At Big Think: “In order to truly appreciate Dr. Julius’ discovery, a bit of context may be in order. Unless you build up tolerance, eating spicy foods is painful. Peppers and wasabi give off a strange sensation that your mouth is on fire, and for the longest time researchers simply couldn’t figure out why this was the case. Failing to pinpoint any immediate benefits of this response, they speculated it must be the remnant of some distant evolutionary adaptation.”
Note that last sentence: “Our results depict LUCA as likely to be a far more complex cell than has previously been proposed, challenging the evolutionary model of increased complexity through time in prokaryotes. Given current estimates for the emergence of LUCA we suggest that early life very rapidly evolved considerable cellular complexity.” Just an accident. Nothing to see here.
The description of the research makes clear that evolution is seen as an intelligent agent, like a coach deploying players. “Think of this as the biosphere’s version of choosing starters and benchwarmers based on height and weight more than skill after losing a big match. There may well be a logic to this game plan in the arc of evolution.” But can evolution be both mindless and a strategic coach?
Into what? Crocobirds? Smithsonian Magazine is anxious for us to know that they are NOT “living fossils.” They have evolved a lot, we are told, though admittedly they are evolving around in a circle. It would be interesting to know why stasis became such a threatening concept in some quarters.
Axe: A random gene would specify a random sequence of amino acids, which would flop around without folding. Chains like that are rapidly broken back down into amino acids to keep them from interfering with cellular processes. Very special amino acid sequences are needed for protein chains to fold into stable structures.
Timothy Standish: I couldn’t help but notice that the time photosynthesis is supposed to have evolved doesn’t line up with either the time when oxygen is supposed to have become an important element in the atmosphere, half a billion years later, or the time that fixed carbon begins showing up in the fossil record, which is much earlier, possibly over half a billion years.
If it holds up, shouldn’t this kill Darwinism right away? Each of the ancient 200 large lenses has its own compound eye?
Isn’t it the case that a great deal of (lights and fanfare!) evolution we hear about is turning out to be devolution?
Behe: Like tusks to elephants, the proteins are presumably useful to the parasite, other things being equal. But when the environment changes and the proteins become a net drawback, the quickest evolutionary solution is to get rid of them. That’s an interesting fact of biology and can be medically important. However, it’s important to note that it’s just one more example of devolution — the beneficial loss of genetic information.
Of course Darwinism is nonsense. But it is profitable nonsense and easy to spout in an uncritical environment. The question of the day is, how do we get probing critiques to travel from the ivied walls to the pop science mag rack — where, it is fair to say, most writers and readers are unaware of any of the problems identified. So far as they know, Darwin brilliantly explained why men golf and women cheat and some people go to church…
Question: If someone proposed Darwinism for the first time today, now that we know all that we know about the hard-to-fathom complexity of life, would people as readily accept it?
Researchers: “The existence of ancient asexual animal species like O. nova are difficult for evolutionary biologists to explain because asexual reproduction seems to be very disadvantageous in the long run.” But they were able to show it was true.
Apparently, constraint is quite strict. That’s a problem for vast claims about natural selection.
Bencze: Did the arterial network sprout long before the giraffe’s long neck evolved? Sadly evolution can’t look ahead to provide things that will be useful in the future, so no go.
Researcher: Remarkably, this constraint seems to be the key to cichlid’s success by promoting rapid shifts in jaw shapes and feeding ecology, all of which is likely to be an advantage in a dynamic and fluctuating environment, like the East African Rift Valley, where Lake Malawi is located. “The constraint is actually facilitating cichlid evolution, rather than impeding it,” says Conith.