Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Evolution of Homoplasies

It is one of the fundamental concepts of, and evidences for, evolution: similarities found in different species. These similarities, or lack thereof, are used to construct evolutionary trees which show how the species are evolutionarily related. Species sharing many similarities are close neighbors while species sharing fewer similarities are distantly related. And according to textbooks such relationships are obvious. Those textbooks show clean and compelling illustrations of evolutionary trees. But the biological data are not so cooperative. One problem is the many uncanny similarities found in what otherwise must be, according to evolution, more distant species.

Similarities in otherwise distant species are known as homoplasies. They are, as one paper explained, not the expected outcome:

Phenotypes and taxa are expected to diverge as evolution proceeds. Thus, when divergent lineages are found to be morphologically similar, explanation is needed. Homoplasy is similarity that is the result not of simple ancestry, but of either reversal to an ancestral trait in a lineage or of independent evolution. …

However, one does not seek homoplasy—it “finds” the researcher and compels one to ask appropriate questions.

Of course evolutionists have answers for those questions. These unexpected similarities may have independently evolved from scratch. Or perhaps the trait disappeared in one lineage, only to later reappear much later. To elucidate such details evolutionists construct evolutionary trees. As the paper explains:

Phylogenetic analysis is necessary to show that derived similarity is not the simple result of common ancestry of taxa being compared.

But the process of constructing evolutionary trees, using phylogenetic analysis, presupposes that evolution occurred. In other words, in order to demonstrate that a trait independently evolved in different lineages, evolutionists begin by assuming evolution. This assumption, however, is implicit rather than explicit. It is unspoken. When reporting that they have discovered that a trait, such as the vision system, independently evolved several times, evolutionists do not explain that they began by assuming evolution is true. Without that assumption there is no scientific reason to think these homoplasies evolved—independently or otherwise.

In fact, there are plenty of scientific reasons to think they did not evolve. Specific designs, where many are possible, are not likely to repeatedly arise by chance (no, selection does not help).

In some cases these homoplasies develop in the embryonic stages via similar pathways. For instance, the Pax6 master control gene plays an important role in the development of the different vision systems that are supposed to have independently evolved. This means that Pax6 must predate the evolution of these different vision systems. This is yet another example of the serendipity that pervades evolutionary theory. In this case, we must believe that genes such as Pax6 first evolved when no vision system existed. Then later it enabled such phenomenal designs to arise:

The image-forming eyes of invertebrate and vertebrate taxa are convergent organs that share some core developmental genetic mechanisms that exemplify deep homology. All eyes, invertebrate and vertebrate, develop through a cascade of similar transcription factors despite vast phylogenetic distances. These networks include genes (e.g., Pax6) that have been deployed in different ways at different times, and specific pathways that have re-evolved in different lineages by mutation, gene duplication, and intercalary evolution. The networks and cascades, which contain homologous genes and members of the same gene families, are not genetically identical. Thus, the end phenotypes might be general homologs at a deep hierarchical level but convergent with respect to end phenotype and phylogeny. Indeed, what has historically been termed “convergence” and attributed to independent evolution in unrelated taxa has a common genetic system associated with trait development.

Such pre adaptation narratives are ubiquitous in the evolution literature. All kinds of profoundly complex designs arise only much later to be recruited as a crucial component in some even more complex design.

Plant and animal defense systems

Or consider the striking similarities in how plants and animals defend against pathogens. In this case various homoplasies are found, calling for various evolutionary explanations. As one paper explained, a clear, irrefutable picture has emerged. “Plants and animals use similar types of cell surface sensors to detect conserved microbial signatures.”

These different types of cell surface sensors work rather well in helping to defend against pathogens. This is why they evolved independently according to evolutionists. But in fact what such findings reveal is the tight design requirements. Apparently only a limited set of cell surface sensors can do the job.

This runs counter to the typical evolutionary explanation that the impossible probabilities they must surmount don’t really matter because there must be a great many different, as yet unknown, designs that evolution could have luckily hit upon. Yes, the chances of any one design is remote, but there must be a great many different designs that all could do the job. Apparently not in the case of these cell surface sensors.

Evolutionary trees are not the clean, compelling result as they too often are represented to be. Homoplasies, which strain the evolutionary probabilities even further, are yet another example of this. Yes the similarities between the species can be modeled with evolutionary trees, but such a conclusion has substantial scientific problems.

46 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Multiple inheritance (non-nested hierarchies) at the molecular level is the blade that will slay the Darwinian monster once and for all. The Darwinists will have to confront this question sooner or later:

    How many identical but independently formed amino-acid chains must be found in the tree of life before the convergence ruse (excuse) becomes ridiculous and non-nested (designed) hierarchies become a scientific fact?

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  3. Hunter:

    In some cases these homoplasies develop in the embryonic stages via similar pathways. For instance, the Pax6 master control gene plays an important role in the development of the different vision systems that are supposed to have independently evolved. This means that Pax6 must predate the evolution of these different vision systems. This is yet another example of the serendipity that pervades evolutionary theory. In this case, we must believe that genes such as Pax6 first evolved when no vision system existed.

    Inasmuch as the Pax6 gene family is involved in more than eye development, it is reasonable to hypothesize that some of the other Pax6 functions involving ectodermal tissues (such as nervous system devolopment) were present in ancestral organisms.

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  4. I neglected to mention that the Pax6 group resides in a larger family of Pax genes, all of which are involved in developmental controls.

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  5. First of all as the quote actually says the Pax6 is probably not a sign of homoplasy but deep homology. And this brings me to the next point. You can't really as you often implicitly do claim that this and only this protein can be used for a certain function while by stating that “Specific designs, where many are possible, are not likely to repeatedly arise by chance.“ admitting that many different proteins could do the job.

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  6. If you can believe evolution, you can believe anything.

    .

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  7. CH: But the process of constructing evolutionary trees, using phylogenetic analysis, presupposes that evolution occurred. In other words, in order to demonstrate that a trait independently evolved in different lineages, evolutionists begin by assuming evolution. This assumption, however, is implicit rather than explicit. It is unspoken.

    Welcome to the world of science, Cornelius! This is indeed how it works: you formulate a hypothesis and test it. Isaac Newton assumed that the Earth's gravity attracts the Moon just like it attracts apples.

    When reporting that they have discovered that a trait, such as the vision system, independently evolved several times, evolutionists do not explain that they began by assuming evolution is true. Without that assumption there is no scientific reason to think these homoplasies evolved—independently or otherwise.

    That's silly. Of course evolutionary biology starts with the assumption that life has been evolving. That's what evolutionary biology is about.

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  8. Louis Savain said...

    Multiple inheritance (non-nested hierarchies) at the molecular level is the blade that will slay the Darwinian monster once and for all. The Darwinists will have to confront this question sooner or later:

    How many identical but independently formed amino-acid chains must be found in the tree of life before the convergence ruse (excuse) becomes ridiculous and non-nested (designed) hierarchies become a scientific fact?


    Hi Looie! Back from your latest "I'm leaving! I really mean it this time! I'm not coming back!" flounce out I see. What's that make, five times now?

    To answer your question: To make the results be statistically significant to the scientific community you'd need the event to occur in at least 5% of all samples. Science currently has documented several hundred thousand genetic sequences that show clear signs of evolving from simple precursors.

    How many examples of "identical but independently formed amino-acid chains" do you have?

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  9. oleg:
    Of course evolutionary biology starts with the assumption that life has been evolving.

    If evolutionary biology begins with an assumption, then it is open to the possibility that new evidence can falsify the theory.

    But evolutionay biology acts is if it begins with a dictum. Evolution must be true, therefore any contrary evidence that is found must be shoehorned in to fit the theory.

    Design explanations are ruled out by definition. Is this how science is supposed to work? Rule out explanations that don't fit a defintion? Can truth about nature be defined or must it be discovered?

    What if all the contrary and problematic evidence accumulated so far was weighed against the supporting evidence? How would the scales tip? Or would the evolutionist still have his thumb on the scale?

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  10. Doublee said...

    oleg:
    Of course evolutionary biology starts with the assumption that life has been evolving.

    If evolutionary biology begins with an assumption, then it is open to the possibility that new evidence can falsify the theory.


    Science is open to new evidence and ToE is certainly falsifiable. There are dozens of top rated scientific journals where new evidence can be presented.

    But evolutionay biology acts is if it begins with a dictum. Evolution must be true, therefore any contrary evidence that is found must be shoehorned in to fit the theory.

    No, that is not true. It's just that all the evidence found to date fits into the theory. Big difference.

    Design explanations are ruled out by definition. Is this how science is supposed to work? Rule out explanations that don't fit a defintion? Can truth about nature be defined or must it be discovered?

    No, they are not ruled out by definition. Design claims are subjected to the same positive evidence requirements as every other scientific hypothesis. Problem for the ID guys is they have provided no positive evidence.

    What if all the contrary and problematic evidence accumulated so far was weighed against the supporting evidence? How would the scales tip? Or would the evolutionist still have his thumb on the scale?

    Notice that the only attempts to do this are in popular press books aimed at the lay public. Why hasn't any of this 'ToE killer' evidence been submitted to professional science journals for proper vetting? That's the big question you need to ask yourself.

    What would you think if your 5'7", 140 lb. co-worker told you "The Pittsburgh Steelers won't let me play linebacker for them". You ask him "When did you try out for the team?" and he says "I didn't. I knew they'd discriminate and EXPEL me so I didn't even try".

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  11. Doublee: "If evolutionary biology begins with an assumption, then it is open to the possibility that new evidence can falsify the theory."

    Yep.

    Design explanations are ruled out by definition.

    Nope. Supernatural explanations are ruled out, as a matter of practicality. Science is about testing claims. Call us when you can test supernatural causes. A design claim that had either a testable agent, or a testable mechanism would be considered.

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  12. Cornelius Hunter: But the process of constructing evolutionary trees, using phylogenetic analysis, presupposes that evolution occurred. In other words, in order to demonstrate that a trait independently evolved in different lineages, evolutionists begin by assuming evolution. This assumption, however, is implicit rather than explicit. It is unspoken.

    That is absolutely incorrect. Cladistics makes very explicit its assumptions concerning the phylogenetic tree. It is those explicit assumptions that cladistic analysis puts to the test.

    Cornelius Hunter: Evolutionary trees are not the clean, compelling result as they too often are represented to be.

    No, they're not! At first glance, a dolphin seems more akin to a fish than a cat. But only on first glance.

    For one thing, there's convergence due to natural selection. For another, there's hybridization. For another, there's contingency. For another, there's endogenous retroviruses. For another, there's a stochastic element. For another, there's the quantum nature of genetics. And a bunch of other anothers.

    Isn't science fun!?

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  13. Zachriel:

    ===
    Cornelius Hunter: But the process of constructing evolutionary trees, using phylogenetic analysis, presupposes that evolution occurred. In other words, in order to demonstrate that a trait independently evolved in different lineages, evolutionists begin by assuming evolution. This assumption, however, is implicit rather than explicit. It is unspoken.

    That is absolutely incorrect. Cladistics makes very explicit its assumptions concerning the phylogenetic tree. It is those explicit assumptions that cladistic analysis puts to the test.
    ===

    No, that is absolutely correct. When evolutionists claim the incredibly similar squid and human vision systems independently evolved, they take evolution as a given. It is their starting point.

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  14. Cornelius Hunter said...

    No, that is absolutely correct. When evolutionists claim the incredibly similar squid and human vision systems independently evolved, they take evolution as a given. It is their starting point.


    Why shouldn't it be the starting point for new research since it has been independently confirmed by over 150+ years of consilient positive evidence from hundreds of scientific disciplines?

    I don't hear you bellyaching about "medicine assumes the germ theory of disease is correct!' every time a new vaccine is introduced. Why don't you whine to Boeing that they assume Bernoulli's Principle for generating lift is correct every time they come out with a new wing design?

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  16. Doublee: Design explanations are ruled out by definition.

    If so called design explanations fail to meet the definition of an explanation, then yes. They are ruled out by nature of being a non-explication.

    It's unclear why an exception should be made in the case of your intelligent designer, but not in the case of any other field or domain.

    Doublee: Is this how science is supposed to work? Rule out explanations that don't fit a defintion? Can truth about nature be defined or must it be discovered?

    Yes. Non-explanations are indefensible as an explanation of anything in particular. We can say the same regarding un-conceived explanations.

    That "God did it" is an appeal to the fact that we cannot be 100% certain a being that is all knowing, all powerful and all good being, yet still create this world, does not exist. This state of affairs is an possibility, NOT an explanation. As such, we discard it.

    Centrally, we cannot rule out such a state of affairs may exist, in reality, but this doesn't prevent us from noting it's NOT an explanation. These are to very different things.

    Of course, we cannot be 100% certain that a rock may exist that is sentient, yet choose to behave like every other rock we observe either. However, this doesn't prevent us from concluding it's a scientific fact that rocks are not sentient.

    Or does it?

    If not, it's unclear why you accept science discarding a near infinite number of natural un-conceived explanations for phenomena, but expect special treatment in the case of the supernatural.

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  17. Cornelius:

    When evolutionists claim the incredibly similar squid and human vision systems independently evolved, they take evolution as a given. It is their starting point.

    Depends on what you mean by "evolution". It seems to me that it is assumed that common descent of squid and humans is true, for which there is plenty of evidence, but not much else in terms of mechanisms causing evolutionary change.

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  18. Scott: That "God did it" is an appeal to the fact that we cannot be 100% certain a being that is all knowing, all powerful and all good being, yet still create this world, does not exist. This state of affairs is an possibility, NOT an explanation.

    What do I mean by this?

    You can have faith that such a possibility is true, in reality. And you can substitute faith for an explanation for any phenomena we observe. But no amount of faith will turn an mere possibility into an explanation for phenomena.

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  19. Cornelius:
    But the process of constructing evolutionary trees, using phylogenetic analysis, presupposes that evolution occurred. In other words, in order to demonstrate that a trait independently evolved in different lineages, evolutionists begin by assuming evolution. This assumption, however, is implicit rather than explicit. It is unspoken.

    Of course everybody now assumes evolution as the starting point. We are interested in phylogenetic analysis. To find evidence for descent with modification and common ancestry nowadays is as uninteresting as finding support for germ theory. We moved on, we are working in the how things evolved, not in whether things evolved at all.

    In the other hand, phylogenetic relationships can be the interpretation of a cladogram*, but you can do cladistics without assuming common ancestry. That has been the big point of Pattern Cladistics. Seems like evolution deniers haven't learned anything from all these years quote mining Colin Patterson.

    * Currently, the best interpretation :-)

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  20. Derick Childress:
    Science is about testing claims.

    Of course it is. The question is how does science test a phenomenon that has taken place in the past, and cannot be subjected to direct laboratory testing?

    In the case of evolution, how is the purported mechanism of evolution tested? A great "responsibility" falls on this mechanism in that it has to produce things (organisms) that give the appearance of having been designed.

    That random processes can be the start of any designed thing is an extraordinary claim. It is a process that is contrary to our collective human experience of how we design things. I say "designed thing" because there is a specific arrangement of interlocking parts that in any other context we would say is the result of design.

    We design things by first coming up with plans and then we speicify the parts and assembly instructions to make that thing.

    Evolution operates in the reverse order, or so it seems to me. It first comes up with parts. Then somehow the parts must eventually be arranged in some kind of orderly fashion in order to effect the eventual morphological change. The fact that the "natural selector" supposedly does this without any foresight is truly amazing.

    If there is description of nature's "design process" beyond the mantra of random variation and natural selection, I would appreciate a link. The question I am seeking an answer for is how an evolutionary sequence results in changing all the factors of production, if you will. A morphological change would require a change in the design of the body plan, a change in the assembly instructions, and the creation of different and/or new parts.

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  21. Thorton:

    Savain: How many identical but independently formed amino-acid chains must be found in the tree of life before the convergence ruse (excuse) becomes ridiculous and non-nested (designed) hierarchies become a scientific fact?

    Thorton: To answer your question: To make the results be statistically significant to the scientific community you'd need the event to occur in at least 5% of all samples.


    That is not what I asked. You are being dishonest, as usual. But why am I not surprised?

    You act like you are on a mission, Thorton. It seems to me that you either get paid for posting your dumb comments here or the Darwinian religious bug has done a major number on you.

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  22. Doublee:
    That random processes can be the start of any designed thing is an extraordinary claim. It is a process that is contrary to our collective human experience of how we design things.

    Exactly. And that's where we really learned something surprising from nature: random variation followed by selection can lead to incredible and surprising designs. Genetic algorithms are now frequently employed to solve engineering optimization problems (Google it if you don't believe me). It is contrary to our experience of how we design things ... but it works!

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  24. troy:

    ===
    It seems to me that it is assumed that common descent of squid and humans is true, for which there is plenty of evidence
    ===

    I didn't know that (or did you mean that in the sense that there is plenty of evidence for geocentrism?)

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  25. Louis the Fruit Loop said...

    Savain: How many identical but independently formed amino-acid chains must be found in the tree of life before the convergence ruse (excuse) becomes ridiculous and non-nested (designed) hierarchies become a scientific fact?

    Thorton: To answer your question: To make the results be statistically significant to the scientific community you'd need the event to occur in at least 5% of all samples.

    That is not what I asked. You are being dishonest, as usual. But why am I not surprised?


    It's exactly what you asked for Looie. Not my problem if you don't like the answer. Or maybe you just suck at math as badly as you suck at evolutionary biology.

    I'll take an extremely conservative number and say science knows of 100,000 different genetic sequences that have evolutionary precursors.

    5% of that is 5000.

    How many examples of "identical but independently formed amino-acid chains" do you have?

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  26. Cornelius Hunter said...

    troy:

    ===
    It seems to me that it is assumed that common descent of squid and humans is true, for which there is plenty of evidence
    ===

    I didn't know that


    And your willful ignorance about the evidence is science's problem exactly...how?

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  27. Norm Olsen: Exactly. And that's where we really learned something surprising from nature: random variation followed by selection can lead to incredible and surprising designs. Genetic algorithms are now frequently employed to solve engineering optimization problems (Google it if you don't believe me). It is contrary to our experience of how we design things ... but it works!

    No it does not. This is a bold faced lie put out by evolutionists in order to deceive people into joining their lame religion. I've been a software engineer for decades and I can tell you that genetic algorithms only work when the search space is extremely small and the fitness algorithm is designed to look for something very specific. Small increases in the complexity of the individuals in a group result in a runaway exponential expansion of the search space. And the whole thing grinds to a halt. Heck, a super parallel computer the size of the universe could not evolve anything worth writing home about. Exponential growth is your enemy and it takes no prisoners.

    If GA was even one trillionth as powerful as the evolutionists make it out to be, all software engineers and designers would be out of a job. It takes intelligence to design complex things, not blind chance. It's about time that evolutionists stop using GA as evidence for their evolution nonsense. It's not even close.

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  28. Louis the Fruit Loop said...

    Norm Olsen: Exactly. And that's where we really learned something surprising from nature: random variation followed by selection can lead to incredible and surprising designs. Genetic algorithms are now frequently employed to solve engineering optimization problems (Google it if you don't believe me). It is contrary to our experience of how we design things ... but it works!

    No it does not. This is a bold faced lie put out by evolutionists in order to deceive people into joining their lame religion. I've been a software engineer for decades and I can tell you that genetic algorithms only work when the search space is extremely small and the fitness algorithm is designed to look for something very specific. Small increases in the complexity of the individuals in a group result in a runaway exponential expansion of the search space. And the whole thing grinds to a halt. Heck, a super parallel computer the size of the universe could not evolve anything worth writing home about. Exponential growth is your enemy and it takes no prisoners.


    Your woeful ignorance is showing again Looie. Evolutionary processes don't have to examine an impossibly large search space. Since each generation is just a modification of the one that came immediately before it, all evolution has to examine per generation is the very small search space around that existing phenotype. It does this by having each generation contain random genetic variations which are then filtered by selection. The fitness algorithm is very simple also: outcompete your neighbor long enough to reproduce.

    The process works Fruit Loop. It works in the lab for GAs, and it works in nature.

    If GA was even one trillionth as powerful as the evolutionists make it out to be, all software engineers and designers would be out of a job.

    If all software engineers and designers were as incompetent in their fields as you are in evolutionary theory they would be out of a job.

    It takes intelligence to design complex things, not blind chance.

    Chance filtered by selection and fed back for each subsequent generation. Are you really so slow you haven't picked up on the selection / feedback part yet?

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  29. Throton:

    Savain: That is not what I asked. You are being dishonest, as usual. But why am I not surprised?

    Thorton: It's exactly what you asked for Looie.


    Not, it's not. I did not ask for a percentage of samples. I asked for the number of identical but independently formed amino acid sequences in the genetic tree of life that would constitute a non-nested hierarchy. Learn to read.

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  30. Thorton: Your woeful ignorance is showing again Looie. Evolutionary processes don't have to examine an impossibly large search space. Since each generation is just a modification of the one that came immediately before it, all evolution has to examine per generation is the very small search space around that existing phenotype.

    You may repeat this stupid lie to your dumb relatives and your equally dumb peers in the Darwinist community till hell freezes over but it is and will always be a lie. Randomness is not selective by definition. Random mutations can happen anywhere in the entire genome. As a result, the exponential growth of complexity becomes intractable. Anything else is BS of the highest order. You are only fooling yourself and your dumb friends.

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  31. CH: No, that is absolutely correct. When evolutionists claim the incredibly similar squid and human vision systems independently evolved, they take evolution as a given. It is their starting point.

    When NASA scientists study the results of any particular mission, they take it that we exist in a heliocentric universe as a given.

    However, we cannot be 100% certain that the earth is surrounded by a giant planetarium that merely presents an elaborate simulation of a heliocentric solar system, rather than actually existing in a heliocentric solar system.

    This includes reflecting radio waves, lasers and photons back to earth as if they had bounced of a planets, comets and stars. It could capture space craft and return them with simulated telemetry, missing precisely the amount of fuel necessary for their planned journey and even return astronauts with implanted memories and fake moon rock samples. As such, you could claim what ever you like, or even nothing at all, exists beyond this planetarium.

    Or, to use your line of argument..

    Who are we to say that a being that is all good, all knowing and all powerful being yet would encircle the earth in a giant planetarium that merely simulates a heliocentric solar system does not exist?

    Certainly, such a simulation wouldn't be a problem for an all knowing, all powerful being. Right? As such, must NASA scientists resign to be forever undecided regarding mission data? No.

    This claim represents a form of solipsism. Instead of drawing a boundary at the our minds or soul, it draws a line at the earths' atmosphere. It's a convoluted elaboration of heliocentric theory. As such, we discard it.

    We can say the same about intelligent design. You've just moved the boundary to the biological complexity we observe.

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  32. Louis the Fruit Loop said...

    Thorton: Your woeful ignorance is showing again Looie. Evolutionary processes don't have to examine an impossibly large search space. Since each generation is just a modification of the one that came immediately before it, all evolution has to examine per generation is the very small search space around that existing phenotype.

    You may repeat this stupid lie to your dumb relatives and your equally dumb peers in the Darwinist community till hell freezes over but it is and will always be a lie. Randomness is not selective by definition.


    But the phenotypic variations produced by the genetic randomness are, and those go into the next generation.

    Looie, you really should learn at least a teeny tiny bit of actual evolutionary theory before making yourself look like such an ignorant boob.

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  33. Louis the Fruit Loop said...

    Savain: That is not what I asked. You are being dishonest, as usual. But why am I not surprised?

    Thorton: It's exactly what you asked for Looie.

    Not, it's not. I did not ask for a percentage of samples. I asked for the number of identical but independently formed amino acid sequences in the genetic tree of life that would constitute a non-nested hierarchy. Learn to read


    Since you suck at math I went ahead and did the calculation for you. A ballpark number is 5000.

    How many examples of "identical but independently formed amino-acid chains" do you have?

    Why do you keep avoiding the question?

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  34. Thorton: But the phenotypic variations produced by the genetic randomness are,

    Are what? Selective? That's a laugh. And, "genetic randomness"? What the hell is that? There is a genetic randomness and a non-genetic randomness now? ahahaha...

    You know, if you took your head out of the collective anus of the evolutionist community, you might be able to breathe some fresh air for a change, and the two neurons between your ears might begin to have a semblance of activity.

    and those go into the next generation.

    So what? Almost all of the genetic information content of the previous generation is inherited by the next one.

    Looie, you really should learn at least a teeny tiny bit of actual evolutionary theory before making yourself look like such an ignorant boob.

    Here we go with the insufferable pomposity thing again. When will you idiots notice that you ain't nearly as smart as you think you are? Evolution is a third rate, cretinous theory invented by a third rate mediocre mind.

    You may think of yourselves as being intelligent and you may pull a wool over the eyes of the lay public but, deep down, you are a festering pool of stupidity. LOL.

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  35. Louis the Fruit loop said...

    Thorton: But the phenotypic variations produced by the genetic randomness are,

    Are what? Selective? That's a laugh.


    So now you're claiming differential reproductive success between different individuals in a population doesn't occur?? You're an even bigger boob than I thought.

    T: and those go into the next generation.

    So what? Almost all of the genetic information content of the previous generation is inherited by the next one.


    ALMOST fruit loop. You missed a pretty key word there. Every new generation has a small portion of genetic material that the previous generation didn't have.

    Any good freshman level Biology 101 text will cover the basics of evolution Looie. Please invest in one.

    T: you really should learn at least a teeny tiny bit of actual evolutionary theory before making yourself look like such an ignorant boob.

    Here we go with the insufferable pomposity thing again.


    It's like Larry Bird said: "if you can do it, it ain't bragging". Big difference between you and the scientifically knowledgeable posting here Looie - we know what we're talking about, you don't.

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  36. oleg said, "Welcome to the world of science, Cornelius! This is indeed how it works: you formulate a hypothesis and test it."

    ---

    Not with evolution. It is assumed like gravity and then theories are contrived to accommodate whatever is found. It's a slick trick.

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  37. Tedford the Idiot said...

    oleg: "Welcome to the world of science, Cornelius! This is indeed how it works: you formulate a hypothesis and test it."
    ---
    Not with evolution. It is assumed like gravity


    Since it has as strong positive empirical evidence as gravity why shouldn't the conclusion be it is factual?

    and then theories are contrived to accommodate whatever is found. It's a slick trick.

    Yeah, look at those sneaky scientists! Modifying the theory to fit the empirical data instead of starting with "THE TRUTH" from a Fundy literal interpretation of the Bible and trying to force fit the data onto the pre-chosen conclusion.

    What were they thinking?

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  38. Zachriel said, "For one thing, there's convergence due to natural selection. For another, there's hybridization. For another, there's contingency. For another, there's endogenous retroviruses. For another, there's a stochastic element. For another, there's the quantum nature of genetics. And a bunch of other anothers."

    ---

    This is why the nested hierarchy is not evidence for or against evolution... whatever is found can be accommodated by "a bunch or anothers". It can't be falsified because whenever an exception is found, then one of the "bunch" is pulled out of the rhetorical tool kit.

    ---

    Also, do you seriously believe that cladistics study actually question the validity of evolution itself. Evolution is taken as a fact. It isn't allowed to fail.

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  39. Scott, we can observe the planets. We have not observed universal common descent. That's the difference. We observe small changes in biology and evolutionists making big assumptions. The later is not empirical evidence.

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  40. Cornelius Hunter: This assumption, however, is implicit rather than explicit. It is unspoken.

    Zachriel: Cladistics makes very explicit its assumptions concerning the phylogenetic tree. It is those explicit assumptions that cladistic analysis puts to the test.

    Cornelius Hunter: No, that is absolutely correct. When evolutionists claim the incredibly similar squid and human vision systems independently evolved, they take evolution as a given. It is their starting point.

    You didn't respond to the point. The assumption is not implicit, but explicit. That's what we mean by hypothesis-testing.

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  41. Tedford the idiot said...

    Scott, we can observe the planets. We have not observed universal common descent. That's the difference. We observe small changes in biology and evolutionists making big assumptions. The later is not empirical evidence.


    Tedford, why do you accept the theory of plate tectonics? No one has observed a whole mountain forming from scratch. We observe cm/year movements in plate location and mountains getting higher. Then we get geologists making big assumptions that colliding plates raised our existing mountains. According to you the later is not based on empirical evidence.

    I guess it's silly to expect a scientifically illiterate Creationist to be consistent in the science he rejects, eh?

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  42. we know what we're talking about

    No you don't. Your understanding of the origin of the species is no better than the man on the street. In fact, the man on the street may have a leg up on you. You're just a bunch of pompous donkeys. LOL.

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  43. Neal Tedford: This is why the nested hierarchy is not evidence for or against evolution... whatever is found can be accommodated by "a bunch or anothers".

    It can only be accomodated by evidence. You would have to understand and acknowledge the nested hierarchy to get in much detail, though, something you haven't been able to do as yet.

    Neal Tedford: Also, do you seriously believe that cladistics study actually question the validity of evolution itself.

    If by "evolution", you mean common descent, then yes, it is subject to being questions, and is questioned all the time. For instance, bacteria don't always form clear hierarchies due to horizontal gene transfer. There is a great deal of research into this and related issues.

    Neal Tedford: we can observe the planets.

    Yes, but you haven't observed much of the history of planetary dynamics, much less the most ancient ephochs. So, while you may understand the basic mechanics, the details of the history are often elusive. Nevertheless, we have some idea of that history.

    Neal Tedford: We have not observed universal common descent.

    You haven't observed much of the history of life, much less the most ancient ephochs. So, while you may understand the basic mechanics, the details of the history are often elusive. Nevertheless, we have some idea of that history.

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  44. Neal: Scott, we can observe the planets.

    Neal,

    My point is that The claim that we actually observe planets in our solar system is theory laden. Yet it's likely that we both agree that this is a scientific fact. Why is this?

    These very same observations could also be interpreted as empirical evidence that we exist in a giant planetarium that merely presents us with an elaborate simulation of a heliocentric solar system.

    As such, one could claim no number of observations could get us one jot closer to why the night sky appears as it does. We must forever be undecided about what lies beyond the earths atmosphere because it represents an boundary where human reasoning and problem solving cannot pass.

    The claim that we actually observe planets in our solar system is theory laden. Yet it's likely that we both agree that this is a scientific fact. Why is this?

    Despite the fact that we cannot be 100% certain that we do not exist in a giant planetarium, this doesn't prevent us from noting that this theory does NOT actual provide an explanation for the night sky. As such, we discard it. It's a bad explanation by nature of being a convoluted elaboration of heliocentric theory.

    What do I mean by convoluted elaboration?

    If there really is no solar system out there, then what exactly is the planetarium simulating? What data model does it use to determine where nonexistent planets ought to be? Why to the planets follow a mathematically predictable path? Why are there eight planets rather than four or five?

    That the night sky is a simulation of a heliocentric solar system utterly fails to explain what we observe. That's just what the simulation displays.

    One can only understand the giant simulation theory by means of it being a simulation of a heliocentric solar system, which supposedly does not exist and is false. It's a convoluted elaboration of a heliocentric solar system. Again, we discard it.

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  45. -- continued --


    We can say the same thing about an intelligent designer.

    You claim that the very same observations that strongly collaborate evolutionary theory could be interpreted as collaborating intelligent design. Nor we cannot be 100% certain that a being might exist that is all good, all knowing and all powerful, yet still create all life we observe.

    As such, you're essentially claiming that no number of observations could get us one jot closer explaining the biological complexity we observe. We must forever be undecided about the similarities and differences because it represents an boundary where human reasoning and problem solving cannot pass. We can know that malaria was designed but we must remain forever undecided as to how it was designed.

    Just as our observation of a an heliocentric solar system is theory laden, so is our observations of common decent.

    But, again, this doesn't prevent us from pointing out that "God did it" does not provide an explanation of the biological complexity we observe. That's just what the designer wanted fails to explain the complex differences and patters we observe. It's a bad explanation by nature of being a convoluted elaboration of modern evolutionary theory. As such we discard it.

    If there is no process which incrementally shapes and defines the concrete biological complexity we observe, then why are there so many observations of stepwise additions and modifications? If every species is designed separately and with foresight, then why have over 98% of all species that have ever existed gone extinct? Why would the designs we observe be just good enough to survey in current conditions?

    That the designer must have designed things to appear *as if* they were formed by a unintelligent, stepwise, undirected and iterative process chromosome tells us nothing about said complexity other that that's what the designer must have wanted.

    We can only understand the designer's actions, or lack there off, in terms of being a planned "simulation" of evolutionary processes which are supposedly false. It's a convoluted elaboration of modern evolutionary theory.

    Cornelius has effectively appealed to this very claim.

    CH: Would an all-good, all-powerful, all-knowledgeable creator never intend this world as evolutionists claim?

    Essentially, he's asking how we can know with 100% certainty that an all-good, all-powerful, all-knowledgeable creator wouldn't create life that appears to have evolved (this world)

    This is like asking, how can we know that an all-good, all-powerful, all-knowledgeable creator wouldn't surround the earth in with a giant planetarium that merely simulates a heliocentric solar system?

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  46. Please not that I'm referring to the theory of intelligent design as presented by most theists today.

    One could present an intelligent design theory that included explanations for the complexity we observe. However, I do not expect such an explanation to be forthcoming for reasons that are obvious. The supernatural is unexplainable by definition. It represents a boundary where human reasoning and problem solving cannot pass.

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