Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Human Epigenome Project: Darwinian-Free Science

About twenty five years ago Lars Olov Bygren discovered that feast and famine years can affect not only those who endure them, but their progeny as well. Bygren was not the first to observe that environmental influences can be transmitted to subsequent generations. And as with the earlier discoveries, even in recent decades such empirical findings have not been welcomed by evolutionists. Why? Because such findings go against evolutionary theory. As a recent Time magazine article explained:

Could parents’ experiences early in their lives somehow change the traits they passed to their offspring?

It was a heretical idea. After all, we have had a long-standing deal with biology: whatever choices we make during our lives might ruin our short-term memory or make us fat or hasten death, but they won’t change our genes — our actual DNA. Which meant that when we had kids of our own, the genetic slate would be wiped clean.

What’s more, any such effects of nurture (environment) on a species’ nature (genes) were not supposed to happen so quickly. Charles Darwin, whose On the Origin of Species celebrated its 150th anniversary in November, taught us that evolutionary changes take place over many generations and through millions of years of natural selection. But Bygren and other scientists have now amassed historical evidence suggesting that powerful environmental conditions (near death from starvation, for instance) can somehow leave an imprint on the genetic material in eggs and sperm. These genetic imprints can short-circuit evolution and pass along new traits in a single generation.

Such imprinting is the subject of epigenetics—the study of changes in gene activity that do not involve changes to the DNA yet in some cases may be passed down to successive generations. And although various epigenetic phenomena have been observed for over a century, and even the molecular details have been outlined for several decades, basic and applied research in the field has been slow to progress. Only in recent years have epigenetic-based therapeutics begun to appear. As the article explains:

Geneticists are quietly acknowledging that we may have too easily dismissed an early naturalist who anticipated modern epigenetics—and whom Darwinists have long disparaged. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829) argued that evolution could occur within a generation or two. He posited that animals acquired certain traits during their lifetimes because of their environment and choices. The most famous Lamarckian example: giraffes acquired their long necks because their recent ancestors had stretched to reach high, nutrient-rich leaves.

In contrast, Darwin argued that evolution works not through the fire of effort but through cold, impartial selection. By Darwinist thinking, giraffes got their long necks over millennia because genes for long necks had, very slowly, gained advantage. Darwin, who was 84 years younger than Lamarck, was the better scientist, and he won the day. Lamarckian evolution came to be seen as a scientific blunder. Yet epigenetics is now forcing scientists to re-evaluate Lamarck’s ideas.

Though in decades past evolutionists ridiculed scientists who dared suggest this heresy, at this point the evidence is undeniable. Through a great variety of complex mechanisms, organisms not only respond intelligently to the environment, they can pass response information on to their progeny. Evolutionists long since resisted such findings, for aside from their immense complexity, such mechanisms mean that evolution somehow created response mechanisms with future environments in mind. Not exactly the stuff of unguided mutations. It is yet another falsification of a fundamental expectation of evolutionary theory.

Now, in spite of evolution, science is pursuing the epigenome—the map of how the genome is marked, modified and influenced in response to the environment. As the article explains:

Remember the Human Genome Project? Completed in March 2000, the project found that the human genome contains something like 25,000 genes; it took $3 billion to map them all. The human epigenome contains an as yet unknowable number of patterns of epigenetic marks, a number so big that Ecker won't even speculate on it. The number is certainly in the millions. A full epigenome map will require major advances in computing power. When completed, the Human Epigenome Project (already under way in Europe) will make the Human Genome Project look like homework that 15th century kids did with an abacus.

But the potential is staggering. For decades, we have stumbled around massive Darwinian roadblocks. DNA, we thought, was an ironclad code that we and our children and their children had to live by. Now we can imagine a world in which we can tinker with DNA, bend it to our will. It will take geneticists and ethicists many years to work out all the implications, but be assured: the age of epigenetics has arrived.

Epigenetics has become, as past Director of the National Institutes of Health Elias Zerhouni recently remarked, “a central issue in biology.” It seems that the long-standing claim of evolutionists, that “nothing makes sense in biology except in the light of evolution,” needs to be revised.

87 comments:

  1. Cornelius,
    "for aside from their immense complexity, such mechanisms mean that evolution somehow created response mechanisms with future environments in mind."
    this statement doesn't seem supported by the article. Children dying earlier when their grandparents overeat doesn't strike me as a "response mechanism to future environments." but perhaps you had a different example in mind.

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  2. Cornelius,

    To clarify, epigenetics (literally on top of genetics) can only act by suppressing or activating gene expression. These modifications are silencing DNA methylation and silencing or activating Histone modifications. All they ever do is regulate gene expression.

    There are two faces to 'epigenetics': the inheritance of marks within an organism-marks that determine cell fate, and try to maintain the fate of a cell. Then there is inheritance between parent and progeny that is transmitted by modifications of the sperm and egg-e.g. imprinting.

    A couple of points:

    1) The slimy insinuation that scientists have held back work on this, and therefore slowed progress of medicine to the public couldn't be more false.

    First, the clinical target is cancer-which is related to epigenetic cell fate WITHIN an organism. This has nothing, zero, zilch to do with talk of neo-Lamarkism, and would not be controversial in the least, because it is non-germ line and non-inherited!

    So, in cancers, tumor suppressors are epigenetically turned off, and oncogenes activated. So drugs that corect these situations by re-activating the tumor supressors are useful. Also, many childhood leukemias are gain-of-function alterations to activating methyltransferases (Some design). Inhibiting those would be useful.

    Second, the pace of discovery has been blisteringly fast. The Histone code hypothesis was formulated around 2000. (Though HDAC research predates this). HDAC inhibitors for Cancer treatment hit the market in 2005. Histone Methyltransferases are discovered in 2002, and inhibitors of them are working there way through development. Different types of Histone demethylases were discovered around 2004 and 2006, and chemical inhibitors have already been found. The human DNA methyltransferases are discovered-one early, and one after the human genome project. Inhibitors of them have been in clinical trials without much success, for a long time.

    In drug-development terms, this is light speed. So your line "And although various epigenetic phenomena have been observed for over a century, and even the molecular details have been outlined for several decades, basic and applied research in the field has been slow to progress. Only in recent years have epigenetic-based therapeutics begun to appear."

    Is a lie intended to smear scientists working on this-to make it sound like dogma means more than lives. You think these enzymes have been bumping around labs since the 70's, and we ignored them? I demand you retract this statement in light of the actual timeline of discovery and progress:

    Some reading you should have done:
    http://annonc.oxfordjournals.org/content/13/11/1699.short

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histone_deacetylase_inhibitor

    http://www.nature.com/nsmb/journal/v16/n3/full/nsmb.1560.html

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/122591989/HTMLSTART

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  3. 2) Epigenetics (literally on top of Genetics) is not a creative process. This is where is fails to compete with natural selection. In the case of inheritable genetic information, silencing predominates (actually in mammals, in inheritance, silencing by DNA methylation is really all I think has been demonstrated). So, epigenetics doesn't create new features and new pathways, it regulates down old ones. So, unless Lamark's giraffes could stretch their necks by inheritably silencing some genes, they're out of luck.

    3) Similarly, it hasn't been really demonstrated these are adaptive (as opposed to accidental). If my grandmother starves as a child, and pathways of imprinting are accidentally activated in her germ-line in a manner that harms further generations, is this adaptation? Or is this an accident of biology? Maybe its just overspread of somatic (body) pathways? If my father gets exposed to radiation, and I inherit mutations, I haven't adapted.

    4) The persistence of these marks is unclear. If it is only a few generations, that Darwinian selection is all that matters in describing evolution across longer times, at best, we could consider this a short-term adaptability routine.

    5) That large amounts of time money is being invested in the human epigenome project, and that scientists have latched onto it absolutely contradicts the notion we are dogmatically rigid. The reason it is late getting going is that it is even MORE technically difficult (to see the marks) than regular genome sequencing, and will require more samples, across multiple generations to make sense.

    6) How did you detect design in the system? How did you rule out evolution? What is the fCSI of epigenetics-show your calculations.

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  4. Of course, these misunderstandings are bound to happen when you take a sensational article from a Time magazine staff writer, mix in a little more sensationalism and anti-evolution bias, and plop out an un-evidenced diatribe.

    Maybe as a Ph.D., you could read and reference the scientific literature instead?

    Or is ignoring actual data part of moderate empiricism?

    ReplyDelete
  5. RobertC:


    "To clarify, epigenetics (literally on top of genetics) can only act by suppressing or activating gene expression."

    No, epigenetics is much more than this.

    "1) The slimy insinuation that scientists have held back work on this, and therefore slowed progress of medicine to the public couldn't be more false."

    No, it is your comments that are consistently false. What is slimy is how evolutionists have treated scientists. To suggest that this didn't happen is typical evolutionary whitewashing and, frankly, just as disgusting.

    "2) Epigenetics (literally on top of Genetics) is not a creative process. This is where is fails to compete with natural selection."

    There is no compelling scientific evidence that random variation and natural selection created epigenetic mechanisms.

    "3) Similarly, it hasn't been really demonstrated these are adaptive (as opposed to accidental)."

    Astonishing.


    "6) How did you detect design in the system? How did you rule out evolution? What is the fCSI of epigenetics-show your calculations."

    And finally the underlying metaphysical motivation. Contrastive reasoning is what it is really about.


    "an un-evidenced diatribe."

    Actually there is plenty of evidence, both in the history of science and the science itself. But this is how evolutionists respond.

    It is a religiously driven theory that scientifically is absurd. It could hardly be more silly. Evolutionists make a mockery of science, and not surprisingly, do not react well when faced with criticism.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It’s quite interesting to observe some evolutionists posting on this blog. A few are quite active, posting extensive comments almost non-stop.

    People do things for a reason. Since their belief in evolution is wishful thinking (hope that God doesn't exist) they defend it whatever it takes. They have to numb themselves to fill in the “blind pitiless indifference” of their existence by “lunging, flailing and mispuching” at whatever is out there that might question or criticize their worldview.

    If they are 100% certain that evolution is true and God does not exist, shouldn’t we expect them to be at ease enjoying the better things life has to offer considering that this life is all there is (according to their worldview) and that time is running out? It takes a lot of time and energy to post comments non-stop on a blog, especially on one that you don’t agree with and which you passionately attempt to contradict.

    Seeing that they spend so much time in front of their computer I just have to ask: Do these atheists have a life? Do they have a girlfriend, a spouse, kids, friends, relatives, a cat, or a dog? Do they have a hobby, practice a sport, or get together with friends and family for a good time? Do they ever enjoy cooking a nice meal from scratch and enjoy the fruit of their labour with a glass of red wine? I suspect not.

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  7. Rob: "To clarify, epigenetics (literally on top of genetics) can only act by suppressing or activating gene expression."

    CH: "No, epigenetics is much more than this."

    How so? What else is going on mechanistically?
    Except for yeast prions, or some rare structural cases in cilliates, there is literally nothing else but gene regulation going on. And, of course, we're talking human disease here.

    Mechanistically, this involves DNA methylation, Histone modifications, and potentially RNA. All serve to modulate the expression of existing genes. As far as inheritance in humans, I believe only DNA methylation has been implicated in inheritance of imprinting. Could you explain what else you see in epigenetics, with a reference? Specifically, how can it create new pathways, novel solutions? How can epigenetics stretch a Giraffe's neck?

    I can see why you like epigenetics- your version of it is magic.

    ++++++++
    Rob:"The slimy insinuation that scientists have held back work on this, and therefore slowed progress of medicine to the public couldn't be more false."

    CH: "No, it is your comments that are consistently false. What is slimy is how evolutionists have treated scientists. To suggest that this didn't happen is typical evolutionary whitewashing and, frankly, just as disgusting."

    Rob: Above, I present a Timeline of fundamental discovery to medicine, with references. It is rapid. Counter my evidenced claim with evidence instead of slimeball insinuation.

    +++++++++++

    Rob:Similarly, it hasn't been really demonstrated these are adaptive (as opposed to accidental)."

    CH: Astonishing.

    Rob: In what way? The data you present from the Time article: "Lancet published the first of two groundbreaking papers showing that if a pregnant woman ate poorly, her child would be at significantly higher than average risk for
    cardiovascular disease as an adult." I can't think of an adaptive response in humans.

    The second example:

    "the sons of those 166 early smokers, it turned out that the boys had significantly higher body mass indexes than other boys by age 9. That means the sons of men who smoke in prepuberty will be at higher risk for obesity and other health problems well into adulthood."

    Doesn't suggest adaptation either. Lamarkism, as a counter to evolution, must be all about adaptation. Here, it is wholly possible we are witnessing not an adaptive mechanism, but the accidental inheritance of biological errors due to extreme environment.

    I'd also like to point out these could be wholly environmental effects, and the 'epigenetics' of it remains under investigation.

    +++++++++++

    You've not countered my claims #4, that these modifications must persist, or Darwinian evolution accounts for long-time scales. You also forget that in-organism epigenetics is in no way Lamarkian. Studying cell fate isn't non-Darwinian! You've completely confused the epigenetics of cell fate with epigenetics inheritance between generations!

    ++++++++

    6) Rob: How did you detect design in the system? How did you rule out evolution? What is the fCSI of epigenetics-show your calculations."

    CH: "And finally the underlying metaphysical motivation. Contrastive reasoning is what it is really about."

    Rob: What metaphysics? Are you saying the request for a formal demonstration of design is metaphysics? Maybe all ID is metaphysics, but I'm just asking for some empirical data.

    +++++++

    And again, you link to a sensationalist TIME article, which you add even more misrepresentation to. I link to the scientific literature. Who, really, is mocking the data?

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  8. Aldolfo,

    It takes very little time to correct the record when you know the actual science behind the falsehoods Cornelius spouts.

    For the record, I have a job, house, wife, cats, I homebrew, and play league baseball.

    Projecting much?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Rob,

    There is evidence that antibiotic resistance was due to epigenetic inheritance based mechanisms.

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2148/8/52

    There is also now "mounting evidence that heritable variation in ecologically relevant traits can be generated through a suite of epigenetic mechanisms"

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18021243

    ReplyDelete
  10. "There is evidence that antibiotic resistance was due to epigenetic inheritance based mechanisms."

    I was specifically talking about animal inheritable epigenetics-specifically the examples impacting humans in the Time paper, which seem anything but adaptive.

    You'll see in that paper, the bacteria already have the genes for enzymes and pumps that afford antibiotic resistance. Priming the expression of these genes allows better survival when dosed with antibiotics. Since bacteria are unicellular (no germ line!), the memory of expression persists, and later generations survive better. Nothing new is created. And again, not long-term-just short term adaptability based on the modulation of the expression of existing genes.

    I'm not familiar with he second paper. Maybe it has some examples of adaptive epigenetics. Maybe not.

    But I promise you it won't show generation of novelty, or persistence in the way that would matter to emerge as a competitive with evolution.

    ReplyDelete
  11. xferhlt,

    "There is evidence that antibiotic resistance was due to epigenetic inheritance based mechanisms. "

    the evidence here suggests that there was random variation in expression levels of some genes that conferred antibiotic resistance. when antibiotics were applied, those that had higher expression were selected for. so it's plain old natural selection, with the exception that the selection is occurring on methylation states (perhaps) rather than DNA sequences. there is no evidence that the methylation states themselves are directly altered by the environment

    "mounting evidence that heritable variation in ecologically relevant traits can be generated through a suite of epigenetic mechanisms"

    Yet in that entire paper they didn't show one example of a "response mechanism to future environments." Perhaps they just missed them, and COrnelius could point them out to them (and us).

    ReplyDelete
  12. "It is a religiously driven theory that scientifically is absurd. It could hardly be more silly. Evolutionists make a mockery of science, and not surprisingly, do not react well when faced with criticism.

    LOL! Science thrives on open, constructive, informed criticism. What is doesn't react well to is this sort of strawman horescrap nonsense spouted by those with a political ax to grind and who don't understand the subject matter in the least. Those who think regurgitating quote-mined snippets from popular press sensationalistic articles and adding their own deliberately misleading spin somehow constitutes a valid scientific critique.

    ReplyDelete
  13. RobertC:

    ===
    6) Rob: How did you detect design in the system? How did you rule out evolution? What is the fCSI of epigenetics-show your calculations."

    CH: "And finally the underlying metaphysical motivation. Contrastive reasoning is what it is really about."

    Rob: What metaphysics? Are you saying the request for a formal demonstration of design is metaphysics? Maybe all ID is metaphysics, but I'm just asking for some empirical data.
    ===

    No, you're not asking for empirical data. If you wanted that it would be easy enough to obtain. What you asked for is an alternative explanation. This is always where evolutionists retreat to--the place they began. Evolution was, and always has been, a solution to a metaphysical problem which is uniquely yours.

    You and the evolutionists here are a valuable resource, as examples of evolutionary thought for all to see.

    I have long since stopped counting the erroneous arguments you and the other evolutiontists make. You dogmatically enforce a theory that is religiously-mandated and scientifically unlikely.

    On the present topic, you apparently have found a few abstracts and a wikipedia page that you think settle everything, while meanwhile you have swallowed a camel, ignoring both science and history.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thorton:

    "political ax to grind..."

    What is my "political ax" again?

    ReplyDelete
  15. nano:

    "so it's plain old natural selection ..."

    Epigenetics, inheritance of acquired characters, or whatever one wants to call it, has always been resisted by evolutionists. But the blackballing, etc., that controlled the information is no longer working so well.

    Today evolutionists are still resisting, as exemplified by your comment, even though the facts are now undeniable.

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  16. "No, you're not asking for empirical data. If you wanted that it would be easy enough to obtain"

    Ok, present it. I'm particularly interested in the epigentics that magically works without influencing gene expression, that doesn't depend on existing genes, that is adaptive in humans, or that persists across enough generations to matter.

    I notice you've given up defending your original post, and the whole of ID, and now accuse me of resorting to trickery. Come on! My points were numbered 1-6. All the way in #6, I ask you to defend your position, and you get all upset about it. How awful of me that I think the 'science' we're supposed to be all excited about and abandon evolution for do one damn thing in support of itself.

    But none of this is what really pissed me off on this thread. I still request you retract the smear of science in the original post. The discovery to drug progress in epigenetics has been extremely rapid.

    Further, cell fate epigenetics does not relate to epigenetics across generations, and therefore does not impact evolutionary biology.

    I provide data supporting this. Without a shred of evidence, you have accused evolutionary biologists of of having essentially killed patients by refusing lines of investigation to adherence to dogma.

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  17. Evolution works primarily with that which already exists, not through the generation of novelty. My antibiotic example simply shows that adaptation can occur through selection of epigenetic inheritance. There is also evidence that mutation to particular microsatellite alleles are associated with fungal infection, that is not observed in non-infected plants.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15542110

    As for humans, one of the most powerful examples of adaptive epigenetic inheritance (in my opinion) is described in the book Not By Genes Alone.

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  18. Dr Hunter:

    You dogmatically enforce a theory that is religiously-mandated and scientifically unlikely.

    Who is "you"? Is it RobertC? Who else? How do they enforce?

    Scientifically unlikely? Please show your work.

    ReplyDelete
  19. RobertC:


    ====
    I'm particularly interested in the epigentics that magically works without influencing gene expression ...
    =====

    If you were "particularly interested" then you would know all about it. What you seem to be "particularly interested" in is enforcing your metaphysically-laden version of science, while accusing others of it.

    ===
    and you get all upset about it. How awful of me that I think the 'science' we're supposed to be all excited about and abandon evolution for do one damn thing in support of itself.

    But none of this is what really pissed me off on this thread.
    ====

    I'm not the one who got "all upset."


    ===
    Without a shred of evidence,
    ===

    Yeah, really, good point. There really was no persecution. There was no evolutionary influence on science. And there really is nothing to all the problems with evolution. It's obvious that epigenetic mechanisms are simply another wonder of RM/NS. There's no evidence here at all, except that which supports evolution.

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  20. Cornelius,

    "Epigenetics, inheritance of acquired characters, or whatever one wants to call it, has always been resisted by evolutionists"

    except by Darwin (ever heard of gemmules?), but I guess he's not an evolutionist. Lamarckism (and gemmules) fell out of favor because of gruesome experiments,e.g. cutting off rat tails for many generations to see if offspring grew tails, showing that in most cases it was wrong. feel free to repeat those experiments if you think they are fundamentally in error.

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  21. CH: "If you were "particularly interested" then you would know all about it."

    Sorry, I'm just curious about learning where you got this data (asides from a piss-poor TIME article), that, as someone with a Ph.D. in the study of a certain epigenetic cell-fate mechanism, I seem horribly unaware of.

    Where did you learn the investigation into life-saving drugs was stalled by evolutionary biologists? What proof have you of such accusations?

    CH: "Epigenetics, inheritance of acquired characters, or whatever one wants to call it, has always been resisted by evolutionists."

    CH: "You dogmatically enforce a theory that is religiously-mandated and scientifically unlikely."

    CH: "science is pursuing the epigenome—the map of how the genome is marked, modified and influenced in response to the environment"

    UMM, doesn't #3 contradict with 1 and 2?

    ReplyDelete
  22. David:

    "Scientifically unlikely? Please show your work."

    I'm not the one not showing work. I've written quite a bit on how science reflects on evolution. Meanwhile the evolutionists claim their theory is a scientific fact as much as is gravity, but yet have not "shown their work."

    Evolutionsists are the ones who made the claim, without supporting it. I would sign on immediately if someone could just "show the work."

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/05/evolution-is-scientific-fact.html

    But evolutionists won't do this. They won't even acknowledge obvious failures, such as epigenetics. Just look at the comments here. Evolution is not about science.

    ReplyDelete
  23. RobertC:

    ========
    CH: "If you were "particularly interested" then you would know all about it."

    Sorry, I'm just curious about learning where you got this data (asides from a piss-poor TIME article), that, as someone with a Ph.D. in the study of a certain epigenetic cell-fate mechanism, I seem horribly unaware of.
    ==========

    Again, a consequence of evolution. You display your ignorance in a field you should know something about, and then insist there has been no influence on science, no retardation of progress, by evolution.

    It is a fact that epigenetic mechanisms can work other than merely by influencing gene expression. It is a fact that this, and the other epigenetic mechanisms, have been strenuously resisted by evolutionists. And it is a fact that evolutionists continue to fight science, as well exemplified here.


    "UMM, doesn't #3 contradict with 1 and 2? "

    No.

    ReplyDelete
  24. "It is a fact that epigenetic mechanisms can work other than merely by influencing gene expression."

    How? Example?
    (Besides the odd cases of prions in yeast, and structural inheritance in cilliates, which I've already mentioned for you). The key thing here is to show these are general mechanisms that can act beyond the regulation of existing genomic diversity, if you really want this to count as an evolutionary model.

    "It is a fact that this, and the other epigenetic mechanisms, have been strenuously resisted by evolutionists."

    How so? Who? And, again, why would the epigenetics that impacts cell fate, and thus anti-cancer therapeutics matter to an evolutionist? It isn't an inherited change!!!

    (Of course, you don't mention that--you've completely mashed-up cell fate and inheritance in making your points). I don't think you recognized the difference initially.

    ""UMM, doesn't #3 contradict with 1 and 2? "

    No."

    So the NIH is not run and staffed by evolutionists that dogmatically resist this project? Curious. Who took over? Lol.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Epigenetic inheritance has been shown to be ubiquitous and can have evolutionary consequences.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19606595

    ReplyDelete
  26. x,
    read beyond the abstract of the article. then provide examples of adaptive inheritance of acquired characteristics.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hunter, would you mind very much stopping with the endless conflation of 'evolution' with 'darwinism'? You wear your ignorance like a badge.

    Sure, there's been historic tension between hardline neodarwinists and those from other paradigms, but they are all "evolutionists" and the ideas are hardly mutually exclusive, as has been apparent for more than a decade. The only error has been assuming a dichotomy exists.

    ReplyDelete
  28. xferhlt:

    Nice Review. Again, these few examples regulate existing genes, and don't make novel functions the way selection from genetic variation has been demonstrated to.

    I don't reject epigenetics (obviously), particularly in cell fate. But as a theory to explain changes in inheritance, and replace evolution (Darwin-free science, as Cornelius says)--it is not nearly comprehensive enough (it is the exception rather than the rule), it does not explain the creation of new functions, it is not generally adaptive. In short, it is neither contradictory with, nor a substitute for evolution. How much or how little it contributes to evolution is debateable-but the claims of this blog post were far from where the scientific controversy lies.

    As for adaptability, here's what the table lists for the wonders that epigenetics brings humans:

    Cardiovascular mortality and diabetes susceptibility

    Angelman and Prader-Willi syndromes

    Rats:

    Decreased spermatogenic capacity; elevated
    incidence of tumor, prostate, and kidney
    diseases, serum cholesterol levels,
    and immune system abnormalities; premature aging
    and male mating disadvantage

    Adaptive?

    And the persistence is limited.

    ReplyDelete
  29. CH: "I'm not the one not showing work. I've written quite a bit on how science reflects on evolution. Meanwhile the evolutionists claim their theory is a scientific fact as much as is gravity, but yet have not "shown their work."

    Wow. You're really so clueless about this topic that you don't understand the difference between the fact of evolution and the theory of evolution?

    The fact of evolution is that life has been on this planet, constantly changing, for over 3.3 billion years. In that time it underwent an original major diversification (Cambrian era) and several major extinction events (late Devonian, late Permian, late Triassic, late Cretaceous) each one followed by its own unique diversification of the survivors. That is fact. Anyone can duplicate the radiometric dating results. Anyone can examine the fossil record and recreate the morphological nested hierarchy. Anyone can examine the DNA of extant species and get the same genetic nested hierarchy.

    The theory of evolution explains the observed fact of evolution. It proposes testable mechanisms at both the individual (genetic) and species level for how life diversified, and indeed those mechanisms have been tested and verified a thousand fold.

    If you can't grasp the difference, one of the most fundamental aspects of science, then there's pretty much no hope for you. It's no wonder you write so much anti-science nonsense on this blog.

    BTW, evolution has 'shown its work' in hundreds of top notch colleges and universities, in tens of thousands of peer reviewed research papers. It 'shows its worth' every day in the thousands of hospitals, biological research facilities, biomedical companies, etc. that rely on evolutionary paradigms for success.

    You can see this huge body of work anytime you want to. All you have to do is take your head out of the sand and look.

    ReplyDelete
  30. abimer:

    ====
    Hunter, would you mind very much stopping with the endless conflation of 'evolution' with 'darwinism'? You wear your ignorance like a badge.

    Sure, there's been historic tension between hardline neodarwinists and those from other paradigms, but they are all "evolutionists" and the ideas are hardly mutually exclusive, as has been apparent for more than a decade. The only error has been assuming a dichotomy exists.
    ====

    What exactly you are imagining, I do not know, but I do not treat the terms darwinism and evolution as you seem to be suggesting. If you can be specific I'll make the necessary change.

    Of course evolutionists will criticize you no matter how you use the terms. One professor complained to me that he was not a Darwinian but rather an evolutionist and then others, such as here, complain that we're all just evolutionists.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thorton:

    "Wow. You're really so clueless about this topic that you don't understand the difference between the fact of evolution and the theory of evolution?"

    Yes, I understand the difference.



    "The fact of evolution is that life has been on this planet, constantly changing, for over 3.3 billion years."

    No, that is not the fact of evolution. That is the empirical observation that life forms have changed. When evolutionists claim that evolution is a fact, they are claiming that the life forms have changed according to the theory of evolution.


    "In that time it underwent an original major diversification (Cambrian era) and several major extinction events (late Devonian, late Permian, late Triassic, late Cretaceous) each one followed by its own unique diversification of the survivors. That is fact."

    Yes, those are facts, but they are not *the* fact which evolutionists are claiming. You are equivocating on evolution. Try reading evolutionists who explains the claim that evolution is a fact.




    "The theory of evolution explains the observed fact of evolution. It proposes testable mechanisms at both the individual (genetic) and species level for how life diversified, and indeed those mechanisms have been tested and verified a thousand fold."

    I didn't know that. So where are those Cambrian Explosion tests and verifications?



    "If you can't grasp the difference, one of the most fundamental aspects of science, then there's pretty much no hope for you. It's no wonder you write so much anti-science nonsense on this blog."

    This is typical of evolutionists. Make the claim that evolution is a fact, then when you ask them to support their claim, they equivocate and then blame you for all manner of lies, distortions and fallacies. Guess where the lies, distortions and fallacies are coming from? This is not just Thorton. I've seen professors do this very thing.

    ReplyDelete
  32. CH: "Yes, I understand the difference.

    From your continued brutally bad misstatements about the actual ToE it's obvious you don't.

    "No, that is not the fact of evolution. That is the empirical observation that life forms have changed."

    LOL! That life forms have changed over time is defined as evolution.

    Yes, those are facts, but they are not *the* fact which evolutionists are claiming. You are equivocating on evolution. Try reading evolutionists who explains the claim that evolution is a fact.

    Actually it's you who are equivocating over 'fact' and 'theory'. But you've already demonstrated that you don't know the difference.

    I didn't know that. So where are those Cambrian Explosion tests and verifications?

    LOL! The Cambrian Explosion is not a mechanism of evolution, it's the name given to a millions of years long period of rapid diversification of early multicellular life. Is there anything you do know about actual evolutionary theory?

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  33. For those interested in a more thorough explanation of the difference between evolutionary fact and evolutionary theory:

    "A few words need to be said about the "theory of evolution," which most people take to mean the proposition that organisms have evolved from common ancestors. In everyday speech, "theory" often means a hypothesis or even a mere speculation. But in science, "theory" means "a statement of what are held to be the general laws, principles, or causes of something known or observed." as the Oxford English Dictionary defines it. The theory of evolution is a body of interconnected statements about natural selection and the other processes that are thought to cause evolution, just as the atomic theory of chemistry and the Newtonian theory of mechanics are bodies of statements that describe causes of chemical and physical phenomena. In contrast, the statement that organisms have descended with modifications from common ancestors--the historical reality of evolution--is not a theory. It is a fact, as fully as the fact of the earth's revolution about the sun. Like the heliocentric solar system, evolution began as a hypothesis, and achieved "facthood" as the evidence in its favor became so strong that no knowledgeable and unbiased person could deny its reality. No biologist today would think of submitting a paper entitled "New evidence for evolution;" it simply has not been an issue for a century.

    - Douglas J. Futuyma, Evolutionary Biology, 2nd ed., 1986


    Evolution is a Fact and a Theory

    Those wishing to propagate their willful ignorance on the matter, please skip.

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  34. Thorton:

    ==========
    The fact of evolution is that life has been on this planet, constantly changing, for over 3.3 billion years. ... LOL! That life forms have changed over time is defined as evolution.

    the statement that organisms have descended with modifications from common ancestors--the historical reality of evolution--is not a theory. It is a fact,

    Evolution as a process that has always gone on in the history of the earth can be doubted only by those who are ignorant of the evidence or are resistant to evidence, owing to emotional blocks or to plain bigotry. By contrast, the mechanisms that bring evolution about certainly need study and clarification. There are no alternatives to evolution as history that can withstand critical examination. Yet we are constantly learning new and important facts about evolutionary mechanisms.

    the fact of evolution--that all living organisms present on earth today have arisen from earlier forms in the course of earth's long history.
    ==========

    So the fact of evolution is that life has changed over the past 3.3 billion years, or common ancestry, or the evolutionary processes. And I'm the one who is equivocating.

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  35. CH:"So the fact of evolution is that life has changed over the past 3.3 billion years, or common ancestry, or the evolutionary processes. And I'm the one who is equivocating."

    Yes. You keep equivocating between the fact of evolution - observed common ancestry and the theory of evolution - the evolutionary processes. You keep using the single word 'evolution' and switching between the two meanings without clarifying which of the definitions you are using. That's the textbook definition of equivocation.

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  36. Thorton:

    ===
    Yes. You keep equivocating between the fact of evolution - observed common ancestry and the theory of evolution - the evolutionary processes. You keep using the single word 'evolution' and switching between the two meanings without clarifying which of the definitions you are using. That's the textbook definition of equivocation.
    ===

    So you said the fact of evolution is:

    1. That life has changed over the past 3.3 billion years.

    2. Common ancestry. (from the link you provided)

    3. The evolutionary processes. (from the link you provided)

    I point out your equivocation, and I'm the one who is equivocating. Got it.

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  37. @ Cornelius Hunter

    I'm a bit confused about whether or not a questions is metaphysical. Are questions about why something is the way it is in biology metaphysical? Is the question why the human chromosome no. 2 has telomeres in the middle metaphysical?

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  38. Now you're equivocating over the terms processes and mechanisms.

    Do you have any idea how silly these childish little semantic games you like to play make you look?

    Sadly, I bet you don't.

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  39. Thorton:

    "Now you're equivocating over the terms processes and mechanisms."

    How so?

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  40. Tsk tsk tsk...still with the silly semantic games.

    Please explain how this is saying evolutionary mechanisms are a fact.

    "Evolution as a process that has always gone on in the history of the earth can be doubted only by those who are ignorant of the evidence or are resistant to evidence, owing to emotional blocks or to plain bigotry. By contrast, the mechanisms that bring evolution about certainly need study and clarification."

    What do the words "by contrast" mean?

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  41. second opinion:

    "I'm a bit confused about whether or not a questions is metaphysical."

    If you read the evolution genre, say going back to the Enlightenment, it commonly makes assertions in the form of rhetorical statements and questions. "Why would god ...," "why would a designer ...," "How curious it is that ..." and so forth.

    Creation and design have been found faulty by evolutionists because of the metaphysical premises that drive their thinking.

    There are myriad items in biology evolutionists could ask about, but they ask about dysteleology. When they ask "How would creation or ID explain my aching back, atavisms, pseudogenes, etc" they are testing these ideas against their metaphysical premises.

    Such questions are often in a taunting form, as they know there is no answer that will satisfy their metaphysics. Or the question may be more genuine. But in any case, it arises from the religious / metaphysical beliefs that such things are challenges to creation or design, and so need explaining.

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  42. "But in any case, it arises from the religious / metaphysical beliefs that such things are challenges to creation or design, and so need explaining. "

    So intelligent design is not metaphysical, but any request for empirical evidence supporting it is?

    Most interesting.

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  43. Cornelius wrote: If you read the evolution genre, say going back to the Enlightenment, it commonly makes assertions in the form of rhetorical statements and questions. "Why would god ...," "why would a designer ...," "How curious it is that ..." and so forth.

    There was no scientific theory of evolution back during the Enlightenment. It's like saying "If you read the physics genre, say going back to Arostotle..." Why don't you deal with the modern theory of evolution, Cornelius?

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  44. Thorton:

    "Tsk tsk tsk...still with the silly semantic games."

    So, you say evolution really is a fact because, after all, this claim merely refers to the observation that life has changed over the past 3.3 billion years.

    This, of course, is false, and an equivocation on evolution. When evolutionists say evolution is a fact, they are referring to their broad ideas, such as common ancestry and natural selection. The "theory" refers to the lower level details, which are open to change.

    When I point out this out you make empty accusations about playing silly semantic games.

    Unfortunately, this equivocation is typical amongst evolutionists. And why is this important? It is another example that evolution is not about science. It is not about analyzing evidence and figuring out how nature works.

    The claim that evolution is compelling and a fact goes back centuries. Because evolution is motivated by metaphysics is must be true. Evolutionists cannot afford for their idea to be questioned. But it is an absurd, undefendable claim.

    So when questions arise a safe fallback is to equivocate, and say that evolution is merely the claim that there has been change. Common ancestry? No, no, evolution merely refers to change over time. Look it up!

    Thorton's pathetic logic here is by no means of his own creation. It has been replayed repeatedly. This is evolutionary thought in action.

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  45. oleg:

    "There was no scientific theory of evolution back during the Enlightenment."

    Of course there was.

    "It's like saying "If you read the physics genre, say going back to Arostotle..."

    Umm, except that Aristotle did do physics.

    It is typical, however, for evolutionists to discount history. Most evolutionists have no idea of the origin of the ideas to which they adhere to tightly.


    "Why don't you deal with the modern theory of evolution, Cornelius?"

    I do.

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  46. Cornelius wrote: Common ancestry? No, no, evolution merely refers to change over time. Look it up!

    Show me an evolutionary biologist who is so evasive. And while you're at it, let us know what you've got against common ancestry. Are you with Paul Nelson and Dembski on that?

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  47. So you think it's a good idea to use Aristotle's physics in order to argue against modern physics? This is hilarious!

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  48. oleg:

    "So you think it's a good idea to use Aristotle's physics in order to argue against modern physics? This is hilarious! "

    So, you evolutionists definitely need to let the rest of the world in on your secret. Let's have a look at this exchange:

    -----------------------
    Oleg: There was no scientific theory of evolution back during the Enlightenment. It's like saying "If you read the physics genre, say going back to Arostotle..."

    Me: Umm, except that Aristotle did do physics.

    Oleg: So you think it's a good idea to use Aristotle's physics in order to argue against modern physics? This is hilarious!
    -----------------------

    So what is it about evolutionists? This example is so typical ...

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  49. Cornelius,

    You're engaging in equivocation. Aristotelean physics isn't a scientific theory. Classical, Newtonian physics and later theories are.

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  50. Oleg:

    "And while you're at it, let us know what you've got against common ancestry."

    Common ancesty might be a good and accurate description of the history of life, but it is a religiously motivated idea that is not well supported by the empirical evidence.

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  51. oleg:

    "You're engaging in equivocation. Aristotelean physics isn't a scientific theory. Classical, Newtonian physics and later theories are."

    Why is that true?

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  52. oleg:

    "Show me an evolutionary biologist who is so evasive."

    Believe it or not Thorton's logic is not that uncommon. You just haven't debated evolutionists.

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  53. Cornelius wrote: Why is that true?

    Have you heard about the scientific method, Cornelius? You know, when a theory makes testable predictions and they are verified experimentally?

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  54. I see no problem with Thornton's logic. Replace evolution with gravity. I can say that gravity is a fact. All objects possessing mass attract one another, a fact verified experimentally. And gravity is also a theory. In fact, we have a couple of theories of gravity, Newton's and Einstein's. What's the problem with this?

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  55. oleg:

    "Have you heard about the scientific method, Cornelius? You know, when a theory makes testable predictions and they are verified experimentally?"

    It's a bit more complicated than that. It is an unfortunately tendency for today's scientists to look down on past thinkers as "unscientific." Aristotle's cosmology was strongly empirical. If you want predictions, his physics supported geocentrism which made plenty. By the 16th c Aristotelianism had become the basis of much rationalism, and so has a bad name. But that alone is not a balanced view of Aristotelian physics. Another confounding factor is the demarcation problem which you seem to discount.

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  56. oleg:

    "I see no problem with Thornton's logic. Replace evolution with gravity. I can say that gravity is a fact. All objects possessing mass attract one another, a fact verified experimentally."

    But that is not analagous to a fish and a giraffe having a common ancestor, which is the "evolution is fact" claim entails.


    "And gravity is also a theory. In fact, we have a couple of theories of gravity, Newton's and Einstein's. What's the problem with this? "

    Gravity indeed is a favorite comparison for evolutionists to make (beginning with Darwin who wanted his theory to be on the same level as Newtonian physics). The problem is that whereas gravity is an empirical fact, something we constantly sense, the transformation of an ancient sea creature into a giraffe is not an empirical fact.

    In order to make sense of your logic, you would need to replace the evolutionist's claim of common ancestry with mere "change over time" -- Thorton's equivocation which you seem to be comfortable with. So over and over, evolutionists repeatedly insist the common ancestry is a fact as much as is gravity, but then when asked for the supporting details, they retreat and complain that they merely said "change over time" is a fact.

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  57. Cornelisu wrote: Gravity indeed is a favorite comparison for evolutionists to make (beginning with Darwin who wanted his theory to be on the same level as Newtonian physics). The problem is that whereas gravity is an empirical fact, something we constantly sense, the transformation of an ancient sea creature into a giraffe is not an empirical fact.

    You can sense the Earth's gravity acting on you, but you can't sense the gravitational attraction between the Earth and the Moon or between the Sun and the planets. That was Newton's theory. In fact, he theorized that all massive objects attract one another with a force proportional to the objects' masses and inversely proportional to the distance between them. The motion of planets was consistent with Newton's theory. Cavendish's experiments demonstrated that smaller objects indeed attract one another as Newton predicted. And finally, there was the discovery of Neptune.

    It works the same with evolution. We can easily observe small inheritable changes over years, decades, and centuries in animal husbandry or agriculture. It takes a lot more effort to confirm these changes over longer periods of time, but it's not like we have no evidence of that. We have good evidence that whales and ungulates are related, even though it is not obvious at first sight.

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  58. Cornelius,
    what makes you accept change over time as a fact?

    ReplyDelete
  59. In response to Dr Hunter’s claim:

    You dogmatically enforce a theory that is religiously-mandated and scientifically unlikely.

    David asked: "Scientifically unlikely? Please show your work."

    Dr Hunter replied: I'm not the one not showing work.

    Tu quoque is not responsive. If you know of a more likely theory, you are honor-bound to present it. Otherwise, your claim is unsupported and incoherent.

    I've written quite a bit on how science reflects on evolution

    Quantity does not equal comprehensibility. Would it be too much trouble to provide a clear summary now?

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  60. CH: "But that is not analagous to a fish and a giraffe having a common ancestor, which is the "evolution is fact" claim entails."

    I see the problem now. You are not using the same definition of fact as everyone else. To science 'fact' means "confirmed to such a degree that it would be ridiculous to deny provisional consent." To you 'fact' is anything that conforms to your narrow Biblical interpretation of reality.

    No wonder this science stuff confuses you so.

    CH: "So over and over, evolutionists repeatedly insist the common ancestry is a fact as much as is gravity, but then when asked for the supporting details, they retreat and complain that they merely said "change over time" is a fact."

    Again, there are thousands of colleges, universities, natural history museums, biotech companies all over the world where you can see the supporting details. There are tens of thousands of scientific research papers where you can read about the supporting details. "I refuse to look" is not synonymous with "there are no supporting details".

    Still, I guess the "stick fingers in ears and go LA LA LA" defense has been a mainstay of creationists for centuries. No reason for you to try something different like actually reading and learning here.

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  61. David: "Quantity does not equal comprehensibility. Would it be too much trouble to provide a clear summary now? "

    Allow me:

    "The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it!!"

    None of that fancy-schmancy scientific evidence stuff for CH, no siree!

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  62. "We have good evidence that whales and ungulates are related, even though it is not obvious at first sight."

    ¿Sure? ¿Wich evidence? ¿What type of relation?

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  63. Thorton,

    Easy Cut and edit to your comment says a lot...

    "Darwin says it, I believe it, that settles it!!"

    LOL. Whenever evidence is brought to bear against evolution, the walls go up and the guns come out and science is a casualty.

    You hardly got started with defending evolution and you mention the "Cambrian Era". Just like poof! No problemo. Stuff happens and that proves evolution.

    Coca-cola, baseball, brain-surgery, hotdogs... which one doesn't fit?

    Natural selection, eons of time, Cambrian explosion, Tree of life... which one doesn't fit?

    Let's everyone just forget about the actual facts of the cambrian explosion and include it in with a bunch of hand-waving generalizations about change over time and we should all be happy with the theory of evolution and go home. Case closed.. everyone that knows something just accepts it as settled... "Darwin says it, I believe it, that settles it!!"

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  64. Neal Tedford, what are the facts about the Cambrian explosion? Do you think the Wikipedia article on the subject is accurate? If not, why not?

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  65. Neal Tedford: "Let's everyone just forget about the actual facts of the cambrian explosion and include it in with a bunch of hand-waving generalizations about change over time and we should all be happy with the theory of evolution and go home.

    What actual facts would those be Neal? PubMed and Google Scholar return over 10,000 hits on scientific papers referencing the Cambrian Explosion. Do you want to discuss one in detail, and give me the ID explanation for the observed evidence?

    There's a new paper out in Nature just today describing an animal from the Burgess Shale, Nectocaris pteryx, that has been identified as being ancestral to extant cephalopods.

    Primitive soft-bodied cephalopods from the Cambrian

    You want to discuss the details of the paper and explain why the findings are wrong? Or are you content being a coward and flinging rocks from the sidelines?

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  66. I'm confused again. I was under the impression that cephalopods evolved fron hard shelled gastropods. The nautiloids first. Then they lost the shells to become squid, octopi. Now they are saying the squid came first?

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  67. natschuster said...

    I'm confused again. I was under the impression that cephalopods evolved fron hard shelled gastropods. The nautiloids first. Then they lost the shells to become squid, octopi. Now they are saying the squid came first?


    Good explanation and discussion at PT:

    Phylogenetic position of the nectocaridids

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  68. Did gastopods and cephalopods evolve hard shells independantly. How lucky was that?

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  69. natschuster -

    This weekend a man won the national lottery. How lucky was that?

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  70. It would have been super lucky if he was the only person playing and he only bought one ticket. It is pretty normal and to be expected according to evolutionary yahoos.

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  71. Oh, and I love this site. This is fun.

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  72. I watched a show once where often the people who won lotteries were often broke again not long after due to being wasteful and not spending it properly... so is winning the lottery like a good mutation or a bad one?

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  73. Fil -


    It would have been super lucky if he was the only person playing and he only bought one ticket.


    Luckier than if other people had bought a ticket? Do the odds of him winning actually decrease if other people also play?

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  74. The one person's odds do not change. However, with multiple people playing SOMEBODY will win, and you would transfer your claim of luck to them. Regardless of WHO the person who won the lottery was you would say they were lucky. If only one person had bought a ticket in that lottery you spoke of and that ONE person HAD won that would go beyond luck to a contrived win. He and the lottery would be investigated for signs of fraud.

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  75. If there were a million people then yes, SOMEONE would win. And we would have no problem with seeing that person as the lucky recipient of nothing but good fortune.

    But the odds of his win are the same no matter how many people played.

    If, indeed, he was the only player, his win was no less likely than if he was one of a million players. And we would have no more reason to supect he was the recipient of anything other than good fortune.

    Your point on the fraud is, I suspect a faceteous one. But again, we are still playing the probability game. What are the odds that he committed some kind of fraud? Possibly better than those of him winning the lottery. But him committing fraud is still a naturalistic explanation.

    Imagine it is absolutely proved without a shadow of a doubt that the lottery draw was entirely unrigged and he won fair and square. Would that make supernatural explanations more likely? Would we be justified in believing he has guardian angels, or lucky charms or had cast a luck spell?

    No.

    To do so would be to commit the lottery fallacy.

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  76. "If there were a million people then yes, SOMEONE would win. And we would have no problem with seeing that person as the lucky recipient of nothing but good fortune.

    But the odds of his win are the same no matter how many people played.

    If, indeed, he was the only player, his win was no less likely than if he was one of a million players. And we would have no more reason to supect he was the recipient of anything other than good fortune.

    Your point on the fraud is, I suspect a faceteous one. But again, we are still playing the probability game. What are the odds that he committed some kind of fraud? Possibly better than those of him winning the lottery. But him committing fraud is still a naturalistic explanation.

    Imagine it is absolutely proved without a shadow of a doubt that the lottery draw was entirely unrigged and he won fair and square. Would that make supernatural explanations more likely? Would we be justified in believing he has guardian angels, or lucky charms or had cast a luck spell?

    No.

    To do so would be to commit the lottery fallacy. "

    Give me another example of a lottery winner. This time do it in advance.....

    You and I know that you cannot. It is easy to claim luck after the fact.

    And honestly?"Imagine it is absolutely proved without a shadow of a doubt that the lottery draw was entirely unrigged and he won fair and square. Would that make supernatural explanations more likely? Would we be justified in believing he has guardian angels, or lucky charms or had cast a luck spell?

    No.

    To do so would be to commit the lottery fallacy."

    The funny thing is if this scenario was to actually happen in real life... noone would believe it. You can only speak of it in an abstract way.

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  77. "Do the odds of him winning actually decrease if other people also play?"

    Actually they do. Sometimes a lottery has multiple winners, so the prize is less.

    Ok this is dissecting the analogy to death but I thought it was funny.

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  78. Give me another example of a lottery winner. This time do it in advance.....


    Okay, I'll spin around in a field with my eyes closed and then throw a ball up in the air.

    WHEREVER IT LANDS, the chances of it happening to land exactly THERE would be monstrously tiny. And yet it would happen - and not necessarily be the result of anything other than chance.


    The funny thing is if this scenario was to actually happen in real life... noone would believe it. You can only speak of it in an abstract way.


    I suspect that is because there is a vast deal of money at stake.

    In truth, hugely improbable things happen every day. I remember a story of a woman whose husband was away for work. He had written down the phone number of the hotel he would be staying at. But when she dialed, she misdialed the number (without even noticing) and actually phoned the phonebox he happened to be walking past at that exact moment.

    I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but in a world guided purely by chance we should still expect extremely unlikely things to happen sometimes.

    When these fantastically unlikely events happen to us it is tempting to attribute it to some deliberate cause - fate or physic abilities or guardian angels, whatever. But the reality is that we should expect extremely unlikely things to happen occassionally.

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  79. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  80. Then I misunderstand what you mean by 'in advance'.

    I have not yet spun around and thrown a ball. Doesn't that count as in advance?

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  81. Wow that was a quick response. I was going to rephrase that. By "in advance" i meant predicting it. To make an improbable event happen is not hard, as the ball example you gave shows. Imagine though that you were in a perfectly flat dirt field and wanted the ball to land in a specific spot. You were blindfolded, spun around several time and then told to throw the ball and it landed in exactly the spot you wanted. That is the kind of improbability I meant.

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  82. But in that example the outcome is preordained. Indeed, the outcome that the ball will land in just the right place is so unlikely BECAUSE it is pre-ordained. We have no reason to think the state of the universe or the laws which govern it were so.

    If it is even possible that the universe or its laws can exist in states other than the ones they are in, there is still no reason to think that the outcome was pre-ordained, planned or predicted.

    (back tomorrow)

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  83. Dr. Hunter, you quoted a Time magazine article:
    "Geneticists are quietly acknowledging that we may have too easily dismissed an early naturalist who anticipated modern epigenetics—and whom Darwinists have long disparaged."

    So according to the article, given that I'm a geneticist, I'm quietly being a Lamarckian at the same time that I'm disparaging Lamarck as someone you'd describe as a "Darwinist"? I'm so confused! But then I don't use Time magazine as a scientific guide.

    Then you write:
    "Though in decades past evolutionists ridiculed scientists who dared suggest this heresy, at this point the evidence is undeniable."

    So I'm clearly an "evolutionist" in your book, so I'm ridiculing myself because I accept epigenetic mechanisms?

    Then in the comments, you wrote:
    "What is slimy is how evolutionists have treated scientists."

    So my colleagues and I have treated ourselves in a slimy way?

    "To suggest that this didn't happen is typical evolutionary whitewashing and, frankly, just as disgusting."

    I thought most whitewashing was intelligently designed…

    "There is no compelling scientific evidence that random variation and natural selection created epigenetic mechanisms."

    How can you say there's "no compelling scientific evidence" about anything when there's no compelling evidence that you are remotely familiar with the scientific evidence, as there's no compelling evidence that you read the primary scientific literature.

    Do you see how your desperate need to label groups of people doesn't lead to clear writing?

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  84. Dr Hunter wrote:
    "It is a fact that epigenetic mechanisms can work other than merely by influencing gene expression."

    Would you please cite some examples from the primary scientific literature? No quotes, just evidence. No magazines.

    "It is a fact that this, and the other epigenetic mechanisms, have been strenuously resisted by evolutionists."

    False. The fact is that epigenetic mechanisms were discovered by scientists you classify as "evolutionists." You aren't making any sense.

    "And it is a fact that evolutionists continue to fight science, as well exemplified here."

    I don't see any examples. I see that the "evolutionists" are doing science, while you are quoting from a particularly idiotic Time magazine article that makes no sense at all.

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  85. Smokey:

    "Would you please cite some examples from the primary scientific literature?"

    See [15-20] here:

    http://www.darwinspredictions.com/#_5.2_Biological_variation

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