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Convergent evolution: Squid bioluminescence evolved multiple times

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Japanese bobtail squid/Sabrina Pankey

From ScienceDaily:

More specifically, the researchers demonstrated that bioluminescent organs originated repeatedly during squid evolution and then showed that the global gene expression profiles (transcriptomes) underlying those organs are strikingly — even predictably — similar. To confirm their hypothesis and findings, Oakley and Pankey enlisted the assistance of statisticians from the University of Washington and UCLA, who developed new statistical methods to test the idea of convergent (separately evolved) origins.

“I did find some individual genes that were counter to the main pattern, which means we can no longer study just one gene anymore in order to test these questions about the genetic basis of convergence,” said Pankey. “We’re at the point now where we need to — and can — study all of them.”

Some previous experiments have indicated that these squid use their bioluminescent capabilities for camouflage, as counterintuitive as that may seem. “If you imagine lying on your back in the deep ocean and looking up, almost all the light comes from straight above,” Oakley explained. “There’s no structure like walls or trees to reflect the light, so if there’s something above you, it’s going to cast a shadow. The squid can produce light that then matches the light from behind them so it blocks their shadow to a viewer below, which is a type of camouflage.”

The team’s results demonstrate that the evolution of overall gene expression underlying convergent complex traits may be predictable. This finding is unexpected and could indicate unusually strong constraints: The probability of complex organs evolving multiple times with similar trajectories should be vanishingly small, noted Oakley. Yet the team’s novel bioinformatic approaches indicate the evolution of convergent phenotypes is associated with the convergent expression of thousands of genes.

Laszlo Bencze notes what it sounds like:

This convergent evolution is so astonishingly unlikely that we would never expect it to occur via the evolutionary mechanism of random mutation and natural selection. But because we know that evolution by this process is a fact, we must now admit that statistically impossible things regularly occur in evolution because…well we don’t really know why but it’s clear that evolution has received a special dispensation from the laws of probability. Not once does it occur to him to doubt the evolutionary mechanism.

No, and it never will. Not until Darwinism is no longer an implicit requirement for tenure. (No that won’t make him doubt it, but others might.)

File under: Darwinism makes people stupid.

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9 Replies to “Convergent evolution: Squid bioluminescence evolved multiple times

  1. 1
    Moose Dr says:

    Wow!

    Oakley said:

    “The probability of complex organs evolving multiple times with similar trajectories should be vanishingly small, noted Oakley.”

    You said (or quoted Bencze, its not clear): “Not once does it occur to him to doubt the evolutionary mechanism.”

    This is a very bold statement on your part. You certainly cannot know what doubts happen in Dr. Oakley’s mind. He must live within the system, or have his findings rejected. His statement above seems to pretty much say, “this data doesn’t fit the current paradigm.”

  2. 2
    Jon Garvey says:

    I remember back in 1910 – well,I don’t quite, but I’ve read about it – when Darwinian evolution had few supporters and the front-running theories included various ideas of orthogenesis, ie that there are dispositions in living things (maybe from mathematical laws, maybe from design) towards specific ends. If natural selection did anything, it was just fine tuning the results of evolutionary “laws” and weeding out the weaklings.

    The biggest evidence for that was the overall direction of the fossil record, always progressive, rather than going round in circles or going backwards.

    But another important indicator was convergence. Now, if you had to choose, which theory explains the ubiquity of convergent evolution better: RM & NS, or some kind of orthogenic or structuralist laws?

  3. 3
    Joe says:

    Dr Spetner calls the alleged convergent evolution evidence for his non-random evolutionary hypothesis. Casey Luskin has written about this over on ENV and at Amazon for his review of “The Evolution Revolution”

  4. 4
    Silver Asiatic says:

    The team’s results demonstrate that the evolution of overall gene expression underlying convergent complex traits may be predictable. This finding is unexpected and could indicate unusually strong constraints: The probability of complex organs evolving multiple times with similar trajectories should be vanishingly small, noted Oakley. Yet the team’s novel bioinformatic approaches indicate the evolution of convergent phenotypes is associated with the convergent expression of thousands of genes.

    This paragraph is loaded with double-speak and contradiction.

    First, the team supposedly “demonstrated” that evolution of complex traits “may be” “predictable”.

    In other words, the team did not predict or demonstrate the evolution of complex traits.

    Then it says “This finding is unexpected”. What finding? That evolution “may be predictable”? Or that they didn’t demonstrate anything? A lack of clarity in this writing is an indication that there’s a serious problem in evolutionary thinking.

    It then says that the probability of complex organs evolving multiple times “should be vanishingly small”.

    No, it either IS vanishingly small or it IS NOT. Obviously, they see the same complex organs from non-ancestral species and claim convergent evolution.
    So, in their view the probability that complex organs evolved multiple times is 1. So, they say it “should be” a vanishingly small probability because calculating in advance (predicatively) even one instance of a complex organ has a miniscule probability of arising via evolution. So, obviously, multiple instances “should be” vanishingly small.
    However, they see the same organ – and with zero evidence “demonstrating” how it evolved, now can declare based on association of convergent phenotypes and expressions that something understood as statistically impossible simply occurred by evolutionary processes.

  5. 5
    Jon Garvey says:

    Joe

    From the review alone it’s not clear how much Spetner’s views would come under “Neo-Lamarckian” and how much under “Orthogenetic”.

    In a way it doesn’t matter, because I’ve no doubt they’ll be widely dismissed in principle as fundamentally unscientific and anti-evolutionary, by a host of people failing to notice that such theories were mainstream science for the first couple of decades in the last century (Darwinism have failed to live up to its early promise), and remain a significant part of the story in other scientific cultures. For example, there has always been a strong strand of orthogenesis in Russia, though Darwinism was pushed hard by the Soviet regime as more in keeping with socialism.

    It will also be conveniently forgotten that Darwin increasingly held Lamarckian and orthogenetic views alongside his natural selection, realising that for some phenomena they made more sense.

    Now, of course, we know there is only one truth and all else is darkness and chaos.

  6. 6
    Mapou says:

    News:

    Laszlo Bencze notes what it sounds like:

    This convergent evolution is so astonishingly unlikely that we would never expect it to occur via the evolutionary mechanism of random mutation and natural selection. But because we know that evolution by this process is a fact, we must now admit that statistically impossible things regularly occur in evolution because…well we don’t really know why but it’s clear that evolution has received a special dispensation from the laws of probability. Not once does it occur to him to doubt the evolutionary mechanism.

    What a despicable crackpot. The biggest problem with Darwinists is their total lack of gonads. They are a mutual butt-kissing society.

  7. 7
    Joe says:

    Jon Garvey- I will re-read that part tonight and get back to you. (my review is also up @ Amazon)

  8. 8
    tjguy says:

    The argument of convergence to explain anomalies that do not fit with evolution shows us that evolution really is not falsifiable.

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Natural Selection Struggles to Fix Advantageous Traits in Populations – Casey Luskin – October 23, 2014
    Excerpt: Michael Lynch, an evolutionary biologist at Indiana University,, writes that “random genetic drift can impose a strong barrier to the advancement of molecular refinements by adaptive processes.”2 He notes that the effect of drift is “encouraging the fixation of mildly deleterious mutations and discouraging the promotion of beneficial mutations.”3 Likewise, Eugene Koonin, a leading scientist at the National Institutes of Health, explains that genetic drift leads to “random fixation of neutral or even deleterious changes.”4
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....90571.html

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