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Jesus, History, and Mount Darwin: Part 12

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January 27, 2012 Tags: Education

Today's entry was written by Rick Kennedy. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here.

Jesus, History, and Mount Darwin: Part 12

Written in the genre of Henry David Thoreaus travel-thinking essays, Rick Kennedy's Jesus, History, and Mount Darwin: An Academic Excursion is the story of a three-day climb into the Evolution Range of the High Sierra mountains of California (click here to see a map of the mountains). Mount Darwin stands among other near-14,000-foot-high mountains that are named after promoters of religious versions of evolutionary thinking. Using the trek as its framing narrative, this series branches off to explore the complex and at times even murky spaces at the intersection of Christian faith, ancient and natural history, and observational science.

Daunting

“Daunting,” commented Dave as the four of us stood at the shore of Blue Heaven Lake (elevation 11, 821΄) looking up to the top of Mount Darwin. He scrambled around the lake and checked out the area, but it was clear we were not going further. We should have been at the lake an hour earlier to make a real attempt at the peak. This was as high as we were going.

Steven had been walking slower and slower. He did not stop nor complain, but he was obviously having trouble. At the time, I thought coming from sea level to almost 12,000 feet in two days had taken the spunk out of him. A few months later, my wife took him to the doctor and found that he has a non-working thyroid. Look at his puffy cheeks in the pictures of him. A few years later he and Matt would carry most of my gear up to the top of Mount Whitney after four days on the John Muir Trail. But on this trip to Mount Darwin, it was amazing he got as far as he did.

We still had over ten miles to go to get back to the car. Dave and I stood for what seemed a long time looking at the mountain. The guidebooks and websites I had consulted recommended skirting the southern edge of the lake, then traversing northwest up to the saddle visible in the picture of Steve and me. Once on the saddle, we were to follow the ridge southwesterly to the top. I stood looking, walking the route with my eyes. Dave could have made a solo scramble, made the top, and caught up with us. He is a healthy, hard-charging guy. But Dave has a high sense of responsibility. He and I are teachers, and teachers think in groups. We were here at the perfect starting point on a perfect day, but we were constrained by love.

The success of the trip in my mind was dependent upon standing firmly on the two legs of reasonableness on the summit of Mount Darwin. Reason and testimony, individual responsibility and communal trust, science and the Bible would be grounded on rock. I would be able to look over onto Mendel and across to Spencer, Huxley, and Fiske and entwine understanding with experience. I would have been like John Muir who climbed a tree to understand a storm.

Love and Humility

But love supersedes. The boys were at the center of this trek. I wanted to get them to the top, but they were more important to me than the top. I wasn’t frustrated with Steven. I was actually overwhelmed with love for the boy. Richard Dawkins, who is sure that Mount Improbable has an easy back route, became famous with a book titled The Selfish Gene (1976). He put himself at the bold forefront of a modern version of Spencer’s “Social Darwinism” that finds the tap root of social life in competition for resources. Love, especially love of children, as their theory goes, has to actually be a manifestation of genetic selfishness.

There is a book called The Evolution of Altruism and the Ordering of Love (1994), by a Roman Catholic theologian interested in sociobiology. He advocates a revived version of Thomas Aquinas’ theology about human nature and love because modern sociobiology seems to be pointing in that direction. His book is good in that it is one of the jobs of theologians to make speculative attempts at uniting, under limited conditions, the innovative ideas of an offshoot science with one of the theological traditions well-accepted in Christianity. The book is generally sober but tentatively optimistic for a fruitful interplay of ideas. This seems to me to be good theology and good science at work. The author, Stephen J. Pope, is not abdicating his responsibilities. A traditional service of academics is to be provocative. Theologians, scientists, and even historians should take risks and encourage people to think in new ways or in old ways with new information. But reasonableness supports humility. We should not be overly confident.

Christians often insist on too many things. The Bible tells us there is only one absolutely critical thing: the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus as a historical event. Peter, at Pentecost in a crowded room where amazing things were happening, stood up and did not lead a discussion of the meaning and proper use of speaking in tongues. He did not lead the group in worship songs full of vague theistic aspiration. Rather, he gave a history lesson:

“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge, and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. . . . ‘Therefore, let all Israel be assured of this: God has made Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.’”

Peter declared this at a gathering not too long after the meeting of one hundred and twenty disciples who were given the job of finding a new twelfth apostle to replace Judas Iscariot. The one stated criterion for the job was to be an eyewitness. If this good news was going to hit the road and go out into all the world, the twelfth apostle needed “to be a witness with us of his resurrection.”

Some things in history you either accept or you don’t. You either trust the person reporting or you don’t. Herodotus is the founder of our modern discipline of history largely because he made inquiries and kept his readers informed about the strengths and weaknesses of his sources and conclusions. There is a critical moment in his history of the Persian Empire when he gives the gist in translation of a sophisticated discussion of political theory between three leaders who were reforming the Persian government. Herodotus writes: “There are those in Greece who are not convinced of the authenticity of the speeches that were delivered there, but they did take place.” You either accept it or you don’t.

Knots or Buckles

Once it was clear that we were not going to climb any further, Matt asked if we could do some rock climbing. I had brought the gear. Shouldn’t we at least have some fun with it? He was right. We had some time, and it would be fun.

For harnesses, Matt and I relied on thirty feet of tubular webbing tied as a seat harness. Most climbers use production harnesses, but I trust a well-tied knot more than production buckles. I believe buckles make people over-confident. Knots are usually better (more friction), and people tend to distrust them—so they keep checking them. Seven Summits (1986) tells the story of Marty Hoey, who fell to her death on Mount Everest during an attempt to become the first American woman to the top:

“The weather was deteriorating and we could see the others only intermittently through the mist. I heard a call down from above for more rope, and I was just moving to put my pack on when Marty said, “Let me get out of your way.” Then I heard this rattling of carabiners and I looked over to see her falling backwards. She grabbed for the fixed rope but couldn’t quite reach it. She really gathered speed and then was gone. I looked back and saw her jumar still attached to the rope and to it her open harness, just hanging there. I guess she didn’t loop the belt back through the buckle, and it pulled through when she leaned back. I’m sure she went the whole way, 6,000 feet of vertical.”

Life or death are often in the little things. I prefer knots to buckles.

Matt, Dave, and I had some fun for an hour rappelling and climbing. Steve took some pictures of us, but didn’t want to join the fun. He was happy not to be climbing. Soon we gathered up our gear and started back down to base camp. We had a long way back to the car and an even longer way back to San Diego. I wasn’t sure the car would start, let alone get us home.


Rick Kennedy received his BA, MA, and Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara and is professor of history at Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego, California. His books include A History of Reasonableness: Testimony and Authority in the Art of Thinking (University of Rochester Press, 2004), Aristotelian and Cartesian Logic at Harvard (Colonial Society of Massachusetts and University Press of Virginia, 1995), and Faith at State: A Handbook for Christians at Secular Universities (InterVarsity, 1995).

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Roger A. Sawtelle - #67398

January 27th 2012

Rick,

You almost got it, “Reason and testimony…but love supersedes.”  Testimony is based on experience.  The foundation of MODERN science is the experiment or detailed observation, which proves whether a theory is true nor false.  No experiential proof, no scientific knowledge. 

The problem with evolution is not that it is unreasonable, but that natural selection has not been demonstrated by observation or experimentation.  That is what Karl Popper said when he complained that Darwinian natural selection was an unproven hypothesis. Modern Science is built on experience first followed by reason and purpose.

Philosophy is based on Reason and theory.  It tries to build on experience and give a reasonable explanation for it or it takes theory and points to practical application of it.  If the application is wrong, then often the theory is wrong.  Thus it is based on reason first, and then experience and purpose.

Christianity of course, the third leg of this tripod, gives meaning to experience and theory by integrating them for the purpose of find the common good.  This is the purpose of Love and of Life created by and rooted in God.  It is based on purpose first, and then on experience and reason.   

When we leave out or overlook love, we ignore to our peril the whole purpose of existence, that which gives meaning to life. When we overlook or leave out love and God, we are stuck with a rationalistic view of reality that claims to be realistic but leaves out the key aspect of Reality. 

Darwinism is not good science because it is monistic and deterministic in that it is driven by genes alone.  Sceince and reason so not support these claims.  I repeat ecological evolution evades this trap and is much better science because it is supported by scientific observation.

I can prove that Darwinism has given science a bad name because it is not supported by experimentation, but I think that this a good part of the reason.         


R Kennedy - #67446

January 30th 2012

Roger,

I think evolution is good science.  Faculty at our campus recently read a nice little book called Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin.  The key to the book is that evolution and geology predicted that we would find a certain kind of intermediate fossil in a certain kind of rock of a certain age.  Lo and behold, Neil found it where it was supposed to be.

This kind of predictive power adds up to what can be called “proof.”   Darwinian evolution a hard working, successful, “best explanation” that keeps on working.

Rick  


beaglelady - #67451

January 31st 2012

Shubin’s Your Inner Fish is excellent!  I recommend it to one and all.   I got to hear Shubin speak at the AMNH.  He’s a very good speaker, too.


Roger A. Sawtelle - #67513

February 2nd 2012

Rick,

Intermediate fossils only indicate that things change.  Anyone can see that things change.  Presumabally if it takes x number of years for a creature to change from a to c, then the b stage should be somewhere in between.

The question is how soes it change.  Genetic mutation is part of the answer.  Natural selection is supposedly the other according to Darwin.  It is this aspect that that has not been demonstrated. 

Survival of the fittest is a slogan that has not been proven. 

Who are the fittest?  How does fitness fit in with the weakness of Jesus Christ?

 


beaglelady - #67538

February 3rd 2012

“Survival of the fittest is a slogan that has not been proven. Who are the fittest?  How does fitness fit in with the weakness of Jesus Christ?”

 The theory of evolution is a scientific theory. The fittest are those who are best able to survive in a  particular environment and pass their genes on to the next generation.  Fittest doesn’t always mean the most ferocious or bloodthirsty.   It could mean a thicker coat of fur (in a cold climate), or it could mean losing body hair (in a warmer climate. That’s what happened to us humans).  It could mean being able to run faster to escape predation. It could mean the ability to camouflage yourself.  Or even to attract pollinators with sweet nectar.

So the theory of evolution, a scientific theory,  doesn’t deal with the “weakness of Jesus Christ” (whatever that might mean). 

Also, science deals with neither slogans nor proofs. And  I believe that natural selection has been demonstrated in lab experiments.




Roger A. Sawtelle - #67542

February 3rd 2012

Beagle Lady,

I appreciate you beliefs, however I have not found where Darwinian natural selection has been demonstrated by experiments, nor have I found any one who has.  Dawkins’ statement in The Greatest Show on Earth that natural selection has been demonstrated is true, but it is ecological natural selection, not Darwinian.

The question is whether cooperation is basic to survival.  Most everyone says that it is, while Darwinism and the Selfish Gene say NO.  That is the issue.  Christianity is based on love and cooperation, is it not?  The Darwinian model of evolution is based on “the war of nature” as Darwin put it in his summary of his theory at the end of the Origins.  Can nature divided against itself thrive? (to paraphrase Jesus)

Which is right?  Nature as cosmos or nature as chaos?  Natural selection as symbiosis as war or natural selection?  Nature as meaningless or nature as based on the Meaning of the Logos?   


beaglelady - #67568

February 3rd 2012

Cooperation can be a survival technique. It certainly is for humans and other social beings.  The orangutan is the only great ape that is not social. But there is certainly competition in nature, even among social animals.  Why don’t you watch some nature shows on PBS? Or the Disney film “African Cats”?  You’ll see both fighting for mates/territory  and cooperation within the pride.   It’s just the way it is.  

Why do we have to choose between cosmos and chaos? Doesn’t nature include both? 


melanogaster - #67585

February 4th 2012

Roger,
“I appreciate you beliefs, however I have not found where Darwinian natural selection has been demonstrated by experiments, nor have I found any one who has.”

Have you really looked? I haven’t seen anything in your posts here to suggest that you have.

“The question is whether cooperation is basic to survival.  Most everyone says that it is, while Darwinism and the Selfish Gene say NO.”

That is completely false, Roger. 

“That is the issue.”

Indeed it is. If you find Darwinian evolution to be such a threat, one would think that it would be incredibly important to you to learn about what it really is instead of misrepresenting it so forcefully.

“Christianity is based on love and cooperation, is it not?”

I observe far more love and cooperation among Christians who accept evolutionary theory than I do among those who try to attack it by gross misrepresentations, whether those misrepresentations arise from willfulness or having been deceived.

beaglelady - #67589

February 4th 2012

Here you go, Roger:
http://myxo.css.msu.edu/index.html

Happy reading!


Roger A. Sawtelle - #67702

February 6th 2012

Thank you, Beagle Lady.

The reference was about the experiments of Richard Lenski on ecoli which were cited by Richard Dawkins.

Sadly, the last time I looked the orginal summeries of his research were not posted on his web site, but I have this material stashed somewhere in my archives.

What his experimental work showed is that an e coli strain was able to adapt to a particular citrate hostile environment by an adaptation which enabled it citriate as a nutrient, where other strains could not.  The original material also noted that other forms of e coli were able to passively adapt to this hostile environment by going into “hibernation” when the nutrients they needed were exhausted.

The findings of this experiment confirms that those life forms who are able to creatively and positively adapt to their environment are those who flourish and thrive.  They are not competing against other life forms, but they are working within the limits of their environment to expand the possibilities for all, such as using citrate as a nutrient. 

Other observations indicate that those life forms which successfully adapt to their environment also share their genes and adaptive abilities with less favored members of their group, instead of discriminating against them.  Inbred creatures are not strong creatures.  This also goes against Darwinian evolutionary thinking. 

Life is not losing diversity as dominant life forms squeeze out less dominant.  Life is increasing in diversity as new diverse ecological niches are increasing and people and other creatures are learning to use diverse resources to meet diverse challenges.      

Darwinism per se favors uniformity as the fitter squeeze out the less fit.  Ecology favors diversity as everyone seeks their own peculiar niche.  

   


Marty Kurlich - #67399

January 27th 2012

Roger,

You wrote “I repeat ecological evolution evades this trap and is much better science because it is supported by scientific observation.”

When and where has any real evolution (i.e. one species or type of organism producing another species/type – and I DON’T mean antibiotic-susceptible BACTERIA mutating into antibiotic- resistant BACTERIA) ever been observed?

Please give me just one, your very best, example.

 


Darrel Falk - #67401

January 28th 2012

“Please give me just one, your best example.”

Marty,

Please watch this space for an upcoming podcast by Kelsey Luoma which will outline several examples.

Marty Kurlich - #67405

January 28th 2012

Darrel,

I wonder if the upcoming podcast will be more compelling than Kelsey’s “Where is the Genetic Evidence for Evolution?” andWhere are the Transitional Fossils?” (To tell you the truth, I didn’t view the entirety of either. However, I did look over the limited text that accompanied each, including the piece you co-authored: “Signature in the Pseudogenes, Part 1”.)

The latter made some startling new (to me) claims: “Rather than a mix between two related species, transitional fossils point back to the common ancestors that modern species share” and “The fact is that the number of transitional species is massive and it grows with each passing year.”

Yes, that’s news to me. Probably would also have been news to the late Stephen J. Gould: “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches … in any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the gradual transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and fully formed.”

The former seems to base its entire argument on genomic similarity. Similarity is no more evidence for common ancestry than it is for common designer. Just because a Humvee has an engine and wheels doesn’t necessarily mean that it used to be a Harley.

A rule in simple logic says that if it’s true that “If A then B”, it does NOT follow that “If B then A”. A non-biological example: If a major league baseball player hits 500 homeruns in his career then he’ll be a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame. That does NOT mean that everyone in the Hall of Fame hit 500 homeruns (It also contains pitchers and high average hitters, for example.).

If all organisms share a common ancestor, we might reasonably expect them to share genomic traits. But shared genomic traits among organisms can just as easily point to a builder using common building blocks and design principles.

I’ll look for Kelsey’s latest.

This is so easy.  But time consuming.   

 


melanogaster - #67410

January 29th 2012

Hi Marty,

You seem to be ignoring much of the evidence. You wrote,

“I wonder if the upcoming podcast will be more compelling than Kelsey’s “Where is the Genetic Evidence for Evolution?” and “Where are the Transitional Fossils?” (To tell you the truth, I didn’t view the entirety of either.”

So truthfully, you can’t have a very informed opinion on their compellingness, can you?

” However, I did look over the limited text that accompanied each, including the piece you co-authored: “Signature in the Pseudogenes, Part 1”.)”

Not very well, obviously.

“The latter made some startling new (to me) claims:…”

Maybe it would be less startling if you weren’t tilting at a gross misrepresentation of both theory and evidence? Maybe if you actually read Gould instead of cut/pasting quote mines. Have you even read what was removed for the ellipsis, Marty? 

“The former seems to base its entire argument on genomic similarity.”

Now that’s interesting! Kelsey very clearly wrote in the text that you claimed to have read, “today we focus on a few specific examples: the similarity of genomes for related species, psuedogenes, and genetic markers left by retroviruses.”

So how could it possibly seem to be ENTIRELY based on only one of the three?

“Similarity is no more evidence for common ancestry than it is for common designer.”

The other two bring up the patterns of differences. How do you explain those patterns, Marty?

“If all organisms share a common ancestor, we might reasonably expect them to share genomic traits. But shared genomic traits among organisms can just as easily point to a builder using common building blocks and design principles.”

But the differences don’t, and that’s what Kelsey introduced in the video that you found uncompelling without viewing it.

“I’ll look for Kelsey’s latest.”

Hopefully you’ll pay more attention and address what she actually writes and explains?

“This is so easy.  But time consuming.”

It’s very easy to ignore the evidence. Why do you do it? And why post a response here, instead of with Kelsey’s post?  

Marty Kurlich - #67415

January 29th 2012

melanogaster,

That’s an interesting pseudonym, melanogaster!

As you must already know, Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics (and a Catholic monk, no less!) experimented on you, or at least on fruit flies. Yet, as much as he learned, and as much as his successors discovered over the last 200+ years studying thousands and thousands of generations of fruit flies, not once did they find a fruit fly genome mutating into the genome of something else, like a gnat or horse fly or mosquito. Just more, sometimes harmfully mutated, fruit flies. (Hey, just commenting on what science has actually observed!)

Anyway, I’m trying to take some deep breaths, count to ten, bite my tongue. Easy, Martin. OK. Here goes…

Now, one of your main complaints is that I said Kelsey seems to base her entire argument on genomic similarity, while I ignored the other two subjects: pseudogenes and retroviruses.

 

I can appreciate that complaint. So I returned to the video “Where is the Genetic Evidence for Evolution?” and I watched it. [I give myself an “A-for-the-day” for having the patience and intestinal fortitude to make it through all 19:57 of it. (Although I did have to take a couple breaks.)]

But lo and behold! Much to my surprise, I found that the basis of her arguments (now with three subjects, not just one) was exactly the same: SIMILARITY.

 

“There are at least seven identical endogenous retroviruses insertions present in the exact same places in human and chimpanzee genomes”. She’s likewise saying that humans and chimps have other endogenous retroviruses that are not identical. (Unless only seven exist, but apparently that is not at all the case.) Thus the overall endogenous retroviruses of humans and chimps are similar, but not identical.

Basically, the same went for the pseudogene stuff. But I have a couple other questions on this.

Kelsey says the similarity in certain “dysfunctional” aspects of the pseudogenes among chimps, gorillas and humans, is evidence of a single dysfunction-causing mutation in a common ancestor. Why?  Because the odds of this similarity accidentally mutating three times (i.e. mutating once in each of the three species) are “vanishingly small, in fact, they’re practically zero”. Therefore, for all practical purposes, the “three mutations” didn’t happen.

But what does this say about the “convergent evolution” I hear more and more about? Wikipedia says “Convergent evolution (CE) describes the acquisition of the same biological trait in unrelated lineages.” CE includes just about everything: eyesight, brains, opposable thumbs, etc, etc. So, if the odds of a mutation producing the same specific result in the genome three times is next to zero, what are the odds of say, eyesight, mutating in many “unrelated lineages” like bees, buzzards and baboons? Even closer to zero, I would bet. So I guess CE didn’t happen either. (Better call Wikipedia.)

Also, lots of talk early
on in the video on how the human genome with 23 chromosomes may be the same as the
chimp genome with 24 chromosomes, but with 2 fused together. This almost seemed
like an argument for humans descending from chimps instead of an argument for
humans and chimps descending from a common ancestor! Maybe I just didn’t listen
carefully enough. By the way, I don’t keep up on all of the latest evolution
headlines, so I may have missed this, but how
many chromosomes were possessed by the immediate precursor to humans and chimps?


beaglelady - #67418

January 29th 2012

“As you must already know, Gregor Mendel, the father of
genetics (and a Catholic monk, no less!) experimented on you, or at least on
fruit flies.


Mendel studied peas.  Not to be confused with fruit flies.

“Also, lots of talk early on in the video on how the human genome with 23 chromosomes may be the same as the chimp genome with 24 chromosomes, but with 2 fused together.”

Humans only have 23 chromosomes? My goodness.





Marty Kurlich - #67424

January 29th 2012

Well done, beaglelady. Such fastidiousness!

Yes, Mendel started genetics with the study of pea plants, but his work was greatly advanced by others studying fruit flies. The melanogaster is ideal for investigation into genomics and heredity since they go from egg to adult to new generation in about 10 days.

And yes, I didn’t listen closely enough to Kelsey. What she said is that chimps receive 24 chromosomes from each parent, humans 23.

Mea culpa.

Of course, the above changes nothing about the substance of the points I made.

Do you have anything to say of substance?

 


beaglelady - #67428

January 30th 2012

“Do you have anything to say of substance?

Yes. The question is, do you? 


Marty Kurlich - #67426

January 30th 2012

Melanogaster,

One more thing, on Stephen J. Gould.

You think my quote “mining” misrepresented his views?

OK. Let’s allow his actions to speak. What was the “compellingness” that led him and Eldredge to come up with Punctuated Equilibrium - a whole new theory, or at least a significant departure from Darwinism/neoDarwinism? Maybe it was the problematic (to evolutionists) Cambrian Explosion? Maybe, as wikipedia says, “Eldredge and Gould proposed that the degree of gradualism commonly attributed to Charles Darwin is virtually nonexistent in the fossil record, and that stasis dominates the history of most fossil species”?

… Once upon a time, 545 million years ago (some say 580), “complex” living things suddenly appeared, in pretty much the same form they have today; “suddenly”, of course, in geologic time parlance. It happened in a flash, in 70 to 80 million years (some say 5 to 10)! And then, our state-of-the-art stop watches said…….”  (See my comments on dating scientists above.)     

 


melanogaster - #67433

January 30th 2012

Marty, you are a gem. You wrote,
“As you must already know, Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics (and a Catholic monk, no less!) experimented on you, or at least on fruit flies.”

No, I didn’t know that. Tell me more! 

“Yet, as much as he learned, and as much as his successors discovered over the last 200+ years studying thousands and thousands of generations of fruit flies, not once did they find a fruit fly genome mutating into the genome of something else, like a gnat or horse fly or mosquito. Just more, sometimes harmfully mutated, fruit flies. (Hey, just commenting on what science has actually observed!)”

What’s actually been observed is fruit fly speciation. But you’ll pretend that the term “fruit fly” corresponds to only one species, right, Marty?

“Now, one of your main complaints is that I said Kelsey seems to base her entire argument on genomic similarity, while I ignored the other two subjects: pseudogenes and retroviruses.”

And I explained it further, writing “The other two bring up the patterns of differences. How do you explain those patterns, Marty?”

How do you explain the patterns of differences, Marty? Why won’t you answer my simple question?

“But lo and behold! Much to my surprise, I found that the basis of her arguments (now with three subjects, not just one) was exactly the same: SIMILARITY.”

My irony meter is broken! Do you not grasp the difference between the terms “identity” and “similarity”?
 
Kelsey: “There are at least seven identical endogenous retroviruses insertions…”

Identical, Marty! Not similar, but identical! The sites in the genome, that is. How do you explain that identity, and more importantly, how can you describe identity as “exactly the same” as similarity?

“She’s likewise saying that humans and chimps have other endogenous retroviruses that are not identical.”

Yup. Some of them aren’t even similar to each other! How do you explain the patterns of differences, Marty?

“Thus the overall endogenous retroviruses of humans and chimps are similar, but not identical.”

But many of the individual insertions are identical, not similar. Many others are different, not similar. How do you explain the patterns of differences, Marty?

“Basically, the same went for the pseudogene stuff.”

You’re just as wrong in describing it as vague similarity. But I suspect that you know that you are wrong.

“Kelsey says the similarity in certain “dysfunctional” aspects of the pseudogenes among chimps, gorillas and humans, is evidence of a single dysfunction-causing mutation in a common ancestor.”

A single mutation? No way. That’s not why pseudogenes are nonfunctional. But to grasp that, you’d have to learn something. Given your epic fails with Mendel and similarity, I don’t see that happening.

“Why?  Because the odds of this similarity accidentally mutating three times (i.e. mutating once in each of the three species) are “vanishingly small, in fact, they’re practically zero”. Therefore, for all practical purposes, the “three mutations” didn’t happen.”

Where did Kelsey say that there were “SINGLE dysfunction-causing mutations,” Marty? Are you putting words in her mouth?

“Also, lots of talk early
on in the video on how the human genome with 23 chromosomes may be the same as the
chimp genome with 24 chromosomes, but with 2 fused together.”

Where were the words “may be the same” used by Kelsey, Marty? Geneticists have a word for what you are describing here—synteny. Why not learn it and use it?

“This almost seemed
like an argument for humans descending from chimps instead of an argument for
humans and chimps descending from a common ancestor! Maybe I just didn’t listen
carefully enough.”

I think you’re AFRAID to listen carefully.

“By the way, I don’t keep up on all of the latest evolution
headlines, so I may have missed this, but how
many chromosomes were possessed by the immediate precursor to humans and chimps?”

Why would we know and how would that affect your inability to explain synteny, which apparently leads you to misrepresent with a vengeance?

“Of course, the above changes nothing about the substance of the points I made.”

Correct. You’re still wrong on the substance of every point you tried to make.

Marty Kurlich - #67443

January 30th 2012

Fruit Fly,

I just did an admittedly quick review of your response on why genomes, pseudogenes and retroviruses prove (er, provide evidence for) chimp/man common ancestry.

I think I counted six instances of you emphasizing variations of the word “different”.

If “differences” are the basis of the proof (er, evidence), why don’t we pick something really different from a human, say a fruit fly?

See how different the fruit fly and Freddy Fender are! This is why we believe they have a common ancestor!

Just a little humor. Got to go now.

 


Papalinton - #67400

January 28th 2012

Using the trek as its framing narrative, this series branches off to explore the complex and at times even murky spaces at the intersection of Christian faith, ancient and natural history, and observational science.”


Notice how the author cunningly restricts science to the very narrowest of its meaning and scope in order that he is able to shoe-horn it into the global and unrestricted perspective of ‘christian faith’, and ‘ancient and natural history’.  A somewhat devious attempt at subjugating science, as a comparator with ‘christian faith’,  to several orders of magnitude lower in its capacity for explanatory power.

A clear apologetical device often used by believers.  Biologos has since become a forum for theo-speak  since the moving on of Enns and Giberson; just another theological site masquerading under and mischievously appending itself to science’s banner.


R Kennedy - #67406

January 28th 2012

Papalinton,

In the last two of these blogs I try not to lower the magnitude of the explanatory power or natural history.  Meteorology, the weakest form of natual history, has more social power than ancient history. I don’t make it to the top of the mountain.  There is no heroic apologetic triumph here.

Since you mention Giberson, the book he wrote with Don Yerxa was a call for humility in both science and Christianity.  My highest goal with this book is to promote the Giberson-Yerxa type of humility. 

Rick 


beaglelady - #67412

January 29th 2012

Rick,

Steven is a cute kid, puffy cheeks and all.  Is he on thyroid medication and doing well now?


R Kennedy - #67413

January 29th 2012

Steven is a very healthy sophomore at Gordon College now.  He is enjoying the Appalachian Mountains now.


beaglelady - #67419

January 29th 2012

Good for him!  I hope he enjoys his course work. What is he studying?


R Kennedy - #67423

January 29th 2012

Literature and creative writing.  He took Latin last semester and I am pushing for more of this.


Roger A. Sawtelle - #67434

January 30th 2012

Rick,

You have overlooked the first response to this blog.

Let’s get back to the topic, please.


beaglelady - #67438

January 30th 2012

Good idea. 


beaglelady - #67439

January 30th 2012

“Literature and creative writing.  He took Latin last semester and I am pushing for more of this.”

Good idea


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