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What’s this about the strange inevitability of evolution?

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Product Details From Philip Ball at Nautilus:

Ah, but isn’t all this wonder simply the product of the blind fumbling of Darwinian evolution, that mindless machine which takes random variation and sieves it by natural selection? Well, not quite. You don’t have to be a benighted creationist, nor even a believer in divine providence, to argue that Darwin’s astonishing theory doesn’t fully explain why nature is so marvelously, endlessly inventive. “Darwin’s theory surely is the most important intellectual achievement of his time, perhaps of all time,” says evolutionary biologist Andreas Wagner of the University of Zurich. “But the biggest mystery about evolution eluded his theory. And he couldn’t even get close to solving it.”

Hey, wait a minute. I put the obvious question to friends in biology: If the biggest mystery in evolution eluded Darwin’s theory, why is it “the most important intellectual achievement of his time, perhaps of all time”?

The answer was swift in coming: Wagner, News is informed, is actually criticizing Darwinism, but in the age of Daniel Dennett and Zack Kopplin, one needs to slather on the blather, praising the Sage of Down to ridiculous extremes, before getting round to what one really means to say.

These findings uncover a property of biological systems even deeper than the evolutionary processes that shape them. They reveal the landscape on which that shaping took place, and they show that it was only possible at all because the landscape has a very specific topology, in which functionally similar combinations of the component parts—genes, metabolites, protein or nucleic-acid sequences—are connected into vast webs that stretch throughout the whole of the multidimensional space, each intricately woven amidst countless others. More.

So this is a demonstration of the fine tuning of the universe for life?

But isn’t that heresy?

Indeed. Rob Sheldon writes to say,

Rob Sheldon: If those graphics in the article are accurate, it says that the topology-maps of gene-space are highly connected. This is another way of saying that there is long-range order built into the universe. Since no one thinks that the universe has physical laws that are finely tuned in this fashion, it conveniently moves all the information in the system into the fabric of the universe.

But while it may remove the fingers of God from the origin-of-life, it forces space-time to exhibit the fingerprints of God. Look at that graphic again. Doesn’t that remind you of a fingerprint?

I don’t think this is too likely an explanation for OOL, but if it were, it would be a deep criticism of Darwin, and stronger support for ID that even ID claimed.

No wonder Wagner, author of Arrival of the Fittest, had to slather on the blather before he could say what he wanted to. He may yet have to publicly humble himself again and proclaim Darwin the Greatest. Ever. Whatever.

See also: New origin theory for cells that gave rise to vertebrates: If the neural crest cells did not have to evolve, but rather the “incredible properties” were there all along, is that not an argument for design in nature?

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7 Replies to “What’s this about the strange inevitability of evolution?

  1. 1
    Axel says:

    ‘He may yet have to publicly humble himself again and proclaim Darwin the Greatest. Ever. Whatever.’

    ‘Blind fumbler’?

  2. 2
    ppolish says:

    There are only a few instances in the book where Wagner slathers on the blather – and they seem obligatory and beside the point. Same with his obligatory “Creationist” insult or two.

    Although Wagner points out in the article “Yet the question that remains is: Why does the space of evolutionary options have this essential, robust structure? “We simply don’t know why genotype networks are interwoven the way they are,” admits Wagner. ”

    Two words, Andreas, Fine Tuning. Oh, and Design. Three words sorry.

    And this is NOT the fine tuning of the Universe that has Cosmologists & Physicists dumbfounded – this is fine tuning embedded within that fine tuning. Can’t escape to a multiverse for this. The BioConscious fine tuning is alone in THIS Universe. Boo.

  3. 3
    Axel says:

    ‘He may yet have to publicly humble himself again and proclaim Darwin the Greatest. Ever. Whatever.’

    ‘Blind fumbler’?

    I mean, it’s a madhouse. Really! If the evidence of design and irreducible complexity were not so apparent, rather than real, presumably, they could subject it all to a really thoroughgoing programme of non-empirical, scientific research.

    Empirically-measurable appearances are such an impediment to scientific research, inevitably their reflection of design is going to be spurious, isn’t it?

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    This article is so typical of Darwinian thought. Darwinists only admit there is an insurmountable problem with their theory when they imagine they might have a solution to that insurmountable problem.
    The insurmountable problem this time? An organism’s traits, and particularly, an organism’s overall body plan (i.e. shape/form) does not reduce to genes. They state the problem for neo-Darwinism as such:

    “The trouble is that traits don’t in general map so neatly onto genes: They arise from interactions between many genes that regulate one another’s activity in complex networks, or “gene circuits.”

    and they again state the problem as such:

    “The phenotype determines how equipped an organism is for its environment, and it is where selection acts. That selection is ultimately registered in the genotype—the genes that allow a trait to be passed to offspring—but the connection between phenotype and genotype retains many mysteries. Arguably it is the biggest mystery of the post-genomic era we are now entering, in which it is proving unexpectedly hard to identify where many inherited phenotypic traits are encoded in the genotype.”

    As to overall ‘shape/form’ they (Ball/Wagner) state that:

    Naively, you might expect RNAs with a similar shape, and thus presumably phenotype, to share a similar sequence, so that a map of the possible sequences—the sequence space, which can be represented as a many-dimensional space where each grid point corresponds to a particular sequence—is divided up into various “shape kingdoms” (See Not a Patch, a). But that wasn’t what Schuster found. Instead, RNAs with the same shape could vary very widely in sequence: You could get the same shape, and therefore potentially the same kind of catalytic function, from very different sequences.

    The also admit that ”gene networks” are now found to be much more important than individual genes as to the generation of new body plans:

    “Exactly which genes you have may not matter so much (within reason), because the job they do is more a property of the network in which they are embedded.”

    Take, for example, the discovery within the field of evolutionary developmental biology that the different body plans of many complex organisms, including us, arise not from different genes but from different networks of gene interaction and expression in the same basic circuit, called the Hox gene circuit. To get from a snake to a human, you don’t need a bunch of completely different genes, but just a different pattern of wiring in essentially the same kind of Hox gene circuit.

    Two problems with this claim for Darwinists. First problem is that mutating gene circuits, (developmental Gene Regulatory Networks), is found to be, unlike mutating individual genes, ‘always catastrophically bad’

    A Listener’s Guide to the Meyer-Marshall Debate: Focus on the Origin of Information Question -Casey Luskin – December 4, 2013
    Excerpt: “There is always an observable consequence if a dGRN (developmental gene regulatory network) subcircuit is interrupted. Since these consequences are always catastrophically bad, flexibility is minimal, and since the subcircuits are all interconnected, the whole network partakes of the quality that there is only one way for things to work. And indeed the embryos of each species develop in only one way.” –
    Eric Davidson
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....79811.html

    Stephen Meyer – Responding to Critics: Marshall, Part 2 (developmental Gene Regulatory Networks) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cg8Mhn2EKvQ

    When Theory Trumps Observation: Responding to Charles Marshall’s Review of Darwin’s Doubt -Stephen C. Meyer – October 2, 2013
    Excerpt: Developmental gene regulatory networks (dGRN) are control systems. A labile (flexible) dGRN would generate (uncontrolled) variable outputs, precisely the opposite of what a functional control system does. It is telling that although many evolutionary theorists (like Marshall) have speculated about early labile dGRNs, no one has ever described such a network in any functional detail — and for good reason. No developing animal that biologists have observed exhibits the kind of labile developmental gene regulatory network that the evolution of new body plans requires. Indeed, Eric Davidson, when discussing hypothetical labile dGRNs, acknowledges that we are speculating “where no modern dGRN provides a model” since they “must have differed in fundamental respects from those now being unraveled in our laboratories.”8
    By ignoring this evidence, Marshall and other defenders of evolutionary theory reverse the epistemological priority of the historical scientific method as pioneered by Charles Lyell, Charles Darwin and others.9 Rather than treating our present experimentally based knowledge as the key to evaluating the plausibility of theories about the past, Marshall uses an evolutionary assumption about what must have happened in the past (transmutation) to justify disregarding experimental observations of what does, and does not, occur in biological systems. The requirements of evolutionary doctrine thus trump our observations about how nature and living organisms actually behave. What we know best from observation takes a back seat to prior beliefs about how life must have arisen.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....77391.html

    Thus, Wagner and Ball simply have no empirical evidence that it is possible to change gene circuits in an ‘bottom up’ incremental fashion so as to derive new body plans.

    Second problem with their claim that different gene circuits will give you fundamentally new body plans is that, contrary to what they apparently believe, is that body plans are not even entirely reducible to different gene circuits either, but the basic ‘form/shape’ of an organism is something that transcends even the ‘gene circuits’ of DNA themselves.
    Jonathan Wells has extensively documented this fact:

    Peer-Reviewed Paper: Development Needs Ontogenetic Information that Cannot Arise from Neo-Darwinian Mechanisms – Casey Luskin – June 2, 2014
    Excerpt: Jonathan Wells has published a new peer-reviewed scientific paper in the journal BIO-Complexity, “Membrane Patterns Carry Ontogenetic Information That Is Specified Independently of DNA.” With over 400 citations to the technical literature, this well-researched and well-documented article shows that embryogenesis depends on crucial sources of information that exist outside of the DNA.
    This ontogenetic information guides the development of an organism, but because it is derived from sources outside of the DNA, it cannot be produced by mutations in DNA. Wells concludes that because the neo-Darwinian model of evolution claims that variation is produced by DNA mutations, neo-Darwinism cannot account for the origin of epigenetic and ontogenetic information that exists outside of DNA. (Read more here:)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....86201.html

    Membrane Patterns Carry Ontogenetic Information That Is Specified Independently of DNA – Jonathan Wells – 2014
    Excerpt: Embryo development (ontogeny) depends on developmental gene regulatory networks (dGRNs), but dGRNs depend on pre-existing spatial anisotropies that are defined by early embryonic axes, and those axes are established long before the embryo’s dGRNs are put in place.,,,
    DNA sequences do not specify the final functional forms of most membrane components. Still less does DNA specify the spatial arrangements of those components. Yet their spatial arrangements carry essential ontogenetic information. The fact that membrane patterns carry ontogenetic information that is not specified by DNA poses a problem for any theory of evolution (such as Neo-Darwinism) that attributes the origin of evolutionary novelties to changes in a genetic program—-whether at the level of DNA sequences or dGRNs.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2014.2

    Body Plans Are Not Mapped-Out by the DNA – Jonathan Wells – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meR8Hk5q_EM

    Dr. Wells also recently noted this following fact that is very antagonistic to the ‘bottom up’ claims of neo-Darwinists:

    Ask an Embryologist: Genomic Mosaicism – Jonathan Wells – February 23, 2015
    Excerpt: humans have a “few thousand” different cell types. Here is my simple question: Does the DNA sequence in one cell type differ from the sequence in another cell type in the same person?,,,
    The simple answer is: We now know that there is considerable variation in DNA sequences among tissues, and even among cells in the same tissue. It’s called genomic mosaicism.
    In the early days of developmental genetics, some people thought that parts of the embryo became different from each other because they acquired different pieces of the DNA from the fertilized egg. That theory was abandoned,,,
    ,,,(then) “genomic equivalence” — the idea that all the cells of an organism (with a few exceptions, such as cells of the immune system) contain the same DNA — became the accepted view.
    I taught genomic equivalence for many years. A few years ago, however, everything changed. With the development of more sophisticated techniques and the sampling of more tissues and cells, it became clear that genetic mosaicism is common.
    I now know as an embryologist,,,Tissues and cells, as they differentiate, modify their DNA to suit their needs. It’s the organism controlling the DNA, not the DNA controlling the organism.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....93851.html

    Dr. Stephen Meyer puts the insurmountable problem for ‘bottom up’ neo-Darwinism like this:

    “These different sources of epigenetic information in embryonic cells pose an enormous challenge to the sufficiency of the neo-Darwinian mechanism. According to neo-Darwinism, new information, form, and structure arise from natural selection acting on random mutations arising at a very low level within the biological hierarchy—within the genetic text. Yet both body-plan formation during embryological development and major morphological innovation during the history of life depend upon a specificity of arrangement at a much higher level of the organizational hierarchy, a level that DNA alone does not determine. If DNA isn’t wholly responsible for the way an embryo develops—for body-plan morphogenesis—then DNA sequences can mutate indefinitely and still not produce a new body plan, regardless of the amount of time and the number of mutational trials available to the evolutionary process. Genetic mutations are simply the wrong tool for the job at hand.”
    Stephen Meyer – Darwin’s Doubt (p. 281)

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    The insurmountable problem of ‘form/shape’ for neo-Darwinism has now been demonstrated by a couple of different methods. One method is by noting that the shape of many proteins are not determined primarily by its sequence but by the overall context in which the protein resides:

    The Gene Myth, Part II – August 2010
    Excerpt: “It was long believed that a protein molecule’s three-dimensional shape, on which its function depends, is uniquely determined by its amino acid sequence. But we now know that this is not always true – the rate at which a protein is synthesized, which depends on factors internal and external to the cell, affects the order in which its different portions fold. So even with the same sequence a given protein can have different shapes and functions. Furthermore, many proteins have no intrinsic shape, (intrinsically disoredered proteins), taking on different roles in different molecular contexts. So even though genes specify protein sequences they have only a tenuous (very weak or slight) influence over their functions.
    ,,,,So, to reiterate, the genes do not uniquely determine what is in the cell, but what is in the cell determines how the genes get used. Only if the pie were to rise up, take hold of the recipe book and rewrite the instructions for its own production, would this popular analogy for the role of genes be pertinent.
    Stuart A. Newman, Ph.D. – Professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....rt-ii.html

    Biology’s Quiet Revolution – Jonathan Wells – September 8, 2014
    Excerpt: In 1996, biologists discovered a protein that does not fold into a unique shape but can assume different shapes when it interacts with other molecules. Since then, many such proteins have been found; they are called “intrinsically disordered proteins,” or IDPs. IDPs are surprisingly common, and their disordered regions play important functional roles.,,,
    So it is not true that biologists know all the basic features of living cells and are merely filling in the details. Nor is it true that Darwinian evolution is a settled scientific “fact,” as its defenders claim. Huge unanswered questions remain, and they will only be answered by going beyond the discredited myth that “DNA makes RNA makes protein makes us.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....89651.html

    podcast – Dr. Jonathan Wells: Biology’s Quiet Revolution – September 17, 2014
    “We are talking about 1/3 of the proteins in our body, (could be Intrinsically Disordered Proteins)” – Jonathan Wells
    http://www.discovery.org/multi.....evolution/

    Another method to demonstrate that form/shape is not reducible to ‘bottom up’ neo-Darwinian processes is the ‘bioelectric code’

    podcast – Jonathan Wells: Is There Biological Information Outside of the DNA?, pt. 3 – Bioelectric code
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....5_52-07_00

    An Electric Face: A Rendering Worth a Thousand Falsifications – Cornelius Hunter – September 2011
    Excerpt: The video suggests that bioelectric signals presage the morphological development of the face. It also, in an instant, gives a peak at the phenomenal processes at work in biology. As the lead researcher said, “It’s a jaw dropper.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VULjzX__OM

    The face of a frog: Time-lapse video reveals never-before-seen bioelectric pattern – July 2011
    Excerpt: For the first time, Tufts University biologists have reported that bioelectrical signals are necessary for normal head and facial formation in an organism and have captured that process in a time-lapse video that reveals never-before-seen patterns of visible bioelectrical signals outlining where eyes, nose, mouth, and other features will appear in an embryonic tadpole.,,, “When a frog embryo is just developing, before it gets a face, a pattern for that face lights up on the surface of the embryo,”,,, “We believe this is the first time such patterning has been reported for an entire structure, not just for a single organ. I would never have predicted anything like it. It’s a jaw dropper.”,,,
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....-seen.html

    Here is another method that demonstrates that form/shape is not reducible to ‘bottom up’ neo-Darwinian processes:

    What Do Organisms Mean? Stephen L. Talbott – Winter 2011
    Excerpt: Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin once described how you can excise the developing limb bud from an amphibian embryo, shake the cells loose from each other, allow them to reaggregate into a random lump, and then replace the lump in the embryo. A normal leg develops. Somehow the form of the limb as a whole is the ruling factor, redefining the parts according to the larger pattern. Lewontin went on to remark: “Unlike a machine whose totality is created by the juxtaposition of bits and pieces with different functions and properties, the bits and pieces of a developing organism seem to come into existence as a consequence of their spatial position at critical moments in the embryo’s development. Such an object is less like a machine than it is like a language whose elements… take unique meaning from their context.[3]”,,,
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....nisms-mean

    Talbott, as a result of such intriguing findings as the preceding, has asked perhaps the most profound question I’ve heard asked about the subject.
    In regards what is organizing the billion, trillion, protein molecules of the human body into a single cohesive whole for precisely a lifetime, Talbott asks this very important question about the sudden loss of cohesiveness at death,,,

    “What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?”
    picture –
    http://cdn-4.spiritscienceandm.....ardd-2.jpg

    The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings – Stephen L. Talbott
    Excerpt: Virtually the same collection of molecules exists in the canine cells during the moments immediately before and after death. But after the fateful transition no one will any longer think of genes as being regulated, nor will anyone refer to normal or proper chromosome functioning. No molecules will be said to guide other molecules to specific targets, and no molecules will be carrying signals, which is just as well because there will be no structures recognizing signals. Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary.
    ,,, the question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?
    Despite the countless processes going on in the cell, and despite the fact that each process might be expected to “go its own way” according to the myriad factors impinging on it from all directions, the actual result is quite different. Rather than becoming progressively disordered in their mutual relations (as indeed happens after death, when the whole dissolves into separate fragments), the processes hold together in a larger unity.
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....-of-beings

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Well, where does the biological information, that was keeping the organism alive for ‘precisely a lifetime’ suddenly go upon death? Neo-Darwinists would hold that the biological information, that was keeping the organism alive, simply disappears from reality upon the death of an organism. But the fact of the matter is that the quantum information, the information that was in fact ‘holding life together’ for precisely a life time, is ‘conservered’ and does not simply disappear:

    Quantum entanglement holds together life’s blueprint – 2010
    Excerpt: When the researchers analysed the DNA without its helical structure, they found that the electron clouds were not entangled. But when they incorporated DNA’s helical structure into the model, they saw that the electron clouds of each base pair became entangled with those of its neighbours. “If you didn’t have entanglement, then DNA would have a simple flat structure, and you would never get the twist that seems to be important to the functioning of DNA,” says team member Vlatko Vedral of the University of Oxford.
    http://neshealthblog.wordpress.....blueprint/

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed. This concept stems from two fundamental theorems of quantum mechanics: the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem. A third and related theorem, called the no-hiding theorem, addresses information loss in the quantum world. According to the no-hiding theorem, if information is missing from one system (which may happen when the system interacts with the environment), then the information is simply residing somewhere else in the Universe; in other words, the missing information cannot be hidden in the correlations between a system and its environment.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....tally.html

    Quantum no-deleting theorem
    Excerpt: A stronger version of the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem provide permanence to quantum information. To create a copy one must import the information from some part of the universe and to delete a state one needs to export it to another part of the universe where it will continue to exist.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q.....onsequence

    Information Conservation and the Unitarity of Quantum Mechanics
    Excerpt: “In more technical terms, information conservation is related to the unitarity of quantum mechanics. In this article, I will explain what unitarity is and how it’s related to information conservation.”
    http://youngsubyoon.com/QMunitarity.htm

    Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff – video (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/29895068

    As to where this ‘conserved’ quantum information goes, well there are ‘theories’ in that regards as well. ‘Theories’ that are much more well supported than these ‘bottom up’ conjectures of atheistic materialists as to how body plans are formed in the first place:

    Special Relativity, General Relativity, Heaven and Hell
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_4cQ7MXq8bLkoFLYW0kq3Xq-Hkc3c7r-gTk0DYJQFSg/edit

    Verses and Music:

    Psalm 139:13
    For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

    Mark 8:36-37
    “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? “For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

    Building 429: “Where I Belong” – Official Music Video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=he32vwlKQPY

  7. 7
    leodp says:

    Thanks, BA, for the good pointers to info on epigenetic factors. Last year I had a fair chunk of my nose removed in skin cancer surgery (Mohs). The surgeon took flesh from a nearby area to fill in the large hole he’d made. The pictures of it were scary. But in the healing process the replanted cells somehow ‘knew’ how to take a different shape appropriate for the new location so that the nose now looks remarkably natural. The doctor said he could take only half the credit because the cells somehow know how to change form for a different location (though they presumably still follow the same DNA code) . — I’m getting the feeling that we’ve been nearly as reductionist in the 20-21st century as Darwin and his peers were when they viewed cells as little blobs of jelly.

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