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Author Topic:   Opponents of Evolution Adopting a New Strategy
Coyote
Member (Idle past 1340 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 91 of 177 (470616)
06-11-2008 2:23 PM
Reply to: Message 88 by randman
06-11-2008 2:14 PM


Re: Moderator Comment
Ichneumon predicted one of three outcomes:

Instead, I've inevitably gotten some variation on a) no response, b) bluster and chest-beating and/or insults, followed by a hasty exit, c) a link to a big list-o'-crap.

I think you have managed to get all three into a single response!


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

This message is a reply to:
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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4133 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 92 of 177 (470617)
06-11-2008 2:39 PM


I'd like to see what percy says first....
Bottom line is I've been told rules-breaking will result in permanent banning. Just because one moderator thinks digressing into several topics is somehow on-topic does not mean another moderator would not consider it blatantly moving the thread off-topic into multiple other discussions. It's hard to see how it would not do that, in fact,especially as the "challenge" was clearly not to list them but to list them so they could be debated. Moreover, it's blatantly insulting to suggest that somehow I have not offered this elsewhere and repeatedly on this forum.

I will list a few examples in order to comply with nosy's request though not sure what the top 3 are.

1. The NeoDarwinian hypothesis of genetic evolution roughly coorrelating morphological evolution by natural selection selecting for the beneficial traits arsing from random mutation conflicts with the evidence in an overwhelming manner.

2. Microevolution or NeoDarwinian processes of natural selection work against originating higher taxa by limiting genetic diversity within populations, not expanding it, in general and so is actually evidence against ToE, not evidence for it, as what we have are dead-ends, not examples of "evolution" in action. This error is compounded by the fallacious and deceptive circular logic of evos of defining evolution as heritable change and as ToE and so claim since heritable change has been observed, ToE has been observed when the exact opposite is the case.

3. The fossil record conclusively demonstrates gradualistic evo theories including PE are wrong.

These are not necessarily the top 3, just some that come to mind....maybe top 3. I am sure there are threads on all of these.

In conclusion, I just want to state any suggestions of ignorance and cowardice are blatant rules-violations and an obvious slander easily refuted by the numerous posts anyone can view here.

Edited by randman, : No reason given.

Edited by randman, : No reason given.

Edited by randman, : No reason given.


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lyx2no
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Posts: 1277
From: A vast, undifferentiated plane.
Joined: 02-28-2008


Message 93 of 177 (470621)
06-11-2008 2:57 PM
Reply to: Message 92 by randman
06-11-2008 2:39 PM


Re: I'd like to see what percy says first....
How about a "GOOD JOB" if it's not OT.


Kindly

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

There is a spider by the water pipe.


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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 94 of 177 (470623)
06-11-2008 3:03 PM
Reply to: Message 78 by Wumpini
06-10-2008 3:23 PM


Re: New and Improved List - Maybe
Induced mutations followed by selection in laboratory experiments have not produced any beneficial structural changes.

Most all mutations are detrimental, a few are neutral, and extremely few if any are clearly beneficial.

Bacteria make major evolutionary shift in the lab

quote:
A major evolutionary innovation has unfurled right in front of researchers' eyes. It's the first time evolution has been caught in the act of making such a rare and complex new trait.

And because the species in question is a bacterium, scientists have been able to replay history to show how this evolutionary novelty grew from the accumulation of unpredictable, chance events.



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Wumpini
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Posts: 229
From: Ghana West Africa
Joined: 04-23-2008


Message 95 of 177 (470626)
06-11-2008 3:06 PM
Reply to: Message 83 by BeagleBob
06-10-2008 4:23 PM


Origin of Life "Weaknesses"
Hi Beagle Bob,

I appreciate your input into this discussion. The question we are discussing is whether textbooks need to include the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution. We may get along well since you do not like spaghetti logic (neither do I), and you seem to have started out where I would have chosen (at the beginning).

Since there are four different areas that are included on the list of weaknesses that I posted, and abiogenesis is the first of those on that list, I will begin there. It would seem to be beneficial to deal with each of these four categories of weaknesses separately. I believe it would be easier on me to make a determination about each category before moving on to the next one. Otherwise, I will be chasing all over the place and that will make me irritable. So for those of you reading this, let us limit our discussion (at least with me) to abiogenesis until we make a determination on this area before moving on to the fossil record. The question that we must ask is: should the origin of life that is being taught to students in biology textbooks include anything about the "weaknesses" related to the science surrounding this area (abiogenesis)?

BeagleBob writes:

I think it's very important to remember that knowledge of abiogenesis is not necessary to support knowledge of evolution. The two are as different as farming and cooking: one doesn't need to know the exact methods of planting, nurturing, or harvesting food at all to be able to cook with skill. The development of the raw materials (farming/abiogenesis) for a method is entirely different from the mechanisms of that method itself (cooking/evolution).

I am not sure that all of these textbook authors understand that abiogenesis is not part of evolution. It seems that those on this website want to move abiogenesis as far away from biological evolution as they possibly can. I have seen discussions on other forums where the word evolution has been discussed. It obviously has a broad meaning and a narrow meaning. The broad meaning would include abiogenesis while the narrow meaning would only include biological evolution. It seems that textbook writers (in the textbooks I am looking at) include abiogenesis as part of the section that teaches evolution. In fact abiogenesis (chemical evolution) fits right into the theory of evolution. You must have life for anything to evolve, and evolution does not begin with complex organisms but with these simple single cell organisms. I have two college level textbooks that teach abiogenesis in two different ways but both are considered under the topic headings of evolution.


Here is an example of how one college textbook organizes their book. “Life: the Science of Biology” by Purves, Sadava, Orians, Heller:

Chapter 1 – An Evolutionary Framework for Biology


  • Organisms have changed over billions of years - 1
  • Evolutionary milestones - 3
  • Life arises from non life - 3
  • Cells form from molecules - 4
  • Photosynthesis changes earth’s environment - 4
  • Sex enhances adaptation - 4
  • Eukaryotes are cells within cells – 4

In this book they consider abiogenesis as a Milestone in the evolution of life. They go on to discuss the origin of life in more detail under a section entitled evolutionary processes near the middle of the textbook. At the beginning of this textbook they seem to treat abiogenesis as an accepted scientific theory rather than an unproven hypothesis. You have to read into much detail to find anything that would contradict this original statement in the book.


Let us look at another textbook that I have. It is called “Inquiry into Life” by Sylvia Mader. Here is how they organize the teaching of origins in this college textbook.

Evolution of Life – 539


  • Evidence of Evolution - 540
  • Origin of Life - 546
  • Process of Evolution - 549
  • Speciation - 557
  • Classification – 560

Once again we have the origin of life right in the middle of the introductory chapter on evolution. This is a Biology textbook and they do not begin to discuss abiogenesis or the origin of life until they begin to discuss evolution after 540 pages have gone by in this book.

I think that we can see that abiogenesis is being taught as part of evolutionary theory in these textbooks.

Here are some comments about abiogenesis in this textbook:

quote:
The origin of the first cell is an event of low probability, but this length of time is long enough for an event of low probability to have occurred.

quote:
Today we do not believe that life arises spontaneously from nonlife and we say that “life only comes from life.” But the very first living thing had to have come from nonliving chemicals.

quote:
Under the conditions of the primitive earth, it is possible that a primitive evolution produced the first cell(s).

quote:
Researchers point out that because nucleic acid is a very complicated molecule the likelihood that RNA arose de novo on it’s own is minimal.

That seems a bit confusing and contradictory to me. At least this textbook does indicate that there are weaknesses with the theory of abiogenesis. They indicate a possibility of a chemical evolution that resulted in the first cells with an indication that this process is no longer taking place today. Then they go on to give a variety of hypothesis related to the origin of life (not theories but hypothesis). If living things could come from nonliving chemicals at one time, why can’t that happen today? How low of a probability is this event? They do not explain.

Authors seem to include abiogenesis in the sections treating biological evolution as a form of chemical evolution. I think it is appropriate to deal with the subject of abiogenesis under this topic. It appears to me that it is a very low probable event


Unfortunately, the idea that "for a protein to work it has to have a specific sequence of amino acids" is a common misconception.

You are the expert in this field, so I will rely upon your input. Is it not true that it is improbable that these proteins will fold in the proper shape and with the proper function without a specified amino acid sequence? Here is a quote that kind of describes this process in layman’s terms.

quote:
The sequence of nucleotides in a gene is translated by cells to produce a chain of amino acids, creating proteins—the order of amino acids in a protein corresponds to the order of nucleotides in the gene. This is known as the genetic code. The amino acids in a protein determine how it folds into a three-dimensional shape; this structure is, in turn, responsible for the protein's function. Proteins carry out almost all the functions needed for cells to live. A change to the DNA in a gene can change a protein's amino acids, changing its shape and function: this can have a dramatic effect in the cell and on the organism as a whole.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetics

I have read other articles that indicate that the changes in the shape of the protein can render it so that it will not function? Changes in the amino acid sequence apparently change the shape. I do not want to have to spend years studying this subject like you evidently have. Is this part of science improbable enough that it should be taught in a way that allows students to understand that scientists really do not know exactly how this happened? Scientists seem to have different hypothesis that have never reached the stage of theory. The reason I ask this is because some of the textbooks I have seen teach abiogenesis as if it is a scientific fact with very little or no time spent discussing weaknesses whatsoever that I can see.


I think the website you got this from really should remove this point soon. Just recently a study made headlines when it was discovered that certain frequencies of polarized light preferentially destroyed right-handed amino acids. So while the amino acids might be produced in equal quantities, they are preferentially selected out.

I see the headlines but I do not find any link to any published study. If I understand correctly, then the study by Breslow is to be forthcoming. It appeared to be a presentation of some sort to a group of scientists. The study where it was "discovered that certain frequencies of polarized light preferentially destroyed right-handed amino acids" actually took place about fifteen years ago, so it was not a recent discovery. Here is a link to that study:

http://www.springerlink.com/content/n5283v6303l7k332/

I believe that we have a few weaknesses in the hypothesis that was presented. It seems that Breslow is proposing that a meteorite with some of these amino acids on them passed through a circularly polarized light and landed on earth with a few more left handed amino acids then right handed ones, five to ten percent more if I am reading correctly. Then it appears that everything evaporated away in the primordial soup except the left handed amino acids. Then he makes a couple of interesting comments:

quote:
Breslow and Columbia chemistry grad student Mindy Levine found that these cosmic amino acids could transfer their chirality to simple amino acids in living things.

quote:
Eventually, the amino acid in excess became ubiquitous as it was used selectively by living organisms.

Do you not see the “weaknesses” in this hypothesis? Should we be teaching this as a scientific fact in our schools? What living organisms are we talking about here? As far as I know there were no living organisms at the time life was to have originated. That is why there is a need for this hypothesis.

Then we have this statement from the article:

quote:
The steps afterward that led towards the genesis of life are shrouded in mystery.

Now I want to ask you honestly. If we are going to teach children that this is a scientific fact, don’t you think we ought to point out that there are a few “weaknesses” in the hypothesis?


The term "information" here unfortunately has a very vague definition.

Since you are a geneticist, let us assume that the information they are talking about is genetic information.

There have been different suggestions about the minimum number of genes that would be necessary to sustain life. In one article I find it clearly stated that this number is 256.

quote:
We suggest that the remaining 256 genes are close to the minimal gene set that is necessary and sufficient to sustain the existence of a modern-type cell.

http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/93/19/10268

However, the truth in science seems to be a moving target, so this may have changed. I once again do not have time to read every scientific article to determine what the present scientific truth may be. I am sure that students in high school also do not have this time available.

Here is another quote that I ran across:

quote:
After a cross-kingdom comparison of 21 bacterial, 4 archea, and 1 eukaryote genome, only 80 genes (instead of 256) are universally present. Koonin (77) wrote: “It seems that a more general and hence more robust idea is a minimal set of functional niches, most of which can be filled by proteins that belong to two or more distinct families of orthologs. A conserved core of functions with a single, ubiquitous solution certainly exists.” We believe that the minimal cell model could reveal this last solution.

Has the minimal number of genes to sustain life changed from 256 to 80? Is this a theory or a hypothesis? I do not know. It did not seem from the article that I read that they have proven the 80 figure. Regardless, these genes could be the information that they are talking about. If my reading is correct then every one of these genes is typically 1000 or more base pairs long with spaces in between. You can tell us more about this, but I believe that these spiral and all of them appear to need to spiral in the same direction. I am sure that you can give some idea of how likely that this amount of information could be generated by natural random processes. All of this does not even take into consideration the type of protein that is being generated. It may be that the “strengths and weaknesses” people are proposing that if you are going to teach this as a scientific fact then you need to explain how difficult or near impossible it is for this to have occurred.

(Here I repeat the quote included above about the minimal possibility that RNA could have arose on its own.)

quote:
Researchers point out that because nucleic acid is a very complicated molecule the likelihood that RNA arose de novo on it’s own is minimal.


In Conclusion:

It appears to me that biology textbooks are teaching that abiogenesis is a scientific part of the evolutionary process. In truth, it appears to be at the hypothesis stage with many competing studies going on at the present time. It also appears to me from these college level textbooks that there are many "weaknesses" in these different ideas about abiogenesis. It is a very low probable event that can only seem to be justified by breaking it down into very, very simple processes and then assuming that they had lots and lots of time for these random processes to generate a living cell. We never see this happening in the real world today, and science is all about reality. It seems to me that this is one area of science that the “strengths and weaknesses” people have justifiable reason to request that the "weaknesses" of the hypotheses of abiogenesis be included in the textbooks, if the hypotheses are going to be taught. We should make it clear to children that science does not know how life originated. They are studying, and maybe someday they could reach a conclusion that would be accepted by the scientific community. Let’s teach our children the truth about abiogenesis.

If we can get a consensus from those involved in this discussion that there are “weaknesses” with the different hypothesis of abiogenesis, and that these “weaknesses” should be taught along with the different hypotheses for abiogenesis in high school textbooks then I believe we can move to the next “weakness” that was posted regarding the fossil record.

If you would like a reply, then please respond directly to this post.

Edited by Wumpini, : grammar


"There is one thing even more vital to science than intelligent methods; and that is, the sincere desire to find out the truth, whatever it may be." - Charles Sanders Pierce

This message is a reply to:
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Admin
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Posts: 12788
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 96 of 177 (470627)
06-11-2008 3:06 PM


Moderator Comment about Topic
In my own personal view, this thread should first settle what type of issue constitutes a "weakness" in a theory. The scientific goal is to create theories that correspond as closely as possible to reality, so to my mind a "weakness" would be some kind of discorrespondence between theory and reality. While I can't say I've given the lists of weaknesses that have been proposed so far anything resembling a detailed examination, they seem to be lists of unaswered questions (i.e., things we do not know) described in a manner as if they were instead weaknesses.

It can often be difficult to tell the difference between a discorrespondence between theory and reality versus an unanswered question. For years the number of neutrinos coming from the Sun was far below that predicted by theory, a seemingly clear discorrespondence between theory and reality, but it later turned out that this belonged in the "something we don't know yet" category when it was discovered that neutrinos can change type on the journey between Sun and Earth, and when we set up detectors for the other neutrino type, voilà, there were the missing neutrinos.

So my suggestion is that creationists propose weaknesses that can be discussed as to whether they belong in the "weaknesses" category, or in the "things we don't know or understand" category.

Please, no replies.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4133 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 97 of 177 (470630)
06-11-2008 3:22 PM


Ok.....since on-topic....
Major weakness in evo theory is the mechanism proposed. First, it works against the origin of higher taxa by limiting genetic diversity, and if you disagree with that, one must at least admit that evos have never done in any real studies to verify their claims as they have not shown positive, beneficial mutational rates are sufficient to outweigh the diminishing of genetic diversity by natural selection and subspeciation.

Increasingly the mechanism proposed by NeoDarwinians doesn't match the facts. Evos propose a gradual increase in genetic diversity matching roughly the evolution of morphological novelty. There may be grounds for some exceptions in a limited manner, but we should see the evolution of the genome matching increased morphological complexity but we see the opposite. Assuming common descent just for sake of discussion, we see the most simple organisms for the common metazoan ancestor and ancestor of all plants and animals as likely being genetically more complex than most of the animal lineages following so that evolution, assuming it occured, largely occured via a loss of genes rather than a slow, accumulation of them.

There are many other weaknesses such as the fact the fossil record doesn't actually show gradual transitions. The evo claim/excuse is "fossil rarity" but there are no studies substantiating that claim.

Moreover, even the phylogenic trees arranged by evos don't support the notion of Darwinian evolution though they can be used to support some sort of evolution. If common descent were true, they appear to show a pulsed-like phased delineated evolution, which fits by the way with the idea the genetic material for evolving forms existed from one of the earliest or perhaps a few early simple forms.

Not that I agree with front-loading, but it appears a stronger hypothesis than Darwinism.

I also think there are facts such as red blood cells in dinosaur bones that are very troubling for evo concepts of dating since it is inconceivable that organic molecules would routinely stay intact for millions of years.

Overall though, the biggest weakness of evo theory is reliance on simplistic formulas rather than comprehensive and qualitative analysis of data.

Edited by randman, : No reason given.

Edited by randman, : No reason given.


Replies to this message:
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DrJones*
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Posts: 2209
From: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Joined: 08-19-2004
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 98 of 177 (470632)
06-11-2008 3:53 PM
Reply to: Message 97 by randman
06-11-2008 3:22 PM


Re: Ok.....since on-topic....
I also think there are facts such as red blood cells in dinosaur bones that are very troubling for evo concepts of dating since it is inconceivable that organic molecules would routinely stay intact for millions of years.

Define "routinely" How many times have red blood cells been found in bones?


soon I discovered that this rock thing was true
Jerry Lee Lewis was the devil
Jesus was an architect previous to his career as a prophet
All of a sudden i found myself in love with the world
And so there was only one thing I could do
Was ding a ding dang my dang along ling long - Jesus Built my Hotrod Ministry

Live every week like it's Shark Week! - Tracey Jordan
Just a monkey in a long line of kings. - Matthew Good
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*not an actual doctor

This message is a reply to:
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Ichneumon
Junior Member (Idle past 4645 days)
Posts: 16
Joined: 06-09-2008


Message 99 of 177 (470634)
06-11-2008 4:15 PM
Reply to: Message 78 by Wumpini
06-10-2008 3:23 PM


Re: New and Improved List - Maybe
Essential List of Scientific Weaknesses of Evolution Theories

This appears to be using the term "Evolution Theories" quite loosely, as it contains a lengthy session on "origin of life", which is not actually a part of evolutionary biology, nor does any alleged problem/flaw/weakness in any origin of life hypothesis have any impact on evolutionary biology, for reasons which others have given. By the same token, the science of meteorology is not impacted at all even if the hypotheses concerning the origin of the atmosphere shift.

The following weaknesses of evolution should be discussed at appropriate points in every text from the viewpoint of a skeptic as well as a proponent of current evolutionary theory.

This is quite an overstatement.

Origin of Life Weaknesses:
The extreme improbability of obtaining any specific amino acid sequence needed for the proteins of life systems.

I have examined literally hundreds of "probability" arguments from anti-evolutionists. Not one stands up to even a brief examination. They fail for many different reasons, but the failure inherent in every origin-of-life calculation is that their models (upon which their attempts at math are built) are ludicrously simplistic, and at most calculate the odds of something happening in the *one* simple way the anti-evolutionist has managed to conceive of, instead of examining the myriad ways something could conceivably happen.

For example, most "probability of a protein forming" calculations by anti-evolutionists only examine the odds of ONE specified protein sequence arising COMPLETELY AT RANDOM in ONE trial of a randomly-assembled sequence of amino acids. All well and good, but no biologist has ever proposed that this is how proteins formed during abiogenesis. The anti-evolutionists are modeling the wrong process.

Also, by saying "any specific amino acid sequence", this item makes clear that it's making another common mistake of anti-evolution probability calculations -- the (grossly false) assumption that only ONE specific amino acid sequence would do, and that all other sequences would be a "failure". Utterly false. For a very long time it has been known that protein sequences are extremely forgiving of variations in their sequences, even for a specific function. Add to that the fact that there's no reason to presume that even the biochemical functions need be exactly what life as we currently known it has settled for (i.e., it's vastly likely that threre's more than one way to make "life" if you start with a clean slate), and you begin to realize that the "well any one *exact* protein is unlikely" argument is just goofy and incorrect, even leaving aside the issue that the molecules of life more likely started simple and then got more complex, rather than having to "poof" into their current forms directly from nothing, something *else* the anti-evolutionists entirely leave out of their attempts at probability calculations.

The high probability of breakdown by hydrolysis of amino acid chains if they were to form in the first place.

Under what conditions, pray tell? Yet again, the anti-evolutionists presume to be able to model the totality of every conceivable (and inconceivable) scenario. Good luck with that one!

No known way to achieve 100% left-handed amino acids in proteins or the 100% right-handed sugars in RNA and DNA - all of which are universal to life systems.

As others have pointed out, there's actually more progress on this point than the author of this list lets on.

But even if there wasn't, the appropriate response is, "so what?" As long as no one claims that this question has been resolved -- and they don't -- the fact that it's an open question is hardly an "origin of life weakness". So further work is needed (and is being done). So? No one claimed that abiogenesis was a solved issue. "We don't know" is an acceptable statement.

What *is* known, however, is that there is abundant evidence that life bootstrapped from humbler molecular beginnings, even if we're not yet clear on how every step along the way occurred. There's nothing wrong with presenting students with the (somewhat sketchy) picture of what we *do* know about life's beginnings, as long as they're also told of what fuzzy parts still need to be filled in -- and from all the textbooks I've seen, this is done.

All natural processes are known to produce a 50-50% mixture of left-handed and right-handed molecules.

Incorrect. There are a number of processes that bias the mixture in one direction or another. Also, even with a 50/50 mix being "produced naturally", this leaves out the possibility of scenarios where one chirality is preferentially selected, or the biogenesis of a chiral product is generated from an initially non-chiral beginning.

Photo dissociation of water vapor has been a source of oxygen since the Earth formed, and there is substantial geologic evidence that a significant amount of oxygen existed in the atmosphere prior to the advent of photosynthesis.

No, actually, no there isn't. Quite the contrary, in fact.

Oxygen breaks down amino acids and sugars that are postulated to have formed!

But since early life began in anaerobic conditions, this is no problem at all, much less one that requires! an! exclamation! point!

There is no known natural source of the information that is present in all life systems. Random processes are never known to produce information.

My degree is in information science. This claim is just flat wrong. Absolutely nothing in information science in particular, or science as a whole in general, supports this poppycock. It's just an article of faith among the creationists. There's no support for it, and in fact there are numerous counterexamples.

Fossil Record Weaknesses:
The Cambrian explosion quickly produced all of the basically different body structures,

...for a sufficiently loose definition of "basic body structures". As another person correctly points out, this is the case only if you consider "a worm with a stiffened nerve cord running along its body" to be the same "basic body structure" as, say, an eagle, and "a worm with an unstiffened nerve cord" to be the same "basic body plan" as, say, a butterfly.

Creationists tend to vastly overstate the "basic body plan" issue. Birds arose hundreds of millions of years after the Cambrian, and have a "body plan" that bears about as much resemblance to the Cambrian ancestral chordates as the Space Shuttle does to the Wright flyer, yet the creationists try to imply that there's been little to no "body plan" innovation since the Cambrian and that all "body plan" structure arose "from nowhere" in the Cambrian "suddenly", but this is quite simply false.

The "basic" body plans which are found in the Cambrian are incredibly primitive forms of the vast variety of life which has evolved since, and the fact that they are found in the Cambrian is pretty much just a matter of definition. If for example the notocord/vertebrate split had happened within the Cambrian instead of after, for convenience we'd call them two different phyla, two different basal "body plans". Instead, that split occurred later, and thus we lump those two distinct groups into a single "basic body plan" found in the Cambrian, the chordates (phylum chordata).

In short, we call them basic body plans because they were already distinct during the Cambrian, while the creationists are looking at it backwards -- they're trying to say that because they're considered different basic body plans, there's something magical about them all being present in the Cambrian... Excuse me while I roll my eyes.

and some of these have since become extinct.

Yeah, so?

This is very different from the evolutionary tree of life, which suggests a slow and gradual increase in body structures.

First, no it doesn't, second, the Cambrian so-called explosion was still pretty "slow and gradual" (the creationists like to pretend that it happened overnight, *poof*, but it didn't), and third, there *has* still been a "slow and gradual increase" in body structures:
Over hundreds of millions of subequent years, the chordate worms of the Cambrian gave rise to the vertebrate worms (among others), which gave rise to the early jawless fish (among others -- I'm going to stop saying "among others", but it applies at every stage), the jawless fish gave rise to the cartilagenous fish, which gave rise to the bony fish, which gave rise to the lungfish, which gave rise to the early amphibians, which gave rise to the reptiles, which gave rise to the dinosaurs, which gave rise to the birds, etc. The bird body plan (to use just one example) is a hell of a lot more "increased" in complexity than the Cambrian ancestor, and this occurred through thousands of individual steps, over hundreds of millions of years, while each of the many steps branched and gave rise to other lineages as well (such as the mammals in all their own diversity, etc.)

The tree of life is still entirely valid, no matter how much creationists try to divert attention by saying, "lookee over there, one of the worms in the Cambrian had kind of a spinal cord!"

Many life forms persist through large expanses of geologic time with essentially no change.

Not a problem.

Evolution theory suggests that mutations occur randomly over time and are selected to produce continuing change as the environment continually changes.

First, most of the so-called "living fossils" have indeed changed from their ancestral forms, something this item admits when it says "essentially" no change instead of "no changes at all". Second, most so-called "living fossils" are hardly in what one would call "continually changing environments". Third, if an organism is optimized for its niche, there will be little selective pressure to change. Indeed, selection will enforce *not* changing, despite the tendency of mutations and genetic drift to do so lacking selection.

Before the creationists can critique any "scientific weaknesses" in evolution, they need to actually understand it.

Most major proposed transitional forms are problematic and controversial.

In a word, bullshit.

Rarely does the whole organism fit into the proposed developmental path.

Again, BS.

For example, birds are often said to have transitioned from reptile- hipped dinosaurs like Velociraptor. But these have a different kind of hip structure than birds. Birds have the same kind of hip structure as the dinosaurs like stegosaurus and the horned dinosaurs.

Others have dealt with this adequately. The creationists are falling for an accident of terminology (i.e., are making a pointless semantic argument) instead of actually comparing the phsyical structures.

Presently Observed Nature Weaknesses:
Selective breeding has produced only very limited change with no new structures occurring over thousands of years and multitudes of generations of selection.

Define "new structure", and "change which is larger than a creationist will dismiss as limited"...

In any case, there are several issues here:

1. The amount of selective breeding done by mankind is no more than a spit in the ocean compared to the scope of the time, generations, and population sizes which have been subjected to natural evolutionary processes over the last 3.5 billion years.

2. The amount of change we've seen through our limited selective breeding programs is not smaller than one would expected compared to "evolution of life" scenarios, as the creationist here is implying, it's actually FAR LARGER. For a given number of generations and population size, man's selective breeding produces VASTLY larger amounts of morphological change than is on average necessary to produce all modern species from unicellular beginnings (the creationists' proverbial "molecules to man") in a few billion years. In other words, observations of the results of man's selective breeding experiments is easily consistent with the amount of change we'd *expect* to see in a few thousand years if evolutionary scenarios were true. This confirms evolution, it's not a "weakness" in it.

3. Truly "new structures" are incredibly rare even in the evolutionary history of all life on Earth. Bird wings for example are just modified arms, made up of all the same bones and muscles, just reshaped to a strong degree. Bird feathers could reasonably be termed a "new structure", but they arose exactly once among all the countless species over the billions of years of life on Earth. Truly "new stuctures" probably arise once every several million years. Not once per species lineage, I mean once in several million years among all the millions of species alive on the whole planet. Expecting something totally novel to pop up in the small handful of species we've been breeding in small numbers for a few thousand years is a highly unrealistic expectation. "New structures" are a rare thing -- far more often evolution endlessly tinkers with existing structures. Dogs and bears are separated by tens of millions of years from their common ancestor, and are quite different from each otehr and recognizeably distinct, yet have no "new structure" between them.

Nonetheless, if you get away from the fixation on "structures", we have directly observed the rise of evolutionary novelty, such as the "nylon-eating bacteria", and more recently this: http://www.newscientist.com/channel/life/dn14094-bacteria-make-major-evolutionary-shift-in-the-lab.html

4. Finally, despite not being-there-to-see-it-happen (something the creationists are unduly fixated on because they don't understand how science validates things), there is abundant evidence that "new structures" have indeed arisen in an evolutionary manner during the history of life on Earth, because their proto-versions are identifiable in the fossil record occurring before their not-so-proto-versions, followed by their almost-there versions, followed by their "fully formed" versions, etc., not to mention the clear signs of evolutionary origin in the genes which build and operate them, etc.

This creationist talking point is as goofy as trying to claim that mountains must not form naturally, because even though one can measure the slow rise of a young mountain range (the Himalayas grow by about an inch a year), and show that the movement of the tectonic plates is of appropriate speed and force and direction to push up a mountain range, and that all the geology around young and old mountain ranges is consistent with their growth, and the occasional earthquake is observed shifting the surface of the Earth by relatively large amounts, by gosh the whole idea of mountains heaving themselves slowly up from level ground is poppycock and unscientific if no one has seen a whole new mountain range spring up within the few thousand years of recorded human history, or unless man's digging and piling operations have already resulted in a whole new mountain! Uh huh... Sure...

The creationists can grasp at whatever straws they wish, but personally I'll follow the evidence -- all of it, not just bits and pieces I can spin to argue a pre-existing belief, while conveniently failing to take into account all the other multiply cross-confirming independent lines of evidence... That's the creationist method, and it has no place in a science classroom.

This clearly demonstrates that there are natural limits to biological change. Examples: dogs, cattle, pigeons ...

This clearly demonstrates that the creationists don't know what in the hell they're talking about.

Induced mutations followed by selection in laboratory experiments have not produced any beneficial structural changes.

...only for sufficiently nitpicky definitions of the words "beneficial" and "structural" and "changes"...

Most all mutations are detrimental, a few are neutral, and extremely few if any are clearly beneficial.

False -- most mutations are neutral. A surprisingly high number are beneficial. And even if the claim had been true, so what? Evolution weeds out the bad and accumulates the good. So how is this a "weakness"?

Small changes resulting from natural selection are observed, but are not observed to accumulate to produce structural changes.

Horse crap. Look at a dachshund. It has numerous structural changes compared to a wolf.

It is extremely difficult for scientists to propose in detail how the structural or biochemical systems of life could change from a more simple form that was functional.

Again, horse crap. This is yet again based on a creationist article of faith, and nothing in the science literature. On the contrary, the science literature is full of countless counterexamples and refutations.

General practice to avoid misunderstanding:
When fossils are illustrated, the illustration should indicate which parts of the skeleton are actually present in the fossil material and which parts are inferred. This may be done for example by color, shading, or outline weight.

Quite often they do.

Fossil abundance versus geologic period diagrams should be shown for all life forms discussed in the text or presented in tree of life or cladogram interpretations.

Why?

One large diagram might be presented at an early point in the discussion of fossils.

Of what?

Where little intact fossil material is known, fine lines or dotted lines should be used to indicate inferred or hypothesized connections or relationships.

This is generally done.

If evolution is compared to the change over time of the product of any human endeavor, then the role of intelligence and purpose in that human endeavor must also be clearly recognized and discussed.

Oh, puh-lease...

This is like insisting that in physics class, when students roll balls down inclines in order to study gravity and momentum, the professor should make a big point of loudly announcing that since the students are lifting the balls to the tops of the inclines, this probably means that nothing can roll down hills naturally, there must be an Intelligent Designer pushing things around with is big invisible fingers.

And yes, I've seen arguments almost as stupid as that seriously proposed by creationists in order to try to handwave away the results of carefully controlled experiments in evolution. If there was a human within twenty miles of the experiment -- or even setting it up and then withdrawing beyond a twenty mile radius to let things unfold naturally by themselves thereafter -- the ID/IOT (Intelligent Design/Intelligent Origin Theorist) will jump up and screech, "see! see! you had to intelligently design that setup, this proves nothing about what can happen naturally and proves intelligent design!"

Yes, they're that clueless.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 78 by Wumpini, posted 06-10-2008 3:23 PM Wumpini has replied

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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 3329 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 100 of 177 (470636)
06-11-2008 4:22 PM
Reply to: Message 97 by randman
06-11-2008 3:22 PM


Re: Ok.....since on-topic....
we see the most simple organisms for the common metazoan ancestor and ancestor of all plants and animals as likely being genetically more complex than most of the animal lineages following so that evolution, assuming it occured, largely occured via a loss of genes rather than a slow, accumulation of them.

Evidence for this claim being? Provided the Darwinian thought police will allow you to post it on this site of course.

TTFN,

WK


This message is a reply to:
 Message 97 by randman, posted 06-11-2008 3:22 PM randman has replied

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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4133 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 101 of 177 (470637)
06-11-2008 4:23 PM
Reply to: Message 98 by DrJones*
06-11-2008 3:53 PM


Re: Ok.....since on-topic....
How many times have they not been found when looked for is a better question. They found red blood cells and since they started looking, they have found more. The exact number is probably unknown.

This message is a reply to:
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Coyote
Member (Idle past 1340 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 102 of 177 (470640)
06-11-2008 4:29 PM
Reply to: Message 99 by Ichneumon
06-11-2008 4:15 PM


Re: New and Improved List - Maybe
I have examined literally hundreds of "probability" arguments from anti-evolutionists. Not one stands up to even a brief examination. They fail for many different reasons, but the failure inherent in every origin-of-life calculation is that their models (upon which their attempts at math are built) are ludicrously simplistic, and at most calculate the odds of something happening in the *one* simple way the anti-evolutionist has managed to conceive of, instead of examining the myriad ways something could conceivably happen.

For example, most "probability of a protein forming" calculations by anti-evolutionists only examine the odds of ONE specified protein sequence arising COMPLETELY AT RANDOM in ONE trial of a randomly-assembled sequence of amino acids. All well and good, but no biologist has ever proposed that this is how proteins formed during abiogenesis. The anti-evolutionists are modeling the wrong process.

Also, by saying "any specific amino acid sequence", this item makes clear that it's making another common mistake of anti-evolution probability calculations -- the (grossly false) assumption that only ONE specific amino acid sequence would do, and that all other sequences would be a "failure". Utterly false.

A good example of what you are describing is here:

Making Genetic Networks Operate Robustly: Unintelligent Non-design Suffices, by Professor Garrett Odell (online lecture)

http://www.researchchannel.org/prog/displayevent.aspx?rID=2513

    Description: Mathematical computer models of two ancient and famous genetic networks act early in embryos of many different species to determine the body plan. Models revealed these networks to be astonishingly robust, despite their 'unintelligent design.' This examines the use of mathematical models to shed light on how biological, pattern-forming gene networks operate and how thoughtless, haphazard, non-design produces networks whose robustness seems inspired, begging the question what else unintelligent non-design might be capable of [emphasis added].


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

This message is a reply to:
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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4133 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 103 of 177 (470641)
06-11-2008 4:32 PM
Reply to: Message 100 by Wounded King
06-11-2008 4:22 PM


Re: Ok.....since on-topic....
“The cells which gave rise to plants and animals had more types of genes available to them than are presently found in either plants or animals,” explains William Loomis, a professor of biology at UCSD...

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=William+Loomis+genes+Science+Daily+&btnG=Search

You can find more but it's not clear how far we can digress debating this point.


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DrJones*
Member
Posts: 2209
From: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Joined: 08-19-2004
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 104 of 177 (470644)
06-11-2008 4:41 PM
Reply to: Message 101 by randman
06-11-2008 4:23 PM


Re: Ok.....since on-topic....
How many times have they not been found when looked for is a better question.

But it is not the one I asked. You claimed:
...organic molecules would routinely stay intact for millions of years.

Support your assertion with some evidence.

The exact number is probably unknown.

Then how can you honestly claim that they "...would routinely stay intact for millions of years"?

Edited by DrJones*, : clarification


soon I discovered that this rock thing was true
Jerry Lee Lewis was the devil
Jesus was an architect previous to his career as a prophet
All of a sudden i found myself in love with the world
And so there was only one thing I could do
Was ding a ding dang my dang along ling long - Jesus Built my Hotrod Ministry

Live every week like it's Shark Week! - Tracey Jordan
Just a monkey in a long line of kings. - Matthew Good
If "elitist" just means "not the dumbest motherfucker in the room", I'll be an elitist! - Get Your War On
*not an actual doctor

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Ichneumon
Junior Member (Idle past 4645 days)
Posts: 16
Joined: 06-09-2008


Message 105 of 177 (470650)
06-11-2008 5:14 PM
Reply to: Message 92 by randman
06-11-2008 2:39 PM


Re: I'd like to see what percy says first....
I will list a few examples in order to comply with nosy's request though not sure what the top 3 are.

The reason I asked for your top 3 was to avoid the possibility of subequent waffling. I'm new here and am not familiar with your posts, so this is not a personal slur, it's just something I have found necessary when dealing with anti-evolutionists. Almost without exception they seem unable to learn that there might be any problem whatsoever with the quality of anti-evolution propaganda. No matter how many times dozens of their "proofs" against evolution are decisively shot down, they are completely unphased as they presume that surely a few of the other 3000 things they've been told against evolution by their creationist propganda pamphlets *must* be good enough to demolish that "evilution" thing, so they maintain their cocksure attitude despite never once managing to present a single solid bit of ammo against evolutionary biology, that doesn't immediately crumble when examined.

This is why I ask for your three BEST. The three you consider so solid, so sure, so well grounded, so carefully verified by the best minds that the anti-evolution movement has to offer. That way, if I can show you that the BEST is rotten to the core, then there will actually be a chance that for once you'll sit down and really think about what this means for the likelihood that the *rest* of the stuff cranked out by the creationist propaganda mills might also be full of manure as well.

Otherwise, we could be here until we're old and gray, and you'll never bother to consider that, as the saying goes, "if everything seems to be coming your way, consider that you might be in the wrong lane."

I want to cut to the chase -- I want you to put up your three VERY BEST examples of creationist slam-dunk refutation of evolutionary biology. So we can settle once and for all how solid/shoddy your anti-evolution position really is. If I asked Ford to give me their three finest automobiles from a day's worth of production, and I found that not one of the three would even start when I turned the key, that would tell everyone a great deal about the quality of Ford products in general even without examining the other 5000 cars made that day, wouldn't it?

But if instead I asked them to give me their three best, and they instead said, "well ya know, here's three, we don't know if they're the best, actually I can't even remember whether I pulled them from the 'factory rejects' room, dunno, but you're welcome to look them over", then if I found major flaws in all three, they'd be able to waffle and say, "hey, look, that's just 3 cars out of 5000, they might have been the only 3 that were bad, I told you they might have been the rejects in the first place, I'm sure the other 4997 are just fine, you can't prove nothin'!", then not only would the whole exercise have been a waste of time, it would raise serious questions about the willingness of Ford to actually put their products up for a test, wouldn't it? And wouldn't *that* by itself say something?

Now here you are, avoiding my request for your three BEST so that we can see what you've really got and how good it is. What does that say?

I strongly advise you to come back and try again with three you are willing to stand behind, willing to say that if even those three aren't capable of standing up to scrutiny, then by gosh maybe nothing is...

Nonetheless, let's have a look at the three you're pre-emptively disclaiming, shall we?

1. The NeoDarwinian hypothesis of genetic evolution roughly coorrelating morphological evolution by natural selection selecting for the beneficial traits arsing from random mutation conflicts with the evidence in an overwhelming manner.

You sort of "forgot" to actually provide any example whatsoever. You've just made an empty unsupported claim. It's like saying, "heavier than air flight is impossible, so there!"

As the old saying goes, "What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence."

Nonetheless, contrary to your vague and unspecific claim, the evidence actually overwhelmingly supports evolution: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

Try again when you can actually support your claim, or hell, even be specific about what you're talking about. *Which* evidence, *how* does it conflict, with what *part* of evolutionary theory, for starters? You're just handwaving and naysaying at this point.

Strike one.

2. Microevolution or NeoDarwinian processes of natural selection work against originating higher taxa by limiting genetic diversity within populations, not expanding it, in general and so is actually evidence against ToE, not evidence for it, as what we have are dead-ends, not examples of "evolution" in action.

This is false, as any reading of the biological literature would have informed you, likewise for any of the information science journals which explore topics of genetic algorithms.

And yes, this creationist claim has been refuted endlessly by those who know something about evolution, contrary to your claim that you'd be presenting things that we've allegedly never refuted. For example: http://groups.msn.com/evolutionvcreation/cannaturalselectionproducenewinformation.msnw

Strike two.

This error is compounded by the fallacious and deceptive circular logic of evos of defining evolution as heritable change and as ToE and so claim since heritable change has been observed, ToE has been observed when the exact opposite is the case.

You have a gross misunderstanding of what is and isn't evolution.

Furthermore, you have failed to identify what, exactly, you feel is either "fallacious" or "deceptive" or "circular" about it, nor how "the exact opposite" (the exact opposite of *what*?) is the case.

Finally, the "ToE", like any scientific theory, encompasses a number of things, so you're way off base when you rail against discussions of one aspect of it, and also when you falsely assert that people use that alone to provide evidence for other parts of it. Nor have you established that the parts you're vaguely referring to (*please* attempt to be more specific -- unclear presentation is usually the result of unclear thinking) actually aren't properly linked anyway.

3. The fossil record conclusively demonstrates gradualistic evo theories including PE are wrong.

Not that I've seen. Yet again, you're making a vague, unspecified, extremely broad (and overambitious) claim without a shred of specifics, support, or any attempt at making an actual case.
For a refutation (you keep claiming that these creationist claims have never been refuted), see this for example: http://www.gcssepm.org/special/
And: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC200.html
Among many others.

Strike three.

You could have saved yourself a lot of typing by just saying, "here's my three: evolution is wrong, wrong, wrong!"

Next time, attempt to actually make a case, if you think you have one. For starters, fill in the blanks where someone might reasonably ask, "such as?"

These are not necessarily the top 3, just some that come to mind....maybe top 3. I am sure there are threads on all of these.

Yeah, and Ford isn't standing behind those three cars they gave me to inspect, either.

Next time, give me something you're actually willing to stand behind, to actually hold forth as test cases of how good your position is.

If you just give me another vague scattershot without specifics, and start/end them with more disclaimers, I'll have to write you off as being the same as the other creationists I've had discussions with over thirty years -- all sound, no substance.

Come on, show us what you've got. Here's your chance.

In conclusion, I just want to state any suggestions of ignorance and cowardice are blatant rules-violations and an obvious slander easily refuted by the numerous posts anyone can view here.

Do you get such suggestions often enough that you feel the need for a pre-emptive volley? Why do you suppose that might be?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 92 by randman, posted 06-11-2008 2:39 PM randman has replied

Replies to this message:
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