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Author Topic:   Anatomical Vestiges -- Evidence of Common Descent
iceage 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4087 days)
Posts: 1024
From: Pacific Northwest
Joined: 09-08-2003


Message 16 of 34 (417564)
08-21-2007 9:12 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by molbiogirl
08-20-2007 12:47 AM


Hammering tacks with a computer kekboard
The link provided is a nicely done site packed with good and interesting information.

I know creationist have argued that human appendix's and pelvic structures in whales have some minor and potentially yet unknown uses so therefore it is premature to label them as useless.

However the Ostrich wings must present a significant problem for the Creationist.

I quote from the reference site:

quote:
For example, wings are very complex anatomical structures specifically adapted for powered flight, yet ostriches have flightless wings. The vestigial wings of ostriches may be used for relatively simple functions, such as balance during running and courtship displays—a situation akin to hammering tacks with a computer keyboard. The specific complexity of the ostrich wing indicates a function which it does not perform, and it performs functions incommensurate with its complexity. Ostrich wings are not vestigial because they are useless structures per se, nor are they vestigial simply because they have different functions compared to wings in other birds. Rather, what defines ostrich wings as vestigial is that they are rudimentary wings which are useless as wings.

A complex rudimentary structure that has the appearance of being "designed" as a wing but useless as wing and much else.

Just what is the Creationist explanation of for Ostrich wings?.


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molbiogirl
Member (Idle past 814 days)
Posts: 1909
From: MO
Joined: 06-06-2007


Message 17 of 34 (417633)
08-23-2007 2:44 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by iceage
08-21-2007 9:12 PM


Re: Hammering tacks with a computer kekboard
IDers insist that "god doesn't make junk"; therefore, there is no junk DNA.

I wonder if junk DNA counts as an anatomical vestige?


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Chiroptera
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Posts: 6645
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 18 of 34 (417642)
08-23-2007 3:22 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by molbiogirl
08-23-2007 2:44 PM


Re: Hammering tacks with a computer kekboard
Indeed. Here is an article on pseudogenes in general; Douglas Theobald's essay has a little bit on the broken vitamin C gene in humans and other apes that is a pretty popular subject in this vein.


I've done everything the Bible says, even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff! -- Ned Flanders
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Nighttrain
Member (Idle past 2166 days)
Posts: 1512
From: brisbane,australia
Joined: 06-08-2004


Message 19 of 34 (417717)
08-23-2007 10:00 PM


HOEs and redheads
Not to be too picky. O.K., I will be picky--shouldn`t it be 'Hypothesisers Of Evolution'?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:
'Redheads to be extinct in 100 years'. The coppertop mutation seems to be receding in the human population. Or it may become dormant.

http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,22289891-23272,00.html

Do retained mutations give us clues to past environmental conditions? The redhead gene supposedly provided increased amounts of vitamin D from sunlight. Did it arise from a post-impact climate with reduced light?


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molbiogirl
Member (Idle past 814 days)
Posts: 1909
From: MO
Joined: 06-06-2007


Message 20 of 34 (417732)
08-23-2007 10:34 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by Nighttrain
08-23-2007 10:00 PM


Re: HOEs and redheads
I haven't any idea what you are talking about.

What have redheads to do with anatomical vestiges?


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Doddy
Member (Idle past 4082 days)
Posts: 563
From: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 01-04-2007


Message 21 of 34 (418048)
08-26-2007 2:47 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Chiroptera
08-20-2007 2:07 PM


Re: appendices
Chiroptera writes:

I can't see any reason why a lymphoid tissue needs to be contained in a blind sac


Because if your blind sac doesn't have any accumulation of lymphoid tissue, you will surely die from any infection that is bound to be trapped there. If your minor appendiceal inflammation develops into appendicitis, and that isn't kept in check by a massive immune response, it could easily develop into peritonitis and eventually septic shock and death. It's easy to see why that evolved.


Help to inform the public - contribute to the EvoWiki today!

What do you mean "You can't prove a negative"? Have you searched the whole universe for proofs of a negative statement? No? How do you know that they don't exist then?!


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Chiroptera
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From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 22 of 34 (418087)
08-26-2007 10:39 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by Doddy
08-26-2007 2:47 AM


Re: appendices
Hi, Doddy.

We're not discussing why, given the existence of this particular organ, it should evolve to have extra lymphoid tissue. The purpose of this thread is to discuss the vestigial nature of the appendix. Creationists claim that the appendix is not vestigial because it has a purpose, and that it's purpose is that it contains lymphoid tissue important for the immune system. The question then becomes why God needed to create a holder for lymphoid tissue that was a blind sac, why a blind sac that looks for all the world similar to an existing, functioning organ in closely related species, and why a blind that can and does kill the person who has it.

Added by edit:
But maybe this is another case of where if I have to explain the joke, then it probably wasn't funny to begin with.

Edited by Chiroptera, : No reason given.


I've done everything the Bible says, even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff! -- Ned Flanders
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Fallen
Member (Idle past 2045 days)
Posts: 38
Joined: 08-02-2007


Message 23 of 34 (418323)
08-27-2007 2:32 PM


Chiroptera writes:

We're not discussing why, given the existence of this particular organ, it should evolve to have extra lymphoid tissue. The purpose of this thread is to discuss the vestigial nature of the appendix. Creationists claim that the appendix is not vestigial because it has a purpose, and that it's purpose is that it contains lymphoid tissue important for the immune system. The question then becomes why God needed to create a holder for lymphoid tissue that was a blind sac, why a blind sac that looks for all the world similar to an existing, functioning organ in closely related species, and why a blind that can and does kill the person who has it.

The evidence that has been presented here is evidence against a particular version of creationism, not evidence in favor of evolution. The underlying assumption behind the argument is that an Intelligent Designer would never use the same design twice, or would never modify a design for re-use in another organism. I don’t accept that assumption. I, for one, would have a hard time accepting Intelligent Design if no two designs were alike, because that would go against everything we know about clever designs. Smart designers don’t create hundreds of entirely independent concepts. Rather, they use and vary the same design many times. One has only to look at every design from nails to computers to ballistic missiles to see that much. The reason for this principle of engineering is simple – if you only make one kind of a design, you waste a lot of potentially useful similar designs. Likewise, in your example, the designer probably used the appendix design to make a workable addition to the immune system.

Edited by Prodi, : No reason given.

Edited by Prodi, : No reason given.


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Coragyps
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Posts: 5393
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 24 of 34 (418327)
08-27-2007 2:50 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by Fallen
08-27-2007 2:32 PM


Hello, Prodi, and welcome to EvC!

the designer probably used the appendix design to make a workable addition to the immune system.

But the human ppendix isn't "a workable addition to the immune system" in any meaningful way at all. It's just a few square centimeters of small intestine with some Peyer's patches on it - like they're on the other square meter or however much of the rest of the small intestine. And it's arranged as a little time bomb that kills 7% or so of (preindustrial) humans at just about the time they're thinking about starting families.

Ill-tempered designer, I'd think.


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Fallen
Member (Idle past 2045 days)
Posts: 38
Joined: 08-02-2007


Message 25 of 34 (418334)
08-27-2007 3:23 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by Coragyps
08-27-2007 2:50 PM


Coragyps writes:

But the human ppendix isn't "a workable addition to the immune system" in any meaningful way at all. It's just a few square centimeters of small intestine with some Peyer's patches on it - like they're on the other square meter or however much of the rest of the small intestine. And it's arranged as a little time bomb that kills 7% or so of (preindustrial) humans at just about the time they're thinking about starting families.
Ill-tempered designer, I'd think.

Regardless, vestigial structures like the appendix are consistent with theories other than evolution. Perhaps it was designed and later corrupted, or we haven’t done enough research yet to uncover its true purpose. In my experience, many supposedly functionless or damaging parts have turned out to be both useful and functional when more research is done. In any case, the appendix (and vestigial structures in general), as promoted by the evolutionists in this thread, are not “proof for evolution.” Rather, they are evidence against the beliefs that the evolutionists here assume – incorrectly – that all of those opposed to evolution hold.


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Chiroptera
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Posts: 6645
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 26 of 34 (418339)
08-27-2007 4:00 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by Fallen
08-27-2007 2:32 PM


Hi, Prodi.

The evidence that has been presented here is evidence against a particular version of creationism....

Sure. That's the only way evidence can be used against an idea -- you need particulars in order to figure out what you should see in the world around us, and then to check whether the evidence supports or refutes those particulars. It isn't evidence against something vague like someone, somewhere, did something -- no evidence can refute something so vague. That is why creationism isn't science. Creationists refuse to pin themselves down to definite specifics that can be tested.

-

...not evidence in favor of evolution.

Oh, but it is. Do you know what evidence is in science? One makes predictions based on one's theory, and then checks to see whether those predictions are observed. If the predicted phenomena are observed, then that counts as evidence in favor of the theory. If the predicted phenomena aren't observed, then we have a potential falsification.

Once common descent is recognized and once the phylogenic tree is more or less worked out to some degree, then one can make definite predictions about vestigial organs and see if one observes the predicted phenomena.

Theobald explains how this works. Assume gradual evolution, then if the members of a species begin to take advantage of a new niche where a certain organ is no longer necessary (at least for its original "purpose"), then mutations that disable its use will no longer be selected against. And, even if it is harmful to carry a useless organ, it will take time for natural selection to eliminate it completely. Therefore, we should actually see vestigial organs in nature. And we do!

Also, these vestigial organs should be similar to organs that had a function in a recent ancestor. We shouldn't, for example, see frogs with vestigial wings -- frog ancestors didn't have wings. It is possible that some birds would have vestigial wings (and they do!), it is possible that some bats would have vestigial wings (which none do, as far as I know), but no frog should have vestigial wings. If a frog with vestigial wings were found in nature, that would be a problem for evolution.

-

Smart designers don’t create hundreds of entirely independent concepts.

Sure. No matter how smart a designer is, there is a limit to her imagination. Thinking up a totally new design takes a lot of time and effort on her part. Smart designers have limited resources available to them, so it makes sense that they will save time and money by re-using old designs.

This makes no sense for God creating the world ex nihilo unless we postulate that God wasn't so smart, and that he was forced to work within a budget. But most creationists assume that God is omnipotent and omniscient, so these limitations wouldn't apply. God is omniscient, so he already knows all the possible designs that he could use; he's omnipotent so he can make them come into being. It wouldn't be dumb for an omniscient, omnipotent God to make every creature with radically different designs. That fact that the number of designs is limited seems to be evidence that God isn't as omniscient or as omnipotent as his followers would have us believe.

-

The reason for this principle of engineering is simple – if you only make one kind of a design, you waste a lot of potentially useful similar designs.

Exactly. Because real designers are limited in imagination (no matter how clever they are, there are limitations to their cleverness) and in the budgets within which they must work. As you said before, this is evidence against a particular version of creationism, namely the version that has an ominpotent, omniscient creator.

This is evidence, perhaps, that God was a very limited entity. He was forced to reuse old designs. When he created ostriches, he couldn't figure out how to eliminate wings -- they were too hardwired into the developmental processes, and so ostriches have wings that can't fly.

God couldn't figure out how to make primates without appendices, so when he created humans, he had no choice but to include a useless tiny sac in the basic human design.

-

Likewise, in your example, the designer probably used the appendix design to make a workable addition to the immune system.

But the immune system works fine without the appendix. They have studied people without appendices -- either because they were surgically removed, or because they were born without an appendix. No ill effects whatsoever correlate with the lack of an appendix. This has been studied.

And even if there were some immune function, an omnipotent God could presumably figure out how to include extra lymphoid tissue without embedding it in a blind sac branching off of the intestine. Maybe by making a solid organ embedded with lymphoid tissue, or including extra lymphoid tissue in the rest of the intestine.

But God was stuck with a basic primate design that included a caecum. God couldn't figure out how to change the embryonic development of humans to eliminate it -- he was working under deadline, apparently, and didn't have enough time to work it out and didn't have a large enough budget to make the necessary changes anyway (hey, you are the one who wants to compare God to real designers!), so even though humans don't eat a cellulose rich diet consisting mainly of leaves, he was stuck with the caecum. Oh well, at least it makes a handy place to put some extra lymphoid tissue.

My guess is that this is not the sort of God that most creationists think that they worship. Yet here is the evidence. The evidence seems to be in favor of a god with rather limited powers.

-

Well, this isn't true either, because the important thing isn't the similarities, but pattern the similarities exhibit. This is actually my favorite piece of evidence, but it unfortunately is off-topic here.

Edited by Chiroptera, : Missed a typo.


I've done everything the Bible says, even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff! -- Ned Flanders
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iceage 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4087 days)
Posts: 1024
From: Pacific Northwest
Joined: 09-08-2003


Message 27 of 34 (418342)
08-27-2007 4:06 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by Fallen
08-27-2007 3:23 PM


Prodi writes:

In any case, the appendix (and vestigial structures in general), as promoted by the evolutionists in this thread, are not “proof for evolution.” Rather, they are evidence against the beliefs that the evolutionists here assume – incorrectly – that all of those opposed to evolution hold.

Not "Proof for Evolution" but more evidence on a mound of evidence.

Vestigial structures would be expected (predicted?) if life can be explained by a evolutionary framework.

Some structures are in disuse but still retained due to historical reasons, some structures are no longer normally present but the genes are still hanging around and are occasionally expressed (atavism) and other structures have been co-opted for different uses other than the original adapted use.

I did not quite follow your last sentence

Prodi writes:

Rather, they are evidence against the beliefs that the evolutionists here assume – incorrectly – that all of those opposed to evolution hold.

Why are vestigial structures evidence against the beliefs that the evolutionist assume?

Edited by iceage, : No reason given.

Edited by iceage, : No reason given.


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bluegenes
Member (Idle past 649 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 28 of 34 (418352)
08-27-2007 5:29 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by Nighttrain
08-23-2007 10:00 PM


Re: HOEs and redheads
Nighttrain writes:

Do retained mutations give us clues to past environmental conditions? The redhead gene supposedly provided increased amounts of vitamin D from sunlight. Did it arise from a post-impact climate with reduced light?

It's more common in Scotland and Ireland than anywhere else I've been, and history tells us that the Scots and Irish have a higher percentage of their ancestry that would've been on these very cloudy islands for a very long time than the English do.

Because of the gulf stream effect, it may be that we actually get less direct sunlight than pretty much anywhere else in the world. The red hair seems to be a byproduct of genes that also produce very pale skin, an advantage in this climate for absorbing vitamin D, but definitely vestigial for those redheads who've ended up in Australia, where your linked article came from. In fact, like the appendix, actually disadvantageous in a sunny climate.

So, although I think your post-impact hypothesis is an interesting one (and it would make sense) I think that the answer to selection for redheadedness may lie in our dull, cloudy climate, and it may be just a bit of local micro-evolution that pushed further across the population on Britain and Ireland than anywhere else.


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Coragyps
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From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 29 of 34 (418377)
08-27-2007 9:48 PM


Vomeronasal organs
My very favorite example of a vestigial organ - and one that correlates beautifully with family trees of mammals - is the vomeronasal organ. Not exactly a household word, huh? A wide variety of mammals have 'em, though. If you've ever seen a bull check out a heifer, you may have noticed how he curls his lip and snorts in violently. What he's doing there is checking out if she's in heat - if she is releasing pheromones - by pulling in "scent" across a pair of sensory organs in the roof of his mouth. This "VNO" also connects to the lower end of the nose, but has different sensors and different connections than the normal "sense of smell."

The VNO sensors - not just in cattle but in dogs, mice, a most other mammals - are tuned to compounds that are less volatile than the standard olfactory sensors are. Many critters actually have to touch what they want to sniff - dogs licking dogs' butts, mice touching urine, etc, And these critters have what's called an "accessory olfactory bulb," separate from the olfactory bulb that connects to the nose, in their brains. Separate nerves lead from the VNO to this AOB. Separate genes code for the receptors in the VNO and those in the nose. It's a "sixth sense" in the literal sense, and one that's used in both sexes to gather information about mates and potential mates.

Snakes and lizards have VNO's, too - also called Jacobson's Organ. The use them to hunt as well as mate. Whales don't have them. Primates, however, are divided in opinion on whether VNO's are good or not. Lorises and lemurs have fully-developed VNO's. New-World monkeys do, too. Old-World monkeys, apes, and humans don't. Well, we start out to have them when we're fetuses, but they migrate upwards from the palate and shrink to tiny dead-ended tubes before or around birth. We (humans, chimps, and other Old-Worlds and apes that have been studied) also start out growing a accessory olfactory bulb, but resorb it and use the brain space for something else before/around the time of birth.

Despite anatomists looking hard, no sensory nerve connections have been found carrying signals from ape/human VNO's to the brain. That's probably good, since we have no AOB to receive the signals. Biologists have found that boucoups of the genes that code for VNO receptor proteins in mice are inactivated (pseudogenes - they're mutated so the no longer code for anything) in OldW monkeys, apes, and humans.

The pattern of VNO/no VNO matches up precisely with the subdivisions of the primates determined by other anatomical and molecular evidence. The primates that lack functional VNO's are frequently those with full-color vision and with "sophisticated" social structures. Several (think baboons) have females that advertise being in estrus by developing brightly-colored vulva. We don't need vomeronasal organs as we evolved other ways to check out potential mates. The human/great ape VNO is a realio, trulio vestige from our ancestors that sniffed out the opposite sex. We lost the need to sniff (at least with the VNO - Tresor perfume still smells mighty fine to my olfactory apparatus) for mates, so there was no "reason" to keep a VNO.

More info - Google or Google Scholar "vomeronasal" combined with Timothy Smith, Kunwar Bhatnagar, or Michael Meredith. Or ask me - I have a fat file folder of this stuff.


    
Fallen
Member (Idle past 2045 days)
Posts: 38
Joined: 08-02-2007


Message 30 of 34 (418627)
08-29-2007 11:45 AM


My apologies to iceage and Coragyps for not addressing your posts specifically. I felt that addressing the ideas and assumptions behind the vestigial organs issue would lead to a cleaner, less time consuming discussion that talking about a lot of individual organs. If you feel that the issues that you brought up are not addressed adequately, please explain how and I will try to respond.

chiroptera writes:

Sure. That's the only way evidence can be used against an idea -- you need particulars in order to figure out what you should see in the world around us, and then to check whether the evidence supports or refutes those particulars. It isn't evidence against something vague like someone, somewhere, did something -- no evidence can refute something so vague. That is why creationism isn't science. Creationists refuse to pin themselves down to definite specifics that can be tested.

While it certainly is true that the mere proposition of an Intelligent Designer pins no details, that isn’t what Intelligent Design is about. Intelligent Design is a scientific research program dedicated to finding and analyzing signs of Intelligence like Behe’s irreducible complexity or Dembski’s complex, specified information. As a result, Intelligent Design is falsifiable/testable, since one has only to demonstrate that the signs of intelligence that Intelligent Design is based on can be explained by natural causes in order to falsify it. Many arguments using scientific evidence have been made against Intelligent Design, although the ones that I have seen are also refuted by scientific evidence.

Also, for the sake of accuracy, please don’t associate me with creationists, creationist theology, or creation science, as I am an Intelligent Design advocate with several beliefs that tend to get me into arguments with creationists when discussions like this come up.

If my understanding is correct, staying on topic is an important issue on this forum. Would you mind moving this discussion to a more appropriate topic so that this thread stays clean and simple?

Oh, but it is. Do you know what evidence is in science? One makes predictions based on one's theory, and then checks to see whether those predictions are observed. If the predicted phenomena are observed, then that counts as evidence in favor of the theory. If the predicted phenomena aren't observed, then we have a potential falsification.

Once common descent is recognized and once the phylogenic tree is more or less worked out to some degree, then one can make definite predictions about vestigial organs and see if one observes the predicted phenomena.

The problem is that evolution makes predictions in both directions and anywhere in between. Any number of vestigials (or complete lack of vestigials) can be explained as being due to the randomness of mutation and uncertainties about what selective pressures were at work. As result, nothing is really proved since the evidence would be accommodated regardless of what is actually found.

Also, these vestigial organs should be similar to organs that had a function in a recent ancestor. We shouldn't, for example, see frogs with vestigial wings -- frog ancestors didn't have wings. It is possible that some birds would have vestigial wings (and they do!), it is possible that some bats would have vestigial wings (which none do, as far as I know), but no frog should have vestigial wings. If a frog with vestigial wings were found in nature, that would be a problem for evolution.

If we found a frog with vestigial wings, people would see it as an organ “on its way in” rather than “on its way out,” and possibly even use it as further evidence for evolution. For example, flying fish have wings, but that isn’t considered to be evidence against evolution, in spite of the fact that they clearly have no ancestors with better wings.

This makes no sense for God creating the world ex nihilo unless we postulate that God wasn't so smart, and that he was forced to work within a budget. But most creationists assume that God is omnipotent and omniscient, so these limitations wouldn't apply. God is omniscient, so he already knows all the possible designs that he could use; he's omnipotent so he can make them come into being. It wouldn't be dumb for an omniscient, omnipotent God to make every creature with radically different designs. That fact that the number of designs is limited seems to be evidence that God isn't as omniscient or as omnipotent as his followers would have us believe…

This is why the argument is fundamentally a theological attack on creationism, not a scientific proof of evolution or evaluation of Intelligent Design. When the rubber hits the road, your argument is made up of your theological beliefs about how a designer would design things and using them when arguing against what you assume I have to believe if I accept an all-powerful designer. In other words, this piece of evidence is only counted in favor of evolution if you have a very specific set of theological beliefs. That is negative theology, not science, no matter how good a reason you have for your beliefs.

Setting that issue aside, I happen to disagree with your beliefs about how an all-powerful designer would go about doing things. However, at this point I come to an interesting puzzle. If I point out that the reasons that similarities are explained by design, you can respond by pointing out what you view as lack of functionality. Alternately, if I point out why I think functionality isn’t an issue for ID, you can come back by talking about the similarity. As a result, I think there are really two arguments here, functionality and similarity. In order to avoid this paradox, I think its best to address them both at once in the same place and explain all at once why dysfunctional similarities is not a good argument against ID. Here goes:

1. Functionality.
The first thing you need to realize is that most designers have more than one goal and that different designers have different goals. Basically, designing something is all about trade-offs (constrained optimalization) so that you can meet conflicting goals as well as possible. For example, making a car that can two hundred miles an hour probably isn’t a good idea if that means having a fuel efficiency measured in gallons per mile. In this case, efficiency would be balanced with speed. The problem with your argument is that you are assuming that an all-powerful designer would have only one goal for all of his designs: maximum fitness (defined in the evolutionary way).

First, we have no way of knowing the goals and intentions of the designer of life on earth, so any assumption about them is just that: an assumption. There is simply no evidence on this point, which is why ID theory doesn’t comment on it. That part of your argument is a version of the logical fallacy of begging the question – assuming a point within your argument that you are trying to demonstrate with your argument.

Second, maximum fitness makes no sense in the real world. Ecosystems can exist only because different organisms have different levels of fitness in different circumstances. For example, my favorite ecosystem is the intertidal zone. (the area between high tide and low tide) Different organisms do better when exposed to different amounts of air, sunlight, etc. and, in some places, are lined up according to their fitness in a particular area of the tidal zone. This creates a complex, fascinating ecosystem. But what if there was one organism did the best in all areas of the tidal zone? Simply put, it would dominate and then die out from lack of resources once all of the other organisms died off. Although the individual organism would have a much better design by your definition, the overall ecosystem design would suffer greatly from the imbalance. It would be like a baseball team that always hit home runs. Although it might be interesting for a little while, in the end the game would be a lot more fun with balanced competition.

The above points assume that the original design had at least some functionality. This is a reasonable assumption even if we don’t know of a function currently simply because we have often found functions for apparently functionless designs, and we also know that designs often become corrupted and lose function after being designed.

2. Similarities
I explained in my first post that all of the available evidence that we have about designers seems to indicate that they often use the same designs twice, or modify them for re-use. The main argument Chiroptera seems to have is that the current evidence is corrupted because it all comes from designers that have restraints (humans). Essentially, because engineers have limits to their time, money, and creativity, Chiroptera thinks they cannot be compared with an all-powerful designer, like the God of the Christian tradition, which his argument attacks. According to him, an all powerful being would by default have to create a more radically diverse array of designs than what scientists observe in our world.

The two key assumptions in this argument are 1) the “default” is complete diversity of designs without any similarities and 2) nothing other than lack of creativity or resources prevents designers from reaching the default.

I disagree with both assumptions. We know for a fact that designers, when possible, use the design that best meets their goals. Well, what happens when the designer has similar sets of goals in two different organisms? Simply put, the only logical thing to do within the parameters of good design, even when the designer is all powerful, is to use a similar design when you have a similar set of goals. This concept is well documented among almost all human made designs as well. The design that best meets the requirements is the one that is accepted, not the one that is most different from other designs.

There is also the fact that there isn’t an infinite number of “best” designs, or even designs period. Its possible that lack of total available designs rather than lack creativity could be a reason for not using completely different designs in all circumstances. Adding to this is the fact designs outside of our observation are possible, thus potentially increasing the total size of the pool of designs used.

Edited by Prodi, : typos/headings


Replies to this message:
 Message 31 by PaulK, posted 08-29-2007 12:15 PM Fallen has not yet responded
 Message 32 by molbiogirl, posted 08-29-2007 3:08 PM Fallen has not yet responded
 Message 33 by Chiroptera, posted 08-29-2007 4:15 PM Fallen has not yet responded
 Message 34 by iceage, posted 08-29-2007 4:55 PM Fallen has not yet responded

  
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