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Author Topic:   Patterns and Tautologies (The Circular Logic of Homologies)
Beretta
Member (Idle past 3675 days)
Posts: 422
From: South Africa
Joined: 10-29-2007


Message 61 of 67 (478844)
08-21-2008 9:22 AM
Reply to: Message 44 by anglagard
08-18-2008 10:21 AM


Re: Vestigial Muscles
The concept of vestigial organs provides strong evidence for evolution and is clearly a threat to any argument concerning the special creation or special design of the various categories of organisms unless that concept allows for evolution.

For a start, vestigial organs do not provide strong evidence for evolution since the loss of some function only means that something had a function and that perhaps mutation has rendered the organ no longer functional or no longer present. That is not what evolutionists require for their argument. They require nascent developing organs to show that evolution is happening. Creationists have no problem with vestigiality per se since we know that a once perfect creation is running down due to a mutational load that becomes worse with each generation - exactly as the creation model proposes.
Our only problem with the vestigial argument is that many organs have been called 'vestigial' when in actual fact their function is not yet known or fully understood.

The impaction of wisdom teeth represents a modern tendency to eat highly processed foods in which case the mandibular muscles are less utilized so that, as with all muscles that are under utilized, bone growth is affected. Less bone growth in the mandible means less room for what used to fit but no longer does in a considerable portion of the population.Loss does not equal evolution.

The central problem with certain vestigial muscles is that substantial percentages of the population completely lack the muscle in question.

Again, loss does not support evolution and does not work against creation -we expect mutation and loss. If a proportion of the population lack the muscle in question, clearly life is possible in it's absence. Just because somebody cannot see but lives, this does not mean that eyes have no function.Obviously it's better to have them.The same goes for muscles that may not be present in a proportion of the population. It doesn't mean to say that they have no function in the proportion that do possess the muscle.
The plantaris muscle may be small but according to anatomists there is growing evidence that some of the smaller muscles in our body that were once considered vestigial, on the basis of their small size and weak contractile strength,are in fact sensory organs rather than motor organs. The plantaris appears to be a highly specialized sensory muscle.Despite its function, clearly we can operate successfully without it.

The Plantaris Muscle is used in swinging in trees by the feet as seen in most non-human primates.

Which is why we don't need it as urgently and can survive without it.
Perhaps a leg, no matter whether human or animal require certain muscles at different levels of necessity. This all quite non-problematically allows for a common creator with a common basic building plan rather than a vestigial ape in the family tree.

in order to satisfactorily debunk the concept of evolution via the lack of vestigial structures, every single one of these must be shown to have a current function

And I'm sure in time, those that we do not know the function of with absolute certainty will come to light with further investigation as has been the case so often in the past.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 44 by anglagard, posted 08-18-2008 10:21 AM anglagard has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 62 by Blue Jay, posted 08-21-2008 8:48 PM Beretta has responded
 Message 63 by anglagard, posted 08-23-2008 3:45 AM Beretta has not yet responded

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 775 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 62 of 67 (478902)
08-21-2008 8:48 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by Beretta
08-21-2008 9:22 AM


Re: Vestigial Muscles
Hi, Beretta.

Thanks for your continued contribution on this thread.

Beretta writes:

That is not what evolutionists require for their argument. They require nascent developing organs to show that evolution is happening.

I was trying to explain this to you before. Let me try again.

You can’t recognize an intermediate unless you see both the before and the after along with the intermediate. So, it’s not possible to see a “developing organ” in a living animal, simply because we’d have to see the future to know what any “developing organ” was developing into.

This is safe challenge you’re making of us, simply because it just can’t be answered. I told you before: every intermediate also has to be fit enough to withstand the pressures exerted on it by the environment. So, you are not going to be able to look at something and say definitively that it is not developed. All you will ever see are minor, small organs that don’t do a whole lot (yet), and it could be inferred that they are developing, but we would need a reference point from the future to know for certain. So, until we see what a certain organism or organ is going to evolve into, we simply cannot tell you which of its features are intermediate or “developing.”

-----

But, when you look at the fossil record, you can see things that have something that is partially between what two other things have. For example, Archaeopteryx has an arm that is long, like a bird’s, with feathers, like a bird’s, but with fingers, like a theropod’s.

There. We have a past point, an intermediate point, and a future point. Looking at the point before the transition (i.e. the “raptor” dinosaur), you would not think that the animal’s arm is “developing” into a wing, even if you knew for a fact that birds would evolve from it. How could you tell? Well, you can’t tell by just looking at the single animal: you have to compare the feature across species.

When you compare all three groups, it turns out that, not only can we line them up in a sequence of arms-wingarms-wings, but we also find many other trends happening concurrently. The theropod dinosaurs have “floating ribs,” which are little rib-like structures on the belly that do not connect to the main skeleton. Archaeopteryx also has these, but modern birds do not. Also, Archaeopteryx has a tail that is similar in structure to the theropods’ tails, while birds do not: their tails are tiny, shortened stubs. But, there are also traits that unite all three groups: all have a wishbone, and all have a lunate (crescent-shaped) wrist bone (I can’t remember which wrist bone it is, though), and we have never found any organisms aside from these three groups that have these features.

Do you agree that this constitutes a morphological pattern that bridges modern and fossil groups?

What happens when you find Archaeopteryx in a layer of rock that had, prior to Archaeopteryx’s discovery, been considered later Jurassic in origin, which just happens to be shortly before the first true birds appear in the fossil record?

You find that the nested-hierarchical pattern of morphology that unifies fossil and extant groups matches up with the chronological pattern in geology, and you begin to accept that Archaeopteryx was a theropod that was “developing” into a bird.

What happenes when, decades later, radiometric dating places the rocks in which Archaeopteryx was found at a date older than birds, but long after the oldest theropods?

You find that the chronological pattern of radiometric dating matches up with the chronological pattern in geology and the nested hierarchical pattern in morphology. You solidify your acceptance of Archaeopteryx as the oldest bird, and that all birds only came into existence after Archaeopteryx.

And then, what happens when you then get non-morphological DNA from a theropod dinosaur, and that that DNA is more similar to the DNA from a bird than it is to any other DNA collected?

You find that the nested hierarchical pattern of genetics matches up with the morphological pattern, and solidifies the whole group together. You begin to accept that birds and theropods actually are related to one another.

Well, if you insert “Bluejay” in place of “you” in all those sentences above, you would then be reading the story of part of my conversion to the Theory of Evolution. Naturally, that isn’t the only evidence I read, and there were many parallel stories that I followed for a very long time, until I was convinced of the pervasiveness of these incredible patterns. And, indeed, what I have put forward is what you find when you study these patterns.

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Fix display form of link. There was a " " instead of a "=" after the opening "


-Bluejay

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by Beretta, posted 08-21-2008 9:22 AM Beretta has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 65 by Beretta, posted 08-24-2008 9:11 AM Blue Jay has responded

  
anglagard
Member
Posts: 2185
From: Socorro, New Mexico USA
Joined: 03-18-2006


Message 63 of 67 (479005)
08-23-2008 3:45 AM
Reply to: Message 61 by Beretta
08-21-2008 9:22 AM


Re: Vestigial Muscles
Beretta writes:

For a start, vestigial organs do not provide strong evidence for evolution since the loss of some function only means that something had a function and that perhaps mutation has rendered the organ no longer functional or no longer present.

Of course vestigial organs provide strong evidence for evolution and against any micromanaging 'intelligent designer.' Why would an intelligent designer load the body with atrophied vestiges that clearly had a purpose in the past but do not now at present?

That is not what evolutionists require for their argument. They require nascent developing organs to show that evolution is happening.

I have news for you. Evolutionists don't have to do anything you say because you don't have the slightest idea of what evolution is actually about. In reality evolution shows that a preexisting structure is gradually modified for one or more new purposes where such modifications result in an evolutionary advantage. A vestige is actually the opposite of this scenario as it is a structure that once had a purpose that no longer exists and therefore is gradually selected against as a useless drain on nutritional resources.

Creationists have no problem with vestigiality per se since we know that a once perfect creation is running down due to a mutational load that becomes worse with each generation - exactly as the creation model proposes.

What creationists 'know' about a perfect creation running down has been decisively debunked by the examination of the genome of mummified remains such as Oetzi. You have absolutely no evidence for this absurd hypothesis.

{ABE} See Message 1. The thread is still open for anyone to post their 'evidence' for the perfect 'super genome' running down over time.

Our only problem with the vestigial argument is that many organs have been called 'vestigial' when in actual fact their function is not yet known or fully understood.

Oh you have more problems than that. The biggest one is what my post is all about, so to remind you I will ask again.

What is the function of a muscle that does not exist in a significant percentage of the population?

The impaction of wisdom teeth represents a modern tendency to eat highly processed foods in which case the mandibular muscles are less utilized so that, as with all muscles that are under utilized, bone growth is affected. Less bone growth in the mandible means less room for what used to fit but no longer does in a considerable portion of the population.Loss does not equal evolution.

Loss most certainly equals evolution as much as any gain. Do you still breathe through your gills?

Also, are you claiming that impacted wisdom teeth are caused solely by processed food? Do you realize that is a testable claim? According to your hypothesis, no one ever had an impacted wisdom tooth in the past. If one counterexample is found (and there are thousands) your hypothesis is refuted.

Again, loss does not support evolution and does not work against creation -we expect mutation and loss. If a proportion of the population lack the muscle in question, clearly life is possible in it's absence. Just because somebody cannot see but lives, this does not mean that eyes have no function.Obviously it's better to have them.The same goes for muscles that may not be present in a proportion of the population. It doesn't mean to say that they have no function in the proportion that do possess the muscle.

Wow, how can I respond to such flawless logic? :rolleyes:

So, what is the percentage of people who are born without eyes? Is that figure comparable to the 90% born without Darwin's point or the 65% born without vibrissal capsular muscles? Do you know the difference between an absent vestige and a birth defect?

So what is this great advantage people have that are born with atrophied vibrissal capsular muscles that don't even connect to the hair anymore? What is the advantage of the plantaris muscle that no longer reaches the toes?

The plantaris muscle may be small but according to anatomists there is growing evidence that some of the smaller muscles in our body that were once considered vestigial, on the basis of their small size and weak contractile strength,are in fact sensory organs rather than motor organs. The plantaris appears to be a highly specialized sensory muscle.Despite its function, clearly we can operate successfully without it.

Hilarious. Just because you can't tell the difference between a muscle, used for movement, and a nerve, used for sensation, don't expect anyone else to be impressed by such appalling ignorance.

quote:
The Plantaris Muscle is used in swinging in trees by the feet as seen in most non-human primates.

Which is why we don't need it as urgently and can survive without it.

Or don't need it at all as shown by the millions of people who were born without it to no detriment whatsoever.

Perhaps a leg, no matter whether human or animal require certain muscles at different levels of necessity. This all quite non-problematically allows for a common creator with a common basic building plan rather than a vestigial ape in the family tree.

Why?

And I'm sure in time, those that we do not know the function of with absolute certainty will come to light with further investigation as has been the case so often in the past.

And I repeat:

What is the function of a muscle that does not exist in a significant percentage of the population?

Edited by anglagard, : No reason given.


Read not to contradict and confute, not to believe and take for granted, not to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider - Francis Bacon

The more we understand particular things, the more we understand God - Spinoza


This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by Beretta, posted 08-21-2008 9:22 AM Beretta has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 64 by Modulous, posted 08-23-2008 4:45 AM anglagard has responded

    
Modulous
Member (Idle past 182 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 64 of 67 (479006)
08-23-2008 4:45 AM
Reply to: Message 63 by anglagard
08-23-2008 3:45 AM


proprieception and the actual topic
Hilarious. Just because you can't tell the difference between a muscle, used for movement, and a nerve, used for sensation, don't expect anyone else to be impressed by such appalling ignorance.

To be fair, the plantaris is linked to proprieception because of associated receptors. It's an interesting line of reasoning though, just try not to overcook it.

There are a variety of different ways for nature to deal with a feature that no longer serves its 'original purpose', one of these is to stop bothering to develop it another is to develop it and then kill it with apoptosis, and yet another is to co-opt it to another use.

Whether or not the proprieceptive qualities associated with the plantaris muscle will prove to be ultimately 'better' than not bothering to develop the muscle at all only natural selection can tell.

While a vestigial organ has generally lost all of, or most of its original functions, it may retain or have recently developed some other functions. A vestigial organ today might be exapted for some other use in the future.

As for debate tactics, it is genuinely difficult to find a feature that has absolutely no function, no matter how obscure or redundant. Creationists will tend to argue tooth and claw trying to show vestigial features have uses and then after a long drawn out debate declare that loss of function doesn't support evolution anyway despite the fact that vestiges might originally have been raised in a different context. It's a nice bit of misdirection but remember that this topic is about homologies not vestiges with a view to discussing tautologies and patterns.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 63 by anglagard, posted 08-23-2008 3:45 AM anglagard has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 66 by anglagard, posted 08-24-2008 11:49 AM Modulous has not yet responded

  
Beretta
Member (Idle past 3675 days)
Posts: 422
From: South Africa
Joined: 10-29-2007


Message 65 of 67 (479069)
08-24-2008 9:11 AM
Reply to: Message 62 by Blue Jay
08-21-2008 8:48 PM


Re: Vestigial Muscles
Hello Bluejay,

You can’t recognize an intermediate unless you see both the before and the after along with the intermediate. So, it’s not possible to see a “developing organ” in a living animal, simply because we’d have to see the future to know what any “developing organ” was developing into.

And apart from the philisophical mindset that says it actually happens, we don't have evidence that it does in fact happen -all we have is extrapolation of genetic variation which says that it is theoretically possible....or we could have a common intelligent creator which would account for the lack of gradualism in the fossil record, the sudden appearances of everything and the general stasis once they appear. Of course your theory is possible but so is mine.

Experimentally mutation has not been demonstrated to cause the increase in genetic information that would be required for one kind of organism to develop into another so in the absence of that sort of concrete experimental evidence, we have assumption that it has in fact happened.
ID on the other hand looks at the wealth of evidence for mutation causing pathological change and the evidence showing that mutation may be neutral as well. In the absence for some sort of confirmation that positive mutations cause an increase in information which could theoretically account for the vast range of complexity of living biological systems, we prefer to stick with the science in the meantime.

But, when you look at the fossil record, you can see things that have something that is partially between what two other things have. For example, Archaeopteryx has an arm that is long, like a bird’s, with feathers, like a bird’s, but with fingers, like a theropod’s.

But archeopteryx had wings with feathers, no half scales-half wings, no half legs-half wings so how can anyone be sure it's not just a bird?. Apart from that, other modern birds were found in the same geological strata as archeopteryx so were obviously around at the same time as the supposed intermediate. Just because it had teeth and claws does not make it partly a reptile; the ostrich has claws and nobody calls it a reptile. Turtles do not have teeth but they are reptiles.Only people that believe in these intermediates and need them for their theory call archeopteryx 'intermediate' or 'transitional'.

There. We have a past point, an intermediate point, and a future point. Looking at the point before the transition (i.e. the “raptor” dinosaur), you would not think that the animal’s arm is “developing” into a wing, even if you knew for a fact that birds would evolve from it.

Well my point precisely -how would we know that a raptor ever developed wings? Only those that believe such things are possible imagine that it did in fact happen.In the absence of some reasonable confirming evidence, that goes beyond the philisophy of materialism, we say it didn't happen or that it is not scientifically verifiable.

Do you agree that this constitutes a morphological pattern that bridges modern and fossil groups?

No, I say it looks good on a superficial level but in the absence of proof for genetic mutation causing positive morphological changes, it is not well supported by the evidence. That all animals are related in terms of their genetic code is true, but the reason for their relatedness is not necessarily that the one developed into the other via mutation and natural selection.

What happens when you find Archaeopteryx in a layer of rock that had, prior to Archaeopteryx’s discovery, been considered later Jurassic in origin, which just happens to be shortly before the first true birds appear in the fossil record?

Actually the same time as some modern birds appear and again, why not just call it a bird unless you have some philisophical commitment to naturalism?
"At the morphological level, feathers are traditionally considered homologous with reptilian scales. However, in development, morphogenesis, gene structure, protein shape and sequence, and filiment formation and structure, feathers are different." (A.H. Brush, 'On the Origin of Feathers' Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 9:131-142,1996)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 62 by Blue Jay, posted 08-21-2008 8:48 PM Blue Jay has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 67 by Blue Jay, posted 08-24-2008 2:22 PM Beretta has not yet responded

  
anglagard
Member
Posts: 2185
From: Socorro, New Mexico USA
Joined: 03-18-2006


Message 66 of 67 (479077)
08-24-2008 11:49 AM
Reply to: Message 64 by Modulous
08-23-2008 4:45 AM


Re: proprieception and the actual topic
Modulous writes:

To be fair, the plantaris is linked to proprieception because of associated receptors.

To be accurate, the plantaris has been hypothesized to serve some kind of proprieception function. I would argue that this function is served by all the other nerves and associated muscles in the leg and foot as it must when the plantaris muscle is absent. Additionally according to my research, when the muscle is removed, the subject rarely, if ever 'loses' the sense of their leg and/or foot in space, provided such a removal is limited to just the muscle and not any quite important nearby nerves. IMO because of these observations, the hypothesis has little or no supporting evidence. Unless such evidence is forthcoming, I see no reason to consider the plantaris muscle anything other than a true vestige.

It's an interesting line of reasoning though, just try not to overcook it.

I'm not sure what this statement refers to or what it means.

There are a variety of different ways for nature to deal with a feature that no longer serves its 'original purpose', one of these is to stop bothering to develop it another is to develop it and then kill it with apoptosis, and yet another is to co-opt it to another use.

Whether or not the proprieceptive qualities associated with the plantaris muscle will prove to be ultimately 'better' than not bothering to develop the muscle at all only natural selection can tell.

Well, because it has disappeared in 9% of the population since the tree dwelling days, I think we can see what direction it has been headed toward, which is gradual disappearance. As to any future co-option toward a new function, you are right, only the future can tell. However if the past is a decent indicator of the present, IMO co-option is a remote possibility at best.

As for debate tactics, it is genuinely difficult to find a feature that has absolutely no function, no matter how obscure or redundant. Creationists will tend to argue tooth and claw trying to show vestigial features have uses and then after a long drawn out debate declare that loss of function doesn't support evolution anyway despite the fact that vestiges might originally have been raised in a different context.

It is impossible to change a hard-core young earth creationist's mind due to the extreme mental compartmentalization commonly present in Right Wing Authoritarians. Didn't I just read this gem from Beretta in the No evolution/creation debate in Europe thread:

quote:
Evolution is by no means grounded in observation and evidence. Physics and chemistry is and has no need for evolution whatsoever.Neither is evolution the entire groundwork for modern biology.

I still await an answer to my question: What is the function of a muscle that does not exist in a significant percentage of the population?

It's a nice bit of misdirection but remember that this topic is about homologies not vestiges with a view to discussing tautologies and patterns.

From the OP:

AlphaOmegakid wrote:

quote:
Vesigial features are circular reasoned.

To which Bluejay responded in the OP:

quote:
I would like him to defend these claims, but to do so on RAZD's thread would probably drive RAZD to the psycho ward, so I propose this thread to discuss AOkid's claims about tautologies in evolutionary thought.

and,

quote:
To this, I respond that any study written today about a homology or vestige is resting on a long history of dozens, hundreds or even thousands of similar studies that have already established the pattern that we are using to interpret our new data, and more additions to the pattern are being unearthed every year. Furthermore, when we uncover new data, we sometimes find how our pattern needs to be adjusted, and we adjust it accordingly.

Because of the above quotes, I felt that it was marginally on topic to point out that there is a such thing as vestigial muscles in humans. I'm sure that if my interpretation is wrong according to the rules of the forum, our ever-vigilant moderators will soon let me know. Also, you have the option to complain in the appropriate thread if you feel that I am posting off-topic responses.

If you would like to further discuss the narrower topic of this or that hypothesis concerning any current or speculated future function for such muscles, I suppose we can always request a PNT. It should be in a science thread where supportive evidence is provided, something I believe is currently insufficient to counter what I have already posted.

Edited by anglagard, : add the qualifier marginally to on topic as the thread is primarily about circular reasoning in homologies

Edited by anglagard, : add 'and foot' to make it leg and foot for better clarity

Edited by anglagard, : same as above: leg and/or foot


Read not to contradict and confute, not to believe and take for granted, not to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider - Francis Bacon

The more we understand particular things, the more we understand God - Spinoza


This message is a reply to:
 Message 64 by Modulous, posted 08-23-2008 4:45 AM Modulous has not yet responded

    
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 775 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 67 of 67 (479087)
08-24-2008 2:22 PM
Reply to: Message 65 by Beretta
08-24-2008 9:11 AM


Re: Vestigial Muscles
Hi, Beretta.

Beretta writes:

Bluejay writes:

Do you agree that this constitutes a morphological pattern that bridges modern and fossil groups?

No, I say it looks good on a superficial level but in the absence of proof for genetic mutation causing positive morphological changes, it is not well supported by the evidence. That all animals are related in terms of their genetic code is true, but the reason for their relatedness is not necessarily that the one developed into the other via mutation and natural selection.

All I was asking about was on the superficial level. I wasn’t asking you whether or not you agree that evolution is responsible for the pattern: I was only asking whether you agree that there is a pattern.

So, are you agreeing that the morphologies of organisms---fossil and living---arrange into what appears to be a nested hierarchical pattern?


-Bluejay

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 65 by Beretta, posted 08-24-2008 9:11 AM Beretta has not yet responded

  
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