The Appendix/Cave Fish Eyes/Etc. are (NOT) vestigial

(Steve Schaffner) #141

I don’t understand what you mean by lowest common denominator, or, well, pretty much anything you’re saying here.

It would not surprise me if this were true. One of the things most scientists learn very early is that extrapolating from their familiar experiences to very different temporal, spatial, and energy scales is a really bad idea.

I would hope most engineers (at least engineers in the relevant disciplines) would have a better grasp of the 2nd Law than that.


So you are saying a blind fish would chose to stay in the cave in the dark when it doesn’t know that it is dark, it is blind after all, instead of going out of the cave into the light when it wouldn’t know it was in the light? Sorry but I calculate the probability of leaving the cave to be the same for sighted and blind fish. Or did I miss something?

(Chris Falter) #143

Hi Ashwin,

Life is organized on different principles than engineering artifacts. Automobiles do not select mates and pass on designs mediated through DNA, for example. They do not compete for food or mates, flee from prey or hunt, etc.

Once you recognize these quite fundamental differences between the two domains, you can recognize that

  1. the domain of biology does have a Creator and Sustainer, and
  2. God’s relationship with His creation is compatible with the evidence that very strongly points to evolution.

Grace and peace,

(Chris Falter) #144

We can strongly infer that the hypogean and epigean populations are derived from a common ancestral population. If you accept that inference, then the conclusion that loss of sight occurred over time in hypogean populations is unavoidable.


(Dennis Venema) #145

It’s surprisingly common for non-biologists to think that all species must start from an ancestral first pair. I don’t know why that is the case, but a major part of it is not understanding how speciation is about average characteristics of a population shifting over time. It’s just one of those things that crops up a lot when speaking to non-specialists. I’ve seen people remarkably resistant to being dissuaded from the idea.

(George Brooks) #146


I believe you are incomprehensible on this point.

Maybe you can start over again:

  1. How am I forced to make this extrapolation?
  2. How does a single mated pair change anything that we are discussing?
  3. Shouldn’t you even allow for a single individual, who is able to reproduce through internal fertility reproductive strategies?
  4. Assuming we can extrapolate all the way to a single individual, how is this relevant to your objection?

(Mervin Bitikofer) #147

I don’t know. I’ve always wondered about the El Camino. Station wagon meets pick up truck … scandalous relationship ensues. They kept it all hush hush, I’m sure.


(Dennis Venema) #148

Hey, it’s not for us to judge. :wink:




I prefer the old saw, “Why would God put the amusement park so close to the sewage plant?”. :wink:


LOL! I’ve heard that one, but if I had said it, it would have been removed in a jiffy.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #152

Maybe not. All the same, we’re pretty conservative about this at our church and keep all the trucks parked on one side of the street, and all the cars parked on the opposite side. You can’t be too careful about these things. :man_farmer:

(Phil) #153

The real question that comes up is how do you handle SUV/Crossover issues in your parking lot.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #154

There are only cars and trucks – just the way the good lord made them. If some are choosing to self-identify as SUVs or something else, they keep it to themselves. Or go to the church next door with the more inclusive parking lot that celebrates such diversity.

[I’m just waiting for the mods to come and shut us down. … Ohhh … wait a minute!]

(Ashwin S) #155

Not really. The first thin i would look for is prevalence of blindness in the current epigean population. It could be just intraspecies diversity…

You are assuming only blind fish ended up in the cave. I am assuming, a mix of blind and sighted fish entered the cave… say 99% sighted and 1% blind… The blind ones did not feel any difference because they cant see… the sighted ones swam towards light and escaped.

Just to clarify, i was not claiming that all species must start at an ancestral pair… I was just pointing to a logical fallacy in an argument with a counter example…
Proved to be a waste of time on my part.

Not surprising. I was responding to something someone else said. try reading the conversation in whole.

I understand that… However, are you claiming that nested heirarchies by definition refer to living organisms?

Disagree with you on this…
Evolution doesnt need a God who created or sustains… If evolution as scientists teach it is true, God a redundant add on.

(Steve Schaffner) #156

I did. Taken in context, I still have no idea what you were trying to argue, what kind of extrapolation you were making, or what you meant by “lowest common denominator”.


I am assuming only sighted fish entered the cave. That is what the original population would be.

So where did the blind fish come from initially?

But I will give you that blind fish somehow came to be. You then propose that both types swam into the cave where it is dark. Now where is the light that the sighted fish swam to? They would have to just randomly swim around until they happen to get close enough to the cave entrance to see the light at which point they might swim out, correct? So you have sighted fish swimming in and out of the cave. Shouldn’t the interbreeding of sighted and blind fish result in finding sighted fish in the cave mixed in with the blind? Or are you saying that after the initial population moved into the cave all of the sighted fish somehow managed to find they way out again? And where are the blind fish that should be found outside of the cave if you are correct?

(Chris Falter) #158

Hi Ashwin,

Would you care to present any evidence for your speculation?

I have no idea why you would think that. Another domain that exhibits nested hierarchies is that of natural languages. However, I accept the evidence presented by many in this thread that motorized vehicles do not exhibit a nested hierarchy.

My point is that the forces and critical features in the domain of biology are vastly different than those in the domain of engineering. For the record, I believe that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the author and sustainer of those forces and features–in both domains.

Here, let me echo your statement:

Physics doesn’t need a God who created or sustains… If physics as scientists teach it is true, God is a redundant add-on.

Here’s another way to echo your statement:

Meteorology doesn’t need a God who created or sustains… If meterology as scientists teach it is true, God is a redundant add-on.

And another:

Chemistry doesn’t need a God who created or sustains… If chemistry as scientists teach it is true, God is a redundant add-on.

And one more for good measure:

Engineering doesn’t need a God who created or sustains… If engineering as engineering professors teach it is true, God is a redundant add-on.

Grace and peace,
Chris Falter

(Ashwin S) #159

Mutations are supposed to be random. If mutations that cause blindness arises by chance in caves, it should also arise in the surface…
It’s a reasonable speculation.
Since the genes which cause blindness in the fish differ with population, different kinds of blindness must be a fairly probable event in the species…

It’s either that, or the darkness somehow caused blindness.
Do you think that happened?
@Bill_II : if there are no blind fish in the surface, that would be a problem for evolution. Did something happen in the cave that somehow promoted the random mutations that cause blindness?

As to interbreeding with sighted fish, it happens in these caves to varying degrees.there is even a cave which had only blond fish and then developed hybrids over years of observation.
These fish also have an inborn behaviour of swimming towards light (the ones that see).
So it’s reasonable to speculate that all the sighted fish left… after all if monkeys can cross the Atlantic on rafts…
Why not.

Then why argue that life and reproduction makes a difference.
That’s not at all coherent.

Do a simple survey comparing how many atheists will point to Darwinian evolution as one of the factors that convinced them.
Why do you think evolution out of all the sciences you mentioned is the crown jewel of the apologetics of atheists like Dawkins?
Physics, chemistry etc define laws and do not try to explain factors related to teleology. For example, the theory of gravity does not explain why gravitational constant is what it is…
However, evolution disguises the need for teleology in life through the circular logic of natural selection.
If a personal agency was not required to design/bring life into being; then such a being is redundant as an explanation for reality.
And that’s precisely what evolution is trying to prove… That life can be explained without God.(i.e God is redundant as an explanation for life).
This is something everyone other than the good folks at biologos seem to be able to grasp.

(Chris Falter) #160

Hi Ashwin,

You haven’t been reading many popular astrophysics titles, I see. Do the names Lawrence Krauss, Stephen Hawking, and Victor Stenger mean anything to you? .

Neither does biology. Natural selection is a decidedly non-random factor. This has been pointed out to you several times:

Admittedly, the notion that randomness is not ontological is not easily grasped. Many scientists and philosophers (e.g., Krauss, Hawking, and Stenger) do think it is ontological. But why would you agree with Krauss, Hawking, and Stenger? Why not, instead, carefully consider what your fellow Christians on this forum are saying to you?

For your edification, I would like to recommend some more in-depth articles on the topic of “randomness” and teleology from the Biologos site:

Research (cited dozens of posts ago) shows that
(1) the blind hypogean populations have mutations in multiple regulatory genes;
(2) the specific mutations differ between the hypogean populations;
(3) the epigean populations do not have the alleles linked to blindness;
(4) there are hypogean populations that are not blind.

Absent empirical evidence to the contrary, then, all this evidence argues against the assumption that the blindness rate is more than infinitesimal in epigean populations.

I invite any biologists reading this thread to correct any flaws in my reasoning.

What’s incoherent is the notion that the forces in engineering and in linguistics are similar.

In fact, the forces in linguistics are much more similar to those in biology than to those in engineering. That’s why nested hierarchies have appeared in both the domain of biology and in the domain of linguistics.

For the life of me, I cannot fathom why you leaped to the conclusion that this reasoning is incoherent.

Grace and peace,
Chris Falter