Biology Evolution Intelligent Design

Forcing that Fossil – The Art of Data Interpretation

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http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v439/n7073/full/nature04168.html

Chinese scientists have found an interesting sample–a cretaceous symmetrodont therian with some monotreme like postcranial features–in the Liaoning fossil beds which they have named Akidolestes cifellii.

Within eutriconodontans, lumbar ribs are present in gobiconodontids but not in the related Jeholodens. Within spalacotheroids, these are present in Akidolestes but absent in zhangheotheriids. Outside the crown mammals, lumbar ribs are absent in morganucodontans but variably present in many advanced cynodonts. It is possible that this rampant homoplasy of the lumbarosacral vertebral ribs is patterned by developmental genes that are deeply conserved in widely separated mammalian taxa that lacked a recent common history. However, homoplastic development of the lumbar ribs is not mutually exclusive of the interpretation that these ribs and related features also have convergent function to extant monotremes.

There are several ways to interpret the data:

1. Conservation of Developmental Genes – These structures were deeply conserved from a time before these groups split apart.

2. Convergent Evolution – The environment funneled their body features to become similar. On a side note this has supposedly happened many times with the eye.

Obviously the scientists–being Darwinists–decided to favor those two interpretations as the only valid interpretation. Not that they attempted to refute other interpretations…they just didn’t consider them.

3. Latent Library or Prescribed Evolution

4. Designer Reuse – One of the positive cases for Intelligent Design is the observation of the ways designers act when designing. Intelligent agents often ‘re-use’ functional components that work over and over in different systems.

I can think of other interpretations but that’s enough for one discussion.

On a side note, the Platypus was originally considered by taxonomists to be a hoax considering its diverse number of features.

Way, way off topic…I have the theme song for Trigun stuck in my head. Hey, this animal is weird enough that I have the right to be weird in writing this post. 😉

7 Replies to “Forcing that Fossil – The Art of Data Interpretation

  1. 1
    Red Reader says:

    “Designer Reuse”

    Repeating a point I’ve made before….

    ID opens many doors for scientific inquiry.

    Evolutionist obcess somewhat with the “how” question: “how” did evolution occur? No new discovery, it seems, can be reported without the writer attempting to recreate the evolutionary history of the thing discovered. Newspapers seem to report such unqualified speculations as the discovery itself, rather than the data that led to the speculation being the discovery.

    In my opinion, ID does not need to watse time and effort with such speculations.
    In this case, the finding of similar structure in widely separated mammalian taxa could be evidence of Designer Reuse. Reuse is an indicator of successful design. ID theory can ask “What are the strengths of the design?” “What capabilities does this design provide for this particular organism in its particular environment?”

    Findings from this sort of research have many potential applications depending on the structure being studied: information theory, communications, nano-technology.

  2. 2
    Thunar says:

    Read Reader wrote: “In my opinion, ID does not need to waste time and effort with such speculations.”

    Is the same as: “In my opinion, ID does not need to waste time and effort with finding natural explanations.”

    Red Reader wrote: “Reuse is an indicator of successful design.”

    and what would your opinion be of an “unsuccessful design”, and what if such an unsuccessful design is evident in more than one species?

  3. 3
    Patrick says:

    “Newspapers seem to report such unqualified speculations as the discovery itself, rather than the data that led to the speculation being the discovery.”

    That’s a valid observation. But that’s a problem with the media. You seem to be saying that scientists should only consider the last two interpretations and ignore the first two. “ID open[ing] many doors for scientific inquiry” does not mean doing the same as the Chinese scientists, which is ignore any other interpretations outside of the ones they favor.

  4. 4
    Red Reader says:

    Thunar wrote in #2 above:
    1)…is the same as: “In my opinion, ID does not need to waste time and effort with finding natural EXPLANATIONS.”

    2)…and what would your opinion be of an “unsuccessful design”, and what if such an unsuccessful design is evident in more than one species?
    ….
    Thunar makes two good points.

    1) I believe your restatement is absolutely correct.

    The following is my own opinion as I am truly only an armchair theorist.

    Evolution theory MUST attempt to explain “how” evolution works because a) it is counterintuitive and b) the theory from the first has been an alternative to the widely understood and accepted theory that “God created the heavens and the earth” (which is still widely accepted and understood). (That is an historical observation NOT a statement of ID theory.)

    To answer the “how” question, evolution MUST continuously expend enormous amounts of time and energy to silence opponents and reassure proponents. Darwinists have spent 150 years not only in the theory, but also in the courts attempting to stamp out the more obvious, self-evident and more historical explanation. Evolution is trying to create an entire world-view to displace the 2000+ year history of Western Civilization which already includes thoughtful essays in theology, philosophy, law, art, literature, etc.. That’s a lot of reinvention and a lot of time and energy yet to be wasted.

    ID does NOT have to explain “how” a single-cell, self-replicating bacterium *could* have been formed. What ID DOES–starting with evidence of design–is catalog the complexity found in the bacterium, note the interdependencies of the bacterium’s structures, explain how the design works to enable the bacterium to survive in its hostile environment, identify various substructures within the bacterium so that they may be compared to similar or disparate substructures in other organisms, etc..

    (Let me add here: evolution takes some undeserved credit for a lot of the cataloging, noting and working descriptions that real scientists have done in real labs. Scientists working in the framework of ID can and do the same work. This is actually a tribute more to rigorously objective scientists and to the methods of science than to any theory of origins. The only thing die-hard evolutionists will attempt that ID scientists will not is by using ONLY inanimate atoms try to create “life” in a test-tube.)

    In other words ID accepts the organism AS IS, looks at it and endeavors to unlock its secrets. The usefulness of such research will be found in the applied sciences of nano-technology, aerodynamics, information theory to name a few. Evolutionists do some of this, but they waste, I say, time and effort on speculative fabrication of “Darwin’s tree of evolution” that is really useful for nothing.

    I go further to say that ID can NOT explain how the organism was formed, not at present: ID, for example, cannot explain how the pyramids of Egypt were formed. The pyramids, obviously, were “intelligently designed” and “intelligently built”. But the tools and methods of the builders (to my knowledge) have not been definitively determined. This doesn’t mean scientists cannot offer educated guesses about how the pyramids were formed; of course they can and do. But all recognize that when the pyramids were finished, the builders removed their tools and apparently made no record of their actual methods. Were we now to try to duplicate the pyramids, we would use entirely different tools and methods.

    IF ID is true (which I’m satisfied it is), then the tools and methods of the Intelligent Builder of the single-celled bacterium are not part of the finished organism that we can observe. More analogy: when Da Vinci finished with the “Last Supper”, he removed the scaffolding, the tempera emulsions and brushes, the drop cloths and any temporary drawings he may have used during his work. If all we have is the finished product, we can tell many things in study of the mural; but there are simply some things about the tools and methods Leonardo used that cannot be known except by those who were there, perhaps only by Da Vinci himself.

    Finally, there is no NEED for ID to offer speculations. ID simply observes what is and makes the statement “The best explanation for this structure is an intelligent cause.” ID goes from there. ID does not need to recreate Western Civilization in its own image: ID fits within the historic, developmental framework of Western Civilization that already exists.

    ID is way more efficient.

    2) I actually thought of this myself about 2:30a this morning.
    IF ID is correct, the intelligent cause is vastly intelligent.
    The likelyhood of finding any example of unsuccessful design is presumed to be remote.
    The choice of the wording “successful design” was poor.

  5. 5
    Red Reader says:

    May I add the obvious conclusion to my comment in #4 above? (Part 1, that is.)

    ID is way more efficient as a theory than evolution.

    Here is a testable prediction:
    On a “per research scientist” basis, scientists exploring the natural world within the framework of ID theory will be far more productive in practical, applied sciences terms than scientists working within the framework of evolutionary theory.

    Two caveats:
    [A] Not all fields really care which framework controls.
    For example, mathematics. Well, string theory is a huge resource waster, otherwise mathematics doesn’t care. Proability theory, however, is advancing under ID. (Hmmm. Maybe this caveat isn’t necessary.) Productivity needs to be measured in fields where the framework matters. I definitely think all efforts by evolutionists to create life in a test tube from purely inanimate atoms should be included on their side. This will give a huge boost to the ID side and level the playing field.

    [B] Obviously, since an evolution framework dominates in virtually every field and since evolutionary gatekeepers currently do everything possible to block ID, there are many more scientists operating under evolutionary auspices than operate under the fledgling ID framework. Therefore the gross productivity of the whole mass of scientists is not a fair guage.

  6. 6
    evoluck says:

    [troll]
    “On a “per research scientist” basis, scientists exploring the natural world within the framework of ID theory will be far more productive in practical, applied sciences terms than scientists working within the framework of evolutionary theory”

    How is this possible? ID allows no progress to be made whatsoever. What is it that ID allows you to do in science? The answer is Zero

  7. 7
    Red Reader says:

    evoluck, please read #4
    ….
    What ID DOES–starting with evidence of design–is catalog the complexity found in the bacterium, note the interdependencies of the bacterium’s structures, explain how the design works to enable the bacterium to survive in its hostile environment, identify various substructures within the bacterium so that they may be compared to similar or disparate substructures in other organisms, etc..
    ….
    This is all science unless you define as “science” only that which attempts to populate the branches of Darwin’s tree.
    Please read #4.

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