Re: Testing in historical science

Glenn Morton (
Wed, 19 Nov 1997 06:09:43 -0600

At 11:28 PM 11/18/97 -0600, wrote:
>Mon, 17 Nov 1997 23:05:33 -0600 Glenn Morton wrote:
>> At 10:14 PM 11/17/97 -0600, wrote:
>> >OK, I'll give you two or three, maybe more Precambrian phyla. But to
>> >say that the remaining ~50 phyla appeared within ~5 million years, and
>> >we have only silence (no more new phyla) and reduction in the numbers
>> >during the following ~600 million years implies something other than the
>> >"stately march of evolution." What ignited the explosion and then what
>> >extinguished it?
>> Once again, I admire your honesty on these issues. First, we do have a new
>> phyla that was found just a couple of years ago. See Funch and Kristensen
>> "Cycliophora is a new phylum with affinities to Entoprocta and Ectoprocta,"
>> Nature 378, Dec. 14, 1995, p. 711. If I wanted to I could claim that this
>> is a brand new phyla just evolved within the past few thousand years. There
>> is no fossil record for this phylum!
>OK, I'll rephrase my question: What ignited the explosion and then what
>_almost_ extinguished it?

Go to my web page and download the cambrial explosion computer program. It
runs on a PC. The first generation screen critters in that program have the
same genetic code. I then mutate them radomly at one of their "dna" sites.
As you will see, the explosion of forms occurs within about 4 generations.

This is a phenomenon of nonlinear dynamics. Life is a nonlinear system.
Small changes to certain places in the DNA create large morphological
effect. I would surmise that the single cells that preceded the animals in
the cambrian explosion had come to a branch-point in the phase diagram of
DNA. From that point on, small changes began to have rapid and large
morphological change.

>> >> If there is no change in morphology, there is no
>> >> evolution!!!!
>> >
>> >Exactly. That's my point with the blue-green algae. I guess you can
>> >say that they did evolve and other blue-green algae re-evolved from
>> >something simpler to take their place, but that sounds like a just-so
>> >story; you know - like the ones I tell.
>> I will still go back to the fact that there are only a limited number of
>> ways that one can connect cells up and still have an algae. These are
>> sheets, lines and single cells.
>Help me here, I'm missing your point. First, aren't algae colonial but
>single-celled organisms? Second, wouldn't an alga be an alga,
>regardless of how it is connected?

My understanding is that algae does not have to be single isolated cells.
Now, if you are talking about single cellular forms of algae, then you
cannot know that they have escaped evolution unless you recover the DNA
sequence! That is clearly impossible with today's technology.

>I did find one reference at the library tonight regarding blue-green
>algae from the late Cambrian: "Thus, while fossil blue-green algae
>occur in a great variety of shapes and sizes in the geologic record,
>most of these differences are ecological and do not signify separate
>species." (Fisher, D.W., Algae from Antiquity, in Conservationist 910101
>Jan/Feb91, v 45 Issue 4, p42+)

This quotation goes against your position. appearance may not separated the
species so the same appearance in the fossil record may not mean the same

>My primary question at this point is: If evolution is universal, driven
>by random mutations, then how could even one group, like blue-green
>algae, escape the mutations? If blue-green algae did not evolve, why
>not? In short, how can we have both stasis and evolution? The two seem
>to be antithetical.

I don't think you have proven your case that they are the same.


Foundation, Fall and Flood