A corrected worksheet targeted for High School students proving that even if Photosynthesis were IC – it would still be evolvable.

This is my second kick at the can and a follow up to my last OP called:

A worksheet targeted for High School students proving once and for all that Photosynthesis is not “Irreducibly Complex”

In deference to Keiths, I have changed the title.

I want to thank participants for their insightful suggestions… yes that includes you Sal. I even included your frog metaphor.

Special thanks go to Mung and to Bill!

A very deep bow and tip of the hat goes to Keiths.

NEW LINK

I would appreciate any feedback and suggestions for improvement before I finalize it and submit to the Biology Teachers’ cyber-community for their perusal.

118 thoughts on “A corrected worksheet targeted for High School students proving that even if Photosynthesis were IC – it would still be evolvable.

  1. TomMueller: Rumraket already answered you.

    In case you hadn’t noticed, I changed my objection so as to avoid Rumraket’s previous answer. I evolved. 🙂

    What is your evidence that the bubbles in seawater you claim were the first proto-cells were in fact the first proto-cells, you read it somewhere and thought it was cool?

  2. Entropy – perhaps you should explain your ‘moniker’ such that the noncognoscenti are obliged to concede that “entropy” cannot be lampooned as “a tornado blowing through a junk yard and assembling a car”

    That is to say…

    Entropy is NOT a measure of disorder (textbooks are finally dropping the inapt metaphor)

    But rather

    … a measure of increased complexity of the universe as time’s arrow follows its trajectory

  3. Mung: u read it somewhere and thought it was cool?

    You are in fact repeating yourself and are too obtuse to admit it! You have already been answered

    done is done!

    adieu

  4. J-Mac: The moment he realizes it, his Darwinian beliefs are gone…

    I am at a loss for words… whats lower than moron/imbecile/idiot?

  5. TomMueller: I wish I could have conversations with opponents possessed of longer attention spans and memories than goldfish

    Try treating them like friends instead of enemies. I can only think of two people who post here that I couldn’t sit down face to face with and share a drink and a conversation. They are on Ignore.

  6. TomMueller: Entropy is NOT a measure of disorder (textbooks are finally dropping the inapt metaphor)

    True.

    But rather

    … a measure of increased complexity of the universe as time’s arrow follows its trajectory

    False.

  7. Tom,

    In your “worksheet” you write the following:

    …the early ocean was acidic and rich in dissolved iron. When upwelling hydrothermal fluids reacted with this primordial seawater, they produced carbonate rocks riddled with tiny pores and a “foam” of iron-sulpher bubbles (the first proto-cells).

    You either can produce evidence that these foam bubbles were the first proto-cells or you cannot. If you cannot, then you are just bullshitting your students and doing them a disservice. All Rumraket did with his prior comment was deflect from the issue I raised.

  8. TomMueller: The problem is – in empirical terms: everything I claimed is correct. What is the alternative? Vitalism? If not, I am open to correction. So far you have offered nothing I can discern.

    I think you might have missed the point. The loaded language makes it appear as if you think poorly of a cell, and make it appear a tad dogmatic. If you changed that to “can be though of as”, rather than “is nothing more than” you would not be inviting “alternatives,” you’d be avoiding a potential misunderstanding about your appreciation of cells. I find them to be great stuff. So I’d never use the words “nothing more than” to describe them.

    TomMueller: I refer my students to a link and ask them to read the precise and nuanced definition of IC as specified by Behe

    Sure. But the fact remains that your first mention of IC is wrong. Having a link that contradicts your reference won’t gain you much credibility on the part of the students.

    Here’s the damning part:

    Even if all the constituent Biochemical parts were available in some localized “Primordial Soup”, how could they ever spontaneously assemble themselves into the first living cell? Let’s see if we can begin to address that question, a question often referred to as “Irreducible Complexity”

    See? IC is not about primordial soup assembling into a first living cell. Right? That you can make the case for a frog to be IC, doesn’t make the definition above true.

    Anyway, I hope that helps. If I see something else I’ll let you know.

  9. Mung: When I said “First, this assumes facts not in evidence,” do you know what I was referring to? Hint: Which of his statements is not backed up by facts?

    The whole paragraph from which you cited the question alone doesn’t have any statements not backed up by facts:

    “I would have worded the last part a bit differently myself, because we technically don’t actually know whether DNA, RNA, and protein require each other to be put together. What we know is that, when it comes to cells that exist today, if you remove any one of these components, what is left stops working. The big question is, if something else could have done it’s job before either of them evolved.

    (Emphasis mine.) The part in bold is the only thing you quoted. So, no hidden assumptions there. Just a question.

  10. Entropy: Mung: Things don’t change just because they can. But nice try.

    Entropy: Sorry, but your claim doesn’t make it so.

    But your claim that things change because they can does make it so?

    Sorry, but your claim doesn’t make it so. Nice try though.

  11. Entropy: So, no hidden assumptions there. Just a question.

    The facts not in evidence are that either of them evolved at all. If you or Rumraket thinks otherwise, what is the evidence that either of them evolved?

  12. TomMueller: The solitary contrary source you cite seems to fall under conspiracy theory pop-science along the lines of the moon landing was a hoax.

    It does look that way. There was another that surely was purely rhetorical, so I ignored it. We can never be too careful.

  13. Mung: But your claim that things change because they can does make it so?

    My point was that things can change just because they can change (the first “can” is also important). No matter how hard you try to put “need” into it, it will still be possible for things to change just because they can change. It’s not because I say so, but because it’s logically obvious.

  14. Mung: The facts not in evidence are that either of them evolved at all. If you or Rumraket thinks otherwise, what is the evidence that either of them evolved?

    Of course you’d consider that to ba a fact-not-in-evidence. However, you’re forgetting the context. If one is to question how life originated, the evolutionary scenario can contemplate the question about whether something else might have played those roles (DNA/RNA/protein roles) before either of those molecules (DNA/RNA/proteins) “made it into the scene,” given their mutual need of each other to function.

    In other words, Rumratek is talking about whether an evolutionary scenario is possible despite mutual needs in the DNA/RNA/protein “system.” So, no facts-not-in-evidence. Just a misunderstanding from lack of considering the context.

    In yet other words, in the context where things evolved, making that question (could something else have played those roles?) to see if it solves an apparent problem (the mutual need of each element in the system), is valid and doesn’t have facts-not-in-evidence, since those facts are not the problem (yet).

  15. Entropy:
    Sure. But the fact remains that your first mention of IC is wrong. Having a link that contradicts your reference won’t gain you much credibility on the part of the students.

    Here’s the damning part:

    See? IC is not about primordial soup assembling into a first living cell. Right? That you can make the case for a frog to be IC, doesn’t make the definition above true.

    Anyway, I hope that helps. If I see something else I’ll let you know.

    The notion of IC is nuanced.

    Behe in his own words:

    “Demonstration that a system is irreducibly complex is not a proof that there is absolutely no gradual route to its production.”

    Here is the kicker (again Behe in his own words):

    “Although an irreducibly complex system can’t be produced directly, one can’t definitively rule out the possibility of an indirect, circuitous route.”

    So far so good! So where is the controversy? Behe goes on to say that

    “…as the complexity of an interacting system increases, the likelihood of such an indirect route drops precipitously.”

    It all boils down to plausibility.

    How plausible are the abiotic origins of life? (the thrust of my worksheet)…which is exactly where Sal jumped in with his “frog in a blender metaphor”
    http://joecartoon.com/watch/k1bbbc/Frog_in_a_Blender

    … a theme picked up on uncommon descent and endorsed by some present:
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/evolution-as-a-ralphs-supermarket/

    The question of Life’s evolution is being pushed back to its abiotic origins and Sal echoed Behe’s contention that it simply is too complicated for spontaneous self-assembly; its ”likelihood has dropped precipitously.”

    I recognize that Sal’s metaphor was silly, but I co-opted it for IC at a physiological level. I conceded I am mixing metaphors… but my students were never refered to Sal’s silliness. Since the “several interacting parts” (as Behe phrased it) of the frog have been disassembled in a blender, their failure to reassemble would be an example of IC. I agree with my detractors on that point… IC has been demonstrated in the particular example of the frog in a blender,(which again, I remind you Sal cited as equivalent to hte liklihood of Life’s emergence from abiotic origins and understood as IC by some present)

    The fact remains, that this exemplar of IC is by no means unevolvable as demonstrated by my exemplar of some Poriferan-like ancestor.

    I really think we are quibbling and if you still insist I am conflating concepts – I ask you to check out the link at uncommondescent. I am merely responding to my detractors.

  16. Entropy,

    The big question is, if something else could have done it’s job before either of them evolved.“

    What is the basis of the assumption that they evolved?

  17. Entropy: I think you might have missed the point. The loaded language makes it appear as if you think poorly of a cell, and make it appear a tad dogmatic. If you changed that to “can be though of as”, rather than “is nothing more than” you would not be inviting “alternatives,” you’d be avoiding a potential misunderstanding about your appreciation of cells. I find them to be great stuff. So I’d never use the words “nothing more than” to describe them.

    Point well taken

  18. colewd:
    Entropy,
    What is the basis of the assumption that they evolved?

    I’m talking about contemplating scenarios where they did, in order to identify the problems with those scenarios and see if there’s potential solutions. Did you understand that yet?

  19. TomMueller: Point well taken

    So Tom, did anyone other than “Entropy” suggest that your “nothing more than” language needed to be changed? But until now it was not a “point well taken.”

    Is that right?

  20. Mung: In case you hadn’t noticed, I changed my objection so as to avoid Rumraket’s previous answer. I evolved.

    What is your evidence that the bubbles in seawater you claim were the first proto-cells were in fact the first proto-cells, you read it somewhere and thought it was cool?

    Groundhog Day

    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/a-worksheet-targeted-for-high-school-students-proving-once-and-for-all-that-photosynthesis-is-not-irreducibly-complex/comment-page-4/#comment-199199

  21. Mung: n “Entropy” suggest that your “nothing more than” language needed to be changed? But until now it was not a “point well taken.”

    Is that right?

    Point well taken

  22. Entropy: My point was that things can change just because they can change (the first “can” is also important).

    If something can change, it can change. Who ever thought otherwise. But things do not change, just because they can change. You are simply mistaken. And you have no evidence for your position. Try to do better.

  23. Mung:
    Tom has no evidence for his claim that foam bubbles were the first proto-cells.

    GODDAMIT – you have a reading comprehension problem?!

    I NEVER SAID FOAM BUBBLES WERE THE FIRST PROTO-CELLS!

    TRY AGAIN!

  24. Mung: If something can change, it can change.

    Of course. Obvious. Right?

    Mung: Who ever thought otherwise.

    You, when you demanded that they could only change if there’s a need for the change.

    Mung: But things do not change, just because they can change.

    They might not always change just because they can change, but they can change just because they can change. Your demand for a “need” doesn’t make a dent in the logically obvious. Things can change just because they can change.

    Mung: You are simply mistaken.

    No, I’m not.

    Mung: And you have no evidence for your position.

    My position is logically evident. It’s you who has the burden of proof. I’m not the one demanding an extra element (a “need” for change), it’s you.

    Mung: Try to do better.

    I’m trying to do better, but the explanation is as simple as it can be. What else do you need before you understand the point? What’s so difficult about it? Where’s your confusion?

  25. Mung: Yes, that’s what I said. Did you think I said otherwise?

    You said otherwise:

    Mung: Second, if there was a working system before why on earth would it need to change

    [Emphasis mine] You’re implying / assuming that change doesn’t happen unless there’s a need for a change.

  26. Entropy: [Emphasis mine] You’re implying / assuming that change doesn’t happen unless there’s a need for a change.

    Wrong. Try again. I’m implying that your position is BS. Your position is that change happens because change can happen. If that’s not your position why did you say it?

  27. Entropy: [Emphasis mine] You’re implying / assuming that change doesn’t happen unless there’s a need for a change.

    FFS. What is wrong with you? It was a question.

  28. Mung: Wrong. Try again. I’m implying that your position is BS. Your position is that change happens because change can happen. If that’s not your position why did you say it?

    Once again, my position is that change can happen because change can happen (you keep forgetting that first “can”). That you forgot the context of that conversation is neither my fault, nor my problem, but all yours. At the beginning, I quoted your claim and explained the implied assumption right there and then. You implied that change requires a need for change. My position is, and was all along, that change doesn’t require a need for a change. That things can change just because things can change.

  29. You were not asking if there was a need for a change, you’re asking why would there be a need for a change, as if a need was required before change could happen.

  30. Entropy: Once again, my position is that change can happen because change can happen

    Is this a topic on which you’ve published?

    Change can happen if change can happen seems a bit shallow.

  31. Mung: Is this a topic on which you’ve published?
    Change can happen if change can happen seems a bit shallow.

    It depends. If you imply that change cannot happen without a need for change, your question becomes a loaded question, and any attempt at answering without clarification would be an admission to the implied assumption. That can become pretty convoluted later on. How can I know if you have that assumption or not without clarification? How can I know that I’m not accepting your hidden assumptions without clarification? How could you know if you’re not holding to some hidden assumptions without clarification?

    You complained about facts-not-in-evidence. I am complaining about the very same thing: a “need” for change is a fact-not-in-evidence implied in your question.

  32. Entropy: TomMueller: The solitary contrary source you cite seems to fall under conspiracy theory pop-science along the lines of the moon landing was a hoax.

    It does look that way. There was another that surely was purely rhetorical, so I ignored it. We can never be too careful.

    Keep going…

  33. Mung: First, this assumes facts not in evidence.

    No it doesn’t. I’m asking questions, I’m not assuming things worked out the way I’m asking if they worked out.

    Second, if there was a working system before why on earth would it need to change.

    It wouldn’t “need” to change, evolution can’t look into the future and see what is coming. “It” (cells, replicating nucleic acid, or protein polymers) changes because it isn’t able to reproduce perfectly, without error. And those changes manifest in the form of variations in the ability to reproduce. And a large portion of the time, during the process of change those with a higher reproductive success entirely become the population and fully replace it’s ancestors.

    You’re basically appealing to a miracle. Life of one sort evolving into life of a completely different sort.

    Where is the miracle in that and what do you mean by a miracle?

  34. Entropy:
    You were not asking if there was a need for a change, you’re asking why would there be a need for a change, as if a need was required before change could happen.

    Mung has a hard time letting go of his teleological thinking.

    In fairness, so has many biologists, who have falled into a bit of a habit of describing evolutionary change as something that takes place according to need, or which somehow demonstrates the “brilliance” of evolution.

    This has often times got Mung all worked up, as he likes to dig out these quotes and sort of insinuate that it isn’t even possible to describe evolutionary change in non teleological terms. Which is demonstrably false, as I and many others succeed at exactlty that over and over again.

  35. Entropy: TomMueller: The solitary contrary source you cite seems to fall under conspiracy theory pop-science along the lines of the moon landing was a hoax.

    I bet you Tom also believes in the Hafele–Keating experiments on atomic clocks and relativity, because hey, its right there on Wikipedia, you can read all about it, it must be true.

  36. phoodoo: I bet you Tom also believes in the Hafele–Keating experiments on atomic clocks and relativity, because hey, its right there on Wikipedia, you can read all about it, it must be true.

    Whereas of course your belief in the events described in a 2000 year old book written by sheepherders is beyond reproach.

  37. regarding: TomMueller:
    Entropy – perhaps you should explain your ‘moniker’ such that the noncognoscenti are obliged to concede that “entropy” cannot be lampooned as “a tornado blowing through a junk yard and assembling a car”

    That is to say…

    Entropy is NOT a measure of disorder (textbooks are finally dropping the inapt metaphor)

    But rather

    … a measure of increased complexity of the universe as time’s arrow follows its trajectory

    Mung: True.

    False.

    Mung has identified the ignorachio elelnchi upon which IC has constructed an indefensible thesis.

    The second proposition is indeed true and probably worthy of its own OP

    http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2016/11/03/entropy-and-complexity-cause-and-effect-life-and-time/

  38. TomMueller: Apparently some creationists present have reading comprehension problems

    In some case, it is more a matter of them having a highly developed skill at seeing ways to misinterpret what people say as forming the basis for a cheap shot.

  39. Neil Rickert: In some case, it is more a matter of them having a highly developed skill at seeing ways to misinterpret what people say as forming the basis for a cheap shot.

    AMEN!

  40. Entropy,

    I’m talking about contemplating scenarios where they did, in order to identify the problems with those scenarios and see if there’s potential solutions. Did you understand that yet?

    Got it.

  41. Rumraket: I’m asking questions, I’m not assuming things worked out the way I’m asking if they worked out.

    Here’s what you wrote:

    The big question is, if something else could have done it’s job before either of them evolved.“

    Before either of what evolved?

    And it the question doesn’t assume that they evolved then it makes no sense because there would have been no before either of them evolved. It’s clearly not a question whether something in fact evolved, that is taken as a given. And that’s why it assumes fact in evidence, because there have been no facts given which proves either of them in fact evolved in the first place.

  42. OMagain: Whereas of course your belief in the events described in a 2000 year old book written by sheepherders is beyond reproach.

    Moses was not a sheepherder.

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