Sunday, January 26, 2014

A New Review of the Evolution of Multicellularity

Same Old—Same Old

Karl Niklas’ new review of the evolution of evolutionist’s understanding of evolution, and in particular the evolution of multicellularity, now admits that multicellularity must have evolved at least, err, a dozen times or more. So much for common descent and its powerful explanatory power. Once again, for evolutionists it’s all about convergence, lineage-specific biology and Aristotelianism:

The "export-of-fitness" stage is the second step necessary to the evolutionary process of multicellularity. This requires that cells work together for a common goal of reproducing more cohesive units, or individuals, like themselves and thereby work in a concerted way toward increasing their fitness. Once this is achieved, a distinct phenotype, or form, of organism exists.

Nothing in biology makes sense in the light of evolution.

[h/t: El sabio]

132 comments:

  1. "The "export-of-fitness" stage is the second step necessary to the evolutionary process of multicellularity. This requires that cells work together for a common goal of reproducing more cohesive units, or individuals, like themselves and thereby work in a concerted way toward increasing their fitness. Once this is achieved, a distinct phenotype, or form, of organism exists."

    Sounds quite a bit like something written down 3,500 years ago.


    "And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so." -- Genesis 1:24

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  2. Gunter Wagner is Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University. Speaking about the problem of reconciling the facts of embryology with the theory of evolution, he wrote,

    “The disturbingly many and deep problems associated with any attempt to identify the biological basis of homology have been presented repeatedly.”

    (The origin of morphological characters and the biological basis of homology, Evolution 43(6):1163, 1989)

    Homoplasy is the irrefutable evidence of these problems.

    For instance, some claim that photosynthesis evolved up to 30 different times! It seems mind-boggling that a process of such complexity could have evolved once; but to claim that this happened 30 different times stretches credibility beyond all reason. It requires a lot of blind faith to be an evolutionist!

    Some fish generate electricity, which they use to stun prey or ward off attackers, an ability that has supposedly evolved independently six times!

    Similarly, tuna and mako sharks both move their tail fin with strong red central muscles attached to the fin with tendons. Yet in evolutionary terms, they could not have gained this (unusual for fish) mechanism from a common ancestor. The likelihood of evolutionary processes producing this level of similarity, based on chance mutations filtered by selection in randomly varying environments, seems very remote. But hey, this is what we find so it must have happened, right? This is the reasoning process we see at work in the evolved
    monkey brains of evolutionists. So, why should we expect legitimate reasoning from their brains? Given their understanding of their own brains, it is not surprising they can believe stuff like this.

    Eyes are believed by some researchers to have evolved independently some sixty different times.

    Do these problems falsifications of homology fit Dobzhanski's brash claim?

    The evidence is not on Dobzhansky's side.

    From an article called Homology Made Simple on creation com

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  3. Cornelius, can you explain, in detail, why these findings are a problem for evolution? Otherwise, this seems like another example of incredulity.

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    Replies
    1. Here's the problem, Scott. Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution is just a story of common ancestry, based on homology: a lot of life forms share similar structural traits, so maybe, just maybe they all descended from a common ancestor. If we grant Evolution abiogenesis as a freebie, it still has an enormous hurdle to explain how single-celled lifeforms "evolved" to multi-celled lifeforms. Currently, evolution has no explanation, not even one of it's usual just-so fairy tales.
      So when you multiply an impossibility by stating that it happened not just once, but multiple times, that's...a problem. The only response YOU could have, is the argument from credulity - your religious belief in evolution is so strong that, in the face of a not just a complete lack of evidence, but significantly strong biological reasons why it could NOT happen, you not only don't see why it couldn't have happened, you're okay with it happening multiple times independently! Well, okay, if that's what you want to believe. But you've now destroyed evolution's own argument of common ancestry - multi-celled life forms no longer can be said to share a common ancestor any more recent than billions of years ago, back when single became multi. Which means all that rational of homology is also out the window - similar appearance is just coincidence (sorry, "convergence").
      An analogy - for years, evolutionists have told us that life is a tree, and all the leaves and branches share a trunk. Now they tell us that there are multiple trunks, and the similar appearing leaves on different tree trunks are just coincidence. Which kinda removes any reason for us to believe in the entire concept.

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    2. drc466: Here's the problem, Scott. Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution is just a story of common ancestry, based on homology: a lot of life forms share similar structural traits, so maybe, just maybe they all descended from a common ancestor.

      No wonder why you’re confused. It’s not just that they are similar, but the way that they are similar. Realism tells us that new observations tell us something about reality. This includes the specific kind of similarity we observe. Specifically, it’s explained better by one theory than another.

      Despite the fact that Darwin didn’t know about DNA, his theory was that the knowledge of how to build copies of organisms, which happened to be found in their genome, was genuinely created by a process of trial and error.

      drc466: If we grant Evolution abiogenesis as a freebie…

      Biological Darwinism doesn’t need you to grant abiogenesis as a freebie. That’s because it doesn’t depend on it being true. Again, no wonder why you’re confused.

      drc466: … it still has an enormous hurdle to explain how single-celled lifeforms "evolved" to multi-celled lifeforms. Currently, evolution has no explanation, not even one of it's usual just-so fairy tales.

      Again, you’re confused. Not all explanatory theories must be reductionist in nature. Your claim that Evolution requires granting abiogenesis as a freebie illustrates this confusion. Knowledge emerges from trial and error. This includes the cooperation in multicellular organisms.

      drc466: So when you multiply an impossibility by stating that it happened not just once, but multiple times, that's...a problem.

      Did you actually read the paper? Multicellularity evolved over time, in different steps, in different ways. And that’s just the ways we know of. There are other forms of Multicellularity that do not exist, not to mention all the forms we haven’t even conceived of yet. So how to you know what the probability is?

      As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, you can’t extrapolate observations without putting them into some kind of explanatory framework. You are assuming there is a specific target for Multicellularity, which made hitting that target impossible. Of course, if you can explain how it’s possible to extrapolate observations without putting them into some kind of explanatory framework, then by my guest.

      drc466: But you've now destroyed evolution's own argument of common ancestry - multi-celled life forms no longer can be said to share a common ancestor any more recent than billions of years ago, back when single became multi.

      Again, you’re confused about how the similarity is relevant. See above.

      drc466: Now they tell us that there are multiple trunks, and the similar appearing leaves on different tree trunks are just coincidence. Which kinda removes any reason for us to believe in the entire concept.

      Except we have good explanations for exceptions, such as HGT. And even then those patterns still fit the explanation that the knowledge found in the genome was genuinely created, over time, via a process of trial and error, rather than having always existed. For example, if this knowledge had always existed, organisms could have appeared in the order of most complex to least complex, right?
      Or even all at once. But that’s not what historical evidence suggests, is it?

      Why would a designer who possessed the knowledge to create any organism that has, does or could exists, create them in the same order that is comparable with that knowledge having been created via trial and error? Biological darwinism has a good explanation for this particular similarity in this particular order, while ID and creationism does not.

      What we get is “That’s just what the designer must have wanted”, or we can’t rule out some designer had a good reason to create organisms that way, so evolution isn’t science, etc. But these are bad explanations.

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    3. Why does Cornelius need people to respond for him?

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    4. Scott,

      "Why would a designer who possessed the knowledge to create any organism that has, does or could exists, create them in the same order that is comparable with that knowledge having been created via trial and error?"

      Is there supposed to be a logical argument in there somewhere?

      On what do you base your argument the knowledge was created via trial and error? Even IF it all appeared that it could have come about via trail and error, that is not proof, or even evidence, that it did arise in such a manner.

      I wish evolutionists could learn the difference between scientific statements and philosophical claims.

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    5. Dr. Hunter doesn't, the response was just too obvious to pass up.
      W/o doing a complete fisking, some notes:
      - Don't agree doesn't mean "confused". For example, you can claim Evolution is independent of abiogenesis all you want, it doesn't make it true. Until you have a living cell, evolution is dead in the water. And if you can't provide a materialistic naturalistic explanation for the first living cell, you have no reason to demand a materialistic naturalistic explanation after that. Otherwise you're just Steve Martin explaining how to be a millionaire and never pay taxes...
      - Your entire response (and the referenced paper which I did read :)) still comes down to "here's a story on how I believe it must have happened - none of this is reproducible in the lab."
      - This is the funniest line of your response:
      "Multicellularity evolved over time, in different steps, in different ways. And that’s just the ways we know of."
      Regarding the word "know", I will leave you with a line from the invincible Inigo Montoya - "you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

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    6. Scott:

      Cornelius, can you explain, in detail, why these findings are a problem for evolution?

      Evolution predicts that the species fall into a common descent pattern. Indeed, many of the arguments for evolution entail this prediction. We hear it repeatedly. But in fact that prediction has failed repeatedly, and this is yet another example.

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    7. Scott: Why would a designer who possessed the knowledge to create any organism that has, does or could exists, create them in the same order that is comparable with that knowledge having been created via trial and error?"

      Nic: Is there supposed to be a logical argument in there somewhere?

      That’s a summary Nic.

      Here’s a question: Does an fertilized human egg actively receive assistance from a designer in the form of directly interceding, every time, to provide instructions of how to build another human?

      Nic: On what do you base your argument the knowledge was created via trial and error? Even IF it all appeared that it could have come about via trail and error, that is not proof, or even evidence, that it did arise in such a manner.

      Nic: I wish evolutionists could learn the difference between scientific statements and philosophical claims.

      As, I’ve pointed out elsewhere, we cannot extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory framework. This is why the majority of Cornelius’ arguments are parochial.

      Ironically, your comment is one such example. Specifically, your response assumes science is in the business of proving theories are true, rather than disproving theories (and doing so only tentatively). However, the question of what is or is not science is itself philosophical in nature. See the philosophy of science.

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    8. drc466: Don't agree doesn't mean "confused". For example, you can claim Evolution is independent of abiogenesis all you want, it doesn't make it true. Until you have a living cell, evolution is dead in the water.

      Evolution, as a field of science, is separate from abiogenesis. You’re free to dispute this, but it would indicate your confusion about the field itself. Furthermore, that evolution is “dead in the water” without abiogenesis is like saying we cannot use umbrellas without a exhaustive understanding of meteorology.

      drc466: Your entire response (and the referenced paper which I did read :)) still comes down to "here's a story on how I believe it must have happened - none of this is reproducible in the lab."

      Why would you expect it to be reproducible in the lab? Please be specific. IOW, It would seem that you're making assumptions here that you have not disclosed.

      Scott: Multicellularity evolved over time, in different steps, in different ways. And that’s just the ways we know of. There are other forms of Multicellularity that do not exist, not to mention all the forms we haven’t even conceived of yet. So how to you know what the probability is?

      drc446: "Multicellularity evolved over time, in different steps, in different ways. And that’s just the ways we know of."
      Regarding the word "know", I will leave you with a line from the invincible Inigo Montoya - "you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

      Apparently, my point went over your head or you’re being disingenuous. So, I’ll reword, as to leave little room for either outcome.

      Call it whatever you like. We see many different kinds of cellular cooperation (Multicellularity) appearing over time in different trees. These are just the kinds of cooperation we know of, not to mention other methods of cellular cooperation we haven’t even conceived of yet.

      So, how to you know what the probability is that Multicellularity evolved?

      Again, As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, you can’t extrapolate observations without putting them into some kind of explanatory framework. You are assuming there is a specific target for Multicellularity, which made hitting that target impossible. Of course, if you can explain how it’s possible to extrapolate observations without putting them into some kind of explanatory framework, then by my guest.

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    9. CH: Evolution predicts that the species fall into a common descent pattern. Indeed, many of the arguments for evolution entail this prediction. We hear it repeatedly. But in fact that prediction has failed repeatedly, and this is yet another example.

      This would be a fine response if the predictions of biological darwinism were merely prophecy and science was about proving theories are true.

      However, what I’m asking is for you to point out how the underlying explanation behind biological Darwinism results in those specific predictions and how the observations in question are a problem for that explanation.

      Namely, you seem to be assuming scientific theories are not explanations about how the world works, in reality, but are merely a laundry list of predictions to be found true or false. Some predictions were not observed, so the theory must be false.

      To the point, we cannot extrapolate observations with first putting them into some kind of explanatory framework, regardless of how bad the explanation might be. This includes the conclusion of this blog post: that the paper in question is a problem for evolutionary theory.

      This is what I mean when I say your arguments are parochial. They make assumptions that you do not disclose and fail to even acknowledge when pointed out to you repeatedly.

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    10. Cornelius Hunter: Evolution predicts that the species fall into a common descent pattern.

      The theory of evolution never predicted a perfect nested hierarchy of traits.

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    11. So are you saying that when species do fall into a common descent pattern ,it is support for the Theory of Evolution?

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    12. Z:

      The theory of evolution never predicted a perfect nested hierarchy of traits.

      We are nowhere close to perfect. It's funny how evolutionists make high claims of the fact of evolution using as one of the evidences the common descent pattern, and when you point out that biology doesn't actually fall into this pattern, they say "well, we didn't say 'perfectly' ". So, as always, it's subjective and self-serving. When the shoe fits, wear it.

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    13. Zachriel:
      The theory of evolution never predicted a perfect nested hierarchy of traits.

      What "theory" of evolution? Could you please reference it so we can read what it actually says?

      Cornelius Hunter: Evolution predicts that the species fall into a common descent pattern.

      Z:
      The theory of evolution never predicted a perfect nested hierarchy of traits.

      THta doesn't even respind to what Dr Hunter said. Strange...

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    14. Cornelius Hunter :We are nowhere close to perfect.

      It was a never a prediction of the theory.

      Cornelius Hunter :So, as always, it's subjective and self-serving.

      No, it's not subjective. The nested hierarchy is an objective pattern in biology.



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    15. Cornelius Hunter: We are nowhere close to perfect.

      Do planets follow elliptical orbits?

      The anomalous fit is *intrinsic* to the Theory of Evolution, and has been since Darwin.

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    16. CH: We are nowhere close to perfect.

      Why would it need to be even close to perfect?

      Again, this is only a problem unless you assume that theories are merely a laundry list of predictions that are to be found true or false and are set in stone.

      Good scientific theories are explanations about how the world works, in reality, not merely expected observations. This is because what we would expect to observe is dependent on our other explanations about how the world works. Furthermore, we expect theories to be incomplete and to contain errors to some degree because they start out as conjecture.

      This is what I mean when I say we take theories seriously, in that they are true in reality, along with the rest of our current, best explanations, as if they were true in reality as well, and that all observations should conform to them.

      You can't make a prediction 150 years ago while taking into account what will be the rest of our current, best explanations of today. It's simply an unreasonable expectation.

      That would be prophecy, as it is assumed the source is infallible in some sense, could take the future into account, etc. As a theist, infallible sources might be your "gold standard' of knowledge, but it's unclear why it must be everyone else's, including that of science.

      As such, predictions are not set in stone. We make predictions when we perform the observations based on all of our current explanations of how the world works now, not on explanations of how we thought the world worked in the past.

      IOW, you're setting the theory up to fail.

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    17. Joe G: What "theory" of evolution? Could you please reference it so we can read what it actually says?

      Sure. Darwin, Origin of Species, 1859.

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    18. Joe G: THta doesn't even respind to what Dr Hunter said.

      Sure it does. Cornelius Hunter said "Evolution predicts that the species fall into a common descent pattern." In fact, the theory explains why we can determine a nested hierarchy pattern, but it also explains why we don't see a perfect nested hierarchy pattern. Expecting a perfect nested hierarchy is not a prediction of the theory—and never was.

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    19. So its kind of like a Goldilocks thing. Not too much nested hierarchy, not too little. It has to be just right. How much is just right? Can predicts how much of a common descent pattern we should expect to see? Or is it infinitely flexible?

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    20. Scott,

      "That’s a summary Nic."

      In what way?

      "Here’s a question: Does an fertilized human egg actively receive assistance from a designer in the form of directly interceding, every time, to provide instructions of how to build another human?"

      You really do have a very small concept of omnipotence. You're right, it's a question, but not a very intelligent one.

      "Ironically, your comment is one such example. Specifically, your response assumes science is in the business of proving theories are true, rather than disproving theories (and doing so only tentatively). However, the question of what is or is not science is itself philosophical in nature. See the philosophy of science."

      My comment was quite clear and simple, you are making a philosophical claim to knowledge in an attempt to support a scientific belief. You're presuming to know what an omnipotent God would and would not do. That is simply fallacious.

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    21. Z:

      Cornelius Hunter: We are nowhere close to perfect.

      Z: Do planets follow elliptical orbits?


      Pretty darn close.

      The anomalous fit is *intrinsic* to the Theory of Evolution, and has been since Darwin.

      Anomalous fit? So evolution makes predictions, those predictions are false, and evolutionists euphemistically refer to them as “anomalous fits” ? The problem here is that evolutionists do not seriously reckon with their false predictions.

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    22. Scott: "Here’s a question: Does an fertilized human egg actively receive assistance from a designer in the form of directly interceding, every time, to provide instructions of how to build another human?"

      Nic: You really do have a very small concept of omnipotence.

      if Intelligent Design is a scientific theory, then it’s unclear how anyone’s concept of omnipotence is relevant.

      Nic: You're right, it's a question, but not a very intelligent one.

      Just so I have this straight, you ask me for a logical argument, but when I oblige by expanding on the summary by asking a simple question to illustrate, you refuse to answer?

      I generously assumed your objection was sincere, so kindly answer the question so we can move forward. Otherwise, it’s unclear why we should take your objection seriously.

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    23. natschuster: So its kind of like a Goldilocks thing. Not too much nested hierarchy, not too little. It has to be just right.

      It's not a matter of being just right. There's an objective pattern, which common descent explains.

      Zachriel: Do planets follow elliptical orbits?

      Cornelius: Pretty darn close.

      In other words, no, they don't.

      Cornelius Hunter: So evolution makes predictions, those predictions are false

      As the theory of evolution doesn't predict a perfect nested hierarchy, pointing out that it's not a perfect nested hierarchy doesn't make for falsification.

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    24. Nic: My comment was quite clear and simple, you are making a philosophical claim to knowledge in an attempt to support a scientific belief. You're presuming to know what an omnipotent God would and would not do. That is simply fallacious.

      No, I’m not, Nic.

      I’m suggesting that science doesn’t prove theories are true. Rather it disproves theories, and even then only tentatively. As part of this process, we specifically devise criticisms that would indicate at least one of our current explanatory theories (rather than an infinite number of mere logical possibilities) are false. In the case of science, this includes criticism in the form of empirical observations.

      However, “God could have done it” is a bad criticism because it’s applicable to absolutely anything logically possible. So, it cannot be used in a critical way. So, is the criticism that a theory might be wrong. Anything could be wrong. So, it cannot be used in a critical way either.

      Examples?

      Missing child on a milk carton? God could have done it. Unsolved murders? God could have done it. Solved murders? Well they might be wrong. And, being omnipotent, God could have planted evidence and even false memories in the minds of witnesses.

      Gravity as a universal law of nature? God could be directly interceding by pulling on objects according to their mass, as we speak. And, in doing so, he would be directly pulling people to their deaths. Lightning? God could be doing it when he gets angry. And in doing so, he would be responsible for the death of 24 people in the United States in 2013 alone, etc., ad nauseum.

      Did you write the comment I’m responding to? God could have chosen to create the world we observe 30 minutes ago, complete with the bytes of data on some storage device. As such, he would be the ‘author” of that comment, not you.

      Is the claim that you wrote that comment “simply fallacious”, because you’re “presuming to know what an omnipotent God would and would not do.”? Being omnipotent, this would apply to virtually everything. So, why is it that you only pull this sort of objection on theories you personally find objectionable?

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    25. If you want to get Zachriel to be quiet about the mythical "nested hierarchy of common descent", just ask him to give you specific examples, and specific examples that would falsify it. That's when he goes strangely silent.

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    26. lifepsy: ask him to give you specific examples

      Any standard text on phylogeny provides a multitude of such examples, such as {{cat, dog}, fish}

      lifepsy: and specific examples that would falsify it

      As evolutionary doesn't posit a perfect nested hierarchy, single examples would not suffice. You have to look at the entirety to determine whether or not a nested hierarchy is supported. There is strong statistical support for the nested hierarchy.

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  4. What CAN'T evolution do? It seems capable of doing whatever evolutionists need it to do. It can even explain evidence that completely contradicts what evolutionists EXPECTED to find.

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  5. Nice review. Of note, cellular adhesion and multiple gene
    expression patterns occur in unicellular life.

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    1. Yes, in the unicellular life of today.

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  6. Zachriel:
    "Evolution predicts that the species fall into a common descent pattern."

    And that has nothing to do with nested hierarchies. Thanks for playin'.

    Zachriel:
    In fact, the theory explains why we can determine a nested hierarchy pattern

    No, it doesn't. And given the fact that Darwin predicted gradual change, which leads to a smooth blending of defining characteristics, we wouldn't expect to see one.

    Nested hierarchies are manmade constructs only. Nature doesn't make them.

    What "theory" of evolution? Could you please reference it so we can read what it actually says?


    Zachriel:
    Sure. Darwin, Origin of Species, 1859.

    If that is all you have then yours is a position that is as dead as Darwin. Natural selection has proven to be impotent wrt being a designer mimic.

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  7. Zachriel:
    The nested hierarchy is an objective pattern in biology.

    Yes it is objectively based on a common design. Linnean Classification, the objective nested hierarchy wrt biology, is based on a common design and has nothing to do with Darwin's ideas.

    Nice job, Zachriel.

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    1. Quote Zachriel Quoting me:

      ZachrielJanuary 30, 2014 at 12:18 PM

      ""natschuster: So its kind of like a Goldilocks thing. Not too much nested hierarchy, not too little. It has to be just right."

      It's not a matter of being just right. There's an objective pattern, which common descent explains."

      If there are so many exceptions and anomalies, can it reallybe said that there is an objective pattern of a nested hierarchy? How many exceptions can we find and still say that the pattern holds? It seems to me that after a while, evolution is no longer the most intellectually satisfying explanation.

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  8. Joe G: Yes it is objectively based on a common design.

    Well, take that up with Cornelius Hunter. He seems to be denying that there is a nested hierarchy. Furthermore, he seems to be saying an imperfect nested hierarchy represents a falsification, even though the theory of evolution has always included exceptions to the nested hierarchy as an intrinsic and essential component of the theory.

    natschuster: If there are so many exceptions and anomalies, can it reallybe said that there is an objective pattern of a nested hierarchy?

    Um, yeah. There are mathematical tests. The nested hierarchy is strongly supported.

    Joe G: And that has nothing to do with nested hierarchies.

    Bifurcating descent with modification predicts a nested hierarchy of traits. Confusing yourself with "nested", "semi-nested", and "partially nested" categories doesn't change that the pattern is well-defined, and is strongly supported in biology.

    Joe G: And given the fact that Darwin predicted gradual change, which leads to a smooth blending of defining characteristics, we wouldn't expect to see one.

    Darwin also provided an explanation of gaps between taxa in 1859. You need to try and keep up with the latest developments.

    Joe G: Nested hierarchies are manmade constructs only. Nature doesn't make them.

    They're a pattern that may or may not be observed, like elliptical orbits, which are also mathematical models.

    Joe G: If that is all you have then yours is a position that is as dead as Darwin.

    You asked which theory of evolution never predicted a perfect nested hierarchy of traits. We answered. This concerns a strawman argument raised in the original post. Whether you agree with Darwin or not, he did not claim natural biology would form a perfect nested hierarchy.

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  9. Zachriel:
    Well, take that up with Cornelius Hunter. He seems to be denying that there is a nested hierarchy.

    Wrong. He said a common descent pattern.

    Bifurcating descent with modification predicts a nested hierarchy of traits.

    No, it does not. You are confused.

    Darwin also provided an explanation of gaps between taxa in 1859.

    So what? That has nothing to do with a nested hierarchy.

    And I asked for a theory of evolution and you presented Darwin's, and that has been refuted.

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  10. Joe G: He said a common descent pattern.

    He said "We are nowhere close to perfect" in response to a question about the nested hierarchy. He apparently isn't confused by the terminology, though he is confused as to what is actually predicted by the theory.

    Joe G: That has nothing to do with a nested hierarchy.

    It answers your concern about "smooth blending of defining characteristics" due to gradual evolution. Darwin proposed mechanisms that created distinguishable gaps between the ends of the branches.

    Joe G: And I asked for a theory of evolution and you presented Darwin's, and that has been refuted.

    That's irrelevant to the claim, which is that the theory of evolution predicts a perfect nested hierarchy, er, whateveryouwannacallitleavesofatree pattern.

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  11. Zachriel, YOU confused the terminology. A Darwin just did a post hoc/ ad hoc to try to steal Linnean classification.

    And Darwin didn't say anything about any nested hierarchy. You referred me to Darwin's book wrt nested hierarchies and there isn't anything in it wrt nested hierarchies. His diagram is "groups under groups" NOT "groups within groups". Again you are confused and apparently proud of it.

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    1. Joe G: And Darwin didn't say anything about any nested hierarchy.

      He called it "the natural subordination of organic beings in groups under groups".

      Joe G: His diagram is "groups under groups" NOT "groups within groups".

      That's funny. Those terms mean exactly the same thing, only the word "under" emphasizes the hierarchical nature of the arrangement.

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    2. No,those two terms do NOT mean exactly the same thing. Being under does NOT mean being within. You are obvioulsy confused and don't know jack about this issue.

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    3. Darwin: FROM the most remote period in the history of the world organic beings have been found to resemble each other in descending degrees, so that they can be classed in groups under groups.

      Darwin is clearly referring to the observed pattern of grouping.

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    4. Groups under groups is NOT groups within groups.

      True all groups within groups can be portrayed as groups under groups but not all groups under groups can be protrayed as groups within groups.

      Not that your limited capacity can grasp that simple fact.

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  12. Easily refuting Zachriel-

    Zachriel:
    Bifurcating descent with modification predicts a nested hierarchy of traits.

    A family tree = "Bifurcating descent with modification" and yet they would all have the same defining traits, ie that of a human. And therefor no nested hierarchy based on defining traits even though we have Bifurcating descent with modification.

    ZAchriel's predicted response:
    Of course family trees have crossing of branches... And yet Darwin's "tree of life" is just that a family tree, writ large. IOW if you don't have a nested hierarchy based on defining traits with family trees, we shouldmn't see one when expanded out to the tree of life.

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    1. Joe G: A family tree = "Bifurcating descent with modification"

      Human don't bifurcate, but mate.

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    2. Joe G: A family tree bifurcates

      It won't form a tree topology unless restricted somehow, such as to the paternal line or maternal line; or if you extend to definition to include crossings.

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    3. A family tree won't form a tree? You're just making stuff up again, as usual

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    4. jJoe G: A family tree won't form a tree?

      Tree
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_topology#Tree

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    5. A family tree can match what is presented in wikipedia.

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    6. Joe G: A family tree can match what is presented in wikipedia.

      Only by exclusion, for instance, only showing the paternal line or maternal line.

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    7. Nope- a family tree can match what you referenced, period.

      Delete
    8. Joe G: a family tree can match what you referenced, period.

      You seem to be conflating different types of trees. The tree topology at issue is one that bifurcates without crossing. The typical family tree that people draw for their parents and grandparents and cousins involves crosses in every generation.

      Delete
  13. Zachriel:
    Whether you agree with Darwin or not, he did not claim natural biology would form a perfect nested hierarchy.

    Dr Hunter didn't say anything about a nested hierarchy. YOU conflated Dr Hunter's "common descent pattern" with a nested hierarchy.

    Also no one would claim gradual evolution would form an objective nested hierarchy. Darwin was well aware of that fact.

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  14. Joe G: Dr Hunter didn't say anything about a nested hierarchy. YOU conflated Dr Hunter's "common descent pattern" with a nested hierarchy.

    He said "We are nowhere close to perfect" in response to a question about the nested hierarchy. He apparently isn't confused by the terminology, though he is confused as to what is actually predicted by the theory.

    Joe G: Also no one would claim gradual evolution would form an objective nested hierarchy. Darwin was well aware of that fact.

    You just argued that Darwin didn't discuss the nested hierarchy.

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    1. Zachriel:
      He said "We are nowhere close to perfect" in response to a question about the nested hierarchy.

      YOU switched in nested hierarchy. YOU did it Zachriel.

      You just argued that Darwin didn't discuss the nested hierarchy.

      He didn't.

      Delete
    2. Joe G: He didn't.

      Darwin is clearly referring to the observation that "From the first dawn of life, all organic beings are found to resemble each other in descending degrees, so they can be classed in groups under groups." This is what everyone (except yourself) calls a nested hierarchy.

      Delete
  15. Zach:

    "Um, yeah. There are mathematical tests. The nested hierarchy is strongly supported."


    Is your position changing? Is it now strongly y supported instead of clearly evident.?

    And let me see if I have this straight. Common descent creates a nested hierarchy pattern. Then the extinction of those species staddling the boundaries between groups explains why we don't see a smooth gradation between groups, (which is what incremental change predicts.) Then we have to come on to things like parallel evolution, deep homology, and horizontal gene transfer to explain the anomalies. So we need all these epicycles and apologetics, Are you sure that evolution is the most intellectually satisfying explanation.

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    1. natschuster: Is your position changing?

      No.

      natschuster: Common descent creates a nested hierarchy pattern.

      Yes.

      natschuster: Then the extinction of those species staddling the boundaries between groups explains why we don't see a smooth gradation between groups, (which is what incremental change predicts.)

      Yes. We happen to have evidence of extinction.

      natschuster: Then we have to come on to things like parallel evolution, deep homology, and horizontal gene transfer to explain the anomalies. So we need all these epicycles

      Epicycles are just pattern matching. We happen to have evidence of mechanisms that perturb the nested hierarchy pattern, just as we have evidence for why the Earth doesn't follow a perfect ellipse around the Sun.

      Sorry life is complicated. Then again, so is orbital mechanics. Try predicting the movement of bodies in the Oort Cloud.

      Delete
    2. No, common descent does not create a nested hierarchy pattern. A family tree = common descent and yet it does NOT produce a nested hierarchy pattern.

      Zachriel is clueless and proud of it.

      Delete
    3. Joe G: A family tree = common descent

      A typical family tree is characterized by crossings, not common descent. Your mother and father are not often closely related.

      Why don't you have this discussion with Cornelius Hunter? Maybe he can set you straight.

      Delete
    4. ZAchriel:
      A typical family tree is characterized by crossings, not common descent.

      LoL! Family trees are built by descent.

      Delete
    5. Joe G: Family trees are built by descent.

      There are crossings in a human family tree. It's called mating. Your mother and father are not often closely related. Hence, it does not have the topology of a tree unless you somehow limit what is included, such as by only considering the paternal or maternal lines.

      Delete
    6. Zachriel,

      Universal common desicent is a family tree writ large. That means if a family tree doesn't do it then UCD cannot.

      Delete
    7. Joe G: Universal common desicent is a family tree writ large.

      Common descent posits a tree that bifurcates; unlike the typical human family tree, which crosses in every generation.

      Delete
  16. o we just happen to have enough common descent to create a nested hierarchy, and enough extinction to get rid of the straddlers. Again, it's a Goldielocks thing. I'm sorry, but I don't find evolution to be a very intellectually satisfying explanation.

    ReplyDelete
  17. natschuster: we just happen to have enough common descent to create a nested hierarchy, and enough extinction to get rid of the straddlers.

    There is substantial evidence of mechanisms of inheritance, speciation, and extinction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And all of that is OK with baraminology.

      Delete
  18. No Zachriel only the ignorant call that a nested hierarchy.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Zach:

    All these mechanisms could hvae just as easily produced a different configuration. So common descent+extinction of straddlers+convergent evolution+deep homology+horizontal gene transfer could doesn't really predict the nested hierarchy we see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. natschuster: All these mechanisms could hvae just as easily produced a different configuration.

      The exact configuration would depend on the rate of variation, the degree of heritability, the amount of hybridization, convergence, drift, etc. Turns out that we can observe many of these mechanisms, from which, we can place limits on the what we can expect to observe.

      Delete
  20. Aren't all those highly variable? doesn't that make it hard to find out exactly hiw much we can expect?

    ReplyDelete
  21. natschuster: Aren't all those highly variable?

    Let's start with a few simple concepts.

    * If traits are not heritable, there is no expectation of a nested hierarchy.
    * If there is no heritable variation, there is no expectation of a nested hierarchy.
    * If the rate of heritable variation is too great, then the nested hierarchy would not be discernible after a few generations.
    * If the rate of heritable variation is too little, then there wouldn't be enough time to evolve the forms that we observed.

    We can observe both heritability and rates of variation, and they are consistent with the historical record.

    ReplyDelete
  22. But since they vary widely, anything could have happened. So they don't predict what we see.

    ReplyDelete
  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  24. natschuster: And teh exticntion rates have to be just rigth as well, to remove the straddlers, but kleave teh nested hierarchy.

    We have evidence of extinction.

    ReplyDelete
  25. And the extinction rates had to be just right to remove the straddlers, but leave the nested hierarchy. But don't extinction rates vary greatly?

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    1. natschuster: And the extinction rates had to be just right to remove the straddlers, but leave the nested hierarchy.

      No. The rate of extinction could have a great deal of latitude to generate the gaps. Also, natural selection tends to push lineages away from one another in order to avoid direct competition, so there is a natural tendency for gaps to form even without extinction.

      Delete
    2. But the extinction rate would have to be enough to eliminate the straddlers. And natural selection would also work on the species within the boundaries because they are close as well. I would think it would tend to weed out those not close to the boundaries as well because they are close, too.

      Delete
    3. natschuster: But the extinction rate would have to be enough to eliminate the straddlers.

      That's right. While there is a wide latitude, there are limits. Turns out, we have evidence of extinction. Perhaps you have heard of Tyrannosaurus Rex or the Basilosaurus.

      natschuster: And natural selection would also work on the species within the boundaries because they are close as well.

      To maintain the nested hierarchy, the rates of evolution are wide but not unlimited. We have evidence of rates of evolution, of course. One unit of measure is called the darwin.

      natschuster: I would think it would tend to weed out those not close to the boundaries as well because they are close, too.

      Not sure what you mean here, but natural selection tends to push lineages apart due to specialization.

      Delete
    4. I understood you to be saying above that natural selection would tend to drive those near the borders to extinction because of direct competion. But the species within the boundaries are also in direct competition with each other. So why is the extinction rate driving all the species near the boundaries extinct, so we don't see them, but leaving those within the boundaries alone, leaving a nested hierarchy.

      Delete
    5. And we have consioderable evidence that intelligent agents make things in nested hierarchies as well. We've got cars, trucks, motocycles, etc.

      Delete
    6. natschuster: And we have consioderable evidence that intelligent agents make things in nested hierarchies as well. We've got cars, trucks, motocycles, etc.

      There are many equally rational ways to arrange cars, trucks and motorcycles into nested hierarchies.

      Delete
    7. natschuster: I understood you to be saying above that natural selection would tend to drive those near the borders to extinction because of direct competion.

      Z: Also, natural selection tends to push lineages away from one another in order to avoid direct competition, so there is a natural tendency for gaps to form even without extinction.

      For instance, a beetle may diversify and become specialized for different foliage microenvironments.

      Delete
    8. ""There are many equally rational ways to arrange cars, trucks and motorcycles into nested hierarchies""

      Then maybe t there are many rational wats to classify organisms as well

      ""Also, natural selection tends to push lineages away from one another in order to avoid direct competition, so there is a natural tendency for gaps to form even without extinction.""

      Isn't a main element of natural selection extinction? Those that aren't fit are seslected against, and go extinct. And If competition near the boundaries drives those near the boundaries extinct, then why doesn't it drive those within the boundaries extinct? That where organism are similar, all within the nest. I would expect lots of competition there, too.

      Delete
    9. natschuster: Then maybe t there are many rational wats to classify organisms as well

      Turns out, that is not the case when considering the range of character traits.

      natschuster: Isn't a main element of natural selection extinction?

      Not species extinction, if that is what you mean.

      Delete
    10. ""Turns out, that is not the case when considering the range of character traits.""

      Can't the same thinhg be said about things made by people?

      ""Not species extinction, if that is what you mean.""

      Doesn't natural selection operate at the species level, too? Any, way why does it seem to operate at the boundaries so much that all the straddlers are extinct, but it leaves those in the middle relatively untouched? It can't be just competition, since competition operates in the middle, too.

      Delete
    11. natschuster: Can't the same thinhg be said about things made by people?

      No. Human artifacts can usually be arranged in many equally consistent ways. For instance, books can be arranged in the Dewey Decimal System, or Library of Congress System, or any of a number of such systems.

      natschuster: Doesn't natural selection operate at the species level, too?

      Darwin's theory concerned intraspecific selection, however, some evolutionary biologist believe that selection can occur at higher taxonomic levels. That wasn't what we were referring to though.

      natschuster: Any, way why does it seem to operate at the boundaries so much that all the straddlers are extinct, but it leaves those in the middle relatively untouched? It can't be just competition, since competition operates in the middle, too.

      In a well-adapted species, the "stragglers" would tend to not be as well adapted. On the other hand, natural selection sometimes eliminates the middle as lineages specialize and diversify to avoid competition.

      Delete
    12. We could invent a decimal system for organisms as well. Or classify them by econiche, or how usefull to humans they are.

      Delete
    13. natschuster: We could invent a decimal system for organisms as well.

      Sure, but that's not what is under discussion. If you classify according to the panoply of traits, there are many reasonably ways to classify books or automobiles, but there is only one reasonable way to classify the vast majority of organisms.

      Delete
    14. Arwe you sure that if we look at the vast apnoply of traits, in, let's say, cars, that it wouldn't form only one reasonable system? Doesn't it all depend on the criteria we use?

      Delete
    15. And even with organisms sometimes the DNA sneds conflicting signals. It all depends on the criteria.

      Delete
    16. natschuster: Arwe you sure that if we look at the vast apnoply of traits, in, let's say, cars, that it wouldn't form only one reasonable system?

      Try organizing first by maker, then try organizing first by function. Or even try organizing first by its music system.

      natschuster: And even with organisms sometimes the DNA sneds conflicting signals.

      Not when considering the entirety of the evidence.

      Delete
    17. ""Try organizing first by maker, then try organizing first by function. Or even try organizing first by its music system.""

      Same thing with organisms. Try organising by usefullness to humans, ritually pure or impure, eco-niche, etc. etc.

      Delete
    18. natschuster: Same thing with organisms. Try organising by usefullness to humans, ritually pure or impure, eco-niche, etc. etc.

      You can organize them alphabetically, but it's not an arrangement based on character traits. There's only one natural arrangement based on character traits.

      Delete
    19. Same thing with human artifacts.

      Delete
    20. natschuster: Same thing with human artifacts.

      No. Try it with vehicles. How would you arrange them?

      Delete
    21. I would do something like cars, SUV's. trucks. etc. based on their parts and such.

      Delete
    22. Those would be your supersets. Now what sets would be nested under those?

      Delete
    23. Maybe the supersets would be things like land vehicles, aircraft. and water vehicles. It's all in the definition. With organisms, I would say that the supersets would be something like the phylum level, the class level would be the equivalent of different kinds of vehicles. Anyway, getting back to the discussion, the next step might be classifying by the number of doors on cars, On trucks it might be the number of axles. isn't that how hey are actually classified?

      Delete
    24. Zachriel: Those would be your supersets. Now what sets would be nested under those?

      natschuster: Maybe the supersets would be things like land vehicles, aircraft. and water vehicles.

      So you're saying there is more than one reasonable way to classify vehicles by character traits.

      Now try it with organisms. What is the most parsimonious grouping of cat, fish, dolphin based on the panoply of traits?

      Delete
    25. What I'm trying to do is apply the same concepts to vehicles that I understand you to be applying to organisms. There's kingdoms, phylums, etc. There's land vehicles, air vehicles, boats, etc. Then there are groups within each group. I would say that based on the panoply of traits, there would be one best way to organize vehicles. Don't governments organize vehicles base on the panoply of traits for various purposes.

      And I guess based on the panoply of traits it would be cat and dolphin in the same group. But if you look at crocodile, lizard, sparrow, the panoply of traits doesn't follow evolutionary descent. Same thing with human, trout, shark. How about hyrax, guinea pig, elephant? How would you classify, aardvark, anteater, elephant? Or whale, manatee, hippo? Do we follow the panoply of traits, or evolutionary descent. There could be more than one way to classify organisms, as well.

      Delete
    26. natschuster: What I'm trying to do is apply the same concepts to vehicles that I understand you to be applying to organisms.

      Agreed.

      natschuster: I would say that based on the panoply of traits, there would be one best way to organize vehicles.

      Great! Provide a couple of levels of nesting, so we can see where you're going.

      natschuster: But if you look at crocodile, lizard, sparrow, the panoply of traits doesn't follow evolutionary descent.

      At this point, we're not concerned with an explanation of the nested hierarchy, just that you recognize that it exists.

      natschuster: How about hyrax, guinea pig, elephant?

      Let's start with what we can easily determine. Hyraxes nest within eukaryotes, vertebrates, amniotes, mammals, placentals. Do you see how that works? (Hyraxes nest with elephants, by the way, sharing many similar characteristics, such how their tusks form.)

      natschuster: There could be more than one way to classify organisms, as well.

      The more closely organisms resemble one another, the more difficulty we might expect in classifying them. That doesn't meant the overall pattern ceases to exist.

      Delete
    27. Okay, we got land vehicles,. cars, four door vs two door, size, manufacturer and model.

      And I know hyraxes are considered closer to elephants. But if you look at the panoply of traits, then maybe they are resemble the guinea pig.

      Delete
    28. natschuster: we got land vehicles,. cars, four door vs two door, size, manufacturer and model.

      Or maybe engine size before physical size or doors.

      natschuster: And I know hyraxes are considered closer to elephants. But if you look at the panoply of traits, then maybe they are resemble the guinea pig.

      The hyrax tusk develop from incisors, like elephants, but unlike most other mammals; their genitals and mammaries are similar; they have nails, not claws or hooves; bifurcated styloglossus; many similarities in skull features; not to mention molecular data.

      The other point is that we don't have to solve every riddle to still have a recognizable nested hierarchy. Clearly, hyraxes and elephants and guinea pigs are eukaryotes, vertebrates, amniotes, mammals, placentals.

      Delete
  26. Technically anytime two or more cells link themselves together and work together for the common goal of survival, then they are a multicellular creature. This may well have happened millions of times. We don't know.

    Does this defeat the idea of a universal common ancestry? I don't see how it would. It does defeat the idea of a singular tree of life, but we could still all be related and all be descended from the same original cell.

    If there would ever be evidence of a second family tree, unrelated, then that would mean at least two biogenesis events. One biogenesis event (a widely held assumption that is not really provable) means UCA would be valid, regardless of whether the descendants of that UCA branch out in a tree formation or a web formation or some mix.

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    1. IntelligentAnimation: Does this defeat the idea of a universal common ancestry?

      Convergence does not defeat common ancestry, though if it were extensive enough, it might be difficult to unravel.

      IntelligentAnimation: One biogenesis event (a widely held assumption that is not really provable) means UCA would be valid, regardless of whether the descendants of that UCA branch out in a tree formation or a web formation or some mix.

      Actually, a single biogenesis is not a widely held assumption. Rather, all extant life is descended from a single universal ancestor. That ancestor was almost certainly *not* the first life, and life may have arisen many times, but with only one population or community leaving descendents.

      Delete
    2. Z, we agree that convergence does not disprove common ancestry. I thought I was clear about that.

      I disagree with you about the general consensus regarding singular or multiple biogenesis events, and that's fine, but to say "almost certainly" it happened multiple times is unsupported conjecture. You lose credibility with me when you overstate something you have no idea of.

      The idea of multiple biogenesis events is an open question. All we know is that we have zero evidence of it and no idea how we even had it happen once.

      Delete
    3. IntelligentAnimation: we agree that convergence does not disprove common ancestry.

      Nor does it disprove a singular tree, even if it distorts the nested hierarchy.

      IntelligentAnimation: I disagree with you about the general consensus regarding singular or multiple biogenesis events, and that's fine, but to say "almost certainly" it happened multiple times is unsupported conjecture.

      You're not quite reading our statement correctly.

      Z: all extant life is descended from a single {most recent} universal ancestor.

      Z: That ancestor was almost certainly *not* the first life

      Z: life may have arisen many times

      Delete
    4. Z, I don't think I'm misunderstanding you, just disagreeing a bit.

      When you say life "may have" arisen many times, I won't disagree, but will point out that it also may not have. Where we disagree is when you use the superlative "almost certainly" for something we have absolutely no evidence of nor any way to calculate whether or not it happened more than once.

      How can you be "almost certain" of something that may or may not have happened billions of years ago, for which we have zero evidence and no explanation? Yet you ask if the most certain fact in all biology is "woo"?

      Science works best when we are clear about what we know and what we are guessing.

      Delete
    5. IntelligentAnimation:here we disagree is when you use the superlative "almost certainly" for something we have absolutely no evidence of nor any way to calculate whether or not it happened more than once.

      The almost certainly didn't refer to whether life arose more than once. Thought we made this clear.

      IntelligentAnimation:How can you be "almost certain" of something that may or may not have happened billions of years ago, for which we have zero evidence and no explanation?

      Let's try a simple example. Dinosaurs roamed the Earth millions of years ago.

      IntelligentAnimation:Yet you ask if the most certain fact in all biology is "woo"?

      You never did answer. Is your élan vital just philosophical woo, or do you have empirical evidence?

      Delete
  27. Scott asks: "Does an fertilized human egg actively receive assistance from a designer in the form of directly interceding, every time, to provide instructions of how to build another human?"

    I know the question wasn't directed at me, but it deserves an answer. First, taken literally word for word, I would say that most intelligent cause advocates do not think teleology works quite like that.

    Once fertilized, the resultant diploid already has genetic instructions, although this is not nearly enough to cause development of an organism. Intelligent animation of matter (teleology) must be a constant part of the process.

    Change the word "designer" to "intelligent agency" and drop the word "interceding" because it falsely implies that the bulk of the work of development and growth is standard chemistry.

    Its like saying dynamite intercedes on the process of blowing up a bridge. No, the dynamite is the primary mover, not a mere intercession.

    Teleology is the primary mover of life. Without it, not only would there be no reproduction, healing and growth, but we would all die immediately. Matter, including nucleotides, are simply tools used, moved intelligently for a purpose.

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    1. Scott: "Does an fertilized human egg actively receive assistance from a designer in the form of directly interceding, every time, to provide instructions of how to build another human?"

      IA: First, taken literally word for word, I would say that most intelligent cause advocates do not think teleology works quite like that.

      What I’m trying to do is determine what Cornelius means by “assistance” and how it’s relevant to the concrete biological adaptations we observe in the biosphere - which is what the theory of evolution is focused on. This wasn’t one of the points I expected him to disagree.

      IA: Once fertilized, the resultant diploid already has genetic instructions, although this is not nearly enough to cause development of an organism. Intelligent animation of matter (teleology) must be a constant part of the process.

      IA: Change the word "designer" to "intelligent agency" and drop the word "interceding" because it falsely implies that the bulk of the work of development and growth is standard chemistry.

      For the purpose of my argument, I suspect we do not sufficiently disagree either.

      The specific features we observe in our biosphere represent specific biological adaptations. These adaptations are the result of transformations of matter that occur when the requisite knowledge is present in those cells.

      If what you mean by teleology is represented by, say, the laws of physics, these laws are not different for each species, nor do they change through the development process. So, they do not reflect additional or modifications of existing instructions that effect what transformations will occur.

      This is what I mean when I say the origin of a biological organism’s adaptations is the origin of those instructions in the cells genome.

      With me so far?

      Delete
    2. Scott, I don't know enough about the law of computation to comment on it. Please elaborate.

      I'm trying to follow your response to me, but I'm not sure I understand.

      Teleology is the intelligent animation of matter and/or the existence of intelligent agency capable of free will movement of matter for a purposeful goal. It is the primary cause of thought, movement and formation of animate objects (living organisms) and it is the primary cause of evolution.

      Specific details such as whether or not it changes between species or during the development process are not really known at this point. We have much more to learn.

      Delete
    3. IA: Teleology is the intelligent animation of matter and/or the existence of intelligent agency capable of free will movement of matter for a purposeful goal. It is the primary cause of thought, movement and formation of animate objects (living organisms) and it is the primary cause of evolution.

      I’m not sure what you mean by “animating matter”, as it seems unnecessarily vague.

      Consider all of the conceivable transformations of matter. In this group, there are transformations that are prohibited by the laws of physics, such as traveling faster than the speed of light, and those that are possible. Of the latter (possible) group, there are two types: transformation that occur spontaneously, such as the formation of stars from gravity, hydrogen and other stellar materials and transformations that only occur when the requisite knowledge is present, such as the transformation of air, water. etc., into plants.

      Biological Darwinism (the underlying explanation behind evolutionary theory) concerns itself with the latter kind of transformation. It’s unclear how the “animation of matter” fits into those categories of transformations in any sort of meaningful way.

      IA: Specific details such as whether or not it changes between species or during the development process are not really known at this point. We have much more to learn.

      I’m not sure you know what you mean by “animating matter” either.

      For example, given this vague description, this supposed intelligent agent would itself be purposeful in that it “animates matter”. How likely is it that such an agent could just so happen to be able to perform this function?

      IOW, doesn’t your intelligent agent exhibit the very same purpose that you claim needs explaining?

      Delete
  28. IntelligentAnimation: Teleology is the primary mover of life. Without it, not only would there be no reproduction, healing and growth, but we would all die immediately.

    Is your élan vital just philosophical woo, or do you have empirical evidence?

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    1. Z, although it is hard to believe you actually asked that, you sounded serious, so I will respond.

      Point blank, teleology is the most certain fact in any branch of science. It is the ultimate axiom. Absolutely no scientific fact is more overwhelmingly supported by undeniable evidence.

      Certainly a wealth of peer-reviewed papers abound, such as mice seeking cheese in a maze, and the like, but seriously, everyday observations could not be more certain. Intelligence animates matter in all living things, always.

      Every one of trillions of creatures in the biosphere have trillions of movements daily, in a countless myriad of various circumstances, and every single one of those movements is functional and purposive.

      To have such a movement to happen even once by happenstance would take unthinkable odds. If anyone ever explained even one of these countless movements through standard chemistry having exactly the right timing, placement, amount, complexity and directionality as needed, but only when needed, they would have defied all odds and yet still have all of the rest to explain anew.

      Moreover, unlike any other scientific fact, we KNOW intentional animation is factual because we directly participate in plenty of it. We have a self-aware consciousness which can move matter within ourselves with free will and intelligent volition.

      So.... yeah, there is a tad bit of evidence.

      Delete
    2. IntelligentAnimation: Point blank, teleology is the most certain fact in any branch of science.

      If you define teleology as nothing more than organisms act towards a purpose, then you aren't saying anything that isn't apparent.

      As for any branch of science, contingency is important in many branches of science, including biology.

      Delete
    3. AI, are you familiar with the law of computation?

      Delete
    4. Z, the consistently purposeful movement of living organisms is abundant proof of teleology, but it isn't how I "define" teleology. You asked about empirical evidence and I gave it.

      We agree that teleology is apparent, but it doesn't necessarily stop at life forms moving around. Even more apparent is the fact of a self-aware consciousness. We know about this because we directly experience it.

      To move purposefully requires knowledge, planning and the ability to animate functionally. It requires agency and volition.

      This is all very factual and certain, but this does not mean that teleology is limited to organisms only. Many scientists go far beyond that.

      Is teleology factual? Absolutely. There are many questions, but the certainty of teleology as a force of nature is beyond any serious question.

      Delete
    5. IntelligentAnimation: We agree that teleology is apparent, but it doesn't necessarily stop at life forms moving around. Even more apparent is the fact of a self-aware consciousness. We know about this because we directly experience it.

      But that wasn't your claim. You said "teleology is the most certain fact in any branch of science."


      Delete
  29. Yes, there is plenty of evidence for teleology, unfortunately you don't know how to assess evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Z: "But that wasn't your claim."

    Every word of my post, including the quote you mined, supports my claim neatly. I even specifically said in my post that "the certainty of teleology as a force of nature is beyond any serious question" yet you seem to imply that I am backpeddling away from the certainty of teleology.

    If I said anything contradictory, please point it out.

    If it helps clarify, I think we are all aware that many different claims about teleology have been made, some of which do contradict each other. I am not saying that every single thing that has ever been said by anyone about teleology is true. I am saying that the fact that teleology does exist is absolutely scientifically certain.

    Does that help clarify my stance?

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  31. IntelligentAnimation: I even specifically said in my post that "the certainty of teleology as a force of nature is beyond any serious question"

    In the trivial sense that a dog chases rabbits. But your claim was that it applied to every branch of science. Please explain how teleology applies to plate tectonics, for instance.

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  32. Z: "But your claim was that it applied to every branch of science."

    I made no such claim. I did not say that teleology applies to every branch of science. I said it is the most certain fact and that there is no fact in any branch of science that can be more certain.

    I can see now how my original statement could have been read in a way I never intended it, however you are the same poster who assumed I meant that teleology can ONLY be about an organism moving intentionally.

    So you have made errors both minimizing and maximizing beyond what I said. Maybe you could slow down and read more carefully.

    I said teleology is evident in the purposive movements of organisms. I don't say teleology is ONLY in the movements of organisms nor do I say it is or is not in every part of everything.

    Dogs chasing rabbits isn't at all trivial. The fact that intelligent agency is capable of moving matter purposefully is powerful explanatory knowledge.

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    1. IntelligentAnimation: I did not say that teleology applies to every branch of science.

      You said, "Point blank, teleology is the most certain fact in any branch of science."

      So teleology is the most important fact in orbital mechanics, or atomic theory. You might to explain what you mean.

      Delete
    2. Z. I keep explaining and you keep on going on the same misinterpretation that has nothing to do with what I was saying.

      YOU added the term "applies to" and you changed "any" to "every". If you change somebody's statement you are likely to misinterpret.

      I can be the best foosball player in any state. That doesn't mean I am the best foosball player in Iowa. I've never even been to Iowa. Its just that there isn't anybody in Iowa who is better than me.

      The only thing I said teleology applies to is consciousness and the ability of living organisms to move purposefully. And weren't we talking about biology and what causes multicellularity?

      That waste of time aside, do you agree that teleology is a certain fact?

      Delete
    3. IntelligentAnimation: I can be the best foosball player in any state.

      Most people would read that as applying to any state one might name, that is, every state. If you want to limit it, you would use the word "some".

      "Point blank, teleology is the most certain fact in {some} branches of science."

      IntelligentAnimation: That waste of time aside, do you agree that teleology is a certain fact?

      Humans act with the sense of purpose. They envision a future state, then find means to achieve it. This is not particularly controversial.

      Delete
    4. Z, actually I have been in a debate on another blog with a guy who denies free will and consciousness. Although it is certainly a minority opinion, determinism is alive and outspoken. Oddly, it is one of the great controversies of all time.

      Would you limit it to just humans? Do you not agree that animals also display intentional conscious decision-making and purposeful movement?

      I would say the same of plants and microbes, although it may not always be as obvious in plants. You agree?

      The fact that there is such a thing as intelligent agency and that this intelligence is capable of animating matter is very clear according to evidence, yet it is so controversial that it is not taught in public schools.

      Delete
    5. IntelligentAnimation: I have been in a debate on another blog with a guy who denies free will

      Seems more of a definitional problem. If you are free from constraint, people consider themselves free, even if that means being free to express their intrinsic nature.

      IntelligentAnimation: Would you limit it to just humans? Do you not agree that animals also display intentional conscious decision-making and purposeful movement?

      Sure.

      IntelligentAnimation: I would say the same of plants and microbes, although it may not always be as obvious in plants. You agree?

      IntelligentAnimation: Not consciousness as it is normally construed. Consciousness is a type of modeling in the mind,

      The fact that there is such a thing as intelligent agency and that this intelligence is capable of animating matter is very clear according to evidence, yet it is so controversial that it is not taught in public schools.


      You just made an unfounded leap, to saying that this agency is external to the animated matter.

      Delete
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