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evolution-digest Saturday, April 17 1999 Volume 01 : Number 1411

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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 04:47:57 -0600
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evolution-digest Friday, April 16 1999 Volume 01 : Number 1409

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Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 22:12:06 -0600
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Subject: Message Not Delivered: evolution-digest V1 #1408

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evolution-digest Thursday, April 15 1999 Volume 01 : Number 1408

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Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 08:41:17 -0700
From: "Arthur V. Chadwick" <chadwicka@swau.edu>
Subject: RE: Cell Biology's "big bang"

At 08:00 PM 4/13/99 -0700, Pim wrote:
>--------------------------------------------------------------------
>"...to put a correct view of the universe into people's heads we must first
>get an incorrect view out." (Lewontin R., "Billions and Billions of
>Demons," review of Sagan C., "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a
>Candle in the Dark," New York Review, January 9, 1997, p28)
>--------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>Hey Art, you still did not explain your use of the previous quote? Was the
explanation that it was somewhat out of context correct ? You wrote:
>
>--------------------------------------------------------------------
>"It turns out that the physical constants have just the values required to
>ensure that the Universe contains stars with planets capable of supporting
>intelligent life...The simplest interpretation is that the Universe was
>designed by a creator who intended that intelligent life should evolve. This
>interpretation lies outside science." (Smith J.M. & Szathmary E., "On the
>likelihood of habitable worlds," Nature, Vol. 384, 14 November 1996, p107)
>--------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>
>Just as I thought. Here is the response by Sumac.

Huh? I haven't quoted anybody on this listserve for a long time. I don't
know what you are talking about. Please explain.
Art
http://geology.swau.edu

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Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 01:02:54 -0600
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Subject: Message Not Delivered: evolution-digest V1 #1407

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evolution-digest Wednesday, April 14 1999 Volume 01 : Number 1407

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Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 20:44:05 -0400
From: Tim Ikeda <tikeda@sprintmail.hormel.com>
Subject: Re: Cell Biology's "big bang"

Thanks for the note Art.

[...]
> "The emerging revisionist view of eukaryotic evolution is a
> scenario characterized by a massive and virtually simultaneous
> radiation (big bang) at the base of the eukaryotic tree,
> involving virtually all extant eukaryotic phyla (34)."
> (Gray M.W., et. al., 1999, p1480).
>
> It even calls this "simultaneous creation":
>
> "Alternative hypotheses describing the origin of eukaryotic cell
> Lavender arrows, simultaneous creation of the eukaryotic nucleus
> (gray) and mitochondrion (orange) by fusion of a hydrogen-
> requiring, methanogenic Archaebacterium (host) with a hydrogen-
> producing a-Proteobacterium (symbiont)." (Gray M.W., et. al.,
> 1999, p1480).

Cool. I'll have to look at that issue of Science. This would
go a long way toward explaining why it's been so difficult to
find eukaryotes that lack evidence of ever possessing mito-
chondria.

> The problem with explaining this simultaneous fusion fully
> naturalistically is why would it happen *only once*?

A rare and exceptional event? A filling of a niche?
Why would one expect the formation of a nucleus and
final capture of the mitochondion to be a common, recurring
event? Wouldn't that require some estimate of probabilities
(which is currently beyond our technical capabilities)?
Even the chloroplasts were only captured a few times.

> It certainly seems most un-Darwinian

I'd say that the early eukaryotes must've kicked ass,
evolutionarily speaking. But it's impossible to determine
what the biotic evironment must've been like then.

> and is indistinguishable
> from what Geisler calls a "second class miracle":
[...]

Well, it's certainly not a de novo miracle. Both parts of the
first eukaryotic cell appear to have had precursors, under the
scheme described. Sounds like common descent; not special
creation.

Regards,
Tim Ikeda
tikeda@sprintmail.hormel.com (despam address before use)

- - - ------------------------------

Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 20:00:32 -0700
From: Pim van Meurs <entheta@eskimo.com>
Subject: RE: Cell Biology's "big bang"

- - - - --------------------------------------------------------------------
"...to put a correct view of the universe into people's heads we must =
first=20
get an incorrect view out." (Lewontin R., "Billions and Billions of=20
Demons," review of Sagan C., "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a=20
Candle in the Dark," New York Review, January 9, 1997, p28)
- - - - --------------------------------------------------------------------

Hey Art, you still did not explain your use of the previous quote? Was =
the explanation that it was somewhat out of context correct ? You wrote:

- - - - --------------------------------------------------------------------
"It turns out that the physical constants have just the values required =
to=20
ensure that the Universe contains stars with planets capable of =
supporting=20
intelligent life...The simplest interpretation is that the Universe was=20
designed by a creator who intended that intelligent life should evolve. =
This=20
interpretation lies outside science." (Smith J.M. & Szathmary E., "On =
the=20
likelihood of habitable worlds," Nature, Vol. 384, 14 November 1996, =
p107)
- - - - --------------------------------------------------------------------

Just as I thought. Here is the response by Sumac.

Of course it is out of context. The quote contains three sentences taken =
from a page of text. Not only that, but the first sentence was separated =
from the second two by nearly two paragraphs (one paragraph and two half =
paragraphs). It is impossible to know the authors' intentions from that =
quote. The article is not available online (Nature Online doesn't have =
full text that far back), but I will type in a few passages to try to =
bring the quote back into context.=20

The article is actually a discussion of why the anthropic principle =
fails (in the authors' opinion) to explain anything when it is applied =
to the Universe in general. The authors, Smith and Szathm=E1ry (that's =
E. for E=F6rs), first point out that the weak anthropic principle (which =
states that the Universe is perfect
for intelligent life because there is intelligent life) is not really an =
explanation, but "merely acknowledges a peculiar situation."=20

However, the strong anthropic principle is equally dissatisfying. This =
principle "states that the Universe must have those properties that =
allow life to develop in it at some stage in its life history." They do =
say that the simplest interpretation of the strong anthropic principle =
is to assume a Creator, but they also point
out that that explanation is unscientific. Here is the passage that =
immediately follows the second part of the quote:=20

"Within science, there are two possibilities [to explain the strong =
anthropic principle]. First, there is only one universe possible on =
logical grounds, and the list of constants follows from a (so far =
unavailable) 'theory of everything'. Second, there are indeed many =
possible alternative universes. If so, the presence of observers may =
have a crucial role, since, according to the Copenhagen interpretation =
of quantum physics, it is the act of observation that chooses among =
possible superpositions. This version depends on the perhaps unjustified =
assumption that Schrodinger's equation can be applied to macroscopic =
objects. It also seems to lead to conclusion that the wave function did =
not collapse until the recent evolution of conscious observers on Earth, =
or perhaps, elsewhere in the Universe."

But again, nothing is really explained because there is no cause for the =
effect. The strong anthropic principle states that intelligent beings =
exist because they must exist. As Smith and Szathm=E1ry say: "The =
assertion is essentially unproved, and unlikely to be true."=20

In an attempt to explain their dissatisfaction with the above =
principles, they contrast these non-explanations with evolutionary =
theory (the authors are
biologists):

"Evolutionary biology is a historical science. It tries to explain =
past events in terms of a theory (natural selection - that is, the =
dynamics of populations of entities with variation, multiplication, and =
heredity). To explain a particular event, say the origin of the =
eukaryotes, is to show that, given plausible initial conditions, the =
event, if not inevitable, was at least reasonably likely. The =
explanation should also be supported by evidence: the symbiotic theory =
of the origin of the eukaryotes is supported by the presence in =
mitochondria of DNA and a bacteria-like translating machinery. It would =
be unsatisfactory to argue that, because eukaryotes are in fact here, =
then any accidents, however unlikely, needed to give rise to them must =
have happened."

What they are saying is that, like the theory of evolution, a theory of =
the origin of physical constants needs to be based on evidence and not =
just on fanciful twists of logic and philosophy. They then go on to =
explain why they are attracted to a theory that was put forth by one L. =
Smolin (Quantum Grav. 9: 173-191, 1992). This theory proposes that the =
physical constants of the current Universe have evolved through a sort =
of cosmic natural selection. I have to admit that I do not entirely =
understand the argument, so I can't say if I agree with their assessment =
of Smolin's theory or not. The main point, though, was that Smolin's =
theory, unlike the anthropic theories, is based on observation and =
provides testable hypotheses with which to gather more evidence that may =
support or contradict the theory.

If I was making myself clear, then you should be able to see that the =
quote, as written, does not reflect the intentions of the authors. The =
comment about assuming a Creator was not referring directly to the =
physical constants of the Universe, but was referring to one =
interpretation of a 'strong anthropic principle' explanation for the =
physical constants of the Universe. And, that the authors view the =
strong anthropic principle as a non-explanation that is unsupportable by =
any available evidence.=20

- - - ------------------------------

End of evolution-digest V1 #1407
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- - ------------------------------

Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 10:16:13 -0600
From: "Kevin O'Brien" <Cuchulaine@worldnet.att.net>
Subject: This Is Only a Test

Testing; please disregard.

- - ------------------------------

Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 12:21:46 EDT
From: Biochmborg@aol.com
Subject: This Is Only Another Test

Testing; please disregard.

- - ------------------------------

Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 19:52:40 EDT
From: Biochmborg@aol.com
Subject: My New E-mail Address

I now have a new e-mail address; it is

biochmborg@aol.com

Resistence is futile!

Kevin L. O'Brien

- - ------------------------------

End of evolution-digest V1 #1408
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End of evolution-digest V1 #1409
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------------------------------

Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 13:29:01 -0500 (CDT)
From: pnelson2@ix.netcom.com
Subject: Re: Peppered Moths and Creationists

Paul Nelson is a design theorist/creationist. It often
rains in Seattle, where the Discovery Institute is located.
Design theorists are likely to be interested in challenges
to received neo-Darwinian interpretations of data, including
the peppered moth data.

Dog bites man. Et cetera. Not exactly "60 Minutes," front
page of the NY Times material.

I'll be explaining my views on natural selection at some length
in a forthcoming issue of the magazine _Touchstone_, and would
be happy to send a copy of this article to Don Frack, if he's
interested (contact me via e-mail, Don -- I'm a reasonable guy).
Also, we'll be treating the peppered moth controversy in detail
in the next issue of _Origins & Design_. In the interim, I expect
the readers of this list are as weary of this discussion as I am.

Paul Nelson
Senior Fellow
The Discovery Institute
www.discovery.org

P.S. to Don Frack: I hope you'll download some of my articles
at the Discovery Institute web site, and give me your reactions.

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 13:46:20 -0700
From: Jonathan Wells <JonWells1@compuserve.com>(by way of \"Arthur V. Chadwick\"
<chadwicka@swau.edu>)
Subject: My last word

*************************************************************

MY LAST WORD ON PEPPERED MOTHS

Don Frack criticizes me at length for being what he calls a "creationist."
But my beliefs and affiliations -- whatever they may be -- are no more
relevant than Frack's beliefs and affiliations -- whatever they may be --
to the facts about peppered moths. The salient facts are:

1. Since 1988, it has been well known to everyone who studies peppered
moths that tree trunks are not their normal resting places. Michael
Majerus lists six moths on exposed tree trunks over a forty year period,
but this is an insignificant proportion of the tens of thousands that were
observed during the same period. There simply is no question about it:
peppered moths do not normally rest on tree trunks in the wild.

2. Textbook photographs which show peppered moths on tree trunks have been
staged. The photographs were made by people who either manually positioned
live, torpid moths on tree trunks, or glued or pinned dead moths to them.

My view of these facts is the following: The use of such photographs
should have been discontinued after 1988; or, at the very least, their
captions should have at pointed out that they did not represent the natural
situation. Their continued unqualified use indicates either that some
textbook writers knowingly used, or experts on peppered moths knowingly
permitted them to use, illustrations which misrepresent the truth.

Such conscious misrepresentation of the truth (which others, including
Theodore Sargent, have called "fraud") has no legitimate place in science.
It doesn't really matter whether the whistle-blower is a "creationist" or
an "evolutionist."

Of course, all of us have theoretical presuppositions which affect our
perception of the evidence. But when a theory leads to misrepresentation
of the evidence, that theory should be discarded, or at least modified to
fit the facts. Creationists who misrepresent the evidence deserve to be
criticized; but the fact that some of them do does not excuse Darwinists
who do the same.

I have used the term "peppered myth" to refer to the textbook story that
cryptic coloration and selective predation are known to be the causes of
industrial melanism because birds eat peppered moths off tree trunks. In
light of the evidence, the peppered myth and its staged photographs should
be abandoned, because they misrepresent the truth.

Jonathan Wells, Ph.D.
Department of Molecular & Cell Biology
University of California, Berkeley
and
Senior Fellow
Discovery Institute, Seattle

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 15:58:16 -0400
From: "Mark D. Kluge" <mkluge@wizard.net>
Subject: Re: My last word

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"Jonathan Wells (by way of \"Arthur V. Chadwick\" )" wrote:

> Don Frack criticizes me at length for being what he calls a "creationist."
> But my beliefs and affiliations -- whatever they may be -- are no more
> relevant than Frack's beliefs and affiliations -- whatever they may be --
> to the facts about peppered moths.

Jonathan Wells misstates the significance of affiliations. They are important,
but for reasons opposite to what is commonly thought. We thinking people
believe some of what is written by colleagues despite their affiliations, not
because of them. Institutions have collective biases which, we suspect
sometimes find themselves into their members' writings. We seek to filter them
out. In other cases writers trumpet the prestige of their institutional
affiliations. We know that prestigious institutional names are appealing to the
ignorant lay public, but not serious thinkers. An author, then, who trumpets
his prestigious institution with his writings is appealing with them to the
ignorant public, rather than the thinking few.

> The salient facts are:
>
> 1. Since 1988, it has been well known to everyone who studies peppered
> moths that tree trunks are not their normal resting places. Michael
> Majerus lists six moths on exposed tree trunks over a forty year period,
> but this is an insignificant proportion of the tens of thousands that were
> observed during the same period. There simply is no question about it:
> peppered moths do not normally rest on tree trunks in the wild.
>
> 2. Textbook photographs which show peppered moths on tree trunks have been
> staged. The photographs were made by people who either manually positioned
> live, torpid moths on tree trunks, or glued or pinned dead moths to them.
>
> My view of these facts is the following: The use of such photographs
> should have been discontinued after 1988; or, at the very least, their
> captions should have at pointed out that they did not represent the natural
> situation. Their continued unqualified use indicates either that some
> textbook writers knowingly used, or experts on peppered moths knowingly
> permitted them to use, illustrations which misrepresent the truth.
>
> Such conscious misrepresentation of the truth (which others, including
> Theodore Sargent, have called "fraud") has no legitimate place in science.
> It doesn't really matter whether the whistle-blower is a "creationist" or
> an "evolutionist."

Perhaps Jonathan Wells will give us an example of a text book which sought to
portray non incidentally the resting place of peppered moths on tree trunks
rather than under branches. The point of textbooks' use of the photos is to
highlight differences in visibility of the moths on differently colored
backgrounds. Perhaps it would be better to use photographs of the moths on
differently colored branches; but the difference between branch and trunk is
regarded as quantitative rather than qualitative, and cannot support the
strident, invective condemnation that Jonathan Wells has unleashed upon it.

MKluge

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"Jonathan Wells (by way of \"Arthur V. Chadwick\" )" wrote:

Don Frack criticizes me at length for being what he calls a "creationist."
But my beliefs and affiliations -- whatever they may be -- are no more
relevant than Frack's beliefs and affiliations -- whatever they may be --
to the facts about peppered moths.
Jonathan Wells misstates the significance of affiliations. They are important, but for reasons opposite to what is commonly thought. We thinking people believe some of what is written by colleagues despite their affiliations, not because of them. Institutions have collective biases which, we suspect sometimes find themselves into their members' writings. We seek to filter them out. In other cases writers trumpet the prestige of their institutional affiliations. We know that prestigious institutional names are appealing to the ignorant lay public, but not serious thinkers. An author, then, who trumpets his prestigious institution with his writings is appealing with them to the ignorant public, rather than the thinking few.
 The salient facts are:

1. Since 1988, it has been well known to everyone who studies peppered
moths that tree trunks are not their normal resting places.  Michael
Majerus lists six moths on exposed tree trunks over a forty year period,
but this is an insignificant proportion of the tens of thousands that were
observed during the same period.  There simply is no question about it:
peppered moths do not normally rest on tree trunks in the wild.

2. Textbook photographs which show peppered moths on tree trunks have been
staged.  The photographs were made by people who either manually positioned
live, torpid moths on tree trunks, or glued or pinned dead moths to them.

My view of these facts is the following:  The use of such photographs
should have been discontinued after 1988; or, at the very least, their
captions should have at pointed out that they did not represent the natural
situation.  Their continued unqualified use indicates either that some
textbook writers knowingly used, or experts on peppered moths knowingly
permitted them to use, illustrations which misrepresent the truth.

Such conscious misrepresentation of the truth (which others, including
Theodore Sargent, have called "fraud") has no legitimate place in science.
It doesn't really matter whether the whistle-blower is a "creationist" or
an "evolutionist."

Perhaps Jonathan Wells will give us an example of a text book which sought to portray non incidentally the resting place of peppered moths on tree trunks rather than under branches. The point of textbooks' use of the photos is to highlight differences in visibility of the moths on differently colored backgrounds. Perhaps it would be better to use photographs of the moths on differently colored branches; but the difference between branch and trunk is regarded as quantitative rather than qualitative, and cannot support the strident, invective  condemnation that Jonathan Wells has unleashed upon it.

MKluge
  - --------------487B9275C4AD1AD107CC832D-- ------------------------------ Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 17:52:33 EDT From: Biochmborg@aol.com Subject: Re: My last word [My comments to this travesty will be off-set by "=====". KLOB] Don Frack criticizes me at length for being what he calls a "creationist." But my beliefs and affiliations -- whatever they may be -- are no more relevant than Frack's beliefs and affiliations -- whatever they may be -- to the facts about peppered moths. The salient facts are: 1. Since 1988, it has been well known to everyone who studies peppered moths that tree trunks are not their normal resting places. Michael Majerus lists six moths on exposed tree trunks over a forty year period, but this is an insignificant proportion of the tens of thousands that were observed during the same period. There simply is no question about it: peppered moths do not normally rest on tree trunks in the wild. =====Which doesn't alter the clear fact, based on all the research, that natural selection caused by selective predation is still the best explanation for the shifts in phenotype. 2. Textbook photographs which show peppered moths on tree trunks have been staged. The photographs were made by people who either manually positioned live, torpid moths on tree trunks, or glued or pinned dead moths to them. =====Ditto above comment. My view of these facts is the following: The use of such photographs should have been discontinued after 1988; or, at the very least, their captions should have at pointed out that they did not represent the natural situation. Their continued unqualified use indicates either that some textbook writers knowingly used, or experts on peppered moths knowingly permitted them to use, illustrations which misrepresent the truth. =====Ditto above comment; plus Don Frack has demonstrated that these illustrations are meant to clearly demonstrate the affect that background has on how well either phenotype can blend in, NOT to illustrate the moth's normal resting place. That the color contrasts would have the same affect in their natural resting places has also been demonstrated by the research described by Don Frack and related by Majerus. Such conscious misrepresentation of the truth (which others, including Theodore Sargent, have called "fraud") has no legitimate place in science. It doesn't really matter whether the whistle-blower is a "creationist" or an "evolutionist." =====On the contrary, Don Frack has demonstrated that it is Wells who is consciously misrepresenting the truth, both about the moth itself and his motives for critiquing the research. Of course, all of us have theoretical presuppositions which affect our perception of the evidence. But when a theory leads to misrepresentation of the evidence, that theory should be discarded, or at least modified to fit the facts. Creationists who misrepresent the evidence deserve to be criticized; but the fact that some of them do does not excuse Darwinists who do the same. =====And in that light, Don Frack is simply "criticizing" Wells for his own willfull misrepresentation of the facts. I have used the term "peppered myth" to refer to the textbook story that cryptic coloration and selective predation are known to be the causes of industrial melanism because birds eat peppered moths off tree trunks. In light of the evidence, the peppered myth and its staged photographs should be abandoned, because they misrepresent the truth. =====Don Frack has in fact demonstrated that Wells' evaluation is clearly false, yet Wells appears to be too mule-stubborn to acknowledge this fact. Now, since he cannot refute Don Frack's critique or present evidence to support his accusation of fraud, he has decided to bail out of the discussion. Why am I not surprised? Jonathan Wells, Ph.D. Department of Molecular & Cell Biology University of California, Berkeley =====Speaking of willful misrepresentation, Wells is merely a post-doc at Berkeley, not a member of the faculty as this implies. He isn't even doing any laboratory research, just helping to write a book. Does not his above comments therefore appear to be just a tad hypocritical? Kevin L. O'Brien ------------------------------ Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 20:20:11 -0700 From: "Donald Frack" Subject: RE: My last word To the Calvin gang: I'm sure all of you are relieved this has come to an (apparent) end. I would like to apologize to you all, including Jonathan Wells, if my last part (round 3) was somewhat disjointed. Long messages are, I know, difficult on group readers. Delays between them disconnect the subject. As I was laying out the last one, I came down with the flu. I finally became tired enough of fretting over it that I finished and sent it so as not to drag this out any more. It probably suffers greatly from lack of proper time. Furthermore, this past week I have corresponded with Jerry Coyne, and an American peppered moth specialist. Certain ethical constraints have made it very confusing what I can and cannot say about them. I have only one comment on Wells's "last word". He wrote: > 1. Since 1988, it has been well known to everyone who studies peppered > moths that tree trunks are not their normal resting places. Michael > Majerus lists six moths on exposed tree trunks over a forty year period, > but this is an insignificant proportion of the tens of thousands that were > observed during the same period. There simply is no question about it: > peppered moths do not normally rest on tree trunks in the wild. I have already been contacted by a list member asking me about the "tens of thousands" of moths. Attentive readers will probably have noticed that we were talking about Majerus's sample of field collected moths from resting positions as 47, and Wells's incessant "one moth". Wells has found me out. You can now be told the truth that the normal resting position of peppered moths is in the bottom tray of light traps, for that is where these specimens were "observed." Don Frack dcfrack@sowest.net ------------------------------ End of evolution-digest V1 #1411 ********************************