The Mysteries of Evolution: 2. The Origin of Life and the miserable failure to reassemble Humpty Dumpty

Not much can be written after you watch the two videos above…

It is pretty easy to understand for those who choose to understand that the theory of abiogenesis and the probability of life spontaneously self-assembling is just a science-fiction story to fill the void for those who need to believe in something other than the obvious…

If the living cell can’t be reassembled in a lab, what evidence is there that life spontaneously self-assembled other than in science-fiction stories?

Now, let’s listen to the excuses…

192 thoughts on “The Mysteries of Evolution: 2. The Origin of Life and the miserable failure to reassemble Humpty Dumpty”

  1. newton

    CharlieM: Note that the only person bringing a designer, and a male designer at that, into the conversation is you.

    Hardly, ” No one knows how the first life began but he confidently asserts that it did not begin with a cell of 400 genes suddenly appearing”. If that is a possibility to be considered then the most commmonly used explanation for that would be designer. Perhaps one which created an archetypal cell.

    As for gender, a design explanation chain of causation eventually requires an uncaused cause. Many of those are referred to by the male designation.

    If original physical cell did not just appear from nowhere but was the physical manifestation of the archetypal cell analogous to the way a crystal is a condensation of the material in solid form, then that is something which can certainly warrant further study.

    If not a designer how did this archetypal cell come about?

    From wiki:” Crystallization is a complex and extensively-studied field, because depending on the conditions, a single fluid can solidify into many different possible forms. It can form a single crystal, perhaps with various possible phases, stoichiometries, impurities, defects, and habits. Or, it can form a polycrystal, with various possibilities for the size, arrangement, orientation, and phase of its grains. The final form of the solid is determined by the conditions under which the fluid is being solidified, such as the chemistry of the fluid, the ambient pressure, the temperature, and the speed with which all these parameters are changing.”

    Could you elaborate on the path of study of the cell that would be analogous to this process?

  2. CharlieMCharlieM

    John Harshman: What exactly is complex about any of those systems? They seem simple enough to me. A nervous system is just a collection of nerve cells and synapses lined up, often with simple, direct connections between sensory neurons and muscles. A respiratory system can be as simple as skin through which oxygen can diffuse. And a muscular system can be as simple as just a collection of cells that all contract in synchrony.

    You may be able to describe these things in simple terms. This is fine if all you want to do is give a very general outline, but it is entirely inappropriate if you want to understand the reality.

    Here are descriptions which give us a fuller picture of these things.

    The ribosome is clearly the most unique and special structure in the cell. It has seven major RNA chains, including three tRNA chains and one messenger RNA. It has 47 different proteins going into the structure and one newly synthesized protein chain, and a size of several million Daltons. This is the heart of all biology. We would not have cells, we would not have life without this machine that converts the linear DNA code into proteins working…

    A bacterial cell in an hour or less will have to remake of all its proteins. Our cells make proteins at a similar rate, but because of protein instability and the random folding and misfolding of proteins, protein aggregation is a key problem. We have to constantly synthesize new proteins, and if they fold wrong, you have to get rid of them or they clog up the cell, the same way as if you stop taking out the trash in a city everything comes to a halt. Cells work the same way. You have to degrade the proteins; you have to pump the trash out of the cell. Miss folded proteins can become toxic very quickly. There are a number of diseases known to most of you that are due to misfolding or aggregation, Alzheimer’s and mad cow disease are examples of diseases caused by the accumulation of toxic protein aggregates.

    Life is a process of dynamic renewal. We’re all shedding about 500 million skin cells every day. That is the dust that accumulates in your home; that’s you. You shed your entire outer layer of skin every two to four weeks. You have five times ten to the 11th blood cells that die every day. If you’re not constantly synthesizing new cells, you die…

    Skin is not just some permeable material equivalent to coffee filter paper. It is an ever changing, dynamic, interacting complex of living substance that has to be viewed in relation to the whole organism. And the same goes for nerves, muscles and any other body tissues.

  3. CharlieMCharlieM

    newton: That is of course an assumption that human emotions and thoughts are not part of nature.

    Good point. They are part of nature, just not explainable in terms of physics and chemistry.

  4. CharlieMCharlieM

    Rumraket: You claim this, but it isn’t obvious why this would be the case. If you really actually could give a total description of a boxing match at the atomic level, why would this NOT tell us anything about the actual people involved?

    In the same way that you cannot give a meaningful description of a Shakespeare play by examining the letters of the alphabet.

    It seems to me the only thing that makes this practically infeasible is the fact that we as human beings don’t have sufficient cognitive resources to really imagine and hold in our minds eye, a boxing match taking place between such unfathomably vast numbers of particles. Combined with the inordinate amount of time and space such an account would take to relay or store somewhere.

    As such, it is not clear that a “materialist” account of a boxing match at the level of atoms is actually lacking any information about the participants (or which could not at least in princple be derived from such an accout), the fundamental barrier is the challenges set by the limits of human cognition.

    This is reductionism taken to extreme.

  5. colewd

    John Harshman,

    That’s what the genomic evidence would seem to indicate. And let’s remember that there are extant species with a great many intermediate sorts of morphologies.

    If they are extant why would you assume they are intermediate?

    I think you have no idea what complexity is required. Your continued harping on respiratory systems is a case in point. Many animals have no respiratory system in particular besides a gas-permeable skin and body fluids around the tissues. Similarly, many animals have no brains, just nerve nets with simple connections.

    Is your claim here that the Cambrian animals did not have circulatory systems?

    Nope, haven’t read it. But you didn’t answer my question.

    The paper concludes that there is not a clear genetic pathway from prokaryotic to eukaryotic cells. The nuclear pore complex is an example and spliceosome comparison is not mentioned.

  6. colewd

    Rumraket,

    Also, many structures and proteins used by eukaryotes are homologous to simpler versions of them that exist in prokaryotes. This is evidence. This is what evolutionary theory requires, but design can only explain in ad-hoc fashion.

    There are also structures that lack similarity like the nuclear pore complex and the spliceosome. How do you propose that these structures arose from a trial and error process?

    First of all, the fact that prokaryotes exist and are simpler than eukaryotes shows it is most definitely possible for an organism simpler than any eukaryote to exist.

    This is true but it is not your claim. You are claiming that one arose from other through a purely material process. Evidence of similarity does not demonstrate a reproductive transition occurred.

  7. John HarshmanJohn Harshman

    colewd:
    John Harshman,

    If they are extant why would you assume they are intermediate?

    No assumptions necessary. “Intermediate” just means “between two points”. For any organ, one can point to extant organisms in which that organ has a complexity somewhere between nothing at all and the state in a human being. Think of Darwin’s description of eyes, for example.

    Is your claim here that the Cambrian animals did not have circulatory systems?

    Some of them, certainly, just as many extant animals have no circulatory systems. Do you know nothing about biology?

    The paper concludes that there is not a clear genetic pathway from prokaryotic to eukaryotic cells.The nuclear pore complex is an example and spliceosome comparison is not mentioned.

    So though you reject the methodology, you accept the conclusion, and from the absence of knowledge you conclude…what?

  8. GlenDavidson

    CharlieM: Naturalistic explanations are fine so long as it is realised that they are only one level of explanation and they don’t preclude other ways of explanation.

    Look, I don’t know what “naturalistic explanations” even means, other than empirical explanation, and only used your terminology because you did (and with scare quotes). Empiricism isn’t reductionism, so it isn’t limited to chemistry and physics, or any such thing. Thus, I don’t see where there’s any difference in “level” involving any sort of “naturalism” or some purported “higher level” explanation.

    For examplea boxing match could be described very accurately in terms of the physics and chemistry of muscle movements and damaged cells.

    Not really, because you have to consider systems, like the nervous system.

    There would be nothing false about this but it would tell us nothing about the actual people involved.

    Actually, you’re very much going to have to consider chemistry and physics in order to tell about the actual people involved. Maybe one of them has bipolar disorder, in which case you’re going to have to think about brain chemistry.
    For health and strength, well, there’s a host of chemistry involved in health, not to mention with the issues involved with performance-enhancing drugs.

    Considering the people would involve explanations which have gone beyond the physics and chemistry into a higher realm.

    You assert that. but never support it. Considering people involves explanations that subsume chemistry and physics into systems that operate according to chemistry and physics, but which may be considered without explicit reference to them.

    Anyway, what you wrote certainly doesn’t get to why Szostak isn’t going to consider miracles and “higher realms,” let alone why he’d have no problem with explanations involving humans or humanoid beings in his causal realm. In science you don’t get to just make things up. You have a problem with this.

    Glen Davidson

  9. newton

    CharlieM: Good point. They are part of nature, just not explainable in terms of physics and chemistry.

    We have evidence that changing the brain chemistry can change both thoughts and emotions.

    We have evidence that changing the structure of the brain can change both thoughts and emotions.

    It seems at least at some level of explanation both thoughts and emotions can be explained thru chemistry and physics.

  10. RumraketRumraket

    CharlieM: Rumraket: ‘”You claim this, but it isn’t obvious why this would be the case. If you really actually could give a total description of a boxing match at the atomic level, why would this NOT tell us anything about the actual people involved?”

    In the same way that you cannot give a meaningful description of a Shakespeare play by examining the letters of the alphabet.

    That analogy makes no sense to me. I understand that you think a materialist account at the level of atoms would lack something. What I’m missing is why you think so.

    Rumraket:”It seems to me the only thing that makes this practically infeasible is the fact that we as human beings don’t have sufficient cognitive resources to really imagine and hold in our minds eye, a boxing match taking place between such unfathomably vast numbers of particles. Combined with the inordinate amount of time and space such an account would take to relay or store somewhere.

    As such, it is not clear that a “materialist” account of a boxing match at the level of atoms is actually lacking any information about the participants (or which could not at least in princple be derived from such an accout), the fundamental barrier is the challenges set by the limits of human cognition.”

    This is reductionism taken to extreme.

    But nothing I said here should be particularly controversial. Again, I understand that you disagree. I just don’t see why. What is it about the boxing match you think would be missing in a total account at the level of atoms?

  11. colewd

    John Harshman,

    Some of them, certainly, just as many extant animals have no circulatory systems. Do you know nothing about biology?

    I think the argument is how over less than 100M years can we build the sequences that account for the complexity of mobile Cambrian animals. The evidence shows they have circulatory systems which are irreducibly complex. i.e. remove a key component the animal dies.

    This strongly suggests that the Cambrian animals were a separate origin event and brings the design argument to the forefront.

    So though you reject the methodology, you accept the conclusion, and from the absence of knowledge you conclude…what?

    The paper shows that 2400 yeast (eukaryotic) genes do not have homologs in prokaryotic cells. Given that Venter has created a living cell with 473 genes the eukaryotic cell transition from a gene perspective is more daunting then OOL. This strongly suggests that the eukaryotic cell was a separate origin event.

    Fortunately given the design argument that is a chip shot.

  12. dazzdazz

    We really need to stop paying attention to these doofuses. Phoodoo Jmac and colewd in particular are simply hopeless PRATT spouting idiots.

  13. John HarshmanJohn Harshman

    colewd: The evidence shows they have circulatory systems which are irreducibly complex. i.e. remove a key component the animal dies.

    What evidence do you have that any Cambrian animals had circulatory systems at all, let alone that they’re irreducibly complex?

    This strongly suggests that the Cambrian animals were a separate origin event and brings the design argument to the forefront.

    Separate origin event from what? And how do you manage to ignore the evidence for gradual origin of Cambrian animals as set forth in my post you claim to have read?

    So though you reject the methodology, you accept the conclusion, and from the absence of knowledge you conclude…what?

    The paper shows that 2400 yeast (eukaryotic) genes do not have homologs in prokaryotic cells. Given that Venter has created a living cell with 473 genes the eukaryotic cell transition from a gene perspective is more daunting then OOL. This strongly suggests that the eukaryotic cell was a separate origin event.

    Separate from what? And are you aware that animals are eukaryotes, so if animals are “a separate origin event”, doesn’t that make eukaryotes at least two separate origin events? You need to get your story straight.

    Also, when you say “prokaryotic cells” are you referring just to eubacteria or to archaeans too? Are you aware of the several recently discovered major groups of archaeans? What do you know about their genomes?

    Fortunately given the design argument that is a chip shot.

    Yes, anything is a chip shot if you allow for poofing of anything from nothing at any time. But I don’t see the science in it. And I don’t see that as fortunate; I see it as a weakness of the design “argument”.

  14. John HarshmanJohn Harshman

    CharlieM: Skin is not just some permeable material equivalent to coffee filter paper. It is an ever changing, dynamic, interacting complex of living substance that has to be viewed in relation to the whole organism. And the same goes for nerves, muscles and any other body tissues.

    You understand that the description you quoted was of human skin, specifically, right? We were talking about Cambrian animals. “Has to be viewed in relation to the whole organism” is a charming and meaningless buzzphrase whose entire purpose is to prevent thought. And you have managed to change the subject from the evolution of respiratory systems to the evolution of skin. I suppose you can push that regression back quite a ways, but does it help the claim that respiratory systems are too complex to have evolved naturally? I don’t think so.

  15. OMagain

    colewd: By supernatural do you mean beyond a material explanation?

    Whatever you meant here will do.

    colewd: How many dead ends do you have to reach in the name of materialism to finally reach the conclusion that it is a faulty assumption with most the evidence pointing in another direction of complexity suddenly appearing.

    What direction does that “another direction” point?

  16. colewd

    John Harshman,

    What evidence do you have that any Cambrian animals had circulatory systems at all, let alone that they’re irreducibly complex?

    Because the size range of the Cambrian animals are too large from 3mm to 70cm. Per fb.com

    Once an animal gets beyond a few millimetres in size, simple diffusion is no longer enough to provide an adequate oxygen supply to cells. The need for the first complex animals to match increased oxygen demand with greater supply saw the advent of a convective circulatory system.

    So at what point did the circulatory system appear? It looks like probably fairly early in the Cambrian where we have evidence of larger Trilobites. This link shows Trilobite size variation across the Cambrian and beyond.
    http://www.trilobites.us/figures/figimages/trilobite-length-variation-sensu-bell.jpg

    Separate origin event from what? And how do you manage to ignore the evidence for gradual origin of Cambrian animals as set forth in my post you claim to have read?

    On what basis do you think you can show evidence of gradual increase in complexity?

    Also, when you say “prokaryotic cells” are you referring just to eubacteria or to archaeans too? Are you aware of the several recently discovered major groups of archaeans? What do you know about their genomes?

    100 different types of archaean DNA were part of Koonin’s comparison.

    Yes, anything is a chip shot if you allow for poofing of anything from nothing at any time. But I don’t see the science in it. And I don’t see that as fortunate; I see it as a weakness of the design “argument”.

    A reasonable criticism but I think the idea of design in biology can lead to interesting exploration. If I explore the cell with the idea it is filled with design concepts the big picture may look very different.

  17. Adapa

    dazz:
    We really need to stop paying attention to these doofuses. Phoodoo Jmac and colewd in particular are simply hopeless PRATT spouting idiots.

    That still puts them ahead of Mung, and Joe G’s socks.

  18. John HarshmanJohn Harshman

    colewd:
    John Harshman,

    Because the size range of the Cambrian animals are too large from 3mm to 70cm.Per fb.com

    So at what point did the circulatory system appear?It looks like probably fairly early in the Cambrian where we have evidence of larger Trilobites.This link shows Trilobite size variation across the Cambrian and beyond.
    http://www.trilobites.us/figures/figimages/trilobite-length-variation-sensu-bell.jpg

    Excellent. You have finally given me some data and a real argument for something. I believe that’s a milestone. Yes, you have provided evidence that some Cambrian animals had moderately complex circulatory systems (though none at all as complex as a modern gnathostome’s). But note that it’s the gradual increase in size that is the impetus, which allows for gradual expansion from no circulatory system (small animal) through various stages to a complex one (large animal).

    On what basis do you think you can show evidence of gradual increase in complexity?

    You showed some yourself in the gradual size increase. Now of course most of this happened before the fossil record of trilobites, which begins toward the end of the Early Cambrian. And we have a much less satisfactory fossil record for those times. We do however have the Ediacaran fauna, gradual increase in number and sizes of burrows and tracks throughout the latest Ediacaran, the small, shelly assemblage of the first two Cambrian stages, and of course the wide and fairly continuous variation in complexity of circulation among extant species.

    100 different types of archaean DNA were part of Koonin’s comparison.

    Yes, I see they were. But some of those were discovered only in the past few years. Who’s to say there aren’t more waiting? And each new discovery has provided more homologous genes. This is to be expected given reasonable rates of gene loss and origination in various lineages. More sampling tends to find more homology and drive those homologies deeper into the tree.

    So why do you reject all the conclusions of the paper and focus only on one number?

    A reasonable criticism but I think the idea of design in biology can lead to interesting exploration.If I explore the cell with the idea it is filled with design concepts the big picture may look very different.

    Fine words, but that doesn’t seem to be the case so far. No insights whatsoever have come from ID. In you, it serves only to obscure.

  19. newton

    colewd: A reasonable criticism but I think the idea of design in biology can lead to interesting exploration. If I explore the cell with the idea it is filled with design concepts the big picture may look very different.

    For instance, why the gradual progression of complexity in life forms?This would seem to be a choice.

    How does one create populations with new designs?

    The originator of the designs would be much further advanced than humans. Would such an advanced intelligence be comprehensible to our relatively primitive minds?

    Is the Earth designed? How would one test the hypothesis?

  20. OMagain

    colewd: A reasonable criticism but I think the idea of design in biology can lead to interesting exploration. If I explore the cell with the idea it is filled with design concepts the big picture may look very different.

    The idea that life was designed has been around for thousands of years. Why do you suppose that nothing like you describe has ever happened?

  21. CharlieMCharlieM

    Rumraket: I think you have mistaken both mine and the author’s intentions. Neither of us are advocating for some sort of pure RNA world to precede peptides and proteins.

    So none of this is evidence that molecular evolution occurred outwith a cell membrane.

  22. RumraketRumraket

    CharlieM: So none of this is evidence that molecular evolution occurred outwith a cell membrane.

    I agree it isn’t and never claimed otherwise.

  23. CharlieMCharlieM

    newton: From wiki:” Crystallization is a complex and extensively-studied field, because depending on the conditions, a single fluid can solidify into many different possible forms. It can form a single crystal, perhaps with various possible phases, stoichiometries, impurities, defects, and habits. Or, it can form a polycrystal, with various possibilities for the size, arrangement, orientation, and phase of its grains. The final form of the solid is determined by the conditions under which the fluid is being solidified, such as the chemistry of the fluid, the ambient pressure, the temperature, and the speed with which all these parameters are changing.”

    Could you elaborate on the path of study of the cell that would be analogous to this process?

    Every cell consists of a concentration of dynamic physical activity. If there was a possibility of tracking the history of each molecule within a cell at any one time we would see that these molecules were previously scattered widely throughout the wider world and they will disperse again over the future life of the cell and beyond.

    Physical substance comes and goes but the cell retains its continuity. The essence of the cell is in its continuity over time .not in the material that is present at some particular time. The archetype is not some external nebulous entity hovering over the living form. It is the living being seen not from a spacial perspective but seen from a time perspective.

  24. Kantian NaturalistKantian Naturalist

    CharlieM: Every cell consists of a concentration of dynamic physical activity. If there was a possibility of tracking the history of each molecule within a cell at any one time we would see that these molecules were previously scattered widely throughout the wider world and they will disperse again over the future life of the cell and beyond.

    Physical substance comes and goes but the cell retains its continuity. The essence of the cell is in its continuity over time .not in the material that is present at some particular time. The archetype is not some external nebulous entity hovering over the living form. It is the living being seen not from a spacial perspective but seen from a time perspective.

    That’s all fine and good, but that doesn’t give us any reasons to reject physicalism in ontology or empiricism in epistemology.

    What you would need here is an argument as to why forms or structures enabate from a “spiritual” realm to a “physical” one, rather than understanding forms or structures as purely imnanent to the natural world.

    In other words, simply calling attention to the fact that life involves self-perpetuating structures doesn’t establish a Neoplatonic account of those structures, esp in light of the Aristotelian alternative.

  25. GlenDavidson

    CharlieM: Every cell consists of a concentration of dynamic physical activity. If there was a possibility of tracking the history of each molecule within a cell at any one time we would see that these molecules were previously scattered widely throughout the wider world and they will disperse again over the future life of the cell and beyond.

    Physical substance comes and goes but the cell retains its continuity. The essence of the cell is in its continuity over time .not in the material that is present at some particular time. The archetype is not some external nebulous entity hovering over the living form. It is the living being seen not from a spacial perspective but seen from a time perspective.

    Like the ship of Theseus.

    Glen Davidson

  26. CharlieMCharlieM

    Kantian Naturalist: That’s all fine and good, but that doesn’t give us any reasons to reject physicalism in ontology or empiricism in epistemology.

    What you would need here is an argument as to why forms or structures enabate from a “spiritual” realm to a “physical” one, rather than understanding forms or structures as purely imnanent to the natural world.

    In other words, simply calling attention to the fact that life involves self-perpetuating structures doesn’t establish a Neoplatonic account of those structures, esp in light of the Aristotelian alternative.

    You are not understanding what it means to practice “Goethean Science”. It is not done by philosophising about nature but by experiencing nature. As soon as we go beyond experience to speculate about what we understand by the terms spiritual, natural or the like we have departed from Goethe’s method.

    I would not call the archetype spiritual but rather supersensible in the sense that we have to go beyond what we think of as our normal senses to experience it. We should use our senses to examine the subject, say a plant in all its modes of existence, all of its expressions of shapes, colours, nature of growth and everything else. We then hold all of this in our mind and let the images we have experienced merge into each other in a panoramic view of the plant in its existence from seed to death, in growth and decay.

    By using our minds in this way we can have a higher experience within experience which does not go beyond reality to some “spiritual realm” that we have speculated to exist. We most definitely need to stay within experience. So I cannot persuade anyone to experience these things just as I could not persuade a blind person to see colours.

    There is nothing wrong with speculation so long as we recognise it for what it is.

  27. Kantian NaturalistKantian Naturalist

    CharlieM,

    I don’t think there’s anything supersensible about our experience of form or organic unity. On the contrary: I think we experience structures, forms, unities precisely through sensible encounters with them.

    If one insists on starting off with atomic, isolated sensations as building-blocks of experience, then yes, there does need to be Something Else to play a unifying, structuring role. But if one does not accept that view of sensations, then there’s no need for the Something Else.

  28. CharlieMCharlieM

    GlenDavidson: Like the ship of Theseus.

    Glen Davidson

    As long as the analogy isn’t taken too far. The ship of Theseus is built from without following a static design. Living entities are dynamic forms developed from within.

  29. GlenDavidson

    CharlieM: By using our minds in this way we can have a higher experience within experience which does not go beyond reality to some “spiritual realm” that we have speculated to exist. We most definitely need to stay within experience. So I cannot persuade anyone to experience these things just as I could not persuade a blind person to see colours.

    There are drugs…

    Glen Davidson

  30. colewd

    OMagain,

    The idea that life was designed has been around for thousands of years. Why do you suppose that nothing like you describe has ever happened?

    I think it is happening. If you google biological design and system biology you can see some of the work here.

  31. colewd

    newton,

    Is the Earth designed? How would one test the hypothesis?

    Interesting question. Maybe a good subject for an op.

  32. newton

    colewd:
    newton,

    Interesting question.Maybe a good subject for an op.

    Would it be a good use of resources? Without knowing the abilities and goals of an unknown designer would the speculation of design be useful?

  33. colewd

    John Harshman,

    You showed some yourself in the gradual size increase. Now of course most of this happened before the fossil record of trilobites, which begins toward the end of the Early Cambrian. And we have a much less satisfactory fossil record for those times. We do however have the Ediacaran fauna, gradual increase in number and sizes of burrows and tracks throughout the latest Ediacaran, the small, shelly assemblage of the first two Cambrian stages, and of course the wide and fairly continuous variation in complexity of circulation among extant species.

    I agree with all your points here but it does not explain transition from early multicellular organisms (sponges) to the complex systems of the Trilobites.

    A single component of this system like a heart is useless without all the other parts of the system.

    These are integrated systems which require differentiated cells, a process that needs to be part of embryo development. Where does the genetic information come from to build these complex animals? Where did hox genes enter into the picture? Where did the genetic information come from that codes for these genes?

    So why do you reject all the conclusions of the paper and focus only on one number?

    The conclusion of this paper is like most papers on evolution which assumes universal common descent as a working hypothesis. Since I am skeptical of this hypothesis I don’t automatically accept the conclusion which is based on this assumption.

    I do not focus on one number but look at the raw data as evidence.

    In this case the raw data is contrary to the UCD assumption. You will claim that there is possibly missing data but that claim is based on the UCD assumption.

    The data itself goes against a materialistic conclusion for the origin of the eukaryotic cell.

  34. OMagain

    colewd: The data itself goes against a materialistic conclusion for the origin of the eukaryotic cell.

    You are good at noting this. You’ve done it several times now. You can stop.

    Simply say what the data itself points towards instead of saying what it points away from.

  35. dazzdazz

    colewd: A single component of this system like a heart is useless without all the other parts of the system.

    That would be relevant if evolution was about “putting components together” but that’s not how it works. Life is not a fucking jigsaw puzzle. It should be obvious to anyone with any meaningful education, that’s certainly not you.

    For the emptienth time, how does an embryo get by if “a heart is useless without all the other parts”? I mean, seriously. Stop it

  36. John HarshmanJohn Harshman

    colewd:
    John Harshman,

    I agree with all your points here but it does not explain transition from early multicellular organisms (sponges) to the complex systems of the Trilobites.

    A single component of this system like a heart is useless without all the other parts of the system.

    You know nothing about “the complex systems of the trilobites” other than that they couldn’t have relied on simple diffusion. (Sponges, incidentally, have something that could be called a respiratory system, as they are constantly drawing currents of water through their bodies.) It’s all the intermediate conditions we can see in extant species that explain the transition simply by showing that intermediate steps can exist.

    Now, when you say that a heart is useless without all the other parts, just what parts are you talking about? What do you know about circulation in arthropods? I think you know nothing.

    These are integrated systems which require differentiated cells, a process that needs to be part of embryo development.Where does the genetic information come from to build these complex animals?Where did hox genes enter into the picture?Where did the genetic information come from that codes for these genes?

    Sponges are integrated systems, have differentiated cells, and embryo development too, you know. Or most likely you don’t. The genetic information is mostly inherited from prior organisms, with occasional duplication and divergence, re-purposing, or recruitment of previously non-functional sequences. It’s just the sort of thing that goes on today.

    As for Hox genes, they came from prior, similar genes. Sponges have Hox homologs, though the actual Hox genes seem to have arisen in the metazoan ancestor. Jellyfish have Hox genes.

    I do not focus on one number but look at the raw data as evidence.
    In this case the raw data is contrary to the UCD assumption.You will claim that there is possibly missing data but that claim is based on the UCD assumption.

    You’ve never seen any raw data in your life and wouldn’t recognize it if you did. And it doesn’t take any assumption of UCD to be able to tell that genes arise and are lost throughout life.

    But since we’re on the Cambrian explosion, why don’t you explain what you think happened? Was it a big creation event? And if so, does that mean that all extant animals descend from Cambrian animals, or were there lots and lots of subsequent creation events?

  37. CharlieMCharlieM

    John Harshman: It’s all the intermediate conditions we can see in extant species that explain the transition simply by showing that intermediate steps can exist.

    Below is an image from Form and Cause in Goethe’s Morphology by Ronald Brady. This depicts a succession of leaves from a single buttercup plant in the order that they appear moving clockwise from lower left to lower right. The order of the different shapes make it very easy to picture in the imagination each form morphing from the previous form, in other words each form developing out of the previous form. But this is not the case, each form is not caused by a modification of the previous form. Each are particularised instances of a general form. We recognise the similarity of form but this is not due to common descent. During the growth of the plant one form of leaf follows the other but their similarity is not caused by the former developing out of the latter, it is caused by them both being a manifestation of an underlying unity.

    As Brady says:

    It might seem counter-intuitive to speak of movement, rather than an object making the movement, as generative, but between the forms and their movement there is only one possibility. We must remember that no single Gestalt, qua Gestalt, can generate a movement between forms. We detect the movement through the differential between forms, but no one form can give us this. The movement, on the other hand, is a continuity which must contain, in order to be continuous, multiple Gestalts. Thus the movement is not itself a product of the forms from which it is detected, but rather the unity of those forms, from which unity any form belonging to the series can be generated. Individual forms are in this sense “governed” by the movement of the series in which they are found — their shape and position in that series are both functions of the overall transformation.

    and further:

    The forms of life are not “finished work” but always forms becoming, and their “potency to be otherwise” is an immediate aspect of their internal constitution — i.e. of their representative function — and not something to be added to them. Their “potency” is “self-derived,” in that it is inherent in their identity with the whole. The becoming that belongs to this constitution is not a process that finishes when it reaches a certain goal but a condition of existence — a necessity to change in order to remain the same. Of course, at some time the leaf or bone loses this capacity — it no longer participates in the continual becoming of its generation and therefore does not remain the same — i.e. does not remain alive.

    So showing the intermediate steps can exist does not, of necessity, show that the configuration of the former in the series is the cause of the configuration of the latter. There are other explanations, as demonstrated in the case of buttercup leaves.

    Here is another interesting excerpt from the link which is worth pondering:

    Life had no goal or purpose except itself, and to suggest otherwise was to force the phenomena into a pre-conceived mold.

    As Goethe admitted, the type was an idea (by which the successive was grasped as simultaneous), and its manifestations in time were quite “designed,” each preparing for the next and leading over into it. But as I have been arguing, the designing idea is not separable, and living form cannot therefore be modelled on the machine or any other result of an external planner.

    In Goethe’s thinking, idea is as much a part of the object under study as is its physical appearance to the senses. And I agree with this.

  38. John HarshmanJohn Harshman

    CharlieM: So showing the intermediate steps can exist does not, of necessity, show that the configuration of the former in the series is the cause of the configuration of the latter. There are other explanations, as demonstrated in the case of buttercup leaves.

    Quite true, stripped of the meaningless mysticism. The point of intermediate forms is to show that transformations are plausible, though Bill claims they are not. It’s the nested hierarchy of life and its fit to the fossil record that show descent, hence transformation.

    Here is another interesting excerpt from the link which is worth pondering:

    Life had no goal or purpose except itself, and to suggest otherwise was to force the phenomena into a pre-conceived mold.

    As Goethe admitted, the type was an idea (by which the successive was grasped as simultaneous), and its manifestations in time were quite “designed,” each preparing for the next and leading over into it. But as I have been arguing, the designing idea is not separable, and living form cannot therefore be modelled on the machine or any other result of an external planner.

    In Goethe’s thinking, idea is as much a part of the object under study as is its physical appearance to the senses. And I agree with this.

    I have no idea what that means, so can’t agree or disagree.

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