What mixture of “design” and “evolution” is possible as the IDM collapses?

This offers the simplest “neutral” colloquial mixture of “design” and “evolution” that I’ve seen in a long time. The site is no longer maintained, but the language persists.

“As a designer it is important to understand where design came from, how it developed, and who shaped its evolution. The more exposure you have to past, current and future design trends, styles and designers, the larger your problem-solving toolkit. The larger your toolkit, the more effective of a designer you can be.” http://www.designishistory.com/this-site/

Here, the term “evolution” as used just meant “history”. The author was not indicating “design theory evolution”, but rather instead the “history of designs” themselves, which have been already instantiated.

The topic “design is history” nevertheless enables an obvious point of contact between “evolution” and “design”. They both have histories that can be studied. Present in the above meaning of “design” are the origin, processes and agent(s) involved in the “designing”. This differs significantly from the Discovery Institute’s version of “design theory”, when it comes to history, aim, structure and agency, since the DI’s version flat out avoids discussion of design processes and agent(s). The primary purpose of the DI’s “design theory”, meanwhile, is USAmerican religious apologetics and “theistic science”.

The quotation above likely didn’t come from an IDist, and it isn’t referencing “Intelligent Design” theory as a supposed “scientific theory”. The “designer” in the quotation above is a (more or less intelligent) human designer, not a Divine Designer. This fact distinguishes it “in principle” from the Discovery Institute’s ID theory, which is supposed to be (depends on who you’re speaking with in the IDM) about first biology, then informatics, and statistics. The DI’s ID theory is not actually focused on “designing by real designers”, but rather on apologetics using “design” and informational probabilism.

The Discovery Institute’s failure to distinguish or even highlight the differences and similarities between human design and Divine Design, and instead their engagement in active distortion, equivocation, double-talking, and obfuscation between them, are marks of its eventual downward trend to collapse.

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1,506 thoughts on “What mixture of “design” and “evolution” is possible as the IDM collapses?

  1. Allan Miller: So many questions … How is this ‘group memory’ accessed? As cuckoos diverged from their common ancestors, did their ‘group memories’ diverge too? Why do we need ‘group memory’ to account for the call of the cuckoo, but not (I presume) for their egg colouration or feather pattern?

    Reminds me somewhat of ‘objective morality’. All the same questions apply, or very similar ones.

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  2. OMagain:

    CharlieM: I suspect that the majority of the population in those days couldn’t write and would only have had basic reading skills,

    OK. So much like today then…

    Your remark may have been tongue in cheek but it highlights an important point. Today any child who is given a decent education is learning things that in days gone by was closely guarded knowledge retained by the priestly elite and elders, not for general consumption by the masses.

    Literacy

    While only 12% of the people in the world could read and write in 1820, today the share has reversed: only 14% of the world population, in 2016, remained illiterate. Over the last 65 years the global literacy rate increased by 4% every 5 years – from 42% in 1960 to 86% in 2015

    You don’t have to go back very far into the past to picture the thinking of the average person, and to see that their understanding of the world and reality was entirely different from our understanding today.

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  3. Allan Miller:

    Group memory.

    Evidence?

    Social insects instinctively construct their masterpieces as a group. No single insect has any sort of idea of the overall plan.

    You immediately started talking about humans – the only significant organisms on earth, according to some IDists…

    The only organisms on earth that have a well developed self-awareness and demonstrate a conscious understanding of the present in relation to past and future.

    What other organisms do you see questioning their existence in this way?

    So many questions … How is this ‘group memory’ accessed? As cuckoos diverged from their common ancestors, did their ‘group memories’ diverge too? Why do we need ‘group memory’ to account for the call of the cuckoo, but not (I presume) for their egg colouration or feather pattern?

    Don’t expect me to have all the answers. I can only give the answers that I find satisfactory. And even then I know some of the things I say will be vague, incomplete and wrong and will need further thinking on my part. The most important questions are the ones you ask yourself.

    Anyway here are my attempts at some answers.

    As you became independent from your mother, you built up your own separate memories. They are part of who you are . They are not a separate entities waiting for you to access. The same applies to animal groups and group memory. The group can be thought of as an individual being and the single organisms within that group as its organs. Differences in the call, the eggs, or the feathers between individual organisms are the result of particular situations which have affected that organism. Similarities are due to their group nature.
    Look at your body. The fact that you have two legs, ten toes and a beating heart are group traits. Any scars, missing limbs or organs, tick of squints are aspects of your individuality.

    What about the behaviour of plants? When sunflowers track the sun, or clematis shoots spiral in apparent search for a support, what ad hoc alternative to a genetic basis do you invent to explain this?

    The genes don’t determine the behaviour of the plant. The plant manipulates its genes to enable to move in coordination with the peripheral and central forces. It moves and grows in relation to the heavenly forces drawing it upward and the earthly forces pulling it downwards. A plant that develops from a seed does just that. It does not develop from a genome. Germination involves coordinated activity within the seed and that activation and expression of genes are a vital part of that activity. But the genes cannot be abstracted from the whole process.

    Think of all the genes that need to be expressed to allow you to breathe and walk. Would you say that your breathing and walking are determined by your genes?

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  4. OMagain:

    Allan Miller: So many questions … How is this ‘group memory’ accessed? As cuckoos diverged from their common ancestors, did their ‘group memories’ diverge too? Why do we need ‘group memory’ to account for the call of the cuckoo, but not (I presume) for their egg colouration or feather pattern?

    Reminds me somewhat of ‘objective morality’. All the same questions apply, or very similar ones.

    I have no doubt that this will fall on deaf and unsympathetic ears but I would suggest reading Steiner’s Philosophy of Freedom

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  5. CharlieM:Me: Evidence?

    Charlie: Social insects instinctively construct their masterpieces as a group. No single insect has any sort of idea of the overall plan.

    That’s not evidence, just ‘I-reckonism’. Every insect also has the same genome (although sometimes only in single copy). You can’t simply ignore that fact, pretend it has no bearing. Social species are no more evidence of ‘group memory’ than is the development of an organism from a zygote using the one genome. Is there any feature of any organism that is not due to ‘group memory’? If so, what?

    The only organisms on earth that have a well developed self-awareness and demonstrate a conscious understanding of the present in relation to past and future.

    So bleedin’ what? 🤣 The subject is biology.

    What other organisms do you see questioning their existence in this way?

    All of them. They just don’t let on.

    Don’t expect me to have all the answers.

    I don’t expect you to have any, to be fair …

    The most important questions are the ones you ask yourself.

    Not necessarily. That way lies arrogance and insulation from challenge.

    Differences in the call, the eggs, or the feathers between individual organisms are the result of particular situations which have affected that organism. Similarities are due to their group nature.
    Look at your body. The fact that you have two legs, ten toes and a beating heart are group traits. Any scars, missing limbs or organs, tick of squints are aspects of your individuality.

    So you’re just sweeping genetics under the carpet, then? Every individual of a species has (broadly) the same genome, but it has no bearing on their common features, whether behavioural or morphological? Differences within a species can be associated with inherited genetic differences, but these associations are irrelevant?

    The genes don’t determine the behaviour of the plant. The plant manipulates its genes to enable to move in coordination with the peripheral and central forces.

    “Manipulates its genes”? Why would it need to do that? How is this manipulation manifest? Sequence doesn’t change, and is inherited as is (subject, occasionally, to reversible chemical tagging). So I don’t see what’s being manipulated, or how, when a clematis is slowly spinning, and all clematis are spinning in the same way, mysteriously accessing a non-genetic ‘group consensus’ to spin thus.

    Think of all the genes that need to be expressed to allow you to breathe and walk. Would you say that your breathing and walking are determined by your genes?

    Not exactly, but it’s a damned sight more accurate representation of what goes on than that I ‘manipulate my genes’ in order to achieve those species-wide, or morph-specific, activities. It is not necessary to be the cartoon ‘genetic determinist’ of naive imagination to consider it true that the underlying cause of a species-wide trait commonality is a genetic commonality.

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  6. Allan Miller:

    Charlie: Social insects instinctively construct their masterpieces as a group. No single insect has any sort of idea of the overall plan.

    That’s not evidence, just ‘I-reckonism’. Every insect also has the same genome (although sometimes only in single copy). You can’t simply ignore that fact, pretend it has no bearing. Social species are no more evidence of ‘group memory’ than is the development of an organism from a zygote using the one genome. Is there any feature of any organism that is not due to ‘group memory’? If so, what?

    Individual learning and abilities.

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  7. Allan Miller: when a clematis is slowly spinning, and all clematis are spinning in the same way, mysteriously accessing a non-genetic ‘group consensus’ to spin thus.

    Off-topic, but I am reminded of
    Poor little sucker.

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  8. Allan Miller:

    The only organisms on earth that have a well developed self-awareness and demonstrate a conscious understanding of the present in relation to past and future.

    So bleedin’ what? 🤣 The subject is biology.

    What other organisms do you see questioning their existence in this way?

    All of them. They just don’t let on.

    Don’t expect me to have all the answers.

    I don’t expect you to have any, to be fair …

    Is someone just about to mention arrogance? 🙂 Are you the only one who is allowed to have meaningful answers?

    The most important questions are the ones you ask yourself.

    Not necessarily. That way lies arrogance and insulation from challenge.

    Differences in the call, the eggs, or the feathers between individual organisms are the result of particular situations which have affected that organism. Similarities are due to their group nature.
    Look at your body. The fact that you have two legs, ten toes and a beating heart are group traits. Any scars, missing limbs or organs, tick of squints are aspects of your individuality.

    So you’re just sweeping genetics under the carpet, then? Every individual of a species has (broadly) the same genome, but it has no bearing on their common features, whether behavioural or morphological? Differences within a species can be associated with inherited genetic differences, but these associations are irrelevant?

    The genes don’t determine the behaviour of the plant. The plant manipulates its genes to enable to move in coordination with the peripheral and central forces.

    “Manipulates its genes”? Why would it need to do that? How is this manipulation manifest? Sequence doesn’t change, and is inherited as is (subject, occasionally, to reversible chemical tagging). So I don’t see what’s being manipulated, or how, when a clematis is slowly spinning, and all clematis are spinning in the same way, mysteriously accessing a non-genetic ‘group consensus’ to spin thus.

    Think of all the genes that need to be expressed to allow you to breathe and walk. Would you say that your breathing and walking are determined by your genes?

    Not exactly, but it’s a damned sight more accurate representation of what goes on than that I ‘manipulate my genes’ in order to achieve those species-wide, or morph-specific, activities. It is not necessary to be the cartoon ‘genetic determinist’ of naive imagination to consider it true that the underlying cause of a species-wide trait commonality is a genetic commonality.

    Manipulation does not have to be conscious. I have no idea of all the genes that are being ‘turned on’ and ‘turned off’ when I type on the keyboard but I am aware that there is a lot of genetic activity going on.

    I have broadly speaking the same genome as a chimpanzee. This is to be expected due to our common physiology. But there is a vast difference between humans and chimpanzees mentally. The genome correlates quite nicely with bodily features but not with mental attributes.

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  9. CharlieM: Is someone just about to mention arrogance?

    Fair comment, but I’m not trying to tell an entire field they’ve got it wrong without even a basic grounding in that field.

    Manipulation does not have to be conscious.

    No, but it has to happen. If you simply mean gene regulation, this is workaday genetics. But gene regulation is controlled, ultimately, by other genes.

    I have broadly speaking the same genome as a chimpanzee. This is to be expected due to our common physiology.

    One could more accurately say that our common physiology is to be expected due to our genetic commonality.

    But there is a vast difference between humans and chimpanzees mentally. The genome correlates quite nicely with bodily features but not with mental attributes.

    Which bits of the genome fail to correlate with the respective mental faculties?

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  10. CharlieM: I have broadly speaking the same genome as a chimpanzee. This is to be expected due to our common physiology. But there is a vast difference between humans and chimpanzees mentally. The genome correlates quite nicely with bodily features but not with mental attributes.

    This claim is, frankly, bullshit. It’s bullshit because you don’t know enough about genetics to know that it’s true, and you certainly don’t know anything about how strongly the genetic differences between Pan and Homo correspond to their cognitive differences. To know that, one would need to know a great deal about the regulatory genes involved in prefrontal cortical development. And you don’t. So this claim of yours is bullshit — you really do not know what you are talking about.

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  11. Allan Miller:

    I have no doubt that this will fall on deaf and unsympathetic ears but I would suggest reading Steiner’s Philosophy of Freedom

    I have no doubt that this will fall on deaf and unsympathetic ears but I would suggest reading Genetics: genes, genomes and evolution or similar, to get the inside story on what you oppose.

    I’m not going to go as far as to fork out the cost of this book but I’ll certainly look at what I can find online. And I do spend some time reading similar material.

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  12. DNA_Jock: Allan Miller: when a clematis is slowly spinning, and all clematis are spinning in the same way, mysteriously accessing a non-genetic ‘group consensus’ to spin thus.

    Off-topic, but I am reminded of
    Poor little sucker.

    I enjoyed that.

    The helix is a form that is ubiquitous throughout nature from DNA to galaxies, plant movement, heart muscle, whirlpools, tornadoes and countless other examples.

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  13. Allan Miller:

    CharlieM: Is someone just about to mention arrogance?

    Fair comment, but I’m not trying to tell an entire field they’ve got it wrong without even a basic grounding in that field.

    I wouldn’t dream of telling a specialist that they are wrong within their field of expertise. But outside their field their opinion becomes just one of many.

    Manipulation does not have to be conscious.

    No, but it has to happen. If you simply mean gene regulation, this is workaday genetics. But gene regulation is controlled, ultimately, by other genes.

    The control is a coordinated effort with gene expression playing a vital part. Nowhere in these intricate networks will you be able to point to one entity conducting the orchestra.

    I have broadly speaking the same genome as a chimpanzee. This is to be expected due to our common physiology.

    One could more accurately say that our common physiology is to be expected due to our genetic commonality.

    Or even more accurately, due to the fact that our genes are manipulated in a similar way to other primates. We share, what is it, over forty percent genetic similarity to cabbages, even more with bananas? But the way in which the genes are dealt with is a determining factor in forming the organism.

    But there is a vast difference between humans and chimpanzees mentally. The genome correlates quite nicely with bodily features but not with mental attributes.

    Which bits of the genome fail to correlate with the respective mental faculties?

    HOX genes have been shown to be involved in bodily form. Do you know of any similar genetic groups involved in personality forming?

    The developing human brain is very plastic and it is shaped in some measure by the experiences of the growing child.

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  14. Kantian Naturalist:

    CharlieM: I have broadly speaking the same genome as a chimpanzee. This is to be expected due to our common physiology. But there is a vast difference between humans and chimpanzees mentally. The genome correlates quite nicely with bodily features but not with mental attributes.

    This claim is, frankly, bullshit. It’s bullshit because you don’t know enough about genetics to know that it’s true, and you certainly don’t know anything about how strongly the genetic differences between Pan and Homo correspond to their cognitive differences. To know that, one would need to know a great deal about the regulatory genes involved in prefrontal cortical development. And you don’t. So this claim of yours is bullshit — you really do not know what you are talking about

    I have read from the experts that humans and chimpanzees have genetic commonality somewhere in the region of ninety odd percent depending on the expert. So on those data I would say that our genomes are broadly the same.

    Prefrontal cortical development is a development of a physiological feature.

    It has been observed that in comparison of prenatal and new born chimpanzees and humans both of them share a more general human like form. This indicates a derivation in form from human to ape and not the other way round as is generally supposed.

    I’ll need to have a look at what has been said about brain development and how it relates to head development in general, so thanks for the prompt.

    I’m sure many studies done on brain development will include genetics so it will be interesting to see what they have to say. You don’t need to be an expert to study what the experts are finding out. In many cases a reasonable understanding is all that is needed.

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  15. Allan Miller: I don’t have that assumption.

    Yet you wrote:

    Allan Miller: Mung suggests that the mechanism may be designed.

    Which I took to mean “the mechanism of evolution.”

    Apologies if I misinterpreted you.

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  16. CharlieM: I’ll need to have a look at what has been said about brain development

    This is a good place to start, Physical biology of human brain development

    Neurodevelopment is a complex, dynamic process that involves a precisely orchestrated sequence of genetic, environmental, biochemical, and physical events. Developmental biology and genetics have shaped our understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms during neurodevelopment. Recent studies suggest that physical forces play a central role in translating these cellular mechanisms into the complex surface morphology of the human brain. However, the precise impact of neuronal differentiation, migration, and connection on the physical forces during cortical folding remains unknown.

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  17. Here CharlieM is quoting the first half of the abstract of this paper. (Truncating the abstract at the “remains unknown” reminds me of the awesome Dionisio at UD.)
    Please include links to your citations, whenever possible.
    Do you think that you have a sufficient understanding of neurobiology to assert, as you do here, that “This is a good place to start”?
    For instance, you wrote:

    I have read from the experts that humans and chimpanzees have genetic commonality somewhere in the region of ninety odd percent depending on the expert.

    Wrong. Amongst “experts”, it depends on the definition of “commonality” (wtfti), not the expert.

    So on those data I would say that our genomes are broadly the same.

    But we are talking about what the differences correlate with, remember? Unless your argument is simply “Humans and chimps: genomes similar, and physically similar, but mentally different”, therefore “The genome correlates quite nicely with bodily features but not with mental attributes.”
    Which would be a novel and daring use of the term “correlates”.

    It has been observed that in comparison of prenatal and new born chimpanzees and humans both of them share a more general human like form. This indicates a derivation in form from human to ape and not the other way round as is generally supposed.

    This is fallacious.

    I’m sure many studies done on brain development will include genetics so it will be interesting to see what they have to say. You don’t need to be an expert to study what the experts are finding out. In many cases a reasonable understanding is all that is needed.

    You do not appear to have the necessary understanding of any area of biology.

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  18. CharlieM: I wouldn’t dream of telling a specialist that they are wrong within their field of expertise. But outside their field their opinion becomes just one of many.

    From a position of not having even a basic grounding in genetics, you’re telling people they’re wrong about genetics.

    The control is a coordinated effort with gene expression playing a vital part. Nowhere in these intricate networks will you be able to point to one entity conducting the orchestra.

    Uncontroversial. Although you do appear to point to something ‘sitting above’ the low-level, conducting both the individual and the long-term evolutionary trajectory.

    Or even more accurately, due to the fact that our genes are manipulated in a similar way to other primates.

    That’s not more accurate. Gene content is important, and not merely the turning on and off thereof. And ultimately, differential or similar gene expression results from differential or similar genetic content, within the ‘controlling’ regions of the genome – the upstream parts of the gene itself, or the regions producing the molecules that either bind thereto, or titrate other binding molecules.

    The developing human brain is very plastic and it is shaped in some measure by the experiences of the growing child.

    Many organisms have a combination of innate and learned behaviours. You have decided, sans evidence, that the innate portion is due to some mysterious tuning-in to ‘group memory’.

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  19. Mung: Yet you wrote:

    Which I took to mean “the mechanism of evolution.”

    Apologies if I misinterpreted you.

    Just sloppy writing, at best, hinging on use of a singular to cover a broad set of processes.

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  20. DNA_Jock: Here CharlieM is quoting the first half of the abstract of this paper. (Truncating the abstract at the “remains unknown” reminds me of the awesome Dionisio at UD.)

    I didn’t want to give too long a quote and it seemed a natural place to end the quote as they then continued to summarise what was in the review.

    Please include links to your citations, whenever possible.

    I usually do. You say this as if I had not intended to provide the link. I had. I just hadn’t noticed the link was broken.

    Do you think that you have a sufficient understanding of neurobiology to assert, as you do here, that “This is a good place to start”?

    Yes. It is a review article with basic information and plenty of links. Why wouldn’t it be a good place for me to start?

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  21. DNA_Jock:

    It has been observed that in comparison of prenatal and new born chimpanzees and humans both of them share a more general human like form. This indicates a derivation in form from human to ape and not the other way round as is generally supposed.

    This is fallacious.

    Have you looked into it in any depth?

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  22. CharlieM: Have you looked into it in any depth?

    Yes, yes I have.
    But (pay attention here) even if I had not, it should be obvious to anybody who has heard the phrase “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” that your “This indicates…” is a logical fallacy, even if your facts were correct.
    It’s tough to tell whether your facts are correct: your vague and mangled prose might be referring to neoteny, or to the whole “large, helpless infants” thing, or something else. Does not affect the fallacious nature of your logic.

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  23. Allan Miller:

    CharlieM: I wouldn’t dream of telling a specialist that they are wrong within their field of expertise. But outside their field their opinion becomes just one of many.

    From a position of not having even a basic grounding in genetics, you’re telling people they’re wrong about genetics.

    No, I’m agreeing with some experts and disagreeing with others. The fact that experts disagree amongst themselves should tell you that some experts can be wrong.

    The control is a coordinated effort with gene expression playing a vital part. Nowhere in these intricate networks will you be able to point to one entity conducting the orchestra.

    Uncontroversial. Although you do appear to point to something ‘sitting above’ the low-level, conducting both the individual and the long-term evolutionary trajectory.

    Yes, the cellular level is above the nuclear and genomic level. There is harmonious systems level cellular activity. What we see is a cellular cooperative not a genetic autocracy

    Or even more accurately, due to the fact that our genes are manipulated in a similar way to other primates.

    That’s not more accurate. Gene content is important, and not merely the turning on and off thereof. And ultimately, differential or similar gene expression results from differential or similar genetic content, within the ‘controlling’ regions of the genome – the upstream parts of the gene itself, or the regions producing the molecules that either bind thereto, or titrate other binding molecules.

    It is obvious that some genes are more essential than others. It is the same with our organs, for instance the heart compared to the spleen. But even vital organs, in order to function, need the surrounding organs and systems in which they are embedded.

    And in gene activity there are various cascades, feedback loops and levels of expression, but the whole system must have a certain flexibility and adaptability to suit local and wider conditions. The discoveries of activities such as alternative splicing and other such ways the the genetic material is manipulated should make you think twice about the genetic primacy that you seem to be advocating.

    The developing human brain is very plastic and it is shaped in some measure by the experiences of the growing child.

    Many organisms have a combination of innate and learned behaviours. You have decided, sans evidence, that the innate portion is due to some mysterious tuning-in to ‘group memory’.

    And you have decided, sans evidence, that there are genes for behaviour.

    Group memory is not like a conscious memory that has to be dragged up from unconsciousness into conscious awareness. It does not have to be tuned into because it is always present, allowing the organism to function in the same way that all other members of the group function. It is a shared memory.

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  24. DNA_Jock:

    CharlieM: Have you looked into it in any depth?

    Yes, yes I have.
    But (pay attention here) even if I had not, it should be obvious to anybody who has heard the phrase “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” that your “This indicates…” is a logical fallacy, even if your facts were correct.
    It’s tough to tell whether your facts are correct: your vague and mangled prose might be referring to neoteny, or to the whole “large, helpless infants” thing, or something else. Does not affect the fallacious nature of your logic.

    Well when it comes to a comparison between us and the great apes, neoteny can be viewed in two ways. Either we have failed to reach full physical maturity, or the apes have aged before their time. But it is the retention of this youthful plasticity that allows us to divert our energies more towards developing mentally and less towards developing physically.

    Below is a description of the image shown.

    The two skulls on the far left are those of an infant chimpanzee (top) and an infant human (bottom). Bone structure and shape are very similar, with the classic huge head and tiny cute face we seem programmed to love. The two skulls in the middle are of a adolescent chimpanzee (top) and an adult human (bottom). We can see the jaw start to lengthen in both, and their overall similarity. The final picture on the top right is of an adult chimpanzee, who has a significantly larger and more powerful bite than any adult human.

    It can be seen from this that in the process of developing from the point of greatest similarity the chimpanzee has deviated to a greater degree.

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  25. CharlieM: It does not have to be tuned into because it is always present, allowing the organism to function in the same way that all other members of the group function. It is a shared memory.

    Before the organism itself existed did the shared memory exist?
    Did the first organism of a type set the memory for all others to follow, unalterably?
    etcetc

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  26. CharlieM: No, I’m agreeing with some experts and disagreeing with others. The fact that experts disagree amongst themselves should tell you that some experts can be wrong.

    Therefore any punter can have a go? If you can find a geneticist that shares your view of the relationship between genes, organisms and evolution, I’d be surprised.

    Yes, the cellular level is above the nuclearand genomic level. There is harmonious systems level cellular activity. What we see is a cellular cooperative not a genetic autocracy

    How does the cell ensure that the genome plays ball? Mechanistically.

    And in gene activity there are various cascades, feedback loops and levels of expression, but the whole system must have a certain flexibility and adaptability to suit local and wider conditions. The discoveries of activities such as alternative splicing and other such ways the the genetic material is manipulated should make you think twice about the genetic primacy that you seem to be advocating.

    All of this activity is rooted in genes. Every last scrap of it. Alternative splicing is controlled by genes. How else do you think a specific isoform is reliably generated in a given tissue in every member of a species? How else are species members churned out with the same basic form and innate behavioural repertoire?

    And you have decided, sans evidence, that there are genes for behaviour.

    Nuh-uh. I would avoid such a crass statement. There isn’t a gene ‘for’ the cuckoo’s call. But innate behaviours are indeed rooted in genes. Try Google.

    Group memory is not like a conscious memory that has to be dragged up from unconsciousness into conscious awareness. It does not have to be tuned into because it is always present, allowing the organism to function in the same way that all other members of the group function. It is a shared memory.

    How on earth does it get there? I’m a cuckoo. I suddenly have an overwhelming urge to utter a 2-note cry. But this isn’t anything to do with my genes. So … why?

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  27. Allan Miller: Therefore any punter can have a go?

    Sure. Why not?

    Allan Miller: All of this activity is rooted in genes.

    So you don’t believe in a time before genes then.

    EDIT: Let me clarify. Surely, there was a time when genes did not account for every aspect of cellular life. Wouldn’t you agree?

    If that is the case, then there is no reason to believe that all aspects of cellular life must be encoded in a gene or genes. Wouldn’t you agree?

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  28. Mung: Sure. Why not?

    It helps to understand a subject before saying its experts are wrong, I feel.

    So you don’t believe in a time before genes then.

    EDIT: Let me clarify. Surely, there was a time when genes did not account for every aspect of cellular life. Wouldn’t you agree?

    I actually incline towards a ‘genes-first’ view of life, starting in RNA or something with similar properties, though it is not vital to the point you are querying.

    If that is the case, then there is no reason to believe that all aspects of cellular life must be encoded in a gene or genes. Wouldn’t you agree?

    No. Regardless of deep history, everything that goes on in a cell or cell collection right now derives from a stretch of DNA somewhere. OK, one could quibble that doesn’t include small molecules, but even their acquisition and expulsion are under genetic control.

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  29. Allan Miller: I actually incline towards a ‘genes-first’ view of life, starting in RNA or something with similar properties, though it is not vital to the point you are querying.

    That’s not what all the experts say. You doubt the experts? 🙂

    So you believe that the cell membrane first arose from RNA “genes” coding for aspects of the membrane? You seem to be rejecting a lot of the modern theory of origin of cellular life.

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  30. Mung: That’s not what all the experts say. You doubt the experts? 🙂

    Well there is some disagreement on this subject, therefore anyone who has any opinion is doubting *some* of the experts. Where Allan differs from, say, Charlie, in this regard is that he has at least an inkling of what the dispute is about.

    So you believe that the cell membrane first arose from RNA “genes” coding for aspects of the membrane? You seem to be rejecting a lot of the modern theory of origin of cellular life.

    No, he isn’t. YOU seem to be reading into his position some things that are not there. Almost like you were setting up a strawman…

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  31. DNA_Jock: YOU seem to be reading into his position some things that are not there. Almost like you were setting up a strawman…

    He has quite clearly stated his position. If you disagree with him why not say so?

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  32. Mung to Allan: So you believe that the cell membrane first arose from RNA “genes” coding for aspects of the membrane?

    Please cite the quote that supports this assertion re Allan’s beliefs.
    And “I actually incline towards a ‘genes-first’ view of life, starting in RNA or something with similar properties…” doesn’t do it.

    Mung: If you disagree with him why not say so?

    Because I don’t disagree with him on this. I do disagree with your creative re-interpretation of his position.

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  33. DNA_Jock: Please cite the quote that supports this assertion re Allan’s beliefs.

    How utterly convenient for you that suddenly your extraordinary mind-reading skills should fail you at just this moment, when they are so sorely needed.

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  34. Mung: That’s not what all the experts say. You doubt the experts?

    Some of ’em. But then, I have some expertise too. There’s certainly more of an active debate there than in the matter of whether or not behaviours have a genetic component.

    So you believe that the cell membrane first arose from RNA “genes” coding for aspects of the membrane? You seem to be rejecting a lot of the modern theory of origin of cellular life.

    The lipids in membranes are generated, ultimately, by genes. They are placed into pre-existing scaffolds, but it’s an open question how far back that scaffold can be traced, since LUCA was likely both membrane bound and DNA coding. But archaea and bacteria have opposing scaffolds; we eukaryotes favour the bacterial orientation. These distinctions are genetically based.

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  35. OMagain:

    CharlieM: It does not have to be tuned into because it is always present, allowing the organism to function in the same way that all other members of the group function. It is a shared memory.

    Before the organism itself existed did the shared memory exist?
    Did the first organism of a type set the memory for all others to follow, unalterably?
    etcetc

    What do you mean by ‘the first organism of a type’? Do you believe there has ever been such a creature?

    If you don’t see what I’m getting at consider the various finches on the Galapagos Islands. If one type of finch arrived on the islands and then diversified, say into narrow beaked finches on one island and broad beaked finches on another island. During this process would it have been possible to point to any individual and say it was the first to posses a broad beak or a narrow beak as appropriate?

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  36. Allan Miller:

    CharlieM: No, I’m agreeing with some experts and disagreeing with others. The fact that experts disagree amongst themselves should tell you that some experts can be wrong.

    Therefore any punter can have a go? If you can find a geneticist that shares your view of the relationship between genes, organisms and evolution, I’d be surprised.

    Well there are those who share somewhat similar views. For example, Eva Jablonka who is a contributor to ‘The Third Way of Evolution”. From the Wikipedia entry:

    Her emphasis on non-genetic forms of evolution has received interest from those attempting to expand the scope of evolutionist thinking into other spheres.

    From the book‘Evolution in Four Dimensions:..’, which she co-authored:

    …the revelations of molecular biology cannot be neatly slotted into the existing framework of thought. They do not make the old genetics more complete; rather, they highlight the simplifying assumptions that have been made and reveal vast areas of unanticipated complexity. Genes and genetics can no longer be looked at in quite the same way as in the past.

    Yes, the cellular level is above the nuclearand genomic level. There is harmonious systems level cellular activity. What we see is a cellular cooperative not a genetic autocracy

    How does the cell ensure that the genome plays ball? Mechanistically.

    It uses its genetic repertoire as well as it can.

    ***analogy containing bad pun alert***

    Any time I played soccer I used my legs to the best of my ability but they didn’t always play ball.

    And in gene activity there are various cascades, feedback loops and levels of expression, but the whole system must have a certain flexibility and adaptability to suit local and wider conditions. The discoveries of activities such as alternative splicing and other such ways the the genetic material is manipulated should make you think twice about the genetic primacy that you seem to be advocating.

    All of this activity is rooted in genes. Every last scrap of it. Alternative splicing is controlled by genes. How else do you think a specific isoform is reliably generated in a given tissue in every member of a species? How else are species members churned out with the same basic form and innate behavioural repertoire?

    These arguments you are making, do they originate in your genes?

    And you have decided, sans evidence, that there are genes for behaviour.

    Nuh-uh. I would avoid such a crass statement. There isn’t a gene ‘for’ the cuckoo’s call. But innate behaviours are indeed rooted in genes. Try Google.

    Google is not an authority, it should be used with discretion. Am I having this discussion with a rational thinking person or with a string of molecules?

    Group memory is not like a conscious memory that has to be dragged up from unconsciousness into conscious awareness. It does not have to be tuned into because it is always present, allowing the organism to function in the same way that all other members of the group function. It is a shared memory.

    How on earth does it get there? I’m a cuckoo. I suddenly have an overwhelming urge to utter a 2-note cry. But this isn’t anything to do with my genes. So … why?

    You have answered your own question. It is the individual cuckoo, the creature, not a string of molecules, that has the urge. Granted if it were not for these strings of molecules it could not satisfy this urge.

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  37. Allan Miller: Some of ’em. But then, I have some expertise too. There’s certainly more of an active debate there than in the matter of whether or not behaviours have a genetic component.

    I’m not sure that anyone is arguing that behaviours have no genetic component, but I haven’t been reading all of CharlieM ‘s posts in full either. Do you think that when a person changes their behaviour it is because their genes somehow changed? No, I don’t imagine you actually think that.

    Perhaps there are genes for lying, and genes for truth telling, and somehow these get switched on and off by some mechanism also encoded by our genes. 🙂

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  38. Allan Miller: The lipids in membranes are generated, ultimately, by genes. They are placed into pre-existing scaffolds, but it’s an open question how far back that scaffold can be traced, since LUCA was likely both membrane bound and DNA coding. But archaea and bacteria have opposing scaffolds; we eukaryotes favour the bacterial orientation. These distinctions are genetically based.

    I once had the book, Protocells. I think I gave it away as part of my downsizing efforts.

    It’s somewhat amazing to me that anyone can still believe in LUCA given what we know today about cell membrane differences.

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  39. Mung:
    Speaking of design universalism:

    Universal Principles of Design

    “Whether a marketing campaign or a museum exhibit, a video game or a complex control system, the design we see is the culmination of many concepts and practices brought together from a variety of disciplines. Because no one can be an expert on everything, designers have always had to scramble to find the information and know-how required to make a design work—until now.”

    Does not sound anything like the Designer of ID. So maybe not universal.

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  40. Mung:
    Speaking of design universalism:
    Universal Principles of Design

    “Universal design” is surely a thing. I heard a talk on it in 2012 and found it fascinating. The height of “inclusiveness” – basically meaning “everybody included design”.

    But “design universalism” is unique to IDists. One can test any IDist quite quickly and simply to discover if they are or are not a proponent of “design universalism”. All fanatic IDists are “design universalists” (DUists), while even some moderate IDists are also DUists. It is an extremist position that has managed to make its way into the heart of the ID theory community.

    Does anyone think Mung would submit to such a test to discover if he is a “design universalist” here?

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  41. Gregory,

    By “design universalism” do you mean “everything that exists, is designed” or “there is no difference between what humans do when they design and what God does when He designs” — in which case divine predicates would be used univocally rather than analogically, to go back to that old debate?

    I had thought you were concerned with the flattening-out of divine transcendence that looms if we understand God in terms of our own psychological make-up (e.g. our ability to design), but now I’m not sure.

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  42. Kantian Naturalist,
    Fairly asked. It seems to me that the DI’s version of ID theory requires both. Do you disagree? Or at least, that all of ID theory’s major proponents, leaving out unaffiliated internet voices, advocate and hold both of those types of “design universalism”.

    I reject both types, so you are also right about concern with “flattening-out of divine transcendence”.

    As for what I have found from over 15 years researching the topic, though this particular language only came recently, is that “design universalism” is the most appropriate point of attack for IDism (aka ID theory). I have yet to see an IDist escape what it means if they actually acknowledge it. Robert Larmer just sat down and stayed out as he realized what his “design universalism” had done to the ID theory argument right there in front of us, once that ideology was called out and identified. It’s just evangelicalism, after that, which doesn’t work with more mature Abrahamic monotheists. And the fact that most Catholics, Orthodox and mainstream Protestants reject IDism & YECism, shows the real problem for ID theory in theistic evolution, even if it isn’t forward-looking.

    To a man or woman, every IDist I’ve met is an ideologue with a “design” fetish. They are distorting healthy science, philosophy, theology conversation with their theistic science apologetics, just in a newly distorting way from YECists.
    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/definitions-involving-intelligent-design-di-fellows-language-vs-everyone-elses/

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  43. CharlieM: Charlie: Well there are those who share somewhat similar views. For example, Eva Jablonka, who is a contributor to ‘The Third Way of Evolution”.

    So you’ll be able to articulate the difficulties with the notion of epigenetic inheritance as a long-term evolutionary force, then? Also, Jablonka is still rooting her arguments in chemical transmission through the generations, which is a long way from your proposals on ‘group memory’.

    Me: How does the cell ensure that the genome plays ball? Mechanistically.

    Charlie: It uses its genetic repertoire as well as it can.

    Glad we cleared that up.

    Me: All of this activity is rooted in genes. Every last scrap of it. Alternative splicing […] innate behavioural repertoire.
    Charlie: These arguments you are making, do they originate in your genes?

    Haha. Without false dichotomy, IDists would have nothing! 😉

    I specified ‘innate’ behavioural repertoire. Considering it true that aspects of behaviour are under genetic control does not require a gene ‘for’ every last thing an organism does. This is the fallacious concern which I think lies at the heart of rejection of ‘gene-centrism’: that it forces a corollary of universal genetic determinism.

    Google is not an authority, it should be used with discretion.

    Sure. But if you wanted to access current thinking on the genetic basis of behaviours, it would save shelling out for a book.

    Me: How on earth does it get there? I’m a cuckoo. I suddenly have an overwhelming urge to utter a 2-note cry. But this isn’t anything to do with my genes. So … why?

    Charlie: You have answered your own question.

    I have? 🤔

    It is the individual cuckoo, the creature, not a string of molecules, that has the urge. Granted if it were not for these strings of molecules it could not satisfy this urge.

    But whence cometh the urge? All individual (male) cuckoos do it. Females find it strangely compelling. If call and response are not genetically represented, how do the behaviours arise, consistent and gender-specific, in each generation?

    I have 2 dogs: labrador and collie. Their behaviours are utterly distinctive, characteristic of the breed. Neither has been trained in their ‘profession’, yet their actions mimic closely those of their working cousins. The collie stalks, drops low, advances steadily. The lab quarters the ground madly, tail going 19 to the dozen. These behaviours were selected by breeders in exactly the same way as bodily form in more decorative breeds. They didn’t know they were selecting ‘genes’; they were just picking the best of heritable traits. Now, artificially, you are insisting that while genes might be involved in form, they aren’t involved in behaviour. So: what are they selecting? How is it heritable, if not in the genes?

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  44. Mung: Do you think that when a person changes their behaviour it is because their genes somehow changed? No, I don’t imagine you actually think that.

    Thank goodness you give me a little credit.

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  45. Mung: It is somewhat amazing to me that anyone can still believe in LUCA given what we know today about cell membrane differences.

    It’s hardly a killer for the concept.

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  46. Allan Miller: It’s hardly a killer for the concept.

    To expand: the fundamental differences lie in the hydrophobic element of the membrane layer, the ester vs ether bonding of glycerol phosphate, and the isomer of glycerol phosphate favoured: -1- linkage or -3-. None of these alters the fundamental tendency of the synthesised molecules to migrate to the lowest-energy place in the cell. If you have a long hydrophobic element and a hydrophilic end, that lowest-energy place is the pre-existing membrane, where any broadly bipolar molecule will sit snugly.

    Some Archaea occasionally produce lipids of the ‘bacterial’ form, and vice versa. They don’t just sit there blinking, but slot into the nearest available membrane, whatever its dominant molecule. It is not a massive stretch to suppose that a switch of predominate format could take place starting from a common ancestor – driven, perhaps, by the consequences of changing relative production for temperature-stability.

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  47. Gregory: To a man or woman, every IDist I’ve met is an ideologue with a “design” fetish.

    Now you are just being farcically absurd, right?

    Have you ever read any of your posts? Any common thread to them?

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