Intelligent Design

How Embryonic Development Bears on Evolution

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In order for evolution to have occurred, the intricate embryonic development stages of species must have evolved. Indeed, the developmental pathways of the species would be crucial in such a process. If we are to believe the evolutionary claim that the species spontaneously arose, then untold embryonic development pathways must have somehow undergone massive change. But while evolutionists expected the study of such evolution of development to yield great insight into the evolutionary process and history, it has underwhelmed. This shortcoming is well known, as exemplified in this 2015 paperRead more …

3 Replies to “How Embryonic Development Bears on Evolution

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    Interesting. Thanks.

    Does this relate to evo devo despacito too?

    https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/this-parody-of-evo-devo-makes-it-sound-a-lot-like-id/

  2. 2
    harry says:

    When will this bad dream end? The science contradicts the theory. Over. And over. And over. And over.
    — Cornelius Hunter

    From its very beginning the science — and basic logic, and common sense — contradicted Darwin’s theory.

    Darwin noticed that the size and shape of the beaks of finches on the Galapagos islands varied with changing environmental conditions, with finch beaks of shapes and sizes that were conducive to survival under the current conditions becoming predominant in the finch population. This was not the result of advantageous mutations luckily occurring as needed to cope with current conditions. The finches which already had beaks most fitted for survival, survived and reproduced, and so finches with such beaks became predominant in the finch population until environmental conditions no longer favored finches with that particular trait.

    What did Darwin teach us from his observations that we didn’t already know? Nothing. Dog breeders had already demonstrated that wild varieties of the essentially the same kind of animal were possible. The differences between St. Bernards and Mexican Chihuahuas and flat-faced bulldogs were far greater than those between finches with a variety of beak shapes and sizes. Yet finches remained finches and dogs remained dogs.

    Even in thousands of years of intentionally breeding them into such wild varieties, dogs stubbornly remained essentially dogs. Breeders found that it wasn’t possible to get dogs as big as elephants or as small as mosquitos, or to breed them into cats or anything else. Dog breeders learned that somehow limits had been imposed upon whatever constituted “dogness” that forced dogs to remain dogs.

    Darwin ignored the empirical evidence provided by domestic animal breeding and proposed that there were no built-in limitations to the varieties obtainable within a given kind, and that there could, over enough time, be variations to the extent that one kind of animal would indeed become an entirely different kind. His proposal was contrary to the evidence available at the time, which indicated that somehow limits were in place. That should have been the end of his theory. There was no scientific evidence to support his proposed unlimited mutability of animals, and there was a plethora of evidence provided by the experience of domestic animal breeders over millennia that militated against it.

    Advocates of Darwinism might argue that Darwin was talking about much, much more time than merely thousands of years. Indeed he was. But if there truly are built-in limits on the variations possible for a given kind, then one kind of animal life just isn’t going to slowly become another entirely different kind in ANY amount of time.

    The fossil record reflects the stasis of the various kinds of animal life. A given kind arises, remains essentially the same, and then goes extinct, but not always. “Living” fossils like the Coelacanth have remained Coelacanths for at least 80 million years. This stasis is the rule, not the exception. Had Darwin been correct, what we would see in the fossil record would be animal life of a given kind slowly, through incremental, small changes becoming an entirely different kind of animal life. That just isn’t the case. Fossils claimed to be the link between one kind of animal life and an entirely different kind of animal life are the exception, not the rule. And such claims are highly debatable, a matter of an interpretation of some tiny shred of evidence that contradicts the majority of the rest of the evidence. If one looks at the rule instead of the exceptions, the fossil record, for the most part, is either in stark contradiction to Darwin’s theory, or the fossil record is so insufficient that it is worthless. As renowned paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould once put it:

    The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our text-books have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils. Yet Darwin was so wedded to gradualism that he wagered his entire theory on a denial of this literal record: “The geological record is extremely imperfect and this fact will to a large extent explain why we do not find interminable varieties, connecting together all the extinct and existing forms of life by the finest graduated steps. He who rejects these views on the nature of the geological record, will rightly reject my whole theory.” Darwin’s argument still persists as the favored escape of most paleontologists from the embarrassment of a record that seems to show so little of evolution.
    — Evolution’s Erratic Pace – “Natural History,” May, 1977

    Darwin had no conception of what we call the “genome” of a given kind. We now know that the reason dog breeders couldn’t breed dogs into anything else was that the canine genome just doesn’t contain the information necessary to build anything else. The instructions to build various finch beaks were already present in the finch genome, just as the traits for a variety of dogs were already present in latent or nascent form in the canine genome. But neither genome contained the information required to build another kind of animal life.

    The information in the genome of a given kind appeared to have been purposefully authored. One purpose was to provide a variety of possible traits such that some members of the population of a given kind might survive in spite of a radically harsh change to environmental conditions. Another was to restrict the possible variations of a given kind such that it would remain essentially THAT kind.

    So how did Darwinism persist, anyway? Well, the militant atheism that rose to ascendancy with the so-called Enlightenment had an ideological affinity with Darwin’s theory, even if all the available evidence was contrary to his notion of unrestricted mutability. Since the genome of a given kind appeared to have been intelligently authored as described above (the atheists hated that) they went with random, mindless, purposeless mutations to the genome, the natural selection of the functionally advantageous mutations being the means by which a given kind could transform itself into another kind over a long enough period of time. And not only that, they also insisted such random modifications had actually brought forth new functional complexity as well, e.g., adding, say, vision to an un-sighted life form. There is no evidence for this actually ever happening. See Michael Behe’s The Edge of Evolution.

    The reason there is no evidence for increasing functional complexity coming about mindlessly and accidentally is because it is virtually impossible for that to happen. Random modifications to significant functional complexity always degrades its functionality as opposed to enhancing it. It would be a miracle if randomly generated changes to software enhanced its functionality such that it added new features to it. It is the same with the functional complexity of life.

    And then there is what Behe calls irreducible complexity. Darwin insisted on evolution by tiny, advantageous, selectable modifications because he understood that entirely new, complex functionality coming about all at once would amount to a miracle. Yet there is no simply no such accidental, tiny, functionally advantageous step by tiny step path to the intricate machinery we find in life at the molecular level. Much cellular machinery is composed of multiple parts that must all be present and configured properly for there to be any functionality at all. The required parts by themselves are non-functional. If one such required part was accidentally arrived at, the Darwinian mechanism would get rid of it long before the other required parts were accidentally arrived at, as building such a part is useless and a waste of energy until all the required parts have been built and assembled. The instructions for the required protein synthesis for such intricate machinery to be instantiated in the life form’s DNA all at once would be miraculous.

    Actually, single-celled life forms are irreducibly complex. Consider renowned philosopher of science Karl Popper’s observation:

    What makes the origin of life and of the genetic code a disturbing riddle is this: the genetic code is without any biological function unless it is translated; that is, unless it leads to the synthesis of the proteins whose structure is laid down by the code. But … the machinery by which the cell (at least the non-primitive cell, which is the only one we know) translates the code consists of at least fifty macromolecular components which are themselves coded in the DNA. Thus the code cannot be translated except by using certain products of its translation. This constitutes a baffling circle; a really vicious circle, it seems, for any attempt to form a model or theory of the genesis of the genetic code. Thus we may be faced with the possibility that the origin of life (like the origin of physics) becomes an impenetrable barrier to science, and a residue to all attempts to reduce biology to chemistry and physics.

    Not only is the only solution to Popper’s “disturbing riddle” intelligent agency, but you don’t get natural selection until you have reproduction. And you don’t get reproduction until the machinery required for metabolism and reproduction is arrived at. And you don’t get that machinery until the required instructions for the protein synthesis that assembles it are in place in the DNA. And you most certainly don’t ever get such instructions – massive quantities of digitally stored, functionally complex, extremely precise information – mindlessly and accidentally. That happening would be like dumping out a box of Scrabble pieces and having them land on the floor such that they spelled out coherent text.

    Life is irreducibly complex. Life was intelligently designed.

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    polistra says:

    Harry’s comment above deserves to be elevated into an article, or even better into the main FAQ for the website. I’ve never seen a more complete and concise exposition of the BASIC argument!

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