Slapping Sal silly

One of the characters who frequents the ID blog Uncommon Descent is the smarm-meister Sal Cordova, an utterly clueless little git with a talent for being simultaneously oleaginous and snide. He has just posted an astonishingly foolish commentary on the apparent impossibility of evolving regeneration, and I promise, you’ll enjoy reading Mark Chu-Carroll’s reply. Cordova gets everything wrong.


  1. Ichthyic says


    why how utterly slick of you, PZ.

    I’ve never seen it used before, but it does seem to have unique applicability to Sal.

  2. Ichthyic says

    I think PZ was trying to get at the “greasy” nature of Sal with the oleaginous reference.

    both the primary and secondary usage of it apply equally well, IMO.

    I believe unctuous is considered a synonym of the secondary defininiton of oleaginous.

    I’ve always just used demented sleazeball, myself, when describing Sal.

    what’s really funny is when you read Allen MacNeill from Cornell describe Sal as “polite and courteous” and that those on the evolution side of sanity would do well to consider his demeanor when arguing our points.


    I think Allen has since learned differently as to what constitutes “polite and courteous”.

    if snakes could smile…

  3. sparc says

    Indeed, Sal’s post is complete bullshit. However, I would appreciate if you would post something on tissue regeneration and its relation to ontogeny. But you really must not mention scordova in that post.

  4. Groffly says

    What I don’t get is how ID would be any more feasible an answer. Just another case of bad/lazy design? Why do some fish and reptiles get regeneration and we don’t?

  5. Groffly says

    In fact, I can only think of two alternatives:

    1. 6000 year creation – We were made without it. Surely god could have given us a little healing factor.

    2. ID over time/common ancestor – The designer must have removed this feature at some time. Intelligently.

    So – If god or the designer didn’t think we needed regeneration, then why is it a problem if evolution misplaces that bit of information?

  6. Ichthyic says

    Why do some fish and reptiles get regeneration and we don’t?

    One likely postulate is that it’s due to selection for a linked trait that resulted in dropping regeneration in favor of something else. Selection is always a balancing act, after all, and entirely dependent at any given time to whatever the biggest pressures are on any given trait.

    Mark used the excellent example of feline tase sensors for “sweet” as an example as well, though arguably the negative impact of “not able to taste sweet” would be less than not being able to regenerate.

    I think mark (or somebody in that thread) gave the example of a potential gene related to reducing rates of cancer being linked to the genes for regeneration, as a hypothetical that’s plausible.

    It’s likely there are evidences of linked traits in the separate linneages that are more relevant, but I’m not up on the literature in this specific area.

    related species show differing levels of regeneration, however, so I’m sure somebody has been trying to tease this out. The problem is, often it’s hard to tell what the selective pressures were that led to one trait being favored over another, but we can get clues from the relative genomes, like with how the Vitamin C psuedogene is broken in exactly the same way in both Chimps and humans.
    Moreover, we can conduct new experiments in selection to see how traits are affected in the field, and even make predictions based on evolutionary theory, as to exactly which direction they will go based on knowledge or control of various selective pressures.

    these are some of my favorite studies in fact.

    I would recommend reading some of John Endler’s work on the evolution of color and fin shape in poecilliids as a great example of field-testing predictions about selective pressures.

    even PBS uses his work on the evolution section of their site.

    great stuff.

  7. Ichthyic says

    In fact, I can only think of two alternatives:

    this is why creationism is so vacuous.

    such limited thought processes.

    check out real science, man.

    it’ll blow your mind.

  8. Groffly says

    Whoa, settle down there dude, same side.

    I was just wondering why Sal would think this was a good thing to knock when the alternatives for him aren’t that pretty either.

    Cool links though.

  9. Ichthyic says

    Whoa, settle down there dude, same side.

    I wasn’t sure, but thought it best to point out how vacuous the ideas presented from the creationist viewpoint were anyway.

    no offense meant; I recently spent an hour arguing with a completely delusional AIG representative who putatively claimed to have a PhD in genetics from Yale, but couldn’t even parse the most simple of questions about molecular or population genetics. Sad what happens when cognitive dissonance destroys the mind’s ability to form coherent arguments.

    It tends to leave a very sour impression in one’s mind.

  10. sparc says

    seemingly a must read in Genes and Development:

    Wnt/beta-catenin signaling regulates vertebrate limb regeneration
    Yasuhiko Kawakami1, Concepción Rodriguez Esteban1, Marina Raya2, Hiroko Kawakami1, Mercè Martí2, Ilir Dubova1,2, and Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte1,2,3
    1 Gene Expression Laboratory, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California 92037, USA; 2 Center for Regenerative Medicine of Barcelona, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
    The cellular and molecular bases allowing tissue regeneration are not well understood. By performing gain- and loss-of-function experiments of specific members of the Wnt pathway during appendage regeneration, we demonstrate that this pathway is not only necessary for regeneration to occur, but it is also able to promote regeneration in axolotl, Xenopus, and zebrafish. Furthermore, we show that changes in the spatiotemporal distribution of beta-catenin in the developing chick embryo elicit apical ectodermal ridge and limb regeneration in an organism previously thought not to regenerate. Our studies may provide valuable insights toward a better understanding of adult tissue regeneration.