Intelligent Design

Evolution Professor: I Was Not Talking About Teleology

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Evolution is interesting because while it is based on religious beliefs, evolutionists insist it is all about science. Consider, for example, PZ Myers as he writes in the Los Angeles Times that God would not have created this world, while nonetheless claiming that he’s just following the scientific evidence. Or consider Jerry Coyne who goes into great detail about how this world would not have been intended by a creator, and in the next moment claims that these are scientific results. This sort of thinking goes back to Darwin and before, and it is foundational to evolutionary thought. It runs all through the evolution literature, but it doesn’t work. You can’t claim the high ground of scientific empiricism while relying on metaphysics to make your case.  Read more

47 Replies to “Evolution Professor: I Was Not Talking About Teleology

  1. 1
    OldArmy94 says:

    What amazes me is that these same evolutionists who have posited that the vertebral eye has evolved some 50 times and the brain twice, fail to explain why this wondrous, mighty force is unable to redirect this nerve. We aren’t asking for much, after all. Could it be that such a design is not so sub-optimal after all; if it were, certainly evolution would’ve done its magic.

    It seems to me that they have hoisted themselves on their own petard.

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    “I was not trying to rule out design or talk about teleology at all.”

    Of course, it may not have been his intent, but as Cornelius effectively shows, that is in fact what he did “try” to do.

    CH:

    It is ironic that those who are most beholden to their metaphysics are those who are most oblivious to their metaphysics.

    Indeed.

  3. 3

    I find this “creationism debunked” argument interesting.

    My adult working career was consumed almost exclusively in some sort of software development – from working software controlling automated warehouses … stacker cranes, conveyer belts and inventory control – to smart torpedo development – and for most of my career … tracking, recording and displaying up to 100 highly maneuvering jet fighter planes in mock combat so that our combat air-crews get the best possible training.

    By far the majority of my career was spent standing on the giants that preceded me in upgrade and maintenance – rarely did I have the privilege of fresh and from the ground up design.

    However, over those many years I came across a variety of designs – some very good and some very bad. But what I recall looking back on is that each and every one was designed and was a deign – even the bad ones. And strangely enough they worked in the system context in which they operated.

    So to judge whether or not something is designed based on its elegance or lack thereof, is just simply silly and profoundly wrong – bad designs do exist but they are still designs.

    I believe those making such arguments from “bad” design suffer from a dearth of: experience, training, education,skills and even knowledge of design. And the higher the level of education the worse this becomes and the more apparent it becomes. The flow is somewhat as follows:

    * Welcome atheism at a young age.
    * Stay in school and absorb more ‘materialistic’ education.
    * Enter the life sciences, preferably a PhD Evolutionary Biology program.
    * Develop great writing skills and publish to the unwashed masses.
    * Gain tenure so as to be unaccountable.
    * And more …

    What these kinds of minds need is a massive immersion in some real design.
    * An operations & maintenance job (for several years) in a large chemical plant or oil refinery.
    * Enlistment in the Navy and operate and maintain a large nuclear aircraft over several two or three extended cruises, ideally with a few crisis situations thrown in.
    * A two to four year job maintaining a large & complex distributed software system with many varied interfaces.

    Then they may be qualified to talk about design or the lack thereof.

    Until then they are better suited to writing fantasy science fiction.-

  4. 4
    Piotr says:

    What amazes me is that these same evolutionists who have posited that the vertebral eye has evolved some 50 times and the brain twice,

    Let the curtain of mercy descend on the phrase “vertebral eye” and the question of what has evolved how many times. Blessed are the ignorant, for I am afraid they may inherit the earth.

    fail to explain why this wondrous, mighty force is unable to redirect this nerve.

    Because evolution is not omnipotent, unlike God the designer. It doesn’t work miracles. The “rewiring” of the eye would mean disconnecting the optical nerve and connecting it again round the back, on the other side of the retina. You can’t do that by gradual improvement while preserving the functionality of the organ.

  5. 5
    wd400 says:

    ayearningforpublius,

    Do you think the apparently-good design of the biological world is evidence for ID? IF good design bumps the probablity of ID up, instances of bad design necessarily bump it down.

    Also

    By far the majority of my career was spent standing on the giants that preceded me in upgrade and maintenance – rarely did I have the privilege of fresh and from the ground up design

    This describes many design processes, but not the one almost every IDists envisages as being behind life.

  6. 6
    Barb says:

    Piotr writes,

    Because evolution is not omnipotent, unlike God the designer. It doesn’t work miracles.

    “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.” – Francis Crick, 1981.

    The “rewiring” of the eye would mean disconnecting the optical nerve and connecting it again round the back, on the other side of the retina. You can’t do that by gradual improvement while preserving the functionality of the organ.

    was it designed or not?

  7. 7
    Piotr says:

    Barb:

    almost

    (just because the origin of life is difficult to reconstruct, so there’s a temporary niche left for the god of the gaps)

  8. 8
    wd400 says:

    Barb. For some reason you’ve cut Crick off mid-paragraph. He also said

    But this should not be taken to imply that there are good reasons to believe that it could not have started on the earth by a perfectly reasonable sequence of fairly ordinary chemical reactions. The plain fact is that the time available was too long, the many microenvironments on the earth’s surface too diverse, the various chemical possibilities too numerous and our own knowledge and imagination too feeble to allow us to be able to unravel exactly how it might or might not have happened such a long time ago, especially as we have no experimental evidence from that era to check our ideas against.

    You may wish to tell whatever source you copied the quote from that they are mis-representing Crick’s views…

  9. 9
    Mung says:

    Enlistment in the Navy and operate and maintain a large nuclear aircraft over several two or three extended cruises

    Dang, there were no nuclear aircraft when I was in the Navy.

    *pouts*

  10. 10

    Sorry … meant to say ‘aircraft carrier’

    But with that one correction, let me rephrase the later part in a way that may be more easily understood:

    I believe those making such arguments from “bad” design suffer from a dearth of: experience, training, education, skills and even knowledge of design. And the higher the level of education the worse this becomes and the more apparent it becomes. The flow is somewhat as follows:

    * Welcome atheism at a young age.
    * Stay in school and absorb more ‘materialistic’ education.
    * Enter the life sciences, preferably a PhD Evolutionary Biology program.
    * Develop great writing skills and publish to the unwashed masses.
    * Gain tenure so as to be unaccountable.
    * And more …

    What these kinds of minds need is a massive immersion in some real design.
    * An operations & maintenance job (for several years) in a large chemical plant or oil refinery.
    * Enlistment in the Navy and operate and maintain a large nuclear aircraft carrier over several two or three extended cruises, ideally with a few crisis situations thrown in.
    * A two to four year job maintaining a large & complex distributed software system with many varied interfaces.

    Then they may be qualified to talk about design or the lack thereof.

    Until then they are better suited to writing fantasy science fiction.-

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    AYP: Spot on, though simply a requirement that such design and get to work a complex hard and soft ware entity would be enough to teach a lot. G

  12. 12
    Barb says:

    Piotr writes,

    almost
    (just because the origin of life is difficult to reconstruct, so there’s a temporary niche left for the god of the gaps)

    Pity that all the experiments they’ve tried haven’t really shown much of anything. But keep hoping!

    Barb. For some reason you’ve cut Crick off mid-paragraph. He also said

    But this should not be taken to imply that there are good reasons to believe that it could not have started on the earth by a perfectly reasonable sequence of fairly ordinary chemical reactions. The plain fact is that the time available was too long, the many microenvironments on the earth’s surface too diverse, the various chemical possibilities too numerous and our own knowledge and imagination too feeble to allow us to be able to unravel exactly how it might or might not have happened such a long time ago, especially as we have no experimental evidence from that era to check our ideas against.

    You may wish to tell whatever source you copied the quote from that they are mis-representing Crick’s views…

    They didn’t misrepresent anything. I quoted what I wanted to quote. I know Crick is an agnostic/atheist, but even he acknowledges the statistical improbability of life coming from non-life. He has hope, though, that someday science will come up with a theory. This is called an argument from ignorance. It really proves nothing.

  13. 13
    StephenA says:

    IF good design bumps the probablity of ID up, instances of bad design necessarily bump it down.

    Of course if that is the case, then surely the opposite is also true. If instances of bad design bump it down, then instances of good design must bump it up. And the thing about bad design is that there must be design in the first place for there to be a bad version of it. After all, no-one says a pile of dirt is a badly designed house.

    So it really doesn’t matter how much ‘bad’ design you point to because there has to be design present in order for there to even be ‘bad’ design.

    This describes many design processes, but not the one almost every IDists envisages as being behind life.

    I assume you are talking about creation by the Christian God. You seem to be saying that if God had designed life he would have made it perfect (perfect for what?) and it would somehow have remained so to this day.

    But really, you shouldn’t care what we think (or what you think we think). You should care what the evidence says. And the evidence says that living things were designed, often brilliantly, though sometimes they have flaws. If this leads you to believe that life was not designed by the Christian God, but rather by lovecraftian Elder Things, then so be it. At least you would be consistent with the evidence found in biology.

  14. 14
    Mung says:

    I Was Not Talking About Teleology

    We know! You were talking about dysteleology. 😀

  15. 15
    Mung says:

    ayearningforpublius,

    I know. For what it’s worth I was on an aircraft carrier (the largest non-nuclear aircraft carrier), in the Indian Ocean during the Iran hostage crisis.

    USS Constellation (CV-64)

    iirc we set the record for most days at sea.

    Constellation’s next deployment, from September 1978 to May 1979, was originally scheduled to end in March but was extended due to her sortie into the Indian Ocean in reaction to a political crisis in Yemen. Following a relatively short eight-month turnaround cycle, she was underway again in February 1980. After participating in RIMPAC exercises, Constellation steamed westward to the Arabian Sea, where Gonzo Station had been established following the November 1979 takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran, Iran. Connie had reached the eastern Indian Ocean when the unsuccessful 24 April 1980 raid to free American hostages took place, and she relieved Coral Sea (CV-43) on Gonzo Station on 1 May. This at-sea period would last a record-setting 110 days

    It was 113 days 🙂

  16. 16
    ScuzzaMan says:

    “IF good design bumps the probability of ID up, instances of bad design necessarily bump it down.”

    No.

    This is very sloppy. You are confusing two distinct issues:

    1. Is there a designer?
    and
    2. Are they a good designer?

    ANY and ALL evidence of design “bumps up” the case for a designer. In fact this is a simple binary possibility with no indeterminate middle state except through ignorance.

    It takes only ONE single case of an artifact that must have been designed to establish the existence of a designer. Everything else in the universe could (hypothetically) have other explanations, but the existence of a single watch proves the existence of a watch-maker.

    Whether that watch is an elegant piece of Swiss genius or an ancient sun dial is irrelevant to this point.

    But while we are on the subject, the human eye is a work of incredible genius. There is nothing we are able to manufacture, with all our vaunted intelligence, that comes near to its dynamic range and performance.

    That you consider yourself, utterly unable to even begin to construct anything that could function as a working visual system, yet still able to judge whether such a thing as the human eye is “good” design or otherwise, speaks only of your remarkable hubris.

    It tells us nothing about the design of the eye itself.

    As for the Crick quote, wd400; if you think that extra bit bolsters his case you’re also dreadfully confused.

    Recast in plain English he says “We dont know what happened, we dont know how or where it happened, and we cannot reconstruct any plausible sequence by which it might have happened, but we KNOW it happened, so there.”

    And no, we do not know there was so much time as he presumes. That case is also shaky and subject to valid challenge on scientific grounds, not least of which is that throwing billions of years more time into a universe undergoing constant entropy increase, doesnt help your case for the spontaneous generation of enormous negative entropy embodying life forms, any more than detecting bad design implies a lack of designer.

    This is merely more confused and sloppy thinking, not an argument.

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    SM: In addition, I cannot see the why of this design means it is bad, is suspect. Do you know all the constraints and trade-offs as well as the purpose and philosophy? A good case in point is the sloppy thinking that dismisses the eye’s design because the objector would not do it that way. And all of this is a grand side track from the basic point: functionally specific, complex organisation and linked information are strong, empirically and analytically well grounded signs of design. KF

  18. 18
    phoodoo says:

    wd400,

    Which one is more likely to falsify evolution, good design or bad design? Or do you get to have it both ways?

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Not to mention, jumping to the conclusion — or is that imposing the assumption — that blind chance and mechanical necessity can create such FSCO/I, never mind not having actually shown such. But, smuggle in a priori materialism by the back door, lock out anything else by improperly redefining science and hey presto, dubious speculation becomes as certain as the roundness of the earth or the like.

  20. 20
    kairosfocus says:

    WD400: Have you demonstrated empirically that FSCO/I as just discussed, can come about by blind chance and mechanical necessity? Specifically, for 1,000 bits of FSCO/I, the atomic resources of the observed cosmos, for its lifespan, and using the Planck time as a clock-tick, could not sample 1 in 10^ 150 of the possibilities. In effect use every atom in the observed cosmos — all the cosmos we ACTUALLY have observed — for 10^17 or so s, all 10^80, and give each a tray of 1,000 coins. Every 10^-45 s, toss and read, feeding a detection mechanism as appropriate. In 10^17 s, you will not be able to pick a sample as much as a straw to a haystack much larger than the observed cosmos. The search by blind chance and mechanical necessity is empirically maximally implausible. That is why OOL is the first fatal flaw in evolutionary materialism. KF

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Just for the first plausible cell’s DNA, we are looking at 100 – 1,000 kbases, or about as many bits. That is 100 to 1,000 times the 1,000 bit threshold, where the config space for a bit string goes as 2^n, i.e. doubles for each additional bit. 2^1,000 ~ 1.07 * 10^301.

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    wd400 has anything changed since Crick made his infamous appeal to UFO’s so as to explain life’s origin??? Aparently not:

    Pssst! Don’t tell the creationists, but scientists don’t have a clue how life began By John Horgan | February 28, 2011
    http://blogs.scientificamerica.....ife-began/

  23. 23
    humbled says:

    What KF said ^ 🙂

  24. 24
    Acartia_bogart says:

    @Oldarmy: “What amazes me is that these same evolutionists who have posited that the vertebral eye has evolved some 50 times and the brain twice, fail to explain why this wondrous, mighty force is unable to redirect this nerve. We aren’t asking for much, after all. Could it be that such a design is not so sub-optimal after all; if it were, certainly evolution would’ve done its magic.”

    You suffer from the same misconception that many people who don’t understand the process do. Natural selection has never been about perfection. It can only work with the materials at hand. There is no pre-conceived plan. By any standard, the octopus eye is a much better design than the human eye. Surely, an intelligent designer, who must be orders of magnitude more intelligent than us, would not place all of the connective tissue in from of the light receptors and then run a huge nerve through the very centre of it.

  25. 25
    OldArmy94 says:

    Did I actually see someone use the “god of the gaps” argument? The only gap that I am aware of has increased since Charlie wrote his tome back in the day, and that is the gap between fantasy and reality as it concerns what evolutionists believe and what we know about life.

  26. 26
    Barb says:

    Acartia_bogart:
    Oh, look. It’s this argument again.

    You suffer from the same misconception that many people who don’t understand the process do. Natural selection has never been about perfection. It can only work with the materials at hand. There is no pre-conceived plan.

    That is only one of the differences, depending on your viewpoint: evolution presents modern man as an improving animal. The Bible, on the other hand, presents modern man as the degenerating descendant of a perfect man.

    By any standard, the octopus eye is a much better design than the human eye. Surely, an intelligent designer, who must be orders of magnitude more intelligent than us, would not place all of the connective tissue in from of the light receptors and then run a huge nerve through the very centre of it.

    So, the issue is that in the human eye, the retina of vertebrates is inverted, placing the photoreceptors at the back of the retina. To reach them, light must pass through several layers of cells. Now, the claim evolutionists make is that the inverted retina is evidence of poor design—really, no design. One scientist even described it as a “functionally stupid upside-down orientation.”

    However, further research reveals that the photoreceptors of the inverted retina are ideally placed next to the pigment epithelium—a cell layer that provides oxygen and nutrients vital to keen sight. “If the pigment epithelium tissue were placed in front of the retina, sight would be seriously compromised,” wrote biologist Jerry Bergman and ophthalmologist Joseph Calkins. Additionally, with the nerve cells of the retina tightly packed and close to the photoreceptors, analysis of visual information is fast and reliable.

    The inverted retina is especially advantageous for vertebrates with small eyes. Says professor Ronald Kröger, of the University of Lund, Sweden: “Between the lens of the eye and the photoreceptors, there must be a certain distance to get a sharp image. Having this space filled with nerve cells means an important saving of space for the vertebrates.”

    See also Dr. Michael Denton’s article here: http://www.arn.org/docs/odesig.....ina192.htm
    And: http://www.catalase.com/retina.htm

    See the bolded word? That’s a doctor who studies eyes and their functions. I’ll take his word over your argument any day of the week. He knows what he’s talking about.

  27. 27
    bornagain77 says:

    the inverted retina, which evolutionists insist is “bad design”, is now found to be a ‘optimal design:

    “Evolution” gave flawed eye better vision
    Excerpt: IT LOOKS wrong, but the strange, “backwards” structure of the vertebrate retina actually improves vision. ,,, Their findings suggest that sending light via the Müller cells offers several advantages. At least two types of light get inside the eye: light carrying image information, which comes directly through the pupil, and “noise” that has already been reflected multiple times within the eye. The simulations showed that the Müller cells transmit a greater proportion of the former to the rods and cones below, while the latter tends to leak out. This suggests the cells act as light filters, keeping images clear.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-354157

    Retinal Glial Cells Enhance Human Vision Acuity A. M. Labin and E. N. Ribak
    Physical Review Letters, 104, 158102 (April 2010)
    Excerpt: The retina is revealed as an optimal structure designed for improving the sharpness of images.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20482021

    Light propagation explains our inverted retina – A. M. Labin and E. N. Ribak
    http://spie.org/documents/News.....189_10.pdf

    Eye Cells as Light Pipes – article accompanied by video and graph
    http://physics.aps.org/story/v25/st15

    Eyeballing Design by Casey Luskin – December 2011
    Excerpt:,,, the team of scientists who determined the function of glial cells concluded that the “retina is revealed as an optimal structure designed for improving the sharpness of images.”
    http://www.salvomag.com/new/ar.....luskin.php

    moreover:

    If Odd Arrangements and Funny Solutions are the Proof of Evolution, Then What About These Optimized Designs? – Cornelius Hunter – March 2012
    Excerpt: Photoreceptors operate at the outermost boundary allowed by the laws of physics, which means they are as good as they can be, period. Each one is designed to detect and respond to single photons of light — the smallest possible packages in which light comes wrapped. … In each instance, biophysicists have calculated, the system couldn’t get faster, more sensitive or more efficient without first relocating to an alternate universe with alternate physical constants.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....tions.html

  28. 28
    Acartia_bogart says:

    @Barb: “That is only one of the differences, depending on your viewpoint: evolution presents modern man as an improving animal.”

    What evolutionary biologist stated that evolution presents modern man as an improving animal? The only thing that evolution does is result in a changing animal. This misconception probably arose as a result of that iconic (and inaccurate) graphic of a series of figures, starting with an ape-like animal on the left and a modern human on the right. Because we view it from an anthropocentric perspective, our emotions direct us to assume that the human on the right is an improvement on any of the others in the series. In fact, the change could just as easily have gone in the other direction, from an upright bi-ped to a four footed quadruped. And may yet.

    Obviously there is a huge adaptive advantage to having a large brain. However, there is no guarantee that this will always be the case.

  29. 29
    Mung says:

    Which one is more likely to falsify evolution, good design or bad design? Or do you get to have it both ways?

    Good design is exactly what we would expect if evolution is true. So is bad design.

    After all, Darwin’s theory is supposed to give us design without a designer. Good design. Bad design. Perfect design. imperfect design.

    It’s never been all that clear to me just what this magical theory of design consists of beyond the claim of no designer. Do they have an actual theory of design?

  30. 30
    Barb says:

    Acartia,

    What evolutionary biologist stated that evolution presents modern man as an improving animal?

    The goal of evolution is reproduction and survival. Improvements such as beneficial mutations and natural selection acting on said mutations would result in an improved animal.

    The only thing that evolution does is result in a changing animal.

    Again, beneficial mutations would be considered changes; they could also be considered improvements.

    This misconception probably arose as a result of that iconic (and inaccurate) graphic of a series of figures, starting with an ape-like animal on the left and a modern human on the right.</blockquote.
    Oh, the one that Jonathan Wells completely demolished in his book Icons of Evolution?

    Because we view it from an anthropocentric perspective, our emotions direct us to assume that the human on the right is an improvement on any of the others in the series. In fact, the change could just as easily have gone in the other direction, from an upright bi-ped to a four footed quadruped. And may yet.

    So, if humans=bad, then ape-like creatures with little intelligence and capacity for rational thought=better?

    Seriously?

    Obviously there is a huge adaptive advantage to having a large brain. However, there is no guarantee that this will always be the case.

    Bigger brains don’t mean greater intelligence

    Also see here

  31. 31
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Barb, there can be changes without adaptive advantage (eg., drift) but that is a different story. A mutation may occur that results in change that is neither good nor bad. It may hang around in the population for generations at low numbers simply because it is not selected against. I don’t think that anybody would call it an improvement; it is just part of the variation amongst the population. However, the environment may change in such a way that this trait now provides an advantage to those who have it relative to the rest of the population and it comes to dominate.

    That is why it is wrong to look at evolution as something that is constantly improving the organism. In fact, it could result in changes that ultimately lead to extinction, and nobody would consider this an improvement.

  32. 32
    Barb says:

    Acartia,

    Barb, there can be changes without adaptive advantage (eg., drift) but that is a different story. A mutation may occur that results in change that is neither good nor bad. It may hang around in the population for generations at low numbers simply because it is not selected against. I don’t think that anybody would call it an improvement; it is just part of the variation amongst the population. However, the environment may change in such a way that this trait now providesan advantage to those who have it relative to the rest of the population and it comes to dominate.

    Hence, an improvement. While I completely disagree with the evolutionary icon of quadrupedal apelike creatures going to bipedal humans, that’s what’s being taught in schools everywhere as evidence for evolutionary theory. Man is an improving animal. If that’s not entirely correct, then do away with it altogether or modify it so that it better represents evolutionary progress. Because that’s what evolution teaches: progression by natural selection acting on mutations.

    That is why it is wrong to look at evolution as something that is constantly improving the organism. In fact, it could result in changes that ultimately lead to extinction, and nobody would consider this an improvement.

    Evolution also doesn’t run backwards. If the fittest are to reproduce and survive, they can’t devolve into what they were before. Fish are said to have grown legs and left the ocean; did they also devolve legs, regain their fins, and resume swimming? Because that makes absolutely no sense.

  33. 33
    Piotr says:

    Evolution also doesn’t run backwards. If the fittest are to reproduce and survive, they can’t devolve into what they were before.

    Sometimes fitter = smaller and simpler. Even if evolution isn’t likely to retrace its steps, it can result in reduction, simplification and loss of traits.

    Fish are said to have grown legs and left the ocean; did they also devolve legs, regain their fins, and resume swimming? Because that makes absolutely no sense.

    Numerous lineages of terrestrial vertebrates (e.g. ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, sea turtles, mosasaurs, cetaceans, sirenians, pinnipeds), have returned to the sea, developing new fins/flippers and flukes/tailfins. Modern cetaceans have lost their hind legs. Of course they haven’t evolved back into fish, but their general body plan is superficially fish-like.

  34. 34
    Querius says:

    Barb @ 32 noted

    Evolution also doesn’t run backwards. If the fittest are to reproduce and survive, they can’t devolve into what they were before. Fish are said to have grown legs and left the ocean; did they also devolve legs, regain their fins, and resume swimming?

    Evolution can run backwards, forwards, and sideways. It can make huge jumps in no time at all, or stop completely for hundreds of millions of years. Evolution can make species diverge, converge, and merge. Specific features can evolve, devolve, and drift independently many times over in billions of years. It explains everything and successfully predicts nothing.

    Because that makes absolutely no sense.

    Of course it doesn’t, but we’re told that it’s the only game in town.

    What you need to do is watch 2001: A Space Odyssey a few hundred times. 😉

    -Q

  35. 35
    Barb says:

    Querius @ 34:

    Evolution can run backwards, forwards, and sideways. It can make huge jumps in no time at all, or stop completely for hundreds of millions of years. Evolution can make species diverge, converge, and merge. Specific features can evolve, devolve, and drift independently many times over in billions of years. It explains everything and successfully predicts nothing.

    Does it make julienne fries as well?

  36. 36
    Barb says:

    Poitr @ 33:

    Numerous lineages of terrestrial vertebrates (e.g. ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, sea turtles, mosasaurs, cetaceans, sirenians, pinnipeds), have returned to the sea, developing new fins/flippers and flukes/tailfins. Modern cetaceans have lost their hind legs. Of course they haven’t evolved back into fish, but their general body plan is superficially fish-like.

    Unfortunately, I think you’ve swallowed a fish tale.

    New Scientist noted that evolution “predicts that a complete fossil record would consist of lineages of organisms showing gradual change continuously over long periods of time.” But it admitted: “Unfortunately, the fossil record does not meet this expectation, for individual species of fossils are rarely connected to one another by known intermediate forms. . . . known fossil species do indeed appear not to evolve even over millions of years.” [New Scientist, February 4, 1982, p. 320.]

    A geneticist writes: “No transitional forms are known between any of the major phyla of animals or plants.” He speaks of “the large gaps which exist between many major categories of organisms.” [Processes of Organic Evolution, p. 147.]

    “In fact,” The New Evolutionary Timetable acknowledges, “the fossil record does not convincingly document a single transition from one species to another. Furthermore, species lasted for astoundingly long periods of time.” [The New Evolutionary Timetable, p. 95.]

  37. 37
    Joe says:

    Unfortunately for evos there isn’t any way to test the claim that stochastic processes produced vision systems. Heck we can’t even test the claim that stochastic processes produced eukaryotes from prokaryotes.

  38. 38
    Mung says:

    Joe:

    Heck we can’t even test the claim that stochastic processes produced eukaryotes from prokaryotes.

    Sure we can. That’s how we know that prokaryotes actually evolved from eukaryotes. By stochastic processes, of course.

  39. 39
    Joe says:

    Mung knows the evo propaganda a bit too well. Could it be that Mung is an…. 🙂

  40. 40
    Acartia_bogart says:

    @Barb: “Evolution also doesn’t run backwards. If the fittest are to reproduce and survive, they can’t devolve into what they were before. Fish are said to have grown legs and left the ocean; did they also devolve legs, regain their fins, and resume swimming? Because that makes absolutely no sense.”

    Yes. How do you explain the very good fossil record for whales doing just that?

  41. 41
    PeterJ says:

    “How do you explain the very good fossil record for whales doing just that?”

    Care to show us the evidence A_B?

  42. 42
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Comparative anatomy of fossils such as Sinonyx, Pakicetus, Ambulocetus, Rodhocetus, Basilosaurus, Dorudon and others. Add to this stable isotope ratios of fossils that help identify the environments that each of these fossils lived in, comparative molecular biology of extant mammals to show the most likely relationships and whale embryology. These provide multiple lines of evidence for the land origin of whales.

  43. 43
  44. 44
    vjtorley says:

    Hi Acartia_bogart and Barb,

    The ICR article by biologist Frank Sherwin made for interesting reading. FYI, here’s a post I wrote in 2012 about whale evolution:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....f-the-ear/

  45. 45
    Dionisio says:

    vjtorley,

    This is completely off topic, but I want to know your opinion.

    Please do me a favor, would you mind taking a quick look at the last few comments in the below link? Thank you!

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-502637

  46. 46
    Mung says:

    Just what are the requirements to be a Christian Darwinist anyways?

    THEN:

    “I was not trying to rule out design or talk about teleology at all.”

    AND NOW:

    “I gave some examples of bad design and showed a picture of an infant with a well-formed tail to illustrate one example.”

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....86241.html

  47. 47
    Mung says:

    p.s. How is an infant with a well-formed tail evidence for bad design?

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