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What does it mean to say “Vertebrates evolved from invertebrates.”

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Journalist Tom Bethell writes to ask:

Reptiles exist in the same way that invertebrates exist. The problem arises for both groups when the are said to be ancestral to some other group. As in this 4-word sentence:

“Vertebrates evolved from invertebrates.”

It is an (inconspicuous) assertion that vertebrates evolved. Back-up evidence is seemingly provided by naming the ancestral group: Invertebrates.

But it doesn’t take a genius to see that the ancestral group is (improperly) defined by the absence of the character that defines the descendant group. What appears to be a factual statement with evidence attached turns out to be a truism. Rewriting it more plainly:

“The first vertebrate had parents that were not vertebrates.” (Duh.)

This was pointed out some years ago by the late Colin Patterson, chief paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London. Patterson then boldly went on to say that ALL ANCESTRAL GROUPS ARE DEFINED BY THE ABSENCE OF CHARACTERS. Which characters? Those that define the descendant group.

An influential group of systematists called Cladists drew attention to this problem. Patterson was supported by some paleontologists at the American Museum of Natural History, notably Gary Nelson (Ichthyology) and Norman Platnick (one of the leading experts on spiders). The founder of cladistics was Willi Hennig, from East Germany. He called groups “defined” (i.e. ill defined) by the absence of character “paraphyletic.”

How does this apply to reptiles? They are ill-defined in the same way.

There is a broad group of organisms defined by the presence of an amnion, an envelope that shields early cells in the development of the organism. These organisms are called amniotes. Among them are two well defined groups: Birds and Mammals. But there are other amniota that are neither birds nor mammals. These are the ones we call reptiles. So they are non-mammalian, non-avian amniotes.

Therefore (problem solved) reptiles — non mammalian, non avian amniota — are ancestral to birds and mammals.

Aristotle called such ill defined groups confused and the cladists supported Aristotle. The function that such groups play in evolutionary theory is to serve as ancestral groups, thereby seeming to confirm Darwinism. They tell us which are the ancestral groups in the “tree of life.” They occupy the nodes in that tree.

I believe that nodes in the tree of life are always empty. Can anyone falsify that?

But I believe the tree of life is itself a fiction, as Craig Venter pointed out at a conference at Arizona State Univ. in 2011. Dawkins was there and was flummoxed.

The same problem exists with apes. They are defined as non-human hominoids, So guess what are they said to be ancestral to . . .

The overall problem brought up by the Cladists was discussed at length by the late David Hull, in his book. Science as a Process (1988).

Readers, thoughts?

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32 Replies to “What does it mean to say “Vertebrates evolved from invertebrates.”

  1. 1
    Jim Smith says:

    I see something in common with this article:

    Engineering Tradeoffs and the Vacuity of “Fitness”

  2. 2
    Joe says:

    What does it mean to say “Vertebrates evolved from invertebrates.”

    It means the person saying it is stoned or deluded. 😉

  3. 3
    OldArmy94 says:

    Just another rider on Darwin’s merry-go-round.

  4. 4
    johnnyb says:

    The problem as I see it isn’t the lack of a character between the groups, it is that, at such a large-scale level, it is irrational to say that any large group evolved from any other large group.

    It’s irrational to say that birds evolved from dinosaurs, for the simple reason that neither “birds” nor “dinosaurs” is an evolvable group. They are not interbreed able with each other, and therefore cannot evolve as a group.

    You cannot say that “lizards” evolved to “mammals” for the same reason. “mammals” are not an evolvable group any more than lizards are.

    If evolution occurred, then there must have been some population in which it took place. Therefore, you need to identify the population, or at least posit a population that could theoretically handle it. If you look at the lizard to mammal “transitional forms”, you find that each one has *different* sets of intermediate attributes. This means that there was no one lineage that lead there – the lineages each have different sets of attributes. There are only a few conclusions that can be drawn from this:

    a) the intermediate forms are independent groups which have no lineage with other groups (i.e. independent creations). They are more mosaic than intermediate.

    b) the intermediate forms are the result of hybridization between existing groups (i.e. mammals and lizards pre-existed the intermediate forms, and somehow managed to produce viable offspring). This would explain why the different lineages have independent sets of mammal/lizard combination features.

    c) Evolution is teleological, and the transition from lizard to mammal was the result of a pre-existing drive. That is, they already had the information to make the transition. Therefore, multiple lineages made the transition simultaneously, because they were all exposed to the same trigger (be it time or environment) which caused the change.

    In any case, when someone is talking about the “evolution” of a large-scale group, they are either snowing you, or they are talking about a teleological evolution. Darwinism is not capable of evolving large groups.

  5. 5
    ppolish says:

    The first microbial mats 3.9bya we’re not related to each other. Mats popping up all over. Inevitable. Inexorable. Creation is Awesome. More Creations followed. Sea Creatures. Land Creatures. Man. Then Earthly Creation stopped.

    “Universal Common Ancestor” will be dustbin’d soon enough. Victorian Era Thinking. People will back on the 150 years or so when UCA was science and scratch their heads. “How could people believe that??”

  6. 6
    wd400 says:

    Saying “Vertebrates evolved from invertebrates” is saying a lot, in part because “inverts” aren’t a natural group. On the other hand, saying we evolved from (other) chordates is saying quite a lot, because it helps understand the order in which those vertebrate features evolved.

    What Bethell doesn’t seem to understand is that systematists used shared-differences to define groups. That there is no natural group equating to our traditional idea of “reptile”, or a version of “ape” that doesn’t include our species is really niether here no there .

  7. 7
    wd400 says:

    It’s irrational to say that birds evolved from dinosaurs, for the simple reason that neither “birds” nor “dinosaurs” is an evolvable group. They are not interbreed able with each other, and therefore cannot evolve as a group.

    Huh? Evolutionary biology says birds and the various non-bird dinosaur groups are distinct lineages that can be traced to a common ancestor. Once populations start evolving separately they soon loose the ability to interbreed, but I don’t know why that should that be taken as evidence they don’t descend from the same population?

    If you look at the lizard to mammal “transitional forms”, you find that each one has *different* sets of intermediate attributes.

    You mean synapsid to mammal, but do you have a citation for this? I’ve never heard this claim before.

  8. 8
    lifepsy says:

    wd400: On the other hand, saying we evolved from (other) chordates is saying quite a lot, because it helps understand the order in which those vertebrate features evolved.

    No it doesn’t. It just helps understand the variety of features of different animal types possessing vertebrates.

    All else is Darwinian imagineering.

  9. 9
    lifepsy says:

    I believe that nodes in the tree of life are always empty. Can anyone falsify that?


    “Common Ancestors” and Nodes between major taxa exist only as imaginary abstract data points. Nothing in evidence suggests they represent real organisms and lineages.

  10. 10
    Alan Fox says:

    It’s irrational to say that birds evolved from dinosaurs, for the simple reason that neither “birds” nor “dinosaurs” is an evolvable group. They are not interbreed able with each other, and therefore cannot evolve as a group.

    But birds are dinosaurs, cladistically speaking.

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    Cladistics Made Easy: Why an Arcane Field of Study Fails to Upset Steve Meyer’s Argument for Intelligent Design
    Stephen Meyer – Responding to Critics: Matzke Part 1 – video
    Stephen Meyer – Responding to Critics: Matzke Part 2 – video
    Responding to Critics: Matzke Part 3 – video

    Stephen Meyer explains why the use of cladistic analysis — stem groups, crown groups, cladograms, ghost lineages — fails to satisfy.

    “In order to compensate for missing fossils, we have to postulate more missing fossils. So I don’t think that this really solves the problem of the missing fossils. I think it actually accentuates it.”
    Stephen Meyer

    A One-Man Clade – David Berlinski – July 18, 2013
    Excerpt: The relationship between cladistics and Darwin’s theory of evolution is thus one of independent origin but convergent confusion. “Phylogenetic systematics,” the entomologist Michael Schmitt remarks, “relies on the theory of evolution.” To the extent that the theory of evolution relies on phylogenetic systematics, the disciplines resemble two biologists dropped from a great height and clutching at one another in mid-air.

    Tight fit, major fail.7

    No wonder that Schmidt is eager to affirm that “phylogenetics does not claim to prove or explain evolution whatsoever.”8 If this is so, a skeptic might be excused for asking what it does prove or might explain?

  12. 12
    Joe says:

    If birds are dinosaurs, cladistically speaking, then cladistics is for the birds.

  13. 13
    Joe says:


    Saying “Vertebrates evolved from invertebrates” is saying a lot,

    It says you are deluded

    in part because “inverts” aren’t a natural group.

    Are they artificial or supernatural- maybe pre-natural or non-natural?

    On the other hand, saying we evolved from (other) chordates is saying quite a lot,

    Unless those other chordates were human it says that you are deluded.

    because it helps understand the order in which those vertebrate features evolved.

    Yet it doesn’t tell us how or even if they did evolve.

  14. 14
    wd400 says:


    When do nodes on trees start being “imaginary”?

    The so called “Mitchondrial eve” is but a node on a tree, but few people would say she never lived. Most folks here think Neanderthals were just part of normal human diversity, which pushes the “human” node back much deeper than eve. Creationists in general can’t quite decide which fossil species are human and which are non-human apes (though, they are usually confident such a demarcation exists…), but any more inclusive definition of human requires a yet deeper node to have existed.

    Moving away from humans, most creationists are happy to call great swaths of biology a “kind”. The common ancestor of dogs, wolves and foxes, for instance, is “abstract” too.

    So, what’s the different between an imaginary node and a real one?

  15. 15
    wd400 says:

    Thanks for that Joe, a post containing all the insight, explanation and usefulness we’ve come to expect form your contributions…

    Seriously, what do you think these naked assertions of yours achieve?

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    wd400, ‘naked assertions’ are the bread and butter of Darwinian ‘science’.

  17. 17
    wd400 says:

    Do you have any evidence for that BA, or are you just…. asserting it to be true?

  18. 18
    Joe says:

    wd400- what do you think your d assertions achieve? What insight, explanation and usefulness do your posts serve other than to expose your agenda and double-standards?

  19. 19
    Joe says:

    The evidence for bornagain77’s post is in the fact that you can’t even model natural selection producing anything beyond a change in allele frequency

  20. 20
    wd400 says:

    I do wonder sometimes, Joe. Mainly a post here as it’s interesting to see where ID objections come from and how they relate to evolutionary biology as it is practiced (rather than than the version many people object to).

    But, I should really know there is no point in talking to your or BA, so I’ll leave it there.

  21. 21
    bornagain77 says:

    sure wd400, I have evidence ‘for that’.

    Neo-Darwinists claim that evolution is an observed fact on par with the observed fact of gravity. But very contrary to their claims, the plain fact of the matter is that there are ZERO observed instances of neo-Darwinian evolution building up functional complexity:

    Mutation + Selection = Stasis – October 8th, 2014
    Excerpt: As a trained physicist, Desai applied a statistical perspective using robots to precisely manipulate hundreds of lines of yeast to perform large scale evolutionary experiments. Scientists have long studied genetic evolution of microbes, but until now, only a few strains at a time.
    Robotically managing 640 lines of yeast from a single parent cell, Desai’s team was efficiently tooled to statistically analyze evolution at this level for the first time.
    In an interview with Singer, Joshua Plotkin, an evolutionary scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, commented, “This is the physicist’s approach to evolution, stripping down everything to the simplest possible conditions… They could partition how much of evolution is attributable to chance, how much to the starting point, and how much to measurement noise.”,,,
    While early mutations in the experiment initially variably influenced fitness, fitness in the final generations was the same. “Scientists,” Singer noted, “don’t know why all genetic roads in yeast seem to arrive at the same endpoint”.,,,,
    “I think many people think about one gene for one trait, a deterministic way of evolution solving problems,” David Reznick, a biologist at the University of California-Riverside, told Singer. “This says that’s not true.”
    Unexpectantly, Desai’s team discovered genetic mutations plus selection yields stasis in the microbe model– not evolution.

    Four decades worth of lab work is surveyed here, and no evidence for neo-Darwinian evolution surfaces:

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010
    Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.

    Michael Behe talks about the preceding paper in this following podcast:

    Michael Behe: Challenging Darwin, One Peer-Reviewed Paper at a Time – December 2010

    How about the oft cited example for neo-Darwinism of antibiotic resistance?

    List Of Degraded Molecular Abilities Of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria:
    Excerpt: Resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobials is often claimed to be a clear demonstration of “evolution in a Petri dish.” ,,, all known examples of antibiotic resistance via mutation are inconsistent with the genetic requirements of evolution. These mutations result in the loss of pre-existing cellular systems/activities, such as porins and other transport systems, regulatory systems, enzyme activity, and protein binding.

    That doesn’t seem to be helping! How about we look really, really, close at very sensitive growth rates and see if we can catch almighty evolution in action???

    Unexpectedly small effects of mutations in bacteria bring new perspectives – November 2010
    Excerpt: Most mutations in the genes of the Salmonella bacterium have a surprisingly small negative impact on bacterial fitness. And this is the case regardless whether they lead to changes in the bacterial proteins or not.,,, using extremely sensitive growth measurements, doctoral candidate Peter Lind showed that most mutations reduced the rate of growth of bacteria by only 0.500 percent. No mutations completely disabled the function of the proteins, and very few had no impact at all. Even more surprising was the fact that mutations that do not change the protein sequence had negative effects similar to those of mutations that led to substitution of amino acids. A possible explanation is that most mutations may have their negative effect by altering mRNA structure, not proteins, as is commonly assumed.

    Shoot that doesn’t seem to be helping either! How about if we just try to fix a ‘beneficial’ mutation:

    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.

    Well that certainly didn’t help. How about if just try to help evolution out a little and saturate genomes with mutations until we can actually see some ‘evolution’?

    Response to John Wise – October 2010
    Excerpt: A technique called “saturation mutagenesis”1,2 has been used to produce every possible developmental mutation in fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster),3,4,5 roundworms (Caenorhabditis elegans),6,7 and zebrafish (Danio rerio),8,9,10 and the same technique is now being applied to mice (Mus musculus).11,12 None of the evidence from these and numerous other studies of developmental mutations supports the neo-Darwinian dogma that DNA mutations can lead to new organs or body plans–because none of the observed developmental mutations benefit the organism.

    Peer-Reviewed Research Paper on Plant Biology Favorably Cites Intelligent Design and Challenges Darwinian Evolution – Casey Luskin December 29, 2010
    Excerpt: Many of these researchers also raise the question (among others), why — even after inducing literally billions of induced mutations and (further) chromosome rearrangements — all the important mutation breeding programs have come to an end in the Western World instead of eliciting a revolution in plant breeding, either by successive rounds of selective “micromutations” (cumulative selection in the sense of the modern synthesis), or by “larger mutations” … and why the law of recurrent variation is endlessly corroborated by the almost infinite repetition of the spectra of mutant phenotypes in each and any new extensive mutagenesis experiment instead of regularly producing a range of new systematic species…
    (Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, “Mutagenesis in Physalis pubescens L. ssp. floridana: Some Further Research on Dollo’s Law and the Law of Recurrent Variation,” Floriculture and Ornamental Biotechnology Vol. 4 (Special Issue 1): 1-21 (December 2010).)
    Dr. Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, (retired) Senior Scientist (Biology), Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Emeritus, Cologne, Germany.

    How about if we try to force bacteria to evolve to adapt to a new environment?

    Researchers Ran a Massive Yearlong Experiment to Get Bacteria to Evolve. Guess What Happened? – August 22, 2014
    Excerpt: (the problem the researchers tried to address???)
    “the general inability to connect phenotype to genotype in the context of environmental adaptation has been a major failing in the field of evolution.,,,”
    (Their results in addressing this major failing???)
    ‘In short, it was hard to find anything beyond a “suggestion” or a “scenario” that these bacteria improved their fitness in any way by genetic mutations, other than the gross observation that some of the clones managed to survive at 45 °C. But even the ancestor could do that sometimes through the “Lazarus effect.”‘

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    Shoot that doesn’t seem to be helping either! Perhaps we just have to give the almighty power of neo-Darwinism ‘room to breathe’? How about we ‘open the floodgates’ to the almighty power of Darwinian Evolution and look at Lenski’s Long Term Evolution Experiment and see what we can find after 50,000 generations, which is equivalent to somewhere around 1,000,000 years of human evolution???

    Richard Lenski’s Long-Term Evolution Experiments with E. coli and the Origin of New Biological Information – September 2011
    Excerpt: The results of future work aside, so far, during the course of the longest, most open-ended, and most extensive laboratory investigation of bacterial evolution, a number of adaptive mutations have been identified that endow the bacterial strain with greater fitness compared to that of the ancestral strain in the particular growth medium. The goal of Lenski’s research was not to analyze adaptive mutations in terms of gain or loss of function, as is the focus here, but rather to address other longstanding evolutionary questions. Nonetheless, all of the mutations identified to date can readily be classified as either modification-of-function or loss-of-FCT.
    (Michael J. Behe, “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution’,” Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 85(4) (December, 2010).)

    Lenski’s Long-Term Evolution Experiment: 25 Years and Counting – Michael Behe – November 21, 2013
    Excerpt: Twenty-five years later the culture — a cumulative total of trillions of cells — has been going for an astounding 58,000 generations and counting. As the article points out, that’s equivalent to a million years in the lineage of a large animal such as humans. Combined with an ability to track down the exact identities of bacterial mutations at the DNA level, that makes Lenski’s project the best, most detailed source of information on evolutionary processes available anywhere,,,
    ,,,for proponents of intelligent design the bottom line is that the great majority of even beneficial mutations have turned out to be due to the breaking, degrading, or minor tweaking of pre-existing genes or regulatory regions (Behe 2010). There have been no mutations or series of mutations identified that appear to be on their way to constructing elegant new molecular machinery of the kind that fills every cell. For example, the genes making the bacterial flagellum are consistently turned off by a beneficial mutation (apparently it saves cells energy used in constructing flagella). The suite of genes used to make the sugar ribose is the uniform target of a destructive mutation, which somehow helps the bacterium grow more quickly in the laboratory. Degrading a host of other genes leads to beneficial effects, too.,,, –

    Now that just can’t be right!! Man we should really start to be seeing some neo-Darwinian fireworks by 50,000 generations!?! Hey I know what we can do! How about we see what happened when the ‘top five’ mutations from Lenski’s experiment were combined??? Surely now the Darwinian magic will start flowing!!!

    Mutations : when benefits level off – June 2011 – (Lenski’s e-coli after 50,000 generations)
    Excerpt: After having identified the first five beneficial mutations combined successively and spontaneously in the bacterial population, the scientists generated, from the ancestral bacterial strain, 32 mutant strains exhibiting all of the possible combinations of each of these five mutations. They then noted that the benefit linked to the simultaneous presence of five mutations was less than the sum of the individual benefits conferred by each mutation individually.

    Now something is going terribly wrong here!Tell you what, let’s just forget trying to observe evolution in the lab, I mean it really is kind of cramped in the lab you know, and now let’s REALLY open the floodgates and let’s see what the almighty power of neo-Darwinian evolution can do with the ENTIRE WORLD at its disposal? Surely now almighty neo-Darwinian evolution will flex its awesomely powerful muscles and forever make those IDiots, who believe in Intelligent Design, cower in terror!

    A review of The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism
    The numbers of Plasmodium and HIV in the last 50 years greatly exceeds the total number of mammals since their supposed evolutionary origin (several hundred million years ago), yet little has been achieved by evolution. This suggests that mammals could have “invented” little in their time frame. Behe: ‘Our experience with HIV gives good reason to think that Darwinism doesn’t do much—even with billions of years and all the cells in that world at its disposal’ (p. 155).

    “The immediate, most important implication is that complexes with more than two different binding sites-ones that require three or more proteins-are beyond the edge of evolution, past what is biologically reasonable to expect Darwinian evolution to have accomplished in all of life in all of the billion-year history of the world. The reasoning is straightforward. The odds of getting two independent things right are the multiple of the odds of getting each right by itself. So, other things being equal, the likelihood of developing two binding sites in a protein complex would be the square of the probability for getting one: a double CCC, 10^20 times 10^20, which is 10^40. There have likely been fewer than 10^40 cells in the world in the last 4 billion years, so the odds are against a single event of this variety in the history of life. It is biologically unreasonable.”
    – Michael Behe – The Edge of Evolution – page 146

    Swine Flu, Viruses, and the Edge of Evolution – Casey Luskin – 2009
    Excerpt: “Indeed, the work on malaria and AIDS demonstrates that after all possible unintelligent processes in the cell–both ones we’ve discovered so far and ones we haven’t–at best extremely limited benefit, since no such process was able to do much of anything. It’s critical to notice that no artificial limitations were placed on the kinds of mutations or processes the microorganisms could undergo in nature. Nothing–neither point mutation, deletion, insertion, gene duplication, transposition, genome duplication, self-organization nor any other process yet undiscovered–was of much use.”
    Michael Behe, The Edge of Evolution, pg. 162

    An Open Letter to Kenneth Miller and PZ Myers – Michael Behe July 21, 2014
    Dear Professors Miller and Myers,
    Talk is cheap. Let’s see your numbers.
    In your recent post on and earlier reviews of my book The Edge of Evolution you toss out a lot of words, but no calculations. You downplay FRS Nicholas White’s straightforward estimate that — considering the number of cells per malaria patient (a trillion), times the number of ill people over the years (billions), divided by the number of independent events (fewer than ten) — the development of chloroquine-resistance in malaria is an event of probability about 1 in 10^20 malaria-cell replications. Okay, if you don’t like that, what’s your estimate? Let’s see your numbers.,,,
    ,,, If you folks think that direct, parsimonious, rather obvious route to 1 in 10^20 isn’t reasonable, go ahead, calculate a different one, then tell us how much it matters, quantitatively. Posit whatever favorable or neutral mutations you want. Just make sure they’re consistent with the evidence in the literature (especially the rarity of resistance, the total number of cells available, and the demonstration by Summers et al. that a minimum of two specific mutations in PfCRT is needed for chloroquine transport). Tell us about the effects of other genes, or population structures, if you think they matter much, or let us know if you disagree for some reason with a reported literature result.
    Or, Ken, tell us how that ARMD phenotype you like to mention affects the math. Just make sure it all works out to around 1 in 10^20, or let us know why not.
    Everyone is looking forward to seeing your calculations. Please keep the rhetoric to a minimum.
    With all best wishes (especially to Professor Myers for a speedy recovery),
    Mike Behe

    podcast – Michael Behe: Vindication for ‘The Edge of Evolution,’ Pt. 2

    “The Edge of Evolution” Strikes Again 8-2-2014 by Paul Giem – video

    Diverse mutational pathways converge on saturable chloroquine transport via the malaria parasite’s chloroquine resistance transporter – Robert L. Summers – March 17, 2014
    Abstract: Mutations in the chloroquine resistance transporter (PfCRT) are the primary determinant of chloroquine (CQ) resistance in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. A number of distinct PfCRT haplotypes, containing between 4 and 10 mutations, have given rise to CQ resistance in different parts of the world. Here we present a detailed molecular analysis of the number of mutations (and the order of addition) required to confer CQ transport activity upon the PfCRT as well as a kinetic characterization of diverse forms of PfCRT. We measured the ability of more than 100 variants of PfCRT to transport CQ when expressed at the surface of Xenopus laevis oocytes. Multiple mutational pathways led to saturable CQ transport via PfCRT, but these could be separated into two main lineages. Moreover, the attainment of full activity followed a rigid process in which mutations had to be added in a specific order to avoid reductions in CQ transport activity. A minimum of two mutations sufficed for (low) CQ transport activity, and as few as four conferred full activity. The finding that diverse PfCRT variants are all limited in their capacity to transport CQ suggests that resistance could be overcome by reoptimizing the CQ dosage.

    Now, there is something terribly wrong here! After looking high and low and everywhere in between, we can’t seem to find the almighty power of neo-Darwinism anywhere!! Shoot we can’t even find ANY power of neo-Darwinism whatsoever!!! It is as if the whole neo-Darwinian theory, relentlessly sold to the general public as it was the gospel truth, is nothing but a big fat lie!!!

  23. 23
    tintinnid says:

    “What does it mean to say “Vertebrates evolved from invertebrates.”
    It means the person saying it is stoned or deluded. “

    It is nice to see that Joe G. is keeping an open mind.

  24. 24
    Joe says:

    Yours is so open that it fell out

  25. 25
    Bob O'H says:

    The OP has confused a few issues (it might be that the full text makes things clearer). First, it’s worth pointing out that taxonomists don’t consider “reptiles” a meaningful group, and also that humans are considered apes.

    What underlies this is the issue of paraphyly, which the OP defines incorrectly. What Hennig was promoting was an explicit tree-based approach to classifying living organisms. The ideas was that we can classify them in tree. Any group of organisms descended from one node in the tree is called a ‘clade’. We can, of course, name clades. So we have the mammal clade, the bird clade etc.

    Part of this approach is to say that if we name a clade, every member of the clade is classified with that name. So everything in the bird clade is a bird. But it’s also possible to classify groups in a way that breaks this. For example, the group of organisms that fly. If we put them in a clade, then we see that it would have to include non-flying species too: a clade containing bats and birds would also include humans and dolphins. The technical term for a group such as “flying things” is “paraphyletic”.

    Paraphyletic groups are perfectly possible but they make a mess of classification, and this is where the issues in the OP come in. The easiest way to define a paraphyletic group is by saying “all species in this clade, except those ones”. Then one has to outline the characteristics of “those ones”. And in practice the easiest way to do this is through absence of characters. So, if we don’t want to say that birds are dinosaurs, then we have to make the dinosaurs paraphyletic. We can do this by defining birds as “the part of the clade that include dinosaurs that can fly”, and thus define dinosaurs as “the part of the dinosaur clade that can’t fly”.

    In practice, this creates problems for groups like reptiles, as they were defined in a way that makes them paraphyletic. Thus, one either expands the group to make it monophyletic (as was done with birds and dinosaurs), or one abandons the classification as being taxonomically valid, as has been done with both reptiles and invertebrates.

    Real life is messier than systematics, so even though both categories aren’t taxonomically valid, they are still used in practice. So for a taxonomist “Vertebrates evolved from invertebrates” is meaningless, because invertebrates aren’t a valid taxonomic group. More informally, what it means is that vertebrates (which are a valid taxonomic group) evolved from a clade (the metazoa) that also includes species that don’t have backbones.

  26. 26
    Joe says:

    Humans are considered apes by deluded people. Also clades are assumed based on shared characteristics. Any ancestor-descendant relationships are assumed from that. And vertebrates evolved from invertebrates is meaningless because it cannot be tested.

    BTW that is the claim of evolutionism- that some invertebrate(s) gave rise to some vertebrate(s). But as I said that is meaningless because it cannot be tested.

  27. 27
    Joe says:

    …that also includes species that don’t have backbones.

    Also known as “evolutionists”. 😛

  28. 28
    Andre says:


    It is really easy to explain the similarities lets try the differences…..

  29. 29
    logically_speaking says:

    The problem is that cladistics is totally subjective, why should a bat be classified as a mammal and not a bird? Why should a bats breasts be more important than its wings?

  30. 30
    wd400 says:

    Because bats also have hair, teeth (and, in fact, different kinds of teeth), inner ear bones, lips, placentae and many many differences in their DNA which they share with other mammals.

  31. 31
    Mung says:


    Because bats also have … many many differences in their DNA which they share with other mammals.


    Do you mean bats have many similarities in their DNA that they share with mammals?

  32. 32
    logically_speaking says:


    Why should we consider any of those more important than wings, you have just subjectively chosen those things that are similar to other mammals but I’m sure I can give you a list of things that the bat has that are just as simular to birds.

    Kiwi’s apparently have “hair-like” wings, some extinct birds apparently had teeth, birds also have ear bones.

    Bats and birds have feet, they both have a head, both have eyes, etc.

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