Intelligent Design

Same Old Darwinian Drivel

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A new study is out analyzing electric eel genomes. Guess what? The scientists are “shocked.” The results are “surprising.” If nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of Darwinian evolution, then why are scientists always shaking their heads based on their latest findings in the lab?

Here’s some of the background to the study found in an
article from Phys.Org
:

The work establishes the genetic basis for the electric organ, an anatomical feature found only in fish and that evolved independently half a dozen times in environments ranging from the flooded forests of the Amazon to murky marine environments.
“These fish have converted a muscle to an electric organ,” explains Sussman, a professor of biochemistry and director of the UW-Madison Biotechnology Center, who first undertook the exploration of the electric organ almost a decade ago. The study published in Science provides evidence to support the idea that the six electric fish lineages, all of which evolved independently, used essentially the same genes and developmental and cellular pathways to make an electric organ
, needed for defense, predation, navigation and communication.

And the main findings from the same article:

“What is amazing is that the electric organ arose independently six times in the course of evolutionary history,” says Lindsay Traeger, a UW-Madison graduate student in genetics and a co-lead author of the new report along with Jason Gallant, an assistant professor of zoology at Michigan State University.
Adds Gallant: “The surprising result of our study is that electric fish seem to use the same ‘genetic toolbox’ to build their electric organ,” despite the fact that they evolved independently.
Worldwide, there are hundreds of electric fish in six broad lineages. Their taxonomic diversity is so great that Darwin himself cited electric fishes as critical examples of convergent evolution, where unrelated animals independently evolve similar traits to adapt to a particular environment or ecological niche. The new work, which includes the first draft assembly of the complete genome of an electric fish, the South American electric eel, identifies the genetic factors and developmental paths the animals used to create an organ that, in some instances, can deliver a jolt several times more powerful than the current from a standard household electrical outlet.

Now, just ask yourself: if you believe that the theory of Intelligent Design best explains the functioning of biological organisms, would you be SURPRISED by these results? The answer is a resounding, “No.”

From the Science article itself (behind a paywall):

Our analysis suggests that a common regulatory network of transcription factors and developmental pathways may have been repeatedly targeted by selection in the evolution of EOs, despite their very different morphologies.

Repeatedly targeted by selection—the same, old Darwinian drivel.

Isn’t it AMAZING what the environment and random mutations can bring about? In fact, it brought it about SIX times, using “essentially the same genes and developmental and cellular pathways. I tell you, Darwinian evolution is miraculous!!!

87 Replies to “Same Old Darwinian Drivel

  1. 1
    Mapou says:

    Adds Gallant: “The surprising result of our study is that electric fish seem to use the same ‘genetic toolbox’ to build their electric organ,” despite the fact that they evolved independently.

    This fully falsifies Darwinian evolution. Identical genes in distant species is precisely what one would expect if living organisms were designed.

    Evolution is superstitious nonsense. Why is it still part of science? Answer: Humans are not an honest species.

  2. 2
    Roy says:

    This fully falsifies Darwinian evolution. Identical genes in distant species is precisely what one would expect if living organisms were designed.

    What identical genes?

    Or are you simply providing evidence for your final assertion?

    Roy

  3. 3
    humbled says:

    “Evolution is superstitious nonsense” that is putting it mildy 😉

    No matter how many surprises, faulty assumptions, fraud and failed predictions pop up, evolution must be true….if evidence contradicts or reflects badly on evolution it must be the evidence that’s wrong. If the evidence is overwhelming and not easily discarded, stick your fingers in your ears and repeat the mantra “evolution is true…evolution is true”.

  4. 4
    Mapou says:

    What identical genes?

    Are you being funny or are you just another weaver of lies and deception? It says right here in the article that the different lineages used the same genes. Read it and weep:

    the six electric fish lineages, all of which evolved independently, used essentially the same genes and developmental and cellular pathways to make an electric organ

  5. 5
    OldArmy94 says:

    The article almost reads like The Onion. It would be laughable except for the fact that they are 100% serious.

  6. 6
    PaV says:

    I have a question for our computer coders:
    If you looked at three different “power point” presentations designed by, let’s say, Microsoft, Google and the PDF maker (can’t remember their name), since they all code digitally, and would be using, I presume ASCII and maybe Java, wouldn’t the three versions of a particular computer application have, at some point in their program, almost the same digital sequence?

    Wonder if this could be tracked down. Then we would just have to compare how “intelligent” solutions, given the same constraints (same genetic code and cellular apparati in the case of biology), would be, in places, almost similar.

  7. 7
    Mapou says:

    OldArmy94:

    The article almost reads like The Onion. It would be laughable except for the fact that they are 100% serious.

    They’re serious about lying. They got a religion to defend. It has always been about religion.

  8. 8
    Mapou says:

    PaV @6,

    It’s impossible for two different designers to come up with the same exact code segments if the length of the complexity of the application reaches a certain trivial level. Corporations routinely and successfully sue one another for copyright infringement based on the finding of identical proprietary code segments in a competitor’s product.

  9. 9
    StephenA says:

    It’s impossible for two different designers to come up with the same exact code segments if the length of the complexity of the application reaches a certain trivial level. Corporations routinely and successfully sue one another for copyright infringement based on the finding of identical proprietary code segments in a competitor’s product.

    No kidding. This also implies that the different lineages referenced in the OP were not just designed but had the same designer. (or at the very least, were made by designers working off the same ‘source code’)

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    neo-Darwinian evolution is the ‘dog ate my evidence’ child of modern science.

    No matter what the situation there is always an implausible excuse waiting to be employed by Darwinists. In the current study we find,,,

    the six electric fish lineages, all of which evolved independently, used essentially the same genes and developmental and cellular pathways to make an electric organ,,,

    When asked how did such stunning correlation happen?,, We are told by the Darwinists that,,,

    that a common regulatory network of transcription factors and developmental pathways may have been repeatedly targeted by selection

    Well that would seem to make selection very efficient for selecting certain genetic sequences. Except, of course, for the fact that, according to the math and the empirical evidence, Natural Selection is not very efficient for Darwinists:

    Oxford University Admits Darwinism’s Shaky Math Foundation – May 2011
    Excerpt: However, mathematical population geneticists mainly deny that natural selection leads to optimization of any useful kind. This fifty-year old schism is intellectually damaging in itself, and has prevented improvements in our concept of what fitness is. – On a 2011 Job Description for a Mathematician, at Oxford, to ‘fix’ the persistent mathematical problems with neo-Darwinism within two years.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46351.html

    Thou Shalt Not Put Evolutionary Theory to a Test – Douglas Axe – July 18, 2012
    Excerpt: “For example, McBride criticizes me for not mentioning genetic drift in my discussion of human origins, apparently without realizing that the result of Durrett and Schmidt rules drift out. Each and every specific genetic change needed to produce humans from apes would have to have conferred a significant selective advantage in order for humans to have appeared in the available time (i.e. the mutations cannot be ‘neutral’). Any aspect of the transition that requires two or more mutations to act in combination in order to increase fitness would take way too long (greater than 100 million years).
    My challenge to McBride, and everyone else who believes the evolutionary story of human origins, is not to provide the list of mutations that did the trick, but rather a list of mutations that can do it. Otherwise they’re in the position of insisting that something is a scientific fact without having the faintest idea how it even could be.”
    Doug Axe PhD.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62351.html

    Experimental Evolution in Fruit Flies (35 years of trying to force fruit flies to evolve in the laboratory fails, spectacularly) – October 2010
    Excerpt: “Despite decades of sustained selection in relatively small, sexually reproducing laboratory populations, selection did not lead to the fixation of newly arising unconditionally advantageous alleles.,,, “This research really upends the dominant paradigm about how species evolve,” said ecology and evolutionary biology professor Anthony Long, the primary investigator.
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....ruit_flies
    http://eebweb.arizona.edu/nach.....l_2010.pdf

    Bernard d’Abrera on Butterfly Mimicry and the Faith of the Evolutionist – October 5, 2011
    Excerpt: For it to happen in a single species once through chance, is mathematically highly improbable. But when it occurs so often, in so many species, and we are expected to apply mathematical probability yet again, then either mathematics is a useless tool, or we are being criminally blind.,,, Evolutionism (with its two eldest daughters, phylogenetics and cladistics) is the only systematic synthesis in the history of the universe that proposes an Effect without a Final Cause. It is a great fraud, and cannot be taken seriously because it outrageously attempts to defend the philosophically indefensible.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....51571.html

    Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Wolfgang Pauli on the Empirical Problems with Neo-Darwinism – Casey Luskin – February 27, 2012
    Excerpt: “In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of ‘natural selection’ in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in a empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.'”
    Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28) –
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....56771.html

    also see genetic drift, junk DNA excuses etc.. etc..

  11. 11
    Querius says:

    Adds Gallant: “The surprising result of our study is that electric fish seem to use the same ‘genetic toolbox’ to build their electric organ,” despite the fact that they evolved independently.

    I wish they’d call it a galvanic organ instead of an electric organ, which evokes mildly humorous images.

    But what exactly is a “genetic toolbox”? Anyone know?

    -Q

  12. 12
    Mapou says:

    StephenA:

    No kidding. This also implies that the different lineages referenced in the OP were not just designed but had the same designer. (or at the very least, were made by designers working off the same ‘source code’)

    Absolutely. And for Darwinists scientists to claim that complex identical genes were independently constructed by such a random process as evolution is not just blatant prevarication. It is an insult to the intelligence of the public who pay their salaries. I’d say it’s time to cut their funding.

  13. 13
    awstar says:

    If you looked at three different “power point” presentations designed by, let’s say, Microsoft, Google and the PDF maker (can’t remember their name), since they all code digitally, and would be using, I presume ASCII and maybe Java, wouldn’t the three versions of a particular computer application have, at some point in their program, almost the same digital sequence?

    you’re talking multiple layers of abstraction here, which is addressed in Werner Gitt’s theory of information.

    The similar presentations are produced by different authors with the same ideas and same conventions as to how to present those ideas (possibly copying from one another)

    The similar application programs used to prepare their similar presentations are written by different programmers possibly using different programming languages. These programs would exist as different files each with another file containing the presentations.

    If the application programs each are compiled to run on the same operating system, they probably use the same API’s which are written by still other programmers each not caring what applications use them, nor even less, what ideas are conveyed by the presentations.

    Once each of the application programs are compiled, if they use the same API’s it’s likely you would find large segments of digitized sequences of code in both the application program file and even the presentation files.

    But notice every layer of abstraction requires minds that envision what the results are going to be, and have worked diligently even using trial and error to achieve those results.

    The author of life seems to have done this the right way the first time. Now He only has to deal with hackers who try to use His code for their own gain.

  14. 14
    Roy says:

    @ Mapou:

    What identical genes?

    Are you being funny or are you just another weaver of lies and deception? It says right here in the article that the different lineages used the same genes. Read it and weep:

    the six electric fish lineages, all of which evolved independently, used essentially the same genes and developmental and cellular pathways to make an electric organ

    The article states that electric capability was independently derived from the same set of genes that were present in their ancestral non-electricity-generating form in multiple diverse species. The article does not say anything about there being “Identical genes in distant species”. You made that up.

    The weaver of lies and deceptions in this case is you.

    Roy

  15. 15
    Mapou says:

    Roy:

    The article states that electric capability was independently derived from the same set of genes that were present in their ancestral non-electricity-generating form in multiple diverse species. The article does not say anything about there being “Identical genes in distant species”. You made that up.

    The weaver of lies and deceptions in this case is you.

    Wow. Talk about self-deception. Look in the mirror, buddy. If you are correct about your interpretation (or is it just the usual Darwinist spin?), why would that be surprising to the evolutionary biologists who conducted the study? Read it again:

    Adds Gallant: “The surprising result of our study is that electric fish seem to use the same ‘genetic toolbox’ to build their electric organ,” despite the fact that they evolved independently.

    Nowhere does it say that the genetic toolbox was present in their ancestors. What the text clearly says is that the “genetic toolbox”, i.e., the same set of genes used in making an electric organ, miraculously “evolved” independently. This completely falsifies darwinism.

    The Force is strong with the religious. It turns them into truth deniers, weavers of lies and deception. 😀

  16. 16
    PaV says:

    Mapou:

    Then what about apps to do certain functions that are designed by individual programmers?

    It’s interesting, though, that if a “certain length” of sequences is the same, then they assume it was ‘copied;’ that is, it didn’t happen by ‘chance.’

  17. 17
    PaV says:

    Roy and Mapou:

    The genes are the ‘same,’ not ‘identical.’ But this only means that the genes from one species is slightly different from the ‘same’ gene from another species, and the difference being due to mutation. IOW, the ‘same’ genes are NOT highly-highly-conserved.

    This is no surprise.

    But let’s look at Roy’s approach. You nit-pick!

    They’re not identical: yes. BUT, they are the same! Why does NS “need” to use the “same” genes? Isn’t there other ways to do this? And, if not, why not?

    Roy, you seem to say: “Look, I’ve just pointed out that the glass is half-full. You said it was full. So I don’t need to pay further attention.”

    But, Roy, the glass still remains “half-full.” You need to deal with the consequences of this.

    IOW, there appears to be NO “random” way of switching the scheme for muscles to be electric organs. There is only ONE way. So, this means NS had to follow a pathway. Which means that the “pathway” is important, not NS.

    Intelligent agents understand the importance of “pathways,” but NS “understands” nothing.

  18. 18
    RodW says:

    OK, well I really think you guys should have read the paper, because as with many things in biology, the devil is in the details. In this case, the details strongly support evolution.

    Convergent evolution is relatively rare and when it does occur the thing that’s converging in 2 different lineages is only superficially similar. Birds, bats and insects all converged on wings for flight but a close look at those structures shows clearly that they are modifications of preexisting structures. This is a constraint for evolution but theres no reason to expect a designer to do it this way.

    In the case of these electric fish there are a bunch of genes that have been upregulated or downregulated in independent lineages to form the electric organ( EO) Most of these genes would have to have their expression change to form a functional EO so this is not surprising – collagen genes to form insulation; ion pumps to recharge the battery. An evolutionary prediction would be that, barring constraints, the underlying mechanism for these changes in expression level will be different in different lineages. What would an IDer predict? Also, the similarity of expression is not complete, there are differences and the differences correspond to the relatedness of the different groups.
    The authors did not look at the most divergent electric fish; the torpedo rays that are more closely related to sharks. An evolutionary prediction would be that there will be less convergence and more underlying differences between convergences if one compares the rays to the teleost fish studied. What would an IDer predict?

    Although gene expression converged in the EO cell shape did not and cells of EO in even closely related fish can look completely different. The evolutionary explanation would be that as long as different shapes function well there would be little pressure for cell shape to converge. Whats the ID explanation?

    All of you seemed to let pass a comment by the authors that should have caught your attention. They state that EO are clearly modified muscles. If, as you imply, the explanation for the convergence of gene expression is that the designer did it that way ( as designers are wont to do) then EOs cant be modified muscles, they must have been uniquely created. If that’s the case then how do you explain the fact that the EOs of Mormydid fish have scattered non-functional sarcomeres ( structures in muscle that cause contraction) ? It makes perfect sense from an evolutionary point of view but why would an intelligent designer put non-functional muscle specific structures in an EO and why would he/she do it in only one of 6 groups of electric fish?
    (I’m going to crosspost this on the new thread since this conversation might be dying)

  19. 19
    Mapou says:

    OK, after re-reading the article, I admit that I was wrong in my interpretation. “Same” does not mean “identical.” The question is, why would all the electric fish lineages use quasi-identical transcription factors to arrive at an electric organ?

  20. 20
    Mapou says:

    RodW:

    All of you seemed to let pass a comment by the authors that should have caught your attention. They state that EO are clearly modified muscles. If, as you imply, the explanation for the convergence of gene expression is that the designer did it that way ( as designers are wont to do) then EOs cant be modified muscles, they must have been uniquely created.

    Why? One of the sacred principles of intelligent design is to reuse existing structures as much as possible in new designs.

  21. 21
    Box says:

    RodW #18: Convergent evolution is relatively rare and when it does occur the thing that’s converging in 2 different lineages is only superficially similar.

    So, in effect, you are saying that convergence in echolocation in bats and whales is the exception to the rule?

    ScienceDaily: Only some bats and toothed whales rely on sophisticated echolocation, in which they emit sonar pulses and process returning echoes, to detect and track down small prey. Now, two new studies show that bats’ and whales’ remarkable ability and the high-frequency hearing it depends on are shared at a much deeper level than anyone would have anticipated — all the way down to the molecular level.

  22. 22
    wd400 says:

    IOW, there appears to be NO “random” way of switching the scheme for muscles to be electric organs. There is only ONE way. So, this means NS had to follow a pathway. Which means that the “pathway” is important, not NS.

    Intelligent agents understand the importance of “pathways,” but NS “understands” nothing

    It’s amazing how quickly these treads get back to YEC-101 arguments. Even if this work had proved there was only one way to get to the electric organs (rather that the evolutoin of electric organs ends up making similar gene have higher expression, which is quite different) selection doesn’t have to understand anything to navigate a given pathway.

  23. 23
    ppolish says:

    So both ID and Darwinism predict lots of convergent evolution to take place.

    ID has genetic toolbox design and NeoDarwinism has appearance of genetic toolbox design. But isn’t actual design a more elegant, a more scientific solution than
    appearance of design? Isn’t appearance more like make believe?

  24. 24
    PaV says:

    Mapou:

    Your use of “identical” was slightly off, but it in no way detracts from your fundamental argument.

    wd400:

    Even if this work had proved there was only one way to get to the electric organs (rather that the evolution of electric organs ends up making similar gene have higher expression, which is quite different) selection doesn’t have to understand anything to navigate a given pathway.

    First of all, I’m not a YEC. So you’re wrong in implying that I was trying to make a YEC argument.

    Second, using phrases like “evolution of electric organs ends up making similar genes have higher expression” is a simplistic understanding of what is at stake.

    Do you know how to make a house? Build four walls and a roof. Very simplistic, isn’t it?

    Third, you have not engaged the import of my argument. If, indeed, there is only ONE way for muscles to become electric organs, then this ONE way is specified by complex molecular interactions of all sorts. NS has no way of guiding, or “navigating,” these fish through the process leading from the one to the other. It is determined by the forces at work themselves. So NS navigates NOTHING.

    I think you’re willing to admit this. But then you will go on to say that given enough ‘chances’, NS will work its magic. That is, if enough fish are born and reach adulthood—that is, if enough fish are born so that the ones that don’t work die off, and so producing a “selective” effect (which is how NS works)—then this “necessary” pathway will be moved along.

    But I say, tell me, wd400, what does the math look like? What is the probability that this ‘pathway’ will be found—at random—by NS? Work out the numbers for us. You see, I just don’t have enough ‘faith’ that you’re right.

  25. 25
    wd400 says:

    I didn’t say you were a YEC, I said you were making an argument as poorly thought out as those of your typical YEC.

    You have since compounded it in this thread. What is one to make of a sentence like “What is the probability that this ‘pathway’ will be found—at random—by NS?”? or the claim


    If, indeed, there is only ONE way for muscles to become electric organs, then this ONE way is specified by complex molecular interactions of all sorts. NS has no way of guiding, or “navigating,” these fish through the process leading from the one to the other. It is determined by the forces at work themselves. So NS navigates NOTHING

    These aren’t even wrong. Natural selection is not random and you have nothing by assertion to suppoer your (ALL CAPS) claim above.

  26. 26
    Joe says:

    RodW:

    Birds, bats and insects all converged on wings for flight but a close look at those structures shows clearly that they are modifications of preexisting structures.

    That’s the propaganda, anyway.

  27. 27
    Joe says:

    wd400:

    Natural selection is not random…

    In what way is it “non-random”? The way Mayr says it is non-random doesn’t help you in any way.

  28. 28
    Acartia_bogart says:

    “In what way is it “non-random”? The way Mayr says it is non-random doesn’t help you in any way.”

    So, if certain “traits” result in a higher proportion of viable offspring, this is random? As a statistician, I can categorically say that it’s not.

  29. 29
    Mung says:

    A_b:

    So, if certain “traits” result in a higher proportion of viable offspring, this is random? As a statistician, I can categorically say that it’s not.

    You can say it, but that don’t make it so. And I don’t have to be a staticstician to say it.

    Statistically speaking, how many statistician does it take to establish a fact?

  30. 30
    Box says:

    WD400 #25, Acartia_bogart #28.

    The pathway to new traits – in the absence of functional intermediates – is beyond the grasp of NS. So NS doesn’t create new traits. New traits are presented by randomness aka dumb luck.
    I believe that this is what Pav means when he asks:

    What is the probability that this ‘pathway’ will be found—at random—by NS?

  31. 31
    Mung says:

    PaV @ 6.

    I’d like to help, but i really did not understand the question.

    Coding is reductionist. It reduces down to what the processor is capable of processing.

    Programming languages strive to be “platform independent” but to be so they require an underlying infrastructure that is itself coded to a particular processor. It could not be otherwise.

    So regardless of the higher level programming language, Java, C#, Python, Ruby (my personal favorite), if it’s running on a given operating system and processor there will be commonalities.

  32. 32
    wd400 says:

    Box,

    “in the absence of functional intermediates” would be the key phrase there, I’d think?

  33. 33
    PaV says:

    wd400:

    You ask:

    What is one to make of a sentence like “What is the probability that this ‘pathway’ will be found—at random—by NS?”?

    Here’s what you make of it: you answer this question: how can this ‘pathway’ be traversed except—per the Darwinian view—by “random” mutations, and what is the probability that these “random” mutations will occur in all the locations they need to occur?

    Was that so hard?

    Now here’s your last sentence:

    Natural selection is not random and you have nothing by assertion to suppoer your (ALL CAPS) claim above.

    Now I suppose you meant to say this: “Natural Selection is not random and you have nothing [but] assertion to [support] your (ALL CAPS) claim above.”

    I don’t whine about having to figure out what you meant to say.
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Now, where did I say that NS was random? Where?

    NS is an almost-nothing kind of thing, and it is so in this sense: NS is differential reproduction, and no more; but this only means that it is “differential death.” That’s all NS is.

    Now, if NS were “random”, then no such thing as “differential death” could occur.

    You will notice that I already said this: that is, if enough fish are born so that the ones that don’t work die off, and so producing a “selective” effect (which is how NS works). [you know, “genetic load”–the bane of Haldane and Kimura]

    How, exactly, then, does NS “navigate”? There’s only ‘winners and losers’ when it comes to life. The losers leave no progeny; the winners do. So the “pathway” that is “navigated” is “navigated” by the progeny that flows through geologic time in the form of a population.

    Per the Darwinian view, this “navigation” occurring in the population is driven by “random” mutations.

    Now, please, give me the numbers that support your view that Darwinian evolution can successfully “navigate” its way from muscle to electric organ.

    I asked you once. Now I ask you again. Please show me your “support” for your belief that this “navigation” is possible via “random” mutations.

    Did you balk at my phrasing because you have no math to support you? That’s what I think. Prove me wrong.

  34. 34
    PaV says:

    Mung:

    You said:
    So regardless of the higher level programming language, Java, C#, Python, Ruby (my personal favorite), if it’s running on a given operating system and processor there will be commonalities.

    Did you mean to say: ” . . . and processor there will NOT be commonalities.”?

    I’m not sure how to understand it here.

  35. 35
    PaV says:

    Mung:

    I should have added something.

    What about the situation where your dealing with Android apps, do you have to code for each different kind of processor, or is the knowledge that the processor is Android based sufficient.

    It would seem that if you have kind of the same language and same processor base that you could compare, e.g., two “learning to type” programs written by two different programmers. Maybe I’m way off here.

  36. 36
    Mapou says:

    PaV, I think what Mung is saying is that all programs that run on a given operating system and that are coded in a specific language will have commonalities. This is because they all reuse existing libraries and OS interface. There is no point in rewriting a linked list or string object, for example. It has already been done. Intelligent Design rule #1: Do not reinvent the wheel.

  37. 37
    Box says:

    WD400, “in the absence of functional intermediates” would be the key phrase there, I’d think?

    Do you envision functional intermediates between muscles and electric organs – muscle cells to electrocytes? Or do you simply believe that they exist?

  38. 38
    bornagain77 says:

    Convergent evolution seen in hundreds of genes – Erika Check Hayden – 04 September 2013
    Excerpt: “These results imply that convergent molecular evolution is much more widespread than previously recognized,” says molecular phylogeneticist Frédéric Delsuc at the The National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) at the University of Montpellier in France, who was not involved in the study. What is more, he adds, the genes involved are not just the few, obvious ones known to be directly involved in a trait but a broader array of genes that are involved in the same regulatory networks.
    http://www.nature.com/news/con.....es-1.13679

  39. 39
    Joe says:

    Acartia_nogart:

    So, if certain “traits” result in a higher proportion of viable offspring, this is random?

    What traits? What happens when there are several competing traits, each depends on the environment and that environment continually changes (as happens in the real world)?

    Natural selection is as non-random as the spray pattern made by a sawed-off shotgun shooting bird shot.

  40. 40
    Joe says:

    Convergent evolution is just the evo way to avoid the obvious common design.

  41. 41
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Joe, if all traits in a population do not have an equal probability of being passed along to subsequent generations, which ample evidence supports, then it is not a random process.

    The only “random” process is mutations, which can only act on the genome existing at the time. These mutations are either positive, negative or neutral. But even neutral modifications can become positive (or negative) if conditions change.

  42. 42
    Joe says:

    Acartia_bogart,

    I understand the premise. My point is that does not help you in any way.

    BTW chance also plays a part in the elimination process.

  43. 43
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Joe, nobody has suggested that chance does not play a part in eliminating traits from the population. But that is not the same thing as saying that NS is a random process.

  44. 44
    wd400 says:

    Now, where did I say that NS was random? Where?

    Here:

    “What is the probability that this ‘pathway’ will be found—at random—by NS?

    You will notice that I already said this: that is, if enough fish are born so that the ones that don’t work die off, and so producing a “selective” effect (which is how NS works). [you know, “genetic load”–the bane of Haldane and Kimura]

    Genetic load is what you get when selection is ineffective (many alleles are not the best possible allele) and has nothing to do with this sentence as far as I can tell.

    How, exactly, then, does NS “navigate”? There’s only ‘winners and losers’ when it comes to life. The losers leave no progeny; the winners do. So the “pathway” that is “navigated” is “navigated” by the progeny that flows through geologic time in the form of a population.

    And that’s how it navigates – when selection is operating some evolutionary trajectories are much more likely than others. Those pathways that are taken are non-random.

    Per the Darwinian view, this “navigation” occurring in the population is driven by “random” mutations.

    That’s mutationism, not Darwinism.

    Now, please, give me the numbers that support your view that Darwinian evolution can successfully “navigate” its way from muscle to electric organ.

    Calculating the probability of a pre-specified outcome over millions of years and thousands of fish lineages is obviously not possible (and not more possible under intellegent design).It’s like asking for the probability that the grand canyon would form precisely as it has, then denying erosion if no numbers were forthcoming.

    Did you balk at my phrasing because you have no math to support you?

    Lol.I didn’t answer your question because it is so poorly posed it’s hard to know what mistakes you are making in phrasing it.

  45. 45
    PaV says:

    wd400:

    Genetic load is what you get when selection is ineffective (many alleles are not the best possible allele) and has nothing to do with this sentence as far as I can tell.

    ” . . . when selection is ineffective . . .” You didn’t say: ” . . . when selection isn’t present . . .”, and, so, my point stands.

    Here’s what Wiki has to say about genetic load:
    Genetic load can be looked at as the probability that an organism will reach its reproductive age.[3] This is important to scientists because if genetic load gets too high the population will be in danger of going extinct because the organisms are not able to survive and reproduce.

    IOW, you have to have “enough fish . . . born” to allow for selection to kill off the unfit.

    In the original remark, I wrote this:

    That is, if enough fish are born and reach adulthood.

    You choose to NOT understand what I’m saying so that you can live in the “ivory tower” you’ve constructed within your own mind. Long live Darwinism!

    Calculating the probability of a pre-specified outcome over millions of years and thousands of fish lineages is obviously not possible (and not more possible under intellegent design).It’s like asking for the probability that the grand canyon would form precisely as it has, then denying erosion if no numbers were forthcoming.

    So, you can’t do it. We’re just simply supposed to believe you, right?

    The ID argument is very simple. The improbability of getting simultaneous mutations at the right spots along the length of the genome is too improbable. It’s the theme of Behe’s book, The Edge of Evolution. You should read it. It tells us what we see happening in life—real life—not the “ivory tower.”

    To have simultaneous mutations in a fish genome would be, roughly, 10^7 x 10^7 = 10^14

    Assuming a population size of 10^5, this means that 10^9 generations would be needed to overcome this improbability, which means 10^9 years. But complex life has only been around for 550 million years.

    This is ALL we need to know. QED.

    I didn’t answer your question because it is so poorly posed it’s hard to know what mistakes you are making in phrasing it.

    In your arrogance, you choose ignorance. How’s the air up their in the “tower”?

  46. 46
    Joe says:

    Acartia_bogart- The way natural selection is non-random does not help you in any way.

  47. 47
    PaV says:

    wd400

    I asked you where I said that NS was “random”. You respond:

    What is the probability that this ‘pathway’ will be found—at random—by NS?

    Let’s change the sentence, leaving out what I placed within dashes:

    What is the probability that this ‘pathway’ will be found by NS?

    Does this phrasing suggest that NS is “random”?
    Answer: No.

    If I wanted to imply that NS was “random” I would have written:

    What is the probability that this ‘pathway’ will be found by NS, operating, as it does, in a random fashion?

    Obviously I meant that the ‘pathway’ would have to be found “at random,” since it assumed that ‘intelligence’ is not at play, an ‘intelligence’ that is capable of knowing what the “one” pathway is.

  48. 48
    wd400 says:

    ” . . . when selection is ineffective . . .” You didn’t say: ” . . . when selection isn’t present . . .”, and, so, my point stands.

    Here’s what Wiki has to say about genetic load:
    Genetic load can be looked at as the probability that an organism will reach its reproductive age.[3] This is important to scientists because if genetic load gets too high the population will be in danger of going extinct because the organisms are not able to survive and reproduce.

    IOW, you have to have “enough fish . . . born” to allow for selection to kill off the unfit.

    What you said after “IOW” is not a restatement of the eariler sentence. Genetic load is about how (relatively) unfit a population is. I think you are confusing it for substituion load, which different and not really relevant to this question (or many questions, as it happens).

    You choose to NOT understand what I’m saying so that you can live in the “ivory tower” you’ve constructed within your own mind. Long live Darwinism!

    Nah, see above.

    The ID argument is very simple. The improbability of getting simultaneous mutations at the right spots along the length of the genome is too improbable. I

    Why simultaneous?

    To have simultaneous mutations in a fish genome would be, roughly, 10^7 x 10^7 = 10^14

    Assuming a population size of 10^5, this means that 10^9 generations would be needed to overcome this improbability, which means 10^9 years. But complex life has only been around for 550 million years.

    This is ALL we need to know.

    You calculations seem to assume there is only one fish lineage and that mutations are (a) ultra-specified (only two possible ones? Although your mutation rate seems wrong) and (b) have to occur n the same individual spontanaeously…

    In your arrogance, you choose ignorance. How’s the air up their in the “tower”?

    Well, I think the couple of examples above show that you are probably not in a position to write the aggresively sneering OP that started this thread. I have tried to read and understand your posts, but I’m afraid it’s not easy to work out what you’re saying

  49. 49
    wd400 says:

    Re: 47.

    Indeed, if you remove the bit about randomness then the sentence no longer contains a bit about randomness.

    Obviously I meant that the ‘pathway’ would have to be found “at random,” since it assumed that ‘intelligence’ is not at play, an ‘intelligence’ that is capable of knowing what the “one” pathway is.

    OK, if this is what you menat then we are left with needting to explain why this matters. Selection has no foresight, no one disputes this, but why do you think it matters in this case?

  50. 50
    PaV says:

    wd400:

    Still no numbers. You don’t address the high improbability of only two mutations needing to occur simultaneously.

    Do we brush this under the rug?

  51. 51
    PaV says:

    wd400:

    Indeed, if you remove the bit about randomness then the sentence no longer contains a bit about randomness.

    Yes, that’s true. But!!! the “bit about randomness” happened almost immediately after the word ‘pathway’ and BEFORE the abbreviated words “natural selection.” Why would you think the word “random” would modify a word that follows it? Strange.

    You write:

    OK, if this is what you menat then we are left with needting to explain why this matters. Selection has no foresight, no one disputes this, but why do you think it matters in this case?

    If I understand you correctly, this “matters” because it means that we’re supposed to believe that something that happens “at random”, facilitated by something that “has no foresight,” ends up with the exact same solution and pathway. This defies credibility.

    Take, e.g., something that’s right up your alley: protection against malaria.

    There are all kinds of SNPs that can so modify blood cells as to prevent the production of the malarial parasite. There’s a whole slew of these, among which are “Sickle-Cell Anemia” and “Thalassemia.”

    These are “random” solutions. No one quibble with them. It’s straightforward stuff.

    But that’s not the case when it comes to the conversion of muscle tissue to use as an electric organ.

  52. 52
    Mung says:

    Hi Mapou, thanks for chiming in, but it’s even more fundamental than shared libraries.

    As you point out, different applications coded in the same language may share the same libraries.

    But it’s less likely to find different programming languages sharing the same libraries, even when developed for the same OS.

    A more fundamental point of commonality is the processor.

    And each processor has what is known as an instruction set.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instruction_set

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L.....ction_sets

    If you are not “speaking the language” of the processor that you are trying to use to execute the application, good luck!

    So many applications will reduce down to a set of specific instructions that the underlying processor can process. This has to be the case for this is the way the entire system is designed.

  53. 53
    Mung says:

    A_b:

    The only “random” process is mutations, which can only act on the genome existing at the time.

    Simply false.

    It’s a real shame that we cannot simply concentrate strictly on ID here at UD. Instead we must constantly counter the mistaken ideas of Darwinists. Is there something defective in Darwinian education?

  54. 54
    Mung says:

    wd400:

    Genetic load is what you get when selection is ineffective (many alleles are not the best possible allele) and has nothing to do with this sentence as far as I can tell.

    Genetic death is what you get regardless of whether selection is “effective” or not?

    effective:

    successful in producing a desired or intended result.

    Selection, according to neo-Darwinian theory, is neither effective nor ineffective. The very idea is absurd. But by all means, don’t let that stop you.

  55. 55
    wd400 says:

    Pav,

    Still no numbers. You don’t address the high improbability of only two mutations needing to occur simultaneously.

    Do we brush this under the rug?

    Why do you think mutations need to occur simultaneously?

    If I understand you correctly, this “matters” because it means that we’re supposed to believe that something that happens “at random”, facilitated by something that “has no foresight,” ends up with the exact same solution and pathway. This defies credibility.

    I really don’t understand what you are on about. If there was really only one way to get something done and multiple things get that job done then they necessarily take the same path. That doesn’t require any foresight though.

  56. 56
    PaV says:

    Why do you think mutations don’t need to occur simultaneously?

    As to the lack of “randomness,” again, SNPs that protect against malaria are all over the place. No need for “simultaneous” mutations.

    But when we’re talking about something as grand as changing muscle into an electric organ, we’re talking about all kinds of specific mutations, and it doesn’t seem reasonable that these mutations should occur one after another.

    If NS would not kill off these one-step mutations, then they should be found somewhere in the animal kingdom, should they not? If, for each step, “fitness” is gained, then shouldn’t each of these single steps be there for us to see?

    As usual, there are NO such “intermediates,” either in the fossil record or in extant species.

    We’re left simply to “believe” the Darwninsts. No, thank you.

  57. 57
    wd400 says:

    All this anger and derision and snideness, and it turns out the whole post is based on nothing more than your own personal conviction that you would require multiple simultaneaous mutations to develop the electric organs (something the paper in no way indicates)?

    Why do you think mutations don’t need to occur simultaneously?

    Because there is no evidence that they do.

    But when we’re talking about something as grand as changing muscle into an electric organ, we’re talking about all kinds of specific mutations, and it doesn’t seem reasonable that these mutations should occur one after another.

    Because you say so? It’s not as grant a change as you think, by the way. Muscles are already electric organs, even if the aren’t Eletric Organs.

    If NS would not kill off these one-step mutations, then they should be found somewhere in the animal kingdom, should they not? If, for each step, “fitness” is gained, then shouldn’t each of these single steps be there for us to see?

    No. Mutations are only benificial or not in the context of their environment. Weakly electric fish use their EO’s to navigate and communicate, that’s only likely to be of use in murky habitats. Moreover, once an EO is developed it makes senese it soptimized. No one (in their right mind…) compains that there are no living reptile with half a wing, after all.

  58. 58
    willh says:

    “Adds Gallant: “The surprising result of our study is that electric fish seem to use the same ‘genetic toolbox’ to build their electric organ,” despite the fact that they evolved independently…”

    Is the phrase ‘surprising result’ perhaps just a literary device, or where they truly surprised in real terms? Does anyone perhaps have any insight into what they expected to find, or if not that, what wouldn’t have ‘surprised’ the researchers?

  59. 59
    Mapou says:

    willh @58,

    Maybe those researchers are not really Darwinists but closet IDists? It’s their way of protesting the paradigm without looking like it. In the politically correct world of biology, one does not come out against Darwin and still hope to have a job. Darwinists are fascists.

    Think about it. Darwinists should be surprised at the results because the parallel evolution of identical mechanisms in distant species stretches credulity to a breaking point.

  60. 60
    Joe says:

    wd400:

    Muscles are already electric organs, even if the aren’t Eletric Organs.

    Muscles do not generate electricity. Muscles move because of an electric stimulus provided by nerves. And nerves do not generate electricity, they harness and use it.

  61. 61
    willh says:

    Mapou:

    “Think about it. Darwinists should be surprised at the results because the parallel evolution of identical mechanisms in distant species stretches credulity to a breaking point.”

    No doubt anyone ‘in the community’ would have to be surreptitious if in disagreement. Perhaps put in the form of a question, or indeed surprise, is the wisest choice for a non-conformist.

    But for the discussions sake, is there any real shock (no pun intended, just can’t think of another word besides repeating the quoted word ‘surprise’ again) to the revelation that the genetics are so similar? Doesn’t this specific impressive organ (or perhaps modified muscle … and very impressive indeed in such as the electric eel for both its size and galvanic force) require specific and related genetic material to produce it? Are the authors of the study not referring to the actual genes involved to provide this biologic function, or is it some other aspect of the genetic structure/expression?

    Well on this so I do wonder … just want to pose this to gain clarification for in case the suggestion of some hidden (to me atleast) factor is more relevant. Thanks for any responses.

  62. 62
    Mapou says:

    willh,

    There are probably thousands of different biochemical ways to generate electricity. Evolving an electric muscle just once is incredibly unlikely. But evolving the same organ six times independently puts Darwinists squarely in the voodoo science camp.

  63. 63
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Mung: “Simply false.

    It’s a real shame that we cannot simply concentrate strictly on ID here at UD. Instead we must constantly counter the mistaken ideas of Darwinists. Is there something defective in Darwinian education?”

    So, please, educate me. What other “random” processes are involved in natural selection other that mutations? Simply stating that I am wrong is not an argument. Unless you are using that tried and true ID argument of “I know you are but what am I

  64. 64
    StephenA says:

    So, please, educate me. What other “random” processes are involved in natural selection other that mutations?

    The environment. The nature and composition of local competitors. Which genes happen to get passed along. Local food supply. The weather. Predator population and composition.

    Pretty much everything really.

  65. 65
    willh says:

    Mapou:

    “There are probably thousands of different biochemical ways to generate electricity. Evolving an electric muscle just once is incredibly unlikely. But evolving the same organ six times independently puts Darwinists squarely in the voodoo science camp”

    Yes see your point. But even if the extant electric organ that is displayed in these creatures was the only choice, it seems a very stiff proposition for an design free material process to achieve.

  66. 66
    willh says:

    Mapou:

    “There are probably thousands of different biochemical ways to generate electricity. Evolving an electric muscle just once is incredibly unlikely. But evolving the same organ six times independently puts Darwinists squarely in the voodoo science camp”

    Yes see your point. But even if the extant electric organ that is displayed in these creatures was the only choice, it seems a very stiff proposition for a design free material process to achieve.

  67. 67
    willh says:

    Ok my apologies people, the double post was not an attempt at any emphasis, just a failed minor spelling correction … 🙂

  68. 68
    Acartia_bogart says:

    StephenA: “So, please, educate me. What other “random” processes are involved in natural selection other that mutations?

    The environment. The nature and composition of local competitors. Which genes happen to get passed along. Local food supply. The weather. Predator population and composition.

    Pretty much everything really.”

    You make perfect sense if any of these things were random. Beyond the animal’s control is not the same thing as being random. And it is the population’s reaction to all of these things (except what genes get passed along) that are the factors that drive natural selection. Yet you try to spin them to convince us that these are the reason that NS does not work.

  69. 69
    StephenA says:

    …it is the population’s reaction to all of these things (except what genes get passed along) that are the factors that drive natural selection.

    Except that the random nature of these effects will largely overwhelm the force of natural selection.

    Let me try and explain this in small steps.

    Evolution is supposed to work in a succession of small steps, right? Each step builds on the previous ones. This gradual accumulation of useful changes is how evolution happens (supposedly).

    So lets say that a rabbit is born with a new useful mutation. Let’s say that the mutation confers a 1% greater chance of successfully reproducing (small steps, remember). What is the chance that natural selection will ‘see’ this new mutation and use it to determine if the rabbit passes it’s genes along?
    Well, we answered that earlier. 1%.
    Which basically means that there is a 99% chance that the reproductive success of this rabbit will be determined by something other than natural selection.

    I’m not saying that the rabbit will die. I’m saying that the selection process is mostly random. It might well survive and propagate, but if it does, it will be mostly due to chance.

  70. 70
    Eric Anderson says:

    . . . a common regulatory network of transcription factors and developmental pathways may have been repeatedly targeted by selection . . .

    Now, that is a quote by someone who hasn’t the faintest clue what they are talking about.

    Go ahead, waive the Darwinian flag, even when it doesn’t make a bit of sense to do so.

  71. 71
    PaV says:

    wd400:

    All this anger and derision and snideness,

    This is what arrogance gets you. Change your attitude, and I will change mine. It’s up to you.

    PaV:
    If NS would not kill off these one-step mutations, then they should be found somewhere in the animal kingdom, should they not? If, for each step, “fitness” is gained, then shouldn’t each of these single steps be there for us to see?

    wd400:

    No. Mutations are only benificial or not in the context of their environment. Weakly electric fish use their EO’s to navigate and communicate, that’s only likely to be of use in murky habitats. Moreover, once an EO is developed it makes senese it soptimized.

    You’ve contradicted yourself.

    In answering the question I pose about ‘intermediates,’ you reply, “No.” And, yet, your ‘imagine’ an intermediate scenario—murky waters—and then suggest the EO will later on be “optimized.” So, then, are you saying that “murky waters” are no longer found? Or that there is no advantage to having some ‘intermediate’ form of an EO? And that we should no longer be expected to find such a form?

    Again, you contradict yourself.

    No one (in their right mind…) compains that there are no living reptile with half a wing, after all.

    Perverse logic here. Typical of Darwinists. You make all kinds of presumptions and suppositions, and then use these to defend the theory. Science doesn’t work that way. Defend the theory AND its presumptions and suppositions.

    “Half a wing” is only possible within a Darwinian framework of “gradualism.” ID rejects it and says, instead, that the structure is most likely the result of an intelligent intervention of some sort.

    So to use the example of “half a wing” to ‘defend’ Darwinism against the charge that no ‘intermediates’ have been found is just twisted logic. If you want to be a Darwinist, then you HAVE to give reasons WHY there are NO “half wings.”

    As to proof of the need for “simultaneous” mutations, read The Edge of Evolution. This ‘need’ is documented there. But, of course, you wouldn’t deign to read such a book. After all, some ID person wrote it. (IOW, who cares about ‘facts,’ when we all know that scientific dogma is more important.)

    The intellectual dishonesty you’re guilty of is this: I quite simply pointed out to you—who, as a population geneticist familiar with how populations can overcome the improbabilities associated with the fixation of certain mutations—the improbability for NS to provide for just TWO mutations (the malarial parasite in Behe’s book is an extravagant replicator, or else it couldn’t have reached resistance to chloroquine in a short period of time). This requires you to stick to the position that ‘simultaneous’ mutations aren’t needed.

    But it was needed in the case of the malarial parasite. And that was just to get some simply ‘ion-channel’ to function.

    If you’re an honest scientist, you can’t believe or accept Darwinism unless you’re “not in your right mind.”

  72. 72
    wd400 says:

    The snideness I was referring to was the OP. I don’t think it’s arrogant to point out someone’s mistakes, especially when those mistakes come after being so dismissive of a topic they know so little about.

    In this thread, you’ve repeatedly claimed that the evolution of an EO would require simaltaneous mutations. Nothing in teh paper that elicited this post requires this to be true. So it turns out that this post was spurred by nothing other than your own belief incredulity that an EO could evolve.
    Now you seem to be saying Behe’s book chapter about malaria (in which he makes several mistakes) is proof that simltanious mutations are required for the evolution of EOs? A very stange argument.

    In answering the question I pose about ‘intermediates,’ you reply, “No.” And, yet, your ‘imagine’ an intermediate scenario—murky waters—and then suggest the EO will later on be “optimized.

    You didn’t read very closely. Some fish already used their EO’s to navigate and communicate in murky or dark water. Those EO’s are ‘intermediate’ between muscle/nerve and the much more powerful EO’s of strongly electric fish.

    What I was answering “no” to was the claim that if an intermediate character was beneficial we’d necessarily see some species with that intermediate character. I can see no reason why that would be the case.

    So to use the example of “half a wing” to ‘defend’ Darwinism against the charge that no ‘intermediates’ have been found is just twisted logic. If you want to be a Darwinist, then you HAVE to give reasons WHY there are NO “half wings.”

    I didn’t give it to “defend Darwinism”. I really didn’t think anyone could think the fact no modern reptiles retain primitaive wings constitutes an argument against the evolution of wings. I thought it might nicely illustrate why the argument was wrong (descendants of the primatively winged dinosaurs are either extinct or birds…). But I guess I was wrong.

  73. 73
    PaV says:

    wd400:

    It’s a complete waste of time dialoguing with you.

    You interpret everything I write in the most negative way possible. You’re not interested in knowing anything. You’re only interested in holding onto your views.

    You say I was talking about simultaneous mutation from the get-go. That is so wrong. But that’s how you choose to interpret things.

    You say I’m talking about something I know so little about. Well, you’re right in one respect. I’m no expert in either muscle tissue or electric organs.

    But that’s not what this post was about. It was about “surprised” scientists who found that of six species of fish–some clearly not in the same descendant line and some also taxonomically distant–the very same “tool-box” was used. Different species, different lineages, different environments, but always the same solution.

    That’s not what a theory based on “randomness” would expect.

    You countered by saying NS is not ‘random’ and charging that I had said so. Wrong about that, I pointed out that I was talking about the ‘random’ pathway one would expect if a truly “random” process was a work, a process that you said was “mutationism”, not “Darwinism.” (You can’t help picking at nits).

    That got us to the point of talking about what these “mutations” might look like.

    I did a calculation for the improbability of two, simultaneous mutations, showing, quite easily and clearly, that evolution would have a hard time overcoming the improbability involved.

    I asked you to provide calculations for you “belief” that “gradual” ( or are you saying that mutations do have to occur simultaneously) evolution of a pathway would occur. You failed to provide such calculations, simply dismissing it as beyond what we know. (of course, this means that Darwinism is an argument from ignorance—isn’t that what they say about ID?).

    Then I made the point that if evolution were to have occurred so ‘gradually,’ that surely we would find, among extant species, some of these very ‘gradual’ and ‘intermediate’ changes that your view requires.

    Then you gave a very inept example, and I pointed out the inherent contradiction.

    That brings us up-to-date now. You can blow all the smoke-screens you want. I simply ask: show me the calculations, and show me the intermediates. Then I’ll begin to take you more seriously.

  74. 74
    wd400 says:

    But that’s not what this post was about. It was about “surprised” scientists who found that of six species of fish–some clearly not in the same descendant line and some also taxonomically distant–the very same “tool-box” was used. Different species, different lineages, different environments, but always the same solution.

    That’s not what a theory based on “randomness” would expect.

    As this is the bit you’ve yet to explain. Why do random mutations mean it’s unlikely that the same genes would be used in generating the same trait?

  75. 75
    Querius says:

    And I’m still waiting for someone to explain what a “genetic toolbox” is and what kind of tools are in it.

    -Q

  76. 76
    wd400 says:

    It’s just a term referring to the set of protein/RNAs/regulatory elements in a genome.

  77. 77
    Mung says:

    A toolbox is a container for tools. Toolboxes are designed for a purpose.

    The tools a toolbox is designed to contain are designed for a purpose.

    wd400:

    It’s just a term referring to the set of protein/RNAs/regulatory elements in a genome.

    IOW, it’s being used as a metaphor.

    Apparently no other metaphor which did not evoke design was appropriate.

    Why does biology rely so heavily on metaphors?

  78. 78
    wd400 says:

    I don’t think the public discourse on biology is more reliant on metaphor than other fields of science. How metaphors did you hear for the Higgs boson, or to to describe cosmic inflation?

  79. 79
    PaV says:

    As this is the bit you’ve yet to explain. Why do random mutations mean it’s unlikely that the same genes would be used in generating the same trait?

    This opens up a broader discussion.

    Wasn’t it Stephen Gould who said that if evolution were rewound, that it wouldn’t occur the same way again. IOW, “randomness.”

    That’s what “Darwinism” is all about—“randomness.”

    As a population geneticist who is fond of neutral drift, you delve in an area that is completely random. So, if “mutations” are ‘random’, and NS is non-teleological—i.e., it can’t see the “end” towards which things move, then how, under this scenario, can you account for each of these different lineages doing things in the same way.

    Meanwhile, the ignition switches on Fords, BMW’s, and Volvos are very, very similar. They solve the same need in almost, if not in the, same way. That’s what you expect from intelligent agency. “Randomness” is what you expect from ‘random’ mutations and unguided NS.

    That’s why the scientists were surprised. But, it’s convenient for you to ‘not’ be surprised. But I think you’re being intellectually dishonest—perhaps not consciously, but certainly at least unconsciously. You make demands of ID—prove it!; but, when I ask you for numbers you simply hand-wave the whole issue away. This is more than convenient.

  80. 80
    wd400 says:

    Gould, a non-Darwinian in the nonUD-ian sense of “Darwinism”, did indeed say evolution would procced differently if you could rewind the clock. Other evolutioary biologists disagree.

    It’s a classic case if the tension between (true) Darwinism, in which selection provides direction and a degree of predicability and neutral ideas where the paths taken by lineages is more or less random. Everyone falls somewhere on a continuum from Dawkins-ish Darwinism to Gould-ish contingency and chance. (For the little that it’s worth I’m probably closer to Gould).

    But what about this paper? The results so show the same genes have their regulation changed in multiple difference evolutions of the EO. You think this is a problem for evolutoin because “Randomness” is what you expect from ‘random’ mutations and unguided NS.. But, there are only so many genes and networks that contribute to teh running of the cell, and only o many that can be modified. So, if you a muscle precussor cell is to develop into something other than a muscle then hey1 might be the only protein for the job. If that’s the case then we shouldn’t be too suprised hey1 is up-regulated in all the EO cells. I should point out – there is no suggestion that the same mutations have been fixed in each lineage, just similar results with regard to gene expression.

    IT is a a little suprising that so many genes have been used repeatedly (surprise, after all, is what get’s you in Science and not Genome Biology and Evolution), but I don’t why you think it’s “drivel” to see this evolving by natural seleciton. You’d only expect multiple solutions to a problem if multiple solutions exist and are easily obtainable from ancestral teleost genome these groups shared. Is there any evidence for this claim?

  81. 81
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Mung: “A toolbox is a container for tools. Toolboxes are designed for a purpose. The tools a toolbox is designed to contain are designed for a purpose.”

    ID strategy number 2: any term or phrase used by evolutionist that can be misinterpreted by an IDist to infer design, will be.

  82. 82
    PaV says:

    wd400:

    Finally, plain-spoken and open. Much nicer.

    Pretty much, everything comes down to this:

    You’d only expect multiple solutions to a problem if multiple solutions exist and are easily obtainable from ancestral teleost genome these groups shared. Is there any evidence for this claim?***

    Basically, if “multiple solutions exist” and are “easily obtainable,” then, yes, Organism A can become Organism B. This is called “micro-evolution,” which most (even I, to a degree, accept this, though I wouldn’t invoke the words NS—which, of course, is a play on words of “artificial selection,” which intelligent agents are known to bring about) here at UD readily accept.+++

    Yet, if it were “easy”—which, within the arena of population genetics means that they’re not that many mutations apart—then wouldn’t we see “teleosts” having electric organs, and then reverting back to regular muscle, and so forth? We don’t see this, however. So, the evidence suggests that it is NOT easy.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    So, it appears that this change (not evolution, just a change) is NOT easy? Then what?

    Well, they say in the article that there’s a whole “tool-box” which involves changes to regulatory proteins and pathways, and changes to proteins. Upon the Darwinian view, this happens gradually. Since you are denying “simultaneous” mutations (don’t wiggle out of this position, please), then you must “believe” that they occur step-by-step.

    But, again, what should we expect from this? If you can go from A to B one step at a time, then you can go from B to A one step at a time. We would expect, given so many changed environment, that the EO would toggle back and forth, as I’ve already stated. We don’t see this.

    Also, on the Darwinian view, we would expect that this ‘pathway’ is taken because the changes increase fitness—or else, NS could not be invoked [there’s an exception to this that the neutral drift people like you would invoke; I’ll address that in a moment].

    Therefore, let’s say that Organism A becomes Organism B in steps. Let’s call these steps: A1, A2, A3 ……..A’N’–> B.

    Since A1 is more fit than A, shouldn’t A disappear to be replaced by A1? And A1 disappear to be replaced by A2, and so on? Then we would expect to “find” Organisms A’N’ and B, with very little genetic distance between them—which is not the case with muscle becoming an EO.

    If you object that the “fitness” difference is so slight that A1 might not disappear, nor A2, etc., then we would find all kinds of “intermediate forms.” But we don’t see them.

    Further, if there is no “fitness difference” involved, then not only can NS not be invoked, but, as I’ve said already, we would see a ‘toggling’ between the forms over geologic time. We don’t see this either.

    Now the last case in which there is no ‘fitness’ difference whatsoever, boils down to the case of neutral drift.

    If you believe that the required mutations could be built up over time via this ‘drift,’ so that all sorts of ‘neutral’ mutations can be ‘selected’ at once — which, of course, forms your fondness for Gould —calculations will show that this will take an enormous amount of time, and that, because these mutations are ‘neutral’ and not ‘seen’ by NS, they can also ‘mutate’ away. If you look at the study by Behe and Snoke, this is how they modeled evolution, and they demonstrated mathematically that astronomical amounts of time would be required for most species just to bring about a two residue change. (This, then, formed the basis of Behe’s look at the malarial parasite—the ultimate test of NS because the parasite was in a life-and-death struggle with the chloroquine, and NS, therefore, was operated as strongly as is possible—in which he discovered, CONSISTENT with his mathematical models, that the malarial parasite—which, because it is such a prolific replicator was one of the few species that his mathematical model said might bring about a two a.a. change—did bring about resistance via a two a.a., simultaneous, mutation.

    All of this lends credence to the improbability of accumulating a host of ‘simultaneous’ mutations via neutral drift without some of them being lost.

    And all of this is made worse because we now know that only ONE ‘pathway’ exists. As you know, wd400, if there were lots of ‘pathways,’ then this would increase the likelihood of neutral drift bringing about this change. So you don’t even have that any longer.

    So, in sum, what do we have?

    We don’t see EO’s and muscles ‘toggling.’
    We don’t see ‘intermediate forms.’
    We don’t see a very small (easy) genetic distance between these two morphologies.
    We don’t see multiple ‘pathways’ from muscles to EOs.

    Therefore, we don’t see a plausible Darwinian mechanism for explaining this conversion. This implausibility is heightened given that we now know that there is only one, single, ‘pathway’ that leads from muscles to EOs.

    The evidence—or, better yet, the LACK of evidence—completely undermines the Darwinian position.

    Meanwhile, ID says that all of this has the hallmark of intelligence being at work.

    Can you undermine our claim?

    &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&
    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    ***(This needs to be pointed out here. You can only make this statement because you now know that only one solution is possible. The scientists were surprised. If you had asked them–and probably you—BEFORE the study was conducted, they would have said, “Oh, we expect to find more than one pathway.” Why do I say this? Because, of course, they were “surprised” by the results.

    So, now that the results are in, you ask me: why do you find this so surprising? This is ex post facto science.

    Dembski, in NFL, as he lays out the mathematical foundation of his Design Inference, cautions that the ‘target’ or ‘pattern’ that one is looking for has to be specified and known beforehand, or else it is like “shooting an arrow, and then painting a target around it [i.e., wherever it lands in the probability space/configuration space].”

    This is basically what you’re doing. ID knows enough NOT to do it.)

    +++
    [[N.B.:

    I should point out – there is no suggestion that the same mutations have been fixed in each lineage, just similar results with regard to gene expression.

    And this is just like the whole list of SNPs that protect against malaria. Yes, with one protein, and the simple change that is needed in it, yes, that might be easy.]]

  83. 83
    wd400 says:

    In your A -> B by way of A_1 A_2 scenario you’d usually expect the fate of ‘A’ depends on how B is evolving.

    If B is in competition with A then it might well drive it to extinction, if B is exploiting a new niche then it’s competition is all thoe {A_1… A_n} forms floating around. In that case you’d expect all the individuals with somewhat good EOs to be out-competed by those with better ones. This is more or less Darwin’s model of speciation in Chapt. 4 of Orgin, btw.

    We don’t see EO’s and muscles ‘toggling.’

    In fact we do, several electric fish lineages have given up on their EOs.

    We don’t see ‘intermediate forms.’

    In fact we do. Weakly electric fish pop up all over the tree. The South American strongly eletric fish fit within a clade of weakly electric fish!

    We don’t see a very small (easy) genetic distance between these two morphologies.

    I don’t know what this means (having read the text above too)

    And all of this is made worse because we now know that only ONE ‘pathway’ exists.

    We don’t see multiple ‘pathways’ from muscles to EOs.

    Nor do we see only a single one. We know when EO’s evolve the same suite of genes have their expression changed. This research doesn’t tell us how evolutionary pathways can create those changes, or even which ones were taken in each case.

  84. 84
    Querius says:

    Even without the magical intervention of any evolution, it’s obvious that genetic variation facilitated adaptation of a genome to multiple ecosystems. An admittedly extreme case is the preserved genetic variability in dogs, from chihuahuas to St. Bernards (and wolves). And neither chihuahuas nor St. Bernards are likely to go extinct.

    I’d even bet someone could still breed a fertile St. Berhuahua! 😉

    -Q

  85. 85
    PaV says:

    wd400:

    If B is in competition with A then it might well drive it to extinction, if B is exploiting a new niche then it’s competition is all thoe {A_1… A_n} forms floating around. In that case you’d expect all the individuals with somewhat good EOs to be out-competed by those with better ones. This is more or less Darwin’s model of speciation in Chapt. 4 of Orgin, btw.

    Yes, it’s Darwin’s Principle of Divergence. In a sense, this is the essence of Darwinism. It was only when Wallace ‘saw’ this principle in action in the Malaysian Archipelago and sent notice to Darwin, that Darwin was ready to publish.

    But, do we really see this happen? And if we do, is this really no more than ‘microevolution’?

    PaV:We don’t see EO’s and muscles ‘toggling.’

    wd400:
    In fact we do, several electric fish lineages have given up on their EOs.

    But that’s not ‘toggling;; that’s ‘loss of function,’ which is how a lot of ‘speciation’ occurs. ‘Toggling’ is a ‘back and forth’ motion. IOW, we don’t see EOs arising, disappearing, and then arising again.

    PaV: We don’t see ‘intermediate forms.’

    wd400: In fact we do. Weakly electric fish pop up all over the tree. The South American strongly eletric fish fit within a clade of weakly electric fish!

    Yes, these newly discovered species are “weakly” electric, but here’s their morphology:
    One of the fish, Brachyhypopomus bennetti, has a large electric organ and a short, fat tail. The other, Brachyhypopomus walteri, has a more typical electric organ and a long, thin tail.

    The EO is, it would seem, the same kind of EO, with some subsequent modifications because its ‘tail’ is quite often cut off.

    We have no evidence that the EO is “intermediate,” only that the voltage is intermediate.

    PaV:
    We don’t see a very small (easy) genetic distance between these two morphologies.

    wd400:
    I don’t know what this means (having read the text above too)

    The whole purpose of the A1 to A’N’ example was to break down all those ‘single’—not simultaneous—mutations you, as well as other Darwinists, seem to think must have occurred. Well, if all these steps, per the Principle of Divergence drive their antecedents to extinction, then when we compare fish with ‘muscles’ and fish with ‘EOs,’ then there shouldn’t be that many mutations separating them.

    (I’m assuming here that these ‘intermediate’ forms don’t have full EO function; if they did, then A1 would have had to have “simultaneous” mutations.

    Either there is a whole host of ‘intermediates,’ or there have to be “simultaneous” mutations.)

    But we don’t see this whole host of intermediates.

    PaV: And all of this is made worse because we now know that only ONE ‘pathway’ exists.

    PaV: We don’t see multiple ‘pathways’ from muscles to EOs.

    wd400:

    Nor do we see only a single one. We know when EO’s evolve the same suite of genes have their expression changed. This research doesn’t tell us how evolutionary pathways can create those changes, or even which ones were taken in each case.

    You’re sort of equivocating here with the idea of ‘pathway.’ If the ‘pathways’ were ‘identical,’ then the species would likely be living in exactly the same environment. It’s just like the examples of what you say are ‘intermediate’ EO forms—the differences have largely to do with the predator situation in their environment.

    Let me re-state here what I’ve said dozens of times: if Darwin had entitled his book, Origin of Adaptations, then I’d have few problems with it.

    But the fact is that of the tens of thousands of proteins and regulatory regions within the ‘teleost’ genome, it’s the very same “toolbox” that brings about the fundamental change of muscle to EO.

    There aren’t hundreds, or thousands, of different ‘toolboxes’ that can be exploited. This means that only certain regions, highly specific regions, of the genome can be exploited, and this, of course, makes the needed mutations all the more harder to get at. This makes the improbability of going from A to B all the greater.

  86. 86
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    “If B is in competition with A then it might well drive it to extinction, if B is exploiting a new niche then it’s competition is all thoe {A_1… A_n} forms floating around.”

    That’s Darwin’s theory! Here are the facts:

    Doubting Darwin: Algae Findings Surprise Scientists – April 28, 2014
    Excerpt: One of Charles Darwin’s hypotheses posits that closely related species will compete for food and other resources more strongly with one another than with distant relatives, because they occupy similar ecological niches. Most biologists long have accepted this to be true.
    Thus, three researchers were more than a little shaken to find that their experiments on fresh water green algae failed to support Darwin’s theory,,,
    One of Charles Darwin’s hypotheses posits that closely related species will compete for food and other resources more strongly with one another than with distant relatives, because they occupy similar ecological niches. Most biologists long have accepted this to be true.
    Thus, three researchers were more than a little shaken to find that their experiments on fresh water green algae failed to support Darwin’s theory,,,
    “When we saw the results, we said ‘this can’t be.”‘ We sat there banging our heads against the wall. Darwin’s hypothesis has been with us for so long, how can it not be right?”
    The researchers ,,,— were so uncomfortable with their results that they spent the next several months trying to disprove their own work. But the research held up.,,,
    The scientists did not set out to disprove Darwin, but, in fact, to learn more about the genetic and ecological uniqueness of fresh water green algae so they could provide conservationists with useful data for decision-making. “We went into it assuming Darwin to be right, and expecting to come up with some real numbers for conservationists,” Cardinale says. “When we started coming up with numbers that showed he wasn’t right, we were completely baffled.”,,,
    Darwin “was obsessed with competition,” Cardinale says. “He assumed the whole world was composed of species competing with each other, but we found that one-third of the species of algae we studied actually like each other. They don’t grow as well unless you put them with another species. It may be that nature has a heck of a lot more mutualisms than we ever expected.
    “,,,Maybe Darwin’s presumption that the world may be dominated by competition is wrong.”
    http://www.livescience.com/452.....f-bts.html

    Darwin ‘Wrong’: Species Living Together Does Not Encourage Evolution – December 20, 2013
    Excerpt: Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution set out in the Origin of Species has been proven wrong by scientists studying ovenbirds.
    Researchers at Oxford University found that species living together do not evolve differently to avoid competing with one another for food and habitats – a theory put forward by Darwin 150 years ago.
    The ovenbird is one of the most diverse bird families in the world and researchers were looking to establish the processes causing them to evolve.
    Published in Nature, the research compared the beaks, legs and songs of 90% of ovenbird species.
    Findings showed that while the birds living together were consistently more different than those living apart, this was the result of age differences. Once the variation of age was accounted for, birds that live together were more similar than those living separately – directly contradicting Darwin’s view.
    The species that lived together had beaks and legs no more different than those living apart,,,
    ,,,there is no shortage of evidence for competition driving divergent evolution in some very young lineages. But we found no evidence that this process explains differences across a much larger sample of species.,,,
    He said that the reasons why birds living together appear to evolve less are “difficult to explain”,,,
    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/darwi.....on-1429927

  87. 87
    PaV says:

    BA77:

    Please don’t tell me that scientists were surprised! How can that be?

    BTW, thanks for the links. Very relevant here.

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