> Andrew Singer <email@example.com> writes:
> >I have a great deal of curiosity about the varying viewpoints on > >evolution (having been an Anthropology major). I just pick up the book > >"Darwin on Trial" by Phillip Johnson who's from my alma mater UCB. Not > >that it's important, but I went into reading the book with considerable > >confidence regarding the validity of the theory of evolution. However, > >the book has rased some interesting questions which I hadn't considered > >before. > > >Let me take a quick excerpt from the book from which I have a few > >questions to throw out: > > "..the mathematician D.S. Ulam argued that it was highly > >improbable that the eye could have evolved by the accumulation of small > >mutations, because the number of mutations would have to be so large and > >the time available was not nearly long enough for them to appear..."
This is one of my favorite topics. In this statement, D.S. Vlam completely overlooked the importance of recombination. When you have a large number of individuals in a population all with different mutations, and when the more fit among the population have more mating opportunities, there is a *greatly* enhanced likelihood that favorable mutations will accumulate in individuals in succeeding generations.
If you get a genetic algorithm software package and play with it a while, you will gain an entirely different understanding of the process of evolution. If you're curious, check out "Generator" at http://www.iea.com/~nli. It's a genetic algorithm that runs under Windows with Excel.
-- Steve McGrew | firstname.lastname@example.org New Light Industries, Ltd. | www.iea.com/~nli 9713 W. Sunset Hwy | phone 509-456-8321 Spokane, WA 99204 USA | fax: 509-456-8351