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Evolution Is Impossible Dot Com

 
 
stuh505
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Nov, 2005 06:55 pm
Gungasnake,

There are a lot of statistics to show that anti-scientific radicals like yourself have less education. I'm just curious, do you come from an educated family? Are you yourself an educated man?
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gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Nov, 2005 07:22 pm
stuh505 wrote:
Gungasnake,

There are a lot of statistics to show that anti-scientific radicals like yourself have less education. I'm just curious, do you come from an educated family? Are you yourself an educated man?


My college degrees were in math, I have coursework equivalent to another bachelors in Russian language. Other than that my experience is the opposite of what you suggest, i.e. I find it's mostly the dunces and dead wood who are still supporting evolution.
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gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Nov, 2005 07:34 pm
yitwail wrote:
after reading that article, which quotes two paragraphs from a Stephen J. Gould essay, it may be worthwhile to read the rest of Gould's piece...



I've never reeally seen anything of Gould's which was terribly worth reading; if anything the guy was a worse BS artist than Darwin. One description of the problems with Gould's version of evolution (punctuated equilibria) which I've seen posted on FreeRepublic a few times pretty much demolishes the whole thing:

Quote:


....again, the original Darwinian vision of gradualistic evolution is flatly refuted by the fossil record (Darwinian evolution demanded that the vast bulk of ALL fossils be intermediates) and by the findings of population genetics, particularly the Haldane dilemma and the impossible time requirements for spreading genetic changes through any sizeable herd of animals.

Consider what Gould and other punk-eekers are saying. Punc-eek amounts to a claim that all meaningful evolutionary change takes place in peripheral areas, amongst tiny groups of animals which develop some genetic advantage, and then move out and overwhelm, outcompete, and replace the larger herds. They are claiming that this eliminates the need to spread genetic change through any sizeable herd of animals and, at the same time, is why we never find intermediate fossils (since there are never enough of these CHANGELINGS to leave fossil evidence).

Obvious problems with punctuated equilibria include, minimally:

1. It is a pure pseudoscience seeking to explain and actually be proved by a lack of evidence rather than by evidence (all the missing intermediate fossils). In other words, supporters are actually claiming that the lack of intermediate fossils support the theory. Similarly, Cotton Mather claimed that the fact that nobody had ever seen or heard a witch was proof they were there (if you could SEE them, they wouldn't BE witches...) This kind of logic is less inhibiting than the logic they used to teach in American schools. For instance, I could as easily claim that the fact that I'd never been seen with Tina Turner was all the proof anybody should need that I was sleeping with her. In other words, it might not work terribly well for science, but it's great for fantasies...

2. PE amounts to a claim that inbreeding is the most major source of genetic advancement in the world. Apparently Steve Gould never saw Deliverance...

3. PE requires these tiny peripheral groups to conquer vastly larger groups of animals millions if not billions of times, which is like requiring Custer to win at the little Big Horn every day, for millions of years.

4. PE requires an eternal victory of animals specifically adapted to localized and parochial conditions over animals which are globally adapted, which never happens in real life.

5. For any number of reasons, you need a minimal population of any animal to be viable. This is before the tiny group even gets started in overwhelming the vast herds. A number of American species such as the heath hen became non-viable when their numbers were reduced to a few thousand; at that point, any stroke of bad luck at all, a hard winter, a skewed sex ratio in one generation, a disease of some sort, and it's all over. The heath hen was fine as long as it was spread out over the East coast of the U.S. The point at which it got penned into one of these "peripheral" areas which Gould and Eldredge see as the salvation for evolutionism, it was all over.

The sort of things noted in items 3 and 5 are generally referred to as the "gambler's problem", in this case, the problem facing the tiny group of "peripheral" animals being similar to that facing a gambler trying to beat the house in blackjack or roulette; the house could lose many hands of cards or rolls of the dice without flinching, and the globally-adapted species spread out over a continent could withstand just about anything short of a continental-scale catastrophe without going extinct, while two or three bad rolls of the dice will bankrupt the gambler, and any combination of two or three strokes of bad luck will wipe out the "peripheral" species. Gould's basic method of handling this problem is to ignore it.

And there's one other thing which should be obvious to anybody attempting to read through Gould and Eldridge's BS:


The don't even bother to try to provide a mechanism or technical explaination of any sort for this "punk-eek"


They are claiming that at certain times, amongst tiny groups of animals living in peripheral areas, a "speciation event(TM)" happens, and THEN the rest of it takes place. In other words, they are saying:

Quote:

ASSUMING that Abracadabra-Shazaam(TM) happens, then the rest of the business proceeds as we have described in our scholarly discourse above!


Again, Gould and Eldridge require that the Abracadabra-Shazaam(TM) happen not just once, but countless billions of times, i.e. at least once for every kind of complex creature which has ever walked the Earth. They do not specify whether this amounts to the same Abracadabra-Shazaam each time, or a different kind of Abracadabra-Shazaam for each creature.
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stuh505
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Nov, 2005 07:46 pm
Gungasnake,

An undergraduate degree is not exactly high education...but I will drop this subject.

Darwin's discoveries were revolutionary, and foundations of both evolutionary theory and intelligent design theory.

At least, as far as I understand ID theory. How do you even explain the fossil record?
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Nov, 2005 08:52 pm
Its amazing folks can look at that crap and still not understand where things like The Inquisition amd Pogroms come from.


On the upside, humankind is beginning to outgrow that sort of superstitious foolishness - which has its reactionary, stultified, faith-blinded, willingly, even eagerly, duped followers frantic with worry. They know their proposition's argument is doomed to perish in the light of reason. Bring on the dawn.
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stuh505
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Nov, 2005 09:12 pm
timberlandko wrote:
Its amazing folks can look at that crap and still not understand where things like The Inquisition amd Pogroms come from.


On the upside, humankind is beginning to outgrow that sort of superstitious foolishness - which has its reactionary, stultified, faith-blinded, willingly, even eagerly, duped followers frantic with worry. They know their proposition's argument is doomed to perish in the light of reason. Bring on the dawn.


This is what I used to think before Bush. Ever since then I have monotonically lost faith in our country and in mankind, and in any hopes for widespread enlightenment.
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Nov, 2005 10:28 pm
gunga, you're now quoting a source who identifies himself as either Ted Holden or medved. here's the closest thing to a rebuttal of those 5 points i could dig up, which isn't to say there aren't better ones.

1. A transitional species is merely a fossil species we haven't found yet. Punk eek predicts that where fossil evidence of such species are found, they will be found in much smaller areas than the species we have already found.

(i'll add a comment here: i've read elsewhere that Gould & Ethridge's original article on PE cited voluminous fossil evidence for their hypothesis)

2. When a relatively small founder population gets isolated in a different environment than where the original species is successful, it already has a wide genetic diversity built in. It is the beneficiary of all the genetic diversity that its parent stock had generated before the split. The new population's small size also increases the contribution of "genetic drift" - the sampling error that occurs whenever you survey a small population for statistical averages - as the existing variation gets selected for & against. This amplifies the movement of the genome as a whole away from the original.

(another comment here, the widely accepted hypothesis that all humans ccurrently alive are descended from one female--the so-called mitrochondrial Eve--that lived about 200,000 years ago seems to confirm the claim that a small founder population can flourish under the right conditions)

3. 4. and 5. People the world over wish points 3, 4, and 5 were true, because then we wouldn't have to worry about invasive species. As anyone who deals with plants or animals for a living will tell you, an invasive species often is kept in check in their original environment, and only becomes a problem when introduced into a new one. This demonstrates that small populations that encounter new environments can prosper or wither and die, with all variations in between.
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gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Nov, 2005 10:29 pm
stuh505 wrote:
Gungasnake,
An undergraduate degree is not exactly high education...but I will drop this subject.


Did I say anything about having only undergrad degrees? In fact I used the word 'degrees' with an 's', i.e. plural and I did mention that both were in mathematics. Do you know of anybody with more than one undergrad degree in math?

Most people would figure a true genius like you seem to be claiming to be could have figured that out simply from syntax.

Quote:

Darwin's discoveries were revolutionary, and foundations of both evolutionary theory and intelligent design theory.


I know, I know, if you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit...

Quote:

At least, as far as I understand ID theory. How do you even explain the fossil record?


You're kidding, right? I mean, the original formulation of Darwinian evolution required that the vast bulk of all fossils be intermediates and no unarguable intermediate fossils have ever been found, which is the main rationale for Gould and Eldredge's "punctuated equilibria" variation, and I believe I explained the problems with that above.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Nov, 2005 10:35 pm
gungasnake wrote:
One description of the problems with Gould's version of evolution (punctuated equilibria) which I've seen posted on FreeRepublic a few times pretty much demolishes the whole thing:


Doing your science homework at FreeRepublic isn't recommended.
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Nov, 2005 10:38 pm
don't think s505 was kidding. but i'll rephrase the question anyway, as how does ID explain the fossil record, with its sudden extinctions and appearances of species? did the designer keep creating new species over billions of years? or were they all created a few thousand years ago, and fossils were somehow all deposited by a flood?
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gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Nov, 2005 10:42 pm
yitwail wrote:


3. 4. and 5. People the world over wish points 3, 4, and 5 were true, because then we wouldn't have to worry about invasive species. As anyone who deals with plants or animals for a living will tell you, an invasive species often is kept in check in their original environment, and only becomes a problem when introduced into a new one. This demonstrates that small populations that encounter new environments can prosper or wither and die, with all variations in between.


That doesn't really answer anything. Nobody's disputing the idea that this takeover of a large area by a miniscule group of animals couldn't happen once and twice here and there. Nonetheless the odds weigh heavily against it and Gould requires that this has to have happened countiless billions of times. In other words, he's found his own way to stand probability theory on its head as opposed to Darwin's method of doing that.
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gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Nov, 2005 10:46 pm
yitwail wrote:
don't think s505 was kidding. but i'll rephrase the question anyway, as how does ID explain the fossil record, with its sudden extinctions and appearances of species? did the designer keep creating new species over billions of years? or were they all created a few thousand years ago, and fossils were somehow all deposited by a flood?


I can't speak for Behe or others. My own impression is as follows:

The evidence indicates that the engineering and re-engineering of complex life forms was some sort of an ongoing thing on this planet in past ages, and that more than one pair of hands was involved.

In other words, contrary to much of what you read in religious texts, there is no rational or reasonable way to think that a loving and omnipotent God would have created biting flies, fleas, chiggers, mosquitos, ticks, disease organisms, or any of the sundry creatures of Pandora's box. Whoever created those things was some sort of an asshole.

The other thing which evidence indicates is that all such engineering and re-engineering activity on the planet ceased somewhere just prior to recorded history.

That's all we really know.
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Nov, 2005 10:54 pm
well, i have a paper i have to turn in by midnite, so i'll have to take my leave. but i think using the word conquer and making an analogy to Custer is a bit misleading. the new species doesn't have to kill the old; it just has to out reproduce it, sort of like happened with Neanderthals & Homo Sapiens, which co-existed, ditto Homo Sapiens & Homo Erectus, over tens of thousands of years, which is an instant in geologic time, but an eon for organisms, especially simpler, short-lived ones.
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Nov, 2005 11:01 pm
gunga, i'd like to know what evidence there is for the re-engineering. this is from curiosity, not combativeness, because it's not an idea i've heard bandied about. one main objection ID opponents have, and what motivates them to regard it as stealth religion, is the reluctance to provide any detail as to the who, what, when, where, and why of design. if they did, Pat Robertson & his ilk might not be so enamored of it, but mainstream scientists might take ID more seriously.
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stuh505
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Nov, 2005 11:09 pm
Well, gunga has already presented convincing evidence that there is more than one God: chiggers are annoying. Therefore, there is an asshole God. Brilliant.
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talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Nov, 2005 12:55 am
The halo effect. Just because a person is qualified in one area mean she/she is equally qualifed in other areas.

One of the inventors of the transistor was Mr. Brittain, I believe, at Bell Labs. He got the Nobel Prize then he veered off into genetics stating blacks were inferior based on statistical data on IQ tests. There was a discernible statistical difference between the mean average scores of blacks versus whites. My view is when you don't know the cause they revert to statistics. Statistics doesn't reveal a cause but only a numeral link. Mr. Brittain exceeded his expertise.

Gunga your degrees are in mathematics and your expertise in genetics is suspect. Your degrees in math doesn't necessarily mean you know genetics.
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Nov, 2005 02:03 am
actually, it was William Shockley who had a bee in his bonnet about IQ, but he was greatly abetted by a psychologist, Arthur Jensen, from Harvard if memory serves. and on the other side of the political fence, the same caveat might apply to MIT linguist Noam Chomsky, when he's discussing geopolitical topics.
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gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Nov, 2005 04:13 am
yitwail wrote:
gunga, i'd like to know what evidence there is for the re-engineering. this is from curiosity, not combativeness, because it's not an idea i've heard bandied about. one main objection ID opponents have, and what motivates them to regard it as stealth religion, is the reluctance to provide any detail as to the who, what, when, where, and why of design. if they did, Pat Robertson & his ilk might not be so enamored of it, but mainstream scientists might take ID more seriously.


There appear to be cases of creatures designed for specific purposes.

Take the Austrrlian funnelweb spider for instance. Totally lethal to humans and monkeys if I've read it properly and yet a dog or cat could get bitten with little effect. As if the thing were designed to keep primates out of some specific area...

Tick birds seem designed to protect large animals from parasites. Butterflies and flowers appears to be designed as artwork of sorts.

And then you have evidence of outright engineering techniques in our own genome.


Henry Gee
Monday February 12, 2001
The Guardian

The potentially-poisonous Japanese fugu fish has achieved notoriety, at least among scientists who haven't eaten any, because it has a genome that can be best described as "concise". There is no "junk" DNA, no waste, no nonsense. You get exactly what it says on the tin. This makes its genome very easy to deal with in the laboratory: it is close to being the perfect genetic instruction set. Take all the genes you need to make an animal and no more, stir, and you'd get fugu. Now, most people would hardly rate the fugu fish as the acme of creation. If it were, it would be eating us, and not the other way round. But here is a paradox. The human genome probably does not contain significantly more genes than the fugu fish. What sets it apart is - and there is no more succinct way to put this - rubbish.

The human genome is more than 95% rubbish. Fewer than 5% of the 3.2bn As, Cs, Gs and Ts that make up the human genome are actually found in genes. It is more litter-strewn than any genome completely sequenced so far. It is believed to contain just under 31,780 genes, only about half as many again as found in the simple roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans (19,099 genes): yet in terms of bulk DNA content, the human genome is almost 30 times the size.A lot is just rubbish, plain and simple. But at least half the genome is rubbish of a special kind - transposable elements. These are small segments of DNA that show signs of having once been the genomes of independent entities. Although rather small, they often contain sequences that signal cellular machinery to transcribe them (that is, to switch them on). They may also contain genetic instructions for enzymes whose function is to make copies and insert the copies elsewhere in the genome. These transposable elements litter the human genome in their hundreds of thousands. Many contain genes for an enzyme called reverse transcriptase - essential for a transposable element to integrate itself into the host DNA.

The chilling part is that reverse transcriptase is a key feature of retroviruses such as HIV-1, the human immunodeficiency virus. Much of the genome itself - at least half its bulk - may have consisted of DNA that started out, perhaps millions of years ago, as independent viruses or virus-like entities. To make matters worse, hundreds of genes, containing instructions for at least 223 proteins, seem to have been imported directly from bacteria. Some are responsible for features of human metabolism otherwise hard to explain away as quirks of evolution - such as our ability to metabolise psychotropic drugs. Thus, monoamine oxidase is involved in metabolising alcohol.


If the import of bacterial genes for novel purposes (such as drug resistance) sounds disturbing and familiar, it should - this is precisely the thrust of much research into the genetic modification of organisms in agriculture or biotechnology.[color]

So natural-born human beings are, indeed, genetically modified. Self-respecting eco-warriors should never let their children marry a human being, in case the population at large gets contaminated with exotic genes!One of the most common transposable elements in the human genome is called Alu - the genome is riddled with it. What the draft genome now shows quite clearly is that copies of Alu tend to cluster where there are genes. The density of genes in the genome varies, and where there are more genes, there are more copies of Alu. Nobody knows why, yet it is consistent with the idea that Alu has a positive benefit for genomes.

To be extremely speculative, it could be that a host of very similar looking Alu sequences in gene-rich regions could facilitate the kind of gene-shuffling that peps up natural genetic variation, and with that, evolution. This ties in with the fact that human genes are, more than most, fragmented into a series of many exons, separated by small sections of rubbish called introns - rather like segments of a TV programme being punctuated by commercials.

The gene for the protein titin, for example, is divided into a record-breaking 178 exons, all of which must be patched together by the gene-reading machinery before the finished protein can be assembled. This fragmentation allows for alternative versions of proteins to be built from the same information, by shuffling exons around. Genomes with less fragmented genes may have a similar number of overall genes - but a smaller palette of ways to use this information. Transposable elements might have helped unlock the potential in the human genome, and could even have contributed to the fragmentation of genes in the first place (some introns are transposable elements by another name). This, at root, may explain why human beings are far more complex than roundworms or fruit flies. If it were not for trashy transposable elements such as Alu, it might have been more difficult to shuffle genes and parts of genes, creating alternative ways of reading the "same" genes. It is true that the human genome is mostly rubbish, but it explains what we are, and why we are who we are, and not lying on the slab in a sushi bar.
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gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Nov, 2005 04:19 am
Back to Stephen Gould for a moment...

I believe it might have been Alexander Mebane who pointed out the case of the heath hen, but somebody should have mentioned the passenger pigeon as well.

There's no way humans went out and killed the last two passenger pigeons. What happened is that humans brought their numbers down below some critical point and, after that, the "gambler's problem" which the article I quoted mentioned and general attrition wiped the species off the Earth.

Likewise there's no way that human hunters actively went out and killed off the last two moas, the last two Tasmanian wolves, the last two wolves in the south 48 (before leftist whackos started re-introducing them that is), or any number of other creatures whose stories are similar.

In other words, the general rule and tendency has to be that the first time any animal species gets its numbers below a certain point, you can kiss it goodbye.

I don't see how that isn't fatal to Gould's "punctuated equilibria" idea.
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spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Nov, 2005 06:23 pm
Are the numbers of lufflee leetle cheeckins who walk provocatively up and down the promenade in very short skirts in danger of falling below the number needed to avoid having to kiss them goodbye.Hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooowl!!!!
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