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Old 07-07-2009, 04:10 PM   #546567  /  #1
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Default Peanut Gallery for "Exclusive Engagement" on Sanford Book "Genetic Entropy"

While waiting for the official EE to get started, I guess I'll post what might be Peanut Gallery fodder here.

Much has been made of how Sanford was (in the words of the late Henry Morris, on the back of the book) "a highly qualified geneticist from a major university". Setting up all the creo fanboys for their Arguments From Authority.

But in the Prologue, we get this:
Quote:
Although I had acheived considerable success and notoriety within my own particular specialty (applied genetics), it would mean stepping out of the safety of my own little niche. I would have to begin exploring some very big things, includiing aspects of theoretical genetics which I had always accepted by faith alone.
[emphases mine]

Thus all the hype about "respected professor of genetics at a major university" is misplaced. He has no training or expertise in theoretical genetics, which is what we're talking about here. He has expertise in applied genetics, which is a very different thing. Moreover, he admits that he'd never explored this stuff at all in his training, but just "accepted it on faith alone".

Hence my remark, that Dave took such great exception to, that he's not in the same league with Kondrashov, Crow, et al.


ETA: This is from the auto-phillipic in which he's telling his readers how he took his career, if not his life, in his hands, and dared to challenge the reigning paradigm, and generally what a maverick he is.


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Old 07-07-2009, 06:16 PM   #546693  /  #2
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Vox, how would you characterize "applied genetics"? Would this be along the lines of monitoring breeding lines in cattle?
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:33 PM   #546705  /  #3
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In addition to making fundamental errors in his characterization of selection as being "axiomatic", he's using value-loaded terminology ("degenerate") and making statements that are quite frankly incoherent:

Quote:
Life is life because random mutations at the molecular level are filtered through a reproductive sieve on the level of the whole organism.
The only way to make sense of that statement is if you already know what he must be talking about. WTF is a "reproductive sieve on the level of the whole organism"? I know what he means only because the subject of his book is to target the efficacy of natural selection.

The best analogy I have ever been given as to what natural selection is was not a sieve. A sieve is highly deterministic. Natural selection is far less deterministic. It is a statistical sampling procedure, namely one that is biased. The genes of any generation of a population is a biased sample of the genes from the previous generation. That was from Graham Bell's book Basics of Selection.
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:37 PM   #546708  /  #4
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While Febble has started in on the Prologue, I want to take this opportunity to point out - as I started to in the post above - a very annoying tendency that permeates the book, but is particularly noticeable in the Prologue.

It's the old anti-intellectual appeal that comes as second first nature to creationists. It's the old "The pointy headed scientists were all sure they had it all figured out. But then along came all this new information that they had no idea of (but we creationists could have told them, of course). And there they are, all red-faced and scratching their heads and getting schooled on how much they didn't know!!!1!1!"

The variation on this theme in this book is "Golly! The genome is really complicated! No, I mean really complicated! Really, really complicated!!! Complicated in ways that no one knew about 20, 30, 40 years ago!!1! Therefore any pronouncements about it that were made before this book are so many arrogant leaps to conclusions that we should regard with the smug satisfaction of being able to (a) rub those pointy-headed professors' noses in their ignorance, and (b) ignore everything they have to say. Why, they didn't even appreciate that the genome was complicated!"

What a bunch of crap.

This stuff may all be new to Sanford, who admits he never paid any attention to it in the course of his own training. But those of us who actually study this stuff never imagined that whatever we knew on Day X was all there was to know. Nor did we ever imagine that we had glimpsed the limit of the complexity of genomes. The strawman that Sanford seems to be trying to set up here is that those simple-minded molecular biologists assumed that (1) protein coding was the only function of DNA (2) all non-protein-coding DNA was "junk" with zero functionality (3) the genome was "one dimensional", i.e. a linear series of instructions with no feedback loops, and no regions serving more than a single function.

This, of course, is nonsense. One gets a much better sense of the amazing complexity of even the simplest genome (e.g. an RNA bacteriophage) by actually, you know, studying and learning something about it, than reading any number of Sanford style exclamations. Yes, unlike actual scholarly works, his book is peppered with exclamation marks, even prefaced with the word "wow!" Each one of these "wows" and "!'s" looks designed to drive home this point: how really, really, really complicated the genome is, and how none of those pointy headed professors ever imagined such complexity, and how this changes the whole picture.

All of this is lapped up by the anti-intellectual fanboys who feel vindicated in what they've known all along: the Scientific Establishment has been all wrong, and can be safely ignored; you can waste your time following the flavor of the month in scientific research, or you can cut to the chase just by reading your Bible (or getting your scientific summaries from people like Bible-believing Christians like Sanford, who will regale you with tales about how arrogant and blind the scientific establishment is, and tell you how to interpret carefully selected bits of research through a Biblical lens.)
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:42 PM   #546711  /  #5
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Originally Posted by jasona View Post
Vox, how would you characterize "applied genetics"? Would this be along the lines of monitoring breeding lines in cattle?
His particular area was plant breeding. But most of his claim to fame (at least in my world; I had in fact read papers he was listed as co-author on before Dave developed his man-crush on him) had to do with the invention of the "gene gun" - a device for delivering foreign DNA into plant cells (which is challenging, because you have to penetrate a cellulose wall that animal cells don't have) by linking the DNA to tiny gold particles, and blasting the cells, shotgun style.
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:29 PM   #546756  /  #6
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Originally Posted by VoxRat View Post
While Febble has started in on the Prologue, I want to take this opportunity to point out - as I started to in the post above - a very annoying tendency that permeates the book, but is particularly noticeable in the Prologue.

It's the old anti-intellectual appeal that comes as second first nature to creationists. It's the old "The pointy headed scientists were all sure they had it all figured out. But then along came all this new information that they had no idea of (but we creationists could have told them, of course). And there they are, all red-faced and scratching their heads and getting schooled on how much they didn't know!!!1!1!"
Amazing how personally creationists take science. It's like it's all about personality, or something.

Or (checks to make sure SuperSport isn't around), it's just intellectual penis envy.
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Old 07-07-2009, 09:15 PM   #546838  /  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VoxRat View Post
While Febble has started in on the Prologue, I want to take this opportunity to point out - as I started to in the post above - a very annoying tendency that permeates the book, but is particularly noticeable in the Prologue.

It's the old anti-intellectual appeal that comes as second first nature to creationists. It's the old "The pointy headed scientists were all sure they had it all figured out. But then along came all this new information that they had no idea of (but we creationists could have told them, of course). And there they are, all red-faced and scratching their heads and getting schooled on how much they didn't know!!!1!1!"

The variation on this theme in this book is "Golly! The genome is really complicated! No, I mean really complicated! Really, really complicated!!! Complicated in ways that no one knew about 20, 30, 40 years ago!!1! Therefore any pronouncements about it that were made before this book are so many arrogant leaps to conclusions that we should regard with the smug satisfaction of being able to (a) rub those pointy-headed professors' noses in their ignorance, and (b) ignore everything they have to say. Why, they didn't even appreciate that the genome was complicated!"

What a bunch of crap.
no, it's not crap. The issue is what's believable or not believable. It is not believable that the genome, which no one even has a hint of understanding how it operates, where it came from, how it changes itself on cue, or how it functions as a single, cooperative whole, could have come together by chance. There are billions of nucleotides, each of which would have had to confer some specific phenotypic trait for which it could be selected for. So, for ever one of the billions of nucleotides, there should be billions -- or trillions -- of possible dud phenotypic effects that should have been found in the evolutionary wastebasket of time...aka -- the dirt. But there isn't. There is no fossil evidence of any sort of gradual evolution via point mutations in a way that built up animals. neither are there any common ancestors or links that fill in the gaps between higher phyla. Not only is your theory of survival of the fittest accidents not believable, there is no evidence for it.
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Old 07-07-2009, 09:20 PM   #546849  /  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supersport View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by VoxRat View Post
While Febble has started in on the Prologue, I want to take this opportunity to point out - as I started to in the post above - a very annoying tendency that permeates the book, but is particularly noticeable in the Prologue.

It's the old anti-intellectual appeal that comes as second first nature to creationists. It's the old "The pointy headed scientists were all sure they had it all figured out. But then along came all this new information that they had no idea of (but we creationists could have told them, of course). And there they are, all red-faced and scratching their heads and getting schooled on how much they didn't know!!!1!1!"

The variation on this theme in this book is "Golly! The genome is really complicated! No, I mean really complicated! Really, really complicated!!! Complicated in ways that no one knew about 20, 30, 40 years ago!!1! Therefore any pronouncements about it that were made before this book are so many arrogant leaps to conclusions that we should regard with the smug satisfaction of being able to (a) rub those pointy-headed professors' noses in their ignorance, and (b) ignore everything they have to say. Why, they didn't even appreciate that the genome was complicated!"

What a bunch of crap.
no, it's not crap. The issue is what's believable or not believable. It is not believable that the genome, which no one even has a hint of understanding how it operates, where it came from, how it changes itself on cue, or how it functions as a single, cooperative whole, could have come together by chance. There are billions of nucleotides, each of which would have had to confer some specific phenotypic trait for which it could be selected for. So, for ever one of the billions of nucleotides, there should be billions -- or trillions -- of possible dud phenotypic effects that should have been found in the evolutionary wastebasket of time...aka -- the dirt. But there isn't. There is no fossil evidence of any sort of gradual evolution via point mutations in a way that built up animals. neither are there any common ancestors or links that fill in the gaps between higher phyla. Not only is your theory of survival of the fittest accidents not believable, there is no evidence for it.
Is this some kind of record for densest concentration of creotardation? I'm not even sure I can count the henrymorrisisms in there.
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Old 07-07-2009, 09:27 PM   #546855  /  #9
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Excuse me, Guzman, but believability is properly based upon an understanding of the subject at hand. When all you have is ignorance, misunderstanding, gullibility and a desire to look as if you weren't the progeny of first cousins, then 'believability' has no meaning whatsoever.

And, I think everyone noticed that Eric was able to invoke your presence with the mere mention of a penis.

I wonder why ... actually I don't.
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:00 PM   #546886  /  #10
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The EE thread is now stickied:

http://talkrational.org/showthread.php?t=16835
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:15 PM   #546896  /  #11
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To finish my thoughts on this arrogant and obnoxious anti-intellectual attitude that permeates the book, Sanford says in his Prologue
Quote:
To the extent that the Primary Axiom can be shown to be false, it should have a major impact on your own life and on the world at large. For this reason I have dared to write this humble little book, which some will receive as blasphemous treason and others as revelation
I'll give everyone moment to finish puking over that...

OK. Everyone back?

Did you catch that "humble little book" bit? There's that irony thing again. How "humble" is it to regard one's "little book" as a revelation? (Or as "blasphemous treason", for that matter.) But what really bugs me about this "humble little book" act is the condescending way that this guy, who admits he hasn't studied this stuff, takes it upon himself to "revelate" all these astonishing "discoveries". Get a load of how he titles his chapters:
Quote:
Chapter 1 The Genome is the book of Life. Where did it come from?
Newsflash - The genome is an instruction manual.
Chapter 2 Are Mutations Good?
Newsflash - Mutations consistently destroy information.
Chapter 3 How Much Mutation is Too Much?
Newsflash - Human mutation rates too high.
Chapter 4 Selection to the Rescue?
Newsflash - Selection capabilities very limited.
Chapter 5 Can Genomic Selection Problems be Solved?
Newsflash - Selection cannot rescue the genome.
Chapter 6 A Closer Look at Noise
Newsflash - The problems are much worse than you think!
Chapter 7 Crow to the Rescue?
Newsflash - Crow solution fails reality test.
Chapter 8 Man to the Rescue?
Newsflash - Eugenics, cloning cannot stop genomic degeneration.
Chapter 9 Can Natural Selection Create?
Newsflash - Mutation/selectin cannot realistically create a single gene.
Chapter 10 Is the Downward Curve Real?
Newsflash - All evidence points to human genetic degeneration.
Chapter 11 What Hope?
Newsflash - There is a hope.
How obnoxious is that "Newsflash" shtick? How oblivious can one be to the fact that one is out of one's depth? Sanford strikes me as the Valley Girl interrupting the lecture on relativity with "HelLO!? Professor Poindexter? In case you haven't noticed, I don't gain weight when I drive really really fast. I think I would notice something like that?"

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Old 07-07-2009, 11:05 PM   #546922  /  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VoxRat View Post
To finish my thoughts on this arrogant and obnoxious anti-intellectual attitude that permeates the book, Sanford says in his Prologue
Quote:
To the extent that the Primary Axiom can be shown to be false, it should have a major impatct on your won life and on the world at large. For this reason I have deared to write this humble little book, which some will receive as blasphemous treason and others as revelation
I'll give everyone moment to finish puking over that...

OK. Everyone back?

Did you catch that "humble little book" bit? There's that irony thing again. How "humble" is it to regard one's "little book" as a revelation? (Or as "blasphemous treason", for that matter.) But what really bugs me about this "humble little book" act is the condescending way that this guy, who admits he hasn't studied this stuff, takes it upon himself to "revelate" all these astonishing "discoveries". Get a load of how he titles his chapters:
Quote:
Chapter 1 The Genome is the book of Life. Where did it come from?
Newsflash - The genome is an instruction manual.
Chapter 2 Are Mutations Good?
Newsflash - Mutations consistently destroy information.
Chapter 3 How Much Mutation is Too Much?
Newsflash - Human mutation rates too high.
Chapter 4 Selection to the Rescue?
Newsflash - Selection capabilities very limited.
Chapter 5 Can Genomic Selection Problems be Solved?
Newsflash - Selection cannot rescue the genome.
Chapter 6 A Closer Look at Noise
Newsflash - The problems are much worse than you think!
Chapter 7 Crow to the Rescue?
Newsflash - Crow solution fails reality test.
Chapter 8 Man to the Rescue?
Newsflash - Eugenics, cloning cannot stop genomic degeneration.
Chapter 9 Can Natural Selection Create?
Newsflash - Mutation/selectin cannot realistically create a single gene.
Chapter 10 Is the Downward Curve Real?
Newsflash - All evidence points to human genetic degeneration.
Chapter 11 What Hope?
Newsflash - There is a hope.
How obnoxious is that "Newsflash" shtick? How oblivious can one be to the fact that one is out of one's depth? Sanford strikes me as the Valley Girl interrupting the lecture on relativity with "HelLO!? Professor Poindexter? In case you haven't noticed, I don't gain weight when I drive really really fast. I think I would notice something like that?"
It is all relative.

When I read this, I first thought you were inserting Newsflash as a comment in order to make fun of the chapter names.
Then, after I realized I was wrong and that the whole thing was what this guy really wrote, I had a very hard time imagining that this would be a good sell (or, as they say, a hook) to anyone other than his imagined audience.

His imagined audience I dare not speak of.
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:21 PM   #546930  /  #13
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This should be a good drubbing of Mr. Hawkins, if Febble can stay conscious and remain focused despite the shear idiocy of it all. I mean, couldn't reading this stuff affect your mind? If so, I hope she has effective prophylactics in place.
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:25 PM   #546932  /  #14
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Originally Posted by VoxRat View Post
To finish my thoughts on this arrogant and obnoxious anti-intellectual attitude that permeates the book, Sanford says in his Prologue
Quote:
To the extent that the Primary Axiom can be shown to be false, it should have a major impatct on your won life and on the world at large. For this reason I have deared to write this humble little book, which some will receive as blasphemous treason and others as revelation
Question O Great Rodentia, is that a verbatim quote from the book, ie - no typos on your part?

I ask because of the terms: "impatct", "won" and "deared". Are those in the original?

If they are, I'd simply toss the book, as neither the author nor the editor nor the publisher have any business using the english language. Or is a 'won' life some sort of fundy thing?
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:34 PM   #546934  /  #15
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This should be a good drubbing of Mr. Hawkins, if Febble can stay conscious and remain focused despite the shear idiocy of it all. I mean, couldn't reading this stuff affect your mind? If so, I hope she has effective prophylactics in place.
Well, if it were you or I or anyone else here among the non-reality-challenged cohort, then, yes I would agree with you. However, Hawkins can merely jettison this unfortunate ex-hero much as he has with former ex-heroes. No fanfare, just a diversion into one of the several threads he has just now created.
That tactic, coupled with an almost complete obliviousness to any criticism, has gained him the vaunted post of First Cretinist.

I sense a business opportunity here for a line of comic books.
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:36 PM   #546937  /  #16
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Originally Posted by RAFH View Post
...Question O Great Rodentia, is that a verbatim quote from the book, ie - no typos on your part?

I ask because of the terms: "impatct", "won" and "deared". Are those in the original?
....
No ... sorry. I didn't have time to proof it. I think all those were my typos. I'll fix it
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:38 PM   #546938  /  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VoxRat View Post
To finish my thoughts on this arrogant and obnoxious anti-intellectual attitude that permeates the book, Sanford says in his Prologue
Quote:
To the extent that the Primary Axiom can be shown to be false, it should have a major impact on your own life and on the world at large. For this reason I have dared to write this humble little book, which some will receive as blasphemous treason and others as revelation
I'll give everyone moment to finish puking over that...
Holy Christ on a pogo stick but that is horrible.

Someone should enter that paragraph in this

Bulwer-Lytton Bad Writing Contest

It is a work of fiction, isn't it?
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Old 07-08-2009, 12:27 AM   #546979  /  #18
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Febble: At the heart of evolutionary theory is the following near-syllogism:
P1:Living things replicate.
P2:The replications are not perfect copies.
C: variants that replicate better will be replicated more often.



Actually, the primary axiom of evolution is this:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-...o-biology.html

The process of evolution can be summarized in three sentences: Genes mutate. [gene: a hereditary unit] Individuals are selected. Populations evolve.


..which is the materialistic mechanism for how all living forms came to evolve from a distant common ancestor.

what you stated is not a mechanism of evolution, therefore it (alone) is not responsible for the evolution of organisms. There is no mention, for example, the biological mechanism responsible for the origination of novelty. All you've done is just reworded how selection operates. Sanford's "Primary Axiom" is correct: RMNS is taken on faith.
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Old 07-08-2009, 12:58 AM   #546996  /  #19
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Take a drawer.

Full of knives.

Not all the knives will be equally sharp.

Some may even be extraordinarily dull.

Sharp knives cut better than dull ones.

Really dull ones hardly cut at all.

Supersport barely makes a dent.

Time to close yet another drawer on yet another dull troll.

It's -- axiomatic!
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:03 AM   #546998  /  #20
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Why is anyone granting Dave yet another EE thread?
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:28 AM   #547006  /  #21
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Not for Dave's sake, that's for sure.
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:30 AM   #547010  /  #22
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what you stated is not a mechanism of evolution, therefore it (alone) is not responsible for the evolution of organisms. There is no mention, for example, the biological mechanism responsible for the origination of novelty. All you've done is just reworded how selection operates. Sanford's "Primary Axiom" is correct: RMNS is taken on faith.
(Psst. Guzman—Febble wasn't talking about "mechanisms"—and neither was Sanford. An "axiom" is not a mechanism.)
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:51 AM   #547022  /  #23
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I think people here might find it more interesting to hear what the leading population geneticists are saying rather than what Sanford is saying. Just something to consider.
Hmm…looks like Dave's not so eager to discuss Sanford after all. After claiming Sanford has "demonstrated" that genomes degenerate for, what, three years now?
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:57 AM   #547026  /  #24
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Originally Posted by Dave Hawkins View Post
And I don't understand your P1, P2, C stuff.
Tee hee.

An insight into why logic doesn't work on Dave.
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Old 07-08-2009, 02:10 AM   #547032  /  #25
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what you stated is not a mechanism of evolution, therefore it (alone) is not responsible for the evolution of organisms. There is no mention, for example, the biological mechanism responsible for the origination of novelty. All you've done is just reworded how selection operates. Sanford's "Primary Axiom" is correct: RMNS is taken on faith.
(Psst. Guzman—Febble wasn't talking about "mechanisms"—and neither was Sanford. An "axiom" is not a mechanism.)
The axiom is based on the mechanism. Read Sanford's words again with that in mind.
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