Dinosaurs may have used fire


In my book The Great Paradox of Science, chapter 1 has the title Did dinosaurs have tea parties? in which I speculate about possible dinosaur culture.

We think of many of the dinosaurs as impressive in their size and the way they dominated the world in their time, roaming freely over the Earth with everything as their prey and with few predators to fear. But we don’t associate them with any culture. We don’t associate them with discovering fire or building homes or creating artifacts such as pottery and tools for their use.

But [how do] we know that they didn’t do any of these things. Could it be that they were actually more advanced than we give them credit for and did at least some of those things but that all the evidence has disappeared over the long time since they were wiped out?

After all, humans have been around for a mere two million years (and modern humans only for 200,000 years) and thus produced all these things in a much shorter period than the dinosaurs who roamed the Earth for around 150 million years. Why do we believe that dinosaurs did not do anything at all during that time other than eat, sleep, and reproduce? Why could it not be that they too developed some kind of society, however rudimentary, whose traces have disappeared in the 65 million years that have elapsed since they went extinct?

I did not try to answer these questions, merely using those musings to argue that it is to science that we turn to attempt to answer what we may think of initially as unanswerable questions, leading up to the main thesis of the book as to why science works so well even though the theories we develop to answer those questions may not necessarily be true.

It turns out that the TV show Prehistoric Planet draws upon the collective expertise of paleo-ecologists, paleo-climatologists, paleo-ethologists, and fossil experts to suggest that in addition to learning about what dinosaurs looked like, we may even be able to deduce specific complex behaviors that they engaged in, such as that dinosaurs may have used fire in some ways.

In the TV show Prehistoric Planet, where computer-generated dinosaur images are presented like any other nature documentary, “filmed” as they hunt and mate, there is one scene where an atrociraptor picks up a burning twig. The feathered raptor raises the branch to its coat, and Sir David Attenborough explains that the raptor is using the smoke to expel parasites that hide in the feathers.

There’s even another scene later in the show where another raptor uses a burning twig to actually spread the forest fire further, driving prey out of their hiding spots.

[Consulting paleontologist Darren] Naish said this information comes in three main buckets – the traditional fossil record, which grows by a fossil every week, computer-generated models of these animals, and observations of living creatures. In the case of the pyromaniac raptor, Naish said that the assumptions about its behavior were made by watching the raptor’s closest living descendants – hunting birds.

“Quite a long list of predatory birds – kites and falcons and hawks – they’ve been reported to pick up burning sticks and move them around to spread fire, and these birds have also been reported to grab burning sticks and deliberately treat their feathers with smoke,” Naish said.

“It is an extrapolation to show in an extinct dinosaur, but it’s one that we can justify.”

[Consulting paleontologist Victoria] Arbour focuses on ankylosaur, a beast of a dino covered in armored scale and wielding a hammer tail. In the show, one of these ancient creatures munches down on some charcoal left smoldering the wake of a forest fire – a scene pulled from the contents of a fossil’s stomach and the knowledge that tasty young ferns are among the first to sprout up after a blaze.

Dinosaurs are already a source of endless fascination. Imagine how much more so if we learn that they had quite complex lives.

Comments

  1. moarscienceplz says

    No one is more excited than I that we hairless apes are finally starting to recognize that we are not unique in the world in having personalities and discovering that objects in our world can be used as tools to better our lives. In particular, I am in awe of corvid intelligence. I don’t know why the owl became a symbol of wisdom, I think JRR Tolkien got it more correct in The Hobbit, it’s the wise old raven you should listen to, not the owl.
    Nevertheless, I am pretty skeptical of this idea that non-human animals use fire as a tool. I have never seen anything on TV or elsewhere to demonstrate this. Fire is not an object, it is a process. Furthermore, it is a rare occurrance (although, less rare today than it was when I was a child) and it is difficult to experiment with because it destroys a lot of things. You can’t look at a burning clump of grass or a bit of dead wood then go back to your nest and dream about some way you might alter the fire’s process and then come back the next morning to test your hypothesis, the fire would have either burned out or moved away by then. I’m pretty sure no non-human has ever started a fire intentionally. So, how can birds (and by extension, dinosaurs) get the “lab hours” to figure out what fire can do and what it can’t?

  2. Jean says

    moarscienceplz,
    Having seen a video of a crow sliding down a snowy roof on a plastic lid not by accident but for fun a few times, it doesn’t seem farfetched to me that a bird would observe tasty snacks (potential preys) fleeing from a fire started by a wind blown lit twig and be capable of reproducing this by picking up a burning twig and dropping it somewhere to get the tasty snacks instead of just waiting around for the wind to do the job.

  3. moarscienceplz says

    Jean,
    Yes, I agree that a corvid WHO UNDERSTOOD HOW FIRE WORKS might well do such a thing. My objection is how a creature with no hands, no ability to make fire, covered in flammable feathers, and (apparently) no ability to receive detailed knowlege of past generations’ knowlege of fire, figure out how to use fire as a tool in the first place.

  4. Holms says

    I wish the documentary had been more cautious in its wording. Something like Mano’s heading would have been much more suitable than a blunt assertion.

  5. seachange says

    Argument from personal incredulity is what creationists do?
    We have credible observations of birds doing this. Mano is not putting you on.

  6. Tethys says

    Caracaras are mentioned in Dunc’s link as a raptor that has been observed spreading fires.

    They are highly intelligent, but also very unusual birds in general.
    I think the scientists are really stretching to ascribe a rare modern bird behavior of spreading fire to its remote ancestors.

    The most extraordinary thing about caracaras, says Meiburg, is their brain. “I had never met an animal that seemed so conscious,” he says. While other raptors have excelled as skilled hunters, caracaras have gotten by on their corvid-like intelligence and scrappy nature. In A Most Remarkable Creature, Meiburg describes teams of Andean Caracaras overturning rocks to find a meal, a captive Crested Caracara that can operate a vending machine, and a Striated Caracara that entertains itself with a piece of string.

    https://www.audubon.org/news/unraveling-mystery-caracara

  7. Tethys says

    Sorry for borking the quote. It’s clear without the fancy markup, but sheesh my eyes.

    [I fixed it.-Mano]

  8. moarscienceplz says

    OK, it does seem that occasionally this fire spreading does happen intentionally. Apparently, some corvids, which I have already acknowledged are very intelligent, live long enough in areas that experience multiple wildfires to observe that fire flushes out edible small creatures, and that flaming twigs that fall off of trees onto unburnt grass can start new fires. Occasionally, an individual bird will have the penny drop, as the Brits like to say, and will then try to carry a burning twig to an unburnt area to start a new fire. They seem to do this very badly, often burning themselves in the process.
    To call this a tool using behavior is technically true, but there seems to be no evidence that it is a behavior that is passed to younger generations, and thus to back-date it to dinosaurs is a huge stretch, as Tethys pointed out.
    Furthermore, where is the evidence for smoking parasites off of one’s feather-covered body?

  9. Owlmirror says

    Here’s something that I stumbled over that I think the firehawk researchers didn’t know about to mention:

    Crows Causing Fire


    Abstract
    Crows carry candles from exterior holders at Fushimi-Inari shrine, Kyoto, Japan, and may be causing field fires. This behavior was studied through fieldwork that included making video recordings. Jungle crows carried the candles to an area within a 50-100 m radius of the study site, which had a candle holder. After stealing the candle, the crows perched in a nearby tree gnawing on the candle held in one or both feet. Then, the crows carried the candle into the forest and hid it in debris on the forest floor. No clear evidence could be obtained on how field fires were occurring, but we can speculate about the possibility of the candle still being alight when hidden by crows and so igniting the material used to cover it.
    [ . . .]
    [ Image of a crow clearly very close to lit candles inside a small open stone candle-holding box ]
    Fig. 1 A jungle crow eating the melting wax on the top of a candle at the holder. The crow showed no fear of the flame.

  10. Owlmirror says

    Furthermore, where is the evidence for smoking parasites off of one’s feather-covered body?

    Steller’s Jay Anting with Tobacco Smoke


    Steller’s Jay anting with tobacco smoke.-Three hand-reared Steller’s Jays (Cyanocitta stelleri), sent to me from Seattle, Washington, have several hours’ liberty each day, but always follow me into the songbird observatory in the early evening where they are safe from predators during the night. Although all three are exceedingly trustful and, while out, remain among the shrubbery or on the lawn within calling distance, one will not let me out of its sight, even following me into the wooded areas surrounding my Windinglane Bird Sanctuary.
    While on the lawn, this bird in particular, ants with the small yellow ant, Tapinoma sp. Much of the time, however, he stays close by me, never still except when he stands on my shoulder. Should I be smoking a pipe while he is there and the smoke blow toward him he ants with the smoke in the typical manner of anting. Should I light my pipe and blow the match out he grabs it and ants with the hot carbonized end. Should a visitor light a cigarette he will fly past and grab it from the visitor’s mouth. Yet, I have not seen him ant with the burning cigarette, which he simply tears to pieces.-H. Roy IVOR, R.R. 1, Erindale, Ontario, May 29, 1958

    A Review of the Anting-Behaviour of Passerine Birds


    MAGPIE (Pico pica).—A most interesting species which apparently only ” a n t s ” actively, often collecting several ants in the bill at once. Tame Magpies have been known to use burning tobacco.

    [. . . ]

    . . . the literature is full of instances of strange substances being employed, “usually of an apparently irritant nature such as tobacco ash, lighted cigarettes, mothballs, small limes, and various insects” (Goodwin, 1955b). To this list, Nice (1955) adds hot chocolate and soap suds, but perhaps the most spectacular case* concerned a tame Magpie which would collect a bill-full of ants, fly indoors, dip them into the bowl of a lighted pipe and rub the mixture under the wing (Chisholm, 1944). As early as 1911, Heinroth had recorded this species anting with cigar butts.

    * Since this was written, Burton (1957) has described (with photographs) how a Rook performed both kinds of anting in fire.

  11. Silentbob says

    @ 12 moarscienceplz

    there seems to be no evidence that it is a behavior that is passed to younger generations

    I don’t know about no raptors, but birds definitely pass knowledge on down the generations. I’ve seen it myself often in the local birdlife. Parents take the squarking younsters on feild trips to feed them, showing them how to forage, and shoveling the food in their gobs until, as they get older they do it themselves under the parents’ supervision. They’re also taught where all the good local food spots are.
    They then grow up and do the same with their kids.

    That fire spreading is a learned behaviour seems far more plausible to me than your scenario of all these individual birds reinventing the wheel.

  12. moarscienceplz says

    Let me remind everyone that the title of the post is, “Dinosaurs may have used fire”.
    Yes, birds are smart. Yes, birds teach their young lots of important things. Yes, some birds have figured out how to use human-caused, and in a few cases, nature-caused fire to their benefit.
    THAT DOES NOT PROVE THAT DINOSAURS MAY HAVE USED FIRE!

  13. Owlmirror says

    Since birds are dinosaurs, it follows that dinosaurs do, in fact, use fire.

    But of course, you meant non-avian dinosaurs before their extinction. Well, even you can see that “may have” is a term with very wide latitude. And for that matter, so is “use”, in the broadest sense.

    If a clever species of non-avian theropods refrains from panicking, and instead waits for panicked prey to flee a lightning-strike fire right into their claws, is it “using” the fire? Some might say “no”, but others might say “yes” (opportunistic use is still use).

  14. Holms says

    #2 Jean
    But play behaviour is not the behaviour being attributed to dinosaurs in the docco; neither is fire hunting. “…an atrociraptor picks up a burning twig. The feathered raptor raises the branch to its coat, and Sir David Attenborough explains that the raptor is using the smoke to expel parasites that hide in the feathers.”
    ___

    Owlmirror
    In a conversation in which both birds and dinosaurs are mentioned, ‘dinosaur’ can be safely assumed to refer to the non-avian kind. Contextual interpretation is a lost skill apparently.

    And as for dinosaur’s using fire, compare the language used in the documentary:

    …an atrociraptor picks up a burning twig. The feathered raptor raises the branch to its coat, and Sir David Attenborough explains that the raptor is using the smoke to expel parasites that hide in the feathers.

    To that used by the consulting paleontologist:

    and observations of living creatures. In the case of the pyromaniac raptor, Naish said that the assumptions about its behavior were made by watching the raptor’s closest living descendants – hunting birds.

    “Quite a long list of predatory birds – kites and falcons and hawks – they’ve been reported to pick up burning sticks and move them around to spread fire, and these birds have also been reported to grab burning sticks and deliberately treat their feathers with smoke,” Naish said.

    “It is an extrapolation to show in an extinct dinosaur, but it’s one that we can justify.”

    Much less assertive, rather than stating it as fact it is clearly identified as an extrapolation from current animals.

  15. txpiper says

    “Researchers at Oregon State University have made a fundamental new discovery about how birds breathe and have a lung capacity that allows for flight – and the finding means it’s unlikely that birds descended from any known theropod dinosaurs.

    The conclusions add to other evolving evidence that may finally force many paleontologists to reconsider their long-held belief that modern birds are the direct descendants of ancient, meat-eating dinosaurs, OSU researchers say.

    “It’s really kind of amazing that after centuries of studying birds and flight we still didn’t understand a basic aspect of bird biology,” said John Ruben, an OSU professor of zoology. “This discovery probably means that birds evolved on a parallel path alongside dinosaurs, starting that process before most dinosaur species even existed.”
    https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/736897

  16. says

    I don’t remember anyone ever saying “modern birds are the direct descendants of ancient, meat-eating dinosaurs.” I thought the consensus was that birds are descended from SMALLER AMPHIBIANS OR REPTILES. Not all reptiles were dinosaurs, and they didn’t all eat meat either.

    Anything else you want to be wrong about, skippy?

  17. Reginald Selkirk says

    @20 I don’t remember anyone ever saying “modern birds are the direct descendants of ancient, meat-eating dinosaurs.” I thought the consensus was that birds are descended from SMALLER AMPHIBIANS OR REPTILES. Not all reptiles were dinosaurs, and they didn’t all eat meat either.

    * cough *

    Birds evolved from a group of meat-eating dinosaurs called theropods. That’s the same group that Tyrannosaurus rex belonged to, although birds evolved from small theropods, not huge ones like T. rex
    -- Natural History Museum, London

  18. Holms says

    #19 tx
    I marvel that you think your quote is at all relevant to this conversation on dinosaur behaviour and dinosaur use of fire in particular. Also I wonder if you even understand what the implications of this research might be. It does not cast doubt on the descent of birds from dinosaurs.

  19. Owlmirror says

    txpiper is basically linking to an 2009 paper by a BANDit, where BAND stands for “Birds Are Not Dinosaurs”. BANDits are a very small handful of ornithologists who disagree with the consensus by experts (paleontologists, evolutionary biologists, dinosaur specialists, almost all other ornithologists, etc) that birds are, indeed, descendants of the lineage of theropod dinosaurs. But their arguments against the consensus fail when examined by the actual experts, as can be deduced by the fact that they haven’t made any headway in popular science reporting. I mean, it’s 2022. Wouldn’t this amazing overturning of the scientific consensus have been at least somewhere in the news?

    When this first came out, Darren Naish (whom you may note is mentioned in the OP) posted about this:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20110303235955/https://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2009/07/birds_cannot_be_dinosaurs.php


    As mentioned above, Quick & Ruben (2009) assert that non-avian theropods were fundamentally different in abdominal morphology from extant birds, and they hypothesise (note: hypothesise) that the sub-horizontal avian femur and its associated musculature might be required to prevent collapse of the lateral abdominal wall: most non-avian theropods evidently moved their femora a lot during normal locomotion, hence the femur could not have provided mechanical support to the abdominal walls and hence, say Quick & Ruben, could not have had abdominal air sacs that functioned like those of birds. As we’ll see below, this doesn’t mean -- say the authors -- that air-sacs were absent, just that they couldn’t have been used like those of birds without paradoxical collapse being a problem. The main problem with this is that it’s a hypothesis, or in other words a suggestion, and the authors do say this in the paper (p. 7 of the preprint). Does this hypothesis withstand observation?

    The authors would like it to, but, no, it doesn’t because the femur is not held sub-horizontally all the time in all birds. Many people know that the thigh moves extensively in running ostriches, and hence there’s a lot of time in the running cycle when the thigh isn’t providing this supposedly critical support to the abdominal wall. Worst still, ostriches are not unique: the thigh might be sub-horizontal in a standing bird, but the thigh moves up and down, in normal movement, in just about all birds [femoral movement in a guineafowl shown in adjacent image; from Gatesy (1990)]. Strangely, the authors acknowledge this (p. 10 of the preprint), yet still imply throughout the paper that the avian thigh somehow provides a sort of abdominal support that’s different from what’s seen in other theropods.

    Much, much more detail before and after this. Are you interested in the anatomy of avians and non-avian dinosaurs, and the inside baseball of evolutionary biology? Go read TetZoo!

  20. Owlmirror says

    And the commentators to the TetZoo post include David Marjanović, for those that recognize him from Pharyngula.

    I think txpiper’s point was something along the lines of: Scientists disagree that birds are dinosaurs, therefore, [non-sequitur goes here], birds are not dinosaurs, therefore, [bigger non-sequitur goes here] birds and dinosaurs were separate baraminim created 6000 years ago and traveled together on Noah’s Ark. Take that, evolutionists!

  21. txpiper says

    Some plants play with fire.

    There is actually very little similarity between birds and their supposed theropod reptile ancestors. A lot of attention is paid to the (silly) issue of feathers. This article mentions that there are “193 genes known to be involved in feather development”.

    Cladistics and plumage aside, the real issue, which is conspicuously never mentioned, should be about the process that allegedly produced novel avian physiology.

  22. says

    Okay, tell us what you know about this process that’s “conspicuously never mentioned.” Because quite frankly, the only thing I know of that’s “conspicuously never mentioned” is your point.

  23. Holms says

    Aha, as suspected txpiper though that paper threw doubt evolution, even though the text he quoted explicitly accepts evolution. Silly.

  24. Tethys says

    Birds are alleged? Funny, I was just observing an alleged hummingbird, who was getting quite annoyed at the bumblebees who are also just trying to get their breakfast.

    Txpiper fails to grasp that “193 genes” are physiology. They are physically present. They are countable. Complaining that science doesn’t have a way to time travel in order to sample the ancestral Dino genomes to compare with bird genomes is really silly. Science is 100% confident that birds have feathers, and that birds are Dinosaurs.

    Science once stated that Dinos are reptiles. That has been disproved by physiology, within my lifetime. Science was not discredited by new evidence, which is the huge advantage of fact based reasoning.

    It can evolve.

  25. txpiper says

    ” “193 genes” are physiology. They are physically present. They are countable.”
    .
    Feathers are versatile, extremely complex structures. Once upon a time, there were no information-bearing feather genes. They didn’t just assemble themselves because some enigmatic theropod needed to stay warm, attract a mate, or fly.

  26. txpiper says

    The Wikipedia entry for feather evolution, true to form, does not mention mutations.

  27. Tethys says

    Once upon a time, there weren’t any therapods. Go back far enough, and there aren’t even any land animals or plants, because the sun was a deadly laser. The sea was full of life however, which did colonize land and start evolving into all the extinct and extant life forms documented by various sciences.

    All that is required is a few billion years of time and self replicating cells.

  28. John Morales says

    The Wikipedia entry for feather evolution, true to form, does not mention mutations.

    Um, the very title of that section is “Evolution”.
    It’s an entry, as you have apprehended successfully, about “feather evolution”.

    It’s evident you accept the concept of feather evolution, since you don’t dispute the article’s contents.
    Sure, you dispute its supposed lacuna, but hey. Progress.

    Next brief glance for you: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution

    (No such lacuna there 😉 )

  29. Tethys says

    Obsessing over the word mutation got boring multiple threads ago. At least the OP is dinosaurs, but I’m nearly 100% certain that nobody here cares if txpiper doesn’t believe in natural selection or the genetic variation within a population.

    Feathers have multiple possible evolutionary paths, but all of them start with a dinosaur.
    If you read the wiki on feather evolution it goes into great detail on the multiple earlier dinosaurs that had fuzzy fluff, but no flight feathers. Archosaurs might be the ancestor for all three types of feathers.

  30. Holms says

    #34 tx “The Wikipedia entry for feather evolution, true to form, does not mention mutations.”

    Why would it, given wikipedia pages are summaries of subjects and not research? How could it, when we have not been able to find enough preserved avian DNA to sequence any ancient species, let alone the multitudes of species required to track the pathway of such a multi-gene phenotype feature?

    It would be beneficial to you if you actually read that section, especially ‘evolutionary stages’. This portion documents morphologic and functional changes in the structures which have been preserved -- the feathers themselves.

  31. txpiper says

    “Why would it[?]”
    .
    Well, because if you are explaining feather evolution, the process responsible for that evolution is relevant. Mutations and selection (also not mentioned in the article) are how feathers supposedly evolved.

    But the real reason they never want to mention this process, is because it would ruin the narrative:
    .
    ”As the two stepsisters and the stepmother depart to the ball, Cinderella cries in despair. Her Fairy godmother magically appears and immediately begins to transform a pumpkin into a golden carriage, mice into horses, a rat into a coachman, and lizards into footmen.”
    .
    See, you can’t bring up technical issues about the process behind pumpkins, mice, rats and lizards become something else. It would spoil the story. You just have to assume that the selection fairy godmother, and the selection pressure of being cold, lonely or unable to fly, will cause feathers to evolve, and birds can go to the ball.

  32. Holms says

    I see you ignored every point made in my previous comment. Why don’t you read it again, and respond to what was said after the first three words.

  33. txpiper says

    “Why don’t you read it again…[?]”
    .
    Why don’t you explain how random mutations produced (or repurposed) the genes associated with feathers?

  34. Holms says

    As mentioned, that would require sequencing historic avian species. We have not found enough historic DNA to even approach that. Will you read it this time?

  35. John Morales says

    Why don’t you explain how random mutations produced (or repurposed) the genes associated with feathers?

    Already have.
    Same reason as a self-winding watch winds itself via random movements.

    (Ratchet effect)

  36. tuatara says

    A middle-aged woman came into our office yesterday (unfortunately while I was out) to ask about how solar panels work when the sun is obscured by chemtrails. I am not making this up. This actually happened yesterday.
    The poor dear believes that clouds are the result of some nefarious plot [by THEM no doubt] to poison the earth.
    I wouldn’t want to disabuse her of her ‘narrative’ with anything scientific like the explanation from the bible which tells us that clouds are the dust from gods feet.
    By the same token, I don’t want to spoil the narrative that god made everything in six days by revealing that he did so using the exact same method as that used by Cinderella’s fairy godmother in appearing out of thin air and transforming vegetables, rodents and reptiles into a transportation device and some servants, a transformation that spontaneously reversed at the stroke of midnight. You know, it is right there in the story, where it says that she magically appeared?

     

    But back to a subject closer to the OP, it is quite possible that ‘firehawks’ in Australia learned the practice of fire-spreading from humans. Contrary to the opinion of biblical literalists and txpiper, modern humans have lived in Australia for at least 50 millennia and have, for much of that time, made extensive use of fire for land management particularly in those areas where the ‘firehawks’ have been observed. The birds may have discovered it independently, but we just don’t know for sure.
     

    Here are a couple of examples of avian intelligence from New Zealand.

    The Kea (an alpine parrot) -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7W7hEUGtv4U
    A crow and water displacement -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZerUbHmuY04

  37. Owlmirror says

    txpiper:

    There is actually very little similarity between birds and their supposed theropod reptile ancestors.

    You are, of course, wrong.

    Here’s the theropod family tree. It’s in multiple parts because the entire clade is actually very diverse. There are also helpful listings of the skeletal characteristics that distinguish them.

    https://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/G104/handouts/104Theropoda.pdf

    https://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/G104/handouts/104Neotheropoda.pdf

    https://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/G104/handouts/104Coelurosauria.pdf

    https://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/G104/handouts/104Eumaniraptora.pdf

    Now, I suppose that diversity makes it look like those that are closer to the “base” of the tree have “very little similarity” to those near Aves — but are you really going to argue that those near Aves “have very little similarity” to Aves? Does Archaeopteryx have “very little similarity” to Aves? How about Deinonychosauria? Where should the tree be “cut”, and have those on one side be the “bird” baramin, and those on the other be “unrelated” theropod baraminim?

    I seem to recall that BANDits have been given a similar challenge, and, unsurprisingly, give confused responses. They say that Archaeopteryx is birdlike enough to be on the bird side, but when the similarity of Deinonychosauria to Archaeopteryx is pointed out, will extend “birdlike” to Deinonychosauria as well, or something like that. As with you, confused ideology clouds their thinking.

    Say, are you one of those goofy creationists who agrees with Ken Ham that many of the diverse theropod dinosaurs in the phylogeny survived the (non-existent) global flood to become the “dragons” of legend, despite the fact that not a single sliver of (non-avian) theropod bone has ever shown up in an archaeological midden, or as a trophy in any historical archive? I mean, there was a recent analysis of the spread of jungle-fowl becoming modern chickens a few thousand years ago; if they can find chickens, they should also find some non-avian theropods that were the size of chickens, or even larger, right?

    A lot of attention is paid to the (silly) issue of feathers.

    A biological trait that is currently unique among a group which was shared with putative ancestors and relatives is “silly” as part of an argument for ancestry and relatedness?

    This article mentions that there are “193 genes known to be involved in feather development”.

    The relevance of this to your argument is unclear.

    Cladistics and plumage aside, the real issue, which is conspicuously never mentioned, should be about the process that allegedly produced novel avian physiology.

    The reason that very few people specify the process of mutations, selection, and drift when talking about bird evolution is that it is already understood by those writing about it and (usually) by those reading about it. It’s the same reason that no-one who says “I drove from [city A] to [city B]” ever includes “…by starting the car, putting it into gear, pressing the accelerator, braking at signaled stops and traffic slowdowns, turning the steering wheel at corners and bends…” and so on and so forth. They might mention specific route information if it’s relevant, but they never include the low-level details of actual driving.

    And of course, if describing someone else’s driving, it may not be known what exactly they did. But if you don’t know exactly when someone braked and when they accelerated, or which route they took exactly, or when they stopped for gas, does that mean that they teleported instead? Does absence of details always imply magic? If not, why should it do so with evolution?

  38. txpiper says

    It isn’t just the feathers:
    .
    “Feather follicles have to be connected with muscles and nerve fibers, so they can be integrated into the physiology of the whole organism.”
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15272383/

    “The smooth muscles in the skin include a series of minute feather muscles, usually a pair running from a feather follicle to each of the four surrounding follicles. Some of these muscles act to raise the feathers, others to depress them.”
    https://www.britannica.com/animal/bird-animal/Muscles-and-organs
    .
    The special replication errors that would have to occur for systems like that to accidentally develop would be fantastically rare. Actually, if you apply any kind of metric to it, reptile to bird evolution looks stupid, which is why nobody will do that.

  39. says

    First, pippy, “systems” don’t just “accidentally develop” from scratch; they develop INCREMENTALLY, over MANY GENERATIONS, with each improvement being a small, and not at all improbable, modification of what was there before. We see this in the increasing complexity of eyes, and also in the transition from swim-bladders to lungs.

    And second, a population of millions, if not billions, of a particular species makes beneficial improvements far more likely within that species.

    I’m sure you’ve heard all this already, since your objection is just another form of a very old PRATT. So the question is, are you too stupid to understand the explanations you’ve surely heard before, or to dishonest and cowardly to admit you’ve heard them?

  40. Tethys says

    Nobody in science claims that “reptile to bird” is how birds evolved. Reptiles, crocodilians, and birds are all descended from dinosaurs.

    Scales and feathers both evolved from the same ancestral genes. Take a look at a chickens legs if you want to claim birds lack reptilian scales.

    Noticing all the mammals covered in fur, wool, and hair might help to understand how the same ancestral trait can evolve over time into multiple variants of skin covering keratin.

  41. txpiper says

    “I’m sure you’ve heard all this already…”
    .
    I’ve heard all kinds of religious beliefs many times. But I’ve never heard or seen anything that actually explains how random replication errors incrementally produced hyper-complex, integrated, functioning biological systems. And I have looked, and asked lots of people, about this supposed process.

    You sound very confident that this has happened countless millions of times. Just guessing, how many germ line mutations and generations would you suppose had to occur to incrementally produce and configure the proteins necessary to get “feather follicles that have to be connected with muscles and nerve fibers, so they can be integrated into the physiology of the whole organism”?

    When those “minute feather muscles, usually a pair running from a feather follicle to each of the four surrounding follicles” evolved, would it have been one muscle at a time, or a pair, or the whole works in one lick? Was there a time when birds could raise their feathers, but not lower them? Did the neuro connections, the control center in the brain, and blood capillaries evolve at the same time?

    Surely you can see why these questions need to be asked and answered. See, as things get more complicated, parsimony fades away, and trite declarations like yours start to sound really stupid. And you don’t want to look stupid, do you?

  42. John Morales says

    Surely you can see why these questions need to be asked and answered.

    That’s why the discipline of biology exists, which asks and answers those questions. The discipline the very basics of which you dare not understand, as it would conflict with your belief in a puny God.

    And you don’t want to look stupid, do you?

    Not everyone is as dedicated to it as you, that much is true.

    (So, what do you think of flat-earthers? 😉 )

  43. Tethys says

    I realized my wording of the relationship between Dino’s and reptiles is inaccurate right after I pushed post. Here is a better summary, courtesy of UCSB;

    Dinosaurs are in the reptile group, which includes turtles, crocodiles, birds, lizards, and snakes. Of these groups of animals, second to birds, crocodiles are probably the closest related to dinosaurs (though they are not considered modern dinosaurs themselves, unlike birds).

    The wiki on feather development discusses multiple fossil crocodilians and feathered dinosaurs in its detailed synopsis of the pathway from scales to feathered modern birds.

  44. txpiper says

    “That’s why the discipline of biology exists, which asks and answers those questions.”
    .
    Then you should be able to repeat the answers. Did you understand the questions? Would you like me to rephrase?
    .
    “So, what do you think of flat-earthers?”

    Belief in a flat earth is a myth perpetuated by people like you, who don’t know any better.

    “According to Stephen Jay Gould, “there never was a period of ‘flat Earth darkness’ among scholars, regardless of how the public at large may have conceptualized our planet both then and now. Greek knowledge of sphericity never faded, and all major medieval scholars accepted the Earth’s roundness as an established fact of cosmology.”[5] Historians of science David Lindberg and Ronald Numbers point out that “there was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge [Earth’s] sphericity and even know its approximate circumference”.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_flat_Earth
    ==
    From 31:
    “Science once stated that Dinos are reptiles. That has been disproved by physiology, within my lifetime. Science was not discredited by new evidence, which is the huge advantage of fact based reasoning.”

  45. John Morales says

    Then you should be able to repeat the answers.

    Why do you imagine that?

    I’m neither a collection of millions of scientists each expert in at least one sub-discipline, nor an archive of the accumulated knowledge gained over a century of research.

    (I could say the same about geology or physics or any other scientific discipline)

    “So, what do you think of flat-earthers?”

    Belief in a flat earth is a myth perpetuated by people like you, who don’t know any better.

    <snicker>

    Me, I think flat-earthers are basically the same as you, at least in looking stupid due to their stupid belief.

    So, what do you think of people who deny the germ theory of disease? 😉

  46. txpiper says

    “Why do you imagine that?”
    .
    Because I’ve asked questions like these before, many times. You are demonstrating that they haven’t been answered, John.

  47. Tethys says

    Science has added to its understanding of the evolution of feathers and birds via fossil finds of dinosaurs with feathers.

    Updating cladistics to accommodate new fossil evidence that proved that some Dino’s were not cold blooded reptiles is not a problem. Science is not a set of dogmatic beliefs. All birds are dinosaurs and reptiles, but modern reptiles aren’t birds, and do not descend from dinosaurs.

  48. John Morales says

    Then you should be able to repeat the answers.

    Why do you imagine that?

    Because I’ve asked questions like these before, many times.

    You imagine I should be able to elucidate a century-and-a-half of accumulated scientific research in a manner acceptable to you, because you’ve been asked that question many times?

    Huh. Logic is clearly not your strong suit.

    (But your science denialism is second-to-none, so there’s that)

    Since you appear to like Britannica, here’s a quotation for you:

    Since Darwin, the theory of evolution has gradually extended its influence to other biological disciplines, from physiology to ecology and from biochemistry to systematics. All biological knowledge now includes the phenomenon of evolution. In the words of Theodosius Dobzhansky, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”

    (https://www.britannica.com/science/evolution-scientific-theory/The-cultural-impact-of-evolutionary-theory)

    (Obs, geology and cosmology are also utterly wrong in your estimation, among many other disciplines that — in reality — interlock and underpin our scientific understanding of nature)

  49. says

    I’ve heard all kinds of religious beliefs many times. But I’ve never heard or seen anything that actually explains how random replication errors incrementally produced hyper-complex, integrated, functioning biological systems. And I have looked, and asked lots of people, about this supposed process.

    First, just because a gaggle of religious bigots can’t or won’t understand how a particular organ in a particular species evolved, doesn’t mean the entire theory of evolution is false. If you really want to prove it’s false, you have to come up with an alternative hypothesis/model that explains all the phenomena you’re quibbling about and much, much more better than the current theory. And no, “my religion sez…” doesn’t count — other people have very different creation stories, and theirs don’t count either.

    And second, it’s perfectly obvious that, like all the other cdesign proponentsists we’ve heard from (please explain the origin and significance of that phrase), you’re ignoring the answers you get, asking people who aren’t really able to answer, or demanding detailed explanations and then dozing off when you get them. Your continued banging-on about “random replication errors,” despite being corrected on that gross oversimplification, strongly implies that you either cannot or will not understand any of it.

    Your arguments from (deliberate) ignorance are not at all new. We’ve heard it all before, and you’re not fooling anyone.

  50. says

    Belief in a flat earth is a myth perpetuated by people like you, who don’t know any better.

    Looks like txpipsqueak is starting to lose his cool at the mention of flat-earthers, and is now resorting to flailing insults. Offhand, I’m guessing that’s because he knows that flat-earthers share exactly the same simpleminded obscurantist religious mindset as cdesign proponentsists, and that’s deeply revealing and embarrassing to the latter group. I remember Ken Ham getting embarrassed and defensive about that link too.

  51. Holms says

    #51 tx “Surely you can see why these questions need to be asked and answered.”
    Sure, and scientists would certainly be thrilled to have multiple pristine DNA samples in each and every line of ancestry but such a treasure trove has not been found. And yes, that is the level of data required to satisfy your (deliberately?) absurd demand -- the complete genetic history of feather development; every mutation for every gene involved. Or earlier, the complete genetic history of DNA itself -- such a modest demand.

    You know very well such requests are not answerable, and that is why you ask. You want to ask unanswerable questions, specifically so that you can say you asked explanations of evolution believers but did not receive an answer. Your actions are chosen to determine the outcome you want.

    Interestingly, this hyperscepticism is not extended to your own explanations for how things work: god made it that way. No detail needed, just magic.

  52. Owlmirror says

    I mistakenly believed that four links wouldn’t get a comment sent to automoderation. Oh, well. And I belatedly remembered that there’s a way to get an arbitrary number of URLs into a comment, as long as they’re not links (so they have to be copy-pasted). I’ll see if that still works

    @Tethys: The links @45 go to Thomas Holtz’s Dinosaur Evolution course site, where the top-level URL is:
    https://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/G104/104Syl.html

    The page for the origin of dinosaurs is
    https://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/G104/lectures/104dinorise.html
    and the slide is:
    https://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/G104/handouts/104Archosauria.pdf

    xkcd has, of course, addressed the dinosaur/bird issue more than once:

    https://xkcd.com/867/
    https://xkcd.com/1211/

  53. Owlmirror says

    @txpiper:

    Belief in a flat earth is a myth perpetuated by people like you, who don’t know any better.

    [actual citation snipped]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_flat_Earth

    That’s the wrong WikiP page to quote from.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_flat_Earth_beliefs


    Modern flat Earth beliefs are promoted by organizations and individuals which make claims that the Earth is flat while denying the Earth’s sphericity, contrary to over two millennia of scientific consensus. Flat Earth beliefs are pseudoscience; the theories and assertions are not based on scientific knowledge. Flat Earth advocates are classified by experts in philosophy and physics as science deniers.

  54. txpiper says

    “scientists would certainly be thrilled to have multiple pristine DNA samples”
    .
    DNA samples are not necessary to appraise the mutation/selection paradigm. All you have to do is list the reasons why it isn’t a realistic process, and there are plenty of those. I suspect you have already thought about this, and that is why you will not attempt to explain how it is actually supposed to work. It should be the biggest float in the evolutionary parade, and you don’t want to talk about it. Nobody does. That’s why it is never mentioned.

  55. John Morales says

    … the mutation/selection paradigm. All you have to do is list the reasons why it isn’t a realistic process …

    All those citations about evolutionary computing (using that very process) are too much for you to consider.

    (It indeed is a realistic process — but only in reality. Your inner life is your own)

  56. John Morales says

    I guess no encyclopedia has it right but since you appear to like Britannica, here’s a quotation for you (same link as above):

    Toward the end of the 20th century, specific concepts and processes borrowed from biological evolution and living systems were incorporated into computational research, beginning with the work of the American mathematician John Holland and others. One outcome of this endeavour was the development of methods for automatically generating computer-based systems that are proficient at given tasks. These systems have a wide variety of potential uses, such as solving practical computational problems, providing machines with the ability to learn from experience, and modeling processes in fields as diverse as ecology, immunology, economics, and even biological evolution itself.

  57. Tethys says

    Sadly for creationists, comparative DNA analysis now allows science to see genomes and those mutations which txpippy claims can’t exist.

    It’s also true that science has never found a shred of evidence for creator gods or worldwide floods, though txpippy believes those two stories are infallible because Bible. However, the Bible was written by people who believed keeping your goats in a pen would make their kids develop stripes from the shadows cast by fencing.

    I’m going to believe the science, as it’s pretty simple to confirm selection works by the way humans selectively breed and grow multiple plants and animals.

  58. Holms says

    #64 tx “DNA samples are not necessary to appraise the mutation/selection paradigm.”
    You are lying, possibly even to yourself. Every time the basic premise is explained to you -- random mutation, non-random retention, massively parallel process etc., you meet it with a demand for no less than the complete genetic story of a trait, mutation by mutation.

    Examples:

    #34 “The Wikipedia entry for feather evolution, true to form, does not mention mutations.”

    #39 replying to “Why would it[?]”

    Well, because if you are explaining feather evolution, the process responsible for that evolution is relevant. Mutations and selection (also not mentioned in the article) are how feathers supposedly evolved.

    #41 Why don’t you explain how random mutations produced (or repurposed) the genes associated with feathers?

    #51 Just guessing, how many germ line mutations and generations would you suppose had to occur to incrementally produce and configure the proteins necessary to get [feather development]?

    And that’s just from this thread, on the topic of feathers. First you claim to want a general explanation, then you want it explained mutation by mutation. Same goes for your DNA demand a few threads ago.

    And at no point do you show any sign of scepticism at all for your blatantly magical explanation. You’ve selected the outcome you want and you have tailored your questions to that end, like most YEC wilful ignoramuses.

  59. Tethys says

    Owlmirror @62

    @Tethys: The links @45 go to Thomas Holtz’s Dinosaur Evolution course site

    Yes, I read some of them. (Thanks!) I was referring to the wiki on feather development that txpiper had linked, but clearly did not read before starting up his sad refrain about mutations. It’s the same technique he used with sedimentary rocks according to Brittanica.

    Cladistics is an ever evolving field regardless of which Kingdom of life is being analyzed.
    All azaleas are rhododendrons, but not all rhododendrons are azaleas.

    All birds are dinosaurs, but not all dinosaurs were birds.

    The only part that becomes somewhat confusing is keeping birds in Reptiles, even though they aren’t cold blooded like the other reptiles.

    Here is a short video and article that touches on dinosaur feathers and color patterns. Their reconstructed pittocosaurus is adorable!

    https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/how-to-bring-a-dinosaur-to-life-in-technicolour.html

  60. txpiper says

    The same way Lamborghinis assemble themselves:
    .
    “By the standards of biological molecules, ribosomes are immense. Though visible only through lenses of the most powerful microscopes, comparing most other biological molecules to this behemoth is like comparing a tricycle to a jumbo jet. Having spent years gazing at the detailed structure of the ribosome, Prof. Steinberg pondered how such an immense and complex structure could have assembled itself from smaller building blocks that existed on the early Earth.”
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090219105324.htm

  61. Tethys says

    The Steinberg paper that txpiper linked is very interesting. It doesn’t mention Lamborghinis, but it does provide a working model for the chemical assembly process that resulted in ribosomes.

  62. Holms says

    No response to anything raised so far, just move on to the next squirm. The standard method of all defenders of intellectually empty positions. In this thread alone: birds are not descended from dinosaurs ==> feathers cannot have evolved ==> wikipedia fails to detail the entire history of every gene involved in feather development ==> muscles associated with feathers cannot have evolved ==> standard teleological argument. What wonders bullshit will tomorrow bring us?

  63. txpiper says

    “It doesn’t mention Lamborghinis, but it does provide a working model for the chemical assembly process”
    .
    And of course, it provides no such thing. All it does is illustrate that educated people with respectable IQ’s can function at the level of imbeciles.

  64. Holms says

    So sayeth the person that believes molecules act with intent and that everything was created by a being with magic powers.

  65. Tethys says

    it provides no such thing

    This is the paragraph that follows the one txpiper quoted above.

    The key breakthrough came when he realized that the ribosome is organized by a set of simple structural rules and that it had to be assembled from basic building blocks in a very specific order; otherwise it would have fallen apart. He then showed with mathematical rigor that the construction of the ribosome likely followed an ordered series of steps to form the structure found in the first living cell. To this day, that structure exists almost unchanged in our own cells.

    Physics, chemistry, and mathematical modeling are all well proven sciences. Claiming Professor Steinberg is an imbecile isn’t even a weak argument, not to mention very unchristian of you.

  66. txpiper says

    “had to be assembled…in a very specific order…an ordered series of steps”
    .
    Professor Steinberg’s amazing discovery just adds more complications to the ridiculous idea that hyper-complex machines can build themselves, for no reason. These is below stupid. Coincidental self-assembly can’t even appeal to the dull idea of beneficial mutations.
    =
    “very unchristian of you”
    .
    If Christianity is true, then it is about terrible consequences that are the result of conscious, deliberate intellectual failure. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” is not rare.
    Frank Turek often asks people “If Christianity were true, would you become a Christian?”. It is surprising how many people say “No!”, indicating that the truth is actually not the issue at all.

  67. Tethys says

    A lie of omission is a lie. I’m sure some priest has calculated the amount of sin incurred by breaking a commandment. Catholics have a whole range of sins that weren’t ever mentioned by my Pastor.

    Does St. Peter keep track of those sins, or does this omniscient god have some other form of record keeping so they can render judgement on your soul?

  68. John Morales says

    If Christianity is true, then it is about terrible consequences that are the result of conscious, deliberate intellectual failure.

    Leaving aside that there is no such thing as “the Christianity” — there are at least tens of thousands of sects and denominations and so forth — but rather “a Christianity”, and leaving aside that none of them can be true (because it’s incoherent and self-contradictory), the issue at hand is that by far the largest proportion of Christians aren’t Biblical literalists and feel no need to reject a great many scientific disciplines.

    So, for you and those other fools who reject science, it’s not about whether Christianity (of whatever flavour) is true, but whether the Babble should be interpreted literally.
    TLDR: there’s nothing about Christianity that necessitates science denialism.

    There was a recent story in Australian news:
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-07-31/meet-the-people-who-swapped-careers-in-science-for-the-church/101273246

    Reverend Edwards believes her scientific training is good preparation for the challenge of adapting ministry to a digital world, a prospect she finds exciting rather than daunting.

    She sees no conflict between her “absolute belief [in] and love of science” and her faith. “My faith is informed by science,” she says.

    At Christmas, she delivered a sermon on the religious and scientific conceptions of creation and “how beautifully the two work together — it’s almost like a tapestry”.

    “The [Bible] stories have so much depth,” she says. “They still speak truth if we don’t hold them literally, and we hold them as they were meant to be.”

  69. says

    No response to anything raised so far, just move on to the next squirm.

    So why do we bother responding to such an obvious bullshitter? It’s plainly obvious he’s not here to say anything factual, useful or even coherent — he’s only here to waste our time and goad us into responding to him on his own terms. And it’s equally obvious that he’ll keep on ignoring every comment that directly refutes any of his claims, so trying to argue rationally with him is just a waste of time and energy. And whatever we do, he’ll call it a victory for him and his worldview: if we respond to him, it’ll be “atheistic scientists are taking creationist objections seriously!” and if we ignore him, it’ll be “atheistic scientists are ignoring us because they can’t bear to admit we’re right!” Either way, he wins, by making himself the center of attention, by changing the subject of a thread at his own whim, and by goading us into wasting our time, day after day, thread after thread. His entire shtick is nothing more than a con-game, and one of the first rules of con-artistry is NEVER STOP TALKING. He’ll die with the lie no matter how painstakingly or how many times we disprove it.

    And no, pretending we’re convincing a larger audience is pure self-deception: anyone on txpipsqueak’s side who reads any of this will simply skip away from our refutations and pretend they never heard them.

  70. John Morales says

    Raging Bee, I’m having fun, if nothing else.

    (Like a dog with a bone, I am.
    May not be any nutrition in it, but chomping on it is nonetheless satisfying)

  71. John Morales says

    I note that I very much suspect Mano’s patience is being tested.

    (On the other hand, no interjection from Mano so far, so that’s a sort of tacit assent)

    I try not to over-indulge, but I could literally respond to each and every claim the YEC makes; for example:

    Professor Steinberg’s amazing discovery just adds more complications to the ridiculous idea that hyper-complex machines can build themselves, for no reason.

    In reality, most Christians figure there is a reason: God, with its infinite power and prescience and whatnot, set up a Creation where mutations and selections amazingly create hyper-complex machines over the eons.
    As demonstrated by science.

    (God works in mysterious ways)

  72. Tethys says

    I’ve enjoyed reading the actual science and various new discoveries in fossils over the multiple txpiper threads, so hopefully all the links that refute him (including the cherry-picked bits) are not entirely wasted pixels.

  73. txpiper says

    “As demonstrated by science.”
    .
    Demonstrated? What did Professor Steinberg demonstrate? And when has the thundering creative power of mutations/selection been demonstrated?

  74. tuatara says

    Raging Bee. I agree, and yet it is fun slowly driving past a slow txpiper car-crash to have a gawk at the latest injuries.

     

    I don’t know if txpioper noticed, but they are actually a Young-Earth Creationist. The fact that their main point of contention is that they consider the sciences of geology, biology, genetics, evolution, and any number of other specialities to be unscientific* exhibits an hypocrisy of a height proportional to the pile of unscientific bullshit they are standing atop ( the bible).
     
    *unless of course the ‘truth’ of the scriptures is the premise to prove, in which case it is valid science.
     

    If christianity were true….

    Hahahaha. That is funny.

  75. Tethys says

    when has the power of mutations/ selection been demonstrated?

    Here is just one proof of concept, from the article txpiper linked @28

    Researchers compared the genetic codes of five different birds with that of 14 other animals including reptiles, fish, amphibians, and mammals. In particular, they scanned for sequences that birds shared with each other, but with no other living animals. When they compared these bird-specific genes with the list of 193 genes known to be involved in feather development, they found that these data sets overlapped completely.

  76. John Morales says

    “As demonstrated by science.”
    .
    Demonstrated? What did Professor Steinberg demonstrate?

    Such synecdoche! Such spineless sidestepping!

    [Professor Steinberg] ≠ [science]

    And when has the thundering creative power of mutations/selection been demonstrated?

    Heh.

    The answer has been provided to you time and again: evolutionary computing.

    You conspicuously ignore the answer, every single time.

    (You can’t evolve, but can you adapt? 😉 )

  77. txpiper says

    “When they compared these bird-specific genes with the list of 193 genes known to be involved in feather development, they found that these data sets overlapped completely.”
    .
    And that demonstrates that these data sets overlapped completely, and that’s all that it demonstrates. Genetically, humans are 60% identical to chickens, fruit flies and bananas. Knowing that does not demonstrate a developmental process.

  78. Tethys says

    Knowing that does not demonstrate a developmental process.

    You did not ask about the developmental process. The overlap between those 193 genes for feathers and genes unique to birds is exactly what you asked for. An example of the results of ‘the power of mutation/selection”.

    The only other group of animals that had feathers are the mutated reptiles we call dinosaurs, all of which went extinct except for birds. That is the process of selection.

  79. Holms says

    #78 tx
    Professor Steinberg’s amazing discovery just adds more complications to the ridiculous idea that hyper-complex machines can build themselves, for no reason.

    Who said for no reason? If you put two reactive molecules next to each other, they will react as determined by the relevant forces. And it has been demonstrated that many molecules necessary to life will inevitably occur in a natural environment, with no need for meddling. Or do you also think magnets attract things “for no reason”?

    #85
    Demonstrated? What did Professor Steinberg demonstrate?

    You have no reason not to know this, as you went to the article in the first place to quote it… with relevant bits missing ( your #71). Then (comment #77) Tethys pointed out the explanatory paragraph immediately following the one you quoted, which you surely would have read. Finally, you even replied (#78) with excepts of said paragraph, with all explanatory bits removed.

    Your comments are very instructive as to the lengths of dishonesty a creationist will (must?) go to to avoid any learning.

    And when has the thundering creative power of mutations/selection been demonstrated?

    Demonstrate your god.

    ___

    #81 Raging
    I enjoy that he is being forced to squirm, chased from stupid argument to stupid argument by people pointing out all the holes in what he says. I enjoy being one of those people. And then I enjoy pointing out to him all the points he’s had to abandon.

  80. Tethys says

    The only places I can see any god type influence on 3.8 billion years of life evolving is the regular impacts that create mass extinctions.

    The initial spark that created the first living cells is the other tiny gap that science has not quite figured out.

    Why couldn’t this creator god simply ‘zap’ the chemical soup with microscopic life, and then let time and evolution take its course? Lob in a few asteroid strikes, some cold cycles, tectonic plates moving continents, etc, and you have a creation story that is entirely consistent with the age of the planet, and it’s history as documented by science.

  81. txpiper says

    “The initial spark that created the first living cells is the other tiny gap that science has not quite figured out.”
    .
    Yes, just a tiny gap. I believe the minimum gene set to live and replicate is somewhere around 200. All they had to do was self-assemble themselves, along with machines like the ribosome, in some kind of membrane envelope and it’s off to the races. I’m surprised they aren’t selling origin-of-life kits in Walmart.

  82. says

    Holms: Yeah, that’s the basis for the “design inference:” if it’s too complex for a creationist to understand, and a scientist can’t explain it satisfactorily to the creationist in less than a minute (without using fancy sciencey words), then it must have been “designed.”

  83. Tethys says

    I try to be kind to txpiper, and think of him like my elderly Mennonite relatives. They are very religious, and never attended school beyond eighth grade. However their intellectual honesty won’t allow them to dismiss science, and they aren’t YECs though they do believe in Noah’s flood and creator gods.

    I suspect that the first living microorganisms were the results of extraterrestrial impact into a warm sea of chemical soup.

    As it’s not apparent how humans could recreate that scale of energy without damaging the planet, I don’t think we are anywhere near origin of life science kits. The crystal growing kits do contain some of the necessary ingredients but where are you going to get an asteroid?

  84. says

    Yeah, well, txpipsqueak has long ago shown he’s nowhere near your relatives in the intellectual-honesty department. FWIW, I think you’ve shown him more than enough true Christian charity for a decade or two.

    As for how life began, there were certainly a lot of “extraterrestrial impacts” back when the planets were first being formed; so if that can create microorganisms, there’d be plenty of chances for that to happen.

  85. Tethys says

    Raging Bee

    FWIW, I think you’ve shown him more than enough true Christian charity for a decade or two.

    I appreciate that, thanks! I’ve certainly had plenty of practice at kindly explaining how evolution via natural selection did result in humans, and that humans are animals/not the direct descendants of monkeys.

    If they want to believe that their God was involved in mutating an ape into a human, I’m not going to argue. I will argue when they claim things that are simply false beliefs about science.
    These are people who enthusiastically embraced motorized farm equipment, selective breeding, and the wonder of the polio vaccine, so they aren’t going to claim science is lying, or that natural selection can’t possibly produce novel organisms.

  86. txpiper says

    “I suspect that the first living microorganisms were the results of extraterrestrial impact into a warm sea of chemical soup/As for how life began, there were certainly a lot of “extraterrestrial impacts” back when the planets were first being formed…”
    .
    I don’t see how anyone could argue with this kind of science. How could life not form in a 70,000 mph collision?
    Ideas like this also illustrate why you should keep your children out of public schools.

  87. Tethys says

    As science has amassed a large body of evidence of the late bombardment, the early seas, effects of radiation, and shown that asteroids can contain the necessary chemical elements of RNA, logic implies that all of those conditions were involved in the first living cells.

    Why would schools teach about genetic polymorphisms in the late seventies, as the science that allows us to sequence DNA and see genes was not invented until 1977?

  88. says

    Ideas like this also illustrate why you should keep your children out of public schools.

    And responses like yours illustrate why you should keep your children out of Christian madrassas.

    Prove yourself more intelligent than ANYONE I’ve known who went to public schools, and maybe I’ll take your bashing of public schools seriously.

  89. tuatara says

    I’m surprised they aren’t selling origin-of-life kits in Walmart.

    To counter the AR-15 end-of-life-kits that they already sell?
     
    txpiper. You are aware that simple heat energy can affect assembly of complex molecules from simpler chemicals, no? Did you sleep through high-school chemistry, or is high-school-level chemistry the mark of satan in texan public schools, so those textbooks have been burned to protect god-fearing simpletons from the sins of science?
     
    The accretion phase in the development of the earth was long before fragile cells existed. It is the phase when the chemicals from which life arose were forged.
    And you do know that organic molecules and water are present in what I understand is the first returned sample of an asteroid in space?
    https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/about-us/news/organic-materials-essential-for-life-on-earth-are-found-for-the-first-time-on-the-surface-of-an-asteroid#:~:text=New%20research%20from%20Royal%20Holloway,been%20found%20on%20an%20asteroid.

  90. txpiper says

    “txpiper. You are aware…”
    .
    I’m aware that super-complex things do not assemble themselves. It takes all kinds of inculcation to get a person to become detached from reality and start believing otherwise.

  91. Holms says

    If in doubt, declare it impossible by any means except magic. The best part? Magic explanations don’t need any evidence -- take that, science nerds!

  92. txpiper says

    This article talks about some of the stuff Dr. Carter mentions in the DNA video above:
    .
    “The work illuminates basic facts about the genome’s 3-D structure, including that it forms around 10,000 loops. It also sheds light on how genome structure influences gene expression, as looping DNA brings promoters and enhancers into close proximity.”
    https://www.the-scientist.com/daily-news/dna-loop-the-loops-36222

  93. John Morales says

    Everything is 4-dimensional; 3 space, 1 time.

    BTW, here: https://www.science.org/content/article/scienceshot-biggest-genome-ever

    A rare Japanese flower named Paris japonica sports an astonishing 149 billion base pairs, making it 50 times the size of a human genome—and the largest genome ever found.

    The apotheosis of Creation, are those flowers.
    Much, much more functional than that of puny humans.

    (When they die, they go to Flower Heaven!)

  94. tuatara says

    txpiper

    It takes all kinds of inculcation to get a person to become detached from reality and start believing otherwise.

    Yes I absolutely agree. It in fact only takes one.
    Don’t forget that you believe that the earth was created 6,000 years ago by a magic fairy godfather whose very existence has no reasonable explanation.
    Oh wait. That’s right. Reason doesn’t play into it does it. Reason goes against your god. He wants you to believe without question.
     
    Your behaviour here indicates that you haven’t the intellectual honesty or courage to appraise your own beliefs critically, as evidenced by your very own words I have quoted above.

  95. says

    I’m aware that super-complex things do not assemble themselves.

    Can you cite or quote any evolutionary biologist actually saying that’s how evolution works? Of course you can’t — you know as well as we do that the only way you can pretend you know anything about evolution is by misrepresenting it, over and over, probably for the rest of your sad excuse for a life.

  96. Holms says

    I marvel that tx keeps linking things which only bolster the position of evolution. Yes, there are vast amounts of data digging into the complexity of even molecular scale processes. Does he even realise how this undermines his ‘irreducible complexity’ position? Apparently not.

    And of course this contrasts sharply with hiw own YEC position, which has never and will never conduct research into any of its own claims. Explanations relying on magic are an admission of an inability to explain, and hence are also an admission of defeat.

  97. txpiper says

    “Don’t forget that you believe that the earth was created 6,000 years ago…”
    .
    And don’t you forget that your inferior beliefs say that your brain was produced by errors, that humans are no more valuable than cockroaches, and that your life is meaningless and utterly futile.
    ==
    “Can you cite or quote any evolutionary biologist actually saying that’s how evolution works?”
    .
    Self-assembly of complex molecular machines like ribosome is a prebiotic problem, so it is out of the realm of biology. The Professor Steinberg who “pondered how such an immense and complex structure [as ribosome] could have assembled itself from smaller building blocks that existed on the early Earth” in the article I linked to above, is a biochemist.

    If you are actually interested in origin of life obstacles and issues, James Tour can help you. But I think science is just a word you like to use.

  98. Tethys says

    The topic is Dinosaurs, not “every scientific proof that txpiper doesn’t want to believe”.

    Clearly he is aware of prebiotic RNA and DNA but insists that his opinion outweighs centuries of scientific research.

    It’s a copying error when organisms double their entire genome, but the offspring with polyploidy still manage to grow and reproduce.

    Science only needs one proof to dismiss the opinion that reshuffling a genome into a novel arrangement is impossible. In fact, we can now look at those genes directly, and discovered that novel mutations are found in every genome.

    It is hard to accept that nature values cockroaches exactly as much as humans, but reality doesn’t deal in dominion and creator gods that left zero evidence of their existence.

  99. txpiper says

    “YEC position, which has never and will never conduct research into any of its own claims.”
    .
    Everybody works with the same data. The rationale behind the conclusions is what is important. Yours are poor because the truth is not what you are actually interested in. The constant parameter for you is atheism, so you’ll believe anything, no matter how absurd, that gets you there. That is the difference between you and the founders of the disciplines. and these scientists.

  100. John Morales says

    txpiper, every other thread you infest has me noting how you switch from evolution (change in genome over time) to abiogenesis (the origin of life), which are of course entirely different things.

    (This one is no exception)

  101. Tethys says

    The constant parameter for you is atheism,

    Scientific evidence is my constant parameter.
    Since the god left zero evidence, I am forced to conclude that either
    A. God shot an asteroid at the early earth and created living cells.
    B. God did not create anything, despite the imaginative tales found within the Bible.

    Atheism really does not need to be involved in those options. Plenty of scientists are also believers in Gods.

  102. Holms says

    Wriggle and squirm, now we move to abiogenesis.

    #113 tx
    And don’t you forget that your inferior beliefs say that your brain was produced by errors, that humans are no more valuable than cockroaches, and that your life is meaningless and utterly futile.

    Every claim you make of evolution demonstrates how little you know of it. No, brains are produced by successes -- mutations which conferred a benefit, causing their retention over generations and propagation throughout the population. Notice also that the chronic misunderstanding goes only one way -- we have to correct your misstatements about evolution, but you don’t have to correct us on creationism. We get your beliefs to an extent that is not returned.

    Self-assembly of complex molecular machines like ribosome is a prebiotic problem, so it is out of the realm of biology.

    Wrong. Research into the origin of life is an area which concerns chemistry, geology, astronomy, and of course biology.

    Also, Response to James Tour: 700 Papers and Still Clueless (Part 1 of 2).

    ___

    #115 tx
    “Everybody works with the same data.” No, creationists reject almost all biology data.

    “[Your conclusions] are poor because the truth is not what you are actually interested in. The constant parameter for you is atheism, so you’ll believe anything, no matter how absurd, that gets you there.” Creationism is explicitly the product of religion, specifically bible literalism; science deals solely with physical evidence.

    Every accusation is a confession.

  103. Tethys says

    James Tour

    Lol, another lying YEcreationist who happens to have a degree in synthetic chemistry is your source?! Argument from authority is a classic fallacy.

    He certainly spends a lot of energy claiming we can’t even make the molecules, even though we have built machines that make lipids and proteins to order, automatically. (Something that it is impossible for the liar to not know, seeing as that’s his actual area of science expertise).

  104. tuatara says

    Good grief, txpiper.
     

    The constant parameter for you is the bible, so you believe absurd nonsense, while ignoring the mountain of evidence that contradicts that pathetic old book, all the while claiming that any science that contradicts that pathetic old book is unscientific if it does not seek to prove that pathetic old book.
     

    How stupid are you?
     

    You openly profess to a belief in the degeneration of your gods original perfect genome. You therefore believe that YOUR brain is the result of errors while dismissing evolution because you believe it is the result of errors.
     

    How stupid are you?
     
    You have not earned the right to call me a gomer, you dumbass.

  105. Tethys says

    On the topic of Dinosaurs, I wonder if whoever wrote this paragraph has misunderstood the paleontologist.
    In the show, one of these ancient creatures munches down on some charcoal left smoldering the wake of a forest fire – a scene pulled from the contents of a fossil’s stomach and the knowledge that tasty young ferns are among the first to sprout up after a blaze

    An Ankylosaur consuming some charcoal in the process of uprooting and eating young ferns seems highly likely. Ferns grow readily in decayed/ burnt wood after fires. I doubt they ate burning coals. They aren’t dragons.

  106. says

    Everybody works with the same data.

    Yet another PRATT from a lying hack who knows he’s full of shit and is running out of both talking-points and energy.

  107. txpiper says

    Tethys,

    “we have built machines that make lipids and proteins to order, automatically”
    .
    What are you talking about here?

  108. txpiper says

    tuatara,

    “You openly profess to a belief in the degeneration of your gods original perfect genome.”
    .
    Nick Lane thinks death is an evolutionary innovation. I assume that he, and you, would think that mutations are continuing to improve the human genome.
    I believe that the original human genome was perfect, designed to not die, and that death was a deliberate modification. I believe that the human genome at large is slowly decaying because of accumulating mutations
    =
    “You therefore believe that YOUR brain is the result of errors while dismissing evolution because you believe it is the result of errors.”
    .
    I do not believe that errors built the human brain. Intellectual failures are the fault of the user. There is no reason to believe that complex things assemble themselves, or that random errors can build complex systems. People choose to believe foolish ideas because of irrational a priori commitments.

  109. says

    Who cares what you believe, txpipsqueak? Your beliefs certainly haven’t done you any good, or made you a better person, so reciting them here like it’s an official creed doesn’t do you any good either.

  110. Holms says

    #125 tx
    “You openly profess to a belief in the degeneration of your gods original perfect genome.” [tuatara]
    .
    Nick Lane thinks death is an evolutionary innovation. I assume that he, and you, would think that mutations are continuing to improve the human genome.

    No, I do not considered death an evolutionary adaptation; yes, evolution is continuing even on the human genome. I for one don’t know who that is, or have any interest in what he says about any random topic.

    I believe that the original human genome was perfect, […] I believe that the human genome at large is slowly decaying because of accumulating mutations

    So you agree with tuatara’s summary of your position: you believe humans -- and human brains -- are the product of “the degeneration of your gods original perfect genome.”

    There is no reason to believe that complex things assemble themselves, or that random errors can build complex systems.

    There is ample evidence that this is exactly what happens. Here is a discussion with examples, and here is how you can find many more discussions and examples. Replace the terms ‘amino acid’ for other molecular terms as you wish to see more and more discussions.

    In this thread, the only beliefs lacking the justification of collected data are those stated by… you. All you have is “I believe” to support your ridiculous anti-science religion, while we have the accumulated data of centuries of research.

  111. tuatara says

    So txpiper, you do believe that the original ‘human genome’ was immortal and had death deliberately introduced by your god.

    Did your petulant god decide that he had made us too much like him (when he perfectly imaged his wicked sinfulness in us) and wanted to punish us for being so much like him, so made us suffer debilitating ailments and death, so that we would love him?
     

    You tantrum-throwing god is a pathetic excuse for divinity.
    In fact he is a fucking moron. He is one reason why “if christianity were true” I would still reject it. I don’t want to spend a moment in his company, and certainly not eternity, thank you very much. People like you is another reason why I would not take it up. I wouldn’t have a beer with you so why would I want to share eternal life with you?
     

    FYI, it might surprise you that, empirically, ‘death’ occurs for an organism when it is eaten by another. Death was not an innovation. It was an inevitable outcome for life and is likely the reason why immortality was not innovated.
     
    You may be right about one thing though. You could be logical proof of your theory about the degenerate brain.

  112. txpiper says

    Holms,
    “I for one don’t know who [Nick Lane] is, or have any interest in what he says about any random topic.”
    .
    He is quite well known, and actually right up your alley. I’ve seen one of his books on a shelf behind Professor Myers in one of his videos. I’m sure you would enjoy reading what he has to say, or watching one of his videos: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=nick+lane
    =
    “I do not considered death an evolutionary adaptation…”

    Lane devotes a chapter in one of his books to this subject. I’ve only read the online introduction, but it is interesting reading.
    ===
    “He is one reason why “if christianity were true” I would still reject it.”
    .
    I was pretty sure that you would. It is apparent that what you like is more important than what is true.

  113. says

    It is apparent that what you like is more important than what is true.

    Fool who ignores everything that doesn’t support his personal beliefs says what?

  114. Holms says

    As I already stated, I do not have any interest in his take on any topic. The majority of biologists do not consider death to be an adaptation, nor do I see any reason to think that.

  115. says

    The only way one could consider death an “adaptation,” is if we believe that it’s possible for species to be immortal, but those that were got into some kind of trouble because of it, so only mortal and killable species survived. Which is, of course, ridiculous, because there’s no evidence that it’s even possible for any kind of life-form to live forever. Biological organisms simply break down over time due to normal wear and tear, just like even the best man-made machines. That’s not an “adaptation,” that’s just an inescapable condition, like humans not being able to survive on the surface of Venus.

  116. Tethys says

    Nick Lane is not a creationist, he is a evolutionary biochemist and award winning author.

    I am certain that he does not believe that death is an adaptation as txpiper claims. His book is about the Krebs cycle.

  117. txpiper says

    “There ’s more than an element of Greek tragedy, for example, about the mayflies, which live for months as larvae, before metamorphosing into adults lacking in mouthparts and digestive tract. Even the few species that live out their single orgiastic day are fated soon to starve. What about the Pacific salmon, which migrate hundreds of miles to the streams of their birth, wherein their hormonally charged frenzy is cut short by a catastrophic demise and death within days? Or the Queen bee, who shows no sign of her age for sixteen years, until finally her supply of sperm runs dry, whereupon she is torn apart by her own daughters? Or the twelve-hour copulation frenzy of the Australian marsupial mouse, culminating in death by depression and exhaustion, which can be prevented by castration? Tragedy or comedy, this is certainly dramatic. These animals are as much the pawns of fate as Oedipus himself. Death is not only inevitable; it is controlled by the fates, programmed into the very fabric of life….On the face of it, death is a perplexing ‘invention’: natural selection normally acts at the level of individual organisms, and it’s hard to see how my death will benefit me, or what Pacific salmon gain from falling to pieces, or black widow spiders from being cannibalised. But it is equally plain that death is far from accidental, and it certainly evolved for the benefit of individuals (or rather, their selfish genes, in Richard Dawkins’s unforgettable phrase) soon after the dawn of life itself.”

  118. Tethys says

    Death happens to stars too, it doesn’t qualify as an adaptation. It’s a side effect of linear time.

    The black widow and salmon are examples of adaptation. Female widows who eat their male have far more fertile eggs than spiders who don’t get a meal along with a sperm packet. Thus it does benefit the male to feed his mate, if the result is 25% more spiderlings with his DNA.

    Octopi have evolved a special arm that can break away, to avoid becoming dinner.

    Death after reproducing is not the selective pressure involved in those examples.

  119. tuatara says

    txpiper, you do not know much about me and I would like to keep it that way.
     
    The truth us that there is zero evidence that your god is anything more than a fictional character, but there is abundant evidence in his fictional life story that he is a lying, petulent, untrustworthy, murderous, mysogenistic fictional arsehole not deserving of respect.
     
    How any sane human can worship him is beyond my ken, but perhaps that points to something….

  120. Tethys says

    It proves that txpiper has read the blurb for a book. If all that nonsense about death is an example of Nick Lanes writing style, I don’t have any interest in reading more of his book.

  121. txpiper says

    Apoptosis is programmed cell death. We might quibble about the reason for it, but the idea of programmed organism death shouldn’t be that hard to digest.

  122. Holms says

    Hey foolish one, it’s called ‘programmed’ because it is an organised, tidy process taking place when the cell was given the correct stimulus by your own body, and ‘programmed’ seemed an apt descriptor to the researchers uncovering this. More to the point, the death of a cell in a multicellular body being described as ‘programmed’ has nothing to do with the death of an organism.

  123. txpiper says

    Deliberate, programmed death can even extend to populations. In this 2008 article, Lane notes that:

    “Most models of marine systems simply put that mortality down to bad luck. They tacitly assume that phytoplankton are in principle immortal, but in practice always seem to be eaten by zooplankton, wiped out by viral infections or starved by nutrient deprivation. But Falkowski thinks that there is more to it than that. Phytoplankton don’t just dissolve when neglected in the lab. Vast marine blooms, too, can disappear overnight. If that process is indeed a manifestation of programmed cell death, then it has implications that not only touch on the global nutrient cycling, but also foreshadow the ultimate causes of our own mortality. The phytoplankton of the ancient oceans might have been some of the first creatures to learn how to die.”
    =
    He goes on the explain how some viruses apparently commandeer the death mechanism to their advantage, and that cells will react collectively to a viral invasion by using death as their tactic:
    .
    “…Last year, Bidle and Falkowski showed that viral replication can be blocked by inhibiting the death apparatus of the coccolithophore E. huxleyi, implying that the virus usually uses the system to kill the cell when death is to its advantage.

    The odd thing is that sometimes the cells may want to turn the death programme on when the viruses want to keep it turned off. If cells can kill themselves more quickly than suits their viral invaders, they can thwart the viral spread. As most plankton in a bloom are near identical genetically, from the perspective of their genes, a die-off that creates enough scorched earth to stop the viral advance can make sense.

    To understand this as self-sacrifice, though, might be to oversimplify. “It is at least as much murder as suicide,” says Vardi. “It definitely blurs the boundary between altruism and selfishness.” Vardi has found that injured phytoplankton release mediators — he calls them ‘infochemicals’ — into their surroundings. In response, damaged cells overproduce reactive oxygen species, activating the death apparatus…”
    .
    Sortof reminds me of the story of the Jews at Masada, though the tactic was to frustrate the enemy rather than kill them.

  124. says

    They tacitly assume that phytoplankton are in principle immortal…

    Who’s “they,” and on what grounds do they make such an assumption? (Not that “in principle immortal” really means anything.)

    …To understand this as self-sacrifice, though, might be to oversimplify…

    Ya think?!

  125. txpiper says

    “Who’s “they,” ”

    The article identifies them as “most models of marine systems”.
    .
    “on what grounds do they make such an assumption? (Not that “in principle immortal” really means anything.)”

    In the context of the subject, immortal just means that the demise of phytoplankton is usually due to being “eaten by zooplankton, wiped out by viral infections or starved by nutrient deprivation”. It is not talking about living forever. He has just mentioned that “Dying, though, is something phytoplankton do a great deal of.”
    .
    “…To understand this as self-sacrifice, though, might be to oversimplify…
    Ya think?!”

    I can see why anyone who believes bio-logical things were designed/created/developed by random mutations might struggle with the idea of deliberate death mechanisms being selected for.

  126. Tethys says

    White blood cells generally die after consuming a foreign cell, and both are removed from your body. It is what immune systems do.
    Cells dying in no way implies that death mechanisms are being selected for. All of your body parts are constantly growing new cells to replace the old cells. You would not be alive if you didn’t.

    Anthropomorphizing cells as wanting anything, or having selfish motivations is utter nonsense.

  127. Tethys says

    I can see why anyone who believes bio-logical things were designed/created/developed by….

    The word you are looking for is evolved.

    Life evolved. Evolution is a continuous force of nature, which led to a huge diversity of life forms over 3.8 billion years of time.

    Sneering at others because you can’t prove your beliefs is so typical of the brain dead YECs.

  128. txpiper says

    “White blood cells generally die after consuming a foreign cell, and both are removed from your body….cells..wanting anything, or having selfish motivations is utter nonsense”
    .
    So, how would you characterize the role that wbc’s play? Are they like soldiers fighting enemy invaders that threaten the host organism? Border patrol agents doing their duty? Kamikazes sacrificing themselves for the homeland? Bigots who just don’t like foreigners? Just hungry?
    --
    ” It is what immune systems do”
    .
    But once upon a time, there were no immune systems. What “continuous force of nature” organized and developed these selfless systems?

  129. Tethys says

    I bet txpiper is not happy that he can’t comment on PZs post about Nick Lane.

    white blood cells
    Endosymbionts are fascinating! I remember being scolded for noticing that there seemed to be bits of plant cell anatomy in my animal cell during microscope lab in HS biology.

    There are many things (formerly?) classified as algae that don’t actually fit neatly into either the plant or animal category. Humans might not like the idea that they are part slime mold, or that our guts require bacterial symbionts to function properly, but it’s also a basic fact of life.

  130. Holms says

    tx
    In this thread alone, you have moved from
    -- birds are not descended from dinosaurs
    -- feathers cannot have evolved
    -- wikipedia fails to detail the entire history of every gene involved in feather development
    -- muscles associated with feathers cannot have evolved
    -- argument from design
    -- abiogenesis
    -- organisms are imperfect but used to be perfect and immortal
    -- death is an evolved adaptation
    -- descriptions of apoptosis contain the word ‘programmed’ -- intent!

    You spend no more than three posts on each one before abandoning it for the next desperate reach. You have no susbstance to your arguments, only a scattering of headlines you’ve seen from biology that caught your eye. You quote scientists when they say something convenient to you, but you never acknowledge that the rest of what that person says is very inconvenient for your position, and that all of the inconvenient stuff was derived from the same meticulous, evidence-driven research process as the bits you poach from them. Notably, you never acknowledge their pro-evolution, anti-creationism stance.

    You have nothing from science but soundbites.

    ___

    #146 Tethys “White blood cells generally die after consuming a foreign cell”
    No they don’t. Bacteria are extremely numerous, and professional phagocytes are very good at killing many many bacteria before dying. If that were not the case we would be in a great deal of trouble, as infecting bacteria easily outnumber our immune system cells at the site of infection.

    ___

    #148 back to tx
    “But once upon a time, there were no immune systems. What “continuous force of nature” organized and developed these selfless systems?”
    Selection pressure. Non-random selection, i.e. filtering for organisms that were better able to survive predation / parasitism / infection, caused the proliferation of defence mechanisms throughout populations over time.

  131. Tethys says

    Holms
    No they don’t. Bacteria are extremely numerous, and professional phagocytes are very good at killing many many bacteria before dying.

    Ok, good to know that white blood cells engulf multiple foreign cells before they die and are excreted. I’ve always thought of them as domesticated amoebas rather than an army.

  132. txpiper says

    “I bet txpiper is not happy that he can’t comment on PZs post about Nick Lane.”
    .
    Not to comment, but I would ask questions that evolution lackeys will never bring up. You can bet your socks that Professor Myers is not going to dwell on this particular segment of Lane’s (enjoyable) presentations:
    .
    “…it’s basically like a hydroelectric dam, where the membrane is equivalent to the dam, the proton reservoir, if you like, is equivalent to the reservoir, and the ATP synthase, well, it’s a rotating motor, its an extraordinary protein. This is another reason why biochemists don’t like to ask “why?”. How on earth does something with that majesty evolve? It’s plainly a product of genes and natural selection, and so on but when I think about these questions, I’m wondering about how did it arise in the first place. It’s a strange fact, but basically all life on earth works this way. This way of generating electricity is as universally conserved as the genetic code itself. This is how cells work. Bacteria work this way. Archaea work this way. Plants, animals, everything works this way, so there’s something profoundly important about how it works, and yet it’s it’s very difficult to wrestle with in terms of how does it happen.”
    .
    Sorry, Nick. But ATP synthase is not plainly a product of genes and natural selection, but there is no shortage of people who will believe and repeat that kind of canned pulp. Natural selection occurs in populations. Such prebiotic things had to be around before there could be any phenotypes, or populations. Ditto for ribosome.

  133. John Morales says

    evolution lackeys

    That is, anyone who accepts modern science.

    (That is, also, the vast majority of Christians)

    Sorry, Nick.

    Heh. You don’t even know just how much you don’t know.

  134. Holms says

    tx with a sterling example of the YEC habit of picking bits of what a scientist says, and rejecting the rest. You found a bit that was useful for your anti-evolution stance, and said “nope” to everything else.

  135. Tethys says

    Such prebiotic things had to be around before there could be any phenotypes, or populations.

    Yes, which is why PZ titled his post ‘Metabolism First’.

    As to the rest of your objections, I can only point out that “Why?” is a different question than “How?” Why is chemistry? Why is gravity? Why is life? Sometimes things simply exist.
    ————
    Scientists have managed to create protocells by mimicking conditions found within alkaline vents.

    By creating protocells in hot, alkaline seawater, a research team has added to evidence that the origin of life could have been in deep-sea hydrothermal vents rather than shallow pools.

    “There are multiple competing theories as to where and how life started. Underwater hydrothermal vents are among most promising locations for life’s beginnings — our findings now add weight to that theory with solid experimental evidence,” said the study’s lead author, Professor Nick Lane (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment).

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/11/191104112437.htm

  136. txpiper says

    “Yes, which is why PZ titled his post ‘Metabolism First’.”
    .
    Right. Just swapping chickens in a chicken first/egg first problem bigger than Dallas.
    =
    “By creating protocells in hot, alkaline seawater…”
    .
    Using the term ‘protocell’ for what they are talking about is like calling a brick a protoshoppingmall. This is just about something that resembles the envelope of a cell wall:

    “The creation of protocells has been an important step, as they can be seen as the most basic form of a cell, consisting of just a bilayer membrane around an aqueous solution — a cell with a defined boundary and inner compartment….
    The researchers found that molecules with longer carbon chains needed heat in order to form themselves into a vesicle (protocell).”

    .
    If you like those kind of stories, Lane co-authored this exciting list of miracles back in 2009.

  137. txpiper says

    “You found a bit that was useful for your anti-evolution stance…”
    .
    I found a bit that was truthful. The kind of bit that you are unable to notice.

  138. Tethys says

    Right. Just swapping chickens in a chicken first/egg first problem bigger than Dallas.

    You can answer yourself, as you posed the supposed problem @152

    ”Such prebiotic things had to be around before there could be any phenotypes, or populations.”

    Protocells are one step closer to understanding how the prebiotic things became biotic. The various theories for abiogenesis are all in basic agreement about the necessary steps involved, but disagree on the how and where.

  139. says

    I see txpipsqueak is now down to pretending he’s a “brave hero” asking questions about things us terrified evilutionists allegedly don’t dare even speak of, even though actual scientists have, in fact, been speaking of and writing about them for some time. All he has left is bluster and “I double-dog-dare ya” and “everyone’s scared of me ‘cuz they all know I’m right!” What a joke. This creationist twit really needs to get out of his fantasy-world and get a job already.

  140. Holms says

    #157 tx
    You characterise the small excerpts you like as “truthful”, implying everything else supporting evolution is a lie. So, my description of you holds: “the YEC habit of picking bits of what a scientist says, and rejecting the rest.”

  141. John Morales says

    What amuses me most is how I’ve already noted that it’s a rather small minority of Christians (outside of the USA, which of course is an outlier) are so silly as to dismiss the sciences in order to sustain their magical beliefs.

    Everything he says about his favoured enemy, the “atheists”, is equally applicable to those Christians.

    (Kinda sad, really)

  142. txpiper says

    “picking bits of what a scientist says, and rejecting the rest”
    .
    More like separating the religious stuff from the actual science. Professor Lane, origin of life fantasy aside, is a masterful communicator. I don’t understand how anyone interested in bio-sciences would not find what he has to say interesting.

  143. John Morales says

    More like separating the religious stuff from the actual science.

    But of course!

    Molecular biology? Pshaw.
    Biochemistry, chemiosmosis? Bah.

    I mean, sure. Poetic language, numinous overtones — that’s what he does, as a science communicator.

    Most people are a bit like you, txpiper.
    They seek meaning, they seek wonder.

    (You might not know about Carl Sagan, but he was similar. The wonder of Creation! [not the actual term used])

  144. John Morales says

    BTW, since you’ve just posted and presumably are monitoring this thread, what is it about the reality and success of evolutionary computing that makes you so loath to even try to dismiss it?

    (silence can speak volumes)

  145. says

    Ah, you all see my wisdom in banning txpiper from my blog? He goes on and on, an automatic rejection machine for any evolutionary explanation.
    He also doesn’t read. “I believe the minimum gene set to live and replicate is somewhere around 200,” he says, while quoting bits and pieces of Lane that he doesn’t comprehend. The metabolism first model proposes that protocells had no genes, that they carried out biochemistry with simple metabolites. He also describes how the genetic code could have arisen from the catalytic activity of nucleotides. And, of course, he’s happy to report that much of that chemistry has been replicated in the lab.
    As another example of his incomprehension:

    When those “minute feather muscles, usually a pair running from a feather follicle to each of the four surrounding follicles” evolved, would it have been one muscle at a time, or a pair, or the whole works in one lick? Was there a time when birds could raise their feathers, but not lower them? Did the neuro connections, the control center in the brain, and blood capillaries evolve at the same time?

    At the time feathers differentiate, the dermis is rich with pluripotent mesenchyme — all it takes is a single change in gene expression to trigger differentiation of some of the cells into muscle. There’s a whole vast literature on developmental organization sensory and muscular tissues. As for innervation, the nervous system is an incredibly plastic organ that responds to environmental stimuli to rewire itself. Did you know that if you transplant an eye primordium to the tail of a tadpole it will form a functioning visual organ and send nerves all the way up the spinal cord to connect to the optic tectum in the brain?
    All of his comments are like that. He farts them out effortlessly, pungent with ignorance and stupidity, and addressing them would take hours of time — to no good result. He’ll just ignore efforts to educate him and poop out another stinking pile.

  146. Holms says

    #162 tx

    More like separating the religious stuff from the actual science.

    …Said the young Earth creationist. How exactly are you qualified to know that difference, when you have no biology education and an a priori adherence to an especially backwards religion? You only have one move: “This disagrees with what I believe therefore it is wrong.”

  147. txpiper says

    Professor Myers,

    “He goes on and on, an automatic rejection machine for any evolutionary explanation.”
    .
    You don’t actually provide evolutionary explanations. You usually just make announcements, sometimes about things that are just made up. Like this:
    .
    “The metabolism first model proposes that protocells had no genes, that they carried out biochemistry with simple metabolites.”
    .
    You are not talking about biology that anyone knows anything about. This is all imaginary. There is no basis for such a hypothesis.

    Your post illustrates what you mean by an evolutionary explantation:
    .
    “At the time feathers differentiate, the dermis is rich with pluripotent mesenchyme — all it takes is a single change in gene expression to trigger differentiation of some of the cells into muscle. There’s a whole vast literature on developmental organization sensory and muscular tissues. As for innervation, the nervous system is an incredibly plastic organ that responds to environmental stimuli to rewire itself. Did you know that if you transplant an eye primordium to the tail of a tadpole it will form a functioning visual organ and send nerves all the way up the spinal cord to connect to the optic tectum in the brain?”
    .
    And, so what? You only explain a little about the biology of what is there, and what happens. You didn’t quite get around to explaining how the muscles, or incredibly plastic nervous system, evolved.

    This happens a lot in the “whole vast literature”. Papers might be titled The Evolution of Something that just talk about form and function, not how Something actually evolved. Very often, they don’t even mention mutations, which are the supposed actual source of alteration and development. You, Professor Myers, will never, ever undertake the task of explaining how random DNA replication errors and natural selection actually built any biological specialty.
    .
    Here is another proclamation of yours:

    “Evolution isn’s sequential. It’s massively parallel. Massively. Humans have about 20,000 genes, and all of them are evolving at once, with trial runs in about 7 billion individuals. New variants are arising all the time, and then they’re tested to destruction in multiple combinations over time. Scrap your weird idea that the pieces of a complex system must be developed one at a time — they can’t, and all of them are being constantly tinkered with. It is the most badly designed scientific experiment or engineering program ever, with no controls and every variable getting randomly tweaked at random intervals. So don’t be surprised that multiple elements are getting juggled.”
    .
    There is no science to support this nonsense. You made it up. You had to.
    Random mutations do not happen with monotonous regularity so that your theory will work. You should be embarrassed.
    While you’re visiting, perhaps you’d like to address the formation of ATP. Do you agree with Nick’s assessment that it is “plainly a product of genes and natural selection”? What does your evolutionary explanation for functional molecular machines look like?

  148. Tethys says

    Accusing a scientist of making up science is both rude, and simply shows that txpiper has no interest in learning anything about the topics he demands explanations on, he just wants negative attention.

    JAQ in order to make asinine claims is a very sad way to spend your life.

    Maybe you could learn basic cell biology, and the difference between evolutionary biochemistry, and evolutionary biology?

    Here is a video with truly amazing microphotography of a type of cell called an Amoeba. Bonus footage of a macrophage WBC is included.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vlANF-v9lb0

  149. Holms says

    #167 tx

    You don’t actually provide evolutionary explanations. You usually just make announcements, sometimes about things that are just made up.

    Yes he does, and yes many other have done here and elsewhere. The problem is, you immediately shift the goalposts from ‘evolutionary explanation’ to ‘mutation by mutation account of every gene involved’, as demonstrated a few lines later in that same post:

    And, so what? You only explain a little about the biology of what is there, and what happens. You didn’t quite get around to explaining how the muscles, or incredibly plastic nervous system, evolved. […] [you will never explain] how random DNA replication errors and natural selection actually built any biological specialty.

    …not to mention this gem from an earlier conversation:

    CR: All of those little protein machines depicted in the animation are coded in the DNA itself.
    Tx: Tell me about the processes that built the DNA molecule, produced the machines and did the coding.

    Merely a request for the history of DNA itself, and its proteins, and its genes. Which you demand be laid out in a blog comment.

    I’ve explained this problem to you before and you don’t care. You want to pose an immense question to anyone that disagrees with YEC specifically because it is impossible to answer outside the guided learning environment of a university course on the subject; the inevitable failure gives you the validation you crave. “I’ve even asked scientists directly, and not even they could defend evolution!” -- with no mention of the fact that while you begin with an easy question, you unfailingly shift the goalposts to the ridiculous. The dishonesty doesn’t matter to you.

  150. says

    txpippy: do you demand step-by-step explanations of exactly how a given bit of information is transmitted from one computer to another via the Internet, before accepting that the Internet exists and works? Do you demand detailed descriptions of how every part of a given car interacts with all the other parts before test-driving the car? Do you demand to know the exact chain of biochemical reactions by which a prescription drug works before taking it to cure a debilitating disease? Somehow I don’t think you’d even seriously consider doing any of those things. So stop pretending you have to be told every single step of the evolution of every single part of every single species before you can accept the current theory of evolution. If you’re too stuck-up and babyish to let yourself learn something outside your simple religious beliefs, that’s your problem, not ours; and you’re not important enough to be worth ANY of he coddling and hand-holding you’re demanding.

  151. txpiper says

    It appears that Professor Myers is still preoccupied with creationists, and will be asking (from a safe distance) some hard-hitting questions about the flood this Saturday.
    .
    “how is it there’s no evidence of your global flood?”

    Like 100,000,000 cubic miles of fossil-bearing sedimentary rock layers? I guess this is a can’t-see-the-forest-for-the-trees deal.
    =
    “How do you account for the current genetic diversity if we’re all descended from 8 people 4000 years ago?”

    He would probably find dog shows fascinating and confusing. Most breeds are less than 150 years old. I bet if he dug up a fossilized Chihuahua and a Rottweiler, he’d think they were different species.
    =
    “giving me imagined details from the imaginary life of an imaginary character…..”

    Imaginary. Like fantasy biology that can’t be demonstrated or explained: “The metabolism first model proposes that protocells had no genes, that they carried out biochemistry with simple metabolites”.

  152. Holms says

    #171

    “how is it there’s no evidence of your global flood?”
    Like 100,000,000 cubic miles of fossil-bearing sedimentary rock layers?

    Your reference for that figure did not back up your claimed global flood.

    “How do you account for the current genetic diversity if we’re all descended from 8 people 4000 years ago?”
    He would probably find dog shows fascinating and confusing. Most breeds are less than 150 years old.

    Question conspicuously not answered. Explain, in the detail you demand of others explaining evolution.

    “giving me imagined details from the imaginary life of an imaginary character…..”
    Imaginary. Like fantasy biology that can’t be demonstrated or explained: “The metabolism first model proposes that protocells had no genes, that they carried out biochemistry with simple metabolites”.

    Multiple stages of which have been demonstrated, and others calculated by modelling the expected chemistry, and therefore are not imaginary.

  153. Tethys says

    100,000,000 cubic miles? Whatever the cubic volume of sedimentary bedrock on earth, the fact that they all contain fossils of vastly different ages is actually what disproved any notions of worldwide floods and a 6000 year old Earth quite conclusively.

    I bet if he dug up a fossilized Chihuahua and a Rottweiler….

    You do realize that PZ is not a Paleontologist or any of the specialized Biologists who study things like mammals or marine life?
    Based on Morphology both sets of bones would be identified as dogs. DNA analyses would yield the exact breed. Science is not a conspiracy against superstitious numptys.

  154. tuatara says

    txpiper. You obviously find dogs fascinating and confusing. The myriad resultant dog types from selective breeding over a century or two is ample evidence of massive changes in morphology being possible from very small changes to a genome. To me that is evidence of evolution being a more probable proposition than your sky-fairy.

    I know that your imaginary superhero has purged you of imagination, but do try to imagine getting that tiny female chihuahua and that giant male great dane to successfully mate. They may well still be the same species, but in practical terms they might as well not be. Then try to imagine the result of 50,000 years of chihuahua and great danes not ever breeding and other genetic changes creeping in due to natural selection. Oh year, I forgot. you believe that he earth is only 6,000 years old because bible-science! so cannot imagine 50,000 years, and I guess that you believe that jesus is coming to destroy everything any day now so the earth will not survive another 50,000 years.
    Praise-be the loving jesus who will happily murder everyone who does not cede their soul to him. It sounds a bit too fascist for me, but fascists like you (who would happily execute the people that you don’t like before you will give up your guns for money) lap it up. You disgust me.
     

    BTW, what happens to the poor little chihuahua when she cannot get a life-saving emergency abortion in texas? Oh yeah, same outcome as that 10-year old rape victim because christofascist texas doesn’t give a fuck about any life other than human males and human foetuses. You would probably find their suffering entertaining, and maybe even have a little wank over it.

  155. John Morales says

    Had a mate who had a chihuahua (“Gizmo”) — the only one I know is not a neurotic, yappy thing. As in, it does yap, but actually needs some sort of perceived reason for it.

    A bit like a cat; would jump on your lap, walk around it (I’m not a big guy, either), then find a spot and curl up. Amazing. Well, not when it came to eating stuff; dogs are most definitely not cats in that regard.

    So that there is an existence proof that not all small, yappy dogs are stupidly neurotic aggressive yappy little things. Exception that proves the rule and all that.

    Where were we? Oh yeah, something about geologists not knowing geology, and biologists not knowing biology, and physicists not knowing physics, and so forth. txpiper of course knows better than all of them, because stoopid scientists can’t accept the thing that made the things for which there is no known maker.

  156. txpiper says

    “Multiple stages of which have been demonstrated, and others calculated by modelling the expected chemistry, and therefore are not imaginary.”
    .
    Nah. The genetics first and metabolism first camps have falsified each other. Professor Myers is just going with, what seems like to him, the less stupid of two competing stupid ideas. It’s the way evolutionary science works.
    =
    “sedimentary bedrock on earth, the fact that they all contain fossils of vastly different ages…”
    .
    That is the assumption. But it forces the vastly stupid conclusion that original bio-material from a triceratops horn can last for 70 million years.
    If I recall correctly, Mark Armitage was fired not long after publishing this paper.
    =
    “you believe that jesus is coming to destroy everything any day now”
    .
    Lots of things are involved in the end times scenario. (It is looking like climate hysteria will be helping to bring on the famine He mentioned.) In the overview, Israel is the centerpiece. When Isaac Newton wrote commentaries on the books of Daniel and the Revelation, he recognized that the return of the chosen people to their land would somehow be facilitated:
    “…it may perhaps come forth not from the Jews themselves, but from some other kingdom friendly to them, and precede their return from captivity, and give occasion to it; and lastly, that this rebuilding of Jerusalem and the waste places of Judah is predicted…..”
    It actually took an international guilt complex over the holocaust of War 2 to bring it about. Most prophecy students recognize the restoration of national Israel as a critical historical benchmark, but nobody knows how close we actually are. It is hard to not notice that a considerable amount of staging is occurring right now.

  157. txpiper says

    “geologists not knowing geology, and biologists not knowing biology, and physicists not knowing physics, and so forth”
    .
    It depends on which PhD’s you prefer to believe, and how they interpret the data. In The Secret Code of Creation, Jason Lisle talks about natural and mathematical fractals, Mandelbrot Sets, Barnsley Ferns and the infinite mind of God. This is heady, mind-blowing stuff, not for the shallow or incurious.

  158. Holms says

    #178

    “Multiple stages of which have been demonstrated, and others calculated by modelling the expected chemistry, and therefore are not imaginary.”
    Nah. The genetics first and metabolism first camps have falsified each other.

    No they haven’t. If one of them is right, then the other is wrong; only an idiot would think that means both are wrong. What other sage rebuttal do you have in store for us? No doubt packed with technical detail, as befits dismissing entire categories of science. Let’s see:

    Professor Myers is just going with, what seems like to him, the less stupid of two competing stupid ideas.

    Ah. They’re just… stupid. No reason given.

    “sedimentary bedrock on earth, the fact that they all contain fossils of vastly different ages…”

    That is the assumption.

    No, its actually the conclusion of a vast body of data. Arriving at a conclusion on the basis of data is categorically not an ‘assumption’. Do you even know what the word means?

    But it forces the vastly stupid conclusion that original bio-material from a triceratops horn can last for 70 million years.

    Again, do you know what the word assumption means? If there is a documented example of that, then it is not an assumption.

    “geologists not knowing geology, and biologists not knowing biology, and physicists not knowing physics, and so forth”

    It depends on which PhD’s you prefer to believe, and how they interpret the data.

    You elide much in that brief comment. On the one hand, 99% or so of scientists; on the other, 1% or less. Hmmm, tough choice.

  159. says

    Lots of things are involved in the end times scenario…

    “THE” end times scenario? Are you really so stupid as to believe there’s only ever been one? Or do you just not have the guts to admit your religion comes up with at least one new scenario as soon as the last one proves false? Y’all have been doing this since Jesus buggered off to Heaven, and you haven’t learned squat from your own history.

    When Isaac Newton wrote commentaries on the books of Daniel…

    Daniel? That’s the book that predicted an Antichrist very similar to Donald Trump. If you absolutely insisting on being dumb enough to take all that End Times crap seriously, you should at least take Daniel seriously in this regard, and ask yourself which side you’re really on. Or, you know, maybe just fuck off to bed and stop pestering the grownups…?

  160. Tethys says

    Txpip thinks reality is whatever he says it is, as do all creationist rutabagas. Citing another lying creationist who gets paid by other lying creationists isn’t slightly convincing.

    About Jason Lisle:

    Although he has done research with genuine merit into the sun’s heliosphere, Lisle has yet to perform, let alone publish, credible work into starlight or creationism.

  161. tuatara says

    The “End times scenario”.
    Is that an example of your”science”?
    And you have the nerve to accuse us of believing made up bullshit. Look in fucking mirror you idiot. You will see all that you deride is right there.
    You are a waste of time.

  162. Tethys says

    it forces the vastly stupid conclusion that original bio-material from a triceratops horn can last for 70 million years.

    Yes, it is vastly stupid to think that the bony horns and frill of a Triceratops would not be preserved along with the rest of the skull.
    None of their known fossils are quite that old, so it would be quite surprising to find 70 million year old Triceratops horns.

    Triceratops, with its three horns and bony frill around the back of its head, is one of the most recognizable dinosaurs. Its name is a combination of the Greek syllables tri-, meaning “three,” kéras, meaning “horn,” and ops, meaning “face.” The dinosaur roamed North America about 67 million to 65 million years ago, during the end of the Cretaceous Period.

  163. txpiper says

    “you have the nerve to accuse us of believing made up…”
    .
    Well, I couldn’t make the prophecy stuff up, tuatara. And I don’t need to. The phrase is used dozens of times in both testaments: “It is written….”. And there’s lots of it.
    ==
    “About Jason Lisle”
    .
    He’s pretty smooth, huh? I can see where a plotted Mandelbrot set might be unsettling for you.
    =
    “The dinosaur roamed North America about 67 million to 65 million years ago, during the end of the Cretaceous Period.”
    .
    I see. So, where were they before that? Is this one of those forms that just “appear” in the fossil record?
    The notion of stretchy tissue being 67 million to 65 million years old sort of taxes common sense, doesn’t it?

  164. Tethys says

    Deliberately obtuse questions are tedious, since the only tissues in triceratops horns is permineralized bones. It’s very common.

    Fractal geometry isn’t any more magical than sacred geometry. Dynamic systems tend to form ordered patterns which humans often find esthetically pleasing. Snowflakes are lovely!

  165. John Morales says

    Well, it is a known fact that human beings can evolve into chatbots.

    (Existence proof right here)

  166. txpiper says

    “the only tissues in triceratops horns is permineralized bones”
    .
    No. I’m sorry Tethys, but this isn’t like your asteroid impact idea. This is real, by-the-method, observable science. Watch the video yourself. You can skip past the scary intro, and see the decalcified tissues starting around 4:50. At about the 6:00 mark, Anderson shows samples from the interior of the horn that didn’t require decalcifying. You may need to take a break before it shows the osteocytes and the electron microcroscopy stuff.
    =
    ” “Mein Kampf” is also written. Your point…?”
    .
    lol…maybe you should sit this one out.

  167. John Morales says

    Human chatbot:

    lol…maybe you should sit this one out.

    Nah. It’s all good.

    You’ll keep doing exactly the same thing, asking exactly the same questions, wondering about science all getting it wrong (radioisotope dating? bah!), expressing incredulity that observed reality utterly shits all over your edited version of an edited version of a collection of old texts, many of which were culled from the collection because the contradictions were even more evident. Because common sense says the magickal mystery maker poofed everything into existence quite recently.

    I of course know damn well that “It is written” is a naked appeal to authority, and an idiom for “It is the word of Dog” among the (rather small) proportion of Christian Biblical literalists.

    (Behold! Thus it is written: that your small sect of science-deniers present as wilfully stupid)

  168. John Morales says

    You know how it goes.

    The atheist gets to the pearly gates, the fearsome Guardian Angel says “Come and be yourself, do what you want, be what you want, so long as you hurt not others”.

    Nearby, a Young Earth Creationist sidles up, and says “O Mighty One, here is your true and faithful servant, who heeded not the warnings of the sages and of the prophets, here for the reward of a good and faithful life”.

    Quoth the Angel to YEC: “You listened to the words of fools and powermongers, you oppressed people in the name of Dawg, you heeded not reality, and you did it all for fear of punishment and for desire for reward! Get thee hence!”

    And Lo! The YEC did cringe away, as the mighty visage of the Angel fixed him in its implacable grace and cast him out.

    Quoth the Angel to atheist: “You did the best you could, with what you knew. You did not listen to the words of those who would have you believe a fantasy. Enter, and be welcome to Heaven”.

    (So it is written)

  169. Tethys says

    Looky thar, it’s a whole circle jerk of creationists who break commandments. I would prefer to walk over hot coals than watch more liars claim nonsense about dinosaurs.

  170. John Morales says

    (There are three shifts; the Guardian Angel, the Lurker at the Gate, and the Watcher by the Threshold. Not that bad, in their off-time, but when on the job — Oy!)

  171. txpiper says

    “your edited version of an edited version of a collection of old texts, many of which were culled from the collection because the contradictions were even more evident”
    .
    This is what you believe, not what you know. It’s an extension of the bronze-age goat herders mantra. You heard someone else say something like this, you liked what you heard, and now you repeat it. There is plenty of serious scholarship that says you are ignorant, and wrong.
    =
    “I of course know damn well that “It is written” is a naked appeal to authority”
    .
    “It is written” just repels tuatara’s belief that someone is making this stuff up. Prophecy begins in Genesis, ends in Revelation and is an essential element in just about every book in between. You might not like it, but there is no place to hide from it. They call them prophets for a reason.

  172. Tethys says

    John of Patmos (author of revelations) was banished from Rome because he was a raving lunatic who refused to stop bothering the public about his end times delusional beliefs.

    He very possibly had syphilis, as the insanity is a symptom.

    Patmos was a leper colony. John would starve himself in a cave, where he hallucinated. This resulted in the extra insane book of delusions
    called Revelations.

    Nowadays he would get some nice drugs and electroshock treatment for his mental illnesses.

  173. John Morales says

    This is what you believe, not what you know. It’s an extension of the bronze-age goat herders mantra.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Development_of_the_Hebrew_Bible_canon

    Bah, what do historians know? History was poofed into existence but a few thousand years ago!

    (BTW, the Tanakh was iron-age; the earlier myths they syncretised were the bronze-age stuff; hey, did you know that Jawa — um, Jahweh — had a wife, back in the day? Part of a pantheon, with different tribes having different patron deities)

    “It is written” just repels tuatara’s belief that someone is making this stuff up.

    “Repels”? Heh.

    But hey, it’s your belief system. If you want to claim it’s other than what it evidently is, feel free — it will fit the pattern, anyway.
    But do note you assert that “It is written” is not an idiom for the Word of God as written in Scripture, it’s just something repellent. So it is written.

    (Now, there’s prophesy for you! Back in the day, someone coined the phrase just to repel tuatara’s belief that someone is making this stuff up; how it might do that is left to faith 😉 )

  174. tuatara says

    Many things have been written by humans, txpiper. It is what people do (ever since we invented writing), and we do so under many pseudonyms.
     

    It is written in many places that christianity is bullshit and it is written in many places that the bible is bullshit.

    It is written that t***p is a crook, and it is written that t***p is the best thing since sliced bread.
    It has even been written that you are an idiot.
     

    “It is writren” is not remerkable to me. What is written in the bible is no more truthful than any ancient creation myth that has already been discarded as nonsense (often considered nonsence by xians, which is rather ironic).

  175. says

    Yeah, right, the Christian idiot who’s been dead wrong about everything is talking about “serious scholarship.” Bless his little heart. I hope he wises up before Jesus tells him “Depart from me, I never knew you.” (That’s also written, remember?)

  176. Holms says

    #186

    The notion of stretchy tissue being 67 million to 65 million years old sort of taxes common sense, doesn’t it?

    It used to, until documented examples were discovered by independent teams.

    ___

    #194
    drums in the deep
    we cannot get out

    ___

    #195 back to the incredibly unaware

    This is what you believe, not what you know. […] You heard someone else say something like this, you liked what you heard, and now you repeat it. There is plenty of serious scholarship that says you are ignorant, and wrong.

    A better description of yourself will be difficult to find. Do you also look in the mirror and think the face staring back at you is someone else?

  177. Tethys says

    We are at 201 comments and have now covered cell biology, evolutionary biochemistry, and geology.

    Astrobiology and physics are also needed to explain how life originated.

    We observe that matter tends to self-order and have invented fractal geometry to describe this phenomena. There is an entire branch of specialized physics that deals with electromagnetism and plasma fields.

    If you compare the model of the magnetic fields of a planet to the structure of a cell, you might notice that they are very similar.

    Plasma is a very odd state of matter, but the late bombardment would have repeatedly created plasma fields in earths oceans.

    I didn’t take any higher physics in school, but it seems like a logical conclusion that non-living bubbles of amino acids formed abiotic protocells, which then became magnetized into self replicating ion pumps.

    Maybe Mano can explain how applying an electrical current to an ocean full of active chemistry creates ordered matter? It’s fascinating, but the math and physics involved are highly complex.

  178. Mano Singham says

    Tethys @#201,

    Abiogenesis is way out of my league but I think it is safe to say that it has shifted from being a mystery that scientists have no idea as to how to even begin addressing to a puzzle to be solved, and that is a major transition towards creating a viable paradigm. Some interesting studies can be found at Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life’s Origin by Robert M. Hazen (2005), What is Life? by Addy Pross (2012), and Ricardo, Alonso, and Jack W. Szostak. 2009. “The Origin of Life on Earth: Fresh Clues Hint at How the First Living Organisms Arose from Inanimate Matter” in Scientific American 301
    (September): 54–61, 2009 at https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/origin-of-life-on-earth/

  179. says

    “It is written” just repels tuatara’s belief that someone is making this stuff up.

    No it doesn’t; it just means someone wrote down what they’d made up.

  180. txpiper says

    “it seems like a logical conclusion that non-living bubbles of amino acids formed abiotic protocells, which then became magnetized into self replicating ion pumps.”
    .
    That is only desperately hopeful. It isn’t logical at all.

    Michael Denton described the complexity of a living cell several years ago:

    ““To grasp the reality of life as it has been revealed by molecular biology, we must magnify a cell a thousand million times until it is twenty kilometres in diameter and resembles a giant airship large enough to cover a great city like London or New York. What we would then see would be an object of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design. On the surface of the cell we would see millions of openings, like the port holes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter one of these openings we would find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity.
    We would see endless highly organized corridors and conduits branching in every direction away from the perimeter of the cell, some leading to the central memory bank in the nucleus and others to assembly plants and processing units.
    The nucleus itself would be a vast spherical chamber more than a kilometre in diameter, resembling a geodesic dome inside of which we would see, all neatly stacked together in ordered arrays, the miles of coiled chains of the DNA molecules. A huge range of products and raw materials would shuttle along all the manifold conduits in a highly ordered fashion to and from all the various assembly plants in the outer regions of the cell. …

    “We would see around us, in every direction we looked, all sorts of robot-like machines. We would notice that the simplest of the functional components of the cell, the protein molecules, were astonishingly, complex pieces of molecular machinery, each one consisting of about three thousand atoms arranged in highly organized 3-D spatial conformation. We would wonder even more as we watched the strangely purposeful activities of these weird molecular machines, particularly when we realized that, despite all our accumulated knowledge of physics and chemistry, the task of designing one such molecular machine--that is one single functional protein molecule--would be completely beyond our capacity at present and will probably not be achieved until at least the beginning of the next century. …

    “We would see that nearly every feature of our own advanced machines had its analogue in the cell: artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction. In fact, so deep would be the feeling of deja-vu, so persuasive the analogy, that much of the terminology we would use to describe this fascinating molecular reality would be borrowed from the world of late twentieth-century technology”

  181. Tethys says

    Thanks Mano! The SA article references several of the concepts we have presented to txpiper as rebuttals to his assertions about biochemistry.

    However, while many of them mention comets and asteroids as the source of various chemicals and water, none of them seem to take into account the effects of repeatedly turning entire oceans into a superconducting charged plasma field.

    Plasma physics and magneto hydrodynamic systems are the areas where I am not very knowledgeable, and attempting to learn more about Plasma is difficult when all the explanations are complex differential equations rather than words.

    Electrical activity is a property of living cells, but positing their beginnings in a quantum plasma field which induced their order sounds like something out of Star Trek.

    Life arising from a plasma field does explain the chirality of living cells, which seems to be inherent in the geometry of the cell itself, rather than a genetic property.

    . Collectively, these observations suggest that the existing cortical structural information of a progenitor cell is repeated in its progeny, propagating the cell’s global pattern, including its handedness. These analyses also indicated that nuclear genes are not involved in determining handedness [9]. Thus, a pre-existing chiral structure, rather than specific genetic information for cell chirality formation, dictates the cell chirality in the next generation. These phenomena are referred to as ‘cortical inheritance’ or ‘structural memory’, and were a biological mystery for a long time

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5104503/#!po=15.0000

  182. Tethys says

    Hey txpiper, I really don’t need to hear more of your silly assertions and pleas for attention.
    You can believe any illogical superstition you want.

    The model of the forces involved in an MHD systems found under Structures in this Wiki pretty much looks like a cell, because those same forces were what ordered and induced electromagnetism in the matter within the cells.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetohydrodynamics

  183. says

    And now txpippy is going back to that other old creationist blither-point, comparing living cells to factories. Which I guess is kinda easy to do, if you’ve never seen the inside of either.

  184. txpiper says

    They’ve just made their way back to ideas pretty much indistinguishable from spontaneous generation. I guess once the line between what is possible and what is impossible is sufficiently blurred, it is inevitable.
    =
    Nobody is trying to fake you out, John. Motors are machines.

  185. Tethys says

    Michael John Denton is a British-Australian proponent of intelligent design and a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.

    Cells aren’t machines so bloviating about their magical design is quite pointless.

  186. John Morales says

    Nobody is trying to fake you out, John.

    Heh.

    No. Point is, you are taking metaphor literally.

    One thing I’ve noticed about self-proclaimed Babble literalists is how they cherry pick what is supposedly literal.

    For example:
    Luke 6:29-30
    29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic[a] either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.

    (Christians are well-known for turning the other cheek, Crusades and Inquisitions and Guns for Jesus freaks aside)

    For example:
    Luke 14:26
    “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

    (Christians are well-known for hating their own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes. Well, other than those I’ve met and those I’ve heard about and the history books)

    etc.

    But poofing the universe into existence a few thousand years ago?
    Quite literal. Took 7 days, and the last one was a rest day (hard work for puny gods).

    Well, other than the contradictions in Genesis 1 and 2, which are carefully explained away as a difference in emphasis rather than timings.

    Etc.

    That is only desperately hopeful. It isn’t logical at all.

    Of course not. What could be more logical than a magical being (itself uncreated and most certainly unevolved) poofing cells into existence a few thousand years ago?

    (Because this is how science goes: “And here, a miracle occurs”)

    This is the fun time, before Mano calls time. 🙂

  187. John Morales says

    Tethys, don’t stoop to the level of our YEC.
    Hey may be a loonie, but he knows his biochemistry.

    Same article:

    Denton gained a medical degree from Bristol University in 1969 and a PhD in biochemistry from King’s College London in 1974. He was a senior research fellow in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand from 1990 to 2005.

    Notable is how txpiper has no qualms about citing scientific authority and cherry-picking it when imaginining it supports their magical worldview; why do the same sort selective quoting?

  188. txpiper says

    Was Denton’s description inaccurate or exaggerated?
    .
    “Cells aren’t machines so bloviating about their magical design is quite pointless.”

    Calling them machines is inadequate because it loses track of the complexity involved.

  189. Tethys says

    Science is indistinguishable from magic, if you don’t understand even the most basic concepts of everything from geology to microbiology to physics.

    In reading about protein dynamics, I came across the subgrouping of ‘Dark Proteons’ which again reads like something from Star Trek and astrophysics rather than biology.

    It estimated to be about 14% of the proteome in archaea and bacteria, and as much as 44–54% of the proteome in eukaryotes and viruses, is dark.[2] The origin of these dark proteins is unclear. Large portion of the dark proteome are of viral origin. Dark protein regions are dark due to originating from unusual organisms with no sufficient close relatives in current protein databases to provide protein to protein data on sequence alignments and structure determination.

    ‘Motor’ proteins and Inherently Disordered Proteins are linked in the equally fascinating Wiki on Dark Proteomes. Microphysics might be a better analogy for the dynamics involved in cell biology. In effect, every cell is a tiny body in space, with its own inherent magnetic fields which self order the matter.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_proteome

  190. John Morales says

    Was Denton’s description inaccurate or exaggerated?

    Yes indeed, in both cases, except in the evocative, allegorical, metaphorical, poetic sense.

    You know, like “The sky got angrier” or “The cogs and gears of the justice system began to grind” or “She died of a broken heart” or “A city is a living organism”. That type of thing.

    And, did you even look at the article?

    Here, for you: “Denton described himself as an agnostic.”

    Calling them machines is inadequate because it loses track of the complexity involved.

    Always has amused me when people can’t see beyond the embedded teleological metaphors in our language.

    No. Calling them machines is inadequate because it implies design and purpose; if only you mob would realise the most basic of the logical flaws in your conceit: you posit the thing that made the things for which there is no known maker that then proceeded to make the universe (“Creation”) which then somehow resulted in life (“Creatures”); whereas the proposed scientific explanations begin with the universe and its unfolding from time primeval, leaving aside the additional complication.

    In short: if everything is created, what created the creator of everything?

  191. Tethys says

    Tethys, don’t stoop to the level of our YEC.
    Hey may be a loonie, but he knows his biochemistry.

    Most of the proponents of ID employed by the DI have real degrees in science John. It’s not cherry picking to automatically discredit anyone based on their association with the Discovery Institute. The biochemists seem particularly prone to describing cell functions in miraculous and magical terminology, but there is nothing magical about magnetic polarity or ion pumps.

  192. John Morales says

    Anyway, perhaps I’m being harsh.

    So, for our YEC, the true wonder of cells (and it’s quite the impressive video!)

  193. John Morales says

    Tethys,

    Most of the proponents of ID employed by the DI have real degrees in science John.

    I’ve been around FTB since its inception (and even before, in SB, and even before, at PZ’s original blog. I know that.

    I also know it’s a paid job.

    (They get paid to come up with pabulum for their employers)

    Again, point was that txpiper will, if possible, try to use scientific authority whenever possible to support their stupid conceit that’s akin to flat-earth.

    (Obviously, that quotation is not exactly a scientific paper, though it is from a qualified scientist.
    Don’t ask me my opinion of Michiu Kaku or Paul Davies, for example.
    Woo abides)

  194. Holms says

    #204 tx
    In this thread alone, you’ve brought up then abandoned:

    birds are not descended from dinosaurs ==> feathers cannot have evolved ==> wikipedia fails to detail the entire history of every gene involved in feather development ==> muscles associated with feathers cannot have evolved ==> standard teleological argument ==> abiogenesis ==> death is a corruption of original design and here’s a scientist that I will pretend supports this ==> the description of apoptosis includes the word ‘programmed’ therefore design…

    And now back to your old standby, irreducible complexity! Oh and of course the entire course of silliness has been interspersed with “[X established fact] is stooopid, because it just is”.

    Squirmy squirm, wriggle and dodge.

    #209 “Motors are machines.”
    I’m sure this felt like a meaningful distinction to make, but given that John just pointed out the word ‘machine’ is frequently used to describe natural processes without any implication of design, it falls flat. The comment you are replying to debunked the point you wanted to make, yet you still went ahead with it.

    You are dumb.

  195. txpiper says

    “the embedded teleological metaphors in our language”
    .
    Metaphors in the language isn’t the problem. Your teleological problems are about things like usefulness, intent, function and purpose. Organized systems, machines, complexes, devices and mechanisms do not conceive, design and assemble themselves. You want to try again explaining how random DNA replication errors configured the superior oblique pulley arrangement that enables your eyes to rotate so you can read this?

  196. John Morales says

    Organized systems, machines, complexes, devices and mechanisms do not conceive, design and assemble themselves.

    It follows that your Creator Intelligent Designer did not conceive, design or assemble themselves.

    Therefore, your claim boils down to it being created by something else, which was itself created by something else, and so forth ad infinitum

    Heh.

    You want to try again explaining how random DNA replication errors configured the superior oblique pulley arrangement that enables your eyes to rotate so you can read this?

    <snicker>

    Already have, umpteen times.
    Same way that genetic algorithms and evolutionary computing works; by exploring the possibility space and allowing beneficial random changes to tend to persist and the converse for detrimental changes.

    In short, trial-and-error.
    Something you clearly cannot grasp.

  197. Tethys says

    I also know it’s a paid job

    Yes, which is why I noted that txpipers latest cited scientific authority is affiliated with the Discovery institute, so why are you explaining this or claiming I’m cherry picking?

    John Again, point was that txpiper will, if possible, try to use scientific authority whenever possible to support their stupid conceit that’s akin to flat-earth.

    Yes, I have vetted three examples in this thread alone by my recollection. Dr Steinburg is the only one was cited who is not a DI member, though txpiper did misrepresent his science paper and elided the parts of his research that contradicted his design claims about evolutionary biochemistry.

  198. John Morales says

    Tethys:

    … why are you explaining this or claiming I’m cherry picking?

    Because you presented an excerpt that was entirely about his affiliation, while (at least to me) conspicuously avoiding his credentials and expertise in his former vocation.

    (You mention the bad, but not the good.
    You mention what supports your point, but not what does not)

    Anyway, your choice whether or not to do that sort of thing.
    Me, I do like to not be vulnerable to such criticisms.

  199. Tethys says

    John

    Me, I do like to not be vulnerable to such criticisms.

    You are the sole critic, which requires you missing every single comment I have made over this thread. However, you somehow feel a need to explain basic logic to me. It is quite mystifying.

    I read Dr Steinburgs work, and quoted the parts that were elided by txpiper. After 200 comments of circular drivel, I think merely noting the DI affiliation of cited source is sufficient.

  200. John Morales says

    Tethys:

    You are the sole critic, which requires you missing every single comment I have made over this thread. However, you somehow feel a need to explain basic logic to me. It is quite mystifying.

    So, when I quoted you, I missed the comment, in your estimation?

    (And, are you trying to insinuate that if only one person is critical, the criticism is thereby invalid? Surely not!)

    After 200 comments of circular drivel, I think merely noting the DI affiliation of cited source is sufficient.

    I think it’s doing basically the same type of thing as txpiper.
    And, so, you deserve the same sort of response.

    (You do get that was my criticism, right?
    Though I was gentler with you, for reasons)

    But hey, go ahead. Your choice.

    (Perhaps I was too allusive, bringing up Michiu Kaku and Paul Davies.
    Their woo is not due to lack of knowledge, either)

  201. John Morales says

    Now, where we?

    Ah yes, Biblical literalism.

    Matthew 19:21
    Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

    Luke 6:30
    “Give to everyone who asks of you,” Jesus said, “and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back”.

    (I’ve somehow failed to notice how Christians sell what they have and give it to the poor, and never seek to take back what is taken from them. Christians never sue!)

  202. Tethys says

    @John
    Dismissing a source entirely in a comment thread due to its lack trustworthiness is in no way cherry picking, so your criticism is baseless trolling.

    That which is asserted without evidence applies equally to both critiques, and txpipers sources.

  203. Holms says

    #220 tx
    Organized systems, machines, complexes, devices and mechanisms do not conceive, design and assemble themselves.

    After all this time, you still think our claim involves design? We don’t have to explain ‘design’ in nature, as we do not posit such a thing. That’s your own paradigm intruding while you attempt to summarise our position, you seem unable to escape it.

    In nice small sentences: we posit assembly due to stochastic interplay between forces. Random mutations plus non-random retention. Evolution as cumulative iteration on prior forms.

  204. John Morales says

    Dismissing a source entirely in a comment thread due to its lack trustworthiness is in no way cherry picking, so your criticism is baseless trolling.

    Ahem.
    Same article:

    Denton gained a medical degree from Bristol University in 1969 and a PhD in biochemistry from King’s College London in 1974. He was a senior research fellow in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand from 1990 to 2005.

    You dismissed him for lack of trustworthiness, txpiper quoted him because of his trustworthiness. Thing is, txpiper quoted him because of his expertise, and you did not dispute his expertise.

    That which is asserted without evidence applies equally to both critiques, and txpipers sources.

    Listen to yourself!

    So. You want to get disputatious. I can accommodate you.

    I fucking used your very own reference which you yourself adduced as evidence!
    You have already cited the evidence upon which my critique was based, I just noted your notable elision; wherefore any assertion without evidence on my part?

    It’s there in the article, it’s not mentioned in your comment, and you did not properly dispute txpiper’s point, but rather indulged in a simplistic ad hom.

    Hey. Did you know I adopted ‘truth machine’ as my sifu, back in the day?

    (Nobody is safe)

  205. txpiper says

    “Already have, umpteen times.
    Same way that genetic algorithms and evolutionary computing works; by exploring the possibility space and allowing beneficial random changes to tend to persist and the converse for detrimental changes.
    In short, trial-and-error.”
    .
    I don’t think simulating an unguided, random process by using agents and computers, or invoking algorithmic rules, is reasonable. But can you actually apply this trial and error exploration to the development of anything? How would evolutionary computing simultaneously develop the superior oblique muscle and the trochlea pulley? Can you use your imagination and describe the beneficial mutations that would be doing the persisting?

    Now, don’t get excited and claim that I’m asking you for the history of DNA all the way back to the time when the asteroid hit the warm sea of chemical soup. Let’s just focus on this one little subsystem, and ignore skull, nerves and blood supply for now. Once upon a time, there was no superior oblique, or a cartilage loop for it to pass through. But somehow, mutations generated the information necessary to define the muscle, and the trochlea, and configure, position and fasten them so that they would work together (but not teleologically, of course). Can you explain how?

  206. John Morales says

    I don’t think simulating an unguided, random process by using agents and computers, or invoking algorithmic rules, is reasonable.

    Not simulating the process — actually employing the process.
    Which you obstinately claims does not and cannot work, though it does.

    How would evolutionary computing simultaneously develop the superior oblique muscle and the trochlea pulley?

    Heh. You really can’t fathom the concept, can you.

    Evolutionary computing is proof that the process works, but it’s just a meta-algorithm, instantiated differently.

    Can you explain how?

    It is evident to me that, even if I could (obviously, I am not an evolutionary biologist), you would just deny it and say it makes no sense.

    See, part of your problem is that you have to repudiate the idea of Deep Time.

    You’ve already ignored the info I provided as to the basis for radioisotope dating, though I chose a specifically Christian-friendly explanation by a Christian.
    Here is the explanation again:
    https://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/wiens.html

    I know you will repudiate, because the science (physics, in this case) though well-established shows results that disagree with your conceit.

    I know you will also repudiate dendrochronology, too, since even tree rings record exceeds your silly book’s timeline.

    You want to understand any of this stuff, you can’t go around dismissing established science because you either don’t like the results or you can’t understand them.

    Fact is, you will not believe anything that requires a longer time period than your fable has it. You are clearly trying to ask a rhetorical question, which just as clearly a form of saying “I don’t and I can’t and I won’t believe any of that ever”.

    You can’t take even baby steps towards knowledge.
    You’re impervious to new information if it conflicts with your primitive beliefs.

    Really, it’s a very stupid thing to do. But it becomes you.

  207. txpiper says

    “It is evident to me that, even if I could (obviously, I am not an evolutionary biologist)”
    .
    So, you can’t. And neither can evolutionary biologists. You can confirm that by asking them. There are probably several nearby in the FTB’s.

    The problem isn’t insufficient specialized education, or lack of imagination. The problem is that the notion of random errors generating complex genetic definitions is stupid. Errors simply cannot design pulley systems. Things like that do not happen, and deep time doesn’t help.

    I’ve pointed out before that the mutations/selection idea is not something that was discovered. It is just the only available option. There are no alternate sources for genetic information that you can tolerate. You are forced by creed to believe something asinine.

  208. John Morales says

    The problem is that the notion of random errors generating complex genetic definitions is stupid. Errors simply cannot design pulley systems.

    Not errors — random changes.

    You really can’t grasp that method of exploring possibility space, can you?

    Anyway, bet you’re wrong.
    <clickety-click>

    Here: https://cjme.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s10033-021-00548-5

    Based on the objective function and constraint conditions, 720 points around the tension pulley were considered as the optimized individual group. Every 45° point on the circumference of a non-circle was selected, and eight points were used as optimization points. An adaptive evolutionary algorithm was designed to iteratively optimize the initial tension pulley based on the minimum synchronous belt slack. The largest number of iterations was 100, and the convergence criterion was a change of less than 1×10−4 in the objective function. The optimized point was interpolated using a B-spline function to fit the curve of the noncircular tension pulley. The algorithm flowchart is shown in Figure 8, and the optimization solution was obtained.

    Huh. Waddayano. That took me a few seconds.

    I’ve pointed out before that the mutations/selection idea is not something that was discovered. It is just the only available option.

    Um, what you’ve been claiming all along is that it makes no sense, that it can’t work, that it doesn’t happen. Reality is for the rest of us, but not for you.

    You are forced by creed to believe something asinine.

    Sure. The liar always thinks others lie, the cheat that others cheat, and you think other’s beliefs are an asinine creed.

    Your psychological projection is on display again.

    (If reality is asinine, then so be it)

  209. John Morales says

    Anyway, as a Bible literalist, surely you’ve sold your possessions and given them to the poor, so you have no possessions. Right? :>

  210. John Morales says

    Hey, what’s it like hating your own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even your own life?

    Is it fun?

  211. John Morales says

    Actually, this is fun.

    Mark 12:31
    And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

    In short, one has to hate their family and one’s own life, and also hate everyone’s life too.

    So it is written.

    (What was that about asinine creeds?)

  212. John Morales says

    Isaiah 11:12:
    “And gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”

    Earth has four corners.

    So it is written.

  213. txpiper says

    “obviously, I am not an evolutionary biologist”
    .
    Yeah, you’re not exactly pegging the meter as a theologian, either.

  214. txpiper says

    “Isaiah 11:12:
    “And gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” ”
    .
    Try on verse 11.

  215. John Morales says

    Mate! I’m damn well quoting the Bible, those are the written words.

    Either you take them literally, or you take them metaphorically.

    But you’re a literalist, no?

    But yes, I’m yanking your chain a bit. Did you notice I’ve been using different translations of the Bible?

    There’s not a Bible, there are many Bibles.
    Because, instead of converging on truths as does science, mythos is naturally schismatic and diverges into splinter sects. Tens of thousands of Christianity, right now.

    (Is it the “pillars of the Earth”, or is it the “foundations of the Earth”?
    Different words for different babbles)

    Yeah, you’re not exactly pegging the meter as a theologian, either.

    I’m not doing either exegesis or eisegesis, am I?
    I’m quoting and taking the quotes literally. Your very own schtick.

    (See how silly that looks, when one does not pick and choose what to take literally?)

  216. John Morales says

    Perhaps a little levity.
    Joke by Emo Philips:

    Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

    He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

    He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!”

    Northern Conservative†Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.

  217. Holms says

    # tx
    The problem isn’t insufficient specialized education, or lack of imagination. The problem is that the notion of random errors generating complex genetic definitions is stupid.

    How have you proven that? You demand detailed proofs from us, but provide none yourself. So, why can’t evolution produce a pulley system? With detail beyond ‘because it can’t’ or ‘because that’s stupid’ if you don’t mind.

  218. John Morales says

    1 Samuel 18:27
    David rose up and went, he and his men, and struck down two hundred men among the Philistines. Then David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full number to the king, that he might become the king’s son-in-law. So Saul gave him Michal his daughter for a wife.

    Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Foreskins

    (So it is written)

  219. John Morales says

    Genesis 17:11
    And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.

    So it is written.

    (Lots of Bible verses about foreskins.
    Weird obsession by the Creator of the universe, but it is what it is)

  220. John Morales says

    Ezekiel 1:15–21; Ezekiel 3:13; Ezekiel 10:9–19; Ezekiel 11:22

    (To summarise:)
    Cherubim have four faces: that of a lion, an ox, an eagle, and a human. They have straight legs, four wings, and bull hooves for feet that gleam like polished brass. One set of wings covers their body, and the other is used for flight.

    (So it is written)

  221. says

    The problem is that the notion of random errors generating complex genetic definitions is stupid.

    Yes, that’s a stupid notion — and you know what’s even stupider? People like you who think (or pretend to think) that that’s what biologists actually believe.

    Seriously, we’ve corrected you MANY times on this mistake of yours, and you keep on repeating it; which just proves you’re nothing but an attention-hogging simpleton.

  222. txpiper says

    “How have you proven that?”
    .
    Mutations are essential to evolution. Every genetic feature in every organism was, initially, the result of a mutation.
    There is no alternate source for new genetic information. Every organ, system, specialized feature and species is the result of an accumulation of random mutations. New genes and gene variants do not just appear. They are, somehow, the result of mutations. That is the theory, and that is the claim. It is the claimant responsibility to prove the claim.

    I do not believe such nonsense, but you are stuck with it. You have no option.

  223. Tethys says

    Why would anyone think there are alternate options to observed reality? Despite txpiper having the intellectual capability of a rutabaga, unique genetic mutations are in every genome, and we know that is exactly how individuals develop novel traits that are then inherited by their offspring.

  224. txpiper says

    “and we know”
    .
    You are not talking about what is actually known. That is only what you believe. We know what mutations can really do. What is actually known is observed reality, like this:

    “The fundamental processes involved in the mechanism of hearing seem to be controlled by hundreds of genes and hereditary hearing impairment may be caused by a large variety of genetic mutations in different genes.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20114151/

    Genes are complex, purposeful, functional things. Nobody has observed genes being accidentally built. You have to be a deluxe sucker to believe that hundreds of hearing-related genes working in concert are the result of random errors.

  225. says

    “Purposeful?” Can you prove their “purpose?” Of course not. You are not talking about what is actually known. That is only what you believe.

  226. Tethys says

    Genes are bits of coding DNA. They have exactly the same purpose as a virus. To replicate themselves. Deafness doesn’t stop reproduction from happening, so all of it’s claimed irreducible complexity isn’t even relevant.

  227. Holms says

    #250 tx
    mutations providing new function has been proven beyond doubt, but I seem to recall you dismissing the demonstrations of this out of hand ‘because stoopid’ or ‘nope doesn’t count’. Hence asking you to make an argument against it beyond those, even though I was pretty certain it was a waste of time to check.

    I was confident you had no more sophisticated argument beyond those, and you have not changed my evaluation.

  228. says

    You have to be a deluxe sucker to believe that hundreds of hearing-related genes working in concert are the result of random errors.

    Repetitive troll is Repetitive troll is Repetitive troll is …

  229. txpiper says

    “Emily Standen is a scientist at the University of Ottawa, who studies Polypterus senegalus, AKA the Senegal bichir, a fish that not only has gills but also primitive lungs. Regular polypterus can breathe air at the surface, but they are “much more content” living underwater, she says. But when Standen took Polypterus that had spent their first few weeks of life in water, and subsequently raised them on land, their bodies began to change immediately. The bones in their fins elongated and became sharper, able to pull them along dry land with the help of wider joint sockets and larger muscles. Their necks softened. Their primordial lungs expanded and their other organs shifted to accommodate them. Their entire appearance transformed. “They resembled the transition species you see in the fossil record, partway between sea and land,” Standen told me. According to the traditional theory of evolution, this kind of change takes millions of years. But, says Armin Moczek, an extended synthesis proponent, the Senegal bichir “is adapting to land in a single generation”. He sounded almost proud of the fish.”
    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2022/jun/28/do-we-need-a-new-theory-of-evolution

  230. John Morales says

    Heh.

    An insinuated false equivalence between provisional theories and supposedly revealed knowledge.
    And, of course, the revealingly ignorant conflation of adaptation and evolution.

    What Lynch has shown, over the past two decades, is that many of the complex ways DNA is organised in our cells probably happened at random. Natural selection has shaped the living world, he argues, but so too has a sort of formless cosmic drifting that can, from time to time, assemble order from chaos. When I spoke to Lynch, he said he would continue to extend his work to as many fields of biology as possible – looking at cells, organs, even whole organisms – to prove that these random processes were universal.

    As with so many of the arguments that divide evolutionary biologists today, this comes down to a matter of emphasis. More conservative biologists do not deny that random processes occur, but believe they’re much less important than Doolittle or Lynch think.

  231. Tethys says

    It’s like watching somebody repeatedly running head first into a cliff.

    do we need a new theory of evolution

    Evolutionary theory predicts that the individuals in a population with mutations which enhance the ability to adapt, will gain a positive selection advantage over time, so we do not need to do anything but quote the fish raising Scientist.

    Standen said she knew there would be differences in the land-raised fish, but found the nature of the anatomical changes interesting.

    “I was surprised at how well it mirrored what was going on in the fossil record.”

    One fish that lived 375 million years ago in the Canadian Arctic, Tiktaalik, shows many traits that would have allowed it to support itself on land, such as a mobile neck, a robust ribcage, and shoulders, elbows and partial wrists on its forelimbs.

    The similarities between the land-raised bichirs and fossil fish at the time of the move to land suggest that movement and behaviour of the land-raised bichirs might also reflect changes in the fossil fish as they adapted to life on land.

    “It’s nice to be able to compare something living that has a similar body shape to fossil to get an idea how they move,” Standen said.

    But she thinks the most interesting finding of the study is it suggests individual animals’ ability to adapt to changes in their environment plays a role in evolution.

    Standen is now busy raising more baby bichirs on land so she can look at changes not just to different bones in the their bodies, but also changes in their muscles.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/walking-bichir-fish-may-reveal-how-vertebrates-moved-onto-land-1.2748483

  232. Holms says

    When exercising, the muscles you work out are the ones that grow. This fish has already adapted to aquatic and dry life, and heavy exposure to one exercised those elements of its physiology. Nothing special, and certainly nothing that undermines evolution as we know it.

  233. txpiper says

    The fish experiment just shows that neither random mutations or natural selection were involved in the adaptations. The information was already in the genome. This just adds absurdity to the dull idea of errors building complicated systems.

  234. John Morales says

    It is evidently true that, to an idiot, the “fish experiment” just shows that neither random mutations or natural selection were involved in the adaptations.

    (Don’t try it at home with your goldfish, kiddies!)

  235. Tethys says

    Bichar have multiple adaptations that allow them to walk on land, breathe, and survive in very shallow water.

    The scientists are far more excited by the anatomical similarity between the Bichars that were raised in water 2mm deep so they couldn’t float, and ancient fossil fishes that also had proto-legs and could walk on land.

  236. John Morales says

    I should note (I probably already have, but not in this thread) how txpiper keeps calling changes in the genome ‘errors’.

    Those that are the result of non-identical replication are (which are not the entire cause genomic changes) “errors” in the sense that the replication was not perfect, but are just “changes” in the sense that the newly-formed genome differs from the original genome.

    (Without change, no improvement can occur)

  237. Holms says

    #261 tx
    Already explained, but you don’t have any grasp of evolutionary concepts whatsoever so you didn’t get it; maybe using human analogies will get through (but probably not).

    If you look at a human of average build, and then look at a bodybuilder, there are obvious differences yet you wouldn’t consider this single-generation speciation or any other thing which undermines evolutionary models. This is simply an example of someone using the potential muscle development the species at large has.

    If you look at another human born and raised near sea level, then look at someone born and raised in a very high altitude, there are differences in oxygenation efficiency and resilience to low pressure, and again this is not a single-generation adaptive change. The differences are entirely due to long term exposure to an unusual environment.

  238. txpiper says

    “txpiper keeps calling changes in the genome ‘errors’.”
    .
    You can call them balloons, or flowers if you like. But they are errors. The words error or mistake occur more than 30 times in this short Nature education article about mutations. Maybe you should contact them and tell them you find that characterization offensive.

    But what you should be offended by are the enzymes the article repeatedly mentions. They function in the interest of fidelity during the replication process to prevent the errors that you believe piled up until new organs and bio-systems were serving their purpose, another word that hurts your feelings.

    One of these days, you should think about at least one of the many monumental chicken first/egg first problems that molest your theory. The origin of replication enzymes would be a good place to start.

  239. says

    No, you stupid git, they’re variations. Calling them “errors” implies some sort of plan, design or standard from which each variation is an unintended and unwanted deviation. And since you can’t prove the existence of any actual design or conscious intent, let alone a “designer” who’d be deciding which variations are “errors,” according to their conscious intent, then you can’t really call any variation an “error.”

  240. Tethys says

    The science makes correct predictions about reality, and explains the origin of species quite elegantly.

    Templating is not magic woo, but txpipe isn’t worth engaging as he doesn’t have a brain.

  241. txpiper says

    “…they’re variations. Calling them “errors” implies some sort of plan, design or standard from which each variation is an unintended and unwanted deviation.”
    .
    “The cellular proteome performs highly varied functions to sustain life. Since most of these functions require proteins to fold properly, they can be impaired by mutations that affect protein structure, leading to diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and Lynch syndrome.”

    Normal people will think that proteins rendered dysfunctional by mutations are not just variations.

  242. John Morales says

    Heh.
    Same old same old. Another Point Refuted A Thousand Times.
    Fact: everyone is a mutant.

    Whyever would a normal person imagine that every generation is more degenerate than its progenitor generation
    Whyever would a normal person imagine that, over time, the genome has been getting more and more dysfunctional?
    Do you have any idea of how many generations of degeneration have passed in even in the puny timespan your mythos allows for life?

    (You imagine you are even slightly normal? What with your religous block towards science?)

  243. tuatara says

    Normal people don’t think that mutations are only beneficial or only detrimental.
    In fact, normal people understand that many mutations that are not detrimental enough to impede reproduction are passed to the next generation in exactly the same way mutations that are beneficial are passed down the generations.
    I know that you find it hard to believe, but mutations do not just give us Alzheimer’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and Lynch syndrome. They also give us opposable thumbs, a large brain and, unfortunately, religious people like you too.
     
    Oh yeah, do you not own a mirror?

    One of these days, you should think about at least one of the many monumental chicken first/egg first problems that molest your theory religion. The origin of replication enzymes your god would be a good place to start.

  244. txpiper says

    “They also give us opposable thumbs, a large brain”
    .
    Yeah, I recall reading that an Australopithecus brain was only about 35% the size of ours. They think the enlargement happened on account of gene dupes. Do you think that could happen again? I’m supposing that skull expansion had to evolve separately, huh?

  245. Tethys says

    Dynamic systems have parallel processes. Even a piping engineer should be able to understand basic physics.

  246. txpiper says

    “You still think large changes happen in one step?”
    .
    I don’t think they happened at all. But you do. How many steps do you think it took for modern humans to accidentally acquire a 1400cc brain (and a matching upscale skull)?

    Australopithecus afarensis is usually believed to be a direct ancestor. They had about a 500cc brain around 4 million supposed years ago. Using 15 years, that would be about 266,000 generations. You’d have to divide that number by the interval between happy mutations. One of Lenski’s E coli cultures was able to use an alternate food source after 31,500 generations, but using that as a metric would mean around 9 helpful replication errors @100cc each. You probably have something more gradual in mind, but you have to consider time for radiation and fixation to occur.

    Hasn’t somebody worked all this out by now?

  247. txpiper says

    “Even a piping engineer should be able to understand basic physics.”
    .
    Even a child can figure out that dynamic systems don’t develop themselves.

    I know people that did the modifications to this test stand for the SSME’s. Those were the days.

  248. Tethys says

    How many steps did it take for humans to accidentally acquire a 1400cc brain and skull?

    Starting from the LCA of humans and the other primates and using a chimpanzee as a proxy, it took about 6 million years, approximately 35 million single nucleotide differences, and approximately 90 Mb of insertions and deletions.

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