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 The site is no longer maintained, but the language persists.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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1,486 thoughts on “What mixture of “design” and “evolution” is possible as the IDM collapses?

  1. Moved a comment of phoodoo’s to guano and a comment quoting it. I’ve pm’d phoodoo.

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  2. CharlieM: Material substance comes and goes but information persists.

    That’s not what Allan said. Scrolls can be copied and texts will survive, despite the originals rotting away. Break the chain of copying and the information is lost forever.

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  3. DNA_Jock,

    What? It’s a good movie.

    The takeaway from it is they DON’T use batting average as a metric for the best batting average.

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  4. CharlieM: Nice list.

    Here are a few comments on these points:
    1. So in reality a gene is a complex of nucleotides, proteins, salts and ions.

    Not really. A gene, these days, is generally considered to be the nucleic acid sequence associated with a particular trait.

    In fact genes never appear naked in living systems.

    Indeed no they don’t. That’s what I’m saying gene centrism is NOT saying, but you seem obsessively determined to reiterate the point ad nauseam, as if it matters. Gene centrism would not be valid solely in a system where the genes themselves ‘did’ everything directly, with no intermediate level of action.

    Whether we consider a gene to be active or passive will depend on how we decide to define it.

    It’s not a binary. All stretches of nucleic acid are ultimately ‘acted upon’ by at least one other, if only DNA polymerase, and some also act (via an RNA or protein intermediary) on others – for example the aforementioned DNA polymerase.

    DNA polymerase itself is a protein produced from a gene by the actions of RNA polymerase, the ribosome, tRNA and amino acyl tRNA synthetases. All of these are gene products: the genome ‘acting upon’ other parts of the genome but also, in respect of expression of the above-named enzymes, acting upon itself. They are products, not primary actors.

    2. The expression of any one gene is dependent on other genes. What is in evidence is coordinated activity.

    Which ultimately roots in the genome, not the cytoplasm. To the extent genes are ‘acted upon’, they are acted upon by gene products. This is not an argument against gene centrism, however often you repeat it. Give people some credit. They do understand biology.

    5. Yes. Genes are incapable of acting independently.

    Big hairy deal. You do realise this is a list of things gene centrism is NOT saying?

    6. The individual decisions made by organisms are highly contingent on circumstances and this influences gene expression.

    Somewhat. But the things common to all members of a species, including those environmentally triggered, are likely genetically encoded. You suffer from all-or-nothing thinking. If you can find an exception to something, you seem to think it applies to everything.

    8. If you disagree with the description of genes that I gave in No.1, but consider the gene as a sequence of DNA then it is passive and does not act either deterministically or otherwise. It is acted upon.

    A semantic irrelevance. A passive entity could still be part of a deterministic system; determinism is not defeated by reversing the flow. But determinism is still not a corollary of gene centrism. An example of the kind of strawman nonsense one hears is the idea that genes make you ride your bike.

    Here’s the thing: forget physiology. While it is the case that physiology has its ultimate basis in genetics, despite your objections, if you don’t buy that – if you see the involvement of enzymes in gene expression as somehow fatal to ‘physiological gene-centrism’ – then fine. You’re wrong, but fine. But gene centrism is not a physiological stance. It is an evolutionary stance.

    However activity is manifest, whether ‘acted upon’ or ‘acting’, if a stretch of nucleic acid is correlated with the success or otherwise of its bearers, vs those of alleles, then that allele will increase or decrease in the population. That is what gene centrism is fundamentally saying.

    “But genes never appear naked”, croaks a small voice ….

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  5. CharlieM: Me: As you’d find if you consumed death cap fungus […]

    Charlie: Yes my actions will result in changes to gene expression. I also agree with that.

    A spectacular piece of point-missing.

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  6. colewd: Have you read Genesis 3,5 and 6. Populations are preloaded on the earth.

    Ah, verbal models. To be frank, that looks like an extremely shallow similarity to me. Also, I am not aware of any instances where the creationist “model” has been “implemented” in any meaningful sense of the word.

    colewd: Being a “science stopper” is a great thing if the probability of success of a particular project is extremely low. It also aids in generating models that can actually be useful vs chasing rainbows.

    Do you understand why I had to smile reading this sentence?

    Anyway, design history: the why, how, when, where and whodunnit of ID theory. How useful would that be?

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  7. What other areas of science should we give up on and accept the ‘answers’ provided in the bible, colwed?

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  8. Allan Miller:

    So genotypes remain, but not the same genotypes. The longer the line of descent the more the genotype changes. How would a Cheshire cats genome compare with the genome of the last common ancestor of vertebrates?

    Different, of course. We see a generational drip of mutation due to already-discussed mechanisms – copy errors, damage/repair errors, mutational effects around crossover sites. There may be something more, but even without that ‘something more’ we would expect to see a relationship of difference to number of generations of divergence.

    Proteins are fundamental to all life. Stretches of DNA are transcribed and translated into amino acid chains. Organisms use these chains to assemble the protein complexes required for their growth, and survival. These chains are moved around and manipulated in a variety of ways to suit particular needs. There are many similarities in DNA sequences between the various life forms because we are all basically made of the same ‘stuff’ arranged in various ways. This is pretty basic so I can’t see why anyone would argue with this.

    What I would argue about is the creativity attributed to what is seen as copying errors. A certain amount of tolerance is built in to the replication system. Any engineer will tell you that ranges of tolerance are built in to systems as required. This sloppiness is not an error, it is wise design. I know from experience how too much rigidity and lack of tolerance can be detrimental to correct function.

    In my opinion mutations are a feature of the necessary variability built in to the process of evolution. But they do not play a large part in the progress of evolution towards organisms with more advanced forms of individual consciousness.

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  9. Allan Miller:

    Let’s agree that the genome is primal.Now all we have to do is come to an agreement of what the genome actually is.

    The genome is in a large part made up of DNA. I am sure you believe that DNA consists of nothing but microscopic particles. But, as I have said, this is only half of the story. When the necessary quantum effects are included, the genome must have a peripheral, field like aspect to it.

    Yes, it’s a bit ‘wibbly’ round the edges (to indulge another cat metaphor, like the distinctive graphic style of the Roobarb and Custard cartoons). This is partly responsible for some of the misreads.

    Quantum mechanics tells us that entities at the molecular level have behaviours which are very different from some diffuse cloud of matter in space being ‘wibbly’ round the edges. Imagining matter in space in this way is to take the world of our experience and transferring it to the quantum realm. This is inappropriate at the atomic level. At this level it is meaningless to talk of matter in this way because there is no such matter as we know it. That type of Newtonian thinking has been superseded.

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  10. Corneel,

    Ah, verbal models. To be frank, that looks like an extremely shallow similarity to me. Also, I am not aware of any instances where the creationist “model” has been “implemented” in any meaningful sense of the word.

    I wonder if these were the discussions right before the fall of the Roman Empire 🙂

    Anyway, design history: the why, how, when, where and whodunnit of ID theory. How useful would that be?

    Its all there and documented and available on your computer. It starts with Genesis 1. Here is the beginning of a video series to get you started.

    https://youtu.be/GQI72THyO5I

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  11. Allan Miller:

    Living forms come about through a combination of forces from both these directions. The centrifugal forces produce radiating form as generally observed in plant shoots and the like. The centripetal forces produce planar surfaces such as generally observed in leaves. And a balanced combination of the two will result in spiralling helical forms. DNA is a good example of this balance between the peripheral and the central forces.

    Hmmm. The spiral nature of DNA/RNA is almost entirely due to the electrostatic force. There is something quite profound about it – the 4 bases complement each other in pairs. This has two effects: any strand precisely specifies its complement, and single strands wrap around themselves permitting complex 3D structure in RNA. Thus, the same property allows both replication and enzymatic activity.

    Stacking these pairs one above the other involves a slight offset each time, giving a helical turn in longer runs of complementary sequence. There are many hypothetical bases that could be monomers in a single strand, but only a limited subset has that extra property of complementarity. This subset is mutually self-selecting. But equally important is the role of that subset in cellular energetics. ATP and GTP are widely used as energetic intermediates. Not only that, but variants of ATP also appear in other vital components of the energetic system: Coenzyme A, NADH, FAD for example all contain adenine – the planar molecule that sticks out as one of the ‘half-rungs’ of the DNA ‘ladder’.

    This role in both energetic and informatic processes is, I think, quite fundamental. Any theory of origins needs to get over that transition. If something preceded a nucleic acid system, we’d need to explain how complementary bases arose, and how they also became so deeply embedded in cellular energetics. My nucleic acid-centric prejudices circle around this fundamental relationship, spiralling out to the nature of evolutionary change.

    I should confess that some other biochemists, people who made a career out of it rather than PhD dropouts like me, think RNA world and gene-centrism are a crock. Larry Moran, for example

    A holistic idealist approach does not need to posit a building up of parts from simple beginnings to create the first life forms. When humans create complex items the parts are constructed and assembled with the whole complete item already present in the mind. There is no need for accidental coming together of parts.

    Conventional natural science takes it for granted that matter precedes mind. I believe the opposite.

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  12. Allan Miller:

    CharlieM: Some research is going in this direction. Such as indicated by this report: Bee Swarms Work Like Giant Brains, Where Each Bee Is a Nerve Cell

    I’m sympathetic to the idea that beehives can be viewed as an organism. Drones, indeed, being haploid, function as large flying sperm.

    The whole reflected in the parts 🙂

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  13. CharlieM:
    Proteins are fundamental to all life.

    All of modern life. But still, their sequences reside in DNA.

    There are many similarities in DNA sequences between the various life forms because we are all basically made of the same ‘stuff’ arranged in various ways. This is pretty basic so I can’t see why anyone would argue with this.

    The question is whether that commonality is commonly descended or not. If commonly descended, you’ve got it the wrong way round – in that case, it’s not that organisms happen to have similar DNA because they are morphologically similar, but they are morphologically similar because they have similar DNA through common ancestry. So what I would argue with is your attribution of fundamental cause of morphological similarity.

    What I would argue about is the creativity attributed to what is seen as copying errors. A certain amount of tolerance is built in to the replication system. Any engineer will tell you that ranges of tolerance are built in to systems as required. This sloppiness is not an error, it is wise design. I know from experience how too much rigidity and lack of tolerance can be detrimental to correct function.

    I’ve already covered this. You didn’t address it last time and I can’t be arsed repeating the whole thing again, but basically replication and error correction’s infidelity is not ‘built-in tolerance’. The system is faithful enough to succeed enough; there is diminished reward and capacity for improvement. Prokaryotes make 10x the errors of eukaryotes. Was their engineer more tolerant?

    In my opinion mutations are a feature of the necessary variability built in to the process of evolution. But they do not play a large part in the progress of evolution towards organisms with more advanced forms of individual consciousness.

    You both insist that mutations result from ‘wise design’ and that they are trivial in effect. That’s quite some doublethink.

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  14. OMagain:

    CharlieM: Some of us think that there is more to be discovered from this observation.

    When does this turn from talk into action then? Predict something?

    I predict that until humanity wakes up and treats the earth as a living being that can only take so much abuse and poisoning, instead of as a never ending supply of resources to be exploited, we will kill the living planet. A living being can only survive if its parts are all playing their role by cooperating in maintaining the whole. Nature has produced a portion of herself which has been given the responsibility to make choices about her future. The outcome is not pre-determined.

    Some individuals abuse their bodies, humanity as a whole has been abusing the planet. The whole reflected in the parts.

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  15. CharlieM: Quantum mechanics tells us that entities at the molecular level have behaviours which are very different from some diffuse cloud of matter in space being ‘wibbly’ round the edges. Imagining matter in space in this way is to take the world of our experience and transferring it to the quantum realm. This is inappropriate at the atomic level. At this level it is meaningless to talk of matter in this way because there is no such matter as we know it. That type of Newtonian thinking has been superseded.

    Yeah, I’d take lessons in physics who thinks that Life once wasn’t ‘condensed’ enough, in an Einsteinian manner, to fossilise. 🤣

    The ‘wibbliness’ of molecules affects, among other things, replication accuracy. That’s your ‘wise design’ feature: something unavoidable at the level the design operates.

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  16. CharlieM: When humans create complex items the parts are constructed and assembled with the whole complete item already present in the mind.

    They have the advantage of dealing with material which does not react when components are bolted together. You invoke quantum physics on the one hand but display no idea how physics works at the molecular level on the other. You can’t just shuffle atoms round with the power off.

    There is no need for accidental coming together of parts.

    This is a common ID misconception. Neither do I. But there is a world between ‘accident’ and ‘intent’.

    Conventional natural science takes it for granted that matter precedes mind. I believe the opposite.

    Bully for you. So how does that work? Given that all known minds have a physical substrate, and construction begins with opposable thumbs, how does your Magic, disembodied Mind actually implement its conceptions?

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  17. colewd: I wonder if these were the discussions right before the fall of the Roman Empire

    They sound more profound in the original Latin.

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  18. Allan Miller: Yeah, I’d take lessons in physics who thinks that Life once wasn’t ‘condensed’ enough, in an Einsteinian manner, to fossilise.

    *from someone who*, dagnabbit! Trying to type while the kids take the piss out of me for doing what I rag them about …

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  19. colewd: I wonder if these were the discussions right before the fall of the Roman Empire

    I think I might be missing some reference here.

    colewd: Its all there and documented and available on your computer. It starts with Genesis 1.

    I read the whole thing once, but I do not recall reading about the design principles of adaptations like flight and sight, nor the origin of complex molecular machines described in there.

    How do we find out? Science, Bill. Learning new stuff, you know!

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  20. CharlieM: Conventional natural science takes it for granted that matter precedes mind. I believe the opposite.

    What are minds made of?

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  21. Corneel: I think I might be missing some reference here.

    I think it is similar to “rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic”. Could be wrong.

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  22. Allan Miller:

    RNA polymerase is indeed assembled from amino acid sequences that match DNA sequences. So this DNA has an obvious purpose. The purpose of the arrangements are to provide the correct sequences so that the polymerase can be assembled.

    It has a reason for persistence – that is, by performing such a central templating role, it avoids degradation by mutational processes (which are blind to function) due to negative selection of ‘damaged’ variants. Whether one would call this ‘purpose’ is the $64,000 question.

    Why would it be of any concern to a group of chemicals whether or not they were copied accurately? Do mineral crystals care if they grow into perfect regular solids? Do they try to avoid degradation or distortion of their growth patterns? What gives living substance the additional feature of self preservation?

    But my main point there is that one cannot assume that protein is the only way to make an RNA polymerase. RNA ribozymes have been discovered (by random variation and selection!) that catalyse all of the basic reactions – a mere half dozen basic types – performed by protein enzymes.

    The wonder is that physical substances have the characteristics that enable them to build such complex structures and to perform such functions. It is as though the molecular properties of the basic chemicals found on earth were destined to be able to interact in ways that would not only produce living tissues but to also speed up the processes in some cases by several orders of magnitude?

    RNA is a good example of a living, active molecule which is present in every form of life on the planet.

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  23. Allan Miller:

    This is much like the purpose of a mould is to produce a casting. Cause and effect are somewhat temporally reversed in these cases. The finished product is the reason for the existence of the mould or template.

    My mum once picked up a flat pebble in Crowden Brook, eroded from Carboniferous gritstone. Don’t know what made her do it, but she took it home and kept it with her other pebbles. One day she jabbed a fingernail into a crack in its side, and it split to reveal a perfect part and counterpart of a fossil shell. I could, if I chose, use the counterpart to make copies – but that is not its ‘purpose’ till I make it so.

    The problem with analogies is that they can be taken too far.

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  24. CharlieM:
    Why would it be of any concern to a group of chemicals whether or not they were copied accurately? Do mineral crystals care if they grow into perfect regular solids? Do they try to avoid degradation or distortion of their growth patterns? What gives living substance the additional feature of self preservation?

    In the case of nucleic acid, this feature is provided by semiconservative replication. By its very nature, this gives exponential growth in ideal conditions. When that growth is constrained, the conditions for a Darwinian competition between variants is enabled. This doesn’t directly explain origin, but does provide an impetus for tuning copying fidelity – to the extent that a particular degree is advantageous, or optimal, compared to rivals, it will tend to increase.

    RNA is a good example of a living, active molecule which is present in every form of life on the planet.

    RNA is active but DNA of exactly the same sequence and only minor chemical distinction is ‘passive’? Hmmm … 🤔

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  25. Allan Miller:

    CharlieM: You have been granted the freedom to decide what to do with your sperm.

    Sure. But the very fact of producing sperm is outwith my control, likewise the kinds of response pretty girls engender in me. It is a conditional free will that we experience.

    And this shows just how limited our freedom is at this time. Evolution has a very extensive future.

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  26. CharlieM:
    And this shows just how limited our freedom is at this time. Evolution has a very extensive future.

    Maybe so, maybe not. That is hardly relevant to the present and its past.

    (eta – my sexuality is a source of considerable pleasure, for many reasons both direct and indirect. I’d be sorry to lose it, along with sight, hearing and the pleasure of eating and drinking, in the progression to disembodiment).

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  27. Allan Miller:

    Plants do not have this freedom. Both plants and humans have been equally successful at remaining in existence. Why do we have this greater individual freedom yet equally successful organisms do not? The conventional view of evolutionists is that there is no reason. That is just the way things have turned out.

    To get to the stage of having a perception of freedom, our lineage must, one supposes, have passed through numerous generations that were more ‘plant-like’, or instinctive, in their propagation. It would seem hubristic to suppose we have completely transcended that ancestry, and would likely put a cap on our lineage if we ever did.

    And we can still a reflection of this progress in our development as individuals. We go through a plant like phase as the embryo implants in the uterine wall. The embryo grows in the mother as a plant grows in Mother Earth. The whole reflected in the parts.

    As long as we remain earthly beings we necessarily go through this plant like stage.

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  28. OMagain: Did we ever get an answer to the question posed in the OP?

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

    It seems that no such mixture is possible, at least until Charlie publishes ;P

    The only publishing I am intending to do is such as I do here. I am not a scientist let alone a specialist of any sort. Participating in places like this gives me all the feedback and inspiration I need. I’ll leave formal publishing to the experts.

    In my opinion it is not a question of fitting design into evolution, nor evolution into design. It is more a question of observation and trying to make sense of what we observe. You only have to look at the range of human inventions and designs that have been copied from nature, both consciously and unconsciously, to marvel at the way evolution has produced living beings that are able to use and manipulate the forces of nature to their benefit.

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  29. Allan Miller: RNA is active but DNA of exactly the same sequence and only minor chemical distinction is ‘passive’? Hmmm … 🤔

    Allan, can’t you see?

    DNA is an extreme case. It doesn’t share the same passion for catalyzing reactions as other nucleic acids.

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  30. Corneel:

    CharlieM: In the case of maize or canines the creativity is intrinsic to the living entity. The living potential is restrained by the environment and external circumstances. Remove that restraint and the living entity is free to reach its extreme limits.

    You know, for a holist you are pretty anxious to avoid looking at the complete picture. Excluding natural selection from the history of living organisms is like excluding Leonardo da Vinci from the history of the Mona Lisa. In a sense, you are heaping praise on the painting for becoming so pretty while completely ignoring the artist.

    I don’t exclude natural selection. It is an observable process.

    In the da Vinci analogy natural selection is equivalent to the adjustments he made during the course of completing the painting. Adjustment that were necessary to bring the details back into line with how he had envisioned it.

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  31. CharlieM: In the da Vinci analogy natural selection is equivalent to the adjustments he made during the course of completing the painting. Adjustment that were necessary to bring the details back into line with how he had envisioned it.

    But the painting is not completed and never will be. And if you keep adding “adjustments” the process is indistinguishable from painting.

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  32. Corneel:

    CharlieM: You have great faith in the power of chance events to produce the variations that are selected from.

    Faith has nothing to do with it, nor do I believe in “the power of chance events”. I simply maintain that mutation and natural selection suffice for generating what you have called the “creativity of life”, since their combined effects result in novel functional forms. I have even provided you with supporting examples. If you disagree, then you’ll have to explain why

    I remember you gave spikelets in maize as an example. But a change in the number of spikelets could hardly be classed as novel features.

    And the ears of modern maize compared to teosinthe are just as predicted by Goethe. Both are indivual expressions of the archetype, the former taken to the extreme. Just as many dog breeds are extreme forms of canid.

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  33. Corneel:

    CharlieM: Ratites are similar to blind cave fish in that specific organs or structures have become somewhat vestigial. Goethe’s notion of compensation can be seen when studying the morphology of organisms, “nothing can be added to one part without subtracting from another”. Ostriches by gaining power in their legs have lost it in their wings. This does not stop us from recognising them as birds.

    No, but it does stop us from perceiving the statement “Birds have a passion for flying” as a profound insight, since it shows that we are confounding ability to fly with desire to fly.
    “Birds have a passion for flying, except the ones that don’t fly” doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?

    As I see it the ability to fly is at the level of the individual, the passion for flying is at the level of the group.

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  34. Allan Miller:

    CharlieM: In the beginning was the cell.

    And with a wave of his hand, Life was explained. Ta-dah!

    It comes from observation. Any forms of active life in evidence are whole beings. A single celled zygote is a whole functioning being. A prokaryote is a whole functioning being. We have no evidence whatsoever of replicating life ever having existed without some sort of membrane within which the complex processes of replication can take place.

    In the beginning was the cell or alternatively in the beginning was speculation.

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  35. CharlieM: We have no evidence whatsoever of replicating life ever having existed without some sort of membrane within which the complex processes of replication can take place.

    But do we have evidence of minds before matter?

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  36. Corneel,

    I read the whole thing once, but I do not recall reading about the design principles of adaptations like flight and sight, nor the origin of complex molecular machines described in there.

    How do we find out? Science, Bill. Learning new stuff, you know.

    We could try to learn about the origin of sub atomic particles but that would be getting ahead of ourselves until we understand subatomic particles themselves. Lets understand biology first and use evidence of design as a signal that we are dealing with an origin event which maybe difficult to access given our location in the matrix. 🙂

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  37. Allan Miller:

    CharlieM: Recognised by observing similar processes.

    Nope. We’ve moved beyond that. Recognised by observing genetic commonality, a layer undreamt of by those stuck with deducing phenotypic commonalities.

    And we have moved well beyond one gene, one trait. One gene may have various uses and most traits rely on the timed expression of many genes. The way that genes are used cannot be ignored. A lot of coordination is required in both space and time.

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  38. CharlieM:Me: And with a wave of his hand, Life was explained. Ta-dah!

    Charlie: It comes from observation.

    Not of primordial life, it doesn’t. “In the beginning …” indeed.

    We have no evidence whatsoever of replicating life ever having existed without some sort of membrane within which the complex processes of replication can take place.

    We have no evidence whatsoever of disembodied minds. At a bit of an impasse then, aren’t we? 🤔

    In the beginning was the cell or alternatively in the beginning was speculation.

    “In the beginning was the cell” is itself speculation.

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  39. CharlieM: Me: Nope. We’ve moved beyond that. Recognised by observing genetic commonality, a layer undreamt of by those stuck with deducing phenotypic commonalities.

    Charlie: The way that genes are used cannot be ignored.

    It absolutely can be ignored when talking of molecular phylogeny, which I believe I was (hard to be sure without wading back a week; it’s getting a bit like that Two Ronnies Mastermind sketch.)

    A lot of coordination is required in both space and time.

    All orchestrated by other gene products, ie, ultimately, by the genome. Which is the sensible way to do it, since the genome passes undiluted from cell to cell, and ultimately sources everything else.

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  40. CharlieM: I remember you gave spikelets in maize as an example. But a change in the number of spikelets could hardly be classed as novel features.

    If you insist on relying on “observation”, I recommend that you stop blinding yourself to inconvenient facts. The change was in the arrangement of spikelets, not their number. The spikelets appear in pairs in maize, which is a bona fide novel morphological feature as it is not observed in teosinte.

    Relevant quote:

    The ears of maize bear a pair of spikelets on each internode, one sessile and one pedicellate, while the ears of teosinte bear only single sessile spikelets on each internode since the teosinte pedicellate spikelet is aborted early in development (Figure1, B and C).

    CharlieM: And the ears of modern maize compared to teosinthe are just as predicted by Goethe. Both are indivual expressions of the archetype, the former taken to the extreme. Just as many dog breeds are extreme forms of canid.

    What is “extreme form” but a thinly veiled attempt to avoid the word “new”?

    “Look at my new car”

    “Bah, it’s just an extreme form of your previous car”

    Can’t you see how you warp the meaning of words until novel forms no longer qualify as such?

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  41. CharlieM: As I see it the ability to fly is at the level of the individual, the passion for flying is at the level of the group.

    Bats versus other mammals?

    Nonono, let me guess. Extreme case, right?

    ETA: perhaps you should also define “group”. I have a hunch that it is going to be fitted retroactively to match your story.

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  42. colewd: We could try to learn about the origin of sub atomic particles but that would be getting ahead of ourselves until we understand subatomic particles themselves.

    Well, we wouldn’t want that, right?

    colewd: Lets understand biology first and use evidence of design as a signal that we are dealing with an origin event which maybe difficult to access given our location in the matrix.

    You seemed to have left out the part where you explain how we gain understanding and learn something new. Want to try again? Perhaps this time a little bit less eager to reach the conclusion you want?

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  43. I apologise for trailing behind in these conversations, but given the time I have available to spend here I cannot keep up without ignoring many of the posts that are relies to my comments.

    So in order to give proper due to those that are arguing with what I have said I must necessarily go at my own pace. But I don’t think it is always a bad thing for posters to look back and review what they have said a day or two after it was written. If this is too much trouble then you can just ignore what I write.

    Anyway you lot carry on and I’ll catch up if and when I can 🙂 Now where was I?…

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  44. Allan Miller:

    CharlieM:
    Having a genetic component does not mean that it has to have a genetic basis.

    It is a hypothesis worthy of consideration, rather than knee-jerk dismissal.

    I don’t just dismiss genetics. Regarding the genome, I think Barbara McClintock said it well in 1984 with these fanous lines:

    In the future, attention undoubtedly will be centered on the genome, with greater appreciation of its significance as a highly sensitive organ of the cell that monitors genomic activities and corrects common errors, senses unusual and unexpected events, and responds to them, often by restructuring the genome.

    Ever more sophisticated tools are being developed that give us a depth of detail barely imagined not so long ago. Now cooperative interconnected networks are being revealed and linear causal trails are losing their hold on our imagination.

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