16 May 2018

Review of Karo Michaelian's Thermodynamic Dissipation Theory, PART 2. Darwin and Natural Selection

Karo Michaelian
'Thermodynamic Dissipation Theory
of the Origin and Evolution of Life',
12th printing, March 2017
In my first blog about Karo Michaelian's Thermodynamic Dissipation Theory I discussed his claims about the effects UV light on life and the inefficiency of photosynthesis. In this blog I discuss his views on the Darwinian theory of evolution.

Will to survive

Two striking criticisms are: the "will to survive" and the "tautological definition of fitness".
The "will to survive" occurs at least 17 times in his book. It must be crucial for his argumentation. Here a few examples:
  • "Traditional evolutionary theory based on an implicit metaphysical "will to survive" of the individual and the tautology of "survival of the survivors"  has little explicative value." (p. xxvi)
  • "... do not have a mysterious "will to survive and proliferate" as the Darwinists are obliged to see it." (p.129)
  • "The implicit and unjustified assumption of the "will to survive" in the Darwinian theory can now be replaced with an explicit and physically founded "will to produce entropy" (colloquially speaking)". (p.139).
Michaelian never gives a reference for the "will to survive". Charles Darwin did not use the "will to survive" in any of his books, articles and published manuscripts. This can be easily checked:
  1. Go to Darwin Online website 
  2. Go to Advanced Search
  3. type in the field Full Text: "will to survive" (or: "drive to survive", "survival instinct")
  4. Identifier: empty *)
  5. Results: No hits
*) If desired a search can be narrowed to The Origin of Species [1st ed.] by typing F373 in the field Identifier, etc. No identifier means all his published works. See for identifiers this page.

So, the conclusion is straightforward: Michaelian accusation of a mysterious, metaphysical will to survive is not based on Darwin and therefore does not need to be replaced by anything [6]. Furthermore, the 'will to survive' is not present in any Evolution textbook [4]. See for an overview of 36 evolution textbooks my website. Any textbook of the last 35 years is good enough for this purpose.

Ironically, his theory is explicitly teleological and metaphysical. In 19.3 he rejects the standard view in science that 'Life has no Purpose' (p.291). According to Michaelian life has a purpose. But the "will to produce entropy" is just as metaphysical as the "will to survive". Really surprising for a scientist practicing the most exact of all sciences: physics.

Survival of the survivors tautology

The "survival of the survivors tautology" occurs at least 9 times in his book! It must be an important part of his argument.
Freeman & Herron
Michaelian notes that philosopher Karl Popper pointed out that "survival of the survivors" is a tautology and later Popper changed his views on Darwinism somewhat (see footnote on page 266 of Michaelian's book). Sadly, all of this is outdated and irrelevant because in Evolutionary biology fitness and natural selection are defined and used in a non-tautological way. Again pick up any of the evolution textbooks of the last 35 years. The tautology is refuted in one of the oldest Evolution textbooks I have on the shelves: Minkoff (1983) Evolutionary Biology. Minkoff defines natural selection as the "differential contribution of heritable variations to the next generation" (page 82). This blog post is not the place to explain the theory of natural selection. An excellent discussion of the testability of natural selection can be found for example in Freeman and Herron (2007) Evolutionary Analysis [1].

Sadly, the tautology problem is a well-known creationist objection to evolution. In the classification of Mark Isaak (2007) The Counter-Creationism Handbook it is listed as Claim CA500 (page 32) or see the TalkOrgins website. The father of the Intelligent Design movement Phillip Johnson didn't  miss the opportunity to use the tautology to make a fool of Darwinists (my review).

Remarkably and inconsistently, elsewhere in his book Michaelian knows very well the non-tautological definition of fitness and natural selection (chapter 19 section 8 'Evolution through Natural Selection', page 299) and even mentions antibiotic resistance as an convincing example of natural selection. But that's the only example he thinks exists. He needs one consistent view throughout the book, getting rid of views that contradict each other. If he wants to criticize a theory, the first thing is to know the subject in the same depth as the experts [2]. It seems that Michaelian wants to discredit natural selection as much as possible in order to clear the way for his own thermodynamic selection.

Sadly, his criticism of natural selection and fitness are targeted at wrong and outdated views of evolution. Natural selection is in biology what the Second law of thermodynamics is in physics. Natural selection does not and cannot contradict thermodynamics or any other physical law. That would be a miracle. Natural selection assumes every possible physical, cosmological, chemical and geological condition. It is in this extended environment that natural selection operates and has operated since the origin of life.

There are however conditions where natural selection overrules thermodynamic selection in the sense that a flying bird overrules gravity. In general: when an organism is excellent in thermodynamic dissipation (entropy production) and survives to old age in good health, but has zero offspring, its excellent characteristics will not be inherited. And that's the end. That's where natural selection overrules thermodynamic selection.
If an organism with low dissipation (entropy production) produces more offspring than an organism with high dissipation, and this dissipation property is at least partly genetic, then the frequency of this property in the population will increase. Non-random representation of genetic differences in future generations is called natural selection. Natural selection (and a view other principles in population genetics such as drift) is sufficient to explain the properties of organisms given their environment.

gliding storks gain height for free (source)
see stunning beautiful video (16 secs)

There is a deep problem with thermodynamic selection. If thermodynamic dissipation means using and wasting as much energy as possible, then thermodynamic selection is refuted. In the animal world there is a rule of thumb: if you waste energy you are a loser [3], [5]. A good demonstration of the principle is the seasonal migration of birds. Like sailplanes, hang gliders, para-gliders, European white storks use rising air (thermals or ridge lift, gliding) to gain height (see picture and video). The storks subsequently glide for free downwards and forwards to travel a great distance and locate another column of rising air to gain height again. 
White storks exploiting thermals. © Science 25 May 2018
Of course they could simply use muscle power to travel in a straight line to their destination, but that would be very costly energetically. That would be stupid. Energy is not for free. Birds  do not fly "to benefit entropy production". They would not make the thousands of kilometers of their seasonal migration. The migration of birds has been compared to the Olympic Games because of the high physical demands of a non-stop flight for thousands kilometers. Especially in birds but also in planes, the need to be as lightweight as possible is easy to understand. One could store as much fuel as possible, but that increases weight and that is a disadvantage. The point is to store just enough energy and use it efficiently. That is: don't waste energy. The anatomy, physiology and behavior of birds is organized around this principle. And that refutes the idea that dissipation (entropy production) is maximized.

The problems with KM's view are connected to the question what life is. In contrast to free-floating molecules (pigments) in solution, cells and organisms are almost by definition not directly governed by physical forces. Bacteria, plants and animals do not spontaneously arise from abiotic materials under the influence of physical forces. Proto-life could. The big difference is that life contains inherited structures that harness energy from the environment. Metabolism is under genetic control. These structures make life to a large extent autonomous. Life is not at the mercy of thermodynamics. Molecules are. Bénard cells, Belousov–Zhabotinsky reaction, etc. are spontaneous, dynamic, temporary structures exclusively governed by physical forces. Life enjoys a structural permanence not present in dead non-equilibrium thermodynamic systems. It doesn't make sense to say that organisms are controlled by a 'local thermodynamic flow'. Energy (food) has to be actively searched, captured and digested. So, one cannot extrapolate from the fundamental molecules of life ('UV pigments') which obey the laws of physics and chemistry, to cells and organisms. Organisms circumvent the laws of physics in ingenious ways. Drop a dead bird, and it falls to the ground in agreement with the law of gravity. Drop a living bird and it flies away. That's life.

I think the value of Karo Michaelian's theory is in the application to single molecules especially at the origin of life, and the origin and replication of DNA. But there is more. KM has more ideas than a whole team of experts can evaluate. He has a list of no less than 16 paradigms in need of reform (chapter 19). Among them The RNA world hypothesis, Metabolism or Replication first, The Last Universal Common Ancestor, The Great Oxygenation Event, the Hydrothermal Vent Origin of Life, Pigments provide photo-protection, Photosynthesis is optimized in nature, and Panspermia. Additionally: homochirality (chapter 14). So, it is clear that he is far more than 'just another critic of evolution'. I personally like original writers the most. Right or wrong. It is intellectual entertainment. And yes, while reading, thinking, and writing, the brain produces a lot of entropy.


  1. Freeman and Herron (2007) Evolutionary Analysis, fourth edition. Chapter 3.2 'Evolution by natural Selection' (p.76-93). They list 4 postulates of natural selection and how each of them is tested. On page 93 under the heading 'Fitness is Not Circular' the tautology problem is discussed explicitly.  Required reading! See homepage of my WDW website and the Introduction page for an overview of Evolution textbooks.
  2. In chapter 19 two sections deal with natural selection: 19.2 and 19.8. These should be severely updated and united in one section. Or deleted altogether. Please note that there is no 'natural selection' in the Glossary of technical terms! So, it is undefined in his book!
  3. "if you waste energy you are a loser" are my words, but something very similar is stated by John Tyler Bonner (2006) Why Size Matters, (p.123-): "There is also a constant selection, no matter what the size, for greater [physiological] efficiency." KM: you should seek a connection with metabolism theory. There has been a lot of research on metabolism rates in the animal world. Interesting theory: Rate of living theory: "Support for this theory has been bolstered by studies linking a lower basal metabolic rate (evident with a lowered heartbeat) to increased life expectancy." So, rate of metabolism is under genetic and evolutionary control, and is not simply dictated by physical laws.
  4. Coincidentally, the first sentence in an article about ribosomes in Science 18 May 2018 reads: "From an evolutionary perspective, life involves two simple goals: survival and reproduction." There is, however, a subtle difference between goal and purpose: goals can be measured whereas purposes cannot be measured. (source) [added 18 May 2018]
  5. In an article in Science, 25 May 2018 ("From local collective behavior to global migratory patterns in white storks") it is stated: "Similar to other large-bodied soaring migrants, white storks try to reduce the amount of energetically costly flapping flight by exploiting their atmospheric surroundings." The birds traveled 1000 km during the first 5 days of their migratory journey! Why would the authors use words as "flight costs"? See also this publication: 'The roller coaster flight strategy of bar-headed geese conserves energy during Himalayan migrations'. Science 347, 250–254 (2015). In biology this is all bloody obvious for many years. [added 26 May 2018 ]
  6. The "will to survive" is present in popular science books. For example Steven Pinker writes: "The struggle to stay alive is the primal urge of animate beings." (chapter 5 of Enlightenment now). In evolutionary biology this 'struggle to stay alive' is not an explanation of Darwinian evolution, but an adaptive behavior which is explained by average reproductive success of individuals. So this behavior is an effect, not the cause. It is not primary, but secondary. Compare: "the will to find a partner and have sex" or "why sex is fun". 'Sex is fun' explains why individuals have sex (proximate cause), but differential reproductive success explains why sex is fun (ultimate cause).  Karo confuses proximate and ultimate causes. elementary error. [added 26 May 2018 ]


Karo Michaelian said...

Hi Gert, this is Karo here. Let me first thank you publicly for reviewing my book.I will go through all of your points one by one, but I will take them one at a time and leave a question for you which will hopefully allow us to come to an agreement before going on.

In my book I really do not mention "will to survive" but rather "implicit will to survive". This means that neither Darwin nor anybody else made this explicit (so looking up Darwin is not going to help) but that it is an element needed implicitly in order to make sense of the Darwinian perspective.

Just as when you hit a rock with a hammer it does not try to protect itself or run away but succumbs peacefully to your blows. Why is biological material any different? Why does the antelope run away from the lion? Why does it not just succumb peacefully to the lion?

I look forward to your answer before going on.

gert korthof said...

Hello Karo, thanks for replying on my blog!
You surprise me!
You say "In my book I really do not mention "will to survive" but rather "implicit will to survive"." But I can't remember reading anywhere in your book "implicit will to survive". Could you give page numbers? Please note I use the paper edition 12th printing.

Further, are you saying it does not matter what Darwin wrote when you make statements about what Darwin wrote or intended? Scientists cannot ignore the data!

Anyway, is it really that important for your argument? Think about it in this way: you accuse Darwin and Darwinists of implicit meta-physics, whereas your own theory is explicitly metaphysical and teleological ('Life has a purpose'). That doesn't make sense. You can never win such an argument.

Are you going to claim that there is implicit metaphysics in the Evolution textbooks too? and you don't need to read them?

-You ask "Why does the antelope run away from the lion?" Are you saying this is for thermodynamic reasons? for producing heat? and the lion runs for producing heat too?

-You wrote "Why does it not just succumb peacefully to the lion?" That behavior would produce zero offspring. Selection pressure is 100% against that sort of behavior.

I am sure you have better arguments for your theory.

Karo Michaelian said...

Hi Gert, to avoid getting into a tangled web of words on other subjects before finishing my point, let me take up your answer, which is all I was looking for, in your second to last sentence. (I'll get back to all the rest in time, I just first want to finish with the first point of your blog.)

So you claim that not submitting peacefully to the lion would leave the antelope with zero offspring. Ok, so what? First, I don't think that the antelope is thinking about leaving offspring, and secondly, so what if it doesn't? All individuals will die, all lions will run out of food and die, eventually the whole ecosystem will collapse. But so what? Please now tell me what is fundamentally wrong with all ecosystems collapsing and Earth becoming baron of life once again?

gert korthof said...

Karo, thanks for your reply.
You wrote "So you claim that not submitting peacefully to the lion would leave the antelope with zero offspring. Ok, so what?".
This: that kind of behavior would very quickly die out! obviously because a dead animal cannot reproduce. That's why we don't observe this behavior normally in nature.

2) You wrote "I don't think that the antelope is thinking about leaving offspring"
This is psychology. Biologists do not think like that anymore after Nobel-prize-winning Tinbergen/Lorenz started behaviorism/ethology. The reason: we cannot read the mind of animals. But we can observe their behavior. You are thinking like a psychologist, biologists abandoned that long ago. The whole idea of 'will to survive' etc. is psychologism.

Furthermore, you are talking about proximate causes of behavior: what's happening in the mind or brain of animals; that is the direct causes of behavior. But evolutionary biologists are after ultimate causes: longterm evolutionary causes. This is explained in every textbook Evolutionary biology. .

If you want to criticize biologists you must be as knowledgeable as expert in the fields.

harryp said...

Karo, Gert

I think we all can agree that 'succumbing' antelopes run the risk of getting eaten. So what?

Does that explain that antelopes tend to run away these days? (and that there are still enough of them around so lions won’t run out of food and the ecosystem won’t collapse)?

This kind of logic presupposes what it tries to explain- it implies and endless regression of precursors of non-‘succumbing’ behavior, all the way down to the very first (universal?) non-succumbing organism.

Non-succumbing, that is: We are talking about intentionality here- since Aristotle the distinctive factor between matter and ‘biological material’.

To dismiss this distinction as ‘psychologism’ is, well, let's say, a misnomer. Denying intentional behavior amounts to arguing that we are zombies.

So, the question is how does natural selection explain the *evolution* of intentional behavior, rather than using the existence of intentionality as an argument in favor of natural selection. (a strange inversion of reasoning).

more to come, but first questions first.

Karo Michaelian said...

Hi Gert, again, I am trying to get you to the foundations of Darwinian logic to demonstrate to you that there are implicit assumptions that are made in Darwinian theory which are needed in order to make sense out of the theory. I will not be sidetracked into psychology or Aristotle.

So, please, answer my last question; tell me what is fundamentally wrong with an Earth completely barren of life? Would this violate any physical, chemical, or mathematical principle?

gert korthof said...

Karo, your strategy is something like this:

"Hello biologist! I am as physicist. Your science is completely metaphysical rubbish and I am going to replace it with my own superior theory. I do not have formal training in biology, but the truth is that biologists don't have the faintest idea what really happens in the biosphere. Trust me, I am a physicist. I am certain that you will be most grateful for rescuing all biologists out of their miserable biological science. Have a nice day!"

gert korthof said...

Harry, what do want? what is your goal?

harryp said...


What about answering my questions about the implicit assumptions and this strange inversion of darwion reasoning?

Nobody is trying to sidetrack anybody into aristotelianism or psychology. Fact is that instead of being barren, this earth happens to be teeming with life - and that calls for making your language as explicit as possible (if you can't do the math, not yet, that is)

speaking of math (that is unreasonable effective), this might interest you both: doi:10.1038/s41557-018-0060-5

Alex Simeonov said...

Dear Dr. Gert Korthof,
My name is Aleksandar Simeonov, I am from Skopje (Republic of Macedonia, a.k.a FYROM) and I am a master student of molecular biology and genetics. Biology is the passion of my life since childhood, I read biological literature non-stop, and I always stay up-to-date with the latest discoveries in biology (particularly molecular biology and microbiology). So, one could say that I am well-trained person in biological science.
I appreciate that you have started a discussion on this topic, most scientists totally ignore the thermodynamic theory of the origin and evolution of life.
I would like to say, as a young science-enthusiast, that I totally agree with the theory of Prof. Karo Michaelian, and, in my opinion, this is the best and most accurate description/explanation of life/biology that science has given us so far. In my view, the thermodynamic explanation of life does not contradict Darwinian evolution but it represents "the larger picture", just as Einstein's general relativity is the larger picture of Newtonian mechanics. This is the natural evolution of all sciences - to broaden the scope of knowledge and move to more and more general conclusions. Otherwise science would not progress.
In this regards, I would have to criticize your remarks toward Dr. Michaelian's theory and his comments. Biology is not static, it didn't stop progressing when Darwin's theory was published. Today, in the era of the bioinformatics and "-omics" revolution, biology has never been more dynamic in its entire history. The omics revolution has shown us that WE KNOW NOTHING! We now know for sure that we don't know anything, that we are only at the beginning of our understandings of the true biological diversity on this planet. Every new discovery in this modern revolutionizing period for biology is in support of Dr. Michaelian's theory. There are so many that it would take me whole day just to number them. I hope that you follow all the latest biological discoveries and that when you try to interpret them have in mind the thermodynamic theory of life. Otherwise, many of them would not make much sense.

With best regards,

gert korthof said...

Harry, ben ik een verdachte in deze zaak? ben ik aangehouden? ben ik verplicht tot antwoorden? :-) Waar wil je naar toe? dat wil je toch wel vertellen? moet natuurljke selectie worden afgeschaft? wat wil je er voor in de plaats stellen?

gert korthof said...

Karo, you did not yet answer my question in my first comment. You say "In my book I really do not mention "will to survive" but rather "implicit will to survive"." But I can't remember reading anywhere in your book "implicit will to survive". Could you give page numbers? (I use the paper edition 12th printing).
This is important 1) "implicit" something completely different and is difficult to prove or disprove.
2) you claim that "implicit will to survive" is in your book. If that is true, you should be able to give the locations in your book. If it is not in your book, you make false statements.

gert korthof said...

Hello Alex Simeonov, thank you for your kind comment.
I think I can agree in principle on most of what you wrote.

You wrote " the thermodynamic explanation of life does not contradict Darwinian evolution "

OK! that is completely different from Karo's view! Karo wants to replace Darwinian selection by his own version. That is a big difference!!! Agree? And that causes much trouble! It seems you want thermodynamic selection as an extension or addition?

In relation to this: Karo did not even bother to include 'Natural selection' in his Glossary of Technical Terms, while 'Thermodynamic selection' is present. He calls natural selection a 'mysterious will to survive and proliferate' (p.129). That is insult #1. And he accuses Darwinists of believing in a tautological truth. That's insult #2. And he repeats it many times. Add to that that both claims are false.

A scientific discussion must be fair, honest, factual and errors must be admitted and not ignored.
How can you have a friendly discussion when one partner insults the other?

I gave Karo the space on my blog he needed. And I reviewed his book as careful and fair as possible. So that's evidence of goodwill and real interest in his theory. But if you insult other scientists your manuscript will never be published in a mainstream peer-reviewed journal.

harryp said...

(Gert, je valt in herhaling, want dit flik je regelmatig als je je er niet meer uit weet te lullen. Ok, nog één keer, en zo dat anderen zoals Karo en onze nieuwe vriend Aleksandar ook mee kunnen lezen, al denkt Karo intussen dat ik hem op aristotelische zijsporen wil trekken).

So, Ok, we won’t discuss aristotelianism and succumbing antelopes etc

Let’s instead take molecules as an example.

There are a lot of good recent examples, like centrobin that plays an important role in the organization of the microtubule network, and cell division. Now a new study shows how important centrobin is in the development of the sperm tail - the length/size of which probably directly relates to ‘differential reproduction’ (a definition of evolution we all can agree about).

But Celf1 may stand as a better example, since this proteine directly relates to the poster child of darwinism- i.e. the (camera)eye, and consequently to Darwins own famous falsification rule about the break down of his theory: if a ‘complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications’.

Instead of closely guarding their nucleus and the DNA it contains – which normal cells do – most eye lens cells do the exact opposite.

Salil Lachke et al PLOS Genetics (2018). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007278 show that the RNA-binding protein Celf1 is essential to breaking down the nucleus' membrane and starting the process of digesting fiber cell DNA that would otherwise obstruct vision: building the eye actually requires de-constructing the internal, opaque, structures inside the cells that form the lens, including destroying the DNA itself.

Now, how do these cells simultaneously prune away obstructions without damaging proper development of the eye lens: how does a cell degrade its own nucleus and DNA without killing itself and defeating the goal of lens development?

And how does it know when to stop this degradation? It's almost like arrested cell death.

We are talking about 'post-transcriptional control' here. Celf1 is the factor that orchestrates the whole process.

How does a natural selection scenario account for this apoptosis control and for any 'successive slight modification' of the whole degradation process?

Of course “plausible stories can always be told” as Gould and Lewontin once said. Still, they all amount to an ‘accumulation of probabilities beyond believe’- to use Asa Gray’s words.

There are more examples like Celf1. And there are a lot more to come as we can dig deeper and deeper into the genome than ever before. Every new result will be a falsification of Darwin’s "theory" (better: simple analogy) following his very own rule: processes like this are inherently too complex for any ns-based scenario/story.

Sure, we still can go on talking 'natural selection', or 'differential reproduction'. Why? Because of TINA, as Dawkins once said: There Is No Alternative.

Of course, there is an alternative to story telling. It's called science. And as Aleksandar mentions, there's a revolution going on.

Nu EERST antwoord op mijn vraag, SVP: wat voegt een verhaal over ns toe aan inzicht in die door Celf1 gecontroleerde 'apoptosis' dan wel aan het begrijpen van 'post-transcriptional control'? Dat er dus al zoiets bestond? Dat er een voorloper van was/is?!. Dat het een proces is dat niet uit de lucht komt vallen? Dat het geleidelijk geëvolueerd is?
Just kicking the bucket down the road? Or what..? }

Karo Michaelian said...

Thanks for your help and kind words Alex! Gert, I don't want to get lost in a tangled web of words and accusations, but just so you don't accuse me of "making false statements", here are the locations in my book where I refer to the "implicit" will to survive; (this is from version 26, I don't have access to version 12 at the moment, but I can assure you that the only thing that changed was the page numbers)

1) p. xxviii of Abstract "Traditional evolutionary theory based on an implicit meta-physical will to survive of the organism and the tautology of survival of
the survivors has little explicative value."

2) p. 19 "Unless the implicit drive (will) to survive of living organisms can be understood in physical-chemical terms,and understood also at the microscopic level of the fundamental molecules of life, there can be no honest scientific licence for accepting as complete, or even correct, the Darwinian paradigm."

3) p. 144 "The implicit and unjustified assumption of the will to survive" in the Dar-winian theory can now be replaced with an explicit and physically founded will
to produce entropy" (colloquially speaking) in the thermodynamic dissipation
theory of the origin and evolution of life."

4) p. 277 "There is no room in the Darwinian paradigm for the theory of Gaia with its strong coupling of the biotic with the abiotic. Darwinian theory, with its covertly implicit and mystical will to survive" of the individual is deficient since the will to survive was not rendered understandable on physical or chemical law and there is no straight forward and general way to include selection simultaneously at all biosphere levels."

5) p. 283 "However, this explanation again implies an implicit
(and non-defined) organismal inherent will to survive and proliferate"."

6) p. 353 "The implicit but unjustified assumption of an organismal will to survive" in the Darwinian theory can now be replaced with an explicit and physically
grounded will to produce entropy" (colloquially speaking) in the thermodynamic dissipation theory of the origin and evolution of life."

Karo Michaelian said...

Gert, I don't think that I am being insulting to biologists when I question Darwinian theory like I have done in the above quotations and the rest of my book. I suspect that it only becomes insulting when one takes a theory as seriously and blindly as one takes a religion ("not to be questioned and off with your head for doing so"). (I hope you don't consider this as another insult!)

As Alex says, I believe that Darwinian theory is a good approximation on certain levels as to what is really happening in the biosphere, but it is not the whole story and therefore runs into contradictions, implicit and even mystical assumptions, and paradoxes when taken at face value. We are looking for a more global theory which contains less implicit assumption, does not run into paradoxes, and can include the origin of life (i.e. molecular selection).

Karo Michaelian said...

Harry and Gert, so you see that Darwinian theory relies on an implicit will to survive and replicate inherent in biological material, whether it be the antelope escaping the lion, or the lion trying to obtain food he needs to survive. You must admit that non-biological material does not seem to have this inherent characteristic. The question then is, Where does it come from and why does non-biological material not possess this? You will not find the answer in Darwinian theory but there is an answer from non-equilibrium thermodynamics.

The thermodynamic theory would say that biological material has been organized by an imposed and external general thermodynamic potential to dissipate that potential. The biological material is not an independent entity with its own intention obtained rather magically through some kind of natural selection, but rather biological material is a slave to the imposed thermodynamic potential. Biological material is the same as non-biological material. The only difference is that it has been sequestered and organized by an external potential to dissipate that imposed potential. Things get very complicated after 4 billion years of the non-equilibrium imperative of augmenting dissipation and we arrive at today's complex biosphere, but the essentials of it have not changed since the beginnings of life.

I will leave you with just one thought for today; a diverse ecosystem with predators and prey at many different levels and prey fleeing from predators is the best system for the dispersion of nutrients needed for the maintenance and spread (into barren areas) of plants, and this is best for solar photon dissipation. A barren Earth, where ecosystems have collapsed, is a poor photon dissipation system. The implicit will to survive and thrive has a thermodynamic origin. It comes naturally from non-equilibrium thermodynamic imperatives, but you have to assume (as something rather magical in biological material) it you stick to the Darwinian narrative.

gert korthof said...

Harry, geen discussie met Karo op dit blog.

Karo Michaelian is blocked on this blog because he keeps insulting the blog owner despite warnings. Insults are not accepted from anybody.

harryp said...


je maakt er weer behoorlijk een potje van met je irritaties en lichtgeraaktheid

ik verwacht ook geen fatsoenlijk antwoord meer van je, maar je zou me tenminste wat meer informatie kunnen geven over je stellige beweringen in noot 2 over Freeman and Herron

'They list 4 postulates of natural selection and how each of them is tested. On page 93 under the heading 'Fitness is Not Circular' the tautology problem is discussed explicitly. '

Alsof alleen creationisten op het punt van de circulariteit en tautologie hameren- en een achterhaalde Popper- en alsof dat probleem nu eens en voor altijd opgelost is door Freeman en Herron.

Dus help me uit de brand, laat me zien wat ik al die tijd gemist heb en hoe ik in onwetendheid gewandeld heb. Geef met die 'vier postulaten' en hun tests, en vertel me wat er op pg 93 staat. - mail ze me desgewenst

Kleine moeite lijkt me, maar ik zal je eeuwig dankbaar zijn.

Gerdien de Jong said...

Ooit bestond er een boek 'Evolution as Entropy', van Brooks en Wiley, 1986/1988. Is dit boek van Michaelian inhoudelijk hetzelfde? (B&W is te downloaden via Researchgate volgen Google).

Fitness en Tautology, serieuze behandeling:



FREEMAN & HERRON 2007 hfst 3(boek voor 1ste jaar):
Postulate 1: there is variation among individuals in a trait
Postulate 2: some of the variation in the trait is heritable
postulate 3: there is variation amon individuals in number of offspring
postulate 4: number of offspring is not random (that is, the covariance of trait. value and offspring number is not equal to zero).

Endler 1986, Natural selection in the wild. (book)
ch 1.1: Definition of natural selection:
Natural selection can be defined as a proces in which:
If a population has:
a variation amon indiduals in some attribute or trait: variantion
b a consistent relationship between that trait and mating ability, fertilizing ability, fertility, feundity, and,, or, survivorship: fitness differences
c a consistent relatonship, for that trait, between parents and their offspring, which is at least partially independent of common environmental effects: inheritance
1 the trait frequency distribution will differ among age classes or life history stages, beyond that expected from ntogeny;
2 if the population is not at equilibirum, then the trait distribution of all offspting of the population will be predictbly different from that of all parents,beyond that expected from conditions a and c alone.

The three IFFS are: variance(trait)>0, variance(fitness)>0, covariance(fitness, trait ) /=0.
That is about fitness and trait, and a mathematical prediction of change over genetations. Again, the covariance between trait value and fitness is the important part. That ia algebra, and all algebraic equations can be called a tautology.

Why trait and fitness have a covariance different from zero is a totally different question. It is this question that is far more central in biology. So if one shows the covariance between trait and fitness to be positive, there is nothing tautological in this experimental procedure.

Gerdien de Jong said...

•"Traditional evolutionary theory based on an implicit metaphysical "will to survive" of the individual and the tautology of "survival of the survivors" has little explicative value." (p. xxvi)
Geer Michaelian hier ook referenties voor? Wat voor referentie geeft hij eigenlijk voor evolutiebiologie / natuurlijke selectie?

Gerdien de Jong said...

Michaelian 24 may
" so you see that Darwinian theory relies on an implicit will to survive and replicate inherent in biological material, whether it be the antelope escaping the lion, or the lion trying to obtain food he needs to survive. "
'Implicit will to survive' - rather a high faluting version of the most down to earth fact that lions and antilopes that do not survive / reproduce would not exist. Non-equilibrium thermodynamics is accepted for biological systems (quite standard approach)and "biological material is a slave to the imposed thermodynamic potential. Biological material is the same as non-biological material. The only difference is that it has been sequestered and organized by an external potential to dissipate that imposed potential." again has nothing revolutionary about it; not anything agains evolution or natural selection. After all, 'non-equilibrium thermodynamics' needs specific mechanisms and processes as everyting else. Here it seems used a a magic wand.

gert korthof said...

Harry, wetenschappelijk denkwerk is niet gebaat bij scheldpartijen en beledigingen. Alle feiten en argumenten en feiten moeten in alle rust gewogen worden. Er wordt al genoeg gescholden in de media. Dit blog is een plek waar er niet gescholden wordt. Een soort natuurreservaat voor de wetenschap. Geen toegang met loslopende en blaffende honden. Begin je met krachttermen dan vliegt de wetenschap de deur uit. Dat gaat gewoon niet samen met wetenschap. Ik wil in dit blog in alle rust wetenschappelijke vraagstukken analyseren.
Inclusief het boek en de theorieën van KM. Zo zijn de blogs over KM ook begonnen totdat hij begon te schelden. Ik heb hem met alle respect behandeld, hem onbeperkt weerwoord geboden, zelfs 2 gastbijdrages gegund, dus alle gastvrijheid geboden, en zelfs teksten in mijn blog op zijn verzoek aangepast.
Jij noemt dat 'lichtgeraaktheid'. Dat betekent dat je jezelf tot norm verheft, en de ander als afwijkend bestempelt. Handig hoor! Blijf jezelf lekker buiten schot! Jij doet niets fout. Jij hoeft je toon niet aan te passen. En dan zeg JIJ dat dat ik "er weer behoorlijk een potje van maak". Het tegendeel is dus waar.

Ik schrijf dit allemaal omdat ik je langer ken dan vandaag en je vast vaker zal tegenkomen. En dit blog heb ik voor mijn PLEZIER! Ik verdien er niets mee. Als ik constant vervelende mensen krijg, moet ik de comments uit zetten. En dat zou de discussie uitschakelen, wat je juist niet wil.

Kijk nu eens op afstand naar je eigen gedrag: "ik verwacht ook geen fatsoenlijk antwoord meer van je, maar je zou me tenminste wat meer informatie kunnen geven over je stellige beweringen in noot 2 over Freeman and Herron."
Let op dat taalgebruik! "ik verwacht ook geen fatsoenlijk antwoord"! Is dat de manier om iemand om een gunstg te vragen? Omdat jezelf geen enkel textbook in huis hebt na al die jaren kritiek op Darwinisme? En dat is MIJN schuld dat jij geen textbook in huis hebt?
H: "Dus help me uit de brand, laat me zien wat ik al die tijd gemist heb en hoe ik in onwetendheid gewandeld heb."
Ja, het zou kunnen dat je al die jaren in onwetendheid gewandeld hebt zonder fatsoenlijk Evolution textbook. Als je kritiek wilt uitoefenen is het slim om je te baseren op de BESTE informatie die er over de theorie voorhanden is. Ik zal zien wanneer ik tijd heb om die pagina's te kopiëren (mocht je niet genoeg hebben aan de samenvatting van Gerdien).

gert korthof said...

Harry, zelfs in wetenschappelijke publicaties is KM's schrijfstijl agressief, beledigend, neerbuigend, arrogant, respectloos (kies maar!):

"Traditional views of the origin of life see it as an extraordinary event, persisting for a kind of inherent self-indulgence."
in: Thermodynamic dissipation theory for the origin of life, Earth Syst. Dynam., 2, 37–51, 2011

'self-indulgence'= zelf-ingenomenheid.
Dat doe je toch niet in een publicatie!!!
Als je er eenmaal op gaat letten kun je een hele verzameling aanleggen.