Step 1. Dismiss yourself of responsibility for defending your assertions.
And I don't really think we need to define complexity to understand that it isn't increasing. It rather seems like a convenient way for people to throw out a scientific sounding rebuttal to the issue without actually addressing the issue.
Actually Garrett if you want to show something is not increasing you need to actually SHOW IT. We DO need to define it if you want to understand that something is not increasing or else all we have is the word of people with questionable credentials who are known to be liars telling us so.
Step 2. Change the subject to something you equally misunderstand with a new set of obfuscated points to bring up.
A few small tiny changes a year would undoubtedly leave more of a transitional fossil record than we currently see...and that is accepting the few questionable examples as valid. Given the lack of fossile evidence how do you quantify these small changes?
Mutations don't leave fossils. Fossils are also only one of the most cursory evidences for evolution. Fossils are also off topic. Start a fossil thread if you want to go down this road.
Of course, biblical creationists are committed to belief in God's written Word, the Bible, which forbids bearing false witness; --AIG (lest they forget)
If you'll look back, you'll see that I originally predicated my remarks on the assumption that Garret had simply mistaken hemoglobin C for hemoglobin S.
He informed me that that was not the case. In other words, he's aware that C is not S, that C does not have the detriments of S. Nonetheless he persists in asserting that C causes sickle-cell.
If he's saying something that he's stated that he knows as false, what am I supposed to conclude? Is there a word that the admins would prefer us to use to describe someone who is knowingly promulgating a falsehood?
Criteria for organismal complexity are even more difficult to establish because not all morphological features are shared by all organisms. If we counted appendages, we would rank jellyfish higher than humans. Similarly, if we measured behavioral complexity as, say, the number of distinct intra-specific signals the organism is capable of producing and responding to, we bias our measurements toward organisms that are behaviorally complex, and against those that might be more complex in morphological ways.
Discussions involving complexity come up quite often in this forum. Generally I avoid them because, not being a math wiz...by and large, they give me a headache. However, I still do find the concept interesting, if for no other reason than because we get to read some very humorous stuff from the creationists and IDers.
While I agree completely with your assertion that biologists are not really too concerned with complexity as it relates to evolutionary theory, it is still brought up constantly by creationists and IDers. And if for no other reason than to address their arguments, I do think that a working definition of biological complexity would be a nice thing to have.
During one of these previous discussions I mentioned what I thought to be a fairly good example of how we might measure biological complexity. In all honesty, I can remember how badly it was shot down (Iâ€™m relatively certain that it went down in flames) and since you do at least appear to have a handle on the problem, I'll ask you what you think.
Could we not define biological complexity in terms of the number(s) of differentiated cell types? Youâ€™re correct in that if we simply look at morphological complexity, the jellyfish (having many more appendages) would be more complex than humans. However, in terms of differentiated cell typesâ€¦well I think humans would win out on that level. If we looked at behavioral complexity, those with complex behaviors would â€œwinâ€. But again, if we use differentiation, then perhaps notâ€¦depending on their neural complexity. This system wouldnâ€™t be biased towards any particular cell type or the total number of cells, but rather it would only take into account how many different (specialized) cells types are present.
This method may not be applicable in all instances at the Species level, consequently many people may find it meaningless or useless...but so what. Do we really need to determine complexity at all levels? Do cats have more cell types than dogs? Is it important to evolutionary theory to know if a dog is more complex than a cat, or a human more complex than a hamster? I think not. Perhaps it is correct to say that a dog and cat are equal in complexity. However, this method would certainly aid in looking at general trends in evolution as they relate to an increase or decrease in complexity...would it not?
This would also eliminate the concept of an evolutionary progression from simple to complexâ€¦that things become more complex as time goes on and are therefore somehow "better". Of course, at the single cell level, we may have to incorporate other criteria, seeing as how being a single cell is as simple as this system could goâ€¦.meaning that Prokaryots are equal in complexity to Eukaryots. Perhaps at this level we could take organelles into account. I donâ€™t knowâ€¦Iâ€™m just flinging crap out hereâ€¦:)
Just curious as to your thoughts. Please...take aim and fire at will.
quote:Discussions involving complexity come up quite often in this forum. Generally I avoid them because, not being a math wiz...by and large, they give me a headache.
Well, I am a math wiz, and those discussions give me a headache, too.
"Intellectually, scientifically, even artistically, fundamentalism -- biblical literalism -- is a road to nowhere, because it insists on fidelity to revealed truths that are not true." -- Katha Pollitt
Could we not define biological complexity in terms of the number(s) of differentiated cell types?
Possibly. But I think this approach would still produce a bias toward morphological 'complexity' at the expense of behavioral. Furthermore, different levels of behavioral complexity could be achieved without different levels of cell differentiation. Your system would ignore differing levels of organization within cell types. Say two organisms each have only two types of cells in their brain, nerve cells and glial cells - they would get the same rating. But if one has a larger brain OR simply more complex arrangements of the same cell types, you would be ignoring this super-cellular level of organizational 'complexity' (Damn, I hate this word).
There continues to be no definitive biological definition of biological 'complexity'. It means different things to different people. It can be measured, qualified, or quantified in countless ways, none of which will be definitively all-encompassing.
On your other point, just because ID'ers and creationists are always hand-waving about complexity does not mean it needs defining. That burden falls on those who would introduce the term and bandy it about. In fact, their inability to objectively define 'complexity' is a good excuse for the rest of us not to wallow in intellectual mud trying to grapple with their flawed concepts. I am of the opinion we must insist on precise scientific terminology whenever we want to have a meaningful discussion of a scientific topic. And you can't have a meaningful scientific discussion about such a nebulous concept.
No further comments from me until later today - a dental appointment approaches...
This message has been edited by EZscience, 02-16-2006 09:10 AM
Your system would ignore differing levels of organization within cell types. Say two organisms each have only two types of cells in their brain, nerve cells and glial cells - they would get the same rating. But if one has a larger brain OR simply more complex arrangements of the same cell types, you would be ignoring this super-cellular level of organizational 'complexity' (Damn, I hate this word)
This is true...but let's address it on a realistic level. If two organisms are identical in cellular differentiation, but one has a somewhat larger brain or a more "complex" arrangement of the same cell type(s), then I think we would probably be looking at very very similar organisms to start with, and any talk about which is more complex really wouldn't matter. Like I said, I don't think we have to concern ourselves with measuring the complexity of every single thing on this planet down to the Species level. In other words...how often do you think such a scenario would arise? And wouldn't it be likely that in these circumstances, that the two organisms in question would be closely related?
Look, in my opinion, creationists and IDers concern themselves with complexity for a couple of reasons. First, they want to equate complexity with some arbitrary level of â€œwhat is betterâ€. To be more complex is to be â€œfurther evolvedâ€â€¦which to them means better. Of course, not accepting the ToE means that they also want to discuss complexity because they somehow or another want to convince laypersons that complex structures cannot arise via mutation and natural selection. I donâ€™t claim to understand a lot of their argument, and undoubtedly they will correct me here if Iâ€™m mistakenâ€¦but Iâ€™m not so sure that they really care about differences in complexity between closely related organisms (that whole macro/micro evolution nonsense). Instead, they are more after explanations of how simple things (i.e. bacteria) can become complex things (i.e. humans).
However, I also completely agree that defining complexity (as it relates to evolutionary theory) is something that creationists should have to deal with themselves. By the same token...they are a vocal group and have been known to put enormous pressure on school boards to get their agenda into science classes. In other words...ignoring them will not make them go away. They get in front of a group of parents and start in about complexity...using big words and making it appear as if they have a clue...and the next thing you know...little Jack and Jill are learning all about a boat load of animals joyfully bouncing around on some waves during a prolonged sprinkle. So, whether we like it or notâ€¦whether we want it or notâ€¦whether we believe in its importance to understanding the ToEâ€¦the concept of â€œcomplexityâ€ is out there in the real World, and we do need to deal with it.
No further comments from me until later today - a dental appointment approaches...
I can relate...next Tuesday I go in for a root canal. Oh friggen boy, I can hardly wait.
Edited to fix a typo.
This message has been edited by FliesOnly, 02-16-2006 02:45 PM
I guess I have no objection to the use of 'complexity' in relative terms when differences are obvious. A horse is more complex than bacteria. Tropical communities are more complex than temperate ones.
I think it is the whole issue of 'absolute' levels of complexity that I really oppose. For example, if Dembski and his cronies are going to argue for 'specified complexity' as evidence of ID, they must come up with some absolute, quantifiable level of biological complexity that qualifies something to be considered specified as opposed to non-specified, and distinguishes something designed from something evolved. They are implicitly assuming absolute levels of complexity that do not exist and cannot be 'specified'. Just like the invisible boundaries that supposedly preserve biblical 'kinds' of organisms from macroevolutionary change.
I don't have any dogmatic need to oppose science. I believe science where it can be verified. I have no doubt that microevolution occurs and that changes are possible in species through time. What I don't accept, at least without evidence, is that changes above the level of species can occur just because you see the changes happening at lower levels. Everything known in science dictates that a gerbil will produce a gerbil. Until you can produce evidence of mutations that lead to changes above the species level, you are relying on faith to hold that position.
I realize that I confused hemoglobin C with S in the previous post....I'm sure you'll understand if it takes me a while to read all 50 responses I get to each posting.
I would mainly agree with your statement. As a creationist, I understand that complex doesn't mean more evolved and that there is not necessarily a "better" in terms of evolutionary development. The issue being addressed, as you mention, is that of coming from simple (bacteria) to complex (human). The hypothesis is that random mutations can't fully provide that process.
You say that it should be the responsibility of creationists to better define "information" in this context....and since we are introducing the term I will cede that point on it's face. However, the problem is that the creationists are essentially just trying to get you to quantify how these mutations can lead to changes above the level of species...which macroevolution requires. Following our established line of logic, it should be up to evolutionists to provide this proof....they, after all, are the ones asserting that it happens.
I don't have any dogmatic need to oppose science. I believe science where it can be verified.
Yet you don't, because you oppose evolution, a verified, testable scientific model.
Everything known in science dictates that a gerbil will produce a gerbil.
And that a mammal will produce a mammal, and a vertebrate will produce a vertebrate, and a metazoan will produce a metazoan, and a living thing will produce a living thing.
Our classification system of living things is hierarcheal. That's a concept that seems to surprise a lot of people; it's not unsurprising that you've become confused and believe that evolution means that gerbils produce non-gerbils.
The offspring of gerbils will always be considered "gerbils", just as the offspring of the original mammal species are all mammals, despite the term "mammal" encompassing a significant variety of species.
Until you can produce evidence of mutations that lead to changes above the species level
That sentence has no meaning to me. Mutation is not the source of new species; merely the source of new characteristics. Speciation is the source of new species.
Until you can produce evidence of mutations that lead to changes above the species level, you are relying on faith to hold that position.
Nonsense. It can be inferred indirectly. Heritable morphological change is dependent on genetic changes. If phylogenies & cladograms show a correlation with the stratigraphic location of fossils, then the morphological change in the fossil record is consistent with evolution & genetic change over time.
There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those that understand binary, & those that don't