You just can't make stuff like this up.
It turns out that the ant species Leptothorax albipennis
uses an esoteric mathematical algorithm, Buffon's needle,
(used to find pi,) to estimate the area available for nest building within a rock crevice. Ant's use of a mathematical algorithm says nothing regarding the validity or invalidity of evolutionary theory, but something related does.
Keep in mind that Buffon was an 18th century mathematician who proposed a means of finding the value of pi, however, in modern times with modern computers, we use an algorithm for finding pi invented by a 2nd century BC mathamatician, Archimedes' of Syracuse.
"...Conclusion: Evolutionary dogma is a social phenomenon not of scientific methodology.
Scientific work in the field is currently in such a state of flux that we have abandoned our historical definition of the word "species" and have not yet been able to formulate a new one...
Unless we adopt the assumption that God can not possibly exist, there simply has to be a better explanation than current evolutionary dogma...
Can publicly funded schools teach such a dogmatic assumption?
...' informed by the survival or failure of those foreign organisms... blah blah blah'
Yeah... you begin to see what I mean. Evolution sounds all smart and cool, but when you get down to the nuts and bolts of the molecular evolution of protein domains, parts are missing. Big parts! Not just a wrench which we might surely find with enough searching, but whole tool boxes are missing, whole mathematical garages where the engine parts should be stored are simply not there."
The only modern dogma about which there is more misunderstanding than modern evolutionary theory is the subject of the 1st century Jesus of Nazareth. Most really have no idea what he actually said and what he did not say on this interesting subject or any other subject for that matter. Prefacing "first century" is kinda' redundant, since our modern age counts time from that man's birth.
Many people believe they have an adequate understanding of the evolution vs. creation debate, but in fact, they do not! because they don't think about it. Unless you want to trust others with the most important decision you have to make, (where did I come from?) you are going to have to think for yourself! If it really does make your head hurt, its OK to trust another. Just make very sure, very very sure, you are trusting the right person. 1st century, Jesus of Nazereth asks. "whom say ye that I am?" -Mat 16:15
Mallon and Franks conclude
"Our findings, that individual ants can make accurate assessments of nest areas based on a rule of thumb, show in a unique way how animals use robust algorithms to make well-informed quantitative decisions. The results demonstrate how information gathering by individual workers can contribute to crucial collective decisions."
Ant's use of a mathematical algorithm says nothing regarding the validity or invalidity of evolutionary theory. The process by which these ants came to use it, however, speaks directly to the matter. For those molecular biologists, receiving this email, Frankly, I would rather discuss the details of the evolution of protein domains, but the alternate subject of this email already stretches the limit of most readers.
These ants need a particular nest size and measure the area available before committing resources to nest construction. The algorithm is well known and is called Buffon's Needle. It is used to find the value of pi because it produces the approximate area of any bounded space such as a circle. Throw sticks, all of the same length, randomly into any confined space and you will find that the area of the space is roughly equal to = n pi /2 (r/2)^2 /c where: n is the number of sticks, r is the length of the sticks, c is the number of sticks that land on top of another stick. The more sticks the more accurate the measurement. The sticks can be of random length so long as the average length is known.
Or put more pragmatically, the way the ants think about it: A bunch of ants randomly lay down straight line scent tracks of a known length. If they cross another track while laying down a track too many times or not enough times, the space is too small or too large for their nest. Simply put, they "measure twice and cut once."
Even more interestingly, if this process arose from naturalistic evolutionary processes, those processes must have been thus.
Primordial ants scouting for nesting sites crossed each other's path a lot. Those genetically related colonies of ants who don't mind crossing other ant's paths when looking for nesting sites end up committing nest building resources to sites that are too small and perish, while colonies which keep looking until the scouts don't cross other's paths flourish. End of discussion. Problem solved. No need to think further, because evolution answered the question again. Right?....
The reasoning looks good, but ask a computer programmer. He will tell you that evolutionary explanation is specious. A computer programmer thinks about the details... Exactly what processes and assumptions must be in place to account the observation? This is scientific method, but most scientists are schooled in the details of their discipline while receiving no education on the process of definitive disambiguation itself. A computer programmer uses that particular skill every day. That is the very skill in which he is educated. He hones that skill to a fine sharp point and then may apply it to any subject.
The length of the tracks must be constant. If they vary like ant paths do, the scouts will find no difference upon which to base their nesting site preference. As many nests will be built in places too small as in places too large.
1) Only ant colonies which prefer to not cross other's tracks too often AND prefer to cross other's tracks at least often enough AND lay down measured nest building scouting paths- flourish.
2) Many diverse ant colonies must already exist for one random mutational variation to combine these three unusual traits. Two of which are contradictory.
3) If many diverse ant colonies already existed, the pre-existing method for finding nesting sites must have already been robust and the increase nesting success becomes less of an advantage. This question can be used to infer the rate at which one advantage must be greater than another to account for observed diversity of life today.
4) On the other hand, if the difference in colony success rate between use and not use of this method is great enough to make a difference then the number of ant colonies which existed before and from which successful variants might arise must be small and getting smaller.
5) A less successful method which still provides for population growth, does not require that a variant adopting a more successful method displace the less successful population. This seems to be what we observe. Many different ant species, one of which adopted Buffon's needle, but unless the adaptation was of great superiority, above some threshold, the first members possessing the more successful adaptation would merely blend back into their more populous less advantaged sister population. From these two questions, a rate of mutation per population and the threshold for adaptation can be inferred.
6) Just how large is the pool from which an advantageous mutation might occur? For the first self replicating molecular system it was the number of molecules on the surface of the earth, about 10 to the 50th power. That's enough to provide a comfortable likelihood that a set of RNA sequences each of which are capable of self replication, less than 75 nucleotides in length and complexity could arise by random chance alone. However, MIT suggests
that the complexity of a self replicating molecular system might have to be more complex than that of an RNA sequence of 200 nucleotides.
It gets worse than that for all evolutionary hypotheses. The pool from which advantageous mutations might occur drops significantly after the first self replicator arises. It drops from the number of molecules to the number of self replicators. While another self replicator might arise, for any given replicator to evolve refinements, those advantageous mutations must come only from the pool of replicators. Currently, there are roughly 2x10 to the 30th power living organisms on the planet. Mostly microbes. That reduces the size of the pool by a hundred billion billion fold.
It gets even worse. That number is for microbes. There are only 10 to the 17th ants on the entire planet. If animals as complex as lions, tigers and bears evolved, the genetic pool from which their ancestors mutated would have numbered not in the billions of billions of billions as in microbes or even the millions of billions of ants, but only in the millions or fewer, an addtional million billion billion fold drop in the pool available for mutation.
I'm sorry, it still gets even worse. Any given self replicating system could have adopted one of many self replication mechanisms, but once that mechanism is established the number of and nature of adaptations which provide further replicative advantage decline greatly, because adaptive variations which augment other replicative mechanisms are unlikely to prove advantageous to the established one.
Perhaps evolution had some help from the well regulated biological mechanisms which manage controlled mutations and which we find in our genetic code!!! Now... consider a naturalistic process by which the genetic material which encodes such a mechanism acting on foreign organisms might be informed by the survival or failure of those foreign organisms.
Yeah... you begin to see what I mean. Evolution sounds all smart and everything, but when you get down to the nuts and bolts, parts are missing. Big parts. Not just a wrench or two, but whole tool boxes.
Conclusion: More successful variations arise only when the success rate is already so high that greater success is no longer advantageous. The number of disadvantageous mutations needed to produce an infinitesimally small number of advantageous mutations presents greater danger to the species than the advantageous mutations overcome.
Conclusion: Evolutionary dogma is a social phenomenon not of scientific methodology.
To date, the best evidence I've heard is "Well... I don't know, but some other smart people who happen to be unavailable for comment are able to explain how molecular evolution leads to unbounded adaptation which leads to speciation."
There simply has to be a better explanation. Science is well on its way to showing that what we presumed to be random genetic mutations are indeed induced variations arising from very well regulated mechanisms already written into the genetic code. Mechanism which show preference for whole genes and other technical descriptions including intron splicing, promotion factors, and non coding regions containing folding and translation information.
Science will soon likely show that variation is bounded, not unbounded. So that no matter how different a subspecies is from the rest of the members of that species, the original genetic material remains unchanged and subspecies can always revert back to its original species. Just like all dog breeds are genetically more similar
to wolves than they are to each other. Current scientific work in the field is currently in such a state of flux that we have abandoned our historical definition of the word "species" and have not yet been able to formulate a new one.
Variation is bounded and can not lead to speciation. "Seed within itself, and Kind after its kind." Wait... where did we hear that before? That's right, the very first chapter of the Bible.