Fig 1: Somewhat similar? YES. Related by birth? NO. Proof is impossible.
- When Napoleon’s army invaded Egypt in 1798, a large number of animal mummies were brought back to France.
- These represented many species, including cats, jackals, dogs, crocodiles, snakes, sacred ibis, and other birds, as well as human mummies. George Cuvier analyzed the samples and concluded that no detectable anatomical changes had occurred over the time passed since those animals were mummified. This made him the first to test and disprove the idea of evolution. In opposition, Lamarck’s argument was that a passage of 3,000 years would have been insufficient to observe evolutionary processes because the environmental conditions in Egypt had not changed during this time. Couvier countered that longer timescales simply contain the sum of changes within shorter periods. In other words, he reasoned that since no changes had been observed over approximately 3,000 years, it was unreasonable to argue that any longer timescale would produce them. Is that debate still relevant? Who was right?
- Since many still insist that “evolution” is true, yet we cannot document any historic “evolution”, the debate is relevant to this day. To settle it, we note that environmental conditions change continuously, and that Lamarck could not have known – much less proved – that they did not, therefore his argument was invalid. But aren’t Darwin’s finches, the peppered moth, antibiotic resistance, the great lakes cichlids, etc. examples of ongoing “evolution”? They are certainly examples of adaptations. Yet “evolution”, if true, requires much more than temporary, reversible adaptations as most (all?) of those examples are. To confirm a trend, we must compare short versus intermediate versus long term trends. If we see no intermediate term trends (say 3000 years), then the short term trends are merely noise aka temporary, reversible, inconsequential adaptations. It also means that postulated long term trends – the sum of intermediate trends – are very much doubtful. The only way a long term change is compatible with intermediate term stasis is if nothing happens for a very long time, then everything happens suddenly – a scenario not considered by Couvier. Could it be?
- Punctuated equilibrium is a desperate and failed attempt to explain away the evidence against “evolution”. Belatedly catching up to Couvier, Eldredge and Gould proposed that the degree of gradualism commonly attributed to Darwin is virtually nonexistent (!) in the fossil record, and that stasis dominates the history of most fossil species… Before them, Mayr was concerned with explaining the morphological discontinuity (or “sudden jumps”) found in the fossil record. Lack of gradualism in the fossil record is clear evidence against “evolution” and should have prompted these people to discard the theory. However, their blind faith prompted them instead to propose the purely hypothetical scenario (removed from any historical or experimental facts) called “punctuated equilibrium”. Yet, if “sudden jumps” were real, somewhere, sometimes, in one of the many species out there, “evolution” would happen and be observed in real time. In addition, “sudden jumps” would have to be triggered by specific conditions replicable in a lab. Thus we would confirm “evolution” both in nature and in the laboratory. That this is not the case is proof that “evolution” in general and “punctuated equilibrium” in particular are just fantasy.
- “Transitional fossils” presuppose “evolution”, therefore cannot be an argument in its favor. The fossil record consists of more or less incomplete individual finds. No flesh, no colors and certainly no arrows linking one to the other. When fossils in different strata match, we infer stasis over that time interval. Not because we know one particular sample descends from the other, but because we know that any organism descends from matching organisms. This we can observe in the living and thus extrapolate to the extinct like the trilobites. But when a fossil looks like a mix between an earlier fossilized organism and a more recent one, we cannot infer that said organism is transitional between the older and the younger one. Unless we presuppose “evolution” true. That is because we witness no such transitions. The so called “transitional fossils” require “evolution” to be true to even make conceptual sense. Only then these “transitional fossils” may support “evolution” in a classical circular reasoning. So let us not presuppose “evolution” true. Then what is an Australopithecus to us humans? Epihippus to a horse, Pakicetus to a whale, etc.? Nothing! Just extinct organisms that came from nowhere and went nowhere.
- What exactly does “evolution” predict, and how does it stack up against the fossil record? The theory came after some fossils had been known and thus it had a chance to be reconciled with the fossil record. And yet, gradualism and divergence of character – two main predictions of the theory – are clearly disproved by the long term stasis we see everywhere in the fossil record. The trilobites stasis is estimated to have lasted 270 million years and cyanobacteria 3.5 billion. Actually, all organisms current or extinct have undergone stasis periods long enough to invalidate the “theory of evolution”. And when they do transition into or out of existence, said transition is always instantaneous with no intermediate steps as the “theory of evolution” would dictate. Other predictions of the theory are beneficial mutations (improvements), specific response to specific environmental condition changes, and directionless changes. However, the sudden appearance, long term stasis, and eventual demise of organism that disappeared, such as trilobites and dinosaurs, is inexplicable and in fact contrary to the theory of “evolution” as they were not better adapted and were not replaced by better adapted than them organisms. They could not have been poorly designed and yet last millions of years or even a few hundred generations. Furthermore, environmental changes explain nothing in their story, though it should according to the Darwinist theory. This is because homeostasis reduces organisms’ sensitivity to the environment. Vestigial organs and atavism refute the “evolution” story since, on one hand massive “evolution” changes, while on the other “persistence” of useless and even detrimental traits are claimed. Incidentally, these traits make perfect sense if organisms are designed for “manufacturability”, obsolescence, and optionality. Comparative similar progress of all branches (apes vs humans) should also be expected. Therefore, it is illogical that humans would have “evolved” so much when other apes were essentially static over the same period of time and geography. Absence of a precambrian rabbit is not an expectation since “evolution” is supposedly directionless and because of the “convergent evolution” claim. Unity of life is expected not just from “evolution”, but also from creation, panspermia and other theories.
- Organisms vary greatly and populations change all the time without “evolving”. If in the distant future one would find fossils of two contemporary dog breeds, they would likely classify those as two different “species”, just as Sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans are currently classified. Despite the genetic evidence that they mated with each other which, by the most lenient definition, means they were the same “species”. Other “ongoing evolution” examples (the finches, the moth, antibacterial resistance, etc.) are not “origin of species” transformative but mere reversible minor adaptations as noted.
- Ever increasing life complexity disproves “directionless evolution” and “beneficial mutations”. Current time progression models show ever increasing complexity of life. This is contrary to “undirected evolution”. As new organisms appeared, old ones continued as well, thus resulting in more diversity and increased complexity of life. For instance, when eukaryotes appeared, the prokaryote kingdom continued seemingly unperturbed. Life complexity increased and new life forms are demonstrably no better than the older ones since one did not replace the other. Cetaceans are different from the fish they share an environment with, and thus another example of complexity increased. If “evolution” were true and directionless as theorized, one would expect some intermediate organisms to have “evolved” from “primitive” organisms and other from more “advanced” ones. For instance, some amphibians would be expected to have “evolved” from fish and others from mammals, were “directionless evolution” true.
- “But transitional fossils fit so well, don’t they?” No. They only seem to fit due to the confirmation bias – the tendency to favor information that confirms one’s previously existing beliefs or biases. In this case, the prejudice in favor of “evolution” and against any other explanation. Thus the artist’s impression meant to convince us of the “excellent fit” draws little from the actual fragmentary fossil and much from the myth and theory of evolution. And let us not “affirm the consequent”. Is there anything unique to “evolution” but not to any other theory that would result in the fossil record we know? The answer is “no”. Even if newer organisms derived from older ones by descent – big unsupported if – that would still not validate “evolution” or any of its other associated claims including “natural selection”, undirected, unguided “process”, etc.
- Darwin was right, Kelvin was wrong? Kelvin opposed evolution on the account of the age of the earth. Darwin knew from his work with pigeons that even deliberately breeding for specific characteristics took a long time to produce them. But how much time was necessary? Darwin felt that it required at least hundreds of millions of years. By 1895 the consensus physics view was that the age of the planet lay in the range 20–40 million years. Natural selection appeared to be doomed. Whereas today the consensus is 4.5 billion years, so evolution is safe? Turns out, the consensus (that fellow again) is that there is no scientific basis for determining the speed of evolution. Does anyone wonder why? The story is often presented as “Darwin owning Kelvin or physics for that matter”. The real lesson is the absurdity of a theory entirely based on feelings and not one bit on anything measurable.
If your god does not exist (the default, pending any positive evidence), then it exists only in your imagination, not in reality. Anything that exists only in your imagination is imaginary. Do you know what words mean? To take a different approach, YOU are my evidence, since YOU are the one imagining up a god.
I’m not going to do your homework. If you understand this explanation, post it in your own words. From your posts so far, I seriously doubt you understand what a model is, what genetics are, or what divergence is. I do not doubt that Harshman’s explanation is targeted at people like you.
It explains changes to existing populations. It does not explain the origin of those populations.
How do you argue that I am not using inductive reasoning to establish the existence of God?
So you have no interest in one of the “experts” explanation for the Venn diagram? You appear not to understand the basics behind your own worldview.
They merely said it was likely to be a lab leak. LLL has bio security as one of its primary missions. I’m not aware of any other first rate organization that has access to intelligence data and who’s mission is detecting biological threats. It’s the ripest cherry on the tree.
Despite all your huffing and puffing, you have published no alternative scenario. If you have one, please pose an article.
23 January 2023
Why would I need to?
Explain how that is relevant. Is there a population of raccoon dogs having the novel sequence.
How about the dog that barked in the night?
Population geneticists? All the guys who worked on chloroquine resistance? Evolutionary biologists?
Cherry picking my ass. LLL’s job is to determine the source of dangerous pathogens. They are not right wing conspirators. They are at the level of CERN or Cavendish. But they are also tasked with national biosecurity.
To discover that the theory (UCD) that is important for the truth of your worldview is based on circular reasoning. Harshman’s claim of gene gain and gene loss is based on common descent of vertebrates being true. He is assuming his conclusion as he cannot explain it separate from the assumption of common descent at the same time he is arguing for the truth of common descent vs common design.
There is no current explanation based on population genetics that shows how the observed level of divergence can occur with reproduction and associated mutation, selection and drift.
The stronger explanation for the diagram is separate origins of the 4 species in the Venn. You want to take a crack at describing a naturalistic process for explaining this 🙂
Like I said, you have a history of simply ignoring any data that does not align with your prejudices. That you continue to do so just confirms your inability to understand any of this.
You cite and quote, without explanation, Liu et al 2023, as if this somehow supports your contention that pangolin-human transmission is believed to be the source of the Covid-19 pandemic. It doesn’t, and if you were able to understand the paper, you would know this.
Raccoon dogs, palm civets, and bamboo rats are all candidates. Pangolins are not. You do not seem to understand what evidence is. We are not responsible for your self-inflicted ignorance, and your claim to be trying to “learn stuff” is difficult to reconcile with your behavior.
Sure. It is exactly what one would expect; all pairs show roughly the same level of concordance (65% – 67%) with the notable exception of the two mammals, which show a socking 78% concordance.
“Circular reasoning”, you keep using that word, I do not think…
The Guardian article I linked to suggested there was evidence, later suppressed, that racoon dogs in the Wuhan wet market were vectors of coronavirus. It was news to me.
Random variation and natural selection plus time. I could elaborate but there are many books, papers, professional researchers that can do a better job.
Source of the novel sequences? Have populations been found with to precursors?
Please use English.
If, by “novel sequences”, you mean sequences specific to SARS-CoV-2, then yes.
Not quite sure what you mean by ‘populations’ and ‘to precursors’.
In addition to the raccoon dogs, palm civets and bamboo rats mentioned previously, I should add the Amur Hedgehog and Malayan porcupine.
For general sequence data supporting the zoonotic origin, see Holmes et al 2021 Cell 184(19) 4848. and of course Worobey et al 2022.
For a more recent answer to your somewhat incoherent questions, see Crits-Christoph et al 2023 (pre-print on Zenodo).
But I provided you with references a year ago, and you ignored those. Why should we expect any comprehension now?
From your article:
I suspect a typo, and what he meant to type was populations with NO precursors.
Sorry if the link is unworthy. It is simply the first that came up on a google search.
I would draw attention to the shifting goalpost. I’m wondering if there is some formerly classified evidence for something like this.
Link to review paper on Sars origin
I note that this paper repeats earlier statements that bats and pangolins harbor the closest relatives to covid. I also note that claims disputing the lab release rely on the honesty of the Chinese. An assumption currently disputed. See the Guardian article.
There were bats being studied. There were no bats in the Wuhan wet markets.
False. In particular, this paper cites Oude Munnick 2021, who note that cats, dogs, and mink have all been shown to carry SARS-CoV-2 in the field.
False. It took me a while to figure out what you might be getting at here, as I had made the effort to read the introductory remarks in Crits-Christoph, and not rely on the journalist’s precis in the Guardian. They are not relying on the honesty of the Chinese; they may, however, be benefiting from Chinese incompetence.
So? There weren’t any dromedaries either. Your relationship with evidence is interesting.
The radiation within the vertebrate lineage does not require the origin of new populations, but merely the splitting of existing populations.
I’m so old I can remember that scientists who lied were shunned.
Not accusing Chinese scientists of lying, but it is difficult to differentiate them from the government after the whistleblowers were arrested and re-educated.
Or after China said, in January, that covid was not transmissible between humans.
Sorry, but the Chinese government is totalitarian and untruthful. And it controls what gets said and published.
You seem to think I am overly interested in how covid was spread. But I am quite agnostic on that point.
I am interested in human case zero.
I do not know where or how it happened, but I think it far more probable it happened between bats and humans than between raccoon dogs and humans.
And I think it far more likely to have happened in conjunction with bat research than in a marketplace where no bats existed.
I’ll just note that you have no objections to the whole analysis and that you’re never ever going to admit “evolution” is dumb despite all evidence.
But read again. Maybe you can conjure some objections to “fossil record falsifies evolution”? Will you try?
It’s obvious the whole Covid bullshit was nothing more than an exercise in population control engineered by Satan’s minions.
Ever since “the next thing” – ukraine, no one gives a fuck about Covid anymore. Either putin deserves a Nobel in medicine or the whole thing was engineered hysteria from the very beginning.
Either way, Covid will not save “evolution” any more than antibiotic resistance and any of the other hysteria out there.
And what has that to do with the fossil record? If you don’t have something to say about this topic, go squat somewhere else.
Haha. That Pegasus Fallacy was awesome. Was I wrong? I can’t tell by your link to a random article with no explanation as to how that’s relevant – you do that a lot. But you’re not impressing anyone by dropping irrelevant links left and right.
Re Covid you should read above. In addition, if you had no partial ownership of this site, I would say: comment on the fossil record and this analysis or fuck off squatting somewhere else. But because of that, I can’t do that.
You seem to “expect” exactly what was seen. A posteriori. It happens a lot in “evolution”. Because it’s not science that’s why.
But see the story of Couvier and Lamarck. Back then “evolution” might have been science. Hence the big disappointment and the after fact failed explanation. What say you?
I’m not asking for a double blind, but still… Something more than “explanations”.
How do you account for the dramatic gene changes given population genetics math?The problem is the math and the theory don’t agree as a result there is no theory that explains origins based on reproduction, isolation and associated variation.
Separate origins explains the pattern.
I found it interesting that the case map showed dozens of cases concentrated IN the market and in the immediate neighborhood, and no initial cases in the vicinity of the lab. I wonder how such a pattern came to be. The source for that map might not be trustworthy?
Here is where the fog of war enters. I had read in several places that bats were common in the wet market. Now you say there were no bats there. I have read in other places that multiple other animals could also have been carriers. I have read that the Chinese lab was, and was not, working with covid. I have read that pangolins could have been the original carrier, and I have read that there were no pangolins involved. I have read that most of this information comes from China (either the government or the scientists), and that nothing the Chinese say can be considered reliable. I have read that the genetic evidence is inconsistent with the administrative evidence and that immunologists and the FBI use entirely different sources and methods of analysis.
My tentative conclusion from all this is that perhaps nobody knows exactly how or where the first human victim got infected, and that determining this has become so politicized that no trustworthy conclusion can ever be reached. And therefore, anyone who is claims that any of the various narratives is dispositive is taking a political position, because that’s all that’s left anymore.
Well, separate origins plus a mind-bogglingly enormous amount of coincidence, or horizontal gene transfer never observed in mammals, or the huge body of observation of gene transfer between generations.
Separate origin offers no explanation for entire trees of relationships and histories clearly visible in genetic analysis.
So one must posit an extremely unlikely coincidence between those who deny the evidence and instead insist on something contradicted by the evidence, and those who have a specific religious faith. Given this coincidence, one might suspect that the faith rather than the evidence underlies an obviously false conclusion happily congenial to the faith.
But then again, the entire purpose of religion is to confect a false reality congenial to the believers. Over time, this purpose has been losing traction, to the point where the remaining believers are flat-out whackaloons. Such notballs are not to be debated (what’s the use), only mocked and pitied.
Does a huge and growing body of correct predictions count?
And I’ll just enjoy watching you squirm when faced with a simple and straightforward question, with a certain glee I might add.
Who knows? Maybe after you have told me what you meant by “adaptation” in “They are certainly examples of adaptations”.
Heh heh. Nonlin doesn’t know what Nextstrain or GISAID is. Perhaps he should ask for clarification?
Late to the party…been away dealing with…well…distracting elements of life…
Anywhooo…I’ve been enjoying this discussion and I’ve been content with the points being batted about. The above, however, caught my eye.
So Nonlin I’m just curious: given evolution’s status in education, biology, scientific research, medicine, etc., in what way does evolution need to be saved? What would saving evolution even look like? If what you really mean is that covid and it’s now well documented adaptations and improved variants doesn’t add anything to your particular feelings and disregard for evolutionary theory, why exactly should anyone (who understands and accepts evolution) care?
That sounds like the old Bill again. I took your favorable view of Sy Garte’s talk and your previous statement:
to mean that you had finally embraced the idea that species have changed quite a lot without Divine intervention (but according to some Divine plan, if you like).
Do you still endorse the statement you made then? If you do, then why would “dramatic gene changes” sudddenly pose a problem? If you don’t endorse that statement anymore then why didn’t you oppose the arguments Sy Garte made in his talk since he claimed:
I notice that there’s a fairly extensive look at the covid origins at Jerry Coyne’s blog Why Evolution Is True, which comes down solidly on the wet market source and finds no compelling reason to accept the lab-leak scenario. I hope I’m not breaking the law by reposting some of this material (which is itself reposted from a substack site):
Oh, they still are. Politicians, not so much, these days…
And I’m not accusing your mother of being a whore. I’m just saying that there are people who have slept with her, for money, who might disagree.
I share your sorrow.
Huh? I think you have no interest whatsoever in how covid was spread. All you are interested in is parroting debunked MAGA talking points. You’re doing a bang-up job.
Well, you do think a whole bunch of stuff that is obviously wrong, so we can just add these to the list.
The joke about dromedaries was a reference to the second coronavirus to make the transfer from bats to humans and cause something worse than the common cold (MERS-CoV). Before that, SARS-CoV went from bats to humans via Himalayan civets. There’s always been an intermediate host.
My source for the absence of bats and pangolins is a two year survey.
As for the first human case, no one knows.
I see several possibilities that violate no laws of physics, so to speak:
Some previously infected animal was brought to Wuhan — either to the market, or to the lab— and the disease spread because people were not worrying about aerosol transmission.
Some animal brought to the lab participated in an unplanned recombination event, resulting in the infectious variant.
The variant was an unplanned product of vaccine research. Or maybe planned, but not well understood or controlled.
I know the following speculation is unpopular here, but I do not believe anything the Chinese say about the lab can be the basis of science. They destroyed all of their reference virus samples. They took all their research papers offline. In a court of law, this kind of behavior is considered evidence of guilt.
Plus, they arrested the scientists who broke the news to the outside world.
And other nasty things. They shut down air traffic between Wuhan and the rest of China, but allowed traffic between Wuhan and the rest of the world.
I will take that as a request for clarification.
Here’s the background:
In June of 2020, I offered up some info on the D614G variant of SARS-CoV-2, linking to the Nextstrain database of RNA sequences, and concluding
which led to non-lin’s awesome Pegasus Fallacy comment.
My link is not to a random article, it is rather to the Nextstrain database and an image showing that the D614G variant has come to totally dominate, just as I forecast. It’s epic.
Problem is, this is SOP for governments generally. Consider the propensity for the US government to classify everything they get their hands on, and especially classify anything that could be embarrassing to someone in high office. It is generally reflexive for governments to sweep things under the rug first, and dodge questions later. This is not evidence of government guilt, it’s evidence of CYA just in case.
In the case of China, it’s pretty clear that the virus got started there, and however it got started China will be blamed. So they hide everything. Hell, maybe someone WAS careless, or mendacious. Governments classify stuff, they prefer silence, and China’s government can enforce silence. Guilty or not.
Anyway, I posted a bunch of stuff worth reading.
I can’t think of any westerner more likely to be informed on this than Fauci, and he has backed away from certainty.
I have opinions, but no certainty.
I’ll just step back and await developments. I never expected any government agency to back away from wet market certainty. Perhaps something is afoot.
Yes, he’s playing both sides against the middle. As in:
So Fauci sees strong peer-reviewed information that this was natural, he has “not seen any data” supporting a lab leak. Maybe he’s spinning? Maybe strong data on one side and no data on the other means something? Ya think?
Sorry, but I haven’t seen any actual data regarding the origin of the virus on either side. All the virus samples at the lab were destroyed.
If bats were the most likely incubator of covid, I’d ask who was collecting wild bats and bringing them to Wuhan.
Not proof of anything, but suggestive.
Yesterday I provided a long post, by an epidemiologist, explaining why the wet market explanation made sense. You seem to be carefully ignoring it, and then claiming you haven’t seen what you won’t look at. That’s how people act when their minds are made up, right or wrong.
The genetics were data. The initial cases map was data. The covid found in various animals was data. But you “haven’t seen any”. Ever considered like, you know, looking?
You dismiss the possibility of a Creator out of hand. This makes you look at the evidence through a filter that dismisses the obvious. The pattern shows conclusively that humans, mice, chickens and zebra fish are of separate origins due to the gene patterns observed. There is no evidence that reproduction, mutation, selection and drift can generate this level of functional diversity.
Have you ever considered that your worldview may be distorting your ability to understanding reality?
You have certainly mastered irony. Seen a mirror lately?
I don’t dismiss anything out of hand, I dismiss as imaginary something that exists only in the imagination. Produce better evidence, maybe I’ll learn. But so long as you consider your superstitions “obvious”, you will make no converts. The pattern, to anyone capable of understanding it, supports common ancestry and refutes your religious faith. Claiming there is “no evidence” for the mountains of consistent evidence collected over the last 150 years is willful blindness. You would make a more convincing argument claiming there is no evidence for the moon.
Are you referring to the Paul Offit blog piece quoted by Jerry Coyne?
The mountains of evidence is meaningless without a model that is experimentally validated that reproduction can generate the 4 gene patterns. The available experiments (Lenski etc) falsify the single origin claim as variation is limited by the time to fixation of functional changes.
What you are looking at is evidence of design or an intelligent Creator. Your worldview is not allowing you to process what you are looking at. I have experienced this block in the past. Genetic evidence in this case plus inductive reasoning is all that is required to infer that we are in a created universe.
If we only believed what was directly observed the sciences would have progressed much more slowly. Inductive. deductive and abductive reasoning are important tools for understanding the universe.
Yes. I said that earlier when I posted it.
I will readily admit that the “intelligent creator” position fits any and all possible evidence. Or no evidence at all, doesn’t matter.
But just as a sanity check, why don’t you suggest what evidence could be found that contradicted the “intelligent creator” position? What evidence might cause you to think “well, I guess no gods were necessary here”?
Let’s say, just for the sake of illustration, that the common ancestry position is in fact correct. What scientific finding would convince you of that?
I’m not quite sure what your post is intended to show. I don’t see any attempt there to isolate any particular source. But I can’t help but notice that every single author of the paper is Chinese. I don’t know if that matters.