Home » Intelligent Design » Marsupials and Placentals: a case of front-loaded, pre-programmed, designed evolution?

Marsupials and Placentals: a case of front-loaded, pre-programmed, designed evolution?

(adapted from a discussion at Evolution and Design )

All right guys, a potential area of ID research. Who knows how long it may take to uncover, but here is where Explanatory Filter (EF) methods may help and where IDers can make a killer breakthrough for their theory if they succeed. There will be money, fame, and glory if this enigma is solved by IDers.

Placentals and Marsupials

Marsupial Placental Convergence

Different geographical areas sometimes exhibit groups of plants and animals of strikingly similar appearance, even though the organisms may be only distantly related. It is difficult to explain so many similarities as the result of coincidence.

This form of evolutionary change is referred to as convergent evolution, or sometimes, parallel evolution.
….
In the best known case of convergent evolution, two major groups of mammals, marsupials and placentals, have evolved in a very similar way, even though the two lineages have been living independently on separate continents. Australia separated from the other continents more than 50 million years ago, after marsupials had evolved but before the appearance of placental mammals.

To grasp how troubling this is to the anti-teleology crowd, here are the words of Simon Conway Morris:

I believe the topic of convergence is important for two main reasons. One is widely acknowledged, if as often subject to procrustean procedures of accommodation. It concerns phylogeny[supposed evolutionary lineage], with the obvious circularity of two questions : do we trust our phylogeny and thereby define convergence (which everyone does), or do we trust our characters to be convergent (for whatever reason) and define our phylogeny? As phylogeny depends on characters, the two questions are inseparable

Even so, no phylogeny is free of its convergences, and it is often the case that a biologist believes a phylogeny because in his or her view certain convergences would be too incredible to be true.

During my time in the libraries I have been particularly struck by the adjectives that accompany descriptions of evolutionary convergence. Words like, “remarkable”, “striking”, “extraordinary”, or even “astonishing” and “uncanny” are common place…the frequency of adjectival surprise associated with descriptions of convergence suggests there is almost a feeling of unease in these similarities. Indeed, I strongly suspect that some of these biologists sense the ghost of teleology looking over their shoulders.

The placentals and marsupials supposedly evolved separately, but look how similar they are (see above) and yet how different their modes of reproduction are (see below). I can understand how that would freak out a non-teleologist!

Differences between Marsupials and Placentals by biologist Chris Ashcraft

The principal difference between the marsupial and placental mammals is the rate of gestation, or the length of time the offspring is carried in the uterus. In all non-placental vertebrates, such as the marsupials, the developing embryo is isolated from its mother’s body by the amniotic membrane. Following fertilization the embryo becomes a new organism, and the mother’s auto-immune system will attack it. The amniotic membrane isolates the embryo from all biological interaction with the parent, thus protecting it from attack. However, no nutrients cross the barrier either, and therefore its growth in the uterus is limited to the quantity of nutrients contained within the egg. The short gestation period in marsupials is due to this type of yolk-type reproduction. Except for the Paramelidae, marsupial embryos do not receive nutrients from their mother. Birth in marsupials occurs much earlier in comparison to placental mammals, and the almost helpless fetus journeys to the pouch and becomes attached to a teat for weeks or months depending on the species. Marsupials may spend as few as twelve days in the reproductive tract.

A longer gestation period results in offspring that are born more fully developed. The extended maturation time in placentals, as opposed to all other vertebrates, is a result of the placenta, which allows nutrients to travel from the mother’s system to the embryo and waste to be carried away. The embryo and the mother do not share the same blood supply, but instead the placenta is composed of several layers which are richly supplied with blood vessels, and acts as a preferential immigration barrier letting nutrients and metabolites pass through, and preventing the transfer of immunity system components. There are other significant differences between the placental and marsupial reproduction. In marsupials, pregnancy does not interrupt the continuation of the next oestrus cycle as it does in placentals, but instead ovarian inhibition is mediated by lactation or suckling stimulus. This regulatory modification is necessary since the baby is no longer carried internally, therefore, negative feedback stimulus from the babies presence must come from nursing activity instead.

Doesn’t the fact of these differences in reproduction yet similarities in structure suggest front loaded evolution? Natural selection absolutely fails as an explanation for these similarities. So how might ID research win the day?

What if the artifacts for this front-loaded evolution are still stored somewhere like a software module no longer in use. We could, in principle, attempt to trigger the software module. If we even partially succeed in triggering these software modules on the way to getting a placental to become a marsupial or a marsupial become a placental, we have evidence of front loaded evolution.

Michael Behe surely must have pondered the possibility that information for pre-programmed evolution was dormant in the ancestor creatures. At the end of his famous book, Darwin’s Black Box, he talks about front-loaded evolution, and how to actually search for it:

Work could be taken to determine whether information for designed systems could be dormant for long periods of time…

This is exactly the kind of research an ID paradigm can excel at. Recall what I said about functional systems with little or no selective advantage (here). Well, here is another case where functional information could exist with little or no reason for existing based on natural selection. Further, if these functional artifacts are dormant, they will be invisible to selection, but detectable via the explanatory filter! Thus if the research succeeds, it will demonstrate the superiority of the ID perspective over one that looks at biology in boring terms like fitness.

The explanatory filter (EF) which is highly oriented toward recognizing linguistic structures may help elucidate informational structures even before we identify function of these informational structures. To illustrate in the computer world, I can have large amounts of software in a system. I can identify it as software (using techniques which the EF captures) even before I understand its function or semantic meaning in the overall architecture of a system.

Explanatory filtering detects such linguistic constructs independent of functional detection (which is why fitness perspectives are inferior to detecting significant amounts of design). This would be useful for detecting dormant or artifactual information of evolutionary history if we are lucky enough to still have it sitting around in the cells of these creatures.

If the phylogeny followed an ontogeny like process, might we be able to recreate it in the lab by triggering these domant artifacts? There may indeed be dormat artifacts because we are detecting large amounts of linguistic and grammatical constructs already in sections of “junk DNA” using power law analysis, Zipf language analysis, Shannon analysis, and measures of redundancy. Specified complexity has been discovered, but the functional significance has yet to be elucidated. As the IDers know, where there is language there is also design!

Because the marsupials and placentals are so similar, they would be ideal candidates for this sort of exploration. I would wager, the differences in “non functional” pieces between marsupials and placentals are probably related to the dormant codes Behe is searching for. May the quest to find Behe’s dormant codes begin some day!

Salvador

UPDATE:
my sincere apologies to Dr. John Davison, he notes:

I proposed that marsupial and placental mammals were reading the same “prescribed” information as part of my recent paper – A Prescribed Evolutionary Hypthesis.

A Prescribed Evolutionary Hypthesis. was yet another pro-ID peer-reviewed paper that explicitly mentions ID.

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29 Responses to Marsupials and Placentals: a case of front-loaded, pre-programmed, designed evolution?

  1. Recall in How IDers can win the war Bill wrote:

    Finally, we come to the research theme that I find most intriguing. Steganography, if you look in the dictionary, is an archaism that was subsequently replaced by the term “cryptography.” Steganography literally means “covered writing.” With the rise of digital computing, however, the term has taken on a new life. Steganography belongs to the field of digital data embedding technologies (DDET), which also include information hiding, steganalysis, watermarking, embedded data extraction, and digital data forensics. Steganography seeks efficient (that is, high data rate) and robust (that is, insensitive to common distortions) algorithms that can embed a high volume of hidden message bits within a cover message (typically imagery, video, or audio) without their presence being detected. Conversely, steganalysis seeks statistical tests that will detect the presence of steganography in a cover message.

    Consider now the following possibility: What if organisms instantiate designs that have no functional significance but that nonetheless give biological investigators insight into functional aspects of organisms. Such second-order designs would serve essentially as an “operating manual,” of no use to the organism as such but of use to scientists investigating the organism.

    Let me speculate where we will find what we’re look for, and this only a speculation, and I write it to help give people food for thought.

    Take all of the similarities in all the marsupials. Call it set A.

    Take all the similarities in all placentals. Call it set B.

    The set of disjoint characteristics (DNA, proteins, whatever) between set A and B will clue us in where the pre-programmed software may likely be.

    Look at the creatures, the similarities cry out for an ID explanation.

    Salvador

  2. Something to note here:

    http://home.comcast.net/~john......onomy.html

    the primates (humans and monkeys) split off before the split separating the kangaroo, a marsupial, from the other placental mammals. This is certainly wrong.

    Oh yeah, well, let’s wait and see. Anomalies may be telling us something.

  3. Just to note — the “reproduction-switching” is not the only possible way this could be front-loaded. It could be the animal forms themselves which are front-loaded, which is why you keep on getting these repeated patterns.

    The fact is, we know so little about the generation of animal form as to be able to say that we know nothing about it. Even in ontogeny, really. Evo-devo gave us a huge leap forward, but we’re still in the dark on most animal-specific features. Is it even in the genes? Is it somewhere else? Interestingly, when the DNA of a carp is transplanted into the cytoplasm of a goldfish, the number of vertebrae comes from the goldfish.

    Another interesting thing is that “saber-toothy-ness” arose several times independently. Is not a good explanation of this front-loading? Even if you think they have separate ancestry, I wonder if there is not a large toolbox that each animal form is front-loaded with to help it survive and/or just to have interesting differentiations.

    Simon Conway-Morris once remarked:

    For what it is worth my own belief is that metazoans are indeed monophyletic, but to my mind the argument is not yet won. More importantly, the question of biological constraint, the prevalence of convergence and the inevitability of polyphyly are not only interconnected topics, but also unjustly neglected. In part I suggest this is because of the atomistic emphasis now given to biology, as well as an obsession with cladistic methodology, which although freely acknowledges homoplasy regards it as an irritating diversion rather than a profoundly interesting problem in its own right. ["The Question of Metazoan Monophyly and the Fossil Record" in Progress in Molecular and Subcellular Biology]

  4. I was struck by the similarities pointed out by Darrel Falk in his book between marsupials and placenals and the likelihood that this spoke of front loading. I think this is going to be a great thread. Are the genomes of placental and marsupial mice available?

  5. There simply must be an answer to this in talk.origins. Why bother with research when the answer is there? I’m sure one of the chance worshipping faithful will give us either an existing just-so story or will construct one ad hoc to explain this.

    Seriously, this does speak to front loading. One of the main tenets of Darwinism is that it’s not a repeatable process. Clearly selection isn’t selecting so-called random mutations in the case you give here. Unexpressed anatomical features (already in the genome) are being selected for expression in response to the environment.

  6. The concept of “front-loading” as described here bears a remarkable resemblance to the ideas of the Scottish biomathematician D’Arcy Thompson (1860-1948). In his magnum opus, Growth and Form, Thompson proposed that biologists had over-emphasized evolution (and especially natural selection) and under-emphasized the constraints and parameters within which organisms develop, constraints that “channel” animal forms into particular patterns that are repeated over and over again across the phyla.

    For more on Thompson and his work, see:
    http://www.google.com/search?h.....gle+Search
    and especially:
    http://www-history.mcs.st-andr.....;Arcy.html
    and follow the links at:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D'Arcy_Thompson

    Also, a thread that included a discussion of Thompson’s work has already appeared at Telic Thoughts http://telicthoughts.com/?p=763

    However, while Thompson’s ideas strongly imply that there is a kind of teleology operating at several levels in biology (especially developmental biology), Thompson himself did not present hypotheses that were empirically testable (sound familiar?):

    “Thompson did not articulate his insights in the form of experimental hypotheses that can be tested. Thompson was aware of this, saying that ‘This book of mine has little need of preface, for indeed it is ‘all preface’ from beginning to end.’”" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D'Arcy_Thompson). That qualification notwithstanding, Thompson’s huge book (over 1,000 heavily illustrated pages) is a veritable gold mine of ideas along the lines articulated in Sal’s post.

    That said, Thompson’s underlying thesis is just as inimical to ID as is the explanation from evolutionary biology. His argument is essentially that biological form is constrained by the kind of mathematical relationships that characterize classical physics. That is, there are “built-in” laws of form that constrain the forms that biological organisms can take. And therefore, physical law provides the “front-loading”, not a supernatural “intelligent designer.”

    For example, Thompson pointed out that the shape that droplets of viscous liquid take when dropped into water are virtually identical to the medusa forms of jellyfish, and that this “convergence of form” is therefore not accidental. Rather, it is fundamentally constrained by the physics of moving fluids, as described in the equations of fluid mechanics. Thompson’s book is filled with similar examples, all pointing to the same conclusion: that biological form is constrained by the laws of physics (especially classical mechanics).

    Evolutionary convergence, far from departing from Thompson’s ideas, is based on essentially the same kinds of constraints. Sharks, dolphins (the fish, not the mammals), tunas, ichthyosaurs, and porpoises all appear superficially similar (despite significant anatomical differences) because their external shapes are constrained by the fluid medium through which they swim. In the language of natural selection, any ancestor of a shark, dolphin, tuna, ichthyosaur, or porpoise that (through its developmental biology) could take the shape of a torpedo could move more efficiently through the water than one that had a different (i.e. less efficient) shape, and therefore would have a selective advantage that would, over time, result in similar shapes among its proliferating ancestors. The same concept is applied to the parallel evolution of marsupial and placental mammals: similar environments and subsistence patterns place similar selective constraints on marsupial and placental mammals in different locations, resulting in strikingly similar anatomical and physiological adaptations, despite relatively non-homologous ancestry.

    This evolutionary argument is now being strongly supported by findings in the field of evolutionary development (“evo-devo”), in which arguments based on “deep homology” are providing explanations for at least some of the seemingly amazing convergences we see in widely separated groups of organisms. Recent discoveries about gene regulation via hierarchical sets of regulatory genes indicate that these genes have been conserved through deep evolutionary time, from the first bilaterally symmetric metazoans to the latest placental mammals, as shown by their relative positions in the genome and relatively invariant nucleotide sequences. These genes channel the arrangement of overall anatomy and body form throughout the course of development, producing the overall shapes of organisms and the relationships between body parts that we refer to when discussing evolutionary convergence.

    However, as should be obvious by now, this in no way provides evidence for the currently popular ID hypothesis of “front-loading”, except insofar that it states that the hierarchical control of overall development evolved very early among the metazoa. It provides no empirically testable way to distinguish between an evolutionary explanation and a “design” explanation. Indeed, all of the evidence to date could be explained using either theory.

    And so, by the rules of empirical science, since the evolutionary explanation is both sufficient to explain the phenomena and does not require causes that are outside of nature (i.e. a supernatural designer, that is neither itself natural nor works through natural – i.e. material and efficient – causes), evolutionary biologists are fully justified in accepting the evolutionary explanation (and disregarding the “front-loaded ID” explanation.

    Only in the case that the kinds of natural causes described above (especially the ability of evo-devo processes to constrain the development of overall form via purely natural means via the known biochemistry of development) can NOT explain the patterns we observe in convergent evolution should we entertain other hypotheses (especially if those other hypotheses are not empirically testable). Only then, and not before…and therefore certainly not now.

    Thompson himself did not present hypotheses that were empirically testable (sound familiar?):

    Wow. It does sound familiar! It sounds just like the claim that random mutation and natural selection can create novel cell types, tissue types, organs, and body plans. Thanks for asking. -ds

  7. Except for the Paramelidae, marsupial embryos do not receive nutrients from their mother.

    It’s a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma!

    I just love “evolution.”

  8. The molecular clock hypothesis is failing. Denton notes the sequence divergence patterns in phylogenies are astonishing, the pattern is non random and cannot be through selection either. It is telling us something, and it is screaming design.

    We have presumed the patterns accross species are caused by a random diffusion, but one can argue the sequence divergences actually a linguistic pattern across species! It’s like a unified message is strewn like a text across all life. Natural selection has no explanation for this, and I believe decoding the message will unravel the front loading or toolkits.

    Salvador

  9. Unified physics theory explains animals’ running, flying and swimming

    It starts with:

    A single unifying physics theory can essentially describe how animals of every ilk, from flying insects to fish, get around, researchers at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering and Pennsylvania State University have found. The team reports that all animals bear the same stamp of physics in their design.

    and ends with:

    The findings may have implications for understanding animal evolution, Marden said. One view of evolution holds that it is not a purely deterministic process; that history is full of chance and historical contingency. It is the idea purported by Steven Jay Gould and others that if you were to “rewind the tape” and run it again, evolution would proceed down a different path, Marden said.

    “Our finding that animal locomotion adheres to constructal theory tells us that — even though you couldn’t predict exactly what animals would look like if you started evolution over on earth, or it happened on another planet — with a given gravity and density of their tissues, the same basic patterns of their design would evolve again,” Marden said.

    I would say the article supports front-end loading, at least of some sort…

  10. I don’t want to detract your very interesting proposal, but I just want to add a quick comment about convergent evolution. The official Darwinian party line response is that the convergences are only superficial similarities. My question then is that if these are superficial similarities, what do you do with Tiktaalik, Gansus, and Archaeopteryx? Why aren’t these “missing links” (a term hated by Darwinists) examples of superficial convergence?

    #3

    we know so little about the generation of animal form as to be able to say that we know nothing about it.

    I can’t agree more. I’ve blogged about this before here is the relevant excerpt.

    There is no disagreement that bipedalism marks a major difference, between humans from our putative quadrupedal Darwinian cousins. According to the Darwinian fairytale, the only reason that bipedal transformation happened was that it must have conferred some survival advantage. Let’s review these contrived advantages and ask a few simple questions. The Darwinian just so story theory of evolution for bipedalism goes like this. We need to keep in mind that even the Darwinian stories are deliberately ambiguous, inconclusive and unfalsifiable.
    Darwinian storytellers scientists contends that shrinking food supply and differing sub-Saharan environments separated the common ancestors of chimps and humans causing humans to evolve bipedal locomotion. Question: Did the food supply shrink instantaneously? Did the change in environment change instantaneously? Why would the putative common ancestors become isolated? Why not stay in an area where food was more plentiful? There is absolutely no empirical evidence to support such a just so beginning.

    In the real world an organism is not going to sit around in adverse environmental changes, waiting for their genome to accumulate random mutations for new biological functions that is well adapted to the new environment. The problem is also reversed, because even the new adverse environment is not static but it is a moving target. While the genome is putatively accumulating mutations for that new function, the environment has changed. Going back to the point from post #3, we know nothing about all the different variables that would cause this putative macroevolution.

  11. Joseph –

    That looks like an intriguing paper. I have not read it yet, but I did find a free copy online for anyone who wants to read the original paper.

  12. How about convergence in woodpecker plummage?

    http://www.biosci.wayne.edu/pr.....Condor.pdf

  13. Nice article.
    It would have been nice to further highlight this issue (problem) of convergence for naturalistic scenarios by mentioning protein-hyperspace. Out of all possible solutions that could have been met when considering further diversification at a particular ‘fork’ in an evolutionary pathway, the likelihood of phylogenic convergence (to the extent of marsupial/placental & even the camera eye) should be washed away when one considers all of the other possible solutions which would have been likely from such a large protein-hyperspace.

  14. my sincere apologies to Dr. John Davison, he notes at the EvolutionAndDesign weblog:

    I proposed that marsupial and placental mammals were reading the same “prescribed” information as part of my recent paper – A Prescribed Evolutionary Hypthesis.

    A Prescribed Evolutionary Hypthesis. was yet another pro-ID peer-reviewed paper that explicitly mentions ID.

  15. This is a highly intriguing thread. However, it revisits the question, is convergent, front-loaded evolution better explained by law then by either contingency or agency.

    When we look at cosmology, we recognize that the careful tuning of the laws of nature cry out “designed!” Denton has extended the strong anthropic principle deep into the territory of biology. Denton, however is unclear about his own position on agency. He points out many issues with contingency, but does not answer the question of whether law or agency better explains the anomolies.

    When I have brought this issue up before, the ID community has about shouted “AGENCY!!” The ID community may be right. However, if the ID community is wrong, then the laws which govern the development of our biosphere are surely findable by the scientific method. Not only findable, but not yet found.

    Let me rephraise slightly. Could there be a single mass front-loading, a single front-loading that was already in place at the beginning of time. (Its wierd to consider that science has concluded that there was a beginning to time.)

  16. I think it is a combination of law and agency. I think the laws are uniquely designed to support the organismal forms (as well as the biochemical forms), but we have no evidence at all that such laws are capable of generating such forms.

  17. For the benefit of the readers who do not accept universal common ancestry (and I am one of them, so is johnnyb), consider this: front loaded evolution makes it feasible to account for the possibility that all creatures today descended from only a small set of creatures in the past. It should not be too difficult then to see why this might be important if a global catastrophe happened in the past which may have wiped out 99.999% of all living creatures.

    Therefore most IDers, irrespective of their position on absolute universal common ancestry, have a very postive stake in seeing front loaded evolution of Marsupials and Placentals.

    Salvador

  18. Thank you Joe for the article. I was trying like crazy to find it. Thanks!

    There is surely a convergence of form in engineered devices. All chemical rockets for example have comparable architectures. Even birds and airplanes share certain architectural similarities.

    However, defining what a functioning architecture would have to be in order to cope with a particular environment does not imply blind watchmakers can fabricate such an architecture. Having a blueprint of a rocket does not imply I can build a rocket, much less build a fleet of rockets with similar architectures!

  19. Allen McNeill:

    Please provide in detail a testable hypothesis which demonstrates the creative power of blind Darwinian mechanisms in producing biological novelty. Specifically, as Dave pointed out, regarding novel cells, tissue and body plans.

    Warning: If your hypothesis only demonstrates variation within species [microevolution], I might scream. Like really loudly.

  20. Allen, through his posts actually gave me insight into how he and his comrades frame the problem of origins. I very much appreciated what he had to say, and here was my response:

    Your other points are very much worth addressing and I’m glad you brought them up. It highlights how both sides are talking past each other in these discussions.

    To help illustrate how we are talking past each other, I think it’s helpful to walk through an illustration of how one might explain a designed artifact like a printed piece of paper.

    One might ask, “how did the paper get the printing that is on it?”.

    There are several valid answers, neither is wrong, and neither is untrue empirically speaking. I’ll offer 2:

    1. Intelligent designers (like engineers) created computers and printers which printed the paper

    2. A print cartridge under the automated control puts ink in precise patterns on the paper…the automated process works by ……as inputs from the computer channel…..

    #1 and #2 are modes of explanation. Mode #2 suits evolutionary biologists quite well, and it is what they consider empirical explanations. Nothing is inherently wrong with a mode #2 explanation, unless of course, the mechanical explanation of printer operation is completely erroneous (i.e. it’s powered by a perpetual motion machine, etc.).

    In contrast, IDers invoke mode #1 AND #2 explanations.

    But how can one justify mode #1 explanations empirically. If one can reach mode #2 explanations only by assuming mode #1 as a hypothesis, then mode #1 explanations begin to have more empirical believability. At least that’s how I see it. And that is how I tried to frame the exploration for IDers….

    The concept of pre-programmed information to effect evolution comes right out of a major ID hypothesis, namely the conservation of information. Mode #1 think is confirmed by the discovery of informational artifacts which made evolution happen. If IDers succeed in explaing Marsupial Placental evolution, it will show natural selection was not the major proximal mechanism to drive evolution, but a pre-existing design.

    This of course would raise the question, how did the pre-existing design come about?

    Salvador

  21. The same concept is applied to the parallel evolution of marsupial and placental mammals: similar environments and subsistence patterns place similar selective constraints on marsupial and placental mammals in different locations, resulting in strikingly similar anatomical and physiological adaptations, despite relatively non-homologous ancestry.

    Unfortunately there is absolutely not a single shred of empirical evidence to support this story. (sound familiar?) What evidence do you have that the environments were similar at the time that these putative mutations were taking place? The comparison is sometimes made between the savannas of Australia to the Great Plains of North America, where the Thylacine and Gray Wolf are found. However, this is only after the fact of convergence, it tells us nothing about the environment under the putative selective constraints that directed the morphological similarities.

    Another fact the Darwinists overlooked with this superficial and similar-environment story is that convergence also occurs in different environments. Convergent features common to the sandlance and chameleon.
    • Camouflage: cryptic eye and body coloration.
    • Rapid, accurate strikes at small, mobile prey.
    • Specialised feeding apparatus.
    • Independent switching pattern of eye movements.
    • Extreme ocular mobility.
    • Lens with reduced power.*
    • Cornea with increased power.*
    • Corneal accommodation.*
    • Monocular range-finding (accommodative cues shown in the chameleon, inferred in the sandlance).
    • Deep convexiclivate fovea in the retina.
    • Nodal point and axis of rotation of eye well-separated.*
    • Large image magnification.
    • Monocular movement parallax possible without eye translation.*
    *Features not known in other fish or lizards.

    The entire Darwinian convergent evolution story just don’t have any scientific merit at all.

    The selective constraints “should have” been the same. “Should have” is ironclad, incontestable, settled science in evolutionary biology! :roll: -ds

  22. The same concept is applied to the parallel evolution of marsupial and placental mammals: similar environments and subsistence patterns place similar selective constraints on marsupial and placental mammals in different locations, resulting in strikingly similar anatomical and physiological adaptations, despite relatively non-homologous ancestry.

    Unfortunately there is absolutely not a single shred of empirical evidence to support this story. (sound familiar?) What evidence do you have that the environments were similar at the time that these putative mutations were taking place? The comparison is sometimes made between the savannas of Australia to the Great Plains of North America, where the Thylacine and Gray Wolf are found. However, this is only after the fact of convergence, it tells us nothing about the environment under the putative selective constraints that directed the morphological similarities.

    Another fact the Darwinists overlooked with this superficial and similar-environment story is that convergence also occurs in different environments. (more here http://www.teleological.org/Co.....lution.htm) Convergent features common to the sandlance and chameleon. http://tinyurl.com/fovf4
    • Camouflage: cryptic eye and body coloration.
    • Rapid, accurate strikes at small, mobile prey.
    • Specialised feeding apparatus.
    • Independent switching pattern of eye movements.
    • Extreme ocular mobility.
    • Lens with reduced power.*
    • Cornea with increased power.*
    • Corneal accommodation.*
    • Monocular range-finding (accommodative cues shown in the chameleon, inferred in the sandlance).
    • Deep convexiclivate fovea in the retina.
    • Nodal point and axis of rotation of eye well-separated.*
    • Large image magnification.
    • Monocular movement parallax possible without eye translation.*
    *Features not known in other fish or lizards.

    The entire Darwinian convergent evolution story just doesn’t have any scientific merit at all.

    Deja vu! -ds

  23. This of course would raise the question, how did the pre-existing design come about?

    This is the key and the stumbling block for evolutionary developmental biology. What good is a set of homeobox genes without the genes that it is trying to regulate? IOW, homeobox genes are obsolete if the genes to forming the eyes and nervous systems do not exist, vise versa, if the genes for eye development existed prior to homeobox genes, how did the homeobox genes came about? And how do you get the convergences of these homeobox genes across almost all organisms?

  24. The convergence of consciousness in dolphins and humans should also be noted. Darwinists wish to make the public believe that the miracle of consciousness randomly happened multiple times, without need for a guiding intelligence. Darwinists simply make up fairy tails to worship when the evidence is clearly in contradiction to their worldview. Furthermore, are we to believe that the possum swam all the way from Australia to colonize Virginia and become North America’s only marsupial?

  25. It sounds like a good place for the ideas of Sheldrake to be considered. If there is a non-material “field” which contains the morphological information of species based upon habits repeated over time, then a species entering into a new environmental condition, and participating in an existing habit would resonate with the existing field for that habit, and this field would then (possibly) direct mutations for the form appropriate to that habit to occur. I know this is a rough statement of the idea of morphic resonance; its been a number of years since I read the book. But, interestingly, Sheldrake has actually framed and conducted many intriguing experiments aimed at establishing that information becomes concentrated through repetition.

  26. 26
    Michael "Tutu" Tuite

    HodorH,
    The possum arrived in North America after the emergence of the Isthmus of Panama about 3 million years ago. South America once supported a diverse array of marsupials but all (except the possum) were driven to extinction by competition with placental mammals that migrated to South America via the isthmus.

  27. As far as recapitulating phylogeny in the lab, I would seriously say that one part may be within our reach, namely reductive evolution or reverse reduction.

    Reductive evolution is loss of function.

    I do know that some mis-classificaiton of “transitionals” were later realized to be reductions of a known species! Mike Gene had some examples on his website.

    This may seem horribly mean-spirited, I would seriously guess the marsupial mole which is completely blind parallels the placental mole which is mostly blind.

    We could probably do some reductive evolution on the placental and see make it like it’s marsupial counterpart. Completely blind, but make it blind in the same manner (not just by poking it’s eyes out!).

    However, if we identify how the marsupial counter part became blind, we might be able to…..you guessed it…reverse the phylogeny and even recapitulate it in the lab.

    Salvador

  28. Since this proposed line of inquiry hypothesizes front-loaded information being transmitted over many millions of years, perhaps the clues may be found not just in the homologies or ‘dormant codes’, but in the noise reduction mechanisms utilized during transmission. By looking at how error correction and noise reduction preserve the original encoded message, we may find clues about the original encoding algorithm.
    We may find, however, that the amount of noise encountered over the millions of years proposed would be overwhelming to any front-loaded message, unless it had unimaginably exact error correction and filtering capabilities. We should consider the possibility that fine-tuning may occur during transmission.

    I don’t know why everyone thinks it is unimaginabe data integrity. Checksums can be generated with any desired reliability. Error correction could be as easy as destroying the bad copy. That’s not precisely correction but it works. -ds

  29. [...] About this time last year, I also mentioned the potential importance the marsupial and placental convergence and a great opportunity for ID proponents to achieve fame and glory. [See: Marsupials and Placentals: a case of front-loaded, pre-programmed, designed evolution?]. Little did I know the marsupial and placental convergence would also be another boon for ID theorists with respect to the failure of the molecular clock hypothesis, the importance of junk DNA, and the fact ID is more consistent with potential future medical breakthroughs. [...]