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Posted by on Jun 5, 2014 in Book Review, Creationism, featured | 69 comments

Darwin’s Doubt is Done

Why am I done with this project?

Well, apparently the paperback edition has just been published and it has a new chapter that specifically deals with complaints from actual scientists (Don Prothero, Nick Matzke, and Charles Marshall). This is fascinating because  it took Meyer (and Luskin) over a year to come up with a response to Matzke, who they didn’t bother with because he read the whole book in a day or two. Sadly, while he “deals” with them, he STILL gets things wrong. He handwaves away statistical data and goes with his gut. Which defeats the purpose of statistics.

Here’s Nick Matzke’s response, which I encourage you to read if you are interested in more mistakes by Meyer… who still doesn’t understand that people check him on this.

Now, why am I done with my response? Because a new edition exists with new information. I don’t have that edition and I have no intention of getting it. That means that anything I write further about Darwin’s Doubt will be rejected by all creationists because I “haven’t read the updated edition and that deals with my complaints”. I know this will happen because it has happened in the best. Indeed, I predict that at least comment will say that I’ve stopped reviews because I really know that Meyer’s new chapter crushes all opposition. That’s plainly not true, unless he corrects every mistake that I (and Matzke, and Prothero, and Marshall, and Moran, and Coyne… etc) have mentioned and corrected (and apologized) for all the quotemines… in that one chapter.

Now, to be clear, several creationists have pointed me to various places in Darwin’s Doubt that would take care of my issues with the book. So far, we’ve been on a wild goose chase that just makes Meyer look more and more incompetent. I’ve added quotemine after quotemine to Meyer’s record. I’ve pointed out fundamental mistakes in what he thinks about evolution and science.

And still, Meyer’s supporters won’t answer a simple question, “Why do you consider Meyer a reliable source after all of this?”  They refuse to answer it. They acknowledge the question, but have flat out said they will not answer it. Why don’t they defend Meyer or refute the claims made by actual scientists?

I know exactly why they don’t defend Meyer. Because they can’t. They know that Meyer is a liar. They know he misrepresents science. They know he misrepresents scientists.

And they don’t care, because Meyer is a Christian who is determined to destroy evolution (and all science) and replace it with religious fervor. Don’t believe me?  Look at the first goal of the Wedge Document, which was written by the organization that Meyer co-founded and was vice president of.

Governing Goals

  • To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.
  • To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.

That’s the purpose of all of this intelligent design stuff. It’s very clear.

A long time ago, I made some predictions about this book. Let’s see how I did.

Prediction the First: There will not be a calculation or measurement of complexity, complex specified information, and/or information in the entire book.  Now to clarify, I don’t mean Meyer saying “the random chances of x protein appearing out of nothing is blah blah blah”.  That’s correct as far as it goes, but it does not mean anything, besides the fact that is not how proteins are formed in the first place.

<snip>

Prediction the Second: There will be at least a chapter devoted to the conspiracy against ID in academic circles.

Prediction the Third: Meyer will spend a chapter or section talking about the Cambrian explosion.  He will ignore all current research in the Cambrian and Precambrian periods and instead present stale (and wrong) notions such as “all body plans appeared in the Cambrian” and “there are no transitionals” and “there was almost no life prior to the Cambrian”.

Prediction the Fourth: Meyer will use a strawman of evolution and spend between two and three chapters attacking that strawman.  Possible attacks are “evolution is completely random” (which is untrue), “evolution is undirected” (if you mean by an intelligence, this is true, if you mean totally random, it’s not true), or similar old attacks.

Prediction the Fifth: Meyer’s single ‘peer-reviewed’ paper was published by a fellow creationist, in an obscure journal, that focused on taxonomy.  The paper he published (which has subsequently pulled by the editors of the journal) was a review paper and contained zero new information, research, or conclusions for that matter.  The fifth prediction is that the vast majority of this book will be based on that work.

First: Prediction confirmed. I have not found, nor has anyone pointed out where such a calculation exists in this book (after multiple requests).

Second: I call this a wash. Meyer did not devote a whole chapter to this. But he does talk about it extensively (devoting several sections in various places) to this.

Third: Confirmed. I didn’t know it at the time, but the whole book was about the Cambrian explosion (basically). Sadly, Meyer has no idea what’s actually going on, or if he does, he chooses to ignore it. Poor researcher or liar, pick.

Fourth: Confirmed. Meyer totally misrepresents the fossil record (ignoring fossils that existed before the Cambrian. He misrepresents (or ignores) evo-devo and its’ application saying “Evo-devo is just a form of neo-Darwinism, therefore it’s wrong.”

Fifth: Confirmed. Indeed, Meyer recylces much of that paper and his previous books to fill the pages of this one. The result is the perpetuation of mistakes (or lies) that he ought to have learned about in the intervening years. The fact that he didn’t bother to learn new thing… or that he learned new things solely to misrepresent them… is quite telling.

In conclusion, read the book if you like, but understand that what Meyer says is a touch of truth with a ton of lies. He needs that touch of truth to add legitimacy, but it fails when people actually do the research.

If anyone has a specific question about a specific part of the book (not chapter and probably not even a section), then I’ll be happy to answer it or find out the answer.

The rest of the series.

 

  • RexTugwell

    A job well done, Smilodon! I couldn’t have asked for a better review. It was just what I expected. However, you’re not quite done. After each uncompleted chapter in the series, you need to add “[unread]” or “[halted review just in time]”. You see, Smiley, it was painfully obvious that you were determined to read as little of the book as possible and just when you were getting to the good stuff…you stopped. That’s probably why you were nominated for “[Self]Censor of the Year”. Priceless. Now go add those bracketed comments and then go fix your math. (I noticed that no one up to this point has defended your calculation. Why is that?)

    And still, Meyer’s supporters won’t answer a simple question, “Why do
    you consider Meyer a reliable source after all of this?” They refuse to
    answer it. They acknowledge the question, but have flat out said they
    will not answer it. Why don’t they defend Meyer or refute the claims
    made by actual scientists?

    Why should I answer the above questions when you won’t even read the very book you’re supposed to review? What you didn’t say spoke volumes. Or to put it another way: your silence was as significant as the silence was to Sherlock Holmes of the dog that did not bark.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Pieret/100000023960330 John Pieret

      just when you were getting to the good stuff…you stopped

      Yeah, the “good stuff” was always just over the rainbow. Funny how you could never explain the “good stuff” yourself … just kept saying it was there … somewhere.

      Why should I answer the above questions when you won’t even read the very book you’re supposed to review?

      Because, if you weren’t just engaged in a rhetorical attempt to defend the indefensible, you would explain or defend all the dishonest quote mining Meyer did, all the basic mistakes he made and the overall shoddy “scholarship” in the book, amply demonstated by Smilodon. Do you really think any reasonable person believes a reviewer needs to address every comma and colon, every “and,” “if” and “but” on every page, and each and every claim, no matter how inconsequential, to demonstrate the author is full of crap?

      Meyer’s book condemns itself, as Smilodon has demonstrated already beyond any reasonable doubt. Of course, nothing can prove anything beyond an unreasonable doubt.

    • Void Walker

      Rex, Smilodon took an extensive amount of time out of his very busy schedule to do a chapter by chapter review of this mess of a book. Hows about you do the same for a book you disagree with before tossing out your baseless little critiques like this? I know your head is really far up your ass, but c’mon now.

      • RexTugwell

        Hi Void, so good to hear from you again. The other two stooges have been very vocal lately. I have to thank you for reminding me that Smiley has taken “an extensive amount of time out of his very busy schedule to do a chapter by chapter review of this mess of a book”. I’ve been wondering why you all thought that our host did such a splendid job with this “review”. Then it occurred to me that you were just relying only on what he spoon fed you. I think it would be helpful to see just how much of a thorough, chapter-by-chapter review it really was.

        (Percentages of each chapter actually covered*)
        prologue – 66%
        chap 1 – 100%
        chap 2 – 60%
        chap 3 – 0%
        chap 4 – 0%
        chap 5 – 0%
        chap 6 – 0%
        chap 7 – 0%
        chap 8 – 0%
        chap 9 – 0%
        chap 10 – 0%
        chap 11 – 30%
        chap 12 – 25% (Dr. Janis owns this one)
        chap 13 – 30%
        chap 14 – 0%
        chap 15 – 0%
        chap 16 – 0%
        chap 17 – 100%
        chap 18 – 6%
        chap 19 – 0%
        chap 20 – 0%

        Note bene: Chapters 11,12 & 13 wouldn’t have been addressed at all if I hadn’t urged Smilodon to persevere.

        • SmilodonsRetreat

          So, what you’re saying is that everything that I didn’t cover in this book is perfectly correct, with no lies, no misconceptions, no quotemines?

          I just happened (at your insistence in some cases) to hit on the small percentage of his book that is filled with lies, misconceptions, and quotemines. Not to mention a complete lack of research of Meyer’s part.

          Is that what you are saying?

          • Void Walker

            He’s in denial. I’ve been there, too. It’s quite sad when a Christian cannot admit that they’re afraid.

        • Void Walker

          Considering how many times Smilodon has pointed out that Meyer has fudged information and outright lied, why does his lack of *intense* depth bother you? Oh wait, that’s right…you’re offended. Every Christian has some sort of supporting structure for their faith. For some, it’s a defense of the POE, for others it’s a denial of evolution. Lets face it, Rex, you’re frightened. You realize that evolution undermines Yahweh as a designer, and you shove your head up your bum, really really far, pretending that this is, in fact, not an issue.

          • RexTugwell

            It’s rather apparent that with Doc Bill’s obsession with the phallus and your constant talk of shoving things up asses you two should start dating. I’m thinking of changing my moniker to TheMatchMaker.

          • Void Walker

            Is *that* your attempt at an insult, rex? I’m actually bi, so I take zero offense. I’ve made out with a couple guys in my day.

            Could you, like….I don’t know….try a little harder? This is getting sad.

          • RexTugwell

            No insult; just making an inference from the facts. Actually, it was you who tried to insult me with a gay reference here . So just like your lost faith story, I think you’re lying about being bi also.

            Could you, like….I don’t know….try a little harder?

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            You can answer questions or go away.

            “So, what you’re saying is that everything that I didn’t cover in this book is perfectly correct, with no lies, no misconceptions, no quotemines?”

          • Void Walker

            Ah, so because I made a gay funny I’m therefore not bisexual? Where did you go to school, rex? A garbage dumpster? And, oh mighty king of logic, my making a joke that (in your little mind) removes credence from my claim of being bi somehow does the same to my story of deconversion? At this point I actually pity you. I can tell that you’re frightened of debate with me, which is even more pitiful when you consider that I’m young enough to be your son. ;-)

        • Doc Bill

          I think Tuggy Wuggy should classify all his “sensible” vs “stupid” comments for those chapters. My guess is that it would be 99% stupid and 1% accidentally not so stupid.

  • Doc Bill

    The Fates were with me for just enough time. I checked out Paper Doubt on Amazon on the hunch that the 35-page “rebuttal” would be available with Look Inside and guess what?

    It was! I couldn’t believe it. All but a few pages.

    So, I read it, every whiney page available. It’s what you’d expect. Meyer doesn’t actually rebut anything, rather he points out that Luskin or some other Tooter minion posted a rebuttal and points to that, instead. Yeah, true. He writes that the rebuttal was posted elsewhere and he isn’t going to provide it again. Very strange considering Paper Doubt is a reprint of Doubt which is a reprint of Hopeless Monster which is a reprint of his earlier 1998 essay. All he does is republish old arguments so I’m surprised that he felt no need to jot down a few more paragraphs.

    Of course, he doesn’t provide any DATA or RESEARCH to support his “rebuttal.” All he said was “is too” or “is not” and that was it. Meyer’s rebuttal of cladistics was as painful to read as his earlier treatment, rather mistreatment, of the subject in Doubt. I think he understands it and I think he gets it, and he really has to work hard to twist cladistics around to fit his creationist notions.

    The Prothero rebuttal was incredibly stupid. Meyer simply wrote, “I’m right and Prothero is wrong.” Period. Meyer’s argument is this: absence of evidence is evidence of absence. End of discussion.

    Surprisingly, though, Meyer dealt with Marshall’s criticisms exactly as he has in previous postings. Why he chose to repeat himself here when he refused to re-engage the argument on cladistics is a mystery. It could be that it would be more difficult on the subject of cladistics to say “I’m right and you’re wrong” when it would be obvious to the casual reader that Meyer simply didn’t know what he was talking about. With Marshall, though, Meyer fell back to his old mantra, “I’m right and you’re wrong” and left it there. No new supporting evidence, no new argument; just blah, blah and moving the goalposts.

    Anyway. The Look Inside feature presents the text as an image so I couldn’t use “select all” to copy it but I could take screen shots. So, I scrolled back to the top of the section and as I did so the window flashed and all I got was the Index. Very strange. So, I went back to the Look Inside table of contents and the entire book was greyed out! I happened to catch the Epilogue less than 30 minutes before it was shut down.

    Oh, one final note. I read this paragraph several times and I just could not make sense of it. Meyer tries to argue that homology is not evidence of common descent, rather it could be viewed as evidence of design. I don’t see how he could support that notion in light of the documented homology leading to the bones in the inner ear. Again, he just waved his hands, provided no documentation of his own and moved on.

    Disturbingly dishonest is Meyer.

  • Doc Bill

    Nick Matzke caught a new Meyer falsehood in the Epilogue:

    “The need to invoke hypothetical ghost lineages commonly arises when evolutionary biologists attempt to use cladistics to infer ancestors otherwise unattested by the fossil record. The reason for this is that the fossil record often reveals so-called stem groups arising contemporaneously with, or even after, crown groups. Theropod dinosaurs provide a classic example of this problem. They first appear in the fossil record millions of years after the birds that allegedly evolved from them.”

    Birds: approx. 145 Mya

    Theropod dinosaurs: approx. 230 Mya

    This latest misrepresentation stems from an hypothesis promoted by a few paleornithologists prior to fossil discoveries in the early 1980’s and subsequently which demonstrated the earlier hypothesis to be invalid. However, Meyer conveniently ignores all modern, published research on this subject and spouts his incorrect opinion instead.

    Even in his rebuttal he can’t stop making things up! Pitiful, really.

  • cazimir

    “That means that anything I write further about Darwin’s Doubt will be rejected by all creationists because I “haven’t read the updated edition and that deals with my complaints”.

    Please continue the review with chapters 8-12. I assure you don’t need to worry about the above because those reviewers didn’t touch these chapters. I am certain that if Meyer mentioned these chapters in his new chapter it is just to point out that his critics couldn’t address the issues he presented in those chapters.

    I am really curious what evolutionists think about the problems raised in these chapters, so far my impression is that they didn’t address them because they can’t deal with them and they have no evidence.

    Please be the first who rebuts these chapters and please emphasize the evidence there is for evolution regarding the issues presented in these chapters. At least please finish chapter 11.

    • SmilodonsRetreat

      Point out a SPECIFIC thing that you think evolution doesn’t deal with and I’ll be happy do.

      But please note that your request just cements the view that there is nothing more to ID than anti-evolution. Meyer is NOT pointing out the evidence supporting ID. He is not providing experiments and observations that support ID. He is not saying how ID can explain anything better.

      He’s just attacking evolution.

      ID is deader than last nights bar-b-que and we all know it.

      But, please, point out a specific bit on a specific page and I’ll see what I can do. Keeping in mind that I have had to teach myself phylogenetics to the point where I can simplify it for people like you. It’s not trivial, but it’s not necessarily arduous either. Why don’t YOU take up the mantel?

      Instead of just accepting Meyer as “Bringer of Truth”, why don’t you see if he’s wrong about something?

      At this point, if I where you, I wouldn’t hang my hat on anything Meyer says.

    • RexTugwell

      Cazimir, The Boy Wonder’s silence on key parts of the book is of more value than anything he’s written so far. Alas, Darwin’s Doubt is Done, so the silence lives on.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        Explain to me why anything that Meyer says should be taken as correct after the dozens of mistakes, lies, quotemines and misrepresentations I’ve discovered so far?

        Oh that’s right, you refuse to answer my questions because you don’t know anything about statistics.

        Run along.

        • RexTugwell

          “Run along”No, I think I’ll stick around a while. Thanks.

      • Doc Bill

        Once again little Rexy Wankwell comes too little, too late. What, no comment about Meyer’s boner about bird evolution? You chicken?

        • RexTugwell

          And calling someone chicken over the Internet is an exercise in courage? I guess being Doc Bill is its own form of punishment.

          • Doc Bill

            Brawk! Brawk!

            Meyer on bird evolution:

            1. Ignorant.
            2. Stupid.
            3. All of the above.

            I’m sure Sir Wanksalot can give us an answer.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Let’s be nice. It is his fault he put all his money on the wrong horse, but we shouldn’t tease him for that.

            Him continuing to follow Meyer blindly even knowing that Meyer has been shown to be a liar is something else entirely.

            Rex, what does ID say about bird evolution? Oh yeah, “Bird’s appeared with feathers”. Is that true? Sadly, not so much.

          • Doc Bill

            Oh, believe me, I’m being nice! Total 5th Grade, maybe, but quite nice! Wexy knows enough to know he’s both wrong and fairly ignorant. Ironically, he wouldn’t last 5 minutes on a creationist website. He’d get banned by his own kind. Science websites are more tolerant of the delusional. Widdle Wexy Wankerbean is good fun. His squeaking amuses me. Encore, Wexy, encore!!

          • RexTugwell

            Stop making fun of my name.

          • Doc Bill

            You didn’t say “please.” Ignorant AND rude. I should have known.

          • RexTugwell

            I’m afraid the only one who’s ignorant here is you, Doc. You see, RexTugwell isn’t my real name. Smiley the Boy Wonder knew this last year when I sent him the book. Why he didn’t let you in on the secret, only he can say. Maybe he enjoyed watching you make a fool of yourself. I sure did.

          • Doc Bill

            OK, Wankswell (oh, is that “wanks well” or “wank swell”) you telling me to quit making fun of your PSEUDOnym?

            Bwahahahahhahahahahahahahahaha! That is freaking High-Larry-OUS!

            Do tell, what’s your real name? Monkey Spanker? Oh, this is too good! It’s like the old joke. Rex Tugwell goes to court to get his name changed. The judge says, “Rex Tugwell, eh? Well, I can certainly sympathize why you want to change your name. It must have been quite embarrassing to have been saddled with that. So, OK, what do you want to change it to?” And Rex answers, “Dick Tugwell.”

            What you fail to understand, my little pud puller, is that your funny name, pseudonym or whatever is the ONLY thing you have going for you! You have no class, no education, no wit, no sense of humor and, well, no clue. But you do have High Entertainment Value. I’d say you’d rank about 150 on the Luskin scale. Well done, sir, I congratulate you.

            Ah do believe I’ve come down with a case of the vapors. Imma gonna faint from excitement.

          • RexTugwell

            You can make fun of my name all you want for all I care. I was just telling you to stop so you could continue to demonstrate for us all your phallic obsession. The weak-minded are so easy to manipulate.

          • Void Walker

            Rex, if this handle isn’t your real name then why are you upset it’s being made fun of?

          • RexTugwell

            What does Smiley’s review say about Darwin’s Doubt? Happily, not so much. Did you add those bracketed comments yet?

          • Void Walker

            You’re an immature little guy, aren’t you? I’d still love to debate your faith. I’m still waiting, in fact…anytime you wanna do it, let me know. ;-)

          • RexTugwell

            I’m afraid debate is out of the question. A discussion with anyone who’s faith is so superficial that it is abandoned upon a reading of Signature in the Cell would not be fruitful.

            And I’m neither immature nor little. You still make me giggle ;-)

          • Void Walker

            I said that Signature in the cell was *instrumental* in the loss of my faith, Rex. Do me a favor and look that word up.

            The problem of evil (both natural and logical), biblical scholarship, studying the “historicity” of Christ, etc. are among several reasons I lost my faith. The process by which is occurred was an agonizing one, mind you.

            Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, will you grow some balls and debate me? I’ve been engaging Christians for years, and it’s quite telling when one of them (such as you) denies that they subscribe to ID for religious purposes.

            So, wanna have a go at it? Debating is fucking fun for me….please? :-D

  • guerillasurgeon

    ” I have no found, no”
    Might want to correct these or they’ll say your critique is wrong because you can’t spell :-).

    • SmilodonsRetreat

      Thanks. My fault as a writer. I hate editing.

  • Doc Bill

    More self-promotion, less science or business as usual at the Disco Tute.

    Breathless headline, Stephen Meyer addresses his critics, well, the main ones: Matzke, Prothero and Marshall.

    New video of Meyer! What does he say? What does he say?

    Well, nothing.

    Zero. Zip. Nada.

    He doesn’t address anything in his little 3-minute “buy my other not new book, now in paperback” promotion. So, the lying little scumbag, Meyer, expects people (rather, his sheeple – that’s you Rexy Wexy) to shell out for a SECOND copy of Doubt just to read his 35-page non-response to critics. Well, hey, all you delusional twits (that’s you Rexy Wexy) get on out there and fork out another ten bucks for the Epilogue of the Century. Meyer tells it all!

  • cazimir

    “But please note that your request just cements the view that there is nothing more to ID than anti-evolution.”

    If that’s your opinion it’s fine by me, I am more interested in the evolution part. I am not scientist and I am not an ID proponent so I can’t help you regarding ID.

    “Meyer is NOT pointing out the evidence supporting ID.”

    He does but if you don’t want to accept it its’ fine by me too.

    “But, please, point out a specific bit on a specific page and I’ll see what I can do.”

    Could you continue with chapter 11 ?

    There are these sections: Orfan genes, Begging questions, Evolution ex nihilo, Protein folds: plausible but irrelevant scenarios, Protein folds: Relevant but implausible scenarios, Word salad.

    I am interested in evidence for random evolution, which no reviewer of the book presented. All they did including you is find mistakes that are not really relevant to the question random evolution or intelligent design.

    • SmilodonsRetreat

      And yet, I’ve presented DOZENS of papers that show that random mutation can have major effects on body plans, protein systems… or no effect at all.

      A single mutation, 1 letter changed in a 500 letter sequence can result in humans surviving in an environment where they couldn’t survive before.

      Less than 5 mutations can result in the efficiency of a enzyme increasing 94-fold.

      Did you know that there’s a mutation in the human population that prevents HIV from attaching to cells, effectively rendering people immune to AIDS?

      Did you know that there’s a mutation in the human population that basically nullifies bad cholesterol?

      Oh, you mean big mutations that result in new species or new phyla. I have explained at least twice in posts and several times in comments that no biologist thinks that any single mutation or groups of mutations result in new phyla. It’s a strawman attack created by creationists to confuse the dupes who don’t understand biology. There is no such thing as macroevolution. The only thing that ever happens is speciation. Over time, there are so many different species that we humans create new groups to put them in. As we see more and more species, we need bigger and bigger groups. That’s all it is.

      Meyer’s (and your) “smoking gun” is an artifact of a spotty fossil record and the human desire to categorize things that really is a continuum.

      Do you have a radio that only shows odd numbers on the FM frequency? 98.7 or 105.1? Does 105.2 not exist? Of course it does. Does 105.25 not exist? Of course it does. But you don’t see those on your radio dial because they aren’t important to you.

      The evidence for evolution is stunning, voluminous, and utterly convincing… to anyone who actually reads about it. Heck, even Michael Behe thinks that common descent is correct. The evidence is so powerful that, unlike creationists, we don’t need an organism-by-organism chain of mutations to understand that all primates, including humans are very closely related. Heck, all primates share the exact same mutation in exactly the same place that prevents us from making vitamin C.

      You want to calculate odds, then calculate the odds of tarsiers, gorillas, spider monkeys, humans, and a couple hundred other species of primate on multiple continents have the exact same mutation. If you say “common design”, the only possible evidence is to produce the designer. That’s it.

      However, evolution not only explains it, but predicts it. You can add my review of The Monkey’s Voyage to your list of reading to explain how primates on two different continents have the exact same gene.

      Tell me, have you read my article about ichthyosaurs? There are hundreds of fossils that provide an excellent range detail in all anatomical areas and steady progression of features that are more adapted to free swimming in deep water.

      Name a 32rd cousin on your mother’s side. If you don’t have a 32rd cousin, I’ll take a 31st or 33rd. I don’t want an ancestor, but a cousin, who is alive today. Someone who shares the same 30 greats, grandmother or grandfather as you do. Can you do it?

      Most people can’t. The average human generation time is about 25 years. I’m asking you to look back in time 800 years, then follow a different branch of your family to the present. Can you do it? Of course not. Yet, you do have them. Unless your family has been only children for 800 years, you have cousins that are 32 generations removed from you.

      How much do you think that they look like you? Yes, they are still human… duh.

      Now, let’s do that for 320 generations. That’s 8,000 years. Humans were definitely alive back then. It is probable that somewhere in this world, quite possibly the Middle East, Africa, or Asia you have a cousin that is 320 generations removed from yourself. How about 3200 generations… 80,000 years. That’s in the range of time when humans were first leaving Africa and the appearance of the L2 Haplogroup (look it up).

      One more step, 32,000 generations, 800,000 years. Now we’re in the range of other Homo species, neadertalis, erectus, heidelbergenesis. At this level of ancestry, every single modern human is your cousin. It will be another 600,000 years before modern humans arrive on the scene.

      However, presuming you are a male, your last common ancestor lived a mere 338,000 years ago. Every male alive today has descended from one of the Homo species alive then. Every other tree, every other lineage of cousins has died out. Only that one guys genetics remain… except, we’ve been adding to them. Even though there was one male 338,000 years ago, we now have hundreds, even thousands of alleles that are different from him. That’s through mutation, change over time. He was NOT Homo sapiens either.

      Now, if you’re female, the most recent common ancestor of all females lived much more recently, a mere 150,000 years ago. Every single female human alive today is descended from her. I would suggest you read the book, Seven Daughters of Eve to learn how we know this, the amount of work that had to be done to figure this out, and the evidence that it is true.

      Again, some of the lineages… those far, far distance cousins.. died out. There’s no record of them alive today or even within the last 100,000 years.

      If you far enough back 64,000 generations (actually more because generation time was much shorter back then), then you’re seeing things that we call Homo. But you probably wouldn’t think it was human. You’d think it was a chimpanzee, but with a straight back and always walked upright. Now, we’re to Homo habilis.

      How do we know? Look at the anatomy, at the tools, at the behaviors. These were relatively intelligent, tool using, fire using people. They are our ancestors. And some of the lineages died out, like your weird great aunt Sheila who never married and never had kids. Her lineage is dead. You will never have a cousin from her. But you might from great aunt Lisa, who had 5 kids… each of whom had five kids.

      And, in 20 generations, the great (18 times) grandchildren of you and your brother will never know the two of you even existed. They will never know that they have a common ancestor in your father (or maybe they will if the internet survives).

      This isn’t a fantasy story. It’s real. Everything that happens now has happened in the past. Do you honestly think that a Chihuahua and a Great Dane would be considered the same species if we didn’t have dachshunds, corgis, beagles, bassets, foxhounds, huskies, and German Shepards. If we didn’t have a nearly unbroken chain of dogs, I doubt there’s any biologist on the planet who say that they are the SAME species. Certainly closely related, maybe even the same genus, but not the same species. No way.

      Sadly, there is nothing in this comment that I haven’t already explained in my blog. You choose to ignore the evidence. I really wish you wouldn’t. I think that you would be surprised at the detail that actual scientists get to… don’t read what the creationists write. As we have seen Meyer has knowingly lied about everything from what other scientists actually said to important aspects of science.

      Yet, you would still believe him over the millions of papers that show he’s wrong.

      If this isn’t about intelligent design, then you have to quit thinking about Meyer. Maybe scientists haven’t really explored Orfan genes. I’m willing to bet that they have though. I’m willing to bet that any quotes from peer-reviewed research Meyer makes are quotemines. I’m willing to bet that if you do the research, that you will find there’s a lot of things that Meyer isn’t telling you… as we have seen time and time again in this book.

      Finally, you’re really holding out for chapter 11. Have you read the rest of the reviews and the comments. Rex Tugwell held out for one chapter.. until I eviscerated it. Then he held out for another… and I eviscerated that too. Now, he’s declaring victory because I haven’t dealt with every single statement that Meyer makes in the entire book. Really?

      So, tell me Caz, if I were to study and write about every single statement that Meyer makes in this book… would it change your mind? I don’t want an answer. I want you to give yourself an honest answer.

      If it won’t change your mind, then there’s no point in continuing anyway. If it will change your mind, then why don’t you take a few steps without me. Read up on Orfan genes. Heck, you do that, and I’ll give you a guest blog post. Just be aware that I’ve already downloaded a couple dozen relevant papers, so I’ll know if you’re blowing smoke up my ass. But seriously, you can use the contact form.

      You can also post it anywhere else, so you can assure yourself that I haven’t changed anything. But I won’t publish if it doesn’t match the actual science.

      How about it?

      BTW: You caught me in a good state. I probably won’t be as nice next time.

  • cazimir

    “A single mutation, 1 letter changed in a 500 letter sequence can result in humans surviving in an environment where they couldn’t survive before.
    Less than 5 mutations can result in the efficiency of a enzyme increasing 94-fold.
    Did you know that there’s a mutation in the human population that prevents HIV from attaching to cells, effectively rendering people immune to AIDS?
    Did you know that there’s a mutation in the human population that basically nullifies bad cholesterol?”
    – How do these prove that random mutations created the cambrian animals? Do they actually create new genes? new proteins? new molecular machines like all those that fill every cell?Or do they break existing genes?

    “There is no such thing as macroevolution.”
    – Of course there isn’t. There is microevolution and intelligent design :).

    “The only thing that ever happens is speciation. Over time, there are so many different species that we humans create new groups to put them in. As we see more and more species, we need bigger and bigger groups. That’s all it is.”

    – You know very well that the idea that macroevolution is only the sum of microevolutionary steps is disputed among biologists. Do you want me to accept your opinion or your story as evidence?

    James Tour
    ” The core of the debate for me, therefore, is the extrapolation of microevolution to macroevolution. Here is what some supporters of Darwinism have written regarding this point in respected journals, and it is apparent that they struggle with the same difficulty.

    Stern, David L. “Perspective: Evolutionary Developmental Biology and the Problem of Variation,”Evolution 2000, 54, 1079-1091. A contribution from the University of Cambridge. “One of the oldest problems in evolutionary biology remains largely unsolved; Historically, the neo-Darwinian synthesizers stressed the predominance of micromutations in evolution, whereas others noted the similarities between somedramatic mutations and evolutionary transitions to argue for macromutationism.”Simons, Andrew M. “The Continuity of Microevolution and Macroevolution,” Journal of Evolutionary Biology2002, 15, 688-701. A contribution from Carleton University.”A persistent debate in evolutionary biology is one over the continuity of microevolution and macroevolution — whether macroevolutionary trends are governed by the principles of microevolution.”
    So the debate between the validity of extending microevolutionary trends to macroevolutionary projections is indeed “persistentâ€� in evolutionary biology.”

    – All you did is present some evidence for single steps , you didn’t mention if these construct anything new or on the contrary do they break existing genes?
    – Evidence for one step isn’t evidence that you can random walk from a continent to another . Even if you prove that you can cross a continent by random walk it’s not evidence that you can get to the other continent. And if we consider that “evolution” is headed in the wrong direction…. What do you say about the human genome is evolving or degrading?

    “Heck, even Michael Behe thinks that common descent is correct.”
    – Of course, but he also says common descent is one thing but random mutations and natural selection is completely different. common descent says nothing about how an organism was built by random mutations Behe says. Even Meyer and Dembsky say intelligent design isn’t inconsistent with CD.

    M. Behe:
    “Lenski’s project the best, most detailed source of information on evolutionary processes available anywhere, dwarfing rival lab projects and swamping field studies. That’s an achievement well worth celebrating.
    Still, the important question to ask is, what exactly has this venerable project shown us about evolution? The study has addressed some narrow points of peculiar interest to evolutionary population geneticists, but for proponents of intelligent design the bottom line is that the great majority of even beneficial mutations have turned out to be due to the breaking, degrading, or minor tweaking of pre-existing genes or regulatory regions (Behe 2010). There have been no mutations or series of mutations identified that appear to be on their way to constructing elegant new molecular machinery of the kind that fills every cell. For example, the genes making the bacterial flagellum are consistently turned off by a beneficial mutation (apparently it saves cells energy used in constructing flagella). The suite of genes used to make the sugar ribose is the uniform target of a destructive mutation, which somehow helps the bacterium grow more quickly in the laboratory. Degrading a host of other genes leads to beneficial effects, too.
    Lenski is an optimistic man, and always accentuates the positive. In the paper on mutT and mutY, the stress is on how the bacterium has improved with the second mutation. Heavily unemphasized is the ominous fact that one loss of function mutation is “improved” by another loss of function mutation — by degrading a second gene. Anyone who is interested in long-term evolution should see this as a baleful portent for any theory of evolution that relies exclusively on blind, undirected processes.”
    D. Axe in a response to a critic of Meyer’s book:
    “So while the passage of half a billion years prevents us from actually examining the proteins that were used within the cells that made up the animals that appeared in the Cambrian explosion, the diversity and number of these animal forms leads us to believe that there must have been a corresponding explosion of protein forms. This certainly follows from the facts as we now see them, so Poenie’s assertion is misinformed.
    To me his assertion also seems a bit disingenuous, in that Poenie appears to be trying to dismiss a critical problem without answering it. Protein folds are a biological reality, presently catalogued by the thousands with more being added all the time. So any theory of biological origins that can’t explain the origin of protein folds is in trouble. Period.
    Drawing on a wide body of evidence, I’ve argued in detail that Darwinian evolution is in trouble for precisely this reason. Failure to explain protein folds certainly isn’t the only trouble plaguing Darwinism, but it is major trouble of a particularly stark kind that only gets worse as the science progresses. Poenie ought to grapple with this instead of trying to sweep it under the rug.”

    – Are you aware of any evidence that would prove what these man are saying is false?

    – If evidence is so overwhelming dismissing Meyer’s book should be a piece of cake. You just have to show the fossils and or list the top x evidence that random mutations are relevant in building those animals.But the truth is no critic of the book was able to deal with it and you are struggling for how long? All you did is find mistakes that bear no relevance to the issue: random evolution or intelligent design.

    • Doc Bill

      Truth is Meyer didn’t provide any data, or a mechanism or, in fact, even mention “intelligent design” in his entire book. Thus, truth is, in fact, Meyer dismissed himself.

      Meanwhile, science moves on and cazimir is still a troll and an idiot. Sucks to be you, fool.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        That’s kind of true, Meyer on how to describe ID was comparing it to evolution. Since we know that evolution happens and that there is no designer… it’s safe to admit that Meyer’s entire book is wasted paper.

      • Void Walker

        Doc Bill, I understand you’re a chemist. I’m a layman in that regard, but I’ve been dying to pick a chemists mind on a few topics. Would you mind?

        • Doc Bill

          I don’t know a whole lot but I have an opinion on EVERYTHING. Fire away.

          • Void Walker

            The Miller Urey experiment has always fascinated me. What current work has been done (or is being done as we speak) regarding abiogenesis?

          • SmilodonsRetreat
          • Void Walker

            Wow, thanks Smilodon :-) I’m gonna be a busy fucker for some time now….

          • Doc Bill

            M-U was child’s play! You should have seen me in organic chemistry lab. The faculty breathed a collective sigh of relief when I DIDN’T choose org chem as a major. Labbies would walk by my station, look at the gunk covered collection vessel and scream, “It’s alive!”

            The point being, making stuff with carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxigen and other bits and pieces is ridiculously easy to do. It’s all thermodynamics (something I really did like!) and making reactions go. Then you have fun pushing a high temperature reaction to go nuts at room temperature with a clay catalyst, or Pt or Cu or an old sock and a cup of warm tea.

            So, think about what kind of chemistry went on 4 billion years ago. I tell you, it was one big stinky gunky world, scientifically speaking.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            I bet it smelled pretty bad too. All that sulfur around… blech.

          • Doc Bill

            My uncle nearly died from H2S. Above a certain concentration you don’t smell rotten eggs. Then you die. Fortunately before he passed out he was able to pull on his air pack mask.

          • Void Walker

            Oh yeah, that’s why I find creationist ramblings about the “untenable” nature of abiogenesis so incredibly absurd. The entire planet is one massive chemistry lab, after all. All that is needed is a lot of time, it seems. What are your thoughts on the possibility of life in Europa? There is tell of potential oceans under it’s surface…

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            I’d be more shocked if there wasn’t life. The question is, would we recognize it as life.

          • Void Walker

            I’ve pondered that as well. Evolution has taken a series of different “courses” with life, based, in large part, upon the types of environments that organisms had to adapt to. One has to wonder how markedly different environs would sculpt life. I’ve always wondered if something akin to a metabolism would be a ubiquitous feature of life. Energy is of great import, after all.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Sure. Presumably life on Europa would be entirely chemosynthetic instead of photosynthetic. And there almost surely wouldn’t be ATP, sugars might be more common, but I’m not sure how much research there is on that.

            Now I have something to look up. ;)

          • Void Walker

            Maybe in the future you could do a post on this? I’ve always wondered how alien forms of life would go about collecting the requisite energy for survival.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            As you wish!

          • Void Walker

            You’re awesome, thanks!

        • Doc Bill

          Iron eating microbes deep under the Antarctic ice. I say “iron eating” but it means that the critters can extract energy from transitions of Fe+2/Fe+3 redox reactions, as I recall.

          We would probably recognize alien life if it moved around. Most rocks don’t do that on their own. That said, there was a Bradbury story about intelligent grass on Mars or somewhere. I don’t know how my cat, who is lying on my keyboard causing me problems that I up with put because he is my master, Praise Bastet, perceives me – as a great cat and provider of food, warmth, protection and chin scritches, or as a very odd kind of creature. He certainly knows the difference between me and my kind, the dog, birds, squirrels and lizards. And bugs.

          I think the greatest failing, and in the case of Meyer and his disgusting ilk, intentional failing, is in an understanding of chemical equilibria. It’s a beautiful thing to behold once understood and explains much about our universe. Once you get a handle on equilibria you can appreciate how the long-necked orchid and long-tongued moth evolved together. How the chicken came before the egg (yes, there are cartoons!) and how the tapestry of life was woven. It’s all quite elegant, actually, and based on tiny, tiny balances: diffusion and gradients. Far beyond the grasp of design no matter how intelligent.

    • SmilodonsRetreat

      Shame shame. Quotemining. Don’t you know that I check quotes like that?

      From David Stern: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11005278 (BTW: I think it cute that you quote from the abstract. Have you read the paper?)

      Here’s the entire abstract

      One of the oldest problems in evolutionary biology remains largely unsolved. Which mutations generate evolutionarily relevant phenotypic variation? What kinds of molecular changes do they entail? What are the phenotypic magnitudes, frequencies of origin, and pleiotropic effects of such mutations? How is the genome constructed to allow the observed abundance of phenotypic diversity? Historically, the neo-Darwinian synthesizers stressed the predominance of micromutations in evolution, whereas others noted the similarities between some dramatic mutations and evolutionary transitions to argue for macromutationism. Arguments on both sides have been biased by misconceptions of the developmental effects of mutations. For example, the traditional view that mutations of important developmental genes always have large pleiotropic effects can now be seen to be a conclusion drawn from observations of a small class of mutations with dramatic effects. It is possible that some mutations, for example, those in cis-regulatory DNA, have few or no pleiotropic effects and may be the predominant source of morphological evolution. In contrast, mutations causing dramatic phenotypic effects, although superficially similar to hypothesized evolutionary transitions, are unlikely to fairly represent the true path of evolution. Recent developmental studies of gene function provide a new way of conceptualizing and studying variation that contrasts with the traditional genetic view that was incorporated into neo-Darwinian theory and population genetics. This new approach in developmental biology is as important for microevolutionary studies as the actual results from recent evolutionary developmental studies. In particular, this approach will assist in the task of identifying the specific mutations generating phenotypic variation and elucidating how they alter gene function. These data will provide the current missing link between molecular and phenotypic variation in natural populations.

      My emphasis.

      Now, you need to contact whomever you got that from and ask them why they are taking quotes out of context?

      Perhaps if you read the paper you will understand that he is suggesting that small mutations in alleles that code for things like eye color or blood production are not the source of macroevolutionary events, but that mutation in the regulatory networks are. Which is what evo-devo has been saying all along.

      I further note that this in no way counters my argument that speciation is the only thing that happens. In fact, if you read the paper, he will say the same thing I did.

      Now, I’m going to play with my kid instead of check the rest of your sources. I consider you to be as credible as Meyer… in care you’re wondering that is “not at all”.

      • Doc Bill

        Cazimir is typical of creationists trolls (that’s you, Rexy Wexy) in that he “claims” not to have any background in science, which, in cazimir’s case is evidently true, yet totally pliable to copying and pasting creationist boilerplate as if we won’t recognize a poseur when we see one.

        How many times, how many times? Same old stuff copied off the same old websites and presented as Great Insight ™, OMG, cazimir is such a genius, how did we not see his/her brilliance?

        Yet, in spite of these little troll distractions the main work of science goes on unimpeded. Research is conducted, discoveries are made and these pathetic little social outsiders can only look through the bars of their cage and wonder what’s going on at that party in the gazebo? I don’t even pity the little cazimirs and Rexy Wexy’s any more, I just laugh at them and hop on my sled, charge down the hill and explore all that is new.

        • Rolf Aalberg

          I find Meyer just boring. Why would anyone need to read more from Meyer? He’s so predictable, we already know most of what he’s going to say, and with the knowledge that his sole aim and purpose is defending creationism, what more is there to be said? Creationism in all it’s ugly incarnations with ID as the most abominable exist for a single purpose: To defend the literal truth of the Bible, preferably from a fundamentalist point of view. But what matters most is that you are comfortable in the big tent regardless.

        • cazimir

          If evidence is so overwhelming dismissing Meyer’s book should be a piece of cake. You just have to show the fossils and or list the top x evidence that random mutations are relevant in building those animals.But the truth is no critic of the book was able to deal with it.

          • Doc Bill

            Meyer’s book has been dismissed. Didn’t you get the memo? Perhaps the word “dismissed” doesn’t mean what you think it does.

          • Christine Janis

            “You just have to show the fossils—”

            Here they are —- deliberately omitted by Meyer.

            http://bulletin.geoscienceworld.org/content/122/11-12/1731/F2.large.jpg

          • Paul Burnett

            Remember that most of the illustrations in the back of “Doubt” were provided the creationist propaganda house “Illustra Media” – they wouldn’t have these fossil pictures…therefore they were omitted.

  • Cazimir

    “What’s the biggest failure of the critics who tried to knock down the argument Steve Meyer makes inDarwin’s Doubt — Matzke, Prothero, Cook in The New Yorker, Farrell in National Review, etc., with the important exception of Marshall in Science? As Meyer says above, it’s the failure to wrestle with or really even to properly acknowledge the book’s main argument. That is, the problem of where all the new genetic and epigenetic information needed to build the Cambrian animals came from.

    With the passage of exactly a year today (June 18) since the book came out in hardback, that’s still true.”

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/06/exactly_a_year_086901.html

    • SmilodonsRetreat

      The biggest failure of Meyer is to understand that his entire premise is simply wrong.

      Oh and the lies…

      and the complete failure of scholarship…

      Why deal with his “main argument”, when the main argument is completely flawed?

      Caz, do you agree with Rex that all of the lies and mistakes in Meyers book only appear in the chapters I reviewed?

    • Christine Janis

      There is no argument. We already know that all bilaterians have essentially the same basic genetic information: all that is required is some regulatory tweaking. Of course, once you’ve done the tweaking, you can’t then go back and re-tweak — that’s why half a billion years later the patterns look pretty set.