Afarensis reviews “Science and Human Origins”

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Afarensis, a blogger on (mostly) paleontology, has started a series of posts reviewing the Disco ‘Tute’s “Science and Human Origins.” Recall that Paul McBride also did a chapter by chapter review that hammered the book a few months ago.

110 Comments

Here is what the book has to say about the genetic evidence for human ancestry:

“The evidence from DNA comparisons is similarly enigmatic. DNA sequences are strings of nucleotides millions or billions in length. Aligning DNA sequences in order to compare them is a tricky business. There can be single base changes, insertions or deletions, and rearrangements of the DNA that complicate things and may or may not be included in comparisons. (Here she inserts a footnote referring the reader to Luskin’s chapter on chromosomal rearrangements.) The degree of similarity calculated depends on how the analysis is done, and what is excluded and included. (Here she inserts a footnote referring the reader to an article by Todd Wood a noted creationist). But putting aside arguments about how similar we are to chimps, the question is: What does similarity demonstrate?”

This is of course complete an utter nonsense. There are well known methods for aligning sequences and determining homology. There are well known methods for dealing with insertions and deletions. There are well known methods for determining sequence similarity. But of course this is beside the point, since many phylogenetic methods don’t depend on similarity. And of course this completely ignores all of the other types of genetic evidence, such as synteny, SINE insertions, chromosomal fusions, etc.

But then again, if you just ignore all of the evidence, it’s much easier to write a book denying all of the evidence. Why do these amateurs think that anyone will be fooled by their crap? Preaching to the choir is one thing, but lying to them is something else entirely.

If someone plagiarizes that low-quality bilgewater, I wonder if they’d stoop to mechanism and “materialism” to protect it. Or will they be principled enough to admit that it may all be God’s authorship, having nothing to do with mundane processes.

Now taking bets for the principled consistent miracle stance. What, no one’s betting on their intellectual integrity?

Glen Davidson

If they could bring themselves to do, you know, a Bayesian sort of thing, then perhaps they could have saved themselves a post.

On the anatomical thing. Whether from the ID critics or evolutionist defenders there is a great premise here that anatomy of like forms equals like origins. yet the bible says apes/men are not related and therefore anatomical likeness is a coincidence. Therefore in the discussion about evidence, I repeat evidence, for common heritage it MUST be eliminated from the discussion any premise that like form equals like origin. This is a seduction on thinking if we see a likeness between apes/us. It gets in the way of actual appreciation of evidence or lack of it.

In fact fossils of claimed people/ape connections also must not do this. One can not presume connections based on anatomy since ape/men anatomy is already seen and yet not demanding that we are related.

All this stuff about bones is still about presumptions that our bones show our history. Its not been proven our anatomy has any connection to similiar anatomy anywhere . Just a happanstance.

Byers, your latest is another attempt to use incoherent words to remove evidence. It doesn’t work. Evidence is evidence. It’s not just morphology, although given all the intermediates that can now be demonstrated between ancestral apes and human apes, that would seem to be powerful evidence on its own. But the genetics and the shared biochemstry nails it down to such an extent that it’s impossible, within reason, not to accept it.

We have the same genes, with the same breaks, the same insertions, and the same repairs, as the great apes. We have one fewer pair of chromosomes, and we can specifically show where the chromosomes joined, at chromosome number two, map the ancestral chromosomes on either side of the join, and match them to the ancestral ape chromosomes.

We have the same genetic makeup. We share the genetic inheritance of the apes. It can’t not mean it. We are apes.

Byers, your profound ignorance of the facts does not excuse you. You could have learned. You refuse to learn. Very well, do as you wish. Think what you like. Please keep posting here, too. Every one of your posts exposes how threadbare, confused and foolish creationism is.

I’ll pose the same question to Booby Byers that I posed over at Larry Moran’s blog to a creationist relative the evidence for common descent of humans and the great apes, which he/she has thus far failed to respond to.

Isn’t it an amazing coincidence that, almost alone amongst the mammals, humans and apes have a broken gene for producing vitamin C, which means that they have to ingest 50mg/day from their food. Common descent explains this quite well, e.g. the gene went broken in the common ancestor. If Booby Byers has a better explanation, let’s hear it.

SLC said:

Isn’t it an amazing coincidence that, almost alone amongst the mammals, humans and apes have a broken gene for producing vitamin C, which means that they have to ingest 50mg/day from their food. Common descent explains this quite well, e.g. the gene went broken in the common ancestor. If Booby Byers has a better explanation, let’s hear it.

It is probably the case that apes as a whole are being punished for Original Sin. Ever notice how much other apes love fruit and fear snakes?

SLC said:

Isn’t it an amazing coincidence that, almost alone amongst the mammals, humans and apes have a broken gene for producing vitamin C,

Even more to the point, the defective Vitamin C gene (the GULO gene) is broken in the exact same place in all the group of primates unable to make their own Vitamin C, including human primates, including primates like chimps and gorillas, including non-ape primates like monkeys. Again, broken in the same exact place.

Yea, what a tease that Designer is.

which means that they have to ingest 50mg/day from their food.

Yes.

Yet more distantly related primates (such as lemurs) and most other mammals (dogs, rats, etc) have perfectly functional GULO genes, so they can make their own Vitamin C.

Hmm, does the particular Designer that Byers has unquestioned faith in really like rats and lemurs more than humans?

Common descent explains this quite well, e.g. the gene went broken in the common ancestor.

Same with countless other defective genes, such as the broken hemoglobin gene. Same with SINE insertions. Same with endogenous retroviruses (ERVs), same with chromosomal fusions, etc, etc.

If Booby Byers has a better explanation, let’s hear it.

He might blurt out that it’s all “too genetic” along the lines of his previous babble about physics being too atomic. Otherwise, don’t hold your breath. Byers went completely silent when asked this question about this link concerning radiometric dating.

On the anatomical thing. Whether from the ID critics or evolutionist defenders there is a great premise here that anatomy of like forms equals like origins. This is a well established principle in biology and is based not only on anatomy, but on the convergence of evidence from genetics and development as well. yet the bible says apes/men are not related and therefore anatomical likeness is a coincidence. Therefore in the discussion about evidence, I repeat evidence, for common heritage it MUST be admitted that like form equals like origin. This is a seduction on thinking if we see a likeness between apes/us that it is just coincidence because of our deep prejudices and preconceptions. It gets in the way of actual appreciation of evidence.

In fact fossils of claimed people/ape connections also are completely concordant with all of the other types of evidence. One can infer connections based on anatomy since ape/men anatomy is already seen and demanding that we are related.

All this stuff about the bible is still about presumptions that our bones don’t show our history. Its has been proven conclusively that our anatomy has a connection to similiar anatomy anywhere . It’s not just a happanstance, that is just a cop out that doesn’t explain anything.

Just the first post on Afarensis’ blog reminds me that mileage in the field is something non-scientists don’t get. The subtle variations in bone and teeth are well documented by thousands of scientists taking millions of measurements on countless human, ape and hominid fossils. When a layperson dismisses a hominid skull as “just a human” or “just an ape” because their untrained eye can’t see the the difference, they are dismissing the work of a lot of people. It’s arrogance to the extreme.

SLC said:

If Booby Byers has a better explanation, let’s hear it.

The Lying Idiot doesn’t have one: he will never have one, even he knows it. That is why Robert Byers always runs away, or makes up the quarter-assed excuse that he is magically not responsible for providing evidence for, or even supporting his pathetically inane false claims.

Robert Byers simply insists that he knows better than all of us, even though he repeatedly demonstrates himself to be an inane, lying moron who does not no even rudimentary science, and who garbles the anti-science propaganda his spiritual handlers trained him to mindlessly parrot.

Robert Byers said: …the bible says apes/men are not related and therefore anatomical likeness is a coincidence.

Where exactly does the Bible say that? Please provide book, chapter and verse.

Robert Byers said: the bible says apes/men are not related

“For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; evon one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 3:19

Where does it say in the Bible that apes and men are not related?

Where in the Bible does it say anything about apes? Keep in mind that apes, in the modern sense of the word (chimps, gorillas, orangutans, gibbons) were not known to Europeans until modern times, and the word “ape” in Early Modern English (the language of the King James Bible) meant “monkey”.

But, even supposing that the Bible says that apes and men are not related, how is that any less figurative language than when it says that the Sun goes around the Earth?

lkeithlu said:

Just the first post on Afarensis’ blog reminds me that mileage in the field is something non-scientists don’t get. The subtle variations in bone and teeth are well documented by thousands of scientists taking millions of measurements on countless human, ape and hominid fossils. When a layperson dismisses a hominid skull as “just a human” or “just an ape” because their untrained eye can’t see the the difference, they are dismissing the work of a lot of people. It’s arrogance to the extreme.

Exactly. The dolts have condemned an entire field of science, without ever even knowing the name of the field they condemn, let alone having any actual knowledge of the field. It’s like a kid with a model airplane claiming that no one could ever make it really fly just because he doesn’t understand how it works. Of course, the only people who would be fooled by that argument are other kids who are equally ignorant. I guess that pretty much defines their target audience. It’s a really hard sell to those who design and fly airplanes for a living.

Seriously, there are entire journals devoted exclusively to the issues they blindly dismiss in a single paragraph. There are thousands of experts in these fields who have made great strides that have not only transformed our knowledge of evolution, but medicine and agriculture and conservation biology and lots of other fields as well. You can try to claim that no one ever walked on the moon, but you better not say that to Neal Armstrong. I heard he was prone to get a bit testy with people like that.

A wise man once said that if you don’t know what you are talking about, you should learn to keep your mouth shut, otherwise everyone will see you for the ignorant fool that you are. Or something like that. Byers should take a lesson.

It’s so odd, too, that design and evolution simply grade into each other. Not a single creationist, including the “sophisticated” IDiots (Behe’s claptrap is clearly a shambles), knows where evolution ends and design begins, yet they accept a bewildering range of “microevolution” (scare quotes because their “microevolution” has no basic meaning) evidenced by common characteristics, while denying that exactly the same sort of evidence indicates any kind of “macroevolution,” which apparently “would produce” the same results as design does.

Similarity of evidence means nothing, you know. “Microevolution,” languages, textual families are all accepted because of similarities existing in nested hierarchies, while “macroevolution” resting on exactly the same sort of evidence isn’t supported by the evidence and patterns that it predicts.

Well, consistency, along with other intellectual virtues, is not for what creationists are known.

Glen Davidson

The other thing that bothers me is that evolution, even (very specifically) homonid evolution isn’t a case of “well, we have vitamin C, and chromosome 2 fusion, and a couple of fossils”.

PubMed has 127,597 hits for “homonid evolution”. The first couple of hits include a protein family, something about a femoral condyle ellipticalness in primates including humans, and evidence of muscle reversions as applied to modern human evolution. I realize there are some non-direct evidence in that list, but still…

Creationists can’t even dispute ONE piece of evidence without resorting to distortion, semantics, lies, cherry-picking, or any of a hundred other logical fallacies. Yet, what they may not even realize (certainly Bobby doesn’t) is that not only do they have to discredit every single conclusion in every one of those hundred thousand papers, but they have to devise a mechanism that explains all the observations in those papers BETTER than evolution does.

Evolution merrily chugs along, but creationism (including ID) is still trying to figure out how to get on the horse, much less which way to point the horse to get out of the starting blocks.

ogremk5 said: [SNIP]

PubMed has 127,597 hits for “homonid evolution”. The first couple of hits include a protein family, something about a femoral condyle ellipticalness in primates including humans, and evidence of muscle reversions as applied to modern human evolution. I realize there are some non-direct evidence in that list, but still…

Unfortunately, PubMed treats “homonid” as a null search term–it doesn’t find it–and all those hits seem to be on “evolution.” Searching on “hominid evolution” yields 154 hits, while “hominim evolution” yields 66 hits. “Human evolution” yields 1,667.

Richard B. Hoppe said:

ogremk5 said: [SNIP]

PubMed has 127,597 hits for “homonid evolution”. The first couple of hits include a protein family, something about a femoral condyle ellipticalness in primates including humans, and evidence of muscle reversions as applied to modern human evolution. I realize there are some non-direct evidence in that list, but still…

Unfortunately, PubMed treats “homonid” as a null search term–it doesn’t find it–and all those hits seem to be on “evolution.” Searching on “hominid evolution” yields 154 hits, while “hominim evolution” yields 66 hits. “Human evolution” yields 1,667.

Fair enough.

“Hominid Evolution” in Google scholar results in 11,700 hits. I’m not a huge fan of GS for these kinds of searches though. Too many repeats.

The point remains that there isn’t just one or two data points in human evolution that creationists must explain away.

Robert Byers said:

On the anatomical thing. Whether from the ID critics or evolutionist defenders there is a great premise here that anatomy of like forms equals like origins. yet the bible says apes/men are not related and therefore anatomical likeness is a coincidence.

IF, just for the moment, one were to accept that your assertion is correct, THEN the similarities cannot be “coincidence”. They can’t be coincidence because–using your premise–both were “designed” by a creator god, individually and intentionally.

Unless, of course, if that creator god is lazy and indifferent, incompetent to come up with enough individual “designs”, or a lying bastard who is trying to make individual designs in a way to look like something else (evolved from a common ancestor).

Care to pick one?

ogremk5 said:

Richard B. Hoppe said:

ogremk5 said: [SNIP]

PubMed has 127,597 hits for “homonid evolution”. The first couple of hits include a protein family, something about a femoral condyle ellipticalness in primates including humans, and evidence of muscle reversions as applied to modern human evolution. I realize there are some non-direct evidence in that list, but still…

Unfortunately, PubMed treats “homonid” as a null search term–it doesn’t find it–and all those hits seem to be on “evolution.” Searching on “hominid evolution” yields 154 hits, while “hominim evolution” yields 66 hits. “Human evolution” yields 1,667.

Fair enough.

“Hominid Evolution” in Google scholar results in 11,700 hits. I’m not a huge fan of GS for these kinds of searches though. Too many repeats.

The point remains that there isn’t just one or two data points in human evolution that creationists must explain away.

I wonder how many anti-evolutionist still operate under Kent Hovind’s mentality that it only takes one good counterargument to disprove evolution. Of course, they can’t even muster up the good counterargument, but that doesn’t stop them from thinking they have.

DS said:

On the anatomical thing.

yet the bible says apes/men are not related and therefore anatomical likeness is a coincidence.

The Jacob wrestling story in Genesis 32 recognizes the anatomical similarity between humans and the edible mammals:

25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.

31 The sun rose upon him [Jacob] as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip on the sinew of the thigh.

If the anatomical likeness were just a coincidence, then there would be no reason to associate the sciatic muscle of humans with the sciatic muscle of the other mammals. Yet, there is a biblical association.

Perhaps Dave Luckett can tell us why the text of Genesis is extending the obvious anatomical connection to eating? Does Genesis 32 point to some kind of overall relatedness among the mammals?

ksplawn said:

ogremk5 said:

Richard B. Hoppe said:

ogremk5 said: [SNIP]

PubMed has 127,597 hits for “homonid evolution”. The first couple of hits include a protein family, something about a femoral condyle ellipticalness in primates including humans, and evidence of muscle reversions as applied to modern human evolution. I realize there are some non-direct evidence in that list, but still…

Unfortunately, PubMed treats “homonid” as a null search term–it doesn’t find it–and all those hits seem to be on “evolution.” Searching on “hominid evolution” yields 154 hits, while “hominim evolution” yields 66 hits. “Human evolution” yields 1,667.

Fair enough.

“Hominid Evolution” in Google scholar results in 11,700 hits. I’m not a huge fan of GS for these kinds of searches though. Too many repeats.

The point remains that there isn’t just one or two data points in human evolution that creationists must explain away.

I wonder how many anti-evolutionist still operate under Kent Hovind’s mentality that it only takes one good counterargument to disprove evolution. Of course, they can’t even muster up the good counterargument, but that doesn’t stop them from thinking they have.

Not to derail the thread, but I’ve noticed that they have a tendency to use one argument in order to ‘disprove’ one aspect of evolution. Then they use the exact opposite argument to ‘disprove’ another aspect of evolution.

The silence when they are shown both arguments (sometimes in the same post) is deafening.

Richard B. Hoppe said:

ogremk5 said: [SNIP]

PubMed has 127,597 hits for “homonid evolution”. The first couple of hits include a protein family, something about a femoral condyle ellipticalness in primates including humans, and evidence of muscle reversions as applied to modern human evolution. I realize there are some non-direct evidence in that list, but still…

Unfortunately, PubMed treats “homonid” as a null search term–it doesn’t find it–and all those hits seem to be on “evolution.” Searching on “hominid evolution” yields 154 hits, while “hominim evolution” yields 66 hits. “Human evolution” yields 1,667.

How many hits does one get for “homonym evolution”?

:-)

Prometheus68 said:

Richard B. Hoppe said:

ogremk5 said: [SNIP]

PubMed has 127,597 hits for “homonid evolution”. The first couple of hits include a protein family, something about a femoral condyle ellipticalness in primates including humans, and evidence of muscle reversions as applied to modern human evolution. I realize there are some non-direct evidence in that list, but still…

Unfortunately, PubMed treats “homonid” as a null search term–it doesn’t find it–and all those hits seem to be on “evolution.” Searching on “hominid evolution” yields 154 hits, while “hominim evolution” yields 66 hits. “Human evolution” yields 1,667.

How many hits does one get for “homonym evolution”?

:-)

It might be more fun searching “houyhnhnm evolution” on Yahoo. :)

Is this an Africanised Speeling Bee?

SLC said:

I’ll pose the same question to Booby Byers that I posed over at Larry Moran’s blog to a creationist relative the evidence for common descent of humans and the great apes, which he/she has thus far failed to respond to.

Isn’t it an amazing coincidence that, almost alone amongst the mammals, humans and apes have a broken gene for producing vitamin C, which means that they have to ingest 50mg/day from their food. Common descent explains this quite well, e.g. the gene went broken in the common ancestor. If Booby Byers has a better explanation, let’s hear it.

Genetics is not my thing but why is this a issue. A YEC creationist believes a radical event, called the fall, affected all biology. things went wrong everywhere. Decay became a new reality. So humans and apes easily could get the same problem in our genes as a result of the decaying nature we both find ourselves in. For Genesis deniers this is not a good answewr. Yet it simply is that both have like reaction to like need.

Robert Byers said:

SLC said:

I’ll pose the same question to Booby Byers that I posed over at Larry Moran’s blog to a creationist relative the evidence for common descent of humans and the great apes, which he/she has thus far failed to respond to.

Isn’t it an amazing coincidence that, almost alone amongst the mammals, humans and apes have a broken gene for producing vitamin C, which means that they have to ingest 50mg/day from their food. Common descent explains this quite well, e.g. the gene went broken in the common ancestor. If Booby Byers has a better explanation, let’s hear it.

Genetics is not my thing but why is this a issue. A YEC creationist believes a radical event, called the fall, affected all biology. things went wrong everywhere. Decay became a new reality. So humans and apes easily could get the same problem in our genes as a result of the decaying nature we both find ourselves in. For Genesis deniers this is not a good answewr. Yet it simply is that both have like reaction to like need.

Here’s your problem “BELIEVE”

Scientists don’t believe, we evaluate in the face of evidence. Your side has no evidence… of anything.

Genetics is not your thing, that’s why you don’t understand why is this a issue. But apparently that wont stop you from spouting off nonsense anyway. your a YEC creationist who believes a radical event, called the fall, affected all biology. things went wrong everywhere. Decay became a new reality. So humans and apes easily could get the same problem in our genes as a result of the decaying nature we both find ourselves in. For reality deniers like you, this is not a good answewr, since there is absolutely no evidence for this made up crap and it explains exactly nothing. You try to say it simply is that both have like reaction to like need, but that is absolutely not the case and that doesn’t explain the nested hierarchy or the plagarized errors. you cant explain why god made the mistakes or why god copied the mistakes, so all you can do is make up crap that makes no sense and keep flapping your yap. mistakes dont fill any needs and copying them is stupid so yoo’re god is stupid or maybe its just you.

Robert Byers said: Genetics is not my thing but why is this a issue.

I think that everyone has noticec that by now. It’s not my field either…but I don’t make idiotic statements that attempt to contravene the clearly correct statements of those for whom it IS their field.

A YEC creationist believes a radical event, called the fall, affected all biology.

So is it your contention that other primates are “fallen” because of what a couple of (what you think are unrelated) humans did? Or do you contend that the apes fell, too? And if the apes fell, what did they do to deserve a broken Vitamin C gene? What about non-primate mammals? Why DON’T they have the broken gene? Didn’t “the fall” affect them as well?

Or is it that the apes are closely enough related to us that what you think was caused in us by “the fall” also affected them for that reason?

You see, Mr. Byers, no matter how you attempt to explain the evidence, you run into trouble that requires yet more ad hoc additions to your “explanation”, all of which are extra-Biblical, creating a ricktety structure that will be blown away by the slightest breeze of fact and logic.

W. H. Heydt said:

You see, Mr. Byers, no matter how you attempt to explain the evidence, you run into trouble that requires yet more ad hoc additions to your “explanation”, all of which are extra-Biblical, creating a ricktety structure that will be blown away by the slightest breeze of fact and logic.

I find it deliciously ironic that fundamentalists, who maintain that the Bible is literally true and inerrant, are willing to make up, out of thin air, necessary additions to Genesis and the rest of their perfect Bible, whenever the literal words alone are too incomplete, counterfactual, or just plain silly even for them.

Oh, the wrestling with God thing, and why we don’t eat the “sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket”?

It’s a myth. A myth is a story that explains a natural phenomenon, or a human custom of unknown provenance, in supernatural terms. This is why we die, this is why there’s a rainbow, this is why we have to work in the fields, this is why there’s seven days in the week, this is why we do this, that or the other.

It’s no accident that the word “why” has two related, but crucially different implications: 1) causation; 2) intent. “Why does lightning strike high places?” is an example of the first. “Why did you do that?” is an example of the second.

Humans want to know why. The urge to give an answer in terms of the second implication, when you don’t know the first, is very powerful.

The result is myth. The story of Jacob wrestling with God is a myth.

Tenncrain said: Robert, does your particular Designer like lemurs, pigs and rats more than people?

Beetles, actually…

stevaroni said:

lkeithlu said:

I’d say Mr. Byers has had his head in the sand so long it has become sandstone

Well, he’s certainly got his head stuck somewhere.

Whence the expression “go pound sand”.

Tenncrain said:

Yet most other mammals internally make their own Vitamin C because they have fully functional GULO genes. This includes dogs, pigs, rats and even a few primates like lemurs; they have no problems with scurvy.

And it’s worth pointing out again: guinea pigs can’t synthesize Vitamin C, but their gene is broken in a different way that’s unique their family. So, common design… except when it’s not.

As for lost vitamin C synthesis being a “mechanism for survival,” we’ve been able to knock out the GULO gene in lab animals and it has a negative impact on their health, forcing them to make up the deficit through their diet like humans do. On the flip side, we’ve also been able to re-activate the gene in both GULO-/- mice and rice fish.

Robert Byers said: It is a great historic interpretation that the great fall brought death to the world where it was not before. The snake was cursed MORE then the other creatures. the ground was cursed and all the earth was and the universe. There was no dearth for any being on earth. Then it changed. our whole bodies changed to deal with death. before we had no immune system because of no need. All of creation groans says the bible. [emphasis added]

Hi Robert,

You say that there was no death, no disease before the Fall, and further that living things did not have immune systems before the Fall.

Do you mean that God broke our vitamin C gene, and then created the immune system so that we could avoid untimely death due to disease? If so, then the immune system that God created wasn’t perfect, because we still die from disease (with about a 50 to 70% mortality rate, prior to modern medicine). Are you saying that what God creates is not perfect? Or maybe he was flustered, and in a bit of hurry to foreclose on the First Couple?

Or, did God create death, and then in response our bodies evolved an immune system to deal with the new reality? “Need” driving a “response”, as you say. That *is* a fairly concise definition of evolution, after all. If so, did this immune system that you describe evolve in a single generation? Two generations? Three? How many?

If God created death, but did not create the immune system, and the immune system did not evolve, then the immune system must have been created by the Devil to thwart the will of God. Since God created death, He obviously wanted people to die. If he is opposed to the will of God, then the Devil should want people to live forever.

Your thoughts? (Such as they are) I’m sure they will be most amusing.

Flint said:

Dave Luckett doesn’t believe in any of that, either, but the difference is that I can’t produce definite evidence that they didn’t happen, or that miracles never happen.

I see the difference, I think. Science can be viewed as requiring a consistent reality, OR it can be viewed as permitting “natural laws” of various kinds to be broken, provided the scope of such breaks is narrow and temporary.

I can, on the other hand, produce definite evidence that…all life was not severally created, but is commonly descended.

But of course, STILL allowing for the occasional exception, where imaginary dieties physically sire the odd human now and again.

I think you miss a small piece of Dave’ point. Science doesn’t require a consistent reality. Rather, Science observes a consistent reality. Unless we allow Strong Last Thursdayism (SLT), a miracle of the extent of the Creation, the Flood, or the Fall would leave observable evidence. Science doesn’t see such evidence.

OTOH, small localized miracles, like a virgin birth or turning water into wine, would not leave any obvious evidence for Science to observe, at least at this remove. Now, maybe if a CSI team had had access to the amphorae in question the next day, that might be another story. Or even a multi-part mini-series.

Science doesn’t preclude miracles from happening, from natural “laws” being “broken”. It’s just that if miracles do occur, they still have consequences in world. If they leave any observable trace at all (aka *not* SLT), we should at least see otherwise unexplained discontinuities in reality. (eg, One moment “Q” was not standing on the bridge, and then he was.) We have not yet observed such things. (Unless you count the occasional unconformity as a discontinuity, but those have better geologic explanations. Or the occasional discontinuity between the ears of various Tea Party members.)

Scott F said:

You say that there was no death, no disease before the Fall, and further that living things did not have immune systems before the Fall.

Well… then when did God create all the nasty human pathogens?

There’s nothing about it in my copy Genesis - at least I don’t remember anything where it says “And in the last few minutes of the 5th day did the LORD createth various and sundry sexually transmitted parasites - but lo - He did just leave-ith them in a test tube for the moment, intending-eth to make good use of them later”

Of course, it does say “every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth”.

I guess “creeping things” might technically include anal spirochetes, gunieaworms and malarial protozoans…

Seems awfully foresighted to realize he’s have to have these nasty things handy some day to punish his children.

Or were parasites an entirely separate act of creation.

Now that seems really over the top. But hey - we’re talking a seriously vengeful God here (after all, he’s still killing totally innocent children with spina bifida 6000 years later) so who knows?

Sounds like you be a believer in Last Thursdayism.

Thank Designer that it’s almost Friday!

ksplawn said:

Tenncrain said:

Yet most other mammals internally make their own Vitamin C because they have fully functional GULO genes. This includes dogs, pigs, rats and even a few primates like lemurs; they have no problems with scurvy.

And it’s worth pointing out again: guinea pigs can’t synthesize Vitamin C, but their gene is broken in a different way that’s unique their family. So, common design… except when it’s not.

Right. Furthermore, mammals in general have three genes that produce Vitamin C, the GULO gene being just one of them. Humans, chimps, monkeys also have all three (and probably guinea pigs, someone can confirm or refute this); two of the three work fine, but the GULO gene as we know is defective. Would Robert’s Designer really give humans two working Vitamin C genes and then just the dead corpse of the third?

As for lost vitamin C synthesis being a “mechanism for survival,” we’ve been able to knock out the GULO gene in lab animals and it has a negative impact on their health, forcing them to make up the deficit through their diet like humans do. On the flip side, we’ve also been able to re-activate the gene in both GULO-/- mice and rice fish.

Fascinating. Thanks for the info and links. Someone mentioned earlier about the prospects and wisdom of, for example, fixing our GULO gene. For better or for worse, we may be closer to that day than we think.

Robert Byers said:

It is a great historic interpretation that the great fall brought death to the world where it was not before. The snake was cursed MORE then the other creatures. the ground was cursed and all the earth was and the universe. There was no dearth for any being on earth. Then it changed. our whole bodies changed to deal with death. before we had no immune system because of no need. All of creation groans says the bible.

First of all, all of creation groaning means the universe is undergoing the labor of birth, from the time of the fall up until the return of Jesus as it gives birth to the New world that Jesus will create after he kills every living thing and destroys the earth. that statement has nothing to do with the specific effects of the fall.

How can you say that there was no death before the fall, when god himself says in the text that he has to act to prevent the man becoming immortal. Are you calling god a liar? There is just no other way to read that except as meaning that man was mortal before as well as after the fall. The stuff about all bodies changing to accommodate death, the development of the immune system and the like–you’re just making that up. Its not anywhere in that text. What you are saying actually contradicts the bible.

You, Byers, are saying that the bible is either wrong or limited in its information, which you can supplement from some other source.

As I’ve asked you before, aren’t you afraid of being condemned by god for heresy and blasphemy? Please try to read the text I quoted and understand it. As long as you constantly change what the bible says or means from post to post there is no way to argue with you. Next you’ll be saying we’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

Robert Byers said:

It is not obvious. It’s just a line of reasoning. If we were unrelated and created separately it also would look as it does today. You are demanding that God create us so differently from nature as to be clearly not related to nature. Yet if we are of nature, yet a being made in God’s image and Adam/Eve were not born, it could only be we have the best type of body to live glorious lives on earth forever. The ape body is simply the best body to drive cars or water ski. What else?

finding genetic likeness has no persuasive merit to about making apes/man cousins. It’s not enough. It rejects the bible. Yet genetics does not reject the bible. Just your presumptions.

Your right about the “fall” being a fix for any ideas on biology and it’s reactions to problems. The example here of Vit C being case in point. Yet it would be that way. The fall introduces instant decay and instant reaction. like body equals like reaction. It’s only a line of reasoning that it indicates relationship. Even if true it’s still a hunch. It was not witnessed. it’s open to review. Not many things in origin subjects come up against the biblical idea of a great FALL.

Byres, do you believe that paternity tests can determine the father of a child? Do you believe that genetic tests can establish which people are brother and sister, which 1st cousins, etc?

Assuming that you do (and these are well settled matters of fact and even of law), how can you not see that the same principles apply to more distant relations (e.e.g between humans and chimps)?

Robert Byers said:

For exactly the same reason. the same need to react to a new need. If anything it makes a case for innate triggers in our biological systems to bring like replys . Nature shows great like answeres to like needs and evolutionism must invoke convergent evolution to explain. The better idea is of biology being like physics. Common laws dictating everything. The ape/man type of body under the same need reacts with the same answer. Vit c etc is suddenly needed and it would be in the same way if its from common triggers. not from a different history of physical evolution. The vit c is a case against evolution as i see it. Related creatures but separated more likely would not have such convergence. if one does it suggests innate triggers johnny on the spot.

A marsupial lion and wolf both gained pouches but they are unrelated biologically and are rather related to theior cousins elsewhere. The pouch is a part of a common reaction to increase reproduction and this triggered by all bodies upon migration.

no reason to see Vit c in us/primates as evidence of a common heritage. Just a common design with common mechanisms for survival.

Its hard to make out what you mean here here, this is so poorly written, but I think there are two points worth calling to your attention:

1. You’ve misunderstood what was said about the vitamin C gene. All mammals share the same gene for making vitamin C. In us apes, the gene is broken, and in exactly the same place, so that we can’t make our own vitamin C. So I hope you can see that your argument about “common mechanisms for survival’ was a red herring.

2. “The pouch is a part of a common reaction to increase reproduction and this triggered by all bodies upon migration.” Do you see how this suggests an experiment? You’re making a prediction that if an animal migrates into an environment where increased reproduction is advantageous, it will develop a pouch. Why don’t you go to down to your local pet store and see if any of the tropical lizards there have pouches? According to your hypothesis, they ought to, since they’ve move far from their home range, have an unlimited food source, and are free of all predation.

Moreover, you’re suggesting that animals bodies change to fit them better to their environment. Don’t you see that that is what evolution is? You’s just suggesting it happens about a million times faster than scientists say that it does? And when did this supper fast evolution stop (because its clearly not going on now)?

ksplawn said:

Tenncrain said:

Yet most other mammals internally make their own Vitamin C because they have fully functional GULO genes. This includes dogs, pigs, rats and even a few primates like lemurs; they have no problems with scurvy.

And it’s worth pointing out again: guinea pigs can’t synthesize Vitamin C, but their gene is broken in a different way that’s unique their family. So, common design… except when it’s not.

As for lost vitamin C synthesis being a “mechanism for survival,” we’ve been able to knock out the GULO gene in lab animals and it has a negative impact on their health, forcing them to make up the deficit through their diet like humans do. On the flip side, we’ve also been able to re-activate the gene in both GULO-/- mice and rice fish.

I don’t think he every grasped that people were talking about a broken GULO gene; he had it turned around so that in his understanding of what was said the fall caused apes and apes alone (or also humans since he doesn’t consider us apes) to acquire a vitamin C making capacity. Its sometimes hard to understand how confused he is.

Right. Furthermore, mammals in general have three genes that produce Vitamin C, the GULO gene being just one of them. Humans, chimps, monkeys also have all three (and probably guinea pigs, someone can confirm or refute this); two of the three work fine, but the GULO gene as we know is defective. Would Robert’s Designer really give humans two working Vitamin C genes and then just the dead corpse of the third?

Does that mean it takes all three of them working to produce usable Vitamin C? In that case, do the other two do something else that causes them to have been conserved in our genome?

Henry

Helena Constantine said:

Byres, do you believe that paternity tests can determine the father of a child? Do you believe that genetic tests can establish which people are brother and sister, which 1st cousins, etc?

Assuming that you do (and these are well settled matters of fact and even of law), how can you not see that the same principles apply to more distant relations (e.e.g between humans and chimps)?

Hello Helena,

We’ve been around the block with Byres on this one before (and the paternity case specifically). Robert does not believe in, or even understand induction. To him, 1+1=2, 2+1=3, 3+1=4, is just micro-math that you can see with your own eyes. To Robert, the concept of Inductive Reasoning says nothing about “N+1”. That’s “just a line of reasoning”, and doesn’t prove anything about whether addition works on numbers over 1,000,000. For Robert, there is always some magical (and unknown) limit, some break in the chain of “line of reasoning” that prevents short term, well known phenomena from operating the same way over periods of time longer than his attention span. (And yes, technically I’m mixing different forms of induction by including math, but I’m using it as a short hand for Robert’s problem.)

It’s that old dodge that, if there wasn’t someone there to see it, it didn’t, couldn’t have happened.

As for the paternity case, the Byers response is essentially that, yeah there may be small changes from one human generation to the next, such as eye color, but they’re still humans. There’s that magical (and unknowable) boundary between “kinds” that prevents one “kind” of animal from changing into a different “kind”.

Scott F said:

It’s that old dodge that, if there wasn’t someone there to see it, it didn’t, couldn’t have happened.

Wouldn’t matter to him or other YECs. If what someone saw and reported didn’t fit their mythology, then they were just making stuff up. After all, how many different creation accounts are there in various mythologies? And how many do YECs accept as accurately witnessed and reported?

Henry J said:

Right. Furthermore, mammals in general have three genes that produce Vitamin C, the GULO gene being just one of them. Humans, chimps, monkeys also have all three (and probably guinea pigs, someone can confirm or refute this); two of the three work fine, but the GULO gene as we know is defective. Would Robert’s Designer really give humans two working Vitamin C genes and then just the dead corpse of the third?

Does that mean it takes all three of them working to produce usable Vitamin C?

Yes, all the genes are needed together. IIRC, each gene produces a different enzyme. Without the GULO gene, the other genes can’t make Vitamin C.

In that case, do the other two do something else that causes them to have been conserved in our genome?

The professional geneticists and chemists can better answer this. It may not be too surprising if the other genes turn out to have some other uses. But at least for the purpose of making Vitamin C, the surviving genes are little more than being along for the ride.

However, if the surviving genes are not doing any great harm, they may not be subject to being eliminated. If an essential gene mutates and becomes harmful, that of course often results in premature death and thus this change does not have a chance to be passed on.

Thanks for the notice, Scott F, but being published in fiction is no evidence for erudition or scholarship, or even decency. Maybe it argues for being readable. Being right is another matter entirely.

Dave Luckett said:

Thanks for the notice, Scott F, but being published in fiction is no evidence for erudition or scholarship, or even decency. Maybe it argues for being readable. Being right is another matter entirely.

Perhaps. The evidence on this site, however, is that you also have considerable skill at writing clear, accurate non-fiction in a way that does justice even to points with with you don’t agree … and you have (dare I say it?) the patience of Job.

DS said:

Dave Luckett said: You’d think that the cognitive dissonance would eventually become unbearable, for Byers does use evidence in places where his belief system doesn’t dictate otherwise. If he heard a breaking window in the next room, came in and saw shards of glass and a baseball on the floor, looked out of the broken window and saw a bunch of kids with a bat looking towards the house, he’d come to the obvious conclusion, and hence reconstruct a past event from evidence with no trouble at all. But his rigid mental compartmentalisation and cognitive dissassociation allows him to eschew this process where his convictions require.

It’s a sad case.

This bears repeating. It is virtually impossible to exist in the modern world without utilizing critical thinking, the scientific method including observation and deduction, as well as the tools provided by modern technology. To utilize these tools and ways of thinking every minute of every day and then try to deny their validity of efficacy is insanity bordering on schizophrenia. To do this solely to cling to an outdated religious system is counter productive and ultimately self defeating. To proudly display your ignorance and willfully perform any mental contortions necessary in order to prevent reality from ever penetrating your bubble of delusions is the worst form os self abuse imaginable.

Witness the extreme contortions of the tortured Byers soul. Genetics isn’t his field he freely admits, and yet he is willing, indeed eager, to declare that all of the field in its entirety is “atomic and unproven”. When asked to explain this bewildering and ultimately meaningless proposition, he can’t even explain what he meant. When forced to admit that there are professional geneticists who are helping people every day and seem to able to effectively use the knowledge in the field in say paternity cases, he is at a complete loss to explain how this can be.

I would like to believe that no one is actually this ignorant. I would like to believe that no one is actually this deluded. I would like to believe that no one really believes that all they have to do is believe to make it so. But if Byers or anyone else actually believe this, then all I can say is that I really believe in evolution, so it’s true and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. To the rest of humanity I would respectfully submit that I, and every real scientist, believes in evolution strictly because of the evidence. If you want to discuss the evidence, fine, let’a go. IF you don’t I have no use for you at all.

ksplawn said:

It could be that Byers’ only purpose on the internet is to serve as a warning to others.

Byers reminds me of a certain political party I’m acutely aware of… Their anti-science, anti-reality, anti-fact based strategies scare the hell out of me.

Have you guys ever encountered and read any of Terrence McKenna’s material, such as Food of the Gods, which talks about the move from animal to “human” cognitive ability through exposure to certain chemicals such as psilocybin? Pretty interesting stuff there and definitely adds to the provocative literature on the topic.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on October 17, 2012 5:16 PM.

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