High-level debates in evolutionary biology often treat the Modern Synthesis as a framework of population genetics, or as an intellectual lineage with a changing distribution of beliefs. Unfortunately, these flexible notions, used to negotiate decades of innovations, are now thoroughly detached from their historical roots in the original Modern Synthesis (OMS), a falsifiable scientific theory.
I promised John Harshman for several months that I would start a discussion about common design vs. common descent, and I’d like to keep my word to him as best as possible.
Strictly the speaking common design and common descent aren’t mutually exclusive, but if one invokes the possibility of recent special creation of all life, the two being mutually exclusive would be inevitable.
If one believes in a young fossil record (YFR) and thus likely believes life is young and therefore recently created, then one is a Young Life Creationist (YLC). YEC (young earth creationists) are automatically YLCs but there are a few YLCs who believe the Earth is old. So evidence in favor of YFR is evidence in favor of common design over common descent.
One can assume for the sake of argument the mainstream geological timelines of billions of years on planet Earth. If that is the case, special creation would have to happen likely in a progressive manner. I believe Stephen Meyer and many of the original ID proponents like Walter Bradley were progressive creationists.
As some on you have probably realized, the time comes for everyone to move on…
This time came for me…I believe it is in the best interests of everyone…without getting into any details.
I have learned a lot here. It was fun too…
For those who care, I have several time-consuming projects going both in my professional life and in my very rich life of the many hobbies… Interestingly, some of my hobbies became more that just that, and today pay many of my bills…I just hope that my new hobbies will not join the other side as there are only 24 hours in each given day.. 🙂
I wish you all well and please keep seeking the truth… wherever it leads you…
of the Existence of God
Philosopher Edward Feser has a new book out in which he puts forth five arguments for the existence of God. These are not the “Five Ways” of Aquinas so it might be refreshing to discuss one or all of these. At the very least this OP may introduce readers to arguments for the existence of God which they had previously been unaware of.
The five proofs are:
- The Aristotelian Proof
- The Neo-Platonic Proof
- The Augustinian Proof
- The Thomistic Proof
- The Rationalist Proof
From The Guardian (September 25, 2017): Nerve implant ‘restores consciousness’ to man in vegetative state by science correspondent Hannah Devlin:
A 35-year-old man who had been in a vegetative state for 15 years has shown signs of consciousness after receiving a pioneering therapy involving nerve stimulation.
The treatment challenges a widely-accepted view that there is no prospect of a patient recovering consciousness if they have been in a vegetative state for longer than 12 months.
Since sustaining severe brain injuries in a car accident, the man had been completely unaware of the world around him. But when fitted with an implant to stimulate the vagus nerve, which travels into the brain stem, the man appeared to flicker back into a state of consciousness.
He started to track objects with his eyes, began to stay awake while being read a story and his eyes opened wide in surprise when the examiner suddenly moved her face close to the patient’s. He could even respond to some simple requests, such as turning his head when asked – although this took about a minute…
I have promised that I will try to falsify the evolutionary theory by performing some simple experiments, as many of Darwin’s faithful on this blog have been really reluctant to do or even to suggest such an experiment…
However, one video was posted on TSZ suggesting that such an experiment has already been performed by Biologist Ken Dial in a study of how young birds use their developing wings that is supposed shed light on the evolution of flight in birds.
The Origin of Flight–What Use is Half a Wing? | HHMI BioInteractive Video
Evolution is often presented as problem-solving. Genetic algorithms are often offered as proofs of evolution’s ability to solve problems. Genetic algorithms are as search algorithms.
As one book says:
Fundamentally, all evolutionary algorithms can be viewed as search algorithms which search through a set of possible solutions looking for the best – or “fittest” – solution.
Tom has asked me to specify a problem independently from the evolutionary process. Now I have to admit that I don’t really understand what that means. But I like Tom and I have a lot of respect for him, so I want to give it my best shot and see where it takes us. I’m also hoping this will shed some light on claims about how problem-solving genetic algorithms are designed to solve a particular problem.
Recently, we have been able to establish, reluctantly by some and without an official admission, that God could not have spared Adam and Eve from the consequences of their disobedience that led to sin, which resulted in aging, diseases, suffering, natural disasters outside of paradise and then eventually death… Continue reading
Purpose and Desire: What Makes Something “Alive” and Why Modern Darwinism Has Failed to Explain It is the new book by physiologist J. Scott Turner, author of The Tinkerer’s Accomplice: How Design Emerges from Life Itself.
The book may make some “skeptics” uncomfortable, but maybe they should read it anyways.
From the book:
I have come to believe that there is something presently wrong with how we scientists think about life, its existence, its origins, and its evolution.
Without a coherent theory of life, whatever we think about life doesn’t hold water. This applies to the major contribution we claim that the modern science of life offers to the popular culture: Darwinism.
… there sits at the heart of modern Darwinism an unresolved tautology that undermines its validity.
… do we have a coherent theory of evolution? The firmly settled answer to this question is supposed to be “yes” …
I intend to argue in this book that the answer to my question might actually be “no.”
There’s a rather good article recently published on Aeon, “Why religion is not going away and science will not destroy it“. Since we often circle around the question of the relationship between science and religion, and since most TSZ contributors seem to assume the conflict thesis — that science and religion tend to, and perhaps even must, conflict — I wanted to bring this article to your attention. Discuss — or not!
Bumping around for millions of years without sight is not a problems for Richard Dawkins…Why would it be for evolution?
Question: Do not ALL (systems involved in seeing and processing image) have to be working (fully functional) for the eye to receive and process vision? (or something like that)
Answer Richard Dawkins: It is a bit a fallacy because 1/4 of an eye or a100th of an eye is better than nothing…
Please watch the video as my keyboard can’t handle the rest of this Dawkins’ nonsense…
!8 mysteries to go…
Coevolutionary algorithms approach problems for which no function for evaluating potential solutions is present or known. Instead, algorithms rely on the aggregation of outcomes from interactions among evolving entities in order to make selection decisions. Given the lack of an explicit yardstick, understanding the dynamics of coevolutionary algorithms, judging whether a given algorithm is progressing, and designing effective new algorithms present unique challenges unlike those faced by optimization or evolutionary algorithms. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a foundational understanding of coevolutionary algorithms and to highlight critical theoretical and empirical work done over the last two decades. This chapter outlines the ends and means of coevolutionary algorithms: what they are meant to find, and how they should find it.
Handbook of Natural Computing
In the thread FMM throws Jesus under the bus, I had the following exchange with colewd:
Until you have an eye there is nothing to select for. You have 300k of nucleotides drifting toward a meaningless group of sequences. Until you find a group of sequences that can provide reproductive advantage (sight) it is drift drift drift.
This is just a version of the “what good is half an eye” PRATT.
Seriously, Bill, how can you possibly have missed everything that’s been written on this subject, from Darwin onward?
One of the deeper questions that runs throughout philosophical speculation — Western, Eastern, and besides — is a kind of wonder or awe at the fact that the world does make any sense to us all. This awe can be expressed as itself an intellectual problem: why is the world intelligible? The question is sometimes put as: what is the source of the world’s intelligibility? Is the source of intelligibility itself intelligible? Or does a mystery remain after all explanations have had their say?
We are cluttering up a thread that’s not about convergence with discussions about convergence. Here, we can discuss this specific issue.
Occasionally a theist makes an argument so amusingly stupid that it would be a shame not to share it with a larger audience. This is one of those occasions.
It turns out that professor Larry Moran of the University of Toronto agrees with Craig Venter. Thanks to Allan Miller, I discovered a blog on a similar theme at sandawalk link here
This is what professor Moran says about the video (his video is 42 min long):
” Everything that Ventor says is correct. He didn’t need to quibble about the universality of the genetic code but it’s true that there are variants.”
“I’m pretty sure that Dawkins doesn’t agree (in reference to video) with those who question whether there’s a tree of life. One of the most profound implications of the net of life is that it’s consistent with several independent origins of life that preceded the rise of a modern genetic code and contributed to existing species. In other words, there may not be a single LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor). Dawkins does not like that. It’s not what he says on the lecture circuit.” (my emphasis)
There is probably no one in the world of biology today as respected as Craig Venter.
Well, his achievements are indeed great including being involved with sequencing the human genome and assembled the first team to transfect a cell with a synthetic chromosome, which some even went as far as calling the creation of artificial life…
Now apparently, he is involved in the anti-aging research…no surprise here…he is 70 and would like reach immortality like the jellyfish…Who can blame him…He is an atheist…
However, his also known for what some would call radical statements such as denying the common descent which is the very foundation of evolutionary theory…
“Common descent describes how, in evolutionary biology, a group of organisms share a most recent common ancestor. Common ancestry between organisms of different species apparently arises during speciation, in which new species are established from a single ancestral population. Organisms which share a more recent common ancestor are apparently closely related.” –Wiki
The apparent common descent of all organisms on earth doesn’t agree with Craig Venter’s research… Continue reading
I tire of keiths and his revisionist history. In a recent thread…
Glen: The real question is if Mung has read and comprehended Losos’ book.
keiths: Yes, which brings to mind what happened with Andreas Wagner’s book, Arrival of the Fittest. Mung was blathering about how it was an ID-friendly book, which is nonsense.
I challenged him:
Alan’s review barely touches on what I think are the most important ideas in the book: those concerning the “libraries”, the “networks”, and the extent to which the networks extend across the libraries.
How about summarizing those ideas for us in your own words? That will serve the dual purpose of 1) filling a gap in Alan’s review and 2) demonstrating that you actually understand what Wagner is saying.
Having summarized those ideas, if you still don’t (or pretend not to) understand the implications for ID, I’ll help you out.
Think of it as being similar to an ideological Turing test. I’d like to see if you even bothered, or were able, to understand the book before dismissing it as no threat to ID.
keiths: To no one’s surprise, Mung squirmed, stalled, and then skedaddled.
Here’s what actually happened:
My kids just informed me that they have seen an okapi evolving, or transitioning into a zebra…
Okapi’s stripes appear to be no doubt the same as zebra’s…
Well, at least we have one example of species transitioning into another…out of 10 billion and this one looks like a stunner….
I have to run!
I’ll fill in the rest when I get back…
It turns out that okapi is considered to be more closely related to giraffe than to zebra…if at all…That is surprising…because okapi and zebra do look alike just okapi is missing some stripes…No wonder my kids fell for it…as did some experts…
“…The okapi and the giraffe were assigned to the same order (Artiodactyla) because they both have cloven hooves, and to the same family (Giraffidae) because they share certain distinctive features: Both have large eyes and ears, thin lips and a long, extensible tongue that allows them to lick their entire face (even the ears); their backs slope upward from rump to withers; they also share the same dental formula: ( i 0/3, c 0/1, pm 3/3, m 3/3) × 3 = 32. Both, unlike any other mammal, have molars with rugose enamel and bony horns that remain covered with skin throughout life (Nowak 1999, vol. 2, p. 1085).
Yet the rump and legs of an okapi are covered with black-and-white stripes exactly like those of a zebra. Perhaps, then, if okapis had solid hooves instead of cloven ones, they would be classified as perissodactyls (Order Perissodactyla) and would be considered more closely related to zebras than to giraffes. An okapi is about the same size as a Burchell’s zebra.
The chromosome count of an okapi is also like that of a zebra, to which it is not supposed to be related, and unlike that of a giraffe. Giraffes have 30 chromosomes (Taylor et al. 1967; Hösli and Lang 1970; Koulisher et al. 1971), whereas okapis have a variable chromosome number of 44-46, depending on the animal in question; most seem to have 2n = 45 (Ulbrich and Schmitt 1969; Hösli and Lang 1970; Koulisher 1978). The chromosome number of Grevy’s zebra is 2n = 46 and plains zebras have 2n = 44 (Benirschke and Malouf 1967). Variation in chromosome count is itself unusual among mammals, but common in hybrids…”
The 14-16 chromosome difference between giraffe and okapi is striking isn’t it?