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Why is a “giant” of evolution getting so excited about the “midgets” of ID?

In the latest New Republic Online, the irrepressible Jerry Coyne keeps the insults against ID coming:

. . . [O]ne has to ask whether Coulter (who, by the way, attacks me in her book) really understands the Darwinism she rejects. The answer is a resounding No. According to the book’s acknowledgments, Coulter was tutored in the “complex ideas” of evolution by David Berlinski, a science writer; Michael Behe, a third-rate biologist at Lehigh University (whose own department’s website disowns his bizarre ideas); and William Dembski, a fairly bright theologian who went off the intellectual rails and now peddles creationism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. These are the “giants” of the ID movement, which shows how retarded it really is. Learning biology from this lot is like learning elocution from George W. Bush. . . . [For Coyne's entire review of GODLESS, go here.]

Why does a giant of evolution, like Coyne, need to sully himself with an extended critical review of Coulter’s GODLESS? Can you imagine Einstein reviewing a popular book by a journalist critiquing his general theory of relativity? Why does evolution need so much defending?

By the way, I received my first PhD, in mathematics, from Coyne’s institution, the University of Chicago. It’s in my capacity as a mathematician, rather than as a theologian, that I make my primary contribution to ID. Also, Lehigh is, as I recall, one of the top 50 research institutions in the US, and Behe is a full professor there. So calling him a third-rate biologist seems a bit much. Can Coyne point us to any third-rate biologists who love evolution as much as he does? Does evophilia automatically make one at least a second-rate biologist?

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58 Responses to Why is a “giant” of evolution getting so excited about the “midgets” of ID?

  1. David Berlinski described only as “science writer” seems pretty bad to me.

    Is Coyne fooling himself or just outright lying to (or purposefully misleading, perhaps as he sees it for a noble cause) the public?

  2. Oh you gotta love the emotional rhetoric coming from people like Coyne. It only helps the ID movement. Jerry, please keep up the good work. Oh and David Berlinski\’s credentials:

    David Berlinski received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University and was later a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics and molecular biology at Columbia University. He has authored works on systems analysis, differential topology, theoretical biology, analytic philosophy, and the philosophy of mathematics, as well as three novels. He has also taught philosophy, mathematics and English at such universities as Stanford, Rutgers, the City University of New York and the Universite de Paris. In addition, he has held research fellowships at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria and the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IHES) in France. Recent articles by Dr. Berlinski have been featured in Commentary, Forbes ASAP, and the Boston Review. He is author of numerous books, including A Tour of the Calculus (Pantheon 1996), The Advent of the Algorithm (2000, Harcourt Brace),.Newton\\\’s Gift (The Free Press 2000). Forthcoming are his books: The Secrets of the Vaulted Sky (Harcourt, October 2003), A Short History of Mathematics for the Modern Library series at Random House (2004), and Einstein & Goedel: Friendship between Equals (Simon & Schuster 2004). He is currently working on a book analyzing genetic algorithms.

  3. I have a question. Is the New Republic affirming one the basic premises of Coulter’s book, namely that evolution is fundamentally a political issue espoused most vehemently by liberals. If not why wouldn’t The New Republic allow an extended response by Bill, Steve Meyers or someone with a prominent association with ID? If they don’t then they are essentially making Ann Coulter’s case that Darwinism is a tenet of most liberal’s thinking.

    I know that when this came up before many liberal readers of this site said it wasn’t for them but is that the reality in general.

  4. Learning biology from this lot is like learning elocution from George W. Bush

    no, Coyne has no political agenda, he’s just a scientist…

  5. 5

    William Dembski said –

    —- Why does a giant of evolution, like Coyne, need to sully himself with an extended critical review of Coulter’s GODLESS? Can you imagine Einstein reviewing a popular book by a journalist critiquing his general theory of relativity? Why does evolution need so much defending? —-

    I disagree that Coyne “sullied” himself by deigning to write an extended critical review of “Godless.” The sheer popularity of the book made it worthy of the review.

  6. Size 101 How big am I?

    Isa 40:12 ¶ Who hath measured the waters in the hollow
    of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended
    the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in
    scales, and the hills in a balance?

    me………………a speck on earth
    earth……………a speck in the milky way
    milky way………..a speck in the universe
    universe…………a speck in God’s pocket
    From my perspective:
    Anything smaller than me is small.
    Anything bigger than me is big.
    Zero

  7. Berlinski sure knows alot about random, stochastic events for a “science writer.” I’ve read that his work has something to do with mathematics?

  8. Is Coyne one of those journalists who routinely mischaracterize ID? That’s why when I write I strive not to mischaracterized. I avoid statements like “Behe, the Director of Admissions at Lehigh University, argues…”

  9. First of all, I think it is low of Coyne to spew such bile against his opponents. Others make much clearer arguments against ID without resorting to personal attacks.

    If I may attempt to answer these questions: “Can you imagine Einstein reviewing a popular book by a journalist critiquing his general theory of relativity? Why does evolution need so much defending?”

    The reason it would be difficult to imagine Einstein defending his theory in such a way is because it was never attacked by the popular journalists. 50% of the population didn’t feel that it went against their religion. Legislation was never passed to keep it out of schools. Labels like Einsteinism were never coined to give GR the appearance of a religion. The only people that he had to convince were his fellow scientists. After years of experiments and furthering of the theory, almost everyone agreed with him. There were holdouts of course, as is the case with every paradigm change.

    By asking “Why does evolution need so much defending?” I can hear you implying that “evolution must be weak”. The real reason it needs so much defending is because 50% of the population doesn’t believe it. This is complicated because most of the American population have such weak scientific educations. As strong political factions and think-tanks attack evolution, it needs defending. The peers of Coyne, however, the ones that actually do the science, the ones that are in the labs, getting published in the literature, they need no convincing. It is only in the eyes of the laymen that the theory evolution seems so weak.

  10. What we need to do is clarify terms better. I don\’t think there\’s an ID proponent out there who denies that \”evolution\” occurred and still occurs. Evolution meaning change over time. The issue of course with the degree and the mechanisms involved and whether or not teleology played a role.

  11. and i have no idea why when i edit a comment those lovely backslashes appear.

  12. Scott’

    Teleology is the central concept in ID. (call them Orgelians) The information content in DNA instructs cells, organs and organism to achieve particular goals. Living things have inherent goal-direct behavior directing them to predetermined ends, which is for the sake of surviving in its given environment.

  13. I discuss teleology in more detail at researchID.org. Soon (already)the benchmark for the intelligensia. (not me)

  14. idadvisors: “Teleology is the central concept in ID.”

    From my few months of following this site, this is probably the best abstraction of ID I have heard yet. But at the same time, this conciseness acerbates what I see as an intrinsic weakness. We all know that there are many more deleterious mutations in nature than mutations than could potentially help in the survival of an individual (you have to have survival of the afflicted individual before you can translate that into survival of its species). As an example, think of cystic fibrosis or sickle cell disease. I read that John Davison claims that mutations only serve a detrimental purpose, but I can’t see how this would be in the interest of ID. So what is the teleology behind these mutations? Is that within the realm of ID theory, or do we need to resort to philosophy/theology? If it is the latter, that sounds to me a bit like a cop-out.

  15. 15

    Scot wrote –

    —- and i have no idea why when i edit a comment those lovely backslashes appear. —-

    I had the same problem on another blog. The solution is to avoid using the single- and double-quotes key and use the accent key instead. The accent key (the tilde ~ character shares this key) is at the far-left end of a standard US English desktop-computer keyboard, between the Tab key and the Esc key. Use this key once for apostrophes and single quote marks and use it twice for double quote marks.

    Depending on the blog, an unaccompanied accent mark may appear either as an apostrophe or an accent mark, but at least you won’t get those annoying slashes. Here are the results on this blog —

    ‘single-quote key’ vs. `accent key`

    “double-quote key” vs. “repeated accent key“

  16. That is the key. Random mutations, purposeless or ones that serve a detrimental purpose?

  17. The detrimental lack purpose, detriment would be the consequence.

  18. Three comments,

    #4 aji, I didn’t say that Coyne was political but the New Republic is a very political publisher with sophisticated editors. The fact that such an ad hominen attack appeared in it says something.

    #8 Strangelove, when those in the labs appear here, they rarely are able to defend neo Darwinism very well. Now that is my opinion but I have failed to see any real justification coming from these types of people. Some are very knowledgeable on issues in microbiology and evolutionary biology such as Great Ape and Dr. MacNeill and from these people we have learned a lot. There are others on this site almost every day. You be the judge if these people hold the upper hand on true understanding. I fail to see any convincing rationale from the so-called people in the trenches who do not need any convincing.

    #13 ofro, I do not know anyone in ID who denies that there cannot be a beneficial mutation. These types of mutations occasionally happen but ID will deny is that there is any evidence that an accumulation of beneficial mutations has ever lead to any substantial changes in an organism. There is nothing philosophical or theological about it. It is pure science. These terms (philosophical or theological) are usually imposed on ID from those who object to it.

    In my experience the ID people have a better grasp of science that those who support Darwinism. They have to since they are put under a microscope everytime they speak while people like Ken Miller gets away with murder and no one in the science community says boo.

  19. 20

    jerry: “When those in the labs appear here, they rarely are able to defend neo Darwinism very well.”

    This is not a blog for the defense of neo-Darwinism. This is a blog for ID. You can go to other, less moderated forums if you are seeking information about neo-Darwinism. Those forums are filled with apt defenders who love to argue.

  20. jerry: In my understanding ID does not deny that mutations can lead to substantial changes in an organism. It just concerns itself with the detection of design, which could at least potentially manifest through mutations accumulating over time. This is my own understanding, please correct me if I am wrong.

  21. Scientist seek to find permanent judgements behind the changing world. In Platonism (H–D) judgement are expressed in proposition, in Aristotelianism first principles are expressed in premises, conclusion of H–D arguments. Crudely, scientist seek for the permanent behing the world of the changing. Then test it. Seeing if the H–D argument will work in the physical world. If it does, it has some confirmation.

  22. Jerry,

    Scientists should refer to the metaphysician first since metaphysic is where all science begins. Some of you might say what’s this got to do with Darwinistic evolutionary theories? Everything.

  23. One can almost feel the Darwinian despair.

    Notice again that if one disagrees with Darwinism, it automatically means that one doesn’t understand it.

    By the way, when I saw Coyne singling out Dembski as a “theologian”, it reminds me of how wikipedia characterized Dr Steven Meyer as a “theologian”. Interestingly, a few lines below, wikipedia “forgets” to list Meyer’s theological degrees. I guess teaching in a Christian institution instantly makes one a theologian.

  24. ofro,

    I’m not familiar with, even as a bio minor(1989) the studies in random mutation, so I can’t answer your question where the teleology is in detrimental mutation. I’m in agreement with the agreement in Cornell’s latest class in ID–that so far intelligence is the only known cause for CSI–Orgels information content in DNA.

  25. Strangelove,

    Part of ID is an attack on neo-Darwinism because if neo Darwinism could explain a whole lot there would not be much need for ID. If you do not understand that, then you are missing a good deal of what this site is about. So any objection to ID is more often than not tantamount to support of neo Darwinism or one of the other naturalistic viewpoints but these other mechanisms have very little support. Many creationists also object to ID for many reasons but not because they support neo Darwinism. So yes there is a constant presence of neo Darwinism supporters here and as I have said they don’t support it well when they come. My guess is that the defenders who love to argue do not do well here because they have to play by different rules than at other sites.

    Tina,

    From what I understand there is nothing in ID that says that an accumulation of mutations could not lead to a substantial change in an organism that favors it from a natural selection point of view. It is just that such a sequence has never been observed. Neo Darwinism assumes these changes took place but cannot point to any evidence that these changes actually happened by a series of mutations. Changes in populations have been observed but there has never been a change within a population that is considered substantial in terms of new body parts etc, which lead to increased complexity and with it an increased likelihood of selection. Bacteria are still bacteria; fruit flies are still fruit flies. If an experiment showed them to change in a way that they were truly different, ID would accept it probably immediately if it wasn’t too artificial. I think I am explaining it correctly based on what I have read but always look for new input.

  26. #17 jerry,
    “#13 ofro, I do not know anyone in ID who denies that there cannot be a beneficial mutation. These types of mutations occasionally happen but ID will deny is that there is any evidence that an accumulation of beneficial mutations has ever lead to any substantial changes in an organism.”

    You didn’t answer my question. My question was not about the teleology of beneficial muations but about the teleology of detrimental mutations, which are much more likely than beneficial muations.

  27. Yes, Coyne could have worded this better and could have avoid the personal slights. But on the other hand, he is talking about Coulter – a person who has no qualls at all about attacking the jugular when it comes to ad hominem. I think the real point here is why the ID movement feels it is advantageous for them to attach themselves to the likes of the highly polemic Ann Coulter. Ultimately ID is going to succeed or fail on the basis of scientific merit, not on the outcome of polls or how books are doing on the bestseller list.

  28. 29

    Coyne wrote, as quoted above:

    “These are the “giants” of the ID movement, which shows how retarded it really is. Learning biology from this lot is like learning elocution from George W. Bush. . .”

    Now, is it just me, or does the use of insults and name calling diminish the credibitly of any argument?

  29. 30

    Oops, credibility – poor spelling and sloppy typing shouldn’t diminish, I hope, my argument. Ill manners, I think, are deplorable. Then again, perhaps he hopes to obtain a lucrative book contract. Yet I prefer the erudite and witty conservatism, however, of Theodore Dalrymple over name calling any day:

    http://www.city-journal.org/au.....?author=47

  30. Jerry touches on a key point: never has there been observed an accumulation of mutations which would result in beneficial mutation generating novel species.

  31. Ofro,

    I don’t think anyone thinks too hard about detrimental mutations in term of evolution except that they might lead to extinction. What is a detrimental mutation? How do you define it? Maybe there are sections in genetics books on this but I have not taken a course in genetics. There could be a whole taxonomy of mutations and their effects.

    Obviously something that would prevent the fetus from being born is one. But then you get into a definitional problem for those that are born. As I said I don’t think it is an issue with anyone in evolution but I could be wrong.

    You use the word teleology which implies that detrimental mutations might a have a goal. Maybe they do but ID does not seem to discuss it very much or seem to care. Should they care?

    It is obviously an issue with human births and how to treat them or prevent them but as far as evolution is concerned, they are usually discussed in terms of extinction. It is also an issue with infectious diseases. Population changes in microbes are heavily researched. Maybe you should pose your question a little differently because you seem to think it is an issue to be discussed and seem to think it is being dodged. Seems like a non issue to me but maybe it has been discussed but I don’t know since I haven’t read everything.

  32. Berlinski “is currently working on a book analyzing genetic algorithms.” I look forward to reading it.
    ——————————
    Strangelove @8: “Legislation was never passed to keep [Einstein's theories] out of schools.”

    It’s ID which is now being kept out of schools by the government, not Darwinism.

    Strangelove: “Labels like Einsteinism were never coined to give GR the appearance of a religion.”

    My M-W dictionary says the word “Darwinism” was coined in the year 1864. This may very well be it:

    We regret to find ourselves compelled to dissent very widely from many of Professor Kolliker’s remarks; and from none more thoroughly than from those in which he seeks to define what we may term the philosophical position of Darwinism.

    – Thomas Henry Huxley, “Criticisms on ‘The Origin of Species’ “, published in Natural History Review, 1864.

    If so, then Huxley (“Darwin’s Bulldog”) coined it. He and seemingly all of the other early, prominent supporters of it readily and unselfconsciously used the word. As have seemingly all of the recent, prominent supporters of it (Gould, Dawkins, Dennett, etc.).

  33. Jerry,

    my question was triggered by idadvisors’ statement that “Teleology is the central concept in ID.”
    If teleology is that central, I would expect to see it applied to pretty much all observations in biology. Particularly since in my understanding much of the underlying tenet of ID appears to be the philosophical notion that we humans are here for a purpose, it surprises me that essentially no work appears to have been done in the area of genetic diseases (I mentioned two: cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease, which affect millions of people). Let us go one step further: why have these two diseases spread through such a large portion of the human population? Is there a design or purpose behind this spread? Am I misunderstanding ID or is ID really a very narrowly defined hypothesis, or is the above definition not quite correct?

  34. Strangelove wrote: The reason it would be difficult to imagine Einstein defending his theory in such a way is because it was never attacked by the popular journalists. 50% of the population didn’t feel that it went against their religion. Legislation was never passed to keep it out of schools. Labels like Einsteinism were never coined to give GR the appearance of a religion. The only people that he had to convince were his fellow scientists. After years of experiments and furthering of the theory, almost everyone agreed with him. There were holdouts of course, as is the case with every paradigm change.

    Einstein had the attitude of a true scientist. Test my theory- was his attitude. And there were tests that could falsify his theories because scientific theories are traditionally tested and validated through test results. There are no tests that could falsify Darwin’s theory. Darwin’s theory is believed in not tested. The holdouts against the paradigm change in this case are Darwinists. Their insistence that intelligent causality be rejected is motivated by extra-scientific concerns. In the end these concerns will be their undoing.

  35. Ofro,

    Well we might have a long discussion over just what “teleology is the central concept in ID” means. That seems to imply a motive on the part of the designer and as Dave Scott used to say when he was the moderator that motive of the designer is not part of the discipline. He would point to the link above on the side of the page which has the definition of ID which is

    “The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion.”

    There is more so read it. It is what I use as my basis for discussion which is why I didn’t react to detrimental mutations having some kind of purpose as far as ID is concerned.

    I don’t think ID would concern itself at all with the spread of diseases. They are spreading based on very fundamental genetic principles, which seems totally within the ID theory and we would have no quarrel with neo Darwinists on this issue. There is often a discussion of how to reconcile bad things with a beneficent designer but that is not really part of ID. There is another thread currently going on that concerns itself with the theodicy issue and there has been several before. Bill Dembski is interested in the topic and posts his own ideas as well as others but technically it is not part of ID though many use this issue as an argument against ID. I hope this explains my understanding about ID and the confusion about your question.

  36. If you look up teleology, (wikipedia) it is made clear that teleology is about design vs. non-design, which puts it right at the heart of the ID challenge. I think the question of deleterious mutations is an aside in terms of ID simply because it doesn’t matter from the limited perspective of ID. Something can be designed, and yet have flaws. Something can be designed, and yet have internal and external forces acting upon it in a deleterious manner…helpful I hope.

  37. Ok, I know that I am about to get whacked by the mod but I don’t know where to put this. This is posted on the DA (school paper) site of West Virginia Univesity where I spent half my undergrad. This is the reason they will never get a red cent out of me (neither will my alma mater for that matter…mini me to WVU). It came from another school and written by those scholars known as students. I am really tempted to email the guy who wrote this and ask him if his IQ is over 10. It is nothing new but maybe alright for a chuckle. Enjoy!
    Time for the creationism theory to fly the coop

    Michael Bertacchi
    Western Courier (Western Illinois U.)

    The dispute between the theory of evolution and creationism has been long dragged out ever since Charles Darwin first developed the concept of evolution after a visit to the Galapagos Islands back in 1831.
    Even within the past year, debates over the inclusion of creationism in science textbooks have helped keep the ongoing battle in the public’s eye. But with the scientific discoveries made this past week, it appears as though more evidence has been uncovered to strengthen Darwin’s theory of evolution and, hopefully, put an end to the demand for creationism to be included in science textbooks.
    In an interesting twist of irony, a medium-sized bird named after the famous scientist is currently giving researchers the rare chance of document evolution as it occurs.
    Darwin’s finches, a species of bird native to the very same islands that Darwin visited which inspired him to come up with his theory of evolution, is currently going through what scientists have dubbed “microevolution,” or the occurrence of small-scale changes in a population over a few generations.
    Since a breeding population of large ground finches arrived on the islands in 1982, scientists have been able to watch and document how the finches beaks evolved in order to help accommodate for the new food competition.
    This news should, assuming basic logic and rational are not simply ignored lik e in the past, put creationists’ ridiculous parade for the right for creationism to be taught as science to rest.
    There is a time and place for everything. Unfortunately for creationism and its followers, that time and place doesn’t have anything to do with modern school systems, and as such, belong nowhere near any classroom or educational textbook.
    Since the events of 9/11, religious movements, Christianity specifically, have become increasingly more vocal.
    Our culture on a whole has fallen back to religion to try and find some stability in a time where stability seems to be scarce supply – and rightfully so.
    However, the line between stability and abuse of power is being crossed with nonsense like religious beliefs being taught as scientific fact. Just because people believe in something doesn’t mean it belongs in the classroom – and, hopefully Darwin’s finches are proving just that.
    It’s understandable that religion plays such a powerful and important role in so many people’s lives.
    However, our nation was built with the idea of separation of church and state for a reason.
    Trying to push moral and/or religious beliefs, even when done with the best of intentions, goes against every thing our country was founded on.
    While the freedom of religion is important to uphold and preserve, that preservation should not come at the expense of the degradation of scientific research which have taken years in order to be documented.

  38. Tina,

    Thanks for the reference. I thought it meant something like purppose or goals so I just googled “teleology definition” and got a variety of things. Many connotations such as design, goals, final causes, ultimate end, purpose etc. So when used, the term should be defined by the user or else we will go round in circles. I love reading this site. It is so easy to learn new things. A lot of smart people here.

  39. Sue,

    Those finches have been mentioned many times on UD. Even YECs have no problem with the evidence (just the interpretations…).

  40. Sue,

    The finches are trivial examples of natural selection which nearly everyone in ID accepts. The only problem is that natural selection seems to be limited to these trivial examples. It is basic genetics, nothing more and genetics is part of ID. So the finch example is really consistent with ID.

    How your comment supports ID is that it is another example of people criticizing ID with things that ID accepts and supports. Detractors have not yet found evidence of anything that contradicts ID.

    Your post is just another example of how opponents of ID try to paste religion on to it. Why not forget about the religion and just talk science. The reason is that when the discussion is kept to science, Darwinism fails.

  41. Strangelove – This is complicated because most of the American population have such weak scientific educations.

    Americans, who are generally not stupid despite the CW in truely stupid places like Europe, have developed a distrust of credentialed people demanding lifestyle changes due to a host of claims of truth by them that have turned out to be not. Think Freud. Think Kinsey (biologist, pervert). Think Ehrlich (biologist trumphed by economist). Think Sagan (astrobiologist).

    As strong political factions and think-tanks attack evolution, it needs defending.

    Unless it’s wrong.

  42. 43

    The accumulation of deleterious mutations served an important role in evolution by causing ultimate extinction, assuming something else didn’t cause it sooner. Think about it. Without extinction there could never have been an ascending evolution. There is not a shred of evidence that alellic mutations ever played a creative role in speciation or the formation of any of the higher categories. It is just one more aspect of the chance-happy, mutation-intoxicated Darwinian fairy tale.

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

  43. Jerry opines: The finches are trivial examples of natural selection which nearly everyone in ID accepts. The only problem is that natural selection seems to be limited to these trivial examples. It is basic genetics, nothing more and genetics is part of ID. So the finch example is really consistent with ID.

    Jerry has said the same thing about natural selection developing new species and genera. “It’s just trivial microevolution”… Will we one day hear “Bah! It’s still a quadruped! It’s only microevolution, and in no way invalidates ID!”

    Mr Davison opines: “There is not a shred of evidence that alellic mutations ever played a creative role in speciation…” Hmm, the massive speciation of Rift Lake cichlids doesn’t count as evidence?

    Mike
    Darwin’s Dreampond: Drama in Lake Victoria by Tijs Goldschmidt – The most expensive book I ever read. $24.95 for the book, 100 times that for the aquariums so far.

  44. The cichlids are still cichlids, Mike.

    Don’t buy variation as speciation no matter how hard they try to sell it to you.

  45. scott said:
    “The cichlids are still cichlids, Mike.
    Don’t buy variation as speciation no matter how hard they try to sell it to you.”

    You shouldn’t dismiss the cichlids argument that nonchalantly. The different species have specialized into totally different environments (rocky coast vs. sandy regions, clear vs. turbid waters), they differ in what they eat (other fish vs. microorganisms growing on algae etc.). And if you saw some of them, you would never guess that they are related, besides being “fish.”

  46. 47

    There has never been a species generated either in the laboratory or, as nearly as one can tell, in nature that arose through the accumulation of allelic mutations. If anyone can demonstrate an exapmple, be my guest. Please do it right here. I say you can’t. And no bloviating please. I expect chapter and verse.

    I do not opine. I assert with great confidence. You may write that down.

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

  47. MikeNFQ and I have been going back and forth for a few days on the tail end of the Mayr thread that is getting further down the list each day. He has many beefs but one of them is that we move the goal posts on microevolution. Here is my latest reply from the Mayr thread to his particular complaint about ID and microevolution. This is just my opinion because some others here who support ID may disagree with it:

    “You seem to be on some campaign about microevolution. I don’t believe ID has much quarrel with any of the ideas in it. For example, the family Canidae includes common dogs, wolves, foxes, jackals, etc. So this taxonomy would include family, genus, and species. I doubt if anyone in the ID movement would be upset if someone came along and conclusively proved that they all evolved from one ancestor group. It is not a big deal.

    What the ID people say is that it is extremely unlikely that many novel life functions evolved. And they say it is pretty much impossible that the first cell happened by naturalistic causes. You see ID is primarily interested in the origin of complex novel life processes while neo Darwinism is interested in small trivial modifications. They are at opposite ends of the spectrum. What ID says is that Darwinists extrapolate without any evidence to these complex novel processes.

    That is why the Cambrian Explosion is an embarrassment for Darwinists. There is no diversity predicted by Darwin, only disparity or very different organisms with little variation within each phylum. It is also why the fossil record in general is an embarrassment because there are no examples of transitions outside of a few controversial fossils. And I mean few, sometimes only one.

    In a way ID subsumes neo Darwinism, presuming it is an explanation for some limited life form changes and may in fact account for some more wide ranging phenomena but absolutely can not account for much of the complexity of life itself. You have to look for something beyond neo Darwinism for that.”

    Any way that is my take on ID and Neo Darwinism. According to my taxonomy scheme, NDE is part of ID but only represents one of the many mechanisms that have produced life and all its varieties. And NDE may turn out only to be responsible for minor changes to life forms while the major changes originated by some other means. One of those mechanisms is definitely an input by an intelligence. So the better logic and science backs ID. NDE is a charade even if it in fact explains cichlids which I am willing to grant.

  48. 49

    I’m waiting!

  49. John Davison,

    Do you think that examples such as the cichlids could be explained solely by allele changes just as different dog breeds are bred essentially to change the alleles? There doesn’t seem to be any need for mutations for dog variations so why cannot the cichlids be explained the same way.

  50. Scott: “Cichlid” is not a species. Pseudotropheus saulosi is a species. Labeotropeus fuellerborni is a species. Those two species are in different genera. They are both members of the same family, Cichlidae.

    Jerry: Darwinism is not embarassed by the Cambrian Explosion. It’s a wonderful subject that Darwinists love learning more about. It is not in any way embarassing, you just think it is. Only one transitional? Heck, Acanthostega, Tiktaliik, Archaeopteryx, Ambulocetus, Pakicetus, Rhodocetus, Himalayacetus, Basilosaurus, Homo Erectus, Homo Ergaster, etc, etc, etc. The list goes on and on, no matter how much you wave your hands at it.

    Both of you: Yes, wolves and foxes are both in family Canidae, Saulosis and fuellerborni are both in Cichlidae. Similarly you an a chimp are both in Hominidae (Pongidae having been abandoned). Just microevolution?

    Mike
    If the various Archaeopterx fossils are the remains of birds, which lazy intelligent designer forgot to stick a beak on them?

  51. Scott: “Cichlid” is not a species. Pseudotropheus saulosi is a species. Labeotropeus fuellerborni is a species. Those two species are in different genera. They are both members of the same family, Cichlidae.

    And yet, still fish. And it comes down to how one defines “speciation”. What you call speciation, I call variation.

    Jerry: Darwinism is not embarassed by the Cambrian Explosion. It’s a wonderful subject that Darwinists love learning more about. It is not in any way embarassing, you just think it is. Only one transitional? Heck, Acanthostega, Tiktaliik, Archaeopteryx, Ambulocetus, Pakicetus, Rhodocetus, Himalayacetus, Basilosaurus, Homo Erectus, Homo Ergaster, etc, etc, etc. The list goes on and on, no matter how much you wave your hands at it.

    The burden lies with the Darwinist to detail which species these oddities are transitions between. The examples you cite present distinct features in their own right. Further, if we are going by the gradualistic Darwinian synthesis, there should be an overwhelming abundance of fossils which display very slight gradual morphological change. But we do not. Instead we have a handful of controversial fragments and specimens with distinct body plans. And for the record, most ID proponents do not deny a form of descent (shoot, even YEC’s believe in an intelligently guided “descent” within certain “kinds”), but rather a descent which resembles the unfolding of an algorythmic quantum level program. And this would harmonize with a fossil record which demonstrates the abprupt of appearance of novel body plans. My big question is, when has it been scientifically demonstrated that NS + RM can produce novel cells, tissue, or body plans? Just-So stories won’t do.

  52. scott said:
    “And yet, still fish. And it comes down to how one defines “speciation”. What you call speciation, I call variation.”

    OK, let’s assume that it could be shown by genomic sequencing that a cichlid species from Lake Malawi and one from Lake Victoria differ as much from each other in their genomic sequence as humans differ from chimpanzee. (This experiment hasn’t been done on the cichlid side, but I have an inkling that it could be so). Does this mean that human and chimp are just variations of each other?

  53. “And yet, still fish. And it comes down to how one defines “speciation”. What you call speciation, I call variation.”

    Scott… The fact that SPECIATION and SPECIES are so similar should provide you with a little bit of a hint. What do you think “speciation” means? The creation of new phyla? Wouldn’t that be “phylation” or something?

    Mea culpa Re:My comment about transitionals – I think in my haste I misunderstood Jerry’s comment. I think he meant transitional fossils in the Cambrian Explosion, not just any transitional fossils from any era. I apologise for my misunderstanding and off-topic response.

    Mike
    Thank the Intelligent Designer it’s Friday!!! No… it just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? :)

  54. Forgetful me… Um, Scott?

    Species: saulosi
    Genus: Pseudotropheus
    Family: Cichlidae
    Suborder: Labroidei
    Division: Telostei
    Sublass: Neopterygii
    Class: Actinopterygii
    Grade: Teleostomi
    Superclass: Gnathostomata (the Jawed Fishes)
    Subphylum: Vertebrata
    Phylum: Chordata

    Hmmm… Evolution of a superclass is “just speciation”? Wow! Is this a new record for moving the goal posts?

  55. Ofro: said “OK, let’s assume that it could be shown by genomic sequencing that a cichlid species from Lake Malawi and one from Lake Victoria differ as much from each other in their genomic sequence as humans differ from chimpanzee. (This experiment hasn’t been done on the cichlid side, but I have an inkling that it could be so). Does this mean that human and chimp are just variations of each other?”

    Ofro – Bearing in mind that to catch all the “fish” you would have to go higher than the superclass (see above), because you have to get both jawed fish and unjawed fish,and we are also in the superclass that catches (boned fish) what Scott is saying is…

    I AM A FISH

    Scott, thank you for coming out of the closet and admitting your fishiness.

  56. 58

    The variations exhibited by dog breeds are due ENTIRELY to allelic mutations and they in no way involve evolution. It is BECAUSE they are allelic, point, base pair substitutions that they have NO evolutionary significance whatsoever. There was never a role for Mendelian genetics in creative evolution. All it was ever good for was the production of varieties which is all it does today. Ge used to it.

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

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