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Sheldon's picture
"As someone who's had the

"As someone who's had the privilege of leading the human genome project, I've had the opportunity to study our own DNA instruction book at a level of detail that was never really possible before. It's also now been possible to compare our DNA with that of many other species. The evidence supporting the idea that all living things are descended from a common ancestor is truly overwhelming. I would not necessarily wish that to be so, as a Bible-believing Christian. But it is so. It does not serve faith well to try to deny that."

Francis S. Collins M.D. Ph.D. a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes, and his administration of the Human Genome Project (HGP). He is the former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and current director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


Armando Perez's picture
Study of Darwin’s finches

Study of Darwin’s finches reveals that new species can develop in as little as two generations

A New Bird Species Has Evolved on Galapagos And Scientists Watched It Happen

toto974's picture


Thanks for this two links! I think we can find more exemple of observed speciation for species with faster/shorter cycles of reproduction.

ʝօɦn 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐy's picture
Quick update:

Quick update:

Based on some of the arguments raised by other commentators, I think the necessity of co-evolution can be framed in terms of selection. Not in the presence of detrimental consequences, as I have been suggesting, but also in the absence of positive reinforcements. I don't remember if it was David or Logic, that posed the idea that the eye could evolve independently and then the brain connect to it later.

Side Note: Developmentally, the eye extends from the brain and slowly cups on its way to the surface, whereas the classic Dawkins analogy has a light sensitive spot on the surface slowly cupping inward.

Both the scenario where the eye evolved from the brain, and where the two evolved separately and then connect, produce the type of isolation that protects it from positive selection, which is a bad thing. An eye that is growing in isolation from the brain, cannot be selected for qualities that benefit the animal. In order for selection to filter out detrimental changes, the visual information needs to affect something. Likewise, if the brain is pre-existing and encapsulated within a skull, then eyes that emerge from it and somehow make their way to the surface, are isolated from the visual world until they do reach the surface.

The best possible scenario, that doesn't involve direct co-evolution, is one in which the brain evolves from the eye. So, those light sensitive spots begin to evolve nerve cells able to interpret that information. It doesn't follow our developmental path, but at least it makes better sense than the alternatives.

Armando Perez's picture
The first light sensor had to

The first light sensor had to be linked to the rudiments of the communication system somehow. We can see that bacteria or algae can swim towards or away from light, without having a brain. The whole system evolved together. We can see nowadays anmals like some larva that have very simple, two-cells light sensory organs directly connected to the nerve fibers that manage muscle movement.

The nervous system evolved to coordinate the cell functions in an animal and as it became more complex took more functions.

ʝօɦn 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐy's picture
Right, that's basically what

Right, that's basically what I keep telling the forum. Althoug to be more specific, I'm also saying that the things that became more complex and took on more functions, have to stay balanced throughout that progress

ʝօɦn 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐy's picture
I decided that I'll

I decided that I'll continually add novel examples to this thread, as opposed to creating new ones.

Saliency refers to the way in which visual objects pop out and grab our attention, such as red apple on a white desk. Attention itself can be viewed from many different angles, as either a spotlight or a zoom lens, as either a feature that enhances information or a bottleneck that constricts information. The bottleneck approach is the most reasonable in evolutionary terms. Information takes up storage space and energy, and attention provides a way to focus on what is important by reducing the resolution of everything else.

When it comes to the relationship between saliency and attention, there appears to be a winner-take-all rule in place (Koch & Ullman, 1985). The most salient location wins, and attracts all of the attention. However, its clear that in a winner-take-all situation, there is another computational issue: how do you prevent the organism from getting stuck attending to the most salient object (Itti & Koch, 2001)? The answer appears to be inhibition of return, which supresses the neurons attending to the most salient object, causing vision to not only cascade down to the next most salient object, but prevents it from returning to its previous location. Experiments shows a slowing down in reaction time, when participants are asked to attend to a previous location as opposed to a new one, once attention has moved past to the next most salient object (Klein, 2000).

So, again, here we have two independent features of a subsystem than need to co-evolve. It doesn't make much sense for the mechanisms driving inhibition of return to evolve before those of saliency-driven attention; it puts the cart before the horse. Likewise, to have saliency-driven attention before inhibition of return, produces organism that become unable to attend to other things in their visual field once they are locked into an object. The best solution is one in which both emerged simultaneously.


Koch, C. & Ullman, S. (1985). Shifts in selective visual attention: towards the underlying neural circuitry. Hum. Neurobiol. 4, 219–227.

Itti, L., & Koch, C. (2001). Computational modeling of visual attention. Nature, 2, 194-203.

Klein, R. M. (2000) Inhibition of return. Trends Cogn. Sci. 4, 138–147

David Killens's picture
Saliency and attention do not

Saliency and attention do not drive evolution, survival does.

ʝօɦn 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐy's picture
I'm not sure what this has to

I'm not sure what this has to do with my post; but if I had to address it, I would say that saliency and attention can drive survival.

David Killens's picture
No, saliency and attention

No, saliency and attention are mechanisms, methods of processing. Neither takes precedence over the simple factor of survival. Some animals require saliency to survive (such as a prey animal that is alerted by a sudden movement) while others live and die by attention (raptors).

ʝօɦn 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐy's picture
It doesn't make sense to

It doesn't make sense to mention that some animals require saliency to survive and others require attention, after saying no to my comment that these things can drive survival. What are you saying no to then? As Itti and Koch (2001) mentioned, visual attention is important "because it allows the organism to detect quickly possible prey, mates or predators in the visual world" (p 194).

I'm also not sure why you've split saliency and attention up like that. A prey that finds sudden movements salient, will invariably attend to it. Likewise, unless a raptor has an entirely top-down visual system (and even then you have to blur words a bit), there are undoubtedly salient things to which it pays attention to.

You're not being very clear what you objecting to.

David Killens's picture
Can worms sense up or down?

Can worms sense up or down? Without eyes how can worms sense light?

ʝօɦn 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐy's picture
Alright, if you're not going

Alright, if you're not going to put effort into your comments, I'm not going to put effort into my responses.

Sheldon's picture
Since when does wild

Since when does wild unevidenced conjecture take effort? Creationists make me laugh, fair play.

David Killens's picture
ʝօɦn 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐy for the

ʝօɦn 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐy for the record, worms can sense light, and tests have not proven they know up from down. Their evolution was not driven by exotic concepts, just simple survival.

My point is that if one can not explain something simply, then their post is nothing but pure bullshit.

ʝօɦn 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐy's picture
If there was something in my

If there was something in my post that you wanted to have simplified, just ask for it.

Basically, saliency attracts attention, the way a magnet attracts iron. Once attention has been pulled in, another mechanism is needed to prevent it from staying there, so an organism can keep looking at the rest of its visual scene: "Inhibition of Return".

There are issues with having one evolve without the other, therefore, both need to evolve simultaneously.

David Killens's picture
@ʝօɦn 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐy

@ʝօɦn 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐy

"Basically, saliency attracts attention, the way a magnet attracts iron. Once attention has been pulled in, another mechanism is needed to prevent it from staying there, so an organism can keep looking at the rest of its visual scene: "Inhibition of Return".

There are issues with having one evolve without the other, therefore, both need to evolve simultaneously."

OK, now the acid test. How does that apply to the fact that earthworms have light sensitive skin patches?

ʝօɦn 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐy's picture
The earthworm is your example

The earthworm is your example; you tell me how it applies.

David Killens's picture
So you can't transfer your

So you can't transfer your "theories" to the reality of a simple organism like an earthworm?

ʝօɦn 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐy's picture
Are you even able to give a

Are you even able to give a summary of those "theories?" You can often tell how well a person understands something by the kind of questions they ask. Your questions aren't making a good impression. I recommend you read through the comments once more, and get back to me once you have a better grasp of the conversation.

David Killens's picture
It seems you are not up to

It seems you are not up to transposing your theories into the world of the worm. You have these theories, I was asking a question.

Oh well, if you can't answer, you can't.

ʝօɦn 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐy's picture
Alright lol.

Alright lol.

Sheldon's picture
I learned long ago, never

I learned long ago, never wrestle a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.

George Bernard Shaw

Indulging creationists who think they have disproved the scientific fact of evolution, is like giving a donkey strawberries.

Sheldon's picture
"Can worms sense up or down?

"Can worms sense up or down? Without eyes how can worms sense light?"

God tells them mun, as any fool knows. They only get eaten when Satan tricks them to the surface.

Sheldon's picture
How is this a barrier to

How is this a barrier to evolution? Do the authors in your citations agree with your denial of the scientific fact of species evolution? If so have their denials been peer reviewed, and validated? Has the scientific world changed its position on evolution while I slept?

What is it you hope to achieve by asking unqualified strangers questions you know all the experts in the scientific field of evolution and biology have already answered?

What other scientific facts will you be doing this with? How many of those don't refute any part of your religious beliefs?

If you deny the scientific fact of evolution, then what alternative scientific hypothesis are you suggesting the entire scientific world has missed? Also how can you trust any scientific theories if the method has continually failed to uncover these simple flaws you claim you have found in a theory on which the whole field of Biology rests? Even you surely can't be claiming to be an expert in every single area of scientific endeavour?

Why do only religious people deny evolution? Why has evolution despite over 160 years of scientific study globally, never produced one piece of valid scientific evidence to falsify its core facts like speciation and natural selection?

Come on John, your spiel is looking more and more like another of the religious sermons we're subjected to on here, all the more so because you're avoiding such obvious questions as these.

Why should anyone believe you are right and science has been getting all this wrong for 160 years, including all the foremost experts on evolution, even Darwin himself?

Even you must see what that claim looks like on here.

Sheldon's picture
John I think it's time you

John I think it's time you told us if you are a YEC or not?

John, how old is the earth, or the universe?

John, do you believe humans were created in their current form?

Sheldon's picture
The conflict between science

The conflict between science and religion may have its origins in the structure of our brains, researchers at Case Western Reserve University and Babson College have found.

"Clashes between the use of faith vs. scientific evidence to explain the world around us dates back centuries and is perhaps most visible today in the arguments between evolution and creationism."

This seems apropos..."To believe in a supernatural god or universal spirit, people appear to suppress the brain network used for analytical thinking and engage the empathetic network, the scientists say. When thinking analytically about the physical world, people appear to do the opposite. When there's a question of faith, from the analytic point of view, it may seem absurd,"

said Tony Jack, who led the research.

"But, from what we understand about the brain, the leap of faith to belief in the supernatural amounts to pushing aside the critical/analytical way of thinking to help us achieve greater social and emotional insight."

Very edifying...

The article goes on...

Jack is an associate professor of philosophy at Case Western Reserve and research director of the university's Inamori International Center of Ethics and Excellence, which helped sponsor the research.

"A stream of research in cognitive psychology has shown and claims that people who have faith (i.e., are religious or spiritual) are not as smart as others. They actually might claim they are less intelligent.," said Richard Boyatzis, distinguished university professor and professor of organizational behavior at Case Western Reserve, and a member of Jack's team.

"Our studies confirmed that statistical relationship, but at the same time showed that people with faith are more prosocial and empathic," he said.

In a series of eight experiments, the researchers found **the more empathetic the person, the more likely he or she is religious.**


ʝօɦn 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐy's picture
The binding problem

The binding problem

Different objects are composed of different features. Different features tend to be processed in different regions of the brain. Areas such as V4, are selective to color but not motion; whereas areas like MT are selective for motion but not color.

The binding problem refers to the question of how these separate features are then unified by the brain (Roskies, 1999). For example, if you have a red vertical bar and a blue horizontal bar within the same receptive field, how do you prevent these features from being reconstructed wrong: seeing a red horizontal bar? Such illusory conjunction (the mixing up of visual features) can be seen to occur for a number of reasons, including not paying attention (Treisman & Schmidt, 1982). This implies that binding is indeed a problem that the brain has, and which it has mechanisms in place to solve.

There are two issues for evolutionists to solve regarding this. The first is how the different brain regions specialized for processing different features evolved, given that they are separate. For example, those specialized in vision for perception and those of vision for action, those specialized in shape recognition and those specialized in spatial location and so forth. Secondly, how the mechanism that binds them evolved and when.

Its worth noting that the leading explanation of binding, feature integration theory, solves the problem through allocation of attentional resources (Treisman & Gelade, 1980). Attention is the filter that prevents the jumbling of information. Yet, as mentioned in my previous post, attention itself works through cooperation of mechanisms that themselves need evolutionary explanations.


Roskies, A. L. (1999). The binding problem [Special issue]. Neuron, 24, 7– 125.
Treisman, A., & Gelade, G. (1980). A feature-integration theory of attention. Cognitive Psychology, 12, 97– 136.
Treisman, A., & Schmidt, H. (1982). Illusory conjunctions in the perception of objects. Cognitive Psychology, 14, 107– 141.

Sheldon's picture
So I just checked, can find

So I just checked, and can find nothing about objections to the scientific fact of species evolution being scientifically validated, and the theory that explains it falsified?

Has John posted these on any scientific forums? Only I can't find anything but ludicrous creationist propaganda that denies scientific facts?

Nyarlathotep's picture
FYI, they just gave out the

FYI, they just gave out the Nobel prize in chemistry for using evolution to produce new proteins. Breezy should get in contact with the king so he can stop payment on the check; unless of course the king is in on the multi-generational conspiracy.


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