Darwinism refuted by adverse selection experiments

By Wolfgang G. Gasser


21-Feb-99

Darwin took it for granted that domestication traits such as big udders have
appeared because of selective breeding, but there is no proof for conscious
breeding in the beginning of domestication.
Big udders could also be the
result of frequent milking over many generations.


If reductionist Darwinism were right, it would be IN PRINCIPLE as simple to
breed (or clone) animals with rare qualities as to breed or clone normal
ones, but this is disproved by animal breeding and by special experiments.

An even more impressive refutation of the selection theory constitute
selection experiments with adverse selection such as the following example:

"Tryon has bred rats selectively according to their ability on the
California automatic maze, and, in a very carefully controlled experiment,
has shown clearly that the offspring of 'bright' parents contain more
'brights' than 'dulls', and that the offspring of 'dulls' more 'dulls' than
'brights'. The interesting point here in connection with Lamarckian
inheritance, however, is that both strains, 'dulls' as well as 'brights',
became progressively better at learning this maze."
(Nature, Feb. 4, 1939,
Vol. 143, p.190)

In you are interested in more examples and quotations about adverse
selection experiments, see:

McDougall's Experiment on Inheritance of Acquired Habits in Rats


21-Feb-99

> Checked it. Not impressive. How come you only rely on research done
> before I was born?

Only somebody who doesn't understand at all the real problem can
write that the results of the McDougall's Lamarckian experiment are
not impressive in the context of this discussion.

The reason why I use old experiments is simple: experiments similar
to the ones which in the past have shown problems of the orthodox
theories are normally not repeated or become even suppressed.


21-Feb-99

> Your argument assumes that Darwinian evolution is a result only
> of selection. It isn't.

This assumption is not essential for my argument. Essential for it,
however, are the materialistic and reductionist pre-assumptions of
Darwinism.

If there is enough raw material and production capacity, cars and
computers can be multiplied by any factor. Good software can be
copied in the same way as bad software.

According to pure Darwinism, the same should be valid for animals
and humans, but that's obviously not the case.


It is always possible to assume ad-hoc-hypotheses to explain away
this problem, such as e.g. the hypothesis that genes for rare
properties are often somehow connected with genes for low fertility.


21-Feb-99

Do you really think that Tryon was so stupid that he offered a more and
more stimulating environment to the rats and changed even diet during his
experiment? If this were the only experiment with a result of progressively
better learning despite adverse selection, your hypothesis could be taken
seriously. But there are other experiments with the same result.

And that "intellectual ability has little to do with genetics", is certainly
not the normal interpretation of Darwinism. I agree with this statement,
but it is certainly not correct within the neo-Darwinian framework.
Where do instinctive behavior patterns and intellectual abilities of
animals and humans come from, according to you?


21-Feb-99

> Oh, I don't know about that. Dogs are pretty diverse, originated from
> wolves, and now we see dogs ranging from the Chihuahua to the
> St. Bernard.

Thank you for the very interesting reference. The text "Multiple and
Ancient Origins of the Domestic Dog" of this site begins with the
following paragraph:

"The archaeological record cannot resolve whether domestic dogs
originated from a single wolf population or arose from multiple
populations at different times (1, 2). However, circumstantial
evidence suggests that dogs may have diverse origins (3). During
most of the late Pleistocene, humans and wolves coexisted over
a wide geographic area (1), providing ample opportunity for
independent domestication events and continued genetic
exchange between wolves and dogs. The extreme phenotypic
diversity of dogs, even during the early stages of domestication
(1, 3, 4), also suggests a varied genetic heritage. Consequently,
the genetic diversity of dogs may have been enriched by multiple
founding events, possibly followed by occasional interbreeding
with wild wolf populations."
(
kc.net/~wolf2dog/wayne1.htm)

The "extreme phenotypic diversity of dogs, even during the early
stages of domestication" could also suggest that it is simply an
error to assume that Chihuahuas did originate from wolves by
selective breeding in some thousand years.
As far as I know,
wild little dogs still exist. And we have no direct evidence that
there actually was selective breeding in the early stages of
domestication. So my hypothesis that the phenotypic diversity
of wolves and dogs appeared long before dogs were domesticated
and was only reinforced by selective breeding, is not more
speculative than your alternative.

One has never succeeded in creating such diversity in other
animal species, and it is only in the case of dogs that such a
power could be ascribed to selective breeding.


23-Feb-99

You write that I "completely ignore the source of variation", despite
the fact that my argument

"If reductionist Darwinism were right, it would be IN PRINCIPLE
as simple to breed (or clone) animals with rare qualities as to
breed (or clone) normal ones, but this is disproved by animal
breeding and by special experiments."

does not depend on variation and selection. Good racehorses and
police dogs cannot be reproduced as easily as ordinary farmhorses
and stray dogs. Ask a breeder!

And you make the same error dogmatists have made at all times:
you assume that the current official explanations of nature and
life are for the first time in human history the true explanations.
That general survival is possible does not depend on how we
explain this fact!


23-Feb-99

The essential point of adverse selection experiments is the
following: The animals with the most successful strategies
are not allowed to reproduce, but the animals with the least
successful are allowed.
And such experiments have shown
that despite adverse selection the successful strategies
propagate!


(447643810) 23-Feb-99

You write that there is plenty of evidence that acquired characters
are not inherited. I'd like to know this evidence. I know that some
experiments have been performed such as the following one:

 

The tails of mice were cut off over generations, but even after
many generations only mice with normal tails were born. This
was interpreted as a success of Darwinism. But nobody would
try to breed mice without tails during the same number of
generations by selection.

"In designing his experiments, McDougall kept in mind two
principles which previous investigators have overlooked. These
are, first, that 'the adaptation investigated should be achieved
by the intelligent purposive efforts of the organism concerned',
and, second, that it should be of such a nature that slight
degrees of adaptation should be measurable, for it has
already been shown by Lamarck's opponents that acquired
characteristics are not transmitted as 'perfected wholes of
structure or function"
. (Nature, Feb. 4, 1939, Vol. 143, p.188)

I really would like to know the facts and arguments you think
are in favor of the selection theory and refute other explanations
such as mine. If the behavior of our hair, fingernails and toenails
or also the behavior of babies has changed during the last
thousands of years, then this could be rather strong evidence
against Darwinism.

My knowledge of English is certainly not the best, but according

to my feeling for language, my statement

"The experiment of Agar's group is more convincing than the
one of Crew, because they took fewer precautions to prevent
undesired results."

makes sense. Agar's experiment is more convincing than Crew's,
because Crew tried more to bias the results.
Everybody knows
that inbreeding has negative effects, also on learning capacity.
How can an honest and serious researcher who should test
whether there is an increasing facility in learning, practice such
close inbreeding that finally all his rats became extinct?

Nevertheless, Crew actually succeeded. Darwinists claim that the
very convincing evidence found by McDougall has been refuted by
Crew (and Agar)!

If in the second generation the best rat (out of 22 rats) makes 21
errors and in the twenty second generation 9 rats (out of 98) make
no error at all, then only somebody lacking common sense needs
complicated statistical tools.

"His (McDougall's) principal evidence of Lamarckian inheritance
is comprised in the following facts:

1.  There has been a progressive - though irregular - decline in
the average number of errors per generation; a very marked decline
in the number of errors made by the best rat of each generation;
and a less certain decline in the number of errors made by the
worst rat.

2.  McDougall found, as we have, that his rats showed a slight
initial preference for the bright passage. In the later generations
both of the main experiment, and of the experiment in which
training was combined with adverse selection, this was turned
into a pronounced preference of the dim passage."

(Agar, Drummond & Tiegs, 1935, Report on a McDougall's Lamarckian
Experiment on Training of Rats , J. Exp. Biol. 12, p.209)

In any case, I make no accusations of conspiracy. I only have noticed
that scientists often behave in a similar way as pupils and students
already knowing the solution of a problem do. In the same way as
students try to get the DESIRED result of a problem or of an
experiment, many scientists try unconsciously to prove experimentally
their prejudices.


(448500332) 26-Feb-99

Your answer to my statement that "random mutations and selection
cannot be the essential part of evolution" is:

"Random mutations and selection are the essential parts of
Darwinism. Which other stuff do you consider to be the essential
parts of Darwinism instead?"

There is a serious epistemological error showing how biased your
reasonings (unconsciously) may be: you probably take all the evidence
in favor of evolution as evidence in favor of Darwinism.

You write:

 

"The success of Darwinism is that selection does affect tail
length. Enough experiments in that vein have been done."

The results, however, are not impressive at all. If mice with substantial
phenotypic changes really had been created by selective breeding,
one certainly could find photos of them in every orthodox textbook on
Darwinism.

You write that "Lamarckism predicts quick results, whereas
Darwinism doesn't".
That's certainly not a logical consequence
from the principles Lamarckism is based on, but it is a very efficient
argument for biasing experimental results: Lamarckism can be
refuted by short experiments, whereas Darwinism cannot !!!


In any case I do not advocate Lamarckism, but a theory which is
consistent with all the facts I know.

That "acquired damage should be passed on just as well" is valid
for both Lamarckism and the psychon theory. It should be possible
to find empirical evidence for this in laboratory rats and one
certainly finds such evidence in mental asylums.

Hairs and nails have been cut off in most regions of the world over
many generations. What would happen to a child whose nails are
never cut off, as it probably was the normal case some thousands
years ago? That you think Darwinism could explain by genetic
drift or selection such a change in behavior of hair and nails (if
it happened) may suggest that (at least for you) Darwinism is a
non-falsifiable theory.

You write that my statement

"If reductionist Darwinism were right, it would be IN PRINCIPLE
as simple to breed (or clone) animals with rare qualities as to
breed (or clone) normal ones, but this is disproved by animal
breeding and by special experiments."

is wrong. This time you give to understand why it should be wrong:
the less variation, the more difficult to reproduce. But even if we
accept this explanation, my statement remains true in the case of
cloning, because there is no fusion of two haploid chromosome
sets created by 'random' recombination which could result in
genetic defects.

There is, however, a lot of evidence against the principle 'the less
variation, the more difficult to reproduce'. There are strains of rats,
mice and of many other species which have much less variation
than e.g. Chihuahuas, but remain very fertile.

A logical consequence of this principle is that animals which are
difficult to reproduce must have a much higher risk of genetic
defects than normal ones. As far as I know, this is not the case!

Human fecundity nowadays is much lower than a few decades ago
in many countries (especially in South East Asia). Do you explain it
also by a decrease in variation? (There is always an infinity of ad
hoc hypotheses to explain s.th. not agreeing which a general law).

You ask me for the reason given by Crew why he practiced such
close inbreeding that finally all his rats became extinct. The only
relevant statement I have found in his paper is:

"Reading the earlier reports, I found it impossible to overthrow
McDougall's conclusions by argument. Yet, though I could not
deny that McDougall was possibly justified in so regarding them,
I could not bring myself to accept the results he had obtained
as satisfying evidence of the reality of Lamarckian transmission.
I formed the opinion that his conclusions would be shown, by
further experimentation, to be unwarranted, for I had become
more and more critical of ... "

It is an error to assume that our debate "is a debate that was firmly
settled" only because the debate was declared to be settled after
Crew had 'refuted' McDougall's experiments. The fact that Agar's
results cannot be explained by Lamarckism was interpreted as
confirmation of Darwinism, notwithstanding the fact that the results
are not more compatible with this prevailing theory.


27-Feb-99

You write that I should define 'evolution' and 'Darwinism' as I
myself use the terms. You are right. There is plenty of confusion
(and unjustified criticism) because we are not always aware
that others do not mean the same concepts as we do by the
same terms.

The idea of a continuous evolution [emergence] of the world and
of life has existed long before Darwin. Darwin took evolution
as a fact and explained it by variation and selection. Because
in his books he defended evolution and his explanation of it
at the same time, and his theory became the prevailing one,
'evolution' and 'Darwinism' are often used at synonyms.

In a discussion with a creationist who rejects both continuous
evolution of all species and Darwin's explanation of it, it may
be not very important to distinguish between 'evolution' and
'Darwinism', but in a discussion about alternative theories of
evolution the distinction is a prerequisite.


28-Feb-99

That rare qualities of single individuals cannot be easily spread
in a population can be explained by recessive genes.

"There are dominant alleles (gene variants) for properties which
only rarely appear in animal populations. If selective breeding or
another selection results in a large spread of such an allele, it
often becomes recessive. Such a dominance inversion contradicts
modern genetics, but can easily be explained by the fact that the
number of psychons needed for the rare properties to appear
are limited." (Empirical Relevance of Psychons)

There are also whole species which are difficult to reproduce. And
don't forget: If there is enough raw material and production capacity,
cars and computers can be multiplied by any factor. Good software
can be copied in the same way as bad software.

I fully agree with what you think are the essential parts of
Darwinism: reproduction (a concept based on finality), variation
and selection. My opinion, however, is that if somebody
really understands these essential parts of Darwinism with
all their bases, consequences and implications, then this person
must conclude that Darwinism cannot explain a continuous
evolution of species in the context of the known empirical facts.

That Chihuahuas emerged from wolves by a few thousand
years of selective breeding is an unproven (maybe even absurd)
hypothesis.

A selection scenario is always possible if one considers only one
single characteristic such as nails.
But there are hundreds of
characteristics of humans which are more important than nails.
For macroevolution to work many enzyme types, many cell types
and other structures must evolve at the same time together with
behavior patterns. Because it is generally accepted that negative
mutations are more likely than positive ones, the probability of
your selection scenario is so low that we must exclude it.

You are interested in the continuation of Crew's statement:

"... for I had become more and more critical of McDougall's use of
controls, of his neglect to maintain pedigrees and individual records.
This being so, there was nothing left for me to do save to repeat the
experiment myself".

But these criticisms are not justified, because Agar has confirmed
the results of McDougall. That even Agar's control line became
progressively better in learning the task (this fact has remained
unexplained until today) is very strong evidence for my theory.

There are not "innumerable examples supporting Darwinism". There
is rather one basic principle refuting Lamarckism: the pre-assumption
that all the information needed for organisms to survive is stored in
the DNA or in other material structures.
That "the phenotype is
'scanned' and reverse-engineered into the germ-line" actually is
hardly conceivable.


(450927089) 03-Mar-99

You ask me whether I have read Darwin. I bought a German
translation of the 'Origin of Species' some twenty years ago,
and sometimes I have read in it. The book is quite interesting
and informative and shows that original Darwinism is much
sounder in several respects than reductionist neo-Darwinism.

Original Darwinism is an elegant theory. There are even elements
of Lamarckism (also advocated by Erasmus Darwin, whose
reincarnation Charles probably was) in it. The theory makes clear
predictions, also in the case of adverse selection of instinctive
behavior. But there is a lot of empirical evidence making
necessary many ad hoc hypotheses to save the theory.

The psychon theory makes not only clearer predictions than
Darwinism but also much more quantitative predictions.
Therefore more empirical facts or situations are conceivable
which, if existent, would falsify the theory. For example, the
theory is refuted if the demographic predictions of UN become
reality.

My summary of your explanation: genes for rare properties are
somehow connected with genes for low fertility.

Normally, animals are bred for more than one single property. So
it should be possible to breed animals for high fertility and one
rare property.


Dominance inversion is generally accepted (Lexikon der Biochemie
und Molekularbiologie, Herder, 1991, --> Dominanz). It is explained
by the effect of other genes, by dominance modifiers and by
environmental factors. I also have read (I don't remember where)
that one reason why cloning is desired, is the fact that in many
cases animal properties which have been created by biotechnological
means are not transmitted to the offspring, contrary to expectations.

You are right in assuming that predictions of the psychon theory
depend on the population size. The psychons for common properties
are also limited, that's why no species can grow in number beyond an
upper limit (in the short term). I have explained this in the
demographic saturation theory.

That species are difficult to reproduce in captivity, I explain by
'environment continuity'. The probability that the soul of an animal
who has never lived in captivity is born in captivity is very low. But
after having wiped out the wild populations of a species, it should
be much easier to reproduce animals in captivity. According to the
psychon theory, it is more probable that animals which have spent
a whole life in captivity are reborn in captivity. So it should now be
easier to breed some animals in zoos than in the beginning of zoos.
Maybe it could even be possible in such a way to test directly or
statistically the thesis that the death of an animal leads to a new
birth.


'Domestic dogs descended from wolves' sounds similar to 'men
descended from chimpanzees'. But if the common ancestor of
both lived 135,000 years (or more, as I assume) ago and considering
the "extreme phenotypic diversity of dogs, even during the early
stages of domestication" (
wayne1.htm), then conscious selective
breeding probably was not involved in creating this diversity. Anyway,
I think that an even greater diversity would have been possible by
conscious selective breeding.

> Now you're beginning to sound like the standard creationist
> argument from personal incredulity: "I can't figure out how this
> could have evolved through natural selection, so it must have
> been God/psychons!"

Do you take here 'natural selection' as a synonym for 'explanation of
evolution by natural means'? Don't forget: one of the first consistent
naturalists was Baruch Spinoza, who explained the world in a
panpsychist and panmaterialist way: space or matter is one aspect
of the world (or of God) and thinking or consciousness a second.
Einstein for instance strongly appreciated the philosophy of Spinoza.
He even acknowledged an influence on his concept of quanta.

In any case, creationists are much more right with respect to
probability of life within Darwinism than modern Darwinists. If
neo-Darwinism were correct, then at least now there would be a
steady decay of the genetic basis of mankind.

I would be interested very much in an 'official' online text defending
orthodoxy from probabilistic attacks. It is not enough to believe that
a problem has been resolved by others, one should verify it oneself!

Already Darwin has given a strong argument against material
Lamarckism: the evolution of infertile castes of social insects.
(This is similar to the case of normal cells in a multicellular organism).
The corresponding part of chapter 8 is revealing in several respects,
for instance it shows Darwin's rhetorical power. Darwin admits
that social insects constitute a big, even the biggest problem for
his theory. Then he writes that he would never have dared to predict
social insects from his theory and to think that natural selection
could work so efficiently. He concludes that he has discussed in
detail these insects in order to prove the power of natural selection.

The evolution of social insects and adaptive evolution of all cells of
multicellular organisms are in agreement with the psychon theory,
because the essential part of the information is stored in the
psychons and not in the genes.


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