Sunday, August 08, 2010

Trouble with Clading

One of the claims of evolutionists is that we Creationists don't want to listen to the evidence, and that evolutionists do listen to the evidence. They claim that we are unreasonable in dismissing their attempt to establish common descent by simply grouping living beings with similar characteristics together.

They claim that they are not simply dogmatically asserting common descent, and that their hypothesis is falsifiable, if we find an example of something that eludes their clading - explaining similar features by common ancestry.

We point to things like octopus eyes as an example that shows that their system of clading cannot be right, since humans and octopuses do not have any alleged common ancestors that have eyes. They simply claim that this is an example of parallel evolution. By remarkable coincidence, the eye evolved by chance at least two different times.

But the absurdity can be seen to be even greater than that. Recently, it was announced that a study had determined that sea sponges share human genes - and not just one or two. The study claims that sea sponges share 70% of human genes (link to report of study).

This sort of evidence ends up getting waved away by evolutionary dogmatists. Who cares about sea sponges, chimps have 99.something % of our genes, they'll tell us. But then when you bring up articles on chimp studies that suggest that there are problems with the hypothesis that gene similarity means we are close relations to chimps (first article, second article), they tend to simply wave them off as well.

And then, of course, they'll accuse you of anti-intellectualism because you don't uncritically accept the dogma of evolutionism on faith. Oh, the irony.

- Turretinfan

23 comments:

Dean Dough said...

Dear Turretinfan,

Would you like to go out on a limb and explain in detail how this sponge finding falsifies common ancestry? Or, point to someone else who has already done so

Nothing in the chimp articles you cited even suggests that the findings present any problems for evolutionary theory. You draw that conclusion yourself. OK, then, defend it.

This has nothing to do with accepting the "dogma of evolutionism on faith." It has to do with finding the best explanations given the the available evidence. Evolutionary theory, being incomplete and based on incomplete evidence, is bound to be wrong about some things. OK, make a better case then, without special pleading and arguments from authority.

Ex N1hilo said...

Dean wrote,

OK, make a better case then, without special pleading and arguments from authority.

All arguments are from authority.

And, in a godless universe, special pleading is all you would have. There would be no laws, no regularity on which one could depend.

Turretinfan said...

DD:

Evidence against =! disproof

Sponges are in Phylum Porifera and humans are in Phylum Chordata. According to the current estimates among evolutionary scientists, the subkingdom of which porifera is a part split from the rest of the animal kingdom about 940 million years ago.

Are able to see how a high degree of genetic similarity between sponges and humans is problematic for a theory of common descent?

-TurretinFan

Anonymous said...

As I see it, the articles pose problems for evolutionary theorists in the following ways:

Chimp 1 suggests that humans are more similar to a supposed “common primate ancestor” than are chimpanzees. That’s problematic because (well, maybe I’m just bigoted as the article suggests, but from my lay perspective) chimps seem to have far more in common with other primates than do humans. This seems to cast doubt on the methods, or at least the interpretations commonly employed in DNA studies by evolutionists.

Chimp 2 chimes in with the idea that DNA regulation has a greater influence on expressed traits than does coding (coding being the basis of the %-DNA-similarity studies). Like the previous study, this one suggests to me that scientists are making unwarranted assumptions based on DNA coding.

The sponge article further illustrates that statistics cited in chimp studies are no big whoop. To add even more context, consider that we share about half our DNA with bananas, by the same criteria used in these chimp studies. In fact, by the same standard, the genomes of all life forms are 25% identical.

Speaking of statistics, I would love to see a probability study on those octopus eyes, TF. What are the chances of such an organ evolving once, let alone twice on one planet, through random mutations? Factoring in the possibility that they're a product of that one crazy act of spontaneous generation, of course..and that all this was made possible by that neat little explosion.

Anonymous said...

For my perspective it takes much more faith to believe something came from nothing. The best answer you can get mutation lovers is "it was just always there".

wtanksley said...

Are able to see how a high degree of genetic similarity between sponges and humans is problematic for a theory of common descent?

No, I don't. Since your blog is read by a lot of people without biological expertise, I think it would serve your readers very well for you to explain this point rather than simply asserting it.

I do think a high level of similarity is something that the advocates of "frontloading" would have predicted (most of whom are theistic evolutionists), but you're not a frontloader; you're a special creationist, and special creationists wouldn't generally make any predictions about similarity at all.

For people who are neither frontloaders nor special creationists, the sponge similarity suggests that sponges' ancestors were more like chorodates than the conventional model previously suggested. This is a major chronology change, but it doesn't twist the theory at all. Now, if MORE so-called "primitive" organisms turn out to be unexpectedly close to chorodates, the argument used by the frontloaders will be bolstered and the conventional argument will be weakened (since finding ONE error in chronology is no surprise); so this is a minor data point which could later turn out to be a turning point.

I strongly suggest that more Biblical Christians read and follow the example of scientists like Todd C. Wood, who points out that we believe what the Bible says about God's creation because it is the Bible, not because all the other evidence tells us that what it says is correct. In some cases, and this is one, the evidence isn't clearly in favor of what the Bible says -- but contrary to what Hitchens wants you to think, that doesn't mean that the Bible is false; it could be that nobody's realized the model that fits both the evidence and the Bible. Our job isn't to fight battles trying to disprove a theory that we know is a waste of time (because it's false); our job is to come up with a correct theory.

Turretinfan said...

Anonymous,

Yes - and of course the eye is an organ. One could take something else that's fairly easy to identify, such as bioluminescence. One finds that characteristic in one species of snail, in fireflies and glowworms, certain kinds of worms, a variety of fish, a variety of marine invertebrates, and in some fungi.

- TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

WT:

That's about right. Of course, it depends which 70% overlap, and whether those can be accounted for by common descent.

- TurretinFan

Dean Dough said...

Dear Turretinfan,

This whole issue may be a tempest in a teapot. After reading the original article in Nature, I think we've been had by someone looking to make a splash with a sensationalistic headline. Here is the paragraph of the original article from which the claim of 70% similarity is derived:

The 705 Amphimedon kinases represent the largest reported metazoan kinome, and include members of >70% of human kinase classes (compared with 59% in choanoflagellate, 83% in sea anemone, 70% in Caenorhabditis elegans and 77% in fruitfly; see Supplementary Note 8.7). Amphimedon has single copies of most metazoan kinase classes, but has several expansions of over 50 genes per class. The largest expansions are in the tyrosine kinase and tyrosine-kinase-like groups, and include over 150 likely receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). Unlike Monosiga, where RTKs could not be classified into metazoan families28, Amphimedon has kinase domains from six known animal families (epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), Met, discoidin domain receptor (DDR), regeneron orphan receptor (ROR), Eph and Sevenless). The EGFR and some Eph extracellular domain architectures are as in their eumetazoan counterparts, but many other RTKs have unique extracellular domains. For instance, DDRs have immunoglobulin repeats, and sushi domains are found in some members of the expanded Eph and Met families. This indicates that the activating ligands, presumably found largely in the external environment, may be distinct from those of eumetazoans.

A little investigation yields that kinase classes are a specialized subset of genes responsible for the production of a set of enzymes; this represents only a small fraction of the genome of any living thing. Somebody badly misrepresented the significance of the 70% number. Look here for more info on the whole topic of kinomes.

So, the high degree of genetic similarity isn't so high after all, and if something like that is going to be a problem for evolutionary theory, you'll need something more like this: Amphimedon queenslandica shares with humans a large number of genes that code for specific kinases. Furthermore, these genes are missing from the genomes of most of the members of phylum chordata, including other primates. An evolutionist would have to presume convergent evolution and would likely have a tough time explaining how this could happen.

In contrast, consider this article regarding the convergent evolution of octopus and human eyes. Plenty of genetic info. to chew on, doubt, and challenge, but at least you'll see that a case can be made for it based on more than just dogmatic assertions.

Dean Dough said...

Dear Turretinfan,

Sorry about the duplicate posts here. Form some reason the post function kept coming back with a "URL too large" error and I presumed it meant the post was too long.

Srnec said...

I recommend Fodor and Piatelli-Palmarini's What Darwin Got Wrong? to all of you. It may correct misconceptions about evolution and at the same time dismantle the neo-Darwinism that is currently the loudest version of evolutionary theory. The authors are atheists and nonscientists, but it is still a good read.

Turretinfan said...

DD:

No problem regarding the duplicate postings - I've removed the duplicates.

Thanks for the link back to the original Nature article. The 70% number is not quite as dramatic when it is only connected with a subset of the genome, obviously.

Thanks for pointing this out!

-TurretinFan

natamllc said...

Wtanksley

You wrote of TF, this:

I do think a high level of similarity is something that the advocates of "frontloading" would have predicted (most of whom are theistic evolutionists), but you're not a frontloader; you're a special creationist, and special creationists wouldn't generally make any predictions about similarity at all.

I would add to it the Words of Jesus knowing TF wholeheartedly accepts his Lord's Words about his being one of His:::>

Luk 20:33 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife."
Luk 20:34 And Jesus said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage,
Luk 20:35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage,
Luk 20:36 for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
Luk 20:37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.
Luk 20:38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him."


Now there is no end in sight to what is and what is not.

It is absolute that the "what is" in the realm of the sons of the Resurrection will not be explained by any scientific method known to mankind in this life and it is not necessary in the fore coming Life.

So, the best that can be done by a son of the Resurrection is not strive foolishly with those non-issues you suppose front loading theistic evolutionists would foolishly strive over?

Just something to think about! :)

Dean Dough said...

Dear Turretinfan,

NP! I know I can be prickly and insufferable, and I appreciate your graciousness. Please forgive me for getting snarky. If only the folks who rush this stuff onto the web would vette their sources more carefully so working stiffs like us wouldn't have to triple-check them!

wtanksley said...

So, the best that can be done by a son of the Resurrection is not strive foolishly with those non-issues you suppose front loading theistic evolutionists would foolishly strive over?

Except for the Scripture you quoted (which doesn't seem to pertain to any issue at hand), I don't understand a word you're posting.

What do you mean?

-Wm

natamllc said...

Wtanksley

Have you received the Holy Spirit?

Are you "born again" along the lines of these verses:

1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1Pe 1:4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
1Pe 1:5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

wtanksley said...

natamllc, yes. I also affirm that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures, and that he was seen afterwards by many people, of which many remained to testify as the Scriptures were being written.

That's an important question you've asked, and I'm glad to be able to affirm that.

Now, why did you direct your previous post at me, and what did it mean?

-Wm

natamllc said...

Wtanksley,

I apologize if you took my comments to be adversarial?

I would point you to my words here:

"I would add to it the Words of Jesus..."

In hindsight I can see if you did it might be because of these, my words also, later on in my post:

"....is not strive foolishly with those non-issues you suppose front loading theistic evolutionists would foolishly strive over?"

If these words were intrusive, again, I apologize, as they were a poor attempt on my part to embellish the point that TF is after all and before all, a son of the Resurrection and the subject matter and the debates that are all about us won't be settled this side of Eternity even if more scientific evidences are produced to the contrary.

Is there more?

wtanksley said...

natamllc, thank you for expressing your desire to not be adversarial. I'm glad you recognize that your repeated use of "foolish" might be seen that way.

Fortunately, I didn't see it as adversarial so much as completely incomprehensible. I had, and have, no idea what point you're making.

Are you trying to say that my words are foolish? Or are you trying to say that "frontloaders" are foolish? Or special creationists? Or are you trying to say that the entire debate is foolish? If the latter, do you think the non-foolish option is to ignore the whole thing? I also see you using the terms "suppose" and "non-issue", so clearly you could be meaning that foolishness is relative to those words... But you don't even hint at what the non-issue or supposition is.

Clearly you think something's foolish, since you use the word so often; but I don't know what you're calling foolish, and I can't even guess at why.

I'm not offended, just confused.

-Wm

Peter Pike said...

For an evolutionists take on why cladigrams are essentially pointless, I'd recommend Gee's "In Search of Deep Time." Also, Jeffrey H. Schwartz in his book "What the Bones Tell Us" questions the usefulness of genetics as indicating common descent. According to Schwartz, morphologically it is very clear that man has the most common traits shared with Orangutans. He claims this morphology is so clear that if we are to take the genetic claim that Chimps are closer related to humans seriously, we essentially render morphology irrelevant. The problem is, morphology is all that scientists have to try to link fossils together.

So in the end, neo-Darwinists are left holding the deed to a house of cards.

natamllc said...

Wtanksley,

sorry for the confusion.

The foolishness claim I make is to make a point about natural Science that seems to cross over to make a point about God.

In my initial response to yours to TF's thread, you say:

I do think a high level of similarity is something that the advocates of "frontloading" would have predicted (most of whom are theistic evolutionists), but you're not a frontloader; you're a special creationist, and special creationists wouldn't generally make any predictions about similarity at all.

I would characterize "frontloaders" and "theistic evolutionists" as foolish. I don't know much of TF's view on his being a "special creationist"?

I am convinced that he is by the definition Jesus gives of this sort in this creation, this:

Luk 20:33 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife."
Luk 20:34 And Jesus said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage,
Luk 20:35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage,
Luk 20:36 for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
Luk 20:37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.
Luk 20:38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him."


Why do I make that distinction about him and myself and quite possibly you, now that you have acknowledged what you did when I asked if you too were born again according to Peter's Epistle definition of being born again, chapter 1:3-5?

Well, here is another good reason, from one of Paul's epistles, to make such a distinction:

1Co 2:12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
1Co 2:13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
1Co 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
1Co 2:15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.


What is such a debate as this and the claims TF makes in his thread but a foolishness being argued by evolutionists?

The opening sentence of the thread:

"One of the claims of evolutionists is that we Creationists don't want to listen to the evidence, and that evolutionists do listen to the evidence."

The problem with that claim is found in those verses I offer above from 1 Corinthians 2.

I would go further and point to another of Peter's wise understandings that make the distinction. In 2nd Peter chapter 1 Peter uses two different Greek words that are translated the English word "knowledge". If you can go to that chapter and look at the Greek words you should also see the distinction.

So, I simply see that "making" the assertion and relying upon the Holy Spirit to give the understanding is better than what you proposed, here:

No, I don't. Since your blog is read by a lot of people without biological expertise, I think it would serve your readers very well for you to explain this point rather than simply asserting it.

wtanksley said...

Srnec, the problem with recommending Fodor etc. is that his arguments undermine our own side. It's like when Moslems use arguments from the Ehrman/Jesus Seminar/higher criticism/etc to undermine the Bible, not realizing that if one accepts their arguments, they destroy not only the Bible, but also the Koran (many times over!).

-Wm

wtanksley said...

I would characterize "frontloaders" and "theistic evolutionists" as foolish.

Okay, but this means you didn't even read my post; you simply reacted to the terms I was using.

I pointed out that because TF is NOT a frontloader, he shouldn't be using frontloader arguments.

If you think frontloaders are foolish, and you think TurretinFan should want to not be foolish, you should agree with my statement that TF shouldn't use frontloader arguments.

-Wm