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Saturday, May 01, 2010

Genetic Redundancy - Just one more nail in the Darwin coffin

Earlier this year this blogger presented Facilitated Variation Theory, a theory that, when addressed directly puts the Darwinist point of view to rest in my opinion. We see that the cell directs reproduction and that the mother lays the foundation for the child, thus, the kind of organism produced will be the same kind as the mother. This puts a barrier up which Darwinism cannot cross, the barrier between kinds. Wolves cannot mate with whales and dinosaurs cannot become birds.

Varieties of kinds, commonly known as speciation, are allowed by the cell using information already contained within the genome. No outside information can enter in and no way to input new information has been found. Most mutations simply serve to turn on or turn off a function or a feature already programmed into the genetic code. Furthermore, the DNA strand is used thoroughly and in more than one combination during the reproductive process. Facilitated Variation Theory illustrates one half of the two-part description often used here about the wisdom of the design of the Creator: Contingencies.

Now the following article by Peter Borger discusses the second word: Redundancies. It turns out that the more we learn about the gene and the cell, the less any trace of Darwin can be seen to apply. Natural selection continues to be a description of the design feature of created life that allows each kind of organism to adjust to prevailing conditions and still preserve the kind and its place in the circle of life.

This article does not address the subject, but God has not only built contingencies and redundancies within each kind of organism, but also has provided different kinds that can fulfill the same purpose. Dog and Cat and Bear type large predators may co-exist or sometimes be the only functional large predator in an area. There are multiple kinds of grass-eating large four-footed beasts. There are multiple kinds of grasses and succulents and other plants to serve as ground cover. If there is no shark, cue the killer whale!

Yes, we have left the dating methods sitting there for a short time because I want commenters to have plenty of time to array their resources. So far it is he said-she said. I say that dating methods based on ice layers and earth layers and tree rings are not reliable when they do not take the flood into account. As it happens, YEC scientists are involved in studying these very methods in the light of a global flood among other dating methods. What the commenters do NOT tell you is radiometric dating so often gives such widely varying dates that it is absolutely absurd to depend on that method unless you know that your audience is ignorant of its variability and therefore undependability.

Oh yes, one more thing? The following article is a scientific post, it is semi-technical and it is not brief. However, the basics of the article will be obvious to you if you hang in there and finish the post. Once again, the design features of organisms surprise and astonish science, leaving Darwinists scrambling to...pretend the evidence does not exist? Like they have been doing with Facilitated Variation Theory?

It appears that Darwinists will insist upon ignoring the implications of Facilitated Variation because most people have not heard of it or understood it and we know well that if an untruth that favors Darwinism is generally believed, Darwinists will allow it to remain unchallenged and be happy about it. Thus the scandalous publication of Haeckel's Embroyo Chart for decades after it was falsified and the horse evolution chart and etc.

Now, with the words audiences truly love to hear, with no further ado:


Evidence for the design of life:

part 1—Genetic redundancy

by Peter Borger

Knockout strategies have demonstrated that the function of many genes cannot be studied by disrupting them in model organisms because the inactivation of these genes does not lead to a phenotypic effect. For living systems, this peculiar phenomenon of genetic redundancy seems to be the rule rather than the exception. Genetic redundancy is now defined as the situation in which the disruption of a gene is selectively neutral. Biology shows us that 1) two or more genes in an organism can often substitute for each other, 2) some genes are just there in a silent state. Inactivation of such redundant genes does not jeopardize the individual’s reproductive success and has no effect on survival of the species. Genetic redundancy is the big surprise of modern biology. Because there is no association between redundant genes and genetic duplications, and because redundant genes do not mutate faster than essential genes, redundancy therefore brings down more than one pillar of contemporary evolutionary thinking.


A mouse knockout for a particular gene,

Figure 1. To create a mouse knockout for a particular gene, a selectable marker is integrated in the gene of interest in an embryonic stem cell. The marker disrupts (knocks out) the gene of interest. The manipulated embryonic stem cell is then injected into a mouse oocyte and transplanted back into the uterus of pseudo-pregnant mouse. Offspring carrying the interrupted gene can be sorted out by screening for the presence of the selection marker. It is now fairly easy to obtain animals in which both copies are interrupted through selective breeding. Mendel’s law of independent segregation assures that crossbreeding littermates will produce individuals that lack both genes.

The discovery of the primary rules governing biology in the second half of the 20th century paved the way for a more fundamental understanding of the complexity of life. One of the spin-offs of this knowledge has been the development of sophisticated techniques to elucidate the function of proteins. When molecular biologists want to know the function of a particular human protein they genetically modify a laboratory mouse so that it lacks the corresponding gene (for the laboratory procedure see figure 1). Mice that have both alleles of a gene interrupted cannot produce the corresponding protein—they are called knockouts. Theoretically, the phenotype of a mouse lacking specific genetic information could provide essential information about the function of the gene. Over the years, thousands of knockouts have been generated. The knockout-strategy has helped elucidate the functions of hundreds of genes and has contributed immensely to our biological knowledge. However, there has been one unexpected surprise—the no-phenotype knockout. This is unexpected, because according to the Darwinian paradigm, all genes should have a selectable advantage. Hence, knockouts should have measurable, detectable phenotypes. The no-phenotype knockouts demonstrate that genes can be disrupted without—or with only minor—detectable effects on the phenotype. Many genes seem to have no measurable function! This is known as genetic redundancy and it is one of the big surprises of modern biology.

Molecular switches

One of the most intriguing examples of genetic redundancy is found in the SRC gene family. This family comprises a group of eight genes that code for eight distinct proteins all with a function that is technically known as tyrosine kinase. SRC proteins attach phosphate groups to other proteins that contain the amino acid tyrosine in a specific amino acid context. The result of this attachment is that the protein becomes activated; it is switched on, and can hence pass down information in a signalling cascade. Four closely related members of the family are named SRC, YES, FYN and FGR, and the other related members are known as BLK, HCK, LCK and LYN. Both families are so-called ‘nuclear receptors’, and transmit signals from the exterior of the cell to the nucleus, the operation centre where the information present in the genes is transcribed into messenger RNA. The proteins of the SRC gene family operate as molecular switches that regulate growth and differentiation of cells. When a cell is triggered to proliferate, tyrosine kinase proteins are transiently switched on, and then immediately switched off.

The SRC gene family is among the most notorious genes known to man, since they cause cancer as a consequence of single point mutations. A point mutation is a change in a DNA sequence that alters only one single nucleotide—a DNA letter—of the entire gene. When the point mutation is not on a silent position, it will cause the organism’s protein-making machines to incorporate a wrong amino acid. The consequence of the point mutation is that the organism now produces a protein that cannot be switched off. Mutated SRC genes are of particular danger because they will permanently activate signalling cascades that induce cell proliferation: the signal that tells cells to divide is permanently switched on. The result is uncontrolled proliferation of cells—cancer. The growth-promoting point mutations cannot be overcome by allelic compensation because a normal protein cannot help to switch off the mutated protein.

Truly redundant genes are impossible paradoxes because natural selection cannot prevent the accumulation of harmful mutations in these genes. Hence, natural selection cannot prevent redundancies from being lost.

Despite the SRC protein being expressed in many tissues and cell types, mice in which the SRC gene has been knocked out are still viable. The only obvious characteristic of the knockout is the absence of two front teeth due to osteoporosis. In contrast, there are essentially no point mutations allowed in the SRC protein without severe phenotypic consequences. Amino acid changing point mutations in most, presumably all, of the SRC genes can lead to uncontrolled cellular replication.1 Knockout mice models have been generated to reveal the functions of all the members of the SRC gene family. Four out of eight knockouts did not have a detectable phenotype. Despite their cancer-inducing properties, half of the SRC genes appear to be redundant. Standard evolutionary theory tells us that redundant gene family members originated through gene duplications. Duplicated genes are truly redundant and as such they are expected to reduce to a single functional copy over time through the accumulation of mutations that damage the duplicated genes. Such mutations can be frame-shift mutations that introduce premature stop signals, which are recognized by the cellular translation-machines to terminate protein synthesis. The existence of the SRC gene family has been explained as follows:

‘In the redundant gene family of SRC-like proteins, many, perhaps almost all point mutations that damage the protein also cause deleterious phenotypes and kill the organism. The genetic redundancy cannot decay away through the accumulation of point mutations.’1

This scenario implies that the SRC genes are destined to reside in the genome forever. Point mutations that immediately kill raise an intriguing origin question. If the SRC genes are really so potently harmful that point mutations induce cancer, how could this extended gene family come into existence through gene duplication and diversify through mutations in the first place? After the first duplication, neither of the genes is allowed to change because it will invoke a lethal phenotype and kill the organism through cancer. Amino acid changing mutations in the SRC genes will permanently be selected against. The same holds true for the third, fourth and additional gene duplication. New gene copies are only allowed to mutate at neutral sites that do not replace amino acid in the protein. Otherwise the organism will die from tumours. Because of this ‘purifying’ selection mechanism, the duplicates should remain as they are. Yet the proteins of the SRC family are distinctly different, only sharing 60–80% of their sequences.

Redundancy—the rule not the exception

In 1964, a ‘knockout’ cross-country skier won two gold medals during the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck. In true Olympic tradition, Eero Maentyranta’s 15 and 30 km success was surrounded by controversy. Tests showed that he had 15% more red blood cells than normal subjects and Eero was accused of using doping to increase his level of red blood cells. Yet no trace of blood doping could be found. In 1964 nobody knew, but modern biology showed Maentyranta had a mutated EPO gene, which codes for erythropoietin, a messenger protein that tells the bone marrow to increase the production of red blood cells. To increase red blood levels, EPO binds to the EPO receptor that generates two opposite signals: one to instruct bone marrow cells to become red blood cells (the on-switch) and one to reduce production of red blood cells (the off-switch). This auto-regulatory mechanism assures a balanced production of red blood cells. In 1993, it turned out that the Olympic medallist had a mutation that knocked out the off-switch.2 The EPO receptor of the Finnish athlete generated a normal activation signal, but not the deactivating one. People can do well without the off-switch.

The predicted association between genetic redundancy and gene duplication is nonexistent. Ohno’s interesting idea of evolution by gene duplication therefore cannot be right.

In humans, the muscle-fiber-producing ACTN3 gene can also be missed entirely and without consequences for fitness.3 Humans can also do without the GULO gene,4 the gene coding for caspase 12,5 the CCR5 gene6 and some of the GST genes that are involved in the detoxification of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons present in cigarette smoke.7 All these genes can be found inactivated in entire human populations (GULO, caspase 12) or subpopulations thereof. The Douc Langur (Pygathrix nemaeus), an Asian leaf-eating Colobine monkey, is the natural no-phenotype knockout for the angiogenin gene that codes a small protein that stimulates the formation of blood vessels.8 Bacterial genomes can be reduced by over 9% without selective disadvantages on minimal medium,9 and mice in which 3 megabases of conserved DNA was erased showed no signs of reduced survival and there was no indication of overt pathology.10 Fewer than 2% of approximately 200 Arabidopsis thaliana (Mouse-Ear Cress) knockouts displayed significant phenotypic alterations. Many of the knockouts did not affect plant morphology even in the presence of severe physiological defects.11 In the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans a surprising 89% of single-copy and 96% of duplicate genes show no detectable phenotypic effect when they are knocked out.12 Prion proteins are thought to have a function in learning processes, but when they are misfolded they can cause bovine spongiform encephalitis (BSE) or Kreutzfeld–Jacob disease. In order to make BSE resistant cows, a knockout breed has been created lacking the prion protein. A thorough health assessment of this knockout breed revealed only small differences from wild-type animals. Apparently, cows can thrive very well without the prion protein.13 Research on histone H1 genes, once believed to be indispensable for DNA condensation, suggest that any individual H1 subtype is not necessary for mouse development, and that loss of even two subtypes is tolerated if a normal H1-to-nucleosome stoichiometry is maintained.14 Even complete highly specialized cells can be redundant. A strain of laboratory mouse, named WBB6F1, lacks a specific type of blood cells known as mast cells. The reported no-phenotype knockouts are probably only the tip of the iceberg. As reported in Nature below, few knockout organisms in which no phenotype could be traced ever see the light of day:

‘ … a lot of those things [no-phenotype knockouts] you don’t hear about. No-phenotype knockouts are negative results, and as such they are usually not reported in scientific journals; because they do not have news value. To address the problem, the journal Molecular and Cellular Biology has since 1999 a section given over to knockout and other mutant mice that seem perfectly normal.’15

So how are genes, cells and organisms supposed to have evolved without selective constraints? If organisms can do without complete cells, it would be outlandish to assert that natural selection was the driving force shaping those cells. Two decades of knockout experiments has made it clear that genetic redundancy is a major characteristic of all studied life forms.

Paradigm lost

Genetic redundancy falsifies several evolutionary hypotheses. Firstly, truly redundant genes are impossible paradoxes because natural selection cannot prevent the accumulation of harmful mutations in these genes. Hence, natural selection cannot prevent redundancies from being lost. Secondly, redundant genes do not evolve (mutate) any faster than essential genes. If protein evolution is due in large part to neutral and slightly deleterious amino acid substitutions, then the incidence of such mutations should be greater in proteins that contribute less to individual reproductive success. The rationale for this prediction is that non-essential proteins should be subject to weaker purifying selection and should accumulate mildly deleterious substitutions more rapidly. This argument, which was presented over twenty years ago, is fundamental to many theoretical applications of evolutionary theory, but despite intense scientific scrutiny the prediction has not been confirmed. In contrast, a systematic analysis of mouse genes has shown that essential genes do not evolve more slowly than non-essential ones.16 Likewise, E. coli proteins that operate in huge redundant networks can tolerate just as many mutations as unique single-copy proteins,17 and scientists comparing the human and chimpanzee genomes found that non-functional pseudogenes, which can be considered as redundancies, have similar percentages of nucleotide substitutions as do essential protein-coding genes.18 Thirdly, as discussed in more detail below, several recent biology studies have provided evidence that genetic redundancy is not associated with gene duplications.

What does the evolutionary paradigm say?

An important question that needs to be addressed is—can we understand genetic redundancy from Darwin’s natural selection perspective? How can genetic redundancy be maintained in the genome without natural selection acting upon it continually? How did organisms evolve genes that are not subject to natural selection? First, let’s look at how it is thought genetic redundancies arise. Susumo Ohno’s influential 1970 book, Evolution by Gene Duplication, deals with this idea.19 Sometimes, during cell divisions, a gene or longer stretch of biological information is duplicated. If duplication occurs in germ line cells and become inheritable, the exact same gene may be present twofold in the genome of the offspring—a genetic back-up.

Ohno argues that gene and genome duplications are the principal forces that drive the increasing complexity of Darwinian evolution, referring to the evolution from microbes to microbiologists. He proposes that duplications of genetic material provide genetic redundancies which are then free to accumulate mutations and adopt novel biological functions. Duplicated DNA elements are not subject to natural selection and are free to transform into novel genes. With time, he argues, a duplicated gene will diverge with respect to expression characteristics or function due to accumulated (point) mutations in the regulatory and coding segments of the duplicate.

Duplicates transforming into novel genes with a selective advantage will certainly be favored by natural selection. Meanwhile, the genetic redundancy will protect old functions as new ones arise, hence reducing the lethality of mutations. Ohno estimates that for every novel gene to arise through duplication, about ten redundant copies must join the ranks of functionless DNA base sequence.20 Diversification of duplicated genetic material is now the accepted standard evolutionary idea on how genomes gain useful information. Ohno’s idea of evolution through duplication also provides an explanation for the no-phenotype knockouts: if genes duplicate fairly often, it is then reasonable to expect some level of redundancy in most genomes, because duplicates provide an organism with back-up genes. As long as duplicates do not change too much, they may substitute for each other. If one is lost, or inactivated, the other one takes over. Hence, Ohno’s theory predicts an association between genetic redundancy and gene duplication.

The evolutionary paradigm is wrong

A small robust network

Figure 2. A very simple scheme of a small robust network comprised of A–E, where several nodes are redundant.

Some biologists have looked into this matter specifically using the wealth of genetic data available for Saccharomyces cerevisiae—the common baker’s yeast. A surprising 60% of Saccharomyces’ genes could be inactivated without producing a phenotype. In 1999, Winzeler and co-workers reported in Science that only 9% of the non-essential genes of Saccharomyces have sequence similarities with other genes present in the yeast’s genome and could thus be the result of duplication events.21 Most redundant genes of Saccharomyces are not related to genes in the yeast’s genome, which suggests that genetic duplications cannot explain genetic redundancy. In 2000, Andreas Wagner confirmed Winzeler’s original findings that weak or no-effect (i.e. non-essential and redundant) genes are no more likely to have paralogous—that is, duplicated—genes within the yeast genome than genes that do result in a defined phenotype when they are knocked out. Wagner concluded that the robustness of mutant strains cannot be caused by gene duplication and redundancy, but is more likely due to the interactions between unrelated genes.22 More recent studies have shown that cooperating networks of unrelated genes contribute significantly more to robustness than gene copy number.23 Redundant genes are proposed to have originated in gene duplications, but we do not find a link between genetic redundancy, and duplicated genes in the genomes. Gene duplication is not a major contributor to genetic redundancy, and the robust genetic networks found in organisms cannot be explained. The predicted association between genetic redundancy and gene duplication is non-existent. Ohno’s interesting idea of evolution by gene duplication therefore cannot be right.

The non-linearity of biology

The no-phenotype knockouts can only be explained by taking into account the non-linearity of biochemical systems. It is ironic that standard wall charts of biochemical reactions show hundreds of coupled reactions working together in networks, while graduate students are tacitly encouraged to think in terms of linear cause and effect. The linear cause-and-effect thinking in ancient Greek philosophy was adopted by nineteenth century European scholars, and is still dominating most fields of science, including biology. We cannot understand that genetic redundancy and biological robustness in linear terms of single causality, where A causes B causes C causes D causes E. Biological systems do not work like that. Biological systems are designed as redundant scale-free networks. In a scale-free network the distribution of node linkage follows a power law in that it contains many nodes with a low number of links, few nodes with many links and very few nodes with a high number of links. A scale-free network is very much like the Golden Orb’s web: individual nodes are not essential for letting the system function as a whole. The internet is another example of a robust scale-free network: the major part of the websites makes only a few links, a lesser fraction make an intermediate number of links, and a minor part makes the majority of links. Usually hundreds of routers routinely malfunction on the Internet at any moment, but the network rarely suffers major disruptions. As many as 80% of randomly selected Internet routers can fail, but the remaining ones will still form a compact cluster in which there will still be a path between any two nodes.24 Likewise, we rarely notice the consequences of thousands of errors that routinely occur in our cells.

Scale free networks

Genes never operate alone but in redundant scale-free networks with an incredible level of buffering capacity. In a simple non-linear biological system—presented in figure 2—with nodes A through E, A may cause B, but A also causes D independent of B and C. This very simple network of only five nodes demonstrates robustness due to redundancy of B and C. If A fails to make the link with D, there are still B and C to make the connection. Extended networks composed of hundreds of interconnected proteins ensure that if one network becomes inactivated by a mutation, essential pathways will then not be shut down immediately. A network of cooperating proteins that can substitute for or bypass each other’s functions makes a biological system robust. It is hard to imagine how selection acts on individual nodes of a scale-free, redundant system. Complex engineered systems rely on scale-free networks that can incorporate small failures in order to prevent larger failures. In a sense, cooperating scale-free networks provide systems with an anti-chaos module which is required for stability and strength. Scale-free genetic and protein networks are an intrinsic, engineered characteristic of genomes and may explain why genetic redundancy is so widespread among organisms. Genetic networks usually serve to stabilize and fine-tune the complex regulatory mechanisms of living systems. They control homeostasis, regulate the maintenance of genomes and provide regulatory feedback on gene expression. An overlap in the functions of proteins also ensures that a cell does not have to respond with only ‘on’ or ‘off’ in a particular biochemical process, but instead may operate somewhere in between.

Most genes in the human genome are involved in regulatory networks that detect and process information in order to keep the cell informed about its environment. The proteins operating in these networks come as large gene families with overlapping functions. In a cascade of activation and deactivation of signalling proteins, external messages are transported to the nucleus with information about what is going on outside so it can respond adequately. If one of the interactions disappears, this will not immediately disturb the balance of life. The buffering capacity present in redundant genetic networks also provides the robustness that allows living systems to propagate in time. In a linear system, one detrimental mutation would immediately disable the system as a whole: the strength of a chain is determined by its weakest link. Interacting biological networks, where parallel and converging links independently convey the same or similar information, almost never fail. The Golden Orb’s web only crumbles when an entire spoke is obliterated in a crash with a Dragonfly, an event that will hardly ever happen. Biological systems operate as a spider’s web: many interacting and interwoven nodes produce robust genetic networks and are responsible for genetic redundancy.23

Conclusion

Current naturalistic theories do not explain what scientists observe in the genomes. Genetic redundancy is the actual key to help us understand the robustness of organisms and also their built-in flexibility to rapidly adapt to different environments.

Genetic redundancy is an amazing property of genomes and has only recently become evident as a result of negative knockout experiments. Protein-coding genes and highly conserved regions can be eliminated from the genome of model organisms without a detectable effect on fitness. There is no association between redundant genes and gene duplications, and redundant genes do not mutate faster than essential genes. Genetic redundancy stands as an unequivocal challenge to the standard evolutionary paradigm, as it questions the importance of Darwin’s selection mechanism as a major force in the evolution of genes. It is also important to realize that redundant genes cannot have resided in the genome for millions of years, because natural selection, a conservative force, cannot prevent their destruction due to debilitating mutations. Mainstream biologists who are educated in the Darwinian framework are unable to understand the existence of genes without natural selection. This is clear from a statement in Nature a few years ago by Mario Cappecchi, a pioneer in the development of knockout technology:

‘I don’t believe that there is a single [knockout] mouse that does not have a phenotype. We just aren’t asking the right questions.’15

The right question to be asked is: is the evolutionary paradigm wrong? My answer is yes, it is. Current naturalistic theories do not explain what scientists observe in the genomes. Genetic redundancy is the actual key to help us understand the robustness of organisms and also their built-in flexibility to rapidly adapt to different environments. In part 2 of this series of articles, I will explain genetic redundancy in the context of baranomes, the multipurpose genomes baramins were originally designed with in order to rapidly spread to all the corners and crevices of the earth.

Related articles

Further reading

Related resources



References

  1. Toby, J.G. and Spring, J., Genetic redundancy in vertebrates: polyploidy and persistence of genes encoding multidomain proteins, Trends in Genet. 14:46–49, 1998. Return to text.
  2. de la Chapelle, A., Sistonen, P., Lehvaslaiho, H., Ikkala, E. and Juvonen, E., Familial erythrocytosis genetically linked to erythropoietin receptor gene, Lancet 341:82–84,1993. Return to text.
  3. North, K.N., Yang, N., Wattanasirichaigoon, D., Mills, M., Easteal, S. and Beggs, A.H., A common non-sense mutation results in alpha-actinin 3 deficiency in the general population: evidence for genetic redundancy in humans, Nature Genet. 21:353–354, 1999. Return to text.
  4. Truman, R. and Borger, P., Why the shared mutations in the hominidae exon X GULO pseudogene are not evidence for common descent, J. Creation 21(3):118–127, 2007. Return to text.
  5. The Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium, Initial sequence of the chimpanzee genome and comparison with the human genome, Nature 437:69–87, 2005. Return to text.
  6. Galvani, A.P. and Novembre, J., The evolutionary history of the CCR5-Delta32 HIV-resistance mutation, Microbes Infect. 7:302–309, 2005. Return to text.
  7. in: Van Diemen, C., Genetics of Lung Function Decline and COPD
    evelopment, Ph.D. dissertation, Gildeprint Enschede, Netherlands, p. 127, 2008. Return to text.
  8. Zhang, J. and Zhang, Y.P., Pseudogenization of the tumor-growth promoter angiogenin in a leaf-eating monkey, Gene 308:95–101, 2003. Return to text.
  9. Kolisnychenko, V., Plunkett, G., Herring, C.D., Feher, T., Posfai, J., Blattner, F.R. and Posfai, G., Engeneering a reduced Escherichia coli genome, Genome Res. 12:640–647, 2002. Return to text.
  10. Pennisi, E., The biology of genomes meeting: disposable DNA puzzles researchers, Science 304:1590–1591, 2004. Return to text.
  11. Bouche, N. and Bouchez, D., Arabidopsis gene knockout: phenotypes wanted, Curr. Opin. Plant. Biol. 4:111–117, 2001. Return to text.
  12. Conant, G.C. and Wagner, A., Duplicate genes and robustness to transient gene knock-downs in Caenorhabditis elegans, Proc. Biol. Sci. 27: 89–96, 2004. Return to text.
  13. Richt, J.A. et al., Production of cattle lacking the prion protein, Nature Biotech. 25:132–138, 2007. Return to text.
  14. Fan, Y., Sirotkin, A., Russell, R.G., Ayalla, J. and Scoultchi, A.I., Individual somatic H1 subtypes are dispensable for mouse development even in mice lacking the H1(0) replacement subtype, Mol. Cell. Biol. 21:7933–7943, 2001. Return to text.
  15. Quoted from: Pearson, H., Surviving a knockout blow, Nature 415:8–9, 2002. Return to text.
  16. Hurst, L.D. and Smith, N.G.C., Do essential genes evolve slowly? Curr. Biol. 9:747–750, 1999. Return to text.
  17. Hahn, M.W, Conant, G.C. and Wagner, A., Molecular evolution in large genetic networks: does connectivity equal constraint? J. Mol. Biol. 58:203–211, 2004. Return to text.
  18. Nachman, M.W. and Crowell, S.L., Estimate of the mutation rate per nucleotide in humans, Genetics 156:297–304, 2000. Return to text.
  19. Ohno, S., Evolution by Gene Duplication, Springer, New York, 1970. Return to text.
  20. Ohno, S., Evolutional reason for having so much junk DNA; in: Modern Aspects of Cytogenetics: Constitutive Heterochromatin in Man, Pfeiffer, R.A. (Ed.), F.K. Schattauer Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany, pp. 169–173, 1973. Return to text.
  21. Winzeler, E.A. et al., Functional characterization of the S. cerevisiae genome by gene deletion and parallel analysis, Science 285: 901–906, 1999. Return to text.
  22. Wagner, A., Robustness against mutations in genetic networks of yeast, Nat. Genet. 24:355–361, 2000. Return to text.
  23. Kitami, T. and Nadeau, J.H., Biochemical networking contributes more to genetic buffering in human and mouse metabolic pathways than does gene duplication, Nat. Genet. 32:191–194, 2002. Return to text.
  24. Barabasi, A. and Bonabeau, L.E., Scale-free networks, Sci. Am. 288:60–69, 2003. Return to text.

60 comments:

Jon Woolf said...

I hate to tell you this, Radar, but YELLING doesn't make a weak argument any stronger.

As it happens, YEC scientists are involved in studying these very methods in the light of a global flood among other dating methods.

When you assume the conclusion, you are not doing science.

What the commenters do NOT tell you is radiometric dating so often gives such widely varying dates ..

And what you don't tell your readers is that the above is propaganda, written with the express intent to deceive. Not by you, but by the "Christan scientists" you mistakenly use as sources. There are tens of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of studies that have used radiometric dating techniques on as many different samples of rocks, from different formations and locations all over the world. The vast majority of them are consistent with each other and the conventional geologic timeline. The few errors are exactly that -- the normal errors that can be expected from any laboratory test.

And of course, there's the 'backfire' question that inevitably arises in any mind that isn't hopelessly hypnotized by the ghastly spectre of illusory anti-Christian conspiracies: if radiometric dating doesn't work, then why do geologists continue to use it, and pay for it?

Once again, the design features of organisms surprise and astonish science, leaving Darwinists scrambling to...pretend the evidence does not exist?

Don't be ridiculous. Creationists ignore evidence. Not scientists.

So there's (apparently, if your source is correct, which it probably isn't because it is, after all, a creationist) a lot of redundancy built into the genome. So what? Considering how damage-prone the genome is, I'd expect nothing else.

And again, the argument backfires: why did your god create such a clumsy, complicated, error-prone system of genetics?

Anonymous said...

"This puts a barrier up which Darwinism cannot cross, the barrier between kinds. Wolves cannot mate with whales and dinosaurs cannot become birds."

Is there no end to the stupid?!

This is the kind of hare-brained nonsense that comes out the moment Radar doesn't have his finger on the paste button. How can someone who can write something like this with a straight face be expected to tell a good argument from a bad one, or good evidence from bad evidence?

Hawkeye® said...

Jon Woolf,
"And again, the argument backfires: why did your god create such a clumsy, complicated, error-prone system of genetics?"

Why did mankind create such a clumsy, complicated, error-prone system called the Internet? Remember, they work exactly the same way... or did you miss that part?

radar said...

I think that a logical mind will look at this post and the posts on Facilitated Variation and Michael Behe's work on mutation and irreducible complexity and come to the conclusion that only a religious fervor would cause a Darwinist to remain a Darwinist.

This post is not yelling. It is a straightforward presentation of strong evidence that organisms are designed with contingencies and redundancies just as NASA designs spacecraft only much better.

I laugh at those who celebrate the "elegance" of Darwinism and then complain about how badly designed God's creatures are. Oh, really? Then why do they successfully fill every single ecological niche from the highest heights of mountaintops to the deepest depths of the oceans, from the bitter cold of the Antartic to the fiery pools of hot springs?

The odds are against one simple one-celled creature to just "happen" even if every atom in the Universe had fifteen billion years to try to join together in one cohesive being. Yet will are surrounded by untold billions of organisms in us, on us, under us, above us and around us.

Notice no one has anything of substance to say about the article?

radar said...

"This puts a barrier up which Darwinism cannot cross, the barrier between kinds. Wolves cannot mate with whales and dinosaurs cannot become birds."

Is there no end to the stupid?!

This is the kind of hare-brained nonsense that comes out the moment Radar doesn't have his finger on the paste button. How can someone who can write something like this with a straight face be expected to tell a good argument from a bad one, or good evidence from bad evidence?


Anonymous, I guess you do not keep up with what Darwinists are saying these days. Key to the Darwinian myth is the transition from kind to kind, such as dinosaur to bird. So that stupid part is me repeating back to Darwinists what they claim to believe and pointing out that it will not fly.

So use strawmen and ad hominem and appeal to expertise or numbers or whatever you wish. When you grow up, come back with some kind of cohesive argument. Thanks.

creeper said...

"Then why do they successfully fill every single ecological niche from the highest heights of mountaintops to the deepest depths of the oceans, from the bitter cold of the Antartic to the fiery pools of hot springs?"

Because they evolved that way of course. If they had all been two (or seven) of every Biblical kind emerging from Noah's Ark 4K years ago, we would not be looking at the dispersal of species that we see today. The available data is in favor of the theory of evolution on that one.

"Notice no one has anything of substance to say about the article?"

It seems worth mentioning that you are so beholden to hare-brained strawman arguments that you would be unable to distinguish good evidence/arguments from bad ones. Apart from pasting the article(s), do you have anything of substance to say about it?

"Key to the Darwinian myth is the transition from kind to kind, such as dinosaur to bird. So that stupid part is me repeating back to Darwinists what they claim to believe and pointing out that it will not fly."

Nonsense. "Darwinists" (whatever they are) do not claim that wolves are able to mate with whales etc. You're either maliciously spreading a moronic strawman argument (a.k.a. lying) or have fallen victim to one and are passing it on (a.k.a. being a sucker). If you have another explanation, I'd love to hear it.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"So use strawmen and ad hominem and appeal to expertise or numbers or whatever you wish."

The chutzpah here is just breathtaking. You use every one of these fallacies on your blog with stunning regularity, and now you want to pretend we're the ones doing it?

Some examples:

1. Strawman arguments

a. "This puts a barrier up which Darwinism cannot cross, the barrier between kinds. Wolves cannot mate with whales and dinosaurs cannot become birds."

The theory of evolution does not require wolves to mate with whales etc. Dinosaurs could "become" birds, i.e. evolve into them, but it would take many millions of years.

Underlying this is a strawman argument that puts the lie to your claim that you've ever understood the theory of evolution but were persuaded away from it due to "evidence": that a dinosaur (or bacteria or whatever) would turn into something else in a matter of a few generations.

b. Any variation on "Darwinists say everything happened by chance alone", 747 in a junkyard.

2. Ad hominem

Textbook example here:

"I will pay no attention to your undependable sites such as talkorigins. This is not debatable. You mention talkorigins and I just pass your comments by. No intentionally incorrect origins sites allowed."

3. "appeal to expertise"

Interesting slip of the tongue. It's not surprising you're suspicious of "expertise", though I suspect you meant "appeal to authority". Jon Woolf has called you on this a few times recently. A simple example: Jon Sarfati is an amazing chess player, therefore what he says about anything must be true.

4. "numbers" or "appeal to numbers"

I have no idea what you're talking about here. What's wrong with numbers? Maybe you have some kind of "argument from incredulity" in mind, but you would be the prime purveyor of that, not us.

We've seen you get mangled by numbers on this blog, though (e.g. your embarrassing arguments re. the prison population, or the odds of you existing), so it's not surprising you may be a little defensive on that front.

These are just the most obvious examples. Could you point out any instances in which we've supposedly committed any of these fallacies? I for one would be more than happy to apologize if you found an example.

-- creeper

highboy said...

"And again, the argument backfires: why did your god create such a clumsy, complicated, error-prone system of genetics?"

Yes because if God exists, an infinite being wholly omniscient, omnipotent, eternal being, everything He does should make total sense to us. LOL. These types of arguments are so ridiculous. Then there's the whole "bad design" argument, which is based on complete and total assumptions without one test, going completely against the scientific method they tout so highly. Fact is, regardless of your belief system, these "bad designs" can be explained in the Bible with the fall of man.

Jon Woolf said...

Hawkeye wrote: Why did mankind create such a clumsy, complicated, error-prone system called the Internet?

The Internet is spaghetti code, and it works like spaghetti code. Much like the genetic code in that respect.

highboy wrote: Fact is, regardless of your belief system, these "bad designs" can be explained in the Bible with the fall of man.

Right, because your god is so malicious, so vindictive, so full of rage that he would punish his entire creation, down to the last least living cell, for the transgressions of just two foolish, fallible humans.

I didn't know you worshiped Morgoth.

highboy said...

"Right, because your god is so malicious, so vindictive, so full of rage that he would punish his entire creation, down to the last least living cell, for the transgressions of just two foolish, fallible humans."

Every single one of His creations committed the same sins, so I fail to see the relevance of your blindly childish remark, not to mention your assertion about God's character is based on a subjective humanist moral code that uses humanity as the measuring stick of all things moral, without clarifying why God if He exists and created humans would be obligated to treat them one way or the other. But of course you're totally capable of assuming how an eternal infinitely powerful God should/would operate.

WomanHonorThyself said...

thank u Radar..the photos help those like me who are not well versed in the topic..youre the best!

AmericanVet said...

Darwinists say that one kind becomes another kind. You all had a nice laugh at the idea that a bacteria could "jump domain" as if a domain was an actual barrier rather than a descriptive from science but nevertheless your own people have said that life would have had to jump domain a minimum of eleven times to get to mankind.

Ad hominem attack is a personal attack rather than a factual charge. I have pointed out to talkorigins and then to you readers that talkorigins is perfectly happy to post information they absolutely know is nonsense and they do not care.

Just as I said heck with Dr. Dino when he kept insisting the remains of a basking shark was a pleisiosaur I also dismiss talkorigins for cause.

Also I do not care if you can complile a list of one million Darwinists who are willing to bury heads in sand, the evidence remains. It will not go away. Darwinists must adjust or die out. I see no way you can adjust, frankly.

Darwinists can only try to hold out for awhile before the public catches up with the information and then they will know that you deliberately misled them. You will all be Haeckels then.

IAMB said...

Darwinists say that one kind becomes another kind. You all had a nice laugh at the idea that a bacteria could "jump domain" as if a domain was an actual barrier rather than a descriptive from science but nevertheless your own people have said that life would have had to jump domain a minimum of eleven times to get to mankind.

Sorry man, but as a biologist I'm going to have to call bullshit on you. You quite obviously don't have a clue what a domain is and you're apparently quite proud to show off your ignorance. Have fun with that.

creeper said...

Am I the only one that only just now realized that AmericanVet is Radar? Doh!! For a moment there I thought Radar actually had more than two readers that agreed with him.

Radar, an ad hominem is not (just) a personal attack, though it can include one. It's substituting criticism of a person for criticism of the argument the person is making. You dismissing an argument because it is posted on a website that has also posted something on a completely different subject that you disagree with instead of you addressing the argument itself is a textbook example of an ad hominem. Which course doesn't speak well of your ability to address the argument.

"I have pointed out to talkorigins and then to you readers that talkorigins is perfectly happy to post information they absolutely know is nonsense and they do not care."

Could you back up your assertion that "they absolutely know [their information] is nonsense" in any way whatsoever? Sounds to me like they just disagree with you, and they seem to have a good case.

"Just as I said heck with Dr. Dino when he kept insisting the remains of a basking shark was a pleisiosaur I also dismiss talkorigins for cause."

It's not necessary to dismiss all of Dr. Dino's claims because of one particular erroneous claim he made. Dr. Dino's claims can simply be examined and dismissed on their own merits.

"Darwinists say that one kind becomes another kind."

Not in those exact words, but in principle, yes. And it takes a long time. You wouldn't expect bacteria to turn into "something other than bacteria" (which, yes, would involve evolving into another domain) in a limited lab experiment lasting just a few decades.

"You all had a nice laugh at the idea that a bacteria could "jump domain" as if a domain was an actual barrier rather than a descriptive from science"

It is both a "descriptive from science" and a barrier of sorts if you're proposing that a domain should evolve into another domain, which is what you did in your befuddled, hare-brained critique of a valid experiment demonstrating speciation in bacteria.

You laughed at the suggestion that it was like a man evolving into a tree, but that was a fair analogy of the ludicrousness of what you were proposing, or demanding that the experiment should show if it were to confirm the theory of evolution. Seem ridiculous to you? Of course it does. Now take another look at what you were suggesting. Ask yourself what bacteria are. Ask yourself what "something other than bacteria" would be.

Actually, don't ask yourself, ask somebody who knows these things.

"but nevertheless your own people have said that life would have had to jump domain a minimum of eleven times to get to mankind."

Radar, it is absolutely pointless for you to engage in these discussions if you can't get the very, very basics right.

Which of "our own people" made such a claim?

What is a domain? In what domain do you think humans are currently classified? Which ten domains do you think "our own people" allegedly claimed the ancestors of humans cycled through before reaching their current domain?

I know you're committed to blacklisting poor Linnaeus's work, down the memory hole in 1984-style, to substitute it with the more Newspeak and meaningless "kinds", thus eliminating large chunks of painstakingly acquired knowledge, but if you do want to critique the theory of evolution, it doesn't help that you willfully hobble yourself with such ignorance of the subject.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"But of course you're totally capable of assuming how an eternal infinitely powerful God should/would operate."

Certainly. But if you're assuming consistency, you're assuming consistency. Maybe God is maddeningly inconsistent (and if he did exist, he would have to be), but then how to defend insisting on a literal interpretation of the early parts of Genesis?

Not your beat, I know. That was aimed more at Radar

-- creeper

Jon Woolf said...

highboy wrote: "But of course you're totally capable of assuming how an eternal infinitely powerful God should/would operate. "

I am Man. I was made in the image of God. If not me, then who?

Hey creeper, maybe you can answer a question for me. I thought I was reasonably up on most basic Christian theology, but I could easily be wrong. Is there any significant branch of Christianity whose theology supports highboy's claim that animals are moral agents capable of sin? It's not an idea I've seen before. Most Christians I know believe the exact opposite.

creeper said...

"Hey creeper, maybe you can answer a question for me. I thought I was reasonably up on most basic Christian theology, but I could easily be wrong. Is there any significant branch of Christianity whose theology supports highboy's claim that animals are moral agents capable of sin? It's not an idea I've seen before. Most Christians I know believe the exact opposite."

I can't claim to be an expert, but as far as I'm aware, no.

But you know, sometimes fundies say the darndest things.

-- creeper

scohen said...

"Remember, they work exactly the same way... or did you miss that part?"
Hawkeye:
The internet works the same way as genetics?

As someone who has a fair bit of knowledge about genetics and a lot of knowledge about the internet, I fail to see any similarity.

Wolf:
"The Internet is spaghetti code,"

Depends on what you mean by 'the internet'. If you're talking about the web sites that sit on top of it, then I agree, but if you're talking about the underpinnings like TCP stacks and routing implementations then we'll have to respectfully disagree. There's some beautiful code in there.

Creeper:
"Am I the only one that only just now realized that AmericanVet is Radar?"

No, you are not. Radar, would you care to explain why you're posting under two different pseudonyms with two different voices?

On facilitated variation:
We've been over this before Radar, your guy is getting it wrong. Here's a simple article that shows what it means. Williams takes the *exact opposite* meaning. Facilitated variation seeks to explain where non-lethal novelty comes from, not why things don't evolve.

From the wikipedia article:

The theory challenges Irreducible complexity by explaining how mutation can cause unusual changes within a species. They explain how the individual organism can change from a passive target of natural selection, to a central player in the 3-billion-year history of evolution. By closing the major gap in Darwin’s theory Kirschner and Gerhart also provide a timely scientific rebuttal to modern critics of evolution who champion "intelligent design".


What I fail to see is why you accept the conclusions of Alex Williams (not a PhD by the way) and not the two people who came up with the idea. To say no one has addressed your issues is quite dishonest. The fact is, we've been over this before --it's old news.

Jon Woolf said...

scohen: What I fail to see is why you accept the conclusions of Alex Williams (not a PhD by the way) and not the two people who came up with the idea.

My guess: it's because Williams's version agrees with Radar's preconceived notions, while the actual facts as reported by Kirschner and Gerhart don't.

Or am I being too cynical?

highboy said...

"I am Man. I was made in the image of God. If not me, then who?"

No one but God slick. Why you think your finite human brain would able to fully figure out every aspect of God's essence is beyond arrogant. More like ridiculous.

As for your last remark, here I'll fix it for you: humans have all committed sin in the eyes of God. Your hangups over supposed "bad design" are still nonsensical, so its just a diversion. Without testing your hypothesis your unable to draw those conclusions. Funny how I just had to explain the scientific method on a board full of science experts.

Jon Woolf said...

Why you think your finite human brain

I counter with Cantor's diagonal argument. (Counter-Cantor? Hey, how did we get onto the topic of dressage?)

humans have all committed sin in the eyes of God.

Humans. Not animals. Why, then, do the animals suffer along with us?

creeper said...

"Why you think your finite human brain would able to fully figure out every aspect of God's essence is beyond arrogant. More like ridiculous."

Pretty much exactly how I feel when people who profess to believe in God insist that the Bible can only be interested in one way, and must be consistent. How do they know what God intended?

But once they insist on consistency in one way, then that consistency must be, yes, consistent.

-- creeper

highboy said...

"Pretty much exactly how I feel when people who profess to believe in God insist that the Bible can only be interested in one way, and must be consistent. How do they know what God intended?"

God revealed it to them. Its really pretty simple.

Jon Woolf said...

God revealed it to them. Its really pretty simple.

Uh-huh. So simple that arguments have raged for more than two thousand years over what the Bible really means.

What is the Sixth Commandment?

creeper said...

"God revealed it to them. Its really pretty simple."

So if I now ask the question that this obviously leads to ("Why would God 'reveal' different things to different people?"), let me guess, we've landed at "The Lord works in mysterious ways", right?

-- creeper

creeper said...

Sixth Commandment:

22 You shall observe the festival of weeks, the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the festival of ingathering at the turn of the year.

23 Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel.

24 For I will cast out nations before you, and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.

-- creeper

Jon Woolf said...

I was thinking of the Exodus 20 version of the Commandments, creeper.

creeper said...

Ah.

highboy said...

"I was thinking of the Exodus 20 version of the Commandments, creeper."

Which is the same as every other version, what with the Bible explicitly stating that the Lord would copy down on the second set of tablets exactly what was on the first. Of course this has been pointed out repeatedly but because it interferes with your "contradictions in the Bible" argument I can see why. As you were.

As for "revealing different things" not sure what you're talking about. Why wouldn't God reveal different things at different times to different people? No one disputes that He does.

Jon Woolf said...

Your failure to understand is disappointing, highboy, but not unexpected.

What is the Sixth Commandment, as given in Exodus 20:13?

highboy said...

"What is the Sixth Commandment, as given in Exodus 20:13?"

"You shall not commit murder".

Why? While you're answering that, I have a legitimate, non-smart ass science question (or at least science related) to address to everyone posting here:

Radar has bashed talkorigins for being liars, and obviously disagrees with their science. Creeper and others have based radar's sources for the same reason, and obviously disagree with their science. Both sides have even verified their accusations with sources and links. So my question: for a guy like me, who has read virtually everything there is to read on the OEC/YEC debate, does not have the education or qualifications to do his own experiments, differentiate between the two and make a decision? Its a legitimate question, and scohen has asked me in the past in exasperation how I can't make up my mind and this is the reason why. I'm not a scientist, all I have is the word of whatever journal, article, or study I'm reading, and both sides go back and forth.

creeper said...

"Radar has bashed talkorigins for being liars, and obviously disagrees with their science. Creeper and others have based radar's sources for the same reason, and obviously disagree with their science. Both sides have even verified their accusations with sources and links. So my question: for a guy like me, who has read virtually everything there is to read on the OEC/YEC debate, does not have the education or qualifications to do his own experiments, differentiate between the two and make a decision? Its a legitimate question, and scohen has asked me in the past in exasperation how I can't make up my mind and this is the reason why. I'm not a scientist, all I have is the word of whatever journal, article, or study I'm reading, and both sides go back and forth. "

1. Radar has a single disagreement on a single issue (the Acambaro figurines) on which he has based his "talkorigins is lying" canard. He probably disagrees with others, but that is the only one that he has named so far as justification for calling them liars.

2. On this one issue, AFAIK Radar doesn't disagree with TO's science, he disagrees with clashing accounts. A guy called DiPeso said a bunch of things that lead to the conclusion that the Acambaro figurines were fraudulent. And someone else, I think it was Erle Stanley Gardner, disputed DiPeso's account and AFAIR said some unkind things about his character. But as it happens, some of what DiPeso said is true regardless of his character (this would be known as an ad hominem, BTW), and there are a number of other valid questions re. the Acambaro figurines.

3. Even if TO lied through their teeth re. the Acambaro figurines (though I can't exactly find the lie Radar is referring to), that doesn't mean that what a completely different author has to say about a completely different subject on the same website is false. That would be yet another ad hominem fallacy.

4. I don't recall ever dismissing an argument on this blog because of its author. I've certainly taken apart poor arguments and deduced from that that the author has little knowledge of the subject at hand, but that's a logical deduction, not an ad hominem fallacy.

5. We don't need to say "Dr. Dino has no credibility, therefore his arguments are false". We can just look at Dr. Dino's arguments and demonstrate they are false. Somehow Radar is not willing (or perhaps afraid) to do the same with, say, the in-depth examination of the RATE project posted on TO.

6. You'll notice that I point out a number of fallacies in Radar's argument. Radar's response to this tends to be somewhat childish remarks along the lines of "they must be getting worried". The thing is, when someone makes an argument, it ought to not contain any logical fallacies. Logical fallacies are erroneous ways of bolstering one's arguments with sleight of hand. What remains when you take away the fallacies is the argument.

So when, for example, someone uses a strawman argument (using a caricature of the one's opponent's argument instead of the actual argument itself), it may indicate that that person doesn't have good arguments against the actual argument the opponent is making. Dismantling a strawman argument is easy and pointless, and in any case does not constitute an argument against the thing one claims to be arguing against.

So when you see such a fallacy pointed out, ask yourself why it was used, and what the attempted argument would look like without the fallacy in place.

Hope that helps.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"Which is the same as every other version, what with the Bible explicitly stating that the Lord would copy down on the second set of tablets exactly what was on the first."

As well as then stating that God didn't do that, but told Moses to do it. Contradiction.

And no, the Exodus 20 is not the same as every other version.

"Of course this has been pointed out repeatedly but because it interferes with your "contradictions in the Bible" argument I can see why. As you were."

Can't quite parse the latter part of this. But as I pointed out to you previously, there is only one reference to the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament, spoken by God himself, and that happens to be in reference to the commandments in Exodus 34, not the text in Exodus 20 nor Deuteronomy.

God never refers to the testimony in Exodus 20-31 as the Ten Commandments.

"As for "revealing different things" not sure what you're talking about. Why wouldn't God reveal different things at different times to different people? No one disputes that He does."

You seem to be switching the context here. The "revealing" bit is in reference to an earlier comment upthread here:

""Pretty much exactly how I feel when people who profess to believe in God insist that the Bible can only be interested in one way, and must be consistent. How do they know what God intended?"

God revealed it to them. Its really pretty simple."


We're not talking about God revealing different things to different people at different times in the Bible, but people today interpreting the Bible in specific ways - and obviously not all agreeing. This is among believers, not a difference between Christians and members of other or no religion.

You say it's because God revealed it to them, but that would entail God revealing different things to different people at the same time.

Is it possible you misunderstood the initial quote to begin with when you made that comment?

-- creeper

scohen said...

Tim,
In response to your question, I say look at who is doing the work.

Every day, tens (hundreds?) of thousands of scientists go out and do actual work using the tools that creationists deny. They make drugs, study immunity, find new fossils and tack on more and more branches on to the tree of life. They do all of this using evolution, which is the underpinning of biology. Real work is getting done in the field using the model of evolution.

The question to ask yourself is "What useful work do creationists do?". From where I sit, they just try to chip away at the unknowns inherent in science. Why don't they apply their theories? 50% of the united states professes to be creationist, but where are the scientific discoveries by the legions of creationist scientists? This isn't a question of bias --it's what works.

Witness Radar's complete inability to define 'kind'. Now ask a biologist to define species and see how the answer flows. You're likely to have an hour long chat about that actually.

Another thing to note is that science proceeds from what is observed and moves towards a conclusion. Creationism on the other hand starts with the conclusion and seeks to make all observed evidence fit that conclusion --usually with little success. If science worked like this you'd see that all scientists would be doing is trying to turn lead into gold.

Finally, I find it helpful to look at the way the debaters portray the other side's arguments. See how radar (and pretty much every creationist I've ever read) misquote and over-simplify arguments. See how they mis-characterize natural selection as being 'blind chance' when anyone versed in natural selection knows that it's anything but.

I think here is where my education really helps. Knowing about biology lets me know when radar (or any creationist for that matter) doesn't know what they're talking about (domains). My knowledge of statistics helps me when creationists make poor arguments involving stats. My knowledge of math clues me in when jerks like Hartnett try to fool people like you with fancy symbols that you've never encountered to make themselves look more authentic.

Science does none of those things.

Hope that helps.

scohen said...

"Even if TO lied through their teeth re. the Acambaro figurines (though I can't exactly find the lie Radar is referring to), that doesn't mean that what a completely different author has to say about a completely different subject on the same website is false. That would be yet another ad hominem fallacy."

This is like finding an error in the encyclopedia Britannica and discounting it as a source.

highboy said...

I think scohen got the drift of my question best (no offense creeper) but its still confusing. For example scohen, you say "look at who is doing the work and using the equipment". Now creationists aren't using that equipment but that's their whole point: they think the work being done and equipment used is erroneous. In terms of natural selection, you state that it is anything but blind chance, but the fact that something like natural selection, which is a system (I can't think of a better word) would be inconsistent with the worldview that the universes' formation is a product of chance. If there is no design in creation, and no designer, how is there a system with an obvious design to it like natural selection? Again, before anyone starts railing on me, I'm not being a smart ass or trying to make an argument or prove a point. These are all genuine questions I have and I'm the first to admit that when it comes to science I'm certainly no expert.

Jon Woolf said...

Highboy asked: "for a guy like me, who has read virtually everything there is to read on the OEC/YEC debate, does not have the education or qualifications to do his own experiments, differentiate between the two and make a decision?"

A very good question. Here's my answer: You don't need a degree in any of the sciences to be a scientist. It's the state of mind that makes one a scientist, not the letters after one's name or the number of diplomas one has. Even an amateur like you (or me) can learn the essentials of many subjects in a few days of reading. And the essentials are often all you need to know in order to tell whether or not a hypothesis is plausible.

You can also do a little fieldwork of your own. Basic geology isn't difficult. All you need is the Mark 1 Eyeball, perhaps a hammer, a camera, and a notepad and pen. And some rocks to look at. Leave your preconceptions behind, and just look at the rocks. They can tell you a lot.

Something else you can do is go to a good local natural-history museum and study the exhibits for yourself. The bones and shells and footprints can tell you a lot, too.

The essence of it is, don't trust anybody just because someone has told you they're an authority. Look at what they say and see if it fits the evidence -- all the evidence.

Jon Woolf said...

Highboy also asked: "If there is no design in creation, and no designer, how is there a system with an obvious design to it like natural selection?"

I'm not sure what you're asking here. Are you asking whether the process of natural selection was designed, or are you asking how a mindless process like selection can result in organisms that look like they were designed?

scohen said...

Tim,

While I didn't mention equipment, I think this is important:

"they think the work being done and equipment used is erroneous."

That's fine, then they should use their theories to discover new things and predict new and novel things.

Yet they aren't and they can't. Sounds like their hypotheses don't work. Even in the simplest cases, their theories fail. Compare what we see in the fossil record to what would be predicted by hydrologic sorting.

"something like natural selection, which is a system (I can't think of a better word) would be inconsistent with the worldview that the universes' formation is a product of chance"

I'm not sure what you're getting at here. The universe from what I can tell, doesn't have a worldview. Also, natural selection only concerns life, not the universe's formation. To discuss that, we move out of biology to cosmology and physics.

"If there is no design in creation, and no designer, how is there a system with an obvious design to it like natural selection?"

Natural selection is not the same thing as design. It's simply a framework that we use to describe what we see in nature. As such, there are no implications to natural selection before life started, and natural selection is a direct result of life existing.

Obviousness doesn't always connote design. I can think of some antennae that look very designed but were not.

I also wholeheartedly agree with Jon's comment above.

highboy said...

"I'm not sure what you're asking here. Are you asking whether the process of natural selection was designed, or are you asking how a mindless process like selection can result in organisms that look like they were designed?"

Not sure. Natural selection, from what I can tell, seems to be a system. (again, for lack of a better word) There is a purpose to it.

"I'm not sure what you're getting at here. The universe from what I can tell, doesn't have a worldview. Also, natural selection only concerns life, not the universe's formation. To discuss that, we move out of biology to cosmology and physics."

I realize cosmology and evolution are two different things, but I'm asking the question as it pertains to one's worldview. If one is an agnostic/atheist who believes the universe is not designed, without meaning or purpose, how is there something like natural selection which to me, seems to have a very clear purpose. I have no dog in this fight, as neither OEC or YEC seem to effect my own worldview one way or the other, but it would be nice, as scohen once pointed out, to be able to lean one way or the other. At some point I have to teach science to my child and while I'm certainly capable of teaching theories, when he asks me what I think I'd like to say something other than "beats the hell out of me".

Jon Woolf said...

Highboy: "Natural selection, from what I can tell, seems to be a system. (again, for lack of a better word) There is a purpose to it."

Well, there is and there isn't. That is, natural selection has a short-term goal, which is to improve the fit between a population of organisms and their environment. But natural selection doesn't have any long-term goal. It can only work with what it currently has available, and it can't foresee the future. To take one example, natural selection could successfully mold a population of small cats into larger cats, and then some of those larger cats into the sabertooth cat Smilodon fatalis, a very successful hunter of mega-mammals. But in the process, Smilodon lost the ability to hunt anything else. Then all of Smilodon's favored prey disappeared at the end of the Ice Age, and Smilodon was stuck. It wasn't capable of changing to smaller prey, and natural selection couldn't do anything about that.

When we look around, we see whole habitats, whole ecosystems that seem well-designed, animals and plants existing in beautiful harmony. But when we look closer, we find that what looks harmonious is actually a complicated, ongoing battle between organisms for food, mates, and living space. And the current arrangement is always temporary, always subject to change. Change one aspect of the situation -- any aspect at all, even something that seems insignificant -- and selection will instantly start working on every species in the system, trying to maximize its share of the new situation. The new situation might be better over the long term ... or it might not.

scohen said...

Tim,
I'm happy with Jon's answer above.

"At some point I have to teach science to my child and while I'm certainly capable of teaching theories, when he asks me what I think I'd like to say something other than "beats the hell out of me".

I hate to tell you, but no matter how much you know about any given subject, at some point you're going to have to say those words. They're honest and downright scientific. "Beats the hell out of me" is the opposite of "goddidit", since "Beats the hell out of me" is a beginning and "goddidit" is an end.

If you're actually interested, you should seriously consider taking a college-level bio course. You've got a great local branch of Penn State with reasonable in-state rates. Or take a class at a community college. Learning from actual experts is so much better than learning from a blog, or reading he-said she-said arguments over evolutionary arcana.

highboy said...

You know what scohen? In the end it comes down to just that: education. Problem is that while I'm trying to finish off my current degree, money is just not available. So I'm pretty much stuck with the he said she said blogs for now. LOL.

Jon Woolf said...

Not necessarily, Highboy. You can learn a lot from popular-science books, as long as you choose the right ones. A few examples:

DIGGING DINOSAURS and DINOSAUR LIVES, both by Jack Horner

THE HORNED DINOSAURS by Peter Dodson

AT THE WATER'S EDGE by Carl Zimmer

CRUCIBLE OF CREATION by Peter Conway Morris

THE BEAK OF THE FINCH by Jonathan Weiner

These books, these authors, try to explain their chosen topics in terms that non-specialists can understand. They simplify some of the material, but no more than they have to. And they cost a lot less than a college course does.

One other thought to consider:
"At some point I have to teach science to my child and while I'm certainly capable of teaching theories, when he asks me what I think I'd like to say something other than "beats the hell out of me"."

Well, how about this answer instead: "Let's go find out" or "Let's go look it up". Wikipedia isn't the world's most reliable source, but on non-controversial subjects it's usually a good place to start, and a web-search can usually get a lot more.

highboy said...

jack horner: is that the oscar winning composer?

Jon Woolf said...

No, it's this guy.

creeper said...

That would be James Horner.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"I think scohen got the drift of my question best (no offense creeper) but its still confusing."

No offense taken whatsoever.

"For example scohen, you say "look at who is doing the work and using the equipment". Now creationists aren't using that equipment but that's their whole point: they think the work being done and equipment used is erroneous."

Which is a somewhat strange proposition, to put it mildly. Because they can't give a single logical reason why they think that, other than "it doesn't give us the results we want". Which is extremely poor science.

Sometimes creationists say they "disagree", but provide no basis for this. You never see something like "this method is wrong because X", or "that interpretation is wrong because Y" - well, unless "X" and "Y" are something like "it doesn't give us a result of a young Earth".

I'll give you some examples:

Ice cores - Radar's been doing some handwaving about this, and predictably has dismissed any results older than 6,000 years, without providing any justification that would actually make it possible to interpret 600,000 to 800,000 ice core layers stacked on top of each other as representing 6,000 years. Note that there is no scientific disagreement here. YECs just say: sorry, the result isn't what my interpretation of the Bible tells me, therefore the science is wrong.

"Kinds" - From Linnaeus onwards, scientists have painstakingly classified living organisms according to anatomical features, genetic structure etc. to find correlations, connections, differences. This has resulted in a hierarchy that makes it possible to see which organisms are related to which other organisms. Again, a truckload of knowledge that creationists dismiss for no other reason than that it clashes with the Bible. This despite the fact that, as Radar sometimes likes to remind us for unfathomable reasons, Linnaeus was a Christian. Then why won't fellow Christians respect his work?

And as you can see, Radar's coming up blank when it comes to "kinds". At best, what YECs will manage to cobble together is roughly a listing of current species, since the definition of that roughly corresponds to a Biblical "kind". But you can't fit all the species onto the Ark, so the YECs still have some mulling to do.

Dating methods - Radar has been hyping up one aspect of one dating method (which was heavily critiqued for poor lab work) while completely dismissing scores of other dating methods, but no YEC has been able to give a reason why those other dating methods should all be dismissed, or provided a more reasonable explanation for the data.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"In terms of natural selection, you state that it is anything but blind chance, but the fact that something like natural selection, which is a system (I can't think of a better word) would be inconsistent with the worldview that the universes' formation is a product of chance."

Jon and scohen have already answered this question very well. Suffice it to say that natural selection isn't exactly a "system" the way you would think of it, but a rather simple principle.

More importantly, there is no teleological aspect to it, i.e. natural selection doesn't pursue a particular goal and doesn't run along a particular track. Not only have organisms in the course of time moved from sea to land, but some even moved back into the sea.

"If there is no design in creation, and no designer, how is there a system with an obvious design to it like natural selection? Again, before anyone starts railing on me, I'm not being a smart ass or trying to make an argument or prove a point. These are all genuine questions I have and I'm the first to admit that when it comes to science I'm certainly no expert."

In present company, I think only IAMB is actually a scientist by trade. The rest of us AFAIK are interested amateurs to varying degrees.

-- creeper

Anonymous said...

Nice discussion, commenters.

highboy, I'm also curious. You say above that an old earth doesn't necessarily conflict with your worldview. Yet I've seen you argue aggressively with Jon about the wording of conflicting accounts of the order of events in Genesis. So, for clarity sake, are you saying that your worldview includes a bible that is 100% consistent but not 100% literal? Because if you are, I'm not sure I understand. I mean, isn't there something inherently inconsistent in a purportedly inerrant document that states that the world was created in "days" (as Radar fervently believes) when God (the author) really meant billions and billions of years?

- Canucklehead.

highboy said...

Not necessarily cancucklhead. The Genesis accoutnt I believe is 100% literal. We've discussed this on this site before. The Hebrew word for day is yom', which has about 25 different meanings all pertaining to lengths of time. So if i were to come to the conclusion that the world is billions of years old, it simply means my literal interpretation was literally wrong.

creeper said...

"Not necessarily cancucklhead. The Genesis accoutnt I believe is 100% literal. We've discussed this on this site before."

Yes, though I think you had a definition of "literal" in mind that also included metaphorical, symbolic, and/or allegorical. I was a little confused by that.

"The Hebrew word for day is yom', which has about 25 different meanings all pertaining to lengths of time. So if i were to come to the conclusion that the world is billions of years old, it simply means my literal interpretation was literally wrong."

The "yom" discussion can be found here. There are some links in the comments, one by a Hebrew scholar, that certainly make a day-age approach plausible.

-- creeper

highboy said...

"The "yom" discussion can be found here. There are some links in the comments, one by a Hebrew scholar, that certainly make a day-age approach plausible."

what do you mean a "day- age approach"?

highboy said...

"what do you mean a "day- age approach"?"

never mind. duh.

radar said...

IAMB, for the last time I will tell you that a domain is a construct of scientists that is descriptive in nature and not part of the design of creation. You Darwinists cannot have your domain and skip it, too. K and G supposed that life had to have "jumped domains" several times in order for it to have evolved even as they admitted they saw no means by which this was accomplished.

Radar has not come up blank in regards to kinds. Baraminology is alive and well. I just decided to introduce it in the humbug series, as part of it actually.

We do not dismiss Watson and Crick because they did not discover everything about DNA. We do not disregard Newton for providing laws of physics that are not entirely true. We do not fault Einstein for his relativity theory because he did not also reveal quantum mechanics. I will not revile Linnaeus for not getting kinds just right.

My understanding of the word "yom" based on usage in the Old Testament. Those who say there are several meanings for the word are welcome to believe that. I can tell you that every usage in association with evening and morning means a 24 hour day. That God would specify the evening and morning is a strong hint that He meant just that.

radar said...

Oh, and I did not say that Darwinists claim wolves mate with whales, I said that it does not happen. I used it in a humorous way in association with a ridiculous concept many Darwinists do believe, which is that dinosaurs evolved into birds. I am going to present a few Darwinist humbugs as we go along and that is certainly one of them. Physiologically a dinosaur and a bird are not particularly close.

Again, no commenter has provided a way to deal with specified variation. Specified variation explains why citrate eating bacteria was not Darwinism in action (the abilty to metastasize citrate exists in the gene pool but is not usually turned "on" in aerobic conditions. Every bacterial evolution example given has always involved preexisting genetic material and this is where you guy lose it. You cannot find a source of information and you cannot find a way to insert new information into the genome.

Imagine all the thousands of bacteria reproducing under all sorts of circumstances and never have we seen actual macroevolution. Now bring Haldane's dilemna into the equation. There is not enough time and not enough room to stack up the bones for all the zillion brillion (make up your own number) years it would take for man to have evolved if in fact he could do it. The Sun would finish its life cycle and the Moon would have degraded its orbit and smashed into the Earth long before man evolved from some simple creature. If macroevolution could even happen. Which it doesn't.

radar said...

Oh, and Sarfati has all the scientific credentials he needs without having ever played chess. I just happen to think it is cool he is able to do those things, publish all the papers, make various discoveries, write articles and also take time to give talks and meet and spend time talking to amateur scientists such as myself.

Jon Woolf said...

Physiologically a dinosaur and a bird are not particularly close.

Sorry to have to tell you this, Radar, but reality disagrees with you. After the recent finds in China's Liaoning fossil beds, there is no longer any physiological feature which can be reliably used to distinguish birds from dinosaurs. From Sinosauropteryx to Archaeopteryx and beyond, we have a better series of intermediates for the evolution of birds than we have for the evolution of mammals from synapsids or tetrapods from rhipidistian fishes.

creeper said...

"Oh, and Sarfati has all the scientific credentials he needs without having ever played chess. I just happen to think it is cool he is able to do those things, publish all the papers, make various discoveries, write articles and also take time to give talks and meet and spend time talking to amateur scientists such as myself."

Fine, so let's not focus on Sarfati as a person, but on the actual arguments. Seeing as otherwise we'd just be engaging in arguments from authority and ad hominem fallacies.

-- creeper

creeper said...

"IAMB, for the last time I will tell you that a domain is a construct of scientists that is descriptive in nature and not part of the design of creation. You Darwinists cannot have your domain and skip it, too. K and G supposed that life had to have "jumped domains" several times in order for it to have evolved even as they admitted they saw no means by which this was accomplished."

???

"Darwinists" don't need to "skip" domains.

Since you've decided to double down on this, could you (1) please explain in your own words what you think a domain is, and (2) please provide the quote where you think Gerhart and Kirschner claimed that for evolution to be true it was necessary to skip domains either "several times" or "eleven times", which I seem to recall was your original claim.

What would those twelve domains be, I wonder?

"Radar has not come up blank in regards to kinds. Baraminology is alive and well. I just decided to introduce it in the humbug series, as part of it actually."

Ah, the humbug series. A good place for it.

But it's true, so far you've come up blank in regard to kinds. And I predict that at best the baraminologists will came up with a pale rehash of the division into species. It's a conundrum, since that would mean they'd have to deny that, say, insects could be grouped together. They'd look pretty foolish presenting this as the Christian alternative to science.

But hey, knock yourself out. Looking forward to the post.

"We do not dismiss Watson and Crick because they did not discover everything about DNA. We do not disregard Newton for providing laws of physics that are not entirely true. We do not fault Einstein for his relativity theory because he did not also reveal quantum mechanics. I will not revile Linnaeus for not getting kinds just right."

Except that in the case of the other examples you mentioned, their knowledge was improved upon. In the case of Linnaeus vs. baraminology, it's a simple process of lopping off everything that disagrees with one particular interpretation of a religious text.

No added knowledge or insight involved.

"My understanding of the word "yom" based on usage in the Old Testament. Those who say there are several meanings for the word are welcome to believe that. I can tell you that every usage in association with evening and morning means a 24 hour day. That God would specify the evening and morning is a strong hint that He meant just that."

I take it you're not disputing that there are several meanings for the word "yom", including "age" etc.?

And "morning" and "evening" have been used in senses where they don't literally mean "morning" and "evening".

You're welcome to believe what you want of course, but this seems far from a closed case.

-- creeper