
>On 4 Sep 2000 23:30:09 -0400, sc...@home.com wrote:
>
>>In <0411923451402...@msn.com>, "Dave Horn" <Dave...@msn.com> writes:
>>>
>><snip>
>>>
>>>Those following the other thread on Walter ReMine's book may have noticed
>>>that Scott has decided to enter the fray and has done so rather clumsily.
>>>
>>At least I can read.
>
>Given the blooper in the "eye" thread, this is rather amusing.
>
>[snip]
>>> Instead, he launches into various pieces of quote-mining
>>>in which "evolutionists" address the issue. After quoting Caplan from
>>>Godfrey's 1985 volume, "What Darwin Began," he writes:
>>>
>>>"Natural selection is often formulated as a tautology."
>>>
>>>ReMine doesn't say just who does this "formulating" (and chances are, this
>>>is where Scott gets the word, "formulation."). The reader is to assume that
>>>it's the evolutionists, themselves, who do this "formulating." He then
>>>writes,
>>>
>>More reason to believe that you either haven't
>>read the book or cannot comprehend what is
>>written.
>
>Dave quotes from the book and Scott says he hasn't read it? Weird.
>
Anyone can quote from a book without having
read the book.

>>Please post for us the quote from Maynard Smith
>>found on p. 99.
>
>Doesn't help in the slightest, it doesn't address the issue of who is
>formulating the tautology, which is the issue here.
>

There are a number of issues being raised.

Are there multiple formulations?

Are there formulations that are tautologous?

Are any of these formulations used by evolutionists?

I notice that both you and Horn have avoided posting
the requested quote. At least you acknowledge the
existence of the quote. Horn apparantly wants to
ignore it.


regards,

Scott

sc...@home.com

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Sep 5, 2000, 9:10:19 PM9/5/00
to
In <0411923451402...@msn.com>, "Dave Horn" <Dave...@msn.com> writes:
>I need to create a new thread, I think, because the other has gotten to be
>too much of a pain to wade through at Deja. Unfortunately, a lot of the
>messages never seem to show up on my end at MSN. My *kingdom* for perfect
>technology...!
>
>Anyway...
>
>Those following the other thread on Walter ReMine's book may have noticed
>that Scott has decided to enter the fray and has done so rather clumsily.
>Following the lead of "laser_thing," who claims to be Walter, Scott has
>failed to address the specifics of the discussion (i.e., "formulations" of
>natural selection and whether or not Walter ReMine argues that natural
>selection as described and applied by biologists is a tautology). Scott has
>chosen, instead, to claim alternately that I either haven't read "The Biotic
>Message" or that I fail to understand it.
>
Please post for us the quote from Maynard Smith
found on p. 99.

How much of Walter's book is dedicated to the topic
of Natural Selection?


Scott

wilkins

unread,
Sep 5, 2000, 10:27:01 PM9/5/00
to

Got a better idea - why don't you? I have a quote from Maynard Smith in
my collection where he says something to the effect that "Of course
selection is a tautology - anything with more than two lines of algebra
in it is a tautology". Is this the quote?


>
> How much of Walter's book is dedicated to the topic
> of Natural Selection?
>
>
> Scott
>

--
John Wilkins, Head, Graphic Production, Hall Institute
<http://www.users.bigpond.com/thewilkins/darwiniana.html>
Otto: Apes don't read philosophy.
Wanda: Yes they do, Otto, they just don't understand it.

hrgr...@my-deja.com

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Sep 6, 2000, 4:26:42 AM9/6/00
to
In article <wilkins-12BD78...@news.unimelb.edu.au>,

.... "contains tautologies", IIRC, which is not quite the same. But I
haven't seen the original.

HRG.
Nitpicker extraordinary and plenipotentiary

> > How much of Walter's book is dedicated to the topic
> > of Natural Selection?
> >
> >
> > Scott
> >
>
> --
> John Wilkins, Head, Graphic Production, Hall Institute
> <http://www.users.bigpond.com/thewilkins/darwiniana.html>
> Otto: Apes don't read philosophy.
> Wanda: Yes they do, Otto, they just don't understand it.
>
>

Jack Dominey

unread,
Sep 6, 2000, 8:44:49 AM9/6/00
to
> In <9PezOV0ljpi3c9...@4ax.com>, "Ian Musgrave & Peta
O'Donohue" <e21092...@minyos.its.rmit.edu.au> writes:

<snip>

> >>Please post for us the quote from Maynard Smith
> >>found on p. 99.
> >
> >Doesn't help in the slightest, it doesn't address the issue of who is
> >formulating the tautology, which is the issue here.
> >
> There are a number of issues being raised.
>
> Are there multiple formulations?
>
> Are there formulations that are tautologous?
>
> Are any of these formulations used by evolutionists?

Actually, the issue I saw raised originally is whether ReMine argues
that the essential concept of natural selection is a tautology. Horn's
quotes establish that to my satisfaction. Your "issues" only seem to
highlight the fact that you don't want to actually discuss the contents
of ReMine's book.

--
jack_dominey (at) email (dot) com

wilkins

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Sep 6, 2000, 6:19:40 PM9/6/00
to

The version I have, from Conrad Waddington's _Evolution of an
Evolutionist_ Uni Edinburgh P 1975, in a discussion of a CHW paper, has
"is a tautology", but it was a verbal exchange and perhaps JMS was being
a bit loose in his conversation.

sc...@home.com

unread,
Sep 7, 2000, 1:37:40 AM9/7/00
to
No, it's not that quote, but that's a good one.

What is it that Dave has stated or argued that
would be refuted if it were demonstrated that
an evolutionist of Maynard Smith's stature admitted
that Natural Selection is often formulated as a
tautology?

What is it that Dave has stated or argued that
would be refuted if it were demonstrated that
this statement by Maynard Smith wrt Natural
Selection beeing formulated as a tautology
were quoted in ReMine's book?

If you or anyone else can answer one or both
of these I would be more than happy to post the
quote. I just thought it might be more effective if
Dave saw it for himself, with his own eyes, in
Walter's book, which he claims to have read
sufficiently to offer a review.


Regards,

Scott

sc...@home.com

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Sep 7, 2000, 1:41:40 AM9/7/00
to
And Horn's quotes only dealt with the portion
of one of ReMine's chapters on Natural Selection
that dealt with tautologous formulations. There
is more than this in ReMine's book, which is why
Horn stands accused of misrepresentation.

Am I discussing content now?

cf. "Dave Horn and _The Biotic Message_"


regards

Dave Horn

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Sep 7, 2000, 2:52:04 PM9/7/00
to
In article <39b72...@news1.prserv.net>,

sc...@home.com wrote:
> In <wilkins-12BD78...@news.unimelb.edu.au>, wilkins
<wil...@wehi.edu.au> writes:
> >In article <39b59...@news1.prserv.net>, sc...@home.com wrote:
> >
> >> Please post for us the quote from Maynard Smith
> >> found on p. 99.

Posted three times now.

> >
> >Got a better idea - why don't you?

Let's notice that this doesn't happen.

> >I have a quote from Maynard Smith in my collection
> >where he says something to the effect that "Of course
> >selection is a tautology - anything with more than
> >two lines of algebra in it is a tautology". Is this
> >the quote?
> >
> No, it's not that quote, but that's a good one.

Since I can't seem to get you to acknowledge that I've posted the very
quote you requested and have done so three times now, why don't you
just post it yourself? It's not like you weren't asked. If you had a
point to make with it, I would imagine a sophist like you would have
plopped that puppy in here instantly. In fact, you wouldn't have
asked. You would have entered it.

> What is it that Dave has stated or argued that
> would be refuted if it were demonstrated that
> an evolutionist of Maynard Smith's stature admitted
> that Natural Selection is often formulated as a
> tautology?

There was never a denial that he did. I posted the quote. Ah, but you
ignored the first part in order to concentrate on the second and divert
attention from the issue. For the fourth time, here's the quote:

"It therefore seems to me absurd to argue that the theory is
tautological, _though I readily admit that it is often formulated
tautologically_ emphasis by Walter]."

No one really denies that *incorrect* "formulations" (prior to this
silly bit of back-and-forth, I tended to use the terms "versions"
or "representations") exist. But the issue you are avoiding is this:

Did Walter claim that natural selection is a tautology or didn't he?

Yes or no.

I quoted specific portions of Walter's own commentary, before he ever
gets into the diversionary talk of "formulations," in which he presumes
to tell the reader what natural selection is (without really discussing
or describing it) and then declares it a tautology.

You snipped all of that away and didn't bother to even acknowledge that
this had happened.

Ref: http://x56.deja.com/getdoc.xp?AN=665526663

Scott won't answer. Let the reader decide.

> What is it that Dave has stated or argued that
> would be refuted if it were demonstrated that
> this statement by Maynard Smith wrt Natural
> Selection beeing formulated as a tautology
> were quoted in ReMine's book?

Not a thing. The claim was that Walter claimed natural selection was a
tautology. Walter ReMine:

"Natural selection is survival of the fittest, and the tautology hinges
on the word _fittest_ [emphasis in original]."

He doesn't call this a "formulation." He says "natural selection
*is*..." He then goes on to claim that it's a tautology.

Walter ReMine:

"When the fittest are identified by their survival then there is a
tautology. We ask, who are the fittest? We are told, the survivors.
We ask, who will survive? We are told, the fittest. Natural selection
is then 'the survivor of the survivors.' It is a tautology."

Again, Walter does not identify this as his "formulation." He states
it outright. We are to accept this without question. He then
concludes, "it is a tautology."

Walter ReMine:

"The tautology problem causes evolutionists to disagree among
themselves about how natural selection should be formulated."

Walter states without qualification not only that there is a "tautology
problem" but that it "causes evolutionists to disagree...how natural
selection should be formulated." Implied is that these "formulations"
would be created to address what Walter says already exists, i.e., that


natural selection is a tautology.

How much clearer can this be?

> If you or anyone else can answer one or both
> of these I would be more than happy to post the
> quote.

You should have posted it long before now and without condition if you
truly felt that it would make your point. It does not. For on thing,
you clearly ignore the first part of the quote:

"It therefore seems to me absurd to argue that the theory is
tautological..."

> I just thought it might be more effective if
> Dave saw it for himself, with his own eyes, in
> Walter's book, which he claims to have read
> sufficiently to offer a review.

In fact, in the URL reference I provided above, I mentioned Maynard
Smith. Obviously I saw the quote. All of this and more was carefully
worded and quotes selected to support Walter's contention, i.e., that


natural selection is a tautology.

You don't agree?

Fine. Provide a direct quote from the book that says that natural
selection - *correctly* "formulated" - is not a tautology.

Your sophistry and diversionary tactics aren't fooling anyone.

Dave Horn

unread,
Sep 7, 2000, 4:04:57 PM9/7/00
to
> In <8p5e7m$ar1$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Jack Dominey <jdom...@my-deja.com>
writes:
> >In article <39b59...@news1.prserv.net>,
> > sc...@home.com wrote:
> >> In <9PezOV0ljpi3c9...@4ax.com>, "Ian Musgrave & Peta
> >O'Donohue" <e21092...@minyos.its.rmit.edu.au> writes:
> >
> ><snip>
> >
> >> >>Please post for us the quote from Maynard Smith
> >> >>found on p. 99.
> >> >
> >> >Doesn't help in the slightest, it doesn't address
> >> >the issue of who is formulating the tautology,
> >> >which is the issue here.

False. The issue here, despite Scott's attempted diversions, is
whether or not Walter ReMine actually claimed that natural selection is
a tautology.

Walter ReMine:

"Natural selection is survival of the fittest, and the tautology hinges
on the word _fittest_ [emphasis in original]."

"When the fittest are identified by their survival then there is a


tautology. We ask, who are the fittest? We are told, the survivors.
We ask, who will survive? We are told, the fittest. Natural selection
is then "the survivor of the survivors." It is a tautology."

I could pull out many more in addition to these, which first appeared
in this thread in an article that *I* wrote (Scott has yet to provide
any direct material from "The Biotic Message" that *I* have seen,
granting the article transmission problems of late). This article is:

http://x56.deja.com/getdoc.xp?AN=665526663

According to Deja, Scott has responded to this article twice:

http://x56.deja.com/threadmsg_ct.xp?AN=665865278.1

http://x56.deja.com/threadmsg_ct.xp?AN=666224832.1

Check 'em out. Both times, Scott snipped out the majority of the
articles, along with the points that were being made and the supporting
evidence for them.

Of course, this article has been completely ignored:

http://x56.deja.com/threadmsg_ct.xp?AN=665560541.1

As has this one:

http://www.deja.com/=dnc/getdoc.xp?AN=593699394

These show Scott's tendency toward sophistry and that he would place
standards on those in the group without living by these standards
himself. Additionally, the second reference above shows Scott caught
in a misquote that should have been retracted but, to date, has not.

> >> There are a number of issues being raised.
> >>
> >> Are there multiple formulations?
> >>
> >> Are there formulations that are tautologous?
> >>
> >> Are any of these formulations used by
> >> evolutionists?

I've already answered all of this, but the most telling is the last, in
which one must consider what is meant by "used." But the primary issue
still remains unresolved. I said Walter claimed that natural selection
was a tautology. Not "formulations" of natural selection - NATURAL
SELECTION as it is commonly understood in biology. In response, Walter
claimed to be misrepresented. He said nothing further. Scott also
claimed I misrepresented Walter. When I quite understandably demanded
evidence for this claim, Scott diverted the discussion
to "formulations" of natural selection.

I've already said I wasn't talking about those things. Scott is
meticulously avoiding that question.

> >Actually, the issue I saw raised originally is whether
> >ReMine argues that the essential concept of natural
> >selection is a tautology. Horn's quotes establish that
> >to my satisfaction. Your "issues" only seem to highlight
> >the fact that you don't want to actually discuss the
> >contents of ReMine's book.
> >
> And Horn's quotes only dealt with the portion
> of one of ReMine's chapters on Natural Selection
> that dealt with tautologous formulations. There
> is more than this in ReMine's book, which is why
> Horn stands accused of misrepresentation.

And again, this accusation is leveled without a presentation of
conflicting evidence from "The Biotic Message." Which other "portion"
should be included? In fact, which "formulations" did Walter actually
get into in any detail? When I pointed out that Walter doesn't even
discuss the specifics of natural selection (to include the mechanisms
and evidence for it), Scott replied, "so what." But Walter *did*
define natural selection for us. Two examples appear above, and he
then declared it a tautology.

*That* is what Walter and Scott both responded to with their
accusations of misrepresentation. Neither one of them has provided
specific evidence to support the claim. Walter, assuming "laser_thing"
is Walter, ducked out. Scott has avoided the questions and is
attempting to divert attention from the simple truth, i.e., Walter
ReMine *did* make that declaration.

What's particularly funny is that Scott, too, seems to believe that
natural selection *is* a tautology. He even started a thread asking
rhetorically, "is natural selection a tautology" and then provided an
obscure quote. I guess I have to wonder: if they both believe that
it's a tautology, what's the hub-bub about?

> Am I discussing content now?

Not near as much as I am.

Scott's a sophist. A sophist is one who likes to argue to win
arguments, not to get the facts or the truth, and a sophist will
sacrifice truth in order to win arguments.

> cf. "Dave Horn and _The Biotic Message_"

Asked and answered.

sc...@home.com

unread,
Sep 7, 2000, 8:38:37 PM9/7/00
to
In <8p8sbp$e9b$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Dave Horn <Dave...@email.msn.com> writes:
>In article <39b72...@news1.prserv.net>,
> sc...@home.com wrote:
>> In <8p5e7m$ar1$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Jack Dominey <jdom...@my-deja.com>
>writes:
>> >In article <39b59...@news1.prserv.net>,
>> > sc...@home.com wrote:
>> >> In <9PezOV0ljpi3c9...@4ax.com>, "Ian Musgrave & Peta
>> >O'Donohue" <e21092...@minyos.its.rmit.edu.au> writes:
>> >
>> ><snip>
>> >
>> >> >>Please post for us the quote from Maynard Smith
>> >> >>found on p. 99.
>> >> >
>> >> >Doesn't help in the slightest, it doesn't address
>> >> >the issue of who is formulating the tautology,
>> >> >which is the issue here.
>
>False.
>
The issue of WHO is formulating the tautology is NOT
the issue?

Then why did you post the following:

In <0587548001407...@msn.com>, "Dave Horn" <Dave...@msn.com> writes:
>
> I've asked Scott more than once who he thinks does this
> "formulating." He won't answer.
>

Do you even know the definition of the word sophist, Dave?

I sincerely doubt it, or you wouldn't be calling me one.

>The issue here, despite Scott's attempted diversions, is
>whether or not Walter ReMine actually claimed that natural selection is
>a tautology.
>
>Walter ReMine:
>
>"Natural selection is survival of the fittest, and the tautology hinges
>on the word _fittest_ [emphasis in original]."
>
>"When the fittest are identified by their survival then there is a
>tautology. We ask, who are the fittest? We are told, the survivors.
>We ask, who will survive? We are told, the fittest. Natural selection
>is then "the survivor of the survivors." It is a tautology."
>
>I could pull out many more in addition to these, which first appeared
>in this thread in an article that *I* wrote (Scott has yet to provide
>any direct material from "The Biotic Message" that *I* have seen,
>granting the article transmission problems of late). This article is:
>

"WHEN the fittest are identified by their survival
THEN there is a tautology." (emphasis added)

Dave wants you to ignore the words WHEN and THEN.

He certainly does in attempting to make his case.


<snip>

>> >> There are a number of issues being raised.
>> >>
>> >> Are there multiple formulations?
>> >>
>> >> Are there formulations that are tautologous?
>> >>
>> >> Are any of these formulations used by
>> >> evolutionists?
>
>I've already answered all of this, but the most telling is the last, in
>which one must consider what is meant by "used." But the primary issue
>still remains unresolved. I said Walter claimed that natural selection
>was a tautology. Not "formulations" of natural selection - NATURAL
>SELECTION as it is commonly understood in biology. In response, Walter
>claimed to be misrepresented. He said nothing further. Scott also
>claimed I misrepresented Walter. When I quite understandably demanded
>evidence for this claim, Scott diverted the discussion
>to "formulations" of natural selection.
>

"WHEN the fittest are identified by their survival
THEN there is a tautology." (emphasis added)

Dave wants you to ignore the words WHEN and THEN.

He certainly does in attempting to make his case.

>> >Actually, the issue I saw raised originally is whether
>> >ReMine argues that the essential concept of natural
>> >selection is a tautology. Horn's quotes establish that
>> >to my satisfaction. Your "issues" only seem to highlight
>> >the fact that you don't want to actually discuss the
>> >contents of ReMine's book.
>> >
>> And Horn's quotes only dealt with the portion
>> of one of ReMine's chapters on Natural Selection
>> that dealt with tautologous formulations. There
>> is more than this in ReMine's book, which is why
>> Horn stands accused of misrepresentation.
>
>And again, this accusation is leveled without a presentation of
>conflicting evidence from "The Biotic Message." Which other "portion"
>should be included? In fact, which "formulations" did Walter actually
>get into in any detail? When I pointed out that Walter doesn't even
>discuss the specifics of natural selection (to include the mechanisms
>and evidence for it), Scott replied, "so what." But Walter *did*
>define natural selection for us. Two examples appear above, and he
>then declared it a tautology.
>

"WHEN the fittest are identified by their survival
THEN there is a tautology." (emphasis added)

Dave wants you to ignore the words WHEN and THEN.

He certainly does in attempting to make his case.

>*That* is what Walter and Scott both responded to with their
>accusations of misrepresentation. Neither one of them has provided
>specific evidence to support the claim. Walter, assuming "laser_thing"
>is Walter, ducked out. Scott has avoided the questions and is
>attempting to divert attention from the simple truth, i.e., Walter
>ReMine *did* make that declaration.
>

"WHEN the fittest are identified by their survival
THEN there is a tautology." (emphasis added)

Dave wants you to ignore the words WHEN and THEN.

He certainly does in attempting to make his case.

>What's particularly funny is that Scott, too, seems to believe that
>natural selection *is* a tautology. He even started a thread asking
>rhetorically, "is natural selection a tautology" and then provided an
>obscure quote. I guess I have to wonder: if they both believe that
>it's a tautology, what's the hub-bub about?
>

"WHEN the fittest are identified by their survival
THEN there is a tautology." (emphasis added)

Dave wants you to ignore the words WHEN and THEN.

He certainly does in attempting to make his case.

>> Am I discussing content now?
>
>Not near as much as I am.
>
>Scott's a sophist. A sophist is one who likes to argue to win
>arguments, not to get the facts or the truth, and a sophist will
>sacrifice truth in order to win arguments.
>
>> cf. "Dave Horn and _The Biotic Message_"
>
>Asked and answered.
>

You ignore Walter's clear words to make your
case Dave. Would you sacrifice the truth in
order to win an argument?

You even have others believing that the case
you are making is that:

>> > ReMine argues that the essential concept of natural
>> > selection is a tautology

This is not what ReMine argues.

If you represent otherwise, you misrepresent ReMine.


Scott

sc...@home.com

unread,
Sep 7, 2000, 9:02:56 PM9/7/00
to
In <8p8o47$8se$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Dave Horn <Dave...@email.msn.com> writes:
>In article <39b72...@news1.prserv.net>,
> sc...@home.com wrote:
>> In <wilkins-12BD78...@news.unimelb.edu.au>, wilkins
><wil...@wehi.edu.au> writes:
>> >In article <39b59...@news1.prserv.net>, sc...@home.com wrote:
>> >
>> >> Please post for us the quote from Maynard Smith
>> >> found on p. 99.
>
>Posted three times now.
>
>> >
>> >Got a better idea - why don't you?
>
>Let's notice that this doesn't happen.
>
Why should I if you have already?

It should be obvious to anyone that I know
the quote is there. I even pointed out the
page and who the quote was by.

>> >I have a quote from Maynard Smith in my collection
>> >where he says something to the effect that "Of course
>> >selection is a tautology - anything with more than
>> >two lines of algebra in it is a tautology". Is this
>> >the quote?
>> >
>> No, it's not that quote, but that's a good one.
>

And how would I know that wasn't the quote.

Would to be reasonable to think that how I know
this is not the quote in question is because I know
the actual quote?


>Since I can't seem to get you to acknowledge that I've posted the very
>quote you requested and have done so three times now, why don't you
>just post it yourself? It's not like you weren't asked. If you had a
>point to make with it, I would imagine a sophist like you would have
>plopped that puppy in here instantly. In fact, you wouldn't have
>asked. You would have entered it.
>

I acknowledge that you posted the quote.

I saw it for the first time today.

>> What is it that Dave has stated or argued that
>> would be refuted if it were demonstrated that
>> an evolutionist of Maynard Smith's stature admitted
>> that Natural Selection is often formulated as a
>> tautology?
>
>There was never a denial that he did. I posted the quote. Ah, but you
>ignored the first part in order to concentrate on the second and divert
>attention from the issue. For the fourth time, here's the quote:
>
>"It therefore seems to me absurd to argue that the theory is
>tautological, _though I readily admit that it is often formulated
>tautologically_ emphasis by Walter]."
>
>No one really denies that *incorrect* "formulations" (prior to this
>silly bit of back-and-forth, I tended to use the terms "versions"
>or "representations") exist. But the issue you are avoiding is this:
>

So now you take the position that there ARE
various ways to formulate natural selection,
SOME of which are "correct" and some of which
are "incorrect"?

>Did Walter claim that natural selection is a tautology or didn't he?
>
>Yes or no.
>

No. Not in the sense that you want people
to believe. Walter argued that natural
selection CAN BE formulated as a tautology.

Maynard Smith agrees. Notice that Maynard Smith
doesn't make any qualifications about "correct"
and "incorrect" "versions" or "representations."

>I quoted specific portions of Walter's own commentary, before he ever
>gets into the diversionary talk of "formulations," in which he presumes
>to tell the reader what natural selection is (without really discussing
>or describing it) and then declares it a tautology.
>
>You snipped all of that away and didn't bother to even acknowledge that
>this had happened.
>
>Ref: http://x56.deja.com/getdoc.xp?AN=665526663
>
>Scott won't answer. Let the reader decide.
>

B.S. I've refuted your silly little claim.

IF :

Natural Selection IS "survival of the fittest"

WHEN:

"the fittest are identified by their survival"

THEN:

"Natural Selection is a tautology."


You need to work on your reading comprehension,
Dave.

>> If you or anyone else can answer one or both
>> of these I would be more than happy to post the
>> quote.
>
>You should have posted it long before now and without condition if you
>truly felt that it would make your point. It does not. For on thing,
>you clearly ignore the first part of the quote:
>
>"It therefore seems to me absurd to argue that the theory is
>tautological..."
>

I don't ignore it.

It's just not relevant to the case you are trying
to make.

You wrote:
> The claim was that Walter claimed natural selection
> was a tautology.

Walter doesn't claim that natural selection is a tautology.

What Walter claims is that:

IF :

Natural Selection IS "survival of the fittest"

WHEN:

"the fittest are identified by their survival"

THEN:

"Natural Selection is a tautology."

>> I just thought it might be more effective if
>> Dave saw it for himself, with his own eyes, in
>> Walter's book, which he claims to have read
>> sufficiently to offer a review.
>
>In fact, in the URL reference I provided above, I mentioned Maynard
>Smith. Obviously I saw the quote. All of this and more was carefully
>worded and quotes selected to support Walter's contention, i.e., that
>natural selection is a tautology.
>
>You don't agree?
>

No, I don't.


>Fine. Provide a direct quote from the book that says that natural
>selection - *correctly* "formulated" - is not a tautology.
>
>Your sophistry and diversionary tactics aren't fooling anyone.
>

Please tell me what "natural selection
- *correctly* "formulated" " is.

How is Walter or myself supposed to know
WHEN natural selection is "correctly"
formulated and when it is not?

Is it only NOT "correctly" formulated when
it is NOT formulated as a tautology?

Or are there other instances where natural
selection is NOT "correctly" formulated.


Scott

Dave Horn

unread,
Sep 7, 2000, 9:58:38 PM9/7/00
to
In article <39b83...@news1.prserv.net>,

sc...@home.com wrote:
> In <8p8sbp$e9b$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Dave Horn <Dave...@email.msn.com>
writes:
> >In article <39b72...@news1.prserv.net>,
> > sc...@home.com wrote:
> >> In <8p5e7m$ar1$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Jack Dominey <jdominey@my-

deja.com>
> >writes:
> >> >In article <39b59...@news1.prserv.net>,
> >> > sc...@home.com wrote:
> >> >> In <9PezOV0ljpi3c9...@4ax.com>, "Ian Musgrave & Peta
> >> >O'Donohue" <e21092...@minyos.its.rmit.edu.au> writes:
> >> >
> >> ><snip>
> >> >
> >> >> >>Please post for us the quote from Maynard Smith
> >> >> >>found on p. 99.
> >> >> >
> >> >> >Doesn't help in the slightest, it doesn't address
> >> >> >the issue of who is formulating the tautology,
> >> >> >which is the issue here.
> >
> >False.

There's an unmarked snip here.

> The issue of WHO is formulating the tautology is NOT
> the issue?

This must be a rhetorical question since I had already said what the
issue was. Check out http://x63.deja.com/threadmsg_md.xp?AN=666971643
and the reader will see that right after my comment, "false," as quoted
above, I said:

"The issue here, despite Scott's attempted diversions, is whether or
not Walter ReMine actually claimed that natural selection is a
tautology."

Why did Scott snip this out, not mark it, and respond rhetorically as
he does above? The reader should decide.

What needs to be remembered is that this who thing started when I
entered an article claiming that Walter said natural selection is a
tautology. I pointed out, with specific evidence from his own words
in "The Biotic Message," that this is what he claimed. Walter
complained that he was being misrepresented and when I challenged him
to explain it, then, he ducked out. Scott agreed that he had been
misrepresented and so I challenged Scott to show the
misrepresentation. I have said more than once that the real issue is
what Walter claimed. We can get into "formulations" later, but Scott
has avoided a direct answer to the question. Now he's snipping away
comments, not marking the snips, and answering as if what we see quoted
by him is all that was said.

What's comical about that is that he referred to *me*
as "reprehensible."

> Then why did you post the following:
>
> In <0587548001407...@msn.com>, "Dave Horn"
<Dave...@msn.com> writes:
> >
> > I've asked Scott more than once who he thinks does this
> > "formulating." He won't answer.
>
> Do you even know the definition of the word sophist, Dave?

I do, indeed, and Scott is the epitome of this in the newsgroup at this
time. The above question is obviously related considering the claims
Scott has made, but it's not the issue that started this exchange.

> I sincerely doubt it, or you wouldn't be calling me one.

I've already explained the reasons behind my use of the word and I have
provided examples of sophistry. If Scott feels they have been
misapplied, he can go to those examples and falsify them.

> >The issue here, despite Scott's attempted diversions, is
> >whether or not Walter ReMine actually claimed that natural
> >selection is a tautology.
> >
> >Walter ReMine:
> >
> >"Natural selection is survival of the fittest, and the
> >tautology hinges on the word _fittest_ [emphasis in original]."
> >
> >"When the fittest are identified by their survival
> >then there is a tautology. We ask, who are the
> >fittest? We are told, the survivors. We ask, who
> >will survive? We are told, the fittest. Natural
> >selection is then "the survivor of the survivors."
> >It is a tautology."
> >
> >I could pull out many more in addition to these,
> >which first appeared in this thread in an article
> >that *I* wrote (Scott has yet to provide any direct
> >material from "The Biotic Message" that *I* have seen,
> >granting the article transmission problems of late).
> >This article is:

Notice that Scott snipped away the article reference. Is there some
reason he's concerned that others might see it? Note also that the
snip is again unmarked.

The article reference is:

http://x56.deja.com/getdoc.xp?AN=665526663

> "WHEN the fittest are identified by their survival
> THEN there is a tautology." (emphasis added)
>
> Dave wants you to ignore the words WHEN and THEN.

Dave doesn't want anything ignored. It would seem that Scott
projects. After all, I'm not snipping away things and then not marking
the snips. I'm not cutting out parts of messages that are pertient and
then using that for rhetorical effect, and I'm not snipping away
references.

The reader can decide who wants things to be ignored.

> He certainly does in attempting to make his case.

Not at all. If the above reference is checked, the reader should see
that significantly more evidence appears, including Walter's comments
interspersed with the material he chooses to quote. All of it points
to a reasonable conclusion that Walter believes natural selection to be
a tautology and the reason he quoted so extensively was because he
wanted to use a tried-and-true creationist tactic. He wants his readers
to believe this has happened and that evolutionists are "admitting" it.

> <snip>

Ah, a *marked* snip. So Scott *does* mark snips, or at least knows
that this should be done. So why did he *not* mark the snips above?

Since I don't really trust his snips, let's put the commentary back,
shall we?

[Restored text]

According to Deja, Scott has responded to this article twice:

http://x56.deja.com/threadmsg_ct.xp?AN=665865278.1

http://x56.deja.com/threadmsg_ct.xp?AN=666224832.1

Check 'em out. Both times, Scott snipped out the majority of the
articles, along with the points that were being made and the supporting
evidence for them.

Of course, this article has been completely ignored:

http://x56.deja.com/threadmsg_ct.xp?AN=665560541.1

As has this one:

http://www.deja.com/=dnc/getdoc.xp?AN=593699394

These show Scott's tendency toward sophistry and that he would place
standards on those in the group without living by these standards
himself. Additionally, the second reference above shows Scott caught
in a misquote that should have been retracted but, to date, has not.

[End restored text]

Scott is particularly embarrassed by the last reference, I think. He
should be.

> >> >> There are a number of issues being raised.
> >> >>
> >> >> Are there multiple formulations?
> >> >>
> >> >> Are there formulations that are tautologous?
> >> >>
> >> >> Are any of these formulations used by
> >> >> evolutionists?
> >
> >I've already answered all of this, but the most
> >telling is the last, in which one must consider
> >what is meant by "used." But the primary issue
> >still remains unresolved. I said Walter claimed
> >that natural selection was a tautology. Not
> >"formulations" of natural selection - NATURAL
> >SELECTION as it is commonly understood in biology.
> >In response, Walter claimed to be misrepresented.
> >He said nothing further. Scott also claimed I
> >misrepresented Walter. When I quite understandably
> >demanded evidence for this claim, Scott diverted
> >the discussion to "formulations" of natural selection.
> >
> "WHEN the fittest are identified by their survival
> THEN there is a tautology." (emphasis added)
>
> Dave wants you to ignore the words WHEN and THEN.

Asked and answered. In order for Scott to presume to tell the reader
that I want something ignored, he must be a mind-reader. Scott is
invited to present his evidence that I want *anything* ignored. I
won't hold my breath.

> He certainly does in attempting to make his case.

Scott is reduced to repeating himself. Keep in mind that he is still
not providing any direct commentary from Walter, himself (other than
the above which I have already provided) that could clear things up
further.

[Restore unmarked snip]

"I've already said I wasn't talking about those things. Scott is
meticulously avoiding that question."

[End restored snip]

Scott is reduced to repeating himself.

> >*That* is what Walter and Scott both responded to
> >with their accusations of misrepresentation.
> >Neither one of them has provided specific evidence
> >to support the claim. Walter, assuming "laser_thing"
> >is Walter, ducked out. Scott has avoided the
> >questions and is attempting to divert attention
> >from the simple truth, i.e., Walter ReMine *did*
> >make that declaration.
> >
> "WHEN the fittest are identified by their survival
> THEN there is a tautology." (emphasis added)
>
> Dave wants you to ignore the words WHEN and THEN.
>
> He certainly does in attempting to make his case.

Is anyone fooled by this?

> >What's particularly funny is that Scott, too,
> >seems to believe that natural selection *is* a
> >tautology. He even started a thread asking
> >rhetorically, "is natural selection a tautology"
> >and then provided an obscure quote. I guess I
> >have to wonder: if they both believe that
> >it's a tautology, what's the hub-bub about?
> >
> "WHEN the fittest are identified by their survival
> THEN there is a tautology." (emphasis added)
>
> Dave wants you to ignore the words WHEN and THEN.
>
> He certainly does in attempting to make his case.

Asked and answered.

> >> Am I discussing content now?
> >
> >Not near as much as I am.
> >
> >Scott's a sophist. A sophist is one who
> >likes to argue to win arguments, not to get
> >the facts or the truth, and a sophist will
> >sacrifice truth in order to win arguments.
> >
> >> cf. "Dave Horn and _The Biotic Message_"
> >
> >Asked and answered.
> >
> You ignore Walter's clear words to make your
> case Dave. Would you sacrifice the truth in
> order to win an argument?

Not at all. Scott is free to present any contrary evidence directly
from "The Biotic Message" and has had ample opportunity to do so. He
has failed to do so. He has, in effect, refused to do so. Meanwhile,
he snips out commentary and references and ducks out on specifics while
resorting to empty rhetoric and twisting of words to try to get out of
the point. Notice above also that he does not *deny* that he thinks
natural selection is a tautology, himself.

> You even have others believing that the case
> you are making is that:
>
> >> > ReMine argues that the essential concept
> >> > of natural selection is a tautology

It's not possible that they came to this conclusion on their own - by
reading Walter's own words?

> This is not what ReMine argues.

Scott is a long way from establishing this. Simple denial is not
evidence.

> If you represent otherwise, you misrepresent
> ReMine.

This is an assertion without argument, something Scott says we should
not do. See:

http://www.deja.com/=dnc/getdoc.xp?AN=593699394

Dave Horn

unread,
Sep 7, 2000, 10:24:51 PM9/7/00
to
> In <8p8o47$8se$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Dave Horn <Dave...@email.msn.com>
writes:
> >In article <39b72...@news1.prserv.net>,
> > sc...@home.com wrote:
> >> In <wilkins-12BD78...@news.unimelb.edu.au>, wilkins
> ><wil...@wehi.edu.au> writes:
> >> >In article <39b59...@news1.prserv.net>, sc...@home.com wrote:
> >> >
> >> >> Please post for us the quote from Maynard Smith
> >> >> found on p. 99.
> >
> >Posted three times now.
> >
> >> >
> >> >Got a better idea - why don't you?
> >
> >Let's notice that this doesn't happen.
> >
> Why should I if you have already?

At the time this was posted, Scott was representing that I hadn't
posted it and wanted it ignored.

If Scott had a point to make and the Maynard Smith quote would have
made a lot of difference, it seems to me that it should have been
provided.

> It should be obvious to anyone that I know
> the quote is there. I even pointed out the
> page and who the quote was by.

Knowing the quote is there and referring to it vaguely in these terms
can be reasonably viewed with suspicion and I *would* view it as such
were I a non-participant in this discussion and didn't have the book.

> >> >I have a quote from Maynard Smith in my collection
> >> >where he says something to the effect that "Of course
> >> >selection is a tautology - anything with more than
> >> >two lines of algebra in it is a tautology". Is this
> >> >the quote?
> >> >
> >> No, it's not that quote, but that's a good one.
> >
> And how would I know that wasn't the quote.

No one denies that Scott doesn't have the book, hasn't at least skimmed
the book, and would know the quote is there. That's not what's being
challenged. Scott once again skirts the issue. The issue is "does the
quote really support what Scott is claiming - both directly and
indirectly? The quote does *not* support that Walter is being
misrepresented with respect to his own words on the subject matter.
The quote *does* support an uncontested point, i.e., that there
are "formulations" of natural selection. The quote is contradictory to
any claim that natural selection actually *is* a tautology.

> Would to be reasonable to think that how I know
> this is not the quote in question is because I know
> the actual quote?

See above.

Scott again wants to divert attention from the central issue.

> >Since I can't seem to get you to acknowledge
> >that I've posted the very quote you requested
> >and have done so three times now, why don't you
> >just post it yourself? It's not like you weren't
> >asked. If you had a point to make with it, I
> >would imagine a sophist like you would have
> >plopped that puppy in here instantly. In fact,
> >you wouldn't have asked. You would have entered it.
> >
> I acknowledge that you posted the quote.

While not answering my point.

> I saw it for the first time today.

Fine. But my points with respect to it remain unaddressed.

> >> What is it that Dave has stated or argued that
> >> would be refuted if it were demonstrated that
> >> an evolutionist of Maynard Smith's stature admitted
> >> that Natural Selection is often formulated as a
> >> tautology?
> >
> >There was never a denial that he did. I posted the
> >quote. Ah, but you ignored the first part in order
> >to concentrate on the second and divert attention
> >from the issue. For the fourth time, here's the quote:
> >
> >"It therefore seems to me absurd to argue that the
> >theory is tautological, _though I readily admit
> >that it is often formulated tautologically_
> >[emphasis by Walter]."
> >
> >No one really denies that *incorrect* "formulations"
> >(prior to this silly bit of back-and-forth, I tended
> >to use the terms "versions" or "representations")
> >exist. But the issue you are avoiding is this:
> >
> So now you take the position that there ARE
> various ways to formulate natural selection,
> SOME of which are "correct" and some of which
> are "incorrect"?

No, this is not what I am saying or have said. Scott seems to have a
problem with understanding this and I have tried to make it as simple
as possible. Key on the word, "some," since Scott did. Have I said
there are "some" correct "formulations" - ever?

As far as I know, and rejecting any attemt to use sophistry with
respect to the word "formulations," it is my understanding after years
of biological training, both formal and informal, that there is one
theory of natural selection that *is* natural selection (and not
some "formulation" of it that neglects certain aspects or
oversimplifies it to the point of, yes, tautology).

> >Did Walter claim that natural selection is
> >a tautology or didn't he?
> >
> >Yes or no.
> >
> No.

Finally. What was hard about that?

Now provide us with a specific statement from Walter in which he
correctly represents (or "formulates") natural selection and states
that it is not a tautology.

Scott can't do that because he has already twice acknowledged that
Walter does not get into the details and mechanisms of natural
selection.

> Not in the sense that you want people
> to believe. Walter argued that natural
> selection CAN BE formulated as a tautology.

He does say this. But he also defines natural selection for us and
declares it a tautology in the quoted material I have provided and
still more that I could provide.

> Maynard Smith agrees. Notice that Maynard Smith
> doesn't make any qualifications about "correct"
> and "incorrect" "versions" or "representations."

The actual context of his commentary does, as I recall, but I'll need
to get my reference back before I can support it. Maynard Smith does
not necessarily agree with Walter and Scott, who has stated that he has
not read the Maynard Smith quote in context, cannot claim that he
agrees with Walter.

> >I quoted specific portions of Walter's own
> >commentary, before he ever gets into the
> >diversionary talk of "formulations," in which
> >he presumes to tell the reader what natural
> >selection is (without really discussing
> >or describing it) and then declares it a
> >tautology.
> >
> >You snipped all of that away and didn't bother
> >to even acknowledge that this had happened.
> >
> >Ref: http://x56.deja.com/getdoc.xp?AN=665526663
> >
> >Scott won't answer. Let the reader decide.
> >
> B.S. I've refuted your silly little claim.

Where, exactly, has this "silly little claim" been refuted? I haven't
seen it. It's possible it was posted and never got to Deja, but Deja
does not show any refutation. What it *does* show are two short
replies with lots of unmarked snipping and no answers to the direct
commentary presented in my original article.

I don't think so. Scott has inserted the "if" clause in Walter's
words. Walter does not write "IF natural selection is survival of the
fittest." I don't need to work on a reading comprehension for words
that don't appear in the reading. If one of us so-called evolutionists
had done this, Scott would be complaining again
about "misrepresentation."

> >> If you or anyone else can answer one or both
> >> of these I would be more than happy to post the
> >> quote.
> >
> >You should have posted it long before now and
> >without condition if you truly felt that it
> >would make your point. It does not. For on thing,
> >you clearly ignore the first part of the quote:
> >
> >"It therefore seems to me absurd to argue that
> >the theory is tautological..."
> >
> I don't ignore it.
>
> It's just not relevant to the case you are trying
> to make.

Actually, it's very relevant to my overall case. Scott is again mind-
reading, trying to tell me what is relevant and what is not to the
discussion of the content in "The Biotic Message."

> You wrote:
> > The claim was that Walter claimed natural selection
> > was a tautology.
>
> Walter doesn't claim that natural selection is
> a tautology.

Walter's own words - repeatedly stated in a variety of ways, says
otherwise.

> What Walter claims is that:
>
> IF :
>
> Natural Selection IS "survival of the fittest"
>
> WHEN:
>
> "the fittest are identified by their survival"
>
> THEN:
>
> "Natural Selection is a tautology."

Scott is repeating himself again. See above. In the portion that I
quoted, Walter does not write "IF natural selection is survival of the
fittest."

Scott is misrepresenting Walter ReMine.

> >> I just thought it might be more effective if
> >> Dave saw it for himself, with his own eyes, in
> >> Walter's book, which he claims to have read
> >> sufficiently to offer a review.
> >
> >In fact, in the URL reference I provided above,
> >I mentioned Maynard Smith. Obviously I saw the
> >quote. All of this and more was carefully
> >worded and quotes selected to support Walter's
> >contention, i.e., that natural selection is a
> >tautology.
> >
> >You don't agree?
> >
> No, I don't.

The statement below follows "you don't agree?"

> >Fine. Provide a direct quote from the book
> >that says that natural selection - *correctly*
> >"formulated" - is not a tautology.

Notice that Scott doesn't do this. Instead, he tries another
diversionary tactic. Watch:

> >Your sophistry and diversionary tactics aren't
> >fooling anyone.
> >
> Please tell me what "natural selection
> - *correctly* "formulated" " is.

Notice that Scott doesn't respond to the point - he evades it - but I
am to provide him with an elementary education in natural selection.
Sorry, it won't fly.

> How is Walter or myself supposed to know
> WHEN natural selection is "correctly"
> formulated and when it is not?

Walter addresses the subject as if he is very familiar with it and
tries to leave his reader with that impression. He makes authoritative
claims about the subject without qualification. In light of that, the
question above is quite amazing.

> Is it only NOT "correctly" formulated when
> it is NOT formulated as a tautology?

Anyone who understood the theory (and bothered to check the link I
provided on at least two occasions) would not have to ask this
question.

> Or are there other instances where natural
> selection is NOT "correctly" formulated.

Usually by those who fail to understand it. In that sense, natural
selection is no different from any other scientific concept.

Brian M. Scott

unread,
Sep 7, 2000, 11:10:44 PM9/7/00
to

> In <8p8o47$8se$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Dave Horn <Dave...@email.msn.com>
> writes:

[massive snip]

> >Fine. Provide a direct quote from the book that says that natural
> >selection - *correctly* "formulated" - is not a tautology.

> >Your sophistry and diversionary tactics aren't fooling anyone.

> Please tell me what "natural selection
> - *correctly* "formulated" " is.

I take it that you haven't bothered to read Howard Hershey's
extensive comments in the Is 'Natural Selection' a Tautology
thread.

[...]

Brian M. Scott

Geoff Sheffield

unread,
Sep 8, 2000, 12:28:41 PM9/8/00
to
> In <8p8o47$8se$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Dave Horn <Dave...@email.msn.com>
writes:
[snip]

>
> >Fine. Provide a direct quote from the book that says that natural
> >selection - *correctly* "formulated" - is not a tautology.
> >
> >Your sophistry and diversionary tactics aren't fooling anyone.
> >
> Please tell me what "natural selection
> - *correctly* "formulated" " is.

What does ReMine say it is when correctly
formulated?


>
> How is Walter or myself supposed to know
> WHEN natural selection is "correctly"
> formulated and when it is not?

Frankly, I don't expect that either of you
would be able to recognize a correct
formulation. But isn't that the problem?
You are criticizing something that you
admit you don't understand well enough
to recognize when you see it. (I think
you are only speaking for yourself with
the question however - I doubt ReMine
would admit that he couldn't recognize
a correct formulation.)

>
> Is it only NOT "correctly" formulated when
> it is NOT formulated as a tautology?
>
> Or are there other instances where natural
> selection is NOT "correctly" formulated.
>

There are probably many incorrect formulations
of all types. But how can you presume to
criticize evolution if you don't even know
what it is? You can say that it's complicated,
that you don't understand it, but you can't
legitimately claim that it is wrong.

--
Geoff Sheffield

Jack Dominey

unread,
Sep 8, 2000, 1:58:21 PM9/8/00
to
> In <8p5e7m$ar1$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Jack Dominey <jdom...@my-deja.com>
writes:

<snip>

> >Actually, the issue I saw raised originally is whether ReMine argues
> >that the essential concept of natural selection is a tautology.
> >Horn's quotes establish that to my satisfaction. Your "issues" only
> >seem to highlight the fact that you don't want to actually discuss
> > the contents of ReMine's book.

> And Horn's quotes only dealt with the portion
> of one of ReMine's chapters on Natural Selection
> that dealt with tautologous formulations. There
> is more than this in ReMine's book, which is why
> Horn stands accused of misrepresentation.

> Am I discussing content now?

Not really. Quoting, paraphrasing, analyzing, or otherwise defending
ReMine's arguments would count as discussing content. Questioning
someone else's presentation of the content - especially without
advancing any particular argument - is at one remove at best.

Since you have read the book (I have not) would you clarify one thing
for me? Does ReMine argue that non-tautologous formulations of Natural
Selection are useful, or scientific?

<snip>

sc...@home.com

unread,
Sep 8, 2000, 6:29:52 PM9/8/00
to
In <8pb42m$r8$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Geoff Sheffield <geo...@my-deja.com> writes:
>In article <39b83...@news1.prserv.net>,
> sc...@home.com wrote:
>> In <8p8o47$8se$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Dave Horn <Dave...@email.msn.com>
>writes:
>[snip]
>>
>> >Fine. Provide a direct quote from the book that says that natural
>> >selection - *correctly* "formulated" - is not a tautology.
>> >
>> >Your sophistry and diversionary tactics aren't fooling anyone.
>> >
>> Please tell me what "natural selection
>> - *correctly* "formulated" " is.
>
>What does ReMine say it is when correctly
>formulated?
>
ReMine isn't the judge of what is a *correct*
formulation and what is an *incorrect* formulation,
unlike Mr. Horn.

>> How is Walter or myself supposed to know
>> WHEN natural selection is "correctly"
>> formulated and when it is not?
>
>Frankly, I don't expect that either of you
>would be able to recognize a correct
>formulation. But isn't that the problem?
>You are criticizing something that you
>admit you don't understand well enough
>to recognize when you see it. (I think
>you are only speaking for yourself with
>the question however - I doubt ReMine
>would admit that he couldn't recognize
>a correct formulation.)
>
>>
>> Is it only NOT "correctly" formulated when
>> it is NOT formulated as a tautology?
>>
>> Or are there other instances where natural
>> selection is NOT "correctly" formulated.
>>
>
>There are probably many incorrect formulations
>of all types. But how can you presume to
>criticize evolution if you don't even know
>what it is? You can say that it's complicated,
>that you don't understand it, but you can't
>legitimately claim that it is wrong.
>

No, but I can sure claim that it's incoherent.

Does Walter ReMIne claim that Natural Selection
is WRONG?

Does Walter ReMine claim that Evolution is WRONG?

What I can criticize is the inability of evolutionists
to explicate their theories and to do so in a consistent
manner.

Your own admission that "There are probably
many incorrect formulations of all types" is
itself quite telling.

Would you be able to recognize each and every
one of these "incorrect" formulations?

How would you do so?

Is there some ONE SINGLE CORRECT formulation?

If so, why are there so many incorrect formulations
out there running around?

By your own admission:

> There are probably many incorrect formulations
> of all types.


regards,

Scott

sc...@home.com

unread,
Sep 8, 2000, 7:02:47 PM9/8/00
to
In <8p9il4$8qg$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Dave Horn <Dave...@email.msn.com> writes:
>In article <39b83...@news1.prserv.net>,
> sc...@home.com wrote:
>> In <8p8o47$8se$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Dave Horn <Dave...@email.msn.com>
>writes:

<snip>

Getting to the point...


Dave Horn:

>> >The claim was that Walter claimed
>> >natural selection was a tautology.

>> >Walter ReMine:
>> >
>> >"Natural selection is survival of the fittest,
>> >and the tautology hinges on the word _fittest_
>> >[emphasis in original]."
>> >
>> >He doesn't call this a "formulation." He says
>> >"natural selection *is*..." He then goes on to
>> >claim that it's a tautology.
>> >
>> >Walter ReMine:
>> >
>> >"When the fittest are identified by their
>> >survival then there is a tautology. We ask,
>> >who are the fittest? We are told, the survivors.
>> >We ask, who will survive? We are told, the
>> >fittest. Natural selection is then 'the survivor
>> >of the survivors.' It is a tautology."
>> >
>> >Again, Walter does not identify this as his
>> >"formulation." He states it outright. We
>> >are to accept this without question. He then
>> >concludes, "it is a tautology."
>> >

Note that here Dave's argument is that Walter
does not identify that these tautologous formulations
are "formulations," and from this attempts to make
the case that Walter thinks that the theory of Natural
Selection IS a tautology.

Does Walter, however, identify these as mere
formulations which are tautologous?

Yes, indeed he does.

Walter begins by stating:

"Natural selection is actually DEFINED MANY DIFFERENT WAYS.
The theory has MANY FORMULATIONS... The illusion that
'natural selection is science' is created by shifting between
the FORMULATIONS to meet any objection." (p 97)

Walter concludes with this summary:

"FORMULATIONS of natural selection fall into four groups:
TAUTOLOGIES, special definitions, metaphysics, and lame
formulations (T, SD, M, L)." (p 116)

Emphsis mine.

So your only complaint here is the first IF?

That Walter did not explicitly say IF natural
selection is survival of the fittest?

IF that is the case then you need to modify
your argument to say that Walter claims that
Natural Selection IS survival of the fittest and
that this is not THE CORRECT definition of
Natural Selection.

But I have to note that you STILL ignore the
WHEN and THEN portion, which still refutes
your "silly little claim."

WHEN:

"the fittest are identified by their survival"

THEN:

"Natural Selection is a tautology."

Is it your contention that Walter DID NOT
actually use the words WHEN and THEN?

<snip>

Scott

howard hershey

unread,
Sep 8, 2000, 10:17:50 PM9/8/00
to
sc...@home.com wrote:
>
> In <8p9il4$8qg$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Dave Horn <Dave...@email.msn.com> writes:
> >In article <39b83...@news1.prserv.net>,
> > sc...@home.com wrote:
> >> In <8p8o47$8se$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Dave Horn <Dave...@email.msn.com>
> >writes:
>
[snip]

>
> Walter begins by stating:
>
> "Natural selection is actually DEFINED MANY DIFFERENT WAYS.
> The theory has MANY FORMULATIONS... The illusion that
> 'natural selection is science' is created by shifting between
> the FORMULATIONS to meet any objection." (p 97)
>
> Walter concludes with this summary:
>
> "FORMULATIONS of natural selection fall into four groups:
> TAUTOLOGIES, special definitions, metaphysics, and lame
> formulations (T, SD, M, L)." (p 116)
>
> Emphsis mine.
>
[snip]

Ah! We are now making some progress in mining the mind of ReMine.
Perhaps you would now like to discuss special definitions, metaphysics,
and lame formulations? Which of those characterisations includes the
description I gave and why? It sure doesn't sound like any of these
formulations look like the one that is actually used by population
geneticists.

Dave Horn

unread,
Sep 8, 2000, 10:37:11 PM9/8/00
to
Scott the sophist strikes again:

<sc...@home.com> wrote in message news:39b97...@news1.prserv.net...


> In <8p9il4$8qg$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Dave Horn <Dave...@email.msn.com>
writes:
> >In article <39b83...@news1.prserv.net>,
> > sc...@home.com wrote:
> >> In <8p8o47$8se$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Dave Horn <Dave...@email.msn.com>
> >writes:
>
> <snip>

What was snipped?

[Begin restored snip]

In article <39b83...@news1.prserv.net>,
sc...@home.com wrote:
> In <8p8o47$8se$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Dave Horn <Dave...@email.msn.com>
writes:

See above.

[End restored snip]

> Getting to the point...

Deciding what the point is while dodging lots of embarrassing gaffes...

> Dave Horn:
>
> >> >The claim was that Walter claimed
> >> >natural selection was a tautology.
>
> >> >Walter ReMine:
> >> >
> >> >"Natural selection is survival of the fittest,
> >> >and the tautology hinges on the word _fittest_
> >> >[emphasis in original]."
> >> >
> >> >He doesn't call this a "formulation." He says
> >> >"natural selection *is*..." He then goes on to
> >> >claim that it's a tautology.
> >> >
> >> >Walter ReMine:
> >> >
> >> >"When the fittest are identified by their
> >> >survival then there is a tautology. We ask,
> >> >who are the fittest? We are told, the survivors.
> >> >We ask, who will survive? We are told, the
> >> >fittest. Natural selection is then 'the survivor
> >> >of the survivors.' It is a tautology."
> >> >
> >> >Again, Walter does not identify this as his
> >> >"formulation." He states it outright. We
> >> >are to accept this without question. He then
> >> >concludes, "it is a tautology."
>
> Note that here Dave's argument is that Walter
> does not identify that these tautologous formulations

> are "formulations..."

Wrong.

Look at what was written:

"Walter does not identify this as HIS [emphasis added] 'formulation.'"

I then point out that Walter "states it outright." Scott spent the better
part of the day, I'm sure, trying to figure out how to get out of the
current quandary, and the only way he can do it is to misrepresent me as he
did Walter yesterday.

> ...and from this attempts to make the case that Walter


> thinks that the theory of Natural Selection IS a tautology.

Walter presumed to define natural selection in a single sentence and claim
that it was a tautology. He then proceeded to get into "formulations" and
said that, in order to get around the tautology problem, evolutionists
(whoever they are, of course) had to come up with "formulations" that are
not tautologists. Walter says:

"The tautology problem causes evolutionists to disagree with themselves
about how natural selection should be formulated." [ReMine, p. 98]

Walter seems to be saying that there is a tautology problem in natural
selection, and consequently evolutionists need to come up with a formulation
that answers this alleged problem. I have already provided this quote, of
course, and it's one that Scott has ignored up to now. I haven't read ahead
but I can be pretty sure he doesn't deal with it here. Why would Walter
think that evolutionists need to come up with varying formulations to deal
with "the tautology problem" is he doesn't feel that there *is* a "tautology
problem" with natural selection?

> Does Walter, however, identify these as mere
> formulations which are tautologous?

Scott's premise is in error (if it's not outright misrepresentation), so his
follow-up would be _non sequiter_ to my argument. However, let's continue:

> Yes, indeed he does.

Not really. He superficially gets into these things and that may fool the
average creationist reader, but those of us who have a lot of background in
these subjects can see the problems with Walter's arguments.

(The problem with *Scott's* arguments, by the way and forgetting for the
moment that they consist entirely of sophisty, is that he presumes to read
Walter's mind.)

> Walter begins by stating:
>
> "Natural selection is actually DEFINED MANY DIFFERENT
> WAYS. The theory has MANY FORMULATIONS...

And, as has been pointed out and even acknowledged by Scott, Walter never
explains the *correct* "formulation" in detail or describes what biologists
would call "natural selection."

> ...The illusion that 'natural selection is science' is created by


> shifting between the FORMULATIONS to meet any objection."
> (p 97)

So we see that Walter claims that it is an illusion to claim that natural
selection is science. On the next page are the quotes that I provided, in
which Walter claims that natural selection is a tautology and follows up to
evolutionist commentary as if they are responding to "the tautological
problem." I fail to see how Scott's quoted material shows that Walter is
*not* claiming natural selection is a tautology.

> Walter concludes with this summary:
>
> "FORMULATIONS of natural selection fall into four groups:
> TAUTOLOGIES, special definitions, metaphysics, and lame
> formulations (T, SD, M, L)." (p 116)
>
> Emphsis mine.

There are a lot of pages between 97 and 116, and it's interesting that Scott
chooses *not* to detail any of them. I have referred to all of these
classifications already in previous articles. I think it's obvious what
Walter has to say about tautologies. What does he say about "special
definitions?"

"Special definitions are made by redefining _fitness_ [emphasis in original]
for each given case..." He then says that they are not "tautologies" and
adds "a theory made of more than one definition (and especially
contradictory contradictions) is not science. A theory cannot be tested
when redefined for every case." [p. 102] As I have already said, Walter's
"special defintions" make natural selection something other than what is
familiar to biologists as natural selection. Walter tells us that these
"special definitions" are "false for the general case" and "do not unify our
understanding of nature in the manner claimed of natural selection." Scott
ignored all of that, of course. And, of course, these "special definitions"
are proposed as a solution to the alleged "tautology problem" in natural
selection apparently as it is currently understood in biology.

In metaphysics, I have already commented that Walter has said this is not
scientific. He defines this as "when _fitness_ [emphasis in original] is a
combination of countless factors." (Walter keys on "fitness" almost
throughout this argument, ignoring the importance of differential
reproduction and other factors that make natural selection what it is.)
Walter further says that this feature "becomes an immeasurable quantity.
The concept is esoteric. It is not empirical." [p. 103] It is also not
natural selection and, as Walter admits, "it is not testable, and therefore
it is not science." [p. 104]

In "lame formulations," Walter presumes that differential survival refers to
"just differences in survival" and says "lame formulations does not even try
to solve the problem of design and adaptation." Keep in mind that "lame
formulations" are Walter's constructs - irrelevancies directed at the
alleged "tautology problem" in natural selection. "Lame formulations can
sometimes be science, but they do not explain adaptation...differential
survival is the most common lame formulation." [pp. 105, 106]

Walter provides no evidence for these things nor does he present examples of
applications in nature. He merely pads these areas with quotes from
evolutionists who, more than likely, would not recognize any of these
alleged "formulations" that are proposed to address the "tautology problem."
These are *Walter*'s "formulations" of natural selection.

My complaint is that words were inserted where they don't appear. It's not
surprising to see a sophist try this, and to watch a sophist try to minimize
this when it is pointed out. I have lots of "complaints" about Scott's
evasions and obfuscations, but for this particular segment, this is a valid
"complaint."

> That Walter did not explicitly say IF natural
> selection is survival of the fittest?

I provided the correct quote. Scott decided to add a small but powerful
word that can change the meaning.

> IF that is the case then you need to modify
> your argument to say that Walter claims that
> Natural Selection IS survival of the fittest and
> that this is not THE CORRECT definition of
> Natural Selection.

I believe I have already done both of these things. I quoted Walter
directly:

"Natural selection is survival of the fittest, and the tautology hinges on

the word _fittest_ [emphasis in original]." [p. 98] I also provided the
rest of the paragraph, which Scott has borrowed for his "when/then
argument." It follows this statement. "Survival of the fittest" is an
oversimplification of the concept of natural selection. This is well-known
by those who understand the concept. It is not the "correct definition."

> But I have to note that you STILL ignore the
> WHEN and THEN portion, which still refutes
> your "silly little claim."

No, what has happened is that Scott has tried to get past the direct
statements of Walter ReMine and relies on those that are more vague. The
problem is that they say essentially the same thing in context, which is why
I included the "when/then passage" in the original article to which Scott
*still* has not responded.

> WHEN:
>
> "the fittest are identified by their survival"
>
> THEN:
>
> "Natural Selection is a tautology."
>
> Is it your contention that Walter DID NOT
> actually use the words WHEN and THEN?

Of course not. He used them. I quoted them long ago, along with the
context of the paragraph from which they were derived.

> <snip>

Remember, never trust a Scott snip.

[Begin restored snip]

> >> If you or anyone else can answer one or both
> >> of these I would be more than happy to post the
> >> quote.
> >
> >You should have posted it long before now and
> >without condition if you truly felt that it
> >would make your point. It does not. For on thing,
> >you clearly ignore the first part of the quote:
> >
> >"It therefore seems to me absurd to argue that
> >the theory is tautological..."
> >
> I don't ignore it.
>
> It's just not relevant to the case you are trying
> to make.

Actually, it's very relevant to my overall case. Scott is again mind-
reading, trying to tell me what is relevant and what is not to the
discussion of the content in "The Biotic Message."

> You wrote:
> > The claim was that Walter claimed natural selection
> > was a tautology.
>

> Walter doesn't claim that natural selection is
> a tautology.

Walter's own words - repeatedly stated in a variety of ways, says otherwise.

> What Walter claims is that:
>

> IF :
>
> Natural Selection IS "survival of the fittest"
>
> WHEN:
>
> "the fittest are identified by their survival"
>
> THEN:
>
> "Natural Selection is a tautology."

Scott is repeating himself again. See above. In the portion that I quoted,


Walter does not write "IF natural selection is survival of the fittest."

Scott is misrepresenting Walter ReMine.

> >> I just thought it might be more effective if
> >> Dave saw it for himself, with his own eyes, in
> >> Walter's book, which he claims to have read
> >> sufficiently to offer a review.
> >
> >In fact, in the URL reference I provided above,
> >I mentioned Maynard Smith. Obviously I saw the
> >quote. All of this and more was carefully
> >worded and quotes selected to support Walter's

> >contention, i.e., that natural selection is a
> >tautology.
> >

[End restored snip]


--
"Virtue is not photogenic. What is it to be a nice guy? To be nothing,
that's what. A big fat zero with a smile for everybody." - Kirk Douglas


Dave Horn

unread,
Sep 8, 2000, 10:48:31 PM9/8/00
to
"howard hershey" <hers...@indiana.edu> wrote in message
news:39B9A0...@indiana.edu...

> sc...@home.com wrote:
> >
> > In <8p9il4$8qg$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Dave Horn <Dave...@email.msn.com>
writes:
> > >In article <39b83...@news1.prserv.net>,
> > > sc...@home.com wrote:
> > >> In <8p8o47$8se$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Dave Horn <Dave...@email.msn.com>
> > >writes:
> >
> [snip]
> >
> > Walter begins by stating:
> >
> > "Natural selection is actually DEFINED MANY
> > DIFFERENT WAYS. The theory has MANY FORMULATIONS...
> > The illusion that 'natural selection is science' is created by
> > shifting between the FORMULATIONS to meet any objection."
> > (p 97)
> >
> > Walter concludes with this summary:
> >
> > "FORMULATIONS of natural selection fall into four groups:
> > TAUTOLOGIES, special definitions, metaphysics, and lame
> > formulations (T, SD, M, L)." (p 116)
> >
> > Emphsis mine.
> >
> [snip]
>
> Ah! We are now making some progress in mining the mind of
> ReMine. Perhaps you would now like to discuss special definitions,
> metaphysics, and lame formulations?

Personally, I'm all for it. I think it's pretty well established that
Walter approaches the subject of natural selection as if he believes it to
be (or represents it to be) a tautology and that the "tautology problem" is
addressed by "evolutionists" in these myriad ways. A discussion of the
details of these categories will provide more evidence of that, some of
which I provided in my own reply to this thread tonight.

> Which of those characterisations includes the description I
> gave and why?

None of them do. Walter does not describe these characterizations in any
kind of detail.

> It sure doesn't sound like any of these formulations look like
> the one that is actually used by population geneticists.

Nope. Not at all.

Dave Horn

unread,
Sep 8, 2000, 11:21:50 PM9/8/00
to
In article <8pb9bg$7hl$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,

Jack Dominey <jdom...@my-deja.com> wrote:
> In article <39b72...@news1.prserv.net>,
> sc...@home.com wrote:
> > In <8p5e7m$ar1$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Jack Dominey <jdominey@my-
deja.com>

> writes:
>
> Since you have read the book (I have not) would
> you clarify one thing for me? Does ReMine argue
> that non-tautologous formulations of Natural
> Selection are useful, or scientific?

Walter does not describe a "non-tautologous formulation of natural
selection." He gives us categories so that "the tautology problem" is
addressed.

As to natural selection itself,

"Evolutionists proclaim that Darwin's theory [natural selection] is a
scientific solution of biological adapation. This chapter [chapter 4]
will show their claim to science is mistaken." [ReMine, p. 97]

According to ReMine, natural selection is not science.

sc...@home.com

unread,
Sep 9, 2000, 1:34:23 AM9/9/00
to
In <8pb9bg$7hl$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Jack Dominey <jdom...@my-deja.com> writes:
>
<snip>
>
>Since you have read the book (I have not) would you clarify one thing
>for me? Does ReMine argue that non-tautologous formulations of Natural
>Selection are useful, or scientific?
>
ReMine is not trying to make a positive
argument FOR evolution or natural
selection.

From his Summary of Chapter 4 - Survival of the Fittest

Formulations of natural selection fall into four groups:
tautologies, special definitions, metaphysics, and lame


formulations (T, SD, M, L).

Tautologies are not testable scientific explanations.
They are definitions masquerading as explanations.

Special definitions are a multitude of conflicting
explanations masquerading as a single unified theory.

Metaphysical explanations are not testable, therefore
they are not scientific.

Lame formulations do not even address the problem of
adaptation, therefore they cannot solve it.

None of these formulations scientifically solves the problem
of adaptation and design. [24]

The illusion that "natural selection is science" was created
by shifting back and forth between formulations. The shifting
was concealed by various factors:

Vague and ambiguous keywords (like *fitness*)

Rapid shifting between formulations

Over-emphasis of peripheral issues, like reproduction
and probability.


Scott

Vincent Maycock

unread,
Sep 9, 2000, 8:27:29 AM9/9/00
to

<sc...@home.com> wrote in message news:39b9c...@news1.prserv.net...

> In <8pb9bg$7hl$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Jack Dominey <jdom...@my-deja.com>
writes:
> >
> <snip>
> >
> >Since you have read the book (I have not) would you clarify one thing
> >for me? Does ReMine argue that non-tautologous formulations of Natural
> >Selection are useful, or scientific?
> >
> ReMine is not trying to make a positive
> argument FOR evolution or natural
> selection.
>
> From his Summary of Chapter 4 - Survival of the Fittest
>
> Formulations of natural selection fall into four groups:
> tautologies, special definitions, metaphysics, and lame
> formulations (T, SD, M, L).
>
> Tautologies are not testable scientific explanations.
> They are definitions masquerading as explanations.

All tautologies can be converted into non-tautologies by simply re-phrasing
them. Convert the tautologous formulations of natural selection into
non-tautologies, and a statement with empirical content will result. These
statements are what people *mean* when they unintentionally use the
tautologous varieties.

> Special definitions are a multitude of conflicting
> explanations masquerading as a single unified theory.

Which formulations are these, btw?

> Metaphysical explanations are not testable, therefore
> they are not scientific.

Which formulations or explanations are these?

> Lame formulations do not even address the problem of
> adaptation, therefore they cannot solve it.

Which formulations are these?

> None of these formulations scientifically solves the problem
> of adaptation and design. [24]

Does he admit that there are other formulations besides these, which do
solve the problem?

> The illusion that "natural selection is science" was created
> by shifting back and forth between formulations. The shifting
> was concealed by various factors:
>
> Vague and ambiguous keywords (like *fitness*)

Fitness is just the tendency to leave more offspring; there doesn't have to
be anything ambiguous about this, although I suppose some people do use this
word ambiguously, in some cases leading to confusion and even tautologies.
But anyone with half a brain knows what's being discussed. Walter's
complaints are just semantics; they are, of course, completely unrelated to
any non-trivial problems in biology, scientifically speaking.

--
Vince


Howard Hershey

unread,
Sep 12, 2000, 1:34:19 PM9/12/00
to

Dave Horn wrote:
>
> Scott the sophist strikes again:
>
> <sc...@home.com> wrote in message news:39b97...@news1.prserv.net...
> > In <8p9il4$8qg$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Dave Horn <Dave...@email.msn.com>
> writes:
> > >In article <39b83...@news1.prserv.net>,
> > > sc...@home.com wrote:
> > >> In <8p8o47$8se$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Dave Horn <Dave...@email.msn.com>
> > >writes:
> >

[snip]

Well, it would seem that my formulation (and that of *every* correct
formulation) of natural selection would fit (in Walt's World
categories) into the category of "lame formulations" because all these
definitions involve "differential survival". But, now that we know
*where* Walter places the formulations that everyone else think is
correct, we can ask the relevant questions: Why does he think these
formulations are lame? Does he actually explain why a formulation of
natural selection involving differential survival is lame and why he
thinks that differential survival (specifically of those variants best
adapted to the particular environment) does not explain adaptation?


>
> Walter provides no evidence for these things nor does he present examples of
> applications in nature. He merely pads these areas with quotes from
> evolutionists who, more than likely, would not recognize any of these
> alleged "formulations" that are proposed to address the "tautology problem."
> These are *Walter*'s "formulations" of natural selection.
>

[snip]

Howard Hershey

unread,
Sep 12, 2000, 1:45:45 PM9/12/00
to

sc...@home.com wrote:
>
> In <8pb9bg$7hl$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Jack Dominey <jdom...@my-deja.com> writes:
> >
> <snip>
> >
> >Since you have read the book (I have not) would you clarify one thing
> >for me? Does ReMine argue that non-tautologous formulations of Natural
> >Selection are useful, or scientific?
> >
> ReMine is not trying to make a positive
> argument FOR evolution or natural
> selection.

Well, duh, I never would have guessed that.


>
> From his Summary of Chapter 4 - Survival of the Fittest
>
> Formulations of natural selection fall into four groups:
> tautologies, special definitions, metaphysics, and lame
> formulations (T, SD, M, L).
>
> Tautologies are not testable scientific explanations.
> They are definitions masquerading as explanations.
>
> Special definitions are a multitude of conflicting
> explanations masquerading as a single unified theory.
>
> Metaphysical explanations are not testable, therefore
> they are not scientific.
>
> Lame formulations do not even address the problem of
> adaptation, therefore they cannot solve it.
>
> None of these formulations scientifically solves the problem
> of adaptation and design. [24]

I would argue that the "lame formulations", which seems to be the
category in which all the correct formulations of natural selection
fit in Walt's World of Novel Terminology, do indeed solve the problem
of maximizing adaptation to local environments. But perhaps Walt has
something more than the mere assertion that the "lame formulations"
cannot do this? A discussion of why the 'lame' formulations won't
work would be nice, because it might lead to an understanding of what
Walter thinks natural selection really should be.


>
> The illusion that "natural selection is science" was created
> by shifting back and forth between formulations. The shifting
> was concealed by various factors:
>
> Vague and ambiguous keywords (like *fitness*)

"Fitness" is a measurable feature. So is "relative fitness".
>
> Rapid shifting between formulations

All the correct formulations seem to be included in the category of
"lame formulations". I actually see very little evidence of shifting
between formulations. Does Walter give examples?


>
> Over-emphasis of peripheral issues, like reproduction
> and probability.

Reproduction is hardly a peripheral issue in a process that measures
reproductive success. Probability is hardly peripheral either if one
wants to show a significant difference in "relative fitness".
>
> Scott

Matt Silberstein

unread,
Sep 12, 2000, 8:51:58 PM9/12/00
to
In talk.origins I read <39b96...@news1.prserv.net> from
sc...@home.com:

[snip]

>Does Walter ReMIne claim that Natural Selection
>is WRONG?

An incoherent question. Does ReMine say Natural Selection does or does
not occur? That is what matters. NS can't be right or wrong on its
own, it either helps explain what we see or it does not, it either
occurs or it does not.

>Does Walter ReMine claim that Evolution is WRONG?

Does he affirm or deny that there is differential reproductive success
based, at least in part, on inherited characteristics? Does he address
this issue at all?

>What I can criticize is the inability of evolutionists
>to explicate their theories and to do so in a consistent
>manner.

Does he look at the theories as presented in peer-reviewed journals or
just in pop science books? Does he compare the consistency to other
areas of science? If he does not bother to examine the peer-reviewed
work then his book is useless.

>Your own admission that "There are probably
>many incorrect formulations of all types" is
>itself quite telling.

Yes, it says that some pop formulations are not as good as others.
BFD.

>Would you be able to recognize each and every
>one of these "incorrect" formulations?
>
>How would you do so?
>
>Is there some ONE SINGLE CORRECT formulation?

Probably not. That is not how human language or science works.

[snip]

--
Matt Silberstein

A simple man comes home and wonders what is for dinner
A complex man comes home and wonders about the complexities of the universe
An enlightened man comes home and wonders what is for dinner

A murderer on _Homicide: Life on the streets_

Geoff Sheffield

unread,
Sep 13, 2000, 12:05:42 PM9/13/00
to
In article <39b96...@news1.prserv.net>,

sc...@home.com wrote:
> In <8pb42m$r8$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Geoff Sheffield <geo...@my-deja.com>
writes:
> >In article <39b83...@news1.prserv.net>,
> > sc...@home.com wrote:
> >> In <8p8o47$8se$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Dave Horn
<Dave...@email.msn.com>
> >writes:
> >[snip]
> >>
> >> >Fine. Provide a direct quote from the book that says that natural
> >> >selection - *correctly* "formulated" - is not a tautology.
> >> >
> >> >Your sophistry and diversionary tactics aren't fooling anyone.
> >> >
> >> Please tell me what "natural selection
> >> - *correctly* "formulated" " is.
> >
> >What does ReMine say it is when correctly
> >formulated?
> >
> ReMine isn't the judge of what is a *correct*
> formulation and what is an *incorrect* formulation,
> unlike Mr. Horn.

He ought to be able to tell a correct formulation
from an incorrect one if he wants to comment
on natural selection. He is certainly very
quick to criticize people who misrepresent his
book - we wouldn't want him to be guilty of
misrepresnting natural selection.


>
> >> How is Walter or myself supposed to know
> >> WHEN natural selection is "correctly"
> >> formulated and when it is not?
> >
> >Frankly, I don't expect that either of you
> >would be able to recognize a correct
> >formulation. But isn't that the problem?
> >You are criticizing something that you
> >admit you don't understand well enough
> >to recognize when you see it. (I think
> >you are only speaking for yourself with
> >the question however - I doubt ReMine
> >would admit that he couldn't recognize
> >a correct formulation.)
> >
> >>
> >> Is it only NOT "correctly" formulated when
> >> it is NOT formulated as a tautology?
> >>
> >> Or are there other instances where natural
> >> selection is NOT "correctly" formulated.
> >>
> >
> >There are probably many incorrect formulations
> >of all types. But how can you presume to
> >criticize evolution if you don't even know
> >what it is? You can say that it's complicated,
> >that you don't understand it, but you can't
> >legitimately claim that it is wrong.
> >
> No, but I can sure claim that it's incoherent.

I expect that you would find general relativity
and quantum mechanics incoherent as well. So,
an additional step is needed beyond your claim
that it is incoherent.

>
> Does Walter ReMIne claim that Natural Selection
> is WRONG?
>
> Does Walter ReMine claim that Evolution is WRONG?
>
> What I can criticize is the inability of evolutionists
> to explicate their theories and to do so in a consistent
> manner.

But you cannot even recognize the theory when you see
it. So you can criticize it all you want, but who cares?

>
> Your own admission that "There are probably
> many incorrect formulations of all types" is
> itself quite telling.

How so? The existence of an incorrect formulation
is indicative of what? That there are no correct
formulations?

>
> Would you be able to recognize each and every
> one of these "incorrect" formulations?
>
> How would you do so?

I'm not claiming to be able to. I'm also not
claiming to be able to refute the theory, so
there is no reason for me to be able to recognize
it.

>
> Is there some ONE SINGLE CORRECT formulation?
>
> If so, why are there so many incorrect formulations
> out there running around?

Primarily because creationists misrepresent the theory of
evolution, I suspect. Out-of-context quoting is an
excellent way to create an incorrect formulation.


>
> By your own admission:
>
> > There are probably many incorrect formulations
> > of all types.
>

Hey, I hate to criticize your reading comprehension,
but the word "probably" is in there for a reason.
And furthermore, I would say that most of the
incorrect formulations are due to creationists.

Jack Dominey

unread,
Sep 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/24/00
to
In <39b9c...@news1.prserv.net>, sc...@home.com wrote:

Thanks for the reply. I find this much more satisfying than 'who said
what' arguments.

>In <8pb9bg$7hl$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Jack Dominey <jdom...@my-deja.com> writes:

><snip>

>>Since you have read the book (I have not) would you clarify one thing
>>for me? Does ReMine argue that non-tautologous formulations of Natural
>>Selection are useful, or scientific?

>ReMine is not trying to make a positive
>argument FOR evolution or natural
>selection.

No surprise there.

>From his Summary of Chapter 4 - Survival of the Fittest

I fear a strawman attack, seeing this chapter title.

> Formulations of natural selection fall into four groups:
>tautologies, special definitions, metaphysics, and lame
>formulations (T, SD, M, L).

> Tautologies are not testable scientific explanations.
> They are definitions masquerading as explanations.

But definitions can be quite useful, no?

> Special definitions are a multitude of conflicting
> explanations masquerading as a single unified theory.

> Metaphysical explanations are not testable, therefore
> they are not scientific.

> Lame formulations do not even address the problem of
> adaptation, therefore they cannot solve it.

Well, I'm sure ReMine gives lots of examples, and I wouldn't expect
you to retype all of them. I will be curious to see what Acker says
about this, though.

>None of these formulations scientifically solves the problem
>of adaptation and design. [24]

An interesting assertion, but not one I would be willing to agree
with. But then, I don't see that the distinction between natural and
artificial selection is critical with respect to understanding the
power of selection.

> The illusion that "natural selection is science" was created
>by shifting back and forth between formulations. The shifting
>was concealed by various factors:

> Vague and ambiguous keywords (like *fitness*)

> Rapid shifting between formulations

> Over-emphasis of peripheral issues, like reproduction
> and probability.

Reproduction is peripheral? Geez, that's bizarre. As Heinlein
pointed out (IIRC), the biggest, strongest, most ferocious
saber-toothed tiger momma won't leave any genes around if she ignores
her cubs.

So far I'm not impressed with ReMine's reasoning (and I've read many
of the various ReMine threads over the years).


--
Jack Dominey "Apparently I'm insane.
domineys(at)mindspring.com But I'm one of the happy kinds!"


James Acker

unread,
Sep 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/25/00
to
Jack Dominey <lo...@my.sig> wrote:
: In <39b9c...@news1.prserv.net>, sc...@home.com wrote:

[delete to here]

: Well, I'm sure ReMine gives lots of examples, and I wouldn't expect


: you to retype all of them. I will be curious to see what Acker says
: about this, though.

Don't hold your breath: Chapter 2 is very long and I've been
very busy submitting papers to journals. One got put to bed and the
other is listening to lullabies ;-) so I might have a little more
time soon.

Just don't want you to get your hopes up.

Jim Acker


*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Jim Acker
jac...@gl.umbc.edu
"Since we are assured that an all-wise Creator has observed the
most exact proportions, of number, weight, and measure, in the
make of all things, the most likely way therefore, to get any
insight into the nature of those parts of the creation, which
come within our observation, must in all reason be to number,
weigh, and measure." - Stephen Hales


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