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Evolutionary Manifesto by John Davison (part II-1,II-2,II-3)

This is the next installment in the series on John Davison’s An Evolutionary Manifesto: A New Hypothesis for Organic Change. In addition to being a professor of biology since 1954, John is one of the few elites with a published pro-ID peer-reviewed paper (see: Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis).

Dr. Davison’s work is relevant to the ideas of pro-ID evolutionists who explore the concept of front-loaded evolution as well as modern scientific creationists. I never thought that I (a creationist) would be so enthusiastic about a work promoting an evolutionary hypothesis. Dr. Davison’s work is gaining appreciation across the spectrum of views within ID’s big tent.

This installment will be part of Dr. Davison’s cogent refutation of the concluding remarks in Darwin’s Origin of Species.

I would like to thank Dr. Davison for taking the time to visit Uncommon Descent and his willingness to respond to question about his work. I hope the readers will also be mindful of what he endured at the hands of Darwinians while a professor of biology at the University of Vermont. See: WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN ANTIDARWINIAN AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT. The material you are about to read are forbidden ideas at the University of Vermont, so take care lest the thought police find you reading this. :-)

Here is the link to the full text: An Evolutionary Manifesto: A New Hypothesis for Organic Change. That said, let us proceed to Dr. Davison’s work part II-1, II-2, II-3:

==========================================

II. Is evolution finished?

All intelligent thoughts have already been thought;
what is necessary is only to try to think them again.
– Goethe

It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there
is no ground whatsoever for supposing it to be true.
– Bertrand Russell

II-1. Why has Darwinism prevailed?

Darwinism has prevailed entirely for negative reasons since alternative hypotheses have proven to be inadequate. Chief among these is Lamarckism or the genetic transmission of characters acquired during the life of the individual. Such transmissions have never been demonstrated at least in higher forms. Accordingly, in the absence of experimental verification, Lamarckism cannot be given serious consideration.

A second alternative view is Creationism. Here caution must be observed. While it is true that the existence of a Creator, while a logical necessity, has never been rigorously proved and perhaps never can be, it is also true that neither has been the spontaneous generation of life. Pasteur’s flasks, on display at the Sorbonne and open to the air, remain sterile to this day and there is no evidence whatsoever from the geological record to support the celebrated “organic soup” hypothesis for spontaneous generation.

Perhaps the most compelling feature for the Darwinists resides in their persistent conviction that all of evolution is the result of blind chance. In so doing, the Darwinists refuse to consider that evolution might be subject to laws and precise mathematical relationships such as those that govern virtually every aspect of the inanimate world. Obvious examples are Galileo’s Law of Falling Bodies, Newton’s Laws of Motion and Einstein’s equation of energy and mass. One must be prepared to realize that there may be comparable laws at work in the living world. Furthermore, blind chance demands that life should have arisen and should still be arising on countless other planets in the vast cosmos, yet there is no evidence that life exists now, or has ever existed anywhere, except on this planet. With all our advanced technology, we still have not been able to produce even the simplest organic system which could even remotely be described as being alive. Are we to believe that mere chance can accomplish that which has proven quite impossible for the enlightened scientist to achieve? I regard that notion as absurd! I quote Albert Einstein on the matter of chance: “I shall never believe that God plays dice with the world.”

If Einstein’s physical world does not operate through chance, would one really expect the living world to do so? I, as others before me, do not think so. The Darwinists’ stubborn refusal to consider any possible role for laws, order and purpose is what primarily accounts for their failure to present a rational mechanism for evolutionary change. Technically, Darwinism is not even a theory. It is only a hypothesis which, to this day, remains totally devoid of experimental and descriptive verification. Theories, sensu strictu, are hypotheses which, having been tested, have been found valid. For example, Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity remained a hypothesis until it had been verified. Only then did it become a theory. Scientists, after all, are expected to maintain open minds. But do they? Sadly, I must answer that question — Not always!

II-2. Living and nonliving systems compared

One of the most influential of Darwin’s predecessors was the geologist Charles Lyell. He expounded the concept of uniformitarianism. Stated simply, he believed that the forces we now see gradually reshaping the surface of the earth have operated the same way throughout the past. This idea gave Darwin the necessary timescale to account for the gradual evolution of the life forms we now see. His total acceptance of the uniformitarian doctrine is clearly evident in those closing words of the Origin which I quoted in the introduction: “… have been, and are being, evolved”.

Can the notion of uniformitarianism be applied to living systems? The answer at every level is a resounding no. A muscle cell, having contracted, must relax before it can contract again. An amoeba grows and then it stops to divide before it recommences growth. Embryos undergo cellular differentiation, then stop when the definitive state is reached. Most creatures grow until they reach adult size and then stop. In other words, living systems practice autoregulation and self-limitation. These are fundamental distinctions between the animate and inanimate worlds (Davison 1998). I now present the evidence that evolution, like other biological processes, has also been subject to autoregulation.

II-3. The evidence from paleontology

The question — Is evolution finished? — like all others concerning evolution, must ultimately be reconciled with the fossil record. I have no credentials as a paleontologist, so I will offer the views of two authorities, the first a professed Darwinian and the second a skeptic of Darwinism. Julian Huxley, the grandson of Thomas Henry Huxley, published what unfortunately proved to be an excessively influential book in 1942. Evolution: The Modern Synthesis summarized a consensus among certain geneticists, systematists and paleontologists that evolution was a Darwinian phenomenon, guided by chance and natural selection. Among these were the geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky, the ornithologist Ernst Mayr and the paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the text is the revealing and totally contradictory summary that Huxley offers on page 571, seven pages from the end.

Evolution is thus seen as a series of blind alleys. Some are extremely short — those leading to new genera and species that either remain stable or become extinct. Others are longer — the lines of adaptive isolation within a group such as a class or subclass, which run for tens of millions of years before coming up against their terminal blank wall. Others are still longer — the links that in the past led to the development of the major phyla and their highest representatives; their course is to be reckoned not in tens but in hundreds of millions of years. But all in the long run have terminated blindly. That of the echinoderms, for instance, reached its climax before the end of the Mesozoic.

For arthropods, represented by their highest group, the insects, the full stop seems to have come in the early Cenozoic. Even the ants and bees have made no advance since the Oligocene. For the birds, the Miocene marked the end; for the mammals the Pliocene.

Note Huxley’s language: blind alley, terminal blank wall, terminated blindly, full stop and marked the end. Is this language compatible with the Darwinian perspective? Of course
it isn’t!

Robert Broom, who was certainly no Darwinian, had reached comparable conclusions:

There is, however, no doubt that evolution, so far as new groups are concerned, is at an end. That a small line of generalized animals should have continued on till in Eocene times the Primates originated and then ceased, and that except for specializations of Eocene types there has been no evolution in the last forty million years, and that the evolutionary clock has so completely run down that it is very doubtful if a single new genus has appeared on earth in the last two million years …
The Coming of Man (1933)

In Eocene times — say between 50,000,000 and 30,000,000 years ago — small primitive mammals rather suddenly gave rise to over a dozen very different Orders — hoofed animals, odd-toed and even-toed, elephants, carnivores, whales, rodents, bats and monkeys. And after this there were no more Orders of mammals ever evolved. There were great varieties of evolution in the Orders that had appeared, but strangely enough Nature seemed incapable of forming any more new Orders. What is equally remarkable, no new types of birds appear to have evolved in the last 30,000,000 years. And most remarkable of all, no new family of plants appears to have evolved since the Eocene. All major evolution has apparently come to an end. No new types of fishes, no groups of molluscs, or worms or starfishes, no new groups even of insects, appear to have been evolved in these latter 30,000,000 years.
Finding the Missing Link
(1951), page 107

Only once — perhaps in Cambrian times — did an invertebrate give rise to a vertebrate, and the invertebrate ancestor seems to have early become extinct. And today, there is no invertebrate that could again give rise to a vertebrate. “Evolution as the paleontologist sees it”
(1932), page 686

There are no mammals today in the world that are not already specialized so far that they can never evolve into anything very different.
Ibid., page 69

In a demonstration of his faith, Broom continued:

As evolution has practically finished and cannot be repeated unless all higher life is wiped off the earth and a new start made from the very beginning, we may perhaps conclude that man is the end to which some power has guided evolution.
Ibid., page 71

I discovered that Broom and Huxley had corresponded on this matter as early as 1933 as revealed by the following:

And a few zoologists are beginning to recognize that evolution is slowing down, if not quite stopped. In a letter I had from Professor Julian Huxley only a few months ago he says, “I have often thought about your idea of the fading out of evolutionary potency, and though I cannot pretend to agree with some of the philosophical corollaries which you draw from it, I more and more believe that it is of great importance as a fact.”

“Evolution — Is there intelligence Behind It?” (1933), page 14

While Huxley shared Broom’s scientific conclusions, it is not surprising that as a humanist (as opposed to a deist) he did not agree that evolution may have been guided. Nevertheless, one might ask — If it has not been guided, then why has it stopped? I address the question of guidance in a later section.

Without mentioning either Huxley or Broom, the French zoologist Pierre Grassé reached the same conclusion. Curiously, the following comments by Grassé (with which I agree completely) stand in marked contrast to the title of the book which is their source!

Facts are facts; no new broad organizational plan has appeared for several hundred million years, and for an equally long time numerous species, animal as well as plant, have ceased evolving. … At best, present evolutionary phenomena are simply slight changes of genotypes within populations, or substitution of an allele with a new one.

Evolution of Living Organisms
(1977), page 84

In order to proceed I am going to accept the consensus of Huxley, Broom and Grassé that evolution has indeed ceased, at least for the majority of higher life forms. Thus, intrinsic to the evolutionary process itself has been the capacity to bring it to a halt, thereby demonstrating autoregulation. One might now ask — Is it possible to observe, and thereby explain, a mechanism that is no longer in operation? To this question I answer — Of course not, which means that one must attempt to reconstruct that mechanism from contemporary observations. That reconstructive synthesis is a primary goal of this treatise.

Another feature of evolutionary history bears on the question of autoregulation. The vast majority of all the organisms that ever existed have become extinct. I propose that they became extinct because they could no longer evolve or otherwise manage to survive. Isn’t it interesting that today we see rampant extinction, and the list of endangered species continues to grow, yet no one has observed the progressive evolution of any one of these forms as a response to the challenges offered by a changing environment. Admittedly, man is altering the environment at an unprecedented rate. Aren’t these precisely the conditions that should be evoking dramatic evolutionary responses? Where are they?

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44 Responses to Evolutionary Manifesto by John Davison (part II-1,II-2,II-3)

  1. 1

    Thank you Salvador. Surely my closing words – Where are they?, will not remain unanswered. Or will they? So far, so good.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  2. I’m saving the closing for the next installment. I want to keep the readers in suspense and eager for the next installment. :-)

    My participation may be sporadic over the next couple of days.

    In the mean time, I highly recommend discussion of rapid extinction today. I don’t think the scientific community appreciates what this empirical fact says about Darwinian evolution.

    If it can be established the extincitons have an independence from man’s influence on the environment, that would be highly important.

    Salvador

  3. 3

    I regard the present rate of extinction expressed as species disappearing per annum as the greatest in the history of the earth. This of course does not include past catastrophic events which had instanteous effects. One of the difficulties is in getting precise estimates but a conservative estimate of 25,000 per annum with 10,000,000 known species places the time constants in the range of 400 years, not a very pleasant prospect. Personally I don’t see civilization lasting that long quite independent of species extinction. The enexorable increase of atmospheric CO2 will alone do us in.

    Besides, extinction is not the issue here. The issue is – Where are the recently evolved forms? My several challenges remain unaknowledged even, let alone answered. Life is like that for anti-Darwinians, past and present. We do not exist because we must not exist. That includes Julian Huxley who introduced the term “modern synthesis” in his 1942 book – “Evolution: The Modern Synthesis.”

    It is hard to believe isn’t it?

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  4. What evidence is there of 25,000 extinctions per year?

    How many of the 2,000 species that supposedly died just last month can you name?

  5. Where we might have higher precision is withing major divisions. I think birds are among the most carefully monitored species. If it can be established that birds have not been speciating and are going extinct quickly, that would be an important data point for this discussion.

    We can go on then with other complex taxa in like manner.

    Salvador

  6. Salvador

    Here is the most definitive list I could find of U.S. extinctions in recorded history. The U.S. is a prime representative location as it was only recently settled by large numbers of humans and exceedingly well documented by naturalists. There are less than 200 species listed. Hardly good support for the hyperbolic claims of 25,000 extinctions per year worldwide. Adding to the hyperbolic nature of such claims is the fact that most of these so-called extinct species were probably not real species but varieties of species wherein there are still living representives today. I reasonably ask what tests were performed to confirm that these extinct species could not produce fertile hybrids with living relatives? The answer is going to be a very short list if there’s any list at all. I don’t believe ANY such testing was done with any name on that list.

  7. 7

    I take it DaveScot denies mass extinction. Not being an expert in such matters I will defer to others more knowledgeable than I.

    In his book, “The Sixth Extinction,” Richard Leakey quotes the paleontologist David Raup in his book “Extinction: Bad genes or Bad Luck?,”

    “The disturbing reality is that for none of the thousands of well-documented extinctions in the geological past do we have a solid explanation of why the extinction occurred.”

    Then Leakey adds:

    “For the sixth extinction, however, we do know the culprit. We are.”
    page 254.

    Furthermore I believe that the extinction of many life forms was preprogrammed and took place independent of any environmental forces. The bizarre orthogenetic tendencies exibited by the dinosaurs were bound to lead to their extinction and did. Only the rather conservative Crocodilia remain. Especially vulnerable were large animals with reduced reproductive potential. I know of no really large living fossils and none larger than Homo sapiens.

    Even though the actual numbers can only be estimated, which is all that I ventured to do, the destruction of the tropical rain forests alone means the loss of countless species not even yet catalogued. The loss of those rain forests also means the loss of one of the primary sinks for increasing C02 levels and one of the reasons they continue to climb.

    Besides, the issue here is not the extinction of species, which I regard as self-evident. It is the absence of any new ones.

    Every major extinction in the remote past was accompanied by new life forms appearing simultaneously with the disappearance of the predecessors. The primitive mammals were appearing as the Dinosaurs were disappearing. Where are the new life forms appearing today? Are we to believe there will appear a new class of vertebrates with five chambered hearts let us say? To suggest that creative evolution is still in progress is without any merit whatsoever and flies in the face of everything we know. To deny rampant present extinction is equally absurd and worse, dangerous.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  8. But don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe there are any replacement species and maybe just a few replacement varieties for those 200 named so the core claim that modern extinctions vastly outnumber modern speciations is quite true. Hyperbolic claims of the number of extinctions serves to weaken the argument and is unnecessary to support it. The 3 biggest hoaxes in science today:

    1) Evolution by chance & necessity
    2) Human-caused global warming
    3) Human-caused mass extinction

    Like most persistent myths, these all have a grain of truth to them, but are largely fantastic exageration.

  9. Yes John, I absolutely do deny mass extinction of species in recorded history. There may be a legitimate case for well above average extinction of varieties where human settlement has occured but until someone demonstrates that the several thousand documented extinctions were of true species versus varieties able to produce fertile hybrids with living relatives I’m not going to be gulled by claims to the contrary.

    I have no argument whatsoever with you that creative organic evolution is not underway at this time and lack of replacement species is the prime bit of evidence in support of it.

  10. “loss of species never catalogued”

    Is that how science works now? We refer to things as fact there were never demonstrated?

    What experimental evidence or observation confirms that the imagined number of undocumented extinct species left behind no living relatives with whom fertile hybrids may have been produced? I would tend to agree that many varieties of living species are no longer with us but the claim that these were unique species is pure unadulterated speculation. I for one do not seek or offer myself to be gulled by such wild speculation. I reject the Darwinian narrative for the same reason. No gulling here.

  11. 11

    How many replacements have appeared for the list that DaveScot provided and how does one test for hybrid fertility with dead animals?

    I repeat what I have claimed, which is that creative evolution is no longer in progress. It has nothing to do with extinction. However if there was ever a time in the history of the planet when the environment was being so drastically altered it is right now. Where are the new higher life forms exploiting those new environments? I repeat my challenge to name a new mammalian species known to have been produced from a known predecessor in recorded times. We do not see “evolution in action” as the Darwinians continue blindly to assert. We see only the terminal products of a long past evolution. I regard it as very significant that man seems to represent the terminus of mammalian evolution, apparently the youngest mammal on the planet. I believe the same can be said for virually every other taxonomic category. Like ontogeny, phylogeny too has been a self-regulating, self-terminating phenomenon as I assert on my new blog -

    theendofevolution.blogspot.com

    “Neither in the one nor in the other is there room for chance.”
    Leo Berg, Nomogenesis, page 134.

    As I quoted at length here earlier, Peirre Grasse asked:

    “Aren’t our plants, our animals lacking some mechanisms which were present in the early flora and fauna?”
    The Evolution of Living Organisms, page 71.

    I answer with an emphatic yes. What say others? I want to hear anyone say no and justify it. I claim it can’t be done.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  12. “How many replacements have appeared for the list that DaveScot provided and how does one test for hybrid fertility with dead animals?”

    One cannot test for hybrid fertility with extinct organisms. That’s the whole point. Claims about them as unique species cannot be reliably made when there are closely related living relatives.

    The number of unique species that have been generated in recorded history where there was reasonable testing done to assure they were true species and not merely varieties is zero as far as I know. Whether there have been any extinctions or not is immaterial as we should expect in any case some true new species would have been generated and documented during that time. One might even reasonably expect a new species of dog in 20,000 years of artificial selection for characters that wouldn’t have made the natural selection grade yet every variety of dog remains capable of producing fertile hybrids with every other variety.

  13. 13

    I find it very difficult to understand how DaveScot can deny that species now extinct were not unique. Does he really believe that extinct forms are nothing more than varieties of extant forms? Every true species past or present is or was unique. That is what evolution is all about. Without extinction there could never have been evolution and, as near as I am able to ascertain, the extinction we observe today will lead to no new life forms. I also know of no proven living descendents of ANY now extinct species, not a single one. If others do, let them prove it. Does anyone really think that the Tasmanian wolf or the Dodo have living descendents? I hope not. I am not attempting to “gull” anyone, and I resent the implication. I am just coming to grips with the facts. Creative evolution stopped eons ago, 2 million years ago at the genus level and 100,000 or so years ago at the mammalian species level with us as the terminal product.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Daviosn

  14. Gentleman,

    I think I may have led the discussion down the wrong path regarding extinctions. I can see this is becoming a point of contention. My apologies.

    I would now welcome commentary on the emergence of new species. Are the speciation events above the species or genus level today?

    Salvador

  15. John,

    Please don’t put words in my mouth. Nowhere did I deny that extinct species were not unique. I said that extinct species with close living relatives cannot be reliably determined to be unique species versus varieties of living species. It cannot be reliably stated one way or another. If you know of a way to make that determination reliably please so state but I thought you’d already admitted there was no way to test whether an extinct species can produce a fertile hybrid with a living species. We can make a reasonable assumption that tyranasuarus rex is a unique species that cannot interbreed with any living species but can we say the same of the Carolina Parakeet or the Puerto Rican Long Nosed Bat or the Texas Gray Wolf? I hardly think so. All these latter animals which are representative of so-called modern extinctions can, in all likelyhood, produce fertile hybrids with living parakeets, living bats, and living wolves respectively.

  16. 16

    Salvador

    Why limit it to above species or genus? My claim is that NO NEW SPECIES, GENERA, FAMILIES, ORDERS, CLASSES OR PHYLA have appeared in recorded history and not even a documentable GENUS has appeared in 2 million years. In short, except for the artificial production of varieties which will never become species anyway, evolution is FINISHED. Ye Gods, how many times must I say it before it sinks in?

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  17. John,

    The reason a mentioned Genus is that I’ve been under the impression there have been subspeciation events within the last hundred years or so. Have there not been claims of subspeciation events? Drosophilla comes to mind.

    Salvador

  18. 18

    I do not speculate on the results of experiments that cannot possibly be performed. The fact remains that there is nothing ambiguous about what species are and what they are not. It was a Darwinian, Theodosius Dobzhansky, that gave us that unambiguous criterion, the same Dobzhansky that proved that Drosophila, the favorite pet of the Darwinian gradualist evolutionists, is incapable of exceeding the species barrier with even the most rigorous selection imaginable. Yet for reasons that can only be ideological, the Darwinians insist that evolution is going on all around us.

    It is hard to believe isn’t it?

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  19. 19

    Salvador

    Since no objections seem to be forthcoming that evolution is no longer in progress, which is the take home lesson of this section, I recommend that further installments be introduced which will offer my explanation for WHY evolution is no longer going on and WHY natural selection had nothing to do with evolution when it WAS going on. As I intend to demonstrate, the Darwinian model can do nothing more than produce varieties and for many life forms not even that.

    Of course that is up to you. I am just a visitor here.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  20. “natural selection had nothing to do with evolution when it WAS going on.”

    I have to admit I have had some musings (just musings, no detailed oservations or experiments, sorry) in this direction as well, although my thoughts would be better phrased as ‘Even if evolution happened it seems to have gone in in a direction that is against what one would expect from natural selection.’ It will be interesting to see if my thoughts are at all similar to yours.

    BTW Dave, I have to agree with you about the three greatest modern hoaxes.

  21. 21

    I see StephenA, whoever that is, agrees with DaveScot, we know who that is, that human-caused global warming and human-caused mass extinctions are each hoaxes. Congatulations to both of you for the clairvoyance you share. To call each of these perspectives a hoax is unforgivable and shows a profound lack of objectivity.

    I hope you both agree with me that creative evolution is no longer in progress. If you do, you are batting 33% in the hoax department. A hoax is a proposition that has been proven to be wrong and which was perpetrated deliberately. Accordingly, Darwinism is a proven hoax. There is every reason to believe that both global warming and contemporary species extinction are due largely if not exclusively to human activity. I know of not a single piece of hard data that would exclude that explanation. Does anyone? Richard Leakey didn’t title his book “The Sixth Extinction” for nothing.

    I agree with his closing words.

    “For the sixth extinction, however, we do know the culprit. We are.”

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  22. John,

    I want to let the thread stay open for a couple more days before the next installment as I want to study it some more.

    Also, in the interim, I’m having to do some work on a situation involving more victims of the Darwinian Inquisition: UVa faculty alarmed by ID’s presence on their campus. There are several science faculty, grad students, and undergrads who are at risk to falling victim to a witch hunt. I have been asked to assist in pleading their cause. I will return shortly to the discussion of your fine work.

    Thank you for you patience.

    Salvador

  23. 23

    That’s fine with me. I just hope this thread will concentrate on the take home lesson of this section which is that creative evolution is no longer going on and hasn’t been for a long time.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  24. John wrote:

    Since no objections seem to be forthcoming that evolution is no longer in progress,

    Is no one willing to challenge this statement? Will Nick Matzke, Jack Krebs, Andrea Bottaro, or any of the Pandas come forward and speak up. You are of course invited to say, “Dr. Davison is right.”

    Going once…..

    Salvador

  25. 25

    Salvador

    It is hard to believe isn’t it?

    I love it so!

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  26. Aren’t any Darwinists going to come forward and at least cut and paste quotes from Talk Origins?

    Going twice….

    Salvador

  27. TOE proposes that populations of organisms evolve as “beneficial” mutations are selected by the environmental niche occupied by that particular population. Swifts are well adapted to life on the wing, caves are home to creatures that could not exist elsewhere, deep sea vents are exploited by tube worms found nowhere else on this planet.

    John suggests that the environment plays no part in the adaptations of organisms, and that instead, all the information necessary for life on this planet was provided by one or more supernatural beings, and that the whole process of evolution was predetermined.

    It seems a very neat trick to manage to place all these predetermined organisms into their predetermined niches.

    Evolution, as proposed by TOE, is a process measured in geological time, almost impossible to observe in a human time scale. Though one example, the introduction of the cane toad to Australia causing several snake species populations to evolve smaller heads, (those with larger heads having died from attempting to eat the poisonous toads).

    I would be interested in seeing what evidence there is for a past undeniable evolution having stopped.

  28. Excuse typo:

    Though one example… …comes to mind.

  29. Another example that is even more difficult to explain with John Davison’s front-loading concept, beyond the argumant that Alan Fox brought. According to Davison’s description, one would expect that a land animal should have lost much of its front-loaded genetic material to specialize into a life of grazing on land. If that is so, there should not be enough prescribed information left to permit a change of venue as thorough as the evolution of one of these into the family of sea-dwelling dolphins and whales.

  30. ofro,

    If you feel comfortable volunteering information about your field of study, you may state it. Your field of expertise may have bearing on this discussion.

    Salvador

  31. Interesting request….
    I am a trained chemist, did some relatively simple biophysics for a while, now I am a cell physiologist. I have worked a good deal with molecular-biological techniques. I cloned a human gene that is the fusion product of two “precursor” genes, which are still separate genes in the rodent and do not yet possess a primate-specific exon that encodes a totally new protein only found in primates.

    I was raised a catholic (which you probably already know), am 5’7’’ tall and just a few pounds overweight :)

  32. A trained chemist and cell physiologist who didn’t know that DNA is more stable than RNA? Interesting. Unless the chemistry is bathtub methamphetamine and the cells have steel bars on them I’d say you’re lying.

  33. DaveScot:
    When did I say that I didn’t know about the relative stability of DNA and RNA?

  34. Snakes with smaller heads are still snakes. The evolution that has evidently halted is the creative kind where there is biological novelty which would cause taxonomic reclassification. The evolution you speak is trivial adaptation that involves nothing novel, just changes in scale or cosmetics. Scale and cosmetics are the difference between Chihuahuas and St. Bernard. It can create a remarkable outward difference in appearance but engineering-wise it’s trivial. A retractible claw is the difference between a Chihuahua and a Mexican Hairless Cat. There is far less difference in appearance than between Chuhuahua and St. Bernard but engineering-wise the difference is much greater. Give me an observed example of the evolution of a novel cell type, tissue type, organ, or body plan.

  35. “There is every reason to believe that both global warming and contemporary species extinction are due largely if not exclusively to human activity. I know of not a single piece of hard data that would exclude that explanation.”

    Both regular extinctions and large variation in global average temperature have been happening for hundreds of millions of years before humans appeared on the scene. There is a mountain of hard data to support each of those assertions. Don’t be foolish. It detracts from your credibility elsewhere.

  36. ofro

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ment-57206

    Having said that, it is possible that RNA is chemically not quite as stable as DNA in the complete absence of enzymatic activity. But that is more of an academic issue than one relating to abiogenesis.

    It is not only possible, it’s a well established fact that RNA is nowhere near as stable as DNA and the issue not just academic. If you ever took a course in biochemistry you should ask for your money back.

  37. Ofro,

    You volunteered quite a bit more than I expected! I’m glad you said something of your research so that the readers can have an idea of your perspective.

    Do you have any comments on the idea that evolution is finished or has been finished in the last 2 million years in regards to new species? Though I agree with John in general, and the paleontologists he cited, I think small races or limited subspeciations still happen. Whether that’s sufficient to count as “evolution of new species” depends how one is using the phrase “evolution of new species”.

    If you have anything to add beyond the following, feel free to do so:

    Talk origins claims New Species:

    New species have arisen in historical times. For example:

    A new species of mosquito, the molestus form isolated in London’s Underground, has speciated from Culex pipiens (Byrne and Nichols 1999; Nuttall 1998).

    Helacyton gartleri is the HeLa cell culture, which evolved from a human cervical carcinoma in 1951. The culture grows indefinitely and has become widespread (Van Valen and Maiorana 1991).

    Several new species of plants have arisen via polyploidy (when the chromosome count multiplies by two or more) (de Wet 1971). One example is Primula kewensis (Newton and Pellew 1929).

    Incipient speciation, where two subspecies interbreed rarely or with only little success, is common. Here are just a few examples:

    Rhagoletis pomonella, the apple maggot fly, is undergoing sympatric speciation. Its native host in North America is Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.), but in the mid-1800s, a new population formed on introduced domestic apples (Malus pumila). The two races are kept partially isolated by natural selection (Filchak et al. 2000).
    The mosquito Anopheles gambiae shows incipient speciation between its populations in northwestern and southeastern Africa (Fanello et al. 2003; Lehmann et al. 2003).
    Silverside fish show incipient speciation between marine and estuarine populations (Beheregaray and Sunnucks 2001).

    Ring species show the process of speciation in action. In ring species, the species is distributed more or less in a line, such as around the base of a mountain range. Each population is able to breed with its neighboring population, but the populations at the two ends are not able to interbreed. (In a true ring species, those two end populations are adjacent to each other, completing the ring.) Examples of ring species are

    the salamander Ensatina, with seven different subspecies on the west coast of the United States. They form a ring around California’s central valley. At the south end, adjacent subspecies klauberi and eschscholtzi do not interbreed (Brown n.d.; Wake 1997).
    greenish warblers (Phylloscopus trochiloides), around the Himalayas. Their behavioral and genetic characteristics change gradually, starting from central Siberia, extending around the Himalayas, and back again, so two forms of the songbird coexist but do not interbreed in that part of their range (Irwin et al. 2001; Whitehouse 2001).
    the deer mouse (Peromyces maniculatus), with over fifty subspecies in North America.
    many species of birds, including Parus major and P. minor, Halcyon chloris, Zosterops, Lalage, Pernis, the Larus argentatus group, and Phylloscopus trochiloides (Mayr 1942, 182-183).
    the American bee Hoplitis (Alcidamea) producta (Mayr 1963, 510).
    the subterranean mole rat, Spalax ehrenbergi (Nevo 1999).

    Evidence of speciation occurs in the form of organisms that exist only in environments that did not exist a few hundreds or thousands of years ago. For example:
    In several Canadian lakes, which originated in the last 10,000 years following the last ice age, stickleback fish have diversified into separate species for shallow and deep water (Schilthuizen 2001, 146-151).
    Cichlids in Lake Malawi and Lake Victoria have diversified into hundreds of species. Parts of Lake Malawi which originated in the nineteenth century have species indigenous to those parts (Schilthuizen 2001, 166-176).
    A Mimulus species adapted for soils high in copper exists only on the tailings of a copper mine that did not exist before 1859 (Macnair 1989).

    There is further evidence that speciation can be caused by infection with a symbiont. A Wolbachia bacterium infects and causes postmating reproductive isolation between the wasps Nasonia vitripennis and N. giraulti (Bordenstein and Werren 1997).

    Salvador

  38. 38

    I am convinnced that a cross berween a Chihuahua and a Great Dane would be successful in either direction and the products would be fertile. If the Chihuahua were the female, the litter would probably be a single birth. If the Great Dane were the mother there would be multiple offspring. Of course this would probably require atificial insemination but the experiment would be successful which is why the Darwinians wouldn’t dare do it if you get my drift.

    Ojvind Winge, in his book, “Inheritance in Dogs,” documented a spontaneous cross between a male St. Bernard and a female Dachshund. The single puppy from this cross was named “rollmops” because her belly dragged on the ground during her own subsequent pregnancy, thereby proving that no evolution had been involved as she was fertile (page 44). I discuss it in a forthcoming installment of the Manifesto. The differences exhibited by the various dog breeds are all due to Mendelian genes which never had anything to do with evolution anyway. How many times do I have to tell you? Doesn’t anybody ever listen? Apparently not.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

    Get it? Write that down.

  39. John,

    Instead of throwing a hissy fit why don’t you try calmly repudiating my assertion that global average temperature has exhibited wide fluctuation over the course of geologic time, long before humans made any contribution to it.

    After you do that you can try some calm repudiation of my assertion that extinctions have also been occurring over the course of geologic time, long before humans made any contribution to it.

    Or you can throw yourself on the ground, hold your breath until you turn blue, kick your feet, and act like a big baby for someone having the unmitigated gaul to call the alarmism surrounding global warming and biodiversity something that is foolish. It’s your choice.

  40. Oops… I of course meant “gall” not “gaul”.

  41. Your request is respectfully declined.

  42. DaveScot,

    You wrote:

    Or you can throw yourself on the ground, hold your breath until you turn blue, kick your feet, and act like a big baby for someone having the unmitigated gaul

    I don’t mean to cause trouble for you DaveScot, but is this sort of language really necessary on my thread?

    These heated exchanges serve no useful purpose for me trying to enlighten the readers, particularly the college students I invite to read these discussions.

    On the other hand I don’t want to muzzle your privileges to dissent from what I say, and to a degree, the fact we have disagreements between the authors at UD is probably healthy.

    You have the privilege to start a thread on your own. You can even slam me and Dr. Davison on it if you like and invite both of us out of your discussion. I will honor whatever you request on a thread you start.

    But I humbly suggest perhaps it would be counter productive for you and Dr. Davison to be participating simultaneously on threads I start pertaining to his writings. Most of the readers I’m hoping to draw to these discussions would probably be turned off by such heated exchanges.

    I’m going to leave comments off for a day or so to let the dust settle.

  43. Wow Sal. You deleted the comment by Davison that prompted the response of mine that you chastise, making me look like the bad guy. That’s very dishonest of you. I can’t begin to describe how disappointed I am with you right now.

    I never thought I’d be thanking Wesley Elsberry for something but I am now. All comments that appear on Uncommon Descent are archived at antievolution.org. I’m not going to let you sweep this under the rug and leave me looking like the instigator. Here is Davison’s comment that preceded my response:

    DaveScot. If you call me foolish one more time here I will expose you for all to see and appreciate. You are also calling Robert Leakey foolish which I regard as blatant cowardice, especially coming from someone who never published a word on evolution in a refereed journal or hard copy book.

    You are no longer a blogczar here as I understand it at least, so stop acting as you did when you were. I find your behavior and comments arrogant and codescending. I am sure I am not alone. Why don’t you open your own blog instead of trying to dominate this one?

    Salvador

    I suggest you give DaveScot a warning or muzzle him if you expect me to continue here. I don’t need this Forum you know. I never did.

    “A past evolution in undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”

    P.S. Sal – if you delete this I can just pull up a copy from Wesley’s archive too. That archive exists for the express purpose of keeping us at UD honest and I’m going to use it to keep you and Davison honest.

  44. DaveScot wrote:

    Wow Sal. You deleted the comment by Davison that prompted the response of mine that you chastise, making me look like the bad guy. That’s very dishonest of you.

    Dave,

    I can understand that it may appear that way to you, but I don’t think you are assessing the situation accurately. From an editorial position, I would have deleted your comments as well, but because you are UD author, out of respect for your position I wasn’t about to delete what you wrote in this thread unless I cleared it with you first. I hadn’t decided if it was worth the trouble asking you, so I just left what your wrote alone.

    I asked Dr. Davison permission to delete his comments, he granted it, and I deleted two of his comments which were highly critical of you.

    The topic of this thread was the cessation of evolution, not you, not him.

    Salvador