Home » Intelligent Design » IC All The Way Down, The Grand Human Evolutionary Discontinuity, And Probabilistic Resources

IC All The Way Down, The Grand Human Evolutionary Discontinuity, And Probabilistic Resources

The more we learn the more it appears that almost everything of any significance in living systems is irreducibly complex. Multiple systems must almost always be simultaneously modified to proceed to the next island of function. Every software engineer knows this, and living things are fundamentally based on software.

Evolution in the fossil record is consistently characterized by major discontinuities — as my thesis about IC being a virtually universal rule at all levels, from the cell to human cognition and language, would suggest — and the discontinuity between humans and all other living things is the most profound of all. Morphological similarities are utterly swamped by the profound differences exhibited by human language, math, art, engineering, ethics, and much more.

Yes, chimps have been shown to use tools: They can pick up ants with a stick in order to eat them. But there is a big difference between this and designing and building a Cray supercomputer or an F-35 fighter aircraft. To the best of my knowledge our primitive simian ancestors did not advance beyond ant-stick technology.

I continue to be bewildered by the fact that proponents of human evolution by Darwinian mechanisms (i.e., random errors filtered by natural selection) don’t do some simple math to see that the probabilistic resources are hopelessly inadequate, even when the most optimistic assumptions are made.

Unrealistically and optimistically assume the following base-ten orders of magnitude: an average generation time of 10^1 years; an average population of 10^8; and a time frame of 10^7 years.

Do the math. With these probabilistic resources it is assumed by Darwinian theorists that their mechanism produced the most profound and stunning of all evolutionary discontinuities.

I believe that our ancient ancestors were just as smart as we are. They figured out, in their time and with what they had access to, how to make fire, bows and arrows, art, and much more. If I were to be transported back to those times, and be stripped of my current knowledge, I would probably be considered an idiot by the dudes who figured out fire and arrows.

Chimps are still picking up ants with sticks.

Something very profound happened, very suddenly, and Darwinian theory clearly does not explain it.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

276 Responses to IC All The Way Down, The Grand Human Evolutionary Discontinuity, And Probabilistic Resources

  1. Something very profound happened, very suddenly*, and Darwinian theory clearly does not explain it.

    Exactly. This is the glaring hole below the waterline of Darwinism at which ID should aim its torpedo. Nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies can be achieved by publishing a clear and well-evidenced telic explanation for the rapid change in culture and toolmaking which the darwinists are at the moment trying to obscure with some sort of fuzzy handwaving “monkeymen banging rocks together” just-so notion. I hope the current active ID research projects are targeted on this as one of the most essential areas.

    * I don’t know the answer to this, but as “our ancient ancestors were just as smart as we are” then quite what was that thing “very profound [which] happened, very suddenly”? Something must have been holding them back or otherwise it looks as if at some time in the past our ancestors were not wholly as smart as we are, or they would have built Cray supercomputers and F-35s as well. Instead archaeologists find lots of chipped stones, but no metalworking until quite recently and no powered flight until well into the modern era.

  2. Something must have been holding them back or otherwise it looks as if at some time in the past our ancestors were not wholly as smart as we are, or they would have built Cray supercomputers…

    Human knowledge has expanded, and been passed on and accumulated through the generations. Seymour Cray is probably no smarter than the guys who figured out how to string and pretension a bow, put feathers on the back of the arrow to stabilize the trajectory, and chip flint to make arrow heads with a sharp edge.

  3. Human knowledge has expanded, and been passed on and accumulated through the generations.
    Without a doubt. But at some time way back when, there must be a time when our very distant ancestors were genuinely “dumber” (and I don’t mean that in a pejorative way, just for want of a better word) than our more recent ancestors… otherwise all our ancestors would be just as smart as us all the way back to the first life on earth.

  4. I continue to be bewildered by the fact that proponents of human evolution by Darwinian mechanisms (i.e., random errors filtered by natural selection) don’t do some simple math to see that the probabilistic resources are hopelessly inadequate, even when the most optimistic assumptions are made.

    I think the Darwinists don’t do simple math because they prefer to do difficult math just to show off how smart they are. Ironically, this is why they overlook that simple math is sufficient to disprove human evolution. If Darwinism were true, there wouldn’t be any good mathematicians.

    I don’t want to steal the show, so Gil, please show us the simple math that disproves human evolution. Let it be a lesson to those supposedly math savvy Darwinists.

  5. Gil:

    Yes, chimps have been shown to use tools: They can pick up ants with a stick in order to eat them. But there is a big difference between this and designing and building a Cray supercomputer or an F-35 fighter aircraft. To the best of my knowledge our primitive simian ancestors did not advance beyond ant-stick technology.

    Actually, to our certain knowledge the LCA of human beings and chimpanzees (technically not simian) DID advance to designing and building Cray supercomputers and F-35s, as their descendants include ourselves.

  6. 3 waterbear-

    All you said is that our distant ancestors were not as smart as us or they would have been as smart as us.

  7. Mr Dodgen,

    I’m not a population genetecist, but I think that if you throw those probabilistic resources together in some kind of equation, what you will really be solving for is the selectioini pressure necessary to acheive the changes from t0 to now. And then you can ask if that answer accords with the value of the changes posited to have occured, speech, culture, etc. Those things were very valuable, as you have demonstrated.

  8. “the selection pressure necessary to acheive the changes from t0 to now”

    What selection pressures? When did all this happen and how did it spread to a species that is as probably as wide spread as any on the planet. All the so called evolutionary things that happened to humans must have happened prior to any groups leaving Africa. So you have to hypothesize that all these wonderful things that humans are capable of were part of the species when they were roaming central Africa plains, 100,000 years ago. All those hunter gathers had the genes to build super computers. Once they left the genie was out of the bottle and the selection to achieve all are so called capabilities would have been so diffuse as to be meaningless. This is why evolutionary biology is pure Bulls__t. There is no way the necessary gene flow and subsequent selection could have happened.

    The most likely explanation is an unique event. How about the monolith in 2001.

  9. Mr Nakashima,

    Jerry’s comments notwithstanding, your point about population genetics was interesting. G. Ledyard Stebbins (one of the architects of the Modern Synthesis) illustrated this very well in his book Processes of Organic Evolution, 2nd ed. The subject was the increase in brain size from the australopithecines to Homo erectus. Stebbins pointed out that the mean brain volume of australopithecines varied from 430-700cc, while that of Homo erectus was 750-1255cc. Based on fossil evidence, the mean brain volume was 700 cc 900,000 years ago, and 300,000 years later the mean was about 1,000 cc. The brain in this lineage had increased 43% in 300,000 years. He writes (my emphasis):

    From the point of view of the fossil record as a whole, this rate of advance is spectacularly rapid… From the point of view of genetics, however, this order of change is remarkably slow. The geneticist thinks in terms of the amount of variation existing in a population in each generation, and the change in mean value for a character which is produced by selection from one generation to another. When we express in these terms the evolutionary changes in the size of the human brain, we obtain the following results. In modern man, the differences in size between the largest and the smallest brains found in any one population is about 16 per cent of the mean size. Assuming that the range of variation in a population is about the same as in earlier species, this would lead us to conclude that the difference between the largest and the smallest brains in a population of Homo erectus was about 160 cc, and in australopithecines about 80 cc. Now the increase in mean size postulated above was 300 cc in 300,000 years. Even allowing for errors and changes in the rate of evolution, an increase of 200 cc in 100,000 years is the most rapid we could ever expect to find. What does this mean in in terms of the amount of increase in the mean value per generation, compared to the variability existing in one generation?

    Assuming that the average human generation of 25 years, the period of 100,000 years represents 4,000 generations. Consequently, an increase of in brain size of 200 cc during this period means that the mean size has increased only 0.05 cc per generation! At this rate, the amount of increase each generation is only a tiny fraction, less than 1/20 of one per cent, of the variation present in in any one generation (Figure 8-5). It is many times smaller than the increase in mean value for quantitative characteristics which have been subjected to artificial selection by breeders working with crop plants and domestic animals. These calculations demonstrate dramatically what slow rates of response to natural selection are needed to bring about even the most rapid evolution which is recorded by sequences of fossils.

  10. Gil,

    Crows may be better than apes at making tools with brains a fraction of the size. Is brain size all it’s cracked up to be?

    Crow Makes Wire Hook to Get Food

    To obtain out-of-reach food, the crow repeatedly took a piece of straight wire and bent it to create a hook. According to the researchers, who report their findings in the August 9, 2002 issue of Science, this behavior suggests that New Caledonian crows “rival nonhuman primates in tool-related cognitive capabilities.”

    I’ve seen the same reported about other species in the same family.

  11. Hi everyone,

    Jerry (#8) asks a very good question about the emergence of human intelligence:

    When did all this happen and how did it spread to a species that is as probably as wide spread as any on the planet?

    Regardless of one’s theological perspective, that’s a very important question. We need to tie down the date and location of the emergence of human intelligence before we can answer questions about whether it could have emerged through undirected natural processes. I’ve been investigating this matter for a while now, and this is what I’ve come up with.

    Before I go on, I’d just like to comment that the notion that language accounts for the origin of intelligence is rejected by Derek C. Penn, Keith J. Holyoak and Daniel Povinelli in their thought-provoking article, Darwin’s mistake: Explaining the discontinuity between human and nonhuman minds :

    While the advantages of symbolic communication are enormous, the adaptive advantages of being able to reason in a relational fashion have a certain primacy over the communicative function of language. It is quite difficult to imagine how communicating in hierarchically-structured sentences would be of any use without the ability to entertain hierarchically-structured thoughts. But it is quite easy to imagine how the ability to reason about higher-order relations—particularly causal and mentalistic relations—might be highly adaptive without the ability to communicate those thoughts to anyone else. If one is a hairless biped in a hostile environment surrounded by ambitious and conniving conspecifics, the evolutionary advantages of reasoning about higher-order relations go far beyond the ability to communicate hierarchical thoughts to those conspecifics.

    In the discussion which follows, it will be useful to keep a few dates in mind:

    Date One: Emergence of Homo erectus, at least 1.9 million years ago, but likely a little over 2 million years ago, as similar-looking but somewhat smaller-brained specimens has been found in Asia (Dmanisi, Georgia) dating from 1.8 million years ago.

    Note: I’m including African Homo erectus, or Homo ergaster in this clade, as most experts now do so.

    Brain size: initially 850 cc.; later reached 1100 cc.
    Likely place of origin: East Africa.

    Anatomy and Stance: The African variety of Homo erectus stood over 6 feet tall. He was fully upright and pretty much like us from the neck down.

    Language use: Homo erectus seems to have had a humanlike Broca’s area in his brain, and no physical impediments to speech. (One specimen formerly found to have been incapable of speech, the Turkana boy, is now known to have suffered from stunted vertebral growth, which restricted its breathing and therefore its ability to produce speech.) According to the Wikipedia article on Homo ergaster:

    It is certainly recognised by endocasts that H. habilis [a more primitive hominin species - VJT] had a significant mode of communication (though its hyoid and construction of the ear do not support spoken language), and that H. ergaster had a more advanced form of this communicative neurology. It is therefore certainly conceivable that H. ergaster had the ability to use what could be called language.

    Tool use: According to the Wikipedia article cited above:

    Homo ergaster used more diverse and sophisticated tools than its predecessors: [Asian - VJT] H. erectus, however, used comparatively primitive tools. This is possibly because H. ergaster first used tools of Oldowan technology and later progressed to the Acheulean: while the use of Acheulean tools began ca. 1.6 million years ago, the line of H. erectus diverged some 200,000 years before the general innovation of Acheulean technology. Thus the Asian migratory descendants of H. ergaster [African Homo erectus, the ancestral population - VJT] made no use of any Acheulean technology. In addition, it has been suggested that H. erectus may have been the first hominid to use rafts to travel over oceans.

    Homo erectus was also capable of using fire.

    Glenn Morton has argued strongly that Homo erectus was the first human being (see his article, The Humanity of Fossil Man ). He argues thatHomo erectus was capable of planning ahead at least four days in advance (see Planning ahead – article in PSCF ) – unlike chimps who can only plan 20 minutes ahead. Morton also argues that Homo erectus fed, took care of and totally immobilized individuals who were suffering from an excess of vitamin A, and kept them warm at night (see The Compassionate Homo erectus ). Chimps never show this kind of compassion. I should add that Morton is not an anthropologist, however.

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

    Date Two: Emergence of Homo antecessor in Europe about 1.2 million years ago. This species is little known; some authorities lump it in with Homo heidelbergensis although many of its features are almost indistinguishable from African Homo erectus. This species is only known from Spain.

    Brain size: 1000-1150 cc. May have been right-handed, unlike apes. Frequency range of audition (as revealed by tomography) is similar to that of modern humans, leading some to believe that it possessed language.

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

    Date 3: Emergence of Homo heidelbergensis, about 600,000 years ago. Note: Homo erectus was the last common ancesor of Homo sapiens and Neanderthal man. Since we now know that Neanderthal man used language (see Professor Bolles’ blog article Neanderthals Had Language ) and were capable of sophisticated activities like controlling fire, constructing complex shelters, and, it seems, making music (see Music of the Ages by Glenn Morton) it seems prudent to conclude that unless humanlike intelligence emerged on two independent occasions in history, true human beings (in the spiritual sense) must go back 600,000 years, to the emergence of Homo heidelbergensis.

    Place of origin of Homo heidelbergensis: Africa. The species rapidly migrated to Europe.

    Brain size: 1100-1400 cc. (The average size for modern humans is 13500 cc, and 1000-2000 cc. is considered normal.)

    Anatomy: Very like African Homo erectus, except for its bigger brain. Stood 6 feet tall, like African Homo erectus.

    Tool use: Capable of hunting wild deer, rhinoceroses, elephants and horses. Used wooden projectile spears 400,000 years ago.

    Art and culture: May have buried its dead (still contested). Seems to have used red ochre as a paint.

    Religion: Evidence of an animal cult has been found at Bilzingsleben, Germany. The excavators, Dietrich and Ursula Mania found a 27-foot-diameter paved area that they say was used for “special cultural activities” (Mania et al, 1994, p. 124; See also Mania and Mania, 1988, p. 92).[Refs:
    (1) Mania, Dietrich and Ursula Mania, 1988. "Deliberate Engravings on Bone Artefacts of Homo Erectus," Rock Art Research 5:2: 91-107.
    (2) Mania D., and U. Mania and E. Vlcek, 1994. "Latest Finds of Skull Remains of Homo erectus from Bilzingsleben (Thuringia)", Naturwissenschaften, 81, p. 123-127.] Gore writes:

    But Mania’s most intriguing find lies under a protective shed. As he opens the door sunlight illuminates a cluster of smooth stones and pieces of bone that he believes were arranged by humans to pave a 27-foot-wide circle. “‘They intentionally paved this area for cultural activities,’ says Mania. ‘We found here a large anvil of quartzite set between the horns of a huge bison, near it were fractured human skulls.’ (1997,p. 110). [Gore, Rick 1997. "The First Europeans," National Geographic, July, p. 96-113.]

    Language: Homo heidelbergensis was probably capable of speech. Analysis of its ear bones suggests it had the same auditory sensitivity as we do – in this respect it was quite different from a chimpanzee.

    It’s generally agreed now by authorities that Neanderthal man was capable of language. See Professor Bolles’ blog article, Neanderthals had language . Thus Homo heidelbergensis likely had the same capacity. See also Professor Bolles’ blog article,
    Fossil Evidence of Speech for more evidence of speech in Homo heidelbergensis.

    Finally, what does the archaeological evidence from tools suggest? Here’s an article from 2002 by Dr. Thomas Wynn (Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado), entitled Archaeology and human cognition. I’ll quote an excerpt:

    Archaeology can provide two bodies of information relevant to the understanding of the evolution of human cognition – the timing of developments, and the evolutionary context of these developments. The challenge is methodological. Archaeology must document attributes that have direct implications for underlying cognitive mechanisms. One example of such a cognitive archaeology is that for spatial cognition. The archaeological record documents an evolutionary sequence that begins with ape-equivalent spatial abilities 2.5 million years ago and ends with the appearance of modern abilities in the still remote past of 400,000 years ago. The timing of these developments reveals two major episodes in the evolution in spatial ability, one 1.5 million years ago and the other one million years later. The two episodes of development in spatial cognition had very different evolutionary contexts. The first was associated with the shift to an open country adaptive niche that occurred early in the time range of Homo erectus. The second was associated with no clear adaptive shift, though it does appear to have coincided with the invasion of more hostile environments and the appearance of systematic hunting of large mammals. Neither, however, occurred in a context of modern hunting and gathering….

    The archaeological record of symmetry reveals two of the times at which significant developments in hominid cognition occurred. The first, a million and a half years ago, encompassed cognitive developments necessary to the imposition of shape on artifacts, the coordination of shape recognition (symmetry) and spatial thinking (stone knapping) being the most salient. This evolutionary development was associated with Homo erectus, and the appearance of the first hominid adaptation that was clearly outside the range of an ape adaptive grade. These Homo erectus were not, however, like modern hunter/gatherers in any significant sense; indeed, there are no appropriate analogs living today, and the precise agents selecting for these cognitive abilities are not apparent.

    The second episode evident from artifactual symmetries occurred a million years later and encompassed the development of modern Euclidean understandings and manipulations of shape and space. This was the also time of the transition from Homo erectus to Archaic Homo sapiens. The appearance of large mammal hunting in the contemporary archaeological record lends some support to evolutionary psychological arguments that hunting may have selected for features of human spatial cognition, either by way of projectile use or navigation. However, given the range of evidence documenting the appearance of many features of hunting and gathering at this time — not just spatial thinking — it is perhaps simpler to posit a few developments in associative abilities than a raft of specific cognitive mechanisms. It is also important to reiterate that despite being Homo sapiens, these were not modern hunters and gatherers. They lacked the rich symbolic milieu on which modern humans, including hunters and gatherers, rely. (Emphases mine – VJT.)

    Wynn’s paper (2002) is a little out-of-date on one point: he asserts that “There is no good reason to think Homo erectus had speech, at least in a modern sense (Wynn 1998).”

    The upshot is that either Homo erectus or Homo heidelbergensis appears to have been the first true human being. Thus true human intelligence must have emerged either 2 million years ago or 600,000 years ago. In either case, human intelligence emerged first in Africa and dispersed over the globe.

  12. Minor typo:

    Morton also argues that Homo erectus fed, took care of and totally immobilized individuals who were suffering from an excess of vitamin A

    should read

    Morton also argues that Homo erectus fed and took care of totally immobilized individuals who were suffering from an excess of vitamin A.

    Sorry.

  13. jitsak (4),

    “I don’t want to steal the show, so Gil, please show us the simple math that disproves human evolution.”

    Good luck with that. Gil has previously claimed that high school math showed him how evolution was impossible, but despite repeated requests he hasn’t shown us his working out. I doubt you’ll have any better luck with him. He probably can’t do it.

  14. Gildogden: Evolution in the fossil record is consistently characterized by major discontinuities — as my thesis about IC being a virtually universal rule at all levels, from the cell to human cognition and language, would suggest — and the discontinuity between humans and all other living things is the most profound of all. Morphological similarities are utterly swamped by the profound differences exhibited by human language, math, art, engineering, ethics, and much more.

    Where’s the discontinuity? We have stone-tool using hominids followed by stone-tool using Homo sapiens. This is followed by cultural evolution that takes thousand of years just to reach agriculture.

  15. Irreducible complexity is still no more than the argument from incredulity afforded credibility by being espoused by a credulous scientist.

    Personally, I would be delighted if evidence were found of intervention in human evolution by a 2001-type black monolith. It would be evidence for the existence of extra-terrestrial intelligence and would offer the prospect of practical interstellar or even inter-galactic travel.

    Unfortunately, it would be of no help to Intelligent Design Creationism. As far as human evolution is concerned, it would show that an ET intelligence had altered its course, not that it doesn’t happen at all. Nor would it answer any questions about the origins of life. It would just put it back one stage, since we would then have to ask about the origins of ET.

    Besides, as others have argued, any apparent discontinuity is probably an artefact of not paying sufficiently close attention to the fine detail of what is already known.

  16. Seversky,

    All you have to do to refute the premise that IC = design is actually go out and support YOUR position that says accumulating genetic accidents can account for it.

    Seeing that you can’t all you can do is come here and whine.

    Also “Intelligent Design Creationism” only exists in the minds of the willfully ignorant.

    So thank you for continuing to expose your ignorance and your agenda.

    As for humans and other primates no one can even account for the change in feet.

  17. Brain size- again more “gross anatomy”.

    I say that because no one knows if any amount of genetic alterations can allow for such a change in brain size a brain casing size.

    IOW ALL evolutionists have is imagination based on the assumption.

    And that passes for science these days.

  18. Zachriel (#13)

    You ask:

    Where’s the discontinuity? We have stone-tool using hominids followed by stone-tool using Homo sapiens. This is followed by cultural evolution that takes thousand of years just to reach agriculture.

    First of all, the discontinuity is cognitive. Here’s the long abstract of an article in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (2008), 31(2): 109-178, by Derek C. Penn, Keith J. Holyoak and Daniel Povinelli, entitled Darwin’s mistake: Explaining the discontinuity between human and nonhuman minds :

    Over the last quarter-century, the dominant tendency in comparative cognitive psychology has been to emphasize the similarities between human and nonhuman minds and to downplay the differences as “one of degree and not of kind” (Darwin 1871). In the present paper, we argue that Darwin was mistaken: the profound biological continuity between human and nonhuman animals masks an equally profound discontinuity between human and nonhuman minds. To wit, there is a significant discontinuity in the degree to which human and nonhuman animals are able to approximate the higher-order, systematic, relational capabilities of a physical symbol system (Newell 1980). We show that this symbolic-relational discontinuity pervades nearly every domain of cognition and runs much deeper than even the spectacular scaffolding provided by language or culture alone can explain. We propose a representational-level specification of where human and nonhuman animals’ abilities to approximate a PSS are similar and where they differ. We conclude by suggesting that recent symbolic-connectionist models of cognition shed new light on the mechanisms that underlie the gap between human and nonhuman minds. (Emphases mine – VJT.)

    Note that despite the title, the authors are all orthodox Darwinian evolutionists. Yet even they feel compelled to acknowledge that a radical discontinuity exists.

    And if that’s not good enough for you, try Origin of the Mind by Professor Marc Hauser. Article in Scientific American, September 2009. Marc Hauser is a professor of psychology, human evolutionary biology, and organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University. Click here for a discussion of Hauser’s article in the journal First Things in a review by Wesley J. Smith, entitled “Human Exceptionalism Proved by the Human Mind” (5 September 2009). Excerpts from Hauser’s article:

    [M]ounting evidence indicates that, in contrast to Darwin’s theory of a continuity of mind between humans and other species, a profound gap separates our intellect from the animal kind. This is not to say that our mental faculties sprang fully formed out of nowhere. Researchers have found some of the building blocks of human cognition in other species. But these building blocks make up only the cement footprint of the skyscraper that is the human mind… Recently the author identified four unique aspects of human cognition… [These are:]

    “Generative computation,” that allows us to “create a virtual limitless variety of words, concepts and things.”
    “Promiscuous combination of ideas,” meaning the ability to mingle “different domains of knowledge,” e.g., art, sex, causality, etc.
    “Mental symbols” allow us to enjoy a “rich and complex system of communication.”
    “Abstract thought,” which “permits contemplation of things beyond what we can see, hear, touch, taste or smell…

    What we can say with utmost confidence is that all people, from the hunter-gatherers on the African savanna to the traders on Wall Street, are born with the four ingredients of humaniqueness (Hauser’s term for “human uniqueness” – VJT). How these ingredients are added to the recipe for creating culture varies considerably from group to group, however… No other animal exhibits such variation in lifestyle. Looked at in this way, a chimpanzee is a cultural nonstarter

    Although anthropologists disagree about exactly when the modern human mind took shape, it is clear from the archaeological record that a major transformation occurred during a relatively brief period of evolutionary history, starting approximately 800,000 years ago in the Paleolithic era and crescendoing around 45,000 to 50,000 years ago…

    [Other animals'] uses of symbols are unlike ours in five essential ways: they are triggered only by real objects or events, never imagined ones; they are restricted to the present; they are not part of a more abstract classification scheme, such as those that organize our words into nouns, verbs and adjectives; they are rarely combined with other symbols, and when they are, the combinations are limited to a string of two, with no rules; and they are fixed to particular contexts…

    Still, for now we have little choice but to admit that our mind is different from that of even our closest primate relatives and that we do not know much about how that difference came to be. Could a chimpanzee think up an experiment to test humans? Could a chimpanzee imagine what it would be like for us to solve one of their problems? No and no. Although chimpanzees can see what we do, they cannot imagine what we think or feel because they lack the requisite machinery. Although chimpanzees and other animals appear to develop plans and consider both past experiences and future options, there is no evidence that they think in terms of counterfactuals – imagining worlds that have been against those that could be. We humans do this all the time and have done so since our distinctive genome gave birth to our distinctive minds. Our moral systems are premised on this mental capacity. (Emphases mine – VJT.)

    Zachriel, you complain about the “cultural evolution that takes thousand of years just to reach agriculture.” I have uncovered two plausible explanations of why it took so long for us to discover agriculture: (i) it takes quite a lot of incremental technological improvements to get a society to the stage where they can practice agriculture; and (ii) the climate (in particular, low CO2 levels) may have made agriculture impossible.

    (i) The Discovery of Agriculture by Rochelle Forrester, a philosopher of history (published in 2002). The author of this extremely fair-minded article contends that it was gradual improvements in human technology and human knowledge of the environment over time that led to the development of agriculture. Hunter-gatherers living 40,000 years ago would not have had the specialized knowledge required to cultivate plants successfully. This expertise might only have been acquired after a long period of gradually increasing knowledge.

    (ii) Origin of agriculture and domestication of plants and animals linked to early Holocene climate amelioration by Dr. Anil Gupta. In Current Science, Vol. 87, No. 1, July 2004.
    An extract:

    That agriculture did not start during the Pleistocene can be explained from the fact that last glacial climates were extremely unfavourable to agriculture, being dry, low in atmospheric CO2, and extremely variable on short time scales. As the climate ameliorated, domestication followed. Indeed, in the Holocene, agriculture may have become necessary for the expansion of humans.

    I have presented above evidence for not one but two technological leaps that could be identified with the emergence of human intelligence.

    I should add that the sudden appearance of Homo erectus in Africa (i.e. Homo ergaster) around 2 million years ago, remains a mystery.

  19. It is worth reproducing the first footnote to the Penn article:

    “Let us be clear: all similarities and differences in biology are ultimately a matter of degree. Any apparent discontinuities between living species belie the underlying continuity of the evolutionary process and largely result from the fact that many, and often all, of the intermediate steps are no longer extant. In the present paper, our claim that there is a ‘discontinuity’ between human and nonhuman cognition is based on our claim that there is a significant gap between the functional capabilities of the human mind and those of all other extant species on the planet. Our point, to cut to the chase, is that the functional discontinuity between human and nonhuman minds is at least as great as the much more widely acknowledged discontinuity between human and nonhuman forms of communication. But we do not doubt that both evolved through standard evolutionary mechanisms.”

    The bolded portion explicitly contradicts any claim that these spectacular gains in human cognition may be characterized as reflecting “irreducible complexity.”

    Can you provide a link to the commentaries to this article? Those are often as valuable as the target article.

  20. But we do not doubt that both evolved through standard evolutionary mechanisms.

    And yet there isn’t any data that supports the transformations.

    Go figure…

  21. 11, 17, 18 Vjtorley

    A digression that has always intrigued me. If you hold these three beliefs (as I think you do):

    1) a dualist
    2) common descent
    3) humans alone have minds

    is “having a mind” an inherited characteristic? Or do we just inherit the brain which is capable of supporting a mind and the mind is added by some other external cause?

  22. But we do not doubt that both evolved through standard evolutionary mechanisms.

    This is the crux of the matter. For the Darwinist, doubt is not permitted or even conceivable. Michael Denton comments on this in his book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis in the chapter entitled “The Priority of the Paradigm.”

    The fact that the gaps have not been narrowed in any significant sense since the mid-eighteenth century means that the sampling error stratagem has essentially failed, and its failure has in effect stripped the Darwinian concept of a continuum of functional forms leading gradually across all the divisions of nature of any objective basis.
    [...]
    The anti-evolutionary thesis argued in this book, the idea that life might be fundamentally a discontinuous phenomenon, runs counter to the whole thrust of modern biological thought. The infusion with the spirit of continuity has been so prolonged and so deeply imbibed that for most biologists it has become quite literally inconceivable that life might not be a continuous phenomenon. Like the centrality of the Earth in medieval astronomy, the principle of continuity has come to be considered by most biologists as a necessary law of nature. It is unthinkable that it might not hold. To question it is an offence to all our basic intuitions about the nature of biological reality.
    [...]
    The truth is that despite the prestige of evolutionary theory and the tremendous intellectual effort directed towards reducing living systems to the confines of Darwinian thought, nature refuses to be imprisoned. In the final analysis we still know very little about how new forms of life arise. The “mystery of mysteries” — the origin of new beings on earth — is still largely as enigmatic as when Darwin set sail on the Beagle.

  23. “Personally, I would be delighted if evidence were found of intervention in human evolution by a 2001-type black monolith. It would be evidence for the existence of extra-terrestrial intelligence and would offer the prospect of practical interstellar or even inter-galactic travel.”

    Translation: As long as it’s not God, I’m okay with it.

  24. Denton later put the final nail into the coffin of evolutionary continuity as it relates to primate evolution:

    Human and chimpanzee DNA sequences differ on average at only one base in a hundred. As far as we can tell, not only are the DNA sequences virally identical, but every gene identified in the human genome has its counterpart in the chimpanzee genome…

    In fact, the differences between the DNA of man and chimp can be accounted for by simple well-known mutational processes which are occurring all the time in nature at present. In the case of primate DNA, for example, all the sequences in the hemoglobin gene cluster in man, chimp, gorilla, gibbon, etc. can be interconverted via single base change steps to form a perfect evolutionary tree relating the higher primates together in a system that looks as natural as could be imagined. There is not the slightest indication of any discontinuity. Indeed, human and chimpanzee DNA are closer together than the DNA sequences of many so-called sibling species of the fruit fly drosophilia, that is, species which are almost indistinguishable in morphological characteristics.

    …Oops, I meant the other Denton.

    (“Nature’s Destiny” pages 277-278)

  25. Zachriel: Where’s the discontinuity?

    vjtorley: First of all, the discontinuity is cognitive.

    The original post referred to language, math, art, engineering, ethics, and much more. Other than language, these other facilities are clearly the result of cultural evolution. And as you pointed out above, there is reason to believe that human ancestors also had some level of language skills.

    vjtorley: you complain about the “cultural evolution that takes thousand of years just to reach agriculture.”

    Well, not a complaint; just an observation. Certainly sedentary agriculture required profound changes in human behavior. But the change was probably gradual, and we can see in extant hunt-and-gather cultures many of the steps that might have been required (such as weeding food plants during migrations).

    vjtorley: First of all, the discontinuity is cognitive.

    Returning to your point, Cognition itself doesn’t leave fossils, so it’s difficult to compare cognitive ability of humans with their immediate predecessors. Those predecessors used stone tools and fire. Modern humans are a highly technological, problem-solving organism, but this capacity grew over time. Indeed, if you looked at early Homo sapiens, they would not be much more advanced than their immediate ancestors.

  26. Voice Coil,

    Has there ever been a direct and complete side-by-side comparison of chimp DNA to human DNA?

    Also did you realize that your quote-mine of Denton pertains only to the hemoglobin gene cluster?

    Said gene cluster acts basically the same even given the differences.

    So how does that account for the vast anatomical and physiological differences observed?

  27. One can seriously call into question the statement that human and chimp genomes are 99% identical. For one thing, it has been noted in the literature that the exact degree of identity between the two genomes is as yet unknown (Cohen, J., 2007. “Relative differences: The myth of 1%,” Science 316: 1836.). Part of the reason for this is if one decides to take into account the plethora of species-specific DNA insertions and deletions (“indels”) that are present along any segment compared between chimp and human, the percentage of identity drops. Another reason is that duplications, inversions, translocations, and transpositions at all scales uniquely characterize the two genome sequences — these have to be untangled before aligning the sequences in order to measure their similarity. Also, the 99% identity figure is often derived from protein-coding regions that only comprise about 1.5% of the two genomes. Many mammalian protein-coding regions are highly conserved, however. We also have to consider that a detailed comparison of certain “heterochromatic” chromosome regions between chimps and humans has yet to be made. In short, the figure of identity that one wants to use is dependent on various methodological factors.

    See here.

    If there is only a 1% difference in the DNA, it is obvious that DNA is not the sole source of biological information, because the discontinuity between humans and chimps is obvious and monstrously huge.

  28. Joseph asked:

    Has there ever been a direct and complete side-by-side comparison of chimp DNA to human DNA?

    Link to the 2005 article in Nature reporting upon the comparison of the draft chimpanzee genome with the human genome:

    http://www.genome.gov/Pages/Re.....alysis.pdf

    Many other papers have followed – a review:

    “Understanding the Recent Evolution of the Human Genome: Insights from Human–Chimpanzee Genome Comparisons” Human Mutation, Volume 28, issue 2 (February 2007), p. 99 – 130

    Also did you realize that your quote-mine of Denton pertains only to the hemoglobin gene cluster?

    You are parsing his statement incorrectly. He first states:

    In fact, the differences between the DNA of man and chimp can be accounted for by simple well-known mutational processes which are occurring all the time in nature at present.

    This is a characterization of differences present in the entire genomes. He then cites an example:

    In the case of primate DNA, for example, all the sequences in the hemoglobin gene cluster in man, chimp, gorilla, gibbon, etc. can be interconverted via single base change steps to form a perfect evolutionary tree relating the higher primates together in a system that looks as natural as could be imagined.

    Hemoglobin exemplifies his larger point: that differences between the DNA of man and chimp can be accounted for by simple well-known mutational processes.

  29. If Darwinism were true, there wouldn’t be any good mathematicians.

    That’s correct.
    There are good mathematicians. In fact, there are mathematicians which go way beyond “good.”
    Therefore, Darwinism is false.

    The conclusion is inescapable. You must therefore show how one of the premises is false.

    I don’t want to steal the show, so Gil, please show us the simple math that disproves human evolution. Let it be a lesson to those supposedly math savvy Darwinists.

    Speaking of mathematicians:

    http://www.amazon.com/Mathemat.....0966993403

    I just came across this site:

    http://www.mathematicsofevolution.com/

  30. On the subject of mathematics and irreducible complexity, Berlinski has a chapter in his new book on that very topic.

  31. Nakashima:

    I’m not a population genetecist, but I think that if you throw those probabilistic resources together in some kind of equation, what you will really be solving for is the selectioin pressure necessary to acheive the changes from t0 to now.

    I think that it’s already been admitted by evolutionists that selection is unsatisfactory to explain the data, and that most changes had to have been neutral.

    And then you can ask if that answer accords with the value of the changes posited to have occured, speech, culture, etc. Those things were very valuable, as you have demonstrated.

    I don’t know of any attempts to do this by evolutionists (Actually, I think I may recall one paper. I’d have to look into it.)

    But to make the theory testable, isn’t this exactly what evolutionary biologists/anthopologists should be doing?

    Haw many changes would be required to support just the physiological changes need to support speach?

    But even then, in order for these changes to come to predominate, the individuals who have these features need to leave more offspring, on average, than those that don’t.

    The generation time in the human lineage just can’t support that many mutations coming to be fixed on the posited time, we just don’t leave enough offspring.

  32. Voice Coil,

    Did you read any of those papers?

    There hasn’t been a direct and complete comparison of chimp and human DNA.

    Heck just skip down to the section titled “Methods” and it explains what they compared.

    And perhaps the differences in DNA can be accounted for via known processes.

    What can’t be accounted for is the differences in anatomy and physiology.

    Even Denton says that genes may influence development but they do not determine it:

    “Yet by the late 1980s it was becoming obvious to most genetic researchers, including myself, since my own main research interest in the ‘80s and ‘90s was human genetics, that the heroic effort to find the information specifying life’s order in the genes had failed. There was no longer the slightest justification for believing that there exists anything in the genome remotely resembling a program capable of specifying in detail all the complex order of the phenotype. The emerging picture made it increasingly difficult to see genes in Weismann’s “unambiguous bearers of information” or to view them as the sole source of the durability and stability of organic form. It is true that genes influence every aspect of development, but influencing something is not the same as determining it. Only a very small fraction of all known genes, such as developmental fate switching genes, can be imputed to have any sort of directing or controlling influence on form generation. From being “isolated directors” of a one-way game of life, genes are now considered to be interactive players in a dynamic two-way dance of almost unfathomable complexity, as described by Keller in The Century of The Gene.”
    Michael John Denton page 172 of Uncommon Dissent

  33. Joseph:

    And perhaps the differences in DNA can be accounted for via known processes.

    What can’t be accounted for is the differences in anatomy and physiology.

    So, your position is that the changes in anatomy and physiology that culminated in the evolution of Homo sapiens did not necessarily result from corresponding changes in ancestral DNA. Changes in DNA may have arisen stepwise, by means of known processes, yet those changes in DNA don’t account for the observed changes in anatomy and physiology.

    Where do you suppose those changes arose, and how are they now transmitted from human parent to human child, if not in human DNA?

  34. Voice Coil,

    My position is that no one knows whether or not any amount of mutational accumulation can account for the anatomical and physiological differences observed between chimps and humans.

    And as far as we know Homo sapiens have always been Homo sapiens.

    For example how can we test the premise that the opposable big toe- designed for a grasping foot- could evolve into an in-line position as seen in a human foot- designed for running via changes in DNA?

    Upright walking and running- do you realize what has to be changed to accomplish that?

  35. Joseph:

    My position is that no one knows whether or not any amount of mutational accumulation can account for the anatomical and physiological differences observed between chimps and humans.

    I’m trying to understand this. But this is a position regarding the current state of knowledge (e.g., “no one knows”), not a position vis the phenomenon itself.

    Do you have a position on the phenomenon itself? (Example: “no amount of mutational accumulation can account for these physiological differences?”)

    Or are you saying that you don’t know, and that no one else knows either?

    I am still interested in your reponse to the question of how these unique human characteristics are transmitted from human parent to human child, if not in via DNA.

    To use your example: the current explanation for why human infants are born with an “in-line” feet that resembles the feet of their parents, while chimpanzees are born with grasping toes, like their parents, resides in differences in human versus chimp DNA passed from parents to child, expressed during embryological development.

    Are you saying that this explanation is unwarranted by the evidence or is otherwise implausible?

  36. Voice Coil:

    I am still interested in your reponse to the question of how these unique human characteristics are transmitted from human parent to human child, if not in via DNA.

    DNA is just hardware that carries out the instructions (software) that are embedded on/in it.

    BTW I understand the current explanation.

    What I am saying is that there isn’t any way to test it.

    And there isn’t any data which would demonstrate that we are a sum of our genes.

  37. Mark Frank (#21)

    I’m on my lunch break now, but in answer to your query: yes, I do hold the three beliefs you credit me with, and no, I do not think intelligence is inherited. Each human soul is created by God. However, our brains are certainly inherited. The human brain is the most complex thing in the universe, and it has a unique capacity to integrate the information that comes to us through the senses, in a way that gives us something to think about. A chimp’s brain can’t integrate information in the same way that a human brain can, so a rational soul would not be able to express itself properly through the medium of such a brain. That’s my answer in a nutshell.

  38. #37

    So at some point, as man evolved, God decided the brain was complex enough to create a soul each time a human was conceived?

    How complex and sophisticated can an organism be and not have a soul? For example, could it be that some of us actually don’t have a soul but still function? Me for example?

  39. Mark Frank (#38)

    The answer to your first question is: yes, that’s right.

    Regarding your second question, I’m not sure what the complexity cutoff point is, as far as brains are concerned. I’d love to know exactly why a chimp’s brain can’t do the kinds of things that our brains can do. But off the top of my head, a brain would have to be capable of supporting things like automatic instant recall of past events; a representation of other minds; an ascription of beliefs and desires to other agents; a hierarchy of one’s priorities as an agent; meta-cognition (here defined as an ability to critique and correct one’s beliefs and desires); and a capacity for nth-level beliefs and desires, where n is at least 3 and probably no more than 5. (I don’t think I’ve ever had a 5th order mental state, and even 4th-level states are pretty rare for me.)

    Now, a brain that can do all that is a pretty marvelous thing, and I don’t believe that pop-science explanations like “pedomorphosis” can do the job of explaining how it arose. It’s not that simple. We need to look at the genetic instructions for making a human brain before assessing the degree of difficulty of the transformation from say, Australopithecus to Homo erectus. I don’t know whether this genetic transformation required any intelligent guidance, but I would guess that it probably did.

    In answer to your third question, I believe that each and every member of the human race gets an immaterial soul.
    Hence I believe that severely brain-damaged humans (e.g. so-called cretins) receive immaterial souls too. Thus if it were possible at some future date to repair their brains, I’d expect rationality to emerge. By contrast, I would not expect rationality to emerge if a chimp’s brain was transformed by some step-by-step process into a human brain, by a skillful 22nd-century neurosurgeon. I’d still expect the super-chimp to be incapable of a certain level of abstraction that humans take for granted.

  40. #39 vjtorley

    I hope you don’t mind this line of inquiry. It is not aggressive, just curious.

    I think it is a consequence of your beliefs that at some point a very human like creature without a soul gave birth to a very similar creature with a soul. Indeed there must have been communities where some individuals had souls and others did not. I wonder if the ones with souls behaved very differently from the ones without? If indeed the soul bearing individuals realised their parents lacked something vital?

  41. DNA is just hardware that carries out the instructions (software) that are embedded on/in it.

    As I understand this metaphor, chimpanzees and human beings differ because the instructions embedded in their DNA differ. The interspecies differences in those instructions (in that software, if you prefer) is transmitted by means of physical differences in DNA (e.g., different sequences of base-pairs).

    Are you intending something different when you say the above?

    If so, in your view, how are unique human characteristics (the structures required for bipedalism, to use your example) transmitted from human parent to human child, if not via DNA?

    What I am saying is that there isn’t any way to test it.

    Numerous studies demonstrate that when DNA is is manipulated the body structures that result may be profoundly modified (e.g. legs growing where eyes were expected in the instance of homeobox genes in Drosophilia). Are you saying that these interventions don’t test the hypothesis that the instructions for building bodies are contained in DNA? How else do you explain those results?

  42. “Are you saying that these interventions don’t test the hypothesis that the instructions for building bodies are contained in DNA? How else do you explain those results?”

    Right now I believe there are large number of issues that are unanswered in gestation or the forming of the embryo. Certainly DNA sequences are part of it but whether they are all of it, is I believe is in real doubt. There does not seem to be any set of DNA instructions that specify what happens where at what time for every step along the way as there would be in a set of instructions that leads to the assembly of your new portable barbecue stove. Question have been asked here about this in the past and they are usually greeted by silence.

  43. Mark Frank (#40)

    I don’t mind you asking questions at all. Ask away.

    You write:

    I think it is a consequence of your beliefs that at some point a very human like creature without a soul gave birth to a very similar creature with a soul.

    That is probably correct. The first true human beings (i.e. creatures with rational souls) may well have looked very like – indeed, just like – their non-rational forebears.

    An alternative possibility is that the dawn of human intelligence coincided with the very sudden emergence (i.e. saltation) of a new species (Homo erectus for instance) whose members looked strikingly unlike their hominid parents in some way. In other words, God intervened in human evolution at the genetic level as well as the spiritual level.

    You also write:

    Indeed there must have been communities where some individuals had souls and others did not. I wonder if the ones with souls behaved very differently from the ones without? If indeed the soul bearing individuals realised their parents lacked something vital?

    At the very least, the ones with human souls must have originally had an immediate knowledge of God, if one takes the account in Genesis seriously. Their technology may not have been markedly more advanced than that of their non-human contemporaries, however. All I would insist on is that they must have possessed both the neural and spiritual wherewithal to come up with brilliant tool-making ideas in future generations, when there was a pressing need.

    And yes, they must have known that they were different in some way. My guess is that they could probably recognize each other, just from things like they way they held themselves while they walked, the spark of intelligence in their eyes, and an air of purposefulness or an aura of gravity which they could intuit in each other.

    Rational animals behave differently from non-rational ones. They’re always up to something, good or bad, and they can engage in long-range projects, because they can plan ahead for the long term. That ability reflects in the way that rational creatures move, I think – and also the way they visually focus on things around them. In fact, I wouldn’t mind betting that there’s an observational test that could one day be devised by scientists to distinguish rational from non-rational animals, based solely on their eye and neck movements when paying attention to objects. (Scoff if you will, but I have read that mammals and birds – the only two classes of creatures generally considered to be sentient – differ from other animals in one important respect: they are capable of visually tracking moving objects. If memory serves me right, I think this is where I read about their visual tracking abilities: Kavanau, J. L. 1997. “Origin and Evolution of Sleep: Roles of Vision and Endothermy.” In Brain Research Bulletin, Vol. 42, No. 4, pp. 245-264. But I digress.)

    Anyway, as I envisage it, there would have been some point at which those individuals possessing a rational soul were temporarily separated (by a Divine plan) from their non-rational kin, and put through a test of their willingness to serve God – a test they obviously failed. That was the Fall.

    After that event, humans would have no longer been able to talk directly to God. My guess is that that’s precisely the way they originally wanted it to be: they basically told God to “turn off the radio,” so He acceded to their wishes, and the heavens were silent. That was basically what the Fall was all about. In effect, the first humans said to God: “We don’t want you! We don’t need you! Leave us alone! We can figure it out for ourselves!”

    Successive generations of humans would have rapidly forgotten that there was a God who created the heavens and the earth, and religion would have descended into a barbarous travesty of what it once was. There may well have been a technological and linguistic backslide too, lasting hundreds of thousands of years. But we don’t know.

  44. Voice Coil:

    If so, in your view, how are unique human characteristics (the structures required for bipedalism, to use your example) transmitted from human parent to human child, if not via DNA?

    The instructions also get passed on. Also those instructions are not limited to the DNA.

    There are other structures in a cell which are also very, very important for development.

    The egg itself controls much of what goes on.

    Numerous studies demonstrate that when DNA is is manipulated the body structures that result may be profoundly modified (e.g. legs growing where eyes were expected in the instance of homeobox genes in Drosophilia).

    A fruit fly with a leg in the wrong place is still a fruit fly.

    Are you saying that these interventions don’t test the hypothesis that the instructions for building bodies are contained in DNA?

    What part of what Denton said- the quote I provided- don’t you understand?

    And again a fruit fly with a leg in the wrong place does not test the premise that a fruit fly can evolve into something other than a fruit fly.

    How else do you explain those results?

    Just as Denton did in the quote I provided.

    Also geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti has a book out titled “Why is a Fly Not a Horse?” in which he explains the big differences are not due to genes (chapter X).

  45. Joseph:

    And again a fruit fly with a leg in the wrong place does not test the premise that a fruit fly can evolve into something other than a fruit fly.

    What I asked is whether it tests the assertion that instructions that specify the development of a organism’s body are conveyed by means of DNA. You said that assertion is untestable, but profound results such as this conclusively establish otherwise.

    That doesn’t exclude epigenetic transmission of information, which may convey additional information.

    There are other structures in a cell which are also very, very important for development.

    Yes, but not so important for transgenerational transmission of information, particularly across multiple generations. As I understand it, almost all epigenetic processes are reset and variations are lost over one or a few generations, and do not account for, for example, the differences in the developmental unfolding of human versus chimpanzee feet that accrued over thousands of generations.

    Are you arguing that the instructions that differentiate human and chimpanzee feet (e.g. the configuration of the great toe) are exclusively or primarily epigenetically transmitted?

    It is worth noting that even if this were the case, to the extent that epigenetic information IS reliably transmitted over generations, it too may be subject to modification and selection. That leaves the logic of descent with modification intact. I don’t see that it has any necessary bearing on the topic at hand, namely the purported existence of evolutionary discontinuities between human beings and their closest kin (chimps, bonobos, etc.) that could not have been attained by such a process, and hence reflect IC.

  46. #43 Vjtorley thanks. It is an eye-opener for me.

  47. Voice Coil:

    What I asked is whether it tests the assertion that instructions that specify the development of a organism’s body are conveyed by means of DNA. You said that assertion is untestable, but profound results such as this conclusively establish otherwise.

    That you think the results are “profound” does not make them so.

    Making a fruit fly grow a fruit fly leg in another region on a fruit fly body just shows we can take existing things and alter their position on the same body plan.

    We still don’t know what makes a fruit fly a fruit fly other than a fruit fly emerges from a fruit fly larvae.

    That doesn’t exclude epigenetic transmission of information, which may convey additional information.

    Epigenetic effects can only release existing information.

    Are you arguing that the instructions that differentiate human and chimpanzee feet (e.g. the configuration of the great toe) are exclusively or primarily epigenetically transmitted?

    I am saying that the information that makes an organism what it is does not reside solely in the DNA.

    Jonathan Wells talks about some experiments that one species’ DNA was put into another’s egg.

    Either nothing developed or it developed into whatever species the egg was from.

    (When I find the reference I will post it.)

  48. Joseph:

    VC: That doesn’t exclude epigenetic transmission of information, which may convey additional information.

    Epigenetic effects can only release existing information.

    OK. By what means do you suppose that existing information is transmitted, if not via DNA and not via epigenetic effects? That is to say, if not by genetic transmission (via DNA) and not by means other than genetic transmission (epigenetic effects, which you state only release existing information)?

    I am saying that the information that makes an organism what it is does not reside solely in the DNA.

    Where does it reside? To again cite your example, by what means are the instructions that specify a human foot, rather than a chimpanzee foot, transmitted from human parent to human infant, if not by means of DNA nor epigenetic effects?

    Are you postulating an undiscovered epigenetic means of transmission that does more than only release existing information?

    Making a fruit fly grow a fruit fly leg in another region on a fruit fly body just shows we can take existing things and alter their position on the same body plan.

    Is not information specifying where limbs and sense organs are placed on a body among the instructions (software) that result in the developmental unfolding of an organism?

  49. Voice Coil,

    Do a little research to find out what else, besides DNA, is in a cell, especically a newly formed embryo.

    All of the information in any parent cell would be duplicated/ copied to the same structures in all subsequent daughter cells.

    Is not information specifying where limbs and sense organs are placed on a body among the instructions (software) that result in the developmental unfolding of an organism?

    Influencing development is not the same as determining its outcome.

    When scientists took a mouse PAX6 and inserted into an eye-less fruit fly embryo that embryo developed fruit fly eyes, not mouse eyes.

  50. Joseph:

    Do a little research to find out what else, besides DNA, is in a cell, especically a newly formed embryo.

    Are you saying that something else, besides DNA, in the newly formed embryo of a human being (or chimpanzee) determines whether that embryo develops a human foot or chimp foot?

    When scientists took a mouse PAX6 and inserted into an eye-less fruit fly embryo that embryo developed fruit fly eyes, not mouse eyes.

    Not due to anything extragenetic, but rather due to the extraordinarily hierarchical relationship between highly conserved Pax genes and the more specific genetic instructions they activate “downstream.” In this experiment that downstream information was stored in the DNA of the recipient organism, activated by the highly conserved, transplanted Pax6. In nature all these instructions are transmitted intergenerationally by means of DNA.

  51. So at some point, as man evolved, God decided the brain was complex enough to create a soul each time a human was conceived?

    Interestingly enough, modern science leads to Cartesian dualism. The question is, can Cartestian dualism be defended.

    How does Aquinas view the soul? IS it something “added by God” every time a human is conceived?

  52. Voice Coil:

    Are you saying that something else, besides DNA, in the newly formed embryo of a human being (or chimpanzee) determines whether that embryo develops a human foot or chimp foot?

    That appears to be the case.

    IOW it isn’t just the DNA that determines what the organism will be.

    And the DNA may just be carrying out the instructions for building it.

    Do you understand what Denton said or not? (in the quote I provided)

    When scientists took a mouse PAX6 and inserted into an eye-less fruit fly embryo that embryo developed fruit fly eyes, not mouse eyes.

    Not due to anything extragenetic, but rather due to the extraordinarily hierarchical relationship between highly conserved Pax genes and the more specific genetic instructions they activate “downstream.” In this experiment that downstream information was stored in the DNA of the recipient organism, activated by the highly conserved, transplanted Pax6.

    Many words that didn’t say one darn thing.

    My point is no one knows where the information for “fruit fly eye” resides.

    In nature all these instructions are transmitted intergenerationally by means of DNA.

    I understand the assertion yet experiments show that it isn’t just the DNA that hold the information pertaining to form.

    And making fruit fly legs appear on different areas of a fruit fly does not help you in any way.

    It just shows was tinkering with the design can do.

    Heck I can take a hard drive and glue it on the side of my computer.

    Does that tell us how the computer came to be in the first place?

  53. Joseph:

    Heck I can take a hard drive and glue it on the side of my computer.

    Does that tell us how the computer came to be in the first place?

    If I modified a document that accompanied your computer, and you, after consulting the document, glued your drive to the side of your tower rather than installing it inside in the ordinary fashion, I would take that as evidence that the document I had modified contained the assembly instructions for your computer.

    Knowing that the document contained the assembly instructions might help us learn how computers like your own came to be in the first place.

  54. Mr Joseph,

    My point is no one knows where the information for “fruit fly eye” resides.

    In this paper on the unity of eye evolution, Walter Gehring seems to think it resides in a cascade of 2000 genes. Material, heritable, variable genes.

  55. Voice Coil:

    If I modified a document that accompanied your computer, and you, after consulting the document, glued your drive to the side of your tower rather than installing it inside in the ordinary fashion, I would take that as evidence that the document I had modified contained the assembly instructions for your computer.

    Actually if I was assembling a computer and saw that someone put to glue the hard drive on the outside of the tower I would write an ECO (engineering change order) to correct the stupidity.

    Along the way to implementing said ECO I would make sure you were terminated.

    Then I would have to conduct an investigation to see what else you messed up.

  56. Mr Vjtorley,

    (Scoff if you will, but I have read that mammals and birds – the only two classes of creatures generally considered to be sentient – differ from other animals in one important respect: they are capable of visually tracking moving objects. If memory serves me right, I think this is where I read about their visual tracking abilities: Kavanau, J. L. 1997. “Origin and Evolution of Sleep: Roles of Vision and Endothermy.” In Brain Research Bulletin, Vol. 42, No. 4, pp. 245-264. But I digress.)

    I’m pretty sure frogs can visually track the flies they catch with their tongues. This classic paper discusses frog motion detection.

  57. The eye is another case of the dog ate the evidence since all the eyes were present in the Cambrian and nothing new has evolved since. All those pre Cambrian organisms which gave rise to all the phyla on the planet never left a trace behind let alone a clue as to how eyes appeared out of no where. This most complicated of organs just poofed into existence.

    What controls the precision and timing of the 2000 genes. Is it like those domino examples where someone had to set them up ahead of time and be placed at exactly the right spot so they could knock down the next one 2000 times. Oh, I forgot there was no one to set up the genes in the right place and it all just was a lucky lottery pick. Amazing stuff this Darwinism.

  58. Jerry writes, “The eye is another case of the dog ate the evidence since all the eyes were present in the Cambrian and nothing new has evolved since.”

    That is a bizarre statement. The eyes of modern creatures are vastly different than those of Cambrian creatures – how one can say that “nothing new has evolved since” is beyond me.

    That’s what I get for dropping in to see what’s up here – looks like not much has changed.

  59. Joseph cited experiments in which mouse Pax6 inserted into Drosophiliaprompted the growth of Drosophilia eyes.

    I remarked,

    Not due to anything extragenetic, but rather due to the extraordinarily hierarchical relationship between highly conserved Pax genes and the more specific genetic instructions they activate “downstream.” In this experiment that downstream information was stored in the DNA of the recipient organism, activated by the highly conserved, transplanted Pax6.

    Joseph’s reply:

    Many words that didn’t say one darn thing.

    Actually, they do say exactly one darn thing (the number intended). The same darn thing reported in the Gehring paper:

    In order to test this hypothesis we expressed the mouse Pax 6 gene ectopically in Drosophila and showed that the mouse homolog is capable of inducing ectopic compound eyes (Fig. 8). Of course, the induced eyes are Drosophila compound eyes, since we have only exchanged the master switch and the remaining 2000 genes required for eye morphogenesis come from Drosophila (p. 68)

    Which has nothing to do with extragenetic transmission or activation of information, and is exactly consistent with the notion that these structures are specified in DNA, not elsewhere.

  60. “That is a bizarre statement. The eyes of modern creatures are vastly different than those of Cambrian creatures – how one can say that “nothing new has evolved since” is beyond me.”

    Maybe the bizarre statement is yours. Why don’t you or others present what has happened in eye evolution since the Cambrian and how much of the change is compared to the original poofing of the various eyes into existence during the Cambrian. What new systems have developed and in which phyla did these systems develop and how do they compare to the systems that appeared during the Cambrian.

    The article that Nakashima referenced may be a good place to start with what the article actually says. Go for it and show everyone how bizarre we are. There are lots of articles on the evolution of the eye and Nakashima is probably out there searching for them right now. Form a team and skewer us with your research.

    Otherwise we will have to assume the dog ate it.

  61. Make that “epigenetic.”

  62. Jerry, how about you present some data on an eye of a creature in the Cambrian so where we know where to start. You say that “all the eyes were present in the Cambrian” – can you present some research to back up that statement? What kind of an eye, for instance, did Wiwaxia or Laggania have?

    And what do you mean by “new”. Is color vision “new”. Is the ability to see with the resolution of an owl “new.” Surely you don’t think these capabilities were present in the Cambrian, do you?

  63. Hazel has said the dog ate the evidence or else she would present something.

    From the Lund University Vision Group

    “http://www.lu.se/vision-group/research/research-projects/evolution-of-vertebrate-vision”

    Evolution of vertebrate vision

    Color vision and multifocal lenses seem to have evolved very early (at least 500 million years ago) since even the most basal extant vertebrates, i.e. the lampreys, have all four classes of vertebrate cone photopigment genes and multifocal lenses. Among the chordates, i.e. the group from which vertebrates have arisen, there is no extant form with well-developed eyes. There is, however, sensitivity to light in chordates.

    From Wikipedia

    Complex eyes appear to have first evolved within a few million years, in the rapid burst of evolution known as the Cambrian explosion. There is no evidence of eyes before the Cambrian, but a wide range of diversity is evident in the Middle Cambrian Burgess shale.

    From our extra special friend, PZ Myers

    A while back, I summarized a review of the evolution of eyes across the whole of the metazoa — it doesn’t matter whether we’re looking at flies or jellyfish or salmon or shrimp, when you get right down to the biochemistry and cell biology of photoreception, the common ancestry of the visual system is apparent. Vision evolved in the pre-Cambrian, and we have all inherited the same basic machinery — since then, we’ve mainly been elaborating, refining, and randomly varying the structures that add functionality to the eye.

    Now there’s a new and wonderfully comprehensive review of the evolution of eyes in one specific lineage, the vertebrates. The message is that, once again, all the heavy lifting, the evolution of a muscled eyeball with a lens and retinal circuitry, was accomplished early, between 550 and 500 million years ago. Most of what biology has been doing since is tweaking — significant tweaking, I’m sure, but the differences between a lamprey eye and our eyes are in the details, not the overall structure.

    You notice nothing about any evolution since then. The best that PZ goes is some tweaking. Hey 500 million years is just a short time and in another 500 million more maybe we will see something else but we have to watch out for that dog or else he might eat the evidence.

  64. Mr. Nakashima (#56)

    You wrote:

    I’m pretty sure frogs can visually track the flies they catch with their tongues. This classic paper discusses frog motion detection.

    Thank you very much for the paper. I finally tracked down the references I was looking for. From what I’ve read, mammals can “lead” moving prey they are attacking by anticipating their trajectories – an ability that depends on their visual cortex (Kavanau, 1997, p. 255). Pigeons also possess this ability (Wasserman, 2002, p. 180). Although some fish and amphibians can snap at moving prey with their projectile tongues, “there is no evidence that fish and amphibians… attacking moving prey can ‘lead’ them by anticipating trajectories” (Kavanau, 1997, p. 255).

    I hope that helps.

    References:

    (1) Kavanau, J. L. 1997. “Origin and Evolution of Sleep: Roles of Vision and Endothermy.” In Brain Research Bulletin, Vol. 42, No. 4, pp. 245-264.

    (2) Wasserman E. 2002. “General Signs.” In Bekoff M., Allen C. and Burghardt G. (eds). The Cognitive Animal. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT. Paperback edition, pages 175-182.

  65. Mr Jerry,

    The eye is another case of the dog ate the evidence since all the eyes were present in the Cambrian and nothing new has evolved since.

    While we may have no fossil evidence of the development of the eye during the Pre-Cambrian era, we certainly have molecular evidence, which is the basis of such sweeping statements as “the eye evolved only once”.

    I agree with Dr Myers that what has happened since is “significant tweaking”. Spiders get eight eyes instead of two. Mammals lost color vision, and some primates regained it. Some fish are bifocal. Insects can see UV (very useful out of the water, very useful with flowers, which are pretty recent).

    Significant tweaks such as these are more than “nothing new”, but you’ve warned us previously not to take your emphatic statements too seriously. The important thing to ask is “Not much evolution – compared to what?” Vision is so useful that selection pressure for good vision is very strong. The single fact that good vision helps you survive explains its rapid development, its diversity, and its conservation.

    As someone once said, “In the country of the blind, the photosensitive pigment spotted bilaterian is king!”

  66. Mung (#51)

    Thank you for your email. You write:

    How does Aquinas view the soul? IS it something “added by God” every time a human is conceived?

    The short answer is: yes. Aquinas clearly states this in his Summa Theologica, Vol. I, question 90, articles 1-3. For example, in question 90, article 2, St. Thomas, writes: “The rational soul can be made only by creation,” and in article 3 he adds that “it cannot be produced, save immediately by God.” See http://www.ccel.org/a/aquinas/.....FPQ90OUTP1 .

    Nevertheless, Aquinas is not a Cartesian dualist. Unlike Descartes (and Augustine before him), Aquinas does not hold that man is a soul; rather, man is an animal who has a soul. The psychic life of man is one; everything I do, I do as an animal. The human soul, with its ability to reason, does not distinguish us from animals; it distinguishes us as animals. The unity of a human being’s actions is actually deeper and stronger than that underlying the acts of a non-rational animal: rationality allows us to bring together our past, present and future acts, when we formulate plans.

    Whereas Descartes conceived of mind and body as two substances, Aquinas (in his mature works) insists that a human being is one substance. Moreover, he eschews the term “mind” – and when he does use it, he means “intellect.”

    Nevertheless, there is a sense in which Aquinas might be called a small-d dualist: he maintains that the activity of the intellect cannot be identified with the activity of any bodily organ. Although I cannot think without my brain, nevertheless I do not think with my brain. Thinking itself is a non-bodily act, according to Aquinas. When Aquinas argues that thinking is an immaterial act, however, he is not claiming that there is a non-animal act engaged in by human beings. He is claiming, rather, that (at least in the case of human beings) not every act of an animal is a bodily act.

    For a very thoughtful exposition of the differences between Aquinas’ mature thinking on the soul and Augustine’s dualism (which influenced Descartes), I would recommend From Augustine’s Mind to Aquinas’ Soul by Fr. John O’Callaghan.

  67. Hazel (#62)

    You write:

    What kind of an eye, for instance, did Wiwaxia or Laggania have?

    According to Wikipedia article on Wiwaxia , the answer is: none:

    Since there is no sign of eyes or tentacles, Wiwaxia may have relied mainly on chemical senses such as smell and taste.

    As for Laggania, you can find out more about its eyes at these sites:

    Laggania cambria (see http://www.dinocasts.com/prod_.....ductId=751 for a model and description),
    The Anomalocaris Homepage and Anomalocarids in Art . From what I gather, Laggania had short stalked eyes, set behind its mouth, leading most experts to believe that it was a filter feeder rather than a hunter. It has been called the baleen whale of the Cambrian. However, only one or two specimens have been discovered to date.

    I hope that helps.

  68. Mr Vjtorley,

    Sorry I haven’t read your referenced paper yet to see what evidence is adduced that frogs don’t anticipate motion. However, I can understand why it may not be necessary for a small animal to do so.

    However however, if they did need to do so, pretty simple motion detection processing in the retina itself would allow them to. As an example, take a string of ‘b’ for background and ‘F’ for the moving Fly. So at one moment the frog sees

    bbbbbFFFbbbbb

    and at the next

    bbbbbbFFFbbbb

    and at the next

    bbbbbbbFFFbbb

    These together give a signal

    ,,,,,-+,-+,,,

    where ‘,’ means no change from the previous moment, ‘+’ means a change from the previous moment, and ‘-’ means a change in the antepenultimate moment, now decaying to no change. This signal gives a clear message about the Fly’s anticipated place in the next moment.

    The bottom line is that visual anticipation can be built cheaply. It is easy to imagine a frog that sees (in terms of the signal sent to its brain)

    ,,,,,,,,!,!,,

    In other words, the frog doesn’t actually see the world as it is, the frog sees the world as it will be a moment in the future.

  69. “Vision is so useful that selection pressure for good vision is very strong. The single fact that good vision helps you survive explains its rapid development, its diversity, and its conservation.”

    Doesn’t the irony of that statement get through to you. You say only once but the selection pressure is strong. And in 500 million years no new systems but the pressure is strong. Look in the mirror and say that with a straight face.

    “Not much evolution – compared to what?”

    I think you have answered your own question. A tweak compared to a truly remarkable system in case you still don’t get it. Someone said recently that it was a cascade of about 2000 proteins. Last time I checked that was pretty high up on the remarkable scale. And if you decide to say it is not so remarkable, then why only once. And by the way many believe it happened more than once. But I believe PZ sees the internal inconsistencies in that stance and comes down on the “once” scenario for philosophical reasons.

    “you’ve warned us previously not to take your emphatic statements too seriously”

    Yes, by pushing people like you and Hazel and others here with taunts for some truth, maybe we will learn something because what we nearly always get is condescension, disdain, deflection and double talk (I was going to use disrespect instead of condescension to make it all “d’s” but condescension is more appropriate.) You see it makes no difference to me whether naturalistic evolution is the answer for everything or not. That is what I believed 10 years ago when I got curious, I am a science junkie, and went to a conference here in New York on ID and listened to what they had to say. Dembski and Behe were there and several others and I was impressed by their logic. That is what started me on the trail to here. It was a selection event. The pressures of truth put me on a different developmental path. I evolved. I am a prisoner of logic and truth. So, here I stand, I can do no other.

    What didn’t change one iota was my religious beliefs so when people here try to intertwine the two, I know exactly what they are doing. They are arguing from weakness and the sad thing is they know it and continue to do it while keeping their condescending attitude. A truly astonishing phenomenon.

    PS – I was right when I told Hazel that Nakashima was out somewhere researching eye evolution. Keep the faith.

  70. Mr Vjtorley,

    I closed my comment to quickly, here is a brief note on anticipation processing in the retina.

  71. Mr Nakashima (#70)

    Thank you very much for the article. I see that not only mammals and birds, but salamanders are capable of motion anticipation, so (contrary to my proposal in #43) this capacity looks like a very poor litmus test for sentience, after all. Also, the fact that motion anticipation occurs in the retina, rather than the cortex, seems to preclude a high-order cognitive explanation of the behavior.

    The article which you linked to describes a very interesting and well thought-out piece of research. Thank you once again.

  72. Voice Coil,

    DNA may influence development but it does not determine it.

    No one knows where the information for form or type resides.

    And no one has pinpointed it as being the DNA.

    Sure that may be many people’s guess but that is something else entirely.

    This is all in geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti’s book “Why is a Fly Not a Horse?”.

  73. Nakashima,

    How can we test the premise that eyes/ vision systems evolved from a population or populations that didn’t have either?

    I ask because I know that the ONLY “evidence” for said evolution is that we observe varying complexities of eyes/ vision systems and we think we “know” that the original populations of single-celled organisms didn’t have either and we “know” everything evolved from them.

  74. My point is no one knows where the information for “fruit fly eye” resides.

    Nakashima:

    In this paper on the unity of eye evolution, Walter Gehring seems to think it resides in a cascade of 2000 genes.

    When he has it figured out please let me know.

    As Dr Denton has stated genes may influence development but they do not determine it, just as assemblers may influence the design of that which they are assembling but they do not determine it.

    So perhaps WG can start swapping out or messing with those 2000 genes and see if he can get a different type of eye to develop in fruit flies.

  75. Also master control genes are evidence for ID…

  76. Mr Jerry,

    Like you, I am a science junkie. What I like so much about UD is what the discussions lead me to learn.

    I don’t find anything ironic in the idea that selection pressure can acheive different effects in different contexts. In an open niche it causes rapid radiation and diversity, in a closed niche, conservation.

    When I asked, ‘compared to what?’, I meant to ask what is your expected level of change and why do expect that level. Do you think animal eyes should have evolved to be Raman spectroscopes by now? Why? Has the amount of light or its quality changed very much in 500 million years?

    I’m glad we share the view that entwining religious and scientific positions is a weakness. And thank you for your expectation that I would research my position before stating it. I will try to live up to this standard.

  77. Mr Joseph,

    As Dr Denton has stated genes may influence development but they do not determine it, just as assemblers may influence the design of that which they are assembling but they do not determine it.

    Your Dr Denton’s in a twist with that analogy. The assembler is the ribosome, and it can certainly influence the protein they are assembling by misreading the design written in the mRNA.

    So perhaps WG can start swapping out or messing with those 2000 genes and see if he can get a different type of eye to develop in fruit flies.

    Scientists do, how do you think they have learned so much? Guess what they learned? Eyes are built of protein from instructions encoded in DNA! Not instructions encoded in elan vital or pixie dust.

  78. Ah, the niche argument. I love the egalitarian Darwinists and their odd stances.

    I am sorry poor optically sensitive spot, but you must stay the way you are for eternity. You see my nephew applied for the spot and being that he is my nephew, it is his. You will have to respect the class system and we want no uppity behavior from you such as evolution to a more sensitive light spot. Don’t get any pretenses that you too will be able to see some day. You see that spot was taken long ago.

    I am a believer in the entrepreneurial system or that the poor sensitive little spot too can achieve and reach high levels of accomplishment. It is not a fixed pie especially with all those mass extinctions along the way.

    So I am an anti nicher. It is so unfair not to let all the species be all that they can be.

  79. Mr Jerry,

    I’m glad to hear that you don’t like teleological arguments, but a closed niche is not such an argument. If a niche is occupied, full to capacity with living things eating all the available food, any invader had better be better than the incumbents. Being better than their own ancestors isn’t enough. It is the same answer as why we don’t see abiogenesis happening regularly.

  80. Nakashima:

    The assembler is the ribosome, and it can certainly influence the protein they are assembling by misreading the design written in the mRNA.

    Influence, yes. Determine, no.

    IOW you just supported my claim. Thanks.

    Also ribosomes are evidence of design.

    Once again you start with that which needs explaining in the first place.

    Sweet.

    Scientists do, how do you think they have learned so much? Guess what they learned? Eyes are built of protein from instructions encoded in DNA! Not instructions encoded in elan vital or pixie dust.

    It appears you are smoking too much pixie dust- however-

    What eyes are built of is not what determines the type of eye.

    I said the DNA is the hardware.

    It is part of what carries out the instructions- software.

    For example the resistors, capacitors, coils, ICs, chassis, power supply with all of its varying components- they do not determine what is being made. They can go into a PC, a child’s toy, a radio, a TV.

  81. Mr Joseph,

    I said the DNA is the hardware.

    It is part of what carries out the instructions- software.

    There is no evidence for anything else holding these instructions.

    IOW, no pixie dust. Genes are material.

    IOW, get out of your Dr Denton’s and learn some science. “As Dr Denton stated”, now you worship that little tin god Dr Denton?

    Is the gene that codes for crystallin ‘influencing’ the eye or ‘determining’ the eye? Is the gene that codes for rhodopsin ‘infuencing’ the eye or ‘determining’ the eye? Tell me Joe. Interpret the words of Dr Denton for me.

    Has Dr Denton done an experiment where he takes away all the genes that merely ‘influence’ the eye, and found what it is that actually ‘determines’ the eye. No.

    IOW, you have no evidence.

  82. Nakashima:

    There is no evidence for anything else holding these instructions.

    You are missing the point.

    The genes do not determine the form- they just aid in making it.

    Learn some science?

    What do you have?

    What is your evidence that genes determine form?

    And what was the “Alternberg 16″ discussing if not the fact that the theory of evolution lacks a “theory of form”?

    Far from worshipping Denton I am going by the available data.

    But anyways I am very interested in learning about fruit fly genes- and roughly how long do you think it took blind and unguided processes to put together 2000 genes and controllers just for a fruit fly eye?

    BTW no one knows what determines form- no one.

    Meaning you don’t have any evidence.

    Go figure…

  83. Is the gene that codes for crystallin ‘influencing’ the eye or ‘determining’ the eye?

    Does crystallin determine what type of eye is being formed?

    Is the gene that codes for rhodopsin ‘infuencing’ the eye or ‘determining’ the eye?

    Does rhodopsin determine what type of eye is being formed?

    Are you still smoking pixie dust?

    You are supposed to just snort the stuff…

  84. Mr Joseph,

    Does crystallin determine what type of eye is being formed?

    You will have to interpret that little tin god Dr Denton for me, I don’t know what distinguishes ‘influence’ and ‘determine’ in his masterpiece.

  85. “I’m glad to hear that you don’t like teleological arguments, but a closed niche is not such an argument. If a niche is occupied, full to capacity with living things eating all the available food, any invader had better be better than the incumbents. Being better than their own ancestors isn’t enough. It is the same answer as why we don’t see abiogenesis happening regularly.”

    A lot of non sequiturs here but that is par for the course. It is what we deal with here all the time.

    I love teleological arguments. It is the only thing that explains everything.

    A closed niche is bulls__t. There are no closed niches as ecologies are changing all the time and can be destroyed in a jiffy when the environment changes. The teleological argument is the best I have seen for why ecologies work. Otherwise parts of it will destroy it and eventually itself because as you say there wouldn’t be any looking forward. Like Dirty Harry said, “An organism has got to know its limitations.”

    So you really like the dog ate the evidence argument and I was just kidding when I use it. Those big bad organisms just eating the evidence away all the time so those robots who worship Darwin cannot find it. Poor befuddled darwinbots. But wait didn’t you see on the species thread, that most vertebrates fossilized so the dogs forgot a few. How inconsiderate of them.

    You still haven’t answered the question why the single photo sensitive cell must remain that way. Is getting more photocells an invitation to someone else’s lunch? Is there an enforcer to make sure that these cells do not get too uppity.

    I shouldn’t expect any logic as answers, only blind obedience to a mind numbing philosophy. And I am a person who believes that natural process rule most of the world including the biology world. It is just the initial and boundary conditions that have to be tweaked to make it self running. Sort of like the Rendezvous with Rama series.

  86. Mr Jerry,

    Actually, I saw on the species thread that 45,500 out of 58,000 vertebrate species fossilize poorly, so I’m not sure why you would bring up such a poor argument here.

    I don’t hold that there is any ‘must’ holding back a primitive eyed animal. That would be teleology, second floor, next to sporting goods. Plenty of primitive eyed animals enjoyed rapid radiation and diversification – in the Cambrian. All of us visually well endowed vertebrates, even the ones that don’t fossilize particularly well, are their grandchildren.

    As you point out, a primitive eyed animal could still find a set of open niches after an extinction event – a meteor impact, or anthropogenic global warming perhaps.

    But if the species has been getting along fine without more advanced eyes in its current niche, any member that starts to invest time and energy building better eyes is wasting those scarce resources and will be out competed in its niche. If it shifts to a new niche another species is probably already there.

    I’m really unclear why this idea that strong selection pressure can foster innovation in open niches and conservatism in occupied niches is difficult for you. I also think the term I used at first, closed niche, is inappropriate and occupied niche is better.

    And yes. organisms can destroy their own niche. Medea Hypothesis, anyone? Bueller?

  87. “I’m really unclear why this idea that strong selection pressure can foster innovation in open niches and conservatism in occupied niches is difficult for you. I also think the term I used at first, closed niche, is inappropriate and occupied niche is better.”

    Because it is pure bulls__t. I told you I am a prisoner of reason and truth. So it is impossible for me to acquiesce to something made up to cover one’s rear end in a discussion when there is no evidence it ever happened. But don’t let a little thing like that get in your way. Sounds good in an Alice in Wonderland fantasy science fiction story so let’s get it in a textbook or a science study on evolutionary biology. Oh, well, we know the Darwinist don’t have any real world information so BS is the currency in the fantasy land they live in.

    Are niches part of the latest issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction? I am wondering why the sudden rush to find yourself a niche.

  88. Nakashima:

    You will have to interpret that little tin god Dr Denton for me, I don’t know what distinguishes ‘influence’ and ‘determine’ in his masterpiece.

    You have to read it first- then perhaps even read the references.

    But before that you have to pull your head out of your arse, otherwise there isn’t anything that can help you.

    Or you could buy a dictionary and actually learn the differences between “influence” and “determine”- although that may not help as it appears you can’t even do that much.

  89. Mr Jerry,

    Let me try to summarize your position, as I understand it from your last few messages.

    Ecological niches do not exist. Therefore there is no selection pressure to acquire resources in a vacant niche. Genomes do not constitute evidence of the evolution of the eye.

  90. A classic example of adaptive radiation are the Galápagos finches (tanagers). They descendend from an immigrant population that arrived from South America to the Galápagos Islands just a few million years ago. Since then, they have evolved to occupy the niches normally occupied by warblers, grosbeaks, blackbirds, ground finches, and woodpeckers, diversifying to eat seeds, flowers, insects, leaves, even blood.

    Genomic data supports common descent of Galápagos finches, and changes to specific genes that affect beak morphology have been identified.

    -

    Darwin, C. R. ed. 1841. Birds Part 3 of The zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle. by John Gould. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. London: Smith Elder and Co.

    Sato et al., Phylogeny of Darwin’s finches as revealed by mtDNA sequences, PNAS 1998.

    Abzhanov et al., Bmp4 and Morphological Variation of Beaks in Darwin’s Finches, Science 2004.

  91. Mr Joseph,

    Or you could buy a dictionary and actually learn the differences between “influence” and “determine”- although that may not help as it appears you can’t even do that much.

    IOW, when the Dr Denton’s flap, you don’t know what it means. Butt you quote it anyway.

    Sweet.

    I’m not the one hiding behind a distinction between ‘influence’ and ‘determine’ quoted out of a holy book. You are.

    So quote Dr Denton’s experiment showing which genes influnce the eye and which genes determine the eye. You can’t.

    IOW, you have no evidence.

  92. Nakashima,

    Quote any experiment that demonstrates that genes determine the type of eye. You can’t.

    IOW YOU don’t have any evidence.

    Why do you think that your ignorance is meaningful discourse?

  93. Zachriel:

    A classic example of adaptive radiation are the Galápagos finches (tanagers).

    Your “classic example” supports the YEC model of “variation within a Kind”.

    Why is it that all evos can pull out are examples that support baraminology?

  94. Mr Joseph,

    If you can’t tell me what Dr Denton was flapping about, how can I give you an example? What is the difference between influence and determine to your little tin god?

    If I have a 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle, is the image printed on each piece influencing the final assembled picture or determining it?

    Can you answer that? No.

    Sweet.

  95. Nakashima:

    If I have a 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle, is the image printed on each piece influencing the final assembled picture or determining it?

    Jigsaw puzzles have all the information put on them (that printed image) when the medium is whole and then it is cut up.

    And it takes a great deal of agency involvement to do all of that.

    Show me a jigsaw puzzle that is cut first and then each piece has an image printed on it- for example get 2000 people, give each a piece, and tell them to put something on it.

    Even though the pieces will, if properly coordinated, mechanically fit to form a whole sheet, do you think the image will be coherent?

    The point being is that the intial agency involvement DETERMINED what the printed image of the jigsaw puzzle would be- in your “example”.

    How the pieces are put together influences the final product.

    That you were unable to understand that is totally sweet.

    What is your education level?

  96. “they have evolved to occupy the niches normally occupied by warblers, grosbeaks, blackbirds, ground finches, and woodpeckers, diversifying to eat seeds, flowers, insects, leaves, even blood.”

    But they are all the same species. Oh, I forgot there is no accepted definition of what a species is so the use of the word is meaningless. Just what is the meaning of the word “is.”

    So we have the flower eating niche, the leaf eating niche, the seed eating niche, the insect eating niche. We even have the blood eating niche. Well I guess those vampires have been vanquished from the Galapagos.

    One of my nieces only eats broccoli and then just the fuzzy tops while the other niece eats spinach. So if another child is born, those two niece niches have been taken. A shame, the new child will have to occupy a less nutritious niche. Oh well, he/she may have to force the siblings out to get at the nutritious food.

    Maybe if we introduce a couple rabbits, we will see what niches is all about.

  97. jerry: But they are all the same species.

    That’s irrelevant to your statement that niches are “Fantasy and Science Fiction.” Niches are a real aspect of evolution, in this case explaining the adaptive radiation of Galápagos finches.

    jerry: Oh, I forgot there is no accepted definition of what a species is so the use of the word is meaningless.

    Actually, there are several scientifically accepted and related definitions of species. Some organisms are clearly separate species. And there are gray zones. The word “species” is no less meaningful than other terms that describe classes that have fuzzy or chaotic borders.

    In the case of Galápagos finches, hybridization is not uncommon, but the hybrids are rarely successful, which tends to limit gene flow between populations, and that means they retain their distinctive character traits. But again, it doesn’t matter what you call the groupings, niches help explain the observed diversification.

    jerry: One of my nieces only eats broccoli

    Humans interbreed readily and produce viable offspring. Humans are a single species under any of the scientifically accepted definitions of species.

  98. Mr Joseph,

    Show me a jigsaw puzzle that is cut first and then each piece has an image printed on it- for example get 2000 people, give each a piece, and tell them to put something on it.

    Even though the pieces will, if properly coordinated, mechanically fit to form a whole sheet, do you think the image will be coherent?

    Yeah, that sounds totally improbable. So lets give pieces to 10,000 groups of 2,000 people, rank the finished puzzles by how much they look like the Mona Lisa, and then do it again constraining the color choice of some of the best looking puzzles from the first 10,000. And then repeat that a few million times.

    Sweet.

    Education: I have a BS and MS in Computer Science. Erdos number of 5, but only based on a undergrad tech report. I design XML languages for a living. Yourself?

  99. “Let me try to summarize your position, as I understand it from your last few messages.

    Ecological niches do not exist. Therefore there is no selection pressure to acquire resources in a vacant niche. Genomes do not constitute evidence of the evolution of the eye.”

    Maybe we could start defining what a ecological niche is and see if it holds up as well as species does. As a starter to see what I believe, just follow what is known and shown. We have no problem with good science and I have watched many lectures by respected professors on ecologies as well as biology and evolution. Ecologies exist and most are very complex while some are incredibly complex. Ecologies change as the environment changes and individual population’s allele frequencies change as this happens. And if you want to say selection pressure is operating, then so be it. Amen Brother.

    But selection pressures cannot operate on what is not there. It does not create alleles. It can only pressure some alleles to be expressed more often. And as this operates on all the organisms in the ecologies, complicated things take place but not the origin of complex novel capabilities. You conflate the two and assume because we deny the later we are denying everything. So deal with it that we are reasonable and as Joseph is constantly saying, “Show Me the Money.”

    There is no genomic evidence for the evolution of the eye. It is all wishful thinking based on a premise that begs the question. It assumed there was a LUCA prior to the Cambrian that had all the information but then punts because if this mythical LUCA ever existed it is unexplained. So yes, I deny there exist any genomic evidence for the development of the eye. It is all

    A. another Darwinian fairy tale where the dog ate the evidence.
    B. a just told story that people like PZ Myers makes up to keep the faithful in line
    C. pure bulls__t.
    D. All the above

    Take your pick or choose all the above. They’re all correct.

  100. Nakashima:
    “Yeah, that sounds totally improbable. So lets give pieces to 10,000 groups of 2,000 people, rank the finished puzzles by how much they look like the Mona Lisa,”

    You do realize that you just stated that because of improbabilities associated with the aforementioned event, a future chosen target/goal and a filter associated with that goal needs to be brought in to even improve the chances for success. You sure are sounding a lot like an IDer. Is that what you were going for?

    However, even given a target, I’m not sure your scenario would work. How are you going to choose between two statistically random sets of graphical data and state that one looks closer to the Mona Lisa than the other?

    Nakashima:
    “and then do it again constraining the color choice of some of the best looking puzzles from the first 10,000. And then repeat that a few million times.”

    It appears that the result would be an intelligent filtering for the colors necessary for the Mona Lisa painting but I don’t see any reason to suppose that the Mona Lisa or anything even subjectively representing it would be the outcome.

    One way that your scenario would work is by applying a filter that froze correct pixels in place until the Mona Lisa “emerged” from the colorful noise. But of course, that would also reek of intelligent design, so I’m not sure I follow the point that you were originally intending, unless of course the rumors are true and you are coming to the dark side.

  101. Mr Jerry,

    But selection pressures cannot operate on what is not there. It does not create alleles. It can only pressure some alleles to be expressed more often.

    Indeed, vacant niches allow more variants to survive. You might even say that the different are rewarded just for being different.

    It assumed there was a LUCA prior to the Cambrian that had all the information but then punts because if this mythical LUCA ever existed it is unexplained.

    Unexplained in what way?

    I wasn’t aware that in the Big Tent of ID, you were not sitting in the same pew as Drs Behe and Meyer, that accept deep time and common descent. Thank you for clarifying that for me.

  102. Nakashima:

    Education: I have a BS and MS in Computer Science. Erdos number of 5, but only based on a undergrad tech report. I design XML languages for a living.

    And you didn’t understand that it was people who determine the image on jigsaw puzzles?

    And you new jigsaw puzzle example- targeted.

    IOW you are totally clueless and digging the hole deeper and deeper.

    Sweet.

  103. Mr Joseph,

    And you didn’t understand that it was people who determine the image on jigsaw puzzles?

    Believe it or not, since it was my example, I was very aware of how I was using people as a stand-in for nature in the example.

    And your education background?

  104. Nakashima:

    Believe it or not, since it was my example, I was very aware of how I was using people as a stand-in for nature in the example.

    Is that why you thought that the jigsaw-puzzle pieces determined the printed image?

  105. Mr CJYman,

    You do realize that you just stated that because of improbabilities associated with the aforementioned event, a future chosen target/goal and a filter associated with that goal needs to be brought in to even improve the chances for success. You sure are sounding a lot like an IDer. Is that what you were going for?

    Sorry that is what you got from this. What I intended was to show that all at once solving the problem – random pieces to coherent assembled picture – was improbable, but an iterated, population based approach could solve the problem over multiple iterations.

    I’m quite aware of the limits of the analogy of a jigsaw puzzle of 2000 pieces to a developmental cascade of 2000 genes.

  106. Nakashima:

    I’m quite aware of the limits of the analogy of a jigsaw puzzle of 2000 pieces to a developmental cascade of 2000 genes.

    Limits? What analogy?

  107. Mr Joseph,

    Limits? What analogy?

    What did you say your education background was again?

  108. Jerry:

    Oh, I forgot there is no accepted definition of what a species is so the use of the word is meaningless.

    Earlier you said:

    Make believe I am a scientist. Call me Professor Per. I secretly support ID. I do work mapping the genomes of bovid mammals because many of these animals are domesticated and I get support for this from the government. I find a lot of similarities between them and with the aid of a lot of colleagues who do not know my ID leanings, determine that nearly all members of the group could have descended from a population of bovids that existed 10-15 million years ago…all 130+ species developed by simple Darwinian processes that could be replicated much quicker artificially …

    …The environment, separation of sub populations, genetic processes and natural selection just narrowed the original gene pool and produced a bunch of new species.
    …But my career is now in high gear and I am off to supervise a similar but much larger project on aves, a class and with much higher number of species.

    What did “species” mean to you in these passages?

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-304029

  109. “Unexplained in what way?”

    Just what it was and how it came into existence. Since there is no evidence of it, it is mythical. It is nothing more than a just told story. If it existed it must have had the eye machinery in its genome and just how did that happen. Well that is not completely correct. There must have been a wide range of organisms prior to the Cambrian because only a few phyla have organisms with eyes. So the original LUCA probably did not have eye machinery in its genome but one of its descendants did. But then again this has less going for it than the Odyssey and the Iliad. It is all a fairy tale and if anyone wants to hold that such organisms existed then so be it. But they must be honest and say it is WAS (wild assed speculation) and not science. So since you are honest, you must agree that it is WAS.
    ———–

    “I wasn’t aware that in the Big Tent of ID, you were not sitting in the same pew as Drs Behe and Meyer, that accept deep time and common descent. Thank you for clarifying that for me.”

    Your reading assessment is wanting. Who said I didn’t accept deep time. You have a poor track record of assessing what is behind responses. Are you are looking for a crack in my responses so you can pin something on me. My responses are based on a template that has proved infallible so far.

    As far as deep time is concerned, it is just what can happen during deep time that is at issue. Maybe if I repeat something several times, you will start getting things right? Maybe I should give you my template so you can answer all your questions for yourself.

    Common descent is a conclusion, not a premise as it is for the Darwinist. If common descent is true then the real issue is the mechanisms for changes in the suite of species over time. Darwinist spout common descent like it is a given and that it is naturalistic and no such evidence exists to support that claim. So to put a damper on the enthusiasm for common descent If it happened there is little evidence that it happened totally through naturalistic causes. In fact the best inference is that it didn’t. So I do not think Drs. Behe and Meyer differ from my point of view and I have read both. Behe is on record that naturalistic causes as now known did not account for changes over time. But what has that got to do with common descent? Meyers is on record that abiogenesis could not have happened by naturalistic causes. Hey we are in the same pew.

    I said a few days ago that even if you could work your way back naturally to the Cambrian (an extremely iffy proposition), common descent hits a wall there. There is no evidence that anything naturally happened to create the phyla. You are welcome to your faith but if you are honest, then you will admit it is based on faith. Will Provine admitted it, so be a big boy and fess up too.

    Now I think with your computer degrees you are smart enough to understand all this. Maybe with a little more reflection, you will start getting some things correctly.

  110. “What did “species” mean to you in these passages?”

    I tend to support the commonly accepted position for what a species is and that is, the inability to inter breed. I have read and watched videos on this topic from at least a dozen different sources. So it is not that I am unaware of what is at stake here. But given that I am on record that what many or even most call species (in wikipedia) are not really species but really variants. So tigers and lions are not separate species and neither are dogs and wolves and neither are cows and bisons. There are theoretically 300,000 beetle species but I doubt that is accurate. It is probably a whole lot less.

    The discussion here is about changes over time happening through a process called speciation and the extent of those changes. These changes could happen side by side as one variant of an insect likes one type of fruit tree and another likes another and the two trees are growing togehter. The two insect variants will not mate even though genetically they may represent identical populations. But are they really separate species?

    The discussion only gets to something of substance when you have separate populations changing dramatically from others and this can not happen if they can inter breed because gene flow would slow this down or stop it altogether. Thus, inter breeding is an essential issue but I am well aware of the problem with this definition. I would bet many of the species of bovids in the example I used can inter breed if not naturally then artificially. The purpose of such a mapping as in that example was to track changes over time as they spread through the various species of the family.

    The above passage you quoted was meant to show that an ID scientist would do exactly the same thing as any other scientist but his conclusions would be completely different. So what is ID. It is not the ability or inability to do science but what claims one makes with the findings of the research. I chose the name Professor Per because at the time Peter Olafsson was commenting a lot here and Per is a Swedish version of Peter. I was teasing Professor Olafsson who is Swedish that he secretly was an ID supporter which he immediately denied. It was a way of tweaking him to use the name Per as the secret ID scientist.

  111. jerry: So tigers and lions are not separate species

    Lions and tigers can interbreed, but their offspring are often infertile and shortlived. Reproductive isolation is an important component of maintaining the integrity of individual species, but it is not the only consideration. There are too many exceptions for an ironclad rule.

  112. Mr Jerry,

    Behe is on record that naturalistic causes as now known did not account for changes over time. But what has that got to do with common descent?

    You’ve got me on that one. Naturalistic causes of change over time has nothing to do with common descent…

    … or does it?

  113. Mr Joseph,

    Is that why you thought that the jigsaw-puzzle pieces determined the printed image?

    Well, if we go back to it, I was asking you the question of whether the pieces influenced the final picture or determined it. In the Dentonian theory of development, this distinction seems to be important. The genes that merely influence development of the eye are like the cheerleading squad and marching band. They urge the eye forward by singing “On, Wisconsin” or something. But the genes that determine, these are the genes that are out there on the field, carrying the ball, toting the barge, lifting the bale.

    Is that right?

  114. Jerry:

    I tend to support the commonly accepted position for what a species is and that is, the inability to inter breed. I have read and watched videos on this topic from at least a dozen different sources. So it is not that I am unaware of what is at stake here…

    That is a very far cry from,

    The use of the word is meaningless.

    What I observe in your more lengthy post above is a real attempt to arrive at a concept of species that works, and “carves nature at the joints.” Because nature is complex, subtle and contingent, a concept of species that carves nature usefully (e.g., becomes the basis for further prediction and observation) is also likely to be complex, subtle and contingent. That complex definition, dependent at many turns upon ceteris paribus qualifications for application and meaning and subject to continued discussion regarding boundaries, is not a weakness, but a strength.

    The niche concept is similarly textured, yet also organizes many observations and permits both powerful, testable predictions and reasonable extrapolations to circumstances that are no longer observable. IMHO the open texture of such biological concepts is a strength, not a weakness.

  115. Nakashima:
    “What I intended was to show that all at once solving the problem – random pieces to coherent assembled picture – was improbable, but an iterated, population based approach could solve the problem over multiple iterations.”

    All you have shown is that by utilizing a teleological approach we are able to solve the problem. No different than “Me thinks it is like a weasel” and we’ve all been around that block a few times. So, yes an iterated, population based approach could solve the problem as long as, per your example, the end goal is used as a filter … so I stand by what I stated earlier … “this reeks of intelligent design.”

    JOIN THE DARK SIDE

  116. “What I observe in your more lengthy post above is a real attempt to arrive at a concept of species that works,”

    I am certainly not the one to come up with a definition of species and I have no qualifications to do so. The best I can do is read what the experts say and try to understand their reasoning and then make some comments. The points I have been making is that what seems like obviously different species to most people on closer look are not so clearly different. It is anything but clear. The debate that is at the essence here is not one of what is speciation or what is a species or not. They are interesting questions and certainly worth a lot of study. The debate is about macro evolution. And by macro evolution here we mean the origin of complex novel capabilities. For example, intertwined in all this mess is a discussion of the appearance of sight and eyes. The eye would classify an a prime example of a novel complex capability when it first appeared. The path to such a capability as sight is what is in question.

    The claim is that speciation comes first and then when they are isolated and do not interbreed, changes can occur. And over time these changes will lead to substantial modification of both the genome and phenotype of a population. And maybe to an eye. So speciation itself is not the issue. What is the issue is the nature of the changes that accumulate or appear over time and how these happen and how much they can change the organism. No one is disputing speciation. The most recent incarnation of discussing speciation came up about a week ago when someone assumed some things which were naive and I answered the person with my examples of how the idea of species is not so hard and clear.

    Sometimes I exaggerate to make the point. Hence, the exaggeration of “the use of the word is meaningless.” Let’s take the Galapagos finches. If speciation is to be a useful concept in the evolution debate, then one has to have some evidence that meaningful change can occur due to this process. The appearance of the various forms of finches may or may not qualify as species but is this meaningful. The Grants have said that it takes over 20 million years for the finches to become incapable of breeding and thus incapable of sharing genes. Now granted in that amount of time there may be many sub-populations that won’t interbreed but the 20 million years means their genomes are very similar for a very long time and have experienced very little change. So the real issue is the time necessary for substantial change to occur.

    You dug up my comment on what is ID research and in it if you read it, know that I make the point that the genomes contain the evidence on whether major change is capable or not and just what change has actually taken place. ID’s point is that substantial change is not possible through naturalistic processes, not that change does not happen or that populations do not adapt. So ID puts its evolutionary biology hat on and makes different conclusions than do most of the evolutionary biology community. As Allen MacNeill has pointed out so many times here the debate is over the origin of variation in the gene pool or new information and this means selection is just a side show till it has significant new variation in the gene pool to possibly select. It is not the origin of species that is important, it is the origin of variation or new information in the genome. The rest is as I said a side show.

  117. Nakashima:

    Well, if we go back to it, I was asking you the question of whether the pieces influenced the final picture or determined it.

    We know that some agency or agencies determine the final picture.

    In the Dentonian theory of development, this distinction seems to be important.

    I see your problem- It isn’t only Denton who says that.

    Asa matter of fact I doubt that you can find one biologist who says that genes determine anything and have the data that supports the claim.

    The genes that merely influence development of the eye are like the cheerleading squad and marching band.

    No, I have already told you- genes are like the parts that go into making something.

    The parts do not determine that object- some agency already did that.

    But the genes that determine, these are the genes that are out there on the field, carrying the ball, toting the barge, lifting the bale.

    What genes?

    As I said there isn’t any evidence that genes determine anything.

    And you can’t provide any data that supports the claim of determination genes.

  118. Nakashima,

    In order for there to be an analogy there has to be some similarity.

    So are you saying that as with jigsaw puzzles some agency or agencies constructed a fruit fly and then cut it up into many, many pieces so that some other agency can put it back together?

    Is that your analogy?

    Because other than that there isn’t anything.

  119. Perhaps if we forced lions and tigers to live together- to share the same savannah- the would interbreed freely and produce viable and healthy offspring.

    And that is why “species” is arbitrary.

    Heck if humans didn’t have the technology to get around the world then human populations would be separate species by the same reasoning as lions and tigers are separate species.

  120. Mr Jerry,

    The claim is that speciation comes first and then when they are isolated and do not interbreed, changes can occur.

    Who is making that claim? I think that is exactly backwards. Selectible variants are the engine of speciation.

  121. Jerry:

    So speciation itself is not the issue…No one is disputing speciation.

    Joseph:

    And that is why “species” is arbitrary.

    One of you is wrong.

  122. Mr Joseph,

    No, the analogy is 2000 objects in a part-whole relationship to a larger object. The picture on the puzzle is only roughly analogous to the eye of the fly because there are process relations amongst the 2000 genes, but not amongst the 2000 puzzle pieces.

    But, since jigsaw puzzles are simpler than gene cascades, I was hoping it would be simpler for you to point out in the puzzle example what the distinction between ‘influence’ and ‘determine’ means in Dentonian theory. You are a Dentonian after all. And I’m sure you wouldn’t quote things out of a book that you don’t understand.

    And your education was…?

  123. Mr Voice Coil,

    For a given definition of ‘arbitrary’, they might agree! ;)

  124. Voice Coil,

    Why is one of wrong?

  125. Nakashima:

    No, the analogy is 2000 objects in a part-whole relationship to a larger object.

    But people determine what is on a jigsaw puzzle.

    The part-whole is all part of an intentional design.

    The picture on the puzzle is only roughly analogous to the eye of the fly because there are process relations amongst the 2000 genes, but not amongst the 2000 puzzle pieces.

    The picture on the puzzle was put there intentionally- as a whole.

    It was not originally made up of 2000 pieces.

    But, since jigsaw puzzles are simpler than gene cascades, I was hoping it would be simpler for you to point out in the puzzle example what the distinction between ‘influence’ and ‘determine’ means in Dentonian theory.

    You seem to have mental issues.

    It isn’t just Denton.

    It is every biologist.

    And we already know that the jigsaw puzzle pieces do not determine the picture.

    Only a dolt would think that.

    And I’m sure you wouldn’t quote things out of a book that you don’t understand.

    You don’t seem to understand much of anything.

    And you sure as heck can’t support your position.

    That explains your frustration…

    Sweet

  126. 127

    Ya see,

    In Joseph biology, the recipe for making an eye is like the recipe for making a cake. The genes are like the ingredients in a cake. The instructions for making the cake are the information in the recipe.

    So you may look, but you won’t ever find those instructions in the genome.

  127. Adel:

    In Joseph biology, the recipe for making an eye is like the recipe for making a cake.

    That’s news to me.

    The genes are like the ingredients in a cake.

    The genes produce the required components.

    People produce the ingredients for a cake.

    The instructions for making the cake are the information in the recipe.

    Only given the ingredients.

  128. Mr Joseph,

    Every biologist? Then I’m sure you can quote one, whom you understand with your educational background (which is …?) that also holds that genes ‘influence’ development but don’t ‘determine’ it.

    Color me skeptical.

    IOW, you can’t.

    Has Dr Denton performed an experiment to remove all those genes which merely ‘influence’ development to show what it is that ‘determines’ the eye? No.

    IOW, you have no evidence.

    IOW, you can’t support your position.

    Sweet.

  129. Nakashima,

    YOU can’t provide any evidence from any biologist that demonstrates gene determine anything.

    And yes Denton has done the experiments- he was writing from experience. As have other biologists.

    However you haven’t read what he wrote. And you sure as heck didn’t read the references he provided.

    And the bottom line is you couldn’t support your position if your life depended on it.

    So all you have to to doubt Denton because you are too lazy to read what he wrote.

    And you are too lazy to find the evidence to support your position- well not too lazy because you cannot find what does not exist.

    Sweeter…

  130. “The claim is that speciation comes first and then when they are isolated and do not interbreed, changes can occur.

    Who is making that claim? I think that is exactly backwards. Selectible variants are the engine of speciation.”

    Dawkins, Coyne and every other evolutionary biologist I have read. I think you should read more. Where do you think the selectable variants are supposed to come from. If you have one population too much gene flow occurs and homogenization.

    You seem to be under the misunderstanding that the gene pool has within it the variation necessary for all the wonderful changes. Think origin of genes. If certain genes are not part of the gene pool there is no way natural selection can ever get to them.

  131. “Jerry:

    So speciation itself is not the issue…No one is disputing speciation.

    Joseph:

    And that is why “species” is arbitrary.

    One of you is wrong.”

    No, these two comments are not in contradiction and in fact if you read what I have said, I agree with Joseph completely. Speciation is an arbitrary event because there is no hard and fast definition or example of it and it is unimportant no matter what way you define it. If you go to the biological definition and extend it so a population group cannot interbreed with any other population under any circumstances then it is less arbitrary. But most of the species in the current classification system can probably breed with some other species. So yes the definition is arbitrary and still not at issue in the evolution debate.

  132. Someone once explained to me why identical twins are not really identical. When the cells split they are not exactly perfect and the protein distribution in the egg is not divided equally so each zygote will then develop a little differently.

    In other words the location and amount of the extra DNA proteins in the egg are a major determinant of development. Whether there are other determinants they essentially do not know but development needs more than DNA to proceed and what determines the sequencing of gene expression during development is from I understand a big mystery.

    Maybe someone with more knowledge on this could comment.

  133. jerry,

    It is now known that identical twins do not necessarily have the same DNA- IOW the DNA is not a match.

  134. jerry: Speciation is an arbitrary event because there is no hard and fast definition or example of it and it is unimportant no matter what way you define it.

    Of course it’s important. The observed nested hierarchy is due to the reprodutive isolation of diverging lineages. Biologists are very interested in the process by which this divergence occurs, and it is critical evidence for the Theory of Evolution.

    There are many mechanisms of speciation. Allopatric speciation occurs when a population is separated by geography. Natural selection, random genetic changes, or genomic mechanisms lead to divergence in physically isolated populations. Eventually, even if the lineages meet again, they may be reproductively isolated by behavior, by preferred habitat, by genomic mechanisms, or by physical differences in copulatory organs.

  135. Through communion with the FSM, the Pasta, the Meatball, and the Holy Sauce, I was granted a vision of Aristotle, who spake thusly,

    Nakashima thou fool, canst thou not see? Consider my explanation of causes, and stop bothering Joseph to explain that which he knoweth not.

    The material cause of the eye of a fly is the protein and other bits and bobs – the crystallin after its kind, the rhodopsin after its kind, etc etc etc.

    The formal cause of the eye of a fly is the genes of each cell, both the cells that constitute the eye and the cells which precede the eye, back unto the egg. And by this thou shalt include the genes of the mother fly, that secreteth a gradient in her eggs to guide their development.

    The efficient cause of the eye of the fly is that agent whose agency designeth, and outsourceth, which thou know well. (Marinara, pray for us!)

    The final cause of the eye of the fly is to guide the fly in its way of life, to clean up the world. Its niche, if thou willeth.

    And thou art a fool, Nakashima, for not grasping immediately that my servant Denton hath used ‘influence’ only to mean the formal cause, and ‘determine’ only to mean the efficient cause, which distinction Joseph canst not articulate. Nor elucidate. Nor play on the sackbut. But I digresseth.

    And Aristotle said, Nakashima thou worm, what doest thou?

    And I said, It is the twelth month, on the first day of the month, in the fourth year since the Hanshin Tigers won a championship, and I am standing on the banks of the Setagawa eating okonomiyaki.

    And Aristotle said, Get your nose out of your plate and look upward.

    And I looked upwards, and beheld the blue sky, with some clouds and haze, and in it the shining orb of the sun.

    And Aristotle said, See now, but not directly or you will hurt yourself, the efficient cause of which Denton hath said it determines the eye of the fly. Without the agency of this star, to give out frequencies of light of wavelengths after their kind, without this atmosphere, to absorb some of those frequencies and let others through, then the eye of the fly would be determined to be something else, or nothing at all, as happeneth in dark places and the bottom of the sea, and in the refrigerator before you open the door. But I digresseth.

    And I looked, and saw, but not directly, the agency to which Denton alluded. And I was filled with great joy, for I had finished my okonomiyaki. And also for understanding a little more about the world. I looked down, and saw that a fly had landed on my plate and begun to eat a crumb I had left. I smiled.

  136. Tritonomy 8:16
    And if thou causeth Coca-Cola to spew from the mouth of thy neighbor and his keyboard ceaseth to function, thou shalt repay him fourfold.

  137. “The observed nested hierarchy is due to the reprodutive isolation of diverging lineages. Biologists are very interested in the process by which this divergence occurs, and it is critical evidence for the Theory of Evolution.”

    You are making an assertion that is speculative and for which there is at best little evidence, namely that speciation causes most of the supposed hierarchies observed. And there is good reason to believe that speciation is incapable of causing many of the observed relationships.

    “There are many mechanisms of speciation. Allopatric speciation occurs when a population is separated by geography. Natural selection, random genetic changes, or genomic mechanisms lead to divergence in physically isolated populations. Eventually, even if the lineages meet again, they may be reproductively isolated by behavior, by preferred habitat, by genomic mechanisms, or by physical differences in copulatory organs.”

    You are not telling us anything we do not know. It is still not important in the grand debate. It is interesting and certainly worth a lot of research but nothing to date has shown it is causative of anything relative to macro evolution, the way we use the term.

    What you are probably observing is a well designed mechanism for populations to adapt to changing environments and nothing else. But this mechanism is incapable of generating all the myriad of capabilities we see in the current suite of organisms on the planet. We must look to some other process for that. And so far naturalistic explanations have fallen far short.

  138. Zachriel:

    The observed nested hierarchy is due to the reprodutive isolation of diverging lineages.

    That is nonsense.

    The observed nested hierarchy has nothing to do with reprodictive isolation nor diverging lineages.

    The observed nested hierarchy is built on defined characteristics and “who’s your momma/ daddy?” is not one of them.

    Also diverging lineages do not require that those defined characteristics be immutable.

    Biologists are very interested in the process by which this divergence occurs, and it is critical evidence for the Theory of Evolution.

    Divergence occurs with variations within a Kind also.

    But anyways you seem to be stiuck on nested hierarchy even though both you and Allen MacNeill have provided the evidence that a nested hierarchy should not be observed given diverging lineage you still, for unknown reasons, try to present nested hierarchy as an expected outcome.

    Now I understand why you choose to remain anonymous.

  139. My wife and I had a fun night in Hiroshima eating okonomiyaki. We screwed it up greatly and I think the locals thought the gaijin were really a challenged species who had devolved from some primitive slug. But it tasted great.

  140. Translating Nakashima:

    Nakashima has no idea where the informtion for the type of eye is and all he can do is repeat the unsiupported mantra- “it’s in the genes”, “it’s in the genes.”

    And again it isn’t just Denton.

    That you harp on Denton proves you are clueless and just flailing away.

    Geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti said basically the same thing 8 years before Denton.

    And it is very telling that you can’t provide any evidence and all you can do is post more foolishness.

    Super Sweet…

  141. Zachriel: The observed nested hierarchy is due to the reprodutive isolation of diverging lineages. Biologists are very interested in the process by which this divergence occurs, and it is critical evidence for the Theory of Evolution.

    jerry: You are making an assertion that is speculative and for which there is at best little evidence, namely that speciation causes most of the supposed hierarchies observed.

    Diverging, uncrossed lineages naturally form nested hierarchies. Even if changes to each lineage are random, they will form an observable nested hierarchy of character traits.

    jerry: What you are probably observing is a well designed mechanism for populations to adapt to changing environments and nothing else.

    What we’re observing is clear evidence of Common Descent.

  142. Zachriel:

    Diverging, uncrossed lineages naturally form nested hierarchies.

    They do not.

    That is a lie.

    Even if changes to each lineage are random, they will form an observable nested hierarchy of character traits.

    Follow up one lie with another.

    Again your anonymous nature means that you do not have to answer for all of your lies.

    Sweet (for you)…

  143. Mr Jerry,

    Hiroshima is one of the best places for okonomiyaki! :)

  144. Nakashima,

    Do the bricks of a brick house determine the the type of house or do they just influence its construction?

    If you are correct they determine it.

    If I am correct they just influence its construction.

  145. Nakashimade @136
    definetly POTW

  146. Joseph at 145,

    Nakashima,

    Do the bricks of a brick house determine the the type of house or do they just influence its construction?

    If you are correct they determine it.

    If I am correct they just influence its construction.

    Joseph, are houses living organisms? Do they balance metabolism, consume resources, shuffle their genes with organisms of the opposite sex, and reproduce?

    I fail to see how your analogy even attempts to make sense. I can call any house I want to by whatever name or style I please. You seem to have some sort of vague essentialist viewpoint where, in your reality, a rabbit is a rabbit is a rabbit; and somehow you’ve translated this to nonliving objects. To you a colonial house is a colonial is a colonial. What you fail to realize is that these are just words and descriptive phrases we use to communicate ideas to each other.

    Can you tell me where in what holy book it is written that a bungalow must be as single-story house without a basement?

  147. Mr Joseph,

    Bricks are the material cause. The efficient cause is the architect. Just like in the case of the eye of the fly where proteins are the material cause and the sun is the efficient cause.

    Please try to keep up. You couldn’t explain the distinction between influence and determine in Dr Denton’s aphorism, but Aristotle explained it to me, so don’t let that bother you. If you think Denton means something different, bring it on.

  148. Leviathan:
    “Joseph, are houses living organisms? Do they balance metabolism, consume resources, shuffle their genes with organisms of the opposite sex, and reproduce?”

    Leviathan, are you seriously ignoring what Joseph posted just so that you can take cheap shots at his intelligence? What in the world does that have anything to do with what Joseph wrote?

    Leviathan:
    “I fail to see how your analogy even attempts to make sense. I can call any house I want to by whatever name or style I please. You seem to have some sort of vague essentialist viewpoint where, in your reality, a rabbit is a rabbit is a rabbit; and somehow you’ve translated this to nonliving objects. To you a colonial house is a colonial is a colonial. What you fail to realize is that these are just words and descriptive phrases we use to communicate ideas to each other.”

    You mean you honestly didn’t see the connection that Joseph clearly laid out between the building blocks of a house not determining the house just as the building blocks of life do not determine living organisms? A pile of bricks does not determine how those bricks will be placed together, nor does a pile of proteins determine how those proteins will be placed together. Simple enough?

    Leviathan:
    “Can you tell me where in what holy book it is written that a bungalow must be as single-story house without a basement?”

    Are you actually interested in contributing to the discussion? It appears not …

  149. Nakashima:
    “Bricks are the material cause. The efficient cause is the architect. Just like in the case of the eye of the fly where proteins are the material cause and the sun is the efficient cause.”

    Heh?!?!?!? The sun guides the proteins into the correct configuration to create a living organism? So, if I take a pile of proteins and shine some sun on them, then they’ll organize into living organisms? Now, I already know that you don’t believe this, so what are you trying to get at here? If anything, it is either an intelligence and/or the laws of nature themselves along with epigenetic factors (ie: organizing genes and proteins in the first place and then regulating and switching them on and off) that determine a living organism. Genes merely influence the development of the organism. The house analogy is indeed an apt analogy.

    Nakashima:
    “Please try to keep up.”

    Nakashima, I don’t think that you should be asking Joseph to “keep up” until you can show that what you are talking about is indeed relevant.

  150. The sun efficiently destroys the retina at approximately 4 hazardous milliwatts of UV, adding optics or magnification to the equation delivers up to 3 watts. I’m sure there are evolutionary fairytales to get around that fact, but as far as I can tell the sun is effectively detrimental to vision. Allowing penetrating UV rays without an attenuating filter indicates that if the eye evolved with the help of the sun it must have done so under controlled and specified condition/s. Looks like the probabilities of it happening by chance just keep mounting up.

  151. Mr CJYman,

    You’re leaving out the formal cause. Between the material cause and the efficient cause is the formal cause.

    My message was meant to point out that Joseph’s use of ‘bricks’ with ‘influence’ was not apt. Bricks are the material cause of the house. The blueprint is the formal cause of the house, like the gene, and Denton would say that the formal cause influences the final product. The efficient cause is the architect, and Denton would say that the efficient cause determines the final product.

  152. Mr Computerist,

    You are correct! It would seem that eyes did not evolve to look straight into the sun. Perhaps evolution actually was driven to use reflected light, and light as filtered by the water column within a few meters of the surface. Why would that be? Perhaps because light relected off of food or predators is more useful that light straight from the sun. Just a possibility.

  153. 154

    Leviathan,

    Can you tell me where in what holy book it is written that a bungalow must be as single-story house without a basement?

    What are you talking about here? What holy book? And what bungalow?

  154. 155

    Leviathan,

    You’ve been moderated.

  155. CJY @150,

    I believe what we’re seeing here in the barren Australian outback is an extravagant display of “cause and effect conflation dance” by the native species Atheist-Darwinius.

    In this elaborate ritual, the male often tries to impress the female by convincing his prospect that the complexity of his hut was naturally formed over millions of years, and does so with an interpretive dance formally known as “the cause-effect conflation.” In this sacred dance, the Darwinius motions his story in detail, yet carefully makes no distinction between the materials in his structure and the specific way in which they must have self-organized. The clever Darwinius insists that the mere existence of the materials is enough to sufficiently portray his story.

    This dance is often highly successful in its spectacularly exaggerated interpretive motion techniques, incorporating the “just-so-so” and even “the hand waive,” making for an elegant conglomeration of substance to confuse the observer into submission.

    On the other hand, the local neighboring residents, formally known as the Theist-Intellectius-Designus prefer to infer design as the source of their complex dwellings. This species takes a much more straightforward approach before its prospects, preferring to demonstrate the mindful intuition, engineering, and creativity required for such structures to be organized instead of resorting to fanciful dance moves that tell an unlikely story. Consequently this reaches and even sometimes convinces subjects of the Darwinius species. For this the Darwinius holds his neighboring residents in contempt, constantly lashing out with mockery and slinging concentrated mixtures of wet earth. These attempts are hardly ever acknowledged by his sworn adversaries however, so when all else fails, he desperately reaches for the nearest bowl of spaghetti and meatballs.

  156. Leviathon,

    Nakashima used a jig-saw puzzle as an example.

    He seems to think that the pieces determine the final image.

    I told him the final image was determined by some agency (a person) and the jig-saw part came after.

    The point about the bricks is the same- if his jig-saw pieces determine the image then bricks must determine the type of house.

  157. Nakashima:

    Bricks are the material cause. The efficient cause is the architect. Just like in the case of the eye of the fly where proteins are the material cause and the sun is the efficient cause.

    So the information for the type of eye came from the Sun?

    Too much pixie dust Nak.

    Please try to keep up. You couldn’t explain the distinction between influence and determine in Dr Denton’s aphorism, but Aristotle explained it to me, so don’t let that bother you. If you think Denton means something different, bring it on.

    The problem is that no one can explain anything to you Nak.

    I provided an example- more than one and you couldn’t grasp the concept.

    Not only that you couldn’t provide any data to support your claim.

    If you want to know about Denton then read the essay and follow the references.

    It is not my position to continually spoon-feed the willfully ignorant.

  158. House analogy part 2:

    The builders and materials used influence every aspect of the design of the house but neither the builders nor the materials determine that design.

    The design was determined before the builders started getting the materials together.

    The genes just provide the building materials- bricks.

    Then something, other than those genes, has to direct the construction using the parts provided.

    Those would be the builders.

    That would mean that some designer has already told the builers what to build.

    Thank you Nakashima, we walked right to a design inference!

  159. Water only makes the situation worse since magnification is a function of the bend or angle in light which is dependent upon the change in refractive index of the medium while light enters and leaves it. This results in far more detrimental effect compared to UV propagating through air especially for anything not planning for it. Its especially interesting since we can make a similar correlation with the distance of the earth to the sun. If the earth’s distance to the sun was only 20 percent offset this would turn the planet into either an ice cube or a camp fire. If the eye evolved underwater, once again it must have been under extreme controlled and specified conditions that would allow it to evolve, in this case a constant relative depth for the organism for an incredibly long period of time. As for other possibilities, such as ice, we know that ice can concentrate enough light to produce a fire, looks like we can cross that out from the equation.

    And never-mind how complex and specified the eye really is.

  160. *Just to reduce any confusion, seems I forgot to include “water has a higher refractive index than air” onto the end of my last comment’s first sentence.

  161. Mr Computerist,

    I agree that water or ice lenses would make life significantly worse for an animal that spent its life staring at the sun. This may reflect (or refract) on the paucity of such specimens in the fossil record. However, the play of temprary caustics, caused by surface waves, would be less problematic, though they can make interpretation of the visual field more difficult.

    Others have noted earlier in this thread that the first reason to detect light may have in fact been to avoid it, as plankton do today. But this photosensitivity is far more primitive than the eye of even Cambrian animals.

  162. Anythings a possibility in the Darwinian world, thats why we call it a fairytale!

  163. Mr Joseph,

    I think you are still confusing bricks and blueprints when trying to make an analogy to genes. The house is not made of blueprints, and the eye is not made of genes.

    But, mirabile dictu, we agree houses have designers.

  164. Nakashima:

    I think you are still confusing bricks and blueprints when trying to make an analogy to genes.

    I never did that so how can I still be doing it?

    You are the one saying that genes determine the type of eye.

    Genes provide the materials.

    Bricks are materials.

    Bricks can influence the design- ie materials can influence a design- do you understand that materials can influence the final product?

    Would you rather have a product made out of the cheapest, most fragile stuff or a product designed and built to last- with good quality parts?

  165. Nakashima:
    “My message was meant to point out that Joseph’s use of ‘bricks’ with ‘influence’ was not apt.”

    Joseph’s analogy was actually right on the money. You don’t have to be an architect to understand that the type and quality of building material influences yet does not determine the final product. How good of a skyscraper can be built with nothing but clay? The building material *influences* what possibilities can arise. However, even having all the necessary building materials still doesn’t *determine* the final product. Correct me if I’m wrong, Joseph but that seems to be the main point that you having been making this whole time. If it is then, Nakashima, I’m not sure why you are having such a hard time with this. Or are you merely attempting to turn this into a battle of semantics?

  166. PaulN @ 156,

    Excellent summary … I have definitely seen that dance before. I think it is called the “obfuscanata.” It is by no means an endangered dance. Of course, if all else fails … “If you have any poo, fling it now” …

  167. CJYman:

    The building material *influences* what possibilities can arise. However, even having all the necessary building materials still doesn’t *determine* the final product.

    If I would like 50 builders to build 50 identical homes in 50 states I distribute a copy of the construction plans to each of the builders. The blueprints specify the materials to be used.

    There may be minor local variation in the outcome due to variations in the materials available, local codes, sites selected, and construction techniques. But by and large the outcomes are very similar, because largely determined by the construction plans.

    So, yes, the materials influence, but to do not determine the final product. But in this instance the materials (bricks and mortar, lumber, nails, shingles) are are analogous to amino acids, proteins, minerals, and other materials from which the organism is constructed (imported from the local environment), and the blueprints analogous to the information borne by DNA.

    The analogy fails when we begin discussing the architect who originated the blueprints. Homes are not replicating organisms and are not subject to descent with modification. Therefore analogies regarding home design and construction have nothing conceptual to offer contemporary theories of the origins of the instructions contained in DNA that determine the forms assumed by particular organisms, which are.

  168. Voice Coil:

    Homes are not replicating organisms and are not subject to descent with modification.

    Do you think that it is OK to start with what requires an explanation in the first place?

    Also there isn’t any evidence that DNA is the “blueprints”.

  169. Mr Joseph,

    Also there isn’t any evidence that DNA is the “blueprints”.

    The DNA/blueprint analogy is quite pervasive as a Google search even of this site will show. So I will admit that you are certainly a fellow with the courage of your convictions, even if some of the convictions are for felonies against reason.

    The evidence for an analogy is simply how far it can be extendend. If I use a CAD program to knock out a window from the blueprints for a house, the final house is lacking a window. If I ‘mutate’ the scale from “1/2 inch = 1 foot” to “1/4 inch = 1 foot” then the entire house is built twice as large in every dimension. If I duplicate part of the wiring sheet, the final house has duplicate runs of wire in the walls.

    Since knock outs, mutations and duplications also happen to the genes encoded in DNA, with similar results to the final cell structure, most reasonable people would say it is a useful analogy.

    But Joseph, it is not useful to you, that is fine. Please share your alternative analogies, for which you have ‘evidence’. Here, I’ll start for you.

    The DNA in a cell is like the X of a house.

    The blueprints of a house are like the Y of a cell.

    You just have to fill in X and Y.

  170. Nakashima,

    Evidence- as in there isn’t any evidence that DNA is a blueprint.

    So please feel free to start presenrting the peer-reviewed papers that support your claim.

    Otherwise I will be forced to think that you have nothing but bald assertions and hot air.

  171. CJYman:
    “The building material *influences* what possibilities can arise. However, even having all the necessary building materials still doesn’t *determine* the final product.”

    Voice Coil:
    “So, yes, the materials influence, but to do not determine the final product. But in this instance the materials (bricks and mortar, lumber, nails, shingles) are are analogous to amino acids, proteins, minerals, and other materials from which the organism is constructed (imported from the local environment), and the blueprints analogous to the information borne by DNA.”

    Somewhat … the genetic regions of the DNA produce the materials. And then there seem to be other regions which regulate how those materials are expressed. However, there are also epigenetic factors. As I stated earlier, “If anything, it is either an intelligence and/or the laws of nature themselves along with epigenetic factors (ie: organizing genes and proteins in the first place and then regulating and switching them on and off) that determine a living organism. Genes merely influence the development of the organism.”

    Voice Coil
    “The analogy fails when we begin discussing the architect who originated the blueprints. Homes are not replicating organisms and are not subject to descent with modification.”

    You are correct that living organisms are vastly more complex than houses and are extremely more challenging to build, especially since they have the ability to replicate. However, you are incorrect as to the analogy failing. If there is an architect of life, that architect requires vastly more intelligence in terms of ability to plan than an architect of a house would require.

    Voice Coil:
    “Therefore analogies regarding home design and construction have nothing conceptual to offer contemporary theories of the origins of the instructions contained in DNA that determine the forms assumed by particular organisms, which are.”

    That most definitely does not follow from what you have written. The analogy of instructions, materials, determination, and influence definitely still apply. The only difference is that one of the systems is vastly more complex in terms of instructions, materials, and the application of those materials.

  172. Mr Joseph,

    LOL, a peer reviewed article about the aptness of an analogy?

    If you are equivocating about what we are discussing, sorry. Signature in the Cell gives you the story of DNA from Oswald Avery onwards.

  173. By George!

    Did Nakashima just defer to an ID BOOK in response to a request for peer reviewed research??

    *checks outside to see if fire is raining down from the sky*

  174. Nakashima,

    No, a peer-reviewed article that supports your claims that DNA is a blueprint and that genes determine the type of organism.

  175. Mr PaulN,

    As it happens, I think Signature in the Cell has several good historical chapters in the beginning on DNA, and some of the fundamental experiments that proved DNA was the carrier of the heritable information for the cell, including a description of Avery’s work. And if Joseph is predisposed to believe Dr Meyer, no reason not to take advantage of that.

  176. CJ:

    That most definitely does not follow from what you have written. The analogy of instructions, materials, determination, and influence definitely still apply. The only difference is that one of the systems is vastly more complex in terms of instructions, materials, and the application of those materials.

    Of course, analogies don’t explain – at best they serve as illustrations and perhaps as intuition pumps. When the terms of the two circumstances analogized map reasonably well the analogy can be helpful in this way; when they don’t, the analogy fails to be helpful.

    The loose analogy…

    blueprints : bricks and mortar :: Information in DNA : proteins and structures built therefrom

    …has some limited merit (although I think Joseph and you are mapping the terms in a way that is mistaken), it quickly breaks down when discussing more distal origins, because essentially no features of construction of homes maps appropriately onto biological reproduction/self-replication.

    At that point the analogy fails, in that it is no longer useful.

  177. I’m going to tangentially express agreement with Mr Nakashima on the Signature in the Cell. Although I disagree with Meyer on many points, some of them quite fundamental, I enjoyed the book as a historical account of OOL research and of Meyer’s journey.

  178. Mr Joseph,

    No, a peer-reviewed article that supports your claims that DNA is a blueprint and that genes determine the type of organism.

    My claim (back @54 for those of you scoring at home (congratulations! ))to which you responded:

    74

    Joseph

    11/29/2009

    10:57 am
    My point is no one knows where the information for “fruit fly eye” resides.

    Nakashima:

    In this paper on the unity of eye evolution, Walter Gehring seems to think it resides in a cascade of 2000 genes.

    When he has it figured out please let me know.

    As Dr Denton has stated genes may influence development but they do not determine it, just as assemblers may influence the design of that which they are assembling but they do not determine it.

    So perhaps WG can start swapping out or messing with those 2000 genes and see if he can get a different type of eye to develop in fruit flies.

    Our whole subsequent discussion has revolved around the use of ‘influence’ and ‘determine’ in this quote of Denton. But even though you could not explain those terms, I was granted a vision of Aristotle, who could. According to Denton, the information that resides in the DNA (AKA genes) is the blueprint of the cell (in analogy to the house) because the genes are the formal cause (in Dentonspeak influence) of the cell, just as the blueprints are the formal cause of the house.

    Bottom line: whether you want to speak like Denton or not, the information resides in the genes, just like it did 120 messages ago. Oswald Avery showed that. The particular set of information for a fruit fly eye resides in a particular cascade of 2,000 genes. If you disagree, bring your evidence. But you don’t have any.

  179. I don’t know if everybody realizes but we now have an anti ID person who understands the concept of information in biology and DNA. Nakashima believes there is information in the DNA about the fruit fly eye. So when all the know nothings who come here challenging us for a definition of what the information is or even if it exists, we can just send them to Nakashima.

    Thank you Nakashima who is making the slow journey to other side of the force.

  180. Voice Coil @177:
    “…has some limited merit (although I think Joseph and you are mapping the terms in a way that is mistaken)”

    Yet you haven’t been able to show our mistake, or explain how we are mistaken in our mapping.

    Voice Coil:
    “…, it quickly breaks down when discussing more distal origins, because essentially no features of construction of homes maps appropriately onto biological reproduction/self-replication.”

    You’re right and I never attempted to map an analogy from reproduction to house building, as that type of analogy wasn’t necessary to show the difference between “influence” and “determine” as those terms relate to materials, controls, blueprints and a source.

    What I did state about the reproductive capacity of living organisms, though, was:
    “You are correct that living organisms are vastly more complex than houses and are extremely more challenging to build, especially since they have the ability to replicate. However, you are incorrect as to the analogy failing. If there is an architect of life, that architect requires vastly more intelligence in terms of ability to plan than an architect of a house would require.”

    Voice Coil:
    “At that point the analogy fails, in that it is no longer useful.”

    The analogy was as useful as was needed in order to explain the difference between “influence” and “determine,” as well as providing a comparative subjective measure of the amount of intelligent planning needed if living organisms do indeed require an intelligent source as compared to the intelligence required to build a house.

  181. The field of epigenetics is apparently showing that genes merely influence the final outcome, and it is other epigenetic factors along with the genetic factors which determine the outcome. In the end, as I stated earlier, the determination of the living organism must take into account “an intelligence and/or the laws of nature themselves along with other epigenetic factors (ie: organizing genes and proteins in the first place and then regulating and switching them on and off). Genes merely influence the development of the organism. The house analogy is indeed an apt analogy.”

    Nakashima @179,

    Even when it comes to inserting mouse eye genes into a fruit fly genome, fruit fly eyes (as opposed to mouse eyes) will develop in the area that the gene is expressed. IOW, the gene for eyes merely influence the development of the eye — they do not apparently even determine the type of eye that will develop.

  182. Nakashima,

    I explained the difference between “determine” and “influence”.

    The information that DETERMINES the type of eye does not reside in those 2000 genes.

    That is like saying the information for the type of house resides in the building materials.

  183. CJ:

    Voice Coil @177:
    “…has some limited merit (although I think Joseph and you are mapping the terms in a way that is mistaken)”

    Yet you haven’t been able to show our mistake, or explain how we are mistaken in our mapping.

    Sure I have. I’ll do it again.

    Joseph complains in 183 that it is incorrect to say that the information that determines the type of eye resides in DNA. He then maps the analogy incorrectly:

    That is like saying the information for the type of house resides in the building materials.

    That is incorrect. The correct mapping is,

    “That is like saying the information for the type of house resides in the blueprints.”

    Which is an apt, as “information in DNA” is most analogous to “information in blueprints.”

    So, in attempting to illustrate “determine” versus “influence,” you misapply the analogy and arrive at an inappropriate illustration.

    If there is an architect of life, that architect requires vastly more intelligence in terms of ability to plan than an architect of a house would require

    This fails because home construction is completely devoid of features that, in evolutionary theory, account for the complexity of organisms, namely self-replication, variation, selection, and so forth. Therefore it reduces to the question begging premise: “If there is an architect of life” and implicity assumes the conclusion that self-replication (etc.) need not be modeled in one’s analogy. Moreover, you then refer to an area of disanalogy between houses and organisms, namely the vast difference in their levels of complexity, to characterize an “architect of life” introduced by means of your begged-question.

  184. Mr Voice Coil,

    Further to your point, we don’t actually see any scaling of the achitect’s intelligence across many orders of magnitude of complexity in houses – the person who architects a birdhouse has about the same IQ (pace Gould) as the person who architected the Mall of America.

    An objection could be raised that any architect can make plans for something simpler than their most complex work. To build a bird’s nest only requires a birdbrain. Joseph can have fun looking for the blueprints required for that analogy!

  185. Voice Coil,

    All we know is that the DNA provides the PARTS.

    There isn’t any scientific data which demonstrates the DNA is the blueprints.

    I have asked for peer-reviewed references that support yours and Nakashima’s claim and no one has provided any.

    Go figure…

  186. As far as I know Joseph is correct. The instructions on how to use all the proteins and modify the various facilitators and inhibitors have not been identified as of yet especially during development and even afterwards. From what I understand they do not fully understand what causes growth or changes in organisms after initial formation. What is so hard to understand.

    Very interesting questions but in the scheme of things not a contentious issue in the evolution debate. Sometimes I think people just pick arguments for drill. When they do it makes them less credible as you get the feeling that is all they are about.

  187. Mr Joseph,

    There isn’t any scientific data which demonstrates the DNA is the blueprints.

    I referred you to Signature in the Cell. Not in the peer reviwed literature, but still adequate to answer your question. The work of Avery identifying DNA as the part of the cell carrying the heritable information (AKA the blueprints for the rest of the cell) is described on pp. 66-68 of Chapter 3, The Double Helix. Have you read it? Have you noticed note 13 on p 68? Have you turned to the back of the book, to the Notes section? Have you looked on p. 515 for note 13 of Ch. 3? Have you Googled “Avery Macleod McCarty”, the authors of the study cited? Have you followed the links to their original 1944 paper which appeared in the peer reviewed Journal of Experimental Medecine? Have you read that paper?

    I would have to guess that the answer to all these questions is No. Go figure.

    Mr Joseph, I can remember spoonfeeding my children. I can remember changing their diapers. Conversing with you provides a powerful feeling of nostalgia, or perhaps deja vu. But I digresseth.

    Lets ask the question another way. Mr Joseph, why do you think, and I use the term broadly, that Dr Meyer wrote a book about DNA?

    A haiku,
    dedicated to Mr Joseph,

    autumn leaves are gone,
    reading the words, keen lips move;
    crickets are chirping

    Is it because DNA holds up the roof of the cell? No. Is it because DNA keeps the cell from leaking when it rains? No. Does DNA provide the plumbing for the cell? No. The wiring? No. The subfloor? No. The Spandrels of San Marcos? No.

    Is this one of those questions you can’t answer?

    What is your education?
    What does Denton mean by “influence”?

    Do I have to add another question to this list, Mr Joseph?

    Go figure.

  188. Mr Jerry,

    The question is not what the instructions are, but where they are located. If they are not in the physical structure of the DNA molecule, why did Avery’s experiment succeed? Why do knockout and knockin experiments succeed? Why do scientists spend so much time and effort trying to understand DNA? Why is so much effort spent proclaiming that junk DNA isn’t junk?

  189. That is like saying the information for the type of house resides in the building materials.

    Don’t you think there is a slight difference? The only building materials used in biology are cells. inside each sell reside the complete code, both for building the body, for all the various structures and types of cell required, and even all the code that the cell needs for the job it shall do for the rest of it’s life.

  190. “The question is not what the instructions are, but where they are located. If they are not in the physical structure of the DNA molecule, why did Avery’s experiment succeed? Why do knockout and knockin experiments succeed? Why do scientists spend so much time and effort trying to understand DNA? Why is so much effort spent proclaiming that junk DNA isn’t junk?”

    You really do have to read more closely. First of all I didn’t say where all the instructions were or implied nothing was in the DNA. I said they didn’t know where everything was and are far from pinpointing how the process unfolds. There is good reason to believe that some of the information is somehow contained outside the DNA. Second there is lots of data that says that there are compounds attached to the DNA that modify its effects. Some have high hopes for all the DNA to have function and in time they may be correct or not correct.

    Your comments on knockout experiments is silly. It implies that someone thinks the DNA has no effect and that is so far from the truth. Who believes that?

  191. Mr Jerry,

    I did your message closely, and noted that your comments were directed to issues of what, not where. I also did note that you had correctly hedged your comments.

    But you bring up an important point. There are other channels of information besides the sequence of bases in the DNA. For example, there is the twist of the DNA, is it a or b form? There are changes to the histones, methylation marks, etc.

    The overarching feature is that these are all material forms of information storage, properties of DNA or physically attached to DNA. There is no elan vital.

    Your comments on knockout experiments is silly. It implies that someone thinks the DNA has no effect and that is so far from the truth. Who believes that?

    You’ll have to take that question up with Mr Joseph. I don’t understand his position either.

  192. “There is no elan vital.”

    Again who said or implied such a thing?

    Also I have not read Joseph’s comments here closely since I come and go as I find time and interest. But usually I agree with all that he says. Just that we express it differently. What in Joseph’s comment leads you to your comments.

  193. Mr Jerry,

    Perhaps you would express this differently:

    There isn’t any scientific data which demonstrates the DNA is the blueprints.

    Experiments from Avery onward demonstrate that heredity is based on DNA – its properties or something physically attached to it. When I say, there is no elan vital, I mean to point out that there is no evidence for a non-physical basis for heredity.

  194. “I mean to point out that there is no evidence for a non-physical basis for heredity.”

    Now you are saying something that I believe everyone in ID would agree with.

    Also from before, you said about my comments.

    “I also did note that you had correctly hedged your comments.”

    You can call it hedging but maybe you are reading an accurate assessment of the situation in my comments. My conclusion about this are two fold:

    The origin of life, the process of organism building (embryo and throughout life) and especially the origin of these processes as well as the appearance of complex novel capabilities is a MYSTERY. That I believe is the position of Michael Behe, William Dembski and most other ID people and should be the position of any reasonable person. We learn more each month but we are still far from any definitive understanding.

    The second thing is that there is no known naturalistic process that could account for either the origin of life or the origin of complex novel capabilities. That also should be the position of any reasonable person. To believe otherwise is really an act of faith and is no different than belief that it was the Judeo Christian God that was the origin of the these processes.

    Maybe future science understanding will explain it but as of now there is nothing, especially to support gradualistic changes over time as the mechanism. I especially say gradualistic changes over time have failed because such processes would leave a trail, not just one trail but millions of trails and we have found none. Certainly gradualistic process work to change populations over time but there is no evidence that they have routinely built anything of consequence (I use routinely because I am sure one can find the occasional example of something new appearing through naturalistic processes.) So I believe a reasonable person would concur with what I just said. Allen MacNeill has said that a lot of evolutionary biologists have come to the same conclusions but still hold out hope for naturalistic processes such as his 47+ engines of variation. But they have no proof or even suggestive data as of the present to justify their beliefs but will denounce in extremely vitriolic terms anyone who suggests that an Intelligence was involved.

    I hope I am clear enough and do not need further parsing of what I mean.

  195. Nakashima,

    Yes DNA carries heritable information.

    Blue eyes, sickle-celled anemia, hair color- as geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti says:

    All those and hundreds of other alterations have their basis in DNA;

    We also know that if we take the DNA of one species and put it into an egg of another, if anything develops it will resemble the species of the EGG.

    If you were right it should resemble the species from which the DNA was taken.

    Then there is the fact that every cell in our bodies has the SAME DNA yet the cells are not all the same.

    A caterpillar and it’s butterfly counterpart? SAME DNA.

    If you want the difference between different colored roses, sure look in the DNA.

    But you will not find the information for “flower” there.

    Research the “Altenberg 16″- these guys were/ are looking for “form” and have yet to find it.

    So the bottom line is yes DNA has the information for making proteins, enzymes and various RNAs.

    And these molecules can influence development- hair color, eye color, color vision, etc.

    But DNA does not determine the type of organism- at least there isn’t any scientific evidence for that.

    If there were then scientists should be able to point to the DNA sequences that were altered in order to change a knuckle-walking primate into a fully upright bipedal primate.

    Not they I expect you to understand any of that…

  196. Yes DNA accounts for heritable differences in bacteria but it does not account for the bacteria.

    Do you understand the difference?

    Note 13 on page 68 refers to HGT.

    There isn’t anything in “Signature in the Cell” that says the DNA is the blueprint for the type of organism to be developed.

    What does Denton mean by “influence”?

    Geez I have only given you example after example.

    Here is another- tinker with fruit fly genes and you can get a leg where an antennae should be.

    You can get one without eyes.

    However no matter how much we tinker with fruit fly DNA we never get anything but a fruit fly or nothing!

    And according to you we should start seeing something different.

    IOW Nakashima you don’t have any evidence and what you have provided demonstrates you are wrong.

  197. Mr Joseph,

    We also know that if we take the DNA of one species and put it into an egg of another, if anything develops it will resemble the species of the EGG.

    If you were right it should resemble the species from which the DNA was taken.

    Can you provide a reference for that?

    Here’s a reference that says the opposite.

    Embryonic stem cells generated by nuclear transfer of human somatic nuclei into rabbit oocytes

    To solve the problem of immune incompatibility, nuclear transplantation has been envisaged as a means to produce cells or tissues for human autologous transplantation. Here we have derived embryonic stem cells by the transfer of human somatic nuclei into rabbit oocytes. The number of blastocysts that developed from the fused nuclear transfer was comparable among nuclear donors at ages of 5, 42, 52 and 60 years, and nuclear transfer (NT) embryonic stem cells (ntES cells) were subsequently derived from each of the four age groups. These results suggest that human somatic nuclei can form ntES cells independent of the age of the donor. The derived ntES cells are human based on karyotype, isogenicity, in situ hybridization, PCR and immunocytochemistry with probes that distinguish between the various species. The ntES cells maintain the capability of sustained growth in an undifferentiated state, and form embryoid bodies, which, on further induction, give rise to cell types such as neuron and muscle, as well as mixed cell populations that express markers representative of all three germ layers. Thus, ntES cells derived from human somatic cells by NT to rabbit eggs retain phenotypes similar to those of conventional human ES cells, including the ability to undergo multilineage cellular differentiation.

  198. We also know that if we take the DNA of one species and put it into an egg of another, if anything develops it will resemble the species of the EGG.

    Wrong. From the abstract:

    “It was thus verified that due to selection, chondriome components could be transferred from a N. sylvestris donor into a cybrid having all the phenotypic features controlled by the nucleus of the recipient fusion partner (S. tuberosum).”

    Note that “chondriome components” = cytoplasm. In this study, the cytoplasm of a tobacco cell was fused with the nucleus of a potato cell. The cybrids possessed tobacco cytoplasm and potato nuclei, and the cells grew into potato plants.

  199. Nakashima,

    Your “reference” doesn’t even address what I am saying.

    There is a huge difference between taking stem cells and using only the DNA.

    We are only discussing the DNA.

    Take all the nuclear DNA from a human and put it into an egg of a rabbit and see what happens.

    IOW try cloning a human using human DNA and a rabbit’s egg.

    If you are correct we should get a human.

  200. Mr Joseph,

    IOW try cloning a human using human DNA and a rabbit’s egg.

    If you are correct we should get a human.

    This is exactly what that experiment confirmed happens. The stem cells were not an input to the experiment. A nucleus from a human body cell was the input. The egg cell from which the nucleus was removed was from a rabbit.

    Human DNA + rabbit egg = ??

    You say the outcome should have tested as a rabbit. It turns out you are wrong.

    Human DNA + rabbit egg = human stem cell

    The derived ntES cells are human based on karyotype, isogenicity, in situ hybridization, PCR and immunocytochemistry with probes that distinguish between the various species. The ntES cells maintain the capability of sustained growth in an undifferentiated state, and form embryoid bodies, which, on further induction, give rise to cell types such as neuron and muscle, as well as mixed cell populations that express markers representative of all three germ layers. Thus, ntES cells derived from human somatic cells by NT to rabbit eggs retain phenotypes similar to those of conventional human ES cells, including the ability to undergo multilineage cellular differentiation.

  201. Human stem cells but not humans.

    Got it.

    When they get a human please let me know.

  202. As of a 2007 review (cite below) 40 studies involving the transfer of nuclei from one species into oocytes of another had been performed. Success varies with interspecies distance. Around 30 studies report attaining embryonic development to the blastula stage, 11 studies attained implantation, and five yielded live offspring. All embryos reflect the donor nucleus, of course.

    The authors of this study observe that his process can succeed at all only because of highly evolutionarily conserved mammalian developmental mechanisms. Molecules that regulate these events in recipient mammalian oocytes are capable of interacting with nuclei from other species only due to their common ancestry and that high degree of conservation. Success all the way to live birth has been most probable in the most closely related species.

    See:

    Interspecies Nuclear Transfer: Implications for Embryonic Stem Cell Biology
    Zeki Beyhan,1 Amy E. Iager,1 and Jose B. Cibelli

    Cell Stem Cell 1, November 2007

    Sorry, no link, as the article is behind institutional walls. Here is the abstract:

    Accessibility of human oocytes for research poses a serious ethical challenge to society. This fact categorically holds true when pursuing some of the most promising areas of research, such as somatic cell nuclear transfer and embryonic stem cell studies. One approach to overcoming this limitation is to use an oocyte from one species and a somatic cell from another. Recently, several attempts to capture the promises of this approach have met with varying success, ranging from establishing human embryonic stem cells to obtaining live offspring in animals. This review focuses on the challenges and opportunities presented by the formidable task of overcoming biological differences among species.

  203. A passage from the above cited article indicates that several assumptions underlie the research and many questions remain. Note in the last sentence how the assumptions are to be tested and the questions answered:

    As previously mentioned, nuclear transfer (NT) experiments that employ oocytes and donor cells from two different species are defined as interspecies or interspecies nuclear transfers (iSCNT) (Figure 1). The two main assumptions required for iSCNT are that early developmental events and mechanisms are evolutionarily conserved among mammals and that molecules that regulate these events in mammalian oocytes are capable of interacting with nuclei from another species. The validity of these assumptions, however, deserves vigorous scrutiny. Although most mammalian embryos follow a very similar pattern of ontogenic development, significant differences in many aspects of the process do exist among evolutionarily divergent taxonomic groups (Gilbert and Bolker, 2001). Temporal regulation of developmental events—such as cell-cycle progression, embryonic genome activation (EGA), blastocyst formation, implantation, and organogenesis—differs from species to species. One wonders, therefore, how these developmental processes are regulated in an embryo reconstructed using an oocyte and a donor cell from different species. What constituent of this unusual embryo drives the development? Is there crosstalk between the donor nucleus and the recipient cytoplasm? What developmental program is executed—the oocyte’s, the donor’s, or both? Are the interspecies cybrid cells functional and viable? Is the resulting embryo/fetus viable? Are any live offspring produced, and, if so, are they fertile? These are some of the most important questions that need to be, and can be, addressed by interspecies cloning experiments.

    Few of the methods sections of these experiments will note the use of armchairs.

  204. Mr Joseph,

    When they get a human please let me know.

    That defense mechanism is called “moving the goalposts”.

    You said:

    We also know that if we take the DNA of one species and put it into an egg of another, if anything develops it will resemble the species of the EGG.

    But the study tested the rsults and found:

    The derived ntES cells are human based on karyotype, isogenicity, in situ hybridization, PCR and immunocytochemistry with probes that distinguish between the various species.

    And you said:

    But DNA does not determine the type of organism- at least there isn’t any scientific evidence for that.

    But the reference I provided was from an experiment reported in a prestigious scientific journal.

    Both of those statements have been proven wrong.

    And you haven’t provided a reference to back up your position in the first of those quotes:

    We also know that if we take the DNA of one species and put it into an egg of another, if anything develops it will resemble the species of the EGG.

    From what source do we “know” that?

  205. Nakashima,

    Just because you are incapable of following along doesn’t mean I moved anything.

    The study referenced just shows different types of human cells can be cultivated when nuclear DNA from human somatic cells is put into a rabbit’s egg.

    And that is only once they are isolated at a certain developmental stage.

    We have no idea what would develop, if anything, if left to do so.

    So, what needs to be done is for that new embryo to fully develop.

    If you are correct we should get a human.

    If I am correct we will get a rabbit-looking organism or nothing- ie death to the developing cells.

  206. Voice Coil,

    I know we can put nuclear DNA from one “species” into another’s egg and get something to develop.

    But when you look the two allegedly different species are so close that it calls into question the definition of “species”.

  207. Nakashima,

    I will look for the reference today.

    I just had another knee surgery yesterday morning.

    However I do remeber that it was something Jonathan Wells wrote so while I am laying back I will peruse my literature and see what I can find…

  208. Mr Joseph,

    You said,

    We also know that if we take the DNA of one species and put it into an egg of another, if anything develops it will resemble the species of the EGG.

    But the study tested the rsults and found:

    The derived ntES cells are human based on
    karyotype,
    isogenicity,
    in situ hybridization,
    PCR
    and immunocytochemistry with probes that distinguish between the various species.

    So passing all of these tests does not acheive “resemble the species” for you? I think you are in a very small minority.

    And where is the reference that supports your position?

  209. Joseph:

    I know we can put nuclear DNA from one “species” into another’s egg and get something to develop.

    But when you look the two allegedly different species are so close that it calls into question the definition of “species”.

    Cow oocytes have received nuclei from the following and attained development at least to the blastocyst stage:

    Sheep
    Yak
    Goat
    Pig
    Horse
    Rabbit
    Mouse
    Rat
    Dog
    Korean Tiger
    Black Bear
    Chicken
    Cynomolgus monkey
    and

    Human

    Cite:

    Insterspecies Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer and Preliminary Data for House-Cow/Mouse iSCNT
    Tercirlioglu, Guo, Trounsen
    Stem Cell Reviews Volume 2, 2006

  210. Nakashima:

    We also know that if we take the DNA of one species and put it into an egg of another, if anything develops it will resemble the species of the EGG.

    From what source do we “know” that?

    The closest would be this case of nuclear transfer embryos of carp nuclei into goldfish eggs. The result, as expected, were carp. But the somite development were consistent with goldfish.

    Sun et al., Cytoplasmic Impact on Cross-Genus Cloned Fish, Biology of Reproduction 2005.

    In previous studies of animal cloning, as expected, most cloned animals were identical to their nuclear donor species in phenotype. Likewise, in the present study, most development characteristics of the cloned fish were the same as those of nuclear donor common carp. But, strikingly, analysis of somite development and vertebral number led to an unexpected result: vertebral development resembled that of the cytoplasmic recipient.

  211. Mr Zachriel,

    That is an interesting result, and one that might help elucidate a difference in this discussion between development and heredity.

    Mr Joseph’s claim was actually one about development, not heredity.

    Even if there was a chemical marker in the egg cell which was respected by the genetic cascade introduced with the nuclear DNA (and here the small distance between the two species is important, goldfish are carp after all), what would the offspring of this egg become? I don’t think the new germ cells, created according to the new DNA instructions, would include that signal. Thus, I would predict that the offspring would be carp in all phases of development and adulthood, and would breed true as carp.

    However, the mitochondria would still have the DNA of the egg donor, so the fact that the mother was a chimera could still be proven from the children.

    This point has recently been proposed as the basis of a treatment path for diseases related to faults in the mitochondrial DNA of a woman.

  212. Mr Joseph,

    Best of luck and a swift recovery to you!

  213. Nakashima,

    Your referenced papaer did NOT allow the embryo to fully develop.

    Do you understand that?

  214. Zachriel,

    Goldfish are carp.

  215. Voice Coil,

    Fully develop…

  216. Nakashima,

    Yes it was Jonathan Wells- once in his chapter in “Signs of Intelligence” and also in “Design of Life”.

    If I have time I will do more research today.

  217. Goldfish are carp, but they are not common carp, which is the subject of the paper. The two species are in different genera.

    Sun et al., Cytoplasmic Impact on Cross-Genus Cloned Fish Derived from Transgenic Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio) Nuclei and Goldfish (Carassius auratus) Enucleated Eggs, Biology of Reproduction 2005.

    This is an unsupported and false statement that needs to be retracted.

    We also know that if we take the DNA of one species and put it into an egg of another, if anything develops it will resemble the species of the EGG.

    As Intelligent Design is not contrained by evidence, it means the ID Community will raise no objection to such statements, even with regards to fundamental biological patterns such as Common Descent.

    And that’s why ID is intellectually vacuous and scientifically sterile. There is no there there.

  218. Mr Joseph,

    Yes, I understood that the embryo did not fully develop. I also understood that this did not prevent the researchers from testing the embryo in a variety of ways, all of which showed that the cells of the embryo tested human, not rabbit.

    Of course “fully develop” is just another move of the goalposts. Your original claim:

    We also know that if we take the DNA of one species and put it into an egg of another, if anything develops it will resemble the species of the EGG.

    Since you claim “anything” that includes embryos, and asking now for “fully develop” shifts the goalposts.

    Even so, that only is an objection to the study I referenced. Other posters have cited studies that include live birth.

    Think about it. Researchers using these techniques to preserve an endangered species: gaur nucleus into cow egg born via cow. You claim the result is a cow. There are cheaper ways of making cows.

  219. Joseph, get well soon!

  220. Josph:

    Fully develop…

    As of the 2006 review cited above there were five instances of interspecies nuclear transfer resulting in live births (read, “fully developed”). All such cross species transfers occurred within the same genus. All resulted in animals of the species donating the nuclei. Therefore these within genus differences are determined by DNA.

    This has clear bearing upon the OP, because Homo habilis (at the outset of human evolution) and Homo sapiens (the present day) are both members of the genus Homo. Successful interspecies, within genus transfers support the argument that evolutionary changes of that magnitude are determined by changes within DNA.

  221. Nakashima,

    When I said

    We also know that if we take the DNA of one species and put it into an egg of another, if anything develops it will resemble the species of the EGG.

    It means FULLY DEVELOP.

    A gaur is a freakin type of cow. They are virtually the same thing

  222. Voice Coil,

    All your posts tell me is that there is a lot of ambiguity in our classification system.

  223. Nakashima,

    My context has ALWAYS been with the TYPE of organism and the TYPE of eye.

    We do NOT know where that information resides.

    The “Altenberg 16″ confirms that.

  224. Joseph in 222:

    A gaur is a freakin type of cow. They are virtually the same thing.

    And, by your metric, Homo habilis was just another freakin type of person, virtually the same thing. No different:

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/w.....ropped.jpg

  225. Mr Joseph,

    Thank you for clarifying your claim. Shift of goalposts duly noted.

    Since “we know” still applies to this claim, what is your reference to this now clarified claim? Does Dr Wells have a reference in the peer reviewed scientific literature that backs up this statement? A result that shows that all live birth interspecies SNCT resemble the mother’s species? Such a result must of course use a definition of species and test for species difference that you and Dr Wells both accept as definitive.

    My context has ALWAYS been with the TYPE of organism and the TYPE of eye.

    The type of the organism can be determined well before birth, as the tests I listed for you show. These tests clearly differentiate between human and rabbit in the paper I referenced for you.

    A gaur is a freakin type of cow. They are virtually the same thing

    Since we can distinguish the type of cow between a gaur and a regular domestic cow, I’m sure your concern noted above:

    My context has ALWAYS been with the TYPE of organism and the TYPE of eye.

    Is satisfied by these results.

    And as noted previously, they are different enough that scientists are willing to go to these extraordinary lengths to get them. For a purpose of getting a guar, simply crossbreeding with a cow is not enough, the reult would not be a guar. And the reult of this process is not a cow, otherwise why bother?

  226. Nakashima,

    I didn’t shift nor move anything.

    I stated right from the start what my position is.

    That you couldn’t understand it is your problem not mine.

    The body plan for a freakin’ gaur is the SAME as a cow.

    The eye of a gaur is the same as a freakin’ cow.

    Both are the same Genus.

    It would be like taking the DNA from an Asian and sticking it into an African woman’s egg.

    Now if you were to find to very different types- ya know with different body plans- of organisms and do this experiment and the result resembled the DNA donor, you would have a point.

    Yet to date that has not been accomplished, yet it has been tried.

  227. Voice Coil:

    And, by your metric, Homo habilis was just another freakin type of person, virtually the same thing.

    Not really.

    Ya see this gets to the heart of the problem- classification.

  228. Mr Joseph,

    Now if you were to find to very different types- ya know with different body plans- of organisms and do this experiment and the result resembled the DNA donor, you would have a point.

    The scientific world may some day get around to helping frogs give brith to lobsters, but in the mean time, we should not lose sight of the fact that you have put forward a claim that even close species should resemble the egg. A claim ou have not yet substantiated in any way. A claim controverted by exiating live births and embryo studies. While I’m sure that “Freakin’ virtually the same type” will eventually overtake “species” as an unambiguous way to distinguish populations, your claim does refer to species.

  229. Joseph:

    The body plan for a freakin’ gaur is the SAME as a cow.

    The eye of a gaur is the same as a freakin’ cow.

    Both are the same Genus…

    Ya see this gets to the heart of the problem- classification.

    That would be your only move – invoke a private language, in which “species” means “genus” or has some other private meaning.

    It is your only move because:

    We also know that if we take the DNA of one species put it into an egg of another, if anything develops it will resemble the species of the EGG.

    Is false. It is false because:

    - Gaur vs. domestic cow = different species.

    - Gaur nuclei -> domestic cow oocyte = live gaur.

    It would be like taking the DNA from an Asian and sticking it into an African woman’s egg.

    Also inapt, because:

    - Gaur vs. domestic cow = different species.

    - Asian person vs. African person = same species.

    So it would not be like that.

  230. Nakashima,

    once again-

    My argument HAS ALWAYS BEEN about body form and TYPE of body parts- ALWAYS.

    Just because you are incapable of understanding what I said doesn’t mean anyuthing to me.

    A cow and a gaur have the SAME body plan and the SAME types of body parts.

    That said scientists have conducted the tests- they have put totally different species together in the same egg- DNA from one into an egg of another.

    Nothing developed- fully.

  231. Voice Coil,

    Again a gaur and cow have the SAME body plan and same body parts.

    And as I said all the gaur/ cow thing does is call into question OUR classification techniques.

    That you can’t understand that says quite a bit about your agenda.

  232. But I do thank you for proving that our “species” concept is ambiguis at best and most likely wrong.

  233. oops- ambiguous

    The point being is if gaur and domesticated cows are a different species then so are Asians and Africans.

  234. Nakashima:

    we should not lose sight of the fact that you have put forward a claim that even close species should resemble the egg.

    I never put forward that claim for the simple reason that closely related species already resemble each other! Duh.

    And as far as we know what we call “closely related species” are most likely the same species.

    So yes if we take the DNA from one organism and put it into the egg of another that has the SAME body plan and uses the SAME body parts, I wouldn’t expect anything but a normal birth.

    My point is and has always been that DNA does NOT determine form.

    If it did we should be able to take DNA from one organism and put it into an egg of another- one that has a different body plan- and the result should be that of the DNA donor.

    Yet scientists have done such a thing and that did NOT happen.

  235. Mr Joseph,

    Go to the Bronx Zoo. Stand in front of the gaur enclosure and inform passing tourists that the animals in the enclosure are the same species as cows, and are therefore not endangered. When the park staff arrive, engage them in the same discussion. Tell me how many you convince.

    Tell them that species means “freakin’ virtually the same type of body plan”.

    Tell them that frogs and rabbits have freakin’ virtually the same type of body plan, so our species concept is ambigous.

    Then show them your reference from the peer reviewed scientific literature that back up your claim about interspecies SCNT.

    Or stay home and don’t embarass yourself, because none of that is true, and you don’t have a paper to back up your claim. Do you?

  236. Joseph:

    Again a gaur and cow have the SAME body plan and same body parts.

    As do Homo habilis and Homo sapiens. Same body plan and same body parts, with differences almost entirely confined to differences of proportion. Indeed, the similarity is greater than between gaur and domestic cattle.

    By your “criteria,” habilis and sapiens are the same species. So where are the fundamental discontinuities that concern the OP?

  237. Joseph, I appreciate your comments because you are never afraid to speak your opinion.
    However, as Voice Coil has pointed out, we need to draw a line between species: If you refer to the body plan as sufficient to decide it’s the same kind, not only there is not difference between us and homo habilis – we are not even different from e.g. pan troglodytes.

  238. I believe there are differences between humans and cows that have to do with bodily functions and parts. People are playing games with this discussion. There is no attempt to get to a reasoned dialogue. It is the typical form of gotcha confined to meaningless distinctions. This is not new for what goes on here from those who oppose ID.

  239. Mr Jerry,

    I strongly agree with you that cows and humans are separate species.

    I would love to have a reasoned dialogue about the scientific evidence for Mr Joseph’s positions, sadly it has not been forthcoming. If you have either Design of Life or the other book that was cited, and can find a place where Dr Wells presents evidence that supports Mr Joseph’s view, please help move the dialogue forward. Thank you.

  240. Mr Joseph,

    My point is and has always been that DNA does NOT determine form.

    Using strictly Dentonian terms, I agree. DNA influences form, because it is the formal cause of the form.

    However, if you use the word more casually (and your language during this discussion has been casual at times) I would disagree.

  241. Jerry:

    I believe there are differences between humans and cows that have to do with bodily functions and parts. People are playing games with this discussion. There is no attempt to get to a reasoned dialogue. It is the typical form of gotcha confined to meaningless distinctions. This is not new for what goes on here from those who oppose ID.

    Assuming that you are responding to my post, you misread my intended meaning. If I was unclear above then I apologize.

    What I state above is that by the criteria Joseph uses to conclude that gaur and cow are the same species as one another, we must also conclude that Home habilis and Homo sapiens are the same species as one another. Habilis and sapiens are certainly as similar in light of Joeph’s criteria as are gaur and cow.

    No one is asserting that Homo sapiens and cows are the same species, by any standard.

  242. Voice Coil,

    When I have a complete and working Homo halibis to examine I will give you my answer.

    Until then anyone and everyone is just guessing as to what “species” it is.

  243. Nakashima,

    If gaurs and cows are different species so to are caucasians, africans and asians.

    I say that because there are more differences observed between caucasians and africans then there are between domesticated cows and gaurs.

    If you do the research you will find out that the two can breed succesfully.

    As for Dr Wells I provided the evidence:

    Scientists have taken the DNA of one species and placed it into an egg of a species that isn’t related.

    It resulted in the death of the embryo.

    Ya see the DNA is NOT an independent entity.

    It is not even a self-replicator.

    DNA replicates along with the cell.

    The CELL Nakashima is more important to the contribution of body plan than the DNA.

    THAT is what embryology is telling us.

  244. Kontinental,

    I am not using body plan to decide anything.

    However it is obvious that a gaur resembles a cow- and the two can succesfully interbreed.

    The gaur has the same body plan as a cow so I wouldn’t doubt that a gaur would form when gaur DNA is placed inside of an egg of a cow.

    However if one puts gaur DNA inside of a rabit, I doubt a gaur would form, even though they are both mammals.

    Nakashima:

    Tell them that frogs and rabbits have freakin’ virtually the same type of body plan, so our species concept is ambigous.

    Only an ignorant person would say that rabbits and frogs have virtually the same body plan.

    IOW Nak you would be telling people that, not I.

    I take it you don’t know very much about biology and you think that is my fault…

  245. Voice Coil:

    What I state above is that by the criteria Joseph uses to conclude that gaur and cow are the same species as one another, we must also conclude that Home habilis and Homo sapiens are the same species as one another. Habilis and sapiens are certainly as similar in light of Joeph’s criteria as are gaur and cow.

    The criteria I use is observations of LIVING organisms.

    The fact that they can succesfully interbreed- gaurs and domy cows- is an OBSERVATION and can be repeated.

    Also:

    Homo Habilis:

    The classification of H. habilis into the Homo genus is controversial. Like Homo rudolfensis, H. habilis lacked many of the things that were unique to later hominins such as slim hips for walking long distances, a sophisticated sweating system, narrow birth canal, and legs longer than arms. Such traits as noticeable whites in the eyes, smaller hairs resulting in exposed skin, and a naked appearance remain theoretical.

    Imagine that! Just as I have been saying since VC introduced this nonsense.

  246. Jonathan Wells page 121 of “Signs of Intellignece”:

    1- Placing foreign DNA into an egg does not change the species of the egg or embryo

    2- DNA mutations can interfer with development, but they never alter its endpoint

    3- Different cell types arise in the same animal even though all of them contain the same DNA

    4- Similar developmental genes are found in animals as different as worms, flies and mammals.

    5- Eggs contain several structures (such as microtubule arrays and membrane patterns) that are known to excercise control of development independently of the DNA

    #3 is more than enough to support my claim and refute Nakashima and VC.

    Also Dr Denton studied genetics and understands his field much better than Nakashima.

    The same goes for geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti.

    The “Altenberg 16″ was formed to try to resolve the issue of body form.

    And all Nakashima can do is harp on Denton and misrepresent my claims.

  247. Joseph:

    The criteria I use is observations of LIVING organisms.

    You bring to a discussion of the history of life on earth classification criteria that can only be applied to living organisms? That doesn’t seem very useful.

    The classification of H. habilis into the Homo genus is controversial…

    Identical points can be made with Homo erectus, which is unquestionably a member of genus Homo and unquestionably resembles Homo sapiens to a degree that exceeds the resemblance of gaur and domestic cow.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Homo_erectus.JPG

  248. Mr Joseph,

    1- Placing foreign DNA into an egg does not change the species of the egg or embryo

    Interesting that Dr Wells doesn’t say anything about “fully develop”. I guess you still need a reference for that claim. As for what Dr Wells does say, he is contradicted by the research I mentioned originally.

    2- DNA mutations can interfere with development, but they never alter its endpoint.

    I think you are on pretty safe ground here with single point mutations. Exactly why people look so much at gene duplication and then modification as a driver of developmental change.

    3- Different cell types arise in the same animal even though all of them contain the same DNA.

    Yes, just as a computer program can compute different answers, given different inputs. We know the inputs to embryological development – things like chemical gradients, the previous cell state, the state of neighboring cells. Even things like the orientation of the cell and its temperature. Chemicals and states that are ultimately controlled by proteins produced from … DNA instructions!

    4- Similar developmental genes are found in animals as different as worms, flies and mammals.

    Which an evolutionary biologist explains by common descent. Multiple copies of HOX genes, multiple rounds of duplication and variation. Is this mysterious to Dr Wells?

    5- Eggs contain several structures (such as microtubule arrays and membrane patterns) that are known to excercise control of development independently of the DNA

    And these structures are made of protein, under the control of DNA. Heredity vs development. If you want to effect this entity under development, you can play with those things. If you want to effect this entity’s offspring, play with its DNA. The cytoplasm of the egg only effects this organism. After the 10th cell division, less than a thousandth of the cytoplasm of each cell is from the mother. The rest, 99.9% of the cytoplasm of each cell, has been created by instructions from the nuclear DNA.

    The germ cells that will become the offspring are created under the control of the DNA, not the maternal egg cytoplasm (except of course that the mitochondria are descendents of the egg’s mitochondria).

    #3 is more than enough to support my claim and refute Nakashima and VC.

    #3 is more than enough to show that Dr Wells is sadly confused on a subject he should know better. I wonder if Dr Wells has ever used Google and gotten different results when he typed different words in the search box?

    Also Dr Denton studied genetics and understands his field much better than Nakashima.

    Which explains why I’m trying to respect his precise causal vocabulary and distinction between influence and determine.

    The same goes for geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti.

    Whose contribution to this discussion has been… ?

    The “Altenberg 16? was formed to try to resolve the issue of body form.

    Issues of development were certainly part of their agenda, and I eagerly await the proceedings of that meeting being published. Better explanations of the physical, material world are very interesting.

    And all Nakashima can do is harp on Denton and misrepresent my claims.

    Claims, plural. “DNA isn’t the blueprints.” That one faded into embarassing silence. “…resembles the species of EGG.” If its fully developed. And you use my definition of species.

    Now we have a fascinating one about gaurs, domestic cattle, and African and Caucasian humans.

    I say that because there are more differences observed between caucasians and africans then there are between domesticated cows and gaurs.

    What piece of peer reviewed scientific research backs that one up? What kind of differences are being counted? What species concept is being used?

    And let’s not forget this classic in the making:

    Only an ignorant person would say that rabbits and frogs have virtually the same body plan.

    Hmmm, two pairs of legs, two eyes, head with skull, brain, spine, heart, lungs, stomach, liver, cute little fuzzy tail. What’s the problem? Sounds like the same body plan to me. And they both taste like chicken!!1!

  249. VC:

    You bring to a discussion of the history of life on earth classification criteria that can only be applied to living organisms? That doesn’t seem very useful.

    Surely it isn’t useful if it can’t be tested and it can’t be tested on non-living organisms.

    Identical points can be made with Homo erectus, which is unquestionably a member of genus Homo and unquestionably resembles Homo sapiens to a degree that exceeds the resemblance of gaur and domestic cow.

    We don’t know the extent of the resemblence if we don’t have one to look at and do the correct comparison.

  250. Nakashima:

    Interesting that Dr Wells doesn’t say anything about “fully develop”. I guess you still need a reference for that claim. As for what Dr Wells does say, he is contradicted by the research I mentioned originally.

    You need to read the referenced material.

    It does call into question our classification though.

    Until then all you have is your ignorance.

    Also nothing you referenced contradicts Dr Wells.

    I think you are on pretty safe ground here with single point mutations. Exactly why people look so much at gene duplication and then modification as a driver of developmental change.

    There isn’t any evidence that gene duplication can change body plans.

    3- Different cell types arise in the same animal even though all of them contain the same DNA.

    Yes, just as a computer program can compute different answers, given different inputs. We know the inputs to embryological development – things like chemical gradients, the previous cell state, the state of neighboring cells. Even things like the orientation of the cell and its temperature. Chemicals and states that are ultimately controlled by proteins produced from … DNA instructions!

    Wrong- not every structure in a cell is via DNA.

    Ya see DNA needs pre-existing proteins and enzymes in order to function at all.

    4- Similar developmental genes are found in animals as different as worms, flies and mammals.

    Which an evolutionary biologist explains by common descent.

    And IDists explain by common design.

    You are still lacking evidence for the alleged transformations.

    5- Eggs contain several structures (such as microtubule arrays and membrane patterns) that are known to excercise control of development independently of the DNA

    And these structures are made of protein, under the control of DNA.

    Please provide the peer-reviewed paper that supports that claim or retract it.

    We know that DNA did not come first.

    We know DNA, just to do anything requires pre-existing proteins and enzymes- things that DNA alone cannot provide.

    The germ cells that will become the offspring are created under the control of the DNA, not the maternal egg cytoplasm (except of course that the mitochondria are descendents of the egg’s mitochondria).

    Not according to the people who have done the actual research.

    The same goes for geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti.

    Whose contribution to this discussion has been… ?

    That DNA does not do what you think it does- just as I posted earlier.

    Only an ignorant person would say that rabbits and frogs have virtually the same body plan.

    Hmmm, two pairs of legs, two eyes, head with skull, brain, spine, heart, lungs, stomach, liver, cute little fuzzy tail.

    Thank you for confirming my claim.

  251. As a developmental biologist, I study embryos primarily by perturbing their development. I am constantly impressed by their resilience. Despite my interference, a surprising number of them develop into adulthood. Remarkably, although my interference may introduce various deformities, the basic endpoint of development never changes. If they survive, fruit fly eggs always become fruit flies, frog eggs always become frogs and mouse eggs always become mice. not even the species changes.- Wells “Signs of Intelligence” page 118

  252. Mr Joseph,

    You need to read the referenced material.

    You need to cite it then. A reprint of Touchstone magazine is not the peer reviewed scientific literature, ya know.

    Also nothing you referenced contradicts Dr Wells.

    Hard to say, since you haven’t presented any research that Dr Wells is basing his opinion on.

    There isn’t any evidence that gene duplication can change body plans.

    Don’t tell these guys, they’ll be so disappointed.

    Zebrafish hox Clusters and Vertebrate Genome Evolution
    Angel Amores, Allan Force, Yi-Lin Yan, Lucille Joly, Chris Amemiya, Andreas Fritz, Robert K. Ho, James Langeland, Victoria Prince, Yan-Ling Wang, Monte Westerfield, Marc Ekker, * John H. Postlethwait *

    HOX genes specify cell fate in the anterior-posterior axis of animal embryos. Invertebrate chordates have one HOX cluster, but mammals have four, suggesting that cluster duplication facilitated the evolution of vertebrate body plans. This report shows that zebrafish have seven hox clusters. Phylogenetic analysis and genetic mapping suggest a chromosome doubling event, probably by whole genome duplication, after the divergence of ray-finned and lobe-finned fishes but before the teleost radiation. Thus, teleosts, the most species-rich group of vertebrates, appear to have more copies of these developmental regulatory genes than do mammals, despite less complexity in the anterior-posterior axis.

    Wrong- not every structure in a cell is via DNA.

    I’m willing to be educated. i know that the cell is not just proteins, there are lipid and sugar structures, and perhaps some of them reproduce mechanically without the help of proteins formed by DNA instructions. Which one are you thinking of?

    Please provide the peer-reviewed paper that supports that claim or retract it.

    Why don’t you Google “tubulin gene” first, and tell me if you want to continue embarassing yourself.

    Not according to the people who have done the actual research.

    Then you should have no trouble citing their research to support your claim.

    Do you think I know all this stuff? Of course not! I Google it, and there it is, the peer reviewed scientific literature on my desk. If your claims have any support at all, you can do the same.

    Hmmm, two pairs of legs, two eyes, head with skull, brain, spine, heart, lungs, stomach, liver, cute little fuzzy tail.

    Thank you for confirming my claim.

    LOL! You’re going to need more than someone else’s humor on this one. What is a body plan, according to you? Why should I care what your definition of body plan is? Do frogs and rabbits have the same bauplan? Do they have virtually the same bauplan? Do they have freakin’ virtually the same bauplan?

    Wells on his own research isn’t quite the same as Wells explaining someone else’s research, such as interspecies SCNT.

  253. Arthur Hunt,

    Quite completely wrong.

    I don’t allow links to that site Arthur, and I have to admit I’m disappointed to see that you post there. I’ve never seen such a group of people so fixated on something that they don’t like. It’s like they eat something that they cannot stand over and over. On our site, we have actual content, their site is all about our site. It’s weird. Satire of that sort borders on lunacy.

  254. Clive, did you read the essay? Should I go thru the trouble of re-posting it on my blog so I can point to it here? Also, why not post the other link?

  255. 256

    Arthur Hunt,

    Clive, did you read the essay? Should I go thru the trouble of re-posting it on my blog so I can point to it here? Also, why not post the other link?

    No, I didn’t read all of it, I skimmed it. Yes you should go through the trouble of posting it on your blog if you want any link to appear here.

  256. “Design of Life” page 50:

    To be sure, genes do play a role in development. But to say that they control or determine development is a vast overstatement. There is now considerable evidence that genes alone do not control development. For example, when an egg’s genes are removed and replaced with genes from another type of animal, development follows the pattern of the original egg until the embryo dies from lack of the right proteins. (The rare exceptions to this rule involve animals that could normally mate and produce hybrids). The “Jurassic Park” approach of putting dinosaur DNA into ostrich eggs to produce a Tyrannosaurus rex makes for exciting fiction, but ignores scientific fact.

  257. Nakashima,

    Your “zebrafish” reference doesn’t help you as it does not demonstrate what determines the endpoint of development.

    HOX genes are only switches.

    Giuseppe Sermonti wrote “Why is a Fly Not a Horse?”:

    Chapter VI “Why is a Fly not a horse?” (same as the book’s title)

    The scientist enjoys a privilege denied the theologian. To any question, even one central to his theories, he may reply “I’m sorry but I do not know.” This is the only honest answer to the question posed by the title of this chapter. We are fully aware of what makes a flower red rather than white, what it is that prevents a dwarf from growing taller, or what goes wrong in a paraplegic or a thalassemic. But the mystery of species eludes us, and we have made no progress beyond what we already have long known, namely, that a kitty is born because its mother was a she-cat that mated with a tom, and that a fly emerges as a fly larva from a fly egg.”

    We do know the information for the coding of genes which then code for the assembly of proteins & enzymes, resides in the genome, i.e. the organisms’ DNA. We also know there are HOX genes, and clusters of those (HOX clusters), which control the development of body parts during the organisms’ developmental (embryonic) stage. We also know that many of the HOX genes are common throughout the animal kingdom. We also know that the HOX genes only control (for any specific part) the development of, as in does it develop or not, a body part and not what type of part it is, its shape nor the function. IOW a mouse “eyeless” gene transferred to a fly missing that gene, would give the fly back its fly-eyes.

    IOW HOX genes are genetic switches and routers. And that is another thing to consider- communication at the molecular level as well as communication throughout the organism. Mutations in HOX genes can cause the loss of body parts. It can also cause body parts to show up where they aren’t supposed to. But in all cases that have been observed, the survivors are always deformed versions of the original, with no chance of reproductive success nor any indication the deformity would lead to the evolution of a new and viable body plan.

    OK so if HOX genes are genetic switches, that can cause body parts to not develop or to develop on a different body segment, what about the information for the body part itself? And just how would unintelligent, blind/ undirected processes account for the use of genetic switches never mind their origin?

    But before you address any of that you don’t seem to understand that DNA requires many pre-existing proteins and enzymes before it can do anything.

    You keep ignoring that point every time I post it.

    These pre-existing enzymes and proteins could not have come from the DNA because the DNA needs them to do anything.

    What part of that don’t you understand?

  258. As for supporting one’s claims YOU have not supported your claim that DNA determines development.

    You know why?

    Because there isn’t any evidence for that so it ain’t in peer-review.

  259. “I would love to have a reasoned dialogue about the scientific evidence for Mr Joseph’s positions, sadly it has not been forthcoming. If you have either Design of Life or the other book that”

    What is Joseph’s position. I haven’t read all this nonsense. I believe Joseph’s position is that not all the information for the formation of the embryo is contained in the DNA. I believe that is fairly uncontroversial. If it is in the DNA or attached to the DNA, then where is all the information. As far as I know there are major mysteries about development, not just embryo development but post development too. So what is the big deal.

    This as I said is about a childish game of gotcha. My experience with anti ID people is that there is rarely an intelligent discussion. It is all about trying to find some minutiae that the ID person has wrong.

  260. jerry:

    I believe Joseph’s position is that not all the information for the formation of the embryo is contained in the DNA.

    Absolutely.

    But more to the point the DNA does not determine the endpoint of development.

    It merely provides some or even most of the parts required.

  261. The problem is evolutionists absolutely require all the devo information to be in the DNA.

    If it ain’t there then their “theory” needs a complete re-write.

  262. HOX genes are only switches.

    Not right. Suggest further study.

  263. It merely provides some or even most of the parts required.

    Where can I learn about the other parts required?

  264. jerry: What is Joseph’s position.

    This: “We also know that if we take the DNA of one species and put it into an egg of another, if anything develops it will resemble the species of the EGG.

    Substantial evidence has been cited above that contradicts the claim; none that supports it. The offspring of interspecies nuclear transfer most resembles the DNA donor.

    (Not that it would matter to the fundamental theory that Darwin proposed of variation, selection and divergence, which does not depend on a particular mechanism of inheritance.)

  265. Mr Jerry,

    As far as I know there are major mysteries about development, not just embryo development but post development too. So what is the big deal.

    It is easy to agree with you, though I would suggest using question marks, even when your questions are rhetorical. It is easy because terms like ‘major mystery’ are imprecise and mean different things to different people.

    As such, your approach to this discussion is exactly the opposite of Mr Joseph’s. While you are appealing to the fog of human ignorance and attempting to avoid the issue of scientific progress, that what was a major mystery 10 years ago is not a major mystery now, Mr Joseph’s strategy is to claim that there is specific scientific backing for his positions (and then not provide the references).

    To refute a claim by bringing a reference from the scientific literature is not playing gotcha. Mr Joseph has made numerous claims during this discussion, and never brought a source from the peer reviewed scientific literature to back them up. When Mr Zachriel attempted to assist him with such a source, it was brushed aside.

    The closest we have come to a gotcha moment in this discussion is when Mr Joseph asked what my education level was. Please note that he has been unwilling or unable to answer the same question after I answered him.

  266. “As such, your approach to this discussion is exactly the opposite of Mr Joseph’s. While you are appealing to the fog of human ignorance and attempting to avoid the issue of scientific progress, that what was a major mystery 10 years ago is not a major mystery now,”

    Now that is a real ad hominem. I am appealing to human ignorance and attempting to avoid the issue of scientific progress. So the unfolding of an embryo is no longer a mystery. I appreciate your insight on this. Haven’t the time to keep up with all your findings. I guess the information I read about extracellular proteins affecting development was garbage.

    Thank you for the update.

  267. Mr Joseph,

    The problem is evolutionists absolutely require all the devo information to be in the DNA.

    I don’t think this is accurate. It would be more accurate to say that the developmental information that is heritable is captured in the sequence of DNA bases or in some other physical/chemical structure of the DNA molecule. Non-heritable developmental information can be found elsewhere, including the environment (for example, sex determination in some reptiles).

    The egg develops according to two sets of DNA – the mother’s DNA the guided the construction of the egg ctyoplasm (including the mother’s mtDNA), and the DNA in the egg itself.

    Dr Wells says differently? Then he can back up his words with research, published reasearch.

  268. Mr Jerry,

    Now that is a real ad hominem.

    No, that is a criticism of your rhetorical approach (in this instance), not at all of you. Please do not take personal offense.

  269. Mr Joseph,

    But before you address any of that you don’t seem to understand that DNA requires many pre-existing proteins and enzymes before it can do anything.

    You keep ignoring that point every time I post it.

    These pre-existing enzymes and proteins could not have come from the DNA because the DNA needs them to do anything.

    What part of that don’t you understand?

    I think I understand it pretty well, thank you. You can go back in this thread to when Aristotle revealed to me how to understand the Dentonian vocabulary of ‘influence’ and ‘determine’, and you’ll see that Aristotle included the mother’s DNA. Proteins and enzymes needed for development were constructed according to the guidance of the mother’s DNA and left in the cytoplasm.

  270. Mr Joseph,

    You cite Dr Wells:

    “Design of Life” page 50:

    To be sure, genes do play a role in development.

    Nice of him to notice.

    But to say that they control or determine development is a vast overstatement.

    Srsly?

    There is now considerable evidence that genes alone do not control development.

    So they do control development, just not alone. The vastness of the overstatement is shrinking fast.

    For example, when an egg’s genes are removed and replaced with genes from another type of animal, development follows the pattern of the original egg until the embryo dies from lack of the right proteins.

    Directly contradicted by the human/rabbit iSCNT experiment I cited earlier. Note Dr Wells does not expect live birth, but accepts that species determination can be done on embryonic cells.

    (The rare exceptions to this rule involve animals that could normally mate and produce hybrids).

    Not the case with humans and rabbits, even though their body plans are freakin’ virtually the same thing, except for the cute little fuzzy tail.

  271. Nakashima:

    The egg develops according to two sets of DNA – the mother’s DNA the guided the construction of the egg ctyoplasm (including the mother’s mtDNA), and the DNA in the egg itself.

    You have a reference for that?

    You know scientific data?

    Ya see you still do not understand.

    So I will say it again and if you still don’t understand it is clear it is useless trying to discuss anything with you:

    For DNA to do anything it requires pre-existing proteins and enzymes- things that DNA could not provide-

    This is the big deal with all OoL scenarios. DNA doesn’t do anything by itself.

  272. Nakashima,

    In the human/ rabbit scenario did a human develop? NO.

    What was required was quite a bit of intervention to get the results.

    IOW you have proven your dishonesty beyond any reasonable doubt.

  273. Sean B. Carroll’s 2000 mini-review of the evolution of body plans in Cell. First sentence?

    “Species diverge from common ancestors through changes in their DNA.”

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/s.....rticle.pdf

  274. Mr Joseph,

    For DNA to do anything it requires pre-existing proteins and enzymes- things that DNA could not provide-

    This is the big deal with all OoL scenarios. DNA doesn’t do anything by itself.

    Well, it is a good thing we are not changing the subject from development to OOL! In the development discussion that we have been having, DNA does direct the formation of the egg cytoplasm. Remember that point about microtubules you chose not to make once you looked up tubulin genes? If you have evidence of a protein or enzyme in the cytoplasm that didn’t get there under the guidance of the mother’s DNA, pleae bring your evidence forward.

  275. Mr Joseph,

    In the human/ rabbit scenario did a human develop? NO.

    Did human stem cells develop? YES.

    The derived ntES cells are human based on
    karyotype,
    isogenicity,
    in situ hybridization,
    PCR
    and immunocytochemistry with probes that distinguish between the various species.

    The point of the experiment was not to create a live birth of a human, and Dr Wells (the source of your contention) did not require live birth in his claim which you quoted.

    Rabbit egg + human DNA,
    combined in a particular way
    = human stem cells,
    the contradiction of Wells,
    and the limerick of Nakashima!

    What was required was quite a bit of intervention to get the results.

    That is absolutely correct. Intervention that did not include reintroducing rabbit nuclear DNA. Intervention that did not include introducing human cytoplasm.

Leave a Reply