Evolution Intelligent Design

Common descent: Ann Gauger replies to Vincent Torley

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opossum/Cody Pope

The Opossum Files!: On June 6, philosopher Vincent Torley, one of our Uncommon Descent authors, asked us to consider the opossum as evidence for common descent:

Consider the opossum (a marsupial mammal): the evidence for common descent (Vincent Torley, June 6, 2016):

Remarkably, the recent spate of articles over at Evolution News and Views (see here, here and here) attacking the claim that vitellogenin pseudogenes in humans provide scientific evidence for common descent, all missed the point that Professor Dennis Venema was making, which was not about the existence of pseudogenes, but about the spatial pattern in the genes. The pattern is strikingly clear if we compare chickens with opossums. And since humans belong to the same class as opossums (namely, mammals), any scientific evidence that chickens and opossums have a common ancestor also counts as strong prima facie evidence that chickens and humans have one.

An overwhelmingly strong scientific case can be made that life on Earth was designed. That alone should be enough to make belief in Intelligent Design reasonable. I believe that we in the ID movement should stick to our strengths. It does our cause no good if we query the very strong scientific evidence for common descent, which in no way weakens the case for Intelligent Design.

Ann Gauger of the Biologic Institute, has replied, disputing the matter:

1. Vincent Torley Thinks I Have Egg on My Face (June 10, 2016)

As a biologist, I see evidence on both sides of the debate. The evidence is equivocal — hence the fact that ID advocates take different positions on the subject. Yet common descent — the idea that organisms descend from one or a few common ancestors — is treated like a sacred cow by many scientists, and even, it appears, by some philosophers. Indignation arises that anyone would doubt it, would even have questions. Scientists take common descent as axiomatic, and accept evidence that is itself interpreted through a lens of common descent as proof of common descent. As a consequence, any evidence against common descent meets opposition and is explained away.

If all people did was to read Venema’s post [to which Gauger responded ] the synteny would look pretty convincing. That’s unfortunate. Those not trained in science will take his post at face value, and be convinced of VIT1 synteny and its status as a former vitellogenin gene. When the original data is examined, it’s not nearly as convincing. Scientists have a duty to represent data accurately, even other people’s data. Now I may not have access to information Dennis Venema has, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt. But I would be happier if he changed his figures, or revealed his source for any data that didn’t come from the paper he cited.

2. Having a BLAST: The Torley Saga, Cont.(June 14, 2016)

Those who hold to common ancestry accept that, at the very least, each major group of animals is descended from a common ancestor, and some hold that the common ancestry goes all the way back to the first cell. The question at hand then is whether we share common ancestry with chickens and opossums, and by implication, with chimpanzees. What we have been discussing through all these posts is this: How strong is the evidence that we have the remnants of an egg yolk protein, vitellogenin, in our genome? Do we come from an egg-laying ancestor?

There is definitely more similarity between chicken and humans than the Brawand paper reported. Why they didn’t report the full degree of alignment I don’t know.

Still, despite the increased alignment, this is on the borderline of what is detectable as a match. The fact that things vary from alignment to alignment indicates the match is weak. If there ever was a human vitellogenin gene, there’s almost nothing left of the original gene. Swamidass tells me that given the long time that has passed since our last common ancestor with chickens, this is to be expected. Yes, I know. But there is an alternate explanation — the possibility that a vitellogenin gene was never there to begin with — though I know Swamidass and Torley will vigorously disagree with me.

3. The Opossum’s Tale: The Torley Saga, Cont. (June 16, 2016)

Common descent cannot explain why egg-laying genes were lost earlier in one lineage than another, since it could have happened either way. Or not at all. See above.

From a design perspective, I would say the reason for the difference in apparent inactivation times is because each animal has a different design. How the DNA is used may differ.

So now on to the next and final explosive post. Stay tuned. It’s my riposte to the “explain and predict” test for common descent versus common design offered by Torley. And I am done with talking about egg yolk proteins.

4. The Placenta Problem: How Common Descent Fails (June 17, 2016)

Convergent design is clearly observable across biology but has no evolutionary mechanism. There are proposed reasons for it but no demonstration. I can hear in my head the arguments of evolutionary biologists: intrinsic constraints, canalization, living in similar environments or ecological niches, you have no demonstration either…

So then maybe the answer comes down to probability.

In considering these alternative explanations, ask yourself, how likely is it that a retrovirus would infect, invade the germ line (the cells that make eggs and sperm), then insert itself at random in locations in the genome that are expressed in the developing embryo or primitive uterus at the proper time, then promote fusion of membranes to permit the formation of a placenta, with all this happening at least six separate times in the six lineages tested so far? We should also make clear, expressing a syncytin by itself is unlikely to be enough to make a placenta, which is a complex organ requiring interactions between mother and embryo, and the ability to exchange nutrients and oxygen.

Readers?  And over to Torley!

Fun: The cat wins, of course. Cats are unabashed creationists, as no creature could precede a cat in principle:

53 Replies to “Common descent: Ann Gauger replies to Vincent Torley

  1. 1
    Robert Byers says:

    In all the common descent claims it always boils down to the theory of comparativeness. All they do is compare things and then conclude, by a line of reasoning, that things could be, or only, alike because of like origin.
    YET all could easily be explained from a creator with a like blueprint for major points in biology AND a blueprint for how biology can reorganize itself for needs to survive.
    Evolutionists TRULY just guess about common descent on comparing bits and pieces in different creatures.
    Who says its not egg details but the elements from which eggs come that if actually found in unrelated creatures.
    There is other options for anything that is alike in segregated creatures.
    Just include imagination before the strange conclusion of common descent.
    nOBODY says all the different people groups/races come from a common ancestor in looks and then changed in degrees. everybody must see man’s looks as independently created in local areas unrelated to common descent.

  2. 2
    Evolve says:

    ///YET all could easily be explained from a creator with a like blueprint for major points in biology///

    This is nonsensical simply because LIVING THINGS REPRODUCE.
    During reproduction, traits get passed down from parents to offspring. This is called descent with modification. And this is what leads to common descent.
    This is totally unlike common design of man-made objects because those things don’t reproduce and pass their traits down vertically. The analogy completely fails and creationists don’t even realize it!

  3. 3
    vjtorley says:

    Hi News,

    Thanks very much for your handy summary of recent posts on common descent, on UD and ENV. I will be replying during the next few days. In the meantime, I would like to thank Dr. Ann Gauger for addressing the questions I posed to her. She is not one to run away from a challenge, and I find that an admirable trait, even if we may disagree on certain issues.

  4. 4
    Mung says:

    What would scientific evidence against common decent look like?

  5. 5
    Mung says:

    evolve:

    LIVING THINGS REPRODUCE.

    Some don’t.

    And this is what leads to common descent.

    Yes. My cousins and I share a common grand-parent.

    Therefore, common descent.

    Who ever thought otherwise?

  6. 6
    Mung says:

    And since humans belong to the same class as opossums (namely, mammals), any scientific evidence that chickens and opossums have a common ancestor also counts as strong prima facie evidence that chickens and humans have one.

    Note that Dr. Gauger’s most recent article directly attacks this claim.

    M1, M2, M3, M4, and opossums are all classified as mammals.

    The opossum and the chicken appear to share a common ancestor. This is prima facie evidence that all mammals (M1, M2, M3, and M4, and opossums) share a common ancestor.

    How does that inference work, exactly?

  7. 7
    mw says:

    News quotes vjt:

    “It does our cause no good if we query the very strong scientific evidence for common descent, which in no way weakens the case for Intelligent Design.”
    ___________________________________________________________

    However, bear in mind:

    “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

    “It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

    “The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that Miracles may happen.”

    —- God forbid such a thing!

    (Richard Lewontin, Billions and billions of demons [review of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan, 1997], The New York Review, p. 31, 9 January 1997). Cited from http://creation.com/amazing-ad.....ntin-quote

    As for “very strong scientific evidence;” even Darwin struggled.

  8. 8
    Evolve says:

    Ann Gauger’s responses are so horribly stupid that I don’t know where to start or what to say.

    Just because there are few different types of placentas with independent origins in placental mammals, how can that disprove common descent? Does the morphological similarity between whales and sharks disprove the descent of whales and hippos from a common ancestor? No, it doesn’t because the descent of whales and hippos from a common ancestor is supported by a whole other body of anatomical, embryological, paleontological and genetic evidence that cannot be ignored. The external similarity between whales and sharks is due to convergent evolution by virtue of both organisms occupying similar habitats. Ann Gauger may belittle processes such as convergent evolution, but those are real phenomena operating in nature.

    Although common descent is considered a fact, no proper biologist will claim that every single trait is a result of common descent. There are other processes in biology too – horizontal gene transfer and convergent evolution are just a couple of them. Nature is complicated and only Ann Gauger’s ilk would unrealistically expect every trait to neatly fit one and only one given phenomenon.

    Ann Gauger thinks she has nailed the case against common descent through the example of syncytins because they were not inherited by all placental mammals from their supposed common ancestor. She says that different syncytins, with no common origin, were inserted by a designer into specific mammalian lineages at different time points. But her logic is utterly flawed because syncytins did not pop into existence from nowhere one fine morning. They are viral proteins and viral infections are very common in all vertebrates including mammals. It is also common for viral genes to integrate into the host organism’s genome (all mammalian genomes sequenced thus far are littered with tons of viral gene remnants, which emphatically prove this point). Occasionally, some viruses infect the germline too and, when this happens, viral genes can get passed down to the next generation. Different syncytins were inherited by different mammalian lineages from such infections.

    Syncytins perform two main functions for the virus – they suppress the host’s immune response and they facilitate fusion of the viral envelope with the host cell. When syncytins were acquired by the host organism, both these functions were co-opted for different purposes. The immune suppressing role was used to prevent rejection of the foetus by the mother, while the fusogenic (fusion-promoting) role was used to form the placenta – a tissue that results from the fusion of maternal and fetal cells.

    Syncytins are not mysterious, magic genes Ann Gauger’s designer pulled out of thin air. Their origin and co-option for different purposes by mammals occurred through well-understood processes. As such, a designer is not the most parsimonious explanation, and it is unnecessary and redundant.

  9. 9
    Evolve says:

    ///Some don’t.///

    Lol, really? Name one.

  10. 10
    Mung says:

    Ann Gauger’s responses are so horribly stupid that I don’t know where to start or what to say.

    Why not say nothing then?

  11. 11
    Evolve says:

    Gauger says:

    ////I hope Torley and Swamidass are not making the mistake of thinking of marsupials as partway up the evolutionary ladder, therefore closer to their egg-laying roots than are eutherian mammals. If common descent is true, the theory says that eutherian mammals and marsupials share a common egg-laying ancestor that diverged from the chicken lineage a long time ago, so present day marsupials and mammals are equidistant from chickens in evolutionary time. There can be no a prioriprediction about which should have a vitellogenin pseudogene with closer resemblance to an egg-laying chicken’s gene, without prior, independent knowledge of when egg laying was lost in either lineage.////

    Lol! Ann Gauger has no clue about divergence.
    Different species diverge or split off from the ancestral population at different stages. Those that split off before some features are lost are expected to retain those features in some form. Those that split off after the features are lost are expected to retain only remnants of those features. To what extent does the remnants persist depends on how early or late the species diverged after the feature was lost.

    Among mammals, monotremes (egg-laying mammals such as Platypus) split off from the ancestral mammalian population before egg-laying was lost. Therefore, they are expected to retain the feature. And we see that.
    Marsupials were the next to diverge from the ancestral stock, but this happened after egg-laying was lost. Therefore, they’re expected not to retain the egg-laying trait. However, since marsupials diverged comparatively earlier than different placental mammal groups did, marsupials are expected to retain more of the egg-laying feature remnants than placentals do. And this is exactly what we see. The opossum has more sequence similarity in the vitellogenin region to chickens than placental mammals like humans do.

    In other words, the prediction of common descent perfectly matches the data with respect to the vitellogenin pseudogene.

  12. 12
    Mung says:

    In other words, the prediction of common descent perfectly matches the data with respect to the vitellogenin pseudogene.

    The vitellogenin pseudogene is not a prediction of common descent.

  13. 13
    Evolve says:

    ///The vitellogenin pseudogene is not a prediction of common descent.///

    It is.
    If all mammals share a common egg-laying ancestor, then they’re expected to retain remnants of the egg-laying feature to varying degrees depending on when they diverged.

  14. 14
    Dr JDD says:

    Evolve:

    Calm down dear, it’s only evolution.

    I think you’ll find Ann Gauger is merely challenging the status quo and trying to invoke dialogue and discussion over complex issues that people ignore and/or refuse to have a reasonable dialogue about. Yet this is what science is meant to encourage. She is not saying “the designer did this” she is saying that assumptions just cannot be made and we should discuss and acknowledge these problems.

    Now I’m curious – when you say:
    “Monotremes split off before egg bearing trait was lost” based on what evidence is this “split” founded? What is the evidence you are relying on to base this statement on?

    Thanks,
    J

  15. 15
    Dr JDD says:

    Evolve @13:

    No. A prediction that makes more sense is that it will lose a useless gene. If evolution can evolve upwards complex function it should certainly get rid of completely useless function that serves no purpose except means more time copying the genome when it divides and storing useless information.

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    Mung @ 4

    “What would scientific evidence against common decent look like?”

    Amen to that:

    “But this long history of learning how to not fool ourselves – of having utter scientific integrity – is, I’m sorry to say, something that we haven’t specifically included in any particular course that I know of. We just hope you’ve caught on by osmosis. The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.
    I would like to add something that’s not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the layman when you’re talking as a scientist … I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you’re maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.”
    Richard Feynman – commencement address at Caltech in 1974:

    In other words, it is easy, way too easy, to look at only evidence that favors your own position and hand wave off contrary evidence that disagrees with your position as Torley and company have done.

    For instance, if the Cambrian explosion, and the overall ‘punctuated’ fossil record, does not falsify the hypothesis of common descent for a person, but is merely hand-waved off as inconsequential to the hypothesis of common descent, then clearly no finding will ever be allowed to falsify the hypothesis of common descent for that person.

    Moreover, if common descent is basically unfalfiable , then it does not even qualify as a ‘real’ science in the first place, but is more properly classified as a pseudo-science.

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
    Karl Popper – The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014 edition), Routledge

    Darwinian Evolution is a Unfalsifiable Pseudo-Science – Mathematics – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1132659110080354/?type=2&theater

    Of supplemental note, unlike the unfalsifiable hypothesis of universal common descent and Darwinian evolution in general, Intelligent Design is very open to falsification and thus does qualify as a proper science.

    The Law of Physicodynamic Incompleteness – David L. Abel
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”
    If only one exception to this null hypothesis were published, the hypothesis would be falsified. Falsification would require an experiment devoid of behind-the-scenes steering. Any artificial selection hidden in the experimental design would disqualify the experimental falsification. After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided.
    The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction:
    “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    https://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/The_Law_of_Physicodynamic_Incompleteness

  17. 17
    mk says:

    evolve said:

    “If all mammals share a common egg-laying ancestor, then they’re expected to retain remnants of the egg-laying feature to varying degrees depending on when they diverged.”

    so if we will find a mammal without this pseudo gene evolution will falsified then? if not- its not a prediction at all.

  18. 18
    Mung says:

    If all mammals share a common egg-laying ancestor, then they’re expected to retain remnants of the egg-laying feature to varying degrees depending on when they diverged.

    Saying this does not make it a prediction of common descent.

    What if a gene or feature remains substantially unchanged? Is that also a “prediction” of common descent? What if it’s lost completely? Is that also a “prediction” of common descent (ht: jdd)? What if it disappears then reappears? Also a prediction of common descent?

    What does common descent not predict, then? It seems to “predict” everything we observe.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    How Evolutionistic Science Really Works:
    1. Adopt the group-held paradigm as your personal paradigm or else your career dies.
    2. Experiment and observe. (This is the only part of this process that has potential for knowing.)
    3. Filter observations by the group-held paradigm.
    4. Create assumptions that fit into the group-held paradigm.
    5. Tell a story as an explanation of the observations.
    6. Make sure the story fits into the group-held paradigm.
    7. Call the story a “scientific theory.”
    8. Defend the group-held paradigm fiercely from any scrutiny.
    9. Create just-so stories to explain away any evidence against the original group-held paradigm.
    10. Call the just-so stories “evidence for the group-held paradigm.”
    11. Continue to build and fortify the group-held paradigm.
    12. Censor challenges to the group-held paradigm.,,,
    https://www.facebook.com/knowingrealreality/photos/a.410204728994245.111983.387768451237873/1331660170182025/?type=3&theater

  20. 20
    Querius says:

    Mung observed,

    What does common descent not predict, then? It seems to “predict” everything we observe.

    Yes, that’s correct, Mung.

    Any data will fit into one evolutionary explanation or another. Convergent evolution is usually the explanation of final resort. Remember, evolution is nearly the perfect theory in terms of flexibility, and it’s quite true that

    Evolution can explain anything, but can successfully predict nothing.

    -Q

  21. 21
    Querius says:

    Bornagain77,

    Hey, it’s the new 12-step program for science! 😉

    -Q

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    “the new 12-step program for science!”

    Yes!

    I was lucky enough to get the film of their last 12 step meeting going over their rules for science. Unfortunately an ID proponent interrupted their meeting 🙂

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtvjbmoDx-I

  23. 23
    ThickPython says:

    Thought I should post this on the current thread as well:

    “I also think the existence of the intron that has a binding site inside the fused chromosome 2 telomere that python agreed is real, is very problematic. I would like to see this debated aggressively.

    Bill, I have gotten around to posting on my blog about this. Please see:

    https://roohif.wordpress.com/2016/06/19/chromosome-2-fusion-its-a-binding-site-whoopty-frikkin-do/

  24. 24
    Mung says:

    ThickPython: Thought I should post this on the current thread as well:

    So you agree that synteny requires that a chromosome be shared due to common descent?

    And how do you determine which chromosomes are shared by common descent?

  25. 25
    ThickPython says:

    @Mung, #24:

    So you agree that synteny requires that a chromosome be shared due to common descent?

    And how do you determine which chromosomes are shared by common descent?

    Neither of those questions make sense to me, presumably because your definition of synteny differs to the definition of synteny that is applicable here – I’ve addressed these definitions in the previous thread.

    If you want to rephrase these questions to make sense, then maybe I can answer them. Otherwise I can’t help you.

  26. 26
    bFast says:

    News, Thanks for promoting articles from evolution news onto this site. I have always found the lack of dialog on evo news to be frustrating.

  27. 27
    Mung says:

    ThickPython: your definition of synteny differs to the definition of synteny that is applicable

    Sez you. l. o. l.

    The acceptable definition of synteny is that definition of synteny which you find applicable. Sadly, you complain, but fail to say why.

  28. 28
    bFast says:

    Anne Gauger,

    Thanks for the thoughtful “placental mammals” challenge to UCD. It is very interesting. Certainly it is a vicious challenge to a neo-Darwinian approach. The idea that the proto-syncytin would be one upped by other proteins six different ways, rather than being optimized by the great “natural selection” to become far better than all comers is far beyond credulity.

    (For me this is 2016’s best challenge to neo-Darwinism.)

    We get, therefore, to a theory that there is a genetic engineer(s) twiddling with the code. However, the question persists, does the genetic engineer insert an improved syncytin into the stream of life six different times, or does the engineer start from dust and build a whole new creature six different times. Though you make a very compelling case against naturalistic events happening, I don’t see that you make any case at all to suggest that the engineer started from dust again, rather than doing an in-line edit on an existing creature.

  29. 29
    ThickPython says:

    @Mung, #27:

    The acceptable definition of synteny is that definition of synteny which you find applicable. Sadly, you complain, but fail to say why.

    Because you have this obsession over the phrase “same chromosome” or “shared chromosome” as if it means something in the context of comparing two different species.

    There are blocks of DNA on human chromosome 1 that are highly similar to blocks of DNA on chromosome 8 of the chicken, and those blocks maintain their order between the two species. That is synteny. It’s an observation.

    I honestly have no idea where you’re trying to go with this.

  30. 30
    mw says:

    Evolve, #8:

    “Ann Gauger’s responses are so horribly stupid.”
    ________________________________________________

    In your opinion of course.

    Not as stupid as believing against common sense, rocks and such like, will become alive, given enough time. That humans ascended from worms.

    Given that Darwinism cannot be disproved.

    Given that common descent must use the get out of jail card: convergent evolution, time and time again.

    Given Darwin could not prove any kind evolved into another.

    That Darwin could not find a single transitional fossil.

    Could not explain the Cambrian explosion, all life forms appeared or disappeared, completely formed totally devoid of transitions.

    That true science says Darwinian evolutionist embryology is totally wrong.

    Given Darwin deselected the brains out of natural selection, in truth, to create a straw God, to give himself justification for calling the God of Sinai, stupid: well, “erroneous” that is (p 6 Origin, first edition).

    Truthful science must reflect the truth. If it does not, and evolution theory does not, by ignoring alternative interpretations for the evidence. Further it cannot account for higher evidence. Darwinism cannot account for miracles; denies miracles exists, ridicules such, by following the head-burying example of the grand master Darwin.

    Darwin could not believe his theory was dead wrong. He knew better than the Judaeo-Christian God whom he detested and dismissed. Horrible stupid boy.

  31. 31
    vjtorley says:

    Hi Mung,

    You ask:

    The opossum and the chicken appear to share a common ancestor. This is prima facie evidence that all mammals (M1, M2, M3, and M4, and opossums) share a common ancestor.

    How does that inference work, exactly?

    It’s an a fortiori argument. The opossum and the chicken belong to two different classes: mammals and birds, respectively. If animals from two different classes have a common ancestor, how much more do animals from two different cohorts (marsupials, such as the opossum, and placentals, such as human beings). And in that case, humans will be related to chickens, too.

    Putting it another way: if creatures in different classes are related by common descent, how much more would we expect creatures from lower taxonomic groups to be related in this way, too.

  32. 32
    Dr JDD says:

    Vjtorley:

    That really depends on how you classify “classes” of animals anyway.

    Just a general observation but no animal comes with a tag that states their taxonomic classification.

  33. 33
    Evolve says:

    ///What if a gene or feature remains substantially unchanged?
    Is that also a “prediction” of common descent?
    What if it’s lost completely? Is that also a “prediction” of common descent (ht: jdd)?
    What if it disappears then reappears? Also a prediction of common descent?
    What does common descent not predict, then? It seems to “predict” everything we observe.///

    The prediction of common descent is that BY AND LARGE mammals will retain records of their egg-laying ancestry according to a specific pattern. The evidence beautifully supports this.
    Now, of course, there can be differences among members of the group. This is because a plethora of phenomena operate in nature which can bring about variations over time. I exemplified this above with the whale and shark comparison. The external similarity of whales and sharks does not invalidate the fact that
    whales are mammals and they share a common ancestor with hippos.

    Only ignorant people would expect ALL THE DATA to FIT NEATLY into ONE SINGLE PHENOMENON (as Ann Gauger and most creationists routinely do).

    Ann Gauger essentially says: If common descent is true, EVERYTHING MUST FIT THE PATTERN.
    No! There will always be other processes muddying the waters, but the trail of common descent is still strongly visible.

  34. 34
    Evolve says:

    ///I think you’ll find Ann Gauger is merely challenging the status quo and trying to invoke dialogue and discussion over complex issues ///

    She’ll only invoke ridicule and scorn if she ignores the basics and gets established facts wrong.

    ///Now I’m curious – when you say:
    “Monotremes split off before egg bearing trait was lost” based on what evidence is this “split” founded? What is the evidence you are relying on to base this statement on?///

    Based on the fact that they are mammals, but they still lay eggs, while all other mammals don’t.

  35. 35
    Dr JDD says:

    Evolve states:

    “Among mammals, monotremes (egg-laying mammals such as Platypus) split off from the ancestral mammalian population before egg-laying was lost. Therefore, they are expected to retain the feature. And we see that.”

    Then when asked for the evidence of how we know they split off from the ancestral mammalian population, states:
    “Based on the fact that they are mammals, and they still lay eggs, while other mammals don’t.”

    What? Your evidence for them splitting off from the ancestral mammalian population is that they still lay eggs but the fact they lay eggs is the prediction of evolution if they split off early…..you just defined a circular argument ad absurdity.

  36. 36
    Evolve says:

    ///Thanks for the thoughtful “placental mammals” challenge to UCD. It is very interesting. Certainly it is a vicious challenge to a neo-Darwinian approach. The idea that the proto-syncytin would be one upped by other proteins six different ways, rather than being optimized by the great “natural selection” to become far better than all comers is far beyond credulity.(For me this is 2016’s best challenge to neo-Darwinism.)///

    Lol! If this is your best challenge to evolution, then you better dismiss the ID movement and do something more worthwhile. All you need to explain six different syncytins in mammals is six different viral infections! Yeah, that’s it. No fancy designer needed! If you think something as pervasive as viral infections cannot happen without a designer intervening from the heavens, then I cannot help you.

  37. 37
    Evolve says:

    JDD,

    You’re getting all confused up (nothing new for you).
    We know egg-laying mammals split off before egg-laying was lost because they still lay eggs – of course!!

    But the prediction of common descent is not that egg-laying mammals will lay eggs. The prediction is that, among all mammals, we’ll see most similarity to other egg-laying creatures in egg-laying mammals. This is what we see in the DNA, in the vitellogenin gene and its neighborhood synteny as well as sequence homology.

  38. 38
    Dr JDD says:

    No no you’re getting confused in thinking that homology is any sort of stronger evidence for common descent than it is for common design.

    So you would expect if a designer were to design different species that they would use completely different design principles for the same features?

  39. 39
    Evolve says:

    Common design is nonsensical as I said in my first post in this thread. In the context of living things, only common descent makes any sense at all.
    For one, living things reproduce and pass characters down vertically to the subsequent generation. As characters are passed down, subtle changes occur which results in “descent with modification” – this forms the fundamental basis of evolution because it is conservative and non-conservative at the same time.
    It brings about diversity while also maintaining an underlying similarity.

    This unique feature is absent in designed objects. They don’t reproduce and so have no way to share traits other than by virtue of a designer reusing his designs. But in the case of living things, there’s no such requirement to invoke a designer for explaining similarities between species. Inheritance of traits through reproduction naturally leads to common descent.
    As such, the common design hypothesis is just an ad hoc, ex post facto argument.

    There are other reasons too why common design lacks explanatory power. For instance, a designer could have potentially designed living things in many different ways. Then why did he choose to mimic the process of common descent?

  40. 40
    Origenes says:

    Evolve (on ‘common design’):
    This is nonsensical simply because LIVING THINGS REPRODUCE.
    During reproduction, traits get passed down from parents to offspring. This is called descent with modification. And this is what leads to common descent.
    This is totally unlike common design of man-made objects because those things don’t reproduce and pass their traits down vertically. The analogy completely fails and creationists don’t even realize it!

    The analogy is apt when a designer makes a thing that is capable of reproduction.
    Why weren’t you able to come up with this yourself?

  41. 41
    Robert Byers says:

    Evole#2 The analagy doesn’t fail.
    I said on basic points. Fixed details of a living being. The variable may change only.

    So a common blueprint would maintain the common boundaries or points.
    This is what is found in nature. The blueprint also could maintain mechanisms for survival. As in human colour changes happening quickly upon migration around the planet. Not from selection on individuals

    A common design/blueprint eassily can explain biology and easily explain any guess impression about a common descent being there.
    Why not?
    Common descent is just a comparative exercise of thinking. its not based on real life evidence. They just convince themselves because of rejection of any other option.
    its just a line of reasoning devoid opf biological evidence.
    unless they could show some.
    .

  42. 42
    mw says:

    Evolve, #39: “Then why did he choose to mimic the process of common descent?”

    Who is “he”!

    Where you at Sinai?

    Following the way of Darwin, you appear to disregard and dismiss supernatural evidence.  From Sinai, an unbroken historic link exists; every seven days, “he” said: remember to keep Holy by remembering “he” created in six days, and reflecting that by rest.

    That was accompanied by divine miracles. God said, “he” clearly spoke to Moses, who documented the same, again witnessed by others, divine miracles daily.

    Recorded in the nation of the Israelites and Judaeo-Christianity, the case is made,  materialism is secondary to the supernatural; that is, the super science of miracles by a superior intelligence.

    However, any semblance of common descent, by the Creator; that is, where one animal; say a fish, is never fit, so it becomes a toad, etc, and then never fit to remain a toad for the life span of the earth – are you not sure, such is a projection of Darwin you assimilate?

    Surely “he” can create something; all things, to last relative to their respective kingdoms, with common design and common of materials, in themselves miraculously created.

    As for brains, using Darwinian parameters, chart an  electro-chemical pathway, or wiring diagram, for such circuitry  to come together from anocaphalic material, and finally housed in a designed covering. Then bring it to life, connected with every life unit in the body.

    Surely, Evolve, you have a testable theory, a working scientific law in Darwinian common descent? If so, Judaeo-Christianity has a lying, murderous, God, who can’t even explain how he created. In fact, totally opposite to what “he” wrote in stone. However, if “he” is as “he” says, “truth” for us to be sanctified in, chose this day which way to go.

    That God created in six days, is a scientific statement of truth, it is just that science at the present, has not the tools to unravel the mystery, that only “he,” the truth, observed.

    A bit like when Dawkins said,  evolution is fact, just that it has not been observed!

    Still, when climbed is spiritual Mount Sinai, waiting at the top is “he” who said and wrote in stone from Sinai,  that “he” created in six days. It will certainly will not be Darwin.

  43. 43
    bFast says:

    Evolve (39), “a designer could have potentially designed living things in many different ways. Then why did he choose to mimic the process of common descent?”

    Um, look at modern technology. There is apparent common descent all over the place. Observe a model T, a car of the 60s and a modern car. You clearly see a “descent with modification” appearance, though we know from observation that this is a common design situation.

    Evolve: “subtle changes occur which results in “descent with modification””
    Um, Anne Gauger’s entire point, her evidence, suggests that the subtle changes are not all that subtle. Her scientific evidence suggests that changes have happened that are far outside the scope of chance + necessity.

    If you read my other posts, you will see that I am a common descenter (though I fully understand the common design perspective.) I caution you not to make the leap that common descent automatically means chance + necessity. The data I see is only consistent with an active agent twiddling with the DNA along the way.

  44. 44
    mw says:

    Hi, bFast: “The data I see is only consistent with an active agent twiddling with the DNA along the way.”

    Let’s say, chicken/egg, similarity genetics are incorporated in some manner into the human genome, through epigenetics, de novo genetics or whatever takes your fancy.

    “About 60 percent of chicken genes correspond to a similar human gene.”
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041208230523.htm

    Darwin said: “If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection” (The Origin of Species, 1859, Masterpieces of Science edition, 1958, p. 164). https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/creation-or-evolution-does-it-really-matter-what-you-believe/competition

    Symbiotic relationships come to mind

    Taking a leaf out of “Origin,” therefore, if it could be proved that any part of Adam, was not formed for the exclusive and mutual good of Eve, being she was created out of good (Adam) by Good, the theory of six day creation would absolutely fail.

    It seems, that every life component, in every life unit in every life form, is created for the good of all the parts of that life form. Darwinian theoretical natural selection does not select good, being anocaphalic.

    Darwin said:

    ‘if it could be shown that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have come about by numerous gradual changes then my theory would fail utterly’. ‘But I can find out no such case.’ http://darwindeception.blogspo.....f.html?m=1

    And taking another leaf:

    Therefore, if it could be shown, based on the documented evidence of miracles, that God could not create a chicken shell gene in a human, while not using that gene for humans to lay chicken eggs, then the theory of miraculous creation would utterly fail. But I can find out no such case.

    Therefore, did, for example, the Judaeo-Christian God, twiddle a human in an instant in one day, or spend billions of days of twiddling against His Word at Sinai?

  45. 45
    Evolve says:

    ///A common design/blueprint eassily can explain biology and easily explain///

    Nonsense.
    As long as organisms can reproduce and pass on their traits to the next generation, there’s no need for an explanation involving a common design/blueprint from a designer. This is just like how offspring inherits traits from their parents. One can easily account for the observed pattern of similarity and differences by the process of descent alone. Any common design interpretation is superfluous, redundant and unnecessary. That’s why it fails.

  46. 46
    Evolve says:

    ///Um, look at modern technology. There is apparent common descent all over the place. Observe a model T, a car of the 60s and a modern car. You clearly see a “descent with modification” appearance, though we know from observation that this is a common design situation.///

    Nonsense galore!!
    Cars don’t reproduce, so there’s no question of descent in that case. Any pattern of similarity there can only be due to design. Descent is only applicable to things that reproduce and living things do reproduce. Therefore the simplest (most parsimonious) explanation for patterns of similarity and differences in living things is common descent. Any attempt to invoke a designer immediately becomes superfluous, especially in the absence of any evidence that designer(s) intervened in life’s history.

    ///Anne Gauger’s entire point, her evidence, suggests that the subtle changes are not all that subtle. Her scientific evidence suggests that changes have happened that are far outside the scope of chance + necessity.///

    What scientific evidence does she have? None that I can see. ID proponents often quote Doug Axe’s work showing mutations can’t happen in the history of the universe, or some such nonsense that has been soundly refuted many times over. No mainstream biologist thinks that changes are beyond the scope of natural processes, if that were the case then evolutionary theory would have been discarded long ago.

  47. 47
    Dr JDD says:

    Evolve:

    a) what do you think evidence for a supernatural designer would look like that would be convincing? Bearing in mind any designer would be operating with natural material

    b) hypothetically, if evolution was discarded due to the reason discussed in the last post, what do you think would be the new accepted alternative. In mainstream science, assuming the principle is maintained that there ,use be a natural explanation for all observations?

  48. 48
    Robert Byers says:

    Evole45
    I don’t understand why reproduction negates common design.?
    Its a common design amongst non reproducing biology that is the evidence for a common design.
    There is no need for common descent or even a hint of it based on mere observation.
    Easily design handles basic biology concepts including basic mechanisms to ensure biology adaptation for survival.

    parent/kids is not a case for common descent. if common descent was not true it still would be true parent/kids look alike.
    you need more then this.

  49. 49
    drc466 says:

    @evolve & vjt:

    Stupid things that Evolutionists Believe #271: Organisms’ DNA code magically stops evolving and goes into “static” mode. Therefore, we can pretend that the DNA of the modern possum is less mutated from a common ancestor than the DNA of the modern human is. *

    Bonus Stupid thing Evolutionists Believe: “X” is an important evidence of common descent. Except when it isn’t. c.f. “convergent evolution”. I wonder what kinds of syncytins are used by….lizards and snakes?

    *Circular thinking on a pedestal:
    (1) “How do you know the opossum is ‘closer’ genetically to a chicken than a human is?” “Because it is older”. “But you are using modern DNA – so the DNA is the same age, right?” “But it has mutated less”. “If it is the same age, how do you know it has mutated less?” “Because the possum has changed less morphologically” “But neutral theory says that mutation rates are continuous, not static, right?” “Well, neutral theory doesn’t apply to morphologically static life forms” “But aren’t all life forms static in the fossil record – isn’t that why neutral theory is needed?” “Yeah, but it doesn’t apply to this case – the VIT gene in possums didn’t undergo as many neutral mutations” “How do you know?” “Because…it is closer to a chicken’s!” (Go to 1 and repeat)

    If you want to believe that our current understanding of the billions of base pairs of genetic code is complete enough to declare that infinitesmal similar sections of modern DNA are evidence of common descent from some purely hypothetical ancient DNA, feel free. But it is a belief founded on a belief, not on pure empirical evidence. You’re not convincing anyone who doesn’t already think that way. But I’m glad you have something sciency to keep your philosophical presuppositions warm at night.

    Final bonus question, since vjt likes questions:
    True or False: Modern DNA in (x) is identical to its millions/billions-year old ancestor, (fill in the x with whatever you find convenient – bacteria, chicken, crocodile, bat, etc.) and it is scientifically valid to treat it as such.

    Okay, one more – Bonus bonus question: And my proof for bonus question 1 is…

    [Edited for grammar/readability]

  50. 50
    drc466 says:

    Oh, one thing I feel I should make clear. I’m not saying that the belief that opossums and chickens share fragments of the same gene from a common ancestor is necessarily wrong. It may be true – it is even logically consistent. What I am saying is that it is circular reasoning – there are multiple places where the result is dependent on the assumption, and the evidence for the assumption is the result.

    Saying these tiny, tiny pieces of genetic code are possibly shared by two distant species is consistent with common descent; but it cannot, cannot, cannot be evidence for common descent – not with the number of assumptions and circular reasonings built into the current evolutionary thought on mutation and age of species.

  51. 51
    bFast says:

    Evolve, “Cars don’t reproduce, so there’s no question of descent in that case.”
    That would be your problem right there. The same kind of “this came before that” and “this is just like that, except it has this feature” phenomena exist in the lineage of cars (note that lineage is technically correct) as in nature. We all know that cars did not experience descent with modification (we aren’t that stupid you know). However, cars show many of the same characteristics that nature shows. Scientists attribute these characteristics to common descent. They can just as well be attributed to common design.

    If you stupidify your opponent, you can never understand his position. If you can’t understand his position, you cannot discuss the topic from a position of being informed.

  52. 52
    wd400 says:

    Stupid things that Evolutionists Believe #271: Organisms’ DNA code magically stops evolving and goes into “static” mode. Therefore, we can pretend that the DNA of the modern possum is less mutated from a common ancestor than the DNA of the modern human is.

    No one makes this claim. Or any other in your post as far as I can tell. What are you on about?

  53. 53
    goodusername says:

    bfast,

    However, cars show many of the same characteristics that nature shows. Scientists attribute these characteristics to common descent. They can just as well be attributed to common design.

    Well, living things share similarities and differences, and cars show similarities and differences, but with cars there’s no pattern to the similarities and differences that would prompt anyone to organize cars into a tree-like taxonomy.

    Have a hundred people try to organize cars into a nested hierarchy and you’ll get a hundred very different answers. The reason Linnaeus’s system caught on so quickly and universally is because it struck everyone that he had struck upon something real – something that seems (or perhaps is) objective.

    He had no idea why that was, and tried the same thing on rocks (minerals). After all, rocks show similarities and differences as well. But the differences and similarities with rocks don’t have the same pattern as living things. There is not tree-like pattern, just a big mesh.

    It ultimately failed for rocks for the same reason it would fail for cars.

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