Once again, I am wrong


…but luckily, I’m set straight over at Effect Measure, where Revere completely refutes my silly notion of mutations in H5N1 by citing this excellent guest commentary in the Greely Tribune (where their top story today is about a hot dog from 1952). The commentary is titled “Bird flu a lame claim to evolution theory” and written by one Mike Martin, former editor of Ag Weekly Magazine. He certainly demolishes my silly science-y notation of just what “mutations” (such as those discussed in the Nature article I cited use for analysis) are all about:

(Continued at Aetiology…)


But now, “mutation” is being redefined to include any change. If changes can be found in the population of a species they are proclaimed by those who believe in evolution as proof of the theory. The same logic is used in telling us that mosquitoes have “mutated” to become resistant to DDT. But the fact is, before the use of DDT, a small group in the total mosquito population was already resistant. When the insecticide was applied, the resistant insects survived while the unresistant died. The resistant then reproduced forming a strain (a group with common ancestry) of resistant mosquitoes. This an example of population shift, not of mutation in the Darwinian sense. The same fundamentals are used intentionally in cattle breeding to create a population shift that changes a herd of Herefords into black Angus.

Gosh, where did that variation in the mosquito population come from? It certainly couldn’t have been from mutations!

Psst! Revere… over here… ix-nay on the urvival-say of the ittest-fay, there pal.

(ya gotta help him a little bit, they’re kinda cute when they’re so clueless they use a classic example of survival of the fittest to show that Darwin was talking smack).

Yes, you just don’t get it, Tara. Whether it is the genetic variation or the selection, you simply have no empirical evidence that RM + NS was responsible for HIV adaptation. Why wouldn’t the designer be caring for its viral creations, carefully designing and re-designing H5N1 to effectively accomplish its designed purposes?

Phylogeny? Pfff. Don’t we know that designers actually borrow ideas? Like one ID luminary noted, perhaps angels and devils don’t have God’s design capabilities, and are resigned to effecting God’s (and Satan’s?) purposes by utilizing only evolutionary means (odd that we are more capable than angels and demons, but hey, we don’t know anything about the designer(s) anyhow (the last refuge of the IDist cowering before the evidence).

Of course what really happened in the exchange is not my response above, rather Revere showed once again that IDists will accept phylogenetic evidence as indication of actual evolution (whether from pre-existing mutations or otherwise), while taking pains to raise irrelevancies to deny the same on the “larger scale”. It’s the empirical issue that is important here, given that IDists do accept phylogenetic evidence where it is acceptable to their dogma.

Revere wants to nullify the importance of phylogenetic data by claiming that all that is happening is genetic shuffling, while the phylogenetic patterns in HIV evolution are in fact the general prediction in evolutionary theory, not a special prediction of “micro-evolution”. That is to say, it is a non sequitur to bring up the source of genetic information, since the same pattern is to be seen with or without significant mutation occurring during the observational period. Even if life was completely front-loaded to include all of the information to make all living forms (and somehow the “right information” was immune to degradation), we’d still have essentially the same patterns as those predicted by RM + NS. We include “RM” because of the absurdities that extreme front-loading imposes upon any evolutionary scenario, as well as the fact that we have evidence for “RM”.

Unfortunately for Revere, he is unwilling to invoke angels or demons to account for HIV evolution. Therefore it is absurd for him to deny RM + NS for primate evolution.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

I just want to point out that Revere also is being sarcastic, and Effect Measure is an excellent science blog for those of you who may be unfamiliar with it, lest I sully its good name by making anyone think he’s actually serious…

The Martin guy, though, is serious. As far as I can tell.

Okay, with that disclaimer, carry on. :)

Sorry for switching between HIV and H5N1 in the above post like I did. Essentially the same patterns are found in the adaptations of both, so I tend to replace one with the other without any concern. However it produces discontinuities in the language of the post.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Oh yeah, I should have written “Martin” instead of “Revere”. It’s easy to miss disclaimers when one is scanning an article instead of reading it carefully. Unsurprisingly, many of us read neither the repetitions of ID, nor sensible replies to same, particularly carefully. We’ve seen it all previously, and “Revere” is as unknown to me as “Martin” is.

What’s sad is that Revere’s sarcasm is limited to a science blog, while Martin’s BS is given mass distribution. And even though competent letter writers will probably correct Martin, the naive will simply suppose that there is some sort of “controversy” about evolution, something that educational institutions ought to acknowledge.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Speaking of HIV, what’s Phillip Johnson’s explanation for AIDS, since he doesn’t think it’s caused by HIV . …

What’s that? AIDS is caused by “an unhealthy lifestyle” …?

Gee, I wonder what Johnson could mean by THAT . … .

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This page contains a single entry by Tara Smith published on July 10, 2006 11:10 AM.

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