Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Greatest Show on On Earth

I don't know how I got myself into this.

As soon as I hit publish on the introductory post, reading that book became a chore instead of something enjoyable. I went from reading "Lishmah" to something else. And I also realized how NOT into writing I am these days.

But, at least for this book, the show must go on ..............................




It's quite difficult to encapsulate a book such as this in a single post. It is so literally chock full of interesting "stuff", that it took me twice as long to get through the book than I expected. So much so, that as I sit down to write this post, I realize I barely remember the earlier parts of the book.

Unlike other books about evolution that I've read, the stated claim of this book is not to explain how evolution works, but rather to build the case for the truth of the theory of evolution. In reality, I find that most of the book still discusses how evolution works and considerably less than making the Case for Evolution (CFE).

He begins by stating what is necessary. That there are no proofs in the scientific world, just theories. If you're looking for proofs, study Math, not science. As we should all be know by know, theory, in scientific terminology, is not the same as used in the vernacular. I'll add one concept. I'll break down "evolution" into two . A) What scientists call the "fact" of evolution, namely that evolution has occurred and B) the theory of Evolution, namely how evolution has occured.

Dawkins begins, as darwin did, by demonstrating that everyone admits to artifical selection and breeding as having the ability to cause significant change in species. He states that in a mere few centuries, wild cabbage has evolved, through artifical selection, into different varieties (species?) such as cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli and other of my favorite dishes. Dawkins does the same for Dogs. He shows that dogs have literally been molded and shaped by selective breeding. Case in point Chihuahuas's and Great Danes are descendants of the same species of dogs, also evolved in a mere few centuries. The book implies, but fails to spell out,  whether these changes in cabbage and dogs are true "genetic" changes and constitue different species according to the scientific definition of species, namely that different species do not interbreed.

 The importance of this first step, artifical selection, can't be overstated. (This is not a post on Evolution.  If you don't understand "selection", and think of it in terms of "nose, grow nose", then this post is not for you.) As a next step, Dawkins shows that artificial selection can occur not just with Human agency acting as breeders, but with unthinking insects playing that same role. The next step is natural selection, any unthinking selector acting upon genetic variation. This natural selector includes weather, predators, geography, etc.

The above begins to demonstrate the CFE, but more importantly it breaks down psychological barriers that induce us to think of species and animal as unchanging.

He hammers home the point that one species does not give birth to another species in a single generation. No offspring is ever unrecognizable from it's own parents. It is the accumulation of change over thousands of generations that adds up to different species. And with a single set of parents, two separate diverging paths lead to specication over long periods of time.

For example (taken from elsewhere). Humans and chimps are said to diverge from a common ancestor around 5 Million years ago. Assuming a new generation every 25 years, that anounts to 200,000 generations. I've heard if said that if your ancenstors started walking past a line, single file 24 hours a day, it would take two weeks to meet that ancestor of 5 millions years ago.

But there's much much  more.

Like the section on clocks. This section bought back hazy memories of my high schools studies disussing carbon dating and other radiometric techniques. The one thing it did not explain is how scientists derived that some half lives date back to millions of years. Obviously, it's some sort of extrapoltation. The section on clocks is coupled with the fact that different classes of life are always fossilized in the same geological strata and in a sequence that is blindingly evolutionary. In other words fossils of mammals never appear in strata that contradicts an evolutionary sequence. This is a powerful argument for the fact of evolution. How else would one reasonable explain that all species did not enter into the fossil record at the same time as would be expected if all creatures had been created together.

As an aside, Dawkins explains that there are numerous radioactive clocks which indicate an Earth that is dated as 4.6 billion years old. Claims of a 6,000 or 10,000 earth are preposterous in light of the synchonization of these clocks. Flood explanations and other special pleadings of Nishtane Hatevah to justify a young earth are non-sensical. As Dawkins writes "The history deniers would have to fiddle with the half-lives of all the isotopes in their separate proportions, so that they all end up agreeing that the Earth began 6,000 years ago". Powerful.

Dawkins proceeds to demonstrate that Evolution occurs "Before our very eyes", in Guppies, Bacteria, etc. While technically accurate, most people do not equate this with Evolution, as there is no speciation. Nevertheless, his point is made and it's strong. Evolution does occur in a matter of months.

Dawkins spends a long time discussing several issues that I'd categorize as a defensive position, or more accurately an explanatory discussion, rather than an offensive position which demonstrates that Evolution is true.This includes the missing links issue and Embryology (fascinating stuff!)!.

A powerful chapter then follows, "The Ark of the Continents". This includes a discussion of plate techtonics, speciation and most significantly, the observation that certain animals are found only on certain continents. How on earth does one explain that by way of Noah's Ark? However, as I write this, an argument forms in my mind. This may disprove the Bible, but it does not preclude special individual creation. A quirky God may have decided to place Kangaroos only in Australia. Why not? 

That is followed by chapters that highlight that the closer species are on the proposed evolutionary tree, the greater the physical and Genetic similarities between them. This is a very powerful argument and special thanks to Dr. Clare D'alberto's "one for the team!" (nice tatoo).

An intriguing chapter is "History written all over us", in which he demonstrates some really quirky anatomy (eye, vas deferens, larangeal nerve in Giraffes). Think of it as unintelligent design, if you catch my drift.

Anyhow, this post is rambling on way too long.

To sum it up. I'd say, that this book provides extremely strong evidence that
A) All of life is related and
B) We did not all arrive at the scene at the same time.
While discrediting the traditional religious notion of  creation and early history, there may be room for God in the Greatest Show on Earth.

(To be disabused of the God notion, try The God Delusion by the same author. I would really love to see a chapter by chapter rebuttal of that book).

49 comments:

  1. Well there are holes I can poke at. For one thing the correspondence between supposed family trees and where they are found is inexact at best. Dawkins doesn't know what he is talking about here but it is forgivable enough of a sin at least for a zoologist. If it were really so then instead of looking at genetics, or computer models for Evolutionary trees we would only have to look at where fossils. Another problem is that artificial selection is planned out by us and is limited. Try as we may those damn cabages will never evolve into cabbage patch babies (sorry adoption agencies). There is also the problem which I don't think you've heard of called Ardi the supposed ancestor or as cladists might claim grandaunt of chimps and humans being nothing much like chimps and more like humans. So we have independent Evolution repeating itself supposedly. As for the definition of species, it really varies. But whatever it is there is a certain point where no one but a cladist or similar type would lump a eg. elephant with an ant. Cladists by the way treat all finds as ones of at most of granduncles and aunts rather than ancestors. The ancestors are vaguely if at all described.

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  2. You can think of another attack too. Why should it be that artificial selection should not include some intermediate form beyond what can be termed a race of themselves. That is surely not asking to go beyond slow moving Evolution especially since artificial selection is a speed up of natural selection at best. Why is it all we get of experiments on fruit flies where we speed up Evolution way beyond usual artificial selection only produces different fruit flies. Remember fruitfly generations are a lot faster than ours.

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  3. "To be disabused of the God notion, try The God Delusion by the same author. I would really love to see a chapter by chapter rebuttal of that book)."

    Well nu? Put his points up and I'll kill them for you.

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  4. (To be disabused of the God notion, try The God Delusion by the same author. I would really love to see a chapter by chapter rebuttal of that book).

    Well put up his points and I'll kill them for you.

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  5. No-one said the family trees are proof. And you miss the point about artificial selection. It makes not whit whit that it in our mere 3 hundred years of playing with it it is limited. Of course it is. But the point is that it can create true genetic change. Given vast time, it adds up. I don't understand your question with Ardi. It doesn't seem to bother National Geographic none.

    And I don't think your question about fruit flies is significant. That some things do not evolve does not disprove evolution. Perhaps certain species, for whatever reason are more prone to evolve. Just like some isotopes are more stable than others.

    But are you claiming you do not believe in Evolution?

    And I'm not touching the God argument, you can read the book for yourself.

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  6. "No-one said the family trees are proof."

    I know but they are supposed to be the result that then would have to show up in the fossil record unless encountering a mishap.

    "And you miss the point about artificial selection. It makes not whit whit that it in our mere 3 hundred years of playing with it it is limited. Of course it is. But the point is that it can create true genetic change."

    Baal unless natural selection works another way on the macro scale than it does on the micro scale, you can prove its limitations using artificial selection. If there is no way to do that than the challenge on you is to show how natural selection can lead to the supposed changes on the macro scale. You can't have it both ways, with artificial selection proving what natural selection can do on the grand scale and at the same time say that if we can't show a penetration of certain boundaries by artificial selection that only means that enough time hasn't passed but that somehow in the future it will be penetrated. These boundaries are not just a matter of scale. They are limitations on what something can become. We would have to see some sign of penetration of these boundaries on the smaller scale in order to know that they can be penetrated on the larger scale.

    "But the point is that it can create true genetic change."

    Genetic information gats lost and that is the change. In addition there is variation that is environmental and is only a change in what is turned on and off in genes, epigenetics.

    "Given vast time, it adds up."

    If it is just a matter of adding up then my objection applies as the limitations are there at every stage. Selection doesn't know if it is operating towards some grand scheme. If there is a boundary at the lowest level it is still there and it adds up to the top.

    "I don't understand your question with Ardi. It doesn't seem to bother National Geographic none."

    So? Do you think National Geographic would ever be officially bothered by a challenge to Evolution? Ardi is causing great dissension within the Evolutionary community. Why? Baal there was supposed to be a common ancestor of the chimps and the humans with only later them developing seperate Human traits and chimp traits. Ardi destroys that by being so human like walking upright unlike chimps. So some deny Ardi's ability. The idea and challemge is that any common ancestor would be more like Ardi. You are than having to posit more repeating of Evolution and even the mutation clock is challenged if the simple line from Chimpy-human to Chimps and humans is denied.

    "And I don't think your question about fruit flies is significant. That some things do not evolve does not disprove evolution. Perhaps certain species, for whatever reason are more prone to evolve. Just like some isotopes are more stable than others."

    Evolution doesn't recognize any species as being unable to evolve. That would contradict the theory. If Evolution is to be true no matter what example is brought against it, it is not scientific then. Also why are they testing on the fruit flies evolutionary selection of the most monstrous types all these years with the hope of seeing something other than a fruit fly if it is felt that they just are not prone to evolve.

    "Just like some isotopes are more stable than others."

    They are more stable because of blind forces like figuring out how to balance a table. They are not alive and are not a part of a good argument on your behalf here.

    "But are you claiming you do not believe in Evolution?"

    I do not believe in common descent.

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  7. Artificial selection has been going on for thousands of years.

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  8. >I do not believe in common descent.

    where do you think humans come from, RG? Any theories?

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  9. Where does life come from? is the question. We don't see life produced on the grandest scales or life come from nonlife on the grandest scales so I think Quantum Mechanics with its activities behind view is involved. I think temporal mechanics is involved also. I'm coming up with ideas. Certainly the idea that life is reduced to producing life is Darwin's 19th century quaint attempt. It is analogous to seeing a machine that can reproduce itself and do other things and yet say that the function of whatever the machine does is to reproduce itself. You will explain a part of its functions but not the whole.

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  10. Darwin had a trojan horse against him in his theory that was what was to be expected for the 19th century. He imagined that mutations in the course of Evolution can come in any form small enough without rules. This of course just opened the playing fieled against him as we learn more about mutations.

    As for you Baal isn't there something wrong if National Geographic does get disturbed. Isn't the evidence the proper goal?

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  11. Well Baal now there are two lines of attack on Dawkins mine and the article provided by Spinoza. Dawkins would not approve of that article. Dawkins claims Darwinism explains all.

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  12. RG, assuming common descent from the fishes and bacteria, according to Darwinism, not one of the hundreds of millions of offspring in the line would be unrecognizable to it's mother. It's the collection of differences over the ages that make the difference. Hence, there is no distinction between Micro and Macro. You need not agree with this and the same goes for all the other points.

    About Ardi. I'll look into that a bit more but again, the one site that I did see, NG, just pointed out that it changes the picture of the details of human evolution. That is by no means a Kashye an Evolution itself. Spinoza refers to an interesting article, so I'll say this again, scientists seem to divide Evolution into two. The theory of evolution (what drives it) and what they call the fact of evolution (that it did occur). This book concentrated on the latter.

    True, Darwin seems to have cornered the market on the "theory" but I'll admit that the final story is yet to be told. For example see here for a nudge to Lamarkism - http://www.newsweek.com/id/180103
    and here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamarckism#Current_views_on_.22Lamarckism.22


    Yes, Dawkins may be wrong about Natural Selection being the only cause of Evolution. But Evolution seems to be a fact.

    Spinoza, there's so much interesting stuff out there. I recently came across the natural selection as applied to Universes, i.e. that universes "give birth" to other universes.

    http://evodevouniverse.com/wiki/Cosmological_natural_selection_(fecund_universes)

    However, one must admit that is all speculative.

    RG, I'll let you have the last word, but please limit it to one readable post. :)

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  13. "RG, assuming common descent from the fishes and bacteria, according to Darwinism, not one of the hundreds of millions of offspring in the line would be unrecognizable to it's mother. It's the collection of differences over the ages that make the difference. Hence, there is no distinction between Micro and Macro. You need not agree with this and the same goes for all the other points."

    That not one of the hundreds of millions of offspring in the line would be unrecognizable to it's mother is true but if there is no distinction between Micro and Macro Evolution then there should not be barriers showing up in artificial selection. These barriers are not a matter of time. They are a matter of what directions can not even be started.

    "About Ardi. I'll look into that a bit more but again, the one site that I did see, NG, just pointed out that it changes the picture of the details of human evolution. That is by no means a Kashye an Evolution itself."

    If they can't get the tree up it will fall and that's a kashye.

    "Spinoza refers to an interesting article, so I'll say this again, scientists seem to divide Evolution into two. The theory of evolution (what drives it) and what they call the fact of evolution (that it did occur). This book concentrated on the latter."

    The problem is if you cannot explain what could drive Evolution how can you say it occured? Science does not work by saying here is a list of theories that poke holes at each other but you have to pick one even if the objections of the other theories still stand.

    "Yes, Dawkins may be wrong about Natural Selection being the only cause of Evolution. But Evolution seems to be a fact."

    The exact line between micro and macro is controversial and a matter of semantics I feel but a point exists where it becomes very real. Dawkins in any event is taking the orthodox position on Evolution mostly. The problem is the world is advancing forward with deep problems for the orthodox position and we are being asked in the name of scientific concensus to shut up about it and skepticism concerning global warming and so that is what I intend to do with my scientific career. Any skepticism I will keep out of my career until safe. At the very least that will be in 2060 when we still have an ozone layer after all and so are not dead despite the scientific concensus. One thing do not use Wikipedia or any site that can be edited by anyone except to the extent they refer you to some source that you can then check up on. In college if you do not do that you can have a big fat F. Also quoting from just any site say Baal HaBos :) is assur and can give you an F. The collegiate world is different than what XGH would prefer (poor ham).

    In any event thanks for the references. As for Lamarck I have a feeling I know what the article is going to refer to...epigenetics. Another headache for Darwinism comes from there that was resisted for a long time.

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  14. > These barriers are not a matter of time. They are a matter of what directions can not even be started.

    Yes, it is possible that some species are more set and won't evolve as readily as others. Perhaps, there's not enough variation (my own sevara), or a million other reasons. That you don't see evolution as you expect, doesn't mean it's not here. And yet the evidence for evolution as a whole (the fact of evolution, not Darwinism the theory)is strong.


    The problem is if you cannot explain what could drive Evolution how can you say it occured?

    Uh uh, you are misunderstanding me. It's not that Natural seclection does not explain Evolution, it's that there may be other factors besides Natural selection. THAT was the point in Spinoza's link.


    > Any skepticism I will keep out of my career until safe.

    Sounds wise. Unless you have good solid proof.

    >At the very least that will be in 2060 when we still have an ozone layer after all and so are not dead despite the scientific concensus.

    Do you really think the planet is not under great environmental stress? Read A world without us.
    http://www.worldwithoutus.com/index2.html It's superb.

    >One thing do not use Wikipedia or any site that can be edited by anyone except to the extent they refer you to some source that you can then check up on.

    Even Wiki warns you of that ;)

    One final point. You say you don't believe in common descent. OK, so what do you believe in and what's the evidence for it?

    You can have the last word, but please limit it to one short well-edited post.

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  15. "And yet the evidence for evolution as a whole (the fact of evolution, not Darwinism the theory)is strong."

    Darwinism is the theory of Evolution that the scientific concensus demands we follow. I cannot say I don't believe in it and have the scientific freedom to publish everywhere. As for the evidence for Evolution on the grand scale it is very weak. If we don't have one method that doesn't poke holes into the very process of the others and call into question the ability of the others we don't have the evidence for Evolution on those grand scales. Fossils don't show there was Evolution between species and neither do DNA clocks. DNA clocks assume a rate of Evolution given by other methods. Along comes something like the Human species Ardi and the clock rate has to change and no longer is the supposed Chimp-Human ancestor anything like a chimp but something like Ardi. Now the humans are the backward bunch. Common descent is the uncomfortable child of Darwinism. If we see life in outer space I hope we do better with Darwinism. Of course we haven't yet seen such life and so whether common descent will be posited for it on the basis of Darwinism remains to be seen.

    "Yes, it is possible that some species are more set and won't evolve as readily as others. Perhaps, there's not enough variation (my own sevara), or a million other reasons. That you don't see evolution as you expect, doesn't mean it's not here."

    There could also be a teapot out of view. To qoute the White Knight (thanks Martin Gardner):"But I was thinking of a plan
    To dye one's whiskers green,
    And always use so large a fan
    That they could not be seen."

    "The problem is if you cannot explain what could drive Evolution how can you say it occured?

    Uh uh, you are misunderstanding me. It's not that Natural seclection does not explain Evolution, it's that there may be other factors besides Natural selection. THAT was the point in Spinoza's link."

    I don't misunderstand. It is just that I was commenting on how contradictory theories on how something works are kashyes on how something could work for it. Woese is saying the other theory canot explain most of Evolution. That Evolution in the other case alone without his mechanism could never work. Others say his mechanism is false. If they're objections on each other are both correct Evolution on the larger scales is precluded.

    "> Any skepticism I will keep out of my career until safe.

    Sounds wise. Unless you have good solid proof."

    No even if I have good solid proof. In science people do not advance theories that are controversial only if they have good solid proof.
    It's just proof enough for them. But if a subject is taboo than advancement is hindered.

    "Do you really think the planet is not under great environmental stress? Read A world without us.
    http://www.worldwithoutus.com/index2.html It's superb."

    I don't think the planet is under so much stress that we can kill the ozone layer in 50 years.

    "One final point. You say you don't believe in common descent. OK, so what do you believe in and what's the evidence for it?"

    I think that life forms when we are not looking. When we don't look, it formed in the past. When we do look, it doesn't form. The evidence is life does not come from nonlife whenever we try to see it and yet it had to at some point since we see life. In short it sounds like Quantum Mechanics and backward causality, the present being the cause for a past event.

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  16. OK. As I said , you can have the last word. so this post is closed.

    My heart's just not into blogging nowadays, so..., well.., this was a short lived blog!

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  17. RG, do you believe in the multiverse? I know this is off topic, but since the baal hablog doesn't seem to discuss the issue at hand...

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  18. >but since the baal hablog doesn't seem to discuss the issue at hand...

    I'm not sure what that means. Why don't you recommend a book or better yet an on-line article about multi-verse, and then we cann all read it and YOU can wtite the book review???!!!!

    (I like that idea).

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  19. I've read a couple of books recently. the first one was written by David Deutsch called the Fabric of Reality. Deutsch is a quantum physicist in oxford university. The book is about how 4 main ideas can help explain the workings of reality.

    The second book was the Physics of Immortality by Frank Tipler. This book is a reconciliation of religion and science. or more to the point, it explains how some of the religious ideas such as God and resurrection can be understood using only modern scientific knowledge without belief in mystical ideas. This may sound like pseudo science, but it is written by a professor of mathematics and physics at Tulane university. i don't know if I believe everything he says, but he does bring up many thought provoking ideas. The physics is a bit beyond me at this point in time.

    Both Tipler and Deutsch strongly believe that quantum physics necessarily implies that our universe is just one of many unseen universes.

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  20. "B. Spinoza said...
    RG, do you believe in the multiverse?"

    Yes.

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  21. >My heart's just not into blogging nowadays, so

    It IS exhausting after a while, ain't it?

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  22. Yes, once I got it off my chest, exhausting would be a good word for it.

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  23. I think for better blogging results you should have kept your skepticism from your wife. then you would have been better motivated to blog. Once the cat was out of the bag, your motivation wasn't the same any more. Now all you can think about blogging is technical theories such as evolution, which is just not as easy to do

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  24. Ha. Anyhow, that's only partially true. If you'll check the post where I disclosed to my wife, you'll see that I was actively engaded in scintillating blogging for at least a year after that.

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  25. It's better he told his wife. H-E-L-L-O Reality check time. People should try to be open at least with their spouses! Harumph!

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  26. Evolution of a new species:
    http://ecolocalizer.com/2008/10/07/scientists-discover-fish-in-act-of-evolution-in-africas-greatest-lake/

    Evolution is clearly happening... the matter of how is far from closed. Knock out one gene and mammals even start regenerating like amphibians:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100315161913.htm

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  27. What was seen were abilities that were already in the gene pool.

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  28. RG

    "As for the definition of species, it really varies."

    For asexual species, yes.

    We have been through this before on YA. A species is any group of potentially interbreeding individuals. This is the only objective definition for a species which has yielded consistent results while at the same time being consistent with the genetic data we sequence.

    I have provided you ample evidence; atavisms, endogenous retroviruses..etc for evolution. You simply said I was wrong in the end and that you would not respond.

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  29. "The problem is if you cannot explain what could drive Evolution how can you say it occured?"

    Why are you insulting BHBs intelligence RG?

    This is hands down one of the silliest comments you have made thus far.

    Simply because one does not know the specific mechanism by which a given phenomena occurs in no way implies one may not know that that given phenomena did in fact occur.

    Or to put it simply, simply not knowing how something happens or works, does not mean we can't know that it happens, or works.

    To this day there are contradictory theories on what drives the mechanisms of many enzymes! Therefore what? It's a kashye on the enzymes working? They work just fine. And the evidence that they work can be tested independently of the mechanism by which they work.

    Common descent is no exception. The evidence for common descent can be tested independently of the mechanism of evolution.

    *If* it happened and *how* it happened are two completely different questions.

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  30. "Avi Bitterman said...
    RG

    "As for the definition of species, it really varies."

    For asexual species, yes.

    We have been through this before on YA. A species is any group of potentially interbreeding individuals. This is the only objective definition for a species which has yielded consistent results while at the same time being consistent with the genetic data we sequence."

    It's not that simple. For instance a lion and a tiger can produce a liger but no one calls them the same species. Evolutionists do not all have the same definition of species.

    "I have provided you ample evidence; atavisms, endogenous retroviruses..etc for evolution. You simply said I was wrong in the end and that you would not respond."

    No. I answered a lot but I got tired. Further now only invited people can be on your site. As for atavism it is saying a characterisitc is a repeat from a past species but it involves making the very assumption you wish to prove. Retroviruses have similar problems.

    RG "The problem is if you cannot explain what could drive Evolution how can you say it occured?"

    "Why are you insulting BHBs intelligence RG?

    This is hands down one of the silliest comments you have made thus far.

    Simply because one does not know the specific mechanism by which a given phenomena occurs in no way implies one may not know that that given phenomena did in fact occur.

    Or to put it simply, simply not knowing how something happens or works, does not mean we can't know that it happens, or works.

    To this day there are contradictory theories on what drives the mechanisms of many enzymes! Therefore what? It's a kashye on the enzymes working? They work just fine. And the evidence that they work can be tested independently of the mechanism by which they work."

    You will have to learn to make arguments your opponent disagrees with.

    "Common descent is no exception. The evidence for common descent can be tested independently of the mechanism of evolution.

    *If* it happened and *how* it happened are two completely different questions."

    Now we come to the real argument rather than your silly comment. Do we see common descent? No. Instead we have to infer whether it occured. Darwin did not say that independent of natural selection Evolution occured. He argued that natural selection combined with inheritance can produce Evolution and so is what shows common descent.

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  31. "It's not that simple. For instance a lion and a tiger can produce a liger but no one calls them the same species. Evolutionists do not all have the same definition of species."

    Yes it is that simple. A lion and a tiger are not the same species because ligers and tigons are sterile. You must be able to potentially interbreed and produce fertile offspring. End of story.

    "As for atavism it is saying a characterisitc is a repeat from a past species but it involves making the very assumption you wish to prove. Retroviruses have similar problems. "

    Sigh. You are simply repeating the same things you said before, I explained to you why this is not true and your understanding of atavisms and endogenous retroviruses is not only elementary, but you do not even understand the argument itself. Shall I copy and paste my response to this that I made a year ago?

    "You will have to learn to make arguments your opponent disagrees with."

    I do not understand your response.

    "Do we see common descent? No."

    We absolutely do. We have observed two different species coming from the same ancestor. With our own two eyes. The definition or species for asexual organisms is clear. See above. Furthermore we can test common descent, with the evidence I gave you.

    "Darwin did not say that independent of natural selection Evolution occured."

    Not relevant. You can test common descent independent of mechanism. What a man named darwin said is meaningless if the science goes against him.

    "He argued that natural selection combined with inheritance can produce Evolution and so is what shows common descent. "

    Again not relevant.

    "No. I answered a lot but I got tired."

    You seem to be up and at it now, shall we continue where we left off?

    "Further now only invited people can be on your site."

    No one is on my site. I took it down. I replaced blogging and making my own posts with studying and working out. A definite upgrade.

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  32. sorry asexual species should be sexual species

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  33. "Avi Bitterman said...
    "It's not that simple. For instance a lion and a tiger can produce a liger but no one calls them the same species. Evolutionists do not all have the same definition of species."

    Yes it is that simple. A lion and a tiger are not the same species because ligers and tigons are sterile. You must be able to potentially interbreed and produce fertile offspring. End of story."

    Ok so your definition of species given by you was not stated completely but the point you do not seem to understand is that there are differing definitions of species for everyone. Evolutionists do not all agree about the definition.

    ""As for atavism it is saying a characterisitc is a repeat from a past species but it involves making the very assumption you wish to prove. Retroviruses have similar problems. "

    Sigh. You are simply repeating the same things you said before, I explained to you why this is not true and your understanding of atavisms and endogenous retroviruses is not only elementary, but you do not even understand the argument itself. Shall I copy and paste my response to this that I made a year ago?"

    Yes but atavism is defined as I say. If a species has a member that has lets say hair in a spot that an ancestor species is said to have had it they call it atavistic, otherwise they just call it a freakish occurance. This was enough seen by me from a science article.

    ""You will have to learn to make arguments your opponent disagrees with."

    I do not understand your response."

    You were attributing to me the contrary view and I cannot argue with it because I never disagreed with it.

    ""Do we see common descent? No."

    We absolutely do. We have observed two different species coming from the same ancestor. With our own two eyes. The definition or species for asexual organisms is clear. See above. Furthermore we can test common descent, with the evidence I gave you."

    Common descent means we are all descended from a common species. Demonstrating fruit flies from fruit flies or in humans this ethnic feature from this or that ancestry doesn't prove common descent.

    ""Darwin did not say that independent of natural selection Evolution occured."

    Not relevant. You can test common descent independent of mechanism."

    Sure you can travel through time. Otherwise all you can do is show what works in the present to try and make your case.


    ""No. I answered a lot but I got tired."

    You seem to be up and at it now, shall we continue where we left off?"

    I am not up and at it. I am even less than before. We can continue where we left off but it will be at a pace dictated by my real life and perhaps by yours.

    ""Further now only invited people can be on your site."

    No one is on my site. I took it down. I replaced blogging and making my own posts with studying and working out. A definite upgrade."

    I posted on your blog of nowadays. Are you are no longer posting there? It's good to see you have a real world outside blogging too.

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  34. Yeah, I have a midterm tomorrow, Gonna respond later.

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  35. “Ok so your definition of species given by you was not stated completely but the point you do not seem to understand is that there are differing definitions of species for everyone. Evolutionists do not all agree about the definition.”
    Throughout my education this is the definition I was taught by all professors of evolutionary biology and professors of ecology. It is the definition in all the textbooks I have used, and it is the definition I have seen in all respected peer reviewed academic journals of evolutionary biology.
    “Yes but atavism is defined as I say. If a species has a member that has lets say hair in a spot that an ancestor species is said to have had it they call it atavistic, otherwise they just call it a freakish occurance. This was enough seen by me from a science article.”
    I would like to know which peer-reviewed paper this is this coming from, who the authors are and which journal published if possible. The reason I am asking for this is because that is simply not how one determines what an atavism is. That would just be circular reasoning. You must provide outside evidence with substantial abductive or inductive reasoning to show that this was indeed an atavism before you can use examples of atavisms to test common descent.
    For example, in humans once in a while we find someone born with a tail. One could not simply claim this as an atavism until he has reason to believe such outside evolutionary phylogeny in order to demonstrate evolutionary phylogeny. And not surprisingly, this can be done due to the fact that the inactive genes responsible for making tails in vertebrates (Wnt-3a and Cdx1 genes) are found in the genome of every human sequenced. Complex genes that perform a specific function don’t just randomly fixate within the entire population’s gene pool without there being a reason for fixating as such. If all humans have the genes for making tails, then we much conclude that at least a proportion of previous generations of humans also possessed the genes for making a tail. And then the question becomes: Why would the genes for making a tail arise and spread in our ancestor’s population in the first place? Obviously these were most likely genes that were active and served their function at some point in time, and then became inactivated either by stop codons, or by regulatory mechanisms which initiate apoptosis to any developed cells produced by those genes. And now such an atavism can be tested to see if it fits in context of evolutionary phylogeny.
    Similar logic applies to whales. All whales have the genes responsible for making ungulate-like limbs. Sometimes they are not inhibited and we actually get a whale born with ungulate like-limbs. Why?

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  36. With endogenous retroviruses, it is also not based off circular reasoning. We know that the ERVs in our genome came from random integration from retroviruses because of the genes the ERVs has and what they do when activated. When we activate an ERV, and I mean all the ACTUAL GENES in an ERV, I do not mean taking the one promoter or promotion complex from a gene and only activating that or using that promotion complex for a different gene. (This tells us nothing about the origin of the gene) When we activate the ACTUAL GENES IN AN ERV, we activate the gag gene, which codes for making the nucleocapsids which protects the retroviruses' genetic information and enzymes required for viral insertion. We also activate the The pol gene, which starts making the reverse transcriptase enzymes used by retroviruses. We also activate the env gene, which functions by making a viral envelope and the glycoprotein’s which trick the host cell to incorporate the retrovirus. (All the evidence indicates that the role of env genes in placental formation is secondary and not primary due to the fact that species which do not even make placentas have env genes as well. This leads us to believe that genetic co-option has taken place.) So the question is: Why do we find viral genes in our genome, and more importantly why are these 3 major genes required to make a retrovirus next to each other in the places where we find these ERVs?
    Well, one logical reason to explain why we find many places where we have 3 major genes for making a retrovirus in our genome is because those genes came from…..dun..dun..dun….A RETROVIRUS! This makes sense in light of the fact that we know these viruses to be capable of producing this. And when the incorporation occurs, the genes of course wind up next to each other. This not only explains why viral genes are present, but the ORDER that they are in. Why we find the genes in the order of gag-pol-env. Because that is the order the genes are in the viral genome.
    It should be noted and stressed that genes do not have to be at the same location in the genome to be functional. There are countless examples demonstrating this, one of which being the hemoglobin gene. In humans the genes responsible to making the two alpha chains and two beta chains are located on chromosomes 16 (16p13.3) and 11 (11p15.5), respectively. The mouse genes for these proteins are located on chromosomes 11 (11qA4) and 17 (7qE3). And even if you try to account for large scale synteny disruptions, the a chain is still in the wrong place.
    This also shows us that even if ERVs somehow serve some functional role in humans, it still does not explain the consistency by the order and number of which we share with the respective mammals and how they match previous evolutionary phylogeny. Essentially, any creationist who argues ERV functionality probably not only doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but he also doesn’t even address the argument in the first place, as it is a moot point.
    Now it can be tested against common descent.
    There are plenty of ERV distributions that would falsify our current phylogenies (the PTERV1 story is NOT one of them, hopefully you understand the reason why by now) and there are even ERV distributions that would falsify any possible arrangement of phylogeny and completely negate common descent. If you wish to see these distributions you can email me for pic/video.
    Evolution also predicts the gradient of number of ERVs shared from most related to least related, and of course, this prediction is fulfilled.
    I’m pressed for time so this is what I have for now.

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  37. Oh Avi. I will try to reply to you tonight. Right now I will eat. :-)

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  38. fellow_evolutonistMarch 16, 2011 at 1:27 AM

    lol well I would say that Avi's last two comments just about shut the case on that...Well done!

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  39. No it didn't. I'm just exhausted. I don't find his comments compelling. In short Evolution doesn't produce firm trees. Remember it has no direction. For instance Dinosaurs and Birds. Some Evolutionary scientists have pointed out that the bones don't match up as far as movement and so say birds are not from dinosaurs. Nevertheless you have Evolutionary scientists who will be happy to say we will take DNA from birds and recreate dinosaurs.

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  40. "In short Evolution doesn't produce firm trees. "

    Ohhh yes it does my man!

    "Remember it has no direction."

    Nooo kidding!! Of course it has no direction. Therefore?

    "Some Evolutionary scientists have pointed out that the bones don't match up as far as movement and so say birds are not from dinosaurs."

    Right, but what DO they say RG. They say that it is possible dinosaurs are from birds. That's the thing about firm trees. Even if they are as firm as morning wood you still will have a hard time telling if A evolved from B or if B evolved from A. The best you can say with a reasonable degree of certainty is that A and B share a common ancestor.

    If there are scientists that say otherwise, please, show me which journal they have published in.

    The skeletal structure of birds and dinosaurs are actually surprisingly similar. You should know this.

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  41. Hey Avi, Have a good Pesach. I have been so busy. I'll make sure to read what you have to say.

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  42. Let's put it this way Evolution has no preprogram such that we can say one thing is programmed to turn into something else so at best:Evolution can start with small scale trees but ends off with bushes and ends off with large trees we cannot see. I'm impressed with the small trees and the bushes but scoff at the large trees. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1192019/Why-birds-NOT-descended-dinosaurs.html

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  43. Professor Ruben specifically and clearly said he didn't discount birds and dinosaurs sharing an ancient ancestor. He merely points out that one did not directly evolve from the other. And of course, why would he? Multiple lines of evidence are there! Which is exactly the point I brought up in my previous comment. The evidence for common ancestry does not equal evidence for direct inter-specie evolution.

    "Let's put it this way Evolution has no preprogram such that we can say one thing is programmed to turn into something else"

    Well of course not, not in it of itself anyway. It all depends on the other variables introduced, such as mutation rates, environmental conditions, founder effects, genetic drift, genetic flow...etc

    I don't see how your conclusion follows.

    Regarding the evidence for the larger trees, I provided this earlier. They have yet to be addressed.

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  44. Ok call me Rabban Gamliel here againOctober 23, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    Richard Dawkins is not an atheist except in his peculiar sense of an agnostic who insists on being called an atheist in a looser sense he has a correct usage ie. he is an A theist. He sees everything in terms of probabilities. Fairies he feels can exist but probably don't. Don't worry about it then, the same with God. I by contrast feel we can actually use logic not to determine simply probabilities but to make statements and at the moment when all was in a singular state and no experiments were even theoretically possible my position would mean predictions could still be made and indeed I would be right. His position would have to be that anything including his much maligned fairies could pop out with Bozo the clown. Further he protects himself saying Evolution needs no more proof. Well that is not science. In science you always retest and any new species also puts Evolution in a new test and no natural selection does not explain all. The problem with the New Atheists is no philosophy is needed they say and they live up to that slogan. I take them even less seriously then before. I can write here and there but at stretches of time. I'm trying to extend my Simchas Torah.

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