Home » Intelligent Design » No fossil rabbits in the Precambrian, but what about complex cells?

No fossil rabbits in the Precambrian, but what about complex cells?

Asked what might disconfirm their theories about how speciation occurs, Darwinian evolutionists reply, “fossil rabbits in the Cambrian”. How about Precambrian? Dave Coppedge (yes, him) observes that

No such fossil has ever been found, partly because any stratum containing a rabbit fossil would never have been labeled Precambrian in the first place. – “Precambrian Rabbit or Evolutionary Transition?” (05/25/2011)

That said,

… evolutionists would be surprised at finding complex non-marine multicellular eukaryotes in Precambrian strata, and this has just been announced in Nature.A team led by Paul Strother of Boston College with help from Oxford University and University of Sheffield has announced “Earth’s earliest non-marine eukaryotes.”1 “Direct evidence of fossils within rocks of non-marine origin in the Precambrian is exceedingly rare,” they said. In Arizona, they found not only ambiguous traces, but oodles of clear evidence for freshwater eukaryotes:

Here we report the recovery of large populations of diverse organic-walled microfossils extracted by acid maceration, complemented by studies using thin sections of phosphatic nodules that yield exceptionally detailed three-dimensional preservation. These assemblages contain multicellular structures, complex-walled cysts, asymmetric organic structures, and dorsiventral, compressed organic thalli, some approaching one millimetre in diameter. They offer direct evidence of eukaryotes living in freshwater aquatic and subaerially exposed habitats during the Proterozoic era. The apparent dominance of eukaryotes in non-marine settings by 1?Gyr ago indicates that eukaryotic evolution on land may have commenced far earlier than previously thought.

The date of one billion years is nearly twice as long ago as the Cambrian explosion. More

Hmmm. NO, they’re not rabbits, but they certainly render Darwinism more doubtful. It might be wiser to bet against Darwin than against dat dastardly wabbit. Or at least, realize that this is a time for exploration, not dogma.

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73 Responses to No fossil rabbits in the Precambrian, but what about complex cells?

  1. “NO, they’re not rabbits, but they certainly render Darwinism more doubtful.”

    A longer, more gradual history of Eukaryotes and of colonization of land renders Darwinism more doubtful?

    Interesting, I always thought the sharp transitions were favored evidence for ID?

  2. Yes, DrREC at 1, if Earth itself also turned out to be older. What we actually have is staggering specified complexity occurring in an even earlier window. No long-running glop show.

    It’s the same principle as the Cambrian explosion: No long-running glop show.

  3. And still no evidence for the proposed Darwinian mechanism to account for them.

    If there were evidence, say, on the level of gravity, we ID types might just be a little more cautious in adopting ID. But there isn’t, so. ID remains, as always, the best explanation.

  4. Asked what might disconfirm their theories about how speciation occurs, Darwinian evolutionists reply, “fossil rabbits in the Cambrian”

    News, can you clarify why you think evolutionists would accept such fossil bunnies as evidence against their theories of speciation? Because your post suggests you’re talking past them…

  5. You can’t be serious.

    The Moot Pre-Cambrian Rabbit

  6. I don’t understand the problem: you’re always saying there is very little pre-Cambrian evidence for complex life forms, that during the Cambrian explosions whole families of organisms just popped into existence according to the fossil record. And now that some precursors have been found you complain that they’re so old they are an argument against common descent with modification.

    Earth is 4.5 billion years old and now we may have evidence of eukaryotic cells 1 billion years ago. Seems to fit the proposed scenario pretty well.

  7. I don’t understand the problem:

    Hi ellazimm,

    You are mis-stating the problem.

  8. Mung: It happens. I make lots of mistakes.

    Enlighten me.

    You’re very good at hovering around the edges, making funny comments . . . . step up to the plate and take a swing.

    I’m a lousy pitcher as it happens. You’ll probably get a base hit.

  9. 9
    Elizabeth Liddle

    I don’t think I understand the problem either. I always thought that those who point to the Cambrian “explosion” as evidence against “Darwinism” did so because they interpret it as evidence that a huge variety of living forms were created ab initio at that time.

    I’d have thought evidence of a precursor from which that “explosion” might have radiated would have tended to infirm that interpretation rather than support it.

    So is the OP suggesting that eukaryotes were created ab initio in the Pre-Cambrian, and the Cambrian critters descended from those?

  10. The problem is not that there were no living things prior to the Cambrian. We all know that there were. All evidence indicates that life appeared almost as soon as conditions on earth allowed.

    It also has nothing to do with how “complex” life in the Cambrian was, or prior to the Cambrian.

    The problem is that the Cambrian shows the exact opposite pattern from that which is predicted by Darwin’s theory.

    Ab initio is a straw man.

    Complexity is a straw man.

    ID is not a theory of creationism.

    Understood?

    ID predicts that as facr back as you care to find living organisms, those organisms will show characterics of design.

    ID would not be impacted one bit if scientists began to believe that eukaryotes preceeded prokaryotes.

  11. “Complexity is a straw man.”

    ??? I thought…..ehh, never mind….

  12. 12
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Thanks, Mung (#10)

    The problem is not that there were no living things prior to the Cambrian. We all know that there were. All evidence indicates that life appeared almost as soon as conditions on earth allowed.

    It also has nothing to do with how “complex” life in the Cambrian was, or prior to the Cambrian.

    The problem is that the Cambrian shows the exact opposite pattern from that which is predicted by Darwin’s theory.

    OK,but in that case I still don’t understand. In what sense does Darwin’s theory not predict the Cambrian? Radiation from earlier forms?

    Radiation, it seems to me, is exactly what Darwin’s theory predicts. Can you explain why you think it predicts the opposite?

    Ab initio is a straw man.

    Complexity is a straw man.

    ID is not a theory of creationism.

    Understood?

    Sure. As I understand it, ID is a theory that states that life bears the hallmarks of intelligent design.

    But I’ve never understood what ID proponents actually propose as the time-course of the design process. I know some talk about “front loading” and I assumed the idea was that at some point, a genome (or several, I’m not sure to what extent common descent is assumed among IDists)was created ab initio, which then contained the Information necessary for subsequent speciation and evolution (in its broadest sense, I assume intelligent guidance of evolutionary processes may also be considered as part of the picture).

    ID predicts that as facr back as you care to find living organisms, those organisms will show characterics of design.

    ID would not be impacted one bit if scientists began to believe that eukaryotes preceeded prokaryotes.

    No, I understand that. But nor is standard biological science impacted by the discovery of pre-Cambrian species of considerable complexity.

    In fact, given that anything fossilisable and self-replicating is going to be widely agreed to have been a fairly complex living thing, predictions about what we will find in the fossil record don’t diverge that much.

  13. 13
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Whoops, missed that one:

    Complexity is a straw man?

  14. Mung: When you state that the Cambrian is contrary to the predictions of common descent with modification you mean the fossil record of the Cambrian yes?? And surely you are taking into account that any fossil record is going to be spotty and incomplete. No one can expect it to be complete without gaps.

    So, what is the specific contradiction you are thinking of?

  15. Elizabeth and ellazimm,

    I’m willing to consider that I misunderstood what either one or both meant by “I don’t understand the problem.”

    Perhaps the comments which followed that statement from both of you were really quite unrelated to what you wanted to get to.

    ID is not creationism, agreed?

    Did you mean to ask:

    Why is this (finding complex non-marine multicellular eukaryotes in Precambrian strata) perceived as a problem for Darwinian evolution?

  16. Hello News
    Your final sentence says it all:
    “Or at least, realize that this is a time for exploration, not dogma.”

    Scientists are constantly doing exactly that – exploring the Earth, hunting for evidence of early life, and determining how new finds modify or fit into our current picture of the past history of the planet. That is how they came up with this latest evidence – by patiently sifting through large sequences of shale and phosphatic nodules from Precambrian strata and documenting what they found.

    Their findings are exactly what might be expected from the viewpoint of evolution and common descent – yet you grumble that somehow these findings “render Darwinism more doubtful”.

    Replying to DrREC, you say “no long-running glop show”. Huh?? Three billion years is not “long-running”? What length of time would satisfy you?

    You so far have failed to reply to the very plain questions of DrREC, ellazimm, and Elizabeth Liddle – how do these findings contradict Darwin’s theory?

  17. Why i thought you both were equating ID with Creationism:

    e1:

    …you’re always saying there is very little pre-Cambrian evidence for complex life forms, that during the Cambrian explosions whole families of organisms just popped into existence

    e2:

    I always thought that those who point to the Cambrian “explosion” as evidence against “Darwinism” did so because they interpret it as evidence that a huge variety of living forms were created ab initio at that time.

  18. Mung:

    “Why is this (finding complex non-marine multicellular eukaryotes in Precambrian strata) perceived as a problem for Darwinian evolution?”

    Good question! And your answer?

  19. I think the question becomes more complex if ID is not taken as denying evolution per se so much as questioning the Darwinian account of it.

    One thing I find telling: Larry Moran offered up his informal, unscientific poll showing a range of opinions on the question of whether or not “junk DNA” ultimately had a use. What seems to have passed with minimal comment is that Moran’s results were almost equal across the spectrum, from ’0% had a use’ to ’100% had a use’.

    Perhaps the lesson to take away from it – and away from the cambrian explosion – is that, come hell or highwater, whatever data is found, it can be fit within Darwin’s theory. Because Darwinism is just that elastic. Whether you find a complex organism 1 second or 1 billion years after the OoL, for example.

  20. nulla salus: I don’t think common descent with modification is infinitely elastic but, as a very good biology teacher once told me: nature has pretty much tried out everything you can think of at one time or another. She also was very uninterested in science fiction because she found it singularly unimaginative compared to biology.

  21. ellazimm,

    nulla salus: I don’t think common descent with modification is infinitely elastic but, as a very good biology teacher once told me: nature has pretty much tried out everything you can think of at one time or another.

    Helluva design, ain’t she?

    You only need to realize ID doesn’t demand the falsity of either evolution or common descent. ;)

  22. nulla salus:

    “You only need to realise ID doesn’t demand the falsity of either evolution or common descent.”

    Okay, that does bring up a point I haven’t been able to wrap my head around. And this is probably just my missing something . . . it happens . . . a lot.

    That is: how can it be common descent if there are design interventions?

    I take the phrase common descent to mean descent with no interventions other than mutation. That’s just looking at the biology NOT directed breeding.

    Does that makes sense? Is it still descent if there’s a discontinuity in the biology?

    Is ID saying . . . just guessing here . . . that there is no jump or gap but that the mutations are not random but directed? That design comes in at that level? Or that SOME mutations/changes are not random?

    And would that still be common descent . . . .

    This is interesting . . . .

  23. ellazimm,

    That is: how can it be common descent if there are design interventions?

    Who says the interventions are divine? Not ID, surely.

    I take the phrase common descent to mean descent with no interventions other than mutation. That’s just looking at the biology NOT directed breeding.

    You take common descent to be making a statement about theology? By all means, do so. That comes with a price tag you know.

    Is ID saying . . . just guessing here . . . that there is no jump or gap but that the mutations are not random but directed? That design comes in at that level? Or that SOME mutations/changes are not random?

    Think of it this way: Does “science” say that Jerry Coyne or Lynn Margulis is correct?

    If your reply is, “Well, neither. Margulis and Coyne both use science to inform their views, but ‘science’ is not a person, and as such endorses neither.”, then you’re understanding the ID position as I understand it. ID is a big tent – individuals can disagree. You can endorse common descent, you can reject it. You can affirm macro-evolution, or you can deny it. The issues are more subtle than that.

    Surely you don’t think that “science” means “all scientists march in lock-step”? Much less that ID means “every ID proponents agrees on all points”?

  24. nulla salus:

    Good point, one that I forget: not all ID proponents see how and when design was implemented in the same way. I just hadn’t thought of design at that level before. Interesting.

    I like your analogy, brought it right home to me. Especially those two . . .

    “You take common descent to be making a statement about theology? By all means, do so. That comes with a price tag you know.”

    Did I? I certainly didn’t mean to. I was having trouble find the words to express what I was thinking. I view common descent with modification to be a purely mechanical process even if Dr Margulis is right. (She makes my brain hurt too.)

  25. ellazimm,

    I view common descent with modification to be a purely mechanical process even if Dr Margulis is right. (She makes my brain hurt too.)</I.

    Then maybe you need to read up more on what 'mechanism' entails. Even someone can agree with 'mechanism' and still be an ID proponent.

    Margulis is, at the end of the day, a Darwinism critic. I think that much is clear given her recent interview, despite arguably years of saying "No, no, she just rejects these and those certain spins. She's a good Darwinist."

  26. nulla salus:

    Maybe I do . . . my ignorance is extensive.

    She is certainly a critic of the idea that natural selection and mutation are the main drivers of common descent with modification. In her interview she said she considers them gears in the machine but not the biggest gear. So, I guess, that does make her a non-Darwinist. But she still believes in a common descent with modification, she just proposes a different kind of modification.

    Anyway, my day is kicking into gear here in Ye Olde England. Thanks for the lovely conversations. I’m not sure when I’ll be back, my Saturdays are pretty random.

    Later all!!

  27. ellazimm,

    So, I guess, that does make her a non-Darwinist. But she still believes in a common descent with modification, she just proposes a different kind of modification.

    So does Behe. You may want to meditate on that.

  28. 28
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Mung, thanks for the clarification.

    I do understand that ID is not creationism, however, I know of very few theories as to how ID might actually have been implemented, and it strikes me that evidence that is claimed by IDists as infirming “Darwinism” (for example the OP of this thread) also constrains possible implementations of ID, including, for example, theories that postulate living things were created by an Intelligent Designer already complex at a particular time point.

    However, ID theories that propose that an Intelligent agent continuously nudged what we naive Darwinists call “mutation” in a desired direction from the year dot to the present are obviously compatible with the gradual morphological changes we see in the fossil record.

    But then such a theory would not predict what you predicted, namely that “as far back as you care to find living organisms, those organisms will show characterics of design” – if the Intelligent Design of living things was implemented in the manner I just suggested, very early exemplars might well be very simple, just as a lump of potter’s clay, in the early stages of throwing, looks pretty well as it did when it was dug up.

    So it seems to me that there are many differential predictions ID could wrt the fossil record that differentiate not between ID and “Darwinism” but between different implementations of ID.

    Ab initio complex creation by an Intelligent Designer would predict, perhaps, something like the Cambrian explosion (but it would be an explosion not a radiation), or, alternatively, an earlier “pre-Cambrian” explosion. You (sensibly in my view) reject that implementation. But by rejecting it, you imply some kind of gradual implementation which would, it seems to me, predict just what “Darwinism” predicts – gradual evolution (i.e. change) towards more complex/well-adapted life-forms over time.

    However, I might concede the argument that if it could be shown that the time-period required was too short for un-assisted “Darwinist” evolution (as “news” claims – no time for the required “long-running glop show”) then ID might be supported as a more viable alternative. However, another alternative is, of course panspermia, as embraced by Crick and Hoyle and others. The putatively required “long-running glop show” could be accommodated at another, prior, venue :)

    However, the argument then hangs on whether “Darwinism” really requires a “long-running glop show”, and I think the case is far from demonstrated.

    But whether it is or not, that’s the case that has to be made, it seems to me, if ID draw support from the evidence cited in the OP.

    Otherwise, the evidence is not only compatible with “Darwinism” but predicted by it, in contrast to the implementation of ID that proposes that the Cambrian “Explosion” was indeed an ID-ignited “Explosion” and not Darwinian radiation, as “Darwinists” would claim, and therefore predict (correctly) evidence of complex pre-Cambrian precursors.

    Note on my use of scare quotes:

    I should also say that the reason that I put “Darwinist/ism” in scare-quotes above, is that we have a straw man problem in this direction as well.

    Ditto with “neo-Darwinist”. That’s why I tend to prefer terms like “standard biological explanation” to “Darwinist explanation”, though that isn’t perfect either, science being a continuous process of refinement, not an establishment of a definitive “standard”.

    Yes, we know that Darwin’s theory was certainly incomplete, and sometimes actually wrong – at least his predictions failed to take into account much of what we now know about evolutionary processes, not least being the entire domain of genetics.

    In particular, we know much more about the role of drift, and, perhaps even more importantly, the mathematics of non-linear systems – “chaos theory” is astonishingly new (given its explanatory power wrt complexity)

    So to cite Margulis as any kind of challenge or threat to “Darwinism” or even “neo-Darwinism” when either label is taken as a token for main-stream biology really is to attack a straw man. Margulis’ work may be controversial (I think it’s terrific myself) but it is no challenge to the idea that living things can be accounted for without invoking an Intelligent Designer. Indeed, she offers extremely interesting answers to exactly the kind of objection IDists often raise to non-ID explanations for living things.

    So I think you guys embrace Margulis at your peril :)

  29. Ms Liddle:

    Pardon, but there are quite serious theories about design and about associated technological evolution.

    Perhaps, you may wish to make acquaintance of TRIZ. )A Google search will be instructive.)

    Perhaps you mean instead that the forensics of whodunit, specifically how, on the origins of life and body plans are not currently solved by ID thinkers. That is true, as we were not there and do not have direct observational controls. That does not prevent us from having good reason to infer that tweredun on empirically and analytically reliable signs. And indeed Venter et al have given adequate proof of concept as to what would be a sufficient way: a molecular nanotech lab several generations beyond where we now are.

    As to the turnabout strawman claims, I think that the term evolutionary materialism is sufficiently descriptive to see what is usually meant by the references to darwinism, and that the sort of citations from major sources here — including the US NAS and NSTA, abundantly suffice to show the problem. of course there are theistic darwinists too, but such are plainly fellow travellers.

    Let me cite NSTA:

    The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of naturalistic concepts and the laws and theories related to those concepts . . . .

    [[S]cience, along with its methods, explanations and generalizations, must be the sole focus of instruction in science classes to the exclusion of all non-scientific or pseudoscientific methods, explanations, generalizations and products . . . .

    Although no single universal step-by-step scientific method captures the complexity of doing science, a number of shared values and perspectives characterize a scientific approach to understanding nature. Among these are a demand for naturalistic explanations supported by empirical evidence that are, at least in principle, testable against the natural world. Other shared elements include observations, rational argument, inference, skepticism, peer review and replicability of work . . . .

    Science, by definition, is limited to naturalistic methods and explanations and, as such, is precluded from using supernatural elements in the production of scientific knowledge. [[NSTA, Board of Directors, July 2000. Emphases added.]

    This suffices to document the a priori evolutionary materialism being imposed on origins science, and to show the caricature of design thought, whereby ever since Plato in The Laws Bk X, 2350 years ago, the appropriate contrast to “nature” is “art” as in ART-ificial.

    Art often leaves empirically reliable characteristic traces, just as chance and necessity do. So, there is no good reason that we cannot study signs of choice contingency scientifically. And indeed, sciences such as the forensic sciences, routinely do so.

    Mr Johsnson’s rebuke is apt:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    G’day

    GEM of TKI

  30. PS: To see how self referentislly incoherent the NSTA position is, consider tha the warrant for t5he scientific method is a philosophical and even historical question, not a scientific one. Science cannot so easily be severed from linked disciplines, and the pretence that by doing that one may legitimately slip in a priori evolutionary materialism by the back door [and then even insert it into the very definition of science], is utterly revealing.

  31. 31
    Elizabeth Liddle

    kairosfocus:

    I think I have not been clear, for which I apologise. By ID “implementation” I wasn’t talking about the design process itself, but its timescale as likely to be evidenced in the fossil record.

    And my point was simply that there are a number of ID scenarios that would make different predictions about what we would see in the fossil record, from a sudden “Explosion” as an advanced design was put into service, as it were,to a gradual radiation as the design process was developed over many generations.

    Which is why I’m not seeing the news in the OP as evidence either against “Darwinism” or for “ID”. Rather, it constrains implementation hypotheses concerning both, I suggest.

    As for the broader question as to what is evidence of ID, that’s probably beyond the scope of this thread, isn’t it?

    I actually agree that there are processes that leave a recognizable signature, and that signature is found in both human artefacts (though not all) and living things.

    I don’t, however, consider it the signature of “intelligent design” where intelligent means “intentional”.

    But perhaps we won’t go there right now :)

    Oh, and you can call me Lizzie.

    I’ve never been a Ms (too old), though I do use Mrs, and occasionally Dr :)

    Cheers

    Lizzie

  32. Dr Liddle:

    At this juncture, design theory is focussed on identifying, validating and applying signs of choice contingency as a legitimate scientific tool.

    That is compatible with various means of effecting design, and I think we need to be cautious about criticising a hot pace bowler for not being an open batsman. There are a few all rounders in cricket [Sir Garfield Sobers was maybe the most outstanding in my lifetime], but that is not a good yardstick to judge most players by.

    Right now, I would be happy to see four super-pace bowlers for the Windies team, which has been in the doldrums for 15 years. I would happily accept a couple of them as being like Courtney Walsh, who typically tuned in like 2 runs when he had to go to bat. Just, make sure they can catch when in the field: catches win matches — and I want four slips and a Gully. One wicket-keeper cum batsman, and four solid reliable bat (no superstars who have a disintegrative impact on the team, please), and we would be back in business again.

    In short, I am saying we do need different types of players on the science team, and we do not need superstars who sow discord. For, the whole is far more than the mere sum of the parts.

    Underlying, my point is that the power of signs of choice contingency, on induction from a broad base of empirical observation and as supported by the needle in the haystack type analysis that grounds the statistical form of the second law of thermodynamics, should not be despised. “But Walsh ca’an bat” is no excuse for locking him out as perhaps your best pacer and as a solidly decent gentleman who is a gracious team builder.

    Pardon, if a cricket based discussion is a bit off your cultural base. It is maybe the best analogy I can think of as a Caribbean person who has thought a bit about the way groups and teams work.

    And, oh, yes: cricket was a key part of the liberation struggle for our region as it emerged from colonialist domination. What a difference from the sort of Alinskyite ruthlessness that I am now seeing.

    GEM of TKI

  33. 33
    Elizabeth Liddle

    heh. Well, being a gurrl, yes, cricket is a bit off my cultural base :)

    Although my grandmother taught my cousin to bowl….

    But FWIW, I totally agree that recognizing signs of choice contingency is a valid scientific tool.

    Cheers

    Lizzie

  34. Dr Liddle:

    Actually, Ladies’ cricket is coming along at international level, and in this part of the world, ladies are as likely to be knowledgeable fans as men.

    But then the Windies has always been a special case.

    When cricket has played a key historical role as a force for liberation and nation-forming, that is going to have an impact.

    I gather from my Indian friends that their view is that Cricket is the real national religion of India.

    We need the spirit of the game to be restored in science.

    GEM of TKI

  35. PS: In describing cultural renewal, youth development, and tourism, a former Chief Minister is currently on air here talking about . . . Cricket.

  36. 36
    Elizabeth Liddle

    So, to leave this interesting diversion reluctantly….

    Are you envisaging Intelligent Design as a continuous process, in which simple “protype” life-forms are continuous tweaked as required, resulting in incremental complexity and/or optimal environmental adaptation?

    Or do you see it as something that went on prior to life on earth, in which a “front-loaded” common ancestor (or several) was then left to evolve, adapt, and speciate according to a clever algorithm without further interference from the designer?

    The reason for my question being that the two scenarios would make different predictions with regard to the fossil record, and the prediction made by the first would differ very little, if at all, that I can see, from the predictions of standard biology.

  37. Predictions with regard to the fossil record?

    Let’s see the vast majority of the fossil record (>95%) is of marine invertebrates. And in that vast majority we do not find any evidence of universal common descent.

    Which position predicted that?

  38. 38
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Well, I was talking about eukaryotes in the pre-Cambrian, specifically.

    And standard evolutionary theory would certainly predict eukaryotes in the pre-Cambrian as their is a diversity of eukaryotes in the Cambrian.

    So I’d have to disagree that we do not find any evidence of universal common descent in marine invertebrates – on the contrary, we find that they share key characteristics (eukaryotic characteristics) that are not shared with prokaryotes, thus suggesting two divergent lineages.

    Which isn’t, I’d suggest, an argument against ID, per se (because as I understand it, and as kairosfocus and Mung have indicated above, common ancestry is perfectly compatible with ID, in at least some forms), although it is an argument against ab initio creation of diversity.

  39. So I’d have to disagree that we do not find any evidence of universal common descent in marine invertebrates

    That is fine, however you cannot support your position. And tehre still isn’t any evidence of UCDin the fossil record of marine invrts.

    on the contrary, we find that they share key characteristics (eukaryotic characteristics) that are not shared with prokaryotes, thus suggesting two divergent lineages

    Or two different DESIGNS.

  40. 40
    Elizabeth Liddle

    That is fine, however you cannot support your position. And tehre still isn’t any evidence of UCDin the fossil record of marine invrts.

    Well, I can – or are you questioning that marine invertebrates are eukaryotes? Their eukaryotic characteristics are the evidence for their common descent from a common eukaryotic ancestor.

    Or two different DESIGNS.

    Indeed.

  41. Their eukaryotic characteristics are the evidence for their common descent from a common eukaryotic ancestor.

    Their eukaryotic characteristics are the evidence for their common design.

    There still isn’t any genetic evidence to link to the transformations required.

  42. “Why is this (finding complex non-marine multicellular eukaryotes in Precambrian strata) perceived as a problem for Darwinian evolution?”

    ez @18:

    Good question! And your answer?

    Hey, I never said I agreed with the OP. I disagreed with your mis-characterization of ID.

    But if that’s really the question you meant to ask, why bring up the straw man caricature?

    As for the question, I’m not sure it does cause any real problem for Darwinism, which has proven to be very flexible in the face of all sorts of discoveries that don’t exactly fit in to it’s world-view.

    Do you think Darwinism could live with the discovery that eukaryotes preceded prokaryotes? I do.

  43. p.s. But I also think Darwinism could adapt if a rabbit was found in the Cambrian :)

  44. p.p.s. What is the point of your use of “nulla salus” as opposed to nullasalus?

  45. Perhaps the lesson to take away from it – and away from the cambrian explosion – is that, come hell or highwater, whatever data is found, it can be fit within Darwin’s theory. Because Darwinism is just that elastic. Whether you find a complex organism 1 second or 1 billion years after the OoL, for example.

    I see I am not alone in my opinion.

    Darwinism seems to require a progression from simple to complex. But if Darwinists had to accept a “complexity first” view of life, they would. And I doubt it would bother them in the slightest.

  46. ID is a big tent – individuals can disagree. You can endorse common descent, you can reject it. You can affirm macro-evolution, or you can deny it.

    I can’t sit on the fence?

    I can’t both affirm and deny?

    Now I don’t know what I am going to do :(

  47. nul lasalus:
    “You take common descent to be making a statement about theology? By all means, do so. That comes with a price tag you know.”

    ellazimm:
    Did I? I certainly didn’t mean to.

    I think null asalus mistakenly read your “design intervention” as “divine intervention.”

    He still struggles with sounding out words :)

    Cheers.

  48. 48
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Mung, you rightly pointed out, above, that ID is not creationism, and that it is compatible with common descent (i.e. does not require ab initio creation of a variety of life-forms at a particular point in earth’s history), and I would entirely agree.

    In that sense, both “Darwinism” and “ID” have considerable flexibility in explaining what I see as the “explanandum” – what looks very much like evidence that life can be mapped on to a vast family tree, and is therefore likely to be, literally, a family, sharing common ancestry.

    But neither are so flexible that they can explain “anything” (and here I diverge from some of my fellow non-IDists) – both are capable of generating differential hypotheses amenable to testing against data.

    Yes, indeed, Darwinism could live with the discovery that eukaryotes preceded prokaryotes, and so could ID.

    But not all specific Darwinian theories are supported by data (biologists are, for example, constantly tweaking their phylogenies in the light of new data) and nor are all specific ID theories supported by data (for example, I personally think the “front-loading” theory is infirmed by data, but I freely admit that I don’t know a great deal about the specifics of the theory so I may be wrong.

    Where I diverge strongly from most IDists is in the notion that the standard biological model is infirmed by the data, or that is is so woolly it can never be infirmed by the data.

    A Pre-Cambrian rabbit would indeed be a huge challenge to Darwinian theory, which predicts, strongly, that a set of characters that has been shown to have emerged at a given time in the geological time-scale will not be found any earlier. IF a rabbit-like fossil was found in pre-Cambrian strata, Biologists would, I imagine, take three approaches:

    1) is it really a contemporaneous fossil, or is it a modern rabbit who delved too greedily and too deep…oops wrong script…and got stuck?

    2) what detailed characters does it share with the mammalian clade, or is the resemblance merely superficial?

    3) is it a fake?

    And, if the answer to all of these indicated an actual pre-cambrian rabbit, they would be forced to conclude either an extraordinary case of either convergent evolution (which would predict both precursors and descendents, for which they would immediately search in higher and lower strata), or – Darwinism is wrong.

    And they would rightly be extremely reluctant to come to that last conclusion, not because they are closed-minded bigots so wedded to their theory that they cannot countenance its demise, but because extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and pretty well all the rest of the picture fits common ancestry so well.

    It would be less of a problem for ID (after all, why shouldn’t the postulated Intelligent Designer have a bit of a sense of humour?), but it would still be odd, and force, I suggest, ID theorists to revise (just as Darwinists would have to revise) their ideas as to how living things have come to take the form they did and do.

  49. 49
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Mung: you write:

    Darwinism seems to require a progression from simple to complex. But if Darwinists had to accept a “complexity first” view of life, they would. And I doubt it would bother them in the slightest.

    I’d modify that a bit:

    What “Darwinism” (I’m going to retain my scare quotes :)) requires is not so much progression from simple to complex, but from homogeneity to heterogeneity.

    If simple works, simple will survive, but if complex works, complex will also survive. So what Darwinism predicts is a branching tree, the twigs of which will include the comparatively simple (e.g unicellular organism) to the hugely complex (e.g. a human brain)

    Now you could well argue (and probably will :)) that modern unicellular organisms are also highly complex (they are). But Darwinism doesn’t rule out simple surviving.

    However what it does predict is a series of radiations punctuated possibly be huge pruning events in which many entire branches are lost.

    And this is, mostly, what we see.

    If, instead, what we saw a pattern that was bushy and entangled, that would indeed cast doubt on Darwinism. And, interestingly, there is also growing evidence for bushiness, so we know that the simple common ancestry picture is indeed wrong.

    But the big picture appears broadly in line with Darwin’s original concept.

    But it’s also, of course, consistent with some ID scenarios.

  50. Liddle, e:

    I do understand that ID is not creationism…

    Did you not understand that before you made your post in which you essentially equated ID with Creationism?

    What was the point of the straw man caricature of ID?

    …however, I know of very few theories as to how ID might actually have been implemented

    Consider, please, that there is good reason for this.

    ID is not a theory of design implementation. ID is not a theory of “how” but rather a theory or “whether.”

    We don’t know the “how” of it and we (I) don’t know how the how question can be answered scientifically. Do you perhaps have some thoughts on that?

    Consider the software engineering process. One methodology is known as the “waterfall” model.

    Analysis -> Design -> Implementation -> Testing.

    Implementation is a completely separate “step” from Design.

    One may not know who the designers were. One may not know who the developers were that implemented the design or how they went about doing so.

    But that does not prevent one from looking at the finished product and recognizing “design patterns.”

    All ID does is claim that these patterns can be identified scientifically and attempts to formalize the method or methods by which that may be accomplished.

    Regards

  51. However, ID theories that propose that an Intelligent agent continuously nudged what we naive Darwinists call “mutation” in a desired direction from the year dot to the present are obviously compatible with the gradual morphological changes we see in the fossil record.

    Such theories are not ID theories.

    I hope you understand why that is the case.

  52. 52
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Mung, I’m sorry if I was unclear, but I did not intend to equate ID with creationism, but I am aware that there is a subset of ID which does hold to creationist, or quasi-creationist models, and I have met at least some ID proponents who posit that the Intelligent Designer created a variety of living forms ab initio on the earth, and thus do not accept universal common ancestry. Others of course have a different model (Michael Behe, for instance) and I had understood that the “front-loading” model posited an ancestral genome that was pre-coded with the information necessary to ensure that subsequent generations unfolded in an adaptive manner.

    I could well be wrong, of course, but that was my understanding, my impressions from people I have talked to here is that this is indeed the range – bornagain77 does not accept universal common ancestry, but agrees that Michael Behe does.

    So I was not trying to “cariacature” ID, not is what I was trying to portray a straw man, although I accept that it appeared that way to you.

    As for the patterns – yes, I agree that those patterns can be detected, and I agree that they mean something.

  53. 53
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Such theories are not ID theories.

    I hope you understand why that is the case.

    No, I don’t, I’m afraid!

    Can you explain?

  54. ellazimm @20:

    I don’t think common descent with modification is infinitely elastic but, as a very good biology teacher once told me: nature has pretty much tried out everything you can think of at one time or another.

    But now you understand your teacher was wrong, don’t you? And what you were hearing was religion, not science.

  55. Dr Liddle:

    Re: I have met at least some ID proponents who posit that the Intelligent Designer created a variety of living forms ab initio on the earth, and thus do not accept universal common ancestry. Others of course have a different model (Michael Behe, for instance) and I had understood that the “front-loading” model posited an ancestral genome that was pre-coded with the information necessary to ensure that subsequent generations unfolded in an adaptive manner.

    Bottomline: people have worldviews, but the design inference is not a complete worldview.

    Instead, it is an inference from empirically reliable sign to its best explanation. That is, it is a constraint on reasonable worldviews, as opposed to a worldview itself. This makes it different from Darwinism, which from the days of Darwin, has been a complete worldview.

    Remember, too, there is a whole other side to the design inference that infers to signs of design in the cosmos and in the evidence pointing to its origins.

    Similarly, the design inference connects into information theory, and into the area of technology development. Even, cryptanalysis.

    Different things in science have different contexts and significance.

    Why the design inference is hugely controversial is that it is underscoring the significance of something that is often overlooked. There is no movement from simple to complicated in life. That is because the so-called simple cell, ain’t.

    Instead, we are looking at something that is an automaton, with metabolic ability to interact with the environment and make key components from basic sources. And, that is joined to a self replicating facility.

    And then, the embryogenesis of multicellular organisms points beyond, to a capacity to move from general to even more integrated complicated things, with information requirements that are orders of magnitude beyond.

    This blows up the whole context on which Darwinism rested, as a C19 theory that started in the days when the cell could be seen as a relatively undifferentiated blob of “protoplasm.”

    Darwinism is dying in the face of the discoveries of the information systems in the heart of life.

    But it is not slipping away quietly, due to the worldview and culture agenda issues connected to the dominant school of thought.

    So the elites are in resistance mode.

    GEM of TKI

  56. Lizzie,

    Please visit the following page:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/id-defined/

    and then let me know if you still don’t understand:

    1. What is the theory of intelligent design (ID).

    2. What Intelligent Design is, broadly speaking.

    3. Why speculations that have nothing to do with detecting design are not ID theories.

  57. 57
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Thanks. I don’t understand number 3,though.

    Normally, in science, once you have a theory you then go on to develop testable hypotheses, so I’d have expected that ID would generate testable hypotheses. For example, having inferred a designer, one might develop a hypothesis regarding the time-scale of the design process, and the mechanisms by which the design was implemented.

    I’ve mentioned “front-loading a few times”, and I know that at least some ID supporters have cited non-coding DNA as a prediction from front-loading. That’s not about detecting design per se, it’s to do with figuring out how the design process works, isn’t it?

    Maybe you don’t want to call them “ID theories” but they are hypotheses arising from ID theory are they not?

  58. 58
    Elizabeth Liddle

    sorry, that should read:

    I’ve mentioned “front-loading” a few times,…

  59. Elizabeth you state:

    ‘Normally, in science, once you have a theory you then go on to develop testable hypotheses, so I’d have expected that ID would generate testable hypotheses.’

    Intelligent Design, contrary to what many evolutionists will say publicly, does in fact make solid predictions for science that we can test:

    A Response to Questions from a Biology Teacher: How Do We Test Intelligent Design? – March 2010
    Excerpt: Regarding testability, ID (Intelligent Design) makes the following testable predictions:
    (1) Natural structures will be found that contain many parts arranged in intricate patterns that perform a specific function (e.g. complex and specified information).
    (2) Forms containing large amounts of novel information will appear in the fossil record suddenly and without similar precursors.
    (3) Convergence will occur routinely. That is, genes and other functional parts will be re-used in different and unrelated organisms.
    (4) Much so-called “junk DNA” will turn out to perform valuable functions.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....rom_a.html

    A Positive, Testable Case for Intelligent Design – Casey Luskin – March 2011 – several examples of cited research
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....45311.html

    In the last part of this following audio, Casey Luskin lays the evidence out for a Professor of evolution, who who has the audacity to challenge his students to come up with ‘ANY’ evidence for Intelligent Design:

    Evidence for Intelligent Design – Casey Luskin – July 2010
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....6_24-07_00

    Peer-Reviewed & Peer-Edited Scientific Publications Supporting the Theory of Intelligent Design (Annotated) – updated regularly
    http://www.discovery.org/a/2640

    Is Intelligent Design “Creationism in a Cheap Lab Coat”? – Casey Luskin – September 2010
    http://www.idthefuture.com/201.....ation.html

    I found this following paper particularly interesting for broadly outlining how evolution misses the mark for a true science and is, in reality, a pseudo-science:

    Is evolution pseudoscience?
    Excerpt:,,, Thus, of the ten characteristics of pseudoscience listed in the Skeptic’s Dictionary, evolution meets nine. Few other?pseudosciences — astrology, astral projection, alien abduction, crystal power, or whatever — would meet so many.
    http://creation.com/is-evolution-pseudoscience

  60. 60
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Kairofocus:

    I wasn’t implying criticism when I suggested that ID proponents varied in how they regard common ancestry. I was just pointing out that evidence for common ancestry is not evidence against ID, as I’m sure you’d agree.

    Well, at least Michael Behe would :)

    I don’t share your view that Darwinism is a “worldview”, but I’m happy to agree to disagree on that. Nor do I agree that “Darwinism” is “dying”, except in the sense that all scientific theories start to die as soon as they are proposed because no theory is ever complete. We now know that even common ancestry is wrong, and that the tree of life is far bushier than we imagined. We also know that genetic drift is in many ways as important as natural selection, and indeed,that natural selection is best viewed as a biasing factor in genetic drift. We also know that evolution (as in “microevolution”) is measurable from generation to generation, as opposed to thousands or millions of generations, and that it oscillates.

    So “Darwinism” as Darwin conceived it, is indeed dying, as are quantum mechanics and relativity.

    However, I know that is not what you meant, and this probably isn’t the thread (or the place) to challenge your view that

    Why the design inference is hugely controversial is that it is underscoring the significance of something that is often overlooked. There is no movement from simple to complicated in life. That is because the so-called simple cell, ain’t.

    As I said to Mung, “Darwinism” doesn’t so much predict simple to complex as homogeneous to heterogeneous – it predicts radiation of species rather than a journey towards complexity along any one lineage. But clearly, if life started simple, then mean complexity will tend to increase over time, even though some organisms remain relatively simple.

    But to the extent that complexity works better than simplicity, even modern “simple” organisms, such as unicellular organisms, will tend to be more complex now than our (postulated) common ancestors.

    So yes, “Darwinism” predicts that early unicellular organisms would be simpler than modern unicellular organisms.

    It doesn’t predict that modern unicellular organisms won’t be complex!

    Not does it predict that the cells of modern multicellular organisms will not be complex.

    Furthermore, I’d argue that not even ID predicts that ancestral organisms will be as complex as modern ones – after all, most intelligently designed artefacts have simpler prototypes.

    So while I accept that the ID position is that the complexity of life leads to the inference of an Intelligent Designer, I don’t see that the lack of extant simple organisms supports one inference or the other.

    Both theories are consistent with simple ancestral “prototype” beginnings, are they not?

  61. 61
    Elizabeth Liddle

    bornagain77: yes, I agree, that was my point, and is why I queried Mung’s Point 3.

    Yes, it should be possible, and clearly is, to derive testable hypotheses from ID.

    I think I made the mistake of calling these “ID theories”.

  62. Elizabeth you state:

    ‘ “Darwinism” predicts that early unicellular organisms would be simpler than modern unicellular organisms.’

    But what do we find for as far back as we can look?

    Static evolution: is pond scum the same now as billions of years ago?
    Excerpt: But what intrigues (paleo-biologist) J. William Schopf most is lack of change. Schopf was struck 30 years ago by the apparent similarities between some 1-billion-year-old fossils of blue-green bacteria and their modern microbial microbial. “They surprisingly looked exactly like modern species,” Schopf recalls. Now, after comparing data from throughout the world, Schopf and others have concluded that modern pond scum differs little from the ancient blue-greens. “This similarity in morphology is widespread among fossils of [varying] times,” says Schopf. As evidence, he cites the 3,000 such fossils found;
    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/.....a014909330

    The Paradox of the “Ancient” (250 million year old) Bacterium Which Contains “Modern” Protein-Coding Genes:
    “Almost without exception, bacteria isolated from ancient material have proven to closely resemble modern bacteria at both morphological and molecular levels.” Heather Maughan*, C. William Birky Jr., Wayne L. Nicholson, William D. Rosenzweig§ and Russell H. Vreeland ;
    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/...../19/9/1637

    Enzymes Complex from the Get-go
    Excerpt: “Given the ancient origin of the reconstructed thioredoxin enzymes (a vital enzyme found in all living cells), with some of them predating the buildup of atmospheric oxygen, we expected their catalytic chemistry to be simple,” said Fernandez. “Instead we found that enzymes that existed in the Precambrian era up to four billion years ago possessed many of the same chemical mechanisms observed in their modern-day relatives.”,, Further examination of the ancient enzymes revealed some striking features: The enzymes were highly resistant to temperature and were active in more acidic conditions. The findings suggest that the species hosting these ancient enzymes thrived in very hot environments that since then have progressively cooled down, and that they lived in oceans that were more acidic than today.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....he-get-go/

    etc.. etc..

    “There are no detailed Darwinian accounts for the evolution of any fundamental biochemical or cellular system only a variety of wishful speculations. It is remarkable that Darwinism is accepted as a satisfactory explanation of such a vast subject.”
    James Shapiro – Molecular Biologist

    Elizabeth, I really don’t think you want to go down the path of failed Darwinian Predictions, for it is not pretty for the committed neo-Darwinists to look at:

    Darwin’s Predictions – Cornelius Hunter
    http://www.darwinspredictions.com/

    Here is a article, and audio interview with Dr. Hunter, summarizing Darwinism’s refusal to submit to falsification as all other robust theories of science do:

    Arsenic-Based Biochemistry: Turning Poison Into Wine – Cornelius Hunter – December 2010
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....rning.html

    Failed Predictions of Evolutionists – Cornelius Hunter – audio
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....0_49-08_00

  63. 63
    Elizabeth Liddle

    bornagain77: I’m not terribly surprised that 1 billion year old pond-scum is quite similar to modern pond-scum – as I’ve said, Darwin attempted to explain diversity (“on the Origin of Species”) not complexity, and if pond-scum worked well 1 billion years ago, then there would have been strong conservative selection pressures on it.

    However, as current estimates of the age of the earth stand at about 4 and a half billion, with the first life-forms appearing about 3.8 billion years ago, then there’s still 2.8 billion years for the optimal pond-scum format to evolve.

  64. Elizabeth you state;

    ‘I’m not terribly surprised that 1 billion year old pond-scum is quite similar to modern pond-scum’

    Well that sure is special, neo-Darwinism predicts change except when its predicts extreme stasis. Man that is some kind of flexible scientific theory you got there Elizabeth,,, a theory that allows you to ‘predict’ completely opposite findings. ,,, Very special and bogus indeed!

  65. 65
    Elizabeth Liddle

    It may be worth pointing out, however, that science doesn’t, in fact, proceed by falsification.

    It proceeds by fitting models to data, and discarding, generally, the less-well fitting models in favour of better fitting models.

    But all models are, almost by definition, false, in some sense, and indeed, many useful models remain in use despite actually being falsified.

    Newtonian physics, Einsteinian physics and quantum physics are all in regular use, even though they each contradict each other, and can only be used over a limited range of data.

    Perhaps that’s science’s dirty little secret :)

    So to return to the rabbit in the pre-Cambrian: if a rabbit was found in the pre-Cambrian, modern evolutionary models would struggle to accommodate that data point, and would have to be severely tweaked, and possible even discarded.

    Similarly, modern looking pond-scum from 1 billion years ago certainly entailed tweaks to existing models.

    That doesn’t, however, I submit, mean that “Darwinism is infinitely flexible”. What it means is that biological models are in a continuous state of revision, as are all scientific models. They are not so much flexible as plastic – and once moved they can’t just flex back into place at a whim.

    That pond-scum data won’t go away. Current scientific models have to accommodate it.

    However, it doesn’t strike me as being a particularly difficult challenge.

  66. 66
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Ah, cross-posted, Bornagain77 :)

    I think my post below yours at least partially addresses your post to me:

    Elizabeth you state;

    ‘I’m not terribly surprised that 1 billion year old pond-scum is quite similar to modern pond-scum’

    Well that sure is special, neo-Darwinism predicts change except when its predicts extreme stasis. Man that is some kind of flexible scientific theory you got there Elizabeth,,, a theory that allows you to ‘predict’ completely opposite findings. ,,, Very special and bogus indeed!

    No, because we are not actually talking about a static theory, but one which, like all scientific theories is only ever provisional, and subject to continued modification in the light of new data.

    Although in fact I don’t think Darwin predicted either change OR stasis; what he proposed was adaptation, and even the most simple evolutionary models (e.g. the kind you can program fairly easily) result in local optima – fitness peaks on which populations come to rest and go no further.

    So no, not bogus :) Fitness landscapes with local maxima are very much part of standard evolutionary theory,and indeed, reflect field data, including, for example, the galapagos finch beaks, and feature movement towards peaks followed by relative stasis, at least along that dimension.

    Anway, I do appreciate the conversation :)

  67. For example, having inferred a designer, one might develop a hypothesis regarding the time-scale of the design process, and the mechanisms by which the design was implemented.

    Where are you getting your ideas about Intelligent Design?

    Here’s the link again. Please read the material, it’s not that long:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/id-defined/

    Where does it mention “having inferred a designer”?

    If you are not willing to accept this definition of ID, please tell us why it is not acceptable to you.

    Then please re-read my post at @50.

    I try to keep my posts short, so there’s no reason not to have read it.

    Where does it mention “having inferred a designer”?

    In software development, it’s possible that there are multiple people who produce the design and multiple people who implement the design. It’s also possible that one person does both.

    Some possibilities:

    One designer multiple implementers.

    Multiple designers multiple implementers.

    Multiple designers a single implementer.

    One designer, one implementer.

    ID theory doesn’t even pretend to have identified “a designer.” So what are you talking about?

    Where are you getting your ideas about Intelligent Design?

  68. Asked what might disconfirm their theories about how speciation occurs, Darwinian evolutionists reply, “fossil rabbits in the Cambrian”.

    I will say, I think the OP is mistaken in this regard.

    How speciation occurs is a separate question from where rabbits are expected to appear in the fossil record.

  69. Mung:

    “But now you understand your teacher was wrong, don’t you? And what you were hearing was religion, not science.”

    Nope. I’m stubborn.

  70. 70
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Mung: I am more than willing to accept your definition of ID, and I haven’t knowingly not accepted it!

    I’m not quite sure why we are at cross-purposes here.

    It’s possible that I haven’t properly understood you (but I assure you I read your post).

    So let me try to paraphrase what I think you are saying (and then you can correct me if I’m wrong):

    I think you are saying that ID is the science of figuring out whether a given object has been designed or not.

    And that the task of figuring out how or who is outside its domain.

    Perhaps you could confirm whether or not I’ve understood before we go any further?

    Thanks :)

  71. Nope. I’m stubborn.

    Is there a cure for that?

    Combinations and Permutations

    …as a very good biology teacher once told me: nature has pretty much tried out everything you can think of at one time or another.

    Actually, no, it hasn’t had near enough time to even begin to do so. The possibilities are just too enormous and the resources too few.

    We humans have not even begun to write all the books that can be written, or the post on blogs all the possible posts that could potentially be written and posted.

    Your teacher was giving you an opinion which had nothing to do with science. Probably lacked a math background.

    Probably wanted to give you a child’s reason to believe that “evolution did it” was a perfectly reasonable thing to believe.

    Take the genome of the simplest organism that you know of. Given that genome, how many possible combinations/permutations are there of the 4 bases for a length og genome of that size.

    How long would it take to “try out” each of those possible genomes?

  72. Mung: Yes, I know, I used to teach combinatorics.

    The teacher didn’t mean all the possible genomes had been tried of course. Silly. She meant that lots and lots of different ways of making a living had been tried.

  73. The teacher didn’t mean all the possible genomes had been tried of course. Silly. She meant that lots and lots of different ways of making a living had been tried.

    So she was speaking metaphorically, or poetically?

    …as a very good biology teacher once told me: nature has pretty much tried out everything you can think of at one time or another.

    But you seem to have taken it literally.

    Why was your teacher teaching non-science in a science class!?

    The horror!

    I’m just trying to understand the science behind that statement, if there was any.

    Then I’m trying to understand how you could take it and use it as an argument against what was stated in #19.

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