Dog Bites Man

| 40 Comments

I was going to title this post something like, “Casey Luskin totally misunderstands and misrepresents something related to biology,” but the title I settled on seems to sum up the news level involved much more concisely. In this instance, Casey attempts to explain away some of the evidence for human-chimp common descent that was presented by Ken Miller during his testimony last week in the Dover case.

Read more (at The Questionable Authority):

40 Comments

Maybe your title should have been “Chump bites chimp”. It’s the old lying and distorting the truth for god approach.

Luskin displays more ignorance. From today’s Science Times story on the re-introduction of Equus ferus przewalskii into Mongolia:

Scientists agree that the two animals [przewalskii and domestic horses] are the most closely related of the equids, the other living today being African wild asses and donkeys, Asiatic asses and three species of zebra. The close relationship, Dr. Lear said, “is reflected in the P-horse’s ability to produce fertile offspring with domestic horses.”

Waltraut Zimmermann, a biologist at the zoo in Cologne, Germany, which has supplied the program with P-horses, said: “None is strictly pure. Sometimes you can’t see it. Sometimes you see it in their tails. If the wild horse mates with a domestic, the hybrid offspring will have only 65 chromosomes. But future generations will be back at 66 again.”

In other words, Luskin’s claim that

But all of our experience with mammalian genetics tells us that such a chromosomal aberration should have resulted in a non-viable mutant, or non-viable offspring.

is factually false. Horses having 66 chromosomes breed successfully with horses having 64 chromosomes and produce fertile offspring.

I am beginning to wonder if “Casey Luskin” is actually Charlie McCarthy sitting on Jonathan Wells’s knee.

RBH

On a related note (i.e. the lying for god note) I suggest the recent issue of New Scientist’s special piece on fundamentalism. It suggests some interesting psychological explanations.

I found some information on this at www.dnapolicy.org, on translocations; along with good diagrams.

This page estimates that 1 in 1,000 human individuals have a Robertsonian translocation; which makes it surprisingly common. Such individuals have 45 chromosomes; being heterozygous for the fusion. The page says that this type of translocation for humans tends to occur with chromosomes 13, 14, 15, 21, and 22.

The individual concerned will appear quite normal, since they have a full complement of genes. The difficulty arises with their gametes. Ideally, one gamete gets the fused chromosome, and is a carrier; the other gets the two originals, and is normal. But it is also possible for one gamete to get the fused chromosome plus one of the unfused, while the other gamete gets only one of the originals. These will result in monosomy or trisomy, and these will usually not come to term. The fusion of 14 and 21 is one of the most common combinations, and in this case children can come to term with three copies of chromosome 21; resulting in Down’s syndrome. The chance is quoted at 10% for a woman with a fusion of 14 and 21; and 1-3% for a man with that fusion.

But if the fusion persists in the population, then eventually there will be individuals homozygous for the fusion, in which case the gametes are all a matched set. This is how the fusion can become fixed in a population.

“On a related note (i.e. the lying for god note) I suggest the recent issue of New Scientist’s special piece on fundamentalism. It suggests some interesting psychological explanations.”

I believe fundamentalism is the result of a crisis of values caused by the enlightenment, the radical divisions it created in peoples views of things, the existenial complexities it created, and the ultimate angst, meaninglessness and instability of it’s children, modernity and postmodernity. In the PIP ( personal intrest project) I did for year eleven last year I found that people in the fundamentalist church I investigated were highly intelligent and many ( far more then the general population ) had advanced degrees in a wide variety of feilds, research on Australian fundamentalists in other churches revealed that they were usually very intelligent, if their websites were anything to go by. Certainly in Australia at least I think fundamentalism actually appeals to the philosophical and existenially inclined, to say it’s about bible thumping GAWD FEARING illiterate folks like so many of you do, on this board, is I a gross mischacterization and generalization. I’d be intrested to read that New Scientist articile, though by the title “the second dark ages” or whatever it was, I doubt I’d agree with much of it.

Luskin’s piece harkins back to Dembski’s denial piece on Human Origins that he trotted out a while ago. Did that Dembski essay ever get published anywhere? It was like a parody of scientific creationist writing style. With the lip service that Dembski dose for common descent, that essay made me wonder when Dembski was going to come out of the closet and admit that he is YEC.

Luskin’s ignorance about the data is so bad, that you might as well not even explain the concept of parsimony to him. If the guy had even looked at the predicted evolutionary relationships between the extant apes he would know that his presumed fragmentation would have had to happen multiple times in the evolution of apes. While the fusion only requires one such event. Loser is too kind a word for someone like Luskin.

Hiya’ll wrote: “…In the PIP ( personal intrest project) I did for year eleven last year I found that people in the fundamentalist church I investigated were highly intelligent and many ( far more then the general population ) had advanced degrees in a wide variety of feilds, …”

Are those degrees from Christian colleges or secular universities?

Did you actually give them IQ tests?

Your data does not conform to my impressions.

I think fundamentalism is a symptom of a new era of irrationality that is on the rise in America. Politics and public opinion is increasingly dominated by unreflecting prejudice and an unwillingness to engage with factual evidence. Science, with all the benefits it brings, is an essential part of a civilized and democratic society: it offers the most hopeful future for humankind and the right wing the fundies support have been pissing all over science. Chris Mooney documented all the various sciences they piss on.

There is a flat out rejection of the scientific evidence-based approach to everything. They have a whole culture of suspicion, distrust, and cynicism about science. Fundies are full of dogmatic assertion and intolerance (my experience, but also my own dogmatic assertion).

Hi, you really have become your own mini-version of “dog bites man” with that broad hosehair-brush of whitewash and false “I plead (or is it bleed?) science” schtick. May I say, “c’mony’all” and just quit the pretense to engaging in honest debate: you risk nothing and you offer nothing C’mon, now! Are you seeking to understand, or have any actual interest in, the science behind the current version of ToE? I don’t any longer think you do, and if not why bother posting here when you can be flattered by the “highly intelligent” Australians on their undoubtedly well-censored-of-nasty-real-scientist sites? You claim here we mischaracterize the Xian-fundie movement??? That’s a claim that proves you have not bothered to find out why many of us have lost our considerable patience on these subjects: if you haven’t gathered enough evidence from the loons who drop in at PT then read the talkorigins “letters” section, which although they select the most “reasonable” and coherant of the fundie-antievolution hate mail the site receives and respond to each letter with patience and courtesy shows that the ID/Creationist side, never, displays either intelligence or honesty.

Just cut out what really has come to seem like bullshit and do your little anti-evo pitch like the rest of them: this false honesty stuff becomes tiring.

“In the PIP (personal interest project) I did for year eleven last year”

If you were in year 11 last year shouldn’t you be busy studying for your Higher School Certificate (or other state equivalent) right now? I hope that you have been taking Biology. Or are you a teacher?

I should also point out that this entire argument of Luskin’s is straight out of the biblical creationist playbook. (The argument has occurred many times on IIDB, where Scigirl likes to issue her chromosome challenge to creationists.) So much for ID not being creationism.

Since Luskin is a lawyer, he should promote himself for paternity cases:

Your honor, yes my client had a sexual relationship with the child’s mother, and yes the child’s DNA is similar to my client’s, but that does not prove that my client is his father; instead it demonstrates that they are different kinds with a common intelligent designer.

But all of our experience with mammalian genetics tells us that such a chromosomal aberration should have resulted in a non-viable mutant, or non-viable offspring.

This is just plain wrong.

Does this article have any bearing on why you can’t explain things to people after they’ve made a choice:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9616467/

The fact that the Discovery Institute is apparently not embarrassed to have Luskin as a spokesman speaks volumes.

I share common ancestors with Koko, the gorilla that uses sign language. But many, if not most, of the people who are referring to themselves as proponents of “intelligent design” say, or suggest, that I don’t share common ancestors with Koko. So then I have a question for them: Are you saying that a deity or extraterrestrial turned inert matter (or “nothingness”) – poof! – directly into the first two humans to live on earth?

We have humans on earth. Events caused all the humans to be here. Lots of humans were born by their mothers. That is how I got here. That is how all the people alive today got here. Does Casey Luskin mean to suggest that a deity turned dust – zap! – directly into the first two humans to live on earth? That is ridiculous. Some of the relevant data is that billions and billions of organisms have come into being through sexual reproduction or cell-division. Second, nearly every known organism is very similar anatomically to at least one known organism that is older than it. See the progression from reptiles to early mammals. Third, no known organism is hugely different than every known organism that is older than it. For instance, we don’t have any hippo specimens that are 700 million years old. Fourth, the oldest known fossils are the remains of bacteria that lived on earth 3.5 billion years ago. Fifth, Chihuahuas and Saint Bernards share common ancestors, and they are pretty different. Finally, when cells divide, the daughter-cell often is a little different (in terms of genotype and phenotype) than its parent-cell, and when organisms sexually reproduce, the offspring always is a little different (in terms of genotype and phenotype) than both of its parents.

Either all hominids to live on earth were born by their mothers, or some weren’t. And a lot were born by their mothers. That’s how I got here. I think some proponents of “intelligent design” mean to suggest that some hominids to live on earth were not born by their mothers. Did a spaceship drop them off here?

I wrote: “Second, nearly every known organism is very similar anatomically to at least one known organism that is older than it. See the progression from reptiles to early mammals. Third, no known organism is hugely different than every known organism that is older than it.”

I’ve heard some people claim that some known organisms that are about 545 million years old are significantly different anatomically than all known organisms older than they are. But at least from what I’ve seen, that is not the case. Some people point to trilobites. But here is a link to a specimen that is about 630 million years old that is similar to trilobites, especially in the head area:

http://www.paleobase.com/gallery/me[…]riggina1.jpg

It’s called spriggina floundersi. Also, a lot can happen in 85 million years. The youngest common ancestor that chihuahuas and saint bernards share is less than 100,000 years old.

When he said “All of our experience with mammalian genetics…” he meant: “I saw that TV series with Corky and know that Downs is caused by a chromosone defect therefore…”

Its all really very simple. According to the likes of Lushkin if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck and tastes like a duck its obviously a frog.

Hiya'll Wrote:

I found that people in the fundamentalist church I investigated were highly intelligent and many (far more then the general population) had advanced degrees in a wide variety of feilds, research on Australian fundamentalists in other churches revealed that they were usually very intelligent…

As a (now former) life-long fundamentalist I would have to disagree somewhat. First, neither education nor IQ have much to do with it: YEC-ism depends on ignorance (as in lack of information, not some school-yard insult). It is impossible for one person to have a grasp of the fundamentals of every area of knowledge we confront in a modern society. That means it is entirely possible for someone to have a very high IQ, have a baker’s dozen of advanced degrees, and still be pig-ignorant of the vase majority of human knowledge. This is why we trust our experts to build our cars, our homes, discover/design our meds, etc.

Which brings us to the second necessary ingredient for YEC beliefs to take root: trust in the wrong experts. Christians trust other Christians more than they trust non-Christians. This is why many denominations publish directories of Christian-owned businesses. The implication is that a Christian car mechanic won’t rip off a fellow Christian. This is utter nonsense as every study of self-identifying evangelicals has shown. Nevertheless, a Christian will implicitly believe a pastor with a theology degree over an atheist with massive credentials (say Stephen Jay Gould) even in matters of said atheist’s expertise.

What knocked me out of the YEC camp (thank God for talk.origins) more than all the information on biology or geology or astronomy, was the demonstration that the people I had been trusting as my “experts” were not just mistaken, but had been knowingly lying to me for decades. It is probably an over-reaction, but now I assume Christians are liars (or are getting their information from liars) just as I assume that any business that advertises itself as “Christian” is trying to rip me off.

That probably was not the intended effect of my Christian “education”, but… (shrug)

DAE wrote” “According to the likes of Lushkin if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck and tastes like a duck its obviously a frog.”

If Luskin ducks like a quack will he croak?

Casey’s apologetics are standard. Ignore the facts. If the facts can’t be ignored explain them away.

I have difficulty fathoming the mind that’s not troubled by promoting nonsense.

I learned long ago never to underestimate the ability of very intelligent people to accept unquestioningly things that others may view as collossally dumb. I observe it in myself most of the time in fact.

A trackback to Mr. Luskin’s article needs to be set.

Norman, we don’t really have christian college’s in Australia ( at least I’ve never heard fo them, and if they do exist there can’t be very many of them), most of their degree’s were from Sydney Uni, the ANU etc. No I didn’t give them IQ tests ( it would be illegial for me to do so in any case, to adminster an IQ test you have to be a qualified psychologist.) The people I investigated were mostly YECists but not paticulary passionte in their beliefs, so that might have skewed it a bit. Perhaps I was a little hasty in generalizing from Australian fundamentalists to American fundamentalists there are important differences, over here, for example fundamentalist christians seem to identitfy as much with the left as the right ( they’ve banded together to fight labour reforms which give more power to bosses, and they support refugee’s, or as we call them asylum seekers.)

Rooie, I am doing the HSC right now, and the subjects I am doing are:

Legal Studies Society and culture English Adv English Ext I English Ext II Ancient History Modern History History Ext

And I am not doing a false honesty thing Darwinfinch, being on this forum doesn’t mean I need to disscus my beliefs about intelligent design in every single post, you’ll notice that the description of this websites purpose allows for far broader disscusion.

“if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck and tastes like a duck…”

..then it’s a duck, right. Although, this expression has been used to support ID, it has always had the opposite effect on me. If something appears duck like, what species of Canard is it? Mallard, Black? And do IDists acknowledge common descent of these different species? If so, is it that much of a stretch to acknowledge common descent among all the Anatidae. I mean, if something appears somewhat duck-like, but is slightly modified, it could be a goose or a swan or something. While these genera are clearly more different to Canard than Canard species are to each other, the familial resemblance is obvious. And if not by common descent, how did there come to be a whole pattern of life in which species seem to resemble eachother a sort of nested (no pun intended) tree phylogeny? Next creationist I see I’m going to ask if they think geese are related to ducks.

Comment #51890

Posted by Russell on October 11, 2005 10:22 AM (e) (s)

The fact that the Discovery Institute is apparently not embarrassed to have Luskin as a spokesman speaks volumes.

Casey’s DI proclamations have a decidedly different feel than other DI things. He really doesn’t have the brainpower his DI colleagues have. And Mike Dunford’s analysis of this Luskin article just makes Casey look really stupid.

There are at least two, hi’yall. A quick search of the net finds Vision Christian College and the Australian Catholic University. Admittedly not as many as the US - but maybe on a per capita basis?

I haven’t heard Hillsong come out against the Industrial Relations reforms yet.

Fundamentalists crave certainty, irrespective of whether it is religiously based, politically based, or some other -ism. A challenge to that certainty is viewed as a dangerous thing, and why ‘liberals’ are demonised.

Comment #51864

Posted by Louis on October 11, 2005 06:11 AM (e) (s)

On a related note (i.e. the lying for god note) I suggest the recent issue of New Scientist’s special piece on fundamentalism. It suggests some interesting psychological explanations.

I found them, two stories on Oct. 8, but they are behind a subscriber wall. If anyone has them, could you please send them to stevestory#gmail.com? with the obvious antispam alteration.

Your honor, yes my client had a sexual relationship with the child’s mother, and yes the child’s DNA is similar to my client’s, but that does not prove that my client is his father; instead it demonstrates that they are different kinds with a common intelligent designer.

What’s especially bizarre about this is, they are the ones who argue for a huge inductive leap from artifactual appearance of human design to cosmic appearance of generic ‘design’. Yet they refuse the genetic similarity due to recent descent being inductively extended.

“I haven’t heard Hillsong come out against the Industrial Relations reforms yet.”

They have, it was on lateline last night, the family first party ( A politcal group basically run by Hillsong church) isn’t happy with the reforms, as they feel they are a move away from families towards Mammon nor are the evangelicals or liberals in the Anglican church happy ( Peter Jensen attacked them in a sermon, again, it was on lateline), nor are the catholic church, in terms of political power those three would probably be greatest. Considering these groups postions on issues like immigration, I’d say religious conservatives in Australia basically straddle the left/right gap, siding with the left economically ( in terms of workers rights, welfare, public education and to a degree the privitization of publicly owned companies) and the right morally ( in terms of their attitudes towards homosexuality, filtering sexual content on the internet, abortion and the church state divide). As for christian colleges, none of those I interviewed had attended them ( except one or two who had theology degrees and who attended more theological college.) Even More college itself seems fairly respectable for a theological university, it seemed, from what I could see, that it emphasised Philosophy and Historical theology as well as examing the bible in a very holistic theology, with each section of the bible suppousedly reflecting each other in symbolic ways ( i.e they drew parralles between Jesus and David etc.) In disscusions with me some of them actually blamed American fundamentalism on the narrow viewpoints of American bible colleges, and said that Americans don’t emphasis the broader meaning of texts enough.

Steve S, just go to your local libary, they’ll have a copy. If even my underfunded school libaries got a copy, surely your university libary, or your local libary will.

Since Luskin is a lawyer

What a surprise; anyone else notice how many lawyers in the Idist/creationist movement think they know more about science than scientists?

Luskin should have checked our buddy SeanPitt’s web page discussing Robertsonian translocations.

It is now considered that there is little or no evidence to suggest that centric fusions in a variety of combinations affect the total productive fitness of domestic sheep.

Sean also compares human and chimp chromosomes on the page, but doesn’t mention the Robertsonian translocation. Well, I guess he does, but he makes it sound like a difference rather than a similarity.

After presenting this argument, I am occasionally asked why I would lean toward classifying horses and donkeys as the same “kind” or as having a common ancestor while at the same time classifying humans and chimps as different “kinds” not having a common ancestor? … Humans and chimps differ not only in chromosome number, but also by nine pericentric chromosomal inversions and one centric fusion.

Sorry. The web page is here

now I assume Christians are liars (or are getting their information from liars) just as I assume that any business that advertises itself as “Christian” is trying to rip me off.

I will not hire a contractor or patronize a business that puts that little Jesus fish on its ads. This is not a refusal to hire or do business with Christians. I deal with loads of Christians running businesses who have the sense or dignity to be understated about it. However, when ads have that little fish on them I find it incredibly offensive – like they’re implying that because of their religious beliefs this makes them better to do business with than non-Christians, giving us a priceless opportunity to not give any money to them wicked secular heathens, or Jews, or whatever.

While I’m sure some/most of the businesses that use Jesus to get business are sincere, I agree a lot of them are no doubt scamming with it. And while I’ve heard some people claim their business went up when they started their ‘faith-based advertising’, I doubt I’m the only person put off by it, at least in the blue state I live in.

Boy, it’s really disgusting (but no longer surprising) to see Casey resorting to such stupidity in defense of ID. The objections he raises would take him 30 seconds to rebut, if he chose to do a simple google search of “chromosome fusion”.

casey Wrote:

Why couldn’t it be the case that the common ancestor had 23 distinct chromosomes, and one chromosome underwent duplication in the line that led to apes?

If a duplication occurred, we’d see two nearly identical chromosomes (not homologous chromosomes, btw) in the ape lineage. We don’t. I assume what Casey meant to say was a splitting of a chromosome into 2 distinct parts. But when would this occur? I encourage everyone to look at the phylogeny on this webpage. If orangutans, chimps, and gorillas all have 24 pairs of chromosomes, but their common ancestor had 23, where in that tree could the splitting have occurred? There is no single point that could do it, without also altering the human count. What would be required is 3 separate splitting events. All in the exact same place in chromosome 2, and all in the same fashion. Furthermore, as Miller stated in his testimony, there’s significant evidence of a fusion within the genetic sequence of human chromosome 2, including the remnants of centromeres and telomeres. Therefore, for Casey’s notion to be correct, sequences looking very much like centromeres and telomeres would have had to spontaneously appear in the human chromosome 2 at the exact same place where they are on the split ape chromosomes.

Casey also has a very nice gif showing a possible ID explanation, where the human and ape lineages are entirely separate. Yes, there exists an ID scenario to explain the data. But guess what, ID can explain every conceivable piece of data. Think about it, if I were to show you a piece of paper with a bunch of letters and numbers written on it, is there any conceivable combination of letters and numbers that couldn’t have been written by an intelligent designer? No. For ape/human common ancestry to be true, there’s only a very small and specific set of data that would be possible.

Arden, I agree. Also, I think there was a story in Wired where the guy said those evangelical businesses he’s tried, they lectured him about religion while they did their job.

No Thanks.

I’ve added the link that put a trackback on Casey’s article over at “evolutionnews.org”.

Pool on how long that trackback lasts?

Since no one else has pointed it out, Indiana University’s Evolution & the Nature of Science Institutes has an pdf of the chromosome banding on their website: here. It’s from their section on Evolution Lessons.

Diagrams of late prophase chromosomes (1000-band stage) of human, chimpanzee, gorilla, and orangutan (left to right for each number). Courtesy of Jorge Yunis. From “The Origin of Man: A Chromosomal Pictorial Legacy” by J.J. Yunis and O. Prakash, in Science, 19 March 1982, vol. 215: 1525-1530.

Note how with the our fused chromosome you can tell that that the chimp chromosomes are the more similar to it than they are to the gorilla or orangutan pair.

Comment #52111

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on October 12, 2005 09:09 PM (e) (s)

I’ve added the link that put a trackback on Casey’s article over at “evolutionnews.org”.

Pool on how long that trackback lasts?

Casey just seems like a dumbass, not a scumbucket like Dembski. If it were Dembski, it would be gone already. Hmmm. How long. Well, I’m sure he’ll notice it within 24 hrs, so it’ll be gone within that time, or there to stay. I bet it stays there, based on the fact that Luskin is a true believer who might actually think ID will become science, not a cynical profiteer like Dembski who only cares about PR.

Hi Hiya

Would you pls let me know your email address?

RGDS Md.Mamunur Rahman

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This page contains a single entry by Mike Dunford published on October 11, 2005 3:58 AM.

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