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Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4526
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 28 2007,12:49   

Quote

Actually, I did not question the evolutionary explanation, but I guess that would spoil your story. Folks, I am really not your enemy here. I have no problem with evolution, in principle. My skepticism is with several of the evidential arguments. I came here asking for a justification/ defense of one of the most fundamental claims of evolution. My question was, 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 cousin species?

This was my question. There are many, many more examples of similarities that do not fit the common descent pattern. Why are those that can be fitted to the common descent pattern cited as such powerful evidence? Without some justification, this fundamental claim of evolution appears to be selective. Unfortunately, good justification is hard to come by. The vast majority of the responses simply avoided the question and made up their own.


So, Hunter is not "anti-evolution", he's just "anti-common-descent". News flash: "common descent" is part of evolutionary science.

Mark Isaak, I think we may have a new item for your index.

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

    
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4526
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 28 2007,12:56   

Of course, Douglas Theobald has had a bit more to say on the topic of homology than just the little bit stated in this thread.

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

    
jeannot



Posts: 1200
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 28 2007,13:06   

Quote
My question was, 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 cousin species?

We answered your question.

  
deadman_932



Posts: 3094
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 28 2007,13:12   

Quote
I have no problem with evolution, in principle. My skepticism is with several of the evidential arguments. I came here asking for a justification/ defense of one of the most fundamental claims of evolution. My question was, 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


Yes, then you go on to complain that people here have not pointed to work that sufficiently quantified the relative evolutionary significance of traits...that you leave unstated.

I asked other than skin as patagium, what traits do you find so significant in sugar gliders and flying squirrels...if it's to be about pentadactyly v. patagium, you have to admit that the universality of pentadactyly in mammals seems a tad more ...well, UNIVERSAL ( and hence basic) ... than mammals with patagium. Pentadactyly is part of the mammalian bauplan and patagium webbing is not.  If you want to say " but this is merely subjective"  uh...okay. Gosh, Waterloo!

You claimed that I had "pointed to some references (good background material but they don't answer the question)." well, Mr. Hunter, I did happen to say you could start there ...and not that it was where you'd find Ye Compleat Evolutionary Answere™ , illustrated in easy-to-color form.

Vogel speaks about constraints-- physical constraints that have to be addressed in gliding...lift, drag, gravity, etc., that all fit into a hypothetical "big answer"  The genetic/evo-devo/medical data on various mammalian syndromes that cause webbing of skin would have given you some data, too. There's similar sources for osteal concerns and limbs/digits.

This is a wide-open and burgeoning field, and the fact is that yes, at present we have no algorithm that allows you to plug in weighted values of specific traits/characters and arrive at a quantified instant answer.

At present, however, there are lots of people working on how to determine methods of untangling this Gordian Knot of genetic, developmental, functional, and evolutionary influences that generate integrated morphologies and how to create models allowing for precisely what you apparently want. Is it accomplished? No. Won't you contribute to our cause? A mind is a terrible thing to waste at the DI, where they produce little peer-reviewed work that I have seen.

For the moment, I feel pretty secure in pointing to pentadactyly and saying " this universal mammalian character carries more weight than non-universal patagium" But I see you have problems with that. Tsk. Then do some work.  
********************************************************************************
Oh, on a final note...read the last line of your claim:    

 
Quote
My question was, 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

So you're saying there that the patagium similarity between sugar gliders and flying squirrels is equal or greater in significance as pentadactyly?

Two questions: (1) are you serious? and (2) However did you determine that the characters were "equal or greater " in similarity when there are no justifications at all ( in your mind) of making such a claim?

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AtBC Award for Thoroughness in the Face of Creationism

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4526
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 28 2007,13:16   

Quote

Actually, I did not question the evolutionary explanation, but I guess that would spoil your story. Folks, I am really not your enemy here. I have no problem with evolution, in principle. My skepticism is with several of the evidential arguments. I came here asking for a justification/ defense of one of the most fundamental claims of evolution. My question was, 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 cousin species?


Hunter gave a talk at Cornell. He described it in a blog post.

 
Quote

[...] I began the discussion with half-a-dozen scientific challenges to evolution. These were not details, but rather concerns regarding the core of evolution. [...]

Of course the answer is obvious. There indeed are serious scientific challenges to evolution that are awkward to face. There have always been such challenges. Evolutionary thinking is, and always has been, motivated by philosophical and theological concerns rather than the empirical evidence.

(Source)


People came to Hunter's talk and took notes. They described it in blog posts.

Let's see, arguments going to the "core of evolution"... So, if Hunter's claim here that he is OK with evolution, in principle, then the argument about homology must have been absent from his Cornell talk, since he describes those as going to the "core of evolution". But then we have the account of an attendee who says Hunter did use the homology argument there:

 
Quote

In his presentation, Hunter presented two slides representing some of his primary evidences of "flaws" in evolutionary theory, including the inadequacy of arguments from homology, specifically descrepancies between pentadactyl limb structure in vertebrates and the dissimilarity of the genes responsible for these morphological changes; and the complexity of transducin signaling in photon receptors of the eye.

(Source)


So, which is it: is homology something that does not, in principle, make one doubt evolutionary explanation, or is it an argument that goes to the "core of evolution"? There seems to be some confusion on this point.

Why did Dennis Wagner come to the conclusion that Hunter was taking sides?

 
Quote

But having been on both sides, Hunter now realizes the Darwinian Evolution is not a scientific theory, or even a compelling theory. It is a religious philosophy that has found a home in science.

(Source)


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

    
stevestory



Posts: 9037
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 28 2007,13:40   

The Index of Creationist Crap has a few interesting links on homology:

http://talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB810.html
http://talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB811.html
http://talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB821.html
http://talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB822.html

Read them if you're bored. I don't think this thread is going to get interesting until Cornelius starts making some precise claims.

   
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 28 2007,14:04   

Quote (Cornelius Hunter @ Jan. 28 2007,12:11)
I have no problem with evolution, in principle.

Then, uh, what are you bitching about.

Other than the simple fact that you're too stupid to understand the difference between "homology" and "analogy".

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Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
stevestory



Posts: 9037
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 28 2007,14:26   

I don't know what Hunter's area of expertise is, but he's an Intelligent Design supporter and teaches at a bible college, so I bet it's not biology. If he ever gets around to making precise claims, instead of this vague stuff, he's going to be tsunamied with research.

   
deadman_932



Posts: 3094
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 28 2007,15:24   

Quote
I don't know what Hunter's area of expertise is, but he's an Intelligent Design supporter and teaches at a bible college

I was curious about that, too, so I was poking around and found :

Hunter, C.G., Darwin’s God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil, Brazos Press, 2001.

Hunter, C.G., “Why Evolution Fails the Test of Science,” in Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing, (Ed. W. Dembski) Intercollegiate Studies Institute / University of Chicago Press, 2004.

Here's some links to discussions of Hunter's previous claims:
http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/03/hunters_distort_1.html
http://evolutionblog.blogspot.com/2004....ne.html
http://evolutionblog.blogspot.com/2004....wo.html

and responses of Mr. Hunter :
http://www.iscid.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=000540
http://evolutionblog.blogspot.com/2004/09/does-this-guy-have-job.html

I'm fairly certain there's more out there, but I have errands to run. Note Salvador Cordova's sychophantic posturings in the ISID post above, though, it's pretty funny.

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

  
The Ghost of Paley



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Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 28 2007,15:42   

Dr. Hunter:

If the structural convergence between marsupial and placental wolves argues against common descent as you seem to think, then why did the molecular analysis I cited earlier place the thylacines with other marsupials, in conformance with evolutionary predictions? Is this not an example of a passed test?

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
stevestory



Posts: 9037
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 28 2007,16:28   

I love how people on this board track things down.

So Hunter says:

Quote
Actually, I did not question the evolutionary explanation, but I guess that would spoil your story. Folks, I am really not your enemy here. I have no problem with evolution, in principle.


Yet he wrote an essay titled

Quote
“Why Evolution Fails the Test of Science”


by the way, from Jason Rosenhouse's comments, Hunter is a PhD version of AFDave.

EDIT: I retract this complaint. It turns out that Why Evolution Fails the Test of Science accords with his 'in principle' statement. In that essay he claims, as he does here, not that there is some internal flaw in the theory, but that the evidence is too weak.

   
stevestory



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Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 28 2007,17:00   

I went looking in the usual places to see if Hunter had ever actually published any fraudulent disproofs of evolution uh Intelligent Design Research. I looked for him in every pathetic issue of PCID. Easily distracted, I looked around the ISCID site a bit.

Quote
Essay Contests

The essay contests have been cancelled until further notice is given.


I wonder if it was cancelled because they didn't get any submissions. That sucks. I would gladly have whipped out, you know, 12 pages of "A duck's foot is irreducibly complex because if you remove it, the duck falls over." for $1,000.

Bring back the essay contest!

   
stevestory



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Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 28 2007,17:15   

In one of the essays linked above http://evolutionblog.blogspot.com/2004/08/hunter-part-one.html we find the absolutely bizarre argument that a problem for evolution is that there are just too many transitional fossils to accurately sort out.

   
Mike PSS



Posts: 428
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 28 2007,17:52   

Mr. Hunter.
To create a quote box around someones quoted phrase type [quote] first.  Insert (or copy/paste) the message  then type [/quote}. (except replace the last } with a ]).  All the words/phrases/references between the typed "quotes" will be contained in a quote box.

***************************
Quote (Cornelius Hunter @ Jan. 28 2007,13:11)
...My question was, 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 cousin species?

This was my question. There are many, many more examples of similarities that do not fit the common descent pattern. Why are those that can be fitted to the common descent pattern cited as such powerful evidence? Without some justification, this fundamental claim of evolution appears to be selective. Unfortunately, good justification is hard to come by. The vast majority of the responses simply avoided the question and made up their own.
...
What we have here are a vast number of similarities across the spectrum in biology, often arising via different genes and development pathways, and often showing up in distant species. Whereever possible, they are ascribed to common descent. Otherwise they are said to have evolved independently. So far so good. But the former do not qualify as particularly powerful, objective, evidence for evolution.

So the bolded question is your present claim.  And the following paragraphs focus your question.  I think I can work with this now that a clear and concise question is put forward.

First, the evolutionary claim is made that pentadactyl pattern found within mammals is the result of common descent.  You do know that this means the common ancestor of mammals had pentadactyl pattern limbs.  And that this trait is carried by ALL mammals.

Second, the evolutionary claim is made that the morphological similarities between thylacine and wolves are developmental in nature because of similar environmental influences during each evolutionary event.  You do know that this means that an environmental niche was "available" for evolution to "fill" by RM+NS+time (+other factors) and that the "available" niche was duplicate at seperate and isolated geographic locations.  And that the resident species "eligible" to fill this niche within these geographic locations were different.

I dispute your analogy here because without further explanation about how pentadactyl limb development is comparable to thylacine/wolf morphological development.  You need to show either...
How did available environmental niche influence the development of pentadactyl limbs.
OR
What genetic similarities were developed between thylacine and wolf as a result of environmental nich development.

You can parse and rephrase this objection as you see fit.

I see the "challange" you've made as a conflation of two seperate examples of evolutionary change.  Both changes occur, but you have to make a logical link somewhere between the two for your "challange" to have any meaning.

  
N.Wells



Posts: 905
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 28 2007,18:16   

Quote (Cornelius Hunter @ Jan. 28 2007,12:11)
I came here asking for a justification/ defense of one of the most fundamental claims of evolution. My question was, 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 cousin species?

This was my question. There are many, many more examples of similarities that do not fit the common descent pattern.

.........

Unfortunately the explanation that one type of similarity is "deep" and the other "superficial" isn't going to satisfy very many people. This explanation really just raises more questions. When I asked for details, he [Wells, i.e. me] deferred to Deadman who did give an answer:
This seems like a perfectly reasonable answer, as far as it goes. The problem is it is farily subjective. Do we really want to make one of the fundamental evidential claims for evolution contingent on an opinion about what might, and might not, be more difficult for evolution to accomplish?

Again, you are overemphasizing some superficial similarities while disregarding important differences.  If you give a competent scientist either the skeletons or a tissue sample from any of the marsupial & placental analogs, he or she will be able to quickly and easily tell you which of each pair came from Australia & had a pouch.  

I think I answered your question more thoroughly than you acknowledged.  Theory holds (and observations support) that functionally important features are subject to considerable selective pressure, so we should expect many overall similarities.  However, when similarities are arrived at through separate evolutionary histories, then we should also see significant differences within or underlying the grossly similar features, and most of those differences that are not brand new innovations should be consistent with features of the ancestral group rather than with features of the morphologically analogous group.  Differences should be especially obvious in parts of the feature that aren't funtionally important.

The various forms of the vertebrate forelimbs are therefore important evidence for evolution because 1) they share fundamental similarities, 2) at the same time they fall into subsets that are characterized by shared differences (differences between the subgroups but shared within them), and 3) in both cases, the similarities and the differences are better explained by evolutionary history than by design.

I gave you some specific examples: bats, birds, and pterosaurs all fly and all have wings, although many of the details of wing construction are unique to each group (feathers, alulas, & fusion of fingers 2 & 3 to birds, pteroid bones to pterosaurs, highly reduced radii to bats).  Furthermore, many of the differences between the fliers tie each type to their ancestral group rather than to other types of fliers: early birds had reptilian tails and teeth, and even modern birds lay reptilian eggs with chorion, allantois, and amnion membranes.  Bats have fur and give milk.  We see this pattern extending down into genetic and biochemical character traits, and it is also widespread (albeit with some notably complex and confusing exceptions) in the fossil records of the various groups.

I already said that if we see the same embryological tissues contribute to two features, the same genes activated during their 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.

  
bystander



Posts: 301
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 28 2007,18:44   

Another classic thread! I wonder how many lurkers will be de-converted based on Mr Hunter's vague hand waving and the factual replies given.

I wonder how long he'll last before he slinks off. For a professional purveyors of anti-science the internet can be a pain as your debates are there forever for all to see.

Michael

  
k.e.



Posts: 40
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 28 2007,19:36   

Quote (bystander @ Jan. 28 2007,18:44)
Another classic thread! I wonder how many lurkers will be de-converted based on Mr Hunter's vague hand waving and the factual replies given.

I wonder how long he'll last before he slinks off. For a professional purveyors of anti-science the internet can be a pain as your debates are there forever for all to see.

Michael

Quote
I wonder how long he'll last before he slinks off. For a professional purveyors of anti-science the internet can be a pain as your debates are there forever for all to see.


Shhh!!

CH is doing nuance and if you state the obvious it doesn't work...willing straw men into existance requires everyone to concentrate on the swinging watch me hypnotize myself into believing that the endless argument IS an argument.

Well CH it's not.... it's a fallacy.

And did anyone tell you, you look geat in that new dress...
Yes, of course, the personal incredulity of evolutionists is well documented. This is the standard response, but appeals to personal incredulity hardly make for strong scientific evidence. Nor does it help when evolutionists mysteriously drop this incredulity when such instances arise in distant species where common descent cannot be summoned as the explanation. In these cases we are told there was a structural convergence where the functions differ.

...erm you have a Ph.D. but if you said that anywhere near where I studied you would have had them rolling in the ailse for displaying a lack of self awareness bordering on___(fill in the blank if you can CH) hint .....its called projection.


Save us the personal incredulity dressed up to look like ....actually scratch that....Lenny's questions ....any reason you are avoiding them?

Be honest now.

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 29 2007,03:40   

Quote
Yes, of course, the personal incredulity of evolutionists is well documented. This is the standard response, but appeals to personal incredulity hardly make for strong scientific evidence


nice bit of projection there.

based on the language, I don't think in this case it's an unconscious reponse on your part (just a psychological defense mechanism).  I think you, as a common tactic by the religious right, prefer to use the language that best describes YOUR position, and throw it back on to your detractors.

it don't fly here.

where do you see personal incredulity on the part of the posters here?

please detail it before you make yet more projections based on your own level of personal incredulity.

and stop lying.

steve:

Quote
In that essay he claims, as he does here, not that there is some internal flaw in the theory, but that the evidence is too weak.


of course the evidence seems weak if you refuse to actually read any of it.

I can arbitrarily say that the evidence for the moon landings is weak too.  Unfortunately, just like with ol CH here, that would just make me a moron.

--------------
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
Cornelius Hunter



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Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2007,10:42   

Quote
Paley writes: If the structural convergence between marsupial and placental wolves argues against common descent as you seem to think, then why did the molecular analysis I cited earlier place the thylacines with other marsupials, in conformance with evolutionary predictions? Is this not an example of a passed test?


Please be careful. First, I did not say convergence argues against common descent. I'm merely using it to raise questions about a claim of powerful evidence. Second, no one is denying that evolution passes tests (a much weaker claim).

 
Quote
Deadman writes: I asked other than skin as patagium, what traits do you find so significant in sugar gliders and flying squirrels...if it's to be about pentadactyly v. patagium, you have to admit that the universality of pentadactyly in mammals seems a tad more ...well, UNIVERSAL ( and hence basic) ... than mammals with patagium. Pentadactyly is part of the mammalian bauplan and patagium webbing is not.  If you want to say " but this is merely subjective"  uh...okay. Gosh, Waterloo!
[…]
For the moment, I feel pretty secure in pointing to pentadactyly and saying " this universal mammalian character carries more weight than non-universal patagium" But I see you have problems with that. Tsk. Then do some work.


All good points, but you are drifting back into a strawman. You and many others have repeatedly argued against falsification. Secondly, universality is not crucial here. It can be forfeited (by evolutionary theory) without sacrificing the claim of homology or this evidential claim.

 
Quote
Mike PSS writes: First, the evolutionary claim is made that pentadactyl pattern found within mammals is the result of common descent.  You do know that this means the common ancestor of mammals had pentadactyl pattern limbs.  And that this trait is carried by ALL mammals.


No, it need not be carried by all mammals.

 
Quote
Mike PSS writes: Second, the evolutionary claim is made that the morphological similarities between thylacine and wolves are developmental in nature because of similar environmental influences during each evolutionary event.  You do know that this means that an environmental niche was "available" for evolution to "fill" by RM+NS+time (+other factors) and that the "available" niche was duplicate at seperate and isolated geographic locations.  And that the resident species "eligible" to fill this niche within these geographic locations were different.

I dispute your analogy here because without further explanation about how pentadactyl limb development is comparable to thylacine/wolf morphological development.  You need to show either...
How did available environmental niche influence the development of pentadactyl limbs.
OR
What genetic similarities were developed between thylacine and wolf as a result of environmental nich development.


The problem here is that you are placing the burden of disproof on me when you are making the evidential claim. I'm merely asking how those similarities, that happen to fit the evolutionary pattern, are supposed to count as powerful evidence. Of course evolution has an explanation, as you outlined above.

The answer to my question, according to standard evolutionary theory is, as Theobald concisely put it: "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)."

In other words, for homologies such as the pentadactyl pattern, there doesn't seem to be a good reason why the same design would be used for different functions. This is puzzling for evolutionists.

There are several problems with this evidential claim, but I would like to focus on just two of them. First, the claim relies on an unproven premise. The premise is that the pentadactyl pattern is, at least in some cases, not an optimal or efficient design. The reasoning here is intuitive. It shows up for different functions, and it seems unlikely that one design can be the best for such different functions (digging, flying, grasping, etc.). That is all well and good, but we do not know this to be true.

Darwin made the claim a century and a half ago with nothing to back him up but intuition, and today nothing has changed. Take one look at the different pentadactyl designs (eg, in the horse and bat) and one can see it comes in very different shapes and sizes, and seems to function OK. Who knows, perhaps it is efficient. Perhaps the extent of structural similarity which we observe (which often isn't very much) makes sense for the given functional diversity. So this popular and important evidential claim entails a premise that is not known to be true. It may seem puzzling to us, but perhaps we should not throw up our hands and give up. It is certainly a very interesting observation, but hardly supports the claim that this is powerful evidence.

A second problem is that the claim is not scientific. Regardless of whether or not homologies such as the pentadactyl pattern are inefficient, this claim entails an "ought" premise. That is, the argument entails a premise about what biological designs ought to be like. This is metaphysical, and it makes the evidential claim impenetrable and outside of science, for one cannot use science to address opinions about what ought to be. One cannot argue against the metaphysical beliefs of evolutionists.

  
deadman_932



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Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2007,11:16   

Uh, if anyone is skilled and  can translate Mr. Hunter's statements from vague jargonese into clear english,  post a version of it, please?   
Quote
You and many others have repeatedly argued against falsification.


Uh, how? Can you repost where I did this? I merely mentioned that pentadactyly is universal in mammals, reflecting a common bauplan and that patagium for gliding are not. For you, this constitutes "arguing against falsification?"

It seems to me that language in modern humans is useful for clear and effective speech/writing and that obfuscation is detrimental to that. Please try for clarity in saying precisely what you mean and laying out specific examples, would you?

When you gave the patagium example, silly me, I thought you were actually asking why I thought it was less relevant ( to me)  than pentadactyly.

I also notice that you didn't answer my questions.

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

  
stevestory



Posts: 9037
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2007,11:23   

Quote (deadman_932 @ Jan. 30 2007,12:16)
Uh, if anyone can translate Mr. Hunter's statements from vague jargonese into clear english, please post a version of it, would you?

Yeah, I scanned it, and concluded that somebody else can parse that hand-wavy philosophizing.

   
slpage



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Joined: June 2004

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2007,11:53   

It seems Hunter has been beating the wolf/thylacine skull dead horse for at least 3+ years...

  
deadman_932



Posts: 3094
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2007,12:21   

It's sort of interesting: I assume (perhaps mistakenly, given the ambiguity of how Mr. Hunter has been posting) that he's essentially asking HOW do we assign traits/characters into homology and homoplasy categories. Can we justify our assumptions there?

Keeping in mind that science doesn't deal in absolute,immutable truths and that such designations can be changed at any moment due to new discoveries ( because science is always tentative)...what seems to be the problem?

Well, here's the deal:

I would argue that what Mr. hunter is attempting to do --in his roundabout, ambiguity-laden way -- is to place ID and modern evolutionary theory on an "even playing field" by saying "both research programs are based on metaphysical and unfalsifiable assumptions."

The fact that he can't come out and say that is amusing to me.

In the past, prior to the genetic revolution and evo-devo studies, yep, there was a lot more seeming arbitrariness in placing things into "homology v. homoplasy" categories. But even a cursory scan of the relevant literature today has yielded me a bounty of information on the very topic...in just ten minutes, I gathered these papers:

Abouheif E. Developmental genetics and homology: a hierarchical approach. Trends Ecol Evol. 1997;12:405-408.
Abouheif E, Akam M, Dickinson WJ, Holland PWH, Meyer A, Patel NH, Raff RA, Roth VL, Wray GA. Homology and developmental genes. Trends Genet. 1997;13:432-433.
Arthur W. The concept of developmental reprogramming and the quest for an inclusive theory of evolutionary mechanisms. Evol Dev. 2000;2:49-57
Arthur W. Developmental drive: an important determinant of the direction of phenotypic evolution. Evol Dev. 2001;3:271-278
Arthur W. The emerging conceptual framework of evolutionary developmental biology. Nature. 2002;415:757-764
Brigandt, I. (2003) “Homology in comparative, molecular, and evolutionary developmental biology: The radiation of a concept.” Journal of Experimental Zoology (Molecular and Developmental Evolution) 299B: 9-17
Caroll S. Endless forms: the evolution of gene regulation and morphological diversity. Cell. 2000;101:577-580.
Carroll, SB.;Grenier, JK.; Weatherbee, SD. From DNA to Diversity: Molecular Genetics and the Evolution of Animal Design. Malden, MA: Blackwell Science; 2001. Shimeld SM, Holland
Carroll SB. Evolution at two levels: on genes and form. PLOS Biology. 2005;3:e245.
Davidson, EH. Genomic Regulatory Systems. Development and Evolution. San Diego: Academic Press; 2001.
Donoghue M, Ree RH. Homoplasy and developmental constraint: a model and an example from plants. Am Zool. 2000;40:759-769.
Fitch W. Homology - a personal view on some of the problems. Trends Genet. 2000;16:227-231.
Galliot B, Miller DJ. Origin of anterior patterning - how old is our head? Trends Genet. 2000;16:1-5.
Hedges SB. The origin and evolution of model organisms. Nat Rev Genet. 2002;3:838-849
Hedges SB, Blair JE, Venturi ML, Shoe JL. A molecular timescale of eukaryote evolution and the rise of complex multicellular life. BMC Evol Biol. 2004;4:2.
Hughes AL, Friedmann R. Shedding genomic ballast; extensive parallel loss of ancestral gene families in animals. J Mol Evol. 2004;59:827-833.
Jenner RA. Evolution of animal body plans: the role of metazoan phylogeny at the interface between patterns and processes. Evol Dev. 2000;2:208-221
Levine M, Tjian R. Transcription regulation and animal diversity. Nature. 2003;424:147-151
Meyer, A. Homology and homoplasy: the retention of genetic programs. In: Brock GR, Cardew G. , editor. Homology Symposium on Homology held at the Novartis Foundation (Symposium 222); London. Wiley: Chichester, UK; 1999. pp. 141-157.
Mindell DP, Meyer A. Homology evolving. Trends Ecol Evol. 2001;16:434-440.
Raff, RA. The Shape of Life: Genes, Development and the Evolution of Animal Form. Chicago: Chicago University Press; 1996.
Raible F, Arendt D. Metazoan evolution: some animals are more equal than others. Curr Biol. 2004;14:R106-108.
Telford MJ, Budd GE. The place of phylogeny and cladistics in Evo-Devo research. Int J Dev Biol. 2003;47:479-490.
True JR, Carroll SB. Gene co-option in physiological and morphological evolution. Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2002;18:53-80.
Wake, DB. Homology and homoplasy. In: Edited by Hall BK, Olson WM. , editor. Keywords and Concepts in Evolutionary Developmental Biology. Harvard: Harvard University Press; 2003. pp. 190-201.
Wilkins, AS. The Evolution of Developmental Pathways. Sunderland: Sinauer Associates; 2002.
Wray GA, Abouheif E. When is homology not homology? Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1998;8:675-680.

Now, I have no particular interest in this area, but even I can see there's a lot of work being done there. Science is rarely satisfied by arbitrariness, and there seems to be a distinct trend in justifying how we categorize traits/characters.

Do we HAVE a specific algorithm NOW? No...but won't you join us and contribute to our search, Mr. Hunter?
Again, a mind is a terrible thing to waste at DI, which does little peer-reviewed research that I know of.

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Wesley R. Elsberry



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2007,12:55   

Alan Gishlick on homology

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The Ghost of Paley



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2007,13:21   

Dr. Hunter:

   
Quote
   
Quote
 
Paley writes: If the structural convergence between marsupial and placental wolves argues against common descent as you seem to think, then why did the molecular analysis I cited earlier place the thylacines with other marsupials, in conformance with evolutionary predictions? Is this not an example of a passed test?



Please be careful. First, I did not say convergence argues against common descent. I'm merely using it to raise questions about a claim of powerful evidence. Second, no one is denying that evolution passes tests (a much weaker claim).


Ok, I just wanted be be sure, since many people have used the morphological similarities between the placental and marsupial wolves to argue that one can't make claims about common descent with respect to these creatures. I'm glad that you concede that thylacines share a common ancestor with other marsupials, and that common descent is falsifiable. Not all ID proponents would agree with these claims.

It seems your complaint is that evolutionary biologists do not use a consistent definition for homology when tracing lines of descent. If they were to use a consistent and objective criterion to distinguish between homologous and homoplastic characters, they might find that animals would be grouped in ways incongruent with their predictions. Therefore, homology, being a vague and ill-applied concept, does not support common descent.

Is the above a correct summary of your views?

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Occam's Aftershave



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2007,13:28   

Quote (deadman_932 @ Jan. 30 2007,12:16)

Uh, if anyone can translate Mr. Hunter's statements from vague jargonese into clear english, please post a version of it, would you?


Hunter to English translation:

"The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.  Please send us your cash donations."

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JoeG: And by eating the cake you are consuming the information- some stays with you and the rest is waste.

  
improvius



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2007,13:34   

Quote (Cornelius Hunter @ Jan. 30 2007,11:42)
In other words, for homologies such as the pentadactyl pattern, there doesn't seem to be a good reason why the same design would be used for different functions. This is puzzling for evolutionists.

I'm just a layman when it comes to science, and even I can tell this is BS.  It seems far easier for organisms to change proportion than to change structure.  Just look at dog breeds.  When I look at a thylacine, I see a stretched-out Tasmanian devil - not a wolf.

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Many Jews were in comfortable oblivion about Hitler ... until it was too late.
Many scientists will persist in comfortable oblivion about their Creator ... until it is too late.

  
Steviepinhead



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2007,14:17   

Mike PSS:
 
Quote
First, the evolutionary claim is made that pentadactyl pattern found within mammals is the result of common descent.  You do know that this means the common ancestor of mammals had pentadactyl pattern limbs.  And that this trait is carried by ALL mammals.



Corny Hunter:
 
Quote
No, it need not be carried by all mammals.


Dood!  Try to keep up here: pendactyly need not be carried by all mammals, if their limbs were "designed" to optimize their current functionality, but it is. Why?  As we are reasonably entitled to conclude from looking around at current mammals, from reviewing the evidence from fossil mammals and the geologic contexts in which they are found, and from the genetic molecular and developmental evidence, the pendactyly we observe among all extant and extinct mammals is the result of common descent.  This is a prediction of evolution that's contra "intelligent design" (or, as we respectfully and civilly call it around here: sheer IDiocy...).

If some lineages of mammals are around long enough, and the adaptive pressures are powerful and persistent enough, maybe the outward phenotypic indicia of pendactyl ancestry would eventually disappear (the tippy-toes of horses, the back ends of whales, a strain of eight-toed cats or--more far-fetched, six-fingered psychic humans...).

The developmental and genetic indicia of ancestral pandyctyly would linger on for many ages but, after the passage of sufficient time, perhaps even those signs would be covered over by the palimpsest of later changes.

Arguably, however, it would take a very long time indeed for all traces of common mammal heritage to disappear, just as mammalian inner ear-bones may still be traced back to earlier quadruped jawbones, pandyctyly itself can be traced back to a "frozen accident" or early set of selections among the variant digit patterns seen in the earliest transitional tetrapods, and vertebrate body plans can be traced back to duplications of the urbilaterian Hox tool-kit.

If you have some kind of point here, not obscured beneath your verbal vagaries and determination to avoid the obvious implications of the evidence, it has so far failed to surface.

Either get on with it.

Or admit there is no actual "it" wherever you are at.

  
jeannot



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2007,14:55   

Quote (improvius @ Jan. 30 2007,13:34)
 
Quote (Cornelius Hunter @ Jan. 30 2007,11:42)
In other words, for homologies such as the pentadactyl pattern, there doesn't seem to be a good reason why the same design would be used for different functions. This is puzzling for evolutionists.

I'm just a layman when it comes to science, and even I can tell this is BS.

Indeed, it's just nonsense.
And this observation would be far more puzzling for IDers. Why would a 'designed' whale have 5 fingers? I'm asking.
???
Quote
As we are reasonably entitled to conclude from looking around at current mammals, from reviewing the evidence from fossil mammals and the geologic contexts in which they are found

If I'm not mistaken, pentadactyly appeared with the tetrapods. Ichthyostega (devonian) had 5 fingers.

  
deadman_932



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 30 2007,15:33   

A few comments and questions:

(1)It seems odd to me that Mr. Hunter should decry the "theory-laden" views of science in regard to homology and homoplasy designations ;  isn't the very claim that "theory-laden" observations are somehow "LESS than"  "theory-Unladen" observations...itself a theory-laden hypothesis? Of course, I'm merely being facetious here, right? ;)

(2) When asked what specific characters Mr. Hunter finds "equal and greater in similarity" to pentadactyly...Mr Hunter has yet to respond.  I would wager that what Mr. Hunter will present is not a single character, but rather a suite of characters, i.e. they look alike in teeth, skull shape, quadrupedal body form, etc. Is there a term for this sort of fallacy in comparing one to many?

(3) When Mr. Hunter mentioned that patagium and pentadactyly were comparable characters in  terms of significance, I asked how did he determine this...and I've still gotten no answer. If I were pressed for an answer about MY views, I would point to studies in fossils, genetics and embryology/development that seem to indicate that pentadactyly is more significant. Mr. Hunter has (apparently) claimed that patagium are of "equal or greater significance," as pentadactyly...Can you show how you determined this, Mr. Hunter?  

Was it due to "theory-laden" observations?

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