Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ray Martinez in 2008 revisited

I return to something I wrote in a reply to Ray Matinez at Nov. 02.2008,
What I wrote then stands very well today as well - five years later.
Whereas RM is stuck in the 19th century and still studying what Darwin wrote- as if that matters today.
I wrote:

Ray wrote:
Change at the
genetic level does not support the main claim of Darwinism:
speciation. We know change can flourish at the genetic level with
little or no morphological change occurring. Sean, like all gene-
centricists, is comparable to a submarine. At some point they must
surface and connect their claims with macro-reality. Evolution is not
about a change in gene frequencies. It is about Linnaean hierarchal
classification and the various lines of evidence interpreted to say
the hierarchy is horizontally connected-evolutionary (includes
branching). Data referenced by Jonathan Wells shows the utter falsity
of genetics based evolution (molecular phylogeny).

I write:
That looks like pure nonsense to me.

We know that changes do “occur at the genetic level”. Indeed. That’s where they are occurring, all the time. Limiting us to sexual reproduction here, we see genes are being shuffled and reshuffled all the time, whenever an egg or a seed is being ‘activated’

And the result eventually – in due time, also becomes detectable, observable in morphology. Sometimes a genetic change may result in pronounced morphological change too; say as in Down’s syndrome and many other cases.

Ray’s reference to ‘gene frequencies’ makes no sense. Basically, genetic changes of an evolutionary nature occurs when, for any reason, a change occurs that means an individual, and eventually a number of individuals due to heredity will have a change to their genes that
is not present in the rest of the population. That change may be good or bad, and natural selection will determine the outcome. If the change is bad, i.e. results in the bearers of that particular gene are statistically less reproductively successful than average for the population, such changes will eventually disappear from the population, being swamped by the dominant genetic setup.

If the change is neutral, it may persist for a long time. If on the other hand the change confers an advantage however slight to the bearers of the gene, resulting in a statistically higher reproduction rate, that is bound to result in a higher ‘frequency’ of that genetic setup in the population.

That’s my amateurs take on the subject, and I find it so simple and obvious that it takes a genius of Ray’s proportions to not being able to understand it. Or, more likely he does not want to understand, does not want to know and is in total denial.

I don’t see any reason to bother with Jonathan Wells in connection with this subject.

The only point I wish to stress is that evolution, speciation, macroevolution is not supported or proven just because we discover that which was always occurring (change at the genetic level). …

But that is the whole idea – genetic changes may or may not have significant consequences, it all depends. And Ray completely ignores all the various kinds of mutational changes possible. He also must be completely unaware of how much we know about genetics today, compared with what we knew as recent as, say, ten years ago. He ought at least to read Carroll’s “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”, and learn a little something about the homeobox, hox genes, regulatory genes and so on, and learn how small genetic changes may have a big effect.

And if he would read something like “The First Chimpanzee”, he might learn what neoteny is, how it works, and realize that we do not necessarily need big genetic changes to see dramatic evolutionary consequences. He might learn about the Axolotl. He might discover such simple and telling facts like an infant chimp is more capable than a human baby, but with time, while the chimp will mature and never develop beyond a certain stage; a human has a prolonged childhood and his maturing doesn’t really end before in his early twenties.

A human may be thought of as an ape that profits by exploiting and extending the ape’s infant properties instead of becoming mentally ossified at an early age. If I am able to express the concept properly.

I seem to remember reading something about the human birth too; it has been likened to some kind of abortion.

I read a very interesting article about genetics at Pandas Thumb a couple of years ago. While we should beware of taking the analogy too far, it was very interesting to see how a striking correspondence with much of what we find in combinatorial logic systems like in digital electronics can be seen in genetics as well. Nothing mystical, just physics and chemistry at work all the way down.

Much more evidence is of course available, but Ray is not interested in real evidence. To him, evidence is what lurks in the dark recesses of his mind.  

Says Ray:
To me it seems better for an IDist to advocate "designed change" accomplished by mechanism(s) that reflect Intelligence since what results in reality is design, organized complexity and adaptation.

Says I:
What ‘mechanisms’? Invisible designer snapping invisible fingers?
Or is he using a laboratory like all known designers do?

“Organized complexity and adaptation”, what is that?

A transcript made at the DDD3 conference in 2002 says:
Question from the audience: I’d be interested in hearing you tell us a little bit about what your theory of intelligent design is, as opposed to what evolution isn’t.

Behe replies: Well, that’s a great question, and I know folks on the other side who are sceptical of intelligent design often get frustrated, but I try to be as conservative as I can and I don’t go out beyond what the data can support because I think overreaching is the bane of theories of design. You say that flagellum looks designed so everything is designed, or that everything that looks complex was designed, or something like that.

I think the short answer to your question is, for all of those things, I don’t know.

There not enough data. For the elephant, we have primelephus, the ancestral elephant of the Asian and African elephant, and mammoth. Well, could that happened by random mutation and natural selection? My instinctive answer is sure - it sure looks like it. It doesn’t look like any big deal.

The more careful answer, the actual answer, is I don’t know - cause I don’t know what’s involved in making one versus the other. I don’t know what molecular changes are necessary to make the small anatomical differences in those different species.

Suppose one believed that those things could have happened by natural selection, but maybe the origination of mammals needed some extra information - how would that have happened - how would the designer have done that? Would it have been, say, information embedded into nature at the big bang, or whenever nature started, or might it have been manipulations along the way, or some sort of input along the way?

The short answer is “I don’t know.”
Said Behe.

Another quote from Ray:

You are absolutely correct when you say that speciation is an
interpretation of evidence. Science before 1859 knew it was a false
interpretation of evidence. This is why science before 1859 held
species to be immutable.
End of quote.

A good example of how confused Ray’s argumentation is. ‘What science knew before 1859’ hardly is of much relevance. Science knew very little if anything about this subject before 1859.

We had quite a good deal of geological and palaeontological evidence, but it was not until the publication of “Origins” that some understanding of what it meant began to be appreciated.

We had no science that knew anything about true or false interpretation of evidence, we had science scratching its head to make heads or tails of what little evidence we had.

But Darwin did more than scratch his head; he studied nature, collected evidence – and laid down a considerable effort in his groundbreaking effort of making sense of all the evidence.

His contribution was that he discovered the principles that could explain the evidence. Evidence that we do not understand is like a book that we do not open.

Darwin cracked open the book of evolution.

Before Darwin, we did not understand the evidence we had. People, including scientists, did not know what the evidence meant.

There were quite a lot of things that we did not know, did not understand in 1849.

It once was thought that the end of physics was near; the classical model, the atom with a nucleus of protons and neutrons and a number of electrons in orbit was thought to be all there was to it.

While today we know that there is very much that we simply do not understand, at least not yet.

Ray doesn’t seem to acknowledge that science is an ongoing project, we learn something new every day.

Looking at what he writes, we find a strange preoccupation with writers and writings that are quite dated.

We need not concern ourselves with what Darwin or Carl von Linné thought except in a historical context.

In the context of the theory of evolution in the 21st century, we have much more informative and interesting writings to relate to.

Why don’t Ray ever address the works of people like Vincent Sarich and Allan Wilson, Richard Leakey, Niles Eldredge & S.J. Gould, E. Zuckerkandl, David Pilbeam, Richard Fortey, Sean B. Carroll, just to pick a few from the top of my head?

Ray simply is completely out of touch with reality and the current stand of our sciences.

I don’t think he has read Einstein, Hawking or R. B. Laughlin either. Or any of the fine articles that we sometimes find at Pandas Thumb. 

Myself, I have read much more than that. Albert Schweitzer, Carl Gustav Jung, Sigmund Freud, John Allegro and many other names I don’t remember.

In addition to all the other stuff, From John Steinbeck, Louis Bromfield, Damon Runyon, Jack London, Ben Hecht, William Saroyan, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, Philip Roth, Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Phil K. Dick - to Elaine Morgan and Elaine Pagels. And Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane. And of course Mark Twain. But not Kerouac or Walt Whitman.

So where is Ray? Lost in antiquities and ancient myths, imprisoned in the maze of his own quirky mind.

Lost in antiquities and ancient myths, imprisoned in the maze of his own quirky mind.

Link to Elaine Morgan's Naked Darwinist

No comments:

Post a Comment