Eye Mock Stupidity

I’m all in favor of mocking stupidity, and here’s something definitely worth mocking.

In arguing for evolution, author Alan R. Rogers appeals to the Nilsson and Pelger paper on how simple it is to evolve an eye. He writes:

If eyes evolve, they must do so often and easily. Could it really be so easy?

Dan-Eric Nilsson and Susanne Pelger have answered this question. They constructed an evolutionary story much like the one that I told above.

– The Evidence for Evolution. p. 42.

And what did he write about the story that he told above?

This story is of course a fabrication. p. 40

I’m serious! Can it get any more stupid than that?

Do evolutionists believe fabrications? When it comes to how to evolve and eye it would certainly seem so.

524 thoughts on “Eye Mock Stupidity

  1. On page 39 Rogers writes:

    The story only needs to be plausible, it doesn’t need to be true.

    We see that in action all the time here.

    And:

    …the first piece of Darwin’s argument was a made up story about how eyes might have evolved.

    Storytelling. An essential aspect of evolutionary theory from the beginning.

  2. Whether the response is reasonable depends on the challenge. If the challenge is conceptual (e.g. “I just don’t see how it’s possible for an eye to have evolved”), then a scenario need only be plausible in order to respond to the challenge.

  3. I suppose there’s a point somewhere to this post. But I’m having difficulty working out what is that point.

    Do evolutionists believe fabrications?

    Of course not. But they do consider plausibility arguments.

  4. Kantian Naturalist: …a scenario need only be plausible in order to respond to the challenge.

    But we know it need not be true. In fact, in the case of this author he admits his story is not true, that’s it’s a fabrication. It would therefore seem to be implausible on its face.

    I really like Douglas Walton’s work. I’ll have to look into what he says about plausibility arguments.

  5. Mung: “There’s no way anybody could have ever crossed this river. It’s far too wide”
    Friend: “Look, there’s a bridge over there, maybe…”
    Mung: “Fabrication! Besides, bridges are designed!!11!1!”

  6. Kantian Naturalist:
    Whether the response is reasonable depends on the challenge. If the challenge is conceptual (e.g. “I just don’t see how it’s possible for an eye to have evolved”), then a scenario need only be plausible in order to respond to the challenge.

    The paper, which John Harshman laughably calls a study (and Rumraket of course believes him) , is not even a scenario.

    If someone says, how is a car built, and the answer is “The engine and body and tires are put together by something, and it might take 21 days” is not a scenario or even an answer. Its an avoidance of an answer.

  7. dazz,

    Mung: “There’s no way anybody could have ever crossed this river. It’s far too wide”
    Friend: “Look, they are on the other side, and perhaps something like a donkey with long legs and a snorkel carried them!”

  8. phoodoo: Look, they are on the other side, and perhaps something like a donkey with long legs and a snorkel carried them!

    That’s certainly plausible.

  9. Mung: That’s certainly plausible.

    Logically possible, yes. Plausible, no.

    (Here reading “plausible” as “highly probable” or “more probable than the alternatives to which it is being compared”.)

  10. I’d like to point out that the quote from the book that I posted are from a section that is actually titled Is it plausible that a complex eye could evolve? (p. 39).

    The author then proceeds to tell a story, one that he actually admits has problems and “is a fabrication,” and then concludes his story is plausible. He doesn’t say why it’s plausible. He doesn’t argue that it is plausible. The reader is supposed to join with the author in assuming it’s plausible.

    A perfect example of exactly the sort of begging the question that goes on in evolutionary storytelling.

    Let’s assume, just for the sake of argument, that there is one true account of how a particular type of eye evolved. It seems reasonable to believe that the number of stories as to how that eye evolved that are actually not true would be practically innumerable.

    And if that’s the case, there’s no good reason to think any one story out of that huge number of almost certainly false stories is plausible.

    But hey, if evolutionists want to believe stories that are almost certainly false who am I to try to dissuade them?

  11. Mung: That’s certainly plausible.

    Look, I am not saying it was a snorkel like a modern day snorkel. Because modern day snorkels don’t fit donkeys lips very well. But perhaps a proto-snorkel like device, but slightly modified by an unknown source, from earlier materials, that no longer exist in their current molecular form.

    The previous snorkel-like device wouldn’t have been completely functional for donkey breathing, because the donkey can’t hold its nose underwater, but this is more of a concept then a working device. Its likely that it was something not exactly snorkel like, and probably not a donkey per se, but this is just a proof of a thought experiment, with some details to be modeled later. If donkeys are in fact petrified of being underwater, and tend to have a massive heart attack almost immediately after being submerged, some adjustments to the model may need to be considered.

  12. Mung,

    If you’re going to cherry pick quotes, I’d suggest that you leave out the page numbers. That way it won’t be so easy for readers to see that the second quote (from page 40) can’t really be a comment on the first (from page 42).

    Here’s the context that Mung left out: Various authors have argued on logical grounds that natural selection could not plausibly produce a complex organ, such as the vertebrate eye. But plausibility arguments have an important weakness: to refute one all you need to do is concoct a plausible story in which the eye does evolve. If your story is plausible, the original claim (about implausibility) can’t be true. And it only matters that the story is plausible, not that it is true.

    Mung also claims that I merely assert that the story is plausible. Here’s what I actually said, on p 40: “By what right do I claim the story is plausible? Could creatures with eyes like those ever really live? The answer to this question is an unambiguous `yes,’ for all these sorts of eye can be found in creatures alive today.” And then I presented evidence to document this claim.

    On the other hand, the truth is what we really care about. So I used pages 42-50 to present evidence that the eye really did evolve. Mung must have missed that part.

  13. Mung:
    Let’s assume, just for the sake of argument, that there is one true account of how a particular type of eye evolved. It seems reasonable to believe that the number of stories as to how that eye evolved that are actually not true would be practically innumerable.

    And if that’s the case, there’s no good reason to think any one story out of that huge number of almost certainly false stories is plausible.

    But hey, if evolutionists want to believe stories that are almost certainly false who am I to try to dissuade them?

    ROTFLMFAO!

  14. dazz: ROTFLMFAO!

    When you say, “laugh my fucking ass off”, you don’t mean literally do you?

    Becomes some sea-donkeys might find that offensive.

  15. phoodoo,

    The previous snorkel-like device wouldn’t have been completely functional for donkey breathing, because the donkey can’t hold its nose underwater, but this is more of a concept then a working device. Its likely that it was something not exactly snorkel like, and probably not a donkey per se, but this is just a proof of a thought experiment, with some details to be modeled later. If donkeys are in fact petrified of being underwater, and tend to have a massive heart attack almost immediately after being submerged, some adjustments to the model may need to be considered.

    Are you proposing that the donkey snorkel and human snorkel share a common ancestor 🙂

  16. phoodoo,

    Mung assumes, for the sake of argument, that there’s one true account for the evolution of the eye.

    He then claims that “It seems reasonable to believe that the number of stories as to how that eye evolved that are actually not true would be practically innumerable”

    He concludes : “And if that’s the case, there’s no good reason to think any one story out of that huge number of almost certainly false stories is plausible.”

    Many blunders there:

    1. The hypothetical account he initially assumed to be true can’t be one of those he claims are not actually true (because he assumed it was true)

    … I can go on, but maybe we should keep it simple considering the audience

  17. colewd:
    phoodoo,

    Are you proposing that the donkey snorkel and human snorkel share a common ancestor

    Not necessarily. The donkey snorkel and some moose snorkels could have arisen through different lineages.

    Ungulate snorkels could share many similarities with marsupial snorkels also, but it doesn’t mean they are related.

    The point is just that their is nothing preventing snorkels from being adapted multiple times throughout history. Snorkels tend to be poor at fossilizing.

  18. phoodoo:
    That particular sea-donkey is actually a computer model.

    Not a particular computer model, but a proposed one.

    Predefined is designed

  19. Mung:

    Let’s assume, just for the sake of argument, that there is one true account of how a particular type of eye was designed. It seems reasonable to believe that the number of stories as to how that eye was designed that are actually not true would be practically innumerable.

    And if that’s the case, there’s no good reason to think any one story out of that huge number of almost certainly false stories is plausible.

  20. phoodoo,

    The point is just that their is nothing preventing snorkels from being adapted multiple times throughout history. Snorkels tend to be poor at fossilizing.

    Priceless 🙂

  21. phoodoo,

    Mung assumes, for the sake of argument, that there’s one true account for the evolution of the eye.

    He then claims that “It seems reasonable to believe that the number of stories as to how that eye evolved that are actually not true would be practically innumerable”

    He concludes : “And if that’s the case, there’s no good reason to think any one story out of that huge number of almost certainly false stories is plausible.”

    Many blunders there:

    1. The hypothetical account he initially assumed to be true can’t be one of those he claims are not actually true (because he assumed it was true)

    … I can go on, but maybe we should keep it simple considering the audience

    I nominate this for the TSZ hall of shame. Second?

  22. dazz,

    It really is priceless, considering that rubber snorkels are likely to be preserved much better than bones. retards

    And whose the retard that thinks this is a scientific discussion?

  23. Mung: Let’s assume, just for the sake of argument, that there is one true account of how a particular type of eye evolved. It seems reasonable to believe that the number of stories as to how that eye evolved that are actually not true would be practically innumerable.

    And if that’s the case, there’s no good reason to think any one story out of that huge number of almost certainly false stories is plausible.

    Could there be some way of narrowing down the number of concievable stories to a subset that is more plausible than others? And could there be a subset within this subset that is consistent with evolution?

    For your argument here to work, you’d have to somehow believe that we can’t sensibly pick between them and rule some to be more or less plausible than others. For example, stories that involve the moon growing large arms that reached to the Earth at three times the speed of light, and surgically doctored the first eyes, we couldn’t rule that one out and say it is less plausible than other stories that don’t violate everything we know about how the world works?

    We do this for everything in our lives. You come to work one day, and for totally sensible reasons your co-workers don’t even consider the option that you teleported to work. Or died in your sleep and your consciousness was divinely resurrected into a newly cloned body. Even among realistic stories we can still narrow down the plausible options pretty quickly. You probably didn’t catch a ride from Bill Gates while hitchhiking to work. You probably didn’t fly there in a helicopter and parachute to the entrance. You probably didn’t drive there in a lamborghini. And so on.

    It is pretty clear that we can in fact do this, so your argument just doesn’t work. Among the set of concievable stories for how eyes came about, we’re going to be able to narrow it down pretty quickly to a small subset that is at least consistent with evolution. And within this subset, we can start looking at the comparative genetic and morphological evidence from eye development to narrow it down even more.

  24. Later in the same book:

    As we have seen, natural selection is a pretty stupid engineer. It simply walks uphill on the fitness surface. If that surface has lots of small peaks, selection is likely to get stuck on one. This will look to us like poor engineering. On the other hand, if the fitness surface were relatively smooth, poor engineering should be hard to find. This does not seem to be the case, however, for nature provides many examples of bad engineering.

    – The Evidence for Evolution. p. 54

    So we look for evidence of poor engineering and from this we infer that the fitness landscape has lots of small peaks because if the fitness surface were relatively smooth the engineering would have been much better.

    Talk about circular reasoning and question begging. What utter nonsense.

  25. phoodoo: Mung: “There’s no way anybody could have ever crossed this river. It’s far too wide”

    The gap is too wide, the ends will never join up. There are no transitional forms.

    bla bla bla bla

  26. Mung: So we look for evidence of poor engineering and from this we infer that the fitness landscape has lots of small peaks because if the fitness surface were relatively smooth the engineering would have been much better.

    Talk about circular reasoning and question begging. What utter nonsense.

    There is no circular reasoning there you dimwit. It’s actually totally straightforward and valid reasoning. LOL

  27. Rumraket: And could there be a subset within this subset that is consistent with evolution?

    I’m assuming they are all consistent with evolution. Even so, it seems entirely reasonable to believe that the vast majority of those stories are not in fact the true story.

    It’s more reasonable to believe that any particular story is in fact false, even if it is consistent with evolution, because it probably is false. And if that’s the case, there’s no good basis on which to deem the story plausible.

    Of course, if you want to believe that a story which is probably false is plausible don’t let me stop you. Just don’t mock me for thinking you’re nuts.

  28. Mung: I’m assuming they are all consistent with evolution. Even so, it seems entirely reasonable to believe that the vast majority of those stories are not in fact the true story.

    It’s more reasonable to believe that any particular story is in fact false, even if it is consistent with evolution, because it probably is false. And if that’s the case, there’s no good basis on which to deem the story plausible.

    Of course, if you want to believe that a story which is probably false is plausible don’t let me stop you. Just don’t mock me for thinking you’re nuts.

    Note how Mung moved the goalposts, just to fail all the same. All hail Mung, the master of fallacious reasoning

  29. Back to eyes:

    So far I have argued more or less as Darwin did, and I hope I have convinced you that eyes might plausibly evolve. This is enough to demolish the arguments of Pritchard and Murphy, but it does not tell us whether eyes really did evolve. We cannot answer that question by making up stories. We need real evidence – evidence that Darwin did not have. If eyes did evolve, then closely related species should have similar eyes. Their eyes, in other words, should show traces of common descent.

    – The Evidence for Evolution. p. 42.

    Sorry evolutionists, your stories don’t tell us whether eyes actually evolved. You can’t answer that question by making up stories. You need real evidence. Evidence you don’t have. LoL!

    My siblings and I have similar eyes. Therefore eyes evolved. Humans and chimps have similar eyes, therefore eyes evolved. If there is evidence for common descent, that is all the evidence we need that eyes evolved. We have evidence for common descent, therefore eyes evolved.

    Notice the shift though that the author has made. He is supposed to be demonstrating that complex eyes could have come about by the mutation/selection mechanism proposed by Darwin. Now he drops that altogether and changes the subject.

    If he can find evidence for common descent then the reader is left to make the leap that this came about via a specific mechanism, even though the author presents no evidence that it is that particular mechanism that brought about complex eyes.

    Bait and switch and non sequitur.

    The author claims that Behe opposes evolution even though Behe accepts common descent. Go figure.

    The example of the eye proves that even a complex organ can evolve by intermediate steps that are all adaptive. (p. 50)

    This is hogwash. Utterly false. Nowhere does the author give us reason to believe this.

    As discussed in Chapter 4, the eye seems to have evolved by a series of small changes, each of which was advantageous. (p. 52)

    More bullshit. We’re back to the evidence being the story that he told.

    When it comes down to it the “evidence” in this book that eyes evolved “by intermediate steps that are all adaptive” comes down to the bare assertion that it must have been so.

  30. Alan Rogers,

    Thanks for posting. Apologies that your post was delayed in the moderation queue.

    And a note to all: I’m replying to the author of the book which Mung quotes (or is that “quote mines”).

  31. Alan Rogers: That way it won’t be so easy for readers to see that the second quote (from page 40) can’t really be a comment on the first (from page 42).

    I agree. I never said or implied that it was. The first quote mentions “an evolutionary story much like the one that I told above..” The second quote was your comment on that story (the evolutionary story … that [you had] told above). Just like a said.

  32. Neil Rickert:
    I suppose there’s a point somewhere to this post.But I’m having difficulty working out what is that point.

    Since when does Mung require a point to be a poo-flinging troll?

  33. Alan Rogers: Mung also claims that I merely assert that the story is plausible. Here’s what I actually said, on p 40: “By what right do I claim the story is plausible? Could creatures with eyes like those ever really live? The answer to this question is an unambiguous `yes,’ for all these sorts of eye can be found in creatures alive today.” And then I presented evidence to document this claim.

    You presented evidence to document the claim that “for all these sorts of eye can be found in creatures today,” and that is your claim to plausibility?

    And then I presented evidence to document this claim.

    Just so we’re clear. Which claim are you talking about?

    Because pointing to all sorts of “eyes” that exist today and asserting that this makes your claim plausible is in fact just an assertion on your part.

  34. BTW if anyone wants to see Mung’s usual dishonest quote mining here is a link to the Amazon The Evidence for Evolution book with a preview of the whole chapter on eye evolution.

    Eve evolution

    Of course Mung chopped things out of context and painted a completely false picture of what Rogers was discussing. Is anyone surprised?

  35. Alan Rogers: On the other hand, the truth is what we really care about. So I used pages 42-50 to present evidence that the eye really did evolve. Mung must have missed that part.

    No, I covered your switch from one topic to another later in this thread. You changed the topic to common descent, switching midstream from your argument that a complex eye could evolve via the Darwinian mechanism.

    You only even mention natural selection once in those following sections, which focus not on how the eye came about but on the evidence for common descent.

    Natural selection seems to have invented the camera-type eye more than once.

    And wouldn’t it be utterly remarkable of the same story was true of all types of camera eye. But what are the odds of that?

    Anyways, the take away here is that you are not arguing for how natural selection can bring about a complex eye. You totally dropped that line of argument after telling your story.

    see here

  36. And of course there are yet more holes in Rogers’ story.

    Once he has a lens “from here on, the evolutionary path is easy to see” (p 40).

    Yet later he has to admit he doesn’t even have a lens.“It is hard to avoid the conclusion that these disparate eyes [sea squirts, squid, fruit flies, and mice] evolved from some common ancestor that could respond to light. Its visual system was probably no more complex than the simple eye spot” (p 45).

    Begging the question. This is what he is supposed to be demonstrating, not assuming.

    “Lenses must have evolved after the common ancestor of vertebrates and squid. That common ancestor must have had some sort of eye, but probably not one with a lens” (p 45).

    He writes: “If eyes did evolve, then closely related species should have similar eyes” (p 42).

    But apparently this doesn’t apply to snails.

    “Yet if we knew only about the anatomy of their eyes, no one would think all snails were relatives” (p 46).

    “the various kinds of eyes in modern snails cannot be traced back to a single ancestral eye. They are independent inventions.” (p 47).

    One might answer that they need their own plausible story.

    The evidence for common ancestry of eyes is there, except when it isn’t. According to Rogers own words “the eye must have evolved … at least 40 and probably more like 60” times. (p 41, 42).

    It should be obvious that arguing for common ancestry of the eye is going to be a tough sell, and Rogers fails to bring it off.

    And far less does he prove HOW the eye evolved.

    The example of the eye proves that even a complex organ can evolve by intermediate steps that are all adaptive. (p. 50)

    Hardly.

  37. Alan Rogers: So I used pages 42-50 to present evidence that the eye really did evolve. Mung must have missed that part.

    No, I just thought it deserved its own post. That’s quite the list of contradictions you racked up in those few pages. And no case for evolution by natural selection at all. Could have been random genetic drift for all we know.

    ETA: Have you researched opsins and lens proteins in snails?

  38. Neil Rickert: And a note to all: I’m replying to the author of the book which Mung quotes (or is that “quote mines”).

    You have no evidence that I quote mined anything from his book. None.

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