Intelligent Design Origin Of Life stasis

Claim that animals are 1.2 billion years old comes under fire

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embryo from Middle Cambrian Australia/Philip Donoghue, U Bristol

From ScienceDaily:

The origin of animals was one of the most important events in the history of Earth. Beautifully preserved fossil embryos suggest that our oldest ancestors might have existed a little more than half a billion years ago.

However, using a recently developed relaxed molecular clock method called RelTime, a team of scientists at Oakland (Michigan) and Temple (Philadelphia) dated the origin of animals at approximately 1.2 billion years ago reviving the debate on the age of the animals.

Puzzled by the results of the American team, researchers from the University of Bristol and Queen Mary University of London decided to take a closer look at RelTime and found that it failed to relax the clock. Their findings are published in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution.

Professor Philip Donoghue from the University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences, said: “What caught our attention was that results obtained using RelTime were in strong disagreement with a diversity of different studies, from different research groups and that used different software and data, all of which broadly agreed that animals are unlikely to be older than approximately 850 million years.” Paper. open access – Jesus Lozano-Fernandez, Mario dos Reis, Philip C.J. Donoghue, Davide Pisani. RelTime Rates Collapse to a Strict Clock When Estimating the Timeline of Animal Diversification. Genome Biology and Evolution, 2017; 9 (5): 1320 DOI: 10.1093/gbe/evx079 More.

Half a billion years? 850 million years? 1.2 billion years? It’s safe to say that dating of the origin of animal life is hardly, at present, an exact science.

See also: Researchers: Human-like ways of thinking evolved much earlier than thought Of course, 1.8 mya is so long ago that one can only wonder what humans were doing in the meantime, that meant that their thought capacities didn’t evolve faster.

and

Bonobos closer to humans than common chimpanzees are? The authors don’t say so, but one possibility is that the accepted dating is off.

35 Replies to “Claim that animals are 1.2 billion years old comes under fire

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    Half a billion years? 850 million years? 1.2 billion years? It’s safe to say that dating of the origin of animal life is hardly, at present, an exact science.

    1.2 billion – 0.5 billion = 0.7 billion

    That’s not a significant margin of error, is it?

    🙂

  2. 2
    News says:

    Dionisio at 1: If the researchers work with these margins of error, they don’t know nearly as much as they should know, to justify their frequent lapses into dogmatism.

    It’s not their fault that they don’t know. But what many of us object to is precisely the dogmatism, often lapsing further into fanaticism or even incoherence. See Jonathan Wells on “Universal common ancestry” with no “universal common ancestor”?

  3. 3
    Axel says:

    I wonder what the next discovery of a putative ‘Holy Grail’ of Science* will be ?

    Chocolate fireguards do work, as not only is heat transfer, non-local, why so is cold – and a supervening cold snap in Siberia can nullify any local heat radiated at them. I think that might be a major breakthrough, but I don’t want to plagiarise the work of rvb8 or Neil. I think a new name for a new concept might be appropriate ; something like ‘telecalorification’, perhaps.

    Note the capital.

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    News @2:

    Exactly. Agree.

    My comment @1 was as ironic as it could be. My cheek hurts from the pressure of the tongue. 🙂

    That error is embarrassingly huge, far beyond unacceptable. 60%-140%

    Not knowing is not as bad as not admitting humbly to such ignorance and instead always coming up with all kinds of “just so” stories.

    Definitely I prefer Cinderella’s story, where at least the possibility of a pumpkin becoming a carriage, mice turning into horses and a grasshopper working as a “cochero” makes more sense than the bizarre fantasyland those macro-evolutionists out there.

  5. 5
    Dionisio says:

    All those millions, billions and gazillions mean nothing at the end of the day. The whole OOL field is made up. Daydreaming fantasyland.
    It doesn’t matter what they say, but sadly many people accept all that misinformation as valid. We should test everything and hold what is good. But that principle is not accepted. That’s the condition of this world.

  6. 6
    Dionisio says:

    News, thanks for alerting us about the misinformation that is being published out there.

  7. 7
    Dionisio says:

    At the US elections last year the polls allegedly had single digit margin of error and still the results were completely different than the surveys predicted. Now compare that to 60-140% error in the information referenced in the OP. Simply garbage.

  8. 8
    Mung says:

    Axel @ 3: I wonder what the next discovery of a putative ‘Holy Grail’ of Science* will be ?

    Blueprints. Signed by G-d.

  9. 9
    Bob O'H says:

    Dionosio @ 4 –

    That error is embarrassingly huge, far beyond unacceptable. 60%-140%

    What would be acceptable, and how can researchers get to an acceptable level?

  10. 10
    Dionisio says:

    Bob O’H @9:

    That’s a good question. Thanks for asking it.

    I’m not an expert in any field, including the topic of the current OP, but it would help if all humans –including research scientists– approached everything with more humility, so that no one would be ashamed to admit lack of sufficient information to pronounce a verdict on any issue where more information is required.
    Also more open-mindedness could help, so that we ensure thinking out of wrongly preconceived boxes. We should always test everything and hold what is good.
    Basically we should do like a serious judge would do in a serious case at the court before pronouncing the final verdict. Like serious jurors would do to make a decision on a difficult case.
    Perhaps there’s more to this.

  11. 11
    Bob O'H says:

    Dionosio – I agree about having some humility about areas one is not an expert in. it’s why I would be careful about declaring research “bizarre fantasyland”, “misinformation”, and “[s]imply garbage”. How can you make those judgments when you don’t have the necessary expertise to assess them?

  12. 12
    Dionisio says:

    Bob O’H

    Because they are grossly speculating even though they don’t have sufficient information to discern correctly. They themselves openly state they are still looking for more information to clarify the picture. Otherwise they could stop all the research and go fishing. Everybody and their cousins know that’s far from happening. the more we know, the more we have to learn. Not there yet. That’s fine.
    We can read papers where the authors express their ‘surprise’ at ‘unexpected’ discoveries, and even conclude they still miss information to clarify the picture, but that does not keep them from making speculative assertions about complex things, without the required evidences and proofs.
    As long as any of us make scientific claims that are not based on necessary and sufficient true facts, we are not doing science. That’s pseudoscientific hogwash, low grade bovine excreta, nonsense, you name it.
    We are free to believe whatever we want to believe, but science is not about beliefs but about observed evidences.
    You may peruse the thread “Mystery at the heart of life” and see how many times the referenced papers say that there are outstanding questions to answer and issues to resolve. While saying that don’t make claims that require the information you are still looking for.
    The day research reaches a point when we can say that we got all the necessary information, then based on that information we can give a verdict.

  13. 13
    Dionisio says:

    Bob O’H,
    BTW, I don’t claim that I’m humble. Paul the Apostle claimed he is the first among sinners, but I can make the same exact claim. Perhaps God has allowed me to see things I could not see before, to the point of putting me in uncomfortable situations where I asked a simple question to a biochemistry professor –who knows more science than I could ever learn the rest of my life on this Earth– and saw the professor answering it wrong and later accusing me for asking dishonest questions where I used tricky words like ‘exactly’ and things like that.
    Being in that situation, which is described in the second part of the first chapter of the first letter Paul wrote to the Corinthians, could be a little risky because it could inflate my ego if I forget to give all the credits to my Maker who does know everything. I’m just His servant wannabe.

  14. 14
    Dionisio says:

    Bob O’H @11,

    I could point for example at the contradiction between the statements of the evo-devo authors: on the one hand they correctly state that they are looking for missing information that could support their evo-devo ideas, but on the other hand they make claims based on still missing information that they assume true a priori.
    I think they should just resolve the problem described @1090 in the thread “A third way of evolution?” and that’s it. Actually that’s what apparently they are trying to do.
    So far it’s fine, but not there yet.

  15. 15
    Bob O'H says:

    Because they are grossly speculating even though they don’t have sufficient information to discern correctly.

    How anti-Popperian of you!

    In case you haven’t noticed, that’s one way science works – we use incomplete information and try to understand it by modelling the processes. Sometimes different models give different results, and then we have to work out why.


    As long as any of us make scientific claims that are not based on necessary and sufficient true facts, we are not doing science. That’s pseudoscientific hogwash, low grade bovine excreta, nonsense, you name it.

    I’m sorry, what do you mean by “necessary and sufficient true facts”?

  16. 16
    Dionisio says:

    Do you know what are “necessary and sufficient” conditions?
    Oxygen is necessary for humans to develop biologically.
    Same for water.
    Same for minerals, vitamins, amino acids.
    But they’re all together insufficient.
    Seeing biological systems A and B which seem somehow related because they share some conspicuous similarities, doesn’t suffice to conclude about their chronological relation unless we can prove their interrelationship based on the evo-devo 1090 formulation.
    Anything outside that rigorous requirement is low grade bovine excreta or archaic pseudoscientific hogwash, whichever way you prefer to call it.
    Serious science must remain serious.

  17. 17
    Bob O'H says:

    Dionosio – you wrote “necessary and sufficient true facts”, not “necessary and sufficient conditions”. So can you try again. I’ve also no idea what this “evo-devo 1090 formulation” is. Can you please try and write comprehensibly.

  18. 18
    Dionisio says:

    Bob O’H
    “How anti-Popperian of you!”

    What does that mean?
    Please, note that my cultural and educational levels seem lower than yours.
    I don’t understand that expression.
    I don’t have KF’s vast vocabulary and philosophical knowledge.
    Perhaps KF can jump in and give me a hand with the philosophical side of this discussion?
    Lately I’ve been reading biology-related papers.
    I might like some philosophical discussions but lately prefer to discuss certain aspects of biology so I can understand them better.
    Un the meantime I enjoy the freedom to share some ideas and specially the reasons for my faith. I appreciate that the administrators of this site allow me to comment freely without censorship.
    If you’re interested in deep biology-related discussions on morphogen gradient formation and interpretation, asymmetric segregation of intrinsic cell fate determinants, etc. you’re welcome to join me in the fascinating learning experience looking forward with increasing anticipation to reading upcoming research papers that should shed more light on the elaborate cellular and molecular choreographies orchestrated within the biological systems.
    I’m getting ready for traveling to visit my children and grandchildren. I may not be able to look at this site often.
    But I appreciate your willingness to have this nice discussion which should be mutually beneficial.

  19. 19
    Dionisio says:

    Bob O’H @17,
    Please see my comment @14.
    Thanks.

  20. 20
    Dionisio says:

    I don’t have my laptop or my tablet with me now. It’s kind of difficult for me to write on this phone. The keyboard and the type ahead features seem different.
    Will try to write more as soon as i can use the other devices again later.

  21. 21
    Dionisio says:

    Bob O’H @17,

    Sorry, now I realize that my comment wasn’t written clearly. Thanks for alerting me on that.

    By true facts I mean verified evidences that can satisfy or fulfill certain requirements or conditions for an idea or hypothesis to be valid.

    If a verified evidence satisfies a necessary condition I call it necessary true fact.

    If a verified evidence satisfies a sufficient condition I call it sufficient true fact.

    For example, let’s suppose that many plants require fertile soil and water in order to grow healthy. Those are necessary conditions. A potential necessary true fact could be the verified evidence of frequent rain.

    Does this make sense?

    Maybe I should have picked an easier set of words to name those things. 🙂

    Again, sorry for my sloppy writing.

  22. 22
    Bob O'H says:

    Dionosio @ 18 – Sorry, I assumed everyone discussing science in any depth knew Popper’s ideas. He suggested that the way science should be done is to propose bold hypotheses, and then try to refute them (this is s simplified version of what he suggested, but it’s the one that’s best known). I think proposing bold hypotheses is pretty close to your “grossly speculating”.

    Dionosio @ 21 – Thanks for the clarification. But in that case, the data that we have are “necessary & sufficient true facts”, as they support the hypotheses being tested. Unfortunately, they don’t do such a good job of distinguishing between the hypotheses.

  23. 23
    Dionisio says:

    Bob O’H @22:

    Sorry, I assumed everyone discussing science in any depth knew Popper’s ideas.

    Well, apparently your assumption was off reality.

    Nobody’s suggestions are absolute rules to be enforced in any field, unless they are proven to be absolute.

    That gentleman’s ideas are respected but don’t mean much to me and probably to other folks out there too.

    Again, I’m not a scientist. I graduated from an electrical engineering school with a degree in control systems. I worked as a programmer on a software development project for engineering design. Really don’t recall ever hearing of such a name and definitely didn’t need it to do my work well.

    BTW, I’m not a philosopher either. I noticed some folks here like philosophical discussions. I don’t think I’ve joined those ‘friendly’ gatherings often.

    FYI – I’m not an ID proponent, but I agree with their main concept, which I’ve been exposed to for years, before I heard of the ID organization based in Seatle. The software I worked on existed in my project leader’s mind long before it was implemented on computers and used by many engineers in order to design. That’s intelligent design at its best. That man’s idea became a very successful product that benefited many engineers.

  24. 24
    Dionisio says:

    Bob O’H @22:

    […] the data that we have are “necessary & sufficient true facts”, as they support the hypotheses being tested. Unfortunately, they don’t do such a good job of distinguishing between the hypotheses.

    No, the data that you have don’t satisfy the important evo-devo conditions formulated @1090 in the thread “A third way of evolution?”, as I mentioned @14 in this thread.

    IOW, the available data doesn’t answer the fundamental question “where’s the beef?” 🙂

    Try again. 🙂

  25. 25
    Dionisio says:

    Bob O’H @17,

    I’ve also no idea what this “evo-devo 1090 formulation” is. Can you please try and write comprehensibly.

    @19 I responded:

    Please see my comment @14.

    Did that get clarified for you?
    Do you understand it now?

    Thanks.

  26. 26
  27. 27
    Dionisio says:

    KF,

    Thank you for the information.

  28. 28
    Dionisio says:

    Bob O’H,

    If you read evo-devo literature you should see that what I refer to @24 & @25 is not my invention.

    That has much to do with the topic of this thread.

  29. 29
    Dionisio says:

    Bob O’H @22:

    Sorry, I assumed everyone discussing science in any depth knew Popper’s ideas.

    After looking at the information KF generously provided @26, I think your Popper would have responded better the biology question a Canadian biochemistry professor found so confusing a couple of years ago in this site. 🙂

  30. 30
    Dionisio says:

    Bob O’H @22:

    Sorry, I assumed everyone discussing science in any depth knew Popper’s ideas.

    After looking at the information KF generously provided @26, I think your Popper would have responded better the biology question a Canadian biochemistry professor found so confusing a couple of years ago in this site.
    Perhaps your Austrian philosopher would have responded “huh?” or “say what?” showing that he was totally clueless about the meaning of the given question. 🙂
    Since the Canadian biochemistry professor knows so much about the subject of the question, he blamed the question poor wording and lack of honesty for causing his embarrassing answer.

  31. 31
    LocalMinimum says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t anyone demanding ID isn’t scientific on the basis of the lack of secondary evidence for its “bold hypothesis” of the existence of a designer be anti-Popperian?

  32. 32
    Dionisio says:

    LocalMinimum @31,

    That’s an interesting question. Thanks.

    BTW, how does that relate to this?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

  33. 33
    Dionisio says:

    LocalMinimum @31,
    How do Kopernik, Newton, Kepler (to name just a few) relate to your question @31?
    Thanks.

  34. 34
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