Universal Common Descent Dilemma

  1. Despite lack of observational basis, Darwin proposed Universal Common Descent (UCD) saying:Therefore I should infer from analogy that probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed“. He also said elsewhere (referring to UCD): “…the littlest creature (or four or five of them)…” With his remarks, Darwin left the door open to creation (“life was first breathed”), but since then, Neo-Darwinists have rejected creation and replaced it with belief in undirected abiogenesis while maintaining belief in UCD.
  2. UCD is incompatible with the current view of Earth as just an ordinary planet circling an ordinary star located nowhere special inside an ordinary galaxy. If Earth is “nothing special” and abiogenesis is an ordinary “arising” of life from non-living matter, spontaneous abiogenesis would be a trivial common occurrence here on Earth as well as throughout the Universe, and we would have many “trees of life” instead of one. However, until now, all abiogenesis experiments have failed to produce life, spontaneous generation has been rejected, and the Fermi paradox stands, all these keeping the single “tree of life” and UCD hypothesis still alive and still inexplicable.
  3. Conditions for starting life should be similar to those required for sustaining it. The Big Bang model mandates a beginning of life. Furthermore, once started life must be sustained by the same or very similar environment. And since life is being sustained now on Earth, abiogenesis should be ongoing contrary to all observations to date. Tidal pools, deep sea hydrothermal vents, and the undersurface of ice caps have been hypothesized to originate abiogenesis due to their persistent energy gradients, but no abiogenesis or its intermediate phases have been observed around these sites. Given these, the only methodological naturalistic alternative is ‘limited window of opportunity for abiogenesis which suggests primordial life substantially different than all known forms of life, and perhaps originating on another planet followed by panspermia. However, this alternative defies Occam’s razor and the absence of supporting evidence including the earliest ever known fossils (stromatolites) that are of commonly occurring cyanobacteria rather than of alien origin.
  4. Universal Common Descent requires an inexplicable biologic singularity. All known forms of life are based on the same fundamental biochemical organization, so either abiogenesis happened only once or it happened freely for a while but then it stopped when the ‘window of opportunity’ closed and only one organism survived to become the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) of all existing life on Earth. However, these two biologic singularities should be unacceptable given the lack of evidence and the assumption of continuity in nature. Furthermore, the second scenario requires two discontinuities: one for the cessation of abiogenesis and the second one for the bottleneck leading to LUCA.
  5. In conclusion, UCD hypothesis leads to a number of bad and very bad scenarios: a) Earth is “nothing special” should lead to a “forest of life” rather than a single “tree of life” and to ubiquitous abiogenesis (unobserved); b) Alien life plus panspermia is refuted by the Fermi paradox and oldest known stromatolites fossils; c) Single event abiogenesis is an unsupported and therefore unacceptable singularity; d) ‘Window of opportunity’ abiogenesis followed by LUCA bottleneck is even less acceptable double-singularity. And this brings us back to Darwin’s “open door” to creation, perhaps the most rational alternative that fits all biologic observations.

Pro-Con Notes

Con: Maybe abiogenesis is happening a lot. I think the already existing life would dispose of it quickly though.

Pro:  if so, 1. We should be able to duplicate abiogenesis in the lab; 2. We should see at least some of the intermediate abiogenesis steps in nature; 3. Existing life can only process what looks like food. Cellulose is a well known organic material that cannot be broken down by a lot of organisms and is known to last as very long time in dry conditions.

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1,101 thoughts on “Universal Common Descent Dilemma

  1. Nonlin.org: Allopatry nonsense.

    That sounds like a bit of a knee-jerk. Do you know of the effect referred to as genetic drift? Where a population of organisms occupy a habitat that is geographically large enough, subsets of the initial population can become effectively separate gene pools. Drift will result in different genes accumulating even if there is no difference in the niches occupied.

    Minor and reversible variability within the SAME family (what is a species anyway?) has not been shown to lead to “divergence of character” nonsense.

    But those niches can be different, simply by being further north, higher, more arid and so on. Speciation is a slow process… but not always.

    I find the Rift Valley cichlids fascinating as examples of speciation in a short time-frame. Also involves sympatric speciation Of course they’re still just mouth breeders!.

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  2. Alan Fox,

    But those niches can be different, simply by being further north, higher, more arid and so on. Speciation is a slow process… but not always.

    A problem here is that speciation is poorly defined.

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  3. Rumraket:

    Burning your toast is a direct refutation of that claim. The atomic structure of the charred material is incredibly more complex than what was there before. Better yet, put table sugar on a hot frying pan for too long and you basically get asphaltenes from sucrose.

    You’re trying to generalize from an example – a clear logic failure.
    Crystallization goes both ways (+/- energy) disproving your generalization attempt: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystallization

    And anyway we were talking about life and homo/hetero-geneous life until someone else made the false equivalency with ‘complexity’.

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  4. colewd: A problem here is that speciation is poorly defined.

    Nonsense. The simple fact is there is not one one-size-fits-all definition that works across the whole gamut of extant and extinct life. The idea of a gene pool only works for a population of organisms that reproduce sexually. That rules out prokaryotes (there are exceptions to every rule). And extinct species aren’t very active sexually. Doesn’t alter the fact that the concept is not (or shouldn’t be) hard to grasp.

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  5. Allan Miller: The second law of thermodynamics really has very little to do with it. Because you can think of a miscible fluid with low viscosity, everything must be treated as a miscible fluid with low viscosity? Including diverging gene pools. And because you can think of an example where separation has not led to complete genetic isolation, it is impossible that there be any cases where it has!

    Huh? What “diverging gene pools”? There is no “divergence” – just reversible variations around a mean.

    You should thank God there is no evolution, else we would all be dead on the account of antibiotic resistance. That’s the “divergence” nonsense promised by Darwinism.

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  6. Allan Miller: Nonlin.org: You understand nothing. Evolution fails because it’s logically impossible as demonstrated repeatedly. The fact that it fails second law of thermodynamics is just another nail in its coffin… one of many.

    Logically impossible, huh?

    Yep. As proven repeatedly. Let’s review:
    Gradualism fails – http://nonlin.org/gradualism/
    Natural selection fails – http://nonlin.org/natural-selection/
    Divergence of character fails – http://nonlin.org/evotest/
    Speciation fails – http://nonlin.org/speciation-problems/
    DNA “essence of life” fails – http://nonlin.org/dna-not-essence-of-life/
    Randomness fails – http://nonlin.org/random-abuse/
    Abiogenesis fails – http://nonlin.org/warmpond/
    Science against Religion fails – http://nonlin.org/philosophy-religion-and-science/
    etc., etc.
    And let’s test it again and make sure it fails again and again: http://nonlin.org/evotest/

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  7. Corneel: My impression is that Nonlin is fine with any type of relationship, as long as the differences are the handiwork of the Designer, not any impersonal “random” evolutionary process (human relationships remain a touchy subject of course).

    Didn’t you take a vow of silence? Welcome back; are you ready to debate? For instance what “impersonal “random” evolutionary process” do you speak of? Last I checked, there was no such thing.

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  8. Mung: I seriously doubt that Nonlin.org believes that all modern species were created in their present forms. I prefer to think that he just hasn’t ever taken time to seriously think about his position.

    Yes, Mung. You are correct. But let’s leave aside the touchy-feely and general beliefs. Instead let’s stick with what we know: logic and observations.

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  9. Alan Fox:
    But those niches can be different, simply by being further north, higher, more arid and so on. Speciation is a slow process… but not always.

    I find the Rift Valley cichlids fascinating as examples of speciation in a short time-frame. Also involves sympatric speciation Of course they’re still just mouth breeders!.

    So you are not disputing:
    “Minor and reversible variability within the SAME family (what is a species anyway?) has not been shown to lead to “divergence of character” nonsense.” ?

    “Divergence of character” is a con job when you observe:
    1. Peppered moths that revert back to a previous state rather that continue to diverge,
    2. Darwin’s finches that do the same,
    3. Antibiotic resistance that disappears instead of spreading once the antibiotic stimulus is removed
    4. LTEE that failed to produce anything other than the eColi it started with
    Lots and lots of “living fossils” and no proven “transitional organisms”
    5. Epigenetic traits that disappear after a few generations intead of leading to “divergence of character”
    6. All kind of “beneficial” population traits including in humans that refuse to spread beyond a small subgroup

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  10. Alan Fox: The idea of a gene pool only works for a population of organisms that reproduce sexually. That rules out prokaryotes (there are exceptions to every rule). And extinct species aren’t very active sexually. Doesn’t alter the fact that the concept is not (or shouldn’t be

    Therefore, “speciation” fails: http://nonlin.org/speciation-problems/

    Even for sexual reproduction:
    – are they genetically incompatible?
    – different mating rituals?
    – timing differences?
    – physical incompatibilities?
    – etc.

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  11. Alan Fox,

    Doesn’t alter the fact that the concept is not (or shouldn’t be) hard to grasp.

    Then describe to concept. Isolated populations?

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  12. Nonlin.org: Minor and reversible variability within the SAME family (what is a species anyway?) has not been shown to lead to “divergence of character” nonsense.

    Except that that is literally what domestic breeding is all about. Divergence of character by artificial selection for particular desired traits in independent populations.

    Different breeds of dogs, and cows, and pigs, and cats, and chickens, and parrots, and rats, and apples, and oranges, and cabbages, and potatoes, and corn and so on and so forth with hundreds of examples, are all instances of divergence of character due to reproductive isolation and selection. They might not qualify as different species (at least under the biological species concept), but they ARE divergent in character.

    Nothing could be more obviously false than your claim. Here’s a selection of divergence of character for mustard plants, squash, and pepper fruits:

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  13. colewd:
    Alan Fox,

    Then describe to concept.Isolated populations?

    Populations that don’t exchange genetic material except through the occasional HGT due to viruses and similar parasitic vectors.

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  14. Rumraket: But I agree with you in the sense that I don’t think the case for common descent, or evolution, rests on our ability to cause or to have observed speciation take place.

    Did Mung say that?

    Rumraket: Presumably he asks for observations of speciation because to him that is actually an important type of evidence, otherwise one wonders why he even asks.

    Haha, how could it not be??The entire premise of evolution is that the variation like we see in finches and dogs is the start of a process which eventually leads to novelty, which leads to entirely new organisms. THIS is exactly what your theory teaches. Now I know that nonsense, and of course you know thats nonsense and Alan just admitted that talk of dogs ever leading to anything is nonsense, so we all agree its nonsense. And yet this is what you sell to the puplic, in all your school textbooks, in science magazines and blogs, and pop culture-this is what we are to believe. Give it a few billion years and yadda yadda…

    We all laugh, sure, but what else do you have? “Well, we know things are related, because look, this part of the genome is the same…” That’s the entirety of your sides evidence.

    So when our side says, well, if that’s how it works, can’t we just show something one day? I know it takes a long time and all, but geez, how about just one small, tiny new feature at least, that is taking us on the road to novelty, can’t we even get that? Where is the dog that is going to become a whale? How long is that going to take anyway, if we can’t even get a decent blowhole started?

    So just like nonlin has been saying, we know antibiotic resistance gets us no where, finch beaks get us nowhere, dog breeds get us nowhere, peppered moths get us no where (although you side spent a lot lot of years claiming these things would), but what gets us somewhere? Its not necessary for your side to give any examples of something that does?

    And Mung agrees with that?

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  15. phoodoo:
    The entire premise of evolution is that the variation like we see in finches and dogs is the start of a process which eventually leads to novelty, which leads to entirely new organisms. THIS is exactly what your theory teaches.

    I doubt that you’ll read this, which is one reason I doubted if it was a good idea to give this a try. Yet, here it goes:

    That’s not the “entire premise” Phoodoo, and if you know better, then you should not start by saying such a thing, when you know many people here know way better than that. There’s several “premises.” I was convinced about evolution because the case is much more than “look at this little variation!” But much much more. I’m not going to bother presenting bits of it to you again, because my aim here is not to convince you. That’d be a futile enterprise, you would not be convinced by anything, I’m just trying to get some clarity.

    phoodoo:
    Now I know that nonsense, and of course you know thats nonsense and Alan just admitted that talk of dogs ever leading to anything is nonsense, so we all agree its nonsense.

    Sorry, but no. It’s not nonsense. Even that tiny bit you mentioned makes a lot of sense. The only reason you think it’s nonsense is because you’re opposed to the very idea. You’d say it’s nonsense even if you had all the data in your hands. Even if you had done some experiments yourself proving you wrong, you’d still think that it’s nonsense. But it makes perfect sense that if things diverge, they’ll continue diverging. If they continue diverging, it makes sense that they’ll eventually look different to whatever population started it. New organisms. It also makes perfect sense that if a population was separated, each thus divergent population would depart from looking like each other. Nothing strange about it. It even makes sense that eventually differences would accumulate that would make them hard to cross-breed. It’s a natural outcome from divergence, and we know that things tend to diverge.

    Of course, I noticed that you added novelty to avoid thinking only in divergence terms. Otherwise, you’d have to admit that divergence leads to different organisms. Well, sorry, but the dogs and pigeons examples were the first thing that convinced me that novelty can arise from selection and lead to shapes that would have never been guessed from looking at the original populations. Don’t give me that “they’re still dogs” bullshit, because the point is not that they’re new species, the point is that novelty is possible by merely selecting and choosing what individuals to breed. Not the whole package, which, come on, we know would not convince you either, but that’s a line of evidence that selection can bring unsuspected novelty.

    phoodoo:
    And yet this is what you sell to the puplic, in all your school textbooks, in science magazines and blogs, and pop culture-this is what we are to believe.

    Sorry again, but no. As i said above, that’s not what we try and “sell” the public because that’s not the entirety of evidence. It’s not just “look at this tiny variation,” therefore everything. That’s but a start, but even Darwin presented several lines of evidence carefully gathered for decades of work.

    phoodoo:
    Give it a few billion years and yadda yadda…

    Again, even though that’s not all, why wouldn’t millions of years make a difference?
    Why exactly?

    phoodoo: We all laugh, sure, but what else do you have? “Well, we know things are related, because look, this part of the genome is the same…” That’s the entirety of your sides evidence.

    No it isn’t. But suppose it was. It still makes sense that diverging populations will continue to diverge. It’s inevitable. So, why wouldn’t the differences look much more spectacular with time?

    And then the irony. Where’s the evidence for your “side”? You believe some pretty crazy stuff. Things that look exactly like fantasy. Nothing to hold that would make it reasonable. Yet, you try and laugh at a simple and straightforward extrapolation, while believing in fantasies yourself? So, how’s that better than following something as straightforward as “diverging populations will continue to diverge”?

    I’m truly sorry that I cannot express that in kinder terms. But I still expect that you might try and understand the point.

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  16. Mung:
    ‘They’re still dogs…’, croaks a confused onlooker.

    Just look at the power of artificial extinction!

    Yep, nothing like the real thing though …

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  17. colewd:,

    A problem here is that speciation is poorly defined.

    No it isn’t. A species may be poorly defined, but speciation is not. It is the process of divergence of a single gene pool into two, with, at the limit, no possibility of introgression in hybrids due to a biological barrier resulting from that process of divergence.

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  18. Nonlin.org: Huh? What “diverging gene pools”? There is no “divergence” – just reversible variations around a mean.

    So in your fantasy, alleles are never lost, and new alleles never appear. That is patent nonsense.

    You should thank God there is no evolution, else we would all be dead on the account of antibiotic resistance. That’s the “divergence” nonsense promised by Darwinism.

    That makes absolutely no sense.

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  19. Nonlin.org:

    You should thank God there is no evolution, else we would all be dead on the account of antibiotic resistance. That’s the “divergence” nonsense promised by Darwinism.

    I’ve had a good long stare at this, and it remains unutterably dumb. Nonlin is saying that, due to resistance to an agent not even discovered till the 1940’s, the human race would die out if said resistance really evolved, despite not having died out prior to 1940, with no antibiotics at all! Hilarious.

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  20. Allan Miller,

    It is the process of divergence of a single gene pool into two, with, at the limit, no possibility of introgression in hybrids due to a biological barrier resulting from that process of divergence.

    Can you support the claim that this is the only standard definition?

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  21. Allan Miller,

    Believing that antibiotic resistance is not a problem because of a magical being in the sky, in the face of the historical deaths by loads of parasites, is beyond mere harmless fantasy. It’s dangerous.

    So, sure, thank the imaginary magical being in the sky that there’s no evolution, and then, still grateful, die of infections that cannot be combated.

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  22. colewd:
    Allan Miller,
    Can you support the claim that this is the only standard definition?

    Why should it be standard? Why should it be the one and only one? I never saw it written exactly that way, but it makes good sense of what speciation would mean given some definition of species. Thus, the issue is whether you understand what Allan’s definition means. If you do, then you’d easily infer its context, and the reasoning behind it. You could then move on and make the exchange more meaningful and rich.

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  23. colewd:
    Allan Miller,

    Can you support the claim that this is the only standard definition?

    I wonder if he can support the claim that it ever actually happens. I am sure some have suggested polar bears and grizzly bears had gone through speciation. And heck, almost all big cats have been hybridized with other cats. Same thing with cows and buffaloes. And zebras and horses, and llamas and camels, dolphins and whales, and well, all kinds with mixed with kinds basically.

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  24. phoodoo: Now I know that nonsense, and of course you know thats nonsense and Alan just admitted that talk of dogs ever leading to anything is nonsense, so we all agree its nonsense.

    My point was simple and uncontroversial. Artificial selection, such as dog breeding, results in a reduction in genetic diversity because of the small population sizes involved and because there is no way (other than mutagens) of raising the background mutation rate, which in large populations, counteracts the elimination of alleles deleterious in the niche (in artificial selection, the arbitrary decisions of the breeder rejecting particular animals as having undesirable attributes being a significant factor in that niche).

    So artificial selection eventually exhausts the currently available diversity.

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  25. Alan Fox: My point was simple and uncontroversial. Artificial selection, such as dog breeding, results in a reduction in genetic diversity because of the small population sizes involved and because there is no way (other than mutagens) of raising the background mutation rate, which in large populations, counteracts the elimination of alleles deleterious in the niche (in artificial selection, the arbitrary decisions of the breeder rejecting particular animals as having undesirable attributes being a significant factor in that niche).

    So artificial selection eventually exhausts the currently available diversity.

    Right, and yet so many people will claim dog breeds (and variations of plants-here’s looking at your rumraket) are great examples of what evolution can do.

    Nonsense, right.

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  26. Nonlin.org: Yes, Mung. You are correct. But let’s leave aside the touchy-feely and general beliefs. Instead let’s stick with what we know: logic and observations.

    Sure. What logic and observation falsifies the hypothesis that all species were created just as we see them today?

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  27. phoodoo: Did Mung say that?

    Here’s what I said:

    Mung: However, I don’t understand the point in arguing over whether or not speciation actually happens. I don’t see the point in coming up with examples. Though I could be wrong. someone might actually be convinced by it.

    I don’t know of anyone who believes that all the species that we have observed were originally created as they appear to us and in the total absence of any speciation whatsoever, ever.

    Even young earth creationists accept that every single species we see could not have been on the ark and they therefore accept some speciation. Amazingly rapid speciation at that.

    By the way, for those who have not read it, I recommend Perry Marshall’s book.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/1944648755

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  28. Mung,

    I have no idea what you mean by speciation, unless you just mean variation.

    You don’t see the point in coming up with examples?

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  29. phoodoo: I have no idea what you mean by speciation, unless you just mean variation.

    Even Noah knew what a species is, and that was thousands of years ago.

    You don’t see the point in coming up with examples?

    In the absence of agreement on what a species is, no I don’t.

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  30. What I am referring to as speciation was named back in 1906, also termed cladogenesis, the splitting of a lineage in two, as contrasted with phylogenesis.

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  31. phoodoo: I wonder if he can support the claim that it ever actually happens.

    What would lead you to doubt it? If there is no repository of genes outside of a current population, then separated gene pools must inevitably diverge as alleles are lost and others arise. It’s not run to completion in polar and grizzly bears, because they can hybridise, but what would prevent it from doing so?

    You are doing the same as nonlin. If someone presented you with species having different degrees of hybrid interfertlity, you would reject them all as mere ‘variation’. If someone presented you with two species that could not hybridise, you’d reject that too, of course. So ‘show me speciation’ is a challenge that cannot be met, by the rules set out. And so the Ark was stuffed to the gunwhales with Biospecies, since Speciation Cannot Happen. The polar/grizzly common ancestor, though, liked fish and berries.

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  32. Mung: Even Noah knew what a species is, and that was thousands of years ago.

    Don’t think Noah had to,the land animals just queued up like tourists on a cruise ship ,”two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive”.

    Then question becomes to define “sort”. Any idea, phoodoo ,of precise definition of “ sort “?

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  33. Mung: Even Noah knew what a species is, and that was thousands of years ago.

    In the absence of agreement on what a species is, no I don’t.

    So everyone knows and no one knows?

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  34. phoodoo: So everyone knows and no one knows?

    No. Noah knew and you don’t?

    I have no idea what your position is on Noah and the ark. But surely you see my point about Noah understanding which animals he needed to bring on the ark. One might reasonably ask what principle he followed.

    Of course, one can argue that Noah had no say in the matter. That God chose which animals would be on the ark and led them there. So God knows what a species is. 🙂

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  35. Allan Miller: You are doing the same as nonlin.

    What is that? Saying that the burden is not of people who don’t believe evolution is to show why it can’t, rather than, as would seem much more reasonable to most thinking people, to expect those who propose a theory to show evidence that it is correct.

    I guess the correct response to all of your doubts about intelligent design Allan, is just to say, “Why couldn’t it?” That seems to be your only real means of rhetorical authority.

    But the good news Allan, is that even though you repeatedly try to do the burden shift, we have ALSO given you many many reasons why we believe it can’t. You know, like for one, because accidents are not very good at making things that are sophisticated and very logical in everything else we see in the world, so why would we assume that accidents would somehow be good at making living organisms better and more sophisticated? That’s ONE reason why we feel it can’t. Need more?

    I believe we have been giving you more.

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  36. Mung: Of course, one can argue that Noah had no say in the matter. That God chose which animals would be on the ark and led them there. So God knows what a species is.

    Yes, one could argue that.

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  37. Mung: No. Noah knew and you don’t?

    I have no idea what your position is on Noah and the ark. But surely you see my point about Noah understanding which animals he needed to bring on the ark. One might reasonably ask what principle he followed.

    Of course, one can argue that Noah had no say in the matter. That God chose which animals would be on the ark and led them there. So God knows what a species is.

    I don’t believe one bit in Noahs Ark, so why would I need to defend allegory?

    You surely don’t think Noahs Ark is the only alternative to the existence of current life on earth do you?

    I certainly don’t.

    All I know is, if the whole “dogs can change see, all it takes is more time and dogs could turn into fire throwing whales with poison spitting ears” theory is to be believed, don’t we need to see that this happens at least a little first (like at least showing that bacteria ever change to anything else for example), before we start accepting more of the just so stories?

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  38. phoodoo: I don’t believe one bit in Noahs Ark, so why would I need to defend allegory?

    You surely don’t think Noahs Ark is the only alternative to the existence of current life on earth do you?

    I certainly don’t.

    I explicitly denied any knowledge of what you believe about Noah’s ark. Whether Noah knew, or God knew, someone wrote the story, and they knew.

    No, Noah’s Ark is not the only alternative and I have already made it clear that I don’t think it is the only alternative. For example, one alternative I mentioned is that God created each species and that there is no “common descent” worth speaking of.

    Yes, I agree with you that if someone says speciation can, does, and has taken place they ought to support that position. But I also believe that your position ought not be logically inconsistent. And even if they cannot convince you that does not remove the logical inconsistency from your own position. That, phoodoo, is my point.

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  39. Mung: Yes, I agree with you that if someone says speciation can, does, and has taken place they ought to support that position. But I also believe that your position ought not be logically inconsistent. And even if they cannot convince you that does not remove the logical inconsistency from your own position. That, phoodoo, is my point.

    My position is

    1. Define what a species is.
    2. Show that speciation actually happens.

    There is nothing even slightly logically inconsistent about that position.

    Your position is much less clear I am afraid.

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  40. phoodoo: There is nothing even slightly logically inconsistent about that position.

    First, that’s not a position, that’s a confession of ignorance.

    Second, that’s because you’ve failed to include the context in which those questions arise.

    Your position is much less clear I am afraid.

    So?

    My position is that all organisms that exist now or have ever existed were not created by God last thursday.

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  41. Mung: phoodoo: There is nothing even slightly logically inconsistent about that position.

    First, that’s not a position, that’s a confession of ignorance.

    Then it is logically inconsistent for you to call that a logically inconsistent position Mung.

    Mung: My position is that all organisms that exist now or have ever existed were not created by God last thursday.

    All that is telling us is what you DON”T believe.

    So you saying that I don’t believe in the evolutionists explanation of speciation is not a position, but rather an admission of ignorance is quite ironic and misplaced Mung.

    Sorry, you don’t get a pass just because your strategy is to remain vague.

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  42. phoodoo: Rumraket: But I agree with you in the sense that I don’t think the case for common descent, or evolution, rests on our ability to cause or to have observed speciation take place.

    Phoodoo: Did Mung say that?

    I’ll try to clarify. What I was trying to convey is that I agree with Mung that speciation isn’t worth arguing about, but then I go on to give my reasons for thinking that. Mung might have other reasons for not thinking it is worth arguing about. But I did take him to imply that like me he thinks it isn’t worth arguing about.

    Rumraket: Presumably he asks for observations of speciation because to him that is actually an important type of evidence, otherwise one wonders why he even asks.

    Phoodoo: Haha, how could it not be??

    Because there are many things we can know take place, and also did in the past, without it being necessary that we directly witness them ourselves. Some things just happen too slowly, for example, and because they are such a slow and gradual process we can only ever hope to observe changes in degree that might seem minor, but which over time will build up to large-scale changes we can’t hope to record in a human lifetime.
    That goes for things like the establishment of continent-wide forests, the formation of mountain ranges, the drifting of continents apart so oceans come to exist, the origins of stars and planets from interstellar gas and dust, and so on and so forth. And in many ways the same is true for speciation defined as complete reproductive isolation of large multicellular, sexually reproducing eukaryotes, such as animals and plants. Though some exceptions are known here and there, in particular among plants.

    The entire premise of evolution is that the variation like we see in finches and dogs is the start of a process which eventually leads to novelty, which leads to entirely new organisms.

    That is one piece of evidence for both the possibility and reality of evolutionary change, and the reality of divergence, and the power of selection. I’m not sure I understand what you mean by “the entire premise of evolution” as that seems too broad and ill-defined a statement.

    You lump a lot of things together there which I would argue have independent types of evidence for them. The splitting of one species into two new ones, the common descent of all life, radical morphological change over geological timescales, and physiological/molecular novelty, despite their relations in the field of evolutionary biology, do not all rest on the same lines of evidence, and only for some of them would I invoke something like different breeds of pets/livestock/crops as evidence for them.

    THIS is exactly what your theory teaches.

    No not really. Only for some of those and even then I think what you wrote about it being “the entire premise of evolution” is too broad and ill-defined for me to be able to agree with that.

    Now I know that nonsense, and of course you know thats nonsenseand Alan just admitted that talk of dogs ever leading to anything is nonsense, so we all agree its nonsense.

    Okay, so what you wrote is nonsense. I’ll go ahead and agree with that.

    And yet this is what you sell to the puplic

    Find examples of “this”, and where it is being sold to the public. I’m not going to defend some generalized nonsensical caricature you’ve dreamt up of how evolution is being taught in school textbooks. Give me a concrete example of something being taught in a textbook that you think is nonsense, and then we can discuss that particular example instead of your caricature.

    “Well, we know things are related, because look, this part of the genome is the same…” That’s the entirety of your sides evidence.

    As I have explained exhaustively, now approaching something like fifty different times, to multiple pro-ID members that frequent this site, that is emphatically NOT how we know all things are related. No-one who knows anything about evolution claims that “something in the genome is the same” is how we know things are related.

    So when our side says, well, if that’s how it works

    Well let me go ahead and agree with you that, if your side has come to the understanding that scientists argue that different organisms are related merely because “look, this part of the genome is the same” then I fully understand why you are not convinced. If that is how it has been sold to you, then in fact you SHOULDN’T be convinced.

    can’t we just show something one day? I know it takes a long time and all, but geez, how about just one small, tiny new feature at least, that is taking us on the road to novelty, can’t we even get that?

    Something strange seems to have happened here. Because you first talk about speciation, then you go to common descent, and finally you jump to novelty. As I wrote above, these are three different things and while they (these three subjects) are related through evolutionary biology, they each have different lines of evidence for them.

    I would not argue, to pick an example, that because an organism speciated, this shows how all novelties evolved. And I would not argue that, because we have observed speciation take place, this proves that other species that are similar must share common ancestry. And I would not argue that because dogs have been bred under artificial selection to look different, therefore different living organisms must share common descent.

    That is not how I would defend ANY of those ideas. And I can’t be bothered arguing about cases of the evolution of novelty if you don’t first give a rigorous definition of novelty at both the phenotypical, informational, and molecular level. What exactly is novelty and exactly at what point does it cross from being “novel” to not? Be specific.

    Where is the dog that is going to become a whale?

    I can sorta imagine how that would look, and what comes to mind is something like a seal or a walrus. Not that their ancestors were dogs of course, nor are these organisms the result of selective breeding orchestrated by humans.
    Even so there are quite a number of semi-aquatic mammals that are not fully terrestrial and not fully aquatic, which exhibit various degrees of adaptation to life in water. They did evolve though, and they do share common descent both with ourselves and every other mammal.

    How long is that going to take anyway, if we can’t even get a decent blowhole started?

    I don’t know, what would count as a “blowhole”? It’s essentially just a nose in a different position. At what point would it count as a blowhole to you anyway? I guess arguing about this is moot because I’m not aware that anyone has actually tried. Have you? For how long?

    Given that no one have even tried (you can’t fail at something you haven’t even tried) evolving blowholes on dogs, and none of us are in a position to begin, why even ask the question? It seems incredibly fatuous. Why not ask questions we are at least in a position to address instead?

    So just like nonlin has been saying, we know antibiotic resistance gets us no where

    Well it gets you antibiotic resistance where before you had none.

    finch beaks get us nowhere

    Well they do adapt to different types of diets, so you get evolutionary change as opposed to stasis. Which shows that the natural enviroment is capable of exerting the kind of selective pressure necessary to effectuate population change through differential fixation of alleles with different phenotypic effects.

    dog breeds get us nowhere

    You get different breeds of dogs with radically different looks and behaviors. This shows that selection can change a population by differential fixation of alleles even in relatively short time.

    peppered moths get us no where

    Well we got peppered moths as the dominant form back when there was a lot of pollution. Today we also know what kind of mutation caused the black melanism. It was a transposon that caused the moths to go dark, and the allele was shown to be significantly beneficial under the right conditions too.

    (although you side spent a lot lot of years claiming these things would)

    Would what, specifically? Please give references where “my side” claimed that peppered moths would “get us somewhere”? What THE FUCK does that even mean? Can you ask even ONE non-inane question please?

    but what gets us somewhere? Its not necessary for your side to give any examples of something that does?

    What does it even mean when you ask what gets us somewhere? Where do we need to go? What is it you are asking for specifically. What would count as somewhere and what would not, and why? Be specific, give quantitative limitations to what would and would not meet the criterion.

    And Mung agrees with that?

    I don’t think Mung agrees with much of that nonsense you wrote no. Mung has exhibited something of an open mind recently which I respect even as I find we still disagree on many things. Something which I just don’t get the vibe that I should ever expect from you.

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