Re: Stereotypes and reputations

From: Pim van Meurs <>
Date: Tue Aug 02 2005 - 00:10:14 EDT

Cornelius Hunter wrote:

> Responding to Glenn and Ted:
> Glenn:
> You wrote:-----------------
> GRM: ... why on earth are you so opposed to evolution? If ID says
> nothing about evolution, why do you use it to argue against
> evolution? Doesn't this sound a bit mixed up to you?
> --------------------------------
> I am opposed to evolution because it is not a good theory. I did not
> say "ID says nothing about evolution." I said: "A common misconception
> is that ID is at the evolution level; that is, an explanation for how
> the species arose, and by extension, all of natural history."
Although Hunter has informed me that he is not going to respond to my
previous posting, I would still like to respond to his contributions.

So far it seems that it is not the theory which is not good as much as
your familiarity with the recent research. At least that is what I have
found when researching your claims. It may be temping to reject
Darwinian theory or common descent based on minor discrepancies while
ignoring the vaste majority of congruent data but such a naive idea of
falsification has of course to be rejected.
While the Cambrian explosion was an enigma for a long time, more and
more data have shown how the Cambrian explosion is well within the
limits of evolutionary theory, let alone common descent, which was not
even an issue wrt the Cambrian.

Similarly, concerns about horizontal gene transfer, observed in for
instance plasmid transfer or symbiotic relationships have been put to
rest and it has been shown that a model of tree and vines nicely
captures the data while also showing that the amount of HGT is
relatively minor.

While much remains to be learned about UCEs, there is once again no
reason to reject CD just because of our ignorance. Science is
investigating this relatively minor puzzle and finding some very
plausible explanations that do not require one to reject the
overwhelming evidence in favor of CD.

Same applies to non-homologous pathways or the various other arguments
raised by Hunter. Minor puzzles, often easily resolved or in other
cases, we have to admit at present that we don't know. To reject the
solid fact of Common Descent as documented by Douglas Theobalt for
instance seems silly.

So far Hunter has yet to explain why we should reject the vaste evidence
of common descent

The stunning degree of match between even the most incongruent
phylogenetic trees found in the biological literature is widely
unappreciated, mainly because most people (including many biologists)
are unaware of the mathematics involved (Bryant /et al/. 2002
Penny /et al/. 1982
Penny and Hendy 1986
Penny and Hendy have performed a series of detailed statistical analyses
of the significance of incongruent phylogenetic trees, and here is their

"Biologists seem to seek the 'The One Tree' and appear not to be
satisfied by a range of options. However, there is no logical difficulty
in having a range of trees. There are 34,459,425 possible [unrooted]
trees for 11 taxa (Penny /et al/. 1982
<>), and
to reduce this to the order of 10-50 trees is analogous to an accuracy
of measurement of approximately one part in 10^6 ." (Penny and Hendy
1986 <>,
p. 414)

For a more realistic universal phylogenetic tree with dozens of taxa
including all known phyla, the accuracy is better by many orders of


Speaking of convergence, I remember a discussion where it was stated
that you argued that the wolf and the thylacine were too similar to be
explained by evolution? Are you still making this claim?

See also
for a side by side comparison of the two skulls. What exactly cannot be
explained by evolutionary theory here I wonder? Some specific details
would be helpful.

What does ID exactly explain? So far it seems to be quite lacking in the
area of formulating a scientifically relevant theory. I find ID
scientifically vacuous and religiously dangerous as it finds evidence of
God in the shadows of our ignorance.
Received on Tue Aug 2 00:14:42 2005

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