ReMine Strikes Back

| 31 Comments

A while ago I posted an article on Haldane’s Dilemma, in which I pointed out how Mr. ReMine misrepresented Haldane’s work. Now Mr. ReMine has written a response (which I was unaware of until now), in which he claims I misrepresent him.

Unfortunately for Mr. ReMine, the evidence is against him (more below the fold, this article is modified from a comment to this article on the cost of selection).

Mr. ReMine indulges in a little quote mining as well as blatant misrepresentation in his article. Let me remind you of what ReMine wrote in his book ( see my Panda’s Thumb post for more context)

ReMine Wrote:

In the 1950’s the evolutionary geneticist JBS Haldane, calculated the maximum rate of genetic change due to differential survival. He reluctantly concluded that there is a serious problem here, now known as Haldane’s Dilemma.” ReMine, pg 208, first para. Emphasis added by IFM.

Now this is what he claims his passage means

ReMine Wrote:

That paragraph specifically refers to Haldane’s “calculations” — not his conclusions, his beliefs, or his statement of faith — and the chapter details precisely what Haldane’s “calculations” refers to. That does not misrepresent Haldane. Rather it is a simple introduction to a chapter, accurately telling my readers what they are about to read.

Oh really, then why did Remine write ”He reluctantly concluded”? This cannot refer to Haldane’s calculations, a calculation cannot “reluctantly conclude” anything (nor can a calculation be “He”). The sentence can only make sense as a claim that Haldane himself made a reluctant conclusion. This claim is of course nonsense as any reading of the paper will show.

Haldane Wrote:

Unless selection is very intense the number of deaths needed to secure the substitution by natural selection, of one gene for another at a locus, is independent of the intensity of selection. It is often about 30 times the number of organisms in a generation. It is suggested that in horoletic evolution, the mean time taken for each gene substitution is about 300 generations. This accords with the observed slowness of evolution” (page 524 Haldane JBS. (1957). The cost of natural selection. J Genet, 55, 511-524) Emphasis added by IFM

I encourage people to read Haldane’s actual paper provided in the link (note the obsolete term “horoletic”, meaning “normal speed”, Haldane distinguished between “horoletic” evolution in slow/non changing environments and “tachytelic” (that is fast evolution) under conditions of rapid environmental change or expansion into new environments, where his calculations are not relevant (see for example pg 523 second paragraph) . ReMine’s characterisation of Haldane’s paper completely misrepresents the contents. Also note that ReMine, when quoting me, completely omits the actual paragraphs showing that Haldane regarded his calculations are compatible with “normal speed” evolution in slow changing environments (Haldane even mentions the Peppered Moths as an example of rapid selection that can occur). Indeed Remine’s ellipsis covers all of the article and most of the comments section.

ReMine Wrote:

And he [Haldane] concluded, “I am convinced that quantitative arguments of the kind here put forward should play a part in all future discussions of evolution.”

ReMine trunctates this section; Here is the entire section Haldane wrote ;

Haldane Wrote:

To conclude, I am quite aware that my conclusions will probably need drastic revision. But I am convinced that quantitative arguments of the kind here put forward should play a part in all future discussions of evolution.

Summary

Unless selection is very intense the number of deaths needed to secure the substitution by natural selection, of one gene for another at a locus, is independent of the intensity of selection. It is often about 30 times the number of organisms in a generation. It is suggested that in horoletic evolution, the mean time taken for each gene substitution is about 300 generations. This accords with the observed slowness of evolution.

This is no way supports ReMine’s claim that “He [Haldane] reluctantly concluded that there is a serious problem here, now known as Haldane’s Dilemma”. And it certainly does not support ReMine’s claim that ReMine’s statement “..specifically refers to Haldane’s “calculations” — not his conclusions, his beliefs, or his statement of faith — and the chapter details precisely what Haldane’s “calculations” refers to..”. As I said, a calculation cannot “reluctantly conclude” anything. There are no reluctant conclusions of serious problems at all. Again, I encourage readers to read the original manuscript themselves (It can be a bit of a slog, especially with 50 year old jargon, but it is worth it, the mathematically inclined can try their hand calculating his examples). The way ReMine presents Haldane’s work seriously distorts it.

The rest of ReMine’s article is content free, where he indulges in convoluted logic trying to justify his post hoc rationalisations. Again, see my Panda’s Thumb post for more context and several articles looking at the supposed “dilemma”. It will soon be obvious that ReMine’s claims bear no relation to reality.

31 Comments

ReMine claims that someone misrepresents him??? That’s a new one.……

On ReMine’s web site his bio states:

“He learned magic as a hobby, which later would prove helpful in understanding how key scientific illusions are achieved.”

I guess that means all Nobel prize winners must be magicians.

http://saintpaulscience.com/biography.htm

It also says he was an Eagle scout.… trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Too bad the scouts never included honest or rational.

Well, if this guy will quote mine maybe he will do it again. Would that be the definition of a ReMine?

Can’t someone do a little quote mining to show that creationists don’t have any problem with microevolution. That should put an end to all of this nonsense. After all, if a little quote mining can call all of evolution into question, shouldn’t a little quote mining be able to solve the problem?

I mean really, if the guy isn’t going to do any experiments to see if there really is a problem or not then a little quote mining should be all it takes to convince him. Of coures, if he has some empirical evidence to support his claims that is published in some reputable journal, then maybe someone would take him seriously.

ReMine claims that someone misrepresents him??? That’s a new one…….

I saw him show up on talk.origins once. His most common post was “I didn’t say that.”

I find that ReMine even bothers to respond to your criticism interesting. He clearly, is preaching to a choir that has no interest in reality. He knows full well that is making stuff up to create a non-reality to house his religious myths.

So he has no hope of engaging in any substantive argument or discussion. He is not actually out doing research to support an idea. So why reply…

I believe it is solely designed to further the notion that there is a controversy about the science. It is interesting that the whole controversy issue is one of comparison against a completely fabricated myth of reality.

George Wrote:

He clearly, is preaching to a choir that has no interest in reality.

I wish that were so. But various polls suggest that only ~1/4 of the public will not admit evolution under any circumstances, but at least another 1/2 is willing to take the word of a pseudoscientist at least as uncritically as that of a scientist. If only because pseudoscience has more and better “feel-good sound bites.”

At ResearchID.org is an article Haldane’s dilemma, started by ReMine, but apparently with someone called DLH as later contributor.

DLH misquotes Haldane, and I have posted on the talk page about it:

—————————————————-

Sorry to bring this up, but the Haldane quote in the article appears to be a misquotation. It may not be intentional, yet I think it needs to be mentioned.

Haldane is quoted thus in the article:

If two species differ at 1,000 loci, and the mean rate of gene substitution, as has been suggested,is one per 300 generations, it will take at least 300,000 generations (6 million years) …Even the geological time scale is too short for such processes to go on in respect to thousands of loci … the mean time taken for each gene substitution is about 300 generations. I am convinced that quantitative arguments of the kind put forward here should play a part in all future discussions of evolution.”

However, Haldane ends page 23 of ”The Cost of Natural selection” with the words:

To conclude, I am quite aware that my conclusions will probably need drastic revision. But I am convinced that quantitative arguments of the kind here put forward should play a part in all future discussions of evolution.

Notice that the first, and very important, sentence here is omitted in the article quote. Well, it’s worse than that, because the rest of the quote is still wrong.

Apparently the beginning is from bottom p. 21 to top p. 22:

If two species differ at 1,000 loci, and the mean rate of gene substitution, as has been suggested,is one per 300 generations, it will take at least 300,000 generations to generate an interspecific difference.

Nothing with ‘6 million years’.

The next sentence is taken two paragraphs further down, and the sentence “the mean time taken for each gene substitution is about 300 generations” is taken from the summary at p. 24.

Assuming ResearchID.org to want to be taken seriously as a resource for ID research, I will assume that such quoting style is not acceptable – whether it be by accident or deliberately.

best regards

- pwe

This might have been better titled, “Wally Strikes Out.” Ian is not in the USA, and might have missed that baseball is the greatest game ever invented. (Sex is not a game. Err… OK, baseball is the second greatest game).

Please accept my apology for the above post to the wrong blog entry. [IFM note: I have moved the post Mr. Wallace speaks of to the Bathroom Wall, it may be viewed there if desired]

Let’s concede for this argument ReMine’s interpretation of Haldane’s calculations that can allow for no more than 1,667 beneficial and therefore selected mutations since our last common ancestor with chimps. This represents beneficial, selected changes in 5.5% of our genes. As previously pointed out on this site, that alone is more than sufficient to account for our differences.

But, chimps have been evolving since our last common ancestor, too. If we assume the same rate for them, we are now up to 11% beneficial mutational differences between us. Again, far more than we actually need to distinguish ourselves from our nearest relatives.

However, many of these beneficial and selected mutations almost certainly dragged along genetically linked, but neutral or nearly so, unselected mutations. Now, even taking Haldane’s numbers (and ReMine’s conclusions) at face value, we are far past what is required. The amazing thing is that we are still so close to chimps, not that we are so far from them.

Tex, you rock!

In addition, there is no reason to allow only 1,667 beneficial mutations. Several recent papers point out that slightly beneficial mutations will be masked/eliminated by superior mutations. Thus, the actual number of beneficial mutations estimated from direct observation is an underestimate of the actual number.

Starman:

ReMine claims that someone misrepresents him??? That’s a new one.……

By now it is an all inclusive set. Even ReMine misrepresents ReMine.

Here is a discussion on ARN that shows how Walter misrepresents Haldane. (The good stuff is on pages 2 and 3.) Walter’s response when pressed on the discrepancy between his claims and the direct quotes from Haldane is most illuminating.

Art:

Here is a discussion on ARN that shows how Walter misrepresents Haldane. (The good stuff is on pages 2 and 3.) Walter’s response when pressed on the discrepancy between his claims and the direct quotes from Haldane is most illuminating.

I see that ReMine claims to be a fellow at the Discovery Institute (2001) in the header of this post. Was ReMine ever a fellow? I do not recall ever seeing him listed on their web page as a fellow, and I’ve been to the site off and on since before 2001. Do they have secret fellows, or guys they just don’t bother to list?

I think Sal Cordova once mentioned on the UD blog that Walter ReMine is the person doing the “secret ID research project” that Dembski has often hinted about. Whether that makes ReMine a “secret fellow”, I don’t know.

Seems that most ID research must be well kept secret, although I understand why ID would want to keep ReMine’s work a secret. They do have a sense of self preservation :-)

caligula:

I think Sal Cordova once mentioned on the UD blog that Walter ReMine is the person doing the “secret ID research project” that Dembski has often hinted about. Whether that makes ReMine a “secret fellow”, I don’t know.

O tempora O mores! Or is it “O Dembski O Cordova”?

ReMine doing science? When did he ever tried to verify his rantings on 40 - 50 year old and abandoned models with observations from current research?

Yes, yes, I know, it was never a serious attempt except on the purses of IDC’s useful idiots.

O Dembski O Cordova!

Supposedly this secret ID project tries to either search for a testable theory in the first place, or produce positive evidence for a testable theory that has been kept secret so far. I mean, it would be kind of lame if Dembski had let himself understand that a “research” project on the problems of evolution, i.e. repeating the same old song, could be the kind of research project everyone is waiting for and worth advertising. If ReMine is indeed working with a real ID theory, and since he considers himself to be a world-class expert on cost of substution/segregation/mutations/etc, I wonder if he could find an ID answer to this (my words on another forum):

I would like to point out something about “segregational load” … This argument of Kimura against selectionism doesn’t really concern the question how polymorphisms evolved at so many loci. It is about how natural selection could maintain these polymorphims. And this does not only concern geologic timescale, it concerns here and now. If heterozygotes had a notable selective edge over homozygotes at hundreds or thousands of loci in many animal populations, these populations should collapse in the very next generation, even if they had been designed last Thursday. Now, Walter ReMine seems to describe Kimura’s idea of neutral polymorphisms as an “avenue of escape”. I’m interested to learn how the intelligent design theory explains this phenomenon, then. I.e. how does the Designer maintain hundreds or thousands of polymorphisms in many animal populations without resorting to neutralism? If it so happens that the Designer, too, uses the same emergency exit, could Walter ReMine reconsider his choice of words?”

Not that I thought Kimura’s concept of neutral polymorphisms was the only evolutionary answer to the problem. But it seems to me that when Walter ReMine emphasizes segregational load, and apparently suggests miracles as an alternative for evolutionary solutions, he has to believe that the Designer is doing something mighty magical every generation, here and now. Surely he’s digging the hard evidence for this.

Here’s some background information on the concept of “segrational load” that might useful for someone (maybe).

Scientists have observed polymorphims at a notable percentage of loci in many species. That is, there are competing alleles at these loci whose frequencies don’t seem to change much in human timescale. Neutralism can readily explain this observation: the alleles at polymorphic loci may be neutral in respect to each other, so that we are observing drift which looks more or less like genetic stasis in human timescale. Of course, “selectionists” don’t like the idea that two alleles with observable phenotypic differences could be selectively neutral in respect to each other. Well, there is a selectionist explanation compatible with the observation. Sometimes heterozygotes (i.e. the Aa genotype) are more fit than homozygotes (AA, aa). In such a case, allele frequencies should find an equilibrium which is observed as a polymorphism. But this explanation, Kimura argues, is not compatible with Haldanian cost theory. There is no way for the Aa genotype to fix, because Mendelian genetics will of course keep producing the AA and aa genotypes as well. Maintaining the less fit homozygotes at hundreds or thousands of loci shinks the average fitness of the population, when their combined effect is calculated using Haldanian “beanbag genetics”. The shrinking of fitness is so dramatic in Kimura’s calculations that the population should basically die out on the spot.

Nowadays, there is at least one alternative selectionist explanation for polymorphisms: frequency-dependent selection. It may be that the competing phenotypes interact in such a way that instead of favoring one genotype over the others in a “beanbag” fashion, selection favors an evolutionarily stable strategy involving each phenotype in some frequency distribution. This could also explain polymorphisms.

Aren’t there some cases where an allele is advantage while it’s relatively unique, but loses that advantage if it becomes too common in the population?

Henry

Don’t you mean ReMine strikes out?

ReMine has a history of trying to re-define and ‘re-explain’ his claims when it is clear that what he wrote is silly.

For example, in his book, after going through an exercise about substitutions, and coming up with 500,000 as a max, asks if the reader can believe that even 500,000 mutations are enough to account for human evolution from an apelike ancestor. When I wrote that, by that statement, ReMine thinks that more than 500,000 would be required if evolution were true, he declared that I was “misrepresenting” him, that the number was just form a ‘tutorial’ for his poor, stupid readers to grasp the issue.

ReMine is a legend in his own mind. And I see that he is teaching a class on evolution v. creationism at a bible college in Minneapolis…

I pity the rubes in that class.

http://all-too-common-dissent.blogs[…]efer-to.html

http://all-too-common-dissent.blogs[…]omaniac.html

http://all-too-common-dissent.blogs[…]e-again.html

Henry J: Aren’t there some cases where an allele is advantage while it’s relatively unique, but loses that advantage if it becomes too common in the population?

Yes, that is the idea behind frequency-dependent selection concerning polymorhphisms. Competing alleles can become neutral with respect to each other even in a selectionist scenario, but only at certain observable equilibrium frequencies. Outside those frequencies, one allele beats the other, so that selection steers the frequencies towards the equilibrium.

Back when I was debating ReMine on molecular evolution in 2002-2003, I was told by ReMine that he had a Discovery Institute fellowship, but couldn’t find any mention of same on the Disco website.

So I asked Mark Edwards directly, and he confirmed it:

At 04:37 PM 7/25/2002, Mark Edwards wrote:

From:”Mark Edwards” medwardsATdiscovery.org

To: Dave Thomas

Subject: RE: So, is Walter ReMine a Fellow of DI, or not?

Yes, I’m sorry I’ve been meaning to reply for a couple days now. I’m heading down to Kansas for Darwin, Design & Democracy III and I’ve let that supercede my communications. My apologies.

Yes, we gave Walter a fellowship in 2001 for the purpose of looking into Haldane’s dilemma– so he is a fellow of DI’s CRSC.

I hope you guys have a good dialogue!

Cheers, Mark

—————-

Mark Edwards 206.292.0401 x107 [phone]

206.682.5320 [fax]

I imagine Discovery has kept this under wraps (publicly, anyway) because ReMine is too overt of a young-earth creationist. Or perhaps it’s because of his incredible arrogance. During our internet debate, he continually abused the rules, trying to block me from responding to anything he said (“That’s off-topic!”), while demanding that he could ramble on whatever topic he deemed “reasonable.”

He never even mentioned Haldane until his last essay, which ended the series, and thus preventing any responses re Haldane from me. Don’t even bother with ReMine, unless tussling with an over-arrogant manipulator who thinks that BOLD FACE and italics are the same as evidence is your cup of tea.

Cheers, Dave

unless tussling with an over-arrogant manipulator who thinks that BOLD FACE and italics are the same as evidence is your cup of tea.

Don’t forget the typing with the caps-lock on. ;)

caligula and Henry J, according to (Sherlock) Holmesian cost theory I now forgot my social security number, thanks a bunch!

No, really, that was useful, thanks.

… and now I’m craving a cup of tea. Thanks, Dave.

Hmm, Crow and Kimura (1970) speak highly of Haldane’s Dilemma? Let’s check, on page 251 they say:

There is obviously a limitation somewhere on the number of genes - or at least on the number of independent genes - but our present ignorance as to the nature of the interactions of the genes concerned with fitness limits the practical utility of the principle. Nevertheless we believe that this is an important idea and agree with Haldane’s statement that “quantitative arguments of the kind here put forward should play a part in all future discussions of evolution.” He also emphasized that this is only a beginning to a theory and added that “I am aware that my conclusions will probably need drastic revision.”

They then refer you to a 1970 paper by Crow called “Genetic Loads and the Cost of Selection”. I don’t know much about ReMine, but it sounds to me like he spends a lot of time in the quotemines.

Dave Thomas:

Back when I was debating ReMine on molecular evolution in 2002-2003, I was told by ReMine that he had a Discovery Institute fellowship, but couldn’t find any mention of same on the Disco website.

So I asked Mark Edwards directly, and he confirmed it:

At 04:37 PM 7/25/2002, Mark Edwards wrote:

From:”Mark Edwards” medwardsATdiscovery.org

To: Dave Thomas

Subject: RE: So, is Walter ReMine a Fellow of DI, or not?

Yes, I’m sorry I’ve been meaning to reply for a couple days now. I’m heading down to Kansas for Darwin, Design & Democracy III and I’ve let that supercede my communications. My apologies.

Yes, we gave Walter a fellowship in 2001 for the purpose of looking into Haldane’s dilemma– so he is a fellow of DI’s CRSC.

I hope you guys have a good dialogue!

Cheers, Mark

—————-

Mark Edwards 206.292.0401 x107 [phone]

206.682.5320 [fax]

I imagine Discovery has kept this under wraps (publicly, anyway) because ReMine is too overt of a young-earth creationist. Or perhaps it’s because of his incredible arrogance. During our internet debate, he continually abused the rules, trying to block me from responding to anything he said (“That’s off-topic!”), while demanding that he could ramble on whatever topic he deemed “reasonable.”

He never even mentioned Haldane until his last essay, which ended the series, and thus preventing any responses re Haldane from me. Don’t even bother with ReMine, unless tussling with an over-arrogant manipulator who thinks that BOLD FACE and italics are the same as evidence is your cup of tea.

Cheers, Dave

There was something about ReMine being a moderator at some site and moderating the negative feedback his posts were getting. That isn’t the kind of fellow the Discovery Institute needs to be associated with.

What ever happened to that Discovery Institute guy that lied to the Texas board about his association with the Discovery Institute? Is he still a fellow? This was right after Meyer ran the bait and switch on the Ohio State board and the Discovery Institute was trying to lay low, but they had apparently already gotten involved in the Texas fiasco. I believe that Dembski didn’t mention his affiliation with the Discovery Institute on the materials that he gave the board and this one fellow straight out lied when asked if he was affiliated with the Discovery Institute.

It has to be embarassing to be caught with people of such caliber associated with the Discovery Institute.

Ron Okimoto:

There was something about ReMine being a moderator at some site and moderating the negative feedback his posts were getting. That isn’t the kind of fellow the Discovery Institute needs to be associated with.

… It has to be embarassing to be caught with people of such caliber associated with the Discovery Institute.

I remembered just such a discussion, and re-found it by Googling the terms “ReMine” and “ethics,” for which the following post is Number 1: A Lesson in Creationist Ethics Featuring Walter ReMine and Fred Williams, by Robert Rapier.

Enjoy! -Dave

Thanks Dave, I have bookmarked the ReMine ethics reference. What bothers me is how this type of behavior is accepted as just the cost of doing business by the creationist rank and file. We have all the people associated with the Discovery Institute, and I haven’t seen a single one of them come out and state that it was wrong to run the bait and switch scam on their creationist support base.

The Discovery Institute was involved in running the teach ID creationist scam for years. They used to claim that ID was their business, but when they got the chance to teach the science of ID in Ohio they ran the bait and switch and sold the rubes on the board a replacement scam that didn’t even mention that ID had ever existed. Right after Ohio Nelson came out and admitted that there had never been a scientific theory of ID to teach, but what is Nelson doing today? He is one of the authors of the latest Discovery Institute book (Explore Evolution) selling the switch scam part of the bait and switch. Minnich is also one of the coauthors of this book. He tried to defend ID during Kitzmiller. He may have been working on this book at the time, and the book doesn’t even mention ID in the index.

The point is that these guys know that they were caught pushing a dishonest ploy, but they are willing to keep going with the next scam. Even Philip Johnson admitted that there was no equivalent science to teach about ID, and on the PBS Dover documentary he was shown admitting that he didn’t think the wedge was going to work in his lifetime. The plain fact is that these guys probably knew that ID was sunk back in the 1990’s when they had to cook up the teach the controversy replacement scam. Not a single Discovery Institute fellow that I know of has spoken out and admitted that what they did was either stupid or wrong. Berlinski just claimed that he had never bought into the ID junk, but he remained a fellow at the Discovery Institute.

You can’t run an obvious bait and switch scam on your own supporters and not know it.

In this moderation fiasco described in the Dave’s link, there were creationists that knew it was wrong and tried to do something about it. Where is the evidence that this happened over at the Discovery Institute? If the people involved knew that ID was shaky enough to warrent cooking up a replacement scam, where were the honest ones that wouldn’t go along with a replacement scam that didn’t even mention that ID had ever existed while the same perps were still running the teach ID scam? Where were the honest guys that protested running the bait and switch on Ohio and every other school board and legislator that popped up and wanted to teach the science of ID? Why did Dover have to happen years after the first public bait and switch was run in Ohio?

Why did they have to run in the bait and switch in Florida just a few weeks ago, while still claiming that they had a “theory” of intelligent design on their web site (evolutionnews)? What was the Florida compromise about teaching evolution as “theory?” Where are the honest ID proponents that are telling everyone that ID isn’t the same type of “theory,” and apologizing for their fellows running the bait and switch.

Where are the ID proponents with character and integrity? None of them seem to be associated with the Discovery Institute.

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This page contains a single entry by Ian Musgrave published on February 27, 2008 12:52 AM.

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