Friday, March 14, 2008

Evolution and Adultery



[The Elliot Spitzer scandal]

Evolutionary psychologists” tell us that human males are naturally inclined to commit adultery and that doing so is genetically a basically positive thing.

Did you ever wonder why evolution is so popular? What crime cannot be excused by evolution? None that I can think of.

67 comments:

Enigma HP said...

There is a name for this type of argument: The Appeal to Consequence. It is a well known fallacy. Even if evolution explains adultery in terms offensive to certain religions, that has no bearing on whether evolution is true or not.

natschuster said...

enigma hp:

Atheists argue all the time that Religion cannot be true because it encourages people to do bad things. So thie same should apply to evolution as well.

Enigma HP said...

Atheists argue all the time that Religion cannot be true because it encourages people to do bad things. So thie same should apply to evolution as well.
The general argument is that certain religious dogmas supposedly drawn from a deity are obviously evil from a theistic point of view(I've mentioned several). This contradicts the idea of an infallible, just and good deity. So the argument is this:
1) Religion X teaches that their holy book is the actual teaching of their deity.
2) Religion X teaches that their deity is good, infallible and just.
3) The actual teachings present in their holy book demonstrate that their deity is not in fact good, infallible or just.
4) Therefore, one or more of the tenets of Religion X are false.
If an atheist is actually engaging in a fallacious argument, you are only doing them a favor by pointing it out. But pointing out areas in which a religion contradicts its own tenets is not such an example.

jewish philosopher said...

Enigma, you are something known as a “fanatic”, something which interestingly I only notice among the non-Jewish commentators on this blog.

You are not here to ask any serious questions or make any reasonable criticism. You will never admit you may be mistaken and seem to barely even read what I write. Rather, you are here again and again, merely to:
- Insult
- Ridicule
- Mock
- Lie
- Repeat atheistic slogans

Take this case for example. You know I didn't say that evolution is false because it encourages crime, I said it is popular because it encourages crime, but you just babble on.

If this makes you happy, then listen, go for it. Everyone has different hobbies. But don’t think no else notices (as Spitzer for example imagined). And please expect me to ignore you as I do anyone like you.

badrabbi said...

"What crime cannot be excused by evolution? None that I can think of."

I checked. The theory of gravitation does not excuse the governor's actions either.

JP, you give a new meaning to the word philosopher!

badrabbi said...

Cameron;

I have been doing some reading on evolution theory. Are you aware of, or can you direct me to a link wherein some concrete examples of beneficial mutations are given? Alternatively, are you aware of any genes that have been termed "ancestral", from which more modern genes have been derived?

It occurs to me that there aught to be many examples of these and I am having trouble finding them.

jewish philosopher said...

You see one problem I have with evolution is that whatever emotions we may have such as a lust, laziness, anger, hatred, etc. can be declared by evolutionary psychology as being positive. After all, if they were negative, then nature would not have selected them and we wouldn’t have them. Logically, since these emotions are positive, it makes little sense to suppress them. In other words, evolution gives us permission to do anything without guilt. It’s little wonder that it’s popular.

jewish philosopher said...

Also, Bad, if you are looking for evolutionary apologetics, http://www.talkorigins.org/ is the best site. If it's not there, I doubt it's anywhere else.

Unmolested Altar Boy said...

Jacob, for future reference, askmen.com, while a great site, is not an authority on evolutionary theory. Also, evolutionary theory tell us that human males are naturally inclined to be monogamous and that doing so is genetically a basically positive thing.

Actually evolutionary theory states that human mating habits are situational and vary.

Also http://www.talkorigins.org/ while an awesome site, is not the end of evolutionary knowledge. There are 10,000s of articles out there on evolution.

Finally Jacob, look up the naturalistic fallacy.

Rebeljew said...

bad

Surely, the theory of gravity is only a theory and not a fact. It proposes that things must fall toward the earth. It contradicts the Torah as in the Red Sea miracle, the pillar of fire, the pillar of cloud, the smoke of the sacrifices and many others. Also, scientifically, we see that many things do not adhere to this ridiculous theory, helium balloons, high bouncing balls that go up, kites, flying insects and those that walk on ceilings with ease, airplanes, clouds, fire and many others. Anyone who believes in this ridiculous theory is a fool and a heretic.

Next week, "Why Americans do not fall off the bottom of the earth. THE GRAVITY CONSPIRACY!!!!"

jewish philosopher said...

"evolutionary theory tell us that human males are naturally inclined to be monogamous"

Source please?

"theory of gravity is only a theory and not a fact"

The theory that secular Jews have any brains also seems to be false, as seen on this blog's comments and in current events.

jewish philosopher said...

And I am aware of the naturalistic fallacy. I am also aware of the theory of evolution fallacy. However sadly, people who don't read blogs like this are still duped.

Cameron said...

JP: “ Evolutionary psychologists” tell us that human males are naturally inclined to commit adultery and that doing so is genetically a basically positive thing.

CH: Others have already pointed out the classic 'is-ought' fallacy. Just because evolution gives us an explanation for why we commit adultery doesn't mean that it is excusing it. Evo-psych can also give us good explanations for things like genocide, but that isn't in the same universe, let alone ballpark, as endorsing it.

I not attempting to excuse adultery. Even as a godless heathen I consider it to be a moral wrong - not very different from lying (and obviously more serious).

JP: Did you ever wonder why evolution is so popular?

CH: Because every time a transitional fossil is discovered an angel dies. And everybody loves dead angels. Roasted lightly with a little salt-pepper rub, magnifico!

JP: What crime cannot be excused by evolution? None that I can think of.

CH: I can't think of any crime that can be excused by evolution. Murder is certainly part of our animal nature but nobody excuses it because that is how we evolved!

Oh yeah, Enigma HP, congrats on getting the 'fanatic / liar liar' treatment. JP usually doesn't descend into name incoherent name calling so quickly. Nicely done.

badrabbi: Are you aware of, or can you direct me to a link wherein some concrete examples of beneficial mutations are given?

CG: Wouldn't 'anti-biotic resistance' be a good place to start? Much as JP suggested (?!), Talk Origins has indeed already answered this question. Keep in mind, I'm a philosopher not a biologist, so my searches for information don't amount to much more than creative googling, or discussions with my two doctor friends who have genetics degrees. (I do have the excellent book, 'Scientists respond to Creationists' on my book shelf but its been years since I consulted it).

That said, I am always amazed at how prevalent the information is;

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/mutations.html#Q2

badrabbi: Alternatively, are you aware of any genes that have been termed "ancestral", from which more modern genes have been derived?

CH: I'm not sure if this answers your question, but here is a description of how bacteria evolved to eat nylon (a compound invented in the 30's) and the genes that evolved to accomplish the task;

http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/postmonth/apr04.html

If you are looking for something outside of the talk origins cannon, consider this article in 'Nature':

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v449/n7163/abs/nature06151.html

Here's the money quote (for what its worth);

"The genetic switch controlling the yeast galactose use pathway includes two paralogous genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae that encode a co-inducer (GAL3) and a galactokinase (GAL1). These paralogues arose from a single bifunctional ancestral gene as is still present in Kluyveromyces lactis. To determine which evolutionary processes shaped the evolution of the two paralogues, here we assess the effects of precise replacement of coding and non-coding sequences on organismal fitness."

In my limited ability to decode the 'expertese' the researches are looking at a gene switch, and they know from another closely related organism what genes that switch evolved from. Knowing these two things they try to work out what pressures would have lead to the mutation. I'm sure that nat will come to our rescue and dazzle us with some BS about it all being the result of epigenetics, but till then let Nature take its course.

Heh.

unmolested altar boy: Also 'talkorigins' while an awesome site, is not the end of evolutionary knowledge. There are 10,000s of articles out there on evolution.

CH: Very true. However, Talk Origins is very useful for rebutting the kind of arguments JP and natschuster engage in.

Something of a meta-point that needs to be made U-A Boy is that while the existence of God (Praise Hera! Praise Mazda!) is a philosophical/theological question that I believe reasonable people can disagree about, the truth of evolution is in a different category all together.

I am pleased to see that whatever differences we likely have, we can still agree on where that line is drawn. (and Henry if you read this when you get back, I'm including you in the same category of 'reasonable-but-philosophically-mistaken').

BTW, for what its worth, your nom de plume made me laugh out loud.

natschuster said...

Cameron:

You're right. The gene for dgesting nylon mutates in the plasmid, not in the main bacterial chromosome, so it sounds like it really is epigenetic. The same thing with antibiotic resistance.

natschuster said...

I scanned the article you mentioned above about galactase. I found this quote. "We suggest that duplication of the ancestral bifunctional gene allowed for the resolution of the adaptive conflict between transcriptional regulation of the two gene functions." "We suggest" means that it is speculative. The atricle then goes on to discuss the fact that the duplicated genes have to undergo more evolution, which means lucky accidents, before it can function the way it does now.

natschuster said...

By the way, are you suggesting that epigenetics is BS? I learned about it from scientists.

badrabbi said...

Nat;

Epigenetics is not BS. Rather your use of it to undermine genetic concepts is BS. Epigenetics as it turns out is very important in phenotypic variation.

But, Nat, here is the question: Do you believe that beneficial mutations (or variation) exist within a given species? If they do, where did they come from?

jewish philosopher said...

To get back to evolutionary ethics, I think I can see the influence here.

Could it be that we were better off when people didn't consider themselves to be animals?

(Just for the record, I really don't want to do it. Not with that lady, anyway. And even if she paid me.)

Cameron said...

JP: Could it be that we were better off when people didn't consider themselves to be animals?

CH: How could we be better off believing a lie over knowing the truth?

JP: Just for the record, I really don't want to do it. Not with that lady, anyway. And even if she paid me.

CH: Trust me, she is not the one who has to pay in this scenario.

natschuster:I scanned the article you mentioned above about galactase. I found this quote. "We suggest that duplication of the ancestral bifunctional gene allowed for the resolution of the adaptive conflict between transcriptional regulation of the two gene functions." "We suggest" means that it is speculative.

CH: I suggest that you are comprehensively retarded, and I will leave it to you to ponder whether I am merely speculating about the limits of your mental abilities, or making a declaration about them.

badrabbi said...

"CH: I suggest that you are comprehensively retarded, and I will leave it to you to ponder whether I am merely speculating about the limits of your mental abilities, or making a declaration about them."

deliciously funny! As usual, you stole the show. Makes visiting this blog worthwhile.

natschuster said...

Cameron:

Are you suggesting tht the article was more than mere speculation? If it was, I missed that part.

Badrabbi:

It's possible that there are mutation sthat happen to be beneficial. But They are very unlikely because life at the biochemical level is very complex. Just like any accident to a complex machine is much more likely to cause harm. A bug in a complex computer program is very unlikely to increase its efficiency. Some harmful mutations may just happen to have a side benefit. Sickle cell disease is one such example. It negativley effects the hemoglobin, and even porves fatal sometimes, but it has the side benefit of conferring resistance to malaria. So it is really a case of devolution with aside benefit. Other disease are similar. Some cases of bacteria adopting to a new fodd source might be also be devolutuionary. The bacterai might be very efficient at exploiting a particular food source. It has special mechanism for exploiting said food source. IF that food source is gone, then the bacteria looses that efficiency, and becomes a generalist feeder. It looses something, it looses some comlexity. But that has a side benefit.

jewish philosopher said...

It would appear to me that evolution is based on the premise, for some unspecified reason, that God does not exist. Therefore, no matter how incredibly unlikely evolution may be, it is a better solution than creationism, which is impossible.

Of course, my small question is: What is the reason for this premise?

Enigma HP said...

So it is really a case of devolution with aside benefit.
You know that that is a fallacy, right?
In both cases you mentioned, the organism is adapting to the changing environment. In both cases, this is evolution in action. Devolution is based on the idea that there is some "right way" for an organism to work, and that any change from that is bad.
The sickle cell case is interesting because it is an example of a mutation being both beneficial and detrimental. It is not immediately fatal(although it has incapacitating effects and a shortened lifespan). But it does confer a resistance to malaria, so in areas where malaria is rampant, it will actually be selected for.

Cameron said...

JP: It would appear to me that evolution is based on the premise, for some unspecified reason, that God does not exist.

CH: There is simply no good reason I can think of to make this assumption.

The existence of God(s) is a philosophical question - the existence of evolution is a scientific one - and whats more one that science has repeatedly confirmed.

But the truth of evolution is not in any way a proof that God does not exist.

Henry makes this point in one his comments that I paraphrase here;

'Why couldn't God have used evolution to create man'?

Where I think the difficulties arive, is that neither the bible nor the Torah predict (or even come close to) the theory of evolution, and indeed, they both have stories that are contradicted by evolution.

But as Henry might also say, that just means that the stories have a different meaning for us than being the mere technical truths about our origins.

What if the snake in the garden is a metaphor and not a real snake? Henry I am sure would suggest that there is more meaning and power in the metaphor than in presuming the literal truth of a talking snake!

The difficulty I see is that once you eschew the literal for some other interpretation, what guidelines do you use to establish this new interpretation? Should a Freudian reading be used? A Marxist? An Orthodox Jewish? Etc.

It is this gap, this mystery of intention, this possibility for confusion and error that leaves room - not just for disagreement, but also for theology.

JP: Therefore, no matter how incredibly unlikely evolution may be, it is a better solution than creationism, which is impossible.

CH: It strikes me that for most matters of science you are willing to accede to the expertise of the scientists (i.e. you go to the dentist for work on your teeth and not a Rabbi or shaman), and that the only reason you wish to establish that evolution is somehow suspect is because you wish your creation story to be literal rather than metaphorical truth out of the misguided notion that if the literal story is not true somehow the existence of God is threatened.

And this is where I would point out that Francis Collins - a believer in God, is one of the world's foremost geneticists and whats more a defender of evolution.

So you are operating from a false premise - the truth of evolution does not make faith impossible, or God unbelievable. Nor is it a proof that God does not exist.

On the contrary, I think you could avoid much (and especially my) ridicule if you dropped your objections to the brute facts of the world, and limited yourself to debating the elements of faith.

Yes, this would mean you would need to re-calibrate the meaning the of the Garden of Eden in light of the evidence of science - but recognizing your texts as being something other than science books will certainly lead you to consider new possibilities.

After all, isn't the important part of the creation story the relationship between man, god, knowledge and sin, and not some technical reading of it that requires absurdly magical elements like a talking snake and women grown magically from man's rib?

Henry and I don't agree on much, but I think we would agree that when it comes to reading the bible you have done so with an exceedingly narrow view of what is important about it.

Lastly, if I am not mistaken the Torah doesn't have the Garden of Eden origin story that the bible does, and nor does it claim Jesus as the resurrected savior.

If you feel free to dismiss the Christian claims of Jesus' divinity as metaphor, or false, or otherwise not worthy of belief, how is it you get to cherry-pick what other parts of the bible you will consider to be divinely inspired words of God that must be true?

natschuster:
Are you suggesting tht the article was more than mere speculation? If it was, I missed that part.

CH: I'm suggesting you have missed a lot more than that.

natschuster said...

Henry:

Organisms at the biochemical level are extremely complex. They consist of thousands of interacting parts. Evolution has to explain how all these interacting parts can show up via a mutation, that is, a random process. If the complexity is already there, (I'm still waiting for an explanation of how this can come about) then an organism can loose complexity via a random process, just like a complex machine can break down. This is whayt I meant by devolution. This is what happens with sickle cell disease. This doea not explain where the complexity came from in the first place.

By the way, is the fact that Camerom has resorted to calling me names evidence that he feels threatened.?

By the way, does

natschuster said...

When I said Henry above I meant Enigma.

natschuster said...

I'm still waiting for an explanation for the evolution of the electron transfer chain/adenophase complex. the chances of this happening is 1 to 20^63. Ther have only been something like 10^19 seconds since the big bang. (I'm being generous here. It is probably more like 20^1000.)This is just one example of the extreme complexity of life at the biochemical level. Just about every biochemical function is complex like this.

Enigma HP said...

Organisms at the biochemical level are extremely complex.
True.

They consist of thousands of interacting parts. Evolution has to explain how all these interacting parts can show up via a mutation, that is, a random process.
False. Mutation is only part of the mechanism. And it is only partially random. The process as a whole is not random at all.

If the complexity is already there, (I'm still waiting for an explanation of how this can come about) then an organism can loose complexity via a random process, just like a complex machine can break down.
No, a species can change. If it improves the survivability, it will be selected for. If it does not, it will not. Again, it's not random, and there is no "perfect form" that an organism could devolve from.

This is whayt I meant by devolution. This is what happens with sickle cell disease. This doea not explain where the complexity came from in the first place.
The sickle cell mutation is not a devolution. It is a mutation that is selected for in certain situations. It is, despite its side effects, a beneficial mutation.
The complexity developed over time, as organisms competed for more and more specialized niches. If this is not a simple religious reaction, then I encourage you to go read up on some actual evolutionary science.

By the way, is the fact that Camerom has resorted to calling me names evidence that he feels threatened.?
Maybe. I'm not Cameron, so I wouldn't know. I can only speak to the tone our host adopts.

Enigma HP said...

I'm still waiting for an explanation for the evolution of the electron transfer chain/adenophase complex.
Odin decreed it to be so, when he split Ymir to form the earth.

Seriously, if that did not answer your question, perhaps you will get an inkling of why atheists do not buy your answer.

The truth is, we are still studying it, and, not claiming omnipotence, are not bothered by the fact that we do not yet understand everything.
That being said, there are good ideas about how it came about.

This is just one example of the extreme complexity of life at the biochemical level. Just about every biochemical function is complex like this.
If you consider the powerful effect of (non-random) natural selection, it is not particularly hard to understand or believe.

Cameron said...

natschuster: I'm still waiting for an explanation for the evolution of the electron transfer chain/adenophase complex.

CH: Really? Did you ask a molecular biologist as was recommended to you?

The philosophical answer is 'it evolved from a simpler form'. We have evidence of evolution for all sorts of other structures, why should this one be any different?

natschuster; the chances of this happening is 1 to 20^63. Ther have only been something like 10^19 seconds since the big bang. (I'm being generous here. It is probably more like 20^1000.)This is just one example of the extreme complexity of life at the biochemical level.

CH: I played poker last week and in two consecutive hands was dealt the same pair of kings,a nd the hand following that I was deal a pair of queens with the exact same suits! What are the odds of that!??! It must be a divine miracle!

natschuster: By the way, is the fact that Camerom has resorted to calling me names evidence that he feels threatened?

CH: Yeah, that must be it. I'm scared of the guy who can't even spell my name correctly. By the way yourself, what were those discredited textbooks your so-called school uses to teach biology anyway? You rant about them enough, you'd figure you'd be more forthcoming about what they are.

Cameron said...

Badrabbi, you asked about whether there was an example of a genetic mutation which was beneficial;

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=methuselah-mutation-linked-to-long-life&sc=WR_20080311

My favourite part? It was discovered in Ashkenazi Jews.

Heh

natschuster said...

I'm not sure what the odds of a getting two kings, and then getting two queens is, but I'm sure it is nothing like 1 to 20^63. I'm being generous here. And you don't only have to explain how the electron transfer chain beat the odds you have to explain how every single bochemical porcess beat the odds.

natschuster said...

And how does evolving from a simpler form work when there are at elast 63 different amino acdis that must be there in the right place at the same time, or the whole thing doesn't work. that 63 random accidents that have to ahpppen at the same time or there will be no evolution. No system that works. It is this way with every biochemical function.

natschuster said...

Cameron:

Here's three:

Living Environment: Biology
Rick Hallman: Amsco 2000

Biology: The Study of Life
William Schrear, Herbert J. Stoltze PhD.

Biologia (Spanish)
Kenneth Miller, PhD. Joseph Levine, Phd.
Prentice Hall 2004

I think the fact that an evolutionst like Stephen J. Gould expressed outrage at this fraud by fellow evolutionsts is significant.

jewish philosopher said...

The New York Times now has officially given it’s scientific opinion: adultery is universal and therefore, I would assume, nothing to be ashamed of. After all, we are all merely animals, aren’t we? How primitive of me to believe that we are made in God’s image and therefore must aspire to a higher standard than rats or monkeys.

natschuster said...

It seems i was mistaken about the Miller, Levine book. It uses photos and not drawings. But still recapitulation theory has been largly discredited. Yet they are still tryin to prove it.

I did find some more books that have the drawings.

Biology and Human Progress
Charles Tanzer PhD.
Prentice Hall 1986

Mcgraw Hill Science
Dr. Lucy Daniel
Dr. Jay Hackett
Dr. Richard Moyer
Dr. J. Prestine Baptiste
Pamela Stryker
Dr. Joann Vasquez
Macmillon/McGraw Hill 2002

Biologia (Spanish)
Peter Alexander PhD.
MaryJean Bahret
Judith Chaver
Gary Court
Naomi D'Alessi
Prentice Hall 1992

natschuster said...

I did the math and I figured that the chances of getting two kings then two queens in the same suite is 1 to 7.033*10^6. 20^63 is eqaul to 9.22*10^81, a lot bigger.

I scanned the article mentioned about the Methuselah mutation. IT seems that again, it is actually a devolutionary process. The mutation stops a gene from functioning. This just happens to have a benefit. How that gene that gets shut done developed in the first place is anybodies guess. The fact that this gene in its active state shortens life span, I think is a problem for evolutionists. Why would such a gene develop? It is harmful.

Enigma HP said...

I'm not sure what the odds of a getting two kings, and then getting two queens is, but I'm sure it is nothing like 1 to 20^63. I'm being generous here. And you don't only have to explain how the electron transfer chain beat the odds you have to explain how every single bochemical porcess beat the odds.
You continue to appeal to irreducible complexity. This is a variant of a fallacy called the argument from ignorance.
The fact is, there exists many example of evolutionary pathways that are probable stepping stones to the current system. Pick up a serious book on the subject if you wish to know more.

Enigma HP said...

And how does evolving from a simpler form work when there are at elast 63 different amino acdis that must be there in the right place at the same time, or the whole thing doesn't work. that 63 random accidents that have to ahpppen at the same time or there will be no evolution. No system that works. It is this way with every biochemical function.
A restatement of the previous fallacy. The fact that there is evidence for simpler systems which provided the support to help generate the new, more efficient systems seems to be escaping you. Again, go take a course or read a serious book on the subject(when I say serious, I mean one that is more than a series of polemic strawmen).

natschuster said...

A minimum of 63 amino acids (probably a lot more) have to show up at the same time, even if it evolved from a simpler system. The simpler system has a different configuration of amino acids. I've read books on the subject. I can't seem to find a viable answer, other than we just keep on getting lucky.

Enigma HP said...

I scanned the article mentioned about the Methuselah mutation. IT seems that again, it is actually a devolutionary process.
Again, you are assuming that there is a "right way" of functioning. This fallacy is clouding your ability to get the point, I think.

The mutation stops a gene from functioning.
You didn't read the article, did you? It doesn't turn off a gene. It is a mutation in a particular gene that regulates the level of responsiveness to IGF1.

This just happens to have a benefit. How that gene that gets shut done developed in the first place is anybodies guess.
It developed because it helps regulate body size.

The fact that this gene in its active state shortens life span, I think is a problem for evolutionists. Why would such a gene develop? It is harmful.
First, it is not harmful. It is simply the norm for humans. It is only "harmful" if you make the assumption that humans should somehow be immortal.
Second, if it affects the individual after reproduction, natural selection will not select against it.

Enigma HP said...

A minimum of 63 amino acids (probably a lot more) have to show up at the same time, even if it evolved from a simpler system. The simpler system has a different configuration of amino acids. I've read books on the subject. I can't seem to find a viable answer, other than we just keep on getting lucky.
Again, just because it uses a large number now does not mean that a lower number can not be functional.

Cameron said...

natschuster: And how does evolving from a simpler form work when there are at elast 63 different amino acdis that must be there in the right place at the same time, or the whole thing doesn't work.

CH: Ah but it would work, just not the same way, or for the same function. Consider the case of scales/feathers. The first feathers were not used for flight but likely for radiating heat. It was only later that they became useful as a mechanism for flight.

natschuster: that 63 random accidents that have to ahpppen at the same time or there will be no evolution.

CH: The current system may rely on 63 amino acids but it is not clear that all 63 are required to perform ANY function, merely the current one. Just as feathers arose for a purpose other than flight and just as the bacterial flagellum started mption, the amino acid structures could have been selected for other reasons before they evolved their current complexity.

But even more curious is what do you consider the alternative explanation? That Zoraster magicked the process into existence? Is there a passage in the Qu'ran where Mohammed shouts "Let there be electron transfer /andenphase processes!!?" If so, I missed it.

You operate under two faulty assumptions. That evolution is somehow insufficient to explain complexity, and that finding areas of science where we don't have a complete explanation of the evolutionary process somehow validates a miraculous explanation.

Neither is the case.

JP: The New York Times now has officially given it’s scientific opinion: adultery is universal and therefore, I would assume, nothing to be ashamed of.

CH: I read a similar article that pointed out monogamy isn't common in among mammals. But so what? Marriage is a cultural not an evolutionary institution, and adultery is a violation of a cultural norm not an evolutionary one.

Nature is 'red in tooth and claw', but that doesn't mean that because this is true we should endorse murder. Philosophy 101 - you can't derive an 'ought' from an 'is'.

Nor if you read the article are they saying that 'we shouldn't be ashamed of adultery', merely that we should recognize the behaviours as being part of our evolutionary history.

It explains them,. but it doesn't excuse them.

JP: After all, we are all merely animals, aren’t we?

CH: Yes.

JP: How primitive of me to believe that we are made in God’s image and therefore must aspire to a higher standard than rats or monkeys

CH: Our reason means that while we can recognize our animal nature, we are not completely bound by it.

An excellent explanation of this can be found in "The Robots Rebellion - Finding Meaning in the Age Of Darwin" by Stanovich.

Further, we could still be made in God's image - so long as your God is related to the Primates like the rest of us.

natschuster: It seems i was mistaken about the Miller, Levine book.

CH: Colour me shocked.

natschuster: It uses photos and not drawings. But still recapitulation theory has been largly discredited. Yet they are still tryin to prove it.

CH: Lets recall that there is a difference between claiming the theory is true, and explaining the theory as part of the history of evolutionary ideas. It would be wrong to ignore the recapitulation theory when discussing the history of how evolutionary thought advanced. So of the books you mentioned (and I note none were written in the last five years) which ones actually teach recapitulation theory as being uncontroversially true?

Further to that, are there newer versions of those texts which treat the subject more appropriately?

Finally, I note that you previously claimed ALL text books made these errors, but now you claim only some do. Given that your 'conspiracy of atheist scientists' has fallen apart, I wonder if you'll acknowledge that scientists are not in fact perpetuating any kind of a fraud and that instead it is your crappy school-board's failure to use more up to date texts that is at fault?

That said, I'm not holding my breath on it.

Cameron said...

A random deletion issue struck one of my sentences which should read;

"...and just as the bacterial flagellum started out as something else before it was adapted for use in producing motion..."

natschuster said...

This is the problem I'm having. Enzymes like the ones in the electron transfer chain have to have a very specific configuration of amino acids, and a very specific shape, or they don't work. One misplaced amino acid in a relativly simple hemoglobin molecule is the cause of sickle cell disease. Especially in the case of a complex like the electron transfer chain. Now what did it evolve from? Maybe it evolved from the proton pumps that acidophile bacteria use to pump protins out of tthe cytoplasm. the problem is that the proton pump is very different than the electron trnafer chain. It uses ATP for power not electrons. It move the protons out of the cell entirely. the electron transfer chain only moves it past the internal membrane. The Electron transfer chain has ATP synthase. Now what happened? Did all the necessary changes for the electron tranfer chain to function happen all at once? The chances of this happening are at least 1 to 20^63. Now did it happen in small increments? But if you change the proton pump it won't work as a proton pump. And it didn't change enough for it to work as the electron transfer chain. So for a tiem the cell had a complex system that served no purpose. Same thing wiht every biochemical system. Same thing with every biocehmical system. The transitional systems won't work. Enzymes are just too specific.

natschuster said...

Cameron:

Aren't five books that contain fraud enough to prove that scientists are capable of fraud?
The one book that doesn't was published in 2004. After they got caught. Did I say all the books? Well, I guess I made a mistake. Though the book does use photgraphs to prove a discredited theory.

natschuster said...

Engima:

When I say devolution, I mean the breaking or disruption of a complex system. I don't have a probelm with this. It is easy to break something. It is hard to build something comlex. This appears to be the case iwith the Methusaleh gene. The insuline like growth factor is still porduced. It is still found in the blood of the subjects. It isn't taken into the cells. Its possible that the mechanism that uses takes up the growth facter is broken. Thats easy. Thats what I mean by devolution.

jewish philosopher said...

Natshuster, I have no idea who you are, however I greatly admire your patience and determination.

I just hope you realize that certain people visit this blog who are clearly only interested in baiting theists and have no interest in serious dialogue. Don’t expect them to admit an error under any circumstances.

natschuster said...

Thank You Mr. (Rabbi?) Stein.

I must say that in all my discussions on this blog and others, I did not learn one fact about science from my friends here. The only thing that i did leanr was after i researhced whale fossils, and discovered that the ambulocetus skeleton was reporduced from a an incomplete skeleton, and so its status as a whale ancestor is questionable.

I just got off the talkorigins website, and I couildn't find any explanation for how the flagellete evolved from the toxin shooter. There are too many proteins unique to the flagellete, and what purpose could the interum sturctures have. they couldn't be toxin shooters. They couldn't be meas of locomotion.

Enigma HP said...

So for a tiem the cell had a complex system that served no purpose. Same thing wiht every biochemical system. Same thing with every biocehmical system. The transitional systems won't work. Enzymes are just too specific.
Here is one possibility.
Similar solutions exist for every problem you have proposed.

Enigma HP said...

When I say devolution, I mean the breaking or disruption of a complex system. I don't have a probelm with this. It is easy to break something. It is hard to build something comlex.
When we are talking about evolution, broken is a very loaded word. If a change is universally detrimental, it will be selected against. If not, it may or may not, depending on the particular case.

This appears to be the case iwith the Methusaleh gene. The insuline like growth factor is still porduced. It is still found in the blood of the subjects. It isn't taken into the cells.
If it wasn't, the person would not develop. If it were broken, they would be dead.

Its possible that the mechanism that uses takes up the growth facter is broken. Thats easy. Thats what I mean by devolution.
The mechanism is not broken, it is changed. The more widespread variant is obviously functional, and has no impact on reproduction rates that we can see. The mutation also works, and gives a non-selectable benefit(unless the extension of the life span allows for greater reproduction opportunities, which is not the case at the extreme end we are looking at). Neither one is broken. Neither one is better(from an evolutionary perspective, although I would bet that the individuals have a different opinion).

natschuster said...

I still have some questions about the origin of the electron transport chain. First of all, in step one it says that ATP synthase may have evolved from a protein pump. This seems like a big step to me because they do the opposite. A proton pump actively moves the proton out. ATP synthase uses the energy from the passing proton to make the bring the ADP and the phosphate group together? Where did that part come from? It seems to be saying that the Electron tranpsort chain evolved from a simpler type of electron transport chain. Well, I suppose tha that is possible, but that simpler chain is also irreducibly complex, so you are just pushing it off one step. Same thing with the flagellete and the toxin shooter. The toxin shooter is irreducibly complex itself. Moreover, for all the proteins in the electron transpot chain to evolve from the simpler chain, it still requires numerous lucky mutations in the new proteins so they could bond together, and for the active sites to work. It makes the problem easier, but it doesn't really solve it.

natschuster said...

As far as the Methuselah mutation is concerned, the receptor is not working as well after the mutation happened. In this sense a stucture was damaged. This is what I mean by devolution.

natschuster said...

The scenario in the link for the evolution of the electron transfer chain still doesn't address the question of evolution at the level of the individual protein. Proteins consist of hundreds of amino acids that have to be arrainged in a very specific order, then they have to fold into a very complex shape. For one protein to evolve into another, it would require a lot of lucky mutations to happen all at once.

natschuster said...

I gave the subect some thought and decided that the electron transfer cahin is not a good example, so I'll try another one. The polymerization of DNA is fantastically and irreducibly complex. RNA to protein translation is also fantastically complex. They couldn't have evolved from something simpler because there isn't anything simpler.

natschuster said...

Cameron:

Just in case I didn't make it clear above all of the textbooks are advocating recapitulation theory, including the one that uses photographs. Haeckel admitted to his fraud a hundred yeasr ago, yet the textbooks continued to use his pictures

natschuster said...

Mitosis and Meiosis are extremely complex processes. They involve precisely coordinated timing and movement of chromosomes. How could this evolve from something simpler when there isn't anything simpler that could work?

badrabbi said...

Nat: "I must say that in all my discussions on this blog and others, I did not learn one fact about science from my friends here."

I for one learn a great deal from this forum; not so much from the blog itself but more from commentators like Cameron and Enigma, who are obviously very intelligent. A simple phrase like "you can't derive an 'ought' from an 'is'" is a devastating reply to the likes of JP who state that since NYTimes reports rampant violations of monogamy then it also necessarily means that NYTimes is endorsing the behavior.

badrabbi said...

I think what Nat is hinting at by using the word "devolution" is the corruption of information that is contained within a piece of DNA that codes for a gene.

Another way to phrase what Nat is saying is as follows: Suppose that a strip of DNA contains X amount of information. Is it then possible, through mutation or other errors in reproduction, to increase the information on the strip of DNA so that now it contains more than X amount of information?

In other words, is it possible to add information to something based simply on error?

It appears that the answer is 'yes'. One way this happens is through replication errors such that a give segment of DNA is duplicated. So, instead of having one copy of a given gene, there are now 2 copies of the gene. Now, mutations can occur on one of the copies of the gene without interrupting the function of the original gene. I think this is one way overall genetic information can increase through mutations.

The idea of increasing information through accidents (mutations) is counter intuitive and I think this is the reason why Nat and others have trouble with it. But beneficial accidents do happen...

I was reading this book about Royal Air Force pilots in World War II. Apparently, during a mission, anti air flack hit the glass of a plane and sent glass shards flying in the cockpit. A piece of glass penetrated a pilot's eye and lodged in the anterior chamber of the eye of the pilot. It turned out that the refractive index of the glass was such that the pilot actually ended up seeing BETTER after this accident! It also turned out that the eye tolerates glass very well. This accidental finding led to making intraocular lenses that are routinely used in cataract surgery today. I mention this story to reiterate that accidents, sometimes bizzare and unlikely ones, can have beneficial consequences.

Nat, I hope this helps.

natschuster said...

Badrabbi:

Okay, it seems I learned something else. What I mean by devoltuion is something like this. Genes and proteins are complex structures that consist of numerous parts that are necessary for functioning, very much like a machine. An accident is very unlikely to add a new part to the machine. It is more likely to break it somehow, to remove a part. Sometimes, this might have a benefit. In sickle cell disease, the correct amino acid is replaced with a wrong one. A part is lost. As a result the Hemoglobin does not operate as efficiently. But i happens to confer a side benefit. The problem I have is mutations building the complex structure in the first place.

natschuster said...

If you look at a video of mitosis, you see an exquisitely timed and choreographed movement of different parts of the cell.
I did a quick scan on the evoluion of mitosis. Lots of theories, but they really didn't explain how functional intermediates, which of necessity would still be complex, because of the inherent comlexity of the process could come about by random mutations. They suggested certain possible intermediates seen in living organisms such as case where the nuclear membrane doesn't dissolve, bu these area also still very complex. They need special adaptations to accomplish mitosis with their conditions.

jewish philosopher said...

Bad, I think the question is, how exactly do evolutionists react to these “natural” tendencies people have toward promiscuity? Are they alarmed by all the damage that may occur and therefore they are urging society to take extra precautions, such as the separation of men and women, modesty in dress, etc.? Or are they just shrugging and in essence saying “Well, that’s nature. Boys will be boys.”

badrabbi said...

By the way, regarding the so-called Methuselah gene (BTW thanks Cameron for supplying info on beneficial genes)it may be argued that the so-called mutation is at best evolutionarily silent.

I think that it is evolutionarily relevant if an organism were to live long enough to procreate and produce successful progeny. However, living beyond the reproductive life of an organism is not evolutionarily useful. It may be argued in fact that it may be evolutionarily disadvantageous in that members of a species would be competing for resources of the environment even while not reproductively active. There is no evolutionary advantage of people to live beyond their reproductive life.

I wonder, therefore, whether a Methuselah type gene would in fact be selected against in the wild. It just goes to illustrate Enigma's statement that a given mutation can be either beneficial or detrimental depending on environmental pressures.

natschuster said...

Badrabbi:

I do believe that the methusaleh mutation cause damage to protein structure that acts as a receptor for the insulinlike growth hormone. Because it is damamged, it doesn't operate as efficiently and can't take up the growth factor as well as an undamaged receptor. In this case, there is a coincidental benefit. But this mutaion involved damage to a structure, a loss of function and complexity. This is what I mean by devolution. This is easy. It is creating complexity and complex functions that is hard.

Cameron said...

Two videos which lay out the truth of transitional fossils (we have lots of them) as well as the serious challenges to creation theory criticisms;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4GdZOlPrX8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUcB_HiCKnM

Bonus points:

The videos specifically call out creationist losers for quote mining SJ Gould (that would be you Nat), and the author of the video is in fact NOT AN ATHEIST, demonstrating that evolution is not a proof that God does not exist.

As for the Adenophase electron transfer pathways evolution - I've said it before but its worth repeating;

A. Just because something is unlikely does not mean it is impossible.

B. The unlikely is always more reasonable than a miracle.

C. If you really want to challenge the evolution of these different processes you should speak with a molecular biologist - and not waste your time arguing with philosophers.

natschuster said...

Cameron:

I've spent a lot of time on talkorigins, and I counted maybe a dozen transitional series, and each one is either full of gaps and questionable transitional species, like some of the sepcies in the or involve trivial changes that may very well be variation within one species. Futhermore, if there are millions of species that exist today, and millions more that are now extinct, I would exepct to see more than a handful of transitional series. I would expect to see precursers of the Cambrain explosion for example. Lots of entire phyla with lots of diverse species within each phyla showed up suddenly. There must have been a lot of evolution going on, but it is missing. Rocks containing organisms, but not ancestors, have been found.

I suppose if it is okay for people to quote the Torah to prove that Orhtodox Jews are bad people, then I'm allowed to quote Gould to make a point about the nature of the fossil record.

natschuster said...

If we have to keep on relying on getting really really lucky to explain everything, which is what we have to do to explain life's evolution at the biochemical level, it may as well be a miracle. Miracles are only a bad explanation if you assume a priori that they can't happen.