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Author Topic:   Convergent Evolution - Reasonable conclusion? or convenient excuse?
BobTHJ
Member (Idle past 3078 days)
Posts: 119
Joined: 06-02-2010


Message 61 of 107 (565379)
06-16-2010 1:02 PM
Reply to: Message 51 by Percy
06-15-2010 11:46 AM


quote:
Can you provide an example or two of organisms in this last 5%?

I already provided one. Bats and dolphins.

quote:
And though I've posted it elsewhere I'll restate it here because you haven't answered it yet: what else could a nested hierarchy possibly imply? How many trunks can a tree have?

A good ontological model. Yes, I have answered this before.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 51 by Percy, posted 06-15-2010 11:46 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 62 by New Cat's Eye, posted 06-16-2010 1:17 PM BobTHJ has not yet responded
 Message 66 by Percy, posted 06-16-2010 8:55 PM BobTHJ has not yet responded

    
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 62 of 107 (565380)
06-16-2010 1:17 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by BobTHJ
06-16-2010 1:02 PM


BobTHJ writes:

95%+ of organisms fit nicely into a nested hierarchy. However, the hierarchy can not fully model that last <5% because there will be shared features/genes with other not closely grouped organisms.

Can you provide an example or two of organisms in this last 5%?

I already provided one. Bats and dolphins.

That bats and dolphins both emply echo-location does not break the model of a nested hierarchy.

A nested hierarchy does not imply that there will not be shared features between the nests.

Like, bugs and birds both have wings but they're not nested together. Or do you think that breaks the model too?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by BobTHJ, posted 06-16-2010 1:02 PM BobTHJ has not yet responded

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 7673
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 63 of 107 (565383)
06-16-2010 1:58 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by BobTHJ
06-16-2010 12:46 PM


Re: What is the ID Explanation?
Yes there are several variations on the eye. This is because each differently designed eye serves a specific function to its host organism.

Fish and squid share the same exact environment, and their eyes serve the same exact function. Their eyes are significantly different in their design. Remember what you said earlier?

"Of course - if organisms lacked significant similarity to each other then you would have evidence against common design."--BobTHJ

This is exactly the case for cephalopod eyes and vertebrate eyes. They serve the same function in the same environment, and yet they are significantly dissimilar.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19759
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 6.4


Message 64 of 107 (565440)
06-16-2010 7:25 PM
Reply to: Message 63 by Taq
06-16-2010 1:58 PM


Re: What is the ID Explanation?
Hi Taq,

Fish and squid share the same exact environment, and their eyes serve the same exact function. Their eyes are significantly different in their design. Remember what you said earlier?

Better still, compare the octopus eye to the nautilus eye, same environment, similar behavior, both use tentacles to capture prey, and need eyes to see the prey.


The octopus eye has a lens.

The nautilus eye does not - it has a small opening that functions like a "pin-hole" to focus images.

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : images addedded


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


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Percy
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Posts: 18312
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 65 of 107 (565442)
06-16-2010 8:25 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by BobTHJ
06-16-2010 12:46 PM


Re: What is the ID Explanation?
Hi Bob,

So the question was, "How does the common designer explain convergence?" And I said that different designs for the same purpose indicate different designers. And you reply:

BobTHJ writes:

You're forgetting that design is purposeful. Yes there are several variations on the eye. This is because each differently designed eye serves a specific function to its host organism.

Sure, maybe each eye design had a different set of requirements that necessitated certain design choices. Or maybe there were different designers. How do you tell which it is? What evidence are you looking at that leads you to conclude a single designer?

--Percy


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Percy
Member
Posts: 18312
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 66 of 107 (565445)
06-16-2010 8:55 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by BobTHJ
06-16-2010 1:02 PM


BobTHJ writes:

quote:
Can you provide an example or two of organisms in this last 5%?

I already provided one. Bats and dolphins.

Genetically bats and dolphins fit neatly into the nested hierarchy. Your echolocation argument on the basis of a single gene out of tens of thousands was completely dismantled. The nucleotide sequences aren't the same, and the differences are the type produced by random mutation and selection converging on the same solution in separate lineages. It's a fascinating discovery that mutations that produced very similar proteins were selected for in both lineages, but they aren't the same mutations.

quote:
And though I've posted it elsewhere I'll restate it here because you haven't answered it yet: what else could a nested hierarchy possibly imply? How many trunks can a tree have?

A good ontological model. Yes, I have answered this before.

Sorry if I missed it, but if you could just provide a link to the message with this answer I'll go take a look. Otherwise, could you please answer the question? A nested hierarchy can, by definition, have but a single root node. The phenotypic evidence strongly indicates a nested hierarchy, as was obvious even before Darwin, and the genetic evidence proves it conclusively.

--Percy


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19759
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 6.4


(1)
Message 67 of 107 (565446)
06-16-2010 8:58 PM
Reply to: Message 55 by BobTHJ
06-16-2010 11:21 AM


Re: superficial similarity but differences in the details
Hi BobTHJ, thanks.

Of course. You disagree with my opinion that the phylogenetic tree correctly models similarity (both morphological and genetic) to a degree higher than 95%? I didn't think many people would fight me on that assumption.

Amusingly, that is not the opinion that flies against scientific evidence. This issue is the 5% where you think there is wiggle room for your opinion to differ from science.

Sure, echolocating in bats and dolphins. They are not classed together in the phylogenetic tree (nor should they be if you want the most accurate ontological model possible) yet share a similarity not shared by other closely grouped organisms.

Except that this is not an example of where the 5% of the phylogenetic can be wrong.

The phylogeny is based on hereditary traits rather than developed traits. The "most accurate ontological model" would be based on inherited traits, and it would recognize that traits that appear similar because of independent development do not interfere with the phylogeny.

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/...evo101/IIC1Homologies.shtml

quote:
Since a phylogenetic tree is a hypothesis about evolutionary relationships, we want to use characters that are reliable indicators of common ancestry to build that tree. We use homologous characters—characters in different organisms that are similar because they were inherited from a common ancestor that also had that character. An example of homologous characters is the four limbs of tetrapods. Birds, bats, mice, and crocodiles all have four limbs. Sharks and bony fish do not. The ancestor of tetrapods evolved four limbs, and its descendents have inherited that feature—so the presence of four limbs is a homology.

Not all characters are homologies. For example, birds and bats both have wings, while mice and crocodiles do not. Does that mean that birds and bats are more closely related to one another than to mice and crocodiles? No. When we examine bird wings and bat wings closely, we see that there are some major differences.

Bat wings consist of flaps of skin stretched between the bones of the fingers and arm. Bird wings consist of feathers extending all along the arm. These structural dissimilarities suggest that bird wings and bat wings were not inherited from a common ancestor with wings. This idea is illustrated by the phylogeny below, which is based on a large number of other characters.

Bird and bat wings are analogous—that is, they have separate evolutionary origins, but are superficially similar because they evolved to serve the same function. Analogies are the result of convergent evolution.

The echolocation in bats and dolphins are developed analogous features, not inherited homologous features, and thus this does not interfere with the phylogenetic tree based on hereditary development.

A high degree of correlation between genomes and morpholocial features fits well with a design hypothesis. Just because darwinian evolution fails without that correlation doesn't mean it is the more reasonable conclusion.

A question for you is how you can distinguish your design hypothesis from the evolutionary hypothesis, not just telling yourself that the evidence shows design.

Message 52:
quote:
So if we found examples of non-convergence this would be evidence against a common designer?
If we failed to find significant similarity between life forms it would evidence against a common designer.

Message 53

quote:
Can you think of anything that would? And does it make a more reasonable conclusion than the one we already have which is supported by the material processes we can observe and understand?
Of course - if organisms lacked significant similarity to each other then you would have evidence against common design. For example, if organisms didn't share a similar cell structure but instead most used a basic anatomical unit that was different from other organisms this would be evidence against common design. Or if organisms didn't all use DNA/RNA but instead each used its own method of storing data - that would be evidence against common design.

Both are fairly reasonable conclusions - they both fit the data.

What I take issue with on these claims are:

  1. that they do not differentiate any observations from what is expected from evolution,
  2. that the scenarios you suggest would invalidate your design hypothesis would also invalidate evolution, and
  3. that this just appears to be your way of explaining the results of evolution to yourself, without risking any prediction that would falsify your design hypothesis.

By this means you avoid confrontation with evidence that invalidates belief, you just brush it away by telling yourself "oh it's consistent with (some kind of undefined generic) design hypothesis so it's okay" ... but it's no different than saying "god-did-it" and it doesn't predict any answers that would not be provided by evolution.

In a nutshell, you have failed to show how convergent evolution is due to design rather than evolution, or that evolution fails to explain convergence.

To maintain the thread topic here, I have continued my reply on the thread Silly Design Institute: Let's discuss BOTH sides of the Design Controversy..., Message 164.

Enjoy.

ps - with special thanks to Berkeley University for providing such an excellent resource:

Evolution 101
http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/index.shtml

Edited by RAZD, : clrty


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16086
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 68 of 107 (565465)
06-17-2010 12:31 AM
Reply to: Message 59 by BobTHJ
06-16-2010 12:19 PM


Hmm...you see this as evidence for evolution. I see this as those who wish to deny the existence or involvement of God* devising the most reasonable naturalistic explanation to explain His creation. Not at all unlikely.

*And because I know it's coming - no I'm not implying all evolutionists are atheists.

Two questions come to mind:

The first is: if you know that, then why advance a hypothesis which you know to be contradicted by the facts?

The second is the question you ducked the first time I raised it: why should there be a naturalistic explanation that predicts the facts so perfectly?


This message is a reply to:
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articulett
Member (Idle past 1452 days)
Posts: 49
Joined: 06-15-2010


Message 69 of 107 (565470)
06-17-2010 2:02 AM
Reply to: Message 59 by BobTHJ
06-16-2010 12:19 PM


quote:

Hmm...you see this as evidence for evolution. I see this as those who wish to deny the existence or involvement of God* devising the most reasonable naturalistic explanation to explain His creation. Not at all unlikely.

*And because I know it's coming - no I'm not implying all evolutionists are atheists.


Why wouldn't your god be more specific and obvious and "intelligent" in his design so that it didn't look exactly like what we'd expect from evolution without an overseer? Why so kludgey?

If you see convergent evolution as evidence of creation, how do you imagine things would look different if there was no "intelligent designer"?

If you were wrong about there being a designer would you want to know? And, what, if any, evidence could convince you?

I don't want to deny an existence of a god anymore than I want to deny the idea that intelligent aliens from another planet seeded life on earth, but there just is no evidence for anyone to insert such notions into the equation. They don't further understanding and may send people off in the wrong direction confirming their biases.

Why would someone want to deny the evidence of god if there was actual evidence for god? And does the expertise of theistic evolutionists like Francis Collins and Ken Miller have no credence in your brand of faith? Do you think they are being fooled while you have accesses some divine "higher truth"? (Are you a YEC?)


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 71 by BobTHJ, posted 06-21-2010 4:57 PM articulett has responded

    
BobTHJ
Member (Idle past 3078 days)
Posts: 119
Joined: 06-02-2010


Message 70 of 107 (565866)
06-21-2010 4:39 PM


Rather than reply post-by-post I'll consolidate all replies to all outstanding posts here in hopes of reducing duplication/workload. Apologies - for I know this breaks the automation of the handy threaded replies within a thread system.

Taq asks (Message 56, and Percy follows up with a similar question in Message 65) why vastly different designs do not constitute evidence against a common designer:

There are significant dissimilarity between the light bulb and the phonograph. Does this mean that they were not created by the same person, Thomas Edison?

As a counter-example, consider the work of any famous artist. While individual works may vary considerably both in scope and theme there is an underlying 'signature' to their work, and any discriminating art-lover can quickly discern the artist from the work. Common design does not expect uniformity, it expects some similarity - the designer's 'signature'.

To clarify my comments on the phylogenetic tree (referenced by Taq in Message 58, Catholic Scientist in Message 62, and Percy in Message 66, and RAZD in Message 67): The ontology is a useful tool to group organisms on similarities. Those similarities may occur at the genetic level, the morphological level, the behavioral level, etc. Since the inception of phylogentics similarities determine how organisms are grouped. As we've discussed in this thread - grouping organisms on a single similarity is ineffective, instead they are (typically) grouped with other organisms sharing the most similarities. My point is that this leads to cases (such as bat/dolphin echolocation) where organisms that share one or more similarities at some level are not closely grouped. My statement is not made to validate or invalidate common ancestry (the conclusion many draw) - I am simply referring to the ontological model.

Taq in Message 63 (and expanded by RAZD in Message 64):

"Of course - if organisms lacked significant similarity to each other then you would have evidence against common design."--BobTHJ

This is exactly the case for cephalopod eyes and vertebrate eyes. They serve the same function in the same environment, and yet they are significantly dissimilar.


Dissimilarity in a single feature is not significant. Note that cephalopods and vertebrates still share the same cellular structure, the same DNA structure, etc. There is a host of similarities - it reeks of common design.

Percy in Message 66:

Sorry if I missed it, but if you could just provide a link to the message with this answer I'll go take a look. Otherwise, could you please answer the question? A nested hierarchy can, by definition, have but a single root node. The phenotypic evidence strongly indicates a nested hierarchy, as was obvious even before Darwin, and the genetic evidence proves it conclusively.

There are a lot of assumptions made to force the ontology to fit the nested-heirarchy "root node" model needed for common ancestry. Here's where the system seems to break down. While a "best guess" path has been established it requires a lot of faith in processes supposed to occur millions or billions of years in the past for which there is scant evidence. I'm happy to discuss aspects of this further if you deem it to be adequately on-topic.

RAZD in Message 67:

What I take issue with on these claims are:

that they do not differentiate any observations from what is expected from evolution,
that the scenarios you suggest would invalidate your design hypothesis would also invalidate evolution, and
that this just appears to be your way of explaining the results of evolution to yourself, without risking any prediction that would falsify your design hypothesis


I understand that darwinian evolution would have the same expectations. My point was not to find specific evidence that would invalidate one while validating the other. Both models (from a wide-perspective) fit the evidence well - I doubt we'd be discussing this did they not. If anything, the burden of proof lies with you here - darwinain evolution (being the newer theory attempting to supplant the old) should need to demonstrate why it is correct and creation is not. What evidence is there that validates the pair of abiogenesis/darwinian evolution but invalidates common design of a set of created kinds?

Dr Adequate in Message 68:

The first is: if you know that, then why advance a hypothesis which you know to be contradicted by the facts?

The second is the question you ducked the first time I raised it: why should there be a naturalistic explanation that predicts the facts so perfectly?


I'm not following your first question. Every hypothesis I have advocated seems to fit the evidence - if it did not I wouldn't advocate for it.

As to your second question - I don't think the naturalistic explanation predicts the facts perfectly. The naturalistic explanation has been in a constant state of adjustment specifically because it has failed to predict many facts. As I've mentioned before - to some extent this is good science, but when the special pleading begins to outweigh the evidence it may be time to abandon the theory.

I'll answer articulett's Message 69 separately, because (s)he asks a number of distinct questions more appropriately answered by a point-by-point reply.


Replies to this message:
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BobTHJ
Member (Idle past 3078 days)
Posts: 119
Joined: 06-02-2010


Message 71 of 107 (565868)
06-21-2010 4:57 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by articulett
06-17-2010 2:02 AM


quote:
Why wouldn't your god be more specific and obvious and "intelligent" in his design so that it didn't look exactly like what we'd expect from evolution without an overseer? Why so kludgey?

Kludgey? Care to give an example of kludgey? YEC does expect some degree of 'kludgeyness' as a result of decay in the genome since creation - but this type of kludgeyness should be as a result of degredation - not as a result of natural selection's imperfect means of assembling functions.

quote:
If you see convergent evolution as evidence of creation, how do you imagine things would look different if there was no "intelligent designer"?

As previously stated, if there were no common designer then we could expect to see little to no similarity between organisms. Each would have different "building blocks" - they wouldn't share common cellular structure, DNA, etc.

quote:
If you were wrong about there being a designer would you want to know? And, what, if any, evidence could convince you?

At this point I am doubtful that scientific evidence alone could convince me of the lack of a designer - I am convinced by the spiritual evidence. However, scientific evidence could convince me that the designer used darwinian evolution as a method for populating life on the planet. As to what form that evidence would take - I am uncertain - I honestly haven't given it much thought.

quote:
I don't want to deny an existence of a god anymore than I want to deny the idea that intelligent aliens from another planet seeded life on earth, but there just is no evidence for anyone to insert such notions into the equation. They don't further understanding and may send people off in the wrong direction confirming their biases

As I've mentioned before (but you may not have seen since it appears you are new - welcome!) I have more than sufficient evidence to insert the notion of a designer into the equation. I'll concede that atheists do not (shame too, cause they don't know what they're missing).

quote:
Why would someone want to deny the evidence of god if there was actual evidence for god? And does the expertise of theistic evolutionists like Francis Collins and Ken Miller have no credence in your brand of faith? Do you think they are being fooled while you have accesses some divine "higher truth"? (Are you a YEC?)

Yes, I subscribe to the YEC model. Yes I understand many Christians do not. This is really a religious question - and is off topic, so I'll keep my answer brief - and if you'd like to discuss further let's take it to another thread. The Bible (the 'handbook' for the Christian faith) does not preclude other models - though theologically they don't seem to hold up as well as YEC. Do I have access to "higher truth"? No...we all share access to the same truth. I have chosen to advocate YEC because it seems to be the most theologically and scientifically consistent.


This message is a reply to:
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Taq
Member
Posts: 7673
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 72 of 107 (565871)
06-21-2010 5:20 PM
Reply to: Message 71 by BobTHJ
06-21-2010 4:57 PM


Kludgey? Care to give an example of kludgey?

Someone who meticulously arranges their clothes so that it perfectly mimics a tornado going through their room. That is what we have with life, the exact pattern of shared similarities that we would expect to see without a common designer.

As previously stated, if there were no common designer then we could expect to see little to no similarity between organisms. Each would have different "building blocks" - they wouldn't share common cellular structure, DNA, etc.

Not if all life shares a single common ancestor. Then we would expect a nested hierarchy which is exactly what we see. Or are you saying that without a common designer that you and your siblings should not share the same building blocks?

At this point I am doubtful that scientific evidence alone could convince me of the lack of a designer - I am convinced by the spiritual evidence.

Spiritual evidence is an oxymoron.

As I've mentioned before (but you may not have seen since it appears you are new - welcome!) I have more than sufficient evidence to insert the notion of a designer into the equation.

What evidence? All you have put forth so far is "spiritual evidence" which is synonymous with "religious faith", the very opposite of evidence.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 71 by BobTHJ, posted 06-21-2010 4:57 PM BobTHJ has not yet responded

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 7673
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 73 of 107 (565872)
06-21-2010 5:28 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by BobTHJ
06-21-2010 4:39 PM


As a counter-example, . . .

Not so fast. My single example has already falsified your hypothesis. Designs made by the same designer are significantly dissimilar. It doesn't matter how many white swans you point at. All it takes is a single black swan to falsify the hypothesis that all swans are white.

Common design does not expect uniformity, it expects some similarity - the designer's 'signature'.

With life, the signature is a nested hierarchy, and descent with modification, the signature of evolution.

Since the inception of phylogentics similarities determine how organisms are grouped. As we've discussed in this thread - grouping organisms on a single similarity is ineffective, instead they are (typically) grouped with other organisms sharing the most similarities. My point is that this leads to cases (such as bat/dolphin echolocation) where organisms that share one or more similarities at some level are not closely grouped. My statement is not made to validate or invalidate common ancestry (the conclusion many draw) - I am simply referring to the ontological model.

Can you please explain what observations we should observe if the ontological model is true and the evolutionary model is false?

Dissimilarity in a single feature is not significant.

Why would a common designer design two completely different eyes for two creatures that share the same environment? You keep talking about "common design/common designer" and yet completely ignore cases of uncommon design. This is one of these cases. And if you think that the eye is the only thing that is dissimilar between cephalopods and vertebrate fish, think again.


This message is a reply to:
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16086
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 74 of 107 (565873)
06-21-2010 5:29 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by BobTHJ
06-21-2010 4:39 PM


I'm not following your first question. Every hypothesis I have advocated seems to fit the evidence - if it did not I wouldn't advocate for it.

I mean that you attribute the success of evolution to an ulterior atheistic motive, and then immediately admit that you know that many evolutionists aren't atheists. So you know that the evidence shows that your explanation is false.

As to your second question - I don't think the naturalistic explanation predicts the facts perfectly.

Whereas the people most familiar with the facts do.

As I've mentioned before - to some extent this is good science, but when the special pleading begins to outweigh the evidence it may be time to abandon the theory.

If "special pleading" did start to outweigh the evidence, then I'm sure scientists would agree with you. But there is a great mass of evidence and no need to add things ad hoc to the theory.

---

Contrast that with creationism, which is no more than one ad hoc explanation after another. Take radiometric dating, for example. The idea that Noah's flood managed to screw up all the radiometric dates in such a way as to be consistent with the expectations of evolutionists does not follow from the Book of Genesis or from the concept of a global flood. It's an unevidenced hypothesis brought in to save the appearances.

If radiometric dating had confirmed a 6000 year old Earth, would "flood geologists" then be explaining to us that this data was worthless because the flood would have screwed up all the dating techniques?

No, of course not. And nor would any sane person be able to rebut them by suggesting that this was so: because this is just a fantasy without evidence invented to get creationists out of a hole.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16086
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 75 of 107 (565875)
06-21-2010 5:57 PM
Reply to: Message 71 by BobTHJ
06-21-2010 4:57 PM


YEC does expect some degree of 'kludgeyness' as a result of decay in the genome since creation ...

Another piece of ad hoccery. "YEC" does not expect that. Two hundred years ago people reading the same Bible as you would have told you that species did not decay and indeed could not go extinct, and pointed to that as evidence of divine creation

Also, as I have pointed out, we do not observe this decay.

Also, it would not explain what you're trying to explain. This imaginary "decay" would produce a deterioration of an initial elegant and clever solution; it would not produce an inelegant and stupid solution, which is what "kludgey" means.

Take, for example, our eyes. Deterioration in the genome could have reduced the number of our rods or cones, or eliminated one of our primary colors, or left us all short-sighted. But what it could not do is unhook our nerves from the back of the retina, re-attach them to the front of our retina, giving us a blind spot, and then rewire our brains so as to automatically fill in the blind spot with a best guess. That is a kludge. What we have there is not a clever solution which has deteriorated, but a solution which works quite well but is clumsy and stupid.

It is not a degenerate form of a superior eye any more than this ...

... is a degenerate form of a superior potato peeler.


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