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Why horizontal gene transfer is bad news for Darwinism

Horizontal (or lateral) gene transfer just means that many life forms trade genes around, via  pollen, for example, or ingesting something.

The prevalence of horizontal gene transfer is a blow for Darwinism because it obviates the need to explain how “it could have happened by Darwin’s mechanism.” The point is, it didn’t happen by Darwin’s mechanism.

And if that didn’t happen by Darwin’s mechanism, maybe much or most of what is claimed for Darwin’s mechanism didn’t happen that way either.

An important strategy of Darwin lobbyists has been to create a narrow mental track, along the lines of “How would Darwin explain this?” And science writers reverently obey. It turns out there is a highway on the other side of the hedge.

See also: Never mind horizontal gene transfer, now the rap is horizontal gene THEFT

Darwinists try to come to terms with horizontal gene transfer

Horizontal gene transfer: Gene from bacteria lets beetle feed only on coffee beans

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6 Responses to Why horizontal gene transfer is bad news for Darwinism

  1. One underlying unsupported notion (or presupposition) that seems to recur in these topics,even if not directly addressed, is that DNA actually determines overall development & morphology. From the book ‘Signs of Intelligence’, the chapter written by J.Wells, gives one simple example that disconfirms that idea. The example of replacing the genetic material in the egg of one type of organism, with that from another type. Morphological development followed the organism that produced the egg, not the organism from where the genetic material was derived. And development went only so far as the genetic material could supply the needed proteins.

    In addition to the issue raised by the article. HGT arguments seem to imply that acquiring different morphologies is as easy as transferring genetic material. Meanwhile, the evidence does not support the notion, and in at least one clear way described above contradicts it.

  2. Is this really what counts as victory around here? HGT has been known about for a long time, and it provides “a way out” for all the knots in the tree of life. I thought we were trying to defeat neodarwinism, not 19th century darwinism.

  3. “Meanwhile, the evidence does not support the notion, and in at least one clear way described above contradicts it.”

    I’m not at all familiar with your example, but I presume that if I dug into it I would find either that it was a DNA swap from extremely similar organisms, or a partial (More likely, I think) swap in which we can only state that what was swapped was not controlling. With a nod to the notion, I see no reason to think that there was not tidbits of signalling machinery or chemistry shot through the egg. No matter the case, I’d love to see a reference on the experiment in question.

    But it’s all a bit sidebar. The thesis of evolution, no matter whose, is that critters have sex. And I’m sure I don’t have to provide much in the way of source material the matter.

    But this only states that there’s an unbroken lineage between parent and child. And from which we get the idea that we can prove that animals have been having sex all along if we can show that kids look enough like their parents. Which gets you Homology and Phylogeny just as everyone from Plato and Aristotle to the present looked at things and understood. We’ve done no more than highlight the carnal portion of the explanans. Which is the really unsound notion that paternity suits are provable on the eye-ball test alone.

    Since the advent of DNA we’ve simply added to the mix in noting that its the DNA that proves that animals have been having sex all this time as well. And that we can use DNA homology and phylogeny as backup for terrible mess we made of paternity suits previously. But, and you might have caught this already, we’re still using homology and phylogeny based on the eye-ball test. You owe child support if the snippet of DNA we see in the both of you seems close enough for government work.

    This all worked really well in textbooks and pews until HGT came along; where T is a legal Transfer or Theft. And in which we find the snippets are ‘close enough’ if your ancestors had sex with a mouse. Or just lived really close to some mice for a while. But in either case, whether by an eye-ball test internal or external to the cell we can no longer say anything interesting or interesting about paternity.

    Now you might note that this is a bit of a problem as the only proof we have that animals have been getting jiggy in the Pleistocene is on the prior notion that Darwin’s folks didn’t do anything tawdry with the local wildlife.

    For the rest of us? We’ve got Ladies Night at the local pub. But then that’s the very definition of doing tawdry things with the local wildlife. Goodness knows what Evolutionists have been doing all along.

  4. @Maus. In the book ‘Signs of Intelligence’, most of the chapter I referred to can be read on google here:
    Chapter 9: Making Sense of Biology – The Evidence for Development by Design

  5. @JGuy: You’re a good sort, thanks for the link. Google was decent enough to let me read the whole thing. And I find Wells’ to write a rather decent essay. However, comma, you merged two different examples of this. The first that playing with Hox and similar gets you nonviable organisms with frightening regularity. The second that if you transplant DNA wholesale that it all works until you run out of proteins you aren’t making due the difference. Both true on their own.

    eg. In your car, swap the gas engine for a diesel. And then forget to change the fuel in the tank. Things go south quickly.

    If you assume that the engine makes its own fuel, then it can’t make more fuel without first having the right fuel around to begin with. (If you’re into Perpetuum Mobiles.) Wells’ broader point is that we don’t need to assume that the engine makes the fuel at all. That there are numerous other odd structures bolted to and within your vehicle that theoretically could do so instead.

    My opinion is that his point was well argued for his intended audience. But I’d have preferred he spoke generally about the differences between, and the failures, of Induction, Abduction, and Intuition. Which is the broader problem and is the foundation underneath his argument.

    Intuition: I know A, I know B, Therefore A causes B. How? Don’t know, don’t care. It’s true regardless.

    Induction: I know A, I know B, I know that A causes B in the cases I’ve witnessed. Therefore we can state the definitional generality that A always causes B.

    Abduction: I know B, I dreamed about A last night. Therefore it’s possible that A, if it exists, causes B.

    If you reread Wells with these in mind you’ll note that his complaint is that we are using Intuition directly, or escalating Abductive reasonings to the True Fact status of Intuition, then Inductively escalating the lot of it to a universal statement.

    But if that counts as sound reason, then everything is sound reason. And ID is true because my Abductive reasoning about ancestry states that it’s physically possible. Therefore it’s true by Intution. And therefore it’s true of everything and at every time.

    And therefore anything dreamed or dissembled is True, and so Scientifically True, if its presented with confidence. Well, at least as long as its presented with confidence by folks employed in the business of producing such statements. 2000 years ago we called them Pharisees, 100 years ago we called them Astrologers, and today we call them Scientists.

  6. The thesis of evolution, no matter whose, is that critters have sex.

    That is false.

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