Misinformation About Evolution


(David Roemer) #1

Natural selection is just one proposed mechanism for common descent. Three other mechanisms are epigenetics, natural genetic engineering, and facilitated variation. All these mechanisms only explain why giraffes have long necks, not how giraffes descended from worms. No biologist claims these mechanisms explain common descent.


(George Brooks) #2

@davidroemer

It’s not clear to me what exactly you are disputing.

You say that Natural Selection is not the only method for Common Descent. Who said it was?

Once you accept Speciation, Common Descent is a de facto corollary to Speciation… because newly differentiated populations are able to, yet again, repeat the process of speciation. This can result in a long chronological chain of new species - - budding off of a prior new species, again and again.

So what is it you really want to dispute? Maybe you are really aiming at disputing Speciation? Or do you accept Speciation?


#3

I am pretty sure that 99 44/100% of modern biologists would not agree with this statement. :slight_smile:


(Steve Schaffner) #4

Natural selection is not a mechanism for common descent; it’s a process that occurs during descent, common or not. It explains some of the changes that occur as species diverge and multiply.

Epigenetics (presumably you mean trans-generational epigenetics) is also not a mechanism for common descent. It’s a way by which information can be passed to offspring without changes to the sequence of DNA. It has almost nothing to do with common descent, and its relevance for evolution is unclear at this point.

Natural genetic engineering is James Shapiro’s term for a grab-bag of processes. Most concern the generation of variation, and at least Shapiro thinks some of them are alternatives to natural selection as a mechanism of adaptive change. I think it’s fair to say that few evolutionary biologists are persuaded by this part of his argument.

Facilitated variation is also not an alternative to natural selection. It is a descriptive term for various features of organisms related to how genetic change translates into phenotypic change, that is, into changed traits. It explains why natural selection has lots of potentially useful mutations to work with.


(David Roemer) #5

Then you should be able to supply a quote saying natural selection, epigenetics, etc. explains common descent. This is a quote from mainstream biologists, not advocates of intelligent design. I can give you a number of quotes like this.

"The history of life presents three great sources of wonder. One is adaptation, the marvelous fit between organism and environment. The other two are diversity and complexity, the huge variety of living forms today and the enormous complexity of their internal structure. Natural selection explains adaptation. But what explains diversity and complexity? "( Daniel McShae and Michael Brandon, Biology’s First Law :The Tendency for Diversity and Complexity to Increase in Evolutionary Systems, 2010, location 78)


(Curtis Henderson) #6

My apologies, @davidroemer, but I’m honestly not understanding the point you are trying to make. Science doesn’t really demand good quotes to be accurate.


#7

Here you go.

“Evidence of common descent of living organisms has been discovered by scientists researching in a variety of disciplines over many decades, demonstrating the common descent of all life on Earth developing from a last universal ancestor. This evidence constructs the theoretical framework on which evolutionary theory rests, demonstrates that evolution does occur, and is able to show the natural processes that led to the emergence of Earth’s biodiversity. Additionally, this evidence supports the modern evolutionary synthesis—the current scientific theory that explains how and why life changes over time. Evolutionary biologists document evidence of common descent by developing testable predictions, testing hypotheses, and constructing theories that illustrate and describe its causes.”

The above quote is NOT, I repeat NOT by Ken Miller. Never said it was and I am sorry if it has been mis-attributed.

If you want to read something about evolution written by a biologist who defiantly is not a supporter of ID then see Ken Miller’s page at Ken Miller’s Evolution Page. Of course there are also a lot of great sources of information on the BL website. Just look around.

BTW, I still don’t know what point you are trying to make.

PS. The reviews for Biology’s First Law are not that great.


(George Brooks) #8

I guess @davidroemer didn’t believe me…


(David Roemer) #9

Kenneth Miller’s quote is absurd because he speaks of “natural processes.” What is a “supernatural process”? There is no such thing as a supernatural process. Miller does not say, "Natural selection, epigenetics, facilitated variation, and natural genetic engineering explains macroevolution as well as microevolution. What follows is another quote proving my point. I also have a quote from a PhD in linguistics, not biology, saying natural selection explains common descent. I am not a biologist, but I know there is no explanation for the origin of life and common descent which occurred over a period of about 100, 000 decades. I use decades, not years, because it takes 20 years for a fertilized egg to produce all of the cells in the human body.

"Facilitated variation is not like orthogenesis, a theory championed by the eccentric American paleontologist Henry Osborn (1857–1935), which imbues the organism with an internal preset course of evolution, a program of variations unfolding over time. Natural selection remains a major part of the explanation of how organisms have evolved characters so well adapted to the environment. (Marc Kirschner and John Gerhart, The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin’s Dilemma, 2005, page 247)


#10

Christ’s resurrection is pretty much the gold standard for a supernatural process. Or what do you call it?

BTW, still don’t know what you are trying to say here. But I may be getting the beginnings of a glimmer.

The quote wasn’t by Ken Miller.

Origin of life and evolution are two different animals, so to speak. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other. You are aware of the difference aren’t you?

20 million years. Now that is a new one. Do you have a good scientific quote to prove that?

And here I was thinking a human fetus was fully formed in about 20 weeks, 40 weeks top.


(David Roemer) #11

I meant 100 million decades. A 20 year old has many more cells than a fetus. The Resurrection is an historical event. It is not a “supernatural” process. The faith response to the Resurrection is a gift from God, which could be considered a supernatural event.


#12

So 20 billion years. Wow, the earth is only 4.1 billion years old.

In total count yes, but not in the types of cells present. Given many cell types are regularly replaced the 20 year old doesn’t have all the cells they started out with. This would apply at any age.

Again, what’s your point?


(George Brooks) #13

@davidroemer

You seem to be all over the map with your complaints?

Are you pro-Evolution? Are you pro-ID?

For many of us on the BioLogos boards, we hold to both kinds of processes… miraculous ones by God… and natural ones arranged by God.

So in the metaphysics of most of the people who participate here, there is no question that there are Other processes - - distinct from natural ones.


(Steve Schaffner) #14

100 million decades is 1 billion years.


#15

I realized as I was driving into work that I had misunderstood David.

1 billion is about when sexually reproduction started so perhaps that is what he meant.


(Steve Schaffner) #16

Mind you, I have no idea what point he’s making either.


(David Roemer) #17

The point I am making is that biologists understand evolution. Layman do not because of the conflict about intelligent design. The first quote is from biologists and the second quote is from a non-biologist. The biologists know perfectly well that all the mechanisms explain only adaptation. The non-biologist thinks that natural selection explains common descent because there were so many eons.

Facilitated variation is not like orthogenesis, a theory championed by the eccentric American paleontologist Henry Osborn (1857–1935), which imbues the organism with an internal preset course of evolution, a program of variations unfolding over time. Natural selection remains a major part of the explanation of how organisms have evolved characters so well adapted to the environment. (Marc Kirschner and John Gerhart, The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin’s Dilemma, 2005, page 247)

They [Pinker and Bloom] particularly emphasized that language is incredibly complex, as Chomsky had been saying for decades. Indeed, it was the enormous complexity of language that made is hard to imagine not merely how it had evolved but that it had evolved at all……But, continued Pinker and Bloom, complexity is not a problem for evolution. Consider the eye. The little organ is composed of many specialized parts, each delicately calibrated to perform its role in conjunction with the others. It includes the cornea,…Even Darwin said that it was hard to imagine how the eye could have evolved…….And yet, he explained, it did evolve, and the only possible way is through natural selection—the inestimable back-and-forth of random genetic mutation with small effects…Over the eons, those small changes accreted and eventually resulted in the eye as we know it. (Christine Kenneally, The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language, 2007, page 59)


(Steve Schaffner) #18

I’m a biologist, and my experience is that lots of laymen understand evolution pretty well. Lots don’t.


(David Roemer) #19

Do you agree with me that natural selection, epigentics, etc. only explains adaptation? If not, can you supply a quote from a textbook or peer-reviewed article that says natural selection, etc explains common descent?


(Steve Schaffner) #20

I already told you my view on those processes in my post above. (Epigenetics doesn’t explain adaptation, by the way.) No, none of them explains common descent. I can’t think of anything that “explains” common descent; it’s just a statement of something that has happened.

Readers’ confusion about this thread starts with your first post. You wrote, “Natural selection is just one proposed mechanism for common descent. Three other mechanisms are epigenetics, natural genetic engineering, and facilitated variation.” Were those statements things you believe to be true, or examples of the misinformation that you say others believe?