Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Does intelligent design oppose common descent?


ann-gauger-headshot Not in principle, according to Ann Gauger, of the Biologic Institute. A reader wrote to ask, “I was just wondering why some fellows at Discovery believe in ID but still hold to common descent. Science knows that the genetic code is not universal.”

From her reply:

I first need to make clear that living things can be the product both of intelligent design and of common descent. If the designer chose to guide the process of gradual change from species to species, that would be both common descent and intelligent design. In other words, intelligent design theory does not require that common descent is false. Neither does intelligent design require that common descent is true. All that intelligent design theory says is that the best explanation for what we see in the universe, and most particularly in life, is intelligence — that intelligence had to be involved in producing the living things that we see around us. Neo-Darwinism or any other strictly materialist process cannot create the diversity, intricacy, and splendor that we observe. The mechanism of mutation and natural selection is not sufficient.

That’s the key to intelligent design theory. It’s not about whether or not life evolved from one or even multiple common ancestors. It’s about whether life required intelligent design in its origin or diversification.Ann Gauger, “[article title]” at Evolution News and Science Today

Darley Arabian.jpg
The Darley Arabian (foaled c. 1700), a foundation sire of thoroughbreds/John Wootton

It’s not clear why design must exclude common ancestry. Common ancestry is the stock in trade of the human breeder of animals and plants. It’s all design thereafter.

What design excludes is randomness. With human breeding, any resemblance to randomness is a fault. But readers? Your thoughts?

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See also: When genome mapper Craig Venter made clear he doubted universal common descent…

Common Descent: Ann Gauger replies to Vincent Torley


Evolution vs. common descent, universal common descent

ET’s terraforming for expansion.
This is compatible with the Darwinian idea that blind, unguided mutations are responsible. Aliens created organic life with an inbuilt capacity to evolve through a blind, unguided process. If true, this would refute the idea that there is evidence for design in nature - even though ID would be correct (since life originated from alien intelligence). Silver Asiatic
What would ID without universal common ancestry look like that could distinguish it from creationism. If you have entire species poofing into existence from no precursor what would he scientific explanation look like?
I think TE would say that God [unlike ID, TE references God directly] created [thus creationism] a master plan. Natural laws and matter were poofed into existence. Mutations are random - either known and planned by God, or part of the master plan. ID would say ... ? Not sure. If UCD is true, then all organisms evolved from a universal ancestor organism. But they didn't evolve from random mutations. So, the designer created [creationism] some mutations along the way. Or, mutations aren't actually random but they're ordered by a master plan created by the Designer. The master plan had to poof into existence. Or else, the designer intervenes with mutations along the way. If the designer actually created a new species that didn't actually naturally descend from another -then that's not common descent. I've read two books by Ann Gauger and she convinced me that UCD could not be compatible with ID. Now she is saying it could be - and I don't understand her argument. She says: "If the designer chose to guide the process of gradual change from species to species, that would be both common descent and intelligent design. " This would mean that human consciousness, for example, is theoretically reducible to mutations and selection. The only difference with Darwinism here is that the "designer guided" the mutations/selection. Darwinists would basically say the same except there is no Designer and the mutations were just very lucky ones. ID might say "that's absurd because the chances of it happening are miniscule". I guess Darwinists would say [with Dumb & Dumber] "there's still a chance" - and as ridiculous as it seems, that can't be entirely refuted. If, however, human consciousness cannot be reduced to mutations and selection alone - in other words, it is not a material feature that could have evolved - then an animal could not have given birth to a human being merely through guided-mutations alone. A designer would need to poof a human consciousness (rationality, awareness) into an animal (as strange as that would be) - or why not just create a human being? I do not know what the ID response is to it's own argument ... :) We can be convinced that new body plans appear at the Cambrian. They show no ancestry. How could that be consistent with Universal Common Descent? Would ID say "ok, we haven't found ancestors, but don't worry about that - we'll eventually find them and UCD will be proven correct". Doesn't the ID argument on the Cambrian lead, more logically, to a designer that poofed those body plans into existence? Regarding aliens seeding life - why seed fragile organisms, many of which would go extinct so that they would eventually evolve into what we have today? 1. Cambrian organisms is all the aliens really had to work with at the time - they planted and hoped for the best. They come from a planet almost exactly like earth. 2. The aliens have knowledge of the future and they knew what the earth would look like in 2018. They can create beings to populate any planet. They just chose ours. 3. The aliens are actually Cambrian organisms that landed here. All evolutionary history was an accident. They also came from an earth-like place. 4. The aliens were actually just one alien with immense powers, knowledge and presence. This alien created the Cambrian forms and planted them here. Ok, #4 is scientific, but the idea that God created those organisms is not? Silver Asiatic
> Isn’t Common Descent with designed modifications also called Common Design? The answer is no.
How would you define Common Design in this context? Silver Asiatic
What would ID without universal common ancestry look like that could distinguish it from creationism.
ET's terraforming for expansion.
If you have entire species poofing into existence from no precursor what would he scientific explanation look like?
Like that of a gas powered engine. It didn't exist and then it did. There are many such examples throughout history in which something didn't exist and then it was invented. ET
What would ID without universal common ancestry look like that could distinguish it from creationism. If you have entire species poofing into existence from no precursor what would he scientific explanation look like? Mammals from Space? Mung
> Isn’t Common Descent with designed modifications also called Common Design? The answer is no. Mung
"Common Descent" is an imprecise term. If scientists succeed in resurrecting a wooly mammoth, it will be by inserting a DNA-modified elephant egg into a female elephant. That is obviously ID, but equally obviously the baby mammoth is in a real way an elephant descendant. Just speculating, but this is one possible model for the "how?" of ID: Take a species with 95% of the DNA you want. Do some genetic modification to add a gene or two and tweak a few others (including developmental and regulatory sequences). Then put the modified genome into an egg and allow it to develop "normally" in its mother, giving birth to a modified life form with some new feature. This would, of course be done in a separated "ID lab" and repeated to get a suitable breeding population of stable life forms. They would then be released into the wild as a new species, and allowed to exist via natural selection to see if they thrive or go extinct. This is probably how scientists would go about that sort of thing, so perhaps that was how the posited designer worked too? Fasteddious
It could be said that "everything that exists gives evidence of having been designed". Matter, laws of nature, order - every inanimate thing shows this evidence. If God pre-planned the evolution of all things from the beginning of the universe, and thus common descent is true - then the flagellum, for example, shows no more evidence of design than does a rock. All the molecules and forms of rocks could be seen as creations by God. For the proposal "mutations cannot create the information and features found in nature" - the answer is that God planned every mutation, so they are not random. God intervened to mutate species, and no lab experiments can recreate it because we are not God. The answer to that is "given current understanding of mutations and the assumption that nature consistently followed regular processes and the assumption that God did not intervene to create specific mutations, then some things appear more designed than others". Silver Asiatic
johnnyb - true. Some TEs will say that everything that exists gives evidence of having been designed. It is strange for them - to assert that God created all things, all the conditions, but then there are some things that God did not create or intend. Some TE's take that idea - but it's a strange theism to have a god who is ignorant and detached from the natural processes he created. In the other case, TE's (Stephen Barr is one) say that there is nothing random - so all mutations are designed, apparently. Silver Asiatic
Silver Asiatic - The difference between TE and ID in the scenario you describe is that ID justifies an inference to design, while TE does not. TE says that life *could* have evolved on its own, but by faith we believe in God's influence. ID says that it is demonstrably true that some form of intelligence was involved. johnnyb
If the designer established the sequence, frequency and type of mutations at the beginning of the universe, ID could say that mutations indicate evidence of intelligence. ID is compatible with Darwinism in this sense. The only difference is that Darwinists might say that all the mutations were simply rare lucky chance events. ID would say that only intelligence could create them. In that way, ID could not answer the question of whether it is possible for an animal to give birth to a human being. "Designed mutations" supposedly could do it. That's basically theistic evolution. Silver Asiatic
While I disagree with common descent, there is nothing in ID that is necessarily against all forms of common descent. Imagine your computer. Your operating system has numerous programs running. However, they all came off of the same installation program. That is a form of common descent. Now, the forms of common descent that ID holds to are generally unrecognized by the evolutionary biology community. But that's not the same thing as ID being against common descent. Some UD articles I have written previously on the subject: ID and Common Descent The Relationship between ID and Common Descent johnnyb
Of supplemental note, the entire concept of a distinct kind of species is a abstract, (i.e. universal), concept that can find no basis within the 'bottom up' reductive materialistic framework of UCD but can only be grounded within the immaterial world of mind and information:
Darwin, Design & Thomas Aquinas The Mythical Conflict Between Thomism & Intelligent Design by Logan Paul Gage Excerpt: First, the problem of essences. G. K. Chesterton once quipped that “evolution . . . does not especially deny the existence of God; what it does deny is the existence of man.” It might appear shocking, but in this one remark the ever-perspicacious Chesterton summarized a serious conflict between classical Christian philosophy and Darwinism. In Aristotelian and Thomistic thought, each particular organism belongs to a certain universal class of things. Each individual shares a particular nature—or essence—and acts according to its nature. Squirrels act squirrelly and cats catty. We know with certainty that a squirrel is a squirrel because a crucial feature of human reason is its ability to abstract the universal nature from our sense experience of particular organisms. Think about it: How is it that we are able to recognize different organisms as belonging to the same group? The Aristotelian provides a good answer: It is because species really exist—not as an abstraction in the sky, but they exist nonetheless. We recognize the squirrel’s form, which it shares with other members of its species, even though the particular matter of each squirrel differs. So each organism, each unified whole, consists of a material and immaterial part (form).,,, One way to see this form-matter dichotomy is as Aristotle’s solution to the ancient tension between change and permanence debated so vigorously in the pre-Socratic era. Heraclitus argued that reality is change. Everything constantly changes—like fire, which never stays the same from moment to moment. Philosophers like Parmenides (and Zeno of “Zeno’s paradoxes” fame) argued exactly the opposite; there is no change. Despite appearances, reality is permanent. How else could we have knowledge? If reality constantly changes, how can we know it? What is to be known? Aristotle solved this dilemma by postulating that while matter is constantly in flux—even now some somatic cells are leaving my body while others arrive—an organism’s form is stable. It is a fixed reality, and for this reason is a steady object of our knowledge. Organisms have an essence that can be grasped intellectually. Denial of True Species Enter Darwinism. Recall that Darwin sought to explain the origin of “species.” Yet as he pondered his theory, he realized that it destroyed species as a reality altogether. For Darwinism suggests that any matter can potentially morph into any other arrangement of matter without the aid of an organizing principle. He thought cells were like simple blobs of Jell-O, easily re-arrangeable. For Darwin, there is no immaterial, immutable form. In The Origin of Species he writes: "I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience, to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms. The term variety, again, in comparison with mere individual differences, is also applied arbitrarily, for convenience’s sake." Statements like this should make card-carrying Thomists shudder.,,, The first conflict between Darwinism and Thomism, then, is the denial of true species or essences. For the Thomist, this denial is a grave error, because the essence of the individual (the species in the Aristotelian sense) is the true object of our knowledge. As philosopher Benjamin Wiker observes in Moral Darwinism, Darwin reduced species to “mere epiphenomena of matter in motion.” What we call a “dog,” in other words, is really just an arbitrary snapshot of the way things look at present. If we take the Darwinian view, Wiker suggests, there is no species “dog” but only a collection of individuals, connected in a long chain of changing shapes, which happen to resemble each other today but will not tomorrow. What About Man? Now we see Chesterton’s point. Man, the universal, does not really exist. According to the late Stanley Jaki, Chesterton detested Darwinism because “it abolishes forms and all that goes with them, including that deepest kind of ontological form which is the immortal human soul.” And if one does not believe in universals, there can be, by extension, no human nature—only a collection of somewhat similar individuals.,,, Implications for Bioethics This is not a mere abstract point. This dilemma is playing itself out in contemporary debates in bioethics. With whom are bioethicists like Leon Kass (neo-Aristotelian and former chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics) sparring today if not with thoroughgoing Darwinians like Princeton’s Peter Singer, who denies that humans, qua humans, have intrinsic dignity? Singer even calls those who prefer humans to other animals “speciesist,” which in his warped vocabulary is akin to racism.,,, If one must choose between saving an intelligent, fully developed pig or a Down syndrome baby, Singer thinks we should opt for the pig.,,, https://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=23-06-037-f
Thus if you believe that there really are distinct kinds of species in the world and they are not a figment of your imagination, then you should soundly reject UCD as a valid scientific hypothesis. As Meyer stated in Darwin's Doubt, there simply are no " finely graded intermediate colors" between distinct kinds of species. i.e. A cat is always a cat and a dog is always a dog, and forever they will be. Verse:
Acts 3:15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
Since the fossil record certainly does not support the case for 'bottom up' UCD, Darwinists try to appeal to genetic similarities to argue for UCD. And while genetic similarities may falsely appear to support the notion that 'bottom up' UCD is plausible, this appearance is superficial and highly misleading. To explain why it is superficial and highly misleading, it is important to note that,,, much like two completely different books will share very many similar words, the way in which those words get used, in order to tell a completely different story in the two different books, is completely different. Such as it is with different species. In fact dolphins and kangaroos are both found to be far more genetically similar to humans than was presupposed on the 'bottom up' UCD model:
Dolphin DNA very close to human, - 2010 Excerpt: They’re closer to us than cows, horses, or pigs, despite the fact that they live in the water.,,, “The extent of the genetic similarity came as a real surprise to us,” ,,, “Dolphins are marine mammals that swim in the ocean and it was astonishing to learn that we had more in common with the dolphin than with land mammals,” says geneticist Horst Hameister.,,, “We started looking at these and it became very obvious to us that every human chromosome had a corollary chromosome in the dolphin,” Busbee said. “We’ve found that the dolphin genome and the human genome basically are the same. It’s just that there’s a few chromosomal rearrangements that have changed the way the genetic material is put together.” http://www.reefrelieffounders.com/science/2010/10/21/articlesafari-dolphin-dna-very-close-to-human/ Kolber, J., 2010, Dolphin DNA very close to human, viewed 18th March 2012, Kumar, S., 2010, Human genes closer to dolphin’s than any land animal, Discovery Channel Online, http://biol1020-2012-1.blogspot.com/2012/03/human-and-dolphin-genomes.html Kangaroo and Human Genomes (are unexpectedly similar genetically) 1-30-2016 by Paul Giem - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtmG2QzqJEA Kangaroo genes close to humans - 2008 Excerpt: Australia's kangaroos are genetically similar to humans,,, "There are a few differences, we have a few more of this, a few less of that, but they are the same genes and a lot of them are in the same order," ,,,"We thought they'd be completely scrambled, but they're not. There is great chunks of the human genome which is sitting right there in the kangaroo genome," http://www.reuters.com/article/science%20News/idUSTRE4AH1P020081118
And again, like a completely different books that share many of the same words, the differences in the two completely different books are found in how the words in the two books get used:
On Human Origins: Is Our Genome Full of Junk DNA? Pt 2. – Richard Sternberg PhD. Evolutionary Biology - podcast Excerpt: “Here’s the interesting thing, when you look at the protein coding sequences that you have in your cell what you find is that they are nearly identical to the protein coding sequences of a dog, of a carp, of a fruit fly, of a nematode. They are virtually the same and they are interchangeable. You can knock out a gene that encodes a protein for an inner ear bone in say a mouse. This has been done. And then you can take a protein that is similar to it but from a fruit fly. And fruit flies aren’t vertebrates and they certainly are not mammals., so they don’t have inner ear bones. And you can plug that gene in and guess what happens? The offspring of the mouse will have a perfectly normal inner ear bone. So you can swap out all these files. I mentioning this to you because when you hear about we are 99% similar (to chimps) it is almost all referring to those protein coding regions. When you start looking, and you start comparing different mammals. Dolphins, aardvarks, elephants, manatees, humans, chimpanzees,, it doesn’t really matter. What you find is that the protein coding sequences are very well conserved, and there is also a lot of the DNA that is not protein coding that is also highly conserved. But when you look at the chromosomes and those banding patterns, those bar codes, (mentioned at the beginning of the talk), its akin to going into the grocery store. You see a bunch of black and white lines right? You’ve seen one bar code you’ve seen them all. But those bar codes are not the same.,, Here’s an example, aardvark and human chromosomes. They look very similar at the DNA level when you take small snippets of them. (Yet) When you look at how they are arranged in a linear pattern along the chromosome they turn out to be very distinct (from one another). So when you get to the folder and the super-folder and the higher order level, that’s when you find these striking differences. And here is another example. They are now sequencing the nuclear DNA of the Atlantic bottle-nose dolphin. And when they started initially sequencing the DNA, the first thing they realized is that basically the Dolphin genome is almost wholly identical to the human genome. That is, there are a few chromosome rearrangements here and there, you line the sequences up and they fit very well. Yet no one would argue, based on a statement like that, that bottle-nose dolphins are closely related to us. Our sister species if you will. No one would presume to do that. So you would have to layer in some other presumption. But here is the point. You will see these statements throughout the literature of how common things are.,,, (Parts lists are very similar, but how the parts are used is where you will find tremendous differences) http://www.discovery.org/multimedia/audio/2014/11/on-human-origins-is-our-genome-full-of-junk-dna-pt-2/
Alternative splicing itself makes this point about words/genes being used differently in two different books/species especially clear
Evolution by Splicing – Comparing gene transcripts from different species reveals surprising splicing diversity. – Ruth Williams – December 20, 2012 Excerpt: A major question in vertebrate evolutionary biology is “how do physical and behavioral differences arise if we have a very similar set of genes to that of the mouse, chicken, or frog?”,,, A commonly discussed mechanism was variable levels of gene expression, but both Blencowe and Chris Burge,,, found that gene expression is relatively conserved among species. On the other hand, the papers show that most alternative splicing events differ widely between even closely related species. “The alternative splicing patterns are very different even between humans and chimpanzees,” said Blencowe.,,, http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view%2FarticleNo%2F33782%2Ftitle%2FEvolution-by-Splicing%2F
In fact, Alternative splicing, which is a subset of the developmental Gene Regulatory Network, can produce variant proteins and expression patterns as different as the products of different genes.,,, i.e. produce "perhaps over a million distinct polypeptides"
Frequent Alternative Splicing of Human Genes – 1999 Excerpt: Alternative splicing can produce variant proteins and expression patterns as different as the products of different genes. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC310997/ Widespread Expansion of Protein Interaction Capabilities by Alternative Splicing - 2016 In Brief Alternatively spliced isoforms of proteins exhibit strikingly different interaction profiles and thus, in the context of global interactome networks, appear to behave as if encoded by distinct genes rather than as minor variants of each other.,,, Page 806 excerpt: As many as 100,000 distinct isoform transcripts could be produced from the 20,000 human protein-coding genes (Pan et al., 2008), collectively leading to perhaps over a million distinct polypeptides obtained by post-translational modification of products of all possible transcript isoforms (Smith and Kelleher, 2013). http://iakouchevalab.ucsd.edu/publications/Yang_Cell_OMIM_2016.pdf
To reiterate, these differences in regulatory networks (Meyer, "Darwin's Doubt'), that are telling genes how to get used, are NOT minor differences: This fact plays out especially clearly in embryonic development of supposedly closely related species
"The earliest events leading from the first division of the egg cell to the blastula stage in amphibians, reptiles and mammals are illustrated in figure 5.4. Even to the untrained zoologist it is obvious that neither the blastula itself, nor the sequence of events that lead to its formation, is identical in any of the vertebrate classes shown. The differences become even more striking in the next major phase of in embryo formation - gastrulation. This involves a complex sequence of cell movements whereby the cells of the blastula rearrange themselves, eventually resulting in the transformation of the blastula into the intricate folded form of the early embryo, or gastrula, which consists of three basic germ cell layers: the ectoderm, which gives rise to the skin and the nervous system; the mesoderm, which gives rise to muscle and skeletal tissues; and the endoderm, which gives rise to the lining of the alimentary tract as well as to the liver and pancreas.,,, In some ways the egg cell, blastula, and gastrula stages in the different vertebrate classes are so dissimilar that, where it not for the close resemblance in the basic body plan of all adult vertebrates, it seems unlikely that they would have been classed as belonging to the same phylum. There is no question that, because of the great dissimilarity of the early stages of embryogenesis in the different vertebrate classes, organs and structures considered homologous in adult vertebrates cannot be traced back to homologous cells or regions in the earliest stages of embryogenesis. In other words, homologous structures are arrived at by different routes." Michael Denton - Evolution: A Theory in Crisis - pg 145-146
One final note, the ‘bottom up’ reductive materialistic framework of Darwinian evolution is found to be grossly inadequate for explaining how any particular organism might achieve its basic form.
Darwinism vs Biological Form - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyNzNPgjM4w
Thus, to state what should be glaringly obvious, since 'bottom up' neo-Darwinian explanations are grossly inadequate for explaining how any particular organism might achieve its basic form, then neo-Darwinian speculations for how one type of organism might transform into another type of organism are based on pure fantasy and have no discernible experimental basis in reality. bornagain77
Investigating Evolution: The Cambrian Explosion Part 1 – (4:45 minute mark - upside-down fossil record) video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DkbmuRhXRY Part 2 – video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZFM48XIXnk Challenging Fossil of a Little Fish Excerpt: "In Chen’s view, his evidence supports a history of life that runs opposite to the standard evolutionary tree diagrams, a progression he calls top-down evolution." Jun-Yuan Chen is professor at the Nanjing Institute of Paleontology and Geology http://www.fredheeren.com/boston.htm
Moreover, this top down pattern in the fossil record, which is the complete opposite pattern as Darwin predicted for the fossil record, is not only found in the Cambrian Explosion, but this 'top down', disparity preceding diversity, pattern is found throughout the fossil record subsequent to the Cambrian explosion as well.
Scientific study turns understanding about evolution on its head – July 30, 2013 Excerpt: evolutionary biologists,,, looked at nearly one hundred fossil groups to test the notion that it takes groups of animals many millions of years to reach their maximum diversity of form. Contrary to popular belief, not all animal groups continued to evolve fundamentally new morphologies through time. The majority actually achieved their greatest diversity of form (disparity) relatively early in their histories. ,,,Dr Matthew Wills said: “This pattern, known as ‘early high disparity’, turns the traditional V-shaped cone model of evolution on its head. What is equally surprising in our findings is that groups of animals are likely to show early-high disparity regardless of when they originated over the last half a billion years. This isn’t a phenomenon particularly associated with the first radiation of animals (in the Cambrian Explosion), or periods in the immediate wake of mass extinctions.”,,, Author Martin Hughes, continued: “Our work implies that there must be constraints on the range of forms within animal groups, and that these limits are often hit relatively early on. Co-author Dr Sylvain Gerber, added: “A key question now is what prevents groups from generating fundamentally new forms later on in their evolution.,,, http://phys.org/news/2013-07-scientific-evolution.html Günter Bechly video: Fossil Discontinuities: A Refutation of Darwinism and Confirmation of Intelligent Design - 2018 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7w5QGqcnNs The fossil record is dominated by abrupt appearances of new body plans and new groups of organisms. This conflicts with the gradualistic prediction of Darwinian Evolution. Here 18 explosive origins in the history of life are described, demonstrating that the famous Cambrian Explosion is far from being the exception to the rule. Also the fossil record establishes only very brief windows of time for the origin of complex new features, which creates an ubiquitous waiting time problem for the origin and fixation of the required coordinated mutations. This refutes the viability of the Neo-Darwinian evolutionary process as the single conceivable naturalistic or mechanistic explanation for biological origins, and thus confirms Intelligent Design as the only reasonable alternative. In Allaying Darwin's Doubt, Two Cambrian Experts Still Come Up Short - October 16, 2015 Excerpt: "A recent analysis of disparity in 98 metazoan clades through the Phanerozoic found a preponderance of clades with maximal disparity early in their history. Thus, whether or not taxonomic diversification slows down most studies of disparity reveal a pattern in which the early evolution of a clade defines the morphological boundaries of a group which are then filled in by subsequent diversification. This pattern is inconsistent with that expected of a classic adaptive radiation in which diversity and disparity should be coupled, at least during the early phase of the radiation." - Doug Erwin What this admits is that disparity is a worse problem than evolutionists had realized: it's ubiquitous (throughout the history of life on earth), not just in the Cambrian (Explosion). http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/10/in_allaying_dar100111.html disparity [dih-spar-i-tee] noun, plural disparities. 1. lack of similarity or equality; inequality; difference: "The facts of greatest general importance are the following. When a new phylum, class, or order appears, there follows a quick, explosive (in terms of geological time) diversification so that practically all orders or families known appear suddenly and without any apparent transitions. Afterwards, a slow evolution follows; this frequently has the appearance of a gradual change, step by step, though down to the generic level abrupt major steps without transitions occur. At the end of such a series, a kind of evolutionary running-wild frequently is observed. Giant forms appear, and odd or pathological types of different kinds precede the extinction of such a line." Richard B. Goldschmidt, “Evolution, as Viewed by One Geneticist,” American Scientist 40 (January 1952), 97. “In virtually all cases a new taxon appears for the first time in the fossil record with most definitive features already present, and practically no known stem-group forms.” TS Kemp - Fossils and Evolution,– Curator of Zoological Collections, Oxford University, Oxford Uni Press, p246, 1999 “What is missing are the many intermediate forms hypothesized by Darwin, and the continual divergence of major lineages into the morphospace between distinct adaptive types.” Robert L Carroll (born 1938) – vertebrate paleontologist who specialises in Paleozoic and Mesozoic amphibians
Thus the fossil record itself argues very strongly against UCD as a valid scientific hypothesis. Moreover, this 'top down' vs. 'bottom up' dichotomy noted in the fossil record between what UCD predicts and what ID predicts cannot be stressed enough. (Especially since many on the ID side can't seem to find any conflict between ID and UCD) As George Ellis notes in the following article, this 'top down' feature is a defining characteristic that notes the presence of immaterial information within a system as well as providing evidence for the prior work of a immaterial mind in bringing that system into existence.
Recognising Top-Down Causation - George Ellis Excerpt: Causal Efficacy of Non Physical entities: Both the program and the data are non-physical entities, indeed so is all software. A program is not a physical thing you can point to, but by Definition 2 it certainly exists. You can point to a CD or flashdrive where it is stored, but that is not the thing in itself: it is a medium in which it is stored. The program itself is an abstract entity, shaped by abstract logic. Is the software “nothing but” its realisation through a specific set of stored electronic states in the computer memory banks? No it is not because it is the precise pattern in those states that matters: a higher level relation that is not apparent at the scale of the electrons themselves. It’s a relational thing (and if you get the relations between the symbols wrong, so you have a syntax error, it will all come to a grinding halt). This abstract nature of software is realised in the concept of virtual machines, which occur at every level in the computer hierarchy except the bottom one [17]. But this tower of virtual machines causes physical effects in the real world, for example when a computer controls a robot in an assembly line to create physical artefacts. Excerpt page 7: The assumption that causation is bottom up only is wrong in biology, in computers, and even in many cases in physics, for example state vector preparation, where top-down constraints allow non-unitary behaviour at the lower levels. It may well play a key role in the quantum measurement problem (the dual of state vector preparation) [5]. One can bear in mind here that wherever equivalence classes of entities play a key role, such as in Crutchfield’s computational mechanics [29], this is an indication that top-down causation is at play.,,, Life and the brain: living systems are highly structured modular hierarchical systems, and there are many similarities to the digital computer case, even though they are not digital computers. The lower level interactions are constrained by network connections, thereby creating possibilities of truly complex behaviour. Top-down causation is prevalent at all levels in the brain: for example it is crucial to vision [24,25] as well as the relation of the individual brain to society [2]. The hardware (the brain) can do nothing without the excitations that animate it: indeed this is the difference between life and death. The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities. http://fqxi.org/data/essay-contest-files/Ellis_FQXI_Essay_Ellis_2012.pdf How Does The World Work: Top-Down or Bottom-Up? - September 29, 2013 Excerpt: To get an handle on how top-down causation works, Ellis focuses on what's in front of all us so much of the time: the computer. Computers are structured systems. They are built as a hierarchy of layers, extending from the wires in the transistors all the way up to the fully assembled machine, gleaming metal case and all. Because of this layering, what happens at the uppermost levels — like you hitting the escape key — flows downward. This action determines the behavior of the lowest levels — like the flow of electrons through the wires — in ways that simply could not be predicted by just knowing the laws of electrons. As Ellis puts it: “Structured systems such as a computer constrain lower level interactions, and thereby paradoxically create new possibilities of complex behavior.” Ellis likes to emphasize how the hierarchy of structure — from fully assembled machine through logic gates, down to transistors — changes everything for the lowly electrons. In particular, it "breaks the symmetry" of their possible behavior since their movements in the computer hardware are very different from what would occur if they were just floating around in a plasma blob in space. But the hardware, of course, is just one piece of the puzzle. This is where things get interesting. As Ellis explains: “Hardware is only causally effective because of the software which animates it: by itself hardware can do nothing. Both hardware and software are hierarchically structured with the higher level logic driving the lower level events.” In other words, it's software at the top level of structure that determines how the electrons at the bottom level flow. Hitting escape while running Word moves the electrons in the wires in different ways than hitting escape does when running Photoshop. This is causation flowing from top to bottom. For Ellis, anything producing causes is real in the most basic sense of the word. Thus the software, which is not physical like the electrons, is just as real as those electrons. As Ellis puts it: “Hence, although they are the ultimate in algorithmic causation as characterized so precisely by Turing, digital computers embody and demonstrate the causal efficacy of non-physical entities. The physics allows this; it does not control what takes place. Computers exemplify the emergence of new kinds of causation out of the underlying physics, not implied by physics but rather by the logic of higher-level possibilities. ... A combination of bottom-up causation and contextual affects (top-down influences) enables their complex functioning.” The consequences of this perspective for our view of the mind are straightforward and radical: “The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone's plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.” http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2013/09/29/225359504/how-does-the-world-work-top-down-or-bottom-up
Universal common descent (UCD) may not be incompatible with the basics of ID as it is formulated scientifically, i.e. inference to the best explanation (Stephen Meyer), but it is certainly incompatible with the scientific evidence itself. There are multiple lines of scientific evidence that can be brought forth to strongly argue against universal common descent. As was already mentioned, the fossil record itself argues against universal common descent. For prime example, and as Stephen Meyer documented in his book 'Darwin's Doubt', the 'top down' Cambrian explosion is itself completely antagonistic to the 'bottom up' scenario of universal common descent:
Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, PhD talks about the Case for Intelligent Design – video (excellent lecture on the Cambrian Explosion – Oct. 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vl802lHAk5Y Oct 18, 2015 - Trinity Classical Academy’s Speaker Series welcomes Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, PhD, author of the New York Times® Bestseller Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design, and Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design, which won “Book of the Year” by The Times of London Literary Supplement. Cambrian Explosion Ruins Darwin’s Tree of Life (2 minutes in 24 hour day) – video (2:55 minute mark) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vA2LDiWeWb4
As Dr. Jonathan Wells pointed out in the preceding video, Darwin predicted that minor differences (diversity) between species would gradually appear first and then the differences would grow larger (disparity) between species as time went on. i.e. universal common descent as depicted in Darwin's tree of life. What Darwin predicted should be familiar to everyone and is easily represented in the following graph.,,,
The Theory - Diversity precedes Disparity - graph http://www.veritas-ucsb.org/JOURNEY/IMAGES/F.gif
But that 'tree pattern' that Darwin predicted is not what is found in the fossil record. The fossil record reveals that disparity (the greatest differences) precedes diversity (the smaller differences), which is the exact opposite pattern for what Darwin's theory predicted.
The Actual Fossil Evidence- Disparity precedes Diversity - graph http://www.veritas-ucsb.org/JOURNEY/IMAGES/G.gif Timeline graphic on Cambrian Explosion - 'Darwin's Doubt' (Disparity preceding Diversity) - infographic http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/07/its_darwins_dou074341.html The Cambrian Explosion - Stephen Meyer and Marcus Ross - video Various phylum are discussed in the first part of the video (Top down, disparity preceding diversity, pattern discussed at 33:00 minute mark) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLpSb-iDNyw Erwin and Valentine's The Cambrian Explosion Affirms Major Points in Darwin's Doubt: The Cambrian Enigma Is "Unresolved" - June 26, 2013 Excerpt: "In other words, the morphological distances -- gaps -- between body plans of crown phyla were present when body fossils first appeared during the explosion and have been with us ever since. The morphological disparity is so great between most phyla that the homologous reference points or landmarks required for quantitative studies of morphology are absent." Erwin and Valentine (p. 340) http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/06/erwin_valentine_cambrian_explosion073671.html "Over the past 150 years or so, paleontologists have found many representatives of the phyla that were well-known in Darwin’s time (by analogy, the equivalent of the three primary colors) and a few completely new forms altogether (by analogy, some other distinct colors such as green and orange, perhaps). And, of course, within these phyla, there is a great deal of variety. Nevertheless, the analogy holds at least insofar as the differences in form between any member of one phylum and any member of another phylum are vast, and paleontologists have utterly failed to find forms that would fill these yawning chasms in what biotechnologists call “morphological space.” In other words, they have failed to find the paleolontogical equivalent of the numerous finely graded intermediate colors (Oedleton blue, dusty rose, gun barrel gray, magenta, etc.) that interior designers covet. Instead, extensive sampling of the fossil record has confirmed a strikingly discontinuous pattern in which representatives of the major phyla stand in stark isolation from members of other phyla, without intermediate forms filling the intervening morphological space." Stephen Meyer - Darwin’s Doubt (p. 70) Jerry Coyne's Chapter on the Fossil Record Fails to Show "Why Evolution is True" - Jonathan M. - December 4, 2012 Excerpt: Taxonomists classify organisms into categories: species are the very lowest taxonomic category. Species are classified into different genera. Genera are classified into different families. Families are classified into different orders. Orders are classified into different classes. And classes are classified into different phyla. Phyla are among the very highest taxonomic categories (only kingdom and domain are higher), and correspond to the high level of morphological disparity that exists between different animal body plans. Phyla include such groupings as chordates, arthropods, mollusks, and echinoderms. Darwin's theory would predict a cone of diversity whereby the major body-plan differences (morphological disparity) would only appear in the fossil record following numerous lower-level speciation events. What is interesting about the fossil record is that it shows the appearance of the higher taxonomic categories first (virtually all of the major skeletonized phyla appear in the Cambrian, with no obvious fossil transitional precursors, within a relatively small span of geological time). As Roger Lewin (1988) explains in Science, "Several possible patterns exist for the establishment of higher taxa, the two most obvious of which are the bottom-up and the top-down approaches. In the first, evolutionary novelties emerge, bit by bit. The Cambrian explosion appears to conform to the second pattern, the top-down effect." Erwin et al. (1987), in their study of marine invertebrates, similarly conclude that, "The fossil record suggests that the major pulse of diversification of phyla occurs before that of classes, classes before that of orders, orders before that of families. The higher taxa do not seem to have diverged through an accumulation of lower taxa." Indeed, the existence of numerous small and soft-bodied animals in the Precambrian strata undermines one of the most popular responses that these missing transitions can be accounted for by them being too small and too-soft bodied to be preserved. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/12/jerry_coynes_c067021.html
Isn’t Common Descent with designed modifications also called Common Design? Aren’t doctors Michael Behe and GP exponents of this valid idea? Glad to see this topic got clarified so well here. jawa
What design excludes is randomness. With human breeding, any resemblance to randomness is a fault.
By "human breeding", you're referring to artificial selection, right? Neither artificial nor natural selection is random - that's why they both have the word "selection". goodusername
I think it highly unlikely that common descent is at all valid. In fact, I think the cambrian explosion demolishes the idea. Nothing before the main body plans is often highlighted - but why is there NOTHING IN BETWEEN - no gradual transitions between phyla during this period either. So I find it highly doubtful, that the designer would have started with a single cell, yet multiple base blueprints. Most likely it would follow the designer created the many different kinds of cells required for multiple Phyla. It will always be a mystery. For instance, was their a cell to begin with, or the complete "Hopeful' monsters of the Cambrian that simply appeared - I guess we do at some time get down to how miraculous the designer got - did he shape cells bit by bit - if so he would have still had to, at some point, made something appear out of nowhere like all the useful proteins needed for a cell - but was there a cell membrane? It seems to me at some point, we must think of the designer more like the "guided" evolutionists do, or as a true creator who at some point, made life simply appear. I think the reason it looks like, as Richard Dawkins said "Like somebody just placed them there" - because somebody did. I suppose it will always be a mystery though. Tom Robbins
Discontinuities would only argue against a gradual descent with modification and diversification. Common Descent via means of intelligent design doesn't exclude jumps that lead to the appearance of discontinuities. The IDists who accept Common Descent understand the mechanism is telic in nature but they still don't know what that mechanism is beyond the very vague "descent with guided modification". ET
The discontinuities in the fossil record would seem to argue against common descent and certainly against Universal Common Descent. But there doesn't seem to be anything particular to ID that argues or perhaps even cares one way or the other. Latemarch

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