Re: Dawkins' video (was: a transitional turtle)

Glenn R. Morton (
Sat, 06 Jun 1998 19:16:43 -0500

At 05:10 PM 6/6/98 -0500, Ron Chitwood wrote:
>>>> But until I hear a very good explanation, I wouldn't beleive anything
>on this tape.
>Take what I say and look at the tape again and see if I am not correct<<<
>Sorry, I saw the tape at a MIOS meeting and, at present at least, do not
>have a chance to review it again. I will do that, based on your
>suggestions, if given a chance. The point that was made still holds,
>however. There is no recorded instance of an increase in DNA information.
>Decreases, yes - increases, no. (Can the DNA be tested on this to prove
>anything other than microevolution occurred. If it can, Richard Dawkins
>needs to be informed. He was totally ignorant of any finding that showed an
>increase in
>information at the DNA level has ever occurred )

MIOS is in Dallas isn't it? Are you in Dallas? If so, lets have lunch or

Actually, the thing I found so surprising about that tape and Dawkin's
supposed reply, there is a phenomenon called polyploidy which does increase
the information content of the daughter plant. It was this phenomenon,
which is known by any biologist, that first made me suspicious of the tape.
Dawkin's should have been able to mention it directly. The fact that I, a
geophysicist, could think of it made me wonder why Dawkins, a biologist
didn't. Here is what happens. Two species with different chromosome
numbers can cross producing a gamete which usually dies. but once in a
while the crossed plant doubles the number of chromosomes and produces a
fertile species with the entire genetic material from both parent speices.
This daughter species is unable breed with the parent species. The daughter
species represents a species with more genetic information than either of
the parents! So, the tape is wrong in its claim that no case exists. I
quote from Boxhorn's Speciation FAQ on Talk Origins

A case in point is that of the English primerose.

" Kew Primrose (Primula kewensis)

Digby (1912) crossed the primrose species Primula verticillata and P.
floribunda to produce a sterile hybrid. Polyploidization occurred in a few
of these plants to produce fertile offspring. The new species was named P.
kewensis. Newton and Pellew (1929) note that spontaneous hybrids of
P. verticillata and P. floribunda set tetraploid seed on at least three
occasions. These happened in 1905, 1923 and 1926. "

That IS a documented case of the increase in complexity!

Other info along these lines:

"In central Europe, 48.6 percent of higher-plant species are polypoloid,
and 8.8 percent contain both nonpolyploid and polyploid races."Franz
Schwanitz, The Origin of Cultivated Plants, (Cambridge: Harvard University
Press, 1967), p. 97.

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