Thursday, March 12, 2009

Challenge to Evolutionists

I have frequently published a call for certain information concerning evolution. In order to be perfectly clear, and to make this a permanent call, I am including the required information here, in the side bar.

First. I am calling for a single empirical study that reflects evolution via the creation of a new feature, not contained in the original genome, that is beneficial to the selection of the organism. This needs to be empirical in the sense that it is measurable in real time with ordinary instrumentation, it is coherent in its results, it is replicated, and it is falsifiable. Also, it needs to be in the public domain – I won’t pay to see it.

This eliminates inferential and extrapolatory conjectures. It eliminates ideological rationalization. It eliminates axiomatic crashing.

Second. I am calling for a single, reputable, credible source that shows that change to a genome is not required in order to produce new features that are not in that genome, or if you will, DNA change (mutation) is not required. I am asking for validating empirical data here, not just a statement such as "evolution doesn't happen to individuals, it happens to populations" or variations thereof.

Third. I repeat, a single (just one) instance. Not a raft of reading; not a link to gazillions of papers. Just one, single, irrefutable, replicated, falsifiable empirical study.


Now, there are also some types of studies that I no longer care to see. One of those categories is that of “ring species”, which I will discuss here:

Ring species.
When a species finds itself divided so that one part is geographically isolated from, or even adjacent to, another part, it is thought that the species are free to evolve away from each other, and become “speciated”. Many define speciation as having happened if the two populations no longer breed together, for whatever reason.

If one is to think of this in a logical format, perhaps we can use set theory.

If we allow that the original population, P, is divided into two separate populations, P(1) and P(a), then first we can say that P(1) and P(a) are part of P, but not part of each other:

Let I(a) = Individual in P(a), and I(1) is an individual in P(1).

Then,
If I(a) is P(a)
And
P(a) is P,
Then I(a) is P.

Now if the process repeats, so that P(a) separates into P(a0) and P(b), the relationship similarly becomes,

If I(b) is P(a)
And
P(a) is P,
Then
I(b) is P.

This process continues for all parts of P(a –> infinity), as well as for P(1 –> infinity).

The only way to leave P is to develop characteristics that are outside of P: i.e., to mutate.

However it is possible for P(ax) not to be able to breed with P(1x). This is the “big dog-little dog” issue: a Great Dane and a “teacup Chihuahua” will not breed. But if the separation process is reversed, subsequent progeny could reproduce, since there has been no DNA change in this process to prevent it. As little dog progeny get bigger and big dog progeny get smaller, eventually breeding will again be possible. Speciation outside the species has not really occurred, because no DNA change has occurred that would produce new characteristics.

Conclusion: Ring populations do not validate evolution; failure to reproduce does not validate evolution. DNA changes that incorporate new beneficial features (mutations) that are selected for adaptation are required to validate evolution.

Another category I have had enough of is subspeciation:

Subspeciation:This is just another form of the ring species argument above: variability within a genome; “big dog-little dog”.

And another category I won’t look at is anything to do with archaeo-biology, which is purely inferential and without hope of any empirical proof of conjecture.

Also, four winged fruit fly types of negative mutations.

However, viral introgressions might be interesting.

Finally, please do send me real empirical validation of evolution it you find it.

157 comments:

  1. Richard Lenski observed E Coli for twenty years. The bacteria adapted several new features in response to their environment:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment

    ReplyDelete
  2. Martin,
    Thanks for the input. I have obtained the PNAS document from the experimenter's homepage and I am studying it now.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It almost seems to me that unless you can actually see the CCTV tape of the murder in progress, you refuse to accept that the suspect did it even though we have fingerprints of the suspect, DNA evidence of the suspect's involvement, a motive, a murder weapon that can be traced to the suspect, and eyewitnesses that can place the suspect in the time and location of the murder.

    No?

    And evolution is verrrry slow. So slow that the evidence for it is not generally of the type that can be observed directly.

    So I presume you want to see the fault line actually becoming a mountain before your very eyes before you will accept that fault lines become mountains.

    Correct?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Martin,
    Evolution is one of the secular holy tenets, which will destroy you if you touch it. No evolution doubter is allowed to instruct or to publish. Evolution is the third rail, which must not be touched. What makes it so? Why is any
    "science" Holy? It is not the purely inferential conclusions that are drawn from single instances of existence. It is not the empirical data (which does not exist).

    What makes it so is the utility of the theory for social engineering in the Nietzschean/Dewey/Alinski tradition. The influence on society of this non-empirical science is due to its devaluation of humans to animal levels, and the "Will To Power" which accompanies that, not its negligible influence on biology.

    This is why the ACLU will spend millions on defending evolution against all comers; it is why Atheists choose evolution as their mantra. The idea that there is no creator to have bestowed any human rights on humans has just one justification: evolution. It is the dogma of the statists.

    But evolution has no...NO...scientific merit of the empirical variety. It is purely extrapolative, speculative, inferential story manufacturing. The vaunted science has only speculation to back it up.

    So I will continue to poke at the nakedness of this non-empirical emperor. It is not a closed case. It cannot prove its speculations. If it were not tied to a social agenda it would not be allowed by reasonable scientists to be elevated to the secular deification it now enjoys.

    ReplyDelete
  5. EVIDENCE FOR THE UNITY OF LIFE:

    1. There are 400 amino acids, but all lifeforms on earth utilize the same 22 of them for protein synthesis.

    2. The genetic code is the same for all living organisms.

    3. All organisms share the same or similar metabolic systems, which are glycolysis, citric acid cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation. All organisms use ATP for energy metabolisms.

    TO FALSIFY THE ABOVE:

    A different genetic code could be discovered. This has not happened.

    There are several suitable molecules for energy metabolism, such as CTP, UTP, and ITP. However, all organisms only use ATP.

    BEST EXPLANATION: All forms of life share a common ancestor.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Martin
    I have encountered this before. It is the same form as a theodicy, and with the same issues that materialists always point out with regard to theodicies.

    A theodicy goes something like this:

    “I am convicted of the truth of “G”, because of the following factoids (A,B,C,D,E,F), none of which are empirical verifications of G, but which are, to me, convincing because they are not refutable with regard to G, and they represent a preponderance of evidence for G; in addition there is no falsification of G, even though one might be conceivable.”If G is God, this is NEVER convincing to the Philosophical Materialist who rejects it on the grounds of lack of material, physical (empirical) verification. (Sometimes throwing in falsifiability for good measure).

    Yet Philosophical Materialists cheerfully accept certain favored premises, under the same conditions: factoids that do not empirically verify the claim, yet are convicting to the Materialist due to their supposed preponderance and irrefutability.

    The only difference is the prejudicial bent of each of the arguers; the arguments are false in both cases, if Material validation is a requirement.

    Being personally convicted of G is not the same as having Material, empirical verification of G.

    In order to satisfy the Materialist’s own requirements, I insist on an empirical verification, not a personal conviction based on a series of factoids that do not produce an empirical result.

    I also do not engage in theodicies.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You're a defense lawyer. In trial. Your client is a 52 year old male accused of murdering his ex-wife in order to cash out a large insurance policy (G). The prosecution presents its case to the jury:

    - The murder weapon has the suspects fingerprints on it (A)
    - The victim's blood, confirmed through DNA analysis, was found on the suspect's clothing (B)
    - The suspect had taken out a large life-insurance policy on the victim a few months before (C)
    - Several eyewitnesses testify that they saw the suspect's car sitting in the driveway of the victim the night of the murder (D)
    - A footprint which matches the one of the suspect's shoes was found at the scene (E)
    - A friend of the suspect testifies that the suspect told him he was going to be coming into some money very soon and could pay the friend back the money he owes (F)

    Now you present your defense of your client:

    - This is not empirical evidence for G.
    - Being personally convicted of G is not the same as having material empirical verification of G.
    - This is purely speculation.
    - There must be empirical verification, not conviction based on some mere "factoids."

    Which way is the jury going to vote? Also, in your opinion, is it probable the suspect committed the crime or not?

    ReplyDelete
  8. You are fond of word games and metaphors. These always fall apart under scrutiny, since they only roughly approximate the issue at hand - and frequently force a false dichotomy or present a false analogy. Why not just discuss the topic at hand?

    After 150 years of declaring the "truth" of evolution, why is there only story telling and extrapolation in favor of evolution?

    Denying that empiricism is needed as a verification is a stroke for the same credulousness argument you made on the other thread. If one believes without proof, on the basis of "falsifiable, yet not falsified", then many many things must be believed, as we showed on the other thread.

    It is the same ol' argument. Evolution is falsifiable yet not falsified, in the same sense that miracles are. Shall we transfer the syllogism to this thread and go through it again?

    ReplyDelete
  9. "Why not just discuss the topic at hand? "

    I would like to, but first we need to hammer down what you will accept. I presented empirical observations of the world (facts), as well as a potential explanation of those observations (theory).

    Instead of responding to them, or coming up with an alternate theory to explain these facts, you basically threw out the whole thing, essentially saying that these facts aren't empirical evidence.

    Huh? *scratches head*

    So the observable fact that all life uses ATP for energy metabolism is not material, empirical evidence? The observable fact that all life uses 22 out of 400 amino acids for protein synthesis is not material, empirical evidence?

    Aren't you dancing around the topic, here?

    If it's not due to common descent, then WHY does all life use ATP for energy transport if there are several available molecules for this purpose?

    If it's not due to common descent, then WHY, out of 400 available amino acids in the environment, does all life utilize the exact same 22 of them?

    If it's not due to common descent, then WHY does all life use the same four molecules for its genetic code?

    If it's not due to common descent, then WHY does all life utilize the same basic metabolic processes?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Maybe I can clarify a little.

    Extrapolating from a fact(oid) is not empiricism. It is forming a hypothesis. It follows this process:

    (1)IF (factoid T) THEN Hypothesis Q.

    (2)Test Hypothesis Q experimentally (physically); Measure experiment closely and accurately within current technological limits; compare measurements to hypothesis expectations; either adjust hypothesis and repeat for differences between hypothesis and experiment, or repeat as is for confirmation.

    What is happening in evolution is that the first (1) is being declared TRUE, and that process (2) is not required, not achievable, not a factor in declaring TRUTH.

    Now aside from science, even empirical science, not being able - ever - to assert TRUTH, the assertions of "evolution is TRUTH" are false. It does not even rise to the status of empirical science.

    Forensic science is always based on conjecture, even the "smoking gun" evidence. Only observing the actual event is total validation, and for historical events, that requires witness testimony - also questionable. Forensics is not able to declare TRUTH.

    So a request for empirical confirmation is not a request for more factoids, it is a request for an observation of the actual event of evolving (see post for criteria) new features, useful for grabbing and holding an environmental niche.

    I pursue this because evolution is the single basis for a destructive, non-intuitive worldview.

    ReplyDelete
  11. (1) If life shows a nested hierarchy (T) then descent from a common ancestor occurred (Q).

    (2) Things not related by common descent can only be classified subjectively. For instance, one person could classify automobiles by color, then model, then year, etc, while another could classify cars by manufacturer, then year, then color, etc. The two would arrive at completely different classifications, both correct, using the same data.

    But things that share a common ancestor, such as language, can only be classified objectively, as a nested hierarchy. Two different people will always classify Spanish and Portugese as descendents of Latin and not of Greek. Independently of one another, these two people will always place Spanish and Portugese on the same branch of the language family tree.

    All life on earth shows a similar nested hierarchy. For instance, plants are vascular and non-vascular, and then nested within vascular is seed and non-seed, and nested within seed is angiosperm and gymnosperm, etc.

    The hypothesis that nested hierarchies are indicative of common descent, and that life can only be organized in a nested hierarchy and not in a subjective classification has been tested experimentally; measured closely and accurately within current technological limits; compared to hypothesis expectations; adjusted and repeated for differences between hypothesis and experiment, and/or repeated as is for confirmation:

    Confirmation that Common Descent Leads to Nested HierarchiesConsistency, characters, and the likelihood of correct phylogenetic inference.The Theory of Branching ProcessesMarkov ChainsExperimental Confirmation of the Nested Hierarchy of LifeEukaryote evolution: A view based on cytochrome c sequence Molecular phylogeny of the animal kingdom A Molecular Phylogeny of ReptilesA Molecular Phylogeny of Phytophthora and Related OomycetesMolecular Phylogeny of Acremonium and Its Taxonomic ImplicationsMolecular Phylogeny and Evolutionary Timescale for the Family of Mammalian Herpesviruses

    ReplyDelete
  12. This premise is capable of being shown both (1)inaccurate and (2) false.

    (1) The statement that ["All" of (anything) is (K)] is a purely inductive statement, with all the hazards to logic which that entails. It does not produce accurate "laws of nature", unless every possible contradiction can be shown to have been investigated, and this is clearly not possible. It is not possible to know the accuracy of such a statement in most cases, certainly in this one. So it must be assumed inaccurate.

    Therefore to base a deduction on such an induction is not logically satisfying. That is why empiricism is the necessary validator, not induction. Induction is typically used for the making of hypotheses, and not used for validation.

    {As I said in the post, I will not read a blizzard of web site references; if there is one single source that proves your point, show me that one, single link, and I will read it.}

    (2) If it is believed that nestedness is truly the necessary and sufficient FACT that proves evolution, and that life absolutely requires nestedness and cannot exist without it, then the following must also be true:

    The posited original common ancestor must have had all the genetics within itself that are now expressed across plant and animal domains in all species.

    This is (a) unprovable, (b) highly unlikely. Every source on evolution I have seen insists on "mutation plus selection" as the source for variation. This includes the erroneous switching that is speculated about in epi-genetics, as well as point and other mutations. [mutation => change from norm]. So the statement that "life can only exist in a nested hierarchy" is in all liklihood false, and is certainly not provable. It is not useful as a premise in a syllogism.

    Therefore the hypothesis of evolution is not the same as nested hierarchies because it contains deviations that move the progeny outside the nesting and into different realms. Life is more complex than "Nesting" allows for.

    Possibly the argument is that nesting is common for only a limited number of characteristics that seem to occur in all life: this reverts to item (1), induction.

    Stan

    ReplyDelete
  13. "The statement that ["All" of (anything) is (K)] is a purely inductive statement, with all the hazards to logic which that entails. It does not produce accurate 'laws of nature', unless every possible contradiction can be shown to have been investigated, and this is clearly not possible. It is not possible to know the accuracy of such a statement in most cases, certainly in this one. So it must be assumed inaccurate."But science is inherently inductive, and its conclusions are inherently inductive. The laws of Isaac Newton were inductive, and are now being overturned to some degree by quantum mechanics. Newton's laws were never TRUTH. Only inductive observations of the world that nevertheless remain useful.

    Science does not make absolute statements about TRUTH. I guarantee you no scientist makes an absolute statement of metaphysical truth while doing science. A certain, *ahem*, pompous British scientist making pronouncements about metaphysical issues in his off-time is not science and should not be regarded as such.

    Is that what you think? Are you getting the off-hours philosophical ramblings of some scientists mixed up with science?

    "Induction is typically used for the making of hypotheses, and not used for validation."Please do note that I'm sloppy with words sometimes, and using the word 'all life' is not what science would have used. Science is making an inductive statement that, to the best of our current knowledge, life on earth is contained in a nested hierarchy, and that nested hierarchies are indicative of common ancestry. And this is only the tip of the iceberg.

    "As I said in the post, I will not read a blizzard of web site references; if there is one single source that proves your point, show me that one, single link, and I will read it."Good. Less work for me. :)

    "If it is believed that nestedness is truly the necessary and sufficient FACT that proves evolution, and that life absolutely requires nestedness and cannot exist without it..."It is not THE fact that proves evolution. It is one tiny piece of the puzzle. And nobody is saying that life absolutely requires nestedness and cannot exist without it. All science is saying is that, according to our best observations of the world, life is in a nested hierarchy which is indicative of common descent.

    Science does not make an absolute TRUTH statement about the world and never does.

    "The posited original common ancestor must have had all the genetics within itself that are now expressed across plant and animal domains in all species."The amoeba, one of the simplest lifeforms, has almost 300 billion base-pairs in its genome, contrasted with 3 billion in humans.

    And a mutation is simply a copying error. Genes can be doubled, halved, reversed, mixed up, etc.

    And regardless, this is just another tiny piece of the puzzle. There are still many holes to be filled.

    "Therefore the hypothesis of evolution is not the same as nested hierarchies because it contains deviations that move the progeny outside the nesting and into different realms. Life is more complex than 'Nesting' allows for."In what way? Can you classify crows on the same clade with rabbits, either morphologically or genetically? I really don't understand your point here.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I said,
    "Now aside from science, even empirical science, not being able - ever - to assert TRUTH, the assertions of "evolution is TRUTH" are false. It does not even rise to the status of empirical science."A little later, you said,
    "Is that what you think? Are you getting the off-hours philosophical ramblings of some scientists mixed up with science?"I see that you have not read much of what I have written - here or on the associated blog. You and a few others think that evolution is just science. That is wrong, it is much, much more than that, It is well out of the scientists hands, regardless of what the scientist thinks about fact vs. truth. Evolution is and has been since its popularization by Darwin, the basis for a worldview that is both false and dangerous: Philosophical Materialism and Atheism. I was there, I am not deceived about the extra-scientific use of the theory of Evolution.

    It was not until I decided to question ALL my precepts, paradigms, and premises that I saw what evolution has become, why the ACLU spends millions to defend it, and what sort of actual legs it has to stand on, rationally speaking. That is a primary reason for this blog and the attendant website (holding two e-books I wrote on the subject).

    One cannot become objective until one values the valid concluson that derives from valid premises, over finding premises to fit the preconceived conclusion.

    But back to the empirical evidence for evolution: we still have not one stitch.

    "And regardless, this is just another tiny piece of the puzzle. There are still many holes to be filled."Agreed.

    As for inductive science, maybe you remember the black swan episode that Popper and others discuss? British scientists felt quite comfortable with the statement "All swans are white", based on huge amounts of inductive input from Britain and Europe. However, when they got to Australia, they found black swans.

    The point is that empiricism is so much more convincing than induction alone, so that induction is easily seen not to be conclusive in any fashion. That's why it is usually restricted to developing hypotheses.

    Empiricism has its own limits such as technological resolution, physical reach, power limitations, and so on. But it has the advantage of replicability.

    Neither ever produces truth, but the Philosphical Materialists claim that it does, and Atheist/humanists etc. depend on that guarantee of "truth" for evangelizing their philosophy. They are wrong.

    That's my thrust. (I can talk/type for hours on this subject, sorry for the length).

    ReplyDelete
  15. "Now aside from science, even empirical science, not being able - ever - to assert TRUTH, the assertions of "evolution is TRUTH" are false. It does not even rise to the status of empirical science."A little later, you said,"Is that what you think? Are you getting the off-hours philosophical ramblings of some scientists mixed up with science?" I see that you have not read much of what I have written - here or on the associated blog. You and a few others think that evolution is just science.But Stan, you are asking for scientific evidence of evolution but then when given it are criticizing it on philosophical grounds. So it still appears to me that you are mixing the two up.

    OK, I'll concede this much for now, even though I still think you are wrong, and only for the sake of brevity: the assertions of 'evolution is TRUTH' are false, and also that philosophical prognostications based on evolution can be logically argued against.

    However, the assertions of 'at the current time, based on the data we have, evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of life on earth' is utterly and completely justified, to the extent that if you do not accept it you might as well not accept the occurrence of the Civil War either.

    In fact, what about that? You can't reproduce the Civil War in the lab. We only have forensic evidence of it, but such strong evidence that you'd be a nut not to accept the occurrence of that event with a 99.9% probability.

    "That is wrong, it is much, much more than that, It is well out of the scientists hands, regardless of what the scientist thinks about fact vs. truth. Evolution is and has been since its popularization by Darwin, the basis for a worldview that is both false and dangerous: Philosophical Materialism and Atheism. I was there, I am not deceived about the extra-scientific use of the theory of Evolution."Fine. I'll concede most of that (but again, only temporarily). Evolution can be used as the basis for Philosophical Materialism and Atheism. However, this falls into the realm of opinion. You can criticize those who use evolution for their own philosophical ends to your heart's content. But there is still the science. And the science is all I'm talking about here.

    "But back to the empirical evidence for evolution: we still have not one stitch."How are you defining 'empirical' here? If 'empiricism' means 'data and observations of the natural world' then you are utterly mistaken. There is tons of it, which I would like to give you. If you mean 'only that which I can see happen before my very eyes' then you are only partially correct. This is still a portion of the science that is in its infancy, as I understand it. Although I'm not an expert.

    How do you feel about plate tectonics? No one has an example of a fault becoming a mountain in the lab. Do you reject this science as well, because I can't give you an example of a fault becoming a mountain in the lab in front of your very eyes?

    "As for inductive science, maybe you remember the black swan episode that Popper and others discuss? British scientists felt quite comfortable with the statement "All swans are white", based on huge amounts of inductive input from Britain and Europe. However, when they got to Australia, they found black swans."Yes, and that's the scientific method in progress. Evolution is exactly like the swan episode, although it's as if every continent has been explored to a large degree; there still could be a black swan out there somewhere but if so he's hiding pretty damn well.

    Scientists feel quite comfortable with the statement 'evolution occurred' but would update their conclusion if data came in that contradicted it. There is definitely some truth to the idea that scientists hold on to old ideas past their prime, and that retirements followed by fresh eyes will overturn paradigms, but this is a reflection of one of the flaws of human nature. The revolutions are still successful in the long run. Witness the current switchover from Newton to quantum. Witness Fred Hoyle clinging to his steady-state theory despite more data coming in that contradicted it.

    "The point is that empiricism is so much more convincing than induction alone, so that induction is easily seen not to be conclusive in any fashion. That's why it is usually restricted to developing hypotheses."But again, the point of science is not to be absolutely conclusive.

    There is an interesting board game called Zendo. One person creates a 'natural law' by arranging a pattern of colored pyramids. The other players then try to make a stab at what the 'law' is (Red pyramids lying sideways? All pyramids lying sideways? No blue pyramids? etc.) by arranging their own set of pyramids. The 'law maker' then gives players a clue by saying whether their arrangement fits the 'law' or not. Players continue to collect data in this fashion until one of them makes a stab at what the 'law' is, at which point the 'law maker' reveals if he was correct or not.

    There was a discussion on a forum about how closely this board game simulates the scientific method, with one glaring exception: in real life the universe never reveals the correct answer to you.

    One scientist was lamenting on how frustrating this can be. But also satisfying, as you get approximations of the law that can be useful in the real world.

    "Neither ever produces truth, but the Philosphical Materialists claim that it does, and Atheist/humanists etc. depend on that guarantee of "truth" for evangelizing their philosophy. They are wrong."You are correct here (but maybe not about them being wrong). But I'm only talking about the science.

    ReplyDelete
  16. You said,
    "But Stan, you are asking for scientific evidence of evolution but then when given it are criticizing it on philosophical grounds. So it still appears to me that you are mixing the two up."
    No, the reason that I am critical of evolution (as a science) is two-fold: First it is declared as fact - settled science - and that translates into culturally destructive worldviews; Second, not only is it not fact, it is not verified in the most rationally and materially satisfying fashion: empirically; but this is ignored and poo-poohed by those declaring it a settled science.

    Let's review my original post statements:
    "First. I am calling for a single empirical study that reflects evolution via the creation of a new feature, not contained in the original genome, that is beneficial to the selection of the organism. This needs to be empirical in the sense that it is measurable in real time with ordinary instrumentation, it is coherent in its results, it is replicated, and it is falsifiable. Also, it needs to be in the public domain – I won’t pay to see it.

    This eliminates inferential and extrapolatory conjectures. It eliminates ideological rationalization. It eliminates axiomatic crashing.

    Second. I am calling for a single, reputable, credible source that shows that change to a genome is not required in order to produce new features that are not in that genome, or if you will, DNA change (mutation) is not required. I am asking for validating empirical data here, not just a statement such as "evolution doesn't happen to individuals, it happens to populations" or variations thereof.

    Third. I repeat, a single (just one) instance. Not a raft of reading; not a link to gazillions of papers. Just one, single, irrefutable, replicated, falsifiable empirical study.
    If there are parts of this that are not clear as to what is meant by empirical observation of the process of evolving, let's discuss them. If I can clear up some sort of confusion, I will add it to the post, if that is necessary.

    Now, about the Civil War and basic forensic or historical science. We have two major types of evidence here, eye witness and material remnants. This is much more than exists for evolution which is merely material remnants. The eye witness accounts are records of the actual process as observed from various vantages.

    There is no such eye witness record for the process of evolution. For the process of evolution, we are allowed to make up our own stories of how the various material remnants are connected by making conjectural extrapolations which are not proven.

    The issue of plate tectonics is interesting because, as I recall, that theory was rejected by the scientific community for more than half a century, until around the time of the "Geophysical year" in the late 1950's, when data was taken that showed the movement of the plates. So the process itself is being recorded, including plate subduction at collision interfaces, plate creation in the trenches, as well as measurement of the process of mountain height increases. This is empirical documentation of an ongoing, observable process, and that is what I (personally) insist upon for evolution. I do that for the reasons that I stated above.

    In fact, plate tectonics demonstrates the reverse acceptance of evolution: Evolution is accepted despite not having the empirical observation of the process, whereas plate tectonics was not accepted until the empirical validation was avaailable.

    Interesting contrast.

    I (personally again) find that it is not possible to address the issue of evolution with Philosophical Materialists without both aspects being present: the science (taken as fact/truth) and the Philosophy that uses the science as its most valuable basic axiom.

    Again, thanks for the conversation...

    Stan

    ReplyDelete
  17. The Science of evolution and it's link with Philosophical Materialism
    See, this bothers me. Years ago whenever I heard Dawkins speaking out on Atheism, I had the thought that, while I agree with him in general, I fear he may be indelibly linking the neutral science of biology with Atheism in people's minds. To such a degree that it will be difficult to remove later. I tend to think it isn't a good tactic. It appears I was right.

    And the problem as I see it is that you've spent so much time building a logical case against Atheism, much of which depends on evolution being false, that I don't think I could convince you of its reality even if I could build you a time machine.

    Your worldview now depends on evolution being false, and I feel you will suffer extreme confirmation bias every time you look at it. And if I know human behavior, I know worldviews do not budge readily, if at all.

    You've practically admitted as much by saying you can't really unlink the two, and since it's clear you could never become a Philosophical Materialist, then by extension I don't think you will never be able to accept the reality of evolution no matter what I give you.

    But is there a link between engineering and religious thinking?
    This is a hypothesis of mine that should be taken with several large grains... nay, a whole barrel of salt, but I was thinking about how many times I come across smart and technically inclined people who reject several of the mainstream sciences, and more often than not they are engineers.

    Well, as it turns out, others have noticed this as well and there's even a name for it: the Salem Hypothesis. It's somewhat tongue-in-cheek, so please don't take it too seriously, but I found an interesting comment on a blog about this phenomenon that speculated on why it should be so common, which I'll briefly paraphrase here.

    The thought was that engineers tend to be steeped in mathematical and logical thinking. For them what was true yesterday will be true today and tomorrow. 2 + 2 always equals 4. Anyone who questions this formula is wrong, period. They will only believe something new when it is proven to be absolutely correct, deductively; just like a mathematical proof. Engineers are taught engineering principles which are rigid rules that are always followed, and always true, and must be so. There is much comfort. There is much satisfaction. Almost everything is binary: absolutely true or absolutely false.

    And scientists are almost the complete opposite. They are taught, and indeed the scientific method requires them, to question even the things they "know" and to be prepared to let them go when the evidence turns against them. There is little comfort. There is little satisfaction (at least in knowing whether the answer is correct or not). Induction tends to be the rule, at least in the final "conclusion." And "conclusion," you will notice, is always in quotes. Everything is probablistic: degrees of confidence on a sliding scale, that can change in an instant as more data comes in.

    Please understand these thoughts are not meant to be pejorative in anyway, or an attempt to show that any way is "better." Just pointing out different ways of thinking.

    Perhaps our brains are just wired differently: you to be rigidly logical, requiring of proofs, and deductive, and me to be wishy washy, inductive, and probabilistic.

    This would explain a lot.

    It would explain why I don't recognize the version of Atheism you have developed on your blog and website; it would explain why you seem to think I worship authority as being always correct; it would explain why you respond to suggestive forensic scientific evidence with logical philosophical arguments; it would explain why you think that science says evolution is TRUTH.

    Or I could be utterly wrong. It's just a thought.

    See? There I go again... :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Martin,
    Thanks for your comments and persistence; this is an interesting subject.

    I have no idea what your background is, or whether you are involved with pure science. So I’m not sure upon what you base your impression of me. But your characterization of engineering is rather more toward a caricature than it is of actuality. Nonetheless there are disciplines to which engineers hold themselves that do not seem to apply to the “carbon” sciences, such as biology in all its forms. And these disciplines are somewhat different than your expectations seem to be.

    For instance, you imply that engineers just sit around using a bunch of cook book equations over and over and over. If that were true, technology would stagnate because the “bleeding edge” would never be approached. Real life throws numerous incidental parasitic effects at a prototype (the engineering equivalent of an hypothesis), all of which must become understood and overcome. The life of an engineer in R&D is one of experimentation, measurement, analysis, re-experimentation, etc. Only with engineering it won’t stop until every minute factor is both understood and controlled, whereas with science, a paper is published regardless of whether the experiment verified the hypothesis or not. Yet for some reason, “scientists” look down on the engineering procedure. I have been ad Hominemed with that ridicule: you’re just an engineer.

    Now as for engineers being binary, that is only true in the sense that either a proposition is valid or it is not. (Example: the logic circuitry in a computer isn’t just binary. It is also valid in a huge timeframe (over billions of cycles per second for years on end); it is also valid over temperature ranges it will see; it is also valid around the world, and the solar system; within noisy environments; etc.) So you are right in saying that there is no half-right answer in engineering, just as in logic itself. It doesn’t half-work, or 0.8749% work. Either it does or it doesn’t.

    The problems are frequently non-linear; but the resolution must always be 100% valid – binary if you insist. Not absolutely “true”, but absolutely valid. Contrary to what you might think, though, not all engineers are religious, binary, fundamentalists. In my experience, most are pragmatic non-theist non-philosophers. But there are fine engineers who are Mormon, Hindu, and lapsed Muslims that I know. And all believe in rationality and logic.

    And I’m afraid that I must take issue with the assertion that scientists “are taught, and indeed the scientific method requires them, to question even the things they "know" and to be prepared to let them go when the evidence turns against them.” They might be taught that, but as Kuhn describes, overturning a paradigm frequently requires a death or retirement of a powerful proponent of an earlier hypothesis.

    And “There is little satisfaction (at least in knowing whether the answer is correct or not).” This really seems incorrect to me, because whatever answer they get, pass/fail, if it is replicable, it is an acceptable answer. It gets published and added to their resumes. Perhaps they adjust the hypothesis, or perhaps they move on.

    I have no issue with science. I respect the empirical sciences and have engaged in them myself. You know my position on that. What I reject is the humanist use of false images of science as producing truth, when it clearly does not.


    (continued next comment: this was over the character limit)

    ReplyDelete
  19. (Continues from previous comment)
    This blog is not about evolution nor is it about science. It is about whether there exist any absolutes, what those might be, and how they might apply to our worldviews. I do not require evolution to be false to satisfy my worldview. But Philosophical Materialism and humanism do require that there be no value to humans beyond the animalism that evolution dictates. This makes evolution a philosophical and cultural nuclear device; does it logically and rationally stand up to the challenge? Is it truly True?

    My worldview is one of intellectual independence of dogma and the pursuit of valid, logical first principles upon which to base a principle of living as well as a principle of knowing. This can only be had through rejecting all “knowledge” as possibly incorrect and/or tainted by unsupported beliefs. And it turns out that there are incorrigibly true First Principles, which can be validated only by human intuition – neither of which are material objects. These are axiomatic to logic; evolution is being used as a false axiom: it is not a first principle.

    My conclusions are mine alone. But I continually challenge the “enlightenment “ humanists to defend their beliefs using actual logic, rather than merely claiming to “be rational”. And that is the thrust of this blog. When one starts from First Principles that are undeniably valid, then uses valid logical structures and eschews all forms of fallacy, one does not arrive at Philosophical Materialism.

    If one must be a Philosophical Materialist, it is not due to the “undeniable” logic that PM allegedly presents; it has to be for other reasons than logic or rationality because PM fails those criteria.

    Philosophical Materialism is a parasite on science and on rationality; it is neither scientific nor is it rational. That’s why I am here, to demonstrate that science does not produce Truth, that evolution is not Truth, and that PM is not Truth, no matter what any group of scientists (Dawkins and a great many PM/biologists) claims. I do not claim that science says evolution is True; it is the Atheist Science brigade that makes that claim that evolution is true, which is logically false.

    I really have to go, gotta get up early tomorrow. One last point though. Dawkins and his type have influenced members of my family in a very negative, irrational way. Their patina of fake knowledge – which they declare true for the benefit of their worldview - which covers a cesspool of fallacy needs to be illuminated by the use of real, actual rational processes. That is what I try to do.

    BTW the form of Atheism you see me attack is very real; I know about it first hand. You might hang out at some Atheist web sites and suggest something they disagree with and see what happens...

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hmmm...

    OK, I still think my hypothesis hasn't quite been refuted, although you did bring up some flaws with it. BTW, I don't have formal training in any particular field. Science (all of it) is just an interest of mine. I could certainly be wrong about some of my assumptions.

    But I digress...

    I now have three random thoughts that I haven't brought together into a coherent thesis, so here they are in a mess, no particular order:

    A) You didn't answer my analogy above, about the murderer, but I would still like to hear your thoughts on it. It was not an attempt to prove or disprove anything. It was just an attempt to get inside your mind, which I'm having an extremely difficult time doing.

    Remove the witnesses from it. Let's say it's just lots of physical evidence (DNA, hair, fingerprints, etc) that all points to the suspect. Let's say it's a fairly strong case. So you would reject it because it's a theodicy? Because it's a Just So Story? I'm really having a hard time understanding your reasoning here...

    B) Examples of sciences of a past event that have no witnesses, and cannot be observed to be occurring at the present moment: paleontology and criminal forensics. Thoughts?

    C) My concerns with theism are numerous but yet I can't find most of them addressed on your site. Your ebook doesn't speak to me at all, really. I would like to hear your thoughts on them, but it might be easier to email you a separate document than listing them in this thread. Do you have a better way to contact you?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Martin,
    A) I would think that my demurral on word games, puzzles, dichotomies and riddles would provide a view into my mind. I am not interested in what if’s, I am interested in what is. I don’t think there’s enough room in my mind for anyone else to muck about, sorry. But if you have specific questions I’ll answer them if appropriate and if I’m able.

    B) A good example of past events that are over and done with: extinction of the dinosaurs. It is extremely doubtful, to my mind, that there will be any irrefutable evidence one way or the other; even the value of that evidence if it does arise, is doubtful.

    C) Logic, rational thought and critical thinking are my areas of focus for this blog. I am not an expert theist. However if there are logical issues surrounding certain questions, I would be happy to look at those.

    I don’t let out my email address any more, but I would put up a post under which to address the logical aspects of theism, if you wish. Or we could discuss them here, if you would care to list them.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'm not playing word games, and I'm not playing what ifs.I want to know what you would do in a situation that calls for examining evidence of a past event that can no longer be reproduced and that has no witnesses.

    A half eaten cake on the table with dog paw prints that lead away from it.

    A cracked window with a rock below it that matches the crack.

    The thrice mentioned murder scene.

    Is it possible to come to a reasonable degree of certainty about a past event based on left-behind evidence?

    Yes or no?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Martin said,
    "Is it possible to come to a reasonable degree of certainty about a past event based on left-behind evidence?"This is a question that I will answer.

    First the term "reasonable degree of certainty". Can that be accompanied by an associated degree of uncertainty? In other words, can we quantify the amount of "reasonableness" that we are discussing?

    I fully admit, and have admitted before, that I hold evolution to a high standard, in fact a very high standard. And I have said why that is: it is because the declaration of evolution as "settled science" is used as the basis for a philosophy cum wordview that is both false and onerous.

    The proponents of that worldview would have the general populace believe that evolution is FACT, when it is not. A pair of biology teachers have claimed this on this blog; the media insinuates this at every turn; the modern relativist culture is being built around this.

    But there is no irrefutable evidence for evolution: none.

    Your examples are not irrefutable, they are circumstantial. No matter how strong the circumstantial evidence appears, it is not irrefutable.

    What evidence evolution actually has is purely circumstantial; it could equally well be explained by Panspermia, for example.

    I am not sure how to make this more clear. Evolution is not the same as paw prints around a cake; it is far more serious in its implications, and deserves a scrutiny commensurate with that.

    The degree of "reasonableness" is a variable, not a constant. The degree of uncertainty becomes more important in areas that affect all people.

    I don't think I can get much more clear, but if necessary, I will try.

    ReplyDelete
  24. You didn't really answer my question.

    You said if by "reasonable" could I mean "also with a degree of uncertainty." "Degree of reasonable" already implies a degree of uncertainty. Otherwise I would have said "absolute certainty."

    You said that circumstantial evidence is not irrefutable. I didn't imply that it was and would never imply thusly.

    You said that evolution could be equally well explained by Panspermia. This does not compute. Panspermia is a theory for how life got it's initial start, not a theory that explains the observations of life that point to common descent from an earlier ancestor.

    You said that evolution has serious implications and should be held to a higher standard than paw prints. It may (or may not) have more serious implications, but this is irrelevant to my point. The circumstantial evidence, and the reasonable conclusion you can draw from it, remains. Implications or not.

    So I'll ask it again: Is it possible to come to such a reasonable degree of certainty about a proposition ("my dog ate my cake") based on strong circumstantial evidence ("half-eaten cake and paw-shaped prints") that the proposition can, for all intents and purposes, be accepted as reality?

    ReplyDelete
  25. What you consider to be a word trap is not going to be effective against the demands I make on evolution. It is another of your dichotomies in which answer #1 (yes)leads to the next step: If you accept that then you must surely accept evolution; and answer #2 (no), which also leads to the next step: you are rejecting reasonable assumptions, therefore you must accept evolution if you are to be reasonable.

    I have already told you my position on both dichotomies and on evolution, including why I hold evolution to a very high standard.

    At this point you may either accept that or reject it. But I will not play into dichotomy fallacies, as I have explained before. Accepting the conditions of a fallacy is also a fallacy, one which I will not indulge.

    As for panspermia, why is it restricted to only occurring once? Why not a series of extraterrestrial viral strains with ever increasing complexity being injected into the terrestrial orgainsms? It is no more outlandish than expecting life to have jumpstarted from warm chemicals (don't bother with claiming evolution doesn't include first life, that is just a dodge to avoid a probability issue that is not "reasonable".)...and for that first life to have contained all the genomes of all future life, just waiting to be selected.

    In order to make evolution swallowable, wordgames seem to be essential; but the facts are tougher to swallow, including the total lack of empirical evidence of the process of evolution itself.

    That's my position, outlined in this and the several comments above.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I promise you I'm not playing word games. It was a trap of your own creation.

    You threw out ALL science that deals with "circumstantial" and "forensic" science. This is clearly absurd.

    I merely tried to get you to admit that it was so, but you danced around my question more nimbly than a sugarplum fairy.

    Do you realize that while the evidence for "evolution in progress on a molecular level" may be somewhat thin at this point (to the best of my knowledge, although I'm not an expert, so a caveat), but that the "circumstantial" and "forensic" evidence for common descent is absolutely overwhelming?

    We're not talking about a couple of vague fossils that look like some animals, that anybody can make up their own story for.

    Much of the confirmation of common descent has been happening on a molecular level. Not a mere "incomplete" fossil record, or desperate searches for missing links in the fossils, or just "guesses." We're talking about a complete scientific model that predicts future "circumstantial" evidence, all of which continues to conform to the model.

    Endogenous retroviruses, transposons, cytochrome c commonality, molecular vestiges, all of this is but a small portion of the overwhelming "circumstantial" and "forensic" evidence for common descent.

    Regardless of our ability to actually see it in action or not.

    There is a huge difference between the actual mechanism of evolution and common descent itself.

    ReplyDelete
  27. You seem to have slipped a cog. (I hope your vacation was good...) The word trap was your insistence on the dog prints around the cake -a yes/no dichotomy.

    And my position remains that (a) science does not produce truth; and (b) without empirical evidence science does not even produce incorrigible, incontovertable "fact"; it produces contingent factoids subject to future findings and understandings.

    Mountains of circumstantial evidence have convicted many innocent men, some of whom have been released after the application of empirical science to the case.

    I have explained why I take the position that I do; what I am asking for is outlined in the text of the post. No amount of non-empirical, extrapolatory projections will satisfy my request. So what you are pursuing is without force in satisfying my request.

    Unless you have an empirical verification to discuss, then this thread is off-topic.

    An aside: there seems to be an increasing effort to deny that there is a difference between selection without mutation, and selection with mutation [where mutation has the standard meaning of "change from the original"].

    This is a denial of the micro/macro-evolution argument without having to face the impact; the impact, of course, is a huge statistical improbability that would "reasonably' be deniable.

    It is the same dodge as denying that abiogenisis is necessary for a Materialist Philosophy of evolution to be coherent.

    Anyway, welcome back...

    ReplyDelete
  28. I probably should have addressed this more clearly: The idea that selection without mutation created all the life on earth is logically infeasible - UNLESS all the genetics for all the current life was there in the first life, waiting to be selected. Clearly this is non-credible.

    The alternative is that mutations along the way occurred giving selection advantages to the recipients of the mutated genetics. Yet all evidence shows that mutations, including benign mutations, disappear very rapidly in a population. This means that the accumulation of mutations for increased complexity (don't deny complexity, it won't scan) is massively improbable.

    To the meat: computer projections of evolution necessarily work on selection of pre-existing features, those which already exist in a genome. If there exists a computer simulation that projects a series of random mutations that create a new feature that is beneficial for adapting to a changing environment, and THEN, that very scenario is observed in a physical controlled experiment, point me to it.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Yes, my vacation was quite relaxing, thank you. :)

    My dichotomy about dog prints was only a way to get you to admit that it's possible to suss what has happened in the past based only on left behind evidence. You know it is possible to do this. You know that such a situation may not lead to Absolute Truth, but to a reasonably likely theory. More than reasonable, in some cases.

    By calling it a word trap I don't know how I can come to any conclusion other than that you are dodging the issue so you do not have to look at the huge amount of forensic evidence for common descent.

    Why would you do this?

    So we are in agreement about science, then. So where's the problem? I'm not attempting to Prove Absolute Truth to you. I'm not attempting to argue Materialism or Atheism in the slightest, and would never do so.

    I'm attempting to show you the current state of the science ONLY. I'm only interested in science, because I find it fascinating, and because it pains me to see people saying "la la la I can't hear you."

    I suppose I should stop worrying about what other people think.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Here is a thought on our differing vantage points. I am addressing evolution as a philosophy which is not supportable by any scientific "truth" - as is claimed by Philosophical Materialists, Humanists, and most Atheists.

    You are addressing evolution as a potential, albeit speculated, pre-scientific answer to the question of origins.

    The question of origins is very important to culture, as the increasingly popluar relativist philosophies depend on the origin of life NOT to have been anything other than an accident of chemical happenstance.

    The question of origins is not important to science in any meaningful way, having had no influence on any major biological discovery or breakthrough, and in fact, having to be retrofit into each biological factoid after the fact - an act of blatant rationalization, not of rationality.

    The huge cultural emphasis on origins via evolution is not an artifact of its actuality nor of its factuality; the emphasis is due to its philosophical impact and its cultural offshoots of justification for virtual values paganism, and the "will to power".

    Our differing vantage points will likely not be made to coincide, because you already subsribe to Philosophical Materialism and its necessary "axiom": evolution.

    And I do not agree that evolution is axiomatic, even to biology much less philosophically derived world-views.

    As always, Philosophical Materialists are free to believe whatever they wish: I challenge that their belief is based on material fact; it is not fact. And it is certainly not Truth.

    That's why I'm here.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I almost think we speak different languages. :)

    Here's a study where single-celled algae became multicellular when combined with a predator. Unfortunately, they don't provide the full text, just the first page. I HATE not having access to full scientific papers:

    link

    ReplyDelete
  32. Please note, I am not talking about origins, or the spark of life, or whether life did or did not happen accidentally in a chemical soup.

    I'm talking only about common descent. The relationship between humans and chimpanzees and the ancestor we had in common with them 7 mya. The dinosaurs and their place in the tree of life. Etc.

    ReplyDelete
  33. "I almost think we speak different languages. :)"Now you've got it!

    "I'm talking only about common descent."And my firm position is that it is not rational to exclude first life from a conversation (materialist) about common descent. If common descent is ONLY materialist by agreement, then first life also must be ONLY materialist.

    The exclusion of first life is a philosophical dodge to eliminate the embarrassing improbability of abiogenesis from the probability assumptions that are made in favor of evolution.

    But the actual probabilities of the PROCESS of evolution having happened are also embarrassingly small, so those are ignored or denied. Evolutionary theory requires the denial of much, much uncomfortable reality.

    The actual theory of evolution goes like this: "Well, we can see that it happened, so there." Proof not needed, disproof ignored.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Abiogensis and common descent are different sciences. The one deals more in chemistry, and the other deals more in paleontology and genetics. They are two different theories.

    To refuse to discuss common descent by continually bringing up abiogenesis is like saying that you refuse to talk about Newton's theory of gravity because the theory does not talk about the origin of gravity.

    Again, if the origin of life is by Divine Creation, fine. I'm still ONLY talking about common descent.

    ReplyDelete
  35. OK, then let's back up a stage. It appears that gravity (your choice) is an effect, measured and observable, without a known cause.

    Whereas evolution is a proposed cause for an unvalidated effect.

    There are always defects in metaphors and analogs.

    At any rate, if you choose to ignore the obvious need for a first life to have occurred in an immensely improbable occurrence if materialism is to be preserved, and even choose to accept divine intervention instead - which I did not insist on - go ahead, just one last go 'round here: show me the empirical data, the nail that nails the basis for a valid, incorrigibly True worldview (that's what I'm talking about, after all).

    Maybe I should repeat something I said (or meant to) earlier. My interest is not so much in the status of the science as it is in the science being declared FACT/TRUTH and used as a cultural weapon. Evolution has been weaponized for use against all social standards that are not relativist (ie. all standards). This leads to a culture that is anarchical and nihilistic; it is based on falseness.

    I also repeat for clarity, no amount of inferred or extrapolated projections justify the concept that evolution is TRUTH.

    BTW, it' fun being able to almost talk real time on these holidays....

    ReplyDelete
  36. "BTW, it' fun being able to almost talk real time on these holidays...."

    Yes, but I have all this work to do for clients, dammit. BTW, if you or anyone you know needs a website, I'm starting a web development company. Cheap! (for now) :)

    I think you're completely wrong about evolution being used as a cultural weapon. In fact, my theory is just the opposite: it's religious thinking that is dangerous and leads to suffering, for a few reasons:

    1) Social Darwinism comes from the ideas of Herbert Spencer, not directly from Darwin. It's more of a Lamarckian idea, which was discredited ages ago. And racist ideas that are related to it are completely antithetical to Darwinian evolution. Creating a pure race?! Hitler would have brought evolution to a screaming halt by eliminating genetic variability! For Darwinian evolution to work, a large variety of genes are needed; the more races, the better. "Survival of the fittest" means "those best adapted to their environment and thus most likely to reproduce," not "strongest and best." Additionaly, the whole point of natural selection is that life engages in a sort of free market capitalism. If it's cold, then those with less fur die out, until eventually everyone has fur. Take away this free market, and you no longer have Darwinian evolution.

    2) And related to the above, "survival of the fittest" doesn't just mean the best individual. It also means the best means of replicating your genes. People who cooperate to create a safe society have a better place to raise children than those societies where people "just do whatever they want." Therefore, over the long run, the cooperative societies will reproduce more than the dangerous anything-goes societies, and cooperation will become the dominant pattern, having been naturally selected for.

    3) The common Christian complaint that atheism is what led to Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, N Korea, etc. is incorrect, in my view. And in fact bass-ackwards. All these regimes result from religious thinking. I.E., the Leader is Absolutely Correct and cannot be questioned, ever. The Leader is great. The Leader must be worshiped in a cult of personality. There is no skeptical inquiry. If you question that the Jews are the enemy, you will be shot. What the Leader says is the last Word, period. While you can certainly retort that Christianity doesn't shoot people for thinking differently, it IS a hallmark of religion that there are some ideas (whether it's the priest, the deity, the scriptures) that cannot be questioned, ever. And if you do question it, your life will be made less than pleasurable.

    ReplyDelete
  37. The term "eugenics" was coined by Darwin's cousin, Charles Dalton; the purpose was to perfect the human race:

    From pbs.org:
    "The word "eugenics" was coined in 1883 by the English scientist Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, to promote the ideal of perfecting the human race by, as he put it, getting rid of its "undesirables" while multiplying its "desirables"Darwin himself said,
    "I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilization than ou seem inclined to admit. Remember what risk the nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea seems today! The more civilized so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the strugglefor existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher races throughout the world." Darwin, Letter to W. Graham, July 3, 1881; From Darwin and the Darwin Revolution, Himmelfarb, p416.

    Darwin's protoge', Ernst Haekel, promoted eugenics through the first 25 years of the 20th Century; he was elected to the Society for Race Hygeine, by one of his own protoge's, Alfred Plotz.
    Haekel's writings, speeches and associations with eugenicists are well documented. He influenced Margaret Sanger, American eugenist and founder of Planned Parenthood, which was intended to reduce the black population.

    After reading Darwin's Origin of the Species, Karl Marx wrote to Fiedrich Engels, "Although developed in a coarse English manner, this is the book that contains the foundation in natural history for our view." From Darwin to Hitler, R. Weikart, pg 4.

    Friedrich Nietzsche was "more Darwinian than Darwin" [Will Durant, "The Story of Philosophy"] and also devoted to heroic militaristic "Will to Power" domination by an elite class moving to perfect itself as the "superhuman" or ubermensch, while maintaining control over the "herd" or masses, which could be eliminated as their use or disuse dictated. Nietzsche was the Official Philosopher of the NAZI regime.

    And this from the World Socialist Website:
    "The young Leon Trotsky wrote a perceptive essay on Nietzsche in the same year that the latter died—1900. Trotsky writes that Nietzsche's philosophy has a particular appeal to what he describes as a parasitic proletariat, a social layer arising within capitalism which is more privileged than the mere lumpenproletariat. In particular, Trotsky writes, Nietzsche's philosophy of the Übermensch, is particularity well suited to justify the ideology of such persons as: “financial adventurers, stock market speculators and unscrupulous politicians and press manipulators”. Trotsky's article is published in Cahiers de Leon Trotsky, vol. 1, edited by Pierre Broue. Politicians for sure.

    Peschel, Rolle, and Sumner plus others - all Darwinians - conclude that war was a eugenic device, part of the struggle for existence. Therefore wars could be necessary and manipulated for the express purpose of engineering humanity.

    Strauss introduced the idea that different people have different values. Hellwald called all human history a Darwinian struggle for existence. He insisted that science had banished morality, since in the struggle for existence, the ends justify the means. Wagner wrote, "War: A Political evolutionary Examination", and declared that patriotism along with war was a Darwinian force for evolutionary progress.
    (continued in next comment, ran out of space again...)

    ReplyDelete
  38. There is much history that you have ignored in your version, which I take it is a hostory which you have created as an inference taken from what you do know, plus your opinion about how someone should or would have believed and acted under those times and cultures.

    You seem to have missed that evolution, as a philosophy, eliminates good and evil (Nietzsche), suggests that the higher race (Darwin) can be perfected (Haekel, Dalton, Nietzsche, on and on) without any hindrance from values which no longer exist. Perfecting the race becomes the only virtue in an otherwise valueless universe (Nietzsche).

    I can recommend well documented histories that you can read if you wish.

    And you confuse the passion of the terrorist with religion, possibly because of the conjunction of Islam with terrorism(?) If you think that Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin were religiously motivated, you are confused. And if you think that a passionate belief in something leads inexorably to tyranny/terrorism, you are also incorrect. Your examples are of totalitarianism, not religion. Granted religion can become totalitarian (Islam); Christianity is not totalitarian, nor is Hinduism nor is Buddhism, etc.

    A passionate devotion to model trains is socially benign. A passionate devotion to religion is also socially benign, unless that religion is promoting tyranny. Perhaps you see Christianity as tyrannical; I personally think you might be seeing only what you want to see.

    Make your life miserable for questioning Christianity?? I was a devout Atheist for 40 years, and no Christian ever made my life miserable for questioning Christianity. I firmly believe that this is a victimhood/hypersensitivity position that is being promoted by the New Atheists, just like feminists claim women are "abused" by men everywhere and all the time.

    These things undoubtedly do happen (infrequently to never in my experience) but they would be a part of the personal erroneous and corrupt ecclesiasticism of the individual perpetrator. I don't think there are 280,000,000 Christians out prowling around looking to abuse non-believers.

    To compare NAZIs and Red Communists to Jesus is irrational and, frankly, likely just an insult to assuage some sort of hurt feelings you seem to harbor; I hope you are able to get past it.

    ReplyDelete
  39. First of all, most of the eugenics and other racist ideas came out of the Victorian era tension between the classes. Many of these people, including much of Darwin's own family, did indeed point to Darwin and extend some of his ideas to support their own ideologies. And even though he did directly reject much of the actual policies of eugenics, Darwin was certainly a man of his time. Much as Thomas Jefferson was a man of his time and thus owned slaves.

    None of this is relevant.

    Darwin merely provided the (well founded) hypothesis of common descent, which then gave scientists something to test by making observations of the world, and has in fact been confirmed over and over. Most spectacularly through molecular biology, which didn't even exist in Darwin's time. Charles probably would not even recognize his own theory if he saw it today.

    You seem to be under the impression that today's scientists are stuck in the 19th century, clinging desperately to a quaint notion from the Age of Imperialism to further their own evil racist agendas.

    You could not possibly be more mistaken.

    Common descent is biology's own Theory of Everything and contains incredibly powerful predictive ability. What kinds of fossils are going to be found and where. What types of genes are going to be found in certain animals. Where in the genome we should see certain deactivated genes, based on common ancestry. Which vestigial traits should be seen in which organisms, but not in others. What types of features we should see in predicted ancestors of two related animals. Where in the strata we should see certain fossils, and how complex or simple they should be. Which endogenous retroviruses should be seen on which genomes and where. To what degree the morphological and molecular phylogenetic trees should match up.

    And it goes on, and on, and on...

    Instead of directly addressing the evidence of common descent, you are attacking Darwin and his contemporaries. I seem to recall this being an informal fallacy with a very specific name.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Martin
    I think maybe you forgot the context of the conversation before you left for the long weekend. I was merely responding to your assertions concerning Social Darwinism and that tyrants are religiously driven, not influenced by evolution.

    And how did you conclude that I think that today’s scientists are racist? If anything they are too politically correct to even notice (or allow) that there are any differences whatsoever between the races, as is seen in the denial of racial intelligence data and the destruction of those who attempt to use it. (Political correctness is another failure of logic.)

    About your list of predictions made by evolution: I won’t go through the lengthy laundry list of predicted effects that were supposedly produced by the theory of evolution alone, but if you choose to select one bullet proof situation that demonstrates your point and I will look at it.

    One of your earlier observations does strike home: we definitely appear to be speaking different languages. I am speaking in terms of the philosophical use of an inference-only science as a Truth basis for both a worldview and social engineering. You don’t seem to want to deal with that, and I’m not sure why, unless it is a threat to your worldview.

    In terms of not attacking the evidence directly, I have asked for a specific type of evidence: empirical. You have not provided any, but have insisted that your inferred data is adequate.

    So you are not compyling with the request, your are trying to change the rules of this request to satisfy your opinion of what truth consists.

    I have explained why I choose not to accept inferences. You cannot accept that apparently, and we have a standoff. I will not change my request criterion; at this point I must say that it is your choice to either accept that or not, and to move on to other topics either way... or else to find some empirical data.

    ReplyDelete
  41. "If you think that Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin were religiously motivated, you are confused."Religious thinking, not religion itself. Passion for an ideology, worship of an ideology, an ideology with an infallible leader at it's center, whether god or human with god-like stature. Stalin's cult of personality, worship of Stalin as almost godlike, huge banners of Kim Jon Il, no questioning of the Dear Leader, etc.

    Worship, of ANY god or godlike human along with the accompanying ideology, is the problem as I see it.

    "And if you think that a passionate belief in something leads inexorably to tyranny/terrorism, you are also incorrect."Passion for and unquestioning obedience to an ideology, not passion in general.

    "Christianity is not totalitarian, nor is Hinduism nor is Buddhism, etc."Many of these religions do have, to varying degrees, a desire to see everyone converted to them, or to see anyone not a member of them as less fortunate or one of 'them,' and a desire for their values and opinions to be wrapped up into the law for everybody, whether you believe in their religion or not.

    Not quite totalitarianism, but certainly cut from the same cloth. Absolute certainty that their ideology is correct, and a desire (somtimes suppressed, sometimes not) to see everyone following it.

    "Make your life miserable for questioning Christianity?? I was a devout Atheist for 40 years, and no Christian ever made my life miserable for questioning Christianity. I firmly believe that this is a victimhood/hypersensitivity position that is being promoted by the New Atheists, just like feminists claim women are "abused" by men everywhere and all the time."No, not me personally. I have never been made miserable. I'm referring to the authoritarianism of the Catholic Church during the first 1500 years of Christendom. The authoritarianism of Islam in some modern Middle Eastern countries. The authoritarianism of the Hindu caste system. The authoritarianism of Kim Jong Il's regime.

    All of these situations have a group, in power, committed to enforcing an ideology they are absolutely certain is correct, all because an infallible leader came up with the idea and his ideas cannot be questioned.

    "To compare NAZIs and Red Communists to Jesus is irrational and, frankly, likely just an insult to assuage some sort of hurt feelings you seem to harbor; I hope you are able to get past it."I'm certainly not comparing Christ Himself to the Nazis. What I'm saying is that an ideology that is accepted as absolute unchangeable truth, with an infallible leader as its progenitor, is what leads to authoritarian regimes. It gives the regime the ability to do whatever it wants, and claim endorsement by God/gods/Leader, etc.

    Also, I have no hurt feelings. I'm just telling you my hypothesis. I could be wrong about it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. I do still need to address some things you said above about gravity, but...

    What I brought up was that 19th century racism was not based in any way on evolutionary principles. That social Darwinism has nothing to do with the actual science of common descent. Your response was essentially just to reiterate that many of Darwin's contemporaries were racist.

    Now then, I'm still confused by your use of "empirical." Last time I brought it up you reiterated your original post, which essentially calls for empirical evidence of evolution in action.

    But many of the statements you made seem to imply that you are actually redefining "empirical." I can find no support for your idea (?) that "empirical" means observing an event in action.

    All I can find is that "empirical" means "knowledge gained through observation and testing of the physical world" as distinguished from rationalism.

    So is a fingerprint at a murder scene rational knowledge, then, and not empirical?

    Are molecular phylogenetic trees rational knowledge, instead of empirical?

    All the evidence for common descent has been gained by making observations of the world, event in action or not.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I'm not sure what you mean by "bullet-proof," but here's one example:

    The standard phylogenetic tree, which shows relationships among animals, predicts a common ancestor of baleen and toothed whales approximately 25 million years ago. This common ancestor should have features of both types of whales.

    It was found in 1964, having both teeth and baleen: Aetiocetus

    ReplyDelete
  44. Here's another one:

    The phylogenetic tree predicts that humans and chimpanzees had a common ancestor about 7 million years ago.

    The prediction is that we should have some of the same endogenous retroviruses as chimps. This is when a retrovirus attacks a germ cell, at which point it sometimes becomes deactivated and it's DNA becomes a permanent part of the host genome, which can then be inherited.

    Since these insertions are completely random, finding the same endogenous retroviruses in the same place on the genome of two different species is strong evidence of common descent.

    There are currently seven known endogenous retroviruses we share with chimps.

    Here is but one (older) paper on the subject:Cloned endogenous retroviral sequences from human DNA

    ReplyDelete
  45. First evolution is a process, not a physical thing. Empirical testing of a process requires a starting entity, a force (mechanism) for inducing change, and an ending entity which is the beginning entity that was changed by the force.

    Observing the beginning entity and the ending entity alone gives no confirmation of the mechanism or force. These two entities might have been metaphenomena for all we know, if just the entities are found. For example an Aeotocetus might have been a crossbreed, who knows for sure without having observed the descent? That's why I keep insisting that paleo-whatever can never be empirically satisfying: we can't go back and view 1 billion years of the process.

    A fingerprint is not a process, it is a thing, which might or might not be related to the corpse on the floor. In fact it could have been put there by double transfer as a Red Herring. (I watch too much CSI, I know).

    It is the process of evolution which is touted, yet is not confirmed.

    Phylogentic trees are one of the most disputed items in biology, with new trees (and bushes) being suggested all the time. The trees are just a convenient way of thinking abut similarities in animals, and grouping by same. The tress will look much different in 20 years after DNA adjustments are made to the tree(s).

    Religious thinking. That is an Atheist pejorative for "uncontrolled ideological passion". I see many Atheists with that, more than Christians; in my experience Christians have become pretty passive and reactive in the last 4 decades, while Atheists have taken the reins in their teeth. It is not a trait of religions it is a trait of zealots of any and all stripe.

    Desire to see conversion is not totalitarian. Jesus said (roughly), "if you are not accepted, shake the dust off your sandals and move on". He never said to kill infidels or make laws or persecute or maintain brownshirted jackboots.

    There is a difference between a metaphysical objective to be volutarily sought, and forcing worship on your neighbors. Leaving the overwrought term "religion" out of the conversation, one can say that ecclesiasticism is man made dogma, worthy of nothing; metaphysical objectives are worth studying.

    (continued in next comment)

    ReplyDelete
  46. You said:
    "What I'm saying is that an ideology that is accepted as absolute unchangeable truth, with an infallible leader as its progenitor, is what leads to authoritarian regimes. It gives the regime the ability to do whatever it wants, and claim endorsement by God/gods/Leader, etc."So what if you find out that there is an absolute truth? Would believing it to be true be a totalitarian act? It is not the search for truth, or the finding of metaphysical axioms, or building a worldview around those axioms that is a problem.

    The problem is in NOT searching for or finding truth, but fabricating an ideology out of relativistic whole cloth, based on the false morality of utopianism, forced upon all who can be brought under its influence.

    Every major tyranny of the 20th century was a "new Man" ideology, based on utopianism, fueled by "end justifies the means" (which is not a religious tenet of any of the major religions). Lenin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro/Che all had New Man ideologies. Their zealotry was all consuming; so why would Atheists refer to it as "religious thinking" when all of these were Atheists? It is a pejorative, pure and simple, an uncalled for denigration of the enemy.

    Last (finally), Racism is not eugenics, it is the classification of men into superior/inferior categories. Darwinism and the brand-new eugenics started something new: science based breeding control, followed by population control, followed by population decimation. Science journals filled with solutions to such problems, and science societies were formed around the science of eugenics, conferences were held, and laws were enacted citing the science as a basis.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger apologized last year for the eugenics operations that were performed in California in the 1900 to 1930 era (mostly sterilization of mentally deficients, I think).

    Darwinism gave a scientific basis that became a legal basis for eugenics in the USA - which transferred quickly to Europe, mostly Germany.

    I seriously suggest that you read up on the eugenics era from roughly 1870 to 1930. And read the works of Margaret Sanger on-line. I guarantee that you did not receive this history in public school. All this is necessary information for you to plug into your hypothesis. (It's not called Social Darwinism for nothing...)

    ReplyDelete
  47. Re: retrovirus.

    You said,
    "Since these insertions are completely random, finding the same endogenous retroviruses in the same place on the genome of two different species is strong evidence of common descent."HIV is a retrovirus that attacks both humans and monkeys; its presence proves only that the two populations were infected around the same time, it doesn't prove ancestry.

    Again it is the process, not the products that will provide empirical proof - but nice try. (I had already addressed that one).

    ReplyDelete
  48. "HIV is a retrovirus that attacks both humans and monkeys; its presence proves only that the two populations were infected around the same time, it doesn't prove ancestry."You seem to have missed everything I said, and clearly did not look at the paper. An endogenous retrovirus is a retrovirus which has become lodged in the DNA of a germ cell, whose code will then be passed on genetically. This is a random insertion into a genome of 3 billion base pairs. Humans and chimpanzees have seven of the same endogenous retroviruses in the exact same spot on their genomes.

    ReplyDelete
  49. You are right, I did shoot from the lip. I thought this was the same argument I (vaguely) remember going through about a year ago... but it is not.

    I do think that since there are thought to be 7 - 8% ERV's in the human genome, that out of roughly 250,000,000 ERV's floating around the genome, it might be believable that 7 of them are the same in chimps and humans due to basic probablity within the randomness.

    But I have kicked up a more interesting issue: p53 is a general controller gene that was put in place by an ERV according to this:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071114121359.htm

    In fact, the added complexity of higher life forms (If I may use that term) seems to come from ERV's. And ERV's have been around since, well maybe the beginning.

    I'm thinking panspermia here, but not seriously. It's interesting but proves - not too much at this point.

    This will take some time. I will look into it, as time permits.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Again with the disclaimer that I am not an expert, but as I understand it we have about 30,000 ERVs. And don't forget: it's not just the seven same ERVs, but the seven same ERVs, in the same order, in the same position.

    This by itself doesn't necessarily prove anything absolutely, but it is just one tiny piece of a huge pile of such stuff, and it would be difficult to come up with an alternate explanation, especially because the phylogenetic tree predicts a common ancestor between humans and chimps about 7 million years ago, so we expect to find such stuff.

    Here's another similar one:

    Transposons. Transposons are parasites that live within the genome; they have no cell walls of their own, and thus they cannot leave the genome. They replicate themselves randomly within the genome. These types of genetic elements are like fingerprints, and are often used in proving paternity.

    Humans and chimps share several of the exact same transposons, in the exact same order, in the exact same position on the genome:

    Evolution of Alu family repeats since the divergence of human and chimpanzee

    ReplyDelete
  51. I have gotten the following numbers to work with:

    human genome: 3*10^9 base pairs

    Percent of human genome that is retrovirus: 8% (NIH)

    Size of HIV virus: 9,900 bp approx.

    Using these admittedly limited numbers (assuming 10,000 bp size for all retroviruses), I get 240,000 retroviruses in the human genome.

    But for argument sake, let's use your numer of 30,000.

    So 7 out 30,000 are the same virus, located in the position in the chimp and human genomes. Is this statistically improbable? I don't know.

    Some questions arise.

    1. Why are there not more identical ERVs in the genomes? The theoretical split of chimp from human is only very recent (6 mya). Most of the ERV's should be common, but only seven of them are. This suggests non-commonality also.

    2. Why are CERV1 and CERV2 common to both chimps and macaques but not to humans? The chimp - macaque split off happened well before the chimp-human (25 mya). This alone would suggest that humans did not split with either chimps or macaques - if one sticks to the original logic.

    Interesting articles on this very thing here:
    http://telic-meme.blogspot.com/search/label/Evolution
    (third and fourth articles down from top).

    I'd say this is all indeterminate conceptually and not ready for prime time.

    ReplyDelete
  52. As I understand it, ERVs corrupt fairly quickly due to mutations, copying errors, etc. And we would be constantly picking up new ones as well. As for ERVs which are "missing" in humans, there is still disagreement on the exact arrangement of the phylogenetic tree. For example, it was thought that humans and chimps were more closely related than chimps are to other primates, but HERV-K studies suggest that humans may be farther removed from chimps than once thought: A HERV-K provirus in chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas, but not
    humans
    . A lot of the specifics are and will remain provisional for some time to come.

    Here's another one:

    The phylogenetic tree predicts common ancestry between humans and chimps. So why do chimps have 24 pairs of chromosomes while humans have only 23?

    Prediction: At some point in the past, two chromosomes fused together in humans. We should be able to find this chromosome.

    In anticipation of your criticism, this is not necessarily direct proof of common ancestry. It's simply a prediction made by the theory of common descent.Confirmation: They found the predicted fused chromosome. Chromosomes are capped by telomeres, and have a centromere in the middle. In humans, chromosome #2 is capped by telomeres, then contains two side by side telomeres in the middle, and also two centromeres further out: Origin of human chromosome 2: an ancestral telomere-telomere fusion

    ReplyDelete
  53. Yes. I was aware of the 23 chromosome issue. And yes, You are right about what I would have concluded.

    Look, there is no doubt that we are related - somehow - to other living creatures. As even Dawkins admits, we appear to share the same design. We are mammals in a world that contains other mammals. And living things share a perishable animation and functionality that leaves with death. etc and so forth. These things are obvious empirically, but common descent is not obvious empirically.

    That of course is not the issue, from my perspective. But you know all about that.

    BTW, the fact that viruses exist at all seems, on the surface, to suggest that they did not come from an origin common to other supposed "first replicators". Their structure suggests that they did not occur a little at a time, but required several components all at once. I have not rigorously thought that through... and I probably won't. No evolutionist would accept it anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  54. My point is that the theory of common descent continually provides useful predictions of what we should find when we observe nature.

    Like I said, this is only the tip of the iceberg. It goes on and on:

    - Primates and humans, as well as guinea pigs, cannot create their own vitamin C and must get it through dietary means. The gene for it is still there, but deactivated through mutation. The mutation that deactivates it is the same mutation in all primates as well as humans, but a different mutation deactivates it in guinea pigs.

    - Cat families that have a predicted common ancestor share ERVs, while those that do not are missing these ERVs.

    - The predicted ancestor of whales was a land-locked wolf-like animal. Whales to this day carry useless vestigial limbs inside their bodies, not even attached to any bone but only embedded in the flesh. Museums have to suspend these bones with separate wires.

    - There are no terrestrial vertebrates 390 mya, but then they show up 360 mya, so there should be a form in between these two, at about 375 mya. Searching fossilized sediments of the correct age, paleontologists found it in 2004. More developed limbs than fins, less developed than legs, it's the transitional form between fish and land vertebrates.

    There are thousands upon thousands of such predictions.

    This is empirical (knowledge gained through observation and experimentation) evidence of common descent.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Before you blitz me with any more of this, kindly check to see if it is a new feature evolving or if it is a case of devolving, meaning a mutation with a loss of functionality.

    1. vitamin C: a loss of functionality.
    2. two cat families, proving …what? ERVs have been declared volatile, so lacking them is not a problem, right? My Granddad might have ERVs that my grandson would not, etc…
    3. Whales, losing use of members.
    4. Tiktaalik, the walking fish to which you appear to be referring is now considered to be a dead-end hybrid, unable to either walk or swim efficiently due to its deleterious mutated condition.

    This could go on forever, and it will not be convicting to either of us, so kindly stop with this until you find an empirical observation of the process... Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Martin,
    For your reading pleasure:

    http://www.ridgecrest.ca.us/~do_while/sage/v13i8f.htm

    ReplyDelete
  57. I'll read your link in a minute, but first some clarification. I'm talking only about common descent here. I'm not attempting to prove evolution building new features.

    1. The point is that the mutation that deactivates the gene is the same in all primates and humans, but the mutation that deactivates it in guinea pigs is different. Common descent predicts this.

    2. Just like in humans and chimps, cats that have a fairly recent predicted common ancestor have homologous ERVs, but cats that are not predicted to have a common ancestor do not have any.

    3. Common descent predicts a legged ancestor of whales, and thus should have vestigial legs. Which they have.

    4. The point is that tiktaalic was predicted. Paleontologists knew what location to look, and at what age of rocks.

    I'm making the case that common descent is a real scientific theory that can be used to make predictions.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Again, these do not prove common descent. There are alternate possibilities that are more sensible. I gave them to you, but you reject them because you are determined to prove that your belief in common descent is valid. And BTW it should be called common ascent in order to differentiate it from negative mutations that eliminate features as being progress toward a new creature or new feature. Loss of features due to cross breeding or whatever cannot produce new creatures that have features not found previously - and that is the crux of evolution.

    Predicting a hybrid existing between two species looks like predicting a precursor, but it is not.

    I really don't care to go over the same stuff forever here.

    You are continually not using critical thinking to analyze the "facts" surrounding these situations. Tiktaalik was crowned and then dethroned by paleontologists; it is not a good example to use in an argument.

    One more challenge, and I've brought this up before: how do you explain the massive improbability of either a long series of lucky mutations, or conversely, the need for a lucky first life to contain all the features of all plants and animals to come, just waiting to be selected? (Don't bother with the "deep time" magical argument, the probabilities are too near zero to refute).

    ReplyDelete
  59. "Again, these do not prove common descent."

    And again, I'm not trying to prove common descent. I'm trying to show how a good scientific theory can make predictions. Fused chromosome evidence of common descent? Nope. Predicted by common descent? Yep.

    "There are alternate possibilities that are more sensible. I gave them to you, but you reject them because you are determined to prove that your belief in common descent is valid."

    All you've mentioned is panspermia, which may be a possible origin of life but does not explain identical genes carried in the same place on the genome by related animals but not by ones that are not related. It does not explain the fossil record's picture of simpler life forms becoming larger and more complex as the strata gets younger. It does not explain cave crayfish with eyestalks absent eyes at the top. It does not explain deactivated vitamin C genes. It does not explain vestigial legs in whales. It does not explain asexual dandelions still producing pollen. It does not explain the existence of the deactivated gene for tails in humans. It does not explain the dominance of marsupials in Australia and the dominance of placentals everywhere else. It does not explain similar anatomical features used differently in two different animals. It does not explain the nested hierarchy of life.

    Evolution, however, explains it all beautifully, AND predicts new data we should find, which we do CONSTANTLY.

    "Loss of features due to cross breeding or whatever cannot produce new creatures that have features not found previously..."

    In a 1982 study (unfortunately, can't find the paper online), scientists removed the lactose gene completely from bacteria. So the bacteria had no pre-existing ability to process it. No gene for it at all. After a few generations, the bacteria had co-opted an existing gene and transformed it into a lactose processing gene. Create new gene from scratch? No. Co-opt an existing one for a different purpose? Yes. Seeing as the amoeba has 300 billion base pairs in its genome to our 3 billion, there's plenty of material to co-opt for other purposes.

    "Predicting a hybrid existing between two species looks like predicting a precursor, but it is not."

    I'm not sure of your point here. Common descent gave paleontologists the following information: the age of strata to look in, the location, and they type of sediment. Successful prediction, useful theory.

    "Tiktaalik was crowned and then dethroned by paleontologists."

    I see no evidence of this: University of Chicago Department of Paleontology, a Nature article about it, and another Nature article about it. The point is not that it's something miraculous, but that it's a useful piece of the puzzle that was predicted to be there by common descent.

    "One more challenge, and I've brought this up before: how do you explain the massive improbability of either a long series of lucky mutations, or conversely, the need for a lucky first life to contain all the features of all plants and animals to come, just waiting to be selected?"

    You've heard of emergent properties? 'Emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions.'

    Bad genes are discarded, good ones are kept.

    ReplyDelete
  60. (The following is a disjoint set of statements answering some of your points, above - it might be incomprehensible unless you can relate statement to prior context)

    Really now, you actually are trying to prove common descent by using the predictive power as proof.

    The alternatives I gave you were alternative explanations for each of the devolutions you were giving as proof of predictive power. In spite of available alternative solutions, common descent is selected as the answer.

    I said:
    "Predicting a hybrid existing between two species looks like predicting a precursor, but it is not."You said,
    "I'm not sure of your point here. Common descent gave paleontologists the following information: the age of strata to look in, the location, and they type of sediment. Successful prediction, useful theory."I'm saying the same result would also have been derived from a hypothesis that a hybrid had been generated between two species.

    Last fall another fishy-thang was found and its scientist-promoter declared his to be more realistically a missing link, and Tiktaalik to be a hybrid... others said they both were hybrids, blah,blah. And still others said that the Tiktaalik could neither walk well nor swim well and was a dead end hybrid. I can't archive every missing link/hybrid that comes along (maybe I should) just in case an argument arises, but I'll look for it.

    Emergent properties: that is (imo) magical thinking invoked in order to provide a path that has not been observed.

    The recreation of a mutated - lost gene might well be a standard epigenetic function of the gene-switching and controller non-genetic DNA. There are repair mechanisms in the DNA just as there are repair mechanisms in the body. They are just now being uncovered; there is no reason to jump to any conclusion - it would be prudent to wait for all the data.

    And this non-genetic Controller epigenetic DNA is now thought to be the same as ERV/viral DNA, at least in some cases. So which came first, the virus or the controller DNA? And why would viral DNA be the same as epigenetic gene-controller DNA?

    And btw, your argument that amoebas have 300 billion base pairs is not convicting, since bacteria have less than 1 million base pairs. Bacteria are supposedly the precursors. I suspect that amoebas might be in the chain or out, depending on whose tree you're looking at and what day it is.

    finally, you said,
    "Bad genes are discarded, good ones are kept.But that's not what evolution is all about. It is about "bad" mutations (mutation=change of any type) being rejected, and "good" mutations being kept, accumulated and forming into numerous new features. But this is not what is seen, because a good mutation doesn't - of itself - produce new features; it takes an accumulation of good mutations to do that, and the likelihood of that happening is roughly zero. Mutations, even benign (potentially good) ones, are known to be quickly lost in a general population.

    ReplyDelete
  61. OK. The competing fish-thang is Panderichthys. read some of the controversy here:

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/09/080924-fish-fingers.html

    The article is merely introductory but does mention some of the controversy. Search around for other parts of the issue. The Panderichthys promoters claim that Tiktaalik was a step backward and not even a good specimine.

    For a picture of several of the fishy-thangs, go here:

    http://www.palaeos.com/Vertebrates/Units/140Sarcopterygii/140.900.html#Panderichthys

    Also at that site, this great comment:
    "Mind you, this will not confine our usual rash speculations in the slightest. However, it ought to. And so, having both acknowledged and renounced our moral obligations in the matter, we will move on to the details." [emphasis in original]

    ReplyDelete
  62. One more:

    http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55022/

    Bosivert disses Tiktaalik:

    "Previous data from another ancient fish called Tiktaalik showed distal radials as well -- although the quality of that specimen was poor. And the orientation of the radials did not seem to match the way modern fingers and toes radiate from a joint, parallel to each other.

    "The disposition of distal radials in Panderichthys are much more tetrapod-like than in Tiktaalik," Boisvert wrote. "Combined with fossil evidence from Tiktaalik and genetic evidence from sharks, paddlefish and the Australian lungfish, it is now completely proven that fingers have evolved from distal radials already present in fish that gave rise to the tetrapod."


    Oh yes, then. If she says so. She is the expert. {sarcasm off}

    Fish have fin manipulator homologues to fingers; there is no reason to connect that to common ascent. Watch a fish in an aquarium as it gracefully manipulates its pectoral fins. There are radial manipulators that are individually activated.

    Over and out.

    ReplyDelete
  63. About Fishy Thangs

    Sheesh.

    This is getting way too detailed and outside my realm of ANY knowledgeable ability. And your's too, even though I know you won't admit to that, Mr-Layman-Who-Thinks-He's-As-Good-As-Any-Expert-But-Remains-Blissfully-Unaware-Of-The-Extent-Of-His-Own-Ignorance. :0

    In contrast, I am the GREATEST King of Humility EVER. :0

    Most of the criticisms of Tiktaalik are not disputing common descent, only details and it's place in the family tree, dead-end or not. The family tree is still there, though, as well as the theory that will predict when and where we will find stuff.

    Look, it boils down to this:

    Darwin's original hypothesis was well-grounded without even being AWARE of such things as DNA and genes. All that's required for evolution to work is inheritable traits (check), variation in those traits (check), and environmental and ecological pressures (check and mate).

    If a creator is involved somehow, he either created everything to LOOK like it was descended from a common ancestor, he created everything using common descent as his tool, or he used a guiding hand to "help" common descent along.

    About Darwin and Racism

    Back to racism and Darwin. Racism, "New Man,", Eugenics, etc did not have natural selection as their ROOT. They used Darwin for legitimization, and Darwinian generalities. But evolution through natural selection is NOT about creating the perfect "New Man," or about being the strongest and best.

    It's about adapting to your environment to most efficiently pass on your genes. If this means big and strong, so be it. If it means small and fast, so be it. Killing your neighbors at whim would quickly lead to them killing you, in self defense, and the "I like to kill people at my leisure" gene would be quickly expunged from the gene pool because the person carrying it would not survive long enough to reproduce.

    Likewise, cooperation genes would quickly become dominant, because cooperation means better environment to raise kids, more of your kids survive, those genes get passed on more, etc.

    Look at it this way. Evolution = free market capitalism. Eugenics & racism = socialism. The one is free competition leading to improvement, and the other is forced improvement (defined by the improver) from outside. Regardless of what 19th century philosophers say, Eugenics and racism are completely antithetical to Darwinism, in the same way communism is completely antithetical to capitalism.

    About Absolute Truth

    You said earlier that if there is an Absolute Truth that it would not be totalitarian to believe it and live by it. I think the idea of an Absolute Truth is abhorrent. Absolute Truth is exactly what leads to authoritarianism. Lenin, Stalin, et al were all about the Absolute Truth of communism. Hitler was all about the Absolute Truth of anti-semitism. The 9/11 hijackers were all about the Absolute Truth of Islamic martyrdom.

    If any one of these assholes had been at least a bit skeptical of their ideology, many of those events would not have occurred.

    Belief in and life according to an Absolute Truth is dangerous because we humans are imperfect, and we will always have an imperfect perception of the world. What we are 100% Absolutely Certain is Absolute Truth today, we might turn around tomorrow and go OOPS!

    I think you religious folk project your own viewpoint onto us atheists. You are 100% certain there is a God, we disagree, so therefore you think we must be 100% there is NOT a God. But I (and many atheists of similar mind to me) are NOT 100%. We're just skeptical. Skeptical, skeptical, skeptical.

    Lenin, Stalin, et al were atheists, and I presume your position is that they replaced God (of Abraham) with their own man-centric ideology. This is true. But it's the lack of skepticism IN GENERAL that leads to great evil. It's the worship of ANYTHING as ABSOLUTE that leads to atrocities. Worship, bad. Skepticism, good.

    Certainty is what leads to great evil, not evolution.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Martin, you are quite angry and absolutist in your attitude today.
    You start by deriding my ability to decide the logical truth value of things in which experts decide the extrapolatory truth of their work. You finish with this very certain statement:

    "Certainty is what leads to great evil, not evolution."

    This is your absolute belief.

    Your attempts to paint me as an absolutist are incorrect. But, I have much to do today, so I will respond to you point-by-point later, possibly tonight.

    A thought:
    Is it absolutely true that there are no absolutes? How would you prove that to be true? Or is it an intuition? But should we not be skeptical of our intuitions?

    Skepticism is, indeed good. You are not skeptical of Evolution, or of the twisted histories developed by the marxist Leftist U.S. professors to cover up for Stalin... the real histories come from the Russians themselves.

    I am more skeptical than the Professional Materialist Skeptics, who have lists of acceptable and non-acceptable phenomena and whose proof is negative, not positive as in empirical.

    The "Skeptics" are in fact extrememly dogmatic. (I did agree with one once).

    It depends on what you decide to be skeptical about. I think we could profitably discuss this.

    But take some time, let's get calm and try to apply rational techniques to all this - and get back to it in a bit. OK?

    ReplyDelete
  65. Make your point-by-point, but first, I am not angry in the slightest. I always add tongue-in-cheekness to my postings. If you are reading anger into my inflectionless text, I am not the source of it.

    And second, my statement about "certainty" is not absolute. It's just easier to say "certainty leads to evil" than "certainty, in my estimation although I could be wrong but I don't think I am, leads to evil."

    ReplyDelete
  66. OK, I have some time now. First let me establish again that I appreciate your continuing participation in this conversation. I can’t bring myself to use smiley faces to punctuate my statements with an emotion mender, so I have to be careful about how I state things in order not to be misunderstood… and I am sure that I go wrong there from time to time.

    I’m going to separate this into two messages, one about evolution and one about skepticism which is a different topic, and close to my heart.

    Let’s start with Darwin’s hypothesis. Darwin based his entire idea on his viewpoint that things like pigeons (one of his favorites) can be manipulated through breeding to isolate certain distinct types of pigeons. To him this meant selection could do any amount of change. All you would need is a changing environment.

    With the advent of genetics and DNA etc it became obvious that more than just that is required; in order to develop new features, a change is required within the genes or least in the gene manipulators or switches. This is called mutation.

    You said,
    “Darwin's original hypothesis was well-grounded without even being AWARE of such things as DNA and genes. All that's required for evolution to work is inheritable traits (check), variation in those traits (check), and environmental and ecological pressures (check and mate).”


    This is, in fact, the view of the simplicity of evolution; it totally ignores the probability (or improbability, rather) of the development of ever more complex features through accidents of nature: mutations, which are not likely if one takes the issue separately from the dogma.

    Now as for racism, racism was built into Darwin’s ”On the Origin of the Species By Means of Natural Selection, Or The Preservation Of Favored Races In The Struggle For Life”; I have given you quotes from Darwin indicating that he did, indeed mean human races. Racism was a given. And Darwin was clearly thinking about the political and war environment as the cause for the demise of certain races and the advance of others. The only thing Darwin hadn’t thought of was the idea of engineering the race for advancing. A tiny intellectual step.

    Eugenics came directly out of Darwin’s evolution hypothesis, invented almost immediately after the publication of “Origin….Races”, by Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton. Eugenics is not only not antithetical, it is a direct product of Darwin’s popularization of evolution. Galton’s eugenics was called “positive”; soon the “negative” eugenics became the more prominent.

    http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/Spring02/Holland/Galton.htm.

    Now let’s address behavioral genetics.
    The idea that cooperation is genetically controlled is without any basis, empirically. Empirically, anyone who has had a two year old child knows that the impulse is not toward cooperation, it is toward selfish domination. Cooperation is a product of parental guidance, education, and nurture, not genes. The current popularity of attributing all human actions to genes is without any basis, empirical or rational. Even the simple attribution of criminality to genetics has been discredited. The current PC trend is to discount any behavior or IQ genetic differences between races and sexes. In any account, there is no empirical science to back up cultural behaviors as products of genetics; these are hypothetical in the extreme.

    The skeptic would accept this? I think not.

    The rest will be in a separate comment.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Absolute Truth.
    The mere idea of absolute truth is abhorrent to you? Or is it the misuse of dogma? There is a vast gaping difference.

    Your abhorrence is a deep emotional visceral hatred of actions of men, which you consider immoral. Men have done despicable things that they call moral. From this you seem to deduce that (a) there are no morals, (b) to say that there are, is immoral.

    It is self-contradictory to take an absolute moral stance that there is no absolute truth.

    You possibly have the idea that morals are genetic behaviors developed in order to succeed in the local environment. If that is so, then any behavior that succeeds, or leads to the success of the whole, is as moral as any other behavior; in fact, it is more moral to try to succeed than to sit back and let others dominate. So a culture that feels threatened (Muslim) is actually moral to fight to dominate, rather than to be engulfed, absorbed and lost. It is very, very Darwinian. And it is also relativist.

    Skepticism.
    ”…you religious folk…”: A placement of every non-Materialist into a category for you to define at will. This is the exact equivalent of racism, imho.

    ”We're just skeptical. Skeptical, skeptical, skeptical.”
    No, actually you are not; you are conditionally skeptical. There are two categories you seem to use in your skeptical/credulous self-image.

    First there is skepticism of what you think is religious behavior. This is not skepticism, it is outright disbelief in that behavior. That’s fine, I actually agree.

    Next there is credulousness of certain cherished beliefs, which you insist that I also accept based on the word of experts (while not in any way questioning the validity of what they do or their motives for doing it).

    Then there is skepticism of absolutes, which you claim in very certain, absolutist terms:

    ”Certainty is what leads to great evil, not evolution.”

    As I have demonstrated elsewhere, it is self-refuting, a paradox, to claim that there are “absolutely no absolutes”, or “certainly no certainty”, or any other permutation.

    And it is also self-refuting to claim skepticism while denying that I may be skeptical of certain things in which you believe and hold cherished. You have spent much time trying to convince me that evolution is, in fact, certain, and that I should not question it. In other words, that I should suspend skepticism and accept that evolution is a certainty, without empirical (i.e. material) conclusive evidence of the process. That is anti-skeptical.

    (continued below due to lack of space).

    ReplyDelete
  68. (continued from previous comment)
    So your skepticism is conditional, depending upon the subject. You are not skeptical of the conclusions of certain inferred science; you are skeptical of historical documentation showing the use of evolution in eugenics, and the resulting use of eugenics for evil. You are not skeptical of Anthropogenic Global Warming; you are skeptical of absolutes.

    So what has happened is that you have, for whatever reason, separated moral certainty (bad) from scientistic certainty (good). Yet scientistic certainty leads to moral certainties of its own devising:

    1. Materialism is True. Science proves it.
    2. Morals are relative.
    3. One must defer to authorities (a moral statement).
    4. One must not have absolute, certain moral values (a moral statement).
    5. Evolution must screen all moral statements (a moral statement).

    These are all based on the idea that science produces truth: scientism.

    So you choose what to be skeptical of, and what not to be skeptical of, based on your value system and its needs for support. That is “rationalization”, the choosing (or manufacturing or denying) evidence to fit the presupposed conclusion: a logical and rational fallacy.

    Rational thought must accept the conclusion (whatever it might be), based solely on valid, proven evidence.

    In order to do that, all preconceptions, beliefs and dogmas must be released and ignored. I once accepted evolution at its advertised value; I no longer do, and I find less reason to do so every day, based on valid, proven evidence of the process. Every conclusion MUST be justified by proof, conclusively, in order to be accepted into a belief system.

    And since I do accept rational thought, I must also accept that there cannot be an absolute declaring “no absolutes”.

    Here are some of the “certainties”, or absolutes that I hold, for you to consider:

    1. Science never produces absolutes (a logical tenet).

    2. It is wrong to torture babies (“wrong” being a moral absolute).

    3. Every conclusion MUST be justified by proof, conclusively, in order to be accepted into a belief system. (this is a logical tenet described as a moral tenet).

    4. A road-killed possum, 1” thick at its thickest, will not be resuscitated.

    Because I believe these tenets to be valid, you seem to want to call me a religious absolutist, a category that you claim to abhor.

    But I think that you do not, really.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Oops, I did not check for comments before making my above statements.
    So I didn't take your disclaimer into account.

    I don't think it changes much though.

    ReplyDelete
  70. You lead me to believe you have never actually read any Darwin.

    Let's do a little exercise here. Let me pretend to be a conservative Christian, opposed to evolution, who needs to show a connection between Darwin and racism:

    "At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world." - The Descent of Man

    "...what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world." - Life and Letters

    Wow. Darwin was certainly an advocate of racism and genocide, wasn't he? That theory of evolution sure is EVIL and RACIST!

    Now, let me pretend to be a liberal atheist that needs to support and defend Darwin:

    "...the races ought not to be ranked as species, but it shows that they graduate into each other, and that it is hardly possible to discover clear distinctive characters between them." - The Descent of Man

    "...consequently that all should be classed under the same species. The same argument may be applied with much force to the races of man." - The Descent of Man

    "...he defended and praised slavery, which I abominated..." - Life and Letters

    Darwin was clearly NOT a racist and the theory of evolution actually does away with racism.

    So which one is right? Instead of looking at any one particular quote, you need to look at Darwin's actual theory and what it said.

    Origin of Species - First of all, the term 'races' in Victorian times meant BOTH what we use it for today, but ALSO as a synonym for the term 'varieties.' For instance, Darwin speaks of "races of cabbage" in Origin of Species.

    He talks almost exclusively about plants and animals in this book, and thus uses the term in the latter context. "Favoured Races" meant "species more suited to their environment." Nowhere in Origin is there any mention of humans, or what could be construed as racism, or eugencis, or anything of that nature. It's EXCLUSIVELY about plants and animals, their geographic location, and how they change over time in response to their NATURAL environment.

    He observed artificial breeding such as with dogs, and construed that the same thing was happening in NATURE, wild. He also goes into whether complex structures could evolve purely through NATURALselection, and points to many existing intermediate structures as a possible in-progress build. Biogeography and geology as well as fossils are included.

    i.e., this book is a description of how NATURE works, and nothing more.

    Descent of Man - This book examines the evolution of humans as well as evidence concerning the typology of human races that was the majority opinion of the time.

    (Continued in next post)

    ReplyDelete
  71. Most people at the time felt that the dark-skinned people were different species of humans. Much of this was religiously motivated, such as theories that the dark-skinned and savage peoples had fallen away from God and were cursed with sin and primitive savage cultures, whereas white people had obeyed God and thus were blessed with civilization and dominance of the inferior savages. In other words, mankind tended towards regression, unless they were in line with God.

    The Descent of Man does away with all this, going against the grain of it's time, saying essentially that mankind had descended from a common ancestor, all humans were one species, and that superficial differences did not a race make. Darwin is very critical in this book of the idea of race. Darwin was saying that the savages represented mankind in his more primitive state, and that modern civilized Europeans had once been savages too. In other words, mankind tended toward progression.

    So even though you refer to Nietsche and Galton as "Darwinists," there isn't any support for the assertion that Darwin's theory is racist or leads to racism and much that it is not and does not. And eugenics, as conceived by Galton, meant changing the cultural zeitgeist into one of choosing better mates, not one of government coercion. Galton certainly thought certain races were superior, but was distinctly FOR convincing people to choose better mates and AGAINST force applied by governments.

    Darwin himself was even EXPLICIT, multiple times, in his praise of sympathy, even for the weaker humans: "...if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil," and "This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races," and "Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature," all from The Descent of Man.

    Hitler thought more along the lines of the religious racists of the 19th century: that all species were immutable, and that humans consisted of several distinct and incompatible races. He was influenced by Martin Luther's "On the Jews and their Lies." He was also influenced by H.S. Chamberlain, a biologist who EXPLICITLY rejected Darwinism and chance mutations. Chamberlain thought all races were fixed. While you can certainly find references to superficially Darwinian thought in Hitler's writings, like struggle for existence and so forth, his overall thinking was decidedly anti-common descent and pro-immutable species. From Mein Kampf: "The fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose, and the tiger will retain the character of a tiger." This is more creationist thinking than Darwinian.

    Darwinism suggested that all humans descended from a common ancestor, and that there are no such things as races and that therefore Jews and Germans were one and the same. Hitler despised such philosophies, and as a result you can even find Darwin on the Nazi's list of books to be burned:

    "6. Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism (Häckel)"Reference

    ReplyDelete
  72. I have read both Origins and Descent, although not recently. Your arguments have nothing to do with history, which clearly shows the link between "natural selection", "survival of the fittest" and eugenics. I have never said that Darwin was a eugenicist. Darwin is said to have held back publication because he knew where it would lead. I have said that eugenics was a progression, kicked off by the idea of natural selection and survival of the fittest, and culminating in selection by humans for the fittest - in their opinion. I don't hold Darwin responsible and never have. "Darwinism" was out of the hands of Darwin the moment he published Origins.

    To declare Hitler to be in the religionist camp is absurd; he imprisoned and killed religious leaders. He defined in strict terms the teachings that would be allowed in the remaining churches that he did not destroy. And he believed in racial progress (evolution) enough that he eliminated the defectives first, including those of the supposed Aryan descent to keep them out of the genes.

    And why is it that rabid Atheists dominated the eugenics movement as it progressed toward its natural culmination? Should I document that? Seems like a waste of my time, since you could read the historical sources I have given you before.

    And what does any of this do to provide the empirical validation that is requested by this column? This conversation has veered off course.

    Your personal interpretation of history, and those interpretations of Atheist Darwin fans is not convincing in light of actual historical legwork and documentation. The linked progression between natural selection, survival of the fittest and the holocaust is documented and is history. Blaming the holocaust on religion is not.

    Perhaps your argument is that Darwin would not have wanted that; perhaps that is true, but it is not the point. Darwinism is not the same as Darwin. Darwinism grew legs of its own and became the declaration of science over God and monism, the justification for Atheism and the enlightenment.

    ReplyDelete
  73. "And what does any of this do to provide the empirical validation that is requested by this column? This conversation has veered off course."

    I don't know why you're suddenly saying that; this conversation has been all over the map from day one, and you yourself even said we could discuss anything because you don't give out your email anymore. If you don't want off-track discussion, then I highly recommend opening a separate Gmail account (Gmail rules! You'll love it! And it's free and takes two seconds to register!) specifically for this purpose, and making the address available on your blog and/or website. It has good anti-spam measures, too.

    "To declare Hitler to be in the religionist camp is absurd..."

    Hitler was Hitler. He was his own thing. He made use of whatever was handy that supported his ideology. He spoke often in terms of survival of the fittest, but he also spoke of Divine Will. My point is that primarily he thought of the races to be separate and immutable, that common descent was antithetical to his ideology, and that much of his racism was due to 600 years of Christian anti-semitism before him.

    Many, many Christians argued against anti-semitism, including the official papal bull in 1120 which was intended to protect Jews, as well as Pope Pius at the outbreak of WWII who is credited with having saved close to a million Jews from the Holocaust.

    However, there is no denying that anti-semitism arose in the late Middle Ages within Christianity and you will find much of this sentiment in such revered figures as Aquinas, Chaucer, Luther, and several of the Popes througout history.

    Hitler's racism also arose in response to heavy nationalist feelings, and was not that far outside the major opinions of anthropology of the late 19th century, which I have already mentioned and which WERE heavily based on religion. Certain races being "fallen away from God" and thus cursed with savagry. This is not something I'm making up or just inferring due to my bias.

    It did not arise because he was an atheist who believed in evolution and therefore devalued human life. It's much MUCH more tenuous to draw a link from Darwin, to Galton, to Hitler than it is to draw a link from Martin Luther directly to Hitler, which is clear and obvious to anyone who will listen and whom Hitler himself references. Hitler mentions survival of the fittest but in such a vague way that it can only be associated with Darwin broadly.

    While ANYTHING Hitler says about his own beliefs is suspect, as it could just be lies to support his ideology, it's still interesting to see his words regarding God: "The most marvelous proof of the superiority of Man, which puts man ahead of the animals, is the fact that he understands that there must be a Creator." - From Hitler's Tabletalk.

    And here are his words regarding common descent: "But nowhere inside a kind shows such a development as the breadth of the jump, as Man must supposedly have made, if he has developed from an ape-like state to what he is today" - From Hitler's Tabletalk.

    (continued in next post)

    ReplyDelete
  74. (continued from last post)

    I'm not going over all this because I'm a materialist who desperately needs to redefine history to prop up an ideology.

    I'm going over all this because I'm a fan of science who is disgusted at having to watch the malicious Intelligent Design movement, a primarily anti-evolution movement which has little positive research of its own (which they themselves admit), redefine history to prop up THEIR ideology.

    First, they lost the science battle, then they lost in the courts, so now apparently their next tactic is to try to associate evolution with Hitler. I fully believe that when Hitler is inevitably dragged out of the closet, the arguer has as good as conceded defeat. Its even considered a formal fallacy in logic: reductio ad Hitlerum.

    One of the books you mentioned, From Darwin to Hitler by Weigart, has been roundly criticized by historians and political academics of both Left AND Right:

    "Weikart has responded to my criticisms by admitting that the title of his book is misleading, since he cannot show any direct link between Darwin's ideas and Hitler's Nazism." - Larry Arnhart, a CONSERVATIVE!

    "It is not that humans are claimed to be mere animals with no value, terrible though this would be. It is that some humans are super valuable – Ubermenschen – and others are subhuman, toxic pollutants...This has nothing intrinsically to do with Darwin." - Jeff Schloss, a CHRISTIAN!

    "And they thus have produced a mono-causal analysis which quite distorts the historical picture." - Robert J. Richards, a historian of Darwin and eugenics at the University of Chicago.

    "His definition of “Darwinism” is based not on the ideas of Darwin himself—which are never carefully analyzed—but on the reception of these ideas by a wide range of speakers." - Ann Taylor Allen, professor of German History at the University of Louisville.

    I have not read the book myself, but according to the reviews, Weikart never ONCE mentions Martin Luther!!! Luther's On the Jews and their Lies reads like a Nazi instruction booklet, right down to Kristallnacht and even the genocide itself, and Hitler refers to Luther many times over. My point is not that Christianity led to the Holocaust, but that it's absurd to write a book on Hitler's motivations that never once mentions a clear influence (Luther), while trying to build up a tenuous connection with an unlikely influence (Darwin).

    I'll leave you with a quote from a blogger you may be familiar with: "But don't make up fantasy histories - it is not good for your mental health."

    ReplyDelete
  75. I have a question. What do you hope to gain through this conversation?

    Do you hope to convert me back to Atheism? Do you hope to convince me that evolution is truth? Are you looking for foil for your theories? Or maybe to have your side presented on a non-Atheist forum?

    What meaning is there for you in continuing this? If there is sufficient meaning, then we will continue; if not, it is starting to get too repetitious.

    Let me know.
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  76. I wrote a reply to your comments above, and promptly lost it.

    I don't have time to re-do it now, it will be tomorrow before I can start over.

    ReplyDelete
  77. "Do you hope to convert me back to Atheism? Do you hope to convince me that evolution is truth? Are you looking for foil for your theories? Or maybe to have your side presented on a non-Atheist forum?"

    Absolutely not. I have zero interest in changing anyone's beliefs. My motivation is four-fold:

    1. I simply like to debate these subjects. They interest me. And if I go on atheist forums I find them boring because we all agree. Very un-stimulating.

    2. I love science, and there is a wing of the Right that is anti-science where it conflicts with their ideology. I feel like I'm doing my small part to defend science from errors. I find myself on other Christian boards, not arguing for atheism, but simply correcting errors in science where they occur. What if I started a blog about how Christians worship three giant hippos who demand that mankind eat the flesh of a 2000 year old zombie? Wouldn't you feel a drive to get on my blog and, if not convert me to Christianity, at least correct my misconceptions about what Christianity says?

    3. I like to have my assumptions challenged. If they are, and I can't find a way out, then perhaps I'll alter my views. I'm very open to change, if warranted. And I also hope you have your assumptions challenged.

    4. This.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Understanding Fallacy:
    All fallacies are Non Sequiturs: the conclusion does not follow from the premises. Either the premises are erroneous or the premises do not warrant or support the conclusion being drawn based on them.

    A reference to Hitler, of itself, is neither true nor false, until it is analyzed for the validity of its premises and the relation of the conclusion to the premises. The mere act of making a statement of any type is not a fallacy.

    The Hitler “fallacy” is an internet joke, not a real fallacy. But you probably knew that already.

    Godwin’s Law does not apply to conversations that intentionally address Hitler or Nazism; it addresses conversations that start independent of those but which degrade to those inexplicably. This is not applicable to this conversation, obviously.

    The criticisms you provide of the book you have not read are not criticisms of the validity of the research, or the validity of the references, and are not valid criticisms of the intent or scope of the work.

    First, the title of the book accurately describes the time period being investigated: the time: From Darwin To Hitler. Which also explains why neither Luther nor any other anachronistic influence was covered. If Weikart actually said that the title was misleading, he should not have; but I wonder if he really said that.

    Next, Schloss misrepresents the text; it is not Darwin the man, but Darwinism: Social Darwinism; the morphing hypothesis, that is being referenced.

    Next, it is not in anyway monocausal (see the quote below), it is monopath: it is exploring one path out of a multi-path history. There are abundant other reputable monopath historical works[1]. It is not causal in any sense, mono- or multi-.

    And (this is great):
    "His definition of “Darwinism” is based not on the ideas of Darwin himself—which are never carefully analyzed—but on the reception of these ideas by a wide range of speakers." - Ann Taylor Allen, professor of German History at the University of Louisville.

    This is absolutely the case! He based this research on following the cultural and intellectual morphing of “Darwinism” by the racial and eugenics crowd into the finality of negative eugenics. True! So?
    (continued next comment)

    ReplyDelete
  79. (continued from previous comment)
    Weikart makes clear in the introduction:

    ”Nor am I making the absurd claim that Darwinism of logical necessity leads (directly or indirectly) to Nazism. In philosophical terms, Darwinism was a necessary but not a sufficient, cause for Nazi ideology. But however logical or illogical the connections between Darwinism and Nazism, historically the connections are there and they cannot be wished away.

    Second , I need to stress that I am restricting my discussion about the impact of Darwinism to its influence on ethical and social thought, especially on ideas about what is currently called biomedical ethics. I will focus primarily on Darwinian influence on eugenics, euthanasia, racial theory, and militarism in Germany”


    He does not say “the impact of Darwin”, he says “the impact of Darwinism”. He is not referring to the man, he is referring to a hypothesis-philosophy that left Darwin’s control virtually immediately after the publication of “Origins” and became a morphing cultural icon in several cultures.

    There are plenty of positive reviews for this book also, from places like Cambridge and Yale, we could stack competing positive and negative reviews to see which is highest and decide validity that way, or we could look at actual cases, which is what Weikart did. Choosing to deny the validity of an unread book by selecting negative reviews IS a fallacy, especially when the selected reviews (a) don’t criticize the intended research, but only niggle about details outside the issue of credible research and source material, and (b) are purposely selected for their negativity in support of your argument (rationalization).

    By denying the validity of unread research based on rationalization, and making accusations on that basis, not to mention decisions on what is valid history, who is it that is creating his own history?

    [1]Notable example: tracing the contribution of the Krupp manufacturing empire to the Nazi war machine: The Arms of Krupp, William Manchester.

    ReplyDelete
  80. I also need to address this statement:
    You said:
    "I'm going over all this because I'm a fan of science who is disgusted at having to watch the malicious Intelligent Design movement, a primarily anti-evolution movement which has little positive research of its own (which they themselves admit), redefine history to prop up THEIR ideology."

    So you relate the historical attack on Social Darwinism and its long term effects to Intelligent Design??

    I doubt that you really meant that exactly as you stated it. If you really mean that, your hatred of ID'ers is defining your agenda for you, it would appear. (That would be scientism: evolution over history... both of which are forensic).

    ReplyDelete
  81. Re: Motivations.

    Alrighty then. And you are right, I did offer this column as a general discussion forum.

    ReplyDelete
  82. "By denying the validity of unread research based on rationalization, and making accusations on that basis, not to mention decisions on what is valid history, who is it that is creating his own history?"

    You are right. I can't really talk about Weikart until I've read his book.

    My criticisms come from elsewhere. The Intelligent Design MOVEMENT starts with a conclusion (evolution leads to materialism which leads to cultural decay), and there is plenty of documentation that supports the contention that they are fighting against evolution. They have a goal, an agenda.

    And thus, everything follows from this. They try to link Hitler to Darwin not because there is a natural link there, but because they need to weaken the case for evolution in the eyes of the public because they have no positive scientific evidence against it.

    Can't you see this? Can't you see that the ID movement is doing the very thing you warn against in your recent blog post on conclusions leading the evidence?

    ReplyDelete
  83. "This is absolutely the case! He based this research on following the cultural and intellectual morphing of 'Darwinism' by the racial and eugenics crowd into the finality of negative eugenics. True! So?"

    The defense here is the same as what Christians use against the Crusades and the Inquisition: people twisting Christianity/evolution for their own ends.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Welcome back, Hope you had agood week off....

    1. Neither Weikart nor I have said anything here about Intelligent Design; not a word. You've been around here long enough to know that I do not, in the least, support Intelligent Design as a scientific candidate.

    But this is not about Intelligent Design, or it wasn't until you changed the subject. Which do you want to discuss? I.D. and eugenics are not related, except by the association you've made in your mind.

    Your defense of evolution is still being made without the benefit of actual evidence (will you read Wiekart or not?)

    2. ..."people twisting..."

    It in no way twists Darwin's concepts to use the idea of natural selection as having created subspecies in the human race just as it did with pigeons, etc. Subspecies are not considered equal, just different in their capacities. It's a natural launching point.

    If all subspecies selection is expected to produce equal results, then how is evolution expected to occur? It is the entire point of evolution by selection: it produces subspecies that are different - better adapted or worse adapted. Same would be expected of human evolution.

    You seem to deny this obvious point for no reason other than to defend Darwin as an icon of some sort.

    ReplyDelete
  85. "Neither Weikart nor I have said anything here about Intelligent Design; not a word. You've been around here long enough to know that I do not, in the least, support Intelligent Design as a scientific candidate."

    Richard Weikart is a fellow at the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. The goal of this organization is to cast doubt on evolution in the public eye. My point is that anything this organization puts out has an expressed purpose of furthering this goal, and thus is starting with a conclusion and finding evidence to fit that conclusion.

    "I.D. and eugenics are not related, except by the association you've made in your mind."

    I do not associate ID and eugenics. I associate ID with propaganda designed to combat evolution. Since they do not have positive evidence for their position, they resort to tactics such as trying to link evolution with Hitler. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is part of this effort as well.

    "Your defense of evolution is still being made without the benefit of actual evidence (will you read Wiekart or not?)"

    I do need to read it, but I have much on my wish list right now. I presented a bunch of evidence that one can draw any connection one desires between Hitler and whatever you want. That "On the Jews and their Lies" by Martin Luther advises burning the houses of Jews and getting rid of them, so therefore I could easily draw a connection between Hitler and Prostestantism. That Nazi propaganda hated the idea of Darwinism and added his book to their burn list because it suggested that humans are one species.

    "It in no way twists Darwin's concepts to use the idea of natural selection as having created subspecies in the human race just as it did with pigeons, etc. Subspecies are not considered equal, just different in their capacities. It's a natural launching point."

    Darwin's theory, and especially the Descent of Man, are resolute that humans are one species and that races do not exist. It's quite well known that Darwin was a strict monogenist, in opposition to the prevailing polygenism of the time, much of which is at the root of racism. Darwinism is literally the polar opposite of racism. It's a twisting of Darwinism to find racism in it. Just as it's a twisting of Christianity to find justification for the Crusades in it.

    "It is the entire point of evolution by selection: it produces subspecies that are different - better adapted or worse adapted. Same would be expected of human evolution."

    Subspecies are not a necessity and not a given. One species gets separated, usually geologically, into two groups, which then go their own separate ways until they can no longer exchange genes. Humans do not have subspecies, as confirmed by genetic studies, and even Darwin said this himself in the 19th Century, long before genetics.

    "You seem to deny this obvious point for no reason other than to defend Darwin as an icon of some sort."

    I'm not defending him because I worship him as an icon. I'm defending him from unjustified attacks from an organization who starts with "evolution is bad, mmmkay?" and goes about finding evidence to fit that conclusion. It's not JUST materialists who do this, you know.

    ReplyDelete
  86. ..."and goes about finding evidence to fit that conclusion. It's not JUST materialists who do this, you know."

    So you are saying that all the evidence, including 43 pages of notes, 24 pages of bibliography are selected because they prove a point? Well, of course they are. It is the whole point of investigating an issue: find evidence for it. How would there be any evidence AGAINST it? Only a lack of evidence would be against it: no evidence for it vs. evidence for it. But he didn't find "no evidence"; he found evidence.

    But you are taking a moral stand against the evidence: I.D. is immoral to you, so all evidence referred to by an I.D. moral defective must be false.

    That explains why you ignored the other books on the same subject that I referred to you: Himmelfarb's, and Friedlander's. Are these two moral defectives also? If so, in what regard? And is all their reference material false? fabricated? Do you have proof of any of this? Or is your objection out of prejudice?

    How do you explain this statement by Darwin:

    "The more civilized so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world."


    "Lower races"? "Higher races"? It is not possible to deny what this means, with any intellectual honesty, imo.

    Your devotion to Darwin and your hatred of I.D. is not conducive to objectivity. I personally don't care a whit what Darwin thought; but I don't like the dishonesty of the claims for his superior moral chastity that the Materialist/Evolutionists have endowed him with, not to mention the denial of the meaning of "selection" and "fitness". It is the pursuit of falseness in attempting to support a false worldview.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Stan and Martin seem to be dominating this thread. That is pathetic. I think that they should hash out their differences and similarities in private dialogue and then present a synthesis of their conclusions.
    As for me, I don't think that a discussion of the details of biology are necessary. People miss the forest because of the details of the trees. Such it appears from the limited information that I've seen from Stan and Martin.
    Empirical is a key term. Induction is a key concept. We can see the fossil evidence. Evolution should state that New Species will emerge through mutations or else "random combinations of genes. Genetically modified food is one example. The fact that man has a hand in it says nothing more than that man, who is part of nature, is part of the cause of evolution. The other part of evolution states that then the environment will support or not support whatever has genetically changed. Given time, we can observe that the environment changed such that the dinosaurs were no longer supported so they died out.
    Evolution is a deduction based on the evidence we have of mutations of bacteria and of the changes in the fossil evidence in geological stratifications of earth. Carbon dating also.
    Spinoza claimed that what we call "god" is the universe. People also claim that he is a "personal god". Which is to say, he is like a man-person. That is only a statement, not a conclusion induced by nature. So we thank Spinoza for his concept. This idea was also depicted in an episode of Startrek.
    Evolutionist do not ask what came firt, the chicken or the egg. They ask what chicken and what egg and what were the predecessors of each: the parent of the egg and the offspring of the egg; and likewise of the chicken under inspection.
    The question of the chicken or the egg meaning the concept of the chicken or the concept of the egg is a meaninless question. So only the practical questions as indicated in the prior paragraph have any meaning.
    Teachers are rightfully not allowed to teach "creationism" because "gods" are figments of the imagination and part of "religion" which have never been verified and therefore are not real, let alone "science". If you want to share your opinion about a "god" then go to church, to private meetings, etc. but do not share it in a public school. It forces others of different faiths to listen, waste their time and forces parents of those kids to pay for the teaching of "religions concepts" that are contrary to the parents own "religion". No one can argue that the concepts of math, english,or other language, reading, history, etc. are against a single "religious belief system."
    We have freedom of religion as long as we do not force other people to accept it or force them to "think abou it" as would occur in a "religion is o.k. in public schools" law.
    Any questions, email me at home. Don't bore the listeners, readers with arguments.
    I myself, will answer emails in total but not waste time replying constantly to "thread" dialogues.
    Charles Labianco, clabianco@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  88. Charles, this is an open forum which encourages thread dialogs and participation by whoever is interested.

    You do not choose to participate; so be it. Under those conditions there is no point in responding to your observations.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Hi Stan,

    Skimmed over this conversation. I think you missed an important point of scientific methodology:

    Evolution is a scientific theory, and as such its job is to 1. explain observations and 2. make testable predictions. Evolution has achieved both of those objectives many times over (Martin gave many good examples). It is not required for theories to provide 'proof' of their veracity (as this can never be achieved), nor is it required to make certain kinds of predictions (you ask for predictions/observations that are "measurable in real time with ordinary instrumentation", which are not the kinds of predictions that evolutionary theory easily makes).

    The onus is not on evolution to provide sufficient affirmative proof. The onus is on any ALTERNATIVE theory to make testable predictions that would FALSIFY evolution - ie. produce evidence-to-the-contrary. Evolution is easily falsifiable - for example, by finding a complex organism in early geological strata that cannot be explained in terms of evolutionary descent. To date, no such evidence-to-the-contrary has been produced.

    The point is not that evolution has been shown to be "true". It is simply that it has been a highly successful theory which explains a very large number of observations and has made many verified predictions; and has not yet been falsified.

    Importantly, there is currently no competing scientific theory which explains all of the observations as well as evolution does. This is the ONLY reason why evolution is currently "orthodox" scientific opinion and therefore frequently stated as "fact".

    ReplyDelete
  90. I can reply to this comment of yours as well:

    "One more challenge, and I've brought this up before: how do you explain the massive improbability of either a long series of lucky mutations, or conversely, the need for a lucky first life to contain all the features of all plants and animals to come, just waiting to be selected? (Don't bother with the "deep time" magical argument, the probabilities are too near zero to refute)."

    You will have to explain in detail how you calculate these probabilities, if you claim they are irrefutably close to zero.

    I am extremely confident that any such calculation you propose will contain at least these two fatal problems:
    1. that there is no way to empirically or theoretically derive the value of many terms in the equation ie. they must be completely assumed; and
    2. that you must resort to invoking counterfactual scenarios in setting up the equation, and thus will utilize probability distributions of outcomes which are, again, completely assumed. Alternately and equivalently, that since you have only one world-history to provide for evidence, you effectively have a sample size of one - from which you can draw no statistical conclusions of any kind.

    In short: there are NO 'massive improbabilities' - in fact, the concept of "the probability that the universe turned out the way it did", while it may make interesting speculation, is scientifically meaningless. (At least, at the present time - science is provisional)

    To pursue this argument any further as an objection to evolution would, again, require you to explain in detail how to calculate these probabilities.

    (I believe this objection has been quite thoroughly refuted by Stephen J. Gould, and likely by others as well.)

    -

    Of course, evolutionary theory doesn't currently give a satisfying answer as to 'why' life on Earth turned out the way it did as opposed to some other way, no more than the Standard Model and QM gives a satisfying answer as to why certain physical constants such as the strength of the fundamental forces, the charges of elementary particles etc. have precisely the value that we find. Neither of these failings constitute evidence-to-the-contrary, however.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Actually evolution is an hypothesis and not a theory, if one considers the term “theory” to refer to an hypothesis that has successfully been “not falsified” using empirical, experimental, replicable methodologies to produce specific effects which are deduced from specific causes. Evolution is not capable of producing such results.

    Scientific hypotheses are validated by using inductive repetition of attempts to falsify. After a sufficient (subjectively derived) number of attempts, the hypothesis is called a law, with an accompanying theory of Cause and Effect. Using the law and cause and effect, one can deductively forecast future effects anticipated to be produced by the cause. These effects are differentiated from other effects that are not caused by the law. Without differentiating ability, the cause is seen to be omnipotent, since all effects including contradictory effects would come from the same cause. This self-refutes, and violates the first principle of Non-Contradiction.

    Surely one can see that when “any result” will verify an hypothesis, the hypothesis has no explanatory power.

    Evolution as an hypothesis has no corresponding deductive future predictive power. Any and every possibility is said to have come from evolution: there is no differentiating power. If everything is explained by one single cause, that cause is no explanan. (This is an Atheist position on a single creating deity: it has no explanatory power). And it has no prognosticatory power. There is no way to forecast any single effect occurring from the cause, because all effects come from the cause.

    This is not congruent with scientific theory.

    As for predicting history, that is simple too. In the case of defective gene inheritance, it is not possible to prove the cause of the defective gene, nor is it possible to prove that separate causes did or did not cause the defective genes separately, nor is it possible to prove that we are not closer to gorillas than chimps due to other defective genes. (I have discussed this somewhere on the blog).

    As I have requested, if you have data showing that an evolutionary outcome has been produced, replicably, as a result of a prediction made under evolution as a law, please direct me to it. Evolution cannot be falsified if it cannot be confirmed; see Popper, “Logic of Scientific Discovery”, first chapter. So your claim that it has not been falsified is correct, but inconsequential.

    The non-existing pre-Cambrian rabbit issue fails to show any validity for evolution because evolution hypothesizing would shift to accommodate such a find; it would not falsify evolution.

    I agree with this statement: there is no other Philosophical Materialist hypothesis that currently competes with the evolution hypothesis. This does not mean it is correct, or that it is scientific in any sense of the understanding of scientific methodology.

    You said,
    ” In short: there are NO 'massive improbabilities' - in fact, the concept of "the probability that the universe turned out the way it did", while it may make interesting speculation, is scientifically meaningless. (At least, at the present time - science is provisional).

    And I agree. I generally refer to the calculations made by Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, who came up with around 10^-200. Evolutionists took all sorts of umbrage at this. All calculations are of course useless, since the mechanism of first life and its progeny are still argued. With an unknown mechanism, no probability calculation is meaningful. But your statement, above, could also apply full on to the evolution hypothesis itself: “while it may make interesting speculation, is scientifically meaningless. (At least, at the present time - science is provisional).” My point exactly.

    ReplyDelete
  92. I hesitate to re-open the old thread, but sometimes I just can't help myself. So I figure, what the hell. I want to try something.

    1. If humans and chimpanzees have genetic fingerprints (such as ERVs, transposons, pseudogenes, etc) in the same place on their genomes, then they share a common ancestor

    2. Humans and chimpanzees have genetic fingerprints in the same place on their genomes

    3. Therefore, humans and chimpanzees share a common ancestor.

    The argument is modus ponens and is thus logically valid. If the premises are true then the conclusion follows logically and inescapably. Which premise do you dispute?

    ReplyDelete
  93. Martin,

    This is rather deja vu.

    Item 1 is an assumption, which might seem to be valid, yet is not validatable. There might be reasons yet undetermined for the commonality these things. It cannot be proven otherwise. The argument should work for gorillas, which have no tails just as do we, presumably having lost the genetics to produce one, but it seems not to work there.

    If there is even one of the list of commonalities that can be empirically proven to be caused exclusively one time only with certainty and without ability for contradiction, and that one specific time for that one time event to have been during a certain proposed ancestor's existence, then the probability goes up. But it cannot be certain in an absolute sense that it actually happened, because there is no observation of that occurrence that satisfies empirical standards for experimental validation and falsification. Empiricism cannot reach this particular issue; it is outside the terminus for valid empirical investigation.

    Remember that the criteria being demanded here are those criteria for knowledge and truth that are prescribed by the Philosophical Materialists, themselves: empirical validation of material effects of material causes.

    Modus Ponens based on an unverifiable (therefore metaphysical) premise does not satisfy those conditions. If it did, then many arguments for a deity would suffice - but of course they don't in the world of Materialists.

    ReplyDelete
  94. We're gonna make it to 100 comments!!

    Premise #1 is not about just commonalities, but about "fingerprints". A much, much lower probability of occurrence. There are many animals without a tail, many with two arms, two eyes, two legs, a round head, intelligent, etc and so these will line up But premise #1 is about genetic fingerprints. The same used for paternity tests to prove, if not quite mathematically, in court that someone is a father.

    F = two animals w/genetic fingerprints
    C = common descent

    Pr(F) is astronomically low. Pr(F/C) is very high.

    And in fact it can easily be falsified. If premise #2 is false, then this would falsify chimp/human common ancestry. Hence, it is science.

    ReplyDelete
  95. I need to add some rigor to this.

    First let's remember the God of the Gaps, and the reason for denying it.

    GOTG: Because I don't see an alternative cause, then God must be the cause.

    Now let's look at the Materialist inferential argument:

    MIA: Because I don't see an alternative, then common ancestry must be the cause.

    MIA is an inferential belief that is used to "prove" ancestry, in an environment where no empirical testing is possible.

    The falsification you point to actually is only a valid test under the inference of MIA. It is inferred, not proven, materially.

    So both the presupposition underlying #1, and the entire premise #2, are inferences.

    Multiplying inferences does not provide a proof that satisfies the Materialist requirements that are applied to the God of the Gaps argument. If anything, multiplied inferences are less satisfactory.

    However, all of evolution is structured this way, denying certain inferences while lauding others. There still is no material, empirical, testable/falsifiable, replicable data showing that mutations with selection form novel, useful features. This is an actual requirement, the requirement that eliminates untestable premises. The playing field must be level, or the game is rigged.

    ReplyDelete
  96. Martin

    Here is a better statement:

    a) Proposition Q is rejected because: It is inferential, it cannot be validated using empirical techniques, which cannot validate ancient occurrences.

    b) Proposition Z is accepted DESPITE: being inferential, and not validatable using empirical techniques, which cannot validate ancient occurrences.

    To argue that both a) and b) apply and lead to empirical validity is self-refuting and non-coherent. I argue that a) is valid for both Q and Z, as well as all empirical statements of acceptable premises. This eliminates God of the Gaps, Intelligent Design, and Evolution (until proven empirically).

    The difference between Q and Z is only one of personal, religious preference, not one of relative value, logically.

    ReplyDelete
  97. Premise #1, restated: If humans and chimpanzees have genetic fingerprints in the same place on their genomes, then they share a common ancestor.

    Support: Human and chimpanze genomes consist of 3 billion base pairs. Genetic fingerprints are unique, specific instances of viruses and parasites that insert themselves into the genome at random. These genetic fingerprints are unique species. In such a large genome, the chances of a single species of virus ending up in the same place on a 3 billion base-pair genome in two different animals is very low. Simplistically, the chances are 1 in 3 billion. The chances of multiple viruses, of different species, infecting two different animal genomes, in the same spot on a genome of this size is near impossible. On top of that, add matching transposons and the chances of this happening by chance in two different animal species becomes literally impossible, as a transposon is a virus that lacks a protein coat and thus cannot leave the animal's genome at all. With such astronomical odds against, and with the addition of transposons which canot leave the genome at all, the only way for these genetic markers to end up in two different animals in the same position on their genomes is if they share a genealogical relationship.

    Your objections: I am going to try to frame your objection in the form of a valid argument to see if it works. Please forgive me if I do not do it correctly. I'm only taking a guess.

    1. If ancient events cannot be empirically verified, then genetic fingerprints are not indicative of genealogy.
    2. Ancient events cannot be empirically verified
    3. Therefore, genetic fingerprints are not indicative of genealogy

    Your premise #1 is false. Genetic fingerprints are not ancient events and can be observed empirically in the present.

    ReplyDelete
  98. First of all, genetic markers are used to represent ancient events. That's the whole point.

    But let me state it in a different manner for better clarity:

    No statement of scientific import should be made without the following disclaimer: "These findings / assertions are based on current understandings of how certain physical processes work; they do not represent absolute or inviolable truths nor do they represent that the authors believe that there is no future discovery that could modify or invalidate them, or that increased resolution in technology for measurement could modify or inviolate them."

    You may choose to believe, as truth, whatever you wish. But science is a poor source for it. We've been here before... you are very persistent. But I don't think any science-du-jour that you present will persuade me to base my worldview upon it.

    And again, this blog is about worldviews, based on logic. Science cannot be used as a valid premise in a universal logic statement - ever - because it is contingent - always.

    ReplyDelete
  99. Official 100th comment! I win! :)

    I completely agree with everything you said. Science is not a source for a worldview, and I certainly don't use it as such nor do I expect you to. It's a tool for examining the physical world to the best of our knowledge, and is contingent. And it is always inherently inductive, even if I'm putting it into deductive form in my example.

    I'm only trying to give an example of the science of evolution and how the reasoning works.

    So premise #1 seems to be more plausibly true than plausibly false. It's impossible for genetic viruses such as transposons to leave a genome, and thus if two animals share the same species of transposons in the same place on their genomes then this indicates genealogical relationship.

    How about premise #2? Restated: Humans and chimpanzees have genetic fingerprints in the same place on their genomes.

    Support: This is a simple piece of data from the real world. As of this writing, we share at least seven HERV insertions with chimpanzees, seven shared Alu elements (transposons), and both have the exact same cytochrome-c protein sequence in the same place on their genomes.

    Thus, the conclusion follows logically and inescapably that humans and chimps share a genealogical relationship.

    Now, what you do with that information and how you form your world view is entirely independent of this conclusion.

    ReplyDelete
  100. If, as you say at the start, the data is contingent, then it is not, as you say at the finish, inescapable, especially since the conclusion is derived, not shown, in the data. It is rarely, if ever, objectively correct to assert that "it must have happened this way, because I can currently imagine no alternative theory", rather than to show objectively that it did in fact happen that way. Historical sciences are fraught with this error, because these sciences cannot objectively demonstrate the event in question. So the temptation is to impute incontrovertability into an area that is admittedly contingent, and even still under development.

    How does this data eliminate interbreeding as a source? How does it eliminate the possibility of sequential vulnerability for some unknown reason? How does the probability calculate if the total number of "accidentals" in the genome is very high (I don't know if this is the case, the data was not in your statement): say total accidentals are 10 million. Then the co-incident accidentals, 14 to 20 out of 10,000,000 would not be unexpected on a random basis. How does the data prove that the mechanism for acquiring the accidentals could not have been in parallel rather than in series? Even uncoated viral introjection has to happen somehow.

    I'm sure if I sit here long enough I could think up a lot more issues that cloud the inferred meaning of the data.

    But the data does not show, conclusively, as an observed, actual phenomenon-in-progress (even forgetting replicability and falsifiability), that we share a common ancestor. What the data shows is common locations for common accidentals; common ancestorship is not shown in the data, common ancestorship is a meaning which is derived inferentially from the data. So it is not inescapable.

    ReplyDelete
  101. By "inescapably" I'm only referring to the logical necessity of the structure of the argument. The contingency lies with the premises.

    Historical science is what it is, so that is always in the background. Unless you want to be a historical relativist and assert that because past events cannot be repeated that therefore the past does not exist at all. That is not a position that has withstood the test of scrutiny. C.B McCullagh provided the basic framework for judging historical data.

    Your objections to premise #1:

    Interbreeding: not possible with different species, as the very definition of species is animals that cannot interbreed

    Accidentals: both species have 3 billion base pairs. A typical ERV is 9000 base pairs. We share at least seven, although more up to date sources are saying that now 16 have been found. Excuse me if I get the math wrong (bad at math), but having one ERV of the same species in the same spot is 1 / (3*10^9) which is 1 chance in 3 billion. But there are 16 such occurences, all unique ERV species, in the same places on our genomes. So the chances are (3*10^9)^16, or 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000002

    Parallel vs series: As for ERVs, each one is a unique species of virus that interjects separately from the others. As for transposons, they are intragenomic viruses which have always existed in some form; the never entered the genome from the outside.

    ReplyDelete
  102. I suspect that a virus cannot just up and inhabit any base pair without seriously adversely affecting the host. So the use of the entire quantities of base pairs is likely not to be a valid multiplier. Also, when you have 16 probabilities, P1 … P16, they are multiplied, not raised to the 16th power.

    Average size of the human gene: 3,000 bp/gene;

    Assuming 3 bn base pairs, then available gene slots would be:
    3,000,000,000 / 3,000 = 1,000,000

    For 16 accidentals,
    1 /(1M * 16) = 1/(16 M)

    1/(16 M) =6.25 e-08

    =0.00000006.25

    While this is quite small, it is not accurately based on incorrigibly complete knowledge, in my opinion, including the incidence of non-aligning defects, as I mentioned earlier.

    For example, what is the origin of a virus that “always was there”? I thought a transposon was more akin to a point defect that occurred as a swap of some sort.

    Also, as the Grants showed, some hybrids can interbreed for short durations before they die out due to lesser robustness. So a hybrid with a mutation could theoretically pass the mutation along, according to evolutionary theory. So which is more likely? How could anyone actually know the truth of the origin of such ancient occurrences.

    In other words, despite the calculation of absurdly small probabilities, if the information is incomplete, then the probabilities are not meaningful. Perhaps the consensus is that the information is complete and there is nothing left to know. I would have to stand outside that consensus.

    As for the Wiki source, it appears that the conditions there could apply to any consensus theory regardless of how false it might be shown in the future. For example, Ptolemy’s epicycles would qualify, it appears to me.

    And under the last statement, would be declared "true". But they were not true.

    ReplyDelete
  103. Hmmm. I just read an older post of mine (May 28,'09) saying that there are 240,000,000 ERV's in the human genome (based on NIH data), meaning that 7 coincident ERVs might not be statistically meaningful. You had the number 30,000 ERV's. So even then, at 0.0002, it is not statistically significant that 7 corresponding locations are inhabited by corresponding accidentals.

    Surely more information can change all these calculations, and that is the point. None of this is unchallengable.

    ReplyDelete
  104. OK, so we agree that by itself a very low chance of matching ERV insertion does not mean anything without more information. Now bear with me...

    We share ERVs in common with chimps, but also with the other great apes, the old world monkeys, new world monkeys, and prosimians. And the particular species of shared ERVs are shared in the form of sets within sets. For example:

    * All primates, including humans, have a shared ERV1. Now remember the chances of a single ERV being in the same place on the genome of two different animal species is very low. I'll go with your highest probability of an accidental sharing at 0.0002 for the sake of argument.
    * Old world monkeys, new world monkeys, great apes, and humans all share ERV2 but prosimians do not.
    * Old world monkeys, great apes, and humans all share ERV3, but new world monkeys (and prosimians) don't have that one.
    * Great apes and humans all share ERV4 on their genomes, but old world monkeys (and new world monkeys and prosimians) are missing it.
    * Humans and chimps share ERV5, but gorillas (and old world, new world, prosimians, etc) are missing that one.

    In other words, the ERVs line up along the independently created primate family tree, which is based on morphology.

    But wait, there's more.

    ERVs have a piece of coding mirrored at both ends called a long terminal repeat (LTR). After time, copying errors begin to degrade the quality of these two identical end pieces, and so they begin to look very different from each other.

    * In ERV1, shared by all primates including humans, it's two LTRs are different by (for the sake of argument) 50%.
    * In ERV2, shared by all primates and humans except prosimians, it's two LTRs are different by 40%.
    * In ERV3, the one shared by old world monkeys, great apes, and humans, it's LTRs are different by 30%
    * Etc.

    But wait, there's more.

    Copying errors also accumulate in ERVs themselves.

    Zoom down to ERV1. ERV1, shared by all primates including humans, has copying errors A, B, C, D, and E.

    * Copying error A is shared by all primates including humans
    * Copying error B is shared by all primates and humans but not prosimians
    * Copying error C is shared by humans, great apes, and Old World monkeys but not New World monkeys
    * Copying error D is shared by humans and great apes but not monkeys
    * Copying error E is shared by humans and chimps but not the other great apes

    The same holds true for ERV2, 3, 4, and 5.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Martin,
    Let me refresh the purpose of this thread with respect to evidence for evolution. Here are the ground rules as stated in the original article:

    "First. I am calling for a single empirical study that reflects evolution via the creation of a new feature, not contained in the original genome, that is beneficial to the selection of the organism. This needs to be empirical in the sense that it is measurable in real time with ordinary instrumentation, it is coherent in its results, it is replicated, and it is falsifiable. Also, it needs to be in the public domain – I won’t pay to see it.

    This eliminates inferential and extrapolatory conjectures. It eliminates ideological rationalization. It eliminates axiomatic crashing."


    You keep piling on more and more inferential evidence onto the inferential mountain. I have pointed this out in the past, but you keep on doing it. I have told you why, but you still keep doing it. Sometimes I even let down my guard and engage in inferential word games. And that encourages you to keep on doing it.

    But I don't want to continue doing this. What I want is expressly defined above. Let's stick to that.

    I know I said we could discuss anything on this thread, but I am not so obtuse to think that common descent is not evolution. So for evolution / common descent, whatever you call it, let's get empirical and forget inferential. An observation of the actual evolution of a novel, beneficial feature: that's the topic for evolution etc.

    ReplyDelete
  106. OK then.

    Two thoughts.

    1) Common descent is a separate field from the mechanism of evolution itself. The source of genetic variation does not matter, as long as that variation is there. And note that the primate family consists of mostly modifications of existing features, and not production of new ones.

    2) What do you mean by "new feature?" A more specific definition is required here.

    ReplyDelete
  107. 1)Nonetheless, common descent presupposes evolution; how else would there be common descent?

    2)The feature set is fairly fixed around (among other things) symmetry; it would still be symmetrical to place an eye in the back of the head, and very useful if coordinated in the brain. All prey animals could certainly use this, and predators certainly could use eye-stalks to peer out of the grass and around obstacles.

    But evolution requires random creation of new features which are more useful in the environment than the old set of features. So I can't require an outcome or effect from evolution as a cause. Evolution does everything and nothing, as well.

    ReplyDelete
  108. "Nonetheless, common descent presupposes evolution; how else would there be common descent?"

    All it presupposes is variation. Are you a clone of your parents? No? Then common descent works, no matter the mechanic.

    But I don't quite understand your definition of "new feature." Can you provide a precise definition of what you expect to see?

    ReplyDelete
  109. But you are using micro-evolution to justify macro-evolution.

    It should be defined properly, even though evolution itself cannot be pinned down (which might be your point). A new feature would be a set of physical objects and/or apparatus which is a newly acquired part of the organism, which exhibit capabilities and functions which did not previously exist in the population genome, and which have emerged due to mutation within individuals within the population genome, and have spread into the population genome by selectve breeding favoring the objects/apparati rather than being selected against; beneficial means that the new physical apparatus / capability functions toward the increased survival of the carrier(s) of the mutation within the current environment.

    maybe we can embellish this more, but surely you get the idea.

    ReplyDelete
  110. "But you are using micro-evolution to justify macro-evolution."

    There is no difference between the two. Biologists only distinguish them as a matter of quantity, not quality. Micro is on the generational level, and macro is on the epoch level. There is absolutely no barrier that keeps animals "contained" within their species. Think of it on the genomic level; a genome acquires variation from it's parents, but it isn't aware of any sort of limit on that variation and suddenly "knows" when to stop variating.

    As for new features, try the nylon-eating bacteria. Remember, nylon did not exist before 1935, yet a bacterium developed the ability to consume it via a purely accidental frame-shift mutation.

    ReplyDelete
  111. "There is no difference between the two."

    That is logically false. Here's why: It is not possible to select something that is not there. There is no probability that a baboon will give birth to anything other than a baboon. It is not a linear selection of any possible feature between baboon genetics and infinity. This is a blatant and deliberate evolutionist misconstrual of mathematics. The offspring WILL have genetics within the boundaries of the population genome, UNLESS a mutation is involved.

    As for the nylon-eating bug, I scanned the arguments pro/con and came away confused by their argument: the bug didn't respond in a directed fashion, controlled by the environment or whatever. But the mutated bug allededly couldn't metabolize normal bug food, and presumably would have died off if born prior to the nylon contamination. So the bug had to have occurred during the contamination's existence, thereby negating the confidence in its not being directed.

    They even use the argument that antibiotic resistant bugs aren't created (directed) by the presence of antibiotics, but existed in the population prior to exposure.

    Also they presume that the nylon chewer didn't exist prior to nylon:

    "Key points to ponder:

    Nylon did not exist before 1935. It is man-made. There are no "nylon deposits" that the bacteria could have lived in prior to 1935. (See http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa980325.htm for the details.)

    Therefore, this organism could not have existed before 1935. [inferred, not proven]

    Where did it come from? Why, it evolved.

    Thwaites noted that "All of this demonstrates that Yockey (1977a and b), Hoyle and Wickramasinghe (1981), the creationists (Gish, 1976), and others who should know better are dead wrong about the near-zero probability of new enzyme formation."


    The pre-existence of the nylon eater is not from observation, it is presumed: an inference. The inference is contradicted here:

    "Sorry, AiG, but just because something is on a plasmid doesn't mean it's always been there! In fact, the plasmid involved in this case is very well known and characterized. Scientists have studied both the original (pre-mutation) plasmid and the novel (post-mutation) plasmid, in great detail. It turns out that the novel plasmid's mutated DNA for production of nylonase is almost identical to a non-coding repetitive DNA sequence on the original plasmid; the difference is the single nucleotide that triggered the Frame Shift. This mutation did not exist 60 years ago. If this gene was always there, whether in a plasmid or not, we can reasonably wonder why a bacteria would have a gene for hydrolysing an artificial polymer that did not exist until just a few decades ago [not proven; assumed]; and why, in the absence of such a substrate, was the gene not mutated to uselessness over the millenia?"

    It is not up to me to answer that question: it is up to them to prove that the mutant was not part of the prior population, and yet the mutation itself was not "directed" (in their terms) by the environment.

    Actually for them to be arguing against the "directed by the environment" status seems out of line logically, since environmental direction seems to be an "in" concept these days...!?

    Even so, they have not proven that it happened. But it seems as though they could, if they did the ground work properly.

    Too many unknowns and presuppostions. Can't accept it, sorry. But keep watching it, maybe it will produce something in the future.

    This entire episode is a forensic, inferential exercise, not an empirical experimental observation - although it could be, if they wanted to take the time and effort.

    ReplyDelete
  112. "There is no difference between the two."

    That is logically false. Here's why: It is not possible to select something that is not there. There is no probability that a baboon will give birth to anything other than a baboon. It is not a linear selection of any possible feature between baboon genetics and infinity. This is a blatant and deliberate evolutionist misconstrual of mathematics. The offspring WILL have genetics within the boundaries of the population genome, UNLESS a mutation is involved.

    As for the nylon-eating bug, I scanned the arguments pro/con and came away confused by their argument: the bug didn't respond in a directed fashion, controlled by the environment or whatever. But the mutated bug allededly couldn't metabolize normal bug food, and presumably would have died off if born prior to the nylon contamination. So the bug had to have occurred during the contamination's existence, thereby negating the confidence in its not being directed.

    They even use the argument that antibiotic resistant bugs aren't created (directed) by the presence of antibiotics, but existed in the population prior to exposure.

    Also they presume that the nylon chewer didn't exist prior to nylon:

    "Key points to ponder:

    Nylon did not exist before 1935. It is man-made. There are no "nylon deposits" that the bacteria could have lived in prior to 1935. (See http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa980325.htm for the details.)

    Therefore, this organism could not have existed before 1935. [inferred, not proven]

    Where did it come from? Why, it evolved.

    Thwaites noted that "All of this demonstrates that Yockey (1977a and b), Hoyle and Wickramasinghe (1981), the creationists (Gish, 1976), and others who should know better are dead wrong about the near-zero probability of new enzyme formation."


    The pre-existence of the nylon eater is not from observation, it is presumed: an inference. The inference is contradicted here:

    "Sorry, AiG, but just because something is on a plasmid doesn't mean it's always been there! In fact, the plasmid involved in this case is very well known and characterized. Scientists have studied both the original (pre-mutation) plasmid and the novel (post-mutation) plasmid, in great detail. It turns out that the novel plasmid's mutated DNA for production of nylonase is almost identical to a non-coding repetitive DNA sequence on the original plasmid; the difference is the single nucleotide that triggered the Frame Shift. This mutation did not exist 60 years ago. If this gene was always there, whether in a plasmid or not, we can reasonably wonder why a bacteria would have a gene for hydrolysing an artificial polymer that did not exist until just a few decades ago [not proven; assumed]; and why, in the absence of such a substrate, was the gene not mutated to uselessness over the millenia?"

    It is not up to me to answer that question: it is up to them to prove that the mutant was not part of the prior population, and yet the mutation itself was not "directed" (in their terms) by the environment.

    Actually for them to be arguing against the "directed by the environment" status seems out of line logically, since environmental direction seems to be an "in" concept these days...!?

    Even so, they have not proven that it happened. But it seems as though they could, if they did the ground work properly.

    Too many unknowns and presuppostions. Can't accept it, sorry. But keep watching it, maybe it will produce something in the future.

    This entire episode is a forensic, inferential exercise, not an empirical experimental observation - although it could be, if they wanted to take the time and effort.

    ReplyDelete
  113. "There is no difference between the two."

    That is logically false. Here's why: It is not possible to select something that is not there. There is no probability that a baboon will give birth to anything other than a baboon. It is not a linear selection of any possible feature between baboon genetics and infinity. This is a blatant and deliberate evolutionist misconstrual of mathematics. The offspring WILL have genetics within the boundaries of the population genome, UNLESS a mutation is involved.

    As for the nylon-eating bug, I scanned the arguments pro/con and came away confused by their argument: the bug didn't respond in a directed fashion, controlled by the environment or whatever. But the mutated bug allededly couldn't metabolize normal bug food, and presumably would have died off if born prior to the nylon contamination. So the bug had to have occurred during the contamination's existence, thereby negating the confidence in its not being directed.

    They even use the argument that antibiotic resistant bugs aren't created (directed) by the presence of antibiotics, but existed in the population prior to exposure.

    Also they presume that the nylon chewer didn't exist prior to nylon:

    "Key points to ponder:

    Nylon did not exist before 1935. It is man-made. There are no "nylon deposits" that the bacteria could have lived in prior to 1935. (See http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa980325.htm for the details.)

    Therefore, this organism could not have existed before 1935. [inferred, not proven]

    Where did it come from? Why, it evolved.

    Thwaites noted that "All of this demonstrates that Yockey (1977a and b), Hoyle and Wickramasinghe (1981), the creationists (Gish, 1976), and others who should know better are dead wrong about the near-zero probability of new enzyme formation."


    The pre-existence of the nylon eater is not from observation, it is presumed: an inference. The inference is contradicted here:

    "Sorry, AiG, but just because something is on a plasmid doesn't mean it's always been there! In fact, the plasmid involved in this case is very well known and characterized. Scientists have studied both the original (pre-mutation) plasmid and the novel (post-mutation) plasmid, in great detail. It turns out that the novel plasmid's mutated DNA for production of nylonase is almost identical to a non-coding repetitive DNA sequence on the original plasmid; the difference is the single nucleotide that triggered the Frame Shift. This mutation did not exist 60 years ago. If this gene was always there, whether in a plasmid or not, we can reasonably wonder why a bacteria would have a gene for hydrolysing an artificial polymer that did not exist until just a few decades ago [not proven; assumed]; and why, in the absence of such a substrate, was the gene not mutated to uselessness over the millenia?"

    It is not up to me to answer that question: it is up to them to prove that the mutant was not part of the prior population, and yet the mutation itself was not "directed" (in their terms) by the environment.

    Actually for them to be arguing against the "directed by the environment" status seems out of line logically, since environmental direction seems to be an "in" concept these days...!?

    Even so, they have not proven that it happened. But it seems as though they could, if they did the ground work properly.

    Too many unknowns and presuppostions. Can't accept it, sorry. But keep watching it, maybe it will produce something in the future.

    This entire episode is a forensic, inferential exercise, not an empirical experimental observation - although it could be, if they wanted to take the time and effort.

    ReplyDelete
  114. This is a frame-shift mutation. It's not like a gene that was always present was suddenly reactivated, but

    an entirely new gene was created by a copying error that shifted one of the two DNA strands by one base-

    pair. They provide the example use ASCII text: a shift in binary

    usually doesn't produce new legible words
    , however, <a href="http://www.nmsr.org/frmshftb.gif>sometimes

    it does</a>.

    Genes consist of three-digit codons that each code for an amino acid. A frame shift mutation shifts the

    coding sequence so that completely different amino acids are created. So for instance the code ACGTTC codes

    for threonine (ACG) and phenylalanine (TTC). But a frame-shift by one DNA base-pair would shift the letters down a notch, so now the sequence is CGTTCC, which codes for arginine (CGT) and serine (TCC).

    Most such shifts will kill the organisms, but a minor few provide an advantage.

    ReplyDelete
  115. It still needs to be shown that a) the organism did not exist at all in the prior environment; b) that it never was a separate type (species?); c) that it really cannot digest anything but nylon, as advertised.

    The idea that the frame shift toward pure nylon metabolism happened to occur in a pond containing nylon seems a bit science-fictionish (improbable), and skepticsm seems warranted, especially because, being non-experimental, this seems non-falsifiable. However, some of the assertions can be independently checked. I hope they will be.

    This does have the superficial earmarks of an instance of mutation / selection, albeit in an inferential, uncontrolled, non-experimental situation and without confirmation of which I am aware. I think if I made such claims, there would be demands that I back it up with experimental data. Replication is the check and balance against fraud and error.

    Still, it does give an aura of having satisfied the conditions, under the shadow of the caveats above.

    ReplyDelete
  116. To answer your caveats:

    Concerning whether it was a separate species that existed in the environment, the answer is no. The actual mutation itself is sequenced, both the before and after. The organism is identical otherwise.

    The reason why a shift happened that allowed nylon consumption is that these frame-shift mutations occur all the time, in generation after generation. Most of the time they either kill the organism or do no damage.

    But all it takes is one mutation that makes an enzyme that enables consumption of nylon, which then gives that bacterium a survival advantage. That frame-shift mutation then goes on to become dominant in the population.

    A perfect example of a copying error leading to a new feature which then gets expressed throughout the population.

    ReplyDelete
  117. Martin, Stan-
    Are you aware of the following data re: introns?

    www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091210111148.htm

    I believe this is relevant to the discussion earlier about the DNA evidence for common ancestor.

    ReplyDelete
  118. Martin said,
    ” Concerning whether it was a separate species that existed in the environment, the answer is no. The actual mutation itself is sequenced, both the before and after. The organism is identical otherwise.”

    The underlying inference is that the organism cannot survive without nylon, therefore it could not have pre-existed naturally. This does not prove that it did not exist previously, it proves only that any other successful sources of nourishment are unknown.

    This is reminiscent of observing that H2O disassociates into H+ and OH- , and declaring that acids and bases evolved from water molecules.

    And it still doesn’t satisfy the initial requirements.

    ReplyDelete
  119. Sonic, thanks for the link.

    This comment is interesting:

    "Remarkably, we have found many cases of parallel intron gains at essentially the same sites in independent genotypes," Lynch said. "This strongly argues against the common assumption that when two species share introns at the same site, it is always due to inheritance from a common ancestor."

    This is how science works, and is why I am skeptical of any designation of absolute fact to any finding. As this demonstrates, all findings (especially “common assumptions”) are contingent and subject to change.

    Here is an educated comment concerning the current utility of the human genome:

    According to Craig Venter, We Have Learned Nothing From The Genome

    Venter owns the private company that competed with the government effort to produce the human genome, and won. Now that the DNA is completely recorded, how has that enhanced our knowledge? Essentially it has not. According to Venter, his personal genome can’t even reveal his eye color.

    This is because the functioning of DNA in producing genetic information is not fully understood. It appears to more complex than a linear, one-to-one mapping of DNA region to genetic feature, with some DNA being re-usable for different uses, while other DNA is finding no use at all… yet. There appears to be more to genetics than mere DNA.

    ReplyDelete
  120. Stan-
    the fact is that what was called 'junk dna' is being found to be not junk.
    This undermines the 'dna evidence' for common ancestry, as the findings from the experiment I linked to does.
    It is also of interest that the application of the intelligent design hypothesis predicted these findings.

    ReplyDelete
  121. Sonic,
    "the application of the intelligent design hypothesis predicted these findings."

    Could you elaborate on this please?

    ReplyDelete
  122. sonic,

    Whether DNA is junk or not is irrelevant to it's being useful as genetic markers for common ancestry. Genetic fingerprints, useful or not as genes, are used to establish ancestry exactly the way DNA tests are used to determine parents in court cases.

    ReplyDelete
  123. Stan,

    The point is that a documented copying error became dominant in the population.

    ReplyDelete
  124. Hi, im a theist and do not believe in darwanian evolution.

    You have some impressive work in your site, but i had certain doubts in your view regarding mutations.

    I read in a book that Genome is not the genetic program . Eg: "the larval and adult stages of a butterfly are two living systems which have nothing in common but are different in every aspect, be it anatomical, physiological or functional. They are self-suffiient & self-sustaining in their own right, produced from a single genome."

    Doesnt this refute your second challenge ?

    Secondly, you seem to suggest beneficial mutation can never take place. As my book suggests, Why cant there be a genetic program or mechanism in-built to make beneficial mutations ?

    They are target oriented and result oriented. Not random mutation caused by external agency turning out to be beneficial, as such is always found harmful. Instead they are directed from within(like cell directed mutagenesis discovered by Miroslav Radman) and inorder to overcome a stress. If our genome has a correcting mechanism why cant it have a engineering mechanism?

    And this explains nylon bug. Nylon bug wouldnt be a darwanian evolution since there is no gradualism or long periods involved, nor was new species as such resulted, nor is it a random mutation turning out beneficial and instead was a mutation to overcome a particular stress.

    And this program or mechanism suggested can be falsified by checking if there is a reversal in the characteristics if the original environment is restored for a period of time. Darwin's evolution rules out reversible changes.

    Havent the scientists turned on this nylon bug function in a lab ? In other words, wasnt a nylon bug obtained without even subjecting it to nylon ?

    ReplyDelete
  125. Ahmed,

    This is a documented "typo" in a genome that became dominant in the population because it provided a survival advantage. When DNA is copied to an offspring, it should work like this:

    Parent:....ACTGGCATGCC
    Offspring:.ACTGGCATGCC

    But occasionally copying errors occur. One of these is a shift in all of the codons by one base pair:

    Parent:....ACTGGCATGCC
    Offspring:.GACTGGCATGCC

    Most of these are either lethal or do nothing. But they happen all the time, in every organism's offspring.

    If one of these errors should happen to provide a survival advantage, that "typo" will become expressed throughout the entire population.

    In the nylon example, all the bugs at the end of the study contained the "typo" in their genomes.

    ReplyDelete
  126. Ahmed,
    With reference to the butterfly emerging from a caterpillar, it seems clear to me that all of that information is contained, somehow, within the normal genetic information for the species. This is because all of the caterpillars do the same thing as a normal part of maturing. So two phases are contained in one set of information.

    The second challenge was to find a new, novel piece of genetic information, one which produces a new, different, beneficial feature.

    You said,
    "As my book suggests, Why cant there be a genetic program or mechanism in-built to make beneficial mutations ? "

    and,
    " If our genome has a correcting mechanism why cant it have a engineering mechanism? "

    A valid demonstration of an engineering property would be significant. Suggesting its existence is sufficient for an hypothesis, but then the empirical part of the science must be completed: the experimental findings, replication, etc. Do you have a study that indicates that the engineering feature exists?

    Martin's point is that the mutation is a common accident of copying; the accident is usually fatal to the organism; this time it occured in an environment where it could survive and even thrive.

    It does appear to satisfy the conditions that have been set out for evolution as being merely mutation/selection. I have not found any contradictions. What has not been done (at least within the information we have here) is to prove conclusively that the bug did not pre-exist, and to produce the effect experimentally.

    Another problem is falsification; I'm not sure that there is a positive condition for falsifying this claim. For example, "If it is found that [X] is true, then the claim is false". If this cannot be done, then the "proof" can't be claimed valid either.

    ReplyDelete
  127. Another website, scienceagainstevolution, takes the position that digestion is not a new function. I am skeptical. If I develop the ability to digest dirt, that would be an advantage to my food budget.

    ReplyDelete
  128. Slightly off topic, and this is only my opinion, but I contend that a purely naturalistic explanation of evolution, and even the origin of life if such be the case, only strengthens both the fine-tuning and moral arguments for the existence of God.

    If the universe's constants are fine tuned for life then why would God need to step in and tinker around with evolution? That implies that the universe is in fact not fine tuned for life since it requires his constant intervention to make it work.

    And if humans are just one more animal on the evolutionary tree, then morality should be relative. Yet, morality is clearly objective. This is encapsulated nicely in one version of the moral argument: 1) If God does not exist then objective moral values do not exist. 2) Objective moral values exist.

    ReplyDelete
  129. Interesting. How would you establish that 2) is a universal truth?

    ReplyDelete
  130. Another thought. Under evolutionary theory, humans are not a necessary outcome of mutation / selection. There are no necessary outcomes. How does objective morality square with that?

    ReplyDelete
  131. Re: objective morality.

    It is of course difficult to form an argument for it in much the same way it's difficult to form an argument that the external world is real. But appeal to intuition and reason strongly supports the existence of objective moral values. Most philosophers lean this way. Moral history has a sense of progress and not just change. Found a good essay here. Since this seems to be the case, then it seems to be in conflict with naturalism. Why on earth would morality be objective on that view?

    Re: Human centrism

    I don't think anthropocentrism has been a viable view for a long time now. One look at a Hubble photograph should disavow anyone of that notion. However, I think a sentient lifecentric view is possible and maybe even desirable.

    Granted, this moves into pure speculation, but one recurring theme in science fiction is aliens creating sentient life by seeding a planet and allowing natural selection to do its job. If this idea pops up so readily in human imagination, then it might speak to some fundamental property of the universe; that it's ideal for creating sentient life.

    ReplyDelete
  132. I finally read the essay you refer to above, by Michael Huemer. It is refreshing to see a philosophy professor actually base analytical propositions on First Principles. I will be buying his books when I get enough change. What he has done is to demonstrate the non-coherence of subjective / relative ethical positions. This is a good start, but it is another step to determine which moral principles are objectively justified, and another step again to determine the source of the morality attached to the objects in question.

    A very interesting pursuit. Thanks for the link.

    I would be interested in an expansion of your thought about "sentient life centric" view of the universe, as opposed to merely "life centric". It seems to me that if it is the former, then it is also the latter by default, the latter being the superset.

    ReplyDelete
  133. I've been doing some thinking on this, and here is one idea. If morality is objective, and thus exists separately from us, then it is analogous to the external world and how we sense that. We are slowly uncovering the physical world, painfully and fallibly. We once thought the earth was at the center of the solar system. We now know better. We are now investigating the fundamental properties of matter via the LHC.

    Slowly, the physical world is being uncovered.

    The moral world may be similar. We once thought pedaphilia was OK, now we know it to be wrong. Slavery was once OK. Subjugation of "savages" was once OK. Etc.

    Perhaps we are slowly discovering this moral world via our moral sense, whether theist or atheist.

    I have mentioned this before. That most theistic philosophers contend that God grounds moral ontology, not moral epistemology. I.e., atheists may deny its source but they have just as much access to it as any Christian; parasites, in other words.

    That may conflict with your philosophy, but it's just a thought.

    ReplyDelete
  134. martin said:
    "This is a documented "typo" in a genome that became dominant in the population because it provided a survival advantage."


    Is it really a "typo" as some prefer to assume ?

    "Scientists have also been able to induce another species of bacteria,
    Pseudomonas aeruginosa, to evolve the capability to break down the
    same nylon byproducts in a laboratory by forcing them to live in an
    environment with no other source of nutrients."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nylon-eating_bacteria

    In both cases, the Bug undergoes a stress and mutation is carried out to overcome that particular stress. Not a "typo" as I see it. More like a inbuilt mechanism. The mutation is not random, rather target oriented.

    This can be scientifically strenthened by looking into the observation of directed mutagenesis in E.coli by Cairns et al.

    ReplyDelete
  135. Ahmed,

    Yes. It's a typo. The copied DNA is shifted over by one base pair from where it is supposed to go, like this:

    Parent:....STARTABCDEFGSTOP
    Offspring:.SSTARTABCDEFGSTOP

    Copying errors that normally kill the organism or do nothing happen with every generation, but in this case the error actually provided an advantage, and thus became expressed throughout the whole population.

    ReplyDelete
  136. @Martin

    "typo", "error", etc are terms that have been coined to make this sound random.

    But is it random ? no i say. I pointed out the experiment in which the same function was obtained quickly (9 days ?) when another bug was made to undergo the same stress. The advantage was not a lucky lottery. It was intended/directed from within. It did exactly what it wanted. Its another example of cell directed mutagenesis.

    ReplyDelete
  137. Ahmed,

    No, it is a documented error. DNA copies exactly to the offspring, but in this case one gene was shifted over by one base pair. There are stop codons and start codons, and these mark the beginning and end points to the gene. These errors happen constantly, and usually they kill the organism. Normally this copying error would have killed the organism but it enabled it to (inefficiently) process nylon and gain a survival advantage. So the error survived in the offspring, and the offspring survived better than neigbors and passed the copying error to their children, etc until the whole population has the copying error.

    ReplyDelete
  138. As this comment string suggests, Martin clearly has a lot of blind faith invested in the Darwinian macroevolution scheme, and all the logic and evidence to the contrary are not likely to enlighten him otherwise. Martin, you are to be commended for your obstinacy. It seems unlikely that logic and evidence led you to atheism, so these will not likely lead you away from this faith.

    ReplyDelete
  139. That's like asking for the single vote which determined the election. It doesn't work that way!

    ReplyDelete
  140. Anonymous,

    I am not an atheist.

    ReplyDelete
  141. I am calling for a single empirical study that reflects evolution via the creation of a new feature
    That´s easy. We see this all the time with mosquitoes, bacteria, viruses and so on. Every time it get resistance for something, a new feature arises from mutation and natural selection.

    No evolution doubter is allowed to instruct or to publish.
    A guy trying to prove that the Earth is not round will not pass the peer review of any serious scientific publication. The same with evolution deniers. If the science you are producing is bullshit, you will not get published. Show real evidence that the Earth is flat and you will get famous and published. The same with evolution.

    That idea that people endorse evolution because they are atheists is silly. I can deny evolution if I want and still have no reason to believe in a deity. The proof for what I´m saying is the existence of atheism way before Darwin.


    But there is no irrefutable evidence for evolution: none.
    There´s no irrefutable evidence for anything. Maybe the earth is round, it´s all a illusion of our minds, a error of our instruments or a error of the reading of the instruments caused by the nature of our brains.

    The fact is, no one will dispute the idea that the Earth is not flat, and no one will dispute that evolution is true, unless this knowledge presents real threat to your pet beliefs in a sky daddys that care for us and will save us from death.

    But if you want something that you can call almost irrefutable, here it is:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nylon-eating_bacteria
    Nylon eating bacteria. They need to eat something to survive that was not there before, because nylon is a man made substance. This is proof enough that they evolved AFTER the invention of nylon.


    Ring populations do not validate evolution; failure to reproduce does not validate evolution.
    It does not need to. You fail to realize the difference between the fact and the knowledge that help us understand how the fact occurred. Fact: Evolution occurred. How? Ring population and failure to reproduce will help to see how species change over time.

    As little dog progeny get bigger and big dog progeny get smaller, eventually breeding will again be possible.
    This seems to be the old “dogs can´t produce non dogs” bullhit. In fact, I can grant you that dogs can´t produce non dogs, humans can´t produce non humans, insects can´t produce non insects and so forth. If you can´t understand why this is no challenge to evolution, you don´t understand evolution.

    This little video will help you to understand what evolution is:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DDhfqMIqRM

    ReplyDelete
  142. Luiz Fernando Zadra said,
    I am calling for a single empirical study that reflects evolution via the creation of a new feature

    That´s easy. We see this all the time with mosquitoes, bacteria, viruses and so on. Every time it get resistance for something, a new feature arises from mutation and natural selection.”


    Rather than “getting” resistance, all the non-resistant creatures are killed, leaving only those with resistance; this resistance might or might not be a mutation, and it is selected by killing the non-resistants, but it is not a new feature in the sense of a new organ, a new and original capability such as is required to advance a species beyond its original genetic set of organs (and don’t bother telling us that species don’t advance, they merely change).

    ” No evolution doubter is allowed to instruct or to publish.

    A guy trying to prove that the Earth is not round will not pass the peer review of any serious scientific publication. The same with evolution deniers. If the science you are producing is bullshit, you will not get published. Show real evidence that the Earth is flat and you will get famous and published. The same with evolution.

    That idea that people endorse evolution because they are atheists is silly. I can deny evolution if I want and still have no reason to believe in a deity. The proof for what I´m saying is the existence of atheism way before Darwin.”


    In no way have I claimed that evolution is the cause for Atheism. Evolution is a crutch for supporting the emotional rebellion that produces an inability to rationally address the issue of a First Cause for a rational universe.

    Your argument, however, is flawed. There is no logical connection between your solution, ”Atheism existed before Darwin”, and your issue, ”people endorse evolution because they are Atheists”. Perhaps if you had made this argument: evolution is the only cause for Atheists; But, Atheists existed before Darwin. That is not the issue, however, so even if that argument is correct, no one is actually making it.

    However, Atheism and evolution go hand in glove, as you demonstrate. And this is generally despite the inability to make a credible claim for abiogenesis, which must be the case unless intelligent outside influences are the cause.

    You make the case very clear: anyone questioning the truth statements made by evolutionists are to be categorized as "Flat Earthers", and to be marginalized under that categorization. Thanks for confirming that.

    ”But there is no irrefutable evidence for evolution: none.
    There´s no irrefutable evidence for anything. Maybe the earth is round, it´s all a illusion of our minds, a error of our instruments or a error of the reading of the instruments caused by the nature of our brains.

    The fact is, no one will dispute the idea that the Earth is not flat, and no one will dispute that evolution is true, unless this knowledge presents real threat to your pet beliefs in a sky daddys that care for us and will save us from death.

    But if you want something that you can call almost irrefutable, here it is:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nylon-eating_bacteria
    Nylon eating bacteria. They need to eat something to survive that was not there before, because nylon is a man made substance. This is proof enough that they evolved AFTER the invention of nylon.


    This indicates that you have read none of the arguments that were made above, before your arrival here.

    Your insults indicate an internal need for superiority despite your inability to form accurate arguments that would provide evidence for that superiority to be the actual case. Continuing with insults in the stead of dispassionate argumentation will, on this site, lead to being banned. Please read the rules of the blog before continuing along the path you have chosen here.

    And please read the prior arguments before making the same ones yet again. Thanks for your cooperation.

    ReplyDelete
  143. ”Ring populations do not validate evolution; failure to reproduce does not validate evolution."
    It does not need to. You fail to realize the difference between the fact and the knowledge that help us understand how the fact occurred. Fact: Evolution occurred. How? Ring population and failure to reproduce will help to see how species change over time.”


    Ring species arguments are the same as the Big Dog / Little Dog argument you mention below. Changes in a population within the limits of existing genetics are not arguable as causes for new features arising which are not contained in the genetics of the population. You apparently agree with this.

    ”As little dog progeny get bigger and big dog progeny get smaller, eventually breeding will again be possible.

    This seems to be the old “dogs can´t produce non dogs” bullhit. In fact, I can grant you that dogs can´t produce non dogs, humans can´t produce non humans, insects can´t produce non insects and so forth. If you can´t understand why this is no challenge to evolution, you don´t understand evolution.

    This little video will help you to understand what evolution is:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DdhfqMIqRM”


    Then you agree that ring species and Big/Little dog and drift within a population genetics do not produce new features? And that ring species and genetic drift are not evolution? That’s an odd argument for someone who is defensive of evolution.

    You have in no way answered the challenge; your attitude is one of superior education in the issue, yet you have produced nothing that is substantially different from the previous arguments above, which you did not deign to read.

    Perhaps you have gotten your education in this issue from youtube, I am not sure. But that is not my choice of educational sources (nor is wiki).

    Perhaps you would care to try again?

    BTW, all comments to posts which are more than 8 days old are moderated; otherwise, I cannot know that the comments have been made to these older posts.

    ReplyDelete
  144. I thought I already won this thread. I never got my prize, by the way.

    ReplyDelete
  145. Hmmm [checking records...] Yep that was emailed to you, did you squander it already?

    ReplyDelete
  146. Regarding Ring Species-
    In each case studied to date the ring is completed with creatures that can and sometimes do mate (the salamanders is best example).
    http://ib.berkeley.edu/labs/wake/1997_PNAS_InsipSpecEnsat.pdf
    Sympatry with little hybridization occurs between the southernmost forms, the coastal E. e. eschscholtzii and the inland E. e. klauberi. Subsequent research has shown that xanthoptica and platensis hybridize wherever they meet

    The idea that 'ring species' (no mating possible at the ends) should exist given the theory is valid (as they are trying to explain how both the blade of grass and the hippo came to be). The examples are not as clear cut as that.
    If one were skeptical of the hypothesis (evolution occurs in small steps) then these examples would not be persuasive as they do not demonstrate the phenomena to be demonstrated. (Note this is not a falsification that 'given another million years' it would show it, but what could be?)

    ReplyDelete
  147. Hi stan.

    Been reading some of the ebook2 evolution stuff. You said about the darwin not considering the origin of life as a dodge... like dodging a bullet that would be fatal.

    Is it really like dodged bullet since abiogenesis has nothing to do with the understanding of evolution. It would be like saying to understand relativity but not laying claim to the origin of spacetime would thus make relativity a flawed concept?

    ReplyDelete
  148. Wow I'll rephrase that :)

    Hi stan.

    Been reading some of the ebook2 evolution stuff. You said in the evolutionary section that Darwin not considering the origin of life was a dodge on his part (like dodging a bullet that would be fatal).

    Is it really like dodging bullet since abiogenesis has nothing to do with the understanding of evolution? It would be like saying to understand relativity but not laying claim to the origin of spacetime would thus make relativity a flawed concept.

    Would like to know your thoughts

    Ben

    ReplyDelete
  149. As a Christian I never seriously looked at the evidence for evolution--and I have a degree in science.
    Like many of us I just snickered at it knowing the source was not to be trusted.
    However, after reviewing all of science again and also realizing that Christ is a fact in my mind that is not based on a detective mission but on the Holy Spirit I was no longer bothered by what I might find.
    It seems clear to me the earth is billions of years old(I've always seen that BTW) and that it seems God used some type of secondary causes in creating not only the Universe's mechanisms-- but us as well.
    Now, Unguided and natural selection are quite absurd notions in relation to human consciousness. But God would have to set up the entire world to fool us if science is completely wrong in all of this.
    God designed the world to make sense so we could USE our world. It has to make sense.

    I think what young earth C's are doing is almost as bad as the atheists. They start with a conclusion and thus they must deny the obvious. Atheists are afraid to concede a single point because they fear if they do--that slippery slope will lead to uncertainty--and they need to sleep at night ..not being afraid they will be judged. So they blind themselves and look away from the truth

    YEC's also fear the slope and I understand it well. But I think its a lack of faith. The Holy Spirit has enabled my faith to be such that its impossible to unbelieve. I am more certain of Christ than I am of my name.

    So all I would say is I believe these people are so locked into a particular understanding of scripture that it has boxed themselves into mindset in which they can't even accept the most obvious of scientific facts.

    Yes, you have to be wise and filter their bias and identify their absurdities such as multiverse, freewill, etc. But there are many agnostic and theist scientists keeping at least some of it in check.

    ReplyDelete
  150. John,
    Thanks for your comment. I especially like the last line and I would like to add that when scientists stick to desciplined science things go well; it's when they step outside of science and into metaphysics which they base on science that things go wrong. I agree that YEC is rationalized, and I also think that the non-deterministic biological creatures we observe did not likely come from deterministic chemical origins.

    ReplyDelete
  151. "But there is no irrefutable evidence for evolution: none."

    What exactly do you suppose is the explanation for genetic similarity of species and similarity of greater degree the more closely related the species are believed to be(e.g. a human showing more similarity to a bonobo than to a cat, iirc a dog being more genetically similar to a wolf than to a fox. And there being similarity even between humans and rodents, and even with plants.).
    There really is no reason for there to be such similarity and for it to present itself in such a way that species show greater similarity(90+% humans and some primates) the more closely related they're believed to be. IF there is no evolution then these species are not closely related at all and there should be no reason to expect such similarity. Keep in mind that these similarities are not necessary for the phenotypes to be similar, there are vast genetic changes that can be done without affecting function*(in the more extreme of cases one could imagine different sequences of dna or codons coding for the same amino acids than the universal genetic code, that is an alternate sequence of bases or letters used to code the same proteins.), and physically something like a fox a wolf and a dog are just sligthly different shaped canines with some differences in behavior*(yet iirc the dog is closer to the wolf than to the fox.).

    "The exclusion of first life is a philosophical dodge to eliminate the embarrassing improbability of abiogenesis from the probability assumptions that are made in favor of evolution...At any rate, if you choose to ignore the obvious need for a first life to have occurred in an immensely improbable occurrence"

    Without the chemical pathways needed for abiogenesis probabilities can't be calculated. Intermediate precursor states such as rna world have been postulated but science is insufficient to establish probabilities regarding what is necessary for abiogenesis at present.
    If life is found elsewhere in the solar system and wasn't carried there from earth, we will know that in all likelyhood the probabilities are not likely to be too high as we'd have two examples in the solar system.
    Regardless of how remote the probabilities are, we do not know the size of the universe if the universe is infinite or very very vast, however remote the possibility it will become a certainty somewhere.

    ReplyDelete

  152. "Whereas evolution is a proposed cause for an unvalidated effect."

    What unvalidated effect. IIRC humans were originally dark skinned. Yet we've seen red skin, white skin come into being, and we've seen the appearance of red hair, blonde hair, blue eyes, green eyes. The mutation generating blue eyes has been traced to a recent common human ancestor.
    In domesticated animals and plants vast changes in behavior, size, color, lifespan, etc have been observed to have taken place. All that would be left is for some time to pass and random changes to the genes would make separate non interbreeding populations into different species. What do you think happened to horses and donkeys? HOW DO YOU SUPPOSE THAT THEY'RE ABLE TO PRODUCE INFERTILE MULES?

    "The tress will look much different in 20 years after DNA adjustments are made to the tree(s)."

    Why do you suppose that is, why will dna analysis result in tree like grouping of living things as if they were related?

    "3. Whales, losing use of members."

    And gaining fins and aquatic tails, and blue skin, and giant size(that size is unsupportable on land iirc) and a hole on top. Or do we suppose there was limbed whale moving around that simply lost its limbs as it became adapted to sea?

    "Loss of features due to cross breeding or whatever cannot produce new creatures that have features not found previously - and that is the crux of evolution."

    The opsin proteins that generate trichromacy appear to be the result of mutations to an original protein. A feature trichromatic color vision arose out of a more limited set of precursor proteins. Slight differences due to mutations allow some women to have four opsin proteins giving them vision beyond trichromatic.

    ReplyDelete



  153. "But this is not what is seen, because a good mutation doesn't - of itself - produce new features; it takes an accumulation of good mutations to do that, and the likelihood of that happening is roughly zero."

    Depends on the gene and the mutation. A mutation can produce trichromacy or vision beyond trichromacy, it can produce blue eyes. And it can produce greater cancer resistance.(Larger animals are not composed of the same number of cells but larger, they've got exponentially more cells of the same small size and are thus far more at risk for cancer had everything remained the same. But it is not the same one of the things that are seen is that genes involved in cancer resistance are duplicated. Gene duplication is a kind of mutation that can occur naturally but has also been used artificially, it can provide greater resistance to cancer or greater lifespan or greater resistance to all kinds of toxins and stressors depending on which gene is duplicated.)

    "Actually evolution is an hypothesis and not a theory, if one considers the term “theory” to refer to an hypothesis that has successfully been “not falsified” using empirical, experimental, replicable methodologies to produce specific effects which are deduced from specific causes. Evolution is not capable of producing such results."

    It depends what you mean by prove, physically or theoretically. The mechanisms of mutation recombination and population dynamics have been tested through genetic algorithms and yield desired features from starting populations with either paltry barely functional features or none of the desired features. There is no reason why similar mechanisms known to exist in the physical world will not yield results given selective pressures.

    ". In the case of defective gene inheritance, it is not possible to prove the cause of the defective gene, nor is it possible to prove that separate causes did or did not cause the defective genes separately"

    But while I've not done the math, the probabilities of all primates if they do(not sure if they all do share such) sharing the exact same mutation in the exact same gene is very very unlikely(the gene could've been inabilitated in countless ways). It also begs the question if we assume the usual alternative to evolution(animals all originally came into existence in their specific niche) why would there even be a vitamin c pathway to be inabilitated by mutation in the first place?

    ReplyDelete

  154. "nor is it possible to prove that we are not closer to gorillas than chimps due to other defective genes. (I have discussed this somewhere on the blog)."

    I'll have to check your entry but...

    "humans and chimpanzees share more than 98% of their genes, while humans and gorillas share more than 96%.-theguardian2012"

    It depends on what whole sequence genome comparisons yield. 1-2% is huge and involves not just a few genes, but vastly many as well as vast amounts of regulatory material. Some say that chimps might be 95%, so I'd need to verify what the actual state is. But if it does as it seem turn out that there is a 1-2% difference in favor of one species it would be clear which is more closely related to man. And we can also include mice, I think those are around 75% similar. There is no arguing which is more genetically similar a mice or a chimp to a human.


    "common ancestorship is not shown in the data, common ancestorship is a meaning which is derived inferentially from the data. So it is not inescapable."

    In many cases, there exists many possible differences or changes to proteins that result in negligible difference in function, there are also alternate amino acids sequences that yield different proteins that perform the same function.
    This being the case, disregarding genetic fingerprint mutations and accumulation of viral detritus, why do you suppose related organisms would share identical protein structure? Oh and by the way since the code is degenerate, many codons code for the same amino acids, it is possible to have identical proteins with same genetic code yet DIFFERENT GENETIC SEQUENCE(ignoring for the moment the very real fact that there is no particular reason why other organisms couldn't use alternate genetic codes yielding vastly different sequences...). Despite the fact that the code is degenerate and DIFFERENT SEQUENCES are possible with the same protein product, we can see that in many cases related organisms also share identical and near identical dna sequences of many genes.

    ARe we to SUPPOSE that they accidentally received fully identical genes from somewhere? somewhere other than a common ancestor?

    "1 /(1M * 16) = 1/(16 M)

    1/(16 M) =6.25 e-08

    =0.00000006.25"

    I don't think that math is right. The different viruses can be located right after the first anywhere in the middle of the first*(any spot within the thousands of base pairs of the first virus of which there are thousands.), this applies for all others. IF you're saying it can be located anywhere within 1M positions, that is between genes, then the math should be 1M^16, it is 16 independent events with a 1 in a Million chance of being at the position they end at, not 1M*16.


    ReplyDelete
  155. "Also, as the Grants showed, some hybrids can interbreed for short durations before they die out due to lesser robustness. So a hybrid with a mutation could theoretically pass the mutation along, according to evolutionary theory. So which is more likely? How could anyone actually know the truth of the origin of such ancient occurrences."

    Hybrids can only occur if species have not been separated for too large a span of time. A human cannot produce a hybrid with a chicken. YEt there are genetic similarities with chicken, vast genetic similarities.

    "There is no probability that a baboon will give birth to anything other than a baboon. It is not a linear selection of any possible feature between baboon genetics and infinity. "

    Yet the wolf like ancestor of dogs produced a chihuahua. And this chihuahua will if not interbreed eventually speciate as it's genes are subject to inevitable rearrangement and mutation through time.
    We've seen that blue eyes were the product of a mutation, there is nothing to stop artificial selection from turning the descendants of baboons into hairless blue eyed bipeds.

    " So the bug had to have occurred during the contamination's existence, thereby negating the confidence in its not being directed."

    Just like the whale lost its limbs for fins, and just like primates lost the vitamin c synthesis, once a bacterium gains the ability to degrade say nylon it can easily lose genes that were previously vital otherwise. This often happens with parasites, where in many cases you can see degenerate versions of genes that would make the parasite self sufficient, but which have been lost functionally.

    "In both cases, the Bug undergoes a stress and mutation is carried out to overcome that particular stress. Not a "typo" as I see it. More like a inbuilt mechanism. The mutation is not random, rather target oriented."

    There is no way for the bacterium to know what the outcome of the mutation will be as you could present arbitrary novel products to it. The more likely fact is that random mutation is induced in the population, and this generates a small fraction of cells that have beneficial mutations.

    "Rather than “getting” resistance, all the non-resistant creatures are killed, leaving only those with resistance; this resistance might or might not be a mutation, and it is selected by killing the non-resistants, but it is not a new feature in the sense of a new organ, a new and original capability such as is required to advance a species beyond its original genetic set of organs (and don’t bother telling us that species don’t advance, they merely change). "

    It depends on whether the maximal resistance existed originally. IF there was only slight resistance, and after gradual cycles of exposures the mechanisms involved became stronger through mutation such that the end product is more resistant than any of the original population, then you have something new.

    Very large organisms have undergone many duplications of cancer resistant genes as they became larger and larger. It can be seen that the final organism possesses cancer resistance that the smaller original ancestors none had.

    Another example is RESISTANCE TO TIME the passage of time. Through selection, fruit flies have been made that last four times as long, this resistance to time did not exist in the original population.

    We can also see resistance to predation in a white environment, while originally there might be various shades of color of varying survival effectiveness from a darker animal introduced into a white environment, once an albino mutation occurs it will have vastly greater resistance to predation and will prosper(probably).

    ReplyDelete
  156. " am calling for a single empirical study that reflects evolution via the creation of a new feature, not contained in the original genome, that is beneficial to the selection of the organism."

    WHAT???!!!

    So... Let me get this straight; you want scientists to selectively breed an animal that basically has no ancestors.

    What you're asking for is so far from proof of Evolution that, from an evolutionary standpoint, it actually makes absolutely no sense. You might as well be asking for impirical proof of Physics by demonstrating how a rubber ball can pass straight through a brick wall.

    What YOU'RE asking us to prove is not evolution, I don't know what it is. Alchemy, maybe.

    "I am calling for a single, reputable, credible source that shows that change to a genome is not required in order to produce new features that are not in that genome, or if you will, DNA change (mutation) is not required."

    Ok, now I REALLY wonder what you're asking us to prove, because that's almost the exact oposite of Evolution. In fact... are you asking us to prove that DNA has nothing to do with genetics? that's... no that's wrong. that...
    Look. Mutations happen when mutations..
    ...
    *sigh* your argument is so dumb I'm having trouble debunking it properly. YOU think WE think DNA is irrelevant and that mutations happen without mutations. Both are the oposite of what we believe.

    Your ring species hypothesis;

    Possible, but so far I have not heard of that or anything like that happening ever. I have not studied genetics enough to say without a shadow if a doubt that you're wrong, but I have a feeling people who know way more about genetics than me will tell you "no, that's wrong". Hell, maybe it iS simply a matter of physical compatibility rather than genetic compatibility. But, you'd think with all the ways we've been fucking with dog DNA since the Stone Age, you'd think SOMEONE would try to breed big dogs and little dogs again at some point.

    And, since it has not, to my knowledge, actually happened once ever, even the name "ring species" makes no sense.

    The rest;

    So.... What the hell do you want? You have no interest whatsoever in ACTUAL irrefutable examples of Evolution like animals WE MADE BY SELECTIVE BREEDING and also dinosaur bones.

    You're asking us to prove evolution by showing you things that are the oposite of Evolutionary theory and you dismiss actual evidence of Evolution.

    WTF is wrong with you?

    ReplyDelete

ANONYMOUS comments and comments by banned parties will be deleted without being read.