Re: Explanatory Power

Kevin O'Brien (
Thu, 11 Mar 1999 05:10:58 -0700

Neal Roys wrote:

>So around 550 million years ago, Erwin and the others believe, some
>wormlike creature expanded its Hox cluster, bringing the number of genes up
>to six. Then, "Boom!" shouts Jablonski. "At that point, perhaps, life
>crossed some sort of critical threshold." Result: the Cambrian explosion.
>(OOOOOH! That explains it! Wait. Now how did the worm-like creature
>expand it's Hox cluster? Can I expand my Hox cluster? What's the first
>step in doing that? Is there really a mechanism here? Neal Roys)

You bet your boots there is, or rather are. The mechanisms by which the Hox
cluster could be expanded are well understood and have been thoroughly
tested; there is no doubt that the Hox cluster could have expanded by these
mechanisms. As a molecular biologist, Steve Clark should in fact be able to
describe how it could happen.

As for the rest of your comments, is sarcasm the most constructive response
you can make? Or is sarcasm the only response you can make to serious
scientific inquiry?

Perhaps you should apply your own advice to your own position. If you feel
that any naturalistic mechanism is inadequate, can you propose a testable
causal mechanism based on supernatural forces that caused the Cambrian

Like you I'm looking for something that has a falsifiability scenario that
parallels the "no-red-shift-is-discovered" scenario that Einstein
described for falsifying general relativity.

I'm not looking for a Biblical narrative that merely corresponds with the
Cambrian explosion.

I'm looking for a testable causal supernatural mechanism that actually
causes the effects we see in the Cambrian explosion.

What do you say?

Kevin L. O'Brien