The challenge to creationism? Dr. Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig

Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig-
is one of my favorite “creationists”,  though similarly to my views, he doesn’t want to be identified with the main stream creationism…I would like to know why…

I don’t think I’m going to persuade this kind and caliber of the scientist to defend his 40+ year work of experimental mutagenesis on plants to defend anything on this crummy blog… So, what we can do, is to quote Dr. Lonnigs papers and public statements on his views on creationism, evolution, and especially the law of recurrent variation.

What is the Law of Recurrent Variation?

I had to look it up as I myself wasn’t sure 100%: In short, the law of recurrent variation says the the main mechanism of evolution change leading to new lifeforms; natural selection acting on random variation/genetic mutations, is garbage…It creates nothing new, unless the new thing means the degrading process of breaking genes leading to the loss of function, just like in flightless birds… However, the loss of keel, the main part of the breastbone in flightless birds, like ostriches, is another miracle of evolutionary theory…Just imagine you lost the majority of the pelvis bones due to evolutionary process…Yeah, you can still move somewhat… forget about having sex…

Dr. Lonnig has seen no evidence of the evolutionary mechanism producing anything different than he already knew: a new kind of organism. After 40 years plus of mutating over 2.5 million species of plants, one would think that he would produce something worthwhile to publish in the scientific literature…Unfortunately, the reality of Darwinian blind faith is as it should be…There is no hope for it but the science-fiction speculations  as long as they are not close enough to truth… But here is an issue I would like to point out. Dr. Lonnig seems to believe that flightless birds are a part of evolution he has no problem with: adaptation. But, here is my problem:

Ostriches, emus, cassowaries, rheas, and kiwis can’t fly. Unlike most birds, their flat breast bones lack the keel that anchors the strong pectoral muscles required for flight. Their puny wings can’t possibly lift their heavy bodies off the ground.” Can this lack of major bone component be explained by evolutionary adaptation?- I think not, but Dr. Lonnig may seem to think otherwise…I would like to hear and see why…

This information has been added since the last post: 

Or “An abundance of food and lack of predators following the extinction of dinosaurs saw previously flighted birds fatten up and become flightless, according to new research from Australia.”

“…Emus. New research suggests that ancestors of the African ostrich, Australasian emu plus cassowary, South American rheas and New Zealand moa became flightless independently, in close association with the extinction of the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago….” 

“Research has shown that ostriches’ wings are not just ornamental, but rather help the animals—and some other, if not all large, flightless birds—maintain their balance and maneuver when running at high speeds. This would support the possibility that these seemingly useless wings are not necessarily vestigial and, therefore, that the birds never had the ability to fly.”

Ostrich wings apparently help the giant flightless birds run,explaining the puzzling phenomenon of  why ancient dinosaurs evolved feathered limbs before developing flight.

Ostrich wings apparently help the giant flightless birds run,explaining the puzzling phenomenon of  why ancient dinosaurs evolved feathered limbs before developing flight.

“The wings on ostriches, the largest living birds, were once thought to be evolutionary leftovers that lingered around even after the birds adapted to life on the ground, retained mostly for display and temperature-control purposes.

New long-term observations and airflow experiments with ostriches now show these flightless birds can use their wings as advanced stabilizers. [Why Ostriches Can’t Fly]”

Why knew?

This OP and Dr. Lonnig’s experimental evidence is another reason why I encouraged Richard Dawkins, Joe Felsenstein, John Harshman, Jerry Coyne, Dan Grour and even PZ Myers to go to lab and see what it looks like, at least…

It is much different than speculating about what can happen in the lab from miles away…as we see the evidence from WE Lonnig and his experimental evidence over 40 years plus…If I were a bystander, whom would I more likely to believe? Bluffers with big mouths? Or experimental scientists?

The answer is logical….

27 Replies to “The challenge to creationism? Dr. Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig”

  1. quarrion
    Ignored
    says:

    Just imagine you lost the majority of the pelvis bones due to evolutionary process…Yeah, you can still move somewhat… forget about having sex…

    https://news.usc.edu/68144/whale-reproduction-its-all-in-the-hips/

    Both whales and dolphins have pelvic (hip) bones, evolutionary remnants from when their ancestors walked on land more than 40 million years ago. Common wisdom has long held that those bones are simply vestigial, slowly withering away like tailbones on humans.

    New research from USC and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) flies directly in the face of that assumption, finding that not only do those pelvic bones serve a purpose, but their size and possibly shape are influenced by the forces of sexual selection.

  2. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    In the paper (PDF) linked above, Lônnig quotes Daniel L. Hartl (writing in 1988) as follows:

    “Progress under artificial selection cannot go on forever, of course. As noted earlier, the population will eventually reach a selection limit, or plateau, after which it will no longer respond to selection. …However, many experimental populations that have reached a selection limit readily respond to reverse selection.”

    This is surely well-known and not controversial. Beginning with wild populations, one starts (hopefully) with a high degree of diversity, until artificial selection concentrates out the diversity and one is left with the background mutation rate to supply new variation.

    The Cavendish banana?

  3. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    enough already.

  4. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    However, the loss of keel, the main part of the breastbone in flightless birds, like ostriches, is another miracle of evolutionary theory

    Getting closer. At least you don’t think that flightless birds have lost a bone any more. Why would you say that the keel is the main part of the breastbone? The sternum is widespread in amniotes, and only birds have keels.

    Now, why is loss of the keel a miracle? It’s the attachment site for the major flight muscles, so if a species no longer flies, those muscles no longer have to be large and have large attachment sites, so any mutation that reduces the size of the keel will not be selected against. Where’s the problem?

    As for the pelvis, have you heard of whales?

  5. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    This OP wasn’t ready to be published!!! I didn’t even submit it!!!

  6. John Harshman John Harshman
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac:
    This OP wasn’t ready to be published!!! I didn’t even submit it!!!

    Don’t worry. Nobody can tell the difference between the ones you think are ready and the ones you think are not.

  7. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac:
    This OP wasn’t ready to be published!!! I didn’t even submit it!!!

    Did I imagine your request by PM

    18 hours ago
    new op

    please post

    thx jmac

    ?

  8. Fair Witness Fair Witness
    Ignored
    says:

    40 years of plant breeding? Compared to the ~4 billions years that life has been on this planet?

    That’s like watching a clock for 0.000006 seconds, and saying, since you didn’t see the second hand move for that interval, that the clock must be broken.

    Breeders of dogs know, even at that tiny interval, that the second hand does move. It just doesn’t move very far .

  9. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Moved a comment to guano. Address the comment, not the commenter!

  10. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Fair Witness,
    Indeed!

  11. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Why is this a challenge to creationism?

  12. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    How about to your newly acquired theistic creationism?

  13. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac,
    All creationism is theistic creationism. All theism is essentially creationism. The only difference is where on the sliding scale you sit betwixt having the vicar for tea and ranting about ill defined ideas you cannot defend on anonymous internet blogs.

    What do you believe if not that a theistic deity of some sort did some sort of creating, somehow somewhen?

  14. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Fair Witness:
    40 years of plant breeding?Compared to the ~4 billions years that life has been on this planet?

    That’s like watching a clock for 0.000006 seconds, and saying, since you didn’t see the second hand move for that interval, that the clock must be broken.

    Breeders of dogs know, even at that tiny interval, that the second hand does move.It just doesn’t move very far .

    Mindless processes have always been imagined by some “mindful people” to be exceptionally better at selection processes than intelligent scientists. That’s is why the mindless, evolutionary processes have been awarded with a Noble Prize for who knows how many times in the row in the…

    As for as this corresponded has been informed, random, blind processes have not been involved in the process of awarding the Nobel Prize thanks to God…

    https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/what-is-directed-evolution-and-why-did-it-win-the-chemistry-nobel-prize/3009584.article

  15. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    OMagain:
    J-Mac,
    All creationism is theistic creationism. All theism is essentially creationism. The only difference is where on the sliding scale you sit betwixt having the vicar for tea and ranting about ill defined ideas you cannot defend on anonymous internet blogs.

    What do you believe if not that a theistic deity of some sort did some sort of creating, somehow somewhen?

    So “creationism” that acknowledges change between you and your parents is a theistic creationism?

  16. Tom English Tom English
    Ignored
    says:

    Insight of the day: The Dunning–Kruger effect rises to the level of personality disorder in some individuals.

  17. Tom English Tom English
    Ignored
    says:

    quarrion:

    [Quoting OP:] Just imagine you lost the majority of the pelvis bones due to evolutionary process…Yeah, you can still move somewhat… forget about having sex…

    https://news.usc.edu/68144/whale-reproduction-its-all-in-the-hips/

    [Quoting linked-to article:] Both whales and dolphins have pelvic (hip) bones, evolutionary remnants from when their ancestors walked on land more than 40 million years ago. Common wisdom has long held that those bones are simply vestigial, slowly withering away like tailbones on humans.

    New research from USC and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) flies directly in the face of that assumption, finding that not only do those pelvic bones serve a purpose, but their size and possibly shape are influenced by the forces of sexual selection.

    I not only seized on precisely the part of the OP that you did, but also decided to link to precisely the article that you did, before seeing your comment.

    Let me fall back on this (emphasis added):

    J-Mac in OP: I don’t think I’m going to persuade this kind and caliber of the scientist to defend his 40+ year work of experimental mutagenesis on plants to defend anything on this crummy blog

    1. J-Mac has, for some time now, contributed more OPs to “this crummy blog” than has anyone else.
    2. J-Mac sometimes draws comments on “this crummy blog” from Joe Felsenstein, a recipient of the Darwin-Wallace medal and the International Prize for Biology. As Salvador Cordova has mentioned, time and again, Joe is revered by many young-earth creationists.

  18. Robert Byers
    Ignored
    says:

    Crummy blog?! When someone says a blog is crummy, where is a reflection exclusively on other posters, and then makes threads ITS not intelligent.
    Thats all I say .
    Anyways.
    Its not that dinos went extinct and big flightless birds took over but that some theropod dinos are just in a spectrum of big flightless birds I suggest.
    The emus etc, only the remnants of previous other populations by the way, like “terror birds” and elephant birds of Madasghascar(sp) are telling a greater tale.
    Wherever big birds can thrive in size THEY DO.
    So before the flood they did too . only in a greater spectrum. I suggest.
    Flightlessness was very common long ago. Fossils are found on great numbers of islands who all had , small, flightless birds. Especially rails.
    Going flightless is no big deal to birds.
    It does make sense the remaining limbs/feathers could be used for locamotion etc etc.
    Surely its not from random genes unless the genes are not really random but always presenting themselves as if in a biological blueprint for survival.

  19. phoodoo
    Ignored
    says:

    Tom English:
    Insight of the day: The Dunning–Kruger effect rises to the level of personality disorder in some individuals.

    Mung, are you trying a little too hard to appear impartial or something?

    I mean, I realize Alan has quit and all…so he has already stopped pretending.

  20. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac: How about to your newly acquired theistic creationism?

    Isn’t all creationism theistic?

  21. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo: Mung, are you trying a little too hard to appear impartial or something?

    I thought the comment was directed at me so I thought it better to let one of the other mods handle it.

  22. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: Isn’t all creationism theistic?

    It depends…
    If your claim is that evolution created it all and God ONLY GUIDED it whenever EVOLUTION couldn’t overcome a dead end , just like Dr. Swamidass and his followers seem to confess, then who deserves the credit? God/ID or random processes? (I’m ignoring the facts that evolutionary processes, whether micro or macro – depending on what one wants to believe – don’t seem to be totally random as I have already mentioned it more than once on this blog and in the OP Are genetic mutations really random?

  23. Joe Felsenstein Joe Felsenstein
    Ignored
    says:

    Is “chance” a “cause”? Leaving aside the depths of philosophy and physics, let’s just ask about genetic drift. Is it a cause? It is the result of random deaths and births, as well as random Mendelian segregation. Those in turn may not be truly random, but in modeling reproduction of genes in populations it is a complete waste of time to try to account for all the causes of the death, birth, and segregation events.

    We can analogize it to Brownian Motion. Is that a cause? It in turn comes from collisions of molecules, but no one with any sense tries to model all of those — they just treat it as a process with known probabilities of various outcomes.

    So yes, genetic drift may be treated as a known process whose effects may be modeled. Is it the same as “chance”? Depends on what you mean by that.

  24. vjtorley
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac,

    May I suggest that you kindly separate the section of your OP which you have quoted (i.e. the section in italics below the heading, This information has been added since the last post) into three separate sections, reflecting the three sources from which you took it. These three sources have differing viewpoints, so it is extremely confusing for me to read it all as one big chunk, because then it looks like you are contradicting yourself.

    The first section of your quote comes from a press release by the Australian National University, dated January 26, 2010, and reported in Science Daily. The title of the article is: Dinosaur extinction grounded ancient birds, new research finds. Here are the parts which you quoted:

    [Summary:]
    An abundance of food and lack of predators following the extinction of dinosaurs saw previously flighted birds fatten up and become flightless, according to new research from Australia.

    [Caption under picture of emus]
    Emus. New research suggests that ancestors of the African ostrich, Australasian emu plus cassowary, South American rheas and New Zealand moa became flightless independently, in close association with the extinction of the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago.

    According to this article, flightless birds are descended from an ancestor which could fly. That would presumably mean that the loss of the keel in these birds did occur naturally – something you believe can’t happen.

    The second section of your quote is taken from a 2014 article in Mental Floss by Hannah Keyser, dated June 23, 2014, and titled, Did Ostriches and Emus Ever Fly? The section you quoted is as follows:

    Research has shown that ostriches’ wings are not just ornamental, but rather help the animals—and some other, if not all large, flightless birds—maintain their balance and maneuver when running at high speeds. This would support the possibility that these seemingly useless wings are not necessarily vestigial and, therefore, that the birds never had the ability to fly.

    At first glance, this article might appear to be suggesting that the wings of flightless birds are not vestigial, after all. But the article then goes on to contradict that view. It says:

    However, one question remained: How do you reconcile an ancient flightless bird with the existence of dinosaurs, who would have made quick work of earth-bound prey? The answer is, you don’t. Fossil evidence supported the explanation that Ratites evolved around 65 million years ago, just as the dinosaurs were dying out. But by then, the continents had already broken apart, upending the existing theory that all the contemporary Ratites evolved from the same flightless ancestor.

    More recent research led by Dr. Matthew Phillips, an ARC Postdoctoral Fellow at the ANU Research School of Biology, addressed this issue and found that, in fact, Ratites dispersed across the continents at a time when their wings were used for flight and, from there, independently evolved to be larger and flightless once the extinction of the dinosaurs removed the pressure to escape to higher ground.

    “Our study suggests that the flighted ancestors of Ratites appear to have been ground-feeding birds that ran well,” Phillips wrote. “So the extinction of the dinosaurs likely lifted predation pressures that had previously selected for flight and its necessary constraint, small size. Lifting of this pressure and more abundant foraging opportunities would then have selected for larger size and consequent loss of flight.

    So according to this article, once again, flightless birds are descended from an ancestor which could fly. That would presumably mean that the loss of the keel in these birds did occur naturally – something you believe can’t happen.

    The third and final section of your quote comes from an article by Charles Quoi in Live Science, titled, Ostrich Wings Explain Mystery of Flightless Dinosaurs, dated June 30, 2010.

    Ostrich wings apparently help the giant flightless birds run,explaining the puzzling phenomenon of why ancient dinosaurs evolved feathered limbs before developing flight.

    The wings on ostriches, the largest living birds, were once thought to be evolutionary leftovers that lingered around even after the birds adapted to life on the ground, retained mostly for display and temperature-control purposes.

    New long-term observations and airflow experiments with ostriches now show these flightless birds can use their wings as advanced stabilizers. [WhyOstriches Can’t Fly]

    (By the way, you’ve duplicated the first paragraph of this quote, in your OP. You might like to correct that. You might also like to correct the later sentence, “Why knew?” It should read, “Who knew?”)

    According to the above-cited article, researcher Nina Schaller, a biologist at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, and her team found that “ostriches used wings as sophisticated air-rudders for rapid braking, turning and zigzag maneuvers… Some modern flightless birds might use their wings in similar ways… Emus, on the other hand, apparently don’t engage in zigzag running like ostriches, but flee predators with short bursts, and thus would not need the advanced maneuverability seen in ostriches.” What’s more, “some of the largest and fastest-moving dinosaurs, such as the 26-foot (8-meter)-long Gigantoraptor, also employed their feathered arms for increased stability and maneuverability when running just as ostriches do.”

    Thus according to this article, there would have been no need for the ancestors of today’s flightless birds to lose their keel. Presumably they never had one. Please note, however, that Schaller believes that birds are descended from theropod dinosaurs. She even says so: “Ostriches, like all other birds, are descendents of theropod dinosaurs — it would make sense that they have similar behaviors.”

    None of the foregoing articles lend any support to creationism, as far as I can tell.

    Finally, you might be interested in the following excerpt from Wikipedia, which appears to demonstrate that the ancestors of flightless birds could once fly, after all:

    Recent phylogenomic studies indicate that tinamous nest within this group. This makes ‘ratites’ paraphyletic rather than monophyletic.[19][22] Since tinamous are weak fliers, this raises interesting questions about the evolution of flightlessness in this group. While the ratites were traditionally thought of as an ancestrally flightless, monophyletic group, the branching of the tinamous within the ratite lineage suggests that ratites evolved flightlessness at least three times.[19][23] More recent evidence suggests six or more times.[8] Re-evolution of flight in the tinamous would be an alternative explanation, but such a development is without precedent in avian history, while loss of flight is commonplace.[19]

    By 2014, a mitochondrial DNA phylogeny including fossil members showed tinamous nested well within the group.[8] Ostriches were placed on the first (basal) branch, followed by rheas, then a clade consisting of moas and tinamous, followed by the final two branches, a clade of emus plus cassowaries, and one of elephant birds plus kiwis.[8] The moa-tinamou relationship is consistent with other earlier and current findings,[6][7][9] while the finding of a sister relationship between elephant birds and kiwis is new. Additional support for this relationship was obtained from morphological analysis.[8]

    So there you have it. I hope this answers readers’ questions.

  25. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    I don’t do well at philosophy. Is there something wrong with treating chance as a cause?

    I’m pretty sure most physicists think physics is completely deterministic. And at the same time, producing phenomena that cannot be predicted.

    There being a clear distinction between determinism and predictability.

    But the fact that we cannot predict very far into the future, except in systems that are designed to be stable, means that much of what happens will be ascribed to chance. Causes we cannot see or foresee.

  26. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    vjtorley: According to this article, flightless birds are descended from an ancestor which could fly. That would presumably mean that the loss of the keel in these birds did occur naturally – something you believe can’t happen.

    Or that there were birds that could fly that lacked one.

    ETA:

    Thus according to this article, there would have been no need for the ancestors of today’s flightless birds to lose their keel. Presumably they never had one.

    See. 🙂

  27. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    vjtorley:
    J-Mac,

    May I suggest that you kindly separate the section of your OP which you have quoted (i.e. the section in italics below the heading, This information has been added since the last post) into three separate sections, reflecting the three sources from which you took it. These three sources have differing viewpoints, so it is extremely confusing for me to read it all as one big chunk, because then it looks like you are contradicting yourself.

    The first section of your quote comes from a press release by the Australian National University, dated January 26, 2010, and reported in Science Daily. The title of the article is: Dinosaur extinction grounded ancient birds, new research finds. Here are the parts which you quoted:

    According to this article, flightless birds are descended from an ancestor which could fly. That would presumably mean that the loss of the keel in these birds did occur naturally – something you believe can’t happen.

    The second section of your quote is taken from a 2014 article in Mental Floss by Hannah Keyser, dated June 23, 2014, and titled, Did Ostriches and Emus Ever Fly? The section you quoted is as follows:

    At first glance, this article might appear to be suggesting that the wings of flightless birds are not vestigial, after all. But the article then goes on to contradict that view. It says:

    So according to this article, once again, flightless birds are descended from an ancestor which could fly. That would presumably mean that the loss of the keel in these birds did occur naturally – something you believe can’t happen.

    The third and final section of your quote comes from an article by Charles Quoi in Live Science, titled, Ostrich Wings Explain Mystery of Flightless Dinosaurs, dated June 30, 2010.

    (By the way, you’ve duplicated the first paragraph of this quote, in your OP. You might like to correct that. You might also like to correct the later sentence, “Why knew?” It should read, “Who knew?”)

    According to the above-cited article, researcher Nina Schaller, a biologist at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, and her team found that “ostriches used wings as sophisticated air-rudders for rapid braking, turning and zigzag maneuvers… Some modern flightless birds might use their wings in similar ways… Emus, on the other hand, apparently don’t engage in zigzag running like ostriches, but flee predators with short bursts, and thus would not need the advanced maneuverability seen in ostriches.” What’s more, “some of the largest and fastest-moving dinosaurs, such as the 26-foot (8-meter)-long Gigantoraptor, also employed their feathered arms for increased stability and maneuverability when running just as ostriches do.”

    Thus according to this article, there would have been no need for the ancestors of today’s flightless birds to lose their keel. Presumably they never had one. Please note, however, that Schaller believes that birds are descended from theropod dinosaurs. She even says so: “Ostriches, like all other birds, are descendents of theropod dinosaurs — it would make sense that they have similar behaviors.”

    None of the foregoing articles lend any support to creationism, as far as I can tell.

    Finally, you might be interested in the following excerpt from Wikipedia, which appears to demonstrate that the ancestors of flightless birds could once fly, after all:

    So there you have it. I hope this answers readers’ questions.

    VJ,
    Isn’t evolution amazing? Even magical?
    It makes a major bone (keel) disappear in flightless birdies without a trace of evidence of it ever being there… I’m not even going to mention the other, major, body plans that would be affected by such major bone loss, including tendons and muscles.
    Don’t you think it is a bit suspicious that evolution left no “finger prints” at all in this evolutionary change? Leave your ego and aspirations aside for now…
    It is all about what you choose to believe…

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