5 Replies to “Notice the continued uptick on that runaway thread?

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Prof Tour’s impact continues to grow . . .

  2. 2
    NeilBJ says:

    As a layman (retired engineer), I have been interested in the theory of evolution ever since I read Philip Johnson’s book, Darwin on Trial.

    My knowledge is admittedly at a very superficial level. I have two questions that have been bothering me.

    Even though scientists don’t know how macroevolution works, is there a paper that describes in outline form what scientists do need to know? In other words how does genetic and epigenetic information work to form a body plan in the first place and what kind of change in the hierarchy of information would be needed to become the first step in a macroevolutionary change?

    I recently was testing myself with a thought experiment. Do scientists know even at a broad conceptual level what the first step in a macroevolutionary change would be? I was thinking of the pakicetus, the presumed ancestor of the whale. If scientists could witness the pakicetus offspring that resulted from the very first random mutation in the long series of mutations that would eventually produce a whale, what would that pakicetus offspring look like? Would scientists have any idea what the actual mutation would entail?

    Then there’s St. George Mivart’s observation about the competency of natural selection to preserve the incipient stages of evolution. That first modified pakitcetus would have a change so small that it really would not have a selective advantage (or so it would seem). Its chances of survival would be no greater than any other pakicetus.

    A change large enough to provide a survival advantage would require genetic changes beyond the scope of what could reasonably be expected (or so it would seem).

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    NeilBJ, as to,,,

    Even though scientists don’t know how macroevolution works, is there a paper that describes in outline form what scientists do need to know? In other words how does genetic and epigenetic information work to form a body plan in the first place and what kind of change in the hierarchy of information would be needed to become the first step in a macroevolutionary change?

    Though I do not believe macro-evolutionary change to be possible in a gradual fashion because of the severe constraint that the irreducibly complex nature of overlapping codes and hierarchal information in any specific life form presents, Dr. Meyer has an overview of the insurmountable problems in Body Plan morphogenesis for Darwinist in his book ‘Darwin’s Doubt’:

    Darwin’s Doubt narrated by Paul Giem – The Origin of Body Plans – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?l.....page#t=290

    Body Plans Are Not Mapped-Out by the DNA – Jonathan Wells – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meR8Hk5q_EM

    “Although this theory [neo-Darwinism] can account for the phenomena it concentrates on, namely, variation of traits in populations, it leaves aside a number of other aspects of evolution… Most important, it completely avoids the origination of phenotypic traits and of organismal form. In other words, neo-Darwinism has no theory of the generative.”
    – Gerd B. Muller & Stuart A. Newman – Origination of Organismal Form, p.7

    Dr. Wells also recently did a podcast series with Casey Luskin in this area. Here’s part three of the series:

    podcast – Jonathan Wells: Is There Biological Information Outside of the DNA?, pt. 3 – Bioelectric code
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....5_52-07_00

    As to pakicetus, Dr. Sternberg touches on that here;

    Whale Evolution Vs. Population Genetics – Richard Sternberg PhD. in Evolutionary Biology – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85kThFEDi8o

    Evolution And Probabilities: A Response to Jason Rosenhouse – August 2011
    Excerpt: The equations of population genetics predict that – assuming an effective population size of 100,000 individuals per generation, and a generation turnover time of 5 years – according to Richard Sternberg’s calculations and based on equations of population genetics applied in the Durrett and Schmidt paper, that one may reasonably expect two specific co-ordinated mutations to achieve fixation in the timeframe of around 43.3 million years. When one considers the magnitude of the engineering fete, such a scenario is found to be devoid of credibility.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....osenhouse/

    Dr. Berlinski also, wryly, touches on it here:

    What Does It take To Change A Cow Into A Whale – David Berlinski – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRqdvhL3pgM

  4. 4
    StephenA says:

    Please see just below — KF

  5. 5
    StephenA says:

    Pardon the double post, but this should be clearer to read:

    Then there’s St. George Mivart’s observation about the competency of natural selection to preserve the incipient stages of evolution. That first modified pakitcetus would have a change so small that it really would not have a selective advantage (or so it would seem). Its chances of survival would be no greater than any other pakicetus.

    A change large enough to provide a survival advantage would require genetic changes beyond the scope of what could reasonably be expected (or so it would seem).

    Indeed. This realization is what forms the basis of Genetic Entropy (book by John Sanford). The point from his book that stuck with me the most is that both slightly positive and slightly negative mutations won’t individually make a big enough difference to reliably fix themselves into the population (i.e. reach the point where every member of the species has the new mutation) or eliminate themselves from the population. That is, they could do either, and a slightly negative mutation is only slightly less likely to become fixed than a slightly positive one.

    Since there are vastly more negative mutations than there are positive ones (it is much more likely that random chance will break something rather than fix it), the number of slightly negative mutations that will become fixed into a population will exceed the positive ones.

    Therefore it seems that evolution could never raise animals up to the level we see today. It can’t even keep us from sliding backwards. 🙁

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