Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Shared error in texts is an argument for common ancestry guided by design

arroba Email

Cornelius Hunter writes:

Venema’s argument is that harmful mutations shared amongst different species, such as the human and chimpanzee, are powerful and compelling evidence for evolution. These harmful mutations disable a useful gene and, importantly, the mutations are identical.

Are not such harmful, shared, mutations analogous to identical typos in the term papers handed in by different students, or in historical manuscripts? Such typos are tell-tale indicators of a common source, for it is unlikely that the same typo would have occurred independently, by chance, in the same place, in different documents. Instead, the documents share a common source.

Now imagine not one, but several such typos, all identical, in the two manuscripts. Surely the evidence is now overwhelming that the documents are related and share a common source. More.

I don’t know genetics but, as a book editor, I know a bit about manuscripts. There are many reasons why shared errors might not indicate common ancestry, or at least not in any informative way. If one is going to use the analogy, consider the following:

1. Common grammar errors need not originate from one source. All that an inability to use “it’s” vs. “its” correctly tells us is that the authors are writing in English.

2. Spelling variations may or may not identify regional origin. Brits spell differently from Yanks but Canadian book editors are trained to work in both conventions. In other words, the correct answer as to the author’s origin might be “neither,” but how would you know that if someone didn’t tell you?

3. Dialectic word choices (shenanigan, malarkey, and brouhaha come to mind) may not indicate ancestry; they may be the result of teaching, reading, or the deliberate adoption of a style.

4. Some types of expression are constrained. For example, “The police have detained a suspect” might appear in three different news sources without any copying because all the reporters know how they are permitted to put the matter. Even identical errors may not be definitive. That depends on the nature of the error.

For example,

Prairie News: The accused was declared non compos mentis, meaning “unfit to stand trial”
Prairie Journal: The accused was declared non campus mentis, meaning “unfit to stand trial”
Prairie Express-Monitor: The accused was declared non campus mentis, meaning “unfit to stand trial”

Was the Prairie Express-Monitor plagiarizing the Prairie Journal? Possibly, but it’s more likely that neither author knows the correct term and both are guessing, picking a familiar word. Alternatively, a spellcheck gone wrong might have produced the same error in both cases.

5. Now, what about plagiarism? That is a very specific form of sharing: Three different students come up with the same clearly expressed 402-word paragraph—and it fits poorly between mounds of quite differently mangled prose before and aft.

That’s definitive for sure. The students were acting purposefully. Their purpose is precisely what explains the matter. In other words, if we are talking about written texts, plagiarism is design.

If plagiarism is an argument for common ancestry, it is an argument for designed common ancestry, where the designer is neither the text itself nor random actions  on it, but an intelligent agent.

Only in a world steeped in Darwinism would plagiarism seem like a good analogy for common ancestry without design.

See also: Hunter on “shared error” arguments for common ancestry


An editor’s thoughts on “cdesign proponentsists” The basic problem is one of determining intentions from drafts (thoughts) as opposed to publication (words).

Follow UD News at Twitter!

Excellent point News. Evolutionists claim that "random shared errors" in human and chimp genomes evidence common ancestry. Evolutionists should first of all prove that (A) such errors are really "random". It could well be that there are mechanisms or factors that systematically cause such "errors", which consequently become not random at all. In the texts publishing analogy News aptly provide many examples of such non random factors. Second, evolutionists should prove that (B) such "random shared errors" are really "errors", i.e. not something that had or has some functionality (=> design). The problem for evolutionists is that to prove A + B is practically impossible. Therefore what they consider "the best evidence" of human/ape common ancestry is far to be such. niwrad
OT: News this might be of interest to you:
(“Delocalized” Quantum) Sound-like bubbles whizzing around in DNA essential to life - Jun 1, 2016 Excerpt: new research in the UK has detected sound-like bubbles in DNA that is essential to life and which will change the fundamental understanding of biochemical reactions inside a cell. The research,,, describes how double-stranded DNA splits using delocalized sound waves that are the hallmark of quantum effects.,,, Dedicated enzymes responsible for making new proteins read the code by splitting the double strand in order to access the information. One of the big outstanding questions of biology has been how these enzymes find the initial hole or "bubble" in the double strand to start reading the code.,,, researcher Gopakumar Ramakrishnan said: "It had been proposed by theoreticians that such DNA bubbles might behave like sound waves, bouncing around in DNA like echoes in a cathedral. However, the current paradigm in biology is that such sound-like dynamics are irrelevant to biological function, as interaction of a biomolecule with the surrounding water will almost certainly destroy any of these effects.",,, Researchers in the Ultrafast Chemical Physics group carried out experiments with a laser that produces femtosecond laser pulses about a trillion times shorter than a camera flash. This allowed them to succeed in the detection of sound-like bubbles in DNA. They could show that these bubbles whiz around like bullets in a shooting gallery even in an environment very similar to that which can be found in a living cell. Thomas Harwood said, a researcher said: "The sound waves in DNA are not your ordinary sound waves. They have a frequency of a few terahertz or a billion times higher than a human or a dog can hear!" Professor Klaas Wynne, leader of the research team and Chair in Chemical Physics at the University of Glasgow, said, "The terahertz sound-like bubbles we have seen alter our fundamental understanding of biochemical reactions. There were earlier suggestions for a role of delocalized quantum phenomena in light harvesting, magneto reception, and olfaction." The new results now imply a much more general role for sound-like delocalized phenomena in biomolecular processes. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/science/Sound-like-bubbles-whizzing-around-in-DNA-essential-to-life/articleshow/52539817.cms
also of note:
Molecular Biology - 19th Century Materialism meets 21st Century Quantum Mechanics - video https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1141908409155424/?type=2&theater
"George" Hunter? Are you sure you didn't mean "Cornelius?" ;) Phinehas

Leave a Reply