How to evolve a vulva

| 47 Comments

Creationists are fond of the "it can't happen" argument: they like to point to things like the complexity of the eye or intricate cell lineages and invent bogus rules like "irreducible complexity" so they can claim evolution is impossible. In particular, it's easy for them to take any single organism in isolation and go oooh, aaah over its elaborate detail, and then segue into the argument from personal incredulity.

Two things, one natural and one artificial, help them do this. Organisms are incredibly complicated, there is no denying it. This should be no solace to the anti-evolutionists, though, because one thing natural processes are very good at is building up complexity. The other situation that has helped them is our current reliance on model systems.

We use a few model systems extensively to study development—Drosophila, C. elegans, Danio come to mind—and they give us an unfortunately rigid view of how developmental processes occur. The model systems that are favored for laboratory work are those that have rapid, streamlined development with a great deal of consistency to the pattern—variability is avoided, and we tend to look for reproducible rules. We get a false impression of the rigidity and inflexibility of developmental systems.

How to correct that? We use the model systems as a starting-off point, and look at related organisms. As we start to accumulate information about diverse species, the variability in the patterns of development becomes more prominent, and we see that the evolutionary pathways aren't difficult to see at all. The worm vulva is a great example of how phylogenetic studies of development can inform our understanding of evolution.

vulva evolution

Continue reading How to evolve a vulva (on Pharyngula)

47 Comments

Dr. Myers,

Thank you for the informative descripton. When you mentioned

Either one can do the job, it’s random which one becomes the AC (50% of the AC cells in C. elegans are derived from Z1.ppp, 50% from Z4.aaa), and the signalling is symmetric.

is that related to Denton’s claim of:

The development of the female sexual organ, the vulva, in the namatode provides perhaps the most dramatic example to date of redundancy exploited as a fail-safe device at the very highest level. A detailed description of the mechanism of formation of the nematode vulva is beyond the scope of this chapter, suffice it to say that the organ is generated by means of two quite different developmental mechanism, either of which is sufficient by itself to generate a perfect vulva.

It seems that the different kinds of anchor cells (Z1.ppp, 50% from Z4.aaa) were part of the two different developmental pathways Denton was describing. Is this a fair statement?

Salvador, since Denton expressly chose not to enter into a “detailed description of the mechanism of formation of the nematode vulva,” how is it reasonable for you to expect Dr. Myers to fill in the gaps in your knowledge that Denton deliberately chose to leave?

Or, to put it another way, short of asking Denton directly why he omitted a more-detailed description, how is Myers in any better position to read his mind than you, me, or anybody else?

Or, to put it a third way, Dr. Myers has already given you the more-detailed description you claim to be seeking, and linked you to the further studies that would provide you with even more detail. For whatever reason, Denton didn’t do that. Why, therefore, bring Denton into this discussion at all–when, at best, he was confining his remarks to a more general level and Dr. Myers has already taken you to a more-detailed level? Why bounce back up a level on the pretext of filling in gaps left by an admitted generalist when you now have the tools at your command to embark on the program of study and research that would take you down much deeper than Denton wanted to take you?

Your attitude toward knowledge as expressed in the several recent threads to which you have contributed here frankly puzzles me. You seem to have a need to loyally “follow” a particular promulgator of information, rather than a desire to follow the information itself wherever it may lead.

Of course, loyalty and “fandom” are understandable human emotions, though perhaps somewhat misplaced in this particular field of endeavor. If we were talking about rock music, for example, I could certainly understand why–as a provisional strategy–one might keep on listening to new Rolling Stones records in the hopes that they would extend the enjoyment you received when first listening to their “classics.” What I don’t understand is why one would continue to cling to a rock band, a movie director, a scientist or group of scientists, or what-have-you, when their more recent “records” no longer give you the bang for the buck that their earlier efforts once did. Without asking you to abandon your loyalty to the classis Stones repertoire, I still wonder why you would keep listening to Mick and Keith once you learn that it’s, say, Steve Earle or Lucinda Williams who is making the current strides in this “style” of music?

If the Stones no longer have what it takes to satisfy your current needs for vital and moving songs, why show up–in effect–at one of Lucinda’s concerts just to keep shouting out requests for her to “cover” one of Mick and Keith’s old ditties? Likewise, if you can no longer achieve the depth of understanding you now find you need from Denton, why phrase your request for deeper knowledge as a request for Dr. Myers to “cover” Denton, when what you really want lies in front of you, not behind?

Maybe you could explain this curious approach for us?

ahhh, another steve.

nicely done. I think you hit on the crux of Salvador’s behavior that puzzles me as well.

I do hope he actually addresses the substance of your question, rather than dissembling as he usually does.

c’mon Sal, what have you got to lose by answering the questions posed by Steviepinhead?

If we were talking about rock music, for example, I could certainly understand why—as a provisional strategy—one might keep on listening to new Rolling Stones records in the hopes that they would extend the enjoyment you received when first listening to their “classics.”

Without Mick Taylor or Brian Jones?

I think not.

GWW

I was trying to come up with a suitable culture-straddling example, at least for the “classic” side of the equation – no matter how out of touch scientifically, surely even an ID foot-soldier has heard the Stones! I wasn’t trying to ignite a rock’n’roll side argument! And the Stones were on my mind because of their tour-record announcement yesterday. Also: I’ve got Lucinda Williams tickets for her upcoming Seattle appearance, so she was on my mind as well. Finally, I do like some of the later-than-classic Stones’ songs; some RnR oldies may stay goodies without–necessarily–ever growing obsolete.

(But, that being said, of course the “classic” Stones’ lineup would include one or the other of their first two guitar greats!)

I’m proud to be a “steve” but I’m a bit nonplussed that the DI has had the temerity to ensconce itself on my turf. I am willing to try to go to Dembski’s upcoming presentation (5/24/05 in Seattle). but would appreciate a few pithy questions and rejoinders from all you other honorary steves, particualry those who may have head-tohead or thread-to-thread experience, on the off chance that any sort of “open” Q&A session will be encouraged. Post suggestions on an appropriate thread here, or email me! Thanks in advance, steviepinhead.

Steviepinhead

Finally, I do like some of the later-than-classic Stones’ songs; some RnR oldies may stay goodies without—necessarily—ever growing obsolete.

My understanding is that some of the best Stones songs that appear on their “later than classic” LPs were leftovers from the classic era (e.g., I think “Waiting on a Friend” was leftover from Exile period).

If you haven’t gotten a hold of the DVD releases of vintage material from 4Reel Productions you need to do so. It’s unlikely Sir Mick will have the wits on his deathbed to sign the release form for Cxcksucker Blues.

would appreciate a few pithy questions and rejoinders from all you other honorary steves

Rev. Flank’s oft-recited questions would probably provide a good springboard.

Great White Wonder Wrote:

Rev. Flank’s oft-recited questions would probably provide a good springboard.

Certainly, but I’d assume that by now Mr. Dembski will have been spoon-fed a few one-liners that will “sound” good to a biased crowd and permit him to move on to the powder-puff questions. Without being a total jerk, if I get one brief opportunity to engage him–and maybe open one or two pairs of “complex” eyes–I want to do my best not to let him slither off the hook.

Or do IDists have compound rather than complex eyes?

And with my propensity for rather strained puns, perhaps I’d better decline the invitation to discuss “Cxcksucer Blues.”

I would suggest simply taking a look at Dembski’s blog. It is ripe with rotten fruit to pick from. Almost every thread turns my stomach.

I would like to see him discuss the difference between the apparent sycophantic adherents he has drawn there, like Salvador, who think they need to follow “him” vs. real scientists who actually follow where the evidence leads instead.

Sal’s unreasoning, literal (and oft mentioned!) devotion to dembski indicates more of a priesthood than a scientific endeavor.

It’s behavior i see commonly among ID adherents, that i never see among scientists.

bottom line tho, I’d say the most important things to get him to admit to would be:

1. that ID is based on “belief” rather than evidence. You can even use that famous quote from Paul Nelson to get him to admit this. You don’t even have to get him to admit “god” has anything to do with it.

2. that there is NO evidence to base ID on, unless you subscribe to irreducible complexity (which you can easily argue against, using the history of disproof of each example, up to and including the vertebrate eye and flagella).

3. so with 1 and 2, how on earth does he ever expect there will be a “theory” of ID that is based on scientific evidence?

4. get him to admit that any dissension amongst evolutionary biologists has nothing to do with an argument between science and religion.

Sal’s unreasoning, literal (and oft mentioned!) devotion to dembski indicates more of a priesthood than a scientific endeavor.

It’s behavior i see commonly among ID adherents, that i never see among scientists.

This is an interesting point and quite instructive, I think. If anything, scientists with the highest public visibility seem to get the closest critical scrutiny from thier colleagues…as admirable as they are, Gould and Dawkins receive(d) quite a bit of criticism from biologists, Hawking is criticized by physicists, Pinker gets significant flak from psychologists…

Seen any ID-ers give a critical review of Dembski?

As a Steve, let me secord the appreciation of Lucinda Williams.

Well, del Ratzch did say that Dembski has not accomplished what he says he accomplished.

Actually, Paul Nelson’s the only IDer I’ve seen who is not an obvious liar (or nuts). The other day on IDthefuture, he said there was no theory of ID, and that he wants to get going a second round of ID hypotheses. Presumably because the first round, which you might say are IC and CSI, failed. True, he candy-coats the situation, and ads obfuscatory modifiers, but he more or less admitted that there’s nothing there yet.

the only thing i can logically conclude is that he is worried his grant funding from the Ahmanson foundation is about to run out. so, he needs to present himself as the light of reason for ID, and that he could lead the way in promoting “new” hypotheses.

Yes, he admitted there is nothing there, but he does little to correct the sycophants who constantly say he was “misquoted” when he said that.

This is a little off topic (well, very off topic), but I’m new here and it’s just to funny not to bring up somewhere, http://www.townhall.com/columnists/[…]050510.shtml

Now, at first it was funny, but I got mad towards the end, because not only does he not understand the concept of science and evolution, that okay, but apparently people have tried explaining it to him before and he’s making a hell of a straw man (and just outright lying, “stammering and yammering” my arse) out of such people.

While listening to the Kansas hearings I heard Pedro quote Paul Nelson as saying there is no ID theory when cross-examining Jonathan Wells. The quote was fairly long, and while I had read part of it before, the whole thing was much more critical of ID than I realized. Then Wells interjected twice saying he didn’t think all of it was from Paul Nelson.

What was the deal with that – did anyone else catch it? Did Pedro misquote Nelson, or was Wells just oblivious?

I doubt that pedro misquoted paul.

It is that wells, dembski, et al refuse to believe Paul actually said that, and have since invented context for his comments that simply don’t exist.

there was some discussion of this, iirc, in one of the threads about dembski last week, and i think you can see a thread on Dembski’s blog where he begins to invent the context surrounding Paul’s statement.

Hi Sal.

For soem odd reason, you still have not answered my four simple questions.

As promised, I will ask again. And again and again and again. As many times as I need to, until you answer.

*ahem*

1. What is the scientific theory of intelligent design, and how do we test it using the scientific method?

2. According to this scientific theory of intelligent design, how old is the earth, and did humans descend from apelike primates or did they not?

3. what, precisely, about “evolution” is any more “materialistic” than weather forecasting, accident investigation, or medicine?

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

I point out that the nematode, in addition to alternate pathways of generating the vulva, had this interesting charactersitic in their developmental biology:

page 335, Nature’s Destiny by Denton:

A curious aspect of the development of the namatode and one that would never have been predicted is that although the organism is bilaterally symmetrical–that is, its left and right halves are mirror images of each other–the equivalent organs and cells on the right- and lefthand sides of the body of the larva are not derived from equivalent cells in the embryo In other words, identical components on the right and left sides of the body are generated in different ways from different and nonsymemetrically placed progenitor cells in the early embryo and have therefore lineage patterns which are in some cases completely dissimilar. This is like making the right and left headlight on an automobile in completely different ways and utilizing completely different process.

Even individual cells of the same cell type in any one organ, such as, say, the muscle cells, gland cells, or nerve cells of the pharynx, are also derived from different lineages. For example, one particular cell progenitor of the pharynx gives rise to muscle cells, interneurons, gland cells, and epithelial cells. Another progenitor gives rise to to muscle and gland cells.

and now let me complete more about Denton’s thesis

Another very intriguing aspect of development in higher organisms which has become increasingly apparent over the last ten years, and which is bound to impose additional constraints against any sort of bit-by-bit undirected change, is the use of partially or totally redundant components to buffer organisms against random mutational error and ensure reliability, particularly during development. As one authority points out: “The idea that redundancy may be quite common in cell and develoopmental biology has its origin in Spemann’s (1938) idea of double assurance, a term taken from engineering.”

The strategy of using several different means to achieve a particular goal where each of the individual means is sufficient by itself to achieve the goal is used in all manner of situations to guarantee that the goal will always be achieved, even if one or more of the means fail. Missiles, for example, are often guided to their targets using a number of different automatic guidance systems, including ground-based radar, map matching, inertial guidance systems, following a graded signal (heat-seeking). Even if one fails, the missile will still home in unerringly on its target. Reliability of information storage on computer discs is increased by encoding the information in two or more different ways. The functional reliability of complex machines such as aircraft and particularly space vehicles invariably involves the use of redundant components. The space shuttle’s on-board inertial guidance system, which it uses during boosting into orbit and during reentry, consists, according to the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology of “five redundant computers and three inertial measurement units. Dual star trackers are used for periodic realignment in space.…A radar backup system is provided for safety during launch and landing.” (My emphasis.) Another instance where redundancy is exploited to increase reliability is in human and animal navigation, where most often a number of different and individually redundant clues are followed to minimize the risk of navigational error, which might accrue from following only one type or set of clues.

It now appears that a considerable number of genes, perhaps even the majority in higher organisms, are completely or at least partially redundant. One of the major pieces of evidence that this it the case has come from so-called gene knockout experiments, where a gene is effectively disabled in some way using genetic-engineering techniques so that it cannot play its normal role in the organisms’s biology. A classic example of this came when a gene coding for a large complex protein known as Tenascin-C, which occurs in the extracellular matrix of all vertebrates, was knocked out in mice, without any obvious effect. As the author of a paper commenting on this surprising result cautions: “It would be premature to conclude that [the protein] has no importan function …[as] it is conserved in every vertebrate species, which argues strongly for a fundamental role.” The protein product of the Zeste gene in the fruit fly drosophila, which is a component of certain multiprotein complexes involved in transcribing regions of the DNA, can also be knocked out without any obvious effect on the very processes in which it is known to function.

The phenomenon of redundant genes is so widespread that it is already acknowledge to pose something of an evolutionary conundrum. Although in the words of the author of one recent article, “true genetic redundancy ought to be, in an evolutionary sense, impossible or at least unlikely,” partially redundant genes are common. As another authority comments in recent review article: “Arguments over whether there can be true redundancy are moot for the experimentalist. The question is how he functions for partially redundant genes can be discovered given that partial redundancy is the rule.” (My emphasis.)

And it seems uncreasingly that it is not only individual genes that are redundant, but rather that the phenomenon may be all-pervasive in the development of higher organisms, existing at every level from individual genes to the most complex developmental processes. For example, individual nerve axons, like guided missiles or migrating birds, are guided to their targets by a number of different and individually redundant mechanisms and clues. The development of the female sexual organ, the vulva, in the namatode provides perhaps the most dramatic example to date of redundancy exploited as a fail-safe device at the very highest level. A detailed description of the mechanism of formation of the nematode vulva is beyond the scope of this chapter, suffice it to say that the organ is generated by means of two quite different developmental mechanism, either of which is sufficient by itself to generate a perfect vulva.

It seems increasingly likely that redundancy will prove to be universally exploited in many key aspects of the development of higher organisms, for precisely the same reason it is utilized in many other areas–as a fail safe mechanism to ensure that developmental goals are achieved with what amounts to a virtually zero error rate. A very high degree of redundancy in the specification of the development of higher organism is almost certainly not in the least bit gratuitous, but rather of necessity. Probably no system remotely as complex as a higher organism could possibly function without a large measure of redundancy in many or even every aspect of its design.

Now, this phenomenon poses an additional challenge to the idea that organisms can be radically transformed as a result of a succession of small independent changes, as Darwinian theory supposes. For it means that if an advantageous change is to occur, in an organ system such as the namatode vulva, which is specified in two completely different ways, then this will of necessity require simultaneous changes in both blueprints. In other words, the greater the degree of redundancy, the greater the need for simultaneous mutation to effect evoutionary change and the more difficult it is to believe that evoutionary change could have been engineered without intelligent direction. Redundancy also increases the difficulty of genetic engineering, as it means that the compensatory changes that must inevitably accompany any desired change must be necessarily increased.

Salvador, please answer Lenny’s questions.

Fascinating. Does either Denton or Salvador T. Spamalot know enough developmental biology to tell us whether the signalling pathways are the same or different in cells with different developmental histories but similar fates?

RE: Lenny’s questions to Sal.

I don’t think #4 applies, does it? I thought Sal was a free-lance wingnut, not on Ahmanson’s payroll.

Sal, redundancy in engineering is done when one doesn’t know whether one has it right, or when one does not know whether the main component will be up to the task.

In short, it’s a band-aid for lack of design.

Is it your claim that the designer of the nematode didn’t know whether it would work? Are you saying that your evidence for design indicates that the designer is less than omniscient?

Sal:

there are questions waiting in this thread. I personally would like you to address the first one posted in the thread:

“Your attitude toward knowledge as expressed in the several recent threads to which you have contributed here frankly puzzles me. You seem to have a need to loyally “follow” a particular promulgator of information, rather than a desire to follow the information itself wherever it may lead.”

“Maybe you could explain this curious approach for us?”

yes, please do.

Ed commented:

Sal, redundancy in engineering is done when one doesn’t know whether one has it right, or when one does not know whether the main component will be up to the task.

The concern for apparent “bad design” is understandable. An apparently “bad design” is still a design. From a philosophical perspective imperfections in this world and in us are reminders that we aren’t God. The issue however is the problem redundancy presents for natural selection.

The issue of specified complexity in biology, within the ID community is that it conforms to human like designs, such as redundant systems. The way humans recognize designs in biology is the recognition of human-like designs. In fact we could not recognize intelligence, unless it had aspects analogous to human thought processes. If a super intelligence created life, then for the artifacts to be detected by humans, the artifacts should be designed to make that possible. Which in fact is the thesis of Privileged Planet and Biotic Message.

If a developmental pathway (it’s components and all the associated complexity) are not subject to selection, how did it evolve in the first place? If one pathway is more effective than another, then that is a selective advantage. The less effective pathway should be selected against and then only one pathway should exist.

If we’re having two pathways preserved, well, that’s also a problem because that’s proof positive the selection forces are weak or dilute in the formation (NOT PRESERVATION) of dual pathways! Therefore the formation of the developmental pathways was constructed by mechanisms where natural selection was for the most part irrelevant.

Denton’s arguments pose problems for Natural selection in that we have functional complexity appearing that is often invisible to selection.

The supposed “phylogentic evidence” is only evidence of similarity. Unless the mechanisms like natural selection in the formation of these features are plausible, then “convergence” or shall we use the better term, “common design” is a more adequate explanation.

Salvador

From a philosophical perspective imperfections in this world and in us are reminders that we aren’t God.

You meant “according to my religious beliefs”. Let’s be precise, Sal. I know you’re extraordinarly proud of yourself for being a Buffon for Jesus, but let’s not confuse purely faith-based beliefs with “philosophy.” That reeks too much like Osama bin Laden and his ilk. I’m sure you understand.

If a super intelligence created life, then for the artifacts to be detected by humans, the artifacts should be designed to make that possible.

Translation: uh duh duh duh duh *drool* *slurp* duh duh … Salvador want cookie … duh duh … Salvador true believer … duh *drool* duh young minds like salvadork baloney uh … duh.

The concern for apparent “bad design” is understandable.

That’s nice. I’ms ure your religious opinions deal with them appropriately.

But hey, Dr Cordova, you *still* have not answered my four simple questions.

As promised, I will ask again. And again and again and again. As many times as I need to, until you answer.

*ahem*

1. What is the scientific theory of intelligent design, and how do we test it using the scientific method?

2. According to this scientific theory of intelligent design, how old is the earth, and did humans descend from apelike primates or did they not?

3. what, precisely, about “evolution” is any more “materialistic” than weather forecasting, accident investigation, or medicine?

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

I don’t think #4 applies, does it? I thought Sal was a free-lance wingnut, not on Ahmanson’s payroll.

I thought he gets money from the DI … ? Or does he just con old ladies into sending their Social Security checks to his ministry?

Ah, well, if Dr Cordova isn’t sucking at Ahmanson’s teet like most other IDers are, then I withdraw the second half of that question. I’d still like an answer to the first half, though.

But then, it looks increasingly like I will never get any answers at all, doesn’t it . …

“If one pathway is more effective than another, then that is a selective advantage. The less effective pathway should be selected against and then only one pathway should exist.”

not necessarily sal, you are forgetting basic genetics (among many other things you seem to conveniently forget). some traits have relatively little selective pressure on them, but can be maintained via linkage to other traits that do. If selection pressures change, or the linked trait itself suffciently changes so that selection pressures now act on it, you can then have different pathways being selected. the old pathway might be maintained for the same reason as the “new” one, genetic linkage (just as one mechanism - there are others), and there might not be sufficient pressure to eliminate the old one altogether.

Moreover, your very simplistic model assumes constant selection pressures and one-to-one correspondence between traits and the underlying genome, which isn’t very realistic.

BTW, could you please address you apparent sycophantic behavior towards Dembski now?

oh, BTW Sal, in case you don’t know the meaning of the word:

sycophant \SIK-uh-fuhnt\, noun: A person who seeks favor by flattering people of wealth or influence; a parasite; a toady.

Is it possible that one pathway works better in some situations in which the species often encounters, and the other in other situations in which it also often encounters? In that case it might actually need both. Unless that idea’s been ruled out?

Henry

Is it possible that one pathway works better in some situations in which the species often encounters, and the other in other situations in which it also often encounters? In that case it might actually need both. Unless that idea’s been ruled out?

Henry

Hi Henry,

That’s actually the most substantive comment I’ve seen on this thread so far!

It’s not impossible, in theory, but unlikely. Selection generally is most effective for immediate effects, not effect on subsequent generations. In fact, many times useful traits are lost because of the short-sightedness of natural seleciton. That is exact why Denton, a molecular geneticist, MD, PhD, brought out that example.

When bacteria develop anti-biotic resistance, many times they lose traits quite useful to them in other contexts.

You do have a good point however.

Salvador

Salvador T. Cordova Wrote:

“That is exact [sic] why Denton, a molecular geneticist, MD, PhD, …”

Slavador, menial sponger, spineless scraping slave, fawning flunkie, fooled monkey, save your energy you lying asslicking bootkisser. No one here takes you seriously. Your reputation is shot, go present your ass to your ass master and be gone.

When bacteria develop anti-biotic resistance, many times they lose traits quite useful to them in other contexts.

Is this true? Do bacteria have some sort of “maximum trait limit”, requiring them to relinquish one trait to gain another? That’s news to me. Or is there something specific about resistance to antibiotics that requires changes in bacteria that necessarily costs them “quite useful” capabilities as spandrel consequences? Calling a biologist…

Sal said:

“In fact, many times useful traits are lost because of the short-sightedness of natural seleciton”

so now you admit you think natural selection is the mechanism of evolution?

make up your mind, sal.

Salvador, whose expertise is non-existent, writes

When bacteria develop anti-biotic resistance, many times they lose traits quite useful to them in other contexts.

Many times? “Traits”? “Other contexts”? It’s practically a meaningless sentence but that’s par for the course for dissembling charlatans.

Let’s see. Aren’t quinolone derivatives ubiquitous antibiotics used to target topoisomerases?

Most mutations that provide resistance to these drugs are single point mutations in enzymes which do not appreciably affect the enzyme’s ability to serve its ascribed function. At least, that’s how it looks when you check out the research published here:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/[…]ids=15863280

Maybe Salvador has some divine insight into this topic he’d like to share with us.

But I’d rather here from Tristan Abbey. Salvador, please allow Tristan to post comments here.

@henry J

I covered multiple selection agents, and variable selection agents, when i replied to sal’s simplistic argument.

truth is, sal has no idea of how common or not variable selective pressures are because he simply has never ivestigated the issue, nor even thought about it before. This is because he is only allowed to think what Dembski tells him to.

Salvador: The concern for apparent “bad design” is understandable. An apparently “bad design” is still a design.

How is “bad design” distinguishable from “unintelligent design” or “no design”?

The less effective pathway should be selected against and then only one pathway should exist.

Why? are they incompatible?

If we’re having two pathways preserved, well, that’s also a problem because that’s proof positive the selection forces are weak or dilute in the formation (NOT PRESERVATION) of dual pathways! Therefore the formation of the developmental pathways was constructed by mechanisms where natural selection was for the most part irrelevant.

This doesn’t make any sense.

RBQ, maybe we have to wait a few more years for Salvador’s theory to “grow” before we have answers to those questions.

That’s actually the most substantive comment I’ve seen on this thread so far!

An even *more* substantive comment would be if you were to answer my simple questions, Sal.

Why won’t you? What are you afraid of?

Salvador, Tristan Abbey is trying to reach you. He wants to know if it’s okay to hold hands on the first date.

Sounds like an emergency!

Salvador, Tristan Abbey is trying to reach you. He wants to know if it’s okay to hold hands on the first date.

Tell him not to play soft jazz.

Could lead to dancing, ya know . …

Sal:

When bacteria develop anti-biotic resistance, many times they lose traits quite useful to them in other contexts.

Flint:

Is this true? Do bacteria have some sort of “maximum trait limit”, requiring them to relinquish one trait to gain another? That’s news to me. Or is there something specific about resistance to antibiotics that requires changes in bacteria that necessarily costs them “quite useful” capabilities as spandrel consequences? Calling a biologist …

At face value, Sal’s statement is not correct.

You are far too generous. Sal’s comments are all utter nonsense.

You are far too generous. Sal’s comments are all utter nonsense.

I’ve found Sal to be nothing but evasive and dishonest. Or perhaps just evasive and not terribly bright.

actually, i find his posts to be a perfect example of a sychophant, and a great picture of the base of the ID movement in general.

the only reason he posts negative posts here is to please Dembski.

from the wiki entry on sycophant:

“the term has come to mean one who seeks to please people in positions of authority or influence in order to gain power themselves, usually at the cost of pride, principles, and peer respect.”

If you look at the posts Slaveador posts both here and in Dembski’s playhouse, his behavior fits the description perfectly.

As much as they disgust me, folks like Slaveador don’t bother me nearly as much as the ones that encourage them (either folks like Dembski, or those of the Kansas BOE, or politicians looking to use IDers as political tools).

[blockquote]one thing natural processes are very good at is building up complexity[/blockquote]

(tee hee)

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