Home » Biology, Evolution, Intelligent Design, Science » Arguments from Incredulity – A Double Standard

Arguments from Incredulity – A Double Standard

I was reading The origin of the brain lies in a worm on the evolution of the central nervous system (CNS) and found a presumption in it based on nothing more than an Argument from Incredulity about the origin of complexity.

My emphasis.

“Our findings were overwhelming,” says Alexandru Denes, who carried out the research in Arendt’s lab. “The molecular anatomy of the developing CNS turned out to be virtually the same in vertebrates and Platynereis. Corresponding regions give rise to neuron types with similar molecular fingerprints and these neurons also go on to form the same neural structures in annelid worm and vertebrate.”

“Such a complex arrangement could not have been invented twice throughout evolution, it must be the same system,” adds Gáspár Jékely, a researcher from Arendt’s lab, who contributed essentially to the study. “It looks like Platynereis and vertebrates have inherited the organisation of their CNS from their remote common ancestors.”

So how is it that NDE proponents can use an argument from personal incredulity and get away with it while the same argument when employed by an ID proponent is dismissed as a logical fallacy? A double standard is how.

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10 Responses to Arguments from Incredulity – A Double Standard

  1. 1

    It has to be a double standard. It’s far more incredible that this advanced computing form evolved through stochastic processes than that there was an efficient, shared design.

  2. Funny, whenever I have stated to an ID critic that the human eye and the octopus eye are very similar even though their common ancestor is thought to be eyeless, they chant the magic words which eliminate the whole probability and/or frontloading problem: convergent evolution.

    I guess the magic words work only when the evidence isn’t consistent with Darwinism.

  3. Evolutionist =“Such a complex arrangement could not have been invented twice throughout evolution, it must be the same system,”

    Creationist = “Such a complex arrangement could not have been invented once throughout evolution, it must be the amazing,”

  4. Funny, whenever I have stated to an ID critic that the human eye and the octopus eye are very similar even though their common ancestor is thought to be eyeless, they chant the magic words which eliminate the whole probability and/or frontloading problem: convergent evolution.

    I think the idea of convergent evolution destroys the concept of homology as evidence for common descent (though I have no problem in accepting common descent myself). Since very similar organs and systems can appear many times in organisms that have no common anscestor, then the whole concept of homology is circular reasoning.

  5. 5
    The Scubaredneck

    Notice how personal incredulity is highly selective. No one seems to have a problem with the camera eye (a highly complex structure) having evolved at least twice (in verts and in cephalopods). Of course, since cephalopods are extremely derived mollusks, and the camera eye isn’t found in any other mollusks, there isn’t the least possibility of there being a common ancestor with a camera eye from which they both sprang so they are painted into a corner.

    Just so you know whose nervous system we’re talking about, here is a picture of Platynereis, a marine worm (related to earth worms).

    The Phylum Chordata (which includes verts), along with the Phylum Echinodermata (sea urchins, star fish, et al) and a couple of others, form a branch of Kingdom Anamalia called the Deuterostomes. The Phyla Mullusca, Annelida and Arthropoda form the branch known as the Protostomes. This split is based on early embryonic developmental differences and is considered a fundamental division in the Kingdom. The question that this result seems to lead to is how many other Protostome and Deuterostome critters have a similar molecular anatomy to their CNS. If none, then their claims against multiple episodes of evolution seem to be premature at best. Indeed, before this claim would have much merit at all, it would seem to be necessary to show that this molecular CNS anatomy is basal to both Protostomes and Deuterostomes (or even older). The fact that two branch tips have the condition seems hardly sufficient to argue common ancestry.

    The Scubaredneck

  6. “Funny, whenever I have stated to an ID critic that the human eye and the octopus eye are very similar even though their common ancestor is thought to be eyeless, they chant the magic words which eliminate the whole probability and/or frontloading problem: convergent evolution.”

    Wait a minute. I have never heard this! Can someone give me a link to read up on? I am really surprised. All the evidence I have seen is from the eye of an octopus, it never struck me that ancestry was different. That really is quite amazing!

  7. bork @ 6

    I first read about this in Gerald Schroeder’s “The Science of God”. Chapters 6 & 7 were the big eye openers for me. The excerpt in question is from chapter 6 (Life: Its Origins and Its Evolution), page 92:

    “There is no way this same gene [Pax-6] could have evolved independently in each of the five phyla – it must have been present in a common ancestor. The gene that controls the development of the eyes was programmed into life at the level below the Cambrian. That level is either the amorphous sponge-like Ediacarans or one-celled protozoa. But neither has eyes.” [emphasis in the original]

    Chordates and molluscs are of course two different phyla. Thus, the common ancestor of humans and octopi is pre-Cambrian. To the best of our knowledge, no pre-Cambrian organism had eyes. Thus, the common ancestor of humans and octopi had no eyes. It follows that the eye had to evolve at least twice.

    If Cambrian fossils are credible, the eye evolved five separate times in a relatively short period of time. Too short to be adequately explained by NDE.

    You requested links, so here you go:

    BBC – H2G2 entry on octopuses (sic).
    Comparative Analysis of Gene Expression for Convergent Evolution of Camera Eye Between Octopus and Human
    The Invalidity of Morphological Homology

    I’m sure Google could help me produce many more, but I’ve already taken up too much bandwidth here. Hope this helps.

  8. [OFF TOPIC] Animal Planet’s Most Extreme, “Inventors” edition.

    TV Schedule Tag Line:

    We’re counting down the top ten most extreme inventors in the animal kingdom to see how long it took humans to copy the ingenuity of the natural world.

    The TV advertisement suggests that human technological ingenuity copies masterful designs in nature.

    DirecTV shows the episode airing Sunday, April 24th, at 5:00 PM

    Schedule Link

  9. Correction: not Sunday but Tuesday. My bad.

  10. An attempt to summarize:

    Double Standard:
    ================

    Scientist A studies the development of the Central Nervous System (CNS) in 2 different phyla, chordata (vertebrates) and
    a marine worm (?) and makes 2 main observations:
    -) the development is virtually identical
    -) the pattern is extremely complex

    combining this with his knowledge of mathematical probability, he states the pattern is too complex
    to have evolved identically twice, and therefore concludes that the pattern had to have
    derived from a common ancestor.

    This very reasonable sounding scientific analysis has been published in a science journal.

    this amounts to making a prediction that such a common ancestor should have existed, and
    the expectation that evidence could be found to corroborate this prediction.

    On the other hand, though, if Scientist B would observe that the complementary structures and behaviors
    of the DNA and ribosome are so fantastically more complicated than the patterns observed by scientist A,
    and therefore conclude that there was no chance of it having evolved even once, he will be told
    that he has made a logical fallacy called the argument from incredulity, and that his
    conclusion is not science and could not be published in a scientific journal.

    We end up in a situation where, perhaps, we could construct a statement of the following type:

    So, if we factor out X, where
    X = “the structure under question”

    so, scientist A can state:

    X is too complex to have evolved: this is a scientific statement made by a bona fide scientist

    Scientist B says:

    X is too complex to have evolved: this is the statement of a creationist.

    Hmmmmm?

    So then the only variable is:

    “who is speaking”

    that’s the ticket!

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