Two recent articles show that Darwin is not invincible. On one side he is being attacked by hopeful monsters. On the other, he is being attacked by an atheist truth-seeker. Neither of these attacks are coming from creationists.Return of the hopeful monster: Tanguy Chouard raised eyebrows in Nature News with a headline that sounds like a new movie: “Revenge of the hopeful monster.” It discusses the revival of a heresy that would have ruffled Darwin, who always said, “Natura non facit saltum” (nature does not take leaps). Chouard discusses evidence that nature does take leaps – big changes that can occur within a single generation. “Experimental evidence has shown that individual genetic changes can have vast effects on an organism without dooming it to the evolutionary rubbish heap,” he said. (The evolutionary rubbish heap is presumably where winners of the Darwin Awards go.) But does the evolutionary Aesop fable give the edge to the gradualist tortoise, or to the saltationist hare? Maybe both. Avoiding a complete overhaul of the Darwin evolution engine, Chouard tried to have his cake and eat it, too: “But small-effect mutations still matter – a lot. They provide essential fine-tuning and sometimes pave the way for explosive evolution to follow,” he explained. “As the molecular details unfold, theory badly needs to catch up.” For evidence, Chouard exhibited an evolutionary pet, the stickleback fish. Offspring can vary substantially between armored and naked forms. This is due to a single gene location responsible for 2/3 of the spines. Chouard explained, “the reigning gradualist dogma regarded these as artificially protected monstrosities that would never survive the harsh hand of natural selection.” Gradualists have argued that pleiotropy (multiple effects of single changes) means that large changes would generally be deleterious. “How could a mutation in such a crucial gene result in anything but a hopeless monster?” A successful large change would be tantamount to a miracle. The stickleback study, though, shows that “surgical strike” mutations that cause sudden changes in armor happen repeatedly. And Lenski’s multi-generational studies on E. coli showed both saltations and gradual mutations at work, producing increases in fitness by jumps and by small steps. The idea is “large-early, small-late” – big jumps that don’t kill the organism are fine-tuned by gradual changes. Some of the bacteria learned to digest citrate, and then these mutants quickly swept through and overtook the population. Lenski considered that comparable to the invasion of land by tetrapods. (For a different interpretation, see the Behe Blog.) “It remains to be seen,” though, Chouard added, “whether such elementary mechanisms of adaptation, often referred to as microevolution, can instruct the higher processes that constitute macroevolution, such as speciation and the emergence of biodiversity or complex organs.” Even Goldschmidt, the hopeful-monster champion, doubted leaps that large could be made. And Jerry Coyne cautioned generalizing results from asexual bacteria with small genomes and high mutation rates. So is this disjunctive theory that says evolution proceeds both by leaps and by crawls an improvement on Darwin? Do the tortoise and the hare join hands and cross the finish line as a team? “Large effect or small, evolution begins to look like an endless list of special cases,….” Chouard admitted. “One reason is the general lack of knowledge about how changes in genes contribute to function and how this affects fitness.” That sounds a pretty basic requisite for understanding evolution. One evolutionist longed for a functional synthesis, “marrying evolutionary biology, molecular genetics and structural biology.” Some are glad for the return of Goldschmidt’s hopeful monster hypothesis; others favor a middle ground. “We need much more data before the issue of large versus small can be settled,” Coyne said, before the new studies can argue that “Darwin was wrong” about saltation. The organisms are going to be the arbiters of this dispute. “A mutation may affect phenotype but not change fitness much,” Chouard ended. “It may have a large effect in the context of a given genome, or in a given environment, but may have a smaller effect later in an organism’s history.” So it seems way premature to claim that evolutionary biology has settled on a comprehensive theory of speciation, even 150 years after Darwin. Chouard handed out promissory notes: “As researchers drill down to the molecular mechanisms driving adaptation, theory may catch up and dogmas may recede.” Maybe Darwin was wrong. Maybe he was right. Maybe he was partly right. Who knows? He must be celebrated as the greatest biologist in history regardless.Dogma must go: Jerry Fodor, a philosopher at Rutgers, is angry at the dogmatic Darwinists who see natural selection as the be-all and end-all of evolutionary change. But he is no creationist; he is an avowed atheist. He discussed his book What Darwin Got Wrong, co-authored with Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, an atheist professor of cognitive sciences at U of Arizona, on Salon.com. Thomas Rogers, who interviewed Fodor, was surprised that a published attack on Darwin did not come from the “religious right.” He said, “Their book details (in very technical language) how recent discoveries in genetics have thrown into question many of our perceived truths about natural selection, and why these have the potential to undermine much of what we know about evolution and biology.” For challenging Darwin, Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini have received “obscene and debased ” comments on blogs. Fodor’s beef with natural selection appears to stem from its storytelling propensity. Why do people have traits like hair on their heads and dark hair with dark eyes? “You can make up a story that explains why it was good to have those properties in the original environment of selection,” he said. “Do we have any reason to think that story is true? No.” Fodor argues that there is no way to tell which traits were selected because they contribute to fitness, and which traits come along for the ride. “There isn’t anything in the Darwinist picture that allows you to answer that question.” Why do we have toenails? Do they serve an evolutionary purpose? How would we know? “It may be a case that in the environment there was some factor that favored toenails but there also may not.” This sounds like the Stuff Happens Law. Gene expression is too complicated, he said, to sort out fitness effects from random change: “Now the question is, how much of the evolutionary variance is determined by factors of the environment and how much is controlled by the organization of the organism, and the answer is nobody knows.” Fodor even argues that picking out “traits” may be meaningless. A giraffe has a long neck. Did nature select that trait, or is it part of the giraffe package? “Animals can have long necks and toenails, but if you try to break such creatures apart into traits and you say, OK, ‘What selected this trait?’ and, ‘What selected that trait?’ you’ve made a mistake right from the beginning,” he said. “The disintegration of the organism into traits is itself a spurious undertaking.” Selection acts on the whole animal, he believes. An example of the storytelling habit can be seen in last week’s Science paper on whale evolution.1 “The link between diatom diversity and observed cetacean diversity supports the hypothesis that diatom-based primary production has been an important driver of neocete evolution,” wrote Marx and Uhen. (A “neocete” is a modern whale.) How, exactly, did that environmental driver (diatom diversity and number) act on the genes of a pre-whale to make it a whale? It leaves the evolution of the complex structures of the customers assumed rather than explained. Undeterred, the authors next pulled a completely different explanatory tool off the shelf. “Similarly, the observation that climate change also has a role to play is not surprising in light of recent research that has demonstrated substantial temperature-dependent variations in the diversity of extant cetaceans.” But how can they disentangle that driver from other drivers, and explain why it acted the way it did on whales, but not on birds, mammals and everything else in the biosphere that was simultaneously subject to climate change? To take Fodor’s response, “Nobody knows.” Maybe Marx and Uhen should make a bold, Popperian prediction. Maybe they should predict what whales will evolve into after today’s anthropogenic climate change. Will it be as dramatic as turning a cow into a whale? Should we find it “not surprising” if climate change has a “role to play” in driving whales back onto land, or giving them wings? How would that role be measured?Fodor knows his views could be perceived as traitorous. “I think there’s the sense that if you think that there’s something wrong with the theory you’re giving aid and comfort to intelligent design people. And people do feel very strongly about whether you want to do that.” He himself is unperturbed by that eventuality. “When you do science, you try to find the truth.”1. Felix Marx and Mark Uhen, “Climate, Critters, and Cetaceans: Cenozoic Drivers of the Evolution of Modern Whales,” Science, 19 February 2010: Vol. 327. no. 5968, pp. 993-996, DOI: 10.1126/science.1185581.Fodor’s courage for facing flak while seeking truth is admirable, but he doesn’t realize that his truth-seeking is incompatible with his atheism. Truth refers to ideas that are eternal – otherwise they are not true. How is an atheist, who is presumably a physicalist, going to employ concepts, ideas and propositions, which must be defended with honesty and integrity, without presupposing a moral and spiritual realm? A “force” will not do. Honesty, truth, integrity, morality presuppose a Person. The creationists, whom he accuses of post-hoc reasoning, actually have the pre-hoc conditions for intelligibility that give their post-hoc deductions meaning. Darwinists hawk their post-hoc stories without the pre-hoc, making them ad-hoc. That’s when the post-hoc fallacy ensues. Fodor should stop plagiarizing Judeo-Christian presuppositions and pay the price before taking part in the Judeo-Christian smorgasbord with its nutritious ingredients of rationality. So he should not worry about offending the other thieves, but make amends with the smorgasbord Owner. It should be clear from these stories that criticisms of Darwin are not all religiously motivated. They are substantive. Darwinism is a collection of just-so stories funded by promissory notes with no empirical collateral. The bank that issues Darwin notes is bankrupt. Any theory that reduces to the Stuff Happens Law is dealing in worthless explanatory currency. If you call Chairman Charlie and ask, “What do you know?” he doesn’t answer. Let the dead bury their dead.(Visited 82 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
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The Bombay High Court on Wednesday said, “The press is the most powerful watchdog in Indian democracy.” It quashed the order banning the media from reporting on the Sohrabuddin trial taking place at a Sessions court.A single-judge Bench of Justice Revati Mohite-Dere said, “There are statutory principles for administrative justice — not only must justice be done, it must also be seen to be done.” The court went on to say, “The trial court has no power to ban the media and even the defence counsels were unable to show under which provision this can be done. If the State wants to prosecute someone, it is important to do so openly and fearlessly.”The court was hearing two petitions clubbed together, which challenged the order passed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on November 29, 2017, banning media from publishing reports on the trial of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kausar Bi and his aide Tulsiram Prajapati that is underway before a special CBI court against policemen from Gujarat and Rajasthan.By upholding Article 19(1)(a) (freedom of the speech and expression) of the Indian Constitution, the court said, “The press has the right to report and the public have the right to know. The rights of the press are intrinsic with the Constitutional right that guarantees freedom of expression.”
Bhagaban Sahu, prime accused in the murder of Congress candidate from Odisha’s Aska Assembly Constituency, Manoj Kumar Jena, was arrested by Berhampur police on Saturday. The Congress candidate had been murdered in Berhampur on May 22, a day before the counting of votes. Police had earlier arrested seven persons in relation to this case. But Sahu, the prime conspirator behind the murder, had absconded. Sahu, a liquor trader, had used hired killers to murder Jena. Sahu now has seven criminal cases pending against him, including five murder cases.According to the findings of investigating police officers, a long-standing tussle over criminal activities and the liquor trade were the reason behind this murder.
RCB’s Moeen Ali, who is set to leave for England to prepare for the World Cup, Tuesday said leaving the IPL midway is a shame, especially when there is a slim chance of his team making it into the semi-final if they win all the remaining games.However, he would keep an eye on how RCB is shaping up, Ali said, getting ready for the RCB-Kings XI Punjab clash at the Chinnaswamy stadium here Wednesday.”It’s not ideal. I think it’s worse when there are three games to go. If there were 6, 7 games, it was a little more understandable.And knowing that there could be a chance of going through if we win all our games, then you miss out on a potential semifinal and stuff, but I will definitely keep an eye out and see how they are going, hoping that we are winning all our games,” he told reporters on the eve of the match.Replying to a query, Ali said IPL has helped him prepare well for the world cup as it gave him an opportunity to rub shoulders with foreign players and get enough time at the nets to improve skills.Asked if he preferred batting up the order for RCB, Ali said this would not bother him much.”We tried left and right combination to make it tougher for the bowlers and fielders. … I may prefer to come in as early as possible. I am not to worried until the team is winning and I am doing okay,” he said.advertisementOn RCB depending too much on AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli, Ali said it was very difficult for a team to rely on two batsmen.”… My job is to come and score some runs as quickly as AB and Virat and take the game away from the opposition, if one of them fails to get a start,” he said.Ali said Dale Steyn’s presence has strengthened RCB’s bowling attack as the South African express has picked wickets in the first four overs, which helps a team win most of the time, Ali said.”Dale has been a huge impact. We did not take wickets in the powerplays. If you take four wickets in powerplays, most of the time you win matches.He has been a class act. The way he swings the ball is a brave thing to do. Probably that has been the missing factor, which cost us games,” he said.Asked if he needs to bowl more, Ali said as long as the team was winning, these things did not worry him much.”It is a small ground here. I observed in the last match that seamers were hard to score off.I really did not get the window to bowl against KKR when Andre Russel came in. But, as long as you are winning, you really don’t worry too much,” he said.Also Read | Bowling last over vs KKR reminded me of Ben Stokes in 2016 World T20 final: Moeen AliAlso Read | IPL 2019: Kuldeep Yadav breaks down after Moeen Ali onslaught at Eden Gardens
Norwich midfielder Moritz Leitner: Slow start cost usby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveNorwich City midfielder Moritz Leitner admits they were caught out by Burnley for Saturday’s 2-0 defeat.Leitner acknowledged that a slow start was to blame for the defeat.”We knew exactly how Burnley would play. They had one plan which was to kick it high and be prepared for the fight. To be honest, in the first 15 minutes they were better than us and did well, so they deserved the lead.”Teemu had a big chance and I had a shot on target. With a bit more luck, maybe we would have scored and been back in the game. We found some solutions in terms of creating chances, but now we have to analyse the game and keep going.”It was the perfect start for Burnley. For us it was more of a shock to concede two goals very early in the game. That’s always tough but we showed a good reaction and wanted to keep playing and to come back into the game. We made some mistakes, but we tried everything, and we will fight for the next game.”You can take something positive from every game, but the dressing room was disappointed. We will analyse the game, talk about it and find solutions for the next game.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Washington: Successive governments in Pakistan did not tell the truth to the United States, in particular in the last 15 years, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday, adding that there were 40 different militant groups operating in his country. “We were fighting the US war on terror. Pakistan has nothing to do with 9/11. Al-Qaeda was in Afghanistan. There were no militant Taliban in Pakistan. But we joined the US war. Unfortunately, when things went wrong, where I blame my government, we did not tell the US exactly the truth on the ground,” Khan said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details He was addressing a Capitol Hill reception hosted by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Chairperson of the Congressional Pakistan Caucus. Lee is also a member of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans. Part of the reason for this, Khan explained to the lawmakers, was that the Pakistani governments were not in control. “There were 40 different militant groups operating within Pakistan. So Pakistan went through a period where people like us were worried about could we survive it. So while the US expected us to do more and help the US win the war, Pakistan at that time was fighting for its own existence,” he said. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Khan said it was very important that he met President Donald Trump and other top American leaders. “We have explained to them that the way forward is: number one, the relationship has to be based on mutual trust,” he said, adding that he would be honest in telling the US what Pakistan could do in the peace process. Pakistan, Khan said, was trying its best to get the Taliban on the table to start this dialogue. “So far, we have done pretty well,” he said and cautioned the US that the process was not going to be easy. “Do not expect this to be easy, because it is a very complicated situation in Afghanistan. But rest assured, we would be trying our best. The whole country is standing behind me. The Pakistan Army, the security forces, all are behind me. We all have one objective and it is exactly the same objective as the US, which is to have a peaceful solution as quickly as possible in Afghanistan,” Khan said. In his last public engagement before winding up his hectic three-day US tour, Khan hoped that the US-Pak relationship was now on a different level.
A funny thing happened in the competition to be the most valuable public company in the U.S.Apple became the first U.S. company valued at $1 trillion in August, and Amazon briefly joined it a month later. With Apple selling phones for more than $700 a pop, on average, and more and more consumers shopping on Amazon, it was no surprise that those companies rose to the top of the value chain.Then came October and November. Both companies issued cautious outlooks for the holidays amid a downturn in the stock market and investors dumped their shares, opening the door for a third player.Microsoft, the 1990s home-computing powerhouse that is having a renaissance moment, has eclipsed Amazon and is close to passing Apple in market value. Around midday Thursday, Apple’s value topped Microsoft’s by just over $2 billion: $847.6 billion to $845.2 billion. Amazon was back to $820.8 billion.That Microsoft is even close to eclipsing Apple would have been unheard of just a few years ago.But under CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has found stability by moving away from its flagship Windows operating system and focusing on cloud-computing services with long-term business contracts.Microsoft even momentarily passed Apple in value on Monday, the first time in eight years it was more valuable than the iPhone maker. Apple has been the world’s most valuable firm since claiming the top spot from Exxon Mobil earlier this decade. Microsoft hasn’t been at the top since the height of the dot-com boom in 2000.Wall Street analysts are encouraged by Microsoft’s growing cloud-computing business while a bit concerned about a slowdown in Apple’s phone sales. Research firm Canacord Genuity lowered its price target for Apple to $225 from $250 on Thursday, while maintaining a “buy” rating. Apple shares have fallen from around $225 in early October to below $180.That 21 per cent decline has allowed Microsoft to again be a contender for most valuable company. Microsoft shares have dropped only 4 per cent in the same time frame, a reflection of its steady focus on business customers in recent years.Being less reliant on consumer demand helped shield Microsoft from holiday season turbulence and U.S.-China trade war jitters affecting Apple and other tech companies.The Associated Press
Daltonganj (Jharkhand): Slamming National Conference leader Omar Abdullah for his statement seeking a separate prime minister for Jammu and Kashmir, BJP president Amit Shah Saturday said J&K is an inseparable part of the country. As long as the BJP exists, Jammu and Kashmir will continue to be an integral part of India, the BJP president said while addressing an election rally here. “Kashmir is Maa Bharats ‘Mukut’ (crown of India) and nobody can snatch it,” he said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ The BJP president also said, “We will remove Article 370 from J&K, if you make Narendra Modi the prime minister again.” Article 370 of the Constitution grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Shah’s question, “Should there be two prime ministers for one country?”, evoked a deafening ‘no’ from the crowd. The BJP has given the nation Modi as prime minister and the security of the country has been strengthened ever since, he said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K During the UPA government’s 10-year rule, terror groups from Pakistan used to target India continuously, the BJP chief said. Under former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Pakistans alia, malia and balia (referring to terrorists) used to come and take away the heads of jawans after killing them, Shah claimed. “Even today I cant forget Hemrajs beheading and the disrespect shown to him. But ‘Mouni Baba’ Manmohan Singh had not even uttered ‘ohh’!” he said. Lance Naik Hemraj of 13 Rajputana Rifles was killed and beheaded by Pakistani soldiers on January 8, 2013 in Poonch sector of Jammu & Kashmir. “We cannot compromise with the security of the nation. Pakistan wants to separate Kashmir from India. We will not allow it. “Pakistan se goli aayegi to yahan se gola jayaga (if a bullet comes here, a shell lands there),” the BJP president said. “When the nation rejoiced with sweets following the February 26 Balakot air strike, a pall of gloom descended on the Congress and Pakistan,” Shah said. He ridiculed Congress leader Sam Pitroda for saying that “some boys” had committed a mistake and dropped bombs, and there should be talks between the two neighbouring countries. When terrorists from Pakistan struck the CPRF convoy in Pulwama killing 40 personnel, the country was seething with anger, Shah said. Aware of the 2016 surgical strike conducted by India, Pakistan had deployed personnel and tanks on the borders with India, “But Modi ji… instructed our Air Force on the 13th day (of the Pulwama attack) and our brave Air Force personnel entered Pakistan territory targeting terrorists,” Shah said. Criticising the opposition alliance, Shah alleged that whenever they were in power, they had indulged in “massive corruption” and even made an independent MLA (Madhu Koda) chief minister of Jharkhand in 2006. Seeking to know from Congress president Rahul Gandhi, RJD president Lalu Prasad and JMMs working president Hemant Soren about their PM candidate, Shah said each day they will have a different prime minister, with Sunday being a holiday. “Jharkhand is endowed with rich mineral resources, but the people were poor. In the last five years, the BJP governments at the Centre and the state have ushered in development in rural and urban areas, uplifted the poor, farmers, dalits and tribals,” Shah said. In Jharkhand, the condition of roads has improved, electricity has been provided to people and work on Mandal dam is on, he said. The Mandal dam, work on which began in 1972 but was stalled since 1993, is now being built on North Koel river under Barwadih block in Latehar district. Outlining the other welfare measures, the BJP leader said cooking gas and ovens, housing and toilet facilities have also been given to the poor, he said. The BJP leader was here to campaign for the party’s sitting MP Vishun Dayal Ram, the former state police chief.
OSU junior H-back Curtis Samuel (4) runs for a touchdown during the second half of the Buckeyes game against Penn State on Oct. 22. The Buckeyes lost 24-21. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorSTATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The goal for any offense is to get the ball into the hands of its playmakers. It’s to give the ball to those athletes in space with the hope of creating a long gain. For the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes, at some times that can be challenging due to the amount of raw talent on the field. But through the team’s first six games, junior H-back Curtis Samuel asserted himself as the most dynamic player on the sideline.When looking back on its loss against Penn State on Saturday, OSU might want to consider using Samuel more.In the first quarter, Samuel registered zero touches and the Buckeyes scored zero points in a quarter for the first time all season. However, the inefficiency of the offense wasn’t an anomaly, and the stagnation begins with not getting the ball in Samuel’s hands.OSU had accumulated just 61 yards of offense after the first quarter, not one of those belonging to Samuel. It took redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett until the under-10 minute mark of the second quarter to get the ball to Samuel, which resulted in a first down and 15-yard gain. His next catch, too, moved the sticks.On that drive, Barrett threw a touchdown pass to redshirt junior tight end Marcus Baugh, putting the Buckeyes up 9-0.Samuel began to be more involved in the beginning of the second half. It was almost as if OSU coach Urban Meyer remembered how important Samuel is to the offense. The Brooklyn native took his first carry of the night for 74 yards for a touchdown, taking the wind out of Penn State’s sails.Then, all of a sudden, Samuel wasn’t anywhere to be found in the run game. He had just one carry after the touchdown run and he was held to 10 total touches for the game with 139 total yards of offense. The Buckeyes stagnant offense allowed Penn State to get back into the game, with some help from OSU’s special teams, and ultimately ended in a 24-21 loss — the first of OSU’s season.Meyer simply said after the game that Samuel is much too important to the success of the offense to have just 10 touches and two carries.“We got to get him more than that,” he said.The two games where OSU’s offensive inconsistencies were the most prevalent were Indiana and Penn State. Against the Hoosiers, Samuel did not have a touch in the first quarter and did not record a reception. Against Penn State, Samuel surpassed his average of 5.3 receptions per game, but only had two carries, which is seven attempts lower than his season average.Play calling is one factor in an offense that is having difficulty with moving the ball, and execution is another. Redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber and senior H-back Dontre Wilson are two other dual-threat players who are used in the passing and running game, but the offense doesn’t have an urgency to get one guy the ball over the other.“It’s not like, ‘hey, Curtis has got to touch the ball, Dontre has got to touch the ball, Mike Weber has got to touch the ball.’ We’re not doing that,” Barrett said. “I’m going to tell you that from here on out, there’s not going to be any, ‘hey, let’s get Curtis the ball on this play.’ It’s not going to be like that.” In 2015, OSU had an embarrassment of riches concerning the talent at skill positions. That team struggled in finding the right amount of touches for each player on the offense. This season, in many ways OSU is still finding a balance in its offense. However, it is coming at the expense of neglecting Samuel.Although Meyer said he needs to get the ball to Samuel more, Barrett said that the offense doesn’t function best when one player is singled out to get the ball.“We’re going to run our plays and if Curtis happens to get the ball, then Curtis happens to get the ball,” Barrett said. “Our offense runs very well when that happens. We’re not going to start going backwards into ‘this person has to get the ball, that person has to get the ball’ because then you’re just predictable. That’s not how we play. That’s not good football.”