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At Evolution News: What do biologists really know about macroevolution?

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Surprisingly little, if we leave out banging lecterns and ending people’s careers. That’s becoming clearer:

A recent paper in Science allows us to hold the magnifying glass up to claims of observable evidence supporting macroevolution. Gustavo Burin et al., in “Macroevolutionary stability predicts interaction patterns of species in seed dispersal networks,” published in the journal Science, use the word macroevolution 32 times. Burin and two colleagues from Brazil studied 468 bird species in 29 seed dispersal networks. From the data, they claimed to see evidence for macroevolution — evidence so secure, it allows them to make predictions about evolution. This should be a good case study. Do they really know about evolution, or is their exercise a detailed construction of a house of cards?

Two reviewers, Carolina Bello from Switzerland and Elisa Barreto from Brazil, gave their perspective about the paper, also in Science. As evolutionists, they were pleased to see the effort by Burin’s team showing “The footprint of evolution in seed dispersal interactions.” …

After reading the Burin paper, therefore, Bello and Barreto are not entirely sure the authors know what they claim to know.

One thing Darwinism has going for it: it sure generates a lot of busy work. But so does constructing a house of cards; whether effort corresponds to knowledge is a separate question. With their 32 mentions of macroevolution, can Burin’s team demonstrate knowledge about it? Even in the case of watching birds eat fruit, is the evidence clear? The authors are offered a fair chance to convince a skeptic as we dive into the text and supplemental materials.

Evolution News and Science Today, “What Do Biologists Really Know About Macroevolution?” at Evolution News and Science Today (June 23, 2021)

And “Colin Patterson’s question echoes through the decades: “Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing, any one thing, that is true?”

It should be okay not to be sure.

15 Replies to “At Evolution News: What do biologists really know about macroevolution?

  1. 1
    Querius says:

    The historical science required for establishing any past event, requires both evidence and interpretation. It can be compared to putting together a mosaic from shattered pieces of glass using a lot of conjectural grout. Ideologically biased researchers can easily create any sort of a mosaic, using “follow the science” as a cover.

    Darwin’s Theory of Evolution in the mid-19th century (1859) was compatible with their current Zeitgeist and provided a scientifically plausible justification for continuing the peculiar institution of American plantation slavery, what was first called the “White Man’s Burden” in 1865, European colonialism, and eugenics (The Descent of Man, 1871) including forced sterilization, horrifying genocides, and ethnic cleansings–all in the name of “modern” science.

    Of course, it’s currently not popular to link Darwinism with some of these perspectives, but we can hope that without as much ideological motivation, science will finally be freed from a weak theory that’s been repeatedly falsified by the absence of the missing links proposed by Charles Darwin, the discoveries that vestigial organs were not vestiges after all (including ductless glands), so called “junk DNA” that’s now called non-coding DNA, species that miraculously failed to evolve and were called “living fossils,” and direct comparisons of genomes using DNA demonstrating that the “Tree of Life” is simply a fiction.

    I look forward to the day when we’re finally able to pry Darwin’s cold, dead hands from the throat of free scientific inquiry.

    -Q

  2. 2
    PaV says:

    Querius:

    Very nice post: comprehensive and insightfully critical.

    I have yet to read a book about macroevolution that makes any sense. My last failed attempt was Nei’s, Mutation-Driven Evolution. There are always mathematical pieces of the puzzle and general observations that are included, but only someone bound to reach the desired goal of seeing macroevolution at work can see these things as meaningful.

    Yes, indeed, the “cold, dead hands” of Darwin just don’t want to let go of the throat of true science.

  3. 3
    Sandy says:

    Yep, for a lie(like darwinist theory or more recently theories of sexual fluidity or white supremacy or other dumb liberal theories) to live long it’s necessary to be imposed some measures of coercition over majority . It’s an agenda for control. Fortunately even people who seek to control other humans will ultimately die. Who laugh last will win. God will laugh last.

  4. 4
    ET says:

    They know that if they keep changing the definition that they can make macroevolution out of the different dog breeds. 🙄

    What is now known about genetics says that differential accumulations of changes to DNA cannot account for the diversity of life on earth. Changes to eye color? Yes. Changes to DNA is your dog. Eyes from the eyeless? Such a thing can’t even be solved with a genetic algorithm as no one knows how such a thing could possibly happen. No one knows what the fitness function should look like.

    The main problem for macroevolution, though, is the serious problem of biological form. That question will NEVER be answered from a naturalistic PoV because it is unanswerable from a naturalistic PoV. And yet they still won’t yield. They have nothing and they are now in the way. And they still won’t yield.

  5. 5
    martin_r says:

    Seversky, JVL & Co.

    i will repeat myself, but i have to put this question again, because it is never answered ..

    The Darwinian evolution supposed to work as a trail-error process. Because nobody believes that all species have been created by random mutations at the first attempt.

    Obviously, there had to billions if not trillions of error-attempts when you consider how many species lived and live on Earth.

    But what do we see when we look at fossil records?

    We always see sophisticated fully developed fully working species …

    So, my silly question is, HOW MANY ERROR ATTEMPTS did you Darwinists actually find?

    Could some Darwinist show me these error attempts ?

  6. 6
    jerry says:

    We always see sophisticated fully developed fully working species

    You should read Blume’s book on design. I’m reading it now and discussing it as I go on the Ten Book thread.

    This realization about the fossil record is what changed his mind.

    https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/ten-or-so-anti-intelligent-design-books-you-should-read/#comment-733567

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    As to this comment from the OP:

    A recent paper in Science allows us to hold the magnifying glass up to claims of observable evidence supporting macroevolution. Gustavo Burin et al., in “Macroevolutionary stability predicts interaction patterns of species in seed dispersal networks,”

    HUH? Lack of macroevolution in birds, i.e. “macroevolutionary stability”, predicts how bird species will interact in seed dispersal networks???

    And exactly how is that suppose to provide evidence for macroevolution? (i.e. evidence for a fundamental change in a bird’s body plan?)

    They claim,

    “central species (of birds) are more likely both to persist in time (negative correlation with extinction rate) and to belong to clades that are more likely to provide a replacement species if one goes extinct ”

    If the authors are trying to claim evidence for macroevolution, (i.e. evidence for a fundamental change in a bird’s body plan), they certainly have a funny way of showing it. If anything, they are claiming that lack of macroevolution, i.e. “macroevolutionary stability”, predicts seed dispersal networks.

    From what I can tell from my nosebleed section, their study, (for whatever merit it may actually have in determining if macroevolutionary events are even feasible), and by their own admission, is evidence against macroevolutionary events being feasible, not for them.

    Aside from their apparent ‘tea leaf reading’ of seed dispersal networks to determine if macroevolutionary events occurred, when we look at evidence that has, shall we say, a more solid footing as to determining if macroevolutionary events even occurred, (or if they are even feasible), then we find that the ‘bottom-up’ materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution fall short, and we find that they fall short by a very wide margin.

    (Despite the fact that some Darwinists have misrepresented some of the evidence, and some Darwinists have even fraudulently manipulated fossils in order to falsely make it appear as if birds evolved from dinosaurs),,, Darwinists simply have no evidence for the ‘gradual’ appearance of birds in the fossil record.

    “What we have shown is that there’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever that protofeathers existed in dinosaurs, period.”10,,,
    Storrs Olson, the curator of birds at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, has been a vocal critic of the theory that modern birds evolved from dinosaurs.
    “The whole notion of feathered dinosaurs is a myth that has been created by ideologues bent on perpetuating the birds-are-dinosaurs theory in the face of all contrary evidence,” he said.
    https://triablogue.blogspot.com/2007/07/in-search-of-evolution.html

    Ten Reasons Why Birds Are Not Living Dinosaurs
    Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – April 14, 2021
    https://evolutionnews.org/2021/04/ten-reasons-why-birds-are-not-living-dinosaurs/

    Bird Evolution vs. The Actual Evidence – video (11:42 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/OZhtj06kmXY?t=704

    Fossil Discontinuities: Refutation of Darwinism & Confirmation of Intelligent Design – Gunter Bechly – (Radiation of Modern Birds – 25:00 minute mark) – video
    https://youtu.be/M7w5QGqcnNs?t=1501

    Nor do Darwinists have any fossil evidence, (nor genetic evidence), for one species of bird ever evolving into another species of bird.

    Darwin’s Legacy – Donal Prothero
    Excerpt: In four of the biggest climatic-vegetational events of the last 50 million years, the mammals and birds show no noticeable change in response to changing climates. No matter how many presentations I give where I show these data, no one (including myself) has a good explanation yet for such widespread stasis despite the obvious selective pressures of changing climate. Rather than answers, we have more questions,,,
    – Donald Prothero – geologist, paleontologist, – Stephen Jay Gould himself called Prothero “the best punctuated equilibrium researcher on the West Coast”
    https://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/12-02-15/

    Genetic Conflicts – May 2021
    Categorical edge-based analyses of phylogenomic data reveal conflicting signals for difficult relationships in the avian tree(5 scientists writing in the preprint server bioRxiv). The authors include noted evolutionists Joel Cracraft and Steven A. Smith. Here is a digest of admissions in the Abstract:
    *Phylogenetic studies of genetic evidence often fail to match a Darwinian tree pattern.
    *Failures occur even in whole-genome studies. In such cases, they can’t blame a lack of data.
    *The more they look at “contentious” points in the tree, the more the problems mount.
    *They can’t blame noise in the data. Even if there is noise, some of the mismatches reflect true biological facts.
    *The five authors examined molecular evidence for bird species, and could not resolve the conflicts.
    *Even when they removed the most problematic mismatches, conflicts remained.
    *They got different matches for bird groups depending on which genes they looked at.
    *How can the Hoatzin, a puzzling tree bird with claws on its wings, be closest to shorebirds?
    *Mismatches in bird phylogeny “may be even greater than appreciated based on previous studies.”
    https://crev.info/2021/05/darwinism-does-not-fit-the-evidence/

    And there are very good theoretical reasons for why the ‘bottom-up’ materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution will never be able to explain macroevolutionary events, (i.e. never be able to explain the appearance of new body plans).

    One of the top theoretical reasons for why the ‘bottom-up’ materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution will never be able to explain macroevolutionary events is because, in order to change one body plan into a fundamentally new body plan, multiple simultaneous, and coordinated, changes are required in order to avoid running into evolutionary dead ends.

    That is to say, selecting for only one trait of an organism, leads to the compromising of other traits of the organism, which prevents any further evolution of the organism.

    As Lynn Margulis explained, “If you want bigger eggs, you keep selecting the hens that are laying the biggest eggs, and you get bigger and bigger eggs. But you also get hens with defective feathers and wobbly legs.”

    “This is the issue I have with neo-Darwinists: They teach that what is generating novelty is the accumulation of random mutations in DNA, in a direction set by natural selection. If you want bigger eggs, you keep selecting the hens that are laying the biggest eggs, and you get bigger and bigger eggs. But you also get hens with defective feathers and wobbly legs. Natural selection eliminates and maybe maintains, but it doesn’t create….”
    (Lynn Margulis Says She’s Not Controversial, She’s Right,” Discover Magazine, p. 68 (April, 2011)

    And as Igor Popov explained in his paper “The Problem of Constraints on Variation”,,,, “when the English farmers decided to get cows with thick hams, they soon abandoned this attempt since they perished too frequently during delivery. Evidently such cases provoked an idea on the limitations to variability,,,, The problem of the constraints on variation was not solved neither within the framework of the proper Darwin’s theory, nor within the framework of modern Darwinism.”

    “The real number of variations is lesser than expected,,. There are no blue-eyed Drosophila, no viviparous birds or turtles, no hexapod mammals, etc. Such observations provoke non-Darwinian evolutionary concepts. Darwin tried rather unsuccessfully to solve the problem of the contradictions between his model of random variability and the existence of constraints. He tried to hide this complication citing abundant facts on other phenomena. The authors of the modern versions of Darwinism followed this strategy, allowing the question to persist. …However, he was forced to admit some cases where creating anything humans may wish for was impossible. For example, when the English farmers decided to get cows with thick hams, they soon abandoned this attempt since they perished too frequently during delivery. Evidently such cases provoked an idea on the limitations to variability… [If you have the time, read all of the following paper, which concludes] The problem of the constraints on variation was not solved neither within the framework of the proper Darwin’s theory, nor within the framework of modern Darwinism.”
    (IGOR POPOV, THE PROBLEM OF CONSTRAINTS ON VARIATION, FROM DARWIN TO THE PRESENT, 2009,
    http://ludus-vitalis.org/html/....._popov.pdf

    So obviously, in order to explain the origin of fundamentally new body plans, and in order to avoid running Into evolutionary dead ends, Darwinists must, somehow, be able to explain the origin of multiple ‘coordinated’ changes at the same time.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Yet, explaining multiple ‘coordinated’ changes at the same time makes what was already extremely problematic for Darwinists, (i.e. explaining the fixation of a single mutation), exponentially worse for them.

    As Dr. John Sanford explained, “Waiting a minimum of 1.5 million years (realistically, much longer), for a single point mutation is not timely adaptation in the face of any type of pressing evolutionary challenge.”,,, “While fixing one point mutation is problematic, our simulations show that the fixation of two co-dependent mutations is extremely problematic – requiring at least 84 million years”,,, “Certainly the creation and fixation of a string of three (requiring at least 380 million years) would be extremely untimely (and trivial in effect)”

    The waiting time problem in a model hominin population – 2015 Sep 17
    John Sanford, Wesley Brewer, Franzine Smith, and John Baumgardner
    Excerpt: The program Mendel’s Accountant realistically simulates the mutation/selection process,,,
    Given optimal settings, what is the longest nucleotide string that can arise within a reasonable waiting time within a hominin population of 10,000? Arguably, the waiting time for the fixation of a “string-of-one” is by itself problematic (Table 2). Waiting a minimum of 1.5 million years (realistically, much longer), for a single point mutation is not timely adaptation in the face of any type of pressing evolutionary challenge. This is especially problematic when we consider that it is estimated that it only took six million years for the chimp and human genomes to diverge by over 5 % [1]. This represents at least 75 million nucleotide changes in the human lineage, many of which must encode new information.
    While fixing one point mutation is problematic, our simulations show that the fixation of two co-dependent mutations is extremely problematic – requiring at least 84 million years (Table 2). This is ten-fold longer than the estimated time required for ape-to-man evolution. In this light, we suggest that a string of two specific mutations is a reasonable upper limit, in terms of the longest string length that is likely to evolve within a hominin population (at least in a way that is either timely or meaningful). Certainly the creation and fixation of a string of three (requiring at least 380 million years) would be extremely untimely (and trivial in effect), in terms of the evolution of modern man.
    It is widely thought that a larger population size can eliminate the waiting time problem. If that were true, then the waiting time problem would only be meaningful within small populations. While our simulations show that larger populations do help reduce waiting time, we see that the benefit of larger population size produces rapidly diminishing returns (Table 4 and Fig. 4). When we increase the hominin population from 10,000 to 1 million (our current upper limit for these types of experiments), the waiting time for creating a string of five is only reduced from two billion to 482 million years.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC4573302/

    Moreover, even if Darwinists could somehow explain multiple coordinated changes, some of the supposed transitions, and/or transformations, that would have had to occur, in order to explain the origin of birds from dinosaurs, are simply impossible.

    For instance, the impossibility of converting a reptile lung into an avian lung is touched upon in the following video and article:

    From a Frog to a Prince: Biological Evidence of Creation – video – 2:16 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/TMoWfPn2pCI?t=136

    Blown away by design:
    Michael Denton and birds’ lungs
    Excerpt: A classic example, he says, is the lung of the bird, which is ‘unique in being a circulatory lung rather than a bellows lung [see box]. I think it doesn’t require a great deal of profound knowledge of biology to see that for an organ which is so central to the physiology of any higher organism, its drastic modification in that way by a series of small events is almost inconceivable. This is something we can’t throw under the carpet again because, basically, as Darwin said, if any organ can be shown to be incapable of being achieved gradually in little steps, his theory would be totally overthrown.,,,
    The amazing bird lung
    As a bird breathes, air moves into its rear air sacs (1). These then expel the air into the lung (2) and the air flows through the lung into the front air sacs (3). The air is expelled by the front air sacs as the bird breathes out. The lung does not expand and contract as does a reptile’s or mammal’s. The blood which picks up oxygen from the lung flows in the opposite direction to the air so that blood with the lowest oxygen (blue in the diagram always means lower oxygen, red means high oxygen) is exposed to air with the lowest oxygen. The blood with the highest oxygen is exposed to air with an even higher oxygen concentration. This ensures that, in every region of the circulation, the concentration of oxygen in the air is more than that of the blood with which it is in contact. This maximizes the efficiency of oxygen transfer from the air to the blood. This is known as counter-current exchange. Such very efficient lungs help birds to handle the energy demands of flight, especially at high altitudes.1
    https://creation.com/blown-away-by-design-michael-denton-and-birds-lungs

    Thus in conclusion, whatever minor relevance the cited paper in the OP may have towards providing evidence for macroevolution, (i.e. the origin of new body plans), when looking at the evidence from the fossil record, genetics, and physiology, we find that Darwinian explanations, in rather dramatic fashion, (and once again), fail to live up to their billing.

    Darwinists, (despite what they may claim to the contrary), with their ‘bottom-up’ materialistic framework, simply have no clue how any particular ‘biological form’ may be generated in the first place, much less do they have any realistic clue as to how it is remotely possible to change one body plan into a fundamentally new body plan.

    As the following 2020 paper stated, “the problem of biological form remains unsolved” (for Darwinists)

    On the problem of biological form – Marta Linde-Medina (2020)
    Excerpt: Embryonic development, which inspired the first theories of biological form, was eventually excluded from the conceptual framework of the Modern Synthesis as irrelevant.,,,
    At present, the problem of biological form remains unsolved.
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12064-020-00317-3

    Verse:

    Psalm 139:13-14
    For You formed my inward parts;
    You covered me in my mother’s womb.
    I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    Marvelous are Your works,
    And that my soul knows very well.

  9. 9
    zweston says:

    I guess we need to talk about if all dogs go to heaven to draw Sev back out.

    I wonder what Sev would say to answer this question

  10. 10
    Querius says:

    Thanks, PaV @2.

    I have yet to read a book about macroevolution that makes any sense.

    Marshall’s book, Evolution 2.0, contends there are 5 or 6 credible mechanisms that have been observed for macroevolution . . . and mutations are the least of these.

    He’s tried to taunt Darwinists into accepting a challenge for a massive cash prize, but apparently the price of academic heresy is too brutal to do anything but ignore it.

    Marshall, in my opinion, did not adequately address the source of new information in the process of evolving genomes, but even the fact that other evolutionary mechanisms have been observed is still too risky to incorporate into the strict Darwinistic orthodoxy that will continue to paralyze this area of science.

    I’m not ideologically committed against the possibility that God designed evolutionary mechanisms into genomes for adaptation, but Darwinism is simply a lousy 19th century theory that needs to be finally retired along with phlogiston, phrenology, and phlebotomy!

    -Q

  11. 11
    jerry says:

    I have yet to read a book about macroevolution that makes any sense.

    See my comment about macroevolution and a highly touted recent book on evolution.

    https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/ten-or-so-anti-intelligent-design-books-you-should-read/#comment-733589

    Why do highly rated books on evolution seem to avoid anything of real substance?

  12. 12
    martin_r says:

    Querius @10

    i have read Marchall’s book. The only reason why i purchased it was, that Marchall is an engineer (electrical). Also, he is an IT expert. I am a mechanical engineer with decent IT background. So i was curious, what other engineer thinks about the whole evo thing.

    Perry Marchall is smart, no doubt, but, i think he makes the same mistake like Darwinists do… he extrapolates. In some of his examples he quotes research of Darwinists (the extrapolation: today you can jump 1 meter distance, give it enough time and one day you will be able to jump to the Moon)

    I also agree with you, i as an engineer, i have no problems with a certain degree of ‘evolution’, but i would rather call it an ‘adaptation’ … actually, to design some features of adaptation, this is exactly what i would expect from a very skilled engineer (e.g. our Creator)

    The question is, what are the limits of such an adaptation or ‘evolution’. When you can change the color of your body (peppered moth), is this really an evolution ? is changing your body color an evolution ? Did you evolve? One they you will change the color to the previous one. Did you devolved ? NO… it is an adaptation. It is an adaptive color camouflage.

    There is a very interesting research with peppered moth’s larvae/caterpillars, they change their body colors based on the color of the background/twig they are attached to.

    Here you go:
    https://media.springernature.com/lw685/springer-static/image/art%3A10.1038%2Fs42003-019-0502-7/MediaObjects/42003_2019_502_Fig2_HTML.png?as=webp

    Full article:
    “Adaptive colour change and background choice behaviour in peppered moth caterpillars is mediated by extraocular photoreception”
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s42003-019-0502-7

    You know how these peppered moth’s caterpillars doing it?

    Quote: ” by extraocular photoreception ” in other words, they don’t need eyes, their ‘see’ with their bodies… so there is no natural selection in action, they can change/adapt their body color based on background (like chameleons). So my question is, if peppered moth’s larvae can change its body color based on the background, i bet that the adult peppered moth (the icon of evolution) has the same ability… This is another example of how Darwinists misinterpret the evidence … No random mutation and natural selection, but the designed ability to change the color based on the background color … an adaptive camouflage… lots of other species doing this …

    The question is, will peppered moth evolve in some other species ? ever ? Like i said, Darwinists take this sort of ‘evidence’ for ‘evolution’, then they misinterpret it and making of it a crazy absurd theory on the origin of species … it is like is some mental hospital …

  13. 13
    martin_r says:

    i posted this before, but let me remind you again:

    Few years ago, there was a very interesting debate over at ResearchGate (a Darwinian website)

    Someone asked a question:

    “Where are all the common ancestors? ”
    (more specifically – where is the fossil record of the species ancestral to all great apes, or all mammals, or all amniotes..etc?)

    What followed was an avalanche of darwinian excuses…

    here is the debate:

    https://www.researchgate.net/post/Where_are_all_the_common_ancestor_species_in_the_fossil_record

    PS: from the debate, i like this one, from the guy who started the debate (a kind of sarcastic): “Yet the fossil record seems to be quite good at recording species other than the putative common ancestors.”

  14. 14
    jerry says:

    DNA has nothing to do with macroevolution. The most amazing insight so far from Stephen Blume’s book, Evo-Illusion. DNA has been a red herring for almost 100 years.

    What Watson and Crick discovered was extraordinary but it has nothing to do with the evolution question. So rethink all your conceptions because they are irrelevant.

  15. 15
    Querius says:

    Martin,

    Thank you for the link–I enjoyed the honest debate there. My favorite quote was in response to the excuse that there are not enough fossils preserved and thus common ancestors are likely not preserved in the fossil record:

    30th Sep, 2013
    Joseph H Bozorgmehr
    Laboratory of Systems Biology and Bioinformatics
    That is basically an argument akin to”the dog ate my homework”. Sure, very few individuals from every species that ever existed has a chance of being fossilized, but we should expect at least one individual specimen to show up. If the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees lived 5-7 mya (according to phylogenetic inference), then some fossilized remains should be found. If not, then we should be able to find remains of the common ancestors of other species, but hardly any have so far been recovered and identified. The only one I can think of is Homo hiedelbergensis which is the species ancestral both to modern humans and neanderthals.

    The problem with fossils are numerous. According to evolution theory, all species are potentially common ancestors, but to determine actual genetic ancestry, there’s really no getting around comparing genomes, which has been problematic when validating current taxonomies. Otherwise, some robotic alien visitors to a dead earth might excitedly create an “Evolutionary Tree of Transportation” that demonstrates how tricycles were the common ancestor of both bicycles and wagons, for example.

    A casualty of Fundamentalist Darwinism seems to be epigenetic variability. I had a big “aha” moment when I first learned that the beaks of Darwin’s finches apparently adapt to their environment in one single generation! Now, how does that evolve?

    Marshall’s book at least drills some very credible holes in Darwinist orthodoxy regarding mutations as being the sole source for genetic variation. But he still faces the problem of information in a design and running out of monkeys, typewriters, and time.

    -Q

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