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Re: "Random selection": an oxymoron.



In a message dated 1/24/99 3:13:07 PM EST, jbois@umd5.umd.edu writes:

<< On a tree covered with lichen a white peppered
 moth will be taken at a lower rate than the dark moth.  This is a rule we
 have identified.  And with regard to moths and their predators it is
 pretty iron clad.  Now, throw in a variable. See if I can make a
 prediction (after all, I could do the experiment).  Strip off the lichen.
 Now the dark moths are harder to see and the population will evolve to
 have a higher frequency of taht allele.  This is no random change.  It is
 _selection_. >>

The randomness is not in the results of removing the lichen and watching the
resulting moth population change. The randomness lies in such things as the
existence of moths and lichen to begin with, and whether and when the lichen
will be stripped off the trees, leaving the dark moths exposed, and whether
and when there will exist suitable predators to provide the necessary
selection mechanism.

It is not Cope's rule that is medieval; what is truly medival is the idea that
there are "rules" that evolution must follow. What rule or combination of
rules resulted in the dinosaurs? Evolution the result of anarchy, and the only
rules that evolution follows are the laws of physics and chemistry that govern
the interactions of matter and energy throughout the universe.