Steve Bougerolle steveb at
Sat Jun 15 00:16:39 PDT 2002

On Sat, 15 Jun 2002 08:52:20 +0200
Björn Lindberg < at> wrote:

> Of course, but the evolutionary theory is the currently most probable
> one. Also, I can create a model for evolution of gene sequences. That
> model will work well with simulated data, and give certain results.
> That same model can also work well for real data suggesting that it
> might be a good model. But it is all about models.

My only beef with that is summarizing current theory as "evolution". 
That hides theoretical problems under a big blanket.  What is the
current most favoured selection mechanism, and (if you don't mind
sparing a minute to tell us about your work) how will this help us check
its likelihood?

> Let me also add that biologists have observed mutations, and other
> genetic behavior like duplications of gene material etc, so it is not
> just speculation at all. Evolution have been observed in smaller, more
> fast evolving organisms, like bacteria.

Nobody (at least nobody reasonable) disputes that.  But you've just
proven micro-evolution.  That still doesn't explain how single-celled
organisms evolve to become people, and then there is still the even
bigger debate of how we get to single-celled organisms from inorganic
matter.  Exactly how many mutations would it take to change Homo Erectus
into Homo Sapiens?  What is the probability of that happening per unit
time, and of the mutant successfully spreading his mutations to create a
new species?  Repeat the same argument for other critical stages: what
are the chances of life becoming animal and plant forms?  Of a
single-celled organism developing?

The genetic tracing stuff is interesting (to me) for all sorts of other
reasons but I don't see that it does much of anything at all to address
the really interesting=contentious issues in evolutionary theory.  I DO
see, though, that some of those are basically mathematical and therefore
open to interesting computational/simulation work.

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