Evolution Intelligent Design

Mike Behe’s Darwin Devolves thesis aired at Quanta?

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They just don’t call it that:

Two surprising analyses that appeared in Nature Ecology & Evolution early this year have hammered home just how inessential genes can be, and how creatively evolution can deal with losing them. By analyzing hundreds of genomes from across the animal kingdom, researchers in Spain and the United Kingdom showed that a startling degree of gene loss pervades the tree of life.

Their results suggest that even early animals had relatively complex genomes because of an unprecedented spurt of gene duplication early in life’s history. Later, as lineages of animals evolved into different phyla with distinct body plans, many of their genes began to disappear, and gene loss continued to be a major factor in evolution thereafter. In fact, the loss of genes seems to have helped many groups of organisms split away from their ancestors and triumph over new environmental challenges.

Vivian Callier, “By Losing Genes, Life Often Evolved More Complexity” at Quanta

The thesis of Darwin Devolves is that most adaptation/evolution is due to loss of genes (devolution). The Quanta article seems to agree that loss of genes is a major means of the development of life.

Funny how those early organisms acquired all those genes so quickly, as opposed to the long, slow process of evolution we’ve been led to assume.

9 Replies to “Mike Behe’s Darwin Devolves thesis aired at Quanta?

  1. 1
    Nonlin.org says:

    Behe makes a mess. “Devolution” presupposes “evolution”. You know, the thing Behe is arguing against? Instead, why not discuss adaptation – a stand alone concept that not only is not linked to “evolution” but it also annihilates said “evolution”.

  2. 2
    EugeneS says:

    NL

    ==Behe makes a mess. “Devolution” presupposes “evolution”.==

    I don’t see how. Devolution, in Behe’s terms, presupposes design. Devolution is just a synonym of ‘adaptation by functional degradation’.

  3. 3
    johnnyb says:

    What’s hilarious is that the *title* says that losing genes causes the organisms to have “Evolved More Complexity”, but that claim exists in the title alone! It’s almost as if the editor is covering for the fact that this is too much like Behe’s model. The closest that the article comes to this claim is to say that “sometimes, losing a gene can be adaptive”.

  4. 4
    Querius says:

    The observations simply show how far we are from understanding what’s happening in genomes over time. Our understanding is ridiculously far from “the science is settled.”

    -Q

  5. 5
    Nonlin.org says:

    EugeneS

    “Liberal, progressive, humanist, evolution/devolution, etc. etc.” are all hijacked words that now, unfortunately, have lost their original meaning. Do you know there are other words you can use?

    It gets worse. Behe & Co actually think “microevolution” is a thing, and in fact “evolution” itself is a thing only “not as powerful as Darwin thought”. This in a nutshell is why mainstream ID is a laughing stock.

    What about growing a pair and addressing Darwin like the actual imbecile he was? I mean, “irreducible complexity”? Seriously? Is that your best?

  6. 6
    Querius says:

    Johnnyb,

    The closest that the article comes to this claim is to say that “sometimes, losing a gene can be adaptive”.

    It’s always amazed me that there doesn’t seem to be any correlation between the supposed complexity of an organism and the size of its genome. From a Cell.com article, we read

    What is the C-value paradox? You might expect more complex organisms to have progressively larger genomes, but eukaryotic genome size fails to correlate well with apparent complexity, and instead varies wildly over more than a 100,000-fold range. … C.A. Thomas Jr dubbed it the ‘C-value paradox’ in 1971.

    -Q

  7. 7
    johnnyb says:

    Querius – I’ve always assumed myself that the C-value paradox is because people are confused about the nature of humanity, the nature of organisms, and the nature of the genome. If you believe that genetics completely describes a living organism, then the C-value paradox is a real paradox. If, however, you believe that genetics only describes an organisms *metabolism* (broadly conceived), and that, especially for humans, there are non-mechanical sources of complexity, then the reason for the C-value paradox is obvious – the organisms we view as “complex” functionally are not necessarily *biochemically* complex, relatively speaking.

  8. 8
    DATCG says:

    Eugene,

    Agree, there is variation and devolution, some of it allows life to live or survive under different circumstances or weakened (devolution) as a result of deleterious mutations. Like the polar bear for example or sickle cell anemia, and many others.

  9. 9
    DATCG says:

    #3 JohnnyB well said.

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