• Darwin’s Doubt – Chapter 11 – Part 5

    I’ve read quite a bit of Meyer (honestly, more than I cared to). He’s made some pretty outrageous (and wrong) claims, but so far, I have never read anything by the man that is more stupid than what he says at the bottom of page 214.

    Sometimes similarity appears between species where it cannot be explained by inheritance from a common ancestor (e.g., the similar forelimbs on moles and mole crickets) and, at the very least, there are other possible explanations for sequence similarity.

    In the first place, similar gene sequences might have evolved independently on two parallel lines of descent starting with two different genes, as the hypothesis of convergent evolution asserts. Recent examples of convergent genetic evolution now abound in the literature of molecular and evolutionary biology.13 For example, molecular biologists have discovered that both whales and bats use similar systems—involving similar genes and proteins—for echolocation. The striking similarity of these systems used in two otherwise disparate mammalian species has led biologists to posit the parallel evolution of echolocation, including the gene sequences and proteins that make it possible, from a common ancestor that did not possess this system.14

    Here’s what Meyer thinks are similar.

     

    European (or Common) Mole: Talpa europea by Didier Descouens
    European (or Common) Mole: Talpa europea
    by Didier Descouens

    and

    African Mole Cricket (Gryllotalpa africana) source: http://www.agroatlas.ru/en/content/pests/Gryllotalpa_africana/
    African Mole Cricket (Gryllotalpa africana)
    source: http://www.agroatlas.ru/en/content/pests/Gryllotalpa_africana/

    Yeah, I guess that a creationist with no training in anatomy could make the mistake that these limbs are similar. I mean, they are both in the front part of the animal and they both have pointy things on the end that are used for burrowing.

    Of course, that’s an example of convergent evolution. When two structures are used for the same purpose, then over time, they will tend to both optimize for that function.

    Why does Meyer think that these two forelimbs would have similar genetic sequences? Or that they should be inherited from a common ancestor. The fact that he even brings this up is mind boggling.

    Meyer is basically saying that an X-Wing fighter is similar to a Fiat500 because they both are red and white and provide transportation.

    x-wing2012Abarthgaetano3

    Just ignore the fact that one can travel faster than the speed of light, one has weapons, one can seat more than one person, one has wheels… they are basically similar.

    While the two limbs are superficially similar, biologists, unlike creationists, actually look at the structures with an eye for detail. The forelimbs of the common mole are inherited from the first tetrapod to walk on dry land. Just like every other tetrapod on the planet (that’s mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians).

    At the shoulder there is a big thick bone. It’s connected to two thinner bones. Those are connected to a mass of bones. And those connect to five digits with some kind of claw or nail at the end of the digit. Every animal that is a mammal, bird, reptile, or amphibian shares this exact pattern.

    Horses, for example, have a modified limb with four of those digits greatly reduced or missing all together. The middle digit for horses is greatly enlarged with a HUGE nail. Horses, very literally, run on their middle fingers. Flying animals on the other hand have other changes to that same bone structure. Bird wings are hyper extended digits 1, 2, and 3. Bat wings are made of hyper extended digits 2-5 and pterasaur wings have a hyper extended digit 4. Even the cetacean forelimbs have the same structure (because they evolved from land dwelling mammals), one big bone, two smaller bones, mass of bones, and five digits.

    These are example of homologous structures. They are modified derivations from the same structure.

    The mole is a mammal and has that bone structure.

    The mole cricket (in spite of the name*) is an insect. This may come as a surprise to Meyer, but insects’ and mammals’ common ancestor was before even the Cambrian. This is basically the split between protosomes (mouth first) and dueterosomes (anus first). A split that happened before the Cambrian. I won’t get into the history of insects, because they are gross. But you might take a look here for some starting information.

    But, the insect ‘skeleton’ is on the outside, even a 1st grader knows that (I just checked). It’s NOTHING like the mammal forelimb and no one ever has thought or said that it would be (except creationists).

    As a fun aside, I found out where Meyer may have gotten this example. The book Explore Evolution: The Arguments For and Against Neo-Darwinism by (shockingly), Stephen C. Meyer and (among others) Paul Nelson, whom we met in this anecdote that Meyer mentions later in Darwin’s Doubt. Explore Evolution was intended to be a text book (of sorts), but had a significant number of things wrong with it (PDF) and this example specifically mentions Meyer’s use of the cricket and mole example.

    Nested patterns of shared similarities between species play an important role in testing evolutionary hypotheses. “Homology” is one term used to describe these patterns, but scientists prefer other, more clearly defined terms. Explore Evolution would have done well to accurately present the way scientists talk about this issue, instead of building two chapters around a misguided attack on a particular word with a meaning that dates to pre-evolutionary attempts at understanding the diversity of life. Explore Evolution‘s use of the term promotes confusion and obscures the actual ways in which scientists use the term, and more modern concepts. Explore Evolution‘s authors could have found those modern concepts clarified in the writing of David Wake, work they cite and quote inaccurately, obscuring the point he and others have made about the importance of using concepts which reflect modern biology, not a term which predates evolutionary thinking. The chapter badly mangles key concepts, and repeats creationist canards, without presenting the actual state of science.

    So here, Meyer reuses a wrong argument from a book that was critiqued years ago as if it was still true. Thus the lies continue. This isn’t because he’s ignorant. Meyer is purposefully lying to people, like my commenter on this blog who still hasn’t answered the question “Why does he consider Meyer a reliable source in spite of the dozens of documented lies and mistakes in this book?”

    What is homology, in the actual science usage (from the NCSE link above)?

    Homology is similarity in structure and position that occurs because a trait occurred in a common ancestor. If the similarity is not due to common ancestry, the structures would not be homologous. Biologists test alternative explanations, including shared function, natural laws, and other constraints. Like homology, these effects are all testable. Furthermore, similarity in shape, as between mole cricket forelimbs and the paws of a mole, is not homology. No one has ever suggested such a thing, and Explore Evolution is grossly misleading in suggesting otherwise.

    By extension, this applies to Darwin’s Doubt.

    I have to repeat this. No one, except for creationists whose goal is to confuse rather than educate, thinks that the shovel-like shapes of mole and mole cricket forelimbs are due to common ancestry.

    Now, that doesn’t mean that moles and mole crickets do not have a common ancestor. They do, back before the Cambrian, as I mentioned previously. But at the time, fish weren’t even around yet. The idea of a specialized structure for movement wasn’t really around yet and certainly not one that specializes in digging.

    No, these two vastly different organisms have similarly shaped forelimbs not because the forelimb came from the same ancestor, but because it’s a bloody good shape for digging. The same way that dolphins, sharks, and ichthyosaurs have similar shapes. It’s a shape that’s very good for moving at high speed through water.

    As I have talked about previously, ichthyosaurs and dolphins do not have a common ancestor that was marine (well, way back in the fish). Instead, both the marine reptile and the marine mammal evolved from terrestrial forms. So, the shape of these two is not homologous. It’s convergent.

    Also from the NCSE link

    The authors’ misunderstanding of basic concepts is particularly obvious in their presentation of convergence. They treat the similarity of the bones musculature, nerves and development of hands in humans and moles as if it were no different than the gross similarity in the outlines of mole paws and mole cricket forelimbs. This sort of basic misunderstanding is what a biology textbook is supposed to clarify, not promulgate. The arguments presented in the discussion of convergence have no basis in the scientific literature, but trace back to the beginnings of modern creationism.

    Meyer says this in Darwin’s Doubt (pg 215)

    In the first place, similar gene sequences might have evolved independently on two parallel lines of descent starting with two different genes, as the hypothesis of convergent evolution asserts. Recent examples of convergent genetic evolution now abound in the literature of molecular and evolutionary biology.13 For example, molecular biologists have discovered that both whales and bats use similar systems—involving similar genes and proteins—for echolocation. The striking similarity of these systems used in two otherwise disparate mammalian species has led biologists to posit the parallel evolution of echolocation, including the gene sequences and proteins that make it possible, from a common ancestor that did not possess this system.14

    As evidence of this, Meyer cites this article “The hearing gene Prestin unites echolocating bats and whales.” [1](PDF) That is citation ’14’ in the quote from Meyer above. One point that Meyer may have overlooked is that the Prestin gene is in all tetrapods. From the article it appears that all echolocating organisms have one protein in a particular spot on the gene and all non-echolocating organisms have another protein in that that spot.

    Yes, we all know how similar bat echolocation is to cetacean echolocation. They both use sounds right? I mean, don’t worry about the fact that bats vibrate their vocal cords (or tongues) to create high frequency sound, which is then received by their ears and cetaceans have a specialized structure for creating the sounds, modulating them through fatty tissue (called a melon), then receiving them in another specialized bone. But other than that, they are very similar.

    Again, this is an example of convergent evolution. This particular mutation seems to help echolocation somehow, but in wildly different organisms. It’s a case of that’s what works. Tuna, dolphins, and ichthyosaurs have a common shape not from common ancestry, but from common environments. It’s what works.

    Remember that evolution doesn’t develop each species from a fresh piece of paper. Every species, every organism, is a huge compromise between what is working right now and the history of that organism. Our eyes are reversed (meaning we have a blind spot), because that happened at some point in the history of our ancestors. Evolution can’t go back and fix stupid mistakes like that (unlike what, for example, a designer could do). Watch (or read) Your Inner Fish and you’ll see that our entire body is made up of one compromise after another.

    It took me a minute to realize what Meyer’s point in this was (from page 215)

    In addition, it is possible that similar genes might have been separately designed to meet similar functional needs in different organismal contexts. Viewed this way, similarity of sequence does not necessarily reflect descent with modification from a common ancestor, but could reflect design in accord with common functional considerations, constraints, or goals. I recognize, of course, that to this point I have not given any independent reasons for considering the design hypothesis, and that, as a hypothesis for sequence similarity by itself, intelligent design may not seem compelling. (For more compelling reasons to consider intelligent design, see Chapters 17 through 19.) Nevertheless, I mention both these other possible explanations for the similarity of gene sequences in order to demonstrate that sequence similarity does not necessarily indicate, or derive from, a common ancestral gene.

    Of course, it was design, don’t you see?  Well, no, actually I don’t see. So, what you’re saying here Mr. Meyer, is that out of the entire evolutionary history of the cetacean and the bat, the designer intervened to make ONE GENE the same between the two.

    Nevermind the rest of the changes, it’s this gene that is important. And because of convergent evolution, it’s evidence for design. I must say, that’s the weaslest logic I’ve ever heard. Apparently, a known factor in evolution is evidence that discredits evolution. Only someone truly dedicated to a cause could believe something like this.

    Where is this designer?  How did it perform this task? When?

    We’ve looked at chapter 17 (here, here, and here) and some of 18 (here ). I saw no compelling reasons to consider Intelligent Design. None at all. To have “intelligent design” one must show an intelligence (and there’s plenty of evidence to refute that in our ‘design’). It is much easier to show design, but that design is not intelligent, it is conditional. It is based on the evolutionary history of the organism. It is arguable that evolution is the designer. Of course, evolution is not intelligent, or goal seeking, or anything else. It is merely random changes selected over time by the environment.

    I’ve been reading creationist literature and talking to creationists for almost 20 years. I have yet to see a single one of them produce any evidence for a designer… or an intelligent design for that matter.

    Meyer and the creationists (including the commenters on these posts) just don’t get it. Even if they completely discredit all of evolutionary theory right here, right now, it does not mean that Intelligent Design is correct. Only positive supporting evidence can do that… ID proponents can’t point to a single piece of evidence.

    What they do point to is things that are known to be evolutionary (like the same gene in every single tetrapod, some of which have mutations that make them better at echolocation) and then claim it’s a problem for evolution. Then they claim that it is supportive of design.  All without a single big of evidence. That’s the thing about design and ID proponents. They don’t get how science works.

    In the next section, Meyer talks about ORFan genes. Anyone want to place bets on misrepresentations?

    The rest of the series.

    ________________________
    * I actually know a creationist who argues that wolves and Tasmanian wolves are much more closely related than anyone suspects because they have the same name. Don’t worry about that whole pouch thing for reproduction or the completely different dental pattern… it’s the name that’s important.

    [1] Li, Y., Liu, Z., Shi, P. & Zhang, J. The hearing gene Prestin unites echolocating bats and whales. Current biology : CB 20, R55–6 (2010).

    Category: BiologyBook ReviewCreationismEvolutionScienceSkepticism

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    Article by: Smilodon's Retreat

    • Rob

      Nice explanation on the difference between homologous and convergent. Cuts right to the heart of that “common designer” argument. Seems to show that creationists don’t really bother to truly understand evolution.

      • Doc Bill

        Creationist cheerleaders, the ones who write opinion letters to newspapers, are overwhelmingly ignorant of evolution in particular and science in general. Meyer, on the other hand, is a professional propagandist. He understands the science, so far as that goes, and he understands what it takes to mine quotes, present distortions, omit contrary evidence and just plain lie. It’s not like he has a reputation to uphold. Meyer’s peers live in church basements where he is treated to potluck dinners like royalty.

        Even parasites make a living.

    • I’ve been reading creationist literature and talking to creationists for almost 20 years. I have yet to see a single one of them produce any evidence for a designer… or an intelligent design for that matter.

      You’ve been obviously looking in the wrong books.

      Steve [Meyer] details the four, not two, possible world-views: materialism, theism, deism and pantheism. He treats these as hypotheses and asks, given the evidence of design at the beginning of the universe, at the origin of life, and at the origin of complex animal life, which best accommodates and explains the data? Only theism, of course, allows for a source of design that is “transcendent, intelligent, and active in history,” and that is exactly what the evidence demands.

      http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/04/whats_the_natur084971.html

      You see, you look at the universe, “decide” that it can only be the result of some transcendent, intelligent being who is also active in history and, voila, the BIBLE!

      It’s so much easier to start with the conclusion and then find the evidence.

      But ID has nothing to do with religion … nosiree bob!

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        He forgot Matrixism. He hasn’t considered ALL the possibilities… what now creationists!??!?!

    • azportsider

      “They don’t get how science works.” No, they don’t, but in fairness, ID was never intended to be actual science anyway. It’s nothing more than a cargo-cult simulacrum of real science, designed to fool gullible judges and school boards into permitting them to smuggle their creationism into the public education system.

    • Christine Janis

      I
      actually know a creationist who argues that wolves and Tasmanian wolves
      are much more closely related than anyone suspects because they have
      the same name. – See more at:
      http://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2014/05/12/darwins-doubt-chapter-11-part-5/#sthash.9ALntMWU.dpuf
      I
      actually know a creationist who argues that wolves and Tasmanian wolves
      are much more closely related than anyone suspects because they have
      the same name. – See more at:
      http://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2014/05/12/darwins-doubt-chapter-11-part-5/#sthash.9ALntMWU.dpuf

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        hmm… I’ll see what I can figure out.

    • Christine Janis

      For some reason every time I try to enter the quote it posts it before I can do anything else! OK, the point I wanted to make about the “Tasmanian wolf” — everybody in Tasmania (and the rest of Australia) calls it the “Tasmanian tiger”. Is this the evolutionary example that creationists are always searching for, of a dog turning into a cat?

    • christine janis

      re Prestin genes in bats and whales — Aaron Baldwin had a nice post on this on one of the Darwin;s Doubt reviews

      http://www.amazon.com/review/R2RCXOJC8KF1IV/ref=cm_cr_rev_detup_redir?_encoding=UTF8&asin=B0089LOM5G&cdForum=Fx2XKEL8QO69G4I&cdPage=26&cdThread=TxWNKPZGOHH45X&newContentID=Mx3JSCJ1L830BDH&newContentNum=254&store=digital-text#Mx1C1UM7IRCZ9N6

      This is a slightly modified version of what he said (taking out the comments addressed personally to another poster)

      For many years evolutionists have claimed that the degree of genetic similarity
      reflects the amount of time since any two organisms shared a common ancestor.
      The only time very similar genes are found are when organisms are very closely
      related. However, Parker et al. (2013) discovered that the genes underlying
      echolocation were very similar if not identical between bats and dolphins.
      Since bats and dolphins are claimed to have evolved from a common ancestor that
      did not have these genes this is either a one in a quadrillion coincidence or
      evidence that the genes were both made by a common designer.

      Again, to be completely fair the above is pretty consistent with how some of
      the science news writers portrayed this and other papers. I can completely see
      how easy it would be to think that is what was actually found.

      So – there is a protein found in vertebrates (probably invertebrates as
      well, but I don’t know) called Prestin. It is produced by a gene family called
      SLC26a5. This protein is found in the lateral line cells of fishes as well as
      in the inner ears of mammals and other tetrapods. What is really interesting is
      that as a gene family there are hundreds of variants with unique characters (in
      one study of 212 people 23 unique variants were found! Minor et al. 2009). Some
      result in better low-frequency sound detection, others high, and others
      intermediate. It is no great stretch that animals that produce and/or detect
      different frequencies are going to have different assemblages of these prestin
      genes. I think this is where the confusion is. These prestin genes (as
      well as the others found by Parker et al.) are all very similar whether one is
      looking at a bat or a frog. However, different groups have different variants
      depending upon their hearing needs. So echolocating bats and cetaceans both
      require hearing in the extreme high frequency range. Rather than `solving’ this
      problem in independent ways from independent genes, both whales and bats
      converged on a similar gene sequence (but within the SLC26a5 family) to better
      hear in that range of frequencies.

      If you read the original paper by Parker et al. the authors actually test the
      hypotheses that these sequences are a) independently derived convergences or b)
      evidence of lateral transfer or indicative of a recent common ancestor between
      cetacean and bats. Do you know which hypothesis these data supported?
      Convergences that are (mostly) under strong positive selection!

      Parker et al. 2013
      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v502/n7470/pdf/nature12511.pdf

      Liu, Y. et al. Convergent sequence evolution between echolocating bats and

      dolphins. Current Biology 20, R53-R54 (2010).

      Minor et al. 2009 http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0005762

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        Thank you (especially for the papers). While I may not get around to writing about them, i will read them.

    • RexTugwell

      Smilodon, I have to vehemently disagree with you. Lenski’s Lab is not the gift that keeps on giving; this hack job of a book review is. For the amount I spent on the book I gave you, it’s provided no end of entertainment for me over these many months. And it has exposed the extent of your DDS to boot.

      A word of advice: when reviewing a book, it’s best to actually read the book.

      The fact that he even brings this up is mind boggling.

      Well, Meyer brings it up because he mentioned it earlier in the book on pg. 133. There he was talking about phylogenetic reconstruction of the tree of life via morphological vs molecular methods.

      There is yet another reason to wonder whether studies of anatomical or molecular homology convey anything definitive about the history of life. Many animals have single traits or features in common with otherwise decidedly different animals. In such cases, it makes no evolutionary sense to classify these forms as closely related ancestors. For example, moles and mole crickets have remarkably similar forelimbs, though moles are mammals and mole crickets are insects. No evolutionary biologist regards these two animals as closely related, for understandable reasons.

      A little context makes all the difference. Doesn’t it?

      Regarding convergent evolution Meyer says further down the same page:

      For this reason, the repeated need to posit convergent evolution (and other related mechanisms) 58 casts further doubt on the method of phylogenetic reconstruction . Invoking convergent evolution negates the very logic of the argument from homology, which affirms that similarity implies common ancestry, except— we now learn— in those many, many cases when it does not . Repeatedly invoking convergence negates the assumption that justified the method of phylogenetic reconstruction in the first place, namely , that similarity is a reliable historical signal of common ancestry.

      So we’ve got a theory that explains one aspect of the tree of life and at the same time its complete opposite and therefore explains nothing.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        Meyer makes EXACTLY the same mistake that I described above. You just repeating it shows how much you must accept what Meyer says for whatever ideological reason, because it’s not scientific.

        Common ancestry is simply true. It’s like the age of the Earth. When you have multiple independent lines of evidence all pointing at the same thing, then it is accepted.

        I’ll explain again, because you don’t get it. You seem to hold a strawman version of evolution. This strawman version of evolution is straight out of the creationist books… which have been shown to be wrong time and again.

        Homology is defined as coming from a common ancestor. Homology isn’t evidence of common ancestry. That’s why horses hooves and human hands are homologous even though they look nothing like. It’s the same structure that we both inherited from a common ancestor, slightly modified. One big bone, two smaller bones, lots of little bones, five digits.

        Having glanced though page 133, I can see that Meyer makes a variety of mistakes about phylogenetics.

        Perhaps you should read the comments about Meyer’s phylogenetic accumen from actual scientists:
        http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2013/06/meyers-hopeless-2.html

        AND

        http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2013/09/darwins-doubt-genes-tell-story.html (read the comments)

        AND

        http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0069924

        I would encourage you to actually learn what is going on instead of assuming Meyer is telling the truth.

        BTW: I’ve asked you this question multiple times and you haven’t answered. After all the mistakes and quotemines and misconceptions that Meyer has, why do you still consider him a reliable source for information?

        • RexTugwell

          And I would encourage you to read the book you’re supposed to be reviewing. You’re losing credibility fast, Smiley. I’ll answer your questions when you fix your math on the origin of life post. The fact that you won’t tells me your too ideologically invested in Darwinism to admit a mistake. Now man up and fix your error!
          BTW, I don’t deny common descent. Behe doesn’t either for that matter. In fact, he says there compelling evidence for it. Strawman indeed.

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            And I’ve asked you several times to point out the exact error and explain why it’s relevant. You haven’t done that.

            So you won’t even bother to explain why you think Meyer a credible source. Of course, you think he is, so you have zero credibility to me. I couldn’t care less what you think.

            Interesting note about Behe. Of course, Behe didn’t write this book did he? Meyer did and Meyer is skeptical of universal common descent, isn’t he? I’ll answer that…

            Yes, he is.

            Perhaps, you and the ID people should all get together on exactly what you think is going on in the world.

            Meyer is also skeptical of human common ancestry with pre-hominid ancestors too. At least he was ten years ago. Of course, he’s using the same arguments in this book as he used ten years ago too, so his opinions probably haven’t changed that much, have they?

            Why am I asking you, you have no clue. You can’t even tell me where in this book is any evidence to support intelligent design. You don’t seem to understand that discrediting evolution isn’t enough to support ID. Meyer doesn’t get it either.

            So tell me, is Chapter 6 now where we’ll find all the answers, because every time I’ve read a chapter and you claimed it would answer all the questions and present evidence that undermines evolution, you (and Meyer) have been completely wrong.

            So, I really don’t care what you think of my reviews. It’s enough that someone is making the effort to thoroughly discredit Stephen Meyer, who either knows nothing about science or purposefully misrepresents science to promote his own notions… whatever those are, because he can’t even be bothered to define intelligent design is his own book.

            Finally, I have a headache. I have this headache, because I spent nearly 6 days doing research, reading papers and the like to find the real answers to questions that Meyer’s makes. In every single case, he is either totally wrong or just right enough to be able to misrepresent the stuff that’s right.

            I’ve put forth more effort into this book than Meyer did. Since, he’s obviously reusing large pieces of it from previous work, which BTW was discredited at the time. Further, Meyer lies to his readers. It’s documented. It’s shown to be and yet you STILL think this book is valid.

            There’s no point in continuing with you. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I learned a hell of a lot. Probably enough to qualify me for an advanced degree in any university in the US. But you haven’t learned anything. Any further work on this project will not be for you and you might as well not even read it since you aren’t interested in evidence.

            • RexTugwell

              Hey Smiley, I guess if you’re a self-proclaimed evolution expert then it must be true.

              Let’s step back and reassess your hack review of Meyer’s book. In your own words you were going to shred every point that Meyer makes in the book. Well, just by looking at all of the links to all of your articles related to Darwin’s Doubt, one can easily see a disproportionate emphasis on the Prologue, chapters 1 & 2. Eighteen in all! All of that for introductory chapters!!!!!!!

              Then what happens? You get to chapter 3 “Soft Bodies and Hard Facts and you make an “executive decision” to change the order of the “review”. I know it’s after the fact but I saw that one coming.

              Leap-frogging over the next 14 chapters, you end with your shrill commentary of chapters 17 & 18. If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t have even touched chapter 13 (which you haven’t finished yet btw) or chapter 11. Dr. Janis, taking a cue from you, gets an A for effort in her attempt at starting chapter 12 but not finishing it.

              Golly, Smiley! What’s a creationist to think of all this? I appreciate you letting steer a good part of the conversation on your blog for the last 10 months. That was very kind of you.

            • RexTugwell

              “And I’ve asked you several times to point out the exact error and explain why it’s relevant. You haven’t done that.”

              Are you referring to your mathematical mistake on protein origins? Because if that’s the case, that’s a complete lie. I pointed out the error on more than one occasion. The most recent time on the anniversary of your mistake here. And each time you’ve answered with “it doesn’t matter”.

              Anyway, the book is about the Cambrian Explosion not common descent. ID is a big tent. There are Christians, Jews, agnostics, atheists. Some accept common descent others are skeptical. Most if not all accept natural selection acting on random mutation. You can’t seem to wrap you head around that because you’ve created some kind of caricature of ID proponents as YECs in lockstep with each other.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              You said I inverted the base and the exponent. You didn’t show that though. I’m really curious… do you know how do basic probability? Why don’t you explain it to me.

              You know, when I point out an error, I explain, in detail why the error is there and show why it’s wrong. You just say it’s wrong.

              So, go ahead, calculate the probability of a random mix of amino acids coming together to form hemoglobin? Do you use all the amino acids or just the human ones? Or is a random mix of nucleotides coming together to form the DNA? DNA or RNA? Do you take into account the variation that some amino acids (and nucleotides) do NOT tend to form randomly or is that not important?

              When you can explain exactly how do figure out the random assembly part, then I’ll happily change whatever calculations you like. But you can’t, because you can’t even grasp the magnitude of the problem. And even if you could correctly calculate the random assembly of a protein or gene… it doesn’t matter because no modern protein or gene was ever formed that way. Which make your entire argument a tantrum about nothing.

              Whatever.

              As far as the ID stuff. I can only go by what they say. I can’t read their minds.

              Tell me, who is the ID proponent that I should listen to most? It’s obviously not Meyer. It’s not Behe either. Who is it and why?

      • Christine Janis

        Rex notes that Meyer said:

        “Many animals have single traits or features in common with otherwise
        decidedly different animals. In such cases, it makes no evolutionary
        sense to classify these forms as closely related ancestors. For example,
        moles and mole crickets have remarkably similar forelimbs, though moles
        are mammals and mole crickets are insects. No evolutionary biologist
        regards these two animals as closely related, for understandable
        reasons.”

        And Rex concludes:
        “A little context makes all the difference. Doesn’t it?”

        It does indeed. It’s a very clever context, to convince the unsophisticated reader that, because the forelimbs of moles and mole crickets can’t possibly reflect common ancestry, that all of phylogenetic analysis is suspect. As Meyer actually states in the next portion of text that Rex quotes.

        Oh, that degree in the Philosophy of Science from Cambridge University, home to Newton, Darwin, and, of course, me*. I also note that Meyer refrains from noting that the molecular phylogenies, based on a completely different type of similarities, support the morphoIogical ones based on traditional anatomical homologies (a concept quite different from the superficial similarities that Meyer would lead his naive readers to imagine what is meant by “homology”). Yup, the “moles versus mole crickets” was a brilliant piece of propaganda to convince his readers that scientists don’t know nothing.

        *I’m as qualified as all those illustrious men to call Meyer out on this nonsense. Plus, like his hero Agassiz, I can also call in the Harvard qualifications. Just saying. The millstone of academic qualifications that prevents me from getting a date, or ever getting another job if I quit this one, is quite useful to bat back against the creationists’ crowing.

        • RexTugwell

          “The millstone of academic qualifications that prevents me from getting a date”

          I’m not sure what you’re getting at with that bizarre claim but I’m just going to bite my lip and not say anything. LMAO!

    • cazimir

      Another post completely irrelevant to the main issue this chapter is concerned with.You managed to demonstrate that your sole concern is to misrepresent him instead of addressing the relevant issues or presenting relevant evidence.

      Meyer said the scenarios presented in the Long paper at best trace ancestral genes, so common ancestry is not the main issue.

      “Of course, that’s an example of convergent evolution. ”
      If it’s convergent evolution aren’t they similar? Why is convergent if they are not similar?

      “Why does Meyer think that these two forelimbs would have similar genetic sequences? Or that they should be inherited from a common ancestor. ”
      Where did Meyer say that anyone claimed that they should be inherited from a common ancestor?

      “Thus the lies continue. This isn’t because he’s ignorant. Meyer is purposefully lying to people, like my commenter on this blog who still hasn’t answered the question”
      What lie? Where is the lie?

      “I have to repeat this. No one, except for creationists whose goal is to confuse rather than educate, thinks that the shovel-like shapes of mole and mole cricket forelimbs are due to common ancestry.”
      Where did Meyer say that?

      “Nevermind the rest of the changes, it’s this gene that is important. And because of convergent evolution, it’s evidence for design.”
      Where did Meyer say that is evidence for design? Why do you keep misrepresenting what he says?

      Whether I consider Meyer reliable or not is not relevant. What is relevant to me can you do what no reviewer of the book did, namely to present relevant evidence that all these cambrian is the product of random mutations. I wonder why they didn’t?

      I would recommend read the chapter first (if you had done that maybe wouldn’t have accused him for granted that he didn’t reference any paper) and before you write ask yourself do you have relevant evidence?

      • Whether I consider Meyer reliable or not is not relevant.

        I hope you never sit on a jury. Your ability to judge evidence is seriously impaired.

        What is relevant to me can you do what no reviewer of the book did, namely to present relevant evidence that all these cambrian is the product of random mutations. I wonder why they didn’t?

        Why would they? We have plenty of evidence that random mutations (coupled with natural selection, genetic drift, evo-devo, etc., etc.) can bring about major changes in body plans of organisms. Your question is akin to saying the nebular theory of the formation of the solar system is deficient because we cannot trace the path that every hydrogen atom took to reach the center of the sun.

        Give us an alternative explanation and evidence for it* or why should anyone care what you or any other denialist wonders about?
        __________________________

        * Neither of which Meyer even attempted to do in this book, as Smilodon has demonstrated.