Re: Stereotypes and reputations

From: Pim van Meurs <>
Date: Wed Aug 03 2005 - 11:45:03 EDT

Cornelius Hunter wrote:

> Answering Pim, Michael, and Glenn:
> Pim:
> You wrote: "CD is a fact ..." So I guess we should ignore the mountain
> of evidence against it.
> Regarding the marsupial and placental wolves, you mentioned that their
> differences are quite extensive. Indeed, and another set of designs
> that sport even greater difference is the pentadactyl pattern across
> the various species. Yet they are used as evidence for evolution.
> Designs that can be used in support of common descent, as
> homologies, are said to be similar despite their significant
> differences; and designs that cannot be used to support common descent
> (but must be analogies) are said to be quite different, despite their
> similarities. One way or another, all evidence supports CD and evolution.

You are missing the point. When realizing that there is convergent
evolution, the trees support Common Descent, and unless Hunter can
explain how a nested hierarchy can be evidence of design, or present his
'design' hypothesis, anything goes.
Your argument is all over the place. So let's focus on common descent
and marsupials and wolves. You suggested that these 'disproved' common
descent. As I have shown, they don't. And you have provided no reason
why they should disprove common descent other than by the somewhat naive
argument that they look very similar to you.

> GRM: I can't actually believe what I a reading here. Are you that
> unknowledgeable about the science of biology? Is the only way to be
> an ID person is to deny observational evidence of small-scale adaptive
> change being beneficial?
> --------------
> CH: I think you missed my point. Small scale adaptive change counters
> the claims of CD and evolution for two reasons. First, evolution fails
> to explain the origin of the complex Mendelian machine of variation,
> which is so important to evolution.

Keep moving the goal posts. Evolution explains the nested hierarchies
but now it cannot explain the 'origin of the complex machine of
variation'. In other words, CH is arguing from a position of ignorance.

> Biological change doesn't just "happen." Biological variation is not
> something that comes for free. So evolution must say that it created,
> somehow, this marvelous machine which in turn is the engine of
> evolution. This is circular.

Not really. It can be shown that selection can select for evolvability.
Remarkable but true. For example neutrality can be selected for since it
increases evolvability.

> In recent decades this story has become even more strained as the
> finer details of adaptation are beginning to be understood.
> Hypermutators, mutational hotspots, and preplanned adaptive pathways
> are making evolution look increasingly silly.

One the contrary. These are all excellent examples of evolvability
(althought I am not sure what you mean by preplanned adaptive pathways).

> Are we really to believe that evolution created all this, because
> after all, those populations that can evolve will survive more often?

A lovely argument from personal incredulity. Come on CH, you can surely
do better than this. If the evidence so strongly point to CD, why is it
so hard to accept the evidence?

> Second, there is little evidence that adaptive change is unbounded, as
> evolution requires.

Again you are not understanding evolution since it never claims that
adaptive change is unbounded. In other words, stop attacking strawmen.

> CH: So far I have been responding to the claim that CD and evolution
> enjoy overwhelming supporting evidence. There really is no such
> strength in the evidence, and in fact, on the contrary, there is quite
> a bit of evidence against these theories.

On the contrary, you have failed to address the overwhelming evidence
for common descent and your counter examples have been weak at most.

> The nested hierarchy is another such pattern that Darwin proclaimed
> would not have been created. Contrary to today's wisdom, evolution
> does not predict this pattern and, it is not clear how well this model
> actually fits the data.

Again misleading. Evolution does explain and predict nested hierarchies.
And that the evidences fits the expectations is strong evidence in favor
of CD.

> This is a pretty complicated, multi dimensional problem. I don't mind
> using the nested hierarchy model as a point of reference for
> discussion and approximation of the pattern of the species, so long as
> it is recognized that we are speaking in partial ignorance. There are
> so many violations to this model in the data, and so much massive
> convergence, that we need to keep an open mind about what the best
> model is.

Two problems 1. There are massive amounts of congruent data 2.
convergence is no evidence against CD. And finally you have yet to show
that there are so many violations to this model... I have shown how for
instance HGT is a minor player.
YOu seem to have forgotten all the discussions we have had in the past
few days and continue with your unsupported and erroneous assertions.

Common descent is well supported by the evidence and predicted by
evolutionary theory. I am more than happy to walk you through the
reasoning as to why. But I had hoped you had actually read Theobalt's
FAQ which addresses this in quite some detail.
What part do you not agree with? And more importantly what is the
logical/evidentiary/scientific foundation for your claims? Convergence,
as I have shown is not evidence against CD, it can merely confound our
ability to recover the right tree if we confuse convergence with
homology. While to some the marsupial and mammalian wolf may appear to
be 'similar' experts can quickly differentiate between the two. Once
again showing that arguments based on ignorance are too quick to reject CD.
Received on Wed Aug 3 11:45:17 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Wed Aug 03 2005 - 11:45:17 EDT