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

    So?

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

    Now that is funny!

    Your position on the origin of species is … ?

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  2. Rumraket: 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.

    I’ve always had an open mind, and we may disagree on far less than you think. 🙂

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  3. Rumraket: 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.

    Take the formation of stars and solar systems as examples.

    ETA: Already covered by your comments?

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  4. phoodoo: What is that? Saying that the burden is not of people who don’t believe evolution isto 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.

    And you think ID does that? Pardon me while I laugh up my sleeve. Any Intelligently Designed species to offer that are more than mere ‘breeds’? Or is that ‘all of ’em’?

    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’m not convinced you are grasping this. Which is the better and more sophisticated out of polar and brown bears? Or Common and Spotted Sandpipers? It is about the evolution of reproductive isolation, not the evolution of ‘betterness’.

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  5. If I take a spoonful of sand from a beach every day, and there is no influx, then eventually there will be no sand left. Someone might demand that I support my contention by actually demonstrating it. I say ‘but why wouldn’t it?’, and I’m accused of burden shift! That’s the nature of this discussion.

    If alleles are lost and new alleles gained in two separated gene pools, I don’t know why one would insist that reproductive interfertility is perennially maintained, pending a demonstration to the contrary. It is an inevitable consequence of divergence.

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  6. Allan Miller:
    If I take a spoonful of sand from a beach every day, and there is no influx, then eventually there will be no sand left. Someone might demand that I support my contention by actually demonstrating it. I say ‘but why wouldn’t it?’, and I’m accused of burden shift! That’s the nature of this discussion.

    If alleles are lost and new alleles gained in two separated gene pools, I don’t know why one would insist that reproductive interfertility is perennially maintained, pending a demonstration to the contrary. It is an inevitable consequence of divergence.

    You and your straightforward logic.

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  7. Allan Miller: I’m not convinced you are grasping this. Which is the better and more sophisticated out of polar and brown bears? Or Common and Spotted Sandpipers? It is about the evolution of reproductive isolation, not the evolution of ‘betterness’.

    So, natural selection is not really selecting for anything? It just happens from bacteria through fish and reptiles to mammals where none is essentially better than the other?

    The theory of evolution used to include the thesis that it was happening because there were actual adaptive advantages to be had. Is this deprecated now?

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  8. Mung,

    Is it anything like the things you call illogically inconsistent positions that you say aren’t positions?

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  9. Erik: So, natural selection is not really selecting for anything? It just happens from bacteria through fish and reptiles to mammals where none is essentially better than the other?

    You’re not grasping it either. It’s nothing to do with NS. Divergence proceeds through changes in both of 2 separated lineages, whether or not that change is advantageous (selected) in either. If two populations lack gene flow, their progressive decrease in reproductive compatibility is not an adaptation to anything.

    The theory of evolution used to include the thesis that it was happening because there were actual adaptive advantages to be had. Is this deprecated now?

    No, it still does. You are parading the this-therefore-all-fallacy. Just because genetic incompatibility need not involve NS, it does not follow that NS does not apply anywhere.

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  10. Allan Miller: You’re not grasping it either.

    You are not grasping it. The context of the “it’ is evolution itself, not just divergence. Divergence without anything new ever being introduced does not gets us evolution.

    I was talking accidents making things, not accidents making things incompatible. I don’t doubt that accidents have the ability to destroy.

    Allan Miller: phoodoo: What do you mean by species?

    Why not say what you mean when you use the term?

    Um, because I didn’t ask the question. Mung did.

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  11. phoodoo: You are not grasping it.The context of the “it’ is evolution itself, not just divergence.Divergence without anything new ever being introduced does not gets us evolution.

    “It” is speciation. That’s what I’ve talking about. You want to talk about something else, that’s fine, but my question was much more modest: why can reproductive incompatibility not evolve?

    I was talking accidents making things, not accidents making things incompatible.

    Well, I was talking about ‘accidents’ making things incompatible. I was asking why speciation, understood as the evolution of reproductive incompatibility, cannot occur as a logical consequence of divergence. You seem keen not to address the question I actually posed.

    Um, because I didn’t ask the question.Mung did.

    But you must have a view. The Phoodoo Method, as described by a wise poster above, has a Step 1: define what you mean by species. You can’t do it yourself, you say? How so?

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  12. Mung: I’ve always had an open mind, and we may disagree on far less than you think.

    I reckon there’s not much room for doubting speciation once one accepts common descent. Don’t you think?

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  13. phoodoo: What do you mean by species?

    So you are not sure what it is that you are objecting to. It’s not that you think that species do not exist, but that you are agnostic on the question of whether or not species exist.

    Have you ever owned a hamster? Where did your hamster come from? Where did those hamsters come from? And so on. Was there ever a time when there were no hamsters?

    Did you ever own a cat? Would your cat be more likely to eat the hamster than have sex with it? Even dumb animals know what a species is.

    There are a number of different species concepts. Pick one and we’ll go from there.

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  14. Mung: So you are not sure what it is that you are objecting to. It’s not that you think that species do not exist, but that you are agnostic on the question of whether or not species exist.

    Have you ever owned a hamster? Where did your hamster come from? Where did those hamsters come from? And so on. Was there ever a time when there were no hamsters?

    Did you ever own a cat? Would your cat be more likely to eat the hamster than have sex with it? Even dumb animals know what a species is.

    There are a number of different species concepts. Pick one and we’ll go from there.

    This is just plain nuttery now Mung. YOU asked me what my position on the origin of species is. How you forgotten so quickly? Let me help you:

    Mung: Your position on the origin of species is … ?

    So its not about what I mean. Its about what YOU mean, because you asked a question. This is pretty simple dialogue procedure Mung.

    If I ask you, Mung, what do you think of cosmic and then you responded to me by saying, “Well, what do you mean by “cosmic” it would be absolutely absurd for me to respond back, “you don’t even know what you feel about cosmic how can you comment? Haven’t you ever experience cosmic before? Why do you refuse to believe in cosmic, haven’t you ever been in a house before?

    So Mung, if you are going to try to ask a question , try to first know what it is YOU are talking about, not the person you are asking.

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  15. Mung: Where did your hamster come from?

    So you are not sure where hamsters come from? So you don’t know what you are objecting to?

    This is so cosmic Mung.

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  16. phoodoo: Divergence without anything new ever being introduced does not gets us evolution.

    What is “new”? Give a rigorous definition of new. For example, at what point does the divergence of two genes cross over from not-new, to new?

    If one gene has the sequence
    AGCTAAAATAA
    and so does the other
    AGCTAAAATAA
    – then when mutations accumulate in both, at what point are they no longer the same gene, but new ones? Does the entire sequence have to change? Is that “new”? Why or why not?

    Here’s what I would say: If there is just ONE mutation in one of the duplicates, then that is now a new gene. It is now different, therefore not the same, not identical, therefore new. Done, case closed. So new things evolve CONSTANTLY, with every single mutation. You don’t like that definition of new? I don’t give a shit.

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  17. Intuitively it’s really simple: If it not exactly identical to what it was before, then it is new. Any reasonable person can agree to that definition of new. You have a different definition of new? Then stuff it up your bum. Thank you.

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  18. Rumraket: Intuitively it’s really simple

    What is simple? Give a rigorous definition of simple. Provide examples, counterexamples and historical records for your claim.

    For example, your brain. Is it simple, many would say yes. I would not disagree with those who have made that claim. Are there simpler things than your brain, well, its quite possible. A walking cane for example is quite simple, but I am not going to get into a long debate with those who might say your brain is even simpler still.

    Now, if you happen to not like walking canes, because you feel they are some sort of threat to your kingdom of simple, then simply stuff it up your bum.

    Some might argue that would make your brain less simple. I wouldn’t disagree with them, but your definition of simple might have an even lower standard. You would have to show how that’s possible, with rigorous examples.

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  19. phoodoo: Then why do we call them species, skeptic?

    By “we” phoodoo doesn’t mean to include phoodoo. Because phoodoo doesn’t know what a species is. Or phoodoo calls them species without knowing why.

    Rumraket: I see that you ignored the rest of my post.

    And the rest of your next one.

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

    I explained why “Divergence of character” is a con job. Go ahead and address those 6 points.

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  21. Allan Miller:

    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.

    It’s only hilarious because you don’t understand. They’re not laughing with you, they’re laughing at you.

    Explanation for kindergartners: when antibiotic resistance showed up [penicillin resistance was found—in 1947, just four years after the drug started being mass-produced], Darwinistas said (still do) that antibiotic resistance is evolution. And since bacteria evolved superpowers and we didn’t, mankind is doomed. Of course, this turned out to be a false prophecy as explained. Antibiotic resistance is not evolution and of course antibiotic wars have been the norm in the bacteria world way before mankind discovered penicillin. Get it?

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

    I am not making that claim. Sometimes you have to say: “I don’t know”. But hardly anyone ever does that.

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  23. Allan Miller: 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.

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/divergence
    No. Divergence is “a drawing apart (as of lines extending from a common center)” and is not inevitable. In fact if there were any divergence, we would see it today too. There would not be a human population separate from apes, etc. but a continuum and of course no “species” or “speciation”. This is not what we see. Instead we see and can confirm only variations around means.

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  24. Allan Miller: 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.

    Yes, you do have a problem. Here’s a way out.

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  25. Nonlin.org: In fact if there were any divergence, we would see it today too. There would not be a human population separate from apes, etc. but a continuum and of course no “species” or “speciation”

    First off, humans are apes. Second, that’s incredibly stupid.
    Typical of you

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  26. Nonlin.org: I am not making that claim. Sometimes you have to say: “I don’t know”. But hardly anyone ever does that.

    But you see the logic right?

    Either all species were created just as we see them today or they were not. What evidence do we have that species were created just as we see them today?

    And if there is no conceivable way to test the hypothesis that all species were created just as we see them today, by either logic or observation, then what place does it deserve to hold in our attempt to understand nature?

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  27. Mung: What evidence do we have that species were created just as we see them today?

    Species, whatever do you mean?

    If species means every new kind of dog, I don’t think every kind of dog was created exactly as we see them today.

    That’s my POSITION.

    But then I also don’t think every person was created 6000 years ago, exactly as we see them today. Maybe that’s what you mean.

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  28. Nonlin.org: Yes, you do have a problem. Here’s a way out.

    No, I don’t have a problem at all, so I don’t need a way out. I see no reason to doubt that reproductive isolation can evolve between two groups. We see all stages of it, and it does not take much to cause failure in meiosis. We see that too.

    That you doubt it, I don’t doubt, given you are the kind of chump who insists that if evolution were true there would be a genetic continuum. But that ain’t really my problem.

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  29. Nonlin.org: No. Divergence is “a drawing apart (as of lines extending from a common center)” and is not inevitable.

    Sorry but divergence is inevitable because it follows unavoidably from the fact that the same mutations are unlikely to happen in parallel lineages. There’s just no way around this. As soon as you isolate populations from each other so genes are not exchanged between them, then the mutations that happen in lineage A will not make it into lineage B, and the mutations that happen in lineage B will not make it into lineage A. So they will necessarily diverge as mutations accumulate over generations in each lineage seperately. It is an elementary theorem of probability you’re banging your head against here. Good luck with that.

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  30. Nonlin.org: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/divergence
    No. Divergence is “a drawing apart (as of lines extending from a common center)” and is not inevitable. In fact if there were any divergence, we would see it today too. There would not be a human population separate from apes, etc. but a continuum and of course no “species” or “speciation”. This is not what we see. Instead we see and can confirm only variations around means.

    Utter gibberish. Interfertility can be enumerated. It diminishes the more differences accumulate between two groups. If the males and females stop fancying each other, if their reproductive channels become incompatible, if sperm cannot penetrate, if the zygote is inviable, if meiosis cannot proceed because the haploid genomes have drifted too far apart … any and all of these can lead to stemming of gene flow, inexorably towards zero. One would have to be some special kind of biological illiterate to argue that no amount of difference can stem gene flow. Just look at those Great Danes and Chihuahuas. Kill every intermediate, and no genes can flow between them. Not many genes are flowing as it is. Do you really think that, in nature, such a thing could never happen?

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  31. Nonlin.org: I explained why “Divergence of character” is a con job. Go ahead and address those 6 points.

    I don’t give the slightest crap about your “explanation” when I can see with my own eyes that different breeds of dogs are divergent in character. Whatever it is you think you have explained is demonstrably false by the instant you observe two different individuals of any population. If they’re not identical, and they aren’t, then you’re wrong in the most basic and straightforward way to be wrong in science: You are observed to be wrong.

    That’s it, the matter is settled.

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  32. Nonlin.org: It’s only hilarious because you don’t understand. They’re not laughing with you, they’re laughing at you.

    Explanation for kindergartners: when antibiotic resistance showed up [penicillin resistance was found—in 1947, just four years after the drug started being mass-produced], Darwinistas said (still do) that antibiotic resistance is evolution. And since bacteria evolved superpowers and we didn’t, mankind is doomed. Of course, this turned out to be a false prophecy as explained. Antibiotic resistance is not evolution and of course antibiotic wars have been the norm in the bacteria world way before mankind discovered penicillin. Get it?

    The only ‘superpower’ that bacteria evolved is antibiotic resistance. Therefore they are as deadly now as they were before antibiotics were invented. Yeah, they’re all laughing at ME. Chortle. Keep digging.

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  33. Nonlin.org: Antibiotic resistance is not evolution

    Antibiotic resistance IS evolution. Mutations cause antibiotic resistance, and those mutations are subject to natural selection depending on whether and how much antibiotic is in the environment. So it’s evolution by natural selection.

    and of course antibiotic wars have been the norm in the bacteria world way before mankind discovered penicillin.

    Nobody claims otherwise. Organisms have been evolving antibiotics since the dawn of life, and other organisms have adapted to them. It’s probably the oldest evolutionary arms race in the history of life, possibly only beaten by selfish genetic host-parasite interactions.

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  34. Rumraket: I don’t give the slightest crap about your “explanation” when I can see with my own eyes that different breeds of dogs are divergent in character.

    Allan Miller: One would have to be some special kind of biological illiterate to argue that no amount of difference can stem gene flow. Just look at those Great Danes and Chihuahuas. Kill every intermediate, and no genes can flow between them. Not many genes are flowing as it is. Do you really think that, in nature, such a thing could never happen?

    Hey Mung, are you starting to see why talk of speciation is so specious?

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  35. Rumraket: Antibiotic resistance IS evolution.

    Either God did or didn’t create every bacteria exactly as we see them. Is that our only choice?

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  36. Allan Miller,

    A false prophecy. Right. Obviously nobody in Nonlin’s family has been among the victims of multi-drug resistant bacteria yet. Thus, the “good Christian” has no clue and/or no compassion for those who are dying from bacterial infections that cannot be treated.

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  37. phoodoo: Either God did or didn’t create every bacteria exactly as we see them.Is that our only choice?

    No, there are many other possibilities. Since we observe bacteria changing to develop resistance to antibiotics in real time, it’s possible this is a natural biological feedback process. It’s possible that some god is constantly dicking with bacteria for their benefit, and then constantly dicking with those the bacteria harm for THEIR benefit. It’s possible that the bacteria gods and the pharmaceutical gods are duking it out while we watch. Or maybe the bacteria gods are mimicking evolutionary processes to beguile the gullible.

    I’m sure you can intelligently design more options if you try.

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  38. phoodoo: Rumraket: Antibiotic resistance IS evolution.

    Either God did or didn’t create every bacteria exactly as we see them. Is that our only choice?

    Yes. That is an accurate dichotomy.

    Either it is the case that:
    A) God created all bacteria exactly as we see them.
    or
    B) God didn’t create all bacteria exactly as we see them.

    Either God did X, or he didn’t.

    There are no other possible options. Notice that the 2nd option covers several possibilities. For example, if God only created SOME bacteria exactly as we see them, then it would be true that God didn’t create ALL bacteria exactly as we see them, so it would still be correct to state B. That’s because option B is actually just the negation of option A.

    A, or not-A.

    Your wording is important, and I guess the dichotomy you were probably thinking of is more like this. Either it is the case that:
    A) God created all bacteria exactly as we see them.
    or
    C) God did nothing at all.

    Which would of course be invalid, since there are other possibilities. But all dichotomies of the form A or not-A are valid.

    In any case, I don’t see AT ALL the relevance of your dichotomy to the response I gave to nonlin.org.

    Antibiotic resistance is an instance of evolution whether that results in any speciation or not. Antibiotic resistance evolves by mutation and natural selection, so it’s one of the different known manifestations of evolution. If that doesn’t count as evolution to you, then you have a nonsensical definition of evolution that has nothing to do with how scientists use the word.

    Nonlin also made nonsensical statements on what divergence would be (it really just means to become different), and was corrected on that too. But you now again seem to have confused the purpose of that correction. You need to stop trying to read more into what people say, and possibly ask questions instead of your silly blustering.

    Flint: No, there are many other possibilities.

    No, what phoodoo wrote is technically a valid dichotomy (apparently unbeknownst to himself). He should have worded it differently if he implied something other than a valid dichotomy.

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  39. phoodoo: Either God did or didn’t create every bacteria exactly as we see them.Is that our only choice?

    There are two kinds of people ,one kind that agrees that is the only choice and one kind that doesn’t.

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  40. Rumraket,

    So then God didn’t have to design every bacteria and bacteria can still be only bacteria. And God made bacteria. I think I agree.

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  41. newton: There are two kinds of people ,one kind that agrees that is the only choice and one kind that doesn’t.

    Maybe there are three kinds of people. Or four.

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  42. phoodoo: So then God didn’t have to design every bacteria

    I agree.

    and bacteria can still be only bacteria.

    That’s true but tautological. Just like animals are still only animals, plants are still only plants, vertebrates are still only vertebrates, and mammals are still only mammals. Not that profound.

    And God made bacteria.

    How do you know that?

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  43. Rumraket,

    Because accidents never make anything very profound and technically sophisticated. Obviously.

    I find it amusing that a few old dinosaurs still believe they could. So quaint. Like Justin Bieber fans.

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