Biology Evolution Intelligent Design

Pegasus Discovered!

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In browsing the New Mexicans for Science and Reason site and the Oynate Man prank (which I’d seen before but since it’s so hilarious enjoyed reading again) I came across this statement in the April Fool article explaining what would constitute real evidence against evolution:

Pegasus, with its bizarre mix of mammalian and avian features, would also be Big Trouble for evolution. To date, none have ever been found. Evolution’s prediction: “None will be found. Ever.” Intelligent Design’s prediction: “Er…What was the question?”

Why are these examples of items that could disprove evolution? For one, both are uttterly impossible according to our current understanding of the theory. Additionally, in “Intelligent Design,” the Designer is alleged to have the ability to create life forms by fiat. Any one who could fill the Earth with teeming life shouldn’t have any trouble creating allosaurs at the same time as humans, or creating a horse with huge birds’ wings. If these situations existed, it would indeed spell trouble for evolution. But these finds, and any others that would clearly violate our concept of evolution, are curiously missing from the world. Apparently the Designer saw no need to include in his creation hard clues that would lead scientific thinkers to the realization that there is, in fact, an omnipotent, intelligent, and imaginative Designer out there.

Good grief! What kind of biologist wrote that? Did he ever hear of monotremes? “Mammals” that lay eggs, secrete venom from ankle spurs, have no nipples, and have a cloaca. A bizarre mix of avian and mammalian features to be sure, just like the doctor(?) above ordered.

Last year I asked Professor Davison, whose specialty is comparative physiology, about how monotremes fit into the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis and he told me they are living proof of the PEH. I invite him to elaborate for you all how monotremes fit into the scheme, or dare I say prescription of things.

20 Replies to “Pegasus Discovered!

  1. 1
    John Davison says:

    I appreciate the invitation. Actually you already picked what is possibly the best conceivable example of the sort of thing that is compatible with the PEH. It is hard to imagine an animal more chimaeric than the Duck-billed Platypus. You neglected to mention that its bill closely resembles that of a fish, the Paddlefish Polyodon spathula and is probably used for the same purpose, to detect the electrical signals produced by its prey whuch are largely small crustaceans. The Polyodontidae are a very ancient group which were around long before either monotremes or reptiles or birds had appeared. There are only two species left, one in China the other, P. spathula in the Mississippi valley. They get up to 150 pounds and I believe they are on the endangered species list but don’t hold me to it. If they aren’t they ought to be. I’ve never seen one and you don’t see them much in public aquaria I guess because they are hard to feed.

    In my Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis paper I mention the remarkable resemblance between marsupial and placental saber-toothed cats. Unfortunately the online version lacks the figure which appears in the published version. If I can get my hands on the figure I will send it to you because as the old saying goes:

    “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

    The original is:

    “One picture is worth more than ten thousand words”
    Chinese proverb

  2. 2
    J90 says:

    They only said that those two specific examples were not possible, nothing more.

  3. 3
    John Davison says:

    I agree about Pegasus because it would require a mammal to have six appendages, four legs and a pair of wings, not very likely for a tetrapod vertebrate.

    Is J90 a Darwinian by any chance? It sound like he might be. Heaven forbid on this thread. I thought they were all dead. They soon will be. Trust me. I mean intellectually of course. Soon Darwinian theology will join the theologies of the Phlogiston of Chemistry and the Ether of Physics to complete the “trivial trivium” as I like to call it and become just one more footnote and testimonial to the unlimited powers of the human imagination. Ether, Selection, Phlogiston, ESP for short. Get it? Figments all.

    Thanks J90 for granting me this opportunity to vent a little. It means a lot to me. What does J90 stand for anyway? Sort of like WD 40 maybe?

    How do like them raw cauliflower segments on them cute little trays that they always have at them stand up social gatherings? Pretty aren’t they? I hope they give the Darwinians the runs.

  4. 4
    J90 says:

    John, actually I’m not. I just like accuracy.

  5. 5
    J90 says:

    …and this really might be the WD 40 of science… 😉

  6. 6
    Xavier says:

    How does convergent evolution lend support to the PEH? I have not seen convergence raised as a problem for evolutionary theory; rather it would appear to predict it. E.g. any organism that flies has the same constraints and challenges, power to weight ratio, aerodynamic consideration etc. But many varied species and groups have achieved greater or lesser success with some kind of aerofoil with or without propulsion, by adaptation of existing body plans.

  7. 7
    Xavier says:

    Dr. Davison,

    Was your post meant to be a reply to my comment on another thread, I have pasted both below:

    Dr. Davison

    Having read the PEH several times, I note you suggest as indirect evidence:

    Instances of convergent evolution. But convergent evolution is predicted by natural selection as different organisms find themselves in similar niches. E..g. Dolphins and sharks have superficially similar adaptations to swimming well in open water.

    Absence of transitional fossils. That the liklihood of fossils forming is so low (for land-dwelling organisms especially) it is hardly surprising that it is so incomplete. but new discoveries happen almost daily.

    And as direct evidence:

    Differences in the human and chimp chromosomes. I am not sure how this is evidence for the PEH. I really would be most grateful for a little more elaboration here. I think I follow that by, position effects, information already in the genome may be de-repressed. The human and chimmp genomes are now mapped, so the repressed information in the chimp genome should be able to be spotted. Would this not be a fruitful avenue of research?

    Recent evicence shows chromosomal rearrangement is more likely at certain points in the chromosome. But is this also evidence that derepression occurs?

    The Cnidaria possess genes previously thought to be vertebrate innovations. How does that lend more support to the PEH rather than just scientific enquiry not being static and taking Flew’s advice: “We must follow the evidence, wherever it leads.”

    Comment by Xavier — January 29, 2006 @ 8:28 am

    #

    Of course there are huge gaps in the fossil record but they are not gaps that will ever be filled. They are real gaps because intermediates simply have not existed. The gaps are to be expected from any system that involves the restructuring of large segments of information which is what chromosmes are. Such a system is bound to affect many separate features simultaneously. That is why the members of the so-called horse series have each to be placed in a separate genus. It is also why organisms can be so very similar at the DNA level yet so drastically different both morphologically and physiologically.

    Schindewolf was acutely aware of the gaps which is what prompted him to say that we might as well stop looking for the missing links as they never existed. That certainly does not argue against reproductive continuity. Quite the contrary. It fully supports Goldschmodt’s saltational perspective with which Schindewolf fully concurred. One of the most remarkable episodes in the history of evolutionary thought was the way two scientists in widely separated areas of inquiry, Schindewolf in paleontology and Goldschmidt in genetics, reached exactly the same conclusions. I don’t know that they ever met. I discuss this in detail in my Manifesto and recommend that anyone really interested in the undeniable reality of saltational evolution consult it and the original sources as well. You won’t find this material in the writings of Mayr, Gould, Provine or Dawkins, of that one can be certain. I know because I looked. Like so much else in the history of biologcal thought, this literature and its authors have not been allowed to exist by a ruling intolerant establishment that denies it ever had any critics.

    Referring to Schindewolf:

    “He shows by examples from the fossil material that the major evolutionary advances must have taken place in single large steps, which affected early embryonic stages with the automatic reconstruction of the later stages of development. He shows that the many missing links in the paleontological record are sought for in vain because they have never existed: “The first bird hatched from a reptilian egg.”
    The Material Basis of Evolution, page 395.

    The independently arrived conclusions of Schindewolf and Goldschmidt, scholars of the highest order, constitute powerful support for an evolution in which chance played no role whatsover, in short in one that was predetermined or, in a word, “prescribed.”

    I hope the Darwinians are listening. I hope it gives them the runs.

    Comment by John Davison — January 30, 2006 @ 3:51 am

  8. 8
    Xavier says:

    I note my previous comment has gone to moderation. Was that due to the size of the post?

    Probably something tripped the spam filter. A largish number of common words trigger it. Poker, gambling, pill, diet, casino, loan, viagra, all kinds of stuff. Thousands and thousands of comments would be advertisments if we didn’t do that. If we publish the list of trigger words then the spammers know what not to use. It sucks but it’s the only good defense.

  9. 9
    John Davison says:

    Xavier

    Convergent evolution is just another Darwinian myth and has never been demonstrated either experimentally or from the fossil record. It is just one more assumption based on the unfounded belief that the environment had something to do with evolution. It never did you know. But of course you don’t do you? Darwinian mystics are like that don’t you know. If you had read my papers you would know all this and I wouldn’t have to keep repeating myself.

    Similar morphologies and habits result from unrelated organisms reading the same prescribed “blueprints.” Marsupial and placental saber-toothed cats are a beautiful example. They were separated by millions of years temporally and thousand of miles spatially. “Convergent” evolution is a myth. So is “adaptation” if I may be so bold. Both concepts derive from the unfounded assumption that there was an exogenous cause for organic evolution. Such a cause has never been identified because it never existed.

    As I used to say at EvC until Percy, whoever that is, couldn’t stand it any more and found it necessary to ban me for life, one of my more treasured achievements:

    Who is next?

    Set em up in the other alley Pin boy. Do as you’re told!

    How do you like them overcooked pork chops? Rubbery aren’t they? I hope they give the Darwinians gas or, better yet, a belly ache.

    I think I’ll have a drink. It’s almost five here in the north country.

  10. 10
    crandaddy says:

    Funny. I guess to show that the evolution from one biological state to another is reasonably impossible would not be evidence against evolutionary therory? Hmmm.

  11. 11
    John Davison says:

    Am I the only one who has no idea what crandaddy is talking about? Pinch me.

  12. 12
    John Davison says:

    You better be careful not to arouse me as I am into the sauce pretty good and I am frightfully unpredictable when in that state.

  13. 13
    G. Hecht says:

    I’m coming in a little late here but rather than trying to suggest bird traits in the Monotremes you should look at the common ancestor (reptiles) that passed on those characteristcs to both primative mammals and birds

    Of course. But it remains true that monotremes have traits (cloaca, egg laying, and ankle spurs) in common with birds so there was no false statement. Egg laying isn’t even limited to vertebrates and cloaca are also found on amphibians. Any reason why you didn’t point to amphibians instead of reptiles? -ds

  14. 14
    G. Hecht says:

    I thought I would pick the closest common ancestor to both birds and mammals.

  15. 15

    Xavier wrote:

    “I have not seen convergence raised as a problem for evolutionary theory; rather it would appear to predict it. E.g. any organism that flies has the same constraints and challenges, power to weight ratio, aerodynamic consideration etc.”

    No, evolution certainly did not predict convergence. “Convergence” is the concept used to explain away what was unpredicted.

    Further, all the constraints and challenges mentioned have nothing to do with evolutionary theory. Those are constraints of physics. It is common for evolutionary proponents to claim that evolutionary theory has predictive capability because it “predicts” that organisms will not be created that violate principles of chemistry and physics. Evolution of course makes no such predictions. Chemistry and physics do.

  16. 16
    John Davison says:

    It was all internally driven. Trust me but of course you can’t,. You weren’t “prescribed ” to do so.

  17. 17
    John Davison says:

    It is only the chance happy, Natural Selection intoxicated, atheist Darwinian mystics that think evolution has not been predictable. Evolution is finished just like mathematics, chemistry and physics are finished. They were all finished at the moment of their creation by the Big Front Loader in the Sky (BFL for short). Science is nothing but the discovery of that which has always been there just waiting for the last evolutionary product to realize just that. Godfrey Hardy said it all when he insisted that mathematics existed entirely independent of the human condition. It is called the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis. Only the discovery continues.

    BFL I think is my favorite Davisonism. Is “science is nothing but the discovery of that which has always been there” your original too? I couldn’t find it anywhere else. -ds

  18. 18
    DaveScot says:

    Professor Davison,

    In the ontology/phylogeny congruence do you think phylogenetic first cell(s) (first common ancestor(s)) are like the ontological first cell? By that I mean did the first cells on the planet have genomes with all the information required to unfold into the diversity we see today (the external environment would be irrelevant) or were they simple cells and the environment was predetermined to cause them to grow in complexity in a prescribed manner?

    If that’s not clear (it’s hard to express) let me know and I’ll try to rephrase the question.

  19. 19
    John Davison says:

    Dave

    Why the first one of course. The second is pure Darwinian nonsense. The environment never had anything whatsoever to do with either ontogeny or phylogeny. The environment IS what organisms made it. It was the plants that made the oxygen out of pure water. They and the bacteria started the evolutionary ball rolling. That is why it is so very important to stop chopping down the rain forests and polluting the oceans. Those are the two major sinks for all the CO2 that we animals and our machines keep producing. Hydrogen, hydroelectric and atomic energies are our only remaining energy options and we better get cracking or it won’t make any difference what we do. I wouldn’t give you a nickel for wind or tidal sources in the long run. Alcohol is a good transitional source and I hope we don’t use it all for energy if you know what I mean and I’m sure you do. I hope your still is still in working order. Partially oxidized molecules like alcohol always burn cleaner than fully reduced molecules like oil. Even I know that much.

    It’s almost five. Praise the Lord, I’m getting withdrawal symptoms.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that you asked that question knowing full well how I would answer it which was very nice of you. I love to pontificate on energy matters with gay abandon even if I’m not an engineer.

  20. 20
    John Davison says:

    DaveScot

    It may be a Davison original. I have no idea and I don’t
    even care any more. It was Godrey Hardy who said that mathematics existed independent of the human condition. That really impressed me. All I have done is to extend that to include the whole darn shooting match. Science is discovery and that is all it has ever been. You cannot discover that which is not there, Anything else is philosophy, something that I, like Einstein, have great difficulty with.

    “Facts which at first seem improbable will, even on scant explanation, drop the cloak that has hidden them and stand forth in naked and simple beauty.”
    Galileo

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