Saturday, November 7, 2009

Is Evolution Repeatable?

Most people do not really  think to ask this question about Evolution. However, it has become quite the important question in determining the validity of the paradigm. In this post when I refer to "evolution" I am referring to "macroevolution" (see my post "How Did It All Happen? Part 4- Evolution? Really?"). If I am talking about microevolution (see same post above), I will make the distinction.

As I discussed in the previously cited post, random mutation does happen, and natural selection does operate on those mutations. This observation has been extrapolated into the theory of Evolution. According to the paradigm life began as a single-cell organism, and through the process noted we arrive at the state of life today (complex, mega-multicellular organisms).

Most familiar with biology are familiar with the Long Term Evolution Experiment (LTEE). This experiment is touted as demonstrating that mutation does take place and can be observed. This demonstration is then used to conclude that Evolution is correct as a theory. Unfortunately, the LTEE actually raises a huge problem for the Evolutionary paradigm. The issue of historical contingency.

Noted evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould describes Evolution as being unrepeatable. He used the analogy of a cassette tape. He stated that if the history of life was a tape, and that tape were rewound and played back, the second play would be radically different from the first.

The LTEE has demonstrated that random mutations that result in a usable feature will only repeat if the feature is only one mutation away from being produced. And the frequency of that repeat was extremely small in the experiment. This means that random mutation can only produce the same outcome twice if the final mutation is a single step away and the chances of that final mutation being the right mutation are minuscule.

So, what's the big deal? Well, we find many instances of "evolution repeating itself" in nature. Probably the most easy to notice is a feature of some animals, know as the wing. The closest "distant evolutionary relatives" that both have wings are bats and birds. According to the evolutionary paradigm, the lineages that lead to the evolution of bats and birds diverged long before wings ever evolved. Since they are so far removed from each other, it is safe to say that the final mutation that lead to the complete and functional wing was more than a single step away.

This poses the problem of nature contradicting what is demonstrated in the lab. If the theory states that evolution can repeat itself, then the LTEE provides powerful evidence that either that assertion is false or not enough time has transpired since life first began until now for life to reach the complexity that it has. If the theory states that evolution cannot repeat itself, then nature has proven it incorrect. Keep in mind that I am still referring to "evolution" here as "macroevolution".  The LTEE does establish "microevolution", but falsifies a key component of "macroevolution". If the macroevolutionary paradigm is to survive this new discovery, it will need to be changed. The change would be that evolution can repeat itself, but only after more generations than the LTEE produced (but less than the smallest difference between two repeats that took place) or once a certain defined threshold is reached. Either way, as long as the LTEE continues the new detail added to the evolutionary theory can be tested.

For more details about the experiment's results and their implications please read the article by biochemist Dr. Fazale Rana entitled "Inability to Repeat the Pass Dooms Evolution". Dr. Rana includes links in this article to other articles that he has written regarding the issue.

I also recommend the podcast I Didn't Know That where you can ask Dr. Rana questions.

Check out Wikipedia's list of 80+ examples of evolution repeating itself beyond a single mutation.

29 comments:

  1. "If the theory states that evolution cannot repeat itself, then nature has proven it incorrect."

    "Noted evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould describes Evolution as being unrepeatable. He used the analogy of a cassette tape. He stated that if the history of life was a tape, and that tape were rewound and played back, the second play would be radically different from the first."

    Equivocation.
    Gould is using "unrepeatable" to mean that if we went back in time to start over, evolution wouldn't take the same course it did; in other words it is not deterministic. If we go back in time, the same processes (natural selection) could have led to very different results.

    When you use the word "repeat" you are talking about an adaptation or a mutation being the same as one that occurred before in a different line of evolution, right?

    The bird and the bat example is a little flawed. If we take a finch and a bat - yes they both have wings. But the structure and design of the wings between the two species are entirely different - evolution did not repeat itself. A bat and a finch do not have the same kind of wings.

    ***
    I was slightly confused because the language was ambiguous at times.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That is precisely what the LTEE researchers did. They went back to previously frozen generations and allowed evolution to do its work a second (third, fourth, etc.) time. The new ability was able to be evolved again if and only if a single mutation was required before the new ability showed up. Read Dr. Rana's article to get the details.

    This not only demonstrated that evolution is not deterministic, it demonstrated that the repeated features we find in organisms unrelated to each other are impossible given the current macroevolutionary model.

    I have added a link to Wikipedia's list of repeated features in nature.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "This not only demonstrated that evolution is not deterministic...."

    But that's exactly what Dr. Gould said,... the meaning of his statement was that evolution is not deterministic.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Exactly. Dr. Gould was right. Dr. Gould said that the Darwinian evolutionary model was impotent to explain repeated events. This experiment just confirmed what Dr. Gould suspected. Now, Dr. Gould (without knowing for certain that his assertion was correct) proposed another theory- Punctuated Equilibrium- another form of evolution, just not Darwinian. I will discuss this one in a later post.

    ReplyDelete
  5. http://evolutionlist.blogspot.com/2009/11/macroevolution-what-were-evolutionary.html

    ReplyDelete
  6. That article does not mention repeated evolution in any way. I fail to see its relevance with regards to this particular blog post or thread of comments. What exactly is your point in posting this link?

    ReplyDelete
  7. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2009/10/15/the-blind-locksmith-continued-an-update-from-joe-thornton/

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have a short blurb about neutral mutations in my post about evolution and genetics (11/14/09). Its not a complete treatment of the issue, but is a start.

    Also, you did not answer my initial question, so I will ask again. What is your point in posting the first link?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Empirical proof of macroevolution - link 1.

    Link 2 deals with Behe/IDs "no repeated evolution" business.

    And aren't the mutations occuring the same way in the LTEE because of being introduced to the same environment each time?...

    ReplyDelete
  10. "Indeed, directed evolution experiments in the laboratory have shown that mutation and selection alone can cause steroid receptor proteins to rapidly evolve sensitivity to new hormones; some of the mutations involved are different from those that occurred during the historical evolution of ancient proteins."

    From link 2.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Luke,

    Wow… where to start?

    Just so you know (in case you are wondering where the heck I appeared from) I followed Samuel here after he commented nice things on my blog – always taking an interest in what other people are reading.

    OK, your post… wow, I’m still in shock.

    I think you are asking the wrong question, I think you meant to ask “Is biogenesis repeatable?” not that this changes anything – the answer from is “yeah, why not?”

    Onto evolution though – you mention ‘macro’ and ‘micro’ evolution as if they are different. These are terms I normally hear from people who accept evolution but due to their religious belief they personally do not want to accept it.

    I personally do not want to accept that I cannot fly by flapping my arms up and down – but there is this thing called gravity that disagrees with me.

    What I personally want to believe has nothing to do with reality

    My statement on evolution does normally surprise the theist, and so here is the test.

    What actually is the difference between ‘micro-evolution’ and ‘macro-evolution’ and what defines a species (or ‘kind’ if you want to get biblical on me)

    You seem like a guy who can accept ‘micro’ evolution, but can you define how it differs from ‘macro’?

    The last time I mentioned this in conversation with a theist (a Jehovah Witness as it happens) they stated “Well, macro-evolution is like if an elephant gave birth to a horse – that has never been observed, therefore macro-evolution is false”

    I hope you can see where my JW friend got it wrong… if you had an elephant giving birth a horse, this would in fact falsify the theory of evolution. Thus the evidence FOR evolution my JW friend was asking for was actually evidence AGAINST.

    He got himself into a mental trap.

    Anyway – that’s enough for now. I am not sure if you are interested in discussing science.

    Take care

    Lee
    PS
    You mention in your bio “Jesus Christ commanded us to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind," – a strange statement, can you command/demand anyone to love anything? I’m not sure that you can… anyway, that’s the bible talking.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh, one last thing. May as well answer your question directly.

    "Is Evolution Repeatable?

    Evolution is happening all the time, you might as well ask "Is falling off a wall repeatable?"

    Depends on how high the wall is I guess :-)

    My sons are a lot like me, but also a lot like their mother.

    I am a lot like my father, and a lot like my mother.

    This 'a lot like' means I am not precisly like... that is the start of some evolution - some change.

    All I need now is time.

    13.7 billion years is a long time.
    4.5 billion years is also a long time.

    Time is now my side, but not tonight - since I'm now out of time.

    Take care

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sam,
    Link 1- Common Descent is not an exclusive conclusion of homology. Common Design can explain it just as well.

    See my post on Overstating Conclusions (http://lukenixblog.blogspot.com/2009/09/overstating-conclusions.html)

    Dr. Rana answers a question of mine specifically about Common Descent vs Common Design in this post: http://lukenixblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/reasons-to-believe-answers-question.html
    A more detailed post is still to come.

    Link 2- Have you read my blurb about neutral mutations? If so, how would you respond?

    Dr. Gould was expecting the same environment when the "tape rewound". The LTEE replicated those conditions.

    Notice that the second word in the quote you provided from the paper nullifies any conclusion about undirected evolution. The experiment was directed, not undirected. Undirected evolution is what they are attempting to prove, they have sneaked in their intelligence into the equation. If they had not directed the process, the results would not have been same. The closest conclusion to "natural evolution" that this experiment can logically come to is that evolution can produce "such and such" IF it is directed (theistic evolution is a form of "directed evolution".

    I would also like to point out that the conclusion of the LTEE (evolution does not repeat itself if more than a single mutation is required for the final product) contradicts what the Darwinian macro-evolutionary paradigm states. If Darwinian macro-evolution is correct, then will should be able to explain this finding and make it compatible with the contradicting evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Listening to the podcast:

    Oh Jesus.... Plato's realm of forms? Platonic biology?

    Key discriminator for evolution:
    Homologous structures that lack function - not just anatomical structures, but DNA structures have been found which are non-adaptive (link 1).
    (Empirical evidence does point to this).

    My own appendix points to this. It's a non-adaptive structure which human beings still have. I don't have mine anymore though because my intelligently designed body decided to turn on itself (how do IDers explain autoimmune diseases? What teleological purpose do they have)?

    creation:
    Common designs would be optimal (they are NOT).
    Optimal immediately (they are NOT).

    I mean, the strongest evidence against Intelligent Design is the actual universe itself. If you want to use the universe to support a loving, intelligent Creator - you must be very unaware of the nasty little parasites that he would have had to "designed" unless Satan was a co-designer with him.


    ***
    But I'll only leave one last question for the Intelligent Design community to respond to....

    what is the teleological purpose of Necrotizing fasciitis?

    What did God (oh, I mean the "designer") have in mind when he put that stuff on earth?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Warning: depiction of necrotizing fasciitis may make some viewers uncomfortable.

    Image:
    http://www.scielo.br/img/fbpe/rhc/v56n2/4908f1.jpg

    How does intelligent design accommodate flesh-eating bacteria?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Lee,

    Glad you stopped by.

    "you mention ‘macro’ and ‘micro’ evolution as if they are different. These are terms I normally hear from people who accept evolution but due to their religious belief they personally do not want to accept it. "

    That sounds like a complaint that can be reduced to an ad-hominem attack. Do you have a logically valid reason why specific meanings of "evolution" can not (vs "should not" or "may not") be distinguished? Do you have a problem with using more precise terms?

    Microevolution (n): Evolution resulting from a succession of relatively small genetic variations that often cause the formation of new subspecies.

    Macroevolution (n): Large-scale evolution occurring over geologic time that results in the formation of new taxonomic groups.

    The way that macroevolution can be verified or falsified is by evidence from the fossil record and by the existence of mechanisms.

    The fossils must not only be in morphological order, but must also be in chonological order. Both orders are required, otherwise macroevolution is falsified.

    A mechanism to get from "here" to "there" must also exist. I know you're no fan of Michael Behe, but he showed in his book "The Edge of Evolution" that (in highly controlled experiments) random mutations cannot go beyond a certain point- which would be required to produce the lower bound of organisms that macroevolution claims to be able to produce.
    Since the ability to "jump" a hurdle is not available, it does not matter how much time you think that you have on your side. Time does not make the impossible possible. That is why Dr. Gould stated that another form of evolutionary theory must be posited. Likewise, that is the claim of this post. I did not state that this evidence nullifies evolution, just Darwinian evolution at the macro level.

    I also point to homology (mentioned in the article posted by Sam above). Homology is not exclusively explained by the macroevolutionary paradigm. It is likewise explained by common design.

    Notice that the evidence that you provided is only pertinent to the micro level- adaptation, which is not in dispute by even the Young Earth Creationists. You use "time" to fill in the gaps and inconsistencies you find in the fossil and experimental evidence.

    Later!
    Luke

    P.S. Notice that the command by Jesus Christ is not "to love" but "how to love". Following Christ already assumes that you do love Him.
    "I follow Christ, but I hate him!"? THAT is a "strange statement".

    ReplyDelete
  17. Sam,
    Do you believe that answers exist to your challenges and concerns that will satisfy you?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Luke,

    Glad you stopped by.

    Thanks for having me.

    That sounds like a complaint that can be reduced to an ad-hominem attack.

    That sounds like you wish to take personal offence at an honest observation rather than to answer/address my question.

    Oops, this also could be reduced to an ad-hominem attack – ANY comment on somebody else’s ideas could be called this

    If you are so touchy on such comments, it will be hard to keep this discussion interesting – if all we do is talk about cold and dry logically arguments.

    However, fine with me. I am sorry you took offence.

    Do you have a logically valid reason why specific meanings of "evolution" can not (vs "should not" or "may not") be distinguished?

    This is nonsense... it is you that has chosen to split terms in this way, not I.

    You are trying to shift the ‘burden of proof’ for me to falsify your claim before you have ever justified it.

    An analogy: What you have done with your micro-evolution and macro-evolution is in the same vein as if I started to use ‘micro-gravity’ for little falls off small walls here on planet Earth, and ‘macro-gravity’ for planets and stars.

    No difference is seen between the two – so way waste the term ‘micro’ and ‘macro’.

    Can you see what you are doing now?

    Do you have a problem with using more precise terms?

    Not if they are meaningful – that is what I am asking you to justify.

    Microevolution (n): Evolution resulting from a succession of relatively small genetic variations that often cause the formation of new subspecies.

    Macroevolution (n): Large-scale evolution occurring over geologic time that results in the formation of new taxonomic groups.


    I asked earlier for your definition of species – and here I will repeat myself.

    Please define ‘new taxonomic groups’, ‘species’ and ‘subspecies’.

    Clearly state their differences.

    The way that macroevolution can be verified or falsified is by evidence from the fossil record and by the existence of mechanisms.

    I’m out of time... must go to work.

    Take care

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  19. Lee,
    I pointed out the ad-hominem statement simply to show that it is not appropriate in this type of discussion. I believe that you did read my post "Atheism and The Escape From Responsibility". It speaks to this.

    Please note that I did not leave my comments at that. I did address your concerns.

    It is not nonsense to split the terms. Allow me to use your own analogy. At the time that the theory of Gravity was developed and through the time it was excepted (but before Einstein), it was assumed that Gravity explained the motion of all bodies. Einstein discovered that that was not true, and developed the theories of general and special relativity. Gravity still works on the local scale, but is not sufficient on the grander scale. The same is true for evolution. The Darwinian mechanisms have been demonstrated and observed in the lab to work on the small scale, but not on the larger scale.

    Species- able to mate and produce viable and fertile offspring

    Subspecies- different traits but still able to mate and produce viable and fertile offspring

    Taxonomic Group- Classification

    Considering the fact that the natural world does not follow man-made classifications precisely, I cannot draw a hard, focused line between where micro and macro are. However, the line is fuzzy between family and genus, where a species is definitely on the micro side and suborder is definitely on the macro side.

    Just as scientific models need to be clear enough to make predictions, they must also be malleable enough to make accommodations for evidence that is only slightly off from their predictions. The fuzzy line is the "error bar" if you will for the distinction between micro and macro evolution.

    Speciation has been observed, which falls under the "micro evolution" descriptor. I believe that some scientists argue that they have also witnessed the birth of a new genus, but I believe that it hotly contested even in evolutionary circles (I'd have to do some more digging into that one- I heard it passing by someone somewhere).

    Slightly off the subject: I noticed that you seem to believe that you do not shoulder any burden of proof, and that I must shoulder all the burdens of proof. Is there any particular reason that you feel you do not share this responsibility?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hello again Luke,

    Firstly, lets move on from this ad hominem talk if you wish to move the discussion forward (I think we could have a lot to talk about – I like talking about science, it could be fun).

    Also, I have already apologise for that remark and surely as a Christian you could forgive a man for this small crime? :-)

    Anyhow, this morning I forgot to ask the ‘obvious’ question (and I ran out of time, had to go to work) – so before I move deep into your last response…

    Do you accept your own description/definition of ‘micro-evolution’ you posted here as being ‘true’?

    Do you believe that micro-evolution happens not only today, but it also happened in the past and will continue to happen in the future?

    I assume that you do – after all, we have dog breeders, pigeon fanciers and farmers proving this surely – they would not be in their business if this didn’t happen.

    Just want you to stick your flag in the ground so I know where you stand.
    (Don’t worry, if you change your mind, you can always move it. I’m not dogmatic)

    Now, to repeat my point.

    Where does ‘micro-evolution’ stop… and what stops it. This is your claim, so back it up.

    Why can’t I take many small steps and get myself a great journey
    (Playing with words I know – I am trying to create analogies for a better picture)

    So when does a small step become a long journey? Could you tell if all you can think about is small little steps?

    Now I completed what I wanted to say this morning, I will read further your last reply.

    Take care, and back soon.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hello again Luke,

    Hope you do not mind that I use the ‘line by line’ style for my responses – I do it so I do not miss commenting on anything important.

    It isn’t for everyone’s taste I know, but there you go.

    It is not nonsense to split the terms

    Well, I say it is… you say it isn’t.

    It is for me to show that there is no difference between the two, and you to show the difference.

    If both ‘micro-evolution’ and ‘macro-evolution’ are talking about the same observation i.e. evolution – it is nonsense. Can we agree on that?

    My analogy was that it was similar to saying ‘micro gravity’ and ‘macro gravity’. It is just silly – no one does it.

    This is, of course, when we are talking about gravity itself and not a measure of its strength. It was an analogy, and analogies are never prefect (or they would not be analogies)

    Sorry if I didn’t make that clear earlier.

    Oh, and I have 99.9% of the scientific community on my side with the evolution lark… always good to use the argument from authority early on I find :-)

    You’ve got Behe and co

    Good luck

    Allow me to use your own analogy

    Please do – it is an honour and a pleasure to share my analogy.

    At the time that the theory of Gravity was developed and through the time it was excepted (but before Einstein), it was assumed that Gravity explained the motion of all bodies.

    You mean that before electromagnetism was discovered perhaps?

    This was way before Einstein and has nothing to do with my analogy.

    But carry on :-)

    Einstein discovered that that was not true

    What wasn’t true?

    That the theory of gravity here on Earth wasn’t the same gravity out in space?

    Nope… this isn’t what Einstein ‘discovered’ or stated.

    What Einstein noticed (among other things) was that Maxwell’s equations for electromagnetic waves contained a constant, c, for the velocity of light in a vacuum.

    No one before thought there was a maximum ‘speed limit’ – what Einstein did was run with this idea to see where it led.

    The rest is history so they say.

    "end of part I"

    ReplyDelete
  22. Part II


    and developed the theories of general and special relativity.

    Not for the reasons you stated as I just explained – so at the moment you have not shown my analogy flawed in anyway.

    Oh, and for information to anyone else reading this– what made ‘special relativity’ special was that it dealt with the special case where there is no gravity or acceleration. i.e. constant velocities.

    General Relativity (far more complex) dealt more, well, generally and hence handled acceleration.

    So as I said, stating ‘micro-gravity’ for little falls off small walls here on planet Earth, and ‘macro-gravity’ for planets and stars is just nonsense. As silly as saying ‘micro-evolution’ and ‘macro-evolution’ :-)

    Unless you can present a measurable difference between the two – just accept evolution as you do gravity (none of this micro or macro talk)

    Gravity still works on the local scale, but is not sufficient on the grander scale.

    No – this is precisely NOT what Einstein’s theories state. (You are not getting confused with MOND theory of gravity? Another time, dark matter causing problem for this theory BTW)

    Einstein’s equations can be used to calculate the momentum of cars and the trajectory of thrown rocks here on Earth – they are just as valid on Earth as around the most distant galaxy.

    They are just very complex and good-old Newtonian mechanics is far easier to handle (trust me) they are just not as precise - on ‘normal’ scales it doesn’t matter anyway…

    I think your point is that we all know Newtonian mechanics is flawed at high speeds and high gravity. No one will disagree with you on this, however no one talks of (or believes) that there is ‘Newtonian gravity’ and ‘Einsteinian gravity’ merely different theories that can be applied in different situations.

    None of this however has the physicist talking about ‘micro-gravity’ and ‘macro-gravity’ so still you have not shown my analogy wrong – at least how I intended my analogy to be used.

    The same is true for evolution.

    WRONG :-)

    As I have just discussed. There is only one known form of gravity, there is only one known form of evolution.

    If you wish to prove otherwise, I would love to read it ( I will go halves on the Noble prize with you if you like)

    The Darwinian mechanisms have been demonstrated and observed in the lab to work on the small scale, but not on the larger scale.

    Darwinian mechanisms?

    The man’s idea is over 150 years old – science has moved on just a little bit my friend. We know about genes and DNA for starters…

    Anyway, not important – this business about ‘not shown on the larger scale’

    Well, for one it has… good old fashion fossils for starters, but I rather like the evidence shown in our DNA.

    Oh, and how in your opinion could it be shown to work on the ‘larger scale’, do you know any governments happy to fund a science project over the next 100 million years?

    "End of part II"

    ReplyDelete
  23. Final part?

    Species- able to mate and produce viable and fertile offspring

    So are Chihuahuas and Great Danes are different species with your definition?

    I don’t see these two dogs ever naturally ‘getting it on’…

    Also, while we are on the subject - take a read of ‘ring species’, I will be asking questions later

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

    Subspecies- different traits but still able to mate and produce viable and fertile offspring

    “different traits” is the key here.

    If we have a subspecies of a subspecies (both little steps you could call ‘micro-evolutional’ steps) then these ‘different traits’ will add up.

    Let’s repeat these ‘micro-evolutional’ steps (which you are happy to say are true I believe) over, say, 10,000 generations.

    The first sub-species might be a breed of wolf…. The 10,000th subspecies could be a Chihuahua or Great Dane (and I am finding it hard to picture these two groups breeding as I said).

    You accept this ‘micro-evolution’ so far.

    Now what happens after 1,000,000 generations?

    Each little step you could call ‘micro-evolution’, but looking back from the 1st generation and jumping to the 1 millionth you would want to call ‘macro-evolution’?

    Makes no sense

    The mechanism is the same. It is just evolution in action.

    Can you explain to me how your ideal of ‘micro-evolution’ will fail to create different species after say 1,000,000 generations?

    Taxonomic Group- Classification

    Then this is just labels of what happens over geological time scales.

    You have not shown how ‘micro-evolution’ over geological timescales could NOT produce different species.

    Considering the fact that the natural world does not follow man-made classifications precisely

    Evolution explains this you know :-)

    Gen1 and 2 does not – however, you might not accept these two accounts as Gospel (so to speak) so lets keep focussed, sorry I brought it up. :-)

    I cannot draw a hard, focused line between where micro and macro are.

    Please re-read what you have concluded in this one sentence.

    And here I can rest my case.

    I believe that some scientists argue that they have also witnessed the birth of a new genus, but I believe that it hotly contested even in evolutionary circles

    On bacterial (e coli) scales I think yes

    A quick google search provided me this if you are interested.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14094-bacteria-make-major-evolutionary-shift-in-the-lab.html

    However if you want to see new species of mammals ‘in action’ all you have to do is provide the funding for a 100,000 year science project and, oh yeah, work out how to live for 100,000 years to observe it.

    And this would be a very, very dull experiment.

    It also seems (from reading your responses and post) to be the only evidence that you are willing to accept – yet I think you will agree this type of experiment cannot happen.

    Slightly off the subject: I noticed that you seem to believe that you do not shoulder any burden of proof, and that I must shoulder all the burdens of proof. Is there any particular reason that you feel you do not share this responsibility?

    If you make a claim, it is the claimant that has the burden of proof. It is that simple.

    As for my responsibly – what claim have I made that I have not backed up?

    Thanks

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  24. "Sam,
    Do you believe that answers exist to your challenges and concerns that will satisfy you?"

    Since you are the Christian apologist and the ID advocate - I will be able to answer that question once you can give a teleological explanation (since that is what ID is) for Necrotizing Fasciitis.

    My "worldview" doesn't NEED teleology. ID on the other hand, is based on it. Therefore, the burden of proof is on the ID person to be consistent with prescribing teleologies to organisms - whether they are complex mammals or flesh eating bacteria.

    ***
    But as for the RTB podcast.... the evidence they require for creationism does not exist, while the evolutionary evidence does. See my comment above.

    As for Behe, was that a peer-reviewed pub? What about Thornton's (an actual researcher)response on Behe's fallacious improbability = impossibility argument?

    ***
    I'm going to sit back and refrain from comments for awhile, or just keep them short (1-2 sentences). You're free to comment on my blog (deontological dilemma 1+2 were specifically for you since you wanted a cataphatic list of my beliefs).

    The only question I really care for an ID answer for is the teleological purpose of Necrotizing Fasciitis (and syphilis, and any other horrible, parasitic, bacterial, type of nastiness out there). But for simplicity, can ID account for Necrotizing Fasciitis?

    If NF was designed, what does that say about the designer?

    ReplyDelete
  25. Just doing some quick research....
    "the Edge of Evolution" was not peer-reviewed.

    Behe also claims that blind mutation/chance is the driving force behind evolution - which is simply false. Natural selection is the primary driving force (but we can see other forces, such as Domestic selection which was Darwin's first chapter of Origins; genetic drift, and also random mutations).

    Behe bypassed peer-review so he could get it to the public - which probably can't differentiate between genetic drift, natural selection, and random mutations. The very fact that ID/Creationists harp so much about random mutations kind of grinds my gears - since natural selection is the driving force of evolution.
    I think that simple distinction is something most creationists/IDers don't even know exists.

    ***
    and peer-review isn't about elitism or ivory towerism. It's about having people who have spent their lives studying biology or chemistry or physics check your publication for accuracy, consistency, and methodology. I just wanted to snip that in the bud before it starts.

    ***
    but still.... to keep things simple, necrotizing fasciitis?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Lee,
    Thanks for the links. I have them "tabbed" and will look at them when I have some more time.

    You bring up a lot of good points that I need to clarify. I think I might dedicate a few posts to the clarifications, rather than do it in comments. They won't show up for a couple months, though (I have quite a few posts already scheduled to publish). So far, what else do you see that I need to go into more detail on?

    Sam,
    Discussing NF will definitely require its own post- maybe even a short series, I'm not sure yet.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi Luke,

    Thanks for the links.

    No problem – the internet has loads of them going spare.

    will look at them when I have some more time.

    No rush – but please focus on the ‘ring species’ link first as it has the most interest in what I am trying to discuss I feel. (Your idea of micro-evolution does bring about new species)

    The other link for ‘evolution in the lab’ was just for your information since you mention you heard it in passing.

    You bring up a lot of good points that I need to clarify.

    Thanks – if you need clarification on anything I said, just ask away. Happy to clarify any of my points since I know it is difficult on such blogs to be clear (I am not the best of writers I know)

    I think I might dedicate a few posts to the clarifications, rather than do it in comments.

    Excellent idea - fine with me to have new posts to comment on.

    I will try and clarify one thing here though.

    I do not care two hoots about the ‘theory of evolution’ – it’s not important to me in anyway. The theory could be wrong for all I care.

    You can pick yourself up from the floor now… I know this might have come as a bit of a shock.

    What I am discussing are the observations – the facts of evolution. This has nothing to do with Darwin’s theory, (this is just a 150 year old idea that tries to explain the observations. If it wasn’t Darwin, it would have been Wallace. The fact it works rather well can be for a later discusion)

    This means you can keep Behe-he-he and co in your back pocket for later discussion.

    I just want to come to some sort of agreement on the ‘facts of evolution’ (that animals slowly change over time… i.e. ‘micro-evolution’ + time leads to ‘macro-evolution’… which means there is really no difference between micro and macro and these prefixes can (and should) be dropped.)

    It is purely this that I feel we should focus on first.

    Makes sense?

    Also note – though I am a non-believer in gods (atheist if you like for short) the idea of evolution has nothing to do with gods or religion. What I mean by this is that evolution can be true and God exists.

    I just want to make that clear that I am not here arguing against God. (I can if you like, but it would be a different argument.)

    Oh, and we can leave my analogy of gravity for later discussions also – it was purely an analogy on the meaningless of prefixes like ‘micro-gravity’ and ‘macro-gravity’ – there is only one gravity (just our current theories cannot fully explain it… funny, no fundamentalist Christians are shouting “It is ONLY a theory” outside physics classes – I wonder why?)

    They won't show up for a couple months

    No worries – once you post them, just drop a comment on my blog telling me to ‘pop over’

    I’m supposed to be busy myself these next few months anyway – the wife wants me to design her a website for her business. I’ve just bought the software, now I have to read the manual. Ht-what?

    Take care – look forward to hearing from you again.

    All I ask is that you think about our little discussion, and not just dismiss it out of hand.

    If I am wrong, I really do want to know. I like to have as few wrong ideas as possible in my head.

    See ya

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Sam

    If NF was designed, what does that say about the designer?

    Sorry, I jumped on the acronym before reading your earlier comment.

    The NF in England use to be the National Front party

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

    Racist, brain-dead, idiots...

    I think your argument still stands about them also. :-)

    More seriously, we can look at many observations in the universe and ask the question - if this was designed, what does it say about the designer?

    Evolution for one is not very nice or efficient. If evolution is true, and God/designer exists – what does this say about God and/or the designer?

    This also reminds me also of the ‘fine tuning’ argument many theists throw around without thinking.

    The theist states that the universe MUST be designed by an intelligent designer for the purpose of mankind.

    As a biologist blogger friend has often stated on this point – if this argument is true, then it would be more true to say the universe was designed for pubic lice (Don’t you just love biologists)

    Coming from a more astrophysical background/education – I would say if the universe was designed for anything, it is clearly for space and blackholes.

    Sorry – off topic, but there you go.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  29. The terms "macroevoluion" and "microevolution" are terms invented by people who don't study biology or evolution. They mean absolutely nothing. Evolution is always slow, gradual, and therefore "micro" by the standards of those who use these pseudo-scientific terms. Even speciation occurs due to slow, gradual (i.e. "micro") changes over vast periods of time.

    ReplyDelete

****Please read my UPDATED post Comments Now Open before posting a comment.****