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Pope on evolution?

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From Christine Rousselle here:

Wait, what? The Church published an encyclical 64 years ago saying exactly what Pope Francis said yesterday? You don’t say!

The media clearly adores Pope Francis, which I’m okay with. It’s nice to have positive media coverage of my faith. I’m not okay, however, with them twisting the pontiff’s words and claiming he’s “gone rogue” when he has done no such thing. Pope Francis has not changed any Catholic doctrine. Period.

The Pope cannot change any Catholic doctrine. He may clarify some. Not clear he did that here, but we will see.

In my own view, the only modern pope who actually understood the real issue (metaphysical naturalism) was Benedict XVI.

The problem with not clearly understanding that the Pontifical Academy would be happy to wish some version of metaphysical naturalism (naturalist atheism) on the Church in the guise of “science” is this: The battle must then be fought all over again later, under much more difficult conditions.

– O’Leary for News

See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (human evolution)

The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (the human mind)

36 Replies to “Pope on evolution?

  1. 1
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Good commentary – thanks. Agreed on Benedict XVI – although even he sometimes made it sound like the Church had embraced Darwinism. It’s all about the lingering phobia for Galileo’s ghost (a bit of Halloween spookyness there for ya!) watching over every Church/science discussion. It’s only been a few centuries – give it two or three more and a future pope will finally be able to say “what the Holy See really meant was that Darwinian theory is not compatible with Catholic doctrine”.
    Until then, we have “God creating an evolvable human” and “divinely guided random mutations” — and things like that.

  2. 2
    News says:

    Not every pope is a smart guy – we Catholics would honestly rather have a holy fool than a clever villain!

    The holy fool mainly causes trouble to US; the clever villain can harm people who would have a case against us in consequence.

    That said, Benedict was a good man AND a serious intellectual. He KNEW what the stakes are. SO many of the rest have been just trying to placate fusspots.

  3. 3
    Aleta says:

    I think ““divinely guided random mutations” would be an apt description of the Pope’s viewpoint, as it is orthodox Christian theology that everything that happens is divinely guided. What appears as chance from our human perspective is not chance to God. All that happens is God’s will – no luck involved. That’s my understanding of Christian theology.

  4. 4
    rhampton7 says:

    Aleta, you are correct.

  5. 5
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Aleta & RHampton7

    Yes I think the Pope meant that, but it does conflict with Darwinism. If we mean “guided mutations” then there’s no reason to call them “random”. Of course, this is the very interventionist tinkering and magic wand-ing that we’re supposed to reject also. If God is involved/guiding then ID is correct.

  6. 6
    Aleta says:

    But the point is that they are random to us, although not to God. The Christian will believe they are guided, as he believes all things are, but that is an article of faith that isn’t incorporated into a physical description of what happened that is relevant to mankind as a whole.

  7. 7
    Silver Asiatic says:

    But the point is that they are random to us, although not to God.

    They’re also “random to us to God”. 🙂 In other words, He made things appear random so we would know the difference between random and design. He made nature do certain things within limits so we would know what a miracle is. He made some things look random so we would know what blind evolution would be capable of (that is, not much).

    The Christian will believe they are guided, as he believes all things are, but that is an article of faith that isn’t incorporated into a physical description of what happened that is relevant to mankind as a whole.

    Christianity is about the truth. If we believe mutations are guided by God, then we conflict with theories that claim that evolution occured by blind, unguided processes — and that’s mainstream evolutionary theory.

  8. 8
    Box says:

    Vicuna Not only are intelligent-design proponents “denying nature’s autonomy, but they are also revealing some degree of ingenuousness, because science has already provided explanations for the development” of structures they had considered to be too complex to occur naturally, he said.

    To which structures is Vicuna referring?

  9. 9
    Aleta says:

    to SA: Interesting point. Are you saying that whenever anything happens outside these limits (whatever they might be), that is a miracle performed by God?

    And also I wonder: do these things that happen outside these limits happen because God can’t accomplish what he wants to accomplish by using events that aren’t miraculous (this would be unlikely for an omnipotent being), or does he do these miraculous things for the purpose of revealing himself, in some sense, even though he wouldn’t have to?

    That is, I’m puzzled why God, who should be able to control chance events at the most minute level of time and space, would usually manifest himself in ways that people would interpret has occurring “naturally” as a product of events that contained an element of chance, but occasionally act miraculously.

  10. 10
    jerry says:

    The thesis that little changes to genomes is what has led to the life forms we see today is that it is testable. Whether these little changes are truly random or guided by some outside intelligence can be supported or falsified.

    I believe some of the TE’s believe that God could act through quantum mechanics and it would appear as random but in reality be directed. This may be what the pope thinks he means. I am sure God could do it in a zillion different ways but no matter which way it was done it would be discernible and thus testable.

    As genomes get cheaper and cheaper to be analyzed, this theory will be tested and either found feasible or impossible. At which time, naturalistic processes or God’s nudges will be validated or falsified. It is coming.

  11. 11
  12. 12
    Astroman says:

    News, what are the stakes, and in what way do the stakes apply to Evolutionary Theory, ID, TE, and the people who accept or believe in one of them?

  13. 13
    Joe says:

    What evolutionary theory? Could you please link to it? Thanks.

  14. 14
    Astroman says:

    Joe, the Scientific Evolutionary Theory that you and other ID proponents zealously fight against, even though you say that it doesn’t exist.

    A question to all other ID proponents: Do you agree with Joe that there is no such thing as Evolutionary Theory?

  15. 15
    Joe says:

    LoL! We are not fighting against any scientific theory. That is the whole point.

    Why is it that evos can never just link to this alleged theory of evolution? Why can’t they tell us who authored it, when it was published and what journal published it.

    It is very telling that all they can do is play games. Answer the question and stop asking IDists about it.

    Grow up, already

  16. 16
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Aleta

    Good questions.

    Are you saying that whenever anything happens outside these limits (whatever they might be), that is a miracle performed by God?

    Yes, anything that happens that is beyond what nature can produce is a supernatural event. Miracles are of different kinds. For example, in Catholic theology, God directly creates a soul for every human being (at the moment of conception). The direct creation of an immortal soul is a miracle.

    And also I wonder: do these things that happen outside these limits happen because God can’t accomplish what he wants to accomplish by using events that aren’t miraculous (this would be unlikely for an omnipotent being), or does he do these miraculous things for the purpose of revealing himself, in some sense, even though he wouldn’t have to?

    Right – he does it to reveal himself. He stays hidden for a reason – so that we learn faith and trust. He reveals himself occasionally so we have evidence that he exists and that he has power over nature.

    That is, I’m puzzled why God, who should be able to control chance events at the most minute level of time and space, would usually manifest himself in ways that people would interpret has occurring “naturally” as a product of events that contained an element of chance, but occasionally act miraculously.

    Again, good question. God has decided to be hidden, most of the time, from our direct view. The whole point of it comes down to these things: Faith, Love, Trust, Freedom.

    If God manifested himself directly to all creation, at every minute of the day – there would be no need for Faith and Trust. There would also be less Freedom (since we would be forced to believe that God exists). Without Freedom – our Love is limited, because to Love means making a choice (and having Faith and Trust).

    If God only used natural laws and never manifested a miracle, then there would be no evidence of his existence.
    The atheists would be correct to say that everything can be explained by nature and there is no need for God.
    Others would be right to say that “the God hypothesis is unnecessary” – because natural laws alone would explain everything.

    So, God wants to show himself, to prove that natural laws alone are not sufficient. He shows himself in irreducible complexity (for those who believe the Designer is God) and the coded language of DNA and the fine-tuning of the cosmos, among many other things. These cannot be explained by natural laws and chance.

    But more significantly, we see direct evidence in miracles — which are just brief moments where God reveals himself more directly, to prove that we cannot go around thinking that there is no evidence at all of his existence.

  17. 17
    phoodoo says:

    Joe,

    You should see Steve Shaffner (an admitted biologist and physicist) dancing to avoid answering this question over at TSZ.

    He is now using the excuse that he doesn’t have to answer it because he is not satisfied with my answer three weeks ago about what the difference is between fitness and survival (I answered many times-there is none).

    Its laughable how much they squirm to avoid this topic. I thought scientists simply wanted to get at the truth-why instead do they only want to play games?

    Hm, do they have an agenda?

  18. 18
    Joe says:

    phoodoo- That’s entertainment at its best!

  19. 19
    jerry says:

    A question to all other ID proponents: Do you agree with Joe that there is no such thing as Evolutionary Theory?

    Depends on what you mean by evolution and what you mean by theory. I know of no theory that has any support which explains the appearance of all new life forms over time. There are theories that explain trivial changes but none that explain and major changes.

  20. 20
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Astroman

    Joe, the Scientific Evolutionary Theory that you and other ID proponents zealously fight against, even though you say that it doesn’t exist.

    A question to all other ID proponents: Do you agree with Joe that there is no such thing as Evolutionary Theory?

    I don’t fight against evolutionary theory because I agree with Joe that there really is no such theory, at least on the large scale. There are speculations and evolutionary story-telling. But even the small claims of evolution are falsified — and nobody seems willing to state what the grand theory is.

    There’s a deception that is used also. A minimalist definition of evolution is used to claim how certain it is:

    Q. What is evolutionary theory?

    A. Evolution is the change over time of inherited traits found in a population of individuals.

    What is the theory attached to that? “Populations might change over time”. We then test and observe. Yep, sure enough – some bacteria changed a bit in a test environment. Evolution is 100% certain. It’s true.

    Q. Since evolution is true, what is evolutionary theory?

    A. Evolutionary theory successfully predicted that all living organisms on earth descended from a common ancestor through the mechanisms of natural selection, random mutation, random genetic drift and horizontal gene transfer — in a purely blind, unguided process that had no foresight for the future and which shows no evidence of having been designed by intelligence.

    And there is the deception. Start with the tiniest fact and then extrapolate to a grand theory that supposedly explains all the diversity and innovation in every life form on earth – including and especially, human beings, consciousness, purpose, religion and morality.

  21. 21
    bornagain77 says:

    Astroman, contrary to what you have been brainwashed into believing, there is no truly ‘scientific’ evolutionary theory since there is no rigid mathematical basis to Darwinism that may be potentially falsified,,,

    “On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
    – Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003

    And due to this lack of a rigid mathematical falsification criteria, then no matter what disconfirming evidence comes along, Darwinists are always able to make up a ‘just so’ story as to why it does not falsify Darwinism,,,

    “Being an evolutionist means there is no bad news. If new species appear abruptly in the fossil record, that just means evolution operates in spurts. If species then persist for eons with little modification, that just means evolution takes long breaks. If clever mechanisms are discovered in biology, that just means evolution is smarter than we imagined. If strikingly similar designs are found in distant species, that just means evolution repeats itself. If significant differences are found in allied species, that just means evolution sometimes introduces new designs rapidly. If no likely mechanism can be found for the large-scale change evolution requires, that just means evolution is mysterious. If adaptation responds to environmental signals, that just means evolution has more foresight than was thought. If major predictions of evolution are found to be false, that just means evolution is more complex than we thought.”
    ~ Cornelius Hunter

    Dr. David Berlinski: Head Scratching Mathematicians – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEDYr_fgcP8

    quote from preceding video:

    “John Von Neumann, one of the great mathematicians of the twentieth century, just laughed at Darwinian theory, he hooted at it!”
    Dr. David Berlinski

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    SA at 20, that was succinctly put!

  23. 23
    jerry says:

    And there is the deception. Start with the tiniest fact and then extrapolate to a grand theory that supposedly explains all the diversity and innovation in every life form on earth – including and especially, human beings, consciousness, purpose, religion and morality.

    What anti-ID people call the Theory of Evolution is modern day genetics. Which is extremely important for understanding disease, species capability or differences between species and individual organisms within a species. But it has zero support as a general theory of evolution. It is very limited in this regard. It is so limited that there does not exist one example of a new species forming as a result of this process. It may have happened but there are no examples.

  24. 24
    jerry says:

    It is so limited that there does not exist one example of a new species forming as a result of this process.

    This could quickly deteriorate into a discussion of just what is a species which is to miss the point. Nothing major has ever been identified, only trivialities.

  25. 25
    jerry says:

    And due to this lack of a rigid mathematical falsification criteria, then no matter what disconfirming evidence comes along, Darwinists are always able to make up a ‘just so’ story as to why it does not falsify Darwinism

    There will be rigid mathematical tests of the theory in coming years. Any changes of one species into another will leave evidence in the genomes of each that will highlight just what is different. These differences will be subjected to statistical analysis to indicate the plausibility of the changes by natural processes.

    When that comes about and we are headed for this, the mathematical support for either side will exist. As of now it does not exist and based on our knowledge of the construction of new coding alleles, it will never exists.

    Maybe the anti-ID should pray that their hopes will be fulfilled.

  26. 26
    bornagain77 says:

    Jerry you believe that “There will be rigid mathematical tests of the theory in coming years.”

    Actually, it is impossible to formulate a rigid mathematical basis for Darwinism to test because of the ‘random’ postulate at the base of the theory,,,

    Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Wolfgang Pauli on the Empirical Problems with Neo-Darwinism – Casey Luskin – February 27, 2012
    Excerpt: While they (Darwinian Biologists) pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’” Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28) –
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....56771.html

    “It is our contention that if ‘random’ is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws—physical, physico-chemical, and biological.”
    Murray Eden, “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, editors Paul S. Moorhead and Martin M. Kaplan, June 1967, p. 109.

    WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Evolution is True – Roger Highfield – January 2014
    Excerpt:,,, Whatever the case, those universal truths—’laws’—that physicists and chemists all rely upon appear relatively absent from biology.
    Little seems to have changed from a decade ago when the late and great John Maynard Smith wrote a chapter on evolutionary game theory for a book on the most powerful equations of science: his contribution did not include a single equation.
    http://www.edge.org/response-detail/25468

    Darwinians Try to Usurp Biomimetics Popularity – October 9, 2014
    Excerpt: “it is remarkable, therefore, that formal mathematical, rather than verbal, proof of the fact that natural selection has an optimizing tendency was still lacking after a century and a half later.”,,,
    More importantly, its proponents are still struggling, a century and a half after Darwin, to provide evidence and the mathematical formalism to demonstrate that random natural processes have the creative power that Darwin, Dawkins, and others claim it has. Everyone already knows that intelligent causes have such creative power.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....90231.html

    Active Information in Metabiology – Winston Ewert, William A. Dembski, Robert J. Marks II – 2013
    Except page 9: Chaitin states [3], “For many years I have thought that it is a mathematical scandal that we do not have proof that Darwinian evolution works.” In fact, mathematics has consistently demonstrated that undirected Darwinian evolution does not work.,,
    Consistent with the laws of conservation of information, natural selection can only work using the guidance of active information, which can be provided only by a designer.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2013.4
    Chaitin is quoted at 10:00 minute mark of following video in regards to Darwinism lack of a mathematical proof – Dr. Marks also comments on the honesty of Chaitin in personally admitting that his long sought after mathematical proof for evolution failed to deliver the goods.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=No3LZmPcwyg&feature=player_detailpage#t=600

  27. 27
    jerry says:

    Actually, it is impossible to formulate a rigid mathematical basis for Darwinism to test because of the ‘random’ postulate at the base of the theory,,,

    But the same changes that supposedly took place over time should be evident in possibly thousands of species. If change took place gradually, it should be evident in species that are similar and new alleles should be evident or not evident from comparisons of the genomes. That should be testable with statistical processes.

    Species at the same genera or family level should have evidence of successful and failed genomic sequences that led to new alleles. If there isn’t, then that will disprove conclusively the gradualist approach to evolution.

    All that will be left will be hopeful monsters or ID.

  28. 28
    Axel says:

    Voila, ci-dessous, Pape Benoit @ Jerry #19 – if I my lapse into franglais.

    In a nutshell:

    ‘There are theories that explain trivial changes but none that explain and major changes.’

  29. 29
    Axel says:

    @ bornagain77 #21

    Absolutely hilarious, BA77. Its piquancy reaching the stratosphere for being absolutely true, of course. How can anyone, even a non-scientist such as yours truly, not keep coming back for the latest stinging, factual putdown!

    More information for you, Papa Benoit! Especially the second and fourth paragraphs.

  30. 30
    Axel says:

    SA @20 and BA77 @22,

    A bit like claiming a champion darts player to be a top athlete. At tiddlywinks there’d be hope for me yet.

  31. 31
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Thanks, BA77. 🙂

  32. 32
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Axel – true. Although even darts and tittlywinks have meaning and targets and direction.

  33. 33
    bornagain77 says:

    jerry you try to defend your position that a rigid mathematical basis can somehow, someday, be formulated to allow Darwinism be falsified by stating,,,

    “These (genetic) differences will be subjected to statistical analysis to indicate the plausibility of the changes by natural processes. ”

    and

    “But the same changes that supposedly took place over time should be evident in possibly thousands of species. If change took place gradually, it should be evident in species that are similar and new alleles should be evident or not evident from comparisons of the genomes. That should be testable with statistical processes.

    The empirical evidence in genetic evidence is coming in and what is being found is not supportive of Darwinism in the least. For instance,,, 10% to 30% percent of each new genome sequenced contains unique ORFan genes, or the fact that although the genetic coding regions are broadly similar across species, the genetic regulatory regions which tell when, where, and how much, of the proteins to make are vastly different between different kinds of species.,,, and even within genetic coding regions ‘Darwin’s tree is being annihilated’ to quote a 2009 paper.
    Moreover, ‘statistical analysis’, as you are suggesting, hardly provides a rigid mathematical basis in which to falsify a theory empirically. In fact, as far as Darwinism is concerned, ‘statistical analysis’, (As Theobald has already amply shown), is more than ripe for abuse in the hands of the wrong people who are are willing to see ‘faces in the clouds’ so as to support their theory rather than what reality is actually telling us.,,,

    The following site gives an overview of the many problems inherent to the statistical method that Theobald used to try to establish ‘statistical significance’ for common ancestry;:

    Scientific method: Statistical errors – P values, the ‘gold standard’ of statistical validity, are not as reliable as many scientists assume. – Regina Nuzzo – 12 February 2014
    Excerpt: “P values are not doing their job, because they can’t,” says Stephen Ziliak, an economist at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois, and a frequent critic of the way statistics are used.,,,
    “Change your statistical philosophy and all of a sudden different things become important,” says Steven Goodman, a physician and statistician at Stanford. “Then ‘laws’ handed down from God are no longer handed down from God. They’re actually handed down to us by ourselves, through the methodology we adopt.”,,
    One researcher suggested rechristening the methodology “statistical hypothesis inference testing”3, presumably for the acronym it would yield.,,
    The irony is that when UK statistician Ronald Fisher introduced the P value in the 1920s, he did not mean it to be a definitive test. He intended it simply as an informal way to judge whether evidence was significant in the old-fashioned sense: worthy of a second look. The idea was to run an experiment, then see if the results were consistent with what random chance might produce.,,,
    Neyman called some of Fisher’s work mathematically “worse than useless”,,,
    “The P value was never meant to be used the way it’s used today,” says Goodman.,,,
    The more implausible the hypothesis — telepathy, aliens, homeopathy — the greater the chance that an exciting finding is a false alarm, no matter what the P value is.,,,
    “It is almost impossible to drag authors away from their p-values, and the more zeroes after the decimal point, the harder people cling to them”11,,
    http://www.nature.com/news/sci.....E-20140213

    Molecular Data Wreak Havoc on the Tree of Life – Casey Luskin – February 7, 2014
    Excerpt: Douglas Theobald claims in his “29+ Evidences for Macroevolution” that “well-determined phylogenetic trees inferred from the independent evidence of morphology and molecular sequences match with an extremely high degree of statistical significance.”
    In reality, however, the technical literature tells a different story. Studies of molecular homologies often fail to confirm evolutionary trees depicting the history of the animal phyla derived from studies of comparative anatomy. Instead, during the 1990s, early into the revolution in molecular genetics, many studies began to show that phylogenetic trees derived from anatomy and those derived from molecules often contradicted each other.
    Stephen Meyer – Darwin’s Doubt – (pp. 122-123)
    ,,,Moreover, when complex parts that are shared by different animals aren’t distributed in a treelike pattern, that wreaks havoc on the assumption of homology that’s used to build phylogenetic trees. In other words, this kind of extreme convergent evolution refutes the standard assumption that shared biological similarity (especially complex biological similarity like a brain and nervous system) implies inheritance from a common ancestor.
    If brains and nervous systems evolved multiple times, this undermines the main assumptions used in constructing phylogenetic trees, calling into question the very basis for inferring common ancestry.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....81981.html

    Does Natural Selection Leave “Detectable Statistical Evidence in the Genome”? More Problems with Matzke’s Critique of Darwin’s Doubt – Casey Luskin August 7, 2013
    Excerpt: A critical review of these statistical methods has shown that their theoretical foundation is not well established and they often give false-positive and false-negative results.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....75171.html

    Thus Jerry, while you may believe that a rigid mathematical basis exists that will someday allow Darwinism to be falsified, the fact of the matter is that the random postulate at the base of Darwinism prevents a rigid mathematical basis from ever being formulated. Moreover, statistical analysis you are hoping for is not nearly as rigid as you think it is and has already been abused by Darwinists to try to support their theory. ,,, But none of this should be surprising since Darwinists have been ignoring what mathematicians have been telling them for years.

    WISTAR DESTROYS EVOLUTION
    http://www.pathlights.com/ce_e.....hist12.htm

  34. 34
    jerry says:

    Thus Jerry, while you may believe that a rigid mathematical basis exists that will someday allow Darwinism to be falsified, the fact of the matter is that the random postulate at the base of Darwinism prevents a rigid mathematical basis from ever being formulated.

    No, random processes does not invalidate anything I said because the analysis takes place after most of the random processes have supposedly occurred but not all. Similar random sequences should be in most member species of the same family or genera. Some of these sequences will according to the gradualist theory continue to mutate into something useful.

    When something useful is discovered in a species that in not in other species of the same family or genera then there should be evidence of failed sequences in these other species. In fact there should be some evidence of nearly all the sequences that differ from the supposed common ancestor for the family or genera.

    This is where mathematical/statistical analysis comes in. The estimation of the possibility of a functional sequence developing in one species but not in another with similar genomic sequences. All the species in a particular line of a theoretical tree should have a large number of similar sequences. Some of these similar sequences will have important function that help differentiate a species from another while a similar sequence but not functional will be in related species. This is what is expected.

    I am not saying this is true. But if the gradualist approach is true then this is what should exist and mathematical/statistical approaches will be used to validate or falsify it.

    Suppose we take a protein producing gene in Species A which people believe is closely related to Species B which does not have this same protein producing gene. But take two cases for Speicies B.

    Species B does have a sequence that is not far from the sequence that produces a gene in Species A. Then one could say it seems likely that the sequence in Species A could have developed into a functioning protein producing gene in a gradual fashion while the sequence in Species B did not. Some form of mathematics would be used to assess this.

    Species B does not have a sequence that is close to the sequence that produces a gene in Species A. Then one could say it seems unlikely that the sequence in Species A could have developed into a functioning protein producing gene in a gradual fashion. The mathematics used here would be used to assess how a random sequence could have developed so quickly and likely would be used to discount that it appeared gradually.

    Such a situation would be evidence for or against gradualism and the likelihood of this happening naturalistically could be assessed mathematically.

    Take the family Bovidae which according to Wikipedia has 143 extant species and 300 extinct species. What are the differences between them? Are there any really unique alleles (not just a minor variant of another allele) that provide function? If there are in any of the 143 current species then there should be evidence of these alleles existing but not developing completely in other species. If there is not then one has to conclude that this unique allele sequence developed in a mathematically impossible way.

    Suppose one had an an analysis of all 143 species and found no really unique genes that had important function. One could then argue that maybe gradualist processes accounted for these 143 species but this would not be useful in the real evolution debate since no truly unique novel characteristics arose in any of them.

    If there are important differences then there should be trace evidence in related species. If there is not, then one has to conclude that gradualism did not produce it. This has already been discussed on UD though I cannot point to the specific thread. It was within the last 6-9 months and I believe the thread was on primates.

    I am not sure how relevant orphan genes are. It seems like they should be extremely relevant but unless we have specific examples with the unique function they possess and the lack of anything even remotely similar in other species then we will have to wait for more information.

    I am sure you will produce several references but what should be produced is a review of just what orphan genes are and how truly unique and useful they are. If you have one, I would be interested in the functions the proteins of these orphan genes have.

    Regulatory mechanisms are extremely interesting but not part of this particular discussion. How they came about is another area that could be analyzed mathematically and concluded that it could have been a gradual transition or not.

    If you disagree, then fine. But there is nothing controversial in what I have said and yes, some form of mathematical analysis will be useful.

  35. 35
    bornagain77 says:

    jerry, although you have some valid points, there is just so much in your post that I disagree with, let’s just agree to disagree and leave it at that.,,, i.e. I’ll let stand my criticism thus far.

  36. 36
    jerry says:

    Seems like a good place to stop on this at the moment.

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