Discussion of everything related to the Theory of Evolution.
I'm too lazy to plough through your posts to find where I was led to my belief. Either I am mistaken, or you have not taken enough care in expressing yourself. The rest of my last post, however, remains as it is.
Let me briefly summarize my subjective perception of the situation here. Unless I am biased, the biggest counter argument to Scottie’s claims about improbability of the randomness’ role in the processes described over the last 32 pages is absence of any evidence that supports existence of the supernatural “intelligent agency” that Scottie keeps referring to. Am I correct?
Thanks for your interjection, it’s nice to have a fresh view presented.
Firstly could we nail down this point.
The introduction of vestigial organs is an argument for degeneration in an already existing function, whatever the cause of that degeneration.
It does not stand up as an argument against functional design.
However canalon and now you both make the same point about essentially keeping up with new information as this is the way science proceeds. You also say that old information isn’t necessarily outdated or wrong. I completely agree.
However simply reading reviews does not advance your knowledge of a subject. Reading the papers themselves is what matters and that is what I encourage you to do.
So let examine what the latest papers are revealing about evidence on this subject.
Of necessity this post will be somewhat long, because in science the detail of evidence is important.
It is still not known how cave fish have lost eyesight and pigmentation. This is not just my view.
W. R. Jeffery (2005) Adaptive Evolution of Eye Degeneration in the Mexican Blind Cavefish put it this way.
Remember this is the hypothesis that Professor Deamer offered in1964.
This hypothesis is the one favoured by Jeffrery along with others, and is a Darwinian explanation.
Jeffery summarises the very interesting discoveries in the molecular changes that take place during this process. (new information) The paper is a fascinating read.
Eye formation does commence in the embryo but is arrested at a certain stage in development. ( Deamer in 1964 referred to Vandel’s (1961) discovery of this fact.)
This arresting takes place during lens formation.
However no genes understood to function during eye formation, appear to be damaged.
Also when the lens of an embryo of a surface fish is transplanted into the embryo of a cave fish at the same stage development the eye in the cave fish continues to develop normally. When a reverse transplant takes place the eye of the surface embryo is arrested, suggesting that the lens is the central controller of eye formation.
It has also been discovered that many genes are up regulated in cavefish relative to surface fish, rather than vice versa. The expanded regulation in particular of the hh genes seems to be quite central in the degenerative process.
It is for these reasons that Jeffery hypothesises that Natural selection is at work and not mutation.
In his 2008 paper Jeffery rows back a little in his assessment especially in the case of loss of pigmentation.
http://www.life.umd.edu/labs/jeffery/Pu ... o.2008.PDF
cavefish and microevolution of development
H Wilkens University of Hamburg, Germany has a view that favours the mutation or neutral theory. (introduced by Deamer in 1964) in his 2010 paper
Genes, modules and the evolution of cave ﬁsh
http://amec.glp.net/c/document_library/ ... -21261.pdf
This is what he says.
Incidentally the paper of (Romer 2003) Wilkens refers to is here
Romero A, Green SM, Romero A, Lelonek MM, Stropnicky KC. 2003
One eye but no vision: cave fish with induced eyes do not respond to light.
So despite the passing of nearly 50 years Professor Deamer’s hypothesis is still very much in alive and kicking.
The last point I make is this.
Jefferies (2008) makes good mention of cave fish as being a natural lab for the study of evolution since here we have both ancestor (suface) fish and their descendents (cave fish)
Also note that he recognises this process as micro evolution (variation within a species)
Now lets return to Deamer’s reference to (Woods1956) the evidence from which can be downloaded here.
CHICAGO NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM BULLETIN November 1954 page 4
Here is first hand evidence of the gradation of this degeneration that Deamer used to support his hypothesis. Evidence from the natural habitat.
So it is from the evidence of the natural environment that Deamer claims support for his view.
Even today we are unable to identify the actual theoretical mechanism of natural selection at work.
How does Jeffery he put it?
If even within micro evolution (which as far as I know everyone accepts) natural selection cannot be identified at work, how is it that the Darwinian process of macro evolution is so certainly propounded as fact?
Therefore and with great respect, I would encourage both you and canalon to keep away from sweeping statements, unless you are confident you can back them up with evidence.
btw I have not yet received a reply from Professor Deamer. It is after all the holiday period.
Scottie, I view your arguments and the data you present as very convincing, logical and informative. Also, as I already said, I applaud the effort you applied to learn the subject not immediately relevant to your specialization, and the bravery with which you battle your powerful opposition. Unfortunately, until the detailed explanation is provided about what the “intelligent agency” actually is and by what means it acts on the natural world, I am afraid that the case you present will remain a topic of a casual conversation, but not a scientific symposium. I don’t see how it can be easily done to satisfy the scientific method though.
This conversation is a flexing of intellectual muscle, not more, not less. It reminds me a ball set in motion in a U-shaped jar. The ball keeps moving in opposite directions driven by the gravity of opposing arguments, but at the end it is really not going anywhere. An intellectually advanced debater can always BS his way out of any situation because reductionist approach to the complexity of life (which has been billions of years in existence by now) can spawn a countless number of explanations. And when the conversation hits dead end, one can always say that the source of the genomic toolkit (and all the mechanisms around it) has either dissolved in Precambrian period without a trace, or will be explained sometime in the future or is hiding in the world beyond the realm of Physics.
Now the soft-bodied creatures being dissolved, people understand. But there will always be an issue with “selling” the idea of a “super intellectual agency”. I, personally, don’t have a huge problem to make a “leap of faith” to agree with you. But as a former hardcore atheist, I see where your opponents are coming from. However, I do hope the thread will continue its existence, cause it tackles with very important issues of philosophical nature. After all, I am not really sure if I truly care about all of these if at the end our fellow C. elegans will feast on my neatly mapped genome, poop it out, and that will be pretty much the end of this story.
Sorry for the delay is responding.
I deliberately took a couple of days away from the forum just to unfreeze my brain cells.
Also to give those who are disposed to reading the papers I refer to, have a chance to digest them.
I very much appreciate your comments though.
When I entered this thread back in April I made this point.
I have remained consistent on this subject, simply because it is part of my belief system, i.e. the scientific method.
From the evidence produced I form my conclusions.
The evidence from science clearly shows me that life could not have got started by any known natural process.
The evidence also shows, through advances in molecular biology, random mutations of a genome cannot produce the functional design we all see in life processes and this is why Darwinism does not explain these life processes.
What I have found in any philosophical dogma, is that sooner or later contradictions set in.
This is so exemplified in this cave animal vestigial and Junk DNA argument.
Here we have a theory that, at it’s core, describes a process of random mutations of a genome eventually producing function, that another process, natural selection, filters to conserve one particular function, for survival.
In the case of cave animals however the precise reverse is being argued. Why?
The reason it seams to me, is to try and preserve natural selection as the filter. We know that these cavefish (for example) are the same species as their surface relatives. They can interbreed, and yet they are arguing mutation has not caused the difference, even though it was the initial cause of the species arriving in the first place. Remember also cave animals are ubiquitous in nature, so this is not some freak happening.
How can a theory so successfully contradict itself and the adherents not see it?
I find this quite astonishing.
My only answer to that question is,-- the theory is a philosophical view and not a scientific one.
I understand the point you are trying to make when you say:-
With respect I have to disagree with you. It is the scientific method that is falsifying the fundamental tenets of evolutionary theory. Its promoters claim it to be genuine science, therefore it should be judged by the scientific method.
However is the scientific method falsifying design by an outside agency?
It is certainly not falsifying the design argument, so that leaves the “outside agency” bit.
Now if, by argument the case is as you are implying, that an actual description of the agency must be supplied for it to be treated scientifically, then there should be consistency in this argument for both sides.
So does the theory or indeed any evolutionary scientist know what the common ancestor, sitting at the base of the TOL is or was?
Ok let’s make it easier.
Does the theory or any scientist describe the common ancestor of the human/ape lineage, or the common ancestor of the bear/panda lineage?
I know what the answer is.
Junk DNA was used as proof of evolutionary theory. Now as it has become clear that these areas are in fact very much functional most are simply burying their heads in the sand or trying to find ways to show how it does in fact support evolutionary theory.
So no matter what the evidence, it supports evolution.
Sounds very philosophical to me and certainly not scientific.
I would like to post some more information on what the latest research is revealing on mouse, rats and humans, but that had better wait for the moment.
I can't figure out why you're still going on about this, scottie. You believe in the Creator Thing and others do not. Science cannot prove or disprove its existence. Your "disproofs" of evolution are (embarrassingly) feeble compared to the weight of evidence in its support. The only people who do not support evolution are those who are ignorant of the evidence and those who WANT to believe in something else. The lack of scientific proof of a natural cause of whatever does NOT LOGICALLY LEAD to the existence of a Creator Thing. You are CHOOSING to believe in it, because you apparently WANT it to exist, not because any great body of evidence supports its existence or fails to support a naturalistic explanation. So why are you devoting so much time and effort to this thread? It's very apparent that you must be spending HUGE amounts of time on this project, but I can't for the life of me figure out what your project is. Are you on a personal quest to convince one part of your brain of something that another part refuses to accept? Or what. exactly?
Gavin, here is your statement: “The only people who do not support evolution are those who are ignorant of the evidence…”
And here is definition of evolution: “Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations.” (Wiki)
Now, I may have a serious problem with my English, cause I haven’t noticed here anything that would’ve contradicted the abovementioned description of evolution. The label of “evolution denier” is frequently used just like a “holocaust denier” and people rarely bother to explain what they actually mean by that. If Scottie questioned the randomness role behind genetic or epigenetic complexity / abiogenesis or saltation, then I still don’t see what exactly the evidence you are talking about is. Perhaps I have to admit my ignorance (and I already did that) and acquire a PhD in biology to see your point? But here is the dilemma - I’ve never seen anyone questioning the validity of the Pythagorean theorem, but I saw PhD-s clashing over the randomness as one of the key elements of the evolution from the first amino acid to a man. So maybe it’s not ignorance that causing the issues here… Maybe the only possible alternative to randomness - supernatural involvement being that, is causing the controversy…
On a personal note… One time I ran into event, 2 degrees later, I have absolutely no natural explanation to. What was it is irrelevant and it didn’t really prove anything specific, but it has absolutely reshuffled the weights I allocated to the elements in the equation of my perception of reality. Putting aside charlatanism, circus tricks, and misunderstood natural phenomenon, the supernatural to me is no longer multiplied by zero. Now I view it as being relevant to some form of rare phenomenon superior to our level of knowledge & superior to our ability to readily sense and perceive the reality from which it originated.
Let me mention the quote C. Venter is credited with: “…we are literally coming out of the dark ages of biology. As a civilization, we know far less than one per cent of what will be known about biology, human physiology, and medicine. My view of biology is 'We don't know s*%t.' " http://www.mindfully.org/GE/Venter-Genome-Warrior12jun00.htm
I would rephrase him in a broader sense – we still don’t know s*%t about reality that surrounds us. We’re all balancing on the scales of our believes systems, and direction in which the scales tip depends a lot on our personal experiences. The scientific method helps us to objectively filter out mumbo-jumbo portion of these experiences, but I’m afraid the limitations of our sensory capabilities sometimes impair it severely, feeding the believes in impossibility of something that might as well be possible.
I can only repeat what I already said – I’m not qualified to embrace Scotties case, but I don’t see any grounds to firmly reject it except the ones rooted in some form of religious atheism (and ignorance doesn’t seem to be a part of the picture here). Maybe if his arguments were predominantly discussed and judged on their own merits, the discussion would be more beneficial.
I am not trying to get anyone to believe in the “Creator thing” as you call it.
What I am trying to do is put my understanding of science (biology in this case) to the test regarding the purpose of this thread. “Theories – Origin of life”.
I can only point to the evidence that supports my understanding. If the “weight of evidence” as you put it supports your position then surely my feeble disproof’s should be easily countered with evidence.
Remember you did try, when you took up my challenge to reveal what would falsify “neo Darwinism”.
The weight of evidence does pile up in favour of the concept of micro evolution, which of course is variation within species.
But this discussion is about more. Darwin’s whole view was about speciation, not variation within species.
Now you have quite clearly stated that you prefer to accept the mechanism of variation within species to extend across to producing new species.
I don’t see that evidence and post accordingly. This is a perfectly acceptable scientific position to take.
For philosophical reasons you choose to disagree. I certainly don’t have a problem with that, in fact I commend you and indeed have done for being honest enough to acknowledge that.
You are also correct
Is it not also the case that functional design can lead logically to a designer.
In the end it boils down to the scientific evidence, and that is where I am coming from.
I am passionate about science, I also have enough time and inclination to delve into the subject and bore every one silly with my findings.
I believe Nick7 makes a valid point when he says
You have acknowledged this but others have chosen to engage in rhetoric rather than produce evidence which stacks up.
If evolutionary theory is correct then I will readily endorse it. Put me to the test.
Do keep in mind that there are many religious people who endorse the Darwinian process.
Just go to the BioLogos Foundation site started by Francis Collins who is one of the top geneticists and headed the Human Genome Project, and is now Director of the National Institutes of Health
This is being made into a religious issue. Why?
Darwinism is not the sole prerogative of atheism.
You see design in nature and argue that there must be a designer (a bit tautological, that). By accepting design as a given, you cannot lay any claim to scientific rigour. Science must assume that supernatural forces are not responsible for whatever is being studied. Science does not (cannot) rely on proof, just probability based on the available evidence. The available evidence does not lean toward any design in nature. Design is a preconception, not an observation. You can believe whatever you want, but please don't try to claim that science supports your beliefs. You may be passionate about what you think science is, but cherry-picking in science leads to bad science. All scientists plough through the literature trying to find support for their pet theories, but they cannot ignore the findings that contradict their theories. Please don't dismiss evidence that doesn't support what you want to be true. Doing so doesn't make it true. And is not good science.
That is an interesting statement.
But trying to move the goal posts into the philosophical area won’t work, and for this reason.
You could have a case if I did not define how my argument for functional design could be falsified.
However I have done precisely that, and it is about where you entered into this discussion. Remember!
Now you tried to falsify and failed with the phylogenetic data and tree building.. argument
However where have you or indeed anyone even attempted to define how Darwinism could be falsified?
The simple answer is that there has not been even an attempt to do so.
This lack of defining even a falsifiable trait limits Darwinism to a philosophy,
and you have in fact acknowledged that.
Remember your own words
You now appear to be trying to row back from your own statement of belief by suggesting that the verifiable evidence I have produced is only a product of my belief.
Your description of what is science, does deserve a comment. You might find these descriptions of science helpful.
I particularly like Richard Feynman’s comment.
The goal posts are already philosophical. I haven't moved them.
Why should these properties be limited to design?
I don't recall having failed. I think I said something like evolution being falsified if phylogenetic trees could not be built, and you resorted to the creationist Cambrian argument, and I resorted to how science works and how an incomplete fossil record is not an observation. How does this constitute failure? Ignoring the myriad of trees that have been built from the available evidence is an example of how you are selectively discounting the available evidence that doesn't support your beliefs. Sure, the tree is not complete, but are the gaps in an otherwise rather impressive assemblage MORE LIKELY to represent disproof of the whole or an incomplete collection or availability of evidence?
I think it was Jerry Coyne who said that he would abandon his belief in evolution if a human fossil were ever found in Cretaceous strata. This is just one of many proposed examples of how evolution could be falsified. Darwin also mentioned a few examples. The inability to build phylogenetic trees, that I proposed above but that you seem to have forgotten, is another.
I have only said that you are selectively cherry picking a small subset of the available evidence and discounting the larger subset. The cherry picking is a product of your belief, not the evidence.
Feynman said lots of interesting things. He also said, "God was invented to explain mystery. God is always invented to explain those things that you do not understand. Now, when you finally discover how something works, you get some laws which you're taking away from God; you don't need him anymore. But you need him for the other mysteries. So therefore you leave him to create the universe because we haven't figured that out yet; you need him for understanding those things which you don't believe the laws will explain, such as consciousness, or why you only live to a certain length of time - life and death - stuff like that. God is always associated with those things that you do not understand."
scottie, you have not responded to this. And you know what I like most to do, right?
Cis or trans? That's what matters.
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