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stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,15:35   

Over on the Uncommonly Dense thread, Wesley, earlier, said:

Quote
Wesley R. Elsberry



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2007,23:19  
Then there was the ID conference in San Francisco where Dr. Cornelius G. Hunter, the "expert" involved in the antievolution shenanigans in Roseville, CA, presented the wolf and thylacine as identical twins separated at birth argument. His visual aid, handily printed in the proceedings, consisted of two images side-by-side. On one side, you had the usual painting of two thylacines in color. On the other, you had the same painting, mirrored horizontally, and desaturated. Yep, you just could not tell the difference between the wolves on one side and the thylacines on the other. Uncanny, even.

At least, none of the ID attendees cottoned on. It wasn't until I pointed out the problem to Paul Nelson that the ID community had notice of it.


Cornelius Hunter has now shown up and replied:

Quote
Cornelius Hunter



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,16:11  
It is strange that evolutionists never get around to addressing the scientific issue. Wesley Elsberry appears to be denying convergence, but that can't be true. If he has an explanation for convergence then let's hear it. If not, then admit it. Here is the question for evolutionists: How is it that similarities such as the pentadactyl pattern are such powerful evidence for evolution, in light of equala and greater levels of similarity in distant species, such as dsplayed in the marsupial and placental mouse?

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/4/pdf/l_014_02.pdf


This is a specific thread for subsequent discussion of the topic.

   
stephenWells



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,15:47   

For starters, how about some discussion of dentition and skull morphology, with regard to the claim that the thylacine and the wolf have "almost identical" dentition?
We could start here: Thylacine museum, dentition

  
GCT



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,15:50   

Since Mr. Hunter is from the DI and all, maybe he can explain these "goals" from the wedge document:

Quote
5. Spiritual & cultural renewal:

Mainline renewal movements begin to appropriate insights from design theory, and to repudiate theologies influenced by materialism
Major Christian denomination(s) defend(s) traditional doctrine of creation & repudiate(s)
Darwinism Seminaries increasingly recognize & repudiate naturalistic presuppositions
Positive uptake in public opinion polls on issues such as sexuality, abortion and belief in God


Why would these be goals of a scientific movement?  I mean, ID has nothing to do with religion, right?

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,15:52   

It's strange how failing to note obvious differences in a mammalian dental formula amounts to a "scientific problem"... unless, of course, one is identifying the locus of the problem as the particular ignorance displayed by Hunter in urging the thylacine and wolf as somehow proving "problematic" for scientific explanation. Let's clear that one up first before proceeding to other supposed examples. If Jonathan Wells can get outraged over perfectly reasonable photographs to display the issue of crypsis, how come the ID community has not risen as one in condemnation of the far more flagrant abuse of imagery used by Hunter?

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,15:55   

Quote (GCT @ Jan. 26 2007,16:50)
Why would these be goals of a scientific movement?  I mean, ID has nothing to do with religion, right?

While many ID supporters take the position that ID is not religion, I don't know that Cornelius Hunter has taken this position, so perhaps he admits that ID is creationism, the bible is scientifically accurate, etc.

   
GCT



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,16:04   

Quote (stevestory @ Jan. 26 2007,16:55)
Quote (GCT @ Jan. 26 2007,16:50)
Why would these be goals of a scientific movement?  I mean, ID has nothing to do with religion, right?

While many ID supporters take the position that ID is not religion, I don't know that Cornelius Hunter has taken this position, so perhaps he admits that ID is creationism, the bible is scientifically accurate, etc.

Fair enough.

Maybe he's a YEC and he thinks ID is religious.  Then, why try to pass it off as science, as the DI does?  Why do many other IDiots protest so much at the labeling of ID as religious instead of science.  He can answer these questions or the ones above, depending on what his position is.

  
guthrie



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,16:12   

PLease gentlemen, form an orderly queue.  One question at a time, or our guest will be overwhelmed.  
Just pretend you are British for a day or two.
We have good beer in compensation.

  
Tracy P. Hamilton



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,16:19   

Quote (guthrie @ Jan. 26 2007,16:12)
PLease gentlemen, form an orderly queue.  One question at a time, or our guest will be overwhelmed.  
Just pretend you are British for a day or two.
We have good beer in compensation.

Hear, Hear!

Wes' question is closest to mine (which I will not ask).

--------------
"Following what I just wrote about fitness, you’re taking refuge in what we see in the world."  PaV

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Mike PSS



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,16:44   

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/4/pdf/l_014_02.pdf [/quote]

Quote
adapted from The Human Evolution Coloring Book, 2d ed., by Adrienne L. Zihlman.
Produced by Coloring Concepts Inc. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.


Mr. Hunter is basing his initial argument from a write-up that accompanies a coloring book?

A COLORING BOOK??

A COLORING BOOK?!?!?!

  
GCT



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,16:44   

Quote (Tracy P. Hamilton @ Jan. 26 2007,17:19)
Quote (guthrie @ Jan. 26 2007,16:12)
PLease gentlemen, form an orderly queue.  One question at a time, or our guest will be overwhelmed.  
Just pretend you are British for a day or two.
We have good beer in compensation.

Hear, Hear!

Wes' question is closest to mine (which I will not ask).

No problem here.  I wouldn't mind seeing Wes and Hunter go at it.

  
hooligans



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,17:06   

As a longtime troll here and at the PandasThumb, I simply had to register and share in the communal guffaw of Mr. Hunter's argument. This chap has actually used, as his evidence, a picture from a coloring book designed for adolescents!!!! Holy crap!!! I finally get why the word TARD is used so often here.  :O

  
Cornelius Hunter



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,17:14   

==============================
Me: How is it that similarities such as the pentadactyl pattern are such powerful evidence for evolution, in light of equala and greater levels of similarity in distant species, such as dsplayed in the marsupial and placental mouse?

Stephen: "For starters, how about some discussion of dentition and skull morphology, with regard to the claim that the thylacine and the wolf have "almost identical" dentition?"

Wesley: "It's strange how failing to note obvious differences in a mammalian dental formula amounts to a "scientific problem"... unless, of course, one is identifying the locus of the problem as the particular ignorance displayed by Hunter in urging the thylacine and wolf as somehow proving "problematic" for scientific explanation. Let's clear that one up first before proceeding to other supposed examples. If Jonathan Wells can get outraged over perfectly reasonable photographs to display the issue of crypsis, how come the ID community has not risen as one in condemnation of the far more flagrant abuse of imagery used by Hunter? "
===============================

Stephen and Wesley are not reckoning with the problem. Hence Wesley comes to the erroneous conclusion about "flagrant abuse of imagery." I'll restate the question in more acceptable terms. How is it that similarities such as the pentadactyl pattern are such powerful evidence for evolution, in light of equala and greater levels of similarity in distant species, such as dsplayed in the marsupial and placental wolves? Please look at the very bottom here:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/4/pdf/l_014_02.pdf

Then look at here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Evolution_pl.png#filelinks

And then consider my question, and explain why similarities such as the pentadactyl pattern are such powerful evidence.

Regarding ID and religion, the question of whether or not proponents of a theory/position can (i) leverage the theory for non scientific purposes and (ii) simultaneously maintain that the theory itself is scientific, seems straightforward enough. Why would people want to do that? Again, this seems pretty obvious. It happens with a wide variety of theories (evolution comes to mind as an example). I'm more interested in the evidences *for* the theory rather than what metaphysics certain people want to conclude *from* the theory.

  
guthrie



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,17:26   

Sorry Tracy, make that Ladies and Gentlemen.  

As for the question- I thought that they were all related in the first place, so the last common ancestor probablty had 5 fingers as well.  Not to mention that they inhabit similar habitats, so that physical laws ensure some convergence upon similar body shapes etc.  
That seems quite straightforwards.

  
jeannot



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,17:33   

So Mr Hunter, you think that convergence is somehow problematic for the theory of evolution?
Well it's not, especially when it concerns gross morphology (body shape, etc).
Dolphins are like big fishes, aren't they?

  
dtheobald



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,17:44   

Quote (Cornelius Hunter @ Jan. 26 2007,17:14)
==============================
I'll restate the question in more acceptable terms. How is it that similarities such as the pentadactyl pattern are such powerful evidence for evolution, in light of equala and greater levels of similarity in distant species, such as dsplayed in the marsupial and placental wolves? Please look at the very bottom here:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/4/pdf/l_014_02.pdf

Then look at here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Evolution_pl.png#filelinks

And then consider my question, and explain why similarities such as the pentadactyl pattern are such powerful evidence.


The difference is simple.  In one case we have structural similarity that has a functional explanation (wolves).  In the other case, we have the much more puzzling phenomenon of structural similarity in spite of functional diversity (pentadactyl limbs).  This latter problem is what common ancestry explains, quite elegantly.  Hence it is this latter type of similarity that is evidence for evolutionary homology.

  
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,17:55   

Quote (Cornelius Hunter @ Jan. 26 2007,18:14)
Stephen and Wesley are not reckoning with the problem. Hence Wesley comes to the erroneous conclusion about "flagrant abuse of imagery."

Wes, are you saying that Cornelius was misrepresenting a picture of a thylacine as a picture of a wolf, to assist his conclusions?

   
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,18:14   

PZ says:
Quote
I could not believe this thread at the antievolution.org forum.  


They make laughingstocks of themselves, don't they?

   
brightmoon



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,18:41   

thoroughly puzzled now .... thylacines dont look like wolves ...like humans they walked on their heels which wolves dont do....in fact canids can't do that

is cornelius trying to say that thylacine anatomy is similar because of separate creation ?

no, the similarities are just there because they have the similiar  bone structure formed from the same genes and these organisms have a similiar omnivore lifestyle ...convergence isnt a problem for evolution ..it just points out a distant relationship rather than a close one

  
GCT



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,19:07   

I was going to stay out of this and just let it be about biology, but since you answered...

 
Quote (Cornelius Hunter @ Jan. 26 2007,18:14)
Regarding ID and religion, the question of whether or not proponents of a theory/position can (i) leverage the theory for non scientific purposes and (ii) simultaneously maintain that the theory itself is scientific, seems straightforward enough. Why would people want to do that? Again, this seems pretty obvious. It happens with a wide variety of theories (evolution comes to mind as an example). I'm more interested in the evidences *for* the theory rather than what metaphysics certain people want to conclude *from* the theory.

It's not a question of whether or not one can leverage a theory for non scientific purposes.  Anyone can erroneously say that evolution supports atheism or any notion of theism they care to like.  That's not what is at issue.  What is at issue is a policy paper by the DI that pretty explicitly states their objective of replacing science with god.

From the wedge document as a goal:

 
Quote
To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.


Mr. Hunter, you are a fellow of the DI, surely you know what their position is.  Do you reject that position?  Do you hold that ID is purely scientific?  If so, why does the DI push so hard for theistic understandings?

Edit:  By the way, what are these evidences for the theory that you brought up?

  
RBH



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,19:16   

Cornelius wrote    
Quote
How is it that similarities such as the pentadactyl pattern are such powerful evidence for evolution, in light of equala and greater levels of similarity in distant species, such as dsplayed in the marsupial and placental wolves? Please look at the very bottom here:

PBS coloring book

Then look at here:

Wikipedia figure

And then consider my question, and explain why similarities such as the pentadactyl pattern are such powerful evidence.  (RBH: Fixed the raw urls to create links)
That first one is the coloring book again.  The second is an illustration of the fact that many (though not all) tetrapods have five 'fingers'.  Someone upthread was right: Cornelius really doesn't know the difference between homoplasy and homology.

RBH

--------------
"There are only two ways we know of to make extremely complicated things, one is by engineering, and the other is evolution. And of the two, evolution will make the more complex." - Danny Hillis.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,19:16   

Dr Hunter:

DI continually tells us that ID is not creationism.

In the DI's Wedge Document, it states:

"FIVE YEAR OBJECTIVES

* Major Christian denomination(s) defend(s) traditional doctrine of creation"


If ID is not creationism, then (1) what is this "traditional doctrine of creation" that DI wants Christian churches to defend, and (2) why does DI want churches to defend it?

Or is DI just lying to us (under oath) when it claims ID isn't creationism.

Thanks in advance for not answering my questions.

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Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,19:27   

Hey Dr Hunter:

IDers complain a lot about evolution's "materialism".  What, precisely, about “evolution” is any more “materialistic” than, say, weather forecasting or accident investigation or medicine?  Please be as specific as possible.

I have never, in all my life, ever heard any weather forecaster mention “god” or "divine will” or any “supernatural” anything, at all.  Ever.  Does this mean, in your view, that weather forecasting is atheistic?

I have yet, in all my 46 years of living, to ever hear any accident investigator declare solemnly at the scene of an airplane crash, “We can’t explain how it happened, so an Unknown Intelligent Being must have dunnit.”  I have never yet heard an accident investigator say that “this crash has no materialistic causes — it must have been the Will of Allah”.  Does this mean, in your view, that accident investigation is atheistic?

How about medicine.  When you get sick, do you ask your doctor to abandon his “materialistic biases” and to investigate possible “supernatural” or “non-materialistic” causes for your disease?  Or do you ask your doctor to cure your naturalistic materialistic diseases by using naturalistic materialistic antibiotics to kill your naturalistic materialistic germs?

Since it seems to me as if weather forecasting, accident investigation,  and medicine are every bit, in every sense,just as utterly completely totally absolutely one-thousand-percent “materialistic” as evolutionary biology is, why, specifically, is it just evolutionary biology that gets your panties all in a bunch?  Why aren’t you and your fellow Wedge-ites out there fighting the good fight against godless materialistic naturalistic weather forecasting, or medicine, or accident investigation?

Or does that all come LATER, as part of, uh, “renewing our culture” … . . ?

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Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,19:33   

Hey Dr Hunter:

Do you repudiate the extremist Reconstructionist views of the primary funder of the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture, Howard Ahmanson?  If so, why do you keep taking his money anyway?

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
J-Dog



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,20:17   

Hey Dr. Hunter, since you are a DI fellow, maybe you can respond for Casey Luskin, or ask Casey Luskin to explain why he is so upset with The Flying Spaghetti Monster, seeing as how the DI is not about religion, it is all about science?

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
deadman_932



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,20:26   

Quote
Stephen and Wesley are not reckoning with the problem.

You didn't lay out any specifics that I can see, Mr. Hunter.

Yes, pentadactyly is observed. But what specific similarities are YOU referring to in regard to Thylacines and Canis lupus? It's not teeth. It's not skull morphology, is it? Other post-cranial features?

What SPECIFICALLY are you referring to, other than :" they look pretty similar in illustrations?"

I can think of other distantly-related organisms that look alike superficially. Here's a little eel that looks remarkably like a snake:
Here's an illustration:
Should I throw up my hands now and shout "We've met our Waterloo, they LOOK alike!?"

Try, just for starters : Vogel, Steven. (2003). Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

DePinna, M.C.C. 1991. "Concepts and tests of homology in the cladistic paradigm." Cladistics 7: 367-394. http://www.ib.usp.br/hennig/depinna1991.pdf

Some simple examples of convergence (homoplasy) : http://www.thegreatstory.org/convergence.pdf

Sorry, but I don't know if you can color in any of these.

--------------
AtBC Award for Thoroughness in the Face of Creationism

  
J-Dog



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,20:46   

Are we sure this is Dr. Hunter?  Could it really be DaveTard, or the MasterBaiter himself Dembski, pulling a little more "street theater"?  Hard to believe that a PhD would link to a coloring book... even if he is with Biola University.  

He's been awfully quiet... too quiet.  Could it be we chased ou new toy away?  Did he retreat to the DI lair to lick his wounds?  Did he retreat to a UD blog, where the moderators can protect him from the harsh reality of real questions?

Inquiring Minds Want To Know!

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,20:54   

Quote (J-Dog @ Jan. 26 2007,20:46)
Are we sure this is Dr. Hunter?  Could it really be DaveTard, or the MasterBaiter himself Dembski, pulling a little more "street theater"?  Hard to believe that a PhD would link to a coloring book... even if he is with Biola University.  

He's been awfully quiet... too quiet.  Could it be we chased ou new toy away?  Did he retreat to the DI lair to lick his wounds?  Did he retreat to a UD blog, where the moderators can protect him from the harsh reality of real questions?

Inquiring Minds Want To Know!

Heck, I thought the entire POINT of asking questions to an IDer is just to demonstrate that they run from them every time.

It's not like anyone seriously expects them to ANSWER, or anything.

Look what happened to them the LAST time they answered questions, at Dover.

(snicker)  (giggle)

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N.Wells



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,21:11   

Quote
(From Cornelius Hunter) It is strange that evolutionists never get around to addressing the scientific issue. Wesley Elsberry appears to be denying convergence, but that can't be true. If he has an explanation for convergence then let's hear it. If not, then admit it. Here is the question for evolutionists: How is it that similarities such as the pentadactyl pattern are such powerful evidence for evolution, in light of equal and greater levels of similarity in distant species, such as displayed in the marsupial and placental mouse?


Let’s unpack the mistakes here.

1) Biologists have spent a lot of time over the last 170 years dealing with issues relating to similarity and convergence and their implications for evolutionary theory.  Do a Pubmed search on homology, homoplasy, or analogy, for example.  The charge that evolutionists “don’t get around to this” is completely false, and can only be indicative of profound ignorance of the field, or mendacity.  

2) Neither Wesley nor any biologist is in the position of denying convergence.  Biologists find it a fascinating subject, and spend a lot of time on it because it can tell a lot about evolutionary processes.

3) Biologists absolutely do have an explanation for convergence.  Organisms that start different may, if they take up similar life styles, become more similar over time if the requirements of their niche cause adaptation toward the same morphological/functional solution.  This is convergent evolution by natural selection.  A shining example is the different lineages of animals that have taken up a mole-like existence.  Burrowing requires specific adaptations: a strong forehead, short & strong arms and legs with spade-like hands, and eyes are useless (and may even be a liability due to the chances of injury and infection).  A giraffe would make a terrible burrower.  This has lead to impressive similarities between marsupial “moles”, golden moles (chrysochlorid insectivores), N. American / Eurasian moles (talpid insectivores), and, to a lesser degree, naked Somali mole rats.  (The marsupial ‘moles’ and the golden moles are especially similar).  


Let’s concentrate on the specific question: “How is it that similarities such as the pentadactyl pattern are such powerful evidence for evolution, in light of equal and greater levels of similarity in distant species, such as displayed in the marsupial and placental mouse?”

First, this question is misphrased.  The important thing about the forelimbs of birds, bats, dogs, pterosaurs, pigs, moles, anteaters, dolphins, and so forth is that their differences overwhelm their similarities, but their similarities are deeper and are the result of common inheritance.  In contrast, their similarities are in many ways far less than the similarities between golden moles and marsupial moles or between ‘flying’ squirrels and ‘flying’ phalangers, but the latter similarities are superficial and are appear not to have resulted from shared inheritance.   Both sets of comparisons and contrasts provide powerful evidence for evolution.

First, some definitions:
Homology: underlying similarity, due to shared inheritance, despite divergence
Analogy: superficial similarity, despite lack of common ancestry, due to convergent evolution.
Homoplasy: similarity for any reason other than common ancestry, including drift.

Evolutionary biology interprets bird wings and bat wings as being analogous with respect to flight, but homologous with respect to being limbs constructed of a scapula, a humerus, a radius, an ulna, and several carpals, metacarpals, and phalanges.  (The limbs are homologous, but their flight is orthologous.)   Dolphins and ichthyosaurs are similarly claimed to be analogous with respect to body form, live birth, and precocious offspring.  Insect wings and vertebrate wings are considered to be analogous, while being only in the remotest sense homologous.

If we see the same embryological tissues contribute to two features, the same genes activated during its construction, utilization of the same developmental pathways, and the same bones ending up in much the same places in the same basic relationships to adjacent bones, nerves, blood vessels, and so forth, then we can make a reasonably secure claim of homology.  If we additionally have a fossil record that shows similar structures or a gradation of change in probable intermediates then the claim is that much stronger. For example, we have many very different vertebrate forelimbs in terms of shape and function, but they are all constructed out of a scapula, a humerus, a radius, an ulna, some carpals, some metacarpals, and a basic pattern of five phalanges (although the carpals, metacarpals, and phalanges can evidently fairly easily experience fusion, reduction, or loss).  

However, proving claims of homology can get complicated, as we have instances of morphologic and functional similarity being retained despite loss and substitution of the underlying genes, and there is no reason why convergence, parallelism, reversal, and stasis can’t all contribute to a single complex evolutionary history. Also, there is a good deal of confusion over the terms, both in the professional literature and elsewhere.

A key point that should not be lost sight of here is that the evolution is considered by biologists to be a vastly superior explanation for apparent homology than intelligent design or special creation.  Notwithstanding claims of an ineffable designer, it is hard to see why a designer would want to construct all vertebrate forelimbs, which fairly efficiently serve such a great variety of functions, from such a limited menu of underlying components, when they could so easily be improved by additional components and modifications.  It is far easier to see them as the result of a highly contingent history constrained by evolutionary processes and  ancestry.


With respect to the supposedly amazing similarity of the thylacine and the wolf, please forgive my repeating myself from the main UD thread: the thylacine and the wolf have got dramatically different reproductive systems and numerous skeletal differences (e.g., epipubic bones and shorter legs not adapted for wolf-like fast running on the thylacine).  The teeth are very different: the wolf has three large upper incisors per maxilla, whereas the thylacine has four tiny ones.  The thylacine has three upper premolars and four upper molars, whereas the wolf has four upper premolars and two molars.  The wolf, like all canids, has an amazing large, bladed, shearing P4, which the thylacine completely lacks.  In the lower jaw we again see 3 premolars and four molars in the thylacine, while the wolf has four premolars and three lower molars, although in this case it is the M1 that is huge and occludes with the upper P4.  (For details, see http://www.naturalworlds.org/thylacine/skull/dentition_comparison.htm )   These features that are different in the thylacine are shared with other marsupials, whereas the differences in the wolf are shared with other canids and other placental mammals, including fossils.  They are thus indicative of evolutionary relationships, and a great evolutionary distance between thylacines and wolves.

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2007,21:11   

Quote

Hence Wesley comes to the erroneous conclusion about "flagrant abuse of imagery."


What is "erroneous" about objecting to the use of the very same picture to represent two different species of mammals? How is that somehow not "flagrant abuse of imagery"? Maybe just because the assembled ID advocates, including many headliners from the DI CRSC, were too... something to notice? It certainly seems far worse to me than setting up moths on different backgrounds to illustrate crypsis.



More about Hunter, thylacines, wolves, and images

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"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Cornelius Hunter



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 27 2007,03:29   

===============================================
Responding to GCT

Quote  
To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.


Mr. Hunter, you are a fellow of the DI, surely you know what their position is.  Do you reject that position?  Do you hold that ID is purely scientific?  If so, why does the DI push so hard for theistic understandings?



Of course I wouldn't be a DI fellow if I did not share some fundamenatal views with DI. But I certainly do not agree iwth everything that DI people have written. Regarding the quote above, the problem is this quickly gets fairly complicated, and too lengthy for posting. I'd like to defer to my upcoming book entitled *Science's Blindspot* which should be out in spring, where I go into issues such as this in detail. I hope the book will help build bridges between disparate folks who nonetheless share the goal of pursuing the truth rather than dogma.
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Responding to Flank:
Flank: "Do you repudiate the extremist Reconstructionist views of the primary funder of the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture, Howard Ahmanson?  If so, why do you keep taking his money anyway?"

And what money would that be? Please be specific.
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Responding to N. Wells
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1) Biologists have spent a lot of time over the last 170 years dealing with issues relating to similarity and convergence and their implications for evolutionary theory.  Do a Pubmed search on homology, homoplasy, or analogy, for example.  The charge that evolutionists “don’t get around to this” is completely false, and can only be indicative of profound ignorance of the field, or mendacity.  

CH responds: Most of the technical literature does not explore why comparative anatomy, for instance, is evidence for (or against) evolution, for the simple reason that it is not written from a theory-neutral perspective, but rather is written from an evolutionary perspective. Yes, the implications for evolutionary theory are explored, but typically only insofar as modifying the question of *how* evolution occurs, not *if* evolution occurs.
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3) Biologists absolutely do have an explanation for convergence.  Organisms that start different may, if they take up similar life styles, become more similar over time if the requirements of their niche cause adaptation toward the same morphological/functional solution.  This is convergent evolution by natural selection.  A shining example is the different lineages of animals that have taken up a mole-like existence.  Burrowing requires specific adaptations: a strong forehead, short & strong arms and legs with spade-like hands, and eyes are useless (and may even be a liability due to the chances of injury and infection).  A giraffe would make a terrible burrower.  This has lead to impressive similarities between marsupial “moles”, golden moles (chrysochlorid insectivores), N. American / Eurasian moles (talpid insectivores), and, to a lesser degree, naked Somali mole rats.  (The marsupial ‘moles’ and the golden moles are especially similar).  

CH responds: A niche does not cause an adaptation. Adaptations occur via unguided biological variation, such as by mutations. They can then be selected for and become one step in a series of evolutionary changes. Because the biological variation is unguided, there is no target. And since the design space is large and a large number of designs and species are possible, the variation is not likely to repeat. This is why evolutionists are surprised by impressive similarities. Then they explain them as due to similar niches.
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Let’s concentrate on the specific question: “How is it that similarities such as the pentadactyl pattern are such powerful evidence for evolution, in light of equal and greater levels of similarity in distant species, such as displayed in the marsupial and placental mouse?” First, this question is misphrased.  The important thing about the forelimbs of birds, bats, dogs, pterosaurs, pigs, moles, anteaters, dolphins, and so forth is that their differences overwhelm their similarities, but their similarities are deeper and are the result of common inheritance.  In contrast, their similarities are in many ways far less than the similarities between golden moles and marsupial moles or between ‘flying’ squirrels and ‘flying’ phalangers, but the latter similarities are superficial and are appear not to have resulted from shared inheritance.   Both sets of comparisons and contrasts provide powerful evidence for evolution.

CH responds: You are making theory-laden observations, and then telling us they are powerful evidence for your theory. Take a look here at the horse and bat limbs which are supposed to be homologous:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Evolution_pl.png#filelinks

From a theory-neutral perspective, what is it about the bat and horse similarities that are "deeper" and a "result fo common descent" ? Similarly, look here at the the flying squirrel and flying phalanger:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/4/pdf/l_014_02.pdf

Why are their similarities "superficial" and "appear not to have resulted from shared inheritance" ?
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However, proving claims of homology can get complicated, as we have instances of morphologic and functional similarity being retained despite loss and substitution of the underlying genes, and there is no reason why convergence, parallelism, reversal, and stasis can’t all contribute to a single complex evolutionary history.

CH responds: One might think that different embryological development pathways and different underlying genes, which are quite common, would be problematic. Evolutionists were surprised, but then came up with increasingly complex explanations.
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A key point that should not be lost sight of here is that the evolution is considered by biologists to be a vastly superior explanation for apparent homology than intelligent design or special creation.  

CH responds: Agreed, and that is an important point. But we also need to keep in mind that there are potentially many non scientific reasons why one might opt for one paradigm over another. For instance, above you accused me of mendacity, so obviously you are keen to this possibility of non scientific factors influencing one's thinking. I'm not accusing anyone of mendacity. I'm merely pointing out that it is hardly inconceivable that non scientific factors can sometimes have sway. I think we need to stick to the evidence and what it says.
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