Swinging from one tree of life to another!

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Nyarlathotep's picture
valiya s sajjad - And what I

valiya s sajjad - And what I am saying is that variation + natural selection does not lead to any new change

Right, and since you and other creationists label any changes as "old information" (since there are only 4 letters in the genetic code) you can continue to make your claims in ignorant bliss.

ROYISM 's picture
HI Nyarl

HI Nyarl

Can you explain how variation can produce new genetic material... mixing of genes from two parents does not produce new genes... don't look at it like two colors mixing and producing a third new color. That's not how genes work. If the father is black and the mother is white, the baby is not brown! The baby is either black or white... and similarly with every other trait, and that's how the child appears different from the parents - through a combination of existing traits inherited from the parent.

Nyarlathotep's picture
valiya s sajjad - If the

valiya s sajjad - If the father is black and the mother is white, the baby is not brown! The baby is either black or white

What fucking world do you live in?

Greensnake's picture
Nyarlathotep,

Nyarlathotep,

Not surprising since valiya is still denying bald-faced facts at my end! I guess valiya doesn't realize that many traits are the result of a combination of genes, meaning that you get mixed results. More shocking is valiya's total disconnect with reality!

Greensnake's picture
valiya:

valiya:

There is no such thing as The Fittest. What is fit in one environment may be unfit in another. So, you have to consider the environment as well.

The reshuffling of genes in offspring may produce a plant or animal that is better suited to the environment. It's not so much a matter of a superior gene but of superior combinations of genes. Unlike a single gene, where a superior version would have to come from a mutation, new combinations of existing genes can produce offspring that are occasionally better adapted. So, fitness arrives ultimately by chance combinations of genes, and continual mutations keep the pot from getting stale.

Once you have a population of better adapted plants or animals, it is easier for new combinations of genes to add to what has already been established, thus adapting the organism even further to the environment. That better adapted organism soon becomes very common in the population (out competing the others) and provides a broad base for yet more combinations of genes that can further improve the adaptation.

So, your problem with where the fitness came from is a problem that doesn't exist. It's based on a confusion as to what is actually happening.

ROYISM 's picture
Greensnake

Greensnake

YOU SAID: The reshuffling of genes in offspring may produce a plant or animal that is better suited to the environment. It's not so much a matter of a superior gene but of superior combinations of genes.

Are you saying that life emerged from an amoeba to a whale though a reshuffling of existing genes?

Greensnake's picture
valiya,

valiya,

On a day to day basis that's how variation is produced and as Nyarlathotep has said, that's what natural selection works on. In the long haul, key mutations arise that open up new possibilities.

Speaking of amoeba to whale, how do you explain the fact that whales trace back to four-footed creatures in the fossil record?

Other than evolution, how do you explain the fact that life tends to get more and more modern as one moves up the geological record? Go back 3.8 billion years ago and you only had prokaryotes. A couple of billion years later you start finding eukaryotes. In strata around 600 million years ago you get soft-bodied life, and a little later (in the Cambrian "explosion") you get trilobites and other creatures with hard parts. Primitive fish, looking something like the old Hoover vacuum cleaners, soon appear, then more modern fish as you examine more recent strata.

By the Devonian Period plant life is colonizing the land. Moving further up the geologic column, you reach the heavy forests of the Carboniferous Period complete with huge insects (because the oxygen at the time was so high). The trees and plants, however, are quite different than modern plants. No grass. No flowers. As you move to even more modern strata, whole new types of forests appear, complete with pine trees, magnolias, and dinosaurs. Of course, before you get to the dinosaurs you pass through the origin of amphibians. So, it's the age of reptiles. For most of that age there is still no grass and, except near the end, no flowering plants, no palm trees. And, no horses, elephants, rats, or cats.

As you search even more recent strata you find a whole new kind of forest made up of deciduous trees and flowering plants, and that comes with grass. Going back to the extinction of the dinosaurs, primitive and strange-looking mammals soon appear. In even newer strata, mammals become more modern looking and before long you start finding recognizable horses, elephants and the usual animals of today. Monkeys soon appear and, then, great apes. In the last pages of the geological record, odd, ape-like but distinctly human creatures make the scene. Their brain capacity continues to get larger and larger, and eventually you get species of these creature migrating out of Africa to populate the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, and into Australia eventually. Finally, you arrive at Neanderthal Man and genetic evidence indicates that our ancestors actually interbred with Neanderthals on several occasions long, long ago! Finally, only modern man is left standing and you find magnificent cave paintings 30,000 years ago.

In the oceans, in this journey through geologic time, you pass through several different kinds of reefs that are built out of different kinds of now-extinct creatures. Finally, as you examine newer and newer strata, you get to the level where modern corals are prominent in reef building. Soon after the age of mammals you find the ancestors of whales and other sea-going animals with mammalian traits.

I don't know how you see it, but most everyone else without a religious ax to grand sees evolution here. And, of course, this whole basic branching out of life is captured in DNA, cytochrome c, and in the details of the anatomy of plants and animals which regurgitate the evolutionary tree.

ROYISM 's picture
Hi nyarl...

Hi nyarl...

This time it's my turn to say close yet far!
Variations between offspring is not any mystery. All the variations come from the parents. Period. In other words, If i have black eyes and my brother has blue eyes, the genes for the blue eyes has indeed come from my parents. Yes, probably blue eyes are more charming and he might have better chances at wooing girls and spread his genes further and thus outdo me in the survival race... but that's a different story. The question of where did the fitness arrive is not answered by variation.

Alembé's picture
Hi Valiya,

Hi Valiya,

Not so. All the variation does NOT come from the parents. Mutations occur in the offspring. Depending on their effect on the organism and subsequent selection pressure from the environment, these mutations can be advantageous, neutral or deleterious.

If you want to trace "fitness" back, then one ultimately arrives at a pre-biotic soup of chemicals where some of them interacted in way that was to their advantage in that environment. I think we owe them a round of applause.

ROYISM 's picture
HI Alembe

HI Alembe

Any example of mutation enjoying selection has only shown to degrade genetic information. As all the examples you cited earlier. This model cannot explain the emergence of complex life forms from simpler ones, which is what evolution is supposed to do.

Alembé's picture
Hi Valiya,

Hi Valiya,

Please read the following article on Wikipedia:

"Gene duplication (or chromosomal duplication or gene amplification) is a major mechanism through which new genetic material is generated during molecular evolution."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_duplication

Greensnake's picture
valiya,

valiya,

"Any example of mutation enjoying selection has only shown to degrade genetic information."

Nonsense! Mutations simply make a change in the DNA. That change may actually confer a benefit on occasion! Good mutations are a fact of life, and tend to be fixed in the population due to selection. They can happen to a duplicated gene that is not being used, meaning that some useful function is not necessarily impaired in the process. Viola! An increase of genetic information. New species, by the way, are a clear proof of an increase in genetic information.

Diotrephes's picture
The vast majority of babies

The vast majority of babies have gray or blue eyes at birth. Babies' eye color is variable until they are about 1 year old. Even black people can have blue eyes when adults.

Greensnake's picture
Hi valiya:

Hi valiya:

"Therefore let me conclude that you concede that my interpretation of Shi’s paper is correct."

==[Not quite! Shi does not seem to be claiming that molecular clocks are worthless as does your interpretation of his paper. He seems to be saying that the lengths of evolutionary tree branches are based on the assumption that molecular clocks are running at the same rate, meaning that it would be a tautology to argue that equal branches are evidence of the molecular clock running at the same rate. However, in many cases a clock can be calibrated by radiometric ages taken from the fossil record.]==

"Secondly, until you explain what the workarounds are, I have no reasons to lump your conclusion that ‘actual workarounds make Shi’s conclusion irrelevant to our discussion’… It is very relevant, and until the embarrassing exceptions are not explained, the clock’s credibility is in question."

==[That there ARE workarounds is affirmed in one or two of the sources I gave you, valiya. I don't have any reason to question those sources. The fact that molecular clocks are highly useful, within appropriate theoretical and statistical limitations, is demonstrated by scientists around the world who put them to use. That's the reality, valiya. Are you going to continue denying that reality?]==

"YOU SAID: 'It is an obvious fact of the scientific world that molecular clocks are extremely useful, and the evolutionary trees they produce (when calibrated with respect to the fossil record and constructed with the various workarounds and limitations in mind) are valid within appropriate limits.'
I presented Shi’s paper to prove to you that evolutionists have problems with the molecular clock. It IS by comparing with fossil record and other factors you mentioned that Shi arrived at his conclusions. …"

==[Fact: Molecular clocks are highly useful tools employed by scientists around the world. Quoting Shi's paper to "refute" an observable fact is an act of extreme folly!! It's like digging up some quote to prove that the sky is not really blue on a nice day! Either Shi is a complete idiot or else you have misunderstood his paper. I would bet on the latter since you have no scientific background. Anyone who even reads popular science magazines should be aware of the usefulness of molecular clocks.]==

"YOU SAID: 'The general validity of these evolutionary trees derived from molecules are reflected in their remarkable agreement with each other and with cladistics and the fossil record.'
There you go again with your tall statements. There are serious exceptions to your claims, where the molecular tree disagrees with the fossil record."

==[Valiya, remember my little point about noise level? If the "noise level" doesn't drown out the picture, then you DO HAVE a picture! Fact: The general validity of these evolutionary trees derived from molecules is in remarkable (not perfect) agreement with the trees derived from cladistics and the fossil record. (Consider cytochrome c for example.) That there is ANY match at all among such independent sources is astounding if one rejects the only known explanation--evolution.]==

"YOU SAID: 'Specifically, they record the divergence time between any two species (within the parameters of the molecule) and their common ancestor. No other rational explanation is known. Thus, we have a very strong reason for accepting evolution.'
This is circular argument. When you find molecular equidistance, you assume common divergence time."

==[Valiya, the longer the divergence time between two species the greater their molecular differences are with respect to neutral mutations! How can you have a problem with that? At the very least it clarifies the branching pattern of the evolutionary tree. With good calibration, it can even give reasonable times for divergence. Nothing circular about that!]==

"In some cases the fossils agree with the assumption {for molecular clocks}. IN some cases the fossils DON’T agree. Therefore, it {molecular clocks} really has no explanatory power."

==[By that reasoning the theory of gravity has no explanatory power! Some things agree with it and some things don't. A simplistic view of gravity is that everything must fall down if not powered by muscles or machines. Hot air balloons float upward, so gravity must be wrong! When insignificant noise becomes more important than the general picture in your mind, then you are like a train that has left the tracks. It is never enough (outside of mathematics) to point out conflicting data. You must also show that it is statistically or theoretically significant. In your simplistic view of molecular clocks, there can be no conflicting data.]==

"… – however, if neutral mutation can drive evolution, then why do you need exaptation? Therefore, irrespective of whether irreducible complexity is true or false, the evolutionists have to make up their mind between ‘neutral theory’ and conventional Darwinian mechanism of ‘mutation + natural selection.’"

==[As I have said several times now, and please listen this time, neutral mutations would have nothing to do with natural selection. They would be invisible to natural selection. I also pointed out that a statistical analysis for constructing evolutionary trees does not require that a given neutral mutation to become fixed in a population, so there doesn't seem to be any contradiction with natural selection. It is enough to get a statistical measurement of the differences in neutral mutation sites between two species. (Are you now conceding that Behe's "irreducible complexity" is not all that it is cracked up to be?)]==

" '…there is no need to imagine that a neutral mutation would have to become a standard fixture in the population due to selection. So, your concern here is misplaced.]=='
It is NOT my concern. It is the concern of evolutionists who disagree with the neutral mutation hypothesis. How many papers would I have to present before you recognize that there are serious differences of opinion on this matter. …"

==[Scientific papers often support all sides of a complex issue valiya. Note that even if mutation rates are not constant it is still reasonable to expect that the longer two species have diverged the greater will be their differences at neutral mutation sites. This is actually borne out by cytochrome c, DNA, and certain other molecules. Thus, we have a reasonable hypothesis for using molecules to recover evolutionary trees, at least up to the point of saturation. Would you please address the argument and not throw scientific papers (that you don't understand) at me!

We are getting lost among the trees, valiya, and not seeing the forest. The bottom line is that the usefulness of molecular clocks to scientists around the world is a FACT of life, a fact not changed one bit by the controversy over neutral mutations. A second FACT of life is that remarkably similar evolutionary trees are derived from cytochrome c, DNA, and certain other molecules.]==

"Here is another paper that refutes neutral mutation. …"

==[Refutes? Apparently you are not aware that the controversy is still going on. Quoting one side of it hardly refutes the other side!! It does demonstrate that your interpretation of these papers is suspect. You should have used the word "criticizes" or "attacks" instead of "refutes." You are hardly in a position to decide the issue!]==

"YOU SAID==[Fact: Cytochrome c does give rise to a very nice evolutionary tree which is remarkably similar to that produced by comparative anatomy (cladistics). You cannot deny this fact unless you have lost your grip on reality. The FACT is right before us regardless of mutation rates. I've filled in enough of the details. From now on I'm simply going to call the cytochrome c tree what it is--a FACT. Evolution is the only known, rational interpretation of that fact.]=="

"I don’t understand your logic. How can cytochrome c give rise to an evolutionary tree REGARDLESS OF MUTATION RATES. Without mutation rates (constant rate) you cannot explain the cytochrome tree where for example yeast and horse are equidistant to bacteria. SO you may call it FACT or whatever you like… but bear in mind there are also other names for it: TAUTOLOGY."

==[That a decent evolutionary tree can be derived from cytochrome c is a LABORATORY FACT valiya! It exists whether or not it makes any sense to you! Facts are primary, right? That the evolutionary tree derived from cytochrome c is in remarkable agreement with that of DNA, cladistics, and the fossil record shows that it is truly an evolutionary tree and not some artifact. Evolution is the only rational explanation.]==

"YOU SAID: 'Do you actually believe that scientists everywhere would be blindly using broken molecular clocks? The Wikipedia, the University of Berkeley, and the University of Maine websites I gave you are just a few places you can go to see what real scientists are doing. I could add dozens of university websites and other sources. Either Shi Huang was wrong or, more likely, you misinterpreted his paper.]=='"

'This is the genetic fallacy I have been saying. You simply want me to accept or reject arguments based on who is saying them. Sorry. I am not game for that. There are scientists with equal qualifications on both camps. …"

==[Valiya, you must be way deep into denial to actually deny the FACT that molecular clocks are useful tools employed by scientists around the world! Nothing that you can possibly say, quote, or show will refute a demonstrable fact!! The reason molecular clocks are used is because they work, not perfectly but good enough. If you insist on denying demonstrable facts then how can we have a serious discussion?]==

"YOU SAID==[Fact: Scientists are not involved in a worldwide conspiracy that continues, decade after decade, to ignore or minimize evidence against evolution. That idea is patently absurd at several levels. Valiya, are you still in denial here?]=='"

"As I stated earlier, the evolution theory is based on some huge assumptions which are unfalsifiable."

==[Please cite one noted university or a couple of famous biologists or paleontologists who do not accept the basic fact of evolution. Scientists around the world, being among the world's most brilliant minds, could hardly miss something that you find so obvious! There would have to be a coordinated, enforced, worldwide conspiracy of silence for scientists to overlook such a fatal flaw and unanimously assert that basic evolution is a fact!

Fact: Scientists are not involved in a worldwide conspiracy that continues, decade after decade, to ignore or minimize evidence against evolution. That idea is patently absurd on several different levels. Once again I'll put the question to you: Valiya, are you still in denial here?]==

"However, now neutralists are arguing that the selection has very minimal role in evolution."

==[No, they are not! They are talking about genetic drift of neutral mutations at the molecular level. The general validity of natural selection is not being challenged at all! Once again we have evidence that these scientific papers you quote are way above your head.]==

"I HAD SAID: "… {Denton} found that bacteria is equidistant from a yeast and a horse, which he finds very strange, because these two lineages had diverged long time ago in history and must have undergone different mutation/selection effects."
AND YOU SAID==[Evolution predicts that bacteria should be equidistant from yeast and a horse! After all, modern bacteria and modern horses share a common ancestor. From that point to the present is the same genetic distance no matter what species you arrive at.]==
This is a classic example of your circular reasoning."

==[This is a classic example of your refusal to accept a demonstrable fact! Denton's argument is dead wrong. It's been pointed out on numerous occasions by others. If you wish to continue in this fantasy that's your business, but don't ask me to join you in this diversion. A serious discussion begins with the facts and centers on their interpretation. You still haven't accepted the facts!]==

"And here is another U turn. Why does Denton think distance between bacteria and yeast should be different from that of bacteria and horse. Precisely because he doesn’t start with the assumption of the molecular clock! So your earlier claim that he begins from that assumption has been defeated."

==[Let me guess. Denton is trying to argue that the cytochrome c mutation data collected in his matrix contradict the expectations of evolution, therefore he makes that data worthless by not accepting its validity! That's rich! You have really outdone yourself, valiya! Of course he accepted the validity of the cytochrome c matrix data which is essential to his argument, meaning that he also accepted the molecular clock as a useful measurement. Why does Denton think distance between bacteria and yeast should be different from that of bacteria and horse? He mistakenly measured from the earliest ANCESTOR of yeast and horses. Yeast is primitive so, gee!, the distance between it and bacteria must be fairly small; horses are complex so, gee!, the distance between bacteria and horses should be huge. He observed that the distances given by cytochrome c are all about the same and concluded that evolution was busted. Not! As I pointed out, we are actually measuring between the PRESENT representatives of horses and yeast and modern bacteria.]==

"YOU SAID==[The point that is being debated here, valiya, is the existence of multi-cellular life BEFORE the Cambrian! Are you now ready to accept that fact?'
The point that is being debated is if Cambrian life had precursors or not."

==[Let me guess. We know that multi-cellular life forms existed before the Cambrian, that some of them look suspiciously like precursors to Cambrian life, and that any soft, precursor forms would not likely be preserved in typical strata just before or within the Cambrian. We do know that soft-bodied forms also existed within the Cambrian due to the extremely rare Burgess shale site in western Canada. So, gee!, that absence of clear evidence of soft-bodied precursors to the Cambrian "explosion" must mean they didn't exist! Valiya, absence of evidence is not proof of absence, especially in this situation.

A scientist would argue that since soft-bodied, multi-cellular life existed well before the Cambrian, and within the Cambrian itself, that there is no justification for believing that the Cambrian "explosion" came out of thin air. True, there is some debate as to whether the Cambrian "explosion" came out of the Ediacaran life. But with soft-bodied, complex life already on deck, and the fact that it is rarely preserved, it would be silly to conclude that nothing preceded the Cambrian.]==

"If you don’t find any fossils – you say ‘look they were too soft bodied to be preserved’ – if you happen to find a few fossils, you would then say “well, most were not preserved but a few could have been due to some chancy factors.’ I mean, there is really no way we can deal with an argument of that nature."

==[The soft-bodied, Cambrian fossils in the Burgess shale of western Canada seem to have originated in a local, underwater landslide half a billion years ago. The fossil-bearing strata doesn't stretch very far! Yet, until some recent finds in China, that was the only decent window into the soft-bodied life forms of the Cambrian, forms that were not preserved in the usual Cambrian deposits. So, yes! valiya, there are good reasons to think that soft-bodied, precursor life forms leading to the Cambrian fauna were not preserved.]==

==[Perhaps a lesson on fossil preservation is in order. At one time Passenger Pigeons were so numerous in North America that the main flock blackened the sky and took, I am told, days to pass by! So, how many fossils of passenger pigeons do you think we should find in the fossil record after millions of years of existence? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Try 130 or so! In the Grand Canyon we have footprints of animals of which we have not found a single fossil! That the soft-bodied precursors of the "Cambrian explosion" were not preserved is a reasonable assumption, especially since the many soft-bodied creatures of the Cambrian, itself, are only preserved in a few, rare places.]==

"YOU SAID==[Fact: Soft-bodied animals were also integral to the Cambrian Period as shown by the very rare Burgess Shale find in British Columbia, Canada."]==
Bingo. Now add to it a ton of imagination and you have a beautiful tree of life emerging. After all we know that the tree is a FACT, don’t we?"

==[What ARE you talking about? Yes, the "tree" is a LABORATORY FACT. It's your job to argue that it isn't a fact for evolution.]==

"YOU SAID: “Fact: Most contradictions between a scientific hypothesis and a fact are inconsequential.
If you still think that a silly quote can overrule an observed fact, then I can only conclude that you have slipped into some fantasy world. I see no point in debating this FACT any further!]==
What is the observed fact? The molecular clock? Common ancestry? …"

==[To refresh your memory, valiya, about 4 long discussions ago I pointed out that your many criticisms of the evolutionary tree (derived from cytochrome c) were hardly fatal in light of the University of Maine website I gave you. You countered with the absurd claim that any contradiction with a fact was fatal to a theory. I explained to you that this was only true for mathematics. You dogmatically continued to cling to your absurd claim and even brought in an odd quote by Shi Huang which, in your mind, settled the matter. I responded to that silly quote by laying out 7 solid, factual reasons why a contradiction with a fact need not be fatal to a theory and noted that most real contradictions were inconsequential. You dogmatically continued with your strange claim and I finally pointed out (in the above quote) that my statement was a demonstrable fact of life (obviously following from the 7 points I had given you) and that continuing to deny it constituted a flight into fantasy. Does that bring you up to date?

You have this dogmatic tendency, valiya, to cling to an idea no matter how wrong it is, a dogmatic tendency that is oblivious to reality! I stand by my simple statement of fact and I will not be diverted into lengthy side discussions that ignore a demonstrable fact.]==

"YOU SAID: '==[In your imagination, perhaps. Not so pathetic judging by the University of Berkeley and University of Maine websites, to which we could add countless others! Maybe you should go to that University of Berkeley website and actually learn something about evolutionary trees!'
Genetic fallacy again. You are saying “Just listen to my scientists because they are right, and just ignore all other papers and scientists who contradict them, because those who contradict what is right are obviously wrong.” Good logic."

==[Another straw man! My reply was in response to your wild blanket claim that the whole idea of the evolutionary tree was in tatters! Once again you had buried yourself in sources that were over your head, to which you added your own biased interpretation. Once again you could no longer see the real world. And now you slip, once again, into your fantasy of an evolutionary tree in tatters. Yes, the concept of the evolutionary tree has its limitations as does any complex methodology, but it is clearly a valid concept for organizing life--which is why it is found in any university textbook on biology, geology, paleontology, taxonomy, or even molecular biology.]==

==[That similar evolutionary trees can be derived from cladistics, DNA, and cytochrome c is a LABORATORY FACT. Your flight into hand-picked scientific papers, from which you produce dubious interpretations that often go far beyond what the author is actually saying, can hardly overturn reality! This "we got our scientists and you got your scientists" nonsense doesn't walk. A basic tally of who stands where in the scientific world would make that very clear. Again, check out any university textbook on biology or geology. Check out any serious encyclopedia or any other universally accepted source of scientific knowledge. Check out Wikipedia. The evolutionary tree, imperfect as it may be, is a fact of science valiya! And that's what I'm going to call it from now on.

If you wish to continue denying reality, valiya, that's your business. Just don't ask me to take part in your flights of fantasy in which demonstrable facts are "refuted." Your must give an alternate explanation for the evolutionary tree that makes more sense than evolution.]==

"Carl Woese says LUCA is a community because from his analysis he could make out that everything did not start from a single cell! So we are now essentially looking a group of cells – all of which originated independently of each other. … But do you have any clue about how any one individual cell could have risen from non-life, leave alone an entire community of cells?"

==[Your question deals with the subject of abiogenesis and is irrelevant to both our discussion of the evolutionary tree and to evolution itself. Are you suggesting that because we don't have the answer right now that there is no answer?]==

"YOU SAID==[There will always be dissenting voices, valiya! Views range from "crackpot" to "wild speculation," to "interesting but unlikely," to "worth investigating but uncertain," to "strong but not established," and all the way up to "overwhelming scientific consensus.'
Would you consider peer reviewed voices also as ‘crackpots’ and ‘wild speculations’?"

==[I don't see that in my brief glance of the material you quoted. I have criticized some of your interpretations that seemed to go far beyond what was actually being said. That this material is over your head was humorously demonstrated on a couple of occasions when you quoted material that actually supported my position!]==

"YOU SAID==[Let me guess! Emerging, independent life forms just happened to all wind up with the same genetic code and the same odd genetic equipment that defines life today! Do you have any idea how long the odds are?]==
Have you calculated the odds of ‘random mutation’ + natural selection giving rise to new information? There are evolutionists who are saying that’s impossible, which is why you have new hypothesis and explanations coming every day. Any naturalistic explanation of life will run into this probability problem. But if you want to persist in your dogma-driven worldview that everything should have a materialistic explanation, then you would have to make leaps of faith to cross huge chasms of odds!"

==[Please answer my question, valiya! I was explaining why the root of the evolutionary tree can't begin with a community of cells that had arisen independently. One cell in such a community no doubt crossed the crucial boundary that marks the root of today's evolutionary tree. It survived and its descendents gave rise to all life today.

Valiya, we have clear evidence that new species have arisen, not only in a human lifetime but more dramatically so over the last few thousand years. Since a new species clearly implies new information, I'd say that the odds are certain! Who are these "evolutionists" who think that evolution can happen without generating new information? Do you even know what you are talking about? The story sounds kind of hokey. Anyway, it's irrelevant to our discussion.

Valiya, I hope that you will stop butting your head against demonstrable facts and finally offer us your interpretation of evolutionary trees, an interpretation more believable than evolution. I say that evolutionary trees are the number one proof of evolution.]==

ROYISM 's picture
Hi Greensnake:

Hi Greensnake:

YOU SAID: ==[Not quite! Shi does not seem to be claiming that molecular clocks are worthless as does your interpretation of his paper. He seems to be saying that the lengths of evolutionary tree branches are based on the assumption that molecular clocks are running at the same rate, meaning that it would be a tautology to argue that equal branches are evidence of the molecular clock running at the same rate. However, in many cases a clock can be calibrated by radiometric ages taken from the fossil record.]==

Please don’t put your words into Shi’s mouth. He never says “However, in many cases a clock can be calibrated by radiometric ages taken from the fossil record.” Those are your words. Let me give you a step by step argumentation of Shi and how he undermines the hypothesis wholesale.

He first establishes that there are serious exceptions to the ‘clock hypothesis.’ After listing out some exceptions, he goes to says: “Such exceptions are obviously inconvenient to the widely publicized theory and hence rarely made known outside the small circle of molecular evolution specialists.”

NOTE: He says the exceptions are being hushed up because they are inconvenient in the light of the publicized theory.

And then he adds: “One important consequence of these exceptions is that they make it impossible to trust the molecular phylogenies constructed by the present methods of molecular analysis.”

Note: He says that molecular phylogenies are ‘Impossible to trust” because of the exceptions that defy the clock hypothesis.

He then establishes that biology should be held to a higher standard, where even a single exception to a rule should be considered a serious challenge to the hypothesis. Looks like he is not aware of your 7 principles for exceptions that you presented!!!

Here is what he says: “The science of biology or any scientific discipline for that matter should not be held to a lower standard. When one allows exceptions, one has effectively rendered the theory non-testable and non-scientific.”

He then shows that ‘molecular clock’ negates the idea of natural selection.

He says: “However, this hypothesis must negate the idea of selection, the cornerstone of Neo-Darwinism. While the Neo-Darwinian selection theory has spectacularly failed the molecular test, its ad hoc substitute for the domain of molecular evolution, the molecular clock hypothesis, is also imperfect and widely known to have countless contradictions.”

He then goes on to highlight the incongruity between ‘selection’ and ‘molecular clock’… according to him these two are incompatible with one another. Both can’t be right at the same time.

Here is what he says: “It is also obviously incoherent or schizophrenic to have two vastly different and non-connected theories of evolution, one for phenotype evolution based on the idea of selection and the other for molecular evolution based on the negation of the idea of selection. It is also intuitively absurd given the proven truth that phenotypes and genotypes are inseparably connected. Thus, the two theories cannot both be correct for macroevolution.”

He then emphatically attacks the whole ‘molecular clock’ hypothesis. As shown below:

He says: “I show here that the molecular clock hypothesis is merely an ad hoc restatement of a factual observation, the genetic equidistance result. It is a tautology and does not qualify as a scientific theory with true explanatory power.”

NOTE: He says that the molecular clock is “A TAUTOLOGY AND DOES NOT QUALIFY AS A SCIENTIFIC THEORY WITH TRUE EXPLANATORY POWER.”

How much more explicit can one get? If you still think that Shi is just mildly criticizing some aspects of the hypothesis without undermining the whole of it… then please show to me where he supports the larger picture of the theory? I don’t want your words inserted into his mouth. I want Shi’s own words, as I have demonstrated above.

Let’s get this straight first… before we move on. I will answer the rest of your posts after we are done with this.

Greensnake's picture
Hi valiya,

Hi valiya,

"{Greensnake} SAID: ==[Not quite! Shi does not seem to be claiming that molecular clocks are worthless as does your interpretation of his paper. He seems to be saying that the lengths of evolutionary tree branches are based on the assumption that molecular clocks are running at the same rate, meaning that it would be a tautology to argue that equal branches are evidence of the molecular clock running at the same rate. However, in many cases a clock can be calibrated by radiometric ages taken from the fossil record.]=="

"Please don’t put your words into Shi’s mouth. He never says “However, in many cases a clock can be calibrated by radiometric ages taken from the fossil record.” Those are your words."

==[Of course they are my words! You misread my statement which was not a quotation. I identified one feature in Shi Huang's paper and then noted a standard workaround.

Fact: The molecular clock is a useful scientific tool used by scientists around the world. Therefore, there is no need to go into your interpretation of Shi Huang's paper. There is nothing he could possibly say that would change the above demonstrable fact of life.]==

"He {Shi Huang} then establishes that biology should be held to a higher standard, where even a single exception to a rule should be considered a serious challenge to the hypothesis. Looks like he is not aware of your 7 principles for exceptions that you presented!!!"

==[Valiya, your continued denial of a patently obvious fact is rather interesting. I've concluded that you have some kind of mental issue that causes you to go into this child-like denial of obvious facts. If not some kind of mental issue, hopefully temporary, then you must be a troll (or a group of trolls!). No normally functioning human being could possibly be this dense!

I will assume that you have some kind of mental problem or self-imposed delusion (same thing) that is the source of your tenacious child-like (but polite!) denial of reality. Thus, I will continue to make comments that might be helpful, but I'm not going to endlessly debate demonstrable facts. (Facts are the high aces, valiya. You can't trump them by quoting authority figures.)]==

"He {Shi Huang} then shows that ‘molecular clock’ negates the idea of natural selection."

==[As I understand it, and I don't claim to be infallible, he's talking about genetic drift. I don't see any denial of natural selection outside of his discussion of neutral mutations. That would constitute gross incompetence since the principles of natural selection do work when there is something to select!]==

"Let’s get this straight first… before we move on. I will answer the rest of your posts after we are done with this."

==[Above and beyond what I said above, I don't take scientific papers to be gospels of truth. Scientific papers are where interesting ideas are presented to the scientific community at large. Except for those that bring out new discoveries, such as describing a new fossil find, they are not finalized conclusions that have passed all the tests. Errors, careless statements, and sometimes incompetence creep into scientific papers. (As far as Shi Huang's paper goes, it raises some warning flags in my mind but I will not attempt to judge it without a careful study.) So, don't quote his stuff as though it were from heaven. I could produce 10 scientific papers that assume the validity of natural selection and the usefulness of molecular clocks. Two can play the quote game, valiya!]==

ROYISM 's picture
Hi valiya,

Hi valiya,

I wanted you to give quotes from Shi’s paper and prove that my interpretation is wrong. You have NOT done that yet. Looks like there is nothing in that paper to support your views. So, I take it that my interpretation is right.

YOU SAID: ==[Of course they are my words! You misread my statement which was not a quotation. I identified one feature in Shi Huang's paper and then noted a standard workaround.”

In this section of the debate, we are trying to figure out what Shi has to say on molecular clocks. Does it agree with the mainstream thought or not is a different matter. Therefore, your views or those of other scientists are irrelevant. Give me Shi’s statement and show me that my interpretation of it is wrong. After all you have been ranting for quite some time now that I am ill equipped to interpret scientific papers and therefore my interpretation of Shi is wrong. So, prove that to me or concede that you got it wrong.

YOU SAID: Fact: The molecular clock is a useful scientific tool used by scientists around the world. Therefore, there is no need to go into your interpretation of Shi Huang's paper. There is nothing he could possibly say that would change the above demonstrable fact of life.]==

Earlier you kicked up so much dust over my interpretation of Shi, and now you say “there is no need to go into your interpretation of Shi” I see it as an admission that you totally got it wrong, and now you are shuffling your feet.

YOU SAID: ==[Valiya, your continued denial of a patently obvious fact is rather interesting. I've concluded that you have some kind of mental issue that causes you to go into this child-like denial of obvious facts. If not some kind of mental issue, hopefully temporary, then you must be a troll (or a group of trolls!). No normally functioning human being could possibly be this dense!”

Now you are indulging in ad hominem, stooping to the level of personal insults. You gave this as a reply to my quotation of Shi stating that biology should be held to the same standard as physics. It is a scientist who says this in a peer reviewed paper. And you accuse me of denying patently obvious facts. You have to tell that NOT to me but to Shi and all those scientists who reviewed his paper and passed it for publishing. It is they who are dense if what you are saying is true – and probably you are a greater genius than them. I will not reply to your other insults because by doing so I would only be honoring your attempts to degrade the quality of this discussion.

YOU SAID: (Facts are the high aces, valiya. You can't trump them by quoting authority figures.)]==

There are no facts without interpretations and that’s why we have scientists explaining facts to us. The question is whose explanation of facts is correct. It’s a fact that yeast and horses are equidistant from bacteria… but the molecular clock is an interpretation we derive from that fact. But you seem to treat interpretations as facts… that’s your problem.

YOU SAID: ==[As I understand it, and I don't claim to be infallible, he's talking about genetic drift. I don't see any denial of natural selection outside of his discussion of neutral mutations. That would constitute gross incompetence since the principles of natural selection do work when there is something to select!]==

The word ‘Genetic Drift’ does not appear anywhere in the paper. He is indeed talking of Natural Selection. He doesn’t deny natural selection – but he says that if natural selection were true, then molecular clock can’t be, and vice versa. He very clearly states that two contradictory theories can’t go hand in hand, one to explain phenotypic evolution (selection) and the other to explain molecular evolution (clock).

YOU SAID: ==[Above and beyond what I said above, I don't take scientific papers to be gospels of truth.

Now what should I bring to the table to prove my case. Even peer reviewed papers are not good enough for you. In short you are saying that you only accept what agrees with your world view. A wonderful caveat that can never be defeated!

YOU SAID: (As far as Shi Huang's paper goes, it raises some warning flags in my mind but I will not attempt to judge it without a careful study.)

Now that your interpretation has been squashed, this is the only cop out left – attack the credentials of the scientist. Genetic fallacy alert!!!

YOU SAID: “So, don't quote his stuff as though it were from heaven. I could produce 10 scientific papers that assume the validity of natural selection and the usefulness of molecular clocks. Two can play the quote game, valiya!]==

There you have come one big full circle! This is why I had laid out my plan for this discussion at the very beginning. I clearly stated that a majority of scientists support the evolution theory… but my concern was with those findings and researches by evolutionists themselves, who have raised several red flags against the central tenets of the theory. This is the reason we need to engage their arguments, instead of just throwing papers at each other. And that’s precisely what I have been doing. I don’t just give links to papers, but I present the argument. Therefore, you need to give counter arguments along with links. You have not done that. Do you have answers for the problems raised by Shi, other than assuming that he too is probably ‘Dense’ (like me) which is where you seem to be nodding towards.

Greensnake's picture
Hi valiya,

Hi valiya,

"{Greensnake} SAID: ==[Above and beyond what I said above, I don't take scientific papers to be gospels of truth.

Now what should I bring to the table to prove my case. Even peer reviewed papers are not good enough for you. In short you are saying that you only accept what agrees with your world view. A wonderful caveat that can never be defeated!"

==[And, I gave you the reasons why. Most of our contention centers around your highly questionable INTERPRETATION of this one, lonely paper! If you think that YOUR INTERPRETATION of a technical source is on par with what can be found on any university web site, or what can be found in other standard sources of high repute, then you have truly taken leave of the real world!

What should you bring to the table? If you want to quote some kind of authority figure, try quoting an internationally respected scientist who is speaking to the public, thus removing your need to interpret technical material of which you have no competence. Surely, you can find some respected university web site that at least presents your points even if they are not widely accepted. Can't find any of the above? Maybe your arguments stink! You might even try interpreting the facts with some good arguments instead of denying the facts!]==

"Now you are indulging in ad hominem, stooping to the level of personal insults. You gave this as a reply to my quotation of Shi stating that biology should be held to the same standard as physics. It is a scientist who says this in a peer reviewed paper. And you accuse me of denying patently obvious facts."

==[Valiya, It is customary in a debate (about the meaning of evidence) to argue that one's interpretation of the facts is superior to that of one's opponent. You, valiya, have come up with a novel approach. You just ignore inconvenient facts! Since the facts in our discussion are so basic, such that any normal person could verify them, I can only conclude that there is troll activity or that you have some kind of problem.

The facts in our discussion are the "evolutionary tree patterns" that arise from DNA, cytochrome c, cladistics, and the fossil record. After 7 or 8 lengthy rounds of discussion, in which I indulged most of your wayward fantasies, we have yet to see how you explain these patterns. That is to say, there has been no real debate on your part, only a diversion into denying these demonstrable facts.

If you decide to enter a serious discussion, by arguing how best to interpret these facts instead of just ignoring them, then we might enter a meaningful discussion. Any flat-earther can use the same trick of ignoring inconvenient facts, and there are lots of ways to do that as you so amply demonstrated.

I stand by what I've said in my various posts, and I stand ready to enter into a meaningful discussion if you are willing.

ROYISM 's picture
Hi Greensnake

Hi Greensnake

You are just repeating the same old arguments over and over again. Genetic fallacy. By your standards there is no way one can DISAGREE with what reputed scientists and universities say, no matter what the arguments are.

Don’t you think you should actually go by the ideas instead of who is saying them? As far as I am concerned, there are highly qualified scientists who think that some of the basic assumptions of evolution are wrong. They have presented their papers. I find those arguments convincing. That’s why I present those papers to you. If you think my interpretation of those papers is wrong, then you should provide me with what you think is the right interpretation based on your erudite understanding. But you refuse to that. Even if you don’t have an interpretation, at least you could show me how I have misinterpreted the paper. You refuse to do that as well. Your simply calling me ‘incapable of interpreting’ and stuff like that without showing me the alternative interpretation is just hollow.

ON top of that I find you shifting your positions going from suspecting my interpretive skills to suspecting Shi’s credentials. You are clearly shifting goalposts there. Ask yourself why?

And then you degrade yourself to the level of making personal attacks saying I have ‘mental problem’, and that I am ‘dense’ etc… trading insults is the easiest thing to do in any debate, but it’s the most patent sign that the debater is at his wits ends.

And then you keep harping on about the tree patterns emerging from cytochrome, cladistics & fossil records… however, it is to counter it that I bring the molecular clock issue, which you refuse to engage.

Moreover, you said that Shi’s is the only lone paper I have presented… no, I presented two more papers and I can present several more peer reviewed papers. But what’s the point if you are not going to engage the arguments in them invoking your favorite genetic fallacy.

I really don’t know how this discussion can move forward.

Alembé's picture
Hi Valiya,

Hi Valiya,

I see that you have quietly not responded to my post on 02/22 describing the amplification and generation of new genetic material. You were avidly seeking such information a few days ago.

ROYISM 's picture
Hi Alembe,

Hi Alembe,

I was not deliberately avoiding your post. In fact this is a point that Greensnake himself had presented as a proof for evolution in another post, and I had answered it already. Gene duplication does not create new information. Gene duplication, followed by random mutation, is what creates new genetic information (according to evolutionists). Here is what Nature magazine says about how novel traits are created by gene duplication:

"Gene duplication and loss is a powerful source of functional innovation. However, the general principles that govern this process are still largely unknown." (Ilan Wapinski, Avi Pfeffer, Nir Friedman & Aviv Regev, "Natural history and evolutionary principles of gene duplication in fungi," Nature, Vol. 449:54-61 (September 6, 2007).

We are agnostic about the process, it seems! How can you invoke a process that we are agnostic about as a proof for anything?

Alembé's picture
Hi Valiya,

Hi Valiya,

"Gene duplication and loss is a powerful source of functional innovation. However, the general principles that govern this process are still largely unknown."

“We are agnostic about the process, it seems! How can you invoke a process that we are agnostic about as a proof for anything?”

I believe you have just committed a logical non-sequitur. What you have said is the equivalent of denying that a bird can hatch from an egg because you do not understand embryology.

Anyway, I tried to help you through this, but you seem determined to stick with your untenable position. I will discuss this issue with you on this thread no more.

Greensnake's picture
Alembe,

Alembe,

Excellent response! Wish I thought of that one! Valiya, of course, will never abandon any position (sometimes even trivial ones) no matter how untenable! In our encounter, Valiya has yet to stop denying the fact that a scientific hypothesis can have a non-fatal collision with a fact. I actually presented 7 different scenarios showing how that can occur. Valiya's response? A quote from an authority figure!!

ROYISM 's picture
HI Alembe

HI Alembe

YOU SAID: “I believe you have just committed a logical non-sequitur. What you have said is the equivalent of denying that a bird can hatch from an egg because you do not understand embryology.”

This is a basic logical error that all you guys are falling into. You have taken the process of evolution to be an observed fact, which is not the case. In the case of the bird hatching, we observe it firsthand. Whereas the theory of evolution, which says that random mutation followed by natural selection produces novel functions/traits/information, is not an observed fact. All that we observe are similarities. To borrow your analogy, it would be like me positing that birds hatch from eggs because of an invisible force that acts on the shell (or some other mechanism, which can’t be tested or whose mechanism can’t be explained) and then when you ask for proof, I criticize you saying that you are denying an observable fact – would you buy that kind of tomfoolery?

Greensnake's picture
Hi valiya,

Hi valiya,

"Gene duplication and loss is a powerful source of functional innovation. However, the general principles that govern this process are still largely unknown." (The source valiya quoted.)

"This is a basic error that all you guys are falling into. ..."

There you go again, valiya, denying everything! You are as predictable as clockwork. This quote that YOU chose plainly accepts the fact of gene duplication and indicates that it is a powerful source (starting point) of new biological innovations. What the author didn't say is that a duplicated gene (not needed because it is a duplicate) is free to collect mutations which constitutes new genetic information. On occasion that new information may prove useful. One need not assume evolution to see that this process leads to new genetic information. You had challenged us to show how new genetic information can arise. Well, you have the answer. Of course, you simply denied it by creating strawmen. By the way, we have observed the arrival of new species over the years! Doesn't that suggest new genetic information? Or, shall we assume that a shuffling of genes can create a new species?

Alembe's statement is exactly right! When you argued this quote with me you used the second part of your quote to deny the first part. That's how poorly you understood the quote and how poorly your reasoning process works. By the way, evolution is an observed fact! But one only observes a few decades worth because that's how long the experiment usually lasts. A few thousand years of evolution, with correspondingly more dramatic results, may easily be deduced in special circumstances!

Then we have the fossil record that I mentioned in an earlier post. If you haven't already done so, you might try explaining that. Everything about it says "evolution."

ROYISM 's picture
Hi Greensnake

Hi Greensnake

YOU SAID: “This quote that YOU chose plainly accepts the fact of gene duplication and indicates that it is a powerful source (starting point) of new biological innovations.”

Yes. Gene duplication is a powerful source of biological innovations. And I being the ignoramus that I am would ask “what is the mechanism through which gene duplication produces these innovations?” To which the wise evolutionist would reply, “oh, about the mechanism we have very little knowledge, but just accept that gene duplication does it.” Do you want me to accept this kind of nonsense as a proof for something?

YOU SAID: “What the author didn't say is that a duplicated gene (not needed because it is a duplicate) is free to collect mutations which constitutes new genetic information.”

Why do you want to dabble in guess works of what the author said or didn’t say? Here is the full statement from Nature Magazine:

Gene duplication and loss is a powerful source of functional innovation. However, the general principles that govern this process are still largely unknown. With the growing number of sequenced genomes, it is now possible to examine these events in a comprehensive and unbiased manner. Here, we develop a procedure that resolves the evolutionary history of all genes in a large group of species. We apply our procedure to seventeen fungal genomes to create a genome-wide catalogue of gene trees that determine precise orthology and paralogy relations across these species. We show that gene duplication and loss is highly constrained by the functional properties and interacting partners of genes. In particular, stress-related genes exhibit many duplications and losses, whereas growth-related genes show selection against such changes. Whole-genome duplication circumvents this constraint and relaxes the dichotomy, resulting in an expanded functional scope of gene duplication. By characterizing the functional fate of duplicate genes we show that duplicated genes rarely diverge with respect to biochemical function, but typically diverge with respect to regulatory control. Surprisingly, paralogous modules of genes rarely arise, even after whole-genome duplication. Rather, gene duplication may drive the modularization of functional networks through specialization, thereby disentangling cellular systems.

Note, how the author is drawing the attention to what happens to the duplicated genes: he says. “By characterizing the functional fate of duplicate genes we show that duplicated genes rarely diverge with respect to biochemical function, but typically diverge with respect to regulatory control.”

He highlights some peculiarities in how the duplicated genes undergo change. What is of importance to our discussion is the fact that he is indeed talking about mechanisms in the duplicated gene that gives rise to new functions. That’s the mechanism he says “we know very little about.” Unlike you, he does not invoke random mutation to explain the changes.

YOU SAID: “By the way, we have observed the arrival of new species over the years! Doesn't that suggest new genetic information? Or, shall we assume that a shuffling of genes can create a new species?”

This is the logical error I am saying. You assume the mechanism that creates new species is evolution. And then when I ask you for proof, you show me the so called ‘observed arrival of new species”. Circles. How are there so many different species? Through evolution. What is the proof for evolution? The fact that so many different species are there!!!!

YOU SAID: “By the way, evolution is an observed fact! But one only observes a few decades worth because that's how long the experiment usually lasts.”

Any examples? Hope you wouldn’t give me gene duplication again.

Alembé's picture
Hi Greensnake,

Hi Greensnake,

Our attempts here to deliver enlightenment, remind me of that trite cliche. "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again. When it's obvious that it is not going to work, there's no point in carrying on and making a fool of yourself."

Darwin Rules!

A.

Greensnake's picture
Hi valiya,

Hi valiya,

Just in case anybody has forgotten, the facts that we are dealing with here are those "tree" diagrams that arise from a comparative study of DNA, cytochrome c, cladistics, and even the fossil record. (Yes, valiya, those facts are very real, right up there with a round earth! They are the results of laboratory and field studies and can be replicated.) The whole purpose of our discussion was to find out what those facts really mean. Do they point unequivocally to evolution as I contend? Or, is there another explanation as you surely contend?

That was the great discussion that never happened! You did get across the idea (good for you!) that the length of the branches on molecular trees might not correspond uniformly with time. Unfortunately, as I pointed out, the remarkable agreement between DNA, cytochrome c, cladistics, and even the fossil record puts a rather dramatic limit on how far down that road we can go. It seems that those "tree" diagrams really do correspond to something.

Sadly, you spent almost your entire time denying the facts instead of explaining them!! That was a big surprise. Especially noteworthy was your diehard defense of the idea that any contradiction between a theory and a fact was always really, really serious. I gave you 7 different, real-life scenarios in which such a conflict amounted to little or nothing, concluding that most contradictions were minor affairs in that they fell into those categories. I was truly shocked by your reply. You quoted Shi Huang as though his proclamation were god-like and could banish those nasty scenarios!! Yes, I was shocked! What part of those scenarios, played out numerous times in the real world, did you not understand? I could only conclude that you were either acting as a troll or that you were totally disconnected from reality--and I said so. Sorry if I hurt your feelings, but I could reach no other conclusions then or now.

Oh valiya! You can certainly disagree with me! Just stop butting heads with the hard facts and try explaining them. Why do we get all these evolutionary trees that are in remarkable agreement? That is the question! There is no need to quote anyone. Just summarize an intelligent argument that explains the facts before us. Surely you can do that much if you have a good argument.

"Don’t you think you should actually go by the ideas instead of who is saying them? As far as I am concerned, there are highly qualified scientists who think that some of the basic assumptions of evolution are wrong."

Strawman alert! All I pointed out was that a universal consensus within the scientific community is a wee bit stronger than your interpretation of Shi Huang's paper. Natural selection really is a proven workhorse although it might not explain every last detail. Do we really have to prove that the Earth is round, valiya? Molecular clocks really do work reasonably well despite anything that Shi Huang might have said. When the choice is between reality and someone's paper or, worse, an amateur interpretation of that paper, then it is pretty clear which way the rational mind is going to go.

"They have presented their papers. I find those arguments convincing. That’s why I present those papers to you. If you think my interpretation of those papers is wrong, then you should provide me with what you think is the right interpretation based on your erudite understanding. But you refuse to that."

Why should I waste the time in an already long post? I spent a huge amount of time (unsuccessfully) trying to get you to just acknowledge the fact that a conflict between a scientific theory and a fact NEED NOT be fatal! The chance for explaining something more complicated, and getting through to you, rates right up there with a snowball's chance in hell.

"ON top of that I find you shifting your positions going from suspecting my interpretive skills to suspecting Shi’s credentials. You are clearly shifting goalposts there. Ask yourself why?"

Strawman alert! The fact that I stressed one problem early on and brought out additional concerns later does not constitute a shifting of positions. Strawman alert II! I never challenged Shi Huang's credentials. (Credentials involve things like degrees and general competence.) He did utter some odd statements that raised a few red flags.

"And then you keep harping on about the tree patterns emerging from cytochrome, cladistics & fossil records… however, it is to counter it that I bring the molecular clock issue, which you refuse to engage."

I wonder why I brought up those tree patterns again and again? Could it possibly be because those patterns are indisputable facts that serve as the number one proof of evolution, facts that are begging for your alternate interpretation, the ground floor of this discussion as it were? Hasn't it yet dawned on you that your molecular clock issue is totally dead given that scientists around the world find the molecular clock a useful tool? It's useful because it does give dates and branching points that are good enough to provide some wonderful insight into reality. You can't quote Shi Huang to erase a demonstrable fact. As I said earlier, do you really believe that all these scientists around the world are happily using broken clocks?? Wake up from your trance and smell the coffee, valiya!

"Moreover, you said that Shi’s is the only lone paper I have presented… no, I presented two more papers and I can present several more peer reviewed papers."

Strawman alert! I never said that Shi Huang's paper was the only paper you presented. Yes, valiya, I can count at least to 10! However, you did spend an inordinate amount of time giving us YOUR INTERPRETATION of his paper. You really ought to quote a renown scientist addressing a lay audience. That would eliminate (hopefully) any confusion in your interpreting subtle remarks.

"I really don’t know how this discussion can move forward."

Take a deep breath, valiya, it's not as bad as all that! Begin by telling us why those evolutionary trees (the facts that need explaining) point to something other than evolution. If you insist on continuing to butt heads with brute facts, instead of giving us your explanation of them then, yes, it would be difficult to see how this discussion could move forward.

By the way, do you intend to answer my earlier post highlighting the remarkable support that the geologic record gives to evolution? We have this rather obvious change of life through time, all preserved in rock.

ROYISM 's picture
Hi Greensnake,

Hi Greensnake,

At the outset, let me express my despair at your refusal to still come clean with the ‘interpretation’ problem that you kicked up, and are now trying to duck. Is my interpretation right or wrong, and why? I am still waiting. And as that seems to be a wild goose chase, let me move on, and restrict myself to what I think is relevant to take this discussion forward.

YOU SAID: “Just in case anybody has forgotten, the facts that we are dealing with here are those "tree" diagrams that arise from a comparative study of DNA, cytochrome c, cladistics, and even the fossil record.”

Of course yes. And we have not lost track of that discussion. It is to counter your claims of this comparative study of DNA, cytochrome c etc. that I presented the papers that seriously attack molecular clock and neutral hypothesis. If molecular clock is undermined, you would have to provide new explanations for some of the fundamental observations in the so called tree that contradict Darwinian mechanisms.

I think you agree that there are problems/exceptions in the tree, but you claim that they have to be seen in the light of your 7 principles and not made a big issue out of.

There are a couple of things to note here. All your principles are fine. But just listing them out is not good enough. What you should do is take a problem that I have highlighted through the papers I presented, and show me under which of the principles you cited the criticism should be put on hold.

Secondly (and more importantly), let’s say one of the problems in the tree is due to limitations in our instruments, it would only show that the results are unreliable. It would not prove that the tree is problem free. Therefore, the burden of proof would rest on the shoulders of the evolutionists. I am not obliged to lump your assumptions until we have better instruments that provide us unambiguous results that explains the observed problems in the tree.

Moreover, as you pointed out in the case of the Ediacaran fossils that it is not a valid evidence for any side as there is a debate going on over it. By that same logic, wouldn’t you have to at least temporarily discard the tree argument because there is debate going on over it?

I am not getting into all the other details, as I feel it’s not very relevant. But if you think there is some important point I have overlooked, please bring it to my attention.

Greensnake's picture
Hi Greensnake,

Hi Greensnake,

"At the outset, let me express my despair at your refusal to still come clean with the ‘interpretation’ problem that you kicked up, and are now trying to duck. Is my interpretation right or wrong, and why? I am still waiting."

Valiya, it would be another of your wild goose chases. Chasing this strawman issue would allow you to avoid dealing with the main facts of this case, an unpleasant duty in that there are no known alternatives outside of evolution. I do sympathize with your wish to avoid those facts at all costs.

I will say this much. In one instance Shi Huang would have been contradicting 7 facts if he meant what you said he was saying. So, who cares if you quoted him correctly? Most of your other quotations from him were interpreted by you to mean that the tree diagram from cytochrome c was an illusion based on a broken clock. If those were his words, Shi Huang would have been contradicting the obvious fact that the cytochrome c tree is remarkably similar to that of DNA or of cladistics, which could hardly be the case if it were an illusion of errors. Once again, who cares if you quoted him correctly? It's a strawman issue. (In his defense, I noted that your interpretation was probably incompetent.)

---------------------------------------------------------

Just in case anybody has forgotten, the facts that we are dealing with here are those "tree" diagrams that arise from a comparative study of DNA, cytochrome c, cladistics, and even the fossil record. Who has the better explanation for them? That is the question. I say they are the number one proof of evolution. (By "proof" I mean "extremely compelling evidence with no obvious alternatives." Scientists don't actually speak in terms of "proofs" but it's a word you understand.)

---------------------------------------------------------

"Of course yes. And we have not lost track of that discussion. It is to counter your claims of this comparative study of DNA, cytochrome c etc. that I presented the papers that seriously attack molecular clock and neutral hypothesis. If molecular clock is undermined…"

Far from discussing the key issue, you have done all in your power to bury it under strawman issues! I can't find a single paragraph in all of your discussion that actually attempts to explain why we get those tree diagrams. Moreover, your fantasy of undermining molecular clocks is a digression of no significance given that molecular clocks are used by scientists around the world. Obviously, they do have some value. In your fantasy world I suppose that inconvenient fact doesn't exist. Maybe you will quote Shi Huang again to "prove" that the fact doesn't exist!

"I think you agree that there are problems/exceptions in the tree, but you claim that they have to be seen in the light of your 7 principles and not made a big issue out of."

The 7 principles? What kind of fantasy world are you living in, valiya? (Maybe you are just having extreme trouble reading English.) I gave you 7 scenarios that showed that a collision between a theory and a fact need not be fatal. Your claim that such a collision must always be very serious is stupid or confused. That Shi Huang seems to say as much doesn't make it any better (as though his words were divine and could counter an obvious fact).

"Secondly (and more importantly), let’s say one of the problems in the tree is due to limitations in our instruments, it would only show that the results are unreliable. It would not prove that the tree is problem free."

You are hopelessly confused, valiya. The 7 scenarios were a factual rebuttal to the silly claim that a collision between a theory and a fact MUST be serious or fatal. Nothing more was intended than a general statement of fact. It should be obvious that the excellent agreement between various molecular trees and those of cladistics and the fossil record rule out the kind of massive error that you envision. If you still don't see it, then find some systematic error that in principle would allow similar results from such diverse and independent sources.

"Moreover, as you pointed out in the case of the Ediacaran fossils that it is not a valid evidence for any side as there is a debate going on over it."

This is yet another strawman argument! Whether the Ediacaran fossils are the actual predecessors of the Cambrian fauna is totally irrelevant to your original argument. The mere existence of earlier, soft-bodied life forms, detected in a few rare places, seriously undermines your claim the Cambrian "explosion" started from nothing. The fact that some scientists also see certain Ediacaran animals as potential precursors to the Cambrian "explosion" doesn't help your case either. You claim that the Cambrian "explosion" came out of nowhere doesn't walk.

Now for the big question. Will you now, please, attempt to show us why those tree diagrams exist? Why do we even get them? Where do they come from? That is, explain the central facts (the tree diagrams) of this discussion. Show us that you have a better explanation for the evidence than does evolution. (The point of any factually based argument is to show that you have the better explanation of the key data.) If you are unable do that, then the obvious explanation for tree diagrams (a solid confirmation of evolution) should be accepted. If you refuse to address the central facts (why the tree diagrams exist) either by ignoring them, by strawman arguments, or by endless diversions and wild goose chases, then you have proven that your discussion is not serious. In that case, you should be ignored.

So, let's see a serious explanation for those tree diagrams.

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