Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The evolution of clots #2

The evolution of clots, Daily Telegraph, April 4, 2006 Intelligent Design is the logic of ignorance - complex life, such as the machinery of blood clotting, can be explained by Darwinism, says Steve Jones

[Continued from part #1]

How could they evolve from a structure that could not function because a crucial part is absent? Darwin, as usual, got it right: part of an eye is better than no eye at all and any slight modification will improve matters until we get a reasonably effective organ. [This is another straw man. ID does not claim that the eye is irreducibly complex. However, that is not to say that Darwinism can explain the origin of the eye (as we shall see).]

But he was writing in Victorian times, before biology became so complicated. Surely, we must now know of some structures so improbable that his plodding mechanism could never come up with them? If so, perhaps a new theory - even a new science - is needed. [The fact is, modern biology still has no explanation of the eye. Here is Jones' modern update of Darwin's `explanation' in his "Almost Like a Whale: The Origin of Species Updated" (aka "Darwin's Ghost" in the USA):

"Although the belief that an organ so perfect as the eye could have been formed by natural selection is more than enough to stagger anyone; yet in the case of any organ, if we know of a long series of gradations in complexity, each good for its possessor, then, under hanging conditions of life, there is no logical impossibility in the acquirement of any conceivable degree of perfection through natural election." (Jones S., "Almost Like a Whale: The Origin of Species Updated," Doubleday: London, 1999, p.138)

This "no logical impossibility" is pathetic (although it is as equally pathetic as Darwin's "can hardly be considered real" and "should not be considered as subversive of the theory" in his Origin of Species' 1859 first edition, and 1872 sixth edition, respectively). There is "no logical impossibility" that a cow could jump over the Moon, but that does not mean that it can do it. Continuing:

"In fact, the eye happened not twice but fifty times, and the problem of how to extract information from light has been solved in a dozen ways. The eye is as intricate as it needs to be, and no more. Its apparent perfection does not destroy but upholds the theory of evolution. There are many sequences of eyes in different creatures. Each hints at the stages that even an organ as complex as our own must have passed through before it gained the moderate abilities it can claim today." (Jones, 1999, pp.138-139

This is false too. The eye in fact arose only once in the form of the pax-6 master gene that codes for all eyes:

"Several years ago, Walter J. Gehring of the University of Basel in Switzerland was working on a zoology textbook. When it came time to write a section that dealt with the evolution of eyes, Gehring unhesitatingly recited the traditional view that eyes had evolved independently dozens of times. For the next edition, he'll pen a different scenario. The discovery of a gene shared by fruit flies, mice, squid, and humans and the creation of unusual fruit flies that sprout eyelike structures in places such as wings, legs, and antennae have persuaded Gehring that all modern animals with eyes evolved from a common ancestor that possessed a primitive image-forming organ. In essence, he contends that the eye probably evolved just once in life's evolutionary history--an assertion not everyone is willing to accept. ... While image-forming eyes are commonplace, no one design for eyes dominates. Scientists have described almost a dozen distinct blueprints, from the alien-seeming compound eyes of insects and many other species to the cameralike single eyes of vertebrates like us. The exotic appearance of the compound insect eye, with its hundreds of miniature eyes called ommatidia, helps explain why scientists have assumed that it evolved independently of the vertebrate eye. ... In 1977, L. Von Salvini-Plawen and Ernst Mayr, both of Harvard University, placed this conventional wisdom solidly on the record when they published a landmark paper concluding that eyes had arisen independently at least several dozen times. That's where the story of eye evolution stood until 1993. ... Gehring was surprised that the fly gene was so similar to the two vertebrate genes, but the real astonishment came when he realized that the insect gene also plays a role in eye development. ... Gehring likes to call eyeless a `master control gene' for eye development, one that sits at the top of the network of genes, estimated at more than 2,000, used to form eyes. `It's like the main electrical switch in a building. You turn on the main switch and all the lights can go on,' explains Gehring. ... Even more controversial than Gehring's calling eyeless the master control gene for eye development is his belief that its discovery in several disparate species shatters the dogma that eyes evolved independently on many occasions. `We now think that this event happened only once,' asserts Gehring. ... As for Gehring, he's already confident enough in his interpretation that eyes probably developed just once that he has begun to plan how he should revise his textbook's section on eye evolution." (Travis J., "Eye-opening gene: how many times did eyes arise?" Science News, May 10, 1997)

The real design work was building a molecular machine that enabled "the eye" to "happen not twice but fifty times" and "the problem of how to extract information from light" to be "solved in a dozen ways"!

As Berlinski pointed out, "No one in possession of these facts can imagine that they support the Darwinian theory. How could the mechanism of random variation and natural selection have produced an instrument capable of anticipating the course of morphological development and controlling its expression in widely different organisms" "for over a half-billion years"?:

"I am in agreement with Mr. Gross when he refers to `new and astonishing evidence' about the origin of the eye. Herewith the facts. Halder, Callaerts, and Gehring's research group in Switzerland discovered that the ey gene in Drosophila is virtually identical to the genes controlling the development of the eye in mice and men. The doctrine of convergent evolution, long a Darwinian staple, may now be observed receding into the darkness. The same group's more recent paper, "Induction of Ectopic Eyes by Targeted Expression of the Eyeless Gene in Drosophila" (Science 267, 1988) is among the most remarkable in the history of biology, demonstrating as it does that the ey gene is related closely to the equivalent eye gene in Sea squirts (Ascidians), Cephalopods, and Nemerteans. This strongly suggests (the inference is almost irresistible) that ey function is universal (universal!) among multicellular organisms, the basic design of the eye having been their common property for over a half-billion years. The ey gene clearly is a master control mechanism, one capable of giving general instructions to very different organisms. No one in possession of these facts can imagine that they support the Darwinian theory. How could the mechanism of random variation and natural selection have produced an instrument capable of anticipating the course of morphological development and controlling its expression in widely different organisms?" (Berlinski D., "Denying Darwin: David Berlinski and Critics," Commentary, September 1996, pp.28,30)

So if "The eye is as intricate as it needs to be, and no more" is what "upholds the theory of evolution," then the pax-6 master machinery of the eye being in place before the protostome- deuterostome split, ~670 mya (since the six out of the ~33 extant phyla that have true image-forming eyes based on the pax-6 master gene cover the protostomes - Cnidaria, Mollusca, Annelida, Onychophora, Arthropoda; and deuterostomes - Chordata), means that evolution is either false, or unfalsifiable!]

The ID crew, to use Darwin's own phrase, "look at an organic being as a savage looks at a ship, as at something wholly beyond [their] comprehension". [Actually, the boot is on the other foot, as the pax-6 master eye gene example demonstrates. The Darwinists are still stuck with Darwin back in the 19th century when the highest example of technology was a sailing ship (hence Darwin's analogy). But the problem for the Darwinists is that the "ship" turned out to be a spaceship, and moreover one that makes even the fantasy Starship Enterprise seem low-tech!]

The first Hawaiians to cast eyes on Europeans were so astonished by their great vessels that they thought their builders to be gods. The ID argument is just the same. [The problem for Jones' analogy is that the "Hawaiians" belief was based on ignorance of European technology, but the ID argument is based on knowledge of life's molecular technology!]

It is the logic of ignorance, idleness and incuriosity: I am very smart, even I do not understand this, so why bother to explain it except by bringing in God (if necessary under an alias)? [This is yet another straw man. This is why ID is spreading. Increasingly the public are noticing how the Darwinists seem to be only able defend their position by fallacious arguments.]

Scientists, unlike creationists, do not know everything, but as they learn more, every such claim has been rubbished. [Yeah, yeah! Spoken like a true believer. The problem for Darwinism is that it never proved its case, but relied on "rubbishing" competing explanations:

"The primary problem with the [modern evolutionary] synthesis is that its makers established natural selection as the director of adaptive evolution by eliminating competing explanations, not by providing evidence that natural selection among 'random' mutations could, or did, account for observed adaptation ... Mayr remarked, 'As these non-Darwinian explanations were refuted during the synthesis ... natural selection automatically became the universal explanation of evolutionary change (together with chance factors).' Depriving the synthesis of plausible alternatives, which seemed such a triumph, in fact sowed the seeds of its faults." (Leigh E.G., Jr, "The modern synthesis, Ronald Fisher and creationism," Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 14, No. 12, December 1999, pp.495-498, p.495)

Well, now the chickens are coming home to roost. Darwinism might have all the professorial posts and establishment power, but it suffers from a crippling disadvantage in science: it has the wrong theory! ]

Evolution is not mocked but glorified by life's intricacy. [Sounds like his god (which, since "evolution" is his creator), it is!]

ID is a bad idea, but has generated lots of good research, all of which shows how inane it is. [If ID is so "inane" then why bother writing about it? But actually, I thought that "generated lots of good research" was the mark of a good not a "bad" scientific theory!]

[Continued in part #3]

Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
"Problems of Evolution"

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