Behe vs Lampreys: A modest proposal.

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Lamprey.jpg

Intelligent Design advocates regularly claim that Intelligent Design is science. However, a recent paper on the lamprey genome demonstrates the sharp gulf between science and ID. One of the key icons of ID is Michael Behe’s “irreducibly complex” clotting system. In 1996 he claimed that the clotting system was unevolvable, and no simpler clotting system could exist. In contrast, in 1987 evolutionary biologist Russell Doolittle hypothesised that the clotting system had been built up by co-option of duplicated genes. Doolittle specifically predicted that fish would lack key elements of the Mammalian clotting system (elements of the intrinsic or contact clotting system). Let’s see how those predictions fared.

Since he first made his prediction, Russell Doolittle has been extensively examining the clotting systems of different organisms. By 2003, after over a decade of hard work, it was apparent that bony fish did lack the intrinsic clotting system, ironically the system that Behe describes in some detail in “Darwins Black Box”. By 2003 it also seemed that jawless fish also lacked key elements of the intrinsic clotting system, in line with Doolittle’s prediction and the opposite of Behe’s claim.

Now, it would have been easy for Doolittle to rest there, with favourable evidence for his prediction. But no, he and his colleagues put it to a more stringent test, searching for clotting factor genes in the trace archive of the lamprey genome (a representative jawless fish). This is a massive bit of work, the trace archive is all the gene fragments generated before assembly of the genome, so they had to laboriously assemble and test each putative gene. What did they find?

That jawless fish lack factors IX and V. Now, this is a pretty important chunk of the clotting system to be without. When it was revealed that whales and bony fish lacked the intrinsic clotting system, Behe effectively replied “So much the worse for them”. But in humans, lack of factor IX produces a bleeding disorder called haemophilia B, lack of factor V also produces haemophilia, and lack of both should result in a very severe bleeding disorder.

Clotting_system.pngThe reducible clotting system: Bony fish and jawless fish have a reduced complement of clotting factors compared to mammals. Jawless fish lack factors IX and V. Tissue factor and factor VII directly activate thrombin, but the explosive coagulation cascade is initiated by factors IX and V acting together. The older name for Factor V was proaccelerin, the activated from of factor V was known as accelerin, indicating its role in the explosive acceleration of clotting.

Factors IX and V are not peripheral pieces of the clotting system, but are the key section that produces the massive amount of thrombin needed for clotting in vertebrates. According to Behe, the severe bleeding disorder from loss of factors IX and V shows that the clotting system could not be built up from simpler systems, as the system can only function with all its parts.

To put it in Behe’s imagery, the clotting system of the Lamprey is a mousetrap without a spring.

Yet jawless fish are doing quite well without factor IX and V. The implications of this for “irreducible complexity” are profound. An ID advocate might concede that “yes, the clotting system isn’t really irreducibly complex, what about other systems?”. But this example not only falsifies the claim that the clotting system is “irreducibly complex”, but the logic of entire argument Behe uses. Behe has claimed that it is not possible to directly evolve a system such as the clotting system directly, because a smaller system will not work. Yet the jawless fish system shows just that, a system that lacks key component(s) of the mammalian system is completely viable and functioning. Behe’s central argument is broken, knocking out parts of a system and showing that the system breaks does not mean it cannot evolve directly from a simpler system. The work on lampreys provides strong evidence for Doolittle’s model of generating complex systems by rounds of duplication and divergence.

Note that in all this it has been the evolutionary biologists doing the heavy lifting. Generating predictions and models, testing clotting systems in various animals, cloning clotting factors, searching databases and finally, assembling genes from fragments. What have the ID apologists been doing in the 12 years since “Darwins Black Box” was published? Not a lot. Given the central role of the clotting system to their claims, one would have expected the ID folks would have been hard at work showing that the clotting system was irreducible.

Now, to be fair a lot of this is specialized work, that needs a serious biochemistry lab. But when the Fugu genome came out in 2003, nothing was stopping anyone from searching the Fugu genome for clotting factors. The databases were public, and you could do it at home in your spare time. No need to worry about discrimination from co-workers.

Did any ID person do that? No, it was the evolutionary biologists who came up with a testable hypothesis, and combed the Fugu database to test it.

Now the Amphioxus genome has come out. The Amphioxus is a simple, pre-vertebrate chordate, simpler than the Lamprey. We know that it clots its haemolymph (the Amphioxus equivalent of blood), and that it has a thrombin like molecule in its haemolymph, so we know it has a clotting system. Evolutionary biologists would predict that it has a reduced clotting system (see figure). ID advocates would predict that it would not.

So I have a modest proposal. I would like to invite Dr. Behe, or any other ID advocate, to predict which coagulation factors are present in Amphioxus, search the Amphioxus genome database and report on whether the genes found match their predictions. The database is free, you can do it at home, and the only cost is your time.

Time for ID advocates to do some science. How about it?

http://genome.jgi-psf.org/Brafl1/Brafl1.home.html

References

4 TrackBacks

Science vs. ID Redux: Lampreys from Threads from Henry's Web on May 10, 2008 10:26 AM

One characteristic of creationist debate over the last few decades has been moving the goal posts. Every time a new fossil is discovered that fits into the evolutionary pattern for some lineage we hear the “it’s still an X” litany, ... Read More

On Panda’s Thumb, Ian Musgrave shows how doing hard science has undermined further, the Irreducible Complexity argument about the blood clotting cascade as proposed by Michael Behe. In fact, the hard work supported a prediction made by Doolittle.... Read More

Defining Science from Submitted to a Candid World on May 10, 2008 11:56 AM

A couple of people have asked, in comments, why scientists get to define science so as to exclude the supernatural.  The answer is, science is that which you can prove, either by observation or by reasoning, and the Panda’s Thumb has an excellen... Read More

From here: Casey also chides Miller for not doing any knock-out experiments on blood clotting systems. This is heavily ironic as no ID proponent, not even Behe, has done any experiments on the blood clotting system. As I point out... Read More

260 Comments

They won’t do it, you know.…

c’mon now. if they did science, that would mean they had no faith. what are you, new? :b

Now, to be fair a lot of this is specialized work, that needs a serious biochemistry lab.

Like the one that noted University of Lehigh biochemist Michael Behe presumably has access to?

Probably they’ll simply move the goalposts; as long as they lack evidence, that’s the easiest way out for them. So we should not expect IDists with great emotional investment in their worldview to be convinced by this.

On the other hand, it is definitely useful for the genuinely curious. That is, laymen and scientists who actually compare the claims of ID and the evidence of modern evolutionary theory.

Finally, it’s useful for those like me, who occasionally have to educate friends about creationist claims and how those claims can be refuted. Kudos to Mr. Doolittle for his hard work and Mr. Musgrave for posting it here.

Why are proper scientists so polite, forthcoming, and lenient towards the religious Bovine Scatologists?

Isn’t it about time that the whole proper scientific community stood shoulder to shoulder and excluded the IDiots and the rest of the kooks from anything to do with science, - simply froze them out, loudly ridiculed them, and made the general public aware of their backward thinking?

Tare and feather Behe would be a good start, but that is of course more in line with the IDiots approach.

shonny said:

Why are proper scientists so polite, forthcoming, and lenient towards the religious Bovine Scatologists?

Isn’t it about time that the whole proper scientific community stood shoulder to shoulder and excluded the IDiots and the rest of the kooks from anything to do with science, - simply froze them out, loudly ridiculed them, and made the general public aware of their backward thinking?

Tare and feather Behe would be a good start, but that is of course more in line with the IDiots approach.

Actual scientists do one of two things to the Intelligent Design poseurs:

1) Treat Intelligent Design proponents as persona non grata until they bother to do science, or stop bothering scientists altogether, or

2) Examine, then destroy the fallacious claims made by Intelligent Design proponents with logic and science.

Isn’t it about time that the whole proper scientific community stood shoulder to shoulder and excluded the IDiots and the rest of the kooks from anything to do with science,

Naw. Just answer lies with the truth. Answer ignorance with knowledge.

We’ve been at this for centuries. Apollo Helios no longer drags the sun across the sky in a chariot every day. No one sacrifices humans on flat topped pyramids to keep the rain and sun gods happy.

The earth is no longer flat, it orbits the sun, and it is 4.5 billion years old rather than 6,000. Demons don’t cause illnesses unless you are a fundie with mental problems

It is slow but it works in the end.

Just a reminder folks, that inappropriate material will be moved to the Bathroom Wall. Play nice, thanks!

Seems like a fair challenge, especially since Behe and other ID proponents have done so poorly in addressing Doolittle’s claims.

When it was revealed that whales and bony fish lacked the intrinsic clotting system,

Whales?

[…] as the system can only function with all its parts.

I suppose if one thinks only of already warm blooded creatures, that might not be too far off. But if their ancestors weren’t warm blooded, that just might be a different kettle of fish.

Henry

Henry J Wrote:

Whales?

Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises have secondarily lost the intrinsic clotting system present in terrestrial vertebrates (they have a broken gene in the system), bony fish never had the system in the first place.

SCIENCEDAILY, top article, thirty minutes ago, not lampreys, something for more basic - photosynthesis. Had me on the edge of the seat, some of the time. The researchers are chasing solar energy, not origins theories.

It’s quantum physical chemistry. They have identified the safety mechanism whereby the photosnythesizing receptor system channels away excess heat, through quantum physics processes. Remarkable.

I suggest a compromise be brokered with ID. Seriously. This pre-dates lampreys by all but 4 thou. mill. yrs. There’s no time - even if time helped, which it doesn’t, there’s no time, unless the earth is older than previously estimated. All there is is the likelihood of some non-photosynthesizing plant life living on geothermal heat or whatever, then deciding it needed photosynthesis.

Take that SCIENCEDAILY article into a classroom, then start saying this way-out-there quantum physics happened as a result of geothermal bacteria wishing to get out in the sun.

But there is an alternative. Take the article into a classroom and say that we suspect the non-photosynthesizing life-forms had inbuilt computer-type programming that interacted with information feeding back from the environmental surrounds (not excluding the possibility of readable information signals coming from the sun, earth, and perhaps other celestial objects), and the inbuilt information technology capability triggered and/or built - perhaps not instantaneously, the photosynthesizing equipment. Extend this concept to the (far more sophisticated) lamprey.

Philip Heywood Wrote:

SCIENCEDAILY, top article, thirty minutes ago, not lampreys, something for more basic - photosynthesis. Had me on the edge of the seat, some of the time. The researchers are chasing solar energy, not origins theories.

The article is this one http://www.sciencedaily.com/release[…]08144332.htm It’s quite interesting, but I don’t know what it is about quantum mechanics that makes peoples brains turn to mush. Yes, photosynthesis uses quantum mechanics, so does all the chemistry in your body. The bulk properties of water are due to quantum mechanics, so the fact that some aspect of photosynthesis uses quantum mechanics doesn’t imply a designer.

So? Its still a clotting system.

Great post. You’d think that after the mountains of evidence stacked against them, they’d abandon shoddy notions. Sigh.

Caution: Holding ones breath may result in hypoxia and death.

PBH,

“ suggest a compromise be brokered with ID.”…SO, you are looking for Science to throw ID a bone in hopes that it will derail (throw them off the trail) real science from actually learning and explaining the cause and effect. Trying to squeeze every little bit of life (and gullible faithfull dollars) out of the mythical ID???

You really are funny.

Ian Musgrave said: Evolutionary biologists would predict that it has a reduced clotting system (see figure).

Unfortunately for the layman the article isn’t quite clear on the premises for thinking this, unless I’m mistaken.

It is obvious from the figure that more ancestral forms (as I understand the terminology) has a reduced system. OTOH the Amphioxus has had as much time to evolve as vertebrates, so it could presumably have elaborated on such a simpler system too.

Now the link to the Introduction to the Cephalochordata mentions that similar cephalochordates are known from the Early Cambrian. So I wonder if it is the observed preservation of most traits in this branch that is the basis for the prediction? Or is it something entirely else?

The bulk properties of water are due to quantum mechanics, so the fact that some aspect of photosynthesis uses quantum mechanics doesn’t imply a designer.

Nor does quantum mechanics imply “information feedback” or “programming”.

So posters here feel that this article shows an observation that would not happen if ID theory was correct?

Now I see that the article mentions that Amphioxus is simpler, which is the clearly stated premise I missed.

And scratch “ancestral forms”, ancestral and derived forms pertain to the fossil record, don’t they? “Simpler” it is.

bobby said:

So posters here feel that this article shows an observation that would not happen if ID theory was correct?

No, god (I can call the design mechanism god, can I?) could have designed it that way.

The article is there to show that an early claim of “this proves ID is correct”, was utterly wrong. So once again a proof of ID turns out to be flawed.

In other words ID still has not demonstrated any scientific credibility,

Philip Bruce Heywood said: I suggest a compromise be brokered with ID.

This in an interesting statement.

First, it presupposes that there’s some official scientific establishment that’s empowered with the authority to broker a compromise. I know that some people seem to think there’s some sort of a “Darwinian Machine” that will – dare I say it? – “EXpel” people who dissent from MET, but as far as I know, that machine only exists in the minds of cdesign proponentists (and a really amusing video). So, I’m not sure who can serve as a “broker” from the side of mainstream science.

Second, it presupposes that scientific issues can be resolved in a negotiation. It seems to me that from the standpoint of mainstream science, the concept of a brokered deal with ID means some combination of accepting as true assertions known to be false and working with hypotheses that cannot, even in principle, be falsified.

I’ll be interested in seeing if Behe, or any ID activist, takes up Ian’s challenge. No need to worry about funding, no need to do any of that pesky lab work, just apply those fancy math tools Dembski talks about. Someone should be able to get a peer-reviewed paper out of the deal – very handy for the ID researcher who is not yet tenured!

bobby said:

So posters here feel that this article shows an observation that would not happen if ID theory was correct?

What observation could possibly be made that is incompatible with ID?

bobby said:

So posters here feel that this article shows an observation that would not happen if ID theory was correct?

No. Until IDers come up with a theory there is nothing that could possibly show ID to be incorrect. That is why it is not science. Have you learned nothing since you’ve been coming here?

What it does show is that what Behe said is impossible does actually occur. The big question now is, how long will it take for the information to percolate through to the rank and file of IDers and creationists? Based on the time for other information (e.g. a pathway for eye evolution, the SLOT) I would guess at least 100 years.

No, bobby. Anything can happen if ID is correct. There’s no way to disprove ID, because even if there is FULL, COMPLETE convincing evidence, from every individual animal from the first cell to a current human being to have evolved, ID can still claim that god(s) designed it that way.

What happened here is that a leading ID proponent, one of the very few actual biologists they have, made a scientific claim that evolution must be false, because what was described here could not happen. He was devastatingly wrong. Par for the course. How he can still say such things with a straight face after the Mullerian Two-Step article is beyond my understanding.

Evolution is so overwhelmingly supported by evidence from every angle of science that it may as well be considered proven. Whether a god had something to do with it behind the scenes, we cannot tell. Maybe there is one, maybe not. To evolution it does not matter.

““ In 1996 he claimed that the clotting system was unevolvable, and no simpler clotting system could exist. ““

Is this not a prediction of ID theory? And was not the point of the article that this is not the case??

It seems to me Behe made a prediction based on his theory and then according to this article the prediction was not true.

Seems his theory was seeming falsified.

““ But this example not only falsifies the claim that the clotting system is ”irreducibly complex”, ““

So the posters are saying that a hypothesis that can be falsified is not scientific???

I.M.: Quantum Physics turns my brain to mush because it tells us what really happens when chemicals react, and it is a potential “microscope” through which to see what actually happens at speciation. It’s at the root of a suite of new advances in medicine and communications. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. Some queer people get excited over that sort of thing.

What IS I.D. Theory, incidentally? The idea that God is involved? Or the idea that information technology is involved? The former is religion; the latter is right throughout the scientific literature. I am having trouble defining the argument.

I’m not having any trouble defining science and logic. Neither are the students in that classroom. I recently visited “Wheat-Dogg’s” Site, linked to in the head of another thread - he features an article on Yoko Ono and “Expelled”. He goes to some pains to explain that design does not necessitate a designer. At the end of this long-winded thesis, which he rounds off with the assertion that design does not imply a designer, he invites comments. I couldn’t resist the line: ERGO, Wheat-Dogg’s Site need not have a designer. I doubt the censor will allow it. But it’s always good for a laugh. Let’s not set up a scenario whereby students are laughing at science, shall we? It’s up to them to decide which designer(none, if they wish): the existence of design is not in question. They’ll just think you’re walking about on the ceiling, if you try to tell them that photosynthesis isn’t designed. I mean, they’re only talking about using it as a 90%+ efficient solar power conversion machine.

PBH said:

I suggest a compromise be brokered with ID. Seriously.

This shows a complete unawareness of how science operates that I would, before I came across IDers/creationists, have found amazing in a person who claims to have some background in the area. Science and scientists are only interested in what is correct, not in woo. As SWT mentioned, there is no central body with any kind of authority to impose their will on science or scientists as a whole. Moreover, I cannot imagine scientists would be willing to trust IDers/creationists as it has been well-established that they are all either poorly informed or liars or both.

“““ There’s no way to disprove ID, because even if there is FULL, COMPLETE convincing evidence, from every individual animal from the first cell to a current human being to have evolved, ID can still claim that god(s) designed it that way. ““”

No sorry that would be unfalsifiable. But to say that there was an intelligent intervention somewhere along the way WOULD be falsifiable. And again as Dawkins stated aliens could have seeded that planet at one time.

There is a difference between evolving with help from an outside intelligence and without.

Just as poodles have evolved with the help of intelligent intervention.

bobby said:

Dan said:

bobby said:

Whoah you claim there are mountains of evidence for Darwinism. Show me!

First of all, I didn’t claim there are mountains of evidence for Darwinism because, as I’ve already explained, there is no such thing as Darwinism.

We don’t call atomic theory “Lavoisierism”.

We don’t call the theory of the round Earth “Eratosthenesism”.

We don’t call astrophysics “Keplerism”.

We don’t call airplane pilots “Wrightists”.

We don’t call classical mechanics “Newtonism”.

We don’t call evolution “Darwinism.”

If you want an introduction to the mountains of evidence behind evolution, I invite you to start with “Chromosomes, Giant Molecules, and Evolution” by Bruce Wallace. It’s old (1966) but very clearly and delightfully written. You can buy a used hardcover copy for $2.99:

http://experiencedbooks.com/web/abk/bBB-007812

Please ask Gould and Dawkins to quit using the term ‘Darwinism’ then.

Of course evolution happens. Again it is Darwinism that has extremely little evidence supporting it.

However we do use the terms Marxism, Lysenkoism, and Impressionism, and cubism.

Certain words simply gain usage and roll off the tongue well. For instance Einsteinism simply is hard to say.

OK if you do not like the term Darwinism I will use a term that you will not get upset about. Give an alternate term for Darwinism and I will use it.

How about “reality”? Ever heard of that?

Hey Bobby,

Read the 29 Evidences for Macroevolution yet? If you had, you would have learned terms such as the modern theory of evolution and macroevolution. All of this is explained in the Talk Origins archive. We are all waiting for you to educate yourself. After that maybe we can have a scientific discussion. Until then, listening to you ignore away 150 years of evidence isn’t really interesting to anyone.

“Darwinism” = “those parts of science that a given anti-evolutionist doesn’t accept”.

How’s that?

Please ask Gould and Dawkins to quit using the term ‘Darwinism’ then.

Of course evolution happens. Again it is Darwinism that has extremely little evidence supporting it.

I am afraid Gould is somewhat handicapped WRT honouring your request. WRT Dawkins, you might want to consider the obvious fact that while he may use the word “Darwinism”, it is more accurate when we want to refer to the current status of evolutionary research to simply say ‘evolutionary theory’, ToE, or MET (Modern Evolutionary Theory.

You should know that the reason for the various terms are the simple fact of life that the theory has been evolving over a period of 150 years, and have been associated with such terms as Punctuated Equilibrium, Modern Synthesis, and maybe others that I haven’t even heard of.

Simply because research has shown that there is so much more than just “gradual descent with modification caused by random mutations and natural selection.”

WRT Punctuated Equilibrium, to forestall ironic triumphant claims, it might be worth noting that Darwin in all editions of The Origin of Species after the third, wrote:

the periods during which species have been undergoing modification, though very long as measured by years, have probably been short in comparison with the periods during which these same species remained without undergoing any change.

I agree with you, evolution happens, regardless of what name we use. That is what the evidence says. So what’s your problem?

Dan asks…

When you say “How ignorant you are” do you mean that the writer has an ignorance of 27? Or maybe 52? I’m not sure what units you want ignorance to be measured in?

IDies.

bobby said:

OK if you do not like the term Darwinism I will use a term that you will not get upset about. Give an alternate term for Darwinism and I will use it.

Try “Evolutionary Biology”

The number of people who are estimated to work directly with evolutionary issues or products every day: 700,000

The number of people who feel that evolution has some mysterious mathematical flaw and therefore doesn’t work: Two.

Dembski and Bobby.

The number of people who have actually been able to demonstrate said flaw: Zero.

The reason Dembski fails: His published math demonstrably doesn’t add up.

The reason Bobby fails: “I am not going to expose my whole concept without anything in return, sorry”.

In other words. It’s a secret.

Why is it that the IDiots who shout loudest about overthrowing “Darwinism” always decide that it’s better go mum once they finally find the proof.

Especially since overturning a widely established theory is the best way to make their name truly immortal, which, you’d figure, would be somewhat attractive to them. Galileo, Einstein, even - dare I say it - Darwin. All these men are famous because they torpedoed a previous flawed theory.

I think you’re making a mistake here, Bobby. If you can figure out the math, surely someone else can, and they they’re going to the Nobel that’s rightfully yours, bro.

I say strike now while the iron is hot, and boldly display the brilliance of your shining intellect to the world. But, safety first, give me a second to get my shades.

Um and um, maybe hide my irony meter.

mr. blobby said:

I can walk you thru the math. But I doubt that you could understand it.

I’m telling you guys, it’s BEHE! First he redefined science, and now he will redefine math! Ok.. maybe it’s Dembski. Maybe they’re teaming up!

““ Why is it that the IDiots who shout loudest about. ““

That was a childish statement.

Anyhow I did say I would go over the math in a step by step manner as long as get equivalent input from the other side.

But I have dealt with Darwinists before They have trouble envsioning a math concept in toto so I think I would need to do this in simple steps.

““ The number of people who are estimated to work directly with evolutionary issues or products every day: 700,000 ““

The number of people who are estimated to work directly with Darwinian issues or products every day: zero.

Why is it so hard for some posters to realize Darwinism != evolution.

bobby said:

““ Why is it that the IDiots who shout loudest about. ““

That was a childish statement.

Anyhow I did say I would go over the math in a step by step manner as long as get equivalent input from the other side.

But I have dealt with Darwinists before They have trouble envsioning a math concept in toto so I think I would need to do this in simple steps.

Cut the crap, you little fraud. You’re the one claiming you have this amazing mathematical proof that contradicts over a century of biology. But apparently no one but you is allowed to see it. what’s the difference between evidence no one is ever allowed to see, and no evidence at all? Just a bunch of meaningless blather from bullshitting bobby.

Put up or shut up. If you have the evidence, present it.

But you won’t. Everyone knows you have nothing.

bobby said:

““ The number of people who are estimated to work directly with evolutionary issues or products every day: 700,000 ““

The number of people who are estimated to work directly with Darwinian issues or products every day: zero.

Why is it so hard for some posters to realize Darwinism != evolution.

Then what, if anything, does it mean?

YOU’RE the one using the term. You’re the one who’s spent so much time screeching about the evils of “Darwinism”. So what the hell do you mean when you say that?

When creationists use the word “Darwinism” they’re just referencing a pile of strawmen that exist only in their own hollow heads. It’s just a buzzword to signify their rejection of all reality.

This rings familiar. Who was the other twit who insisted he walk everyone through his pretzel logic step by step like he’d read too much Plato? That twit never got to the point, either. Probably didn’t have one. Like our little pal bobble-head here.

Bobby whines…

Why is it so hard for some posters to realize Darwinism != evolution.

Um, because there is no such thing as “Darwinism”.

Just what do you think the difference is?

“Try ‘Evolutionary Biology’”

Stanton, I have a bit of problem with this. To me, all biology is evolutionary biology. Your phrase suggests there are areas of biology that do not deal with evolution.

By the way,I have no problem with being called a ‘Darwinist’. It reflects the historical roots of my field. I’m proud of that history.

If creationists use the term as a perjorative, it just demonstrates their ignorance.

R Ward said:

“Try ‘Evolutionary Biology’”

Stanton, I have a bit of problem with this. To me, all biology is evolutionary biology. Your phrase suggests there are areas of biology that do not deal with evolution.

English, King’s English, Queen’s English.

Yes, it’s true that evolution ties in with all aspects of biology, both directly and indirectly, but, when I say “Evolutionary Biology,” I’m trying to refer to those aspects of biology that concern the mechanics and direct consequences of “descent with modification.”

You know, like, studying how and why the brontotheres became progressively bigger throughout their evolutionary history, or how eukaryotics gained mitochondria, versus how mitochondria function.

bobby,

I posted my math* on page 7, but you ignored it.

*Well, it’s not my math, per se.

Henry J said: I’d think a prediction has to be something that’s not expected if the hypothesis is wrong, since otherwise the prediction isn’t useful.

For me a prediction is any consequence from a theory, not necessarily testable. Say, like the flatness of spatial curvature on the current cosmology implies (predicts) an infinite universe. How do the test that? We probably can’t in principle, so it isn’t a falsifiable prediction.

But at this stage I think we are discussing terminology, essentially agreeing on what is necessary to have in a science.

Sheesh. You get involved in marking exam papers and the world goes crazy. Doesn’t anybody remember the aphorism, “Don’t feed the Troll”?

As this thread is now unproductive, I’m turning off comments.

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This page contains a single entry by Ian Musgrave published on May 10, 2008 11:09 AM.

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