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Author Topic:   How long does it take to evolve?
Dr Adequate
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Posts: 15950
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


(1)
Message 166 of 221 (770691)
10-12-2015 8:56 PM
Reply to: Message 160 by Lamden
10-12-2015 2:38 PM


Re: Ok, let's dig a little deeper
No matter how slight the improvement is, is that not an astounding chain of events?

Well, lots of things are true and astounding. The fact that the world is round. Quantum mechanics. The existence of giraffes. But is there an actual argument? If this is meant to be it:

Even the most miniscule, subtle improvement would require a huge degree of organization.

... then I confess I can't make head nor tail of it. Could you expand on it a little? Normally what is needed for a minuscule subtle improvement is actually a minuscule subtle change.

Similarly, The wonders of the eye as we know it seems to good to have overgone such a handicapped development process.

"Seems". Again, you don't so much have an argument as a feeling of incredulity.

But the interesting thing is that eyes do appear to exhibit the fingerprints of just such a "handicapped design process". For example, there is the famous case of the blind spot in the vertebrate eye. We can see how the eye can be improved, but it can't be improved by making it incrementally better, only by going right back to the drawing board and starting over, which evolution can't do. What we have here, then, is a point in favor of evolution, not against it.

An analogy was made to a centipede multiplying its feet through mutations. Without any intention to be disrespectful, it seems amateurish to simplify so drastically . So much is required for something like that to happen, I am not so sure it makes it any easier to understand.

I don't follow you. "So much" needs to happen for what? The duplication of a segment? I don't think so.

Even if there is a beneficial mutation somewhere somehow, they are so rare that by the time it happened, the beneficial species would be outnumbered a trillion to one. By the time the effects of its beneficial mutation started to increase its population, the other trillion cousins , at all far flung parts of the world, would have multiplied to 1 trillion times ( insert some big number), and have their own representation of beneficial mutations. Repeat. And repeat. And repeat. Life as we know it ought to be far more diverse than it is today.

Well, this is a classic creationist trope: the non-quantitative quantitative argument. How did you measure how much diversity there is in life today? You didn't. How did you calculate how much diversity there would be if life had been evolving for the last 3 billion years or so? You didn't. You really didn't. No-one could. And yet your argument depends on claiming that the first number you didn't calculate is smaller than the second number you didn't calculate.

That's not much of an argument, is it? But if you think it is, then let me have a go. "If creationists were right, there'd be way more fish than there are." Does that convince you? No?

Over the weekend, I have discovered a blurb from none other than Thomas Nagel himself decrying the portrayal of Darwinism as gospel. Had I known about it earlier, I certainly would have drawn from such a celebrated name.

Never mind his name, what's his argument? Is it any good? (Lots of people say no.) Has a philosopher telling scientists what can and can't be true ever been any good?

(The only book of Nagel's I've read was on epistemology, and it was awful.)

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 160 by Lamden, posted 10-12-2015 2:38 PM Lamden has not yet responded

  
MrHambre
Member (Idle past 54 days)
Posts: 1493
From: Framingham, MA, USA
Joined: 06-23-2003


Message 167 of 221 (770692)
10-12-2015 10:01 PM
Reply to: Message 160 by Lamden
10-12-2015 2:38 PM


The View From Elsewhere
Lamden writes:

Over the weekend, I have discovered a blurb from none other than Thomas Nagel himself decrying the portrayal of Darwinism as gospel. Had I known about it earlier, I certainly would have drawn from such a celebrated name. Although he remains an atheist for reasons that he admits amount to a convenience, his statement as a philosopher is notable.


A "blurb"? I don't know whether you mean Nagel decries that Darwinism is treated as gospel or that he decries that it's mischaracterized as gospel. Do you even know what you mean?

I assume you're referring to Nagel's much-maligned Mind and Cosmos, wherein Nagel critiqued materialism. I prefer Nagel's The View from Nowhere, his fascinating treatise on the illusion of objectivity. However, I felt that his ideas on materialism deserved more than the scorn that science cheerleaders heaped on them, and he certainly wasn't claiming that species don't evolve.

So what is it that Nagel said that you find so compelling?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 160 by Lamden, posted 10-12-2015 2:38 PM Lamden has not yet responded

    
dwise1
Member
Posts: 2956
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.3


Message 168 of 221 (770706)
10-13-2015 2:43 AM
Reply to: Message 160 by Lamden
10-12-2015 2:38 PM


Re: Ok, let's dig a little deeper
Very late. Very busy. Very long day and miserable weather that had made for a somewhat sleepless night.

C) An analogy was made to a centipede multiplying its feet through mutations. Without any intention to be disrespectful, it seems amateurish to simplify so drastically . So much is required for something like that to happen, I am not so sure it makes it any easier to understand. But I can understand why Dawkins would use it to promote his point.

HOX genes, as has been mentioned and which you should learn about. Genes which encode for the development of entire body parts. And when mutations (obviously deleterious ones) are encouraged in fruit flies (a popular subject in genetics research since the turn of the 20th century because of their short generation times) you can get such things as legs growing where antennae should be, which could be explained, I believe, by a single mutation of a regulatory gene which switched on the wrong HOX gene at that location.

As Dwise points out in his webpage, the conclusions we make from our observations is a different story- perhaps we could call it philosophy.

Could you please properly cite me on that? Tell us the web page and directly quote what you are referring to? And preferably do it with quote tags. At the bottom of this message is a peek button. If you click on it, you will see all the mark-up encodings, which we call "tags". If you ever want to know how to do something that you see in a message, use that peek button. Though I must warn you that sometimes we resort to HTML.

As you should have read on my cre/ev homepage (http://http://cre-ev.dwise1.net/index.html), I have been repeatedly accused in "run-by fruitings" of saying things on my site which I have never said there. It is for that reason on my site that I ask that everyone please tell me exactly where they think I had said any such thing that they claim.

I hereby invoke that right of being told just what the hell you are talking about! Ye're just lucky I dinna don me kilt te say that. Sorry, ye got my Scottish up there! Please point out to everybody what exactly you are referring to and then we can all discuss it.

Over the weekend, I have discovered a blurb from none other than Thomas Nagel himself decrying the portrayal of Darwinism as gospel.

My Mexican father-in-law had an expression: En su propria casa se conece. ("In his own home he is known.")

So then just who exactly is this Thomas Nagel? What biological research has he conducted to make him an expert on Darwinism? Oh, he's a philosopher. OK, so what does that have to do with biology?

Here is something that I had started to write in response to another message (HINT!!!!! use the peek button here to see how to do a quote, and URL links):

quote:
There are two basic types of anti-evolutionist: creationists and ID proponents. That holds true for the most part, even though the creationists have taken to trying to pass themselves off as IDists albeit just enough to fool themselves into thinking that they're fooling anybody.

The creationists got started around the end of WWI and gave us the infamous "monkey laws" in the 1920's. The Scopes Trial was an unsuccessful attempt by the ACLU to get a test case before the US Supreme Court, but it failed when the case was thrown out in the state appeals court for a technicality. It wasn't until Epperson v. Arkansas (1968) that a "monkey law" case finally got to the US Supreme Court and resulted in the "monkey laws" being struck down as unconstitutional. That woke up the slumbering creationist movement and ushered in the current conflict. I detailed that much more in a presentation I gave at church (Unitarian Universalist -- http://cre-ev.dwise1.net/Earlybird.html).

The creationist form of anti-evolutionism is characterised by a near exclusively religious basis, including belief in biblical literalism which extends to belief in a young earth, one which is no more than 10,000 years old. Their strategy included the creation of a legalistic deception, "creation science", for the purpose of fooling the courts with false claims that their purpose for opposing the teaching of evolution is for "purely scientific reasons." That's commonly called "playing the game of 'Hide the Bible'." When the true religious nature of "creation science" was exposed in (Edwards v. Aguillard (1987)), that killed use of that term. Creationists adapted by posing as "intelligent design" proponents, thus changing the game to one of "Hide the Creationism." That also failed when ID was exposed as a thin disguise for creationism in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District (2005). I don't know what they've done in response to that.

In the 80's and 90's, another anti-evolutionism movement was forming: Intelligent Design. These anti-evolutionists primarily objected to evolution on philosophical grounds, though many individuals also had personal religious qualms as well (eg, principal founder, lawyer Phillip Johnson, said in an essay that he objected to evolution because "it leaves God with nothing to do."). They did not hold to young-earth or literalist beliefs, though they did recognize allies in the creationists and worked on cementing ties with them.

A big difference between the two types is in their education and professional training, which shows in their material. In general, creationists do not know what they are talking about. That doesn't hinder them when they are talking to others who also do not understand the science, but it leaves them very vulnerable among those who do understand such things, which is why they avoid those encounters or seek to control them (as in the infamous creation/evolution "debates"). Even the creationists who are well educated will frequently make claims that are far outside their areas of expertise, making flagrant errors in the process. In general, their claims are not only bullshit, but are bullshit of rather poor quality that start to fall apart the moment you begin to check them and can be refuted easily by just about anybody.

OTOH, IDists come up with bullshit arguments that are of much higher quality. They are of much higher academic quality and usually employ advanced mathematics. As a result, their critics must themselves have a higher education and be well training in those fields in which the IDists base their claims. That makes for a much tougher nut to crack. Their claims are still bullshit, but it takes a lot more work to expose them as such.

A number of IDist arguments employ information theory. Incorrectly, of course, but it flies far enough over their audiences' heads to bedazzle and to confound them nonetheless.


Your first two "points" seemed to try to make use of "information theory" type of arguments. Perhaps you were being influenced by your ID readings?

But back to Nagel (German for "nail").

The purely ID anti-evolutionists hold that position for some kind of philosophical reasons. Is Nagel one of those? Does that compromise in any way what he says?

I have mentioned a local creationist, Bill Morgan. He often engages in a typical creationist snake-oil show called a "creation/evolution debate." He has posted videos from some of those debates onto YouTube -- with a physicist Phil Sommerfeld on 07 March 2009. Here are a couple of those that I tried to discuss with him (met with dead silence, of course):

quote:
In Part 6 of 11 ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He_M68cuC1k&list=PL2DC898... ) at 5:41 you cite Dr Georgia Purdom, PhD Molecular Genetics, in order to "refute" retroviruses. You made sure to explicitly point out her PhD in Molecular Genetics. However, you completely avoided mentioning that she is a professional creationist who works with Answers in Genesis. You misled the audience into thinking that she was speaking as a scientist, when in reality she was speaking as a creationist.

Clearly your intent was to deceive the audience.


And,

quote:
In Part 10 of 11 ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CES4DnCRD2w&index=10&list... ) at 6:23 you repeat the deceptive trick you pulled using Dr Georgia Purdom, only this time you cite Dr. John C. Sanford who is an anti-evolutionist of the "Intelligent Design" variety and is also a young-earth creationist. Yet again you made sure to explicitly point out his PhD while completely avoiding any mention that he's a creationist. Again you misled the audience into thinking that he was speaking as a scientist, when in reality he was speaking as a creationist.

Clearly your intent was to deceive the audience yet again.


So then just who is this Thomas Nagel fellow? One of those fucking creationist lies?

Or just maybe you can provide us with a righteous citation for that quote that you never even bothered to provide us with in the first place.

A friend I work with is a Christian fundamentalist. I believe that there is mutual respect between us ... I certain do respect him and I assume that that respect is reciprocated. One day, I shared with him a fundamental problem I have with fundamentalists. They lie about everything. He was troubled by that perception. I sincerely hope he can work it out.

Lamden, creationists and IDists alike will lie to you. That is in their nature. So what are we to do? Follow truth. Follow truthfulness. Follow honesty. That is what I argue for at my site, isn't it?

Bill Morgan opposes my position. He says that he opposes it. He says that he has always opposed it and that he has disproven it. So what is my position? I have repeatedly asked Bill Morgan that and every single time he has remained completely silent.

My position is the truth and truthfulness and honesty. And every single step of the way, Bill Morgan has opposed the truth, and truthfulness, and honesty.

OK, Lamden, just what exactly is the nature of your Thomas Nagel quote? Did he actuallly say what he appears to have said? Or has he been misquoted?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 160 by Lamden, posted 10-12-2015 2:38 PM Lamden has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 170 by Lamden, posted 10-13-2015 12:21 PM dwise1 has responded

    
ringo
Member
Posts: 13639
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 169 of 221 (770721)
10-13-2015 12:12 PM
Reply to: Message 151 by NoNukes
10-11-2015 8:37 PM


Re: What is plausible, what can be tested
NoNukes writes:

In nature we see certainly do see reuse of designs.


But what we don't see is retro-fitting of the improved designs across the board. Once the better octopus eye was invented, why wouldn't a designer rewrite the DNA of mammals to use it? After fancy electric headlights were designed for cars, we don't still see aircraft flying around with candles.
This message is a reply to:
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Lamden
Junior Member
Posts: 25
From: Lakewood
Joined: 09-23-2015


Message 170 of 221 (770722)
10-13-2015 12:21 PM
Reply to: Message 168 by dwise1
10-13-2015 2:43 AM


Re: Ok, let's dig a little deeper
Could you please properly cite me on that?

I honestly thought recalled something to that effect on your page, but as you dispute it, rather than finding what I was referring to and quibbling over the meaning, I defer to the authors intent and I have edited your name out of my post.

But back to Nagel (German for "nail").

Speaking of which, you are no doubt well aware that Wise is German for "white". And I am called Schwartz. And according to Michael Jackson, "It doesn't matter if you're black or white", so I guess we can still be freinds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2AitTPI5U0

So then just who exactly is this Thomas Nagel? What biological research has he conducted to make him an expert on Darwinism? Oh, he's a philosopher. OK, so what does that have to do with biology?

My point was, I defer to you and all of your cronies as superior when it comes to knowledge of biology.
But biology is all good and fine. The points I am interested in are the conclusions we make from biology. It is at this point that the biologist is to present the evidence, and bow away to those that know how to think. (of course, a biologist may happen to know how to think also, but not because she is a biologist). I quote Nagel not because I endorse him, but because he is an extremely well known and respected thinker, as well as being an atheist, and cannot be accused of creationisim etc.

This reminds me of a debate about medical ethics in Canada once upon a time, where there was some sort of movement to leave the decision of medical homicide up to (loose quotation ) "the ones that are qualified to make the decision....doctors) (sic).
While a doctor may be the one to diagnose someone as braindead, the decision what to do afterwards has nothing to do with medicine.

Edited by Lamden, : No reason given.

Edited by Admin, : Fix quote codes.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 168 by dwise1, posted 10-13-2015 2:43 AM dwise1 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 171 by Bliyaal, posted 10-13-2015 12:42 PM Lamden has responded
 Message 173 by Tanypteryx, posted 10-13-2015 1:19 PM Lamden has not yet responded
 Message 175 by Percy, posted 10-13-2015 2:03 PM Lamden has responded
 Message 178 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-13-2015 3:52 PM Lamden has responded
 Message 221 by dwise1, posted 11-04-2015 2:20 AM Lamden has not yet responded

    
Bliyaal
Member (Idle past 213 days)
Posts: 171
From: Quebec City, Qc, Canada
Joined: 02-17-2012


(1)
Message 171 of 221 (770724)
10-13-2015 12:42 PM
Reply to: Message 170 by Lamden
10-13-2015 12:21 PM


Re: Ok, let's dig a little deeper
This reminds me of a debate about medical ethics in Canada once upon a time, where there was some sort of movement to leave the decision of medical homicide up to (loose quotation ) "the ones that are qualified to make the decision....doctors) (sic).
While a doctor may be the one to diagnose someone as braindead, the decision what to do afterwards has nothing to do with medicine.

False analogy. Braindead isn't evidence, it's a conclusion from the evidence just like evolution in the conclusion from the evidence. You may want to ask a philosopher to tell you what to do now that you know evolution is true but it won't change the fact that it happened and is still happening.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 170 by Lamden, posted 10-13-2015 12:21 PM Lamden has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 172 by Lamden, posted 10-13-2015 12:45 PM Bliyaal has responded

  
Lamden
Junior Member
Posts: 25
From: Lakewood
Joined: 09-23-2015


Message 172 of 221 (770726)
10-13-2015 12:45 PM
Reply to: Message 171 by Bliyaal
10-13-2015 12:42 PM


Re: Ok, let's dig a little deeper
You are nit picking. Either you will bother to understand my point or not.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 171 by Bliyaal, posted 10-13-2015 12:42 PM Bliyaal has responded

Replies to this message:
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Tanypteryx
Member
Posts: 1578
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 6.1


(1)
Message 173 of 221 (770733)
10-13-2015 1:19 PM
Reply to: Message 170 by Lamden
10-13-2015 12:21 PM


Re: Ok, let's dig a little deeper
Lamden writes:

But biology is all good and fine. The points I am interested in are the conclusions we make from biology. It is at this point that the biologist is to present the evidence, and bow away to those that know how to think. (of course, a biologist may happen to know how to think also, but not because she is a biologist).

You don't seem to understand much about science. Scientists (in this case biologists) are not just data gatherers. They actually do the whole enchilada; hypothesize, experiment, observe, conclude, repeat.

and bow away to those that know how to think.

Are you kidding me? Part of the training of every scientist is how to think in a scientific way. This includes understanding the evidence and making conclusions about it.

Lamden writes:

I quote Nagel not because I endorse him, but because he is an extremely well known and respected thinker,

But you didn't actually quote him. You said, "Over the weekend, I have discovered a blurb from none other than Thomas Nagel himself decrying the portrayal of Darwinism as gospel." What did he actually say, and in what context, and where did he say it? And what does it mean and who is portraying Darwinism as gospel? The only people I ever hear portraying Darwin as gospel are creationists.

because he is an extremely well known and respected thinker

He may be well known, but I had never heard of him. He is a respected thinker, by whom? Anyone can think about biology, why are his thoughts about biology of any importance?

As a scientist and a biologist, I have run across very few people who characterize themselves as philosophers whose thoughts or opinions about science I respect, or about any subject for that matter. Most of the ones I have had experience with think they know about science but are actually failures at science and understanding science.


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy


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Replies to this message:
 Message 183 by MrHambre, posted 10-13-2015 10:04 PM Tanypteryx has responded

    
Bliyaal
Member (Idle past 213 days)
Posts: 171
From: Quebec City, Qc, Canada
Joined: 02-17-2012


Message 174 of 221 (770737)
10-13-2015 1:27 PM
Reply to: Message 172 by Lamden
10-13-2015 12:45 PM


Re: Ok, let's dig a little deeper
I understand it very well. You want biologists to stop thinking. It's not nitpicking.

Your point is based on a bad analogy.

Philosophers aren't trained to analyse complex data from science, you can't ask them to conclude if evolution is true or not. What they can do for you is think about the consequences of that knowledge.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 172 by Lamden, posted 10-13-2015 12:45 PM Lamden has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 15915
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 175 of 221 (770740)
10-13-2015 2:03 PM
Reply to: Message 170 by Lamden
10-13-2015 12:21 PM


Re: Ok, let's dig a little deeper
Hey, Lamden, about the quote codes, it isn't [q], it's [quote] or [qs]. Text using the [quote] code is set off by horizontal lines at the top and bottom of the text, while text using the [qs] code, which is an abbreviation for "quote shaded", is set off inside a slightly darker text box.

[quote] or [qs], not [q]. And of course, they're closed with [/quote] or [/qs].

If you click on the preview button after typing your message you'll see if you got the quote codes right. If you see no quoting going on in your rendered message, guess what?

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 170 by Lamden, posted 10-13-2015 12:21 PM Lamden has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 176 by Lamden, posted 10-13-2015 2:09 PM Percy has responded

    
Lamden
Junior Member
Posts: 25
From: Lakewood
Joined: 09-23-2015


Message 176 of 221 (770742)
10-13-2015 2:09 PM
Reply to: Message 175 by Percy
10-13-2015 2:03 PM


Re: Ok, let's dig a little deeper
I saw something was wrong, but didn't want to sift thru the site till I figured it out. Practice maketh perfect
This message is a reply to:
 Message 175 by Percy, posted 10-13-2015 2:03 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 15915
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 177 of 221 (770743)
10-13-2015 2:29 PM
Reply to: Message 176 by Lamden
10-13-2015 2:09 PM


Re: Ok, let's dig a little deeper
Lamden writes:

I saw something was wrong, but didn't want to sift thru the site till I figured it out. Practice maketh perfect

If you look to the left of the little text box where you're typing your message you'll see a help link for the dBCodes, or you can Click Here, or you can select Message Coding Help from the Essential Links menu item near the top of the page.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15950
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 178 of 221 (770752)
10-13-2015 3:52 PM
Reply to: Message 170 by Lamden
10-13-2015 12:21 PM


Re: Ok, let's dig a little deeper
But biology is all good and fine. The points I am interested in are the conclusions we make from biology.

Then why ... why this thread? Which is all about whether biology is good and fine, and not at all about drawing conclusions from biology.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 170 by Lamden, posted 10-13-2015 12:21 PM Lamden has responded

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Lamden
Junior Member
Posts: 25
From: Lakewood
Joined: 09-23-2015


Message 179 of 221 (770762)
10-13-2015 5:54 PM
Reply to: Message 178 by Dr Adequate
10-13-2015 3:52 PM


Re: Ok, let's dig a little deeper
I am not here to convince you of any screwed up science, but to learn what science says.
This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 18968
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 180 of 221 (770764)
10-13-2015 6:30 PM
Reply to: Message 179 by Lamden
10-13-2015 5:54 PM


science is the pursuit of knowledge
I am not here to convince you of any screwed up science, but to learn what science says.

Science says follow the evidence, discard all preconceptions ... and follow the scientific method:

You will note this is an endless do-loop iteration process; that science is never complete, but it pursues completeness; each refinement of knowledge and theory builds on the previous knowledge and brings us closer.

Enjoy

ps to reiterate:

type [qs]quotes are easy[/qs] and it becomes:

quotes are easy

and you can type [qs=RAZD]quotes are easy[/qs] and it becomes:

RAZD writes:

quotes are easy

or type [quote]quotes are easy[/quote] and it becomes:

quote:
quotes are easy

also check out (help)

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