Jerry Coyne & Manyuan Long on the origin of new genes in Drosophila

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Jerry Coyne reports on a new paper in Science by Manyuan Long and colleagues on the origin and history of new genes in a large group of Drosophila that have recently had their full genomes sequenced.

Having this much phylogenetic and genomic information allows researchers to estimate the phylogenetic position of the origin of a new gene (566 new genes amongst the group of 12 fully sequenced genomes, actually), and the periods of time in which directional selection, stabilizing selection, or drift were the dominant regime that the new genes were evolving under. In many cases, there is a period of high selection after the origin of the gene, which weakens later – which is just what you would expect if the well-known, standard model for the origin of new genes is correct.

Two additional points are worth mentioning: (1) in some cases (about 30%, 59 out of the 195 they targeted for knockout studies), these new genes have become essential to viability for the species in question – even though they are totally absent in other, basically similar, flies that do just fine without them! This is strong support for the notion that one way “irreducible” systems evolve is by evolving parts that are helpful at first, but later become essential as other parts coadapt to become dependent on them. (2) I’m sure Luskin, Ewert, and other DI people would like to dismiss this as just another case of evolutionists “illegitimately” inferring common ancestry from “mere” sequence similarity, and that “common design” could be the explanation. However, in any other context, these creationists, and virtually any creationists including the young-earthers, would easily say that all of these Drosophila are just different varieties of the Drosophila kind, and that whatever variety exists between them (minor, in the grand scheme of biology) is “merely” “microevolution within the kind!” (And in the Edge of Evolution, Behe clearly puts his estimated “edge” well above the genus level.)

What’s that? Standard boring microevolutionary processes can produce new genes with modified sequences and new functions, which is clearly new information on anyone’s definition, even the creationists’ and even (explicitly so) Michael Behe’s definition? Oh my goodness, someone better call the DI news blog to put out this fire and reassure the faithful!

References

Chen, S., E. Zhang, and M. Long. 2010. New genes in Drosophila quickly become essential. Science 330:1682-1685.

A previous bit of ranting on this topic by me (responding to Luskin’s ridiculous critique of another famous paper by Manyuan Long, entered into evidence in the Kitzmiller case as exhibit P-245, actually: Long et al. (2003), Nature Reviews Genetics, “The origin of new genes” (free online in many places).

63 Comments

AS I said on Coyne’s post on this research, somewhere Michael Behe should be scrooching in a corner with his hands protecting his groin region.

Pah! No, what you’ll get is: “Tis but a scratch! A mere flesh wound! Come back here you cowards, I’ll bite your knees off!”

Heh! Funnily enough, reminds me of:

Synthese (2011) 178:219–235

DOI 10.1007/s11229-009-9545-5

Foiling the Black Knight

Kelly C. Smith

Received: 23 March 2009 / Accepted: 25 March 2009 / Published online: 21 April 2009

Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Abstract

Why is the academy in general, and philosophy in particular, not more involved in the fight against the creationist threat? And why, when a response is offered, is it so curiously ineffective? I argue, by using an analogy with the battle against the Black Knight from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, that the difficulty lies largely in a failure to see the nature of the problem clearly. By modifying the analogy, it is possible to see both why large sections of the academy have remained unmoved and also why many of the reactions to the threat have been so unsuccessful. Finally, I offer some very broad suggestions as to how to modify our approach in light of this new perspective.

Keywords Evolution - Creationism - Education - Monty Python

I found Smith’s article frustrating. The question presented is, how do you get through to someone who doesn’t care, doesn’t listen, doesn’t have the slightest understanding of or respect for evidence or logic, and is simply impervious to all known mechanisms by which humans have been observed to learn?

And Smith’s solution is, well, since everything we can dream of has struck out at the college level, the problem must lie in the public schools before college. THEY should fix this problem! But the public schools have found that by the time the pupil enters his very first biology class at about age 14, it’s already too late. Creationism has taken root in (Smith cites) 54% of the American people and rising, even before entering the public school system at all.

Creationism really isn’t an intellectual matter at all, and can’t be addressed on that level. Creationism is an emotional need trained into children early on. The sorts of discussions Smith (and us here at PT) have with creationists are about juggling various justifications and rationalizations which creationists don’t really need because they’re basically window dressing.

As Smith has noticed, the creationist can regurgitate in full detail the utter absurdity of his belief, complete with recognition of blatant logical errors and known false statements of fact, but ends by saying “but I believe it anyway”.

So Smith spends all this time pointing out that the Black Knight simply will not and cannot every admit defeat, pointing out that all attempts to get him to admit defeat have failed, and ends up suggesting that getting him to admit defeat is someone else’s job. Uh huh, great. It might be worth asking WHY mainstream Christian denominations are dwindling while evangelical denominations are growing and thriving. It might be worth asking WHY Americans far moreso than anyone else in the Western World demand Absolute Truth, even if it’s stupid and wrong. WHY do more and more parents FEAR that if Johnny thinks too hard about certain things, he’ll jeopardize his chances of going to heaven?

I don’t have these answers, but I can still see that the problem lies in the overall social and family support system starting at birth, and public school is only a small part of this. And I can see that what people know and what they believe are two different things, seated in two different parts of the brain, and that beliefs rule with an iron fist.

Flint said:

I don’t have these answers, but I can still see that the problem lies in the overall social and family support system starting at birth, and public school is only a small part of this. And I can see that what people know and what they believe are two different things, seated in two different parts of the brain, and that beliefs rule with an iron fist.

Whatever it is, Rupert Murdock, Rush Limbaugh, Faux News, and the current make-up of the Republican Party know how to nurture it and exploit it.

Over the course of time, talk radio shows have featured commentators appealing to the audience’s intelligence and knowledge, rather than to their fears and other emotions. These efforts have been roundly ignored and short-lived. The national psyche seems to have turned away from the former appeal to a sense of adventure and discovering the unknown, and toward circling the wagons in defense against imaginary enemies. We’re no longer playing to win, we’re playing to lose as slowly as we can.

It’s a very tough problem. It has to be thought of as a long-term, multi-generational, multi-century effort, where the influence of any one person or even any one institution is pretty tiny. Remember that the scale we are talking about is how to persuade hundreds of millions of people in a complex, democratic society with billions of things going on besides creationism vs. evolution.

Obviously it’s rock-bottom requirement that we need to make sure that higher education and the public schools are doing their jobs and teaching strong science. But beyond that? In a democratic society, evolution is going to have to compete with everything else for public attention. It’s important to win the big fights when they come up, and to have scientists engaged with the public and the press, for science journalists and university press officers to do high-quality work, and (IMHO) for scientists and science popularizers to make an effort to make things better rather than worse in terms of science/public relations (and yes, this means exercising some degree of democratic civility, tolerance, and fairness towards religion and the religious – a good model is how the Founding Fathers, even the most secular ones, treated religion and the religious).

But these are basically effects on the order of 1% of the solution, even if they were to work perfectly.

The only real solution will occur when/if the evangelical churches chill out about evolution. This includes the evangelical thought leaders, the seminaries and the pastors. This is why I think BioLogos is basically a good thing, despite various disagreements. It is evangelicals talking evolution to evangelicals.

What can one do if one is not an evangelical? I’m not sure. It would be nice, very nice, if there were a way to engage evangelicals on friendly terms over the evolution issue. Ways which didn’t involve the usual catfights with creationists. But that is a tough thing to pull off, e.g. getting invites to speak to congregations. If anyone has any ideas, let me know…

I enjoyed the Doonesbury cartoon a while back, where the doctor asked the patient if he accepted the theory of evolution. The patient said no, so the doctor said “OK, we give you the straight penicillin. It won’t work against your problem, but all the stuff that WILL work couldn’t have been discovered without applying the theory of evolution, and using that would be against your religion.”

Maybe we need a couple hundred thousand more of those doctors…

Flint said:

I found Smith’s article frustrating. The question presented is, how do you get through to someone who doesn’t care, doesn’t listen, doesn’t have the slightest understanding of or respect for evidence or logic, and is simply impervious to all known mechanisms by which humans have been observed to learn?

And Smith’s solution is, well, since everything we can dream of has struck out at the college level, the problem must lie in the public schools before college. THEY should fix this problem! …

I think people are expecting too much if they think that hard-core creationists, especially their public leaders, are in any way convincible by any evidence.

But they’re not the only people in the room. Usually there are many people around who have only heard their side of the story but who may harbor doubts or wonder whether that holds up. On web site debates, there are many “lurkers”. Plus there are others who know evolution happened and that adaptation is explained by natural selection, but who may not have fully-formulated ready answers to common creationist debating points.

When I wrote an article [warning: shameless plug] refuting the arguments of William Dembski, the audience I had in mind was a high school teacher or college instructor who was not quite sure what Dembski’s argument was or how to respond to it.

Let’s not assume that the audience is unreachable by sound scientific arguments.

Ah yes, the distinction between hard-core creationists, and those whose life experience might make creationistic ideas the default, but who aren’t committed to it and haven’t been exposed to the alternatives.

I do wonder how many of those 54% who said people were poofed in their present form within the last 10,000 years, would change their mind if they were immediately informed that the evidence refuting this belief were vast beyond imagining, filling huge libraries and new libraries all the time. And that there is absolutely ZERO evidence for any recent creation, only evidence against it. How many would say “Oh, I never knew that. I guess evolution must be correct after all…”?

What depressed me was the poll that showed that of all creationists who entered a biology degree program and graduated, over 80% were STILL creationists. Clearly, there is an age beyond which education does not cure creationism. I think Smith is correct in implying that age is younger than college freshman. I suspect it’s younger than high school biology student also.

I do applaud any attempts to train teachers to produce canned responses to canned objections drilled into school kids. I think this sort of thing has to be handled carefully, because I think the child loses the ability to reason about creationism before he reaches the age where he CAN reason at all. For a child at the critical age, it’s a straight swearing contest between the teacher on the one side, and the child’s parents, church, friends, daily practices, etc. on the other. For the teacher to be right, every other knowledgeable trusted authority in his life must be dead wrong. Not an easy current for the teacher to swim against.

And as Smith wrote, the students can appear to fully understand why his common creationist debating points are misleading, dishonest, or wrong, and explain this understanding in detail. But his belief in those points isn’t even dented.

In the long run, I think we need to find the root of the problem, the concerns that are driving Americans toward comfortable Absolute Truths, however preposterous. What’s causing all the fear and insecurity that creationism immunizes them against? I wish I knew.

Flint said:

In the long run, I think we need to find the root of the problem, the concerns that are driving Americans toward comfortable Absolute Truths, however preposterous. What’s causing all the fear and insecurity that creationism immunizes them against? I wish I knew.

I suspect that a lot of the answer to those kinds of conundrums can be found at AiG of all places.

Ken Ham and his army of “PhDs” devote most of their efforts to indoctrinating kids. They aim at the home school market, they hold large “academies,” and harangue the kids with all sorts of bullshit.

We can study the techniques just by going over to that site and looking and some of those materials; especially those “video on demand” series. I’ve been looking at a lot of that crap; and I find it interesting to see just how those jackals operate.

Basically they direct an incredible barrage of mind games and word games at kids who are too young and too inexperienced to see through the tricks. But by the time Ham and his army get done with these kids, they are extremely cynical and afraid of the secular world and anyone who is a secular scientist.

One needs to pay close attention to the emotional baggage Ham loads on these kids and their parents. Then you begin to recognize that Ham and his minions have put years of thought and practice into their messages; and they have become experts at propagandizing kids, churches, and parents.

Rather than trying to figure out how to reach students and adults, we should be studying the tactics of those who have already figured it out and are making a living at it. It’s mean, it’s dirty, and apparently it’s damned near permanent in its effect.

That’s what “getting them when they’re young” is all about.

It is bad, but it isn’t that bad.

Copernicus published 450 years ago and still 20% of the US population are Geocentrists and can’t diagram the solar system.

That fact says that no matter how good the evidence is, 20% of the population won’t accept it or understand it.

And how much does this 20% matter anyway? Given that the median US IQ is 100, there are going to be a lot of 70’s and 80’s in there and a lot of uneducated people.

Probably not much.

Among people who matter and keep our civilization going, it is likely to be far higher.

And retention rates for kids in fundie religions is very low. The Southern Baptists consistently find it is around 30%. This is true of the Seventh Day Adventists as well. US xianity is on the skids right now and losing about 1 million members a year.

With the time frame for Heliocentrism to be accepted by the general population of 450 years, evolution is just getting started. The world moves faster these days, give it another 50 or 100 years.

Flint said:

I found Smith’s article frustrating. The question presented is, how do you get through to someone who doesn’t care, doesn’t listen, doesn’t have the slightest understanding of or respect for evidence or logic, and is simply impervious to all known mechanisms by which humans have been observed to learn?

And Smith’s solution is, well, since everything we can dream of has struck out at the college level, the problem must lie in the public schools before college. THEY should fix this problem! But the public schools have found that by the time the pupil enters his very first biology class at about age 14, it’s already too late. Creationism has taken root in (Smith cites) 54% of the American people and rising, even before entering the public school system at all.

Creationism really isn’t an intellectual matter at all, and can’t be addressed on that level. Creationism is an emotional need trained into children early on. The sorts of discussions Smith (and us here at PT) have with creationists are about juggling various justifications and rationalizations which creationists don’t really need because they’re basically window dressing.

As Smith has noticed, the creationist can regurgitate in full detail the utter absurdity of his belief, complete with recognition of blatant logical errors and known false statements of fact, but ends by saying “but I believe it anyway”.

So Smith spends all this time pointing out that the Black Knight simply will not and cannot every admit defeat, pointing out that all attempts to get him to admit defeat have failed, and ends up suggesting that getting him to admit defeat is someone else’s job. Uh huh, great. It might be worth asking WHY mainstream Christian denominations are dwindling while evangelical denominations are growing and thriving. It might be worth asking WHY Americans far moreso than anyone else in the Western World demand Absolute Truth, even if it’s stupid and wrong. WHY do more and more parents FEAR that if Johnny thinks too hard about certain things, he’ll jeopardize his chances of going to heaven?

I don’t have these answers, but I can still see that the problem lies in the overall social and family support system starting at birth, and public school is only a small part of this. And I can see that what people know and what they believe are two different things, seated in two different parts of the brain, and that beliefs rule with an iron fist.

Just wondering what any of that, or any other remarks about creationists, has to do with the paper by Manyuan Long and colleagues?

Apparently, things are only ‘off topic’ when they’re not in line with the obsessive compulsive creationist-hating purpose of this website.

Mike Elzinga said:

I suspect that a lot of the answer to those kinds of conundrums can be found at AiG of all places.

Ken Ham and his army of “PhDs” devote most of their efforts to indoctrinating kids. They aim at the home school market, they hold large “academies,” and harangue the kids with all sorts of bullshit.

But interestingly, note that they do try to present their arguments as “scientific”. They wrap themselves in the mantle of science. They no longer can just argue, as creationists once did, that divinely-inspired biblical texts decree that evolution did not happen. They have to be “creation scientists” and argue that science agrees with this. (Separation of church and state of course makes them go further than that and obfuscate their message to get it taught in the schools).

The need to (mis-)represent themselves as “scientists” is a hopeful sign of the great weakness of their dogma, and a sign of the corresponding prestige of real science.

If one is looking for a tactic to fight demographic trends, why not find a creative way to target the largest growing segments of the populace? The growth in minority populations is potentially a big area to improve understanding, and one that does not involve the dreaded knight.

JGB said:

If one is looking for a tactic to fight demographic trends, why not find a creative way to target the largest growing segments of the populace? The growth in minority populations is potentially a big area to improve understanding, and one that does not involve the dreaded knight.

Sorry, but there is a massive undercurrent of fundamentalist evangelism in the majority of the minorities (at least in the areas I’m familiar with) and a big part of it is what I call “encouraged ignorance”.

There is strong social pressure, not just from peers, but from family as well to NOT to well in school. Minority students who do well in school are harassed and beaten for being too white. I’ve seen this in black, hispanic, and asian populations.

There are a huge number (in certain areas) of students to cannot read, but are allowed to continue on because of social promotion rather than any actual knowledge or skill. One of the schools I taught at had less than a 10% pass rate on the 10th grade achievement test.

Finally, the majority of these populations pay some (not much, but some) respect to religious leaders. Not to the point where they don’t get drunk or have premarital sex every day, but if it’s something that will help them get out of doing stuff in school, then they are all for it. There have been numerous times a kid so stoned he can’t even focus his eyes has said to me, ‘sorry, evolution is against my religion. You can’t make me learn it.’

I got out of teaching soon after that.

Anyway, Nick is correct, this is going to be a very, very slow process. Easy things are easier to accept than hard things and science is very hard and religion is very easy.

Kris @ as far as topics go, you may be right, but then, this is real discussion by adults. When you want to really discuss things and accept others work, ideas, and evidence, then maybe I’ll accept that you can sit at the adult table. Until then, you have a large number of unanswered questions at ATBC.

OgreMkv -

There is a great deal of social pathology in the US. It is especially obvious in historically discriminated-against populations. Perhaps when you spend centuries telling people that they will not be permitted equal participation in society for an irrelevant and superficial reason, suspicion of mainstream society may develop. It could take time for major, long term characteristics of a society to reverse themselves, even if “official” reversal has already occurred.

Having said that, my overwhelming concern is political creationism and science denial. Most humans will have supernatural and “spiritual” beliefs for the foreseeable future. I lived in NM for two years, and nothing to do with crystals, pyramids, aliens, or anything else ever had any negative impact on me.

The vast, overwhelming majority of political efforts to jam creationism into schools, to elect or appoint science deniers to powerful positions, and to attack public education in general or on specifics, clearly come from a political party, the Republican party, that does not get much support from any definable minority population. A sole exception may be Cuban-Americans if looked at separately, and that trend is changing. Another old “ethnic” Republican block used to be, ironically, Arab-Americans. That changed in recent elections.

These are just facts. As I have stated many times, I understand that some science supporters are conservative on some other issues. I understand that a few people are left in the Republican party who don’t pander full time to religious extremism. On the other hand, the recent DADT vote gives a good estimate of how many do.

That’s the way it is, and the minute that a Democrat, or someone claiming to be “progressive” or “liberal”, proposes specific rights-violating religious indoctrination at taxpayer expense in public schools, I will condemn that person equally. Right now that isn’t that case.

There are a huge number (in certain areas) of students to cannot read, but are allowed to continue on because of social promotion rather than any actual knowledge or skill. One of the schools I taught at had less than a 10% pass rate on the 10th grade achievement test.

That is horrible and it shouldn’t happen.

The rural (white fundie) area near where my former home is has 80% of the kids qualifying for free meals at school and some illiterate parents don’t even send their kids to school.

It isn’t that way everywhere. My area has 70% of the adults with degrees, 30% post bac degrees.

But getting back to my point above, how much are near illiterates going to matter in running our civilization?

And not accepting evolution is one of the least of their non-contributions to our society.

I agree.

I had a student, who after taking notes and asking some good questions about phospors and fluorescence, then said, “The ghosts light up the TV in my room, even when it’s not on.”

It’s a difficult circle to break.

raven said:

There are a huge number (in certain areas) of students to cannot read, but are allowed to continue on because of social promotion rather than any actual knowledge or skill. One of the schools I taught at had less than a 10% pass rate on the 10th grade achievement test.

That is horrible and it shouldn’t happen.

The rural (white fundie) area near where my former home is has 80% of the kids qualifying for free meals at school and some illiterate parents don’t even send their kids to school.

It isn’t that way everywhere. My area has 70% of the adults with degrees, 30% post bac degrees.

But getting back to my point above, how much are near illiterates going to matter in running our civilization?

And not accepting evolution is one of the least of their non-contributions to our society.

Oh, I could tell stories all day long of the school I taught in. I wouldn’t even have to discuss students to have you cringing in horror… and people wonder why US education sucks.

BTW: Has everyone seen the PISA results? It’s a world-wide test of student ability. It’s not perfect, but the US is almost good enough to be in the middle. I think we beat France in some subjects, I forget it’s been a while since I read the article. China is now the number one school system in the world.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/07/e[…]ucation.html

The rural (white fundie) area near where my former home is has 80% of the kids qualifying for free meals at school

How much do you want to bet that a majority of those kids’ parents routinely vote for politicians who would eliminate funding for school lunches if they thought they could get away with it?

I do agree that in many minority communities there is a strong undercurrent of not doing good in school for the sake of whatever. That does make it a slightly different problem than religious indoctrination. I was particularly thinking of Hispanic population with the strong history of Catholicism. I believe at the root of it that the Black Night article identified the central problem. It’s not purely anti-scientific, it’s a straightforward inability to reason. They need to be taught logical reasoning across all of the disciplines, so that they are equipped to sort out the noise from the good stuff. All to often students come to adopt a weird quasi-relativistic thinking. Basically I have the right to believe whatever nonsense I wish, and since I have the right it’s therefore OK to believe whatever nonsense without any notion of the idea that we can look deeper for answers, and that looking for answers across all subject matter has produced human advance. It’s a very sloppy lazy attitude, which is what makes it so hard to dislodge.

How much do you want to bet that a majority of those kids’ parents routinely vote for politicians who would eliminate funding for school lunches if they thought they could get away with it?

Not betting or rather betting they would. It is a Tea Party stronghold. They’ve been known to burn a cross in the yard when someone nonwhite moves there.

I was particularly thinking of Hispanic population with the strong history of Catholicism.

The RCC isn’t particularly anti-evolution as sects go.

But US Hispanics aren’t particularly Catholic any more. I forget the exact statistics but it is something like 60% RCC or so. The bad news is a lot of them go fundie Protestant.

I had questions about the black night article also, how to start teaching scientific fundamentals in elementary school? But I think the answer is in teaching kids to reason, how to evaluate what they read, see or hear. This would not only help in science but also in financial literacy, nutrition etc.

Kids have the inherent ability to start separating fantasy from reality, as in when they quit believing in santa claus. But many people never get past that point and they believe things like Madoff’s perfect record or the risk free investment that pays 20%.

I was laughing yesterday at an ad for a “healthy” green tea drink. Green tea is the 5th listed ingredient after 3 kinds of sugar and water. Too many people can’t read and understand that label. They need to learn reasoning skills.

Good Science article. I think its interesting that ‘essentiality’ was independent of age; this would imply that the rate at which new genes are produced is much slower than the rate at which they evolve in terms of function once they are produced. (Or to put it a different way, evolution of function is relatively rapid once a new gene appears.)

There were also a couple of paragraphs in there that seem to support the ‘hourglass’ studies in earlier PT posts, because (my albeit layman’s reading) seems to indicate that the new genes primarily impact late development. If true, that would have the effect of making the young end of the hourglass wider. However, I’m not really familiar with the names of all the stages so I could be wrong about that.

Nick (Matzke) said: What can one do if one is not an evangelical? I’m not sure. It would be nice, very nice, if there were a way to engage evangelicals on friendly terms over the evolution issue. Ways which didn’t involve the usual catfights with creationists. But that is a tough thing to pull off, e.g. getting invites to speak to congregations. If anyone has any ideas, let me know…

Getting invitations is tough from evangelical and fundamentalists. I’ve given colloquia on evolution in ‘liberal’ churches (e.g.,. UCC), but my volunteering to spend time in a fundamentalist church just talking about the issue with no agenda except understanding each other has been studiously ignored. And that last offer was to people with whom I’d spend 38 days in a hearing room. The response (literally) was, “That’s very magnanimous (sic). You’re in the phone book, right?” And nothing since.

JGB said:

I believe at the root of it that the Black Night article identified …

and

nmgirl said:

I had questions about the black night article also,

I know that nights are black, but please folks, the character in the Python movie is the “Black Knight”, i.e. he is wearing armor etc.

RBH said:

Getting invitations is tough from evangelical and fundamentalists. I’ve given colloquia on evolution in ‘liberal’ churches (e.g.,. UCC), but my volunteering to spend time in a fundamentalist church just talking about the issue with no agenda except understanding each other has been studiously ignored. And that last offer was to people with whom I’d spend 38 days in a hearing room. The response (literally) was, “That’s very magnanimous (sic). You’re in the phone book, right?” And nothing since.

I have been received with enthusiasm at the local Reform (Jewish) temple’s committee on separation of church and state. (Although the hardest core Orthodox types have picked up on Christian creationism and echo it, most Reform and Conservative Jews are alarmed at the thought that Christian fundamentalists might get their materials into the school system by stealth). No surprise there.

Granted that fundamentalists and other conservative evangelicals are afraid to expose their people to an open discussion of evidence for evolution, has anyone had any opportunities with churches that are ambivalent? I was attending a play at a local Christian Reform church and was showing my son the exhibits in the lobby. I was explaining to my son that these were not fundamentalists and that evolution would be okay by them.

Then I wondered. So I went to the church web site, on to their parent denomination’s web site, and buried there I found that the national church had accepted the reality of evolution only about 1950, and then reluctantly.

I know that Dennis Venema, himself a recovered creationist, has some excellent Youtube lectures very slowly and gently explaining to an evangelical audience why the evidence powerfully shows that evolution really happened. He teaches at a university whose governance is shared by several offshoots of the Reform church (in British Columbia). He told me that the theologians at his university were very supportive of his efforts.

Dennis, if you’re listening out there, what prospects are there for talking to groups at churches that are in this position?

Incidentally, the latest in the “evolution is mathematically impossible” series is out, this time from Doug Axe. It is a critique of Michael Lynch’s latest work (though not his most recent paper), that eventually turns into evolution is basically useless.

http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/index[…]BIO-C.2010.4

Kris said: *SNIP*

DNFTT

mrg said:

Kris said: *SNIP*

DNFTT

STFU

Very nice summary, score one evolutionists.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on December 21, 2010 2:01 PM.

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