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Monday, August 29, 2005

Idiot, Liar, or Lunatic?

Paul Manata has made a bold claim at his Press the Antithesis blog. Observe:

First and foremost, it must be remembered that evolution is not a scientific theory.


WTF? Where did he get that piece of information? The Bible? I would love to see him give a source for this one. I think Paul made this up. I think Paul illegitimately granted himself the authority to determine what is and is not a scientific theory. Paul made a rather bold and ridiculous judgment in a too-big-for-his-britches moment.

Paul also likes to call evolution "evolutionism." Never heard that one before. Seems a bit redundant to add an "ism" at the end of an "ion" doesn't it? Two can play at this game! Lets start calling Christianity "superstitionism."

If evolution isn't a scientific theory, then Christianity (excuse me, superstitionism) isn't a religion. I have typed it, and it is so. I mean, I got just as much authority to make these judgments about "superstitionism" as Paul has to make about "evolution."

Manata tries to frame evolution as a religion by claiming that evolutionists want to worship the "God" of "Mother Nature." Where does Manata get this? From Van Til and Bahnsen quotes, of course! Think about it: To judge evolution as a religion and not a scientific theory, he does not look at anything from the scientific community, but instead he get his information about evolution from two religious zealots who had no direct involvement in the scientific study of life and biology. Let me put it this way: When I want to learn about Mustang repair, I don't consult the Quran. And when I want to learn about the words of Allah, I don't consult my Ford Mustang repair manual.

But Manata, being the hardcore presup-superstitionist that he is, probably couldn't tie his shoes without consulting the works of Van Til or Bahnsen.

Manata keeps trying to drive the point home that evolution isn't a scientific theory but a "religious presupposition." By equating evolution with a religious presupposition, whom is he trying to insult? Evolution or his own beliefs? Maybe both? It’s possible that he's secretly trying to insult his own intellect. After all, the central tenet of Christianity is that we are all worthless scum deserving eternal suffering due to the actions of our ancient ancestors. Maybe that self-esteem issue is manifesting itself here. If Manata really thought that his religious presuppositional view was all that glorious, then equating evolution with it would be a compliment to evolution, not an insult, I think.

But at any rate, Manata is wrong. Evolution is not a religious presupposition, nor does modern day evolution owe any of its origins to the Greek philosophical ideas that Manata mentioned. Darwin didn't have any Greek philosophical ideas in his head when he observed the differences between Finches in the Galapagos. But you wouldn't know that by reading Van Til and Bahnsen all day. Earth to Manata: don't read the Quran when you need to learn about Mustang repair, and don't read superstitionist literature when you need to learn about scientific theories.

A superstitionist presupposition comes from divine revelation via a supernatural, immaterial entity. A scientific theory comes from carefully measured observations of natural, material entities. Was evolution handed down by a supernatural entity? No.

Manata introduces a funny little list at one point, saying that we need to believe in this list to believe in evolution. Look at the list carefully and tell me if anything in it relates to evolution:

What does evolution require us to believe, upon analysis?
1) Everything came from nothing
2) Order came from chaos
3) Life came from non-life
4) Intelligence came from non-intelligence
5) Moral nature came from amoral things
6) Personality came from non-personality.
7) The copulating came from the cell dividing
8) Taste from the tasteless...etc!


This list is a strawman, no, a scarecrow, straight from the Wizard of Oz. Look at the first item. Everything came from nothing? Evolution has nothing to do with the origins of the universe. Already, Paul's list exposes his total lack of understanding of evolution; he's crossing it with cosmology. Maybe he's been reading too much Kent Hovind material.

If you want to talk about cosmology and the origins of the universe (Which Manata seems to want to do) then you have to look at physics. The first law of thermodynamics is often referred to as the conservation of matter/energy. It states that all the matter and energy in the universe is constant; it can never be created nor destroyed, and it merely changes forms. Science quite specifically does not say that the universe came from nothing. It instead says that the universe was always here. Keep in mind, that the only thing that proposes a universe coming from nothing is superstitionism (Christianity).

Look at the second item: order came from chaos. Manata again has no idea what he's talking about. Can Manata provide an example of chaos? Can Manata take a handful of different colored marbles and arrange them in a chaotic way? I bet $500 that he can't. Instead, what Manata will only be able to accomplish, is an arrangement of marbles in different types of order. Any arrangement of any amount and variation of entities will be in a combination of sequential or grouping order, and I can prove it given any visual representation in a quantifiable and measured way. See, in reality there is only order; chaos is a figment of our imagination brought about by our perception of two types of order being blended. This whole idea is explained quite eloquently at Everything Forever.

The rest of Manata's list follows from the first two items on it, which I just blasted back into the land of make-believe superstitionism. Manata then continues to equate violent acts between humans with evolution. He then claims that the presup-superstitionist can use "evidences" against evolution. What evidences these are? I don't know, for I only saw scarecrows in his arguments. Maybe Manata counts Van Til and Bahnsen writings as "evidences"?

Finally, Manata tries to rip logic away from naturalism:

If naturalistic processes are at bottom of all things then laws of logic (indeed any laws) don't exist. Laws are not "natural" in character. Natural things have location and particularity. Laws of logic do not. Debate assumes that the laws of logic are real. Thus by debating, they loose.


Did Manata just change his mind? In his debate with Derek Sansone, Manata said that logic is a part of God's nature. In Manata's world, God's nature is whatever he wants it to be, because everything that exists, including logic, is set by the mind of God (nihilism anyone?). So in Manata's world, the laws of logic are arbitrary. If they aren't then God doesn't have supreme power and is therefore not God, because the laws of logic would have been set outside of God's will. So Manata loses the debate by assuming his self-defeating superstitionist stance.

But in a godless universe, things aren't so nihilistic. Matter and energy simply have characteristics about them that cause them to behave and interact with other matter and energy in certain ways. The laws weren't set by any conscious entity, but they are a part of matter and energy's nature. If laws can be a part of God's nature, why not a part of matter and energy's nature? After all, matter and energy are everywhere too; even empty space isn't really empty. The only difference here is that without God, laws are really LAWS; they are naturally inherent to matter and energy (which is everywhere and everything). But in Manata's superstitionist world, these laws are part of a nihilistic supernatural being's nature (if that's even possible) and they aren't set in stone; they are arbitrarily set by the supernatural being's whims. How illogical.

Manata is clearly confused. The best he can do is make strawmen, and he does so in such a way as to hint that he's genuinely unaware of these strawmen. He seriously thinks that evolution has something to say about cosmology(!) and the origins of the universe, for example. He thinks that equating evolution with religion is an insult to evolution, but he conveniently forgets that he is the one who believes in a religion. It's like saying "see, you're beliefs are just as dumb as mine!" And that would be true except for the fact that his portrayal of evolution is a total strawman. Well Manata, you're not in Kansas anymore. You're in the real world, and you got to drop your nihilistic arbitrary, illogical superstitionist concepts if you want to make any sense of this world. In other words, don't use a Quran to diagnose your car, and don't go reaching for Van Til and Bahnsen literature if you want to learn anything about evolution.

Post a Comment


37 Comments:

At 8/29/2005 2:21 PM, Blogger Not Reformed declaimed...

"Idiot, Liar, or Lunatic?"

I'd saw all three! :)

LOL at the "Your beliefs are as dumb as mine" line...

Mr Manata has obviously listened to a lot of Van Til tapes and read a few chapters of philosophy, but he needs to do some heavy reading when it comes to real world pursuits such as science.

Philosophy is a fun little pursuit, but the science that enables us to all post these thoughts online came from the study of the material world...the same science that Paul is trying to simply dismiss with his little strawmen and word games.

Besides...everybody knows that the flying spaghetti monster uses evolution to further his universe...and you can't simply presuppose that FSM isn't true, as that is begging the question...a logical fallacy...and logic is part of the FSM's nature. So, Paul is screwed.

 
At 8/29/2005 2:46 PM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

Oh I know! The Flying Spaghetti Monster is the originator of both logic AND the universe, not to mention the Bible.

Does Manata like spaghetti? If yes, then the FSM is obviously the one true God and Manata cannot argue against it. If no, then Manata is merely deceiving himself from the truth of the yummy spaghetti goodness that is FSM.

 
At 8/29/2005 6:04 PM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

I also want to take the time to note that Manata's argument from the liver fluke and the one-way-lung of birds grossly misunderstand evolution. His arguments there amount to nothing other than failure of imagination: "I cant conceive of this occuring without conscious direction, therefore Jesus did it."

Manata doesnt even know what natural selection means, as he exposes in his critique of the one-way-bird-lung.

 
At 8/29/2005 7:19 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

"1) Everything came from nothing"

Which is what Christianity, and only Christianity, believes...


"2) Order came from chaos"

Same...


"3) Life came from non-life"

Both positions uphold this, but only one does not propose spontaneous generation, which has been disproven... and that is Neo-Darwinism.


"4) Intelligence came from non-intelligence"

Both uphold this, but only Christianity believes in an intelligence without a brain.


"5) Moral nature came from amoral things"

Since there is no morality in Christianity, this point is kinda pointless now isn't it ? Besides, it also assumes the is-ought dichotomy is correct, which is nonsense.


"6) Personality came from non-personality."

According to Christianity, personality comes from a non-material substrate ("soul"). How does that work again ?


"7) The copulating came from the cell dividing"

What ? That doesn't even make any sense. Copulation doesn't come from mitosis.


"8) Taste from the tasteless...etc!"

You mean... "Christian art" ?

 
At 8/30/2005 9:34 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

I wonder, if Paul is so opposed to viewing evolution as a scientific theory, is he also opposed to the stickers placed on textbooks in Georgia?

Paul's so clearly and willfully ignornant of Science it actually draws my pity. A theory is a system conceived to make sense of observations and experimental results. If you want to challenge a theory Scientifically, you deal with the data, either by introducing new observations or postulating a new theory that explains the existing data. You don't attack a theory merely because you don't like the implications.

If Paul can offer a theistic explanation for why we share retrovirus insertions with chimpanzees but not gorillas, or why we share a psi-rho-globin pseudogene with primates only, or why we share seven Alu transposons in the a-globin gene cluster with chimpanzees, or why the nucleic acid and amino acid sequences of cytochrome c are unnecessarily congruent between humans and chimpanzees, then I would sit up and listen, especially if it was something more than an argument from ignorance.

Until then, it's no wonder that the best he can hope for are strawmen and ad hominems. I really feel bad for the guy.

 
At 8/30/2005 10:17 AM, Blogger breakerslion declaimed...

F.A.N.-atic, actually.

F, for "Fucked-up" by an unscrupulous institution, whether he be predator, predator wanna-be, or prey.

A, for "Arrogant". "I reject your reality and replace it with my own! Never mind all that science Crap!"

N, for "Numbskull" Since he will never recognize that his position is emotional, not logical, and imagines that he is logical, he must be in some somnambulistic state.

 
At 8/30/2005 10:27 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Aaron: "Manata tries to frame evolution as a religion by claiming that evolutionists want to worship the 'God' of 'Mother Nature'."

Well, the quickest (and cheapest) way to discredit and malign a rival view is to mischaracterize it. To compare the scientific theory of evolution to a religion is to fail to understand what distinguishes science from a religion. Religion demands blind commitment to a set of arbitrary, irrational and baseless doctrines mired in primitive superstition and power-worship (not to mention contradiction-worship), and requires self-sacrifice, collectivization of social groups (so they can be herded like sheep), and a community of surveillance which discourages independent thought and intellectual freedom. Religion typically involves regular gatherings of the faithful, such as church services, in which myths and legends which embody the superstitions are continually reaffirmed as truth, not because they have been shown to be true, but because the whole machine of religion thrives on intellectual surrender. Science is quite the opposite, and cannot take place in the straightjacket of religious self-immolation. To conduct scientific research requires one to admit that he does not already have all the answers, and that the answers to the questions pursued can only be discovered by examining the objects found in nature which he perceives and identifies through natural processes (sense-perception, concept-formation, abstraction from abstractions, inductive inference, principle formulation, etc.). The conceptual permafrost which religion creates in the mind of adults can only stifle such discovery. Thus it should be no surprise that Christians have historically considered science, and the progress it makes possible, a threat to its survival. They're right.

Aaron: "But Manata, being the hardcore presup-superstitionist that he is"

Perhaps we should coin a new term: Manata is a presuperstitionalist. Not only does he act on his superstitions, he presupposes that they must be true for anything else to be true.

Aaron: "probably couldn't tie his shoes without consulting the works of Van Til or Bahnsen."

Of course, didn't Van Til and Bahnsen prove that the intelligibility of shoe-tying presupposes the reality of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Manata wrote: "If naturalistic processes are at bottom of all things then laws of logic (indeed any laws) don't exist. Laws are not 'natural' in character. Natural things have location and particularity. Laws of logic do not. Debate assumes that the laws of logic are real. Thus by debating, they loose."

This is simply another variation of the same tired category mistake Manata made when he tried to discredit the axiom 'existence exists'. It essentially boils down to a confusion between the what and the how of cognition - a consequence of failing to grasp the proper relationship between subject and object. In attempting to discredit the axiom 'existence exists', Manata found it necessary to characterize Rand as making a statement about the concept 'existence', when in fact she is making a statement about the referents of the concept - namely that those referents exist. Similarly, in his statement about logic above, Manata ignores the conceptual nature of logic - concepts being our means of identifying what we perceive and thus part of the how of cognition - and equating it with the objects we perceive and identify in forming those concepts. For reasons unstated, he apparently wants to deny the ability to form and use concepts to those who do not affirm belief in his invisible magic being. What exists are entities (objects) and those who perceive those objects by a specific means and identify them and their relationships by means of concepts (the subject). By ignoring the subject-object relationship which roots the identification of laws of nature and logic, Manata maroons himself on a deserted epistemological island. One of the chief culprits in stranding him there is his commitment to a worldview which lacks a good theory of concepts and which ignores the crucial importance of the subject-object relationship which makes concept-formation possible in the first place. It is this relationship that his religion seeks to evade while reversing it, granting to the subject a power over its objects that we do not find exhibited anywhere in nature. This is known as metaphysical subjectivism - the primacy of the subject over its objects. What would you expect from someone who worships a literal contradiction?

Aaron: "In Manata's world, God's nature is whatever he wants it to be"

Of course, in a cartoon universe, whim is the ruling factor. The metaphysical subjectivism that lies at the core of theistic religions like Christianity essentially says that whatever is, is what it is, simply because the ruling consciousness wished it such.

Aaron: "The laws weren't set by any conscious entity"

Indeed. To affirm that they were set by a conscious entity is to affirm the primacy of the subject metaphysics - that is, subjectivism.

Aaron: "but they are a part of matter and energy's nature."

I would say that what we refer to as "laws of nature" and the such are principles consisting of concepts which we form to identify the nature of what exists. Such principles are objective since they are conceptual formulations based on the object(s) which we perceive in nature. To understand this fully, one needs a good theory of concepts, and we already know that one will not find this in the bible (as you pointed out, Aaron, don't seek instruction on auto maintenance in an ancient tome cataloguing primitive superstitions).

 
At 8/30/2005 11:56 AM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

Bahnsen, that is an excellent post. My blog entry was a little bit on the "laymens terms" side, but you expounded on it and got technical and quite specific. Nicely put my man.

 
At 8/30/2005 12:21 PM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

One thing that particularly bothers me is the whole "order/chaos" thing. I had my eyes opened by that Everythingforever.com site regarding order and chaos, and in reality, its a very simple concept to understand once you read through the site and see the diagrams.

The truth is that Chaos is merely our interpretation of a mixing of two kinds of order. Chaos doesnt really exist. Everything in the universe, and I mean EVERYTHING, is equally ordered through either sequential, grouping, or a combination of the two.

But what does a religious person mean when they say CHAOS? They talk as if they know what it is, but if you put them to task, they really wont be able to give an example of chaos that cant be exposed to actually be just a kind (or kinds) of order.

Christians love to say that "the universe is so ordered, so god must have made it!" WTF???? How do you know what a non-god universe would have looked like? I contend it would look exactly like it does right now! Can a theist provide an example of a chaotic universe? I will bet $500 that they cant do it, because Chaos is a figment of our imagination; chaos is our label assigned to our mere inability to understand patterns that are right in front of our faces.

/rant off

 
At 8/30/2005 6:23 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

I bet a thousand dollars !

 
At 8/30/2005 10:07 PM, Blogger breakerslion declaimed...

Yes. I never thought about it, but it is a complete contradiction to say that chaos exists in either a physical or a temporal universe. What thing could be in a state of chaos, and then by what attributes would it be called a thing? Chaos is then a logical (mathematical)limit, one that can be approached to some degree, but never reached.

I'm not sure I agree with the "two orders" premise at Everything Forever, it seems too similar to the way the human mind works to be a complete explanation. First impression only, and I will read further. In art, there is a form of balancing called asymetrical, which is not necessarily grouping, either.

 
At 8/31/2005 10:09 AM, Blogger groundfighter76 declaimed...

This is for you boys who still believe in Invisible Pink Unicorns (yes that's you aaron, Dawson, etc.)

Besides all the serious misrepresentations you've made Aaron (don't worry Franc gets the award for the Dumbest and Most Misrepresentational Comment Post in the History of Mankind), you say:

"A scientific theory comes from carefully measured observations of natural, material entities."

How does this make 'evolution' a scientific theory? Before any more misrepresentations start, most creationists believe in natural selection per se, that is that there is a *sorting* or *loss* of genetic information but this is hardly what is needed for 'evolution' (particles to people). What we do not 'observe' is any *addition* of information which is what you would need to establish any credibility to your 'theory' of evolution. We have yet to observe even a micro increase in genetic information. (Don't worry I know all about the 'bacteria' examples).

 
At 8/31/2005 11:53 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

GF76, as a presuperstitionalist who denies the reality of evolution by natural selection, how would you address Zachary's points above?

Very curious!

 
At 8/31/2005 12:25 PM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

GF76 said:

How does this make 'evolution' a scientific theory?

Because Evolution is an idea that came directly from measured observation of material entities. It started with Finches on different Galapagos Islands, and continues to this day through the analysis of DNA and fossil records.

Evolution makes no claims to the unobservable, it inserts no supernatural or immaterial factors. It simply involves two things that are for some reason so hard for IDers to grasp:

1. The environment constantly changes to vast degrees

2. Life must change along with the environment to survive.

I take it you havent read much from the journal Nature, watched much Science Channel, or read much at Talkorigins.org, have you?

Would you like to talk about the misrepresentations I made that you alluded to?

Here, you said:

What we do not 'observe' is any *addition* of information which is what you would need to establish any credibility to your 'theory' of evolution.

Maybe this will help you out:

http://www.talkorigins.org/pdf/molecular-genetics.pdf

Let me quote a bit from the pdf document:

"When a cell divides, the entire sequence of its DNA must be duplicated into two faithful copies of
the original; one copy goes to each of the "daughter" cells created by the division. Occasionally,
errors occur in this copying mechanism, creating "mutations" in the DNA sequence. There are
several types of mutations, including substitutions of one or a few nucleotides, deletions of
nucleotides, duplication of segments of DNA or insertion of extraneous DNA segments into an
unrelated DNA sequence."


You seem to be unaware that DNA contains lots of redundant, inactive, and otherwise seemingly superfluous code within it. Not all the DNA code available is used. You assume that the insertion of new information is a requisite for mutation or "evolution," which is not correct. DNA merely needs to have errors in its copying or have different parts of the code activated or inactivated to cause mutation.

And lets not forget the other errors in your reasoning, GF76. Lets imagine that evolution as a theory didnt even exist. Lets imagine that Darwin was never born and we had no concept of DNA or mutation. It STILL would give your GOD/ID argument NO EXTRA WIGGLE ROOM.

Because GF76, you are exposing the weakness in your argument when you asked the question about new information. See, your argument boils down to a God of the Gaps argument. You are basically saying:

You cant explain this, so therefore my argument about supernatural magical beings creating everything is the correct explanation!

In other words, even if there was no evolutionary theory, it would have no bearing on the merits (or lack thereof) of your ID argument. But thats what ID always tries to do! Pick holes in evolution as if it helps their magical ghost argument.

GF76, you have got to stop thinking that an attack on evolution serves as evidence or support for your magical ghost argument. It doesnt. Your magical ghost argument fails with or without the existence of evolutionary theory.

 
At 8/31/2005 12:41 PM, Blogger groundfighter76 declaimed...

Aaron said, “I take it you havent read much from the journal Nature, watched much Science Channel, or read much at Talkorigins.org, have you?”

I take it you don’t know what you are talking about either do you? Yes I have the Discovery Science (I think they should change the name to the Speculation channel) channel and have read that joke of a website Talkorigins.org.


Aaron said, “"When a cell divides, the entire sequence of its DNA must be duplicated into two faithful copies of
the original; one copy goes to each of the "daughter" cells created by the division. Occasionally,
errors occur in this copying mechanism, creating "mutations" in the DNA sequence. There are
several types of mutations, including substitutions of one or a few nucleotides, deletions of
nucleotides, duplication of segments of DNA or insertion of extraneous DNA segments into an
unrelated DNA sequence."

You seem to be unaware that DNA contains lots of redundant, inactive, and otherwise seemingly superfluous code within it. Not all the DNA code available is used. You assume that the insertion of new information is a requisite for mutation or "evolution," which is not correct. DNA merely needs to have errors in its copying or have different parts of the code activated or inactivated to cause mutation.”

Well you are shooting blanks here, Aaron. Read what I said before. All of this information was already contained in the DNA. I never said that mutation could not occur. AS A MATTER OF FACT, I SAID ALL WE SEE IS A *SORTING* (AKA MUTATION) OR LOSS OF INFORMATION ALREADY PRESENT.


Aaron said, “And lets not forget the other errors in your reasoning, GF76. Lets imagine that evolution as a theory didnt even exist. Lets imagine that Darwin was never born and we had no concept of DNA or mutation. It STILL would give your GOD/ID argument NO EXTRA WIGGLE ROOM.”

Because GF76, you are exposing the weakness in your argument when you asked the question about new information. See, your argument boils down to a God of the Gaps argument. You are basically saying:

You cant explain this, so therefore my argument about supernatural magical beings creating everything is the correct explanation!”


Wow Aaron! Still shooting blanks I see! You are ridiculous! Where did I conclude that therefore God exists? I was merely beating up on your supposed “theory”! Amazing…


Aaron said, “In other words, even if there was no evolutionary theory, it would have no bearing on the merits (or lack thereof) of your ID argument. But thats what ID always tries to do! Pick holes in evolution as if it helps their magical ghost argument.

GF76, you have got to stop thinking that an attack on evolution serves as evidence or support for your magical ghost argument. It doesnt. Your magical ghost argument fails with or without the existence of evolutionary theory.”

Well now I can see how you’ve misrepresented Paul. I am just showing that evolution is dumb and a nonscientific faith commitment. :)

 
At 8/31/2005 2:31 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

From Dawson's board, I think GF76 is one of those "persecution" Christians. Arguing with him is probably just feeding his neurosis.

 
At 8/31/2005 3:39 PM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

GF76 said:

Wow Aaron! Still shooting blanks I see! You are ridiculous! Where did I conclude that therefore God exists? I was merely beating up on your supposed “theory”! Amazing

You are a proponent of ID I am assuming, because thats the only other theory to lives diversity other than evolution.

Intelligent designer, God, Yaweh, Zeus, Big brother, sky-daddy, boogieman, Flysing Spaghetti Monster, its all the same you see.

You say tomato, I say tomahto.

GF76, just to be clear now, since you seem to be dodging the "god" label, I must ask you a couple of questions:

Do you or do you not support the theory of intelligent design? And if so, why do you object to me referring to the intelligent designer as "god"?

Would you rather I refer to him as the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

 
At 8/31/2005 8:55 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

GF76: "Yes I have the Discovery Science (I think they should change the name to the Speculation channel) channel and have read that joke of a website Talkorigins.org."

After you address Zachary's points, GF76, I'd really like to see you present some comprehensive (and comprehensible) rejoinders to various pieces on talkorigins.org. Don't be shy - show us your mental agility here (a la "thinking God's thoughts after Him"). You have prepared some original criticisms, have you not? Or, is posting a link to some canned Christian anti-science website (a dime a dozen they are) the best you can do here?

Anyway, that can wait until after you address Zachary's points.

Thanks!
Dawson

 
At 9/01/2005 11:22 AM, Blogger groundfighter76 declaimed...

Okay Dawson.

Zach says, “If Paul can offer a theistic explanation for why we share retrovirus insertions with chimpanzees but not gorillas, or why we share a psi-rho-globin pseudogene with primates only, or why we share seven Alu transposons in the a-globin gene cluster with chimpanzees, or why the nucleic acid and amino acid sequences of cytochrome c are unnecessarily congruent between humans and chimpanzees, then I would sit up and listen, especially if it was something more than an argument from ignorance.”

Ok first I’m going to use Aaron to refute Zach to show you guys the double standards that are employed by ya’ll. Zach says that he wants a ‘theistic explanation’ (let’s emphasize *explanation*) as if there is no explanation that could be given from a theistic point of view. This assumes that only evolution could give an adequate *explanation*, which amounts to what you would call a ‘God of the gaps’ type argument (renamed "Evolution of the Gaps" argument). Since this resembles a “God of the gaps” type argument, then evolutionists should be rejecting it as not too convincing, but instead show their hypocritical double standards.

Or better yet, we could use Aaron’s saying that Zach’s arguments “amount to nothing other than failure of imagination”. :)

But don’t let the big words used by Zach confuse you Dawson. Having common traits/genes in no way proves a common ancestor (which is what his argument is getting at). All this just reflects the fact that God used the same ‘blueprint’ when constructing different living things. However, Zach has already accepted the truth of evolution and then points to this as ‘evidence’ for it and it is quite boring and desperate.

 
At 9/01/2005 12:05 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

GF76, your complaint is noted, but I don't think I've seen a theistic explanation for the data that Zach cited yet. Am I missing something? Or did you forget to post it?

 
At 9/01/2005 12:21 PM, Blogger groundfighter76 declaimed...

Reread the last paragraph Dawson. We can expect similar features, etc due to a common designer creating with a similar blueprint.

Even though you have been provided with an explanation, we don't really *need* an explanation as pointed out by the "Evolution of the Gaps" argument. :)

 
At 9/01/2005 4:31 PM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

Ok first I’m going to use Aaron to refute Zach to show you guys the double standards that are employed by ya’ll. Zach says that he wants a ‘theistic explanation’ (let’s emphasize *explanation*) as if there is no explanation that could be given from a theistic point of view. This assumes that only evolution could give an adequate *explanation*, which amounts to what you would call a ‘God of the gaps’ type argument (renamed "Evolution of the Gaps" argument). Since this resembles a “God of the gaps” type argument, then evolutionists should be rejecting it as not too convincing, but instead show their hypocritical double standards.


GF76, I understand your logic in claiming that we are using a God of hte gaps argument, but in reality we arent. A scientist or biologist wont just explain a biological phenomenon with "science did it!" and close the book. Instead, they will say "it occured via process X..." and they will proceed to give a very detailed, step by step explanation that was arrived at via direct observation of the phenomena.

With religion or god arguments, a theist will only say "God did it!" but they will not give any detailed process of how it occured or how the phenomena specifically arrives from A to B. A theist only pushes the question back one level with their "god did it!" answer. How did God do it? What processes did he use? A theist might say "miracles" or "divine intervention" but that still doesnt answer the question. How do the miracles operate? How does divine intervention get us from A to B?

A scientist does not push the question a level back. They must explain the procedure from A to B in order to have a theory or explanation seriously worth considering.

If there is a theistic explanation, then fine, lets hear it. But saying "God did it miraculously" isnt an explanation, because you dont explain HOW god did it miraculously.

 
At 9/01/2005 5:26 PM, Blogger groundfighter76 declaimed...

Aaron said, “GF76, I understand your logic in claiming that we are using a God of hte gaps argument, but in reality we arent. A scientist or biologist wont just explain a biological phenomenon with "science did it!" and close the book. Instead, they will say "it occured via process X..." and they will proceed to give a very detailed, step by step explanation that was arrived at via direct observation of the phenomena.”

With all due respect, in reality it is no different and I don’t think you understand what I’m talking about. You see the theist will propose that God did it (in the final analysis) even though he may or may not have an adequate explanation (adequate enough for the naturalist). If and when he does this, he is lamblasted for not giving the precise mechanisms by which it happened – as if this is some kind of argument against God (even though there are several technical creationist articles and websites out there explaining all sorts of things). The evolutionist does the same thing when he does not have adequate explanations and still clings to his evolution in the hopes that some time in the future an adequate explanation can be given *naturalistically*. He is still assuming naturalistic causes to be the case though he cannot adequately explain any precise mechanisms by which some things occur (let us not forget that 'explanations' may be given but we are here referring to the *adequacy* of those explanations). So he is not saying that “Science did it” (by the way, nice misrepresentation) rather he is assuming that naturalistic causes (godless) are already adequate for explaining without so doing. You see, just like the theist, the evolutionist looks forward to a time when these things can be *adequately* explained.

By the way, do you think that science is based upon direct observation? That right there shoots ‘evolution’ in the head as far as being scientific.


Aaron said, ”With religion or god arguments, a theist will only say "God did it!" but they will not give any detailed process of how it occured or how the phenomena specifically arrives from A to B. A theist only pushes the question back one level with their "god did it!" answer. How did God do it? What processes did he use? A theist might say "miracles" or "divine intervention" but that still doesnt answer the question. How do the miracles operate? How does divine intervention get us from A to B?”

This is wrong and shows to me that you are not at all familiar with any creation scientists - they do not "only say that God did it". Oh and it also begs the question by assuming that *all* phenomena necessarily have a naturalistic explanation.


Aaron said, “A scientist does not push the question a level back. They must explain the procedure from A to B in order to have a theory or explanation seriously worth considering.

If there is a theistic explanation, then fine, lets hear it. But saying "God did it miraculously" isnt an explanation, because you dont explain HOW god did it miraculously.”

I never said the explanation was that ‘God did it miraculously’ Aaron so that was another misrepresentation. You see Zach’s point in the examples that he listed was to show that there is a common ancestry, which would somehow prove/give credibility to evolution. My point was not to rebut Zach’s examples per se, but rather to show that his conclusion (common ancestry) did not necessarily follow from the examples listed. Now there are technical articles that I have that address some of these very things, but that was not the purpose of my post.

Do you also not think that asking a theist to show HOW God does things miraculously begs the question? The very point of saying that something is miraculous implies that there will not be a naturalistic explanation. So all you are doing is forcing your presuppositions upon me with no cogent argumentation in support of it.

 
At 9/01/2005 5:28 PM, Blogger whatever declaimed...

GF76 says "Having common traits/genes in no way proves a common ancestor (which is what his argument is getting at). All this just reflects the fact that God used the same ‘blueprint’ when constructing different living things."

Ok, I understand now. I resemble my brother and share many of his traits more than I resemble the guy down the street, not because we had common parents, but because God used the same blueprint for both of us. Got it.

 
At 9/01/2005 10:00 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Groundfighter-

The point of the issues that I raised concerning the evidence for evolution from molecular biology was not solely to establish a naturalistic explanation for common ancestry.

If all that existed in the genome were instructions for making organisms, then your "divine blueprint" rebuttal would carry more weight. However, you've failed to address the truly critical aspects of that evidence; namely, the existence of transposons, pseudogenes, and endogenous retrovirii. None of these elements code for expressed genes, and yet they are conserved between organisms that share close genetic and morphologic identity.

You might be able to squeeze transposons and psudogenes into your "loss of information" rebuttal, but I'm afraid that stops far short of addressing the presence of endogenous retrovirus genomes. We know that these organisms(?) function by inserting their genome into the genome of a host. If evolution was true, then we would expect to see shared retrovirus genomes in the same locations of organisms that share a common ancestor. However, if creationism/design is true, then we would expect to see them inserted completely randomly from organism to organism. The latter, unfortunately for your argument, is not observed.

 
At 9/01/2005 11:17 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Zach,

Owing to your able command of the relevant science, GF76 is in so over his head on this topic that the resulting situation - to use your expression - "actually draws my pity." It's like watching primitive savage clothed in fig leaves and armed with a stone-age axe trying to take on a bulldozer. I want to scream "Get out of the way, you numbskull!" But he doesn't seem to understand clear English.

Earlier GF76 had attempted to answer your points by saying "We can expect similar features, etc due to a common designer creating with a similar blueprint." In other words, if we assume a cartoon universe in the care of an invisible magic being, we can "expect" whatever we ultimately see to come from whatever we want to believe.

Anyone can see the "validity" of such a position regardless of what inputs are used to represent the key variables here. "We can expect similar features...." due to the same illustrator creating cartoons according to the same basic view of the world (namely one which holds that the world conforms to wishes and fantasies). Form without objective content invites form validated by any content one inserts in that form.

But when it comes to hard facts and real science, the cheap slogans and mental self-cancellation that religion produces, are no match for objective content and rational substance.

Regards,
Dawson

 
At 9/02/2005 12:35 PM, Blogger groundfighter76 declaimed...

Zach said, “The point of the issues that I raised concerning the evidence for evolution from molecular biology was not solely to establish a naturalistic explanation for common ancestry.

If all that existed in the genome were instructions for making organisms, then your "divine blueprint" rebuttal would carry more weight. However, you've failed to address the truly critical aspects of that evidence; namely, the existence of transposons, pseudogenes, and endogenous retrovirii. None of these elements code for expressed genes, and yet they are conserved between organisms that share close genetic and morphologic identity.”

I did not say that that was the ‘sole’ point. This is also not correct. Just because a gene has not been observed under experimental conditions it does not follow that they ‘do not’ (that they are unable to) code for expressed genes.

‘In these and other examples it cannot be stated with certainty that a gene is unequivocally either a pseudogene or a gene. It is possible that analysis has not been performed in the appropriate temporospatial conditions to detect expression.’ From Moyzis, R.K. et al., The distribution of interspersed repetitive DNA sequences in the human genome, Genomics 4:276–281, 1989.

I would also disagree that they share ‘close genetic’ identity as the 3 or 4% difference that is commonly cited would still be a huge amount of information. (I’m sure I’ll be hit here with the 97% crap)…

Zach said, “You might be able to squeeze transposons and psudogenes into your "loss of information" rebuttal, but I'm afraid that stops far short of addressing the presence of endogenous retrovirus genomes. We know that these organisms(?) function by inserting their genome into the genome of a host. If evolution was true, then we would expect to see shared retrovirus genomes in the same locations of organisms that share a common ancestor. However, if creationism/design is true, then we would expect to see them inserted completely randomly from organism to organism. The latter, unfortunately for your argument, is not observed.”


First, I want you to actually substantiate your claim that we ‘would expect to see them inserted completely randomly from organism to organism’ if creationism were true.

Secondly, unless you can show that these shared retrovirus genomes cannot occur independently in different organisms, then you have not touched my ‘blueprint’ rebuttal.


I may not be able to respond till next week as my power has been out at the house due to Hurricane Katrina for the past 4 days.

 
At 9/02/2005 12:42 PM, Blogger groundfighter76 declaimed...

Well Dawson, I can see you have again contributed nothing except your usual cheerleading tactics. Good job...

 
At 9/02/2005 2:15 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Groundfighter-

You mention, "Just because a gene has not been observed under experimental conditions it does not follow that they ‘do not’ (that they are unable to) code for expressed genes." You then cite a paper published in Genomics by Moyzis et al, indicating that, "In these and other examples it cannot be stated with certainty that a gene is unequivocally either a pseudogene or a gene. It is possible that analysis has not been performed in the appropriate temporospatial conditions to detect expression."

May I ask, what specific "examples" are Moyzis referring to? Although I can't access the article directly, I was able to read the abstract, which indicates that the focus of the study is the frequency of transposon Alu elements in the human genome. I'm curious what specific pseudogenes were under discussion.

While it may be true, as Moyzis seems to indicate, that establishing psudogenes as absolutely nonfunctional may be the molecular equivalent of proving a negative, there are many examples to the contrary. Take, for example, the 21-hydroxlyase gene, for which two copies exist in humans, although one copy contains an 8 bp deletion that renders it untranslated. Interestingly, chimpanzees share this same deletion in the same location.

As to your criticism of dysfunctional confirmation, positive evidence is shown in individuals who display a further mutation in the functioning 21-hydroxlyase gene. This condition results in a condition known as congential adrenal hyperplasia. If, as you suggest, the deleted copy of 21-hydroxylase still retains function, then the disease would not manifest with the loss of the undeleted copy. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Reference:
Kawaguchi, H., C. O'hUigin, et al. (1992) "Evolutionary origin of mutations in the primate cytochrome P450c21 gene." American Journal of Human Genetics 50: 766-780.


Regarding the endogenous retrovirus insertion, you say, "First, I want you to actually substantiate your claim that we ‘would expect to see them inserted completely randomly from organism to organism’ if creationism were true."

It has been known for some time that the insertion of retrovirus genomes into mammalian genomes are random events. If, according to the hypothesis of creationism, all mammals were created concurrently, then statistically each individual mammal stands the same chance of retrovirus infection as any other. Additionally, since the only way for these retrovirus genomes to be inherited is for them to insert into germ cells, there exists another layer of randomness in the process. Thus, since each mammalian species has an equal chance of containing a retrovirus insertion, we should observe said insertions at random locations in the genome of each species.

Since, however, we find retrovirus insertions in the same genomic locations in different species, the creationist hypothesis must be rejected. Specifically in the case of the HERV-K retrovirus, hierarchical segreagation of shared insertions supports the hypothesis that humans and chimpanzees share a common ancestor, and that both species share an ancestor with gorillas, etc. throughout the primate clade.

References:
Weinberg RA. Integrated genomes of animal viruses. Annu Rev Biochem. 1980;49:197-226.

Lebedev, Y. B., Belonovitch, O. S., Zybrova, N. V, Khil, P. P., Kurdyukov, S. G., Vinogradova, T. V., Hunsmann, G., and Sverdlov, E. D. (2000) "Differences in HERV-K LTR insertions in orthologous loci of humans and great apes." Gene 247: 265-277.


You also say, "Secondly, unless you can show that these shared retrovirus genomes cannot occur independently in different organisms, then you have not touched my ‘blueprint’ rebuttal."

Now we're entering the realm of statistical probability. Certainly, it's not impossible that humans and chimpanzees share retrovirus insertions by random chance, but the odds against such an occurrence are so low they make the "747-tornado" scenario postulated by creationists look like a sure bet. But could a deity designing two different species design them with identical flaws for some reason? Perhaps, but bear in mind that now we're entering the territory of arguments from ignorance. To say that a deity could have designed two species with identical flaws is the same as saying that we don't know that a deity did not do so. This argument, it seems to me, is no different from that which insists that starlight was created in transit to give the appearance of distance, or that gravitational force is manifested by invisible angels.

In the realm of faith and belief, ignorance is the last refuge of the scoundrel, but science insists on evidence.

 
At 9/02/2005 4:51 PM, Blogger groundfighter76 declaimed...

Zach,

I've been busy at work so it may be Tuesday before I can respond, unless of course our electricity gets reconnected this weekend (our street is the only one in our neighborhood that is out!). So stay tuned...

 
At 9/02/2005 10:53 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Zach: "But could a deity designing two different species design them with identical flaws for some reason? Perhaps, but bear in mind that now we're entering the territory of arguments from ignorance."

Actually, with such notions we are entering into the fake environment of the cartoon universe premise. An invisible magic being can do anything one imagines it to do, for imagination, not fact, is the determining factor. It's the whim of the believer imagining the whim of an imaginary consciousness.

 
At 9/02/2005 11:17 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

GF76: "I've been busy at work so it may be Tuesday before I can respond, unless of course our electricity gets reconnected this weekend (our street is the only one in our neighborhood that is out!). So stay tuned..."

Translation: "Hold on while I confer with apologetic sources so that I can hone my BS and present a response."

 
At 9/04/2005 1:36 AM, Blogger groundfighter76 declaimed...

Well finally got my electricity today.

Zach said, “May I ask, what specific "examples" are Moyzis referring to? Although I can't access the article directly, I was able to read the abstract, which indicates that the focus of the study is the frequency of transposon Alu elements in the human genome. I'm curious what specific pseudogenes were under discussion.”

No you may not because that wasn’t the point. :) It’s very similar to the whole vestigial organ argument used by evolutionists – you know that there are useless organs. I believe it was about 100 organs that were declared to be vestigial that were later found to have a use. So the point I’m making is that it’s very hard for you to be so dogmatic with your assertionism.

It’s this type of ‘nonfunctional unless proven functional’ mentality that I think is fallacious. You first say that psuedogenes have no function. When a function is discovered, the evolutionist will put that psuedogene and others like it in a certain class and say that function may be applicable to these but to no others and so on ad infinitum. This is eerily similar to the vestigial organ argument.


Zach said, “While it may be true, as Moyzis seems to indicate, that establishing psudogenes as absolutely nonfunctional may be the molecular equivalent of proving a negative, there are many examples to the contrary. Take, for example, the 21-hydroxlyase gene, for which two copies exist in humans, although one copy contains an 8 bp deletion that renders it untranslated. Interestingly, chimpanzees share this same deletion in the same location.”

As to your criticism of dysfunctional confirmation, positive evidence is shown in individuals who display a further mutation in the functioning 21-hydroxlyase gene. This condition results in a condition known as congential adrenal hyperplasia. If, as you suggest, the deleted copy of 21-hydroxylase still retains function, then the disease would not manifest with the loss of the undeleted copy. Unfortunately, that is not the case.”

I’m not really sure of your point here. I don’t know how this shows that the 21-hydroxlyase gene itself is dysfunctional unless there has been a mutation of the gene. This condition (congenital adrenal hyperplasia) is found in 1:10,000 to 1:16,000 people in North America. Nor am I sure how this confirms that the 21-hydroxylase gene is ‘non-functional’.



Zach said, “It has been known for some time that the insertion of retrovirus genomes into mammalian genomes are random events. If, according to the hypothesis of creationism, all mammals were created concurrently, then statistically each individual mammal stands the same chance of retrovirus infection as any other. Additionally, since the only way for these retrovirus genomes to be inherited is for them to insert into germ cells, there exists another layer of randomness in the process. Thus, since each mammalian species has an equal chance of containing a retrovirus insertion, we should observe said insertions at random locations in the genome of each species.

Since, however, we find retrovirus insertions in the same genomic locations in different species, the creationist hypothesis must be rejected. Specifically in the case of the HERV-K retrovirus, hierarchical segreagation of shared insertions supports the hypothesis that humans and chimpanzees share a common ancestor, and that both species share an ancestor with gorillas, etc. throughout the primate clade.”


Well that’s a beautiful strawman and completely ignores the fact that God made animals ‘after their kind’ and hence this ‘argument’ is irrevelant to what you are attempting to prove.

I’m also not so sure that these are random events as you suggest. Miyamoto suggests that the assumption of randomness of SINE insertion into the genome is ‘the least convincing assumption’ related to their role as phylogenetic markers.

Miyamoto, M.M., Perfect SINEs of evolutionary history? Current Biology 1999(9):R816, 1999

Also, insertions are thought to be strongly associated by the timing of chromosomal events. Certain insertions also tend to occur in existing breaks into the host DNA. Experimental evidence demonstrates that there are “hotspots” in “bent or coiled” DNA. All of this, as well as other evidences, suggest that independent acquisition and nonrandomness is a viable position.

Jurka, J. and Kapitonov, V.V., Sectorial mutagenesis by transposable elements, Genetica 12:4–6, 2000.

Wichman, H.A. et al., Transposable elements and the evolution of genome organization in mammals, Genetica 86:290, 1992

Usdin, K. and Furano, A.V., Insertion of L1 elements into sites that can form non-B DNA, J. Biological Chemistry 264:20742, 1989.

Feng, Q. et al., Human L1 retrotransposon encodes a conserved endonuclease required for retrotransposition, Cell 87:907–913, 1996.



Are you also familiar with the GULO psuedogene that if taken your assumptions of phylogenetic relationships we should be closely related to the guinea pig? Also, that humans and sheep share an orthologous P2 psuedogene – any possibility of common evolutionary ancestry there, Zach?


Zach said, “Now we're entering the realm of statistical probability. Certainly, it's not impossible that humans and chimpanzees share retrovirus insertions by random chance, but the odds against such an occurrence are so low they make the "747-tornado" scenario postulated by creationists look like a sure bet. But could a deity designing two different species design them with identical flaws for some reason? Perhaps, but bear in mind that now we're entering the territory of arguments from ignorance. To say that a deity could have designed two species with identical flaws is the same as saying that we don't know that a deity did not do so.”

Wrong this has already been demonstrated. See above.



Zach said, “This argument, it seems to me, is no different from that which insists that starlight was created in transit to give the appearance of distance, or that gravitational force is manifested by invisible angels.”

Well, there are creationists who do not hold to that theory of starlight formation with me being one of them so it has no relevance here. And I know of no one who holds that “gravitational force is manifested by invisible angels.”

 
At 9/04/2005 1:40 AM, Blogger groundfighter76 declaimed...

Dawson said, "Translation: "Hold on while I confer with apologetic sources so that I can hone my BS and present a response.""

Shut up Dawson.

 
At 9/04/2005 3:14 PM, Blogger groundfighter76 declaimed...

I wanted to address something alittle more.

Zach said, "As to your criticism of dysfunctional confirmation, positive evidence is shown in individuals who display a further mutation in the functioning 21-hydroxlyase gene. This condition results in a condition known as congential adrenal hyperplasia. If, as you suggest, the deleted copy of 21-hydroxylase still retains function, then the disease would not manifest with the loss of the undeleted copy. Unfortunately, that is not the case.”

I think I now know what you are getting at. The problem is that this assumes that the copy (psuedogene) of the 21-hydroxylase would have the same function as the paralogous gene, which would not necessarily be the case and is somewhat of an argument from ignorance to then conclude that it has *no* function.

 
At 9/05/2005 4:22 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Groundfighter-

The use of vestigial organs/genes in arguments against creationism is usually intended, not necessarily to assert that a particular organ or gene has no function, but to argue against the purported efficiency of an implied Creator. That is to say, it shows evidence of poor design. Creationists often harp on the observed functions of vestigial organs, under the assumption that if any function can be found for it, then it is not vestigial. One specific example of this is the appendix. The anti-creationist argument goes, "Why would a perfect deity create an organ which does nothing but get infected and threaten death?" To which the creationist replies, "But the appendix is part of the immune system- it plays an important role!" Which is true. The appendix, as it exists now, is part of the gut-associated lymphatic tissue, or GALT. However, this tissue is found throughout the gastrointestinal system, and the excision of the appendix has not been shown to cause immunosuppression at all, and in fact is actually protective against ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. The reason for this, of course, is because the appendix is morphologically and histologically related to the cecum, which is an important organ in mammals which must digest a large amount of vegetable matter. As the evolutionary pressure on our ancestors to process vegetable matter decreased, the need for a fully functional cecum decreased. However, the GALT tissue on the cecum was still somewhat protective, which is why it has been retained. Unfortunately, the appendix has also retained the basic structure of the cecum (a blind pouch), which is why it is so prone to infection.

Reference:
Protective role of appendicectomy on onset and severity of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
Gut. 2002 Dec;51(6):808-13.

However, I wasn't using this argument initially, I was just pointing out the similarities between the deletions in pseudogenes between humans and chimpanzees, as molecular evidence of common ancestry.

Regarding the 21-hydroxylase problem, you say, " I don’t know how this shows that the 21-hydroxlyase gene itself is dysfunctional unless there has been a mutation of the gene. This condition (congenital adrenal hyperplasia) is found in 1:10,000 to 1:16,000 people in North America. Nor am I sure how this confirms that the 21-hydroxylase gene is ‘non-functional’." The molecular genetics of CAH is very clear- the mutation of the functional copy of the gene is responsible for the manifestation of the disease.

You also say, “The problem is that this assumes that the copy (psuedogene) of the 21-hydroxylase would have the same function as the paralogous gene, which would not necessarily be the case and is somewhat of an argument from ignorance to then conclude that it has *no* function.” On the contrary, your argument is based on ignorance, as I showed before. ‘Since we don’t know that the pseudogene doesn’t have a function, it does.’ This is very unlikely given the genetic terrain of Chromosome 6. In addition to the CYP21 gene being duplicated, it seems the complement gene C4 is also duplicated. Both C4 genes are functional, and the only reason the CYP21P gene is nonfunctional is because of the deleterious mutations, which are confirmed by the mutations observed in CAH. Given the weight of the evidence, if you still wish to argue that CYP21P has some function, you would need to provide more evidence to establish that fact.

Reference:
An overview of molecular diagnosis of steroid 21-hydroxylase deficiency.
J Mol Diagn. 2001 May;3(2):49-54. Review.

Regarding my argument from redundant retrovirus insertions, you say that it is a “strawman” and that it “completely ignores the fact that God made animals ‘after their kind’ and hence this ‘argument’ is irrevelant to what you are attempting to prove.” I’m not sure how my argument recasts creationism as a “strawman.” Creationism holds that all species were created separately and (more or less) concurrently. I don’t see how I’ve misrepresented that. I’m also not sure what you hope to gain by arguing that animals were created “after their kind.” Unless you’re willing to grant that humans and chimpanzees were created as one “kind,” then that objection has nothing to do with my argument.

Regarding the random insertion of retrovirii, you reference an article by Miyamoto concerning transposon insertion. The other papers you cite are also concerned with transposon insertion. I draw you attention again to the paper I cited by Weinberg. However, even given the concession that retrovirus insertions are non-random, then what is your explanation for the fact that more insertions are shared between chimpanzees and humans than any other primate? Given the creationist hypothesis, as well as your argument that retrovirii insert non-randomly, then we should expect to see common insertions between all species. I refer you again to the paper by Lebedev et al. But however nonrandom transposons can be, molecular analysis can also allow for the distinction of speciation.

Reference:
Rapid evolution of a young L1 (LINE-1) clade in recently speciated Rattus taxa.
J Mol Evol. 1997 Oct;45(4):412-23.

Regarding the GLO pseudogene, you ask, “if taken your assumptions of phylogenetic relationships we should be closely related to the guinea pig? Also, that humans and sheep share an orthologous P2 psuedogene – any possibility of common evolutionary ancestry there, Zach?” Absolutely we have common ancestry with all animals. More closely with mammals, obviously, than reptiles, but what is the essence of your argument? Now we seem to see a legitimate strawman. Your condensation of my argument from redundant pseudogenes seems to be, “If two animals share a pseudogene, close phylogenetic linkage is indicated. Humans and chimpanzees share a pseudogene with guinea pigs. Therefore, humans are equally phylogenetically distant from both chimpanzees and guinea pigs.” Allow me to clarify my argument to allay this strawman criticism. Phylogenetic relationships are confirmed molecularly by sequence homology. Mutations can occur at various positions on a gene, and any number of changes can cause a gene to be non-functional. It is conceivable that the guinea pig experienced an independent mutation during its evolution, causing the GLO gene to become non-functional. Since your argument assumes the evolutionary theory of genetic inheritance, we can look at the raw sequences of humans, chimpanzees, and guinea pigs, to see if they each have the same amount of homology. I have compared the sequences of the human, rat, mouse, guinea pig, chimpanzee, orangutan, boar, and cow genes by BLAST analysis, and identified regions of homology. Please direct your attention to the following figure:

http://www.drzach.net/images/GLO.jpg

We see the human sequence at the top, followed by the rodents, then followed by two primates, as well as a porcine and bovine representative just for the hell of it. So how do the homologies stack up? Let’s look at the rodents first. We see 84% with rat, 85% with mouse, and 84% with guinea pig. At first glance, this seems like the guinea pig is no closer to humans than any other rodent. But let’s look at the primates before we dismiss it entirely. Here, we see 97% with chimpanzee and 94% with orangutan. This is rock-solid evidence that, in fact, though both guinea pigs and chimpanzees have non-functional GLO genes, in fact chimpanzees are clearly more closely related to humans.

References:
Random nucleotide substitutions in primate nonfunctional gene for L-gulono-gamma-lactone oxidase, the missing enzyme in L-ascorbic acid biosynthesis.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 1999 Oct 18;1472(1-2):408-11.

Guinea pigs possess a highly mutated gene for L-gulono-gamma-lactone oxidase, the key enzyme for L-ascorbic acid biosynthesis missing in this species.
J Biol Chem. 1992 Oct 25;267(30):21967-72.

Molecular basis for the deficiency in humans of gulonolactone oxidase, a key enzyme for ascorbic acid biosynthesis.
Am J Clin Nutr. 1991 Dec;54(6 Suppl):1203S-1208S. Review.

Regading my comment about similarities between creationism and other pseudoscientific beliefs, you say, “Well, there are creationists who do not hold to that theory of starlight formation with me being one of them so it has no relevance here. And I know of no one who holds that “gravitational force is manifested by invisible angels.” My point was not to accuse you of holding those other beliefs. It was to illustrate that creationism is no different in terms of mindset than a belief system that holds that gravity is manifested by invisible angels. Both postulate the existence of incorporeal, immaterial agents operating outside the realm of empirical Science.

 
At 4/06/2006 1:16 AM, Blogger Greg Liddle declaimed...

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