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Neanderthals were not mentally inferior, study finds

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From ScienceDaily:

In the past, some researchers have tried to explain the demise of the Neanderthals by suggesting that the newcomers were superior to Neanderthals in key ways, including their ability to hunt, communicate, innovate and adapt to different environments.

But in an extensive review of recent Neanderthal research, CU-Boulder researcher Paola Villa and co-author Wil Roebroeks, an archaeologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands, make the case that the available evidence does not support the opinion that Neanderthals were less advanced than anatomically modern humans. Their paper was published today in the journal PLOS ONE.

“The evidence for cognitive inferiority is simply not there,” said Villa, a curator at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History. “What we are saying is that the conventional view of Neanderthals is not true.”

What? Is the world so far forsaking Darwin that we have entirely forgotten why the Neanderthals were originally thought to be inferior? As noted here and elsewhere earlier,

Paleontologists have long hungered for a species halfway between human and ape, to cast in the world’s face as irrefutable evidence for mud at work. Indeed, a little publicized assumption of Darwin’s theory was that future humans would eventually separate into different species:

The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.

Darwin didn’t think this out of bad will or bigotry; it is merely the logic of a theory that encompasses all of life. The human future took very different turns, it seems, but the quest for a non-human past survived them. Here are a few things we think we know: More.

See also: The search for our earliest ancestors: signals in the noise

and

The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (human evolution)

45 Replies to “Neanderthals were not mentally inferior, study finds

  1. 1
    Robert Byers says:

    Cognitive inferiority??? Well if this is a real measurement then everyone can be so measured eh.
    I got a hunch its all about brain sizeism.
    brain size is ireelevant to smartness size.
    its just a presumption unproven.
    by the way remember your spectrums. there must of been a neander with a bigger brain then the rest and a human with a smaller brain and so the difference would be little to none.
    Watch your spectrums.

  2. 2
    Querius says:

    But scientists use the body mass to brain mass ratio rather than brain mass alone in their speculation about intelligence. I don’t know why this ratio is considered significant. As far as we know, sperm whales might be brilliant philosophers! And large heavy people are probably no less intelligent than anorexic ones.

    If Neanderthals had smaller brains than contemporary humans, it would immediately be interpreted to once again “prove” evolution because modern humans, being smarter, won out.

    Unfortunately, once again, the data are going the wrong direction. For all we know, Neanderthals were smarter (what ever that means) than humans.

    -Q

  3. 3
    Piotr says:

    What do you mean by “originally thought to be inferior”? There was a time when the evolution of hominins was (wrongly) represented as linear progress, with Neanderthals ancestral to (and more “primitive” than) modern humans. But it’s been known for many decades that Homo sapiens and Neanderthals are sister species. Whether Neanderthals were innately smarter or less smart, or just as smart as modern humans, no contemporary paleoanthropologist regards them as “half ape, half human”.

  4. 4
    Aceofspades25 says:

    As somebody who accepts the overwhelming scientific consensus, I never thought they were inferior.

    What? Is the world so far forsaking Darwin that we have entirely forgotten why the Neanderthals were originally thought to be inferior?

    Utter nonsense, this has nothing to do with Darwin. Neanderthals and humans share a fairly recent common ancestor (most estimates put this split back at about 400KYA.

    Also in that 400,000 year window, they came under the same pressure as the other homo lineages to evolve a greater capacity for intelligence.

    Finally our increased intelligence may be simply down to a few duplications of a gene (SRGAP2) responsible for the growth of the brains neocortex.

    All chordata have SRGAP2 but humans also uniquely have SRGAP2B, SRGAP2C and SRGAP2D.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if those duplications arose before we split off from the Neanderthal lineage.

  5. 5
    Piotr says:

    These duplication are apparently present in both Neanderthals and Denisovans (and their estimated time of origin is 3.4-1 Mya):

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....378423.pdf

  6. 6
    Joe says:

    In a blind watchmaker scenario there just isn’t enough time to duplicate genes and then have them change in such a way as to produce new functioning proteins.

  7. 7
    Aceofspades25 says:

    An interesting read, thanks for the paper Piotr

  8. 8
    Aceofspades25 says:

    Joe, the duplicates aren’t all that different from the original but they do have the effect of amplifying the original protein product sufficiently to stimulate further growth in the neocortex.

  9. 9
    Barb says:

    The brain size of a presumed ancestor of humans is one of the main ways by which evolutionists determine how closely or distantly the creature is supposed to be related to humans. This naturally raises the question: is brain size a reliable indicator of intelligence?

    The short answer is “no.” One group of researchers who used brain size to speculate which extinct creatures were more closely related to man admitted that in doing so they “often feel on shaky ground.” [The Human Fossil Record—Volume Three, by Ralph L. Holloway, Douglas C. Broadfield, and Michael S. Yuan, 2004, Preface xvi.]

    Why? Consider the statement made in 2008 in Scientific American Mind: “Scientists have failed to find a correlation between absolute or relative brain size and acumen among humans and other animal species. Neither have they been able to discern a parallel between wits and the size or existence of specific regions of the brain, excepting perhaps Broca’s area, which governs speech in people.” [Scientific American Mind, “Intelligence Evolved,” by Ursula Dicke and Gerhard Roth, August/September 2008, p. 72.]

    Why do scientists line up the fossils used in the “ape-to-man” chain according to brain size when it is known that brain size is not a reliable measure of intelligence? Are they forcing the evidence to fit their theory? And why are researchers constantly debating which fossils should be included in the human “family tree”? Could it be that the fossils they study are just what they appear to be, extinct forms of apes?

    What, though, about the humanlike fossils of the so-called Neanderthals, often portrayed as proof that a type of ape-man existed? Researchers are beginning to alter their view of what these actually were. In 2009, Milford H. Wolpoff wrote in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology that “Neandertals may have been a true human race.” [American Journal of Physical Anthropology, “How Neandertals Inform Human Variation,” by Milford H. Wolpoff, 2009, p. 91.]

  10. 10
    humbled says:

    When will this Darwinian lunacy stop? The irony here of course is that it is the Darwinian zealots that are holding science back not the Abrahamic religions.

  11. 11
    Joe says:

    Aceofspades25- My point still stands- the blind watchmaker didn’tdoit.

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    Aceofspades25 you state in 4:

    As somebody who accepts the overwhelming scientific consensus,

    Without any questions? Well seeing that free will, and sense of ‘self’, is merely an illusion in the neo-Darwinian scheme of things, then that would, at least, make you consistent in that regards:

    1984 Apple – Darwinbot video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtvjbmoDx-I

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant:,,) Read more here:
    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.c.....oyne/?_r=0

    You then state:

    I never thought they were inferior.

    But what were you doing bucking the scientific consensus if you were someone who accepts ‘overwhelming consensus’? Did you, contrary to the materialistic determinism you believe in, freely choose to buck the consensus because of what the evidence said, or were you merely a victim of your anomalous brain state which did not agree with the consensus at the time?

    Neanderthals behaving like us – Dec. 2013
    Excerpt: This fascinating insight into community life is worthy of our attention because the group members were Neanderthals. For too long, they have been portrayed as pre-human and have been used to buttress evolutionary stories about the origins of mankind. However, archaeological evidence discussed here (and here) suggests that these stories are embellished with evolutionary spin. The evidence shows that Neanderthals are human cousins and deserve quite a different place in history. Unfortunately, this truth about Neanderthals has been missed in the past because the presumption of evolutionary transformation has constrained the minds of researchers.
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....ng_like_us

    Of note, the primary ‘evidence’ that Neanderthals were brutish human forebears were cartoon caveman drawings:

    An early (1888) reconstruction of what a Neanderthal male may have looked like; reconstructions such as this proved influential in the reception of “Neanderthals” in popular culture.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F.....r_Fund.png

    In fact cartoon drawings have been, and still are, a major propaganda piece for Darwinists

    New York Times Inherits the Spin, Republishes Darwinists’ Error-Filled “Answers” to Jonathan Wells’ – 2008 Excerpt: And all three of these textbooks include fanciful drawings of ape-like humans that help to convince students we are no exception to the rule of purposelessness.
    Some biology textbooks use other kinds of illustrations,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....10581.html

    Paleoanthropology
    Excerpt: In regards to the pictures of the supposed ancestors of man featured in science journals and the news media Boyce Rensberger wrote in the journal Science the following regarding their highly speculative nature:
    “Unfortunately, the vast majority of artist’s conceptions are based more on imagination than on evidence. But a handful of expert natural-history artists begin with the fossil bones of a hominid and work from there…. Much of the reconstruction, however, is guesswork. Bones say nothing about the fleshy parts of the nose, lips, or ears (or eyes). Artists must create something between an ape and a human being; the older the specimen is said to be, the more apelike they make it…. Hairiness is a matter of pure conjecture.”
    http://conservapedia.com/Evolu.....thropology

    “National Geographic magazine commissioned four artists to reconstruct a female figure from casts of seven fossil bones thought to be from the same species as skull 1470. One artist drew a creature whose forehead is missing and whose jaws look vaguely like those of a beaked dinosaur. Another artist drew a rather good-looking modern African-American woman with unusually long arms. A third drew a somewhat scrawny female with arms like a gorilla and a face like a Hollywood werewolf. And a fourth drew a figure covered with body hair and climbing a tree, with beady eyes that glare out from under a heavy, gorilla-like brow.”
    “Behind the Scenes,” National Geographic 197 (March, 2000): 140
    picture – these artists “independently” produced the 4 very “different” ancestors you see here
    http://www.omniology.com/JackalopianArtists.html
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-disorder/

    One can see that ‘artistic license’ for human evolution being played out on the following site.

    10 Transitional Ancestors of Human Evolution by Tyler G., March 18, 2013
    http://listverse.com/2013/03/1.....evolution/

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    Aceofspades25 you state in 4:

    As somebody who accepts the overwhelming scientific consensus,

    Without any questions? Well seeing that free will, and sense of ‘self’, is merely an illusion in the neo-Darwinian scheme of things, then that would, at least, make you consistent in that regards:

    1984 Apple – Darwinbot video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtvjbmoDx-I

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant:,,) Read more here:
    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.c.....oyne/?_r=0

    You then state:

    I never thought they were inferior.

    But what were you doing bucking the scientific consensus if you were someone who accepts ‘overwhelming consensus’? Did you, contrary to the materialistic determinism you believe in, freely choose to buck the consensus because of what the evidence said, or were you merely a victim of your anomalous brain state which did not agree with the consensus at the time?

    Neanderthals behaving like us – Dec. 2013
    Excerpt: This fascinating insight into community life is worthy of our attention because the group members were Neanderthals. For too long, they have been portrayed as pre-human and have been used to buttress evolutionary stories about the origins of mankind. However, archaeological evidence discussed here (and here) suggests that these stories are embellished with evolutionary spin. The evidence shows that Neanderthals are human cousins and deserve quite a different place in history. Unfortunately, this truth about Neanderthals has been missed in the past because the presumption of evolutionary transformation has constrained the minds of researchers.
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....ng_like_us

    Of note, the primary ‘evidence’ that Neanderthals were brutish human forebears were cartoon caveman drawings:

    An early (1888) reconstruction of what a Neanderthal male may have looked like; reconstructions such as this proved influential in the reception of “Neanderthals” in popular culture.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F.....r_Fund.png

    In fact cartoon drawings have been, and still are, a major propaganda piece for Darwinists

    New York Times Inherits the Spin, Republishes Darwinists’ Error-Filled “Answers” to Jonathan Wells’ – 2008 Excerpt: And all three of these textbooks include fanciful drawings of ape-like humans that help to convince students we are no exception to the rule of purposelessness.
    Some biology textbooks use other kinds of illustrations,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....10581.html

    Paleoanthropology
    Excerpt: In regards to the pictures of the supposed ancestors of man featured in science journals and the news media Boyce Rensberger wrote in the journal Science the following regarding their highly speculative nature:
    “Unfortunately, the vast majority of artist’s conceptions are based more on imagination than on evidence. But a handful of expert natural-history artists begin with the fossil bones of a hominid and work from there…. Much of the reconstruction, however, is guesswork. Bones say nothing about the fleshy parts of the nose, lips, or ears (or eyes). Artists must create something between an ape and a human being; the older the specimen is said to be, the more apelike they make it…. Hairiness is a matter of pure conjecture.”
    http://conservapedia.com/Evolu.....thropology

    “National Geographic magazine commissioned four artists to reconstruct a female figure from casts of seven fossil bones thought to be from the same species as skull 1470. One artist drew a creature whose forehead is missing and whose jaws look vaguely like those of a beaked dinosaur. Another artist drew a rather good-looking modern African-American woman with unusually long arms. A third drew a somewhat scrawny female with arms like a gorilla and a face like a Hollywood werewolf. And a fourth drew a figure covered with body hair and climbing a tree, with beady eyes that glare out from under a heavy, gorilla-like brow.”
    “Behind the Scenes,” National Geographic 197 (March, 2000): 140
    picture – these artists “independently” produced the 4 very “different” ancestors you see here
    http://www.omniology.com/JackalopianArtists.html

    One can see that ‘artistic license’ for human evolution being played out on the following site.

    10 Transitional Ancestors of Human Evolution by Tyler G., March 18, 2013
    http://listverse.com/2013/03/1.....evolution/

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    Please note, on the preceding site, how the sclera (white of the eye), a uniquely human characteristic, was brought in very early on, in the artists’ reconstructions, to make the fossils appear much more human than they actually were, even though the artists making the reconstructions have no clue whatsoever as to what the colors of the eyes, of these supposed transitional fossils, actually were.

    Evolution of human eye as a device for communication – Hiromi Kobayashi – Kyoto University, Japan
    Excerpt: The uniqueness of human eye morphology among primates illustrates the remarkable difference between human and other primates in the ability to communicate using gaze signals.
    http://www.saga-jp.org/coe_abst/kobayashi.htm

    Ace, you then state

    “What? Is the world so far forsaking Darwin that we have entirely forgotten why the Neanderthals were originally thought to be inferior?”

    Utter nonsense, this has nothing to do with Darwin. Neanderthals and humans share a fairly recent common ancestor (most estimates put this split back at about 400KYA.

    Also in that 400,000 year window, they came under the same pressure as the other homo lineages to evolve a greater capacity for intelligence.

    Funny that, with this ‘pressure to evolve greater capacity for intelligence’, the brains of Neanderthals were, on average, larger than human brains currently are and that, where the fossil record is most complete, we find that human brain size is actually shrinking:

    “Neanderthals are known for their large cranial capacity, which at 1600cc is larger on average than modern humans.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal#Anatomy

    Are brains shrinking to make us smarter? – February 2011
    Excerpt: Human brains have shrunk over the past 30,000 years,
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....arter.html

    If Modern Humans Are So Smart, Why Are Our Brains Shrinking? – January 20, 2011
    Excerpt: John Hawks is in the middle of explaining his research on human evolution when he drops a bombshell. Running down a list of changes that have occurred in our skeleton and skull since the Stone Age, the University of Wisconsin anthropologist nonchalantly adds, “And it’s also clear the brain has been shrinking.”
    “Shrinking?” I ask. “I thought it was getting larger.” The whole ascent-of-man thing.,,,
    He rattles off some dismaying numbers: Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cc, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball. The female brain has shrunk by about the same proportion. “I’d call that major downsizing in an evolutionary eyeblink,” he says. “This happened in China, Europe, Africa—everywhere we look.”
    http://discovermagazine.com/20.....-shrinking

    Moreover, it might interest you to know that Natural Selection, in so far as it has been shown to do anything, reduces genetic information instead of creates it:

    “…but Natural Selection reduces genetic information and we know this from all the Genetic Population studies that we have…”
    Maciej Marian Giertych – Population Geneticist – member of the European Parliament – EXPELLED

    From a Frog to a Prince – video (17:00 minute mark Natural Selection Reduces Genetic Information) – No Beneficial Mutations – Gitt – Spetner – Denton – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClleN8ysimg&feature=player_detailpage#t=1031

    “We found an enormous amount of diversity within and between the African populations, and we found much less diversity in non-African populations,” Tishkoff told attendees today (Jan. 22) at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Anaheim. “Only a small subset of the diversity in Africa is found in Europe and the Middle East, and an even narrower set is found in American Indians.” Tishkoff; Andrew Clark, Penn State; Kenneth Kidd, Yale University; Giovanni Destro-Bisol, University “La Sapienza,” Rome, and Himla Soodyall and Trefor Jenkins, WITS University, South Africa, looked at three locations on DNA samples from 13 to 18 populations in Africa and 30 to 45 populations in the remainder of the world.-

    In fact Ace, your belief that natural selection ‘puts pressure’ on anything is far more imaginary than you may realize:

    Another Difficulty with Darwinian Accounts of How Human Bipedalism Developed – David Klinghoffer – February 21, 2013
    Excerpt: A Darwinian evolutionary bedtime story tells of how proto-man achieved his upright walking status when the forests of his native East Africa turned to savannas. That was 4 to 6 million years ago, and the theory was that our ancestors stood up in order to be able to look around themselves over the sea of grasslands, which would have been irrelevant in the forests of old.
    A team of researchers led by USC’s Sarah J. Feakins, writing in the journal Geology, detonate that tidy explanation with their finding that the savannas, going back 12 million years, had already been there more than 6 million years when the wonderful transition to bipedalism took place (“Northeast African vegetation change over 12 m.y.”).
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....69411.html

    Donald Prothero: In evolution, stasis was general, gradualism rare, and that’s the consensus 40 years on – February 2012
    Excerpt: In four of the biggest climatic-vegetational events of the last 50 million years, the mammals and birds show no noticeable change in response to changing climates. No matter how many presentations I give where I show these data, no one (including myself) has a good explanation yet for such widespread stasis despite the obvious selective pressures of changing climate. Rather than answers, we have more questions—
    Donald Prothero – American paleontologist, geologist, and author who specializes in mammalian paleontology.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ars-later/

    “Natural selection does not act on anything, nor does it select (for or against), force, maximize, create, modify, shape, operate, drive, favor, maintain, push, or adjust. Natural selection does nothing…. Having natural selection select is nifty because it excuses the necessity of talking about the actual causation of natural selection. Such talk was excusable for Charles Darwin, but inexcusable for evolutionists now. Creationists have discovered our empty “natural selection” language, and the “actions” of natural selection make huge, vulnerable targets.”
    The Origin of Theoretical Population Genetics, 2001 (pp. 199-200) William Provine – Professor of Evolutionary Biology – Cornell University

    Aceofspades25 you then state:

    Finally our increased intelligence may be simply down to a few duplications of a gene (SRGAP2) responsible for the growth of the brains neocortex.

    All chordata have SRGAP2 but humans also uniquely have SRGAP2B, SRGAP2C and SRGAP2D.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if those duplications arose before we split off from the Neanderthal lineage.

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    Ace, Save for the minor fact that you have no evidence of genetic duplications doing anything of significance, and the brain is the most complex structure known to man, you may have been within sight (with a pair of good binoculars) of remote feasibility.

    Evolution by Gene Duplication Falsified – December 2010
    Excerpt: The various postduplication mechanisms entailing random mutations and recombinations considered were observed to tweak, tinker, copy, cut, divide, and shuffle existing genetic information around, but fell short of generating genuinely distinct and entirely novel functionality. Contrary to Darwin’s view of the plasticity of biological features, successive modification and selection in genes does indeed appear to have real and inherent limits: it can serve to alter the sequence, size, and function of a gene to an extent, but this almost always amounts to a variation on the same theme—as with RNASE1B in colobine monkeys. The conservation of all-important motifs within gene families, such as the homeobox or the MADS-box motif, attests to the fact that gene duplication results in the copying and preservation of biological information, and not its transformation as something original.
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20110103a

    Hopeless Matzke – David Berlinski & Tyler Hampton (Refutation of all popular examples purporting to show the origination of new information by Darwinian processes) – August 18, 2013
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....75631.html

    Evidence that the Mind is not the Brain:
    Excerpt: The brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth. That is not all the brains on Earth, nor all human brains, but merely a single brain of a single human. With over 100 billion nerve cells, or neurons, and a quadrillion synapses, or connections, it is, as one researcher described, “truly awesome.” Researchers have found that the brain’s complexity is beyond anything they’d imagined, or as one evolutionist admitted, almost to the point of being “beyond belief.”
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/15oyK3PlUILewPmxGZreNHd1gZrTTlZ68Gf9LURNTquY/edit

    Verse and Music:

    Proverbs 21:30
    There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.

    Johnny Cash – Goin’ By The Book
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEyujOSEexM

  16. 16
    Aceofspades25 says:

    Aceofspades25- My point still stands- the blind watchmaker didn’t do it.

    Joe – How do you know this? One simple mutation could be all that is needed for this gene which causes growth in the neocortex to become twice as active.

    Bornagain77

    Seriously? You come up with pages of text to respond to one paragraph I wrote. I’ll need you to stay focused and on topic if we’re going to have a fruitful conversation.

    I do question things, but I rightly question pseudoscience more than actual science since actual science is done by people who know what they’re talking about. Pseudoscience is done by people with an agenda to prove what they want to believe.

    But what were you doing bucking the scientific consensus if you were someone who accepts ‘overwhelming consensus’?

    There was no recent scientific consensus that they were inferior. Perhaps there was decades ago, but science has moved on since then. You should try to keep up with developments if you want your critiques to remain relevant.

    Did you, contrary to the materialistic determinism you believe in

    I’m not a materialist. Half of the rubbish you’re throwing out here has to do with an inaccurate stereotype.

    A cartoon from 1888? Seriously? Do you even realise that our views have continued to evolve and gain nuance since then?

    You use the word “Darwinists” as if that’s even a thing. Sorry it’s a term you’ve invented to demonise those whose views challenge your own.

    Please note, on the preceding site, how the sclera (white of the eye), a uniquely human characteristic, was brought in very early on, in the artists’ reconstructions

    Not relevant to our conversation. Let’s stay on topic.

    Funny that, with this ‘pressure to evolve greater capacity for intelligence’, the brains of Neanderthals were, on average, larger than human brains currently are and that, where the fossil record is most complete, we find that human brain size is actually shrinking

    And what in your mind does that prove / disprove? So what if our brains are shrinking? So what if their brains were bigger? Brain size isn’t everything but it does play a role.

    Moreover, it might interest you to know that Natural Selection, in so far as it has been shown to do anything, reduces genetic information instead of creates it:

    This is a popular creationist talking point but it is rubbish. You won’t find many geneticists that agree with this. Moreover it is fairly easy to find examples of pseudogenes (fragments of old genes that were functional in an earlier ancestor) that have gained new functions in current genes.

    Save for the minor fact that you have no evidence of genetic duplications doing anything of significance

    More rubbish… See the paper that was shared earlier:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....378423.pdf

  17. 17
    Jehu says:

    Ptior,

    But it’s been known for many decades that Homo sapiens and Neanderthals are sister species.

    Sister species? Since they were able to interbreed and produce fertile offspring, they are the same species.

  18. 18
    Piotr says:

    @Jehu

    “Species” is a fuzzy concept (precisely because species evolve), and reproductive barriers between closely related taxa may not be tight. Homo neanderthalensis and H. sapiens interbred occasionally, so what? Most duck species can interbreed and produce fertile offspring even though they are divised into eight different genera. It doesn’t make the whole Anatinae subfamily one species.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    Aceofspades25,

    “I’m not a materialist.”

    so you don’t believe in the materialistic basis of neo-Darwinism? Well please do tell if you are not an atheist! Are you a very confused Theist, Pantheist, Deist?

    As to all your other points, they are all bluff and bluster with no meat. But first and foremost, let’s clear this up, if you are not an atheist please do tell us exactly what your philosophical presupposition is.

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    Aceofspades25, you claim

    I do question things, but I rightly question pseudoscience more than actual science since actual science is done by people who know what they’re talking about. Pseudoscience is done by people with an agenda to prove what they want to believe.

    You seriously need to look at neo- Darwinism

    Darwinism is a Pseudo-Science – Part II – Excerpt:

    “nobody to date has yet found a demarcation criterion according to which Darwin(ism) can be described as scientific”
    – Imre Lakatos (November 9, 1922 – February 2, 1974) a philosopher of mathematics and science, quote was as stated in 1973 LSE Scientific Method Lecture
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oaPcK-KCppBztIJmXUBXTvZTZ5lHV4Qg_pnzmvVL2Qw/edit

  21. 21
    Jehu says:

    Piotr

    “Species” is a fuzzy concept (precisely because species evolve), and reproductive barriers between closely related taxa may not be tight. Homo neanderthalensis and H. sapiens interbred occasionally, so what? Most duck species can interbreed and produce fertile offspring even though they are divised into eight different genera. It doesn’t make the whole Anatinae subfamily one species.

    If species is a “fuzzy” concept then you cannot definitively declare two races to be distinct species. However, the best definition is species is the ability produce fertile offspring. And the so-called Neandertals and Homo Sapiens interbred far more than occasionally. Neandertals were in fact a race of humans.

  22. 22
    JoeCoder says:

    AceOfSpades25 wrote:

    You use the word “Darwinists” as if that’s even a thing. Sorry it’s a term you’ve invented to demonise those whose views challenge your own.

    I’m mostly going to stay out of this qarrel, but I did want to respond to this point. See the section “Darwinist, Darwinism and Darwinian are not real terms” from an article on my website. Proponents of evolutionary theory do indeed sometimes use the term to describe themselves.

  23. 23
    Piotr says:

    If species is a “fuzzy” concept then you cannot definitively declare two races to be distinct species.

    Well, you can if they can’t interbreed at all (for reasons less trivial than mere geographical distance). What I’m saying is only that speciation doesn’t happen overnight, and closely related species may for a long time remain in a “partly different species” relationship. Borderline cases are common. Are brown bears and polar bears one species or two? (In fact, polar bears are on the whole more related to some populations of brown bears than the latter are to other brown bears.

    However, the best definition is species is the ability produce fertile offspring.

    It has its problems, like the numerous other definitions of “species”. If you consider all the ducks on Earth one species (rather than 8 genera with 50+ species), ornithologists will protest. Not a big deal, since species change in time anyway. Today’s species may be tomorrow’s genera and day-after-tomorrow’s families, separated by new reproductive barriers.

    And the so-called Neandertals and Homo Sapiens interbred far more than occasionally. Neandertals were in fact a race of humans.

    The sapiens and neanderthalensis lineages began to diverge about half a million years ago. It takes more than a million years, on the average, for a new (nearly) neutral mutation to be fixed by drift in a species with an effective population size of the human order. This means that most of the DNA polymorphisms present in modern humans must have been shared with the Neanderthals.

    So yes, they were very close to us, and less different than lay folk tend to imagine. I think it’s extremely likely that they communicated using spoken language, for example. Still, the genetic distance between them and us was much greater than that between any extant populations of humans. The same goes for Denisovans and the enigmatic hypothetical non-sapiens humans in Africa.

    As for “more than occasionally”: the estimated gene flow from other Homines into modern humans is of the order of a couple percent. That’s compatible with an interbreeding rate of one fruitful romantic encounter per several generations. It counts as very occasional sex in my lexicon.

  24. 24
    JoeCoder says:

    AceOfSpades25 wrote:

    Neanderthals and humans share a fairly recent common ancestor (most estimates put this split back at about 400KYA.

    The neanderthal nuclear genome groups within modern humans. From Neanderthals … They’re Just Like Us?, Nat Geo, 2012

    Take any two unrelated humans today, [Svante] Pääbo noted, and they’ll differ in millions of places in their genetic code. But the Neanderthal genome varies on average from that of H. sapiens in only about a hundred thousand positions. Pääbo and his colleagues are now trying to figure out the consequences of those differences.

    However, if I remember right their mtDNA is about 1.5 times more divergent than our own. Since molecular clocks put the sapiens mtEve ancestor at about 6000 years go, that would put the common ancestor of us and neanderthals at about 9000 years ago, plus or minus the very wide margin that always comes with these estimates. I explain more here. The estimates of mtEve living 200 thousand years ago are based on applying a ~20x fudge factor in order to get the mtDNA mutation rates to line up with evolutionary assumptions, instead of just going with the observed mtDNA mutation rate that’s been confirmed across several studies across multiple populations.

    Of course the fossil dates put neanderthals and sapiens going back hundreds of thousands of years, so there’s quite a bit of discordance depending on which method you chose.

  25. 25
    Joe says:

    Aceofspades:

    Joe – How do you know this? One simple mutation could be all that is needed for this gene which causes growth in the neocortex to become twice as active.

    Well you still need a binding site, unless that luckily was duplicated also. And building a binding site is too much for the blind watchmaker- especially given the generation time of the organisms being discussed.

    See waiting for two mutations

  26. 26
    JoeCoder says:

    In Waiting for Two Mutations:

    for humans with a much smaller effective population size, this type of change would take >100 million years [216 million years]. … We now show that two coordinated changes that turn off one regulatory sequence and turn on another without either mutant becoming fixed are unlikely to occur in the human population.

    They only look at the odds of one regulatory sequence being disabled by any-old mutation, while a single specific mutation enabling another. If you want two specific, coordinated mutations it would take 30 times longer than their estimate of 216 million years, which is 6 billion years.

    But do the SRGAP2 duplications require any other specific mutations after-the-fact? I expect we’re running into two many unknowns here in order for either side to have an argument.

  27. 27
    Joe says:

    JoeCoder- the duplicated genes need a binding site. How long do you think that would take to produce by chance?

  28. 28
    JoeCoder says:

    I don’t know how long it would take to produce by chance–it depends on how many amino acid changes are needed. Any more than one mutation would be too long, especially when combining it with the probability of a SRGAP2 duplication.

    But why do they need a binding site? Why couldn’t they just have duplicated into an already-transcribed region?

  29. 29
    Joe says:

    DNA binding site- and having the binding site being duplicated is just another level of just-so coincidences. But yes in Lenski’s long term experiment there was a duplicated gene that was under the influence of a different binding site- IOW it’s binding site was not duplicated along with the gene. And in a non-design scenario that is just another layer of luck.

  30. 30
    Dr JDD says:

    Aceofspades says:

    I do question things, but I rightly question pseudoscience more than actual science since actual science is done by people who know what they’re talking about. Pseudoscience is done by people with an agenda to prove what they want to believe.

    Sadly I feel you have a misapprehension of evolutionary biology and science in general then. There are vast amounts of evolutionary biologists and founders of evolutionary theory that have clearly had an agenda and performed worse than pseudoscience but faked science, from the older Ernst Haeckel’s drawings to more modern Richard Dawkin’s deceptive drawings of supposed ancestors of giraffes pointed out to not just be completely insufficient to explain the giraffe’s arisal from common descent in its complexity but also highly deceptive drawings implying closer in appearance than reality is. No, there is much pseudoscience and much “science” done with an agenda to prove what people want to believe that is not ID/creationist (and much is in the evolutionary field, as alluded to above).

    In fact much of science is that – from biotech to pharma to academic science, regardless of what it is science is a business even in academia – your next grant money, the politics involved, the limits of peer review and pitfalls of prestige and such a system drive out innovation, stifle logical, alternative views that should be entertained and discussed, and prohibit moving forward in our understanding.

    Look at most major new theories many years ago that are now accepted and the vast majority in our modern times underwent huge amounts of rejection, personal crticism and attack and dragging of names through the dirt because they challenged accepted or conventional thought – or even more so – those in position of prestige were challenged as being wrong.

    (Macro)Evolution is a theory that gained axiomatic status so long ago that it is not even questioned – yet virtually every finding in evolutionary biology today could have multiple interpretations including those that lie outside of common descent and macro-evolution, however these would never be entertained as it would be like denying “energy cannot be created or destroyed.” It is heresy.

    Yet a theory that cannot explain observations, or rather, observations are in direct opposition to a theory must demand revisiting of the validity of such a theory.

    If you think I am just talking about evolution though and that science is really “pure” then you are mistaken. Again I commend reading the book The Emperor of Scent, of which since its publication much more has been proved about how we smell likely to not fit the current accepted theory and agree with the theory the subject of this book promotes (yet gets completely rejected in his field as it counters common thought).

    I was in this academic system and it was a reason I left for biotech – I was being stifled as when I tried to publish genuine and valid results if they differed to other big names in the field (on editoral boards usually), it was blocked even if 2 of the 3 reviewers said it was top quality research that should be accepted in the journal. Yet even more so for evolutionary research – one could not possibly publish something that challenged it, thus when excess complexity in the Cambrian period for example is discovered, it always has to be summarised with something like “unexpected complexity” and “evolution occurred to a greater complexity than expected.” So you see instead of questioning the likelihood of macroevolution accounting for such complexity, despite no ability to explain the complexity and evidence against the theory of evolution for generating complexity, it still has to be attributed to that process. Congratulations on your “real science” for this is what it has produced. The joke is on you if that is what you believe to be not pseudoscience (oh and block any publication that questions it therefore all the “peer-reviewed” literature will of course be one big bias).

    Moreover it is fairly easy to find examples of pseudogenes (fragments of old genes that were functional in an earlier ancestor) that have gained new functions in current genes.

    I would love to see some examples that show this but I think you are mistaken – pseudogenes are by definitions things that look like genes but non-functional but here you say something had a function in a distant relative/ancestor but bits that look the same have a different function in a modern relative. I struggle to see how that can even be classed as a pseudogene as a pseudogene is meant to look like a gene but lack function as it has been apparently lost in evolution.

    Perhaps you are confused by the meaning of pseudo?

    Furthermore, how can you definitively say that these different functional genes must have arisen from each other because they have bits that look like each other? Again, I would like to see some of your examples to know how it proves/strongly infers evolution.

    I really do not understand how homology is a case for evolution and against design. That makes no sense at all. Its like saying a Ford Fiesta from 2010 and a Ford Mondeo from 2010 show how technology has changed over the years when in actual fact they are different models that share a lot of similarities due to the same designer but also share some subtle differences. Homology can say what you like. It can support both sides. It is the most popular argument of a naturalist that is the strongest to fail to understand an IDist position.

    And if you want to start talking about pseudogenes how about we actually talk about how we don’t really know a lot about the human genome yet and so naturalistic (macro)evolutionists would do well to not keep using pseudogenes as evidence of evolution?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC3896787/

    “The pseudogene TUSC2P promotes TUSC2 function by binding multiple microRNAs”
    Various non-coding regions of the genome, once presumed to be ‘junk’ DNA, have recently been found to be transcriptionally active. In particular, pseudogenes are now known to have important biological roles. Here we report that transcripts of the two tumour suppressor candidate-2 pseudogenes (TUSC2P), found on chromosomes X and Y, are homologous to the 3?-UTR of their corresponding protein coding transcript, TUSC2. TUSC2P and the TUSC2 3?-UTR share many common miRNA-binding sites, including miR-17, miR-93, miR-299-3p, miR-520a, miR-608 and miR-661. We find that ectopic expression of TUSC2P and the TUSC2 3?-UTR inhibits cell proliferation, survival, migration, invasion and colony formation, and increases tumour cell death. By interacting with endogenous miRNAs, TUSC2P and TUSC2 3?-UTR arrest the functions of these miRNAs, resulting in increased translation of TUSC2. The TUSC2P and TUSC2 3?-UTR could thus be used as combinatorial miRNA inhibitors and might have clinical applications.

    http://ar.iiarjournals.org/content/34/5/2239.long

    “Novel Insights into the Expression of CGB1 & 2 Genes by Epithelial Cancer Cell Lines Secreting Ectopic Free hCG?”
    Background: Ectopic secretion of human chorionic gonadotrophin free beta (hCG?) by epithelial cancer is associated with aggressive tumors which more readily metastasize, possibly by acting as an autocrine anti-apoptotic agent. hCG? is encoded by six homologous CGB genes, with poorly-understood variable transcriptionally active expression profiles; CGB1 and CGB2 have always been considered pseudogenes. However, transcripts from CGB1 and -2 can be detected in placental, testicular and pituitary tissues. The expression and function of these genes in cancer is less well-known.

    These are just 2 examples I found the other day in about 30 seconds of searching out of pure interest in looking for some targets in the context of the biotech company I work for. These do not prove ID nor disprove evolution but the prove it would be arrogant to assign something we don’t know the function of as “proof” of evolution and furthermore they make evolution even harder as it had to evolve these regulatory regions as well that either a) do not encode genes but regulate genes through miRNA interaction or b) are transcriptionally active despite convential thought suggesting they are not/should not be.

    The uphill mountain just keeps getting steeper.

  31. 31
    bornagain77 says:

    AceofSpades, if you are still with us, you claimed:

    Finally our increased intelligence may be simply down to a few duplications of a gene (SRGAP2) responsible for the growth of the brains neocortex.
    All chordata have SRGAP2 but humans also uniquely have SRGAP2B, SRGAP2C and SRGAP2D.

    Now Ace you also claimed:

    I do question things, but I rightly question pseudoscience more than actual science since actual science is done by people who know what they’re talking about. Pseudoscience is done by people with an agenda to prove what they want to believe.

    Now Ace, I know you think you probably think that you are being all scientific when you say that,,,

    our increased intelligence may be simply down to a few duplications of a gene (SRGAP2)

    But I assure you that when faced with the immensity of the project before us, i.e. explaining the origin of the human brain,,

    Human brain has more switches than all computers on Earth – November 2010
    Excerpt: They found that the brain’s complexity is beyond anything they’d imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief, says Stephen Smith, a professor of molecular and cellular physiology and senior author of the paper describing the study: …One synapse, by itself, is more like a microprocessor–with both memory-storage and information-processing elements–than a mere on/off switch. In fact, one synapse may contain on the order of 1,000 molecular-scale switches. A single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth.
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-2708.....2-247.html

    ,,, when faced with the immensity of that project, then your conjecture of ‘may be simply down to a few duplications of a gene’ rings as hollow as the boy who thought he could dig a hole through the center of the earth with his toy bulldozer. And I hold the boy with the toy bulldozer has a better chance at being ‘scientific’ than you do, since at least he has a proven mechanism whereas Darwinists do not:

    Where’s the substantiating evidence for neo-Darwinism?
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1q-PBeQELzT4pkgxB2ZOxGxwv6ynOixfzqzsFlCJ9jrw/edit

    Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009
    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut:
    http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf
    http://mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/ag

    Is Life Unique? David L. Abel – January 2012
    Concluding Statement: The scientific method itself cannot be reduced to mass and energy. Neither can language, translation, coding and decoding, mathematics, logic theory, programming, symbol systems, the integration of circuits, computation, categorizations, results tabulation, the drawing and discussion of conclusions. The prevailing Kuhnian paradigm rut of philosophic physicalism is obstructing scientific progress, biology in particular. There is more to life than chemistry. All known life is cybernetic. Control is choice-contingent and formal, not physicodynamic.
    http://www.mdpi.com/2075-1729/2/1/106/

    “Nonphysical formalism not only describes, but preceded physicality and the Big Bang
    Formalism prescribed, organized and continues to govern physicodynamics.”
    http://www.mdpi.com/2075-1729/2/1/106/ag

    The Law of Physicodynamic Insufficiency – Dr David L. Abel – November 2010
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”,,, After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided. The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction: “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    http://www-qa.scitopics.com/Th.....iency.html

    Here are a few other ‘minor’ points you may have overlooked in your rush to proclaim that ‘our increased intelligence may be simply down to a few duplications of a gene’. Firstly, is the fact that this ‘more complex than the entire internet brain’ exhibits ‘perfect optimization’

    Component placement optimization in the brain – 1994
    As he comments [106], “To current limits of accuracy … the actual placement appears to be the best of all possible layouts; this constitutes strong evidence of perfect optimization.,, among about 40,000,000 alternative layout orderings, the actual ganglion placement in fact requires the least total connection length.
    http://www.jneurosci.org/conte.....8.abstract

    That, to put it mildly, certainly does not sound like ‘may be simply down to a few duplications of a gene’ to me!

    Moreover Ace, you seem to have overlooked ‘a bevy of ORFan genes’ that are involved in forming the prefontal cortex, which are active during human fetal and infant development

    New Genes, New Brain – October 2011
    Excerpt: “This is one of the first studies to look at the role of completely novel genes” in primate brain development,,, A bevy of genes known to be active during human fetal and infant development first appeared at the same time that the prefrontal cortex,,, Finally, 54 of the 280 genes found to be unique to humans were also highly expressed in the developing prefrontal cortex,,,, “We were very shocked that there were that many new genes that were upregulated in this part of the brain,” said Long, who added that he was also taken aback by synchronicity of the origin of the genes and the development of novel brain structures.,,, (From the PLoS article, author’s summary: We found these genes are scattered across the whole genome, demonstrating that they are generated by many independent events,,, Our data reveal that evolutionary change in the development of the human brain happened at the protein level by gene origination,,)
    http://the-scientist.com/2011/.....new-brain/

  32. 32
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover Ace, mutations expressed early in embryonic development, exactly where these new “ORFan” genes were found to be expressed, are, by far, the least likely to be tolerated:

    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

    “Where (chimps and humans) really differ, and they differ by orders of magnitude, is in the genomic architecture outside the protein coding regions. They are vastly, vastly, different.,, The structural, the organization, the regulatory sequences, the hierarchy for how things are organized and used are vastly different between a chimpanzee and a human being in their genomes.”
    The Extreme Complexity of Genes – Raymond Bohlin (per Richard Sternberg) – 9:29 minute mark of video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/8593991/

    Of related note:

    “our minds cannot grasp such an extremely small probability as that involved in the accidental arranging of even one gene (10^-236).”
    – per crevo

    “Is it really credible that random processes could have constructed a reality, the smallest element of which—a functional protein or gene— is complex beyond our own creative capacities, a reality which is the very antithesis of chance, which excels in every sense anything produced by the intelligence of man?”
    – Michael Denton

    Talbott does a pretty effective job of explaining the ‘elephant in the living room’ that Darwinists are missing with their ‘non-explanation’ of embryonic development:

    HOW BIOLOGISTS LOST SIGHT OF THE MEANING OF LIFE — AND ARE NOW STARING IT IN THE FACE – Stephen L. Talbott – May 2012
    Excerpt: “If you think air traffic controllers have a tough job guiding planes into major airports or across a crowded continental airspace, consider the challenge facing a human cell trying to position its proteins”. A given cell, he notes, may make more than 10,000 different proteins, and typically contains more than a billion protein molecules at any one time. “Somehow a cell must get all its proteins to their correct destinations — and equally important, keep these molecules out of the wrong places”. And further: “It’s almost as if every mRNA [an intermediate between a gene and a corresponding protein] coming out of the nucleus knows where it’s going” (Travis 2011),,,
    Further, the billion protein molecules in a cell are virtually all capable of interacting with each other to one degree or another; they are subject to getting misfolded or “all balled up with one another”; they are critically modified through the attachment or detachment of molecular subunits, often in rapid order and with immediate implications for changing function; they can wind up inside large-capacity “transport vehicles” headed in any number of directions; they can be sidetracked by diverse processes of degradation and recycling… and so on without end. Yet the coherence of the whole is maintained.
    The question is indeed, then, “How does the organism meaningfully dispose of all its molecules, getting them to the right places and into the right interactions?”
    The same sort of question can be asked of cells, for example in the growing embryo, where literal streams of cells are flowing to their appointed places, differentiating themselves into different types as they go, and adjusting themselves to all sorts of unpredictable perturbations — even to the degree of responding appropriately when a lab technician excises a clump of them from one location in a young embryo and puts them in another, where they may proceed to adapt themselves in an entirely different and proper way to the new environment. It is hard to quibble with the immediate impression that form (which is more idea-like than thing-like) is primary, and the material particulars subsidiary.
    Two systems biologists, one from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Germany and one from Harvard Medical School, frame one part of the problem this way:
    “The human body is formed by trillions of individual cells. These cells work together with remarkable precision, first forming an adult organism out of a single fertilized egg, and then keeping the organism alive and functional for decades. To achieve this precision, one would assume that each individual cell reacts in a reliable, reproducible way to a given input, faithfully executing the required task. However, a growing number of studies investigating cellular processes on the level of single cells revealed large heterogeneity even among genetically identical cells of the same cell type. (Loewer and Lahav 2011)”,,,
    And then we hear that all this meaningful activity is, somehow, meaningless or a product of meaninglessness. This, I believe, is the real issue troubling the majority of the American populace when they are asked about their belief in evolution. They see one thing and then are told, more or less directly, that they are really seeing its denial. Yet no one has ever explained to them how you get meaning from meaninglessness — a difficult enough task once you realize that we cannot articulate any knowledge of the world at all except in the language of meaning.,,,
    http://www.netfuture.org/2012/May1012_184.html#2

    Verse and Music:

    Psalm 139:14
    I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

    JJ Heller – Who You Are (Official Music Video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8jilr8qsYU

  33. 33
    Querius says:

    Great post, Dr JDD! Thank you for taking the time.

    But don’t you feel even a little bad when you crush the innocent and vulnerable faith of Aceofspades25, Piotr, and others like them in institutional Science and its Holy Doctrines of Evolution? 😉

    Not to say that they will actually change their beliefs in the face of a reasonable but conflicting paradigm due to their ideological contamination, but you might be directly responsible for triggering eating disorders and road rage!

    -Q

  34. 34
    JoeCoder says:

    @BA77

    Do you want to win debates by overwhelming people with so many sources that they lose interest for lack of time to read them all, or do you want to win on technical merit? Sometimes your comments are nice for seeing other information related to a post, but in debates it just makes people frustrated. I think what you’re doing is no better than when A stack of immunology books were handed to Behe at the Dover trial–even though I can personally attest that some of your sources check out from having read them. 😛

  35. 35
    JoeCoder says:

    Ace, I won’t hold it against you if you skip all of BA77’s posts and focus on the more directed points raised by others. Even though you really should take a look at the orphans at some point.

  36. 36
    JoeCoder says:

    Querius wrote:

    don’t you feel even a little bad when you crush the innocent and vulnerable faith of Aceofspades25, Piotr, and others like them… but you might be directly responsible for triggering eating disorders and road rage!

    I think comments like this are inappropriate and reflect badly on us. Let’s not be like that.

  37. 37
    bornagain77 says:

    JoeCoder, I felt my posts were on target, and I found Querius comment to be humorous. Sorry you disagree. That’s the beauty of America!

  38. 38
    Querius says:

    JoeCoder,

    Sorry, I like to add a little humor to the often acrimonious debate.

    My point is that the evolution paradigm, whatever the latest version, is still a point of faith. That the ID paradigm has been more reliable from a pragmatic standpoint, doesn’t seem to faze the true believers in macro-evolution. It should, but they don’t seem willing to admit it. For example, each time someone brings up Haeckel’s embryos, it seems one has to wrestle them down all over again (selective amnesia).

    On my part, I wouldn’t have any problem with accepting evolution if the data went there, but it hasn’t and still doesn’t (not to mention the goofier applications such as the evolutionary explanations of men’s beards and women’s hymen, “living fossils,” Haldane’s dilemma, “junk” DNA, and on and on.

    To me, the angry, arrogant, and vituperative defense of evolution is remarkably similar to the Monty Python’s Dead Parrot skit.

    I would much, much rather see an honest, well-reasoned discussion of the issues, such as what Dr JDD and some others have posted.

    -Q

  39. 39
    Jehu says:

    Piotr

    Well, you can if they can’t interbreed at all (for reasons less trivial than mere geographical distance).

    Thanks for proving my point.

    The sapiens and neanderthalensis lineages began to diverge about half a million years ago. … blah blah blah … As for “more than occasionally”: the estimated gene flow from other Homines into modern humans is of the order of a couple percent. That’s compatible with an interbreeding rate of one fruitful romantic encounter per several generations. It counts as very occasional sex in my lexicon.

    Sorry, neandertals were never anything more than a race of humans and fully reproductively compatible with us

    http://journals.plos.org/ploso.....ne.0096424

  40. 40
    Jehu says:

    Piotr

    From the abstract

    [C]urrent genetic data suggest that complex processes of interbreeding and assimilation may have been responsible for the disappearance of the specific Neandertal morphology from the fossil record.

    http://journals.plos.org/ploso.....ne.0096424

  41. 41
    Dr JDD says:

    Thanks for your comments Querius and I found them to be of good humorous value. I think when IDists are referred to as “IDiots” and far worse name calling, a little bit of conjecture and obvious humour should be tolerable from our side!

    However I do not expect that anything I, or most others say would crumble the “faith” of AceofSpades or any other hardened atheist – that is indeed a rare occurrence. I write what I write when I feel I can add something small to the vast knowledge already in order to help those more undecided on the subject in order that they may see that the “dogma” that comes from evolutionary biology(ists) should not be as dogmatic as it appears.

    People who are searching for truth should be exposed to the fact that when you are a naturalistic evolutionist, that is your faith and it is a faith-based system. Abiogenesis is a mere extrapolation with no good model theory or proved mechanism (or even good mechanism). Universe generation/creation through naturalistic means has no good theory or explanation, certainly not moreso than an act of creation by a Designer. Macroevolution has no substantial evidential offerings in any field (palaeontology, molecular biology, etc) yet is a mere extrapolation of microevolution.

    Furthermore, like any faith based system we are offered by these naturalists that it is a justified scientific argument that you can simply say “we do not have the technology currently to understand how that happened, but we know it happened anyway. “ That is claimed as a justified scientific answer to explain why we observe things not only that evolution cannot currently explain, but also that go completely against what evolution says and predicts.

    People need to be aware that this [naturalism] is no less a faith-based system than belief in an Intelligent Designer. Hardened atheists and those not searching for truth genuinely will not admit that. You cannot say that something is true its just that our current scientific understanding cannot test/show/provide evidence for it yet then claim that we must reject a Designer because science cannot (currently) test/show/provide evidence for it. That is pretty much the definition of hypocrisy, yet you stick science before the first explanation and that justifies any theory as holding true over the mark of “religion” with regards to ID.

    Yet ID is not religion. Most IDists are religious because the natural questions if you accept a Designer or a God are, “who is this Designer? What is he/she like?” People are then in a state where they want to examine the religions of the world and see if a faith in one of those fits the observable facts. Note faith does not preclude facts. Faith is not blind – faith is saying that we have facts and evidence around us, there are things we don’t understand fully but that is where we rely on faith. For the religious that faith is manifested in aspects of their religion (e.g. an afterlife, God’s justice and love, etc). For the naturalist that faith is manifest in material things, i.e. those elements around us happened to come together in a way resulting in life and we are just part of that process, there is no accountability, no afterlife, etc. But the important point is BOTH require aspects of faith and if you try to play neutral you have to accept that the apparent “scientific” view is not truly science and actually requires similar faith as do the faith of religious people.

    So I think I come back to this being why I often try to contribute here and elsewhere in small ways – I hope to appeal to those who have open minds and are searching for truth and also be an encouragement where I can to reinforce beliefs of those who share what I see is truth (although I admit I may be wrong on many things, but to that which I post I see little overwhelming arguments against).

    So Queruis, you shouldn’t worry about Ace as I highly doubt his faith is crumbling at my little rant 😉

  42. 42
    Joe says:

    JoeCoder wrote:

    Ace, I won’t hold it against you if you skip all of BA77?s posts and focus on the more directed points raised by others.

    Well I think comments like this are inappropriate and reflect badly on us. Let’s not be like that. 😛

  43. 43
    Piotr says:

    Thanks for proving my point.

    Oh, really, do you mean all ducks are indeed one species? Biologists who accept Mayr’s “biological species concept” normally relax the definition to allow for limited introgression and hybridisation. Otherwise the notion would be unrealistic.

    Sorry, neandertals were never anything more than a race of humans and fully reproductively compatible with us

    The article you link makes no such claim. No-one denies that there was some gene flow between the neanderthal and Homo sapiens populations, but it doesn’t follow that neanderthals were “just a race of humans”. By the way, the authors mention the possibility of male infertility as a result of hybridisation. They wouldn’t do so if they regarded neanderthals as “just a race”.

    Anyway, what taxonomic rank we assign to them (a separate species or a subspecies, or whatever), is of minute importance. Taxonomic ranks are only a matter of convenience. What counts in the context of this discussion is that the two populations had evolved separately for about half a million years before they encountered each other again.

  44. 44
    JoeCoder says:

    Dr. JDD wrote:

    I do not expect that anything I, or most others say would crumble the “faith” of AceofSpades or any other hardened atheist

    I know from our conversations on reddit that AceOfSpades is a christian and theistic evolutionist. Almost all christians I encounter on reddit are–and sadly most seem to want me to shut up about ID because it’s an embarrassment to them.

    Anyway, for those curious AceOfSpades has a detailed argument on this thread about the GULO pseudogene and Tomkin’s paper. We had been hoping to get it promoted to a top-level post at UD to get more eyes on it.

  45. 45
    Dr JDD says:

    I must apologise then for likening Ace to a hardened atheist or rather putting Ace in that same category but my criticisms and observations still stand. You cannot call something pseudoscience until you have checked it and there is “pseudoscience” in all walks of science. The way Ace phrased that heavily implied that he would consider anything published outside of mainstream secular journals as pseudoscience which is assumptive not factual.

    Ace’s rebuttal of the GULO paper you link is very noble, comprehensive and noteworthy. But again I stand by my pseudogene assessment and if one example is what people are hinging common descent on then I really find it easier to accept my belief system. Sure we may not understand why the GULO gene looks like it does but that does not cause every other very strong argument to crumble. Far from it. I would be interested though in the alignments of guinea pigs and bats GULO pseudogene though to see how they align to the various primate ones and humans’.

    Personally, I do not care if I was considered an embarassment to other Christians over such a matter as thankfully I am pretty certain no matter what happens, they will not be the ones I have to stand before to be judged one day.

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