Joined: Sep. 2007
|Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Dec. 28 2008,18:40)|
|Quote (Daniel Smith @ Dec. 28 2008,20:07)|
Thanks for your points. I'm pretty happy with my original unscientific prediction. Even though it's not "testable", it's tested every time someone attempts to piece together an evolutionary pathway, and even though it's "unfalsifiable", it can be proven false if only one of those pathways is completed. I'm not as concerned with its scientific-correctness as I am with its correctness. I'd rather be upfront about my belief in God than try to hide it within science. Of course, I'm not a scientist.
I don't have much problem with this, so long as you don't claim scientific status for your assertion. It does put you in the peculiar position of hoping that scientific progress within evolutionary biology stalls. And, in my opinion, your belief has prompted you to badly misperceive the current state of evolutionary science.
|On the other hand, we have the very scientific issue of front-loaded evolution. The case for this (in one form or another) has been made by real scientists such as one of Russia's premier biologists - Leo Berg, one of Germany's leading paleontologists - Otto Schindewolf, a leading German/American geneticist - Richard Goldschmidt, and many others. This is an issue I'm ill prepared to defend, (not being a scientist myself), but which resides on purely scientific grounds. Some of the cases I've pointed to here - such as phenotypic capacitors and the Trichoplax - confirm (to me anyway) the validity of such hypotheses as well as the Universal Genome and the Prescribed Evolutionary hypotheses.|
I invite you to really give some thought to what I previously said about frontloading:
|Front loading would require pre-storage of the countless adaptations, speciation events, ecological interactions, arms races, and even extinction events that have characterized the story of the survival of life on earth, such that countless biological adaptations remain tightly coupled to an endless succession of changing environments and ecosystems over billions of years. Yet the environmental transitions that demand these changes result from physical processes (planetary, geological, meteorological, astronomical, etc.) that are themselves inherently contingent and unguided and cannot themselves possibly have been "arranged," "planned," or "predicted." This includes the changing microenvironments and apposite adaptations of every extinct and every extant lineage that has taken its place among the astronomical number of ramifications of the tree of life.|
This problem stands regardless of the storage capacity of DNA, the action of imaginary error correction methods, even a mechanism to limit the triggering of the expression of adaptive features such that they conform to the nested patterns we would expect to result from descent with modification. It would require the designer, as he assembled the first organisms and stuffed them with all this information, to either exercise complete foreknowledge of, or anticipate sustaining complete control over, the output of the sun, the timing and consequences of asteroid impacts, the tectonic formation and reformation of continents and oceans, along with the accompanying geological events, climatological changes, advancing and receding ice sheets, and countless other factors, over billions of years.
IMHO, the only agent capable of "front loading" that responds to this description would be God, due to the the requirement for either foreknowledge and/or control. But that creates a problem for your assertion that frontloading is an "utterly scientific" hypothesis - having conceded that an explanatory scheme that revolves around the supernatural cannot be formulated as a scientific assertion.
If, in fact, God has done the front-loading, then the 'supernatural' part of the mechanism would only apply to the original front-loading. The rest of it - its workings throughout history - would be mechanical and detectable. Neither Berg, Schindewolf or Goldschmidt ever pointed to a supernatural mechanism in their extensive defenses of the concept (though I must point out, they never specifically called it "front-loading" either). They pointed instead to the fossil record, genetics and direct and experimental observations of phyla. Berg studied fishes, Schindewolf - cephalopods and corals, and Goldschmidt - moths. Their books are scientific treatise based on years of studies in the field. These were not philosophers of science, they were real working scientists - the kind that get their hands dirty.
It's a matter of perspective though - whether you see it or not. Take the Trichoplax for instance. It is basically crawling slime - with no limbs, no nerves, no brain, and only four cell types. Yet this creature has many of the same genes we humans do - genes for development of limbs, nerves, synapses and the like. From a front-loading perspective, such a creature makes perfect sense. From the perspective of the current theory, however, such a creature is out of place. It fits in one place morphologically and another phylogenetically. The nested hierarchies that always supposedly line up have to be slightly out of whack with this one.
Also, I don't think front-loading requires all the information you seem to think it does. It could work something like the immune system - which is constantly throwing new variations out there in the hope that one will "stick". Judging from the large percentage of extinctions throughout history, I'd say such a scenario is likely. If you read Schindewolf's book on paleontology, you'll see that he detected patterns of spontaneous adaptive radiation in the fossil record, (followed by slow, patterned evolution, which eventually resulted in over-specialization and extinction). The impression I got (of the spontaneous adaptive radiations) was one of a farmer throwing out seed in a field just to see what came up. The immune system works in a similar fashion.
"If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance." Orville Wright
"The presence or absence of a creative super-intelligence is unequivocally a scientific question." Richard Dawkins