Creationist Confusion about pharyngeal homologies

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Creationists come up with the weirdest criticisms. Serge at Imago Dei disagrees with my claim that humans build their face using "the same embryonic foundation that fish use to build gills", calling them "pharyngeal phantasies". He bases this on the peculiar notion that there ought to be a simple one-to-one mapping of cranial nerves to pharyngeal arches, and that by his understanding of the arrangement, the cranial nerve that innervate the derivatives of the first pharyngeal arch in us (the trigeminal nerve) ought to innervate the first gill arch in teleosts.

These are both false assumptions. I'll explain why.

Continue reading "Creationist Confusion about pharyngeal homologies" (on Pharyngula)

6 Comments

If you’re going to compare ontogeny to phylogeny here’s a good one.

Ontogeny is the derepression of preformed genetic information. How much of phylogeny is explained if it also is the derepressoin of preformed genetic information?

With so many other obvious similarities between ontogeny and phylogeny it’s nothing short of amusing how the notion of preformed information is dropped like a hot potato from phylogeny while retaining all the other comparisons. Like DUH!

We all know why it’s dropped, too. Neo-Darwinsism loses its palliative quality for atheists if it does not make the a priori assumption that life as we know it has no design, no purpose, and came about through pure serendipity.

That assumption isn’t science, it’s religion. The assumption is made through unabiding faith in materialism. Even more painful, it is made today in blatant opposition to the Copernican Principle of Mediocrity which states that nothing about the earth is special. If genetic engineering is a fact of life on earth, and I’ll throw a rotten genetically engineered tomato at anyone who says it isn’t, then we may in a most enlightened manner assume that genetic engineering is not something that’s special to the earth. I.E., if genetic engineering (read design) happened here we can assume it happened elsewhere too. Thus there is no enligntened reason to assume that the first cell on the earth, which diversified into a plethora of specialized forms over billions of years, is not just like the first cell of a human being which diversifies into a plethora of specialized forms in a matter of weeks.

Once one gets past the atheist demand that there is no design in life then one may assume that the first phylogenetic cell was, like the first ontogenetic cell, preformed to unfold in a prescribed manner. And then something truly remarkable happens - all the observations make perfect sense.

Ontogeny is the derepression of preformed genetic information.

No, it’s not, and with that comment you fail developmental biology.

You’re the first person I’ve encountered who is proud to be a preformationist.

Oh sorry. Technically there are epigenetic factors too but these are also predefined from the start so the point stands.

No mutation/selection occurs during the process of going from an egg to a mature form.

Correct me with specific examples if you think I’m wrong, prof. I’m not one of your students who you get to dismiss with a wave of your hand or a shake of your pointy little associate head.

Um, DaveScot? Have you no idea of the number of genetic defects which are selected against in the process of going from egg to maturity? Selection is what happens all the time.

regards, Shirley Knott

Oh, my.

Neo-Darwinsism loses its palliative quality for atheists if it does not make the a priori assumption that life as we know it has no design, no purpose, and came about through pure serendipity.

Some of the unevidenced assumptions: 1. Neo-Darwinism has any palliative quality. 2. Atheists obtain any palliative quaity from neo-Darwinism. 3. Neo-Darwinism makes any a priori assumptions. 4. Neo-Darwinism, or Darwinism, or any branch of science claims there is no design to life (this is actually quite the opposite of what evolution claims, so evidence of this claim not only is unstated, but unavailable). 5. Neo-Darwinism claims there is no purpose to life. 6. Darwin, Darwinian theory, or the neo-Darwinian synthesis claims “pure serendipity” in anything (again, this is quite the opposte of what natural selection actually claims).

And that’s in one sentence! This is a good illustration of how the easy canards of creationism can spin out like so much effluent from a goose, but the explanations to rebut take longer. Just the partial list of unevidenced and false statements is longer than the original claim.

Holy cow!

Dave, A paper clip is attracted towards the Earth by gravity. It is attracted towards a magnet by electromagnetism. Point being, just because two physical processes appear to share some superficial similiarity does not prove that they share an underlying similarity in mechanism. You demonstrate two types of change in life over time, and claim that they share a mechanism- despite their other obvious differences (eg one is change of an organism, the other is change in populations), and with no other argument other than the superficial similarity.

How much of phylogeny is explained if it also is the derepressoin of preformed genetic information? None. Im sure that you’ve had it explained to you numerous times: Creationism/ID does not have any explicative value. It makes no positive predictions. If you disagree, please provide a positive prediction of your ‘theory’.

And the principle of mediocrity does not mean that if genetic engineering (read design) happened here we can assume it happened elsewhere too. It means that it could have, not that we can assume that it did. Likewise one may assume that the first phylogenetic cell was, like the first ontogenetic cell, preformed to unfold in a prescribed manner is obviously incorrect. We can assume that it’s possible, not that it occurred. Your bizarre reading of the principle would imply that other Shakespeares have written other MacBeths. If it happened here it must have happened elsewhere, right?

Science can neither deny nor confirm religious dogma. If you are comfortable in your faith on the matter, I wonder why you continually come here and attempt to prove that which cannot neither be proven nor disproven.

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This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on February 17, 2005 2:20 PM.

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