OK, it’s a fun Friday post. I guess most of my readers know that I love almost all the birds, and especially parrots. I have owned parrots most of my life, and want to get more, too. I also like to feed the wild birds who come to visit my house. One reason I like them so much is that they are very intelligent and obviously designed by a very clever engineer.
First, let me explain what convergence is, then we’ll look at a recent peer-reviewed scientific publication.
In evolutionary biology, convergent evolution is the process whereby organisms not closely related (not monophyletic), independently evolve similar traits as a result of having to adapt to similar environments or ecological niches.
It is the opposite of divergent evolution, where related species evolve different traits.
On a molecular level, this can happen due to random mutation unrelated to adaptive changes; see long branch attraction. In cultural evolution, convergent evolution is the development of similar cultural adaptations to similar environmental conditions by different peoples with different ancestral cultures. An example of convergent evolution is the similar nature of the flight/wings of insects, birds, pterosaurs, and bats.
All four serve the same function and are similar in structure, but each evolved independently.
So, naturalists say that if two organisms have traits that are similar, it must mean that the trait evolved once in their ancestors, and then the modern species inherited the trait from those ancestors. If evolution is true, the only mechanism they have to develop traits shared by two organisms is mutation and selection. The problems occur when two organisms share similar traits, but they have no recent common ancestor, and no recent shared evolutionary history of mutation and selection.
To learn more how these birds’ brains develop, Mello and his team compared the genome of the blue-fronted Amazon parrot with that of 30 other birds. They found that regions of the parrot genome that regulate when and how genes for brain development are turned on are the same as those found in humans. These so-called ultra-conserved elements evolved in both species at different times, but with similar results.
Well, parrots and humans are completely different creatures, with no recent evolutionary history, and no recent common ancestors. So, if these changes are due to evolution, then we should see them in the very very very distance common ancestor shared by birds and humans. But then shouldn’t they be in all the other animals who descend from that very very very distant common ancestor to?
I’ll tell you what the real explanation is: the real explanation is that God created birds and humans. And, like a clever engineer, he re-used components that produced the behavior he wanted in his birds and his humans. We know how this works, because this is how intelligent agents write code today. Why do we need a naturalistic theory that requires magic to work, when we have a simple explanation that we can observe every time someone writes a blog post, or some code, or anything with information in it?
Anyway, however you feel about that, try to be kind to birds, as they are much smarter and more sensitive than most people think. Put out some bird feeders in the yard, if you don’t have an outdoor cat. And if you do have a cat, then why not put a bell on it, or keep it indoors?
Well, it’s Friday, so I thought we would all benefit from reading about a brand new peer-reviewed study that should be the final nail in the coffin of naturalistic evolution. At least for those with an open mind who are not wedded to the philosophical assumption of naturalism.
Phys.org (which is committed dogmatically to fully naturalistic evolution) reports:
Mark Stoeckle from The Rockefeller University in New York and David Thaler at the University of Basel in Switzerland, who together published findings last week sure to jostle, if not overturn, more than one settled idea about how evolution unfolds.
It is textbook biology, for example, that species with large, far-flung populations—think ants, rats, humans—will become more genetically diverse over time.
But is that true?
“The answer is no,” said Stoeckle, lead author of the study, published in the journal Human Evolution.
For the planet’s 7.6 billion people, 500 million house sparrows, or 100,000 sandpipers, genetic diversity “is about the same,” he told AFP.
The study’s most startling result, perhaps, is that nine out of 10 species on Earth today, including humans, came into being 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.
“This conclusion is very surprising, and I fought against it as hard as I could,” Thaler told AFP.
That reaction is understandable: How does one explain the fact that 90 percent of animal life, genetically speaking, is roughly the same age?
Oh, oh. Pick me, pick me. I know the answer. The answer is that the biological information in living systems was put there by an intelligent agent. You know, the same way that information in books is put there by intelligent agents. And the same way that information in computer code is put there by intelligent agents. And the same way that information in blog posts is put there by intelligent agents. We know what introduces information from our own experience.
Well, what about mutation and selection? Couldn’t they create all this information in a couple hundred thousand years? Well, no. You see, mutation and selection have been tested in the lab to see how much information they can produce over generations and generations. And the conclusion is clear: it is impossible for blind forces to create the amount of information we see in living systems in the short time that is available. In fact, the whole history of the universe is not enough time for evolutionary mechanisms to create the information we have in front of us.
Before we leave the paper reported by Phys.org, here is something about whether we see the gradual emergence of complexity via lots of transitional forms in nature.
Not so much:
[…][A]nother unexpected finding from the study—species have very clear genetic boundaries, and there’s nothing much in between.
“If individuals are stars, then species are galaxies,” said Thaler. “They are compact clusters in the vastness of empty sequence space.”
The absence of “in-between” species is something that also perplexed Darwin, he said.
Indeed. So perplexing.
The evidence we gain from the progress of science is always perplexing to people who assume naturalism, and then try to shoehorn reality to match their religious assumptions. I have an idea. Why don’t we just make science the search for truth, no holds barred? Wouldn’t that be a much better way to do science? Let’s just do science honestly, and stop trying to make it prove things that are comfortable for us.
If the origin of the universe, the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life, the origin of the first living system, and the sudden origin of body plans in the Cambrian explosion are impossible to account for on naturalism, then maybe we need to jettison the philosophical assumption of naturalism, and just go where the evidence leads? What’s wrong with that?
Recorded temperatures at the Bureau of Meteorology’s Thredbo Top automatic weather station have dropped below -10C in the past week, after action was taken to make the facility “fit for purpose”.
A record of the Thredbo Top station for 3am on Wednesday shows a temperature reading of -10.6C. This compares with the BoM’s monthly highlights for June and July, both showing a low of -9.6C.
The BoM said it had taken immediate action to replace the Thredbo station after concerns were raised that very low temperatures were not making it onto the official record. Controversy has dogged the bureau’s automatic weather station network since Goulburn man Lance Pigeon saw a -10.4C reading on the BoM’s website on July 2 automatically adjust to -10C, then disappear.
Later independent monitoring of the Thredbo Top station by scientist Jennifer Marohasy showed a recording of -10.6C vanish from the record.
BoM initially claimed the adjustments were part of its quality control procedures. But bureau chief executive Andrew Johnson later told Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg that investigations had found a number of cold-weather stations were not “fit for purpose” and would be replaced.
Several other temperature measurement stations are also receiving the fix to stop adjusting the raw data:
An in-house investigation that includes two independent experts has been called. The bureau said it rejected allegations aired in some media outlets that it had sought to tamper with temperature data.
It has been reported online that electronic smart cards were allegedly fitted to the BoM’s automatic weather stations, which put a limit on how low temperatures could be recorded in official weather data. The BoM declined to comment ahead of the internal review.
[…]On her website yesterday, Dr Marohasy said it was not the recording devices that were at fault. “To be clear, the problem is not with the equipment; all that needs to be done is for the smart-card readers to be removed,” Dr Marohasy said.
And this was not a situation where the government, which had been lying, corrected itself. Oh no! Challenges to the faked government data came from outside the government, as Bureau of Meteorology minister explained:
“The first we heard of the problem was in early July after (The Australian) approached the Bureau of Meteorology,” the minister said.
You might remember a recent scandal where it was discovered that scientists in the UK had been adjusting the temperatures to “hide the decline” of temperatures in their simulation code.
Here was the data before hiding the decline:
And here was the data after:
That second graph, with “Mike’s Nature trick” to “hide the decline” was sent then to the IPCC to influence climate policy. I have no doubt that socialist governments were very grateful for this “evidence”. Just what they needed to get a mandate from the masses to control businesses and consumer spending were grateful for this hiding of the decline, and rewarded the scientists with many research grants. This is why we call global warming alarmists “watermelons”: green on the outside, and red on the inside.
If you’ve never heard of that Climategate story from 2009 before, you should definitely read about it. Here is a good single post that explains what happened.
The article should be retracted and the handling editor should be dismissed. As an Editor for this journal, I am appalled.
I think that pretending to defend a creationist argument (non-science) in a science journal raises serious doubts about the whole enterprise. The paper should be retracted. As a PLOS ONE editor I believe accepting this situation would seriously damage our credibility.
[…]I am ashamed that the journal staff, the editor responsable for the paper, the reviewers, all ignored this more than obvious red flag resulting on a creationist argument embedded on a scientific paper. I will consider resigning unless exemplary actions are taken by Plos.
As I have said in a separate post, I will resign as an editor of PLOS ONE if this paper is not retracted immediately. PLOS ONE is a scientific journal and I don’t want to have anything to do, not even my name related to a journal tha publishes about superstition and supernatural entities. I will stop editing and I will stop submitting, and I’ll recommend everybody never to submit again to PLOS ONE. I hope we don’t have to go there.
So, you can see that science – as the naturalists conduct it – is not really the search for truth, no holds barred. It’s the attempt to explain nature without reference to a Creator and Designer. Whatever the experiments show must conform to a philosophical assumption (a religion), called naturalism. And the religion of naturalism determines what can and cannot be accepted as science. You can see the same principle at work in the denial of the Big Bang cosmology despite evidence such as the cosmic microwave background radiation, the light element abundances, and the redshifting of light from distant galaxies. Science has shown we live in a created universe that began about 13.7 billion years ago, but here we have atheists in denial of science sitting in positions of power deriding the Creator who has been revealed by experimental science. That’s the power of the naturalistic dogma. And it turns out that the most powerful argument for Darwinian evolution is this: “believe it, or I’ll have you fired, and ruin your career”. This is how Darwinism propagates from old to young – through coercion, and not through real science.
As others have noted, utilization of an intelligent design creationism framework for explaining human anatomy is not acceptable for a scientific journal.
I find the use of religious language in a scietific paper totally unacceptable. I will be watching this paper closely, and distributing it to colleagues. If PLOS ONE does not do something about it, like asking the authors to retratct the paper, or at the very least publishing an explanation, I will stop reviewing papers for PLOS ONE. I do hope the editors of PLOS ONE realize what a huge mistake was to accept publication of a paper with this wording. It says a lot about the care with which a paper is edited.
This article proves that there is something SERIOUSLY wrong with the journal. If the paper isn’t retracted, my students, collaborators and I will have no choice but to refrain from submitting to this once respectable journal. I’m embarrassed for you and embarrassed that some of my proudest papers are in your journal.
[…]This requires a ballistic reaction, not a considered “looking into” the problem!
This is outrageous. If PLOS ONE does not do something about it, i.e., ask the authors to retract the paper, and in any case, if the paper isn’t retracted, my students, collaborators and I will have no choice but to refrain from considering (i..e, reading, reviewing and citing) papers published in PLOS ONE.
Quote totally!! outrageous is the minimum! I published 3 of my papers in PlosOne, but I will never do it again. I’m actually telling all my students and colleagues to boycott the journal and never consider it again!
I have no knowledge to judge this article…
[…]I would recommend to the editor of the journal to exclude definitely the two reviewers that have accepted this manuscript.
As noted by many comments below, this is not a matter of inappropriate wording! This rather seems to be a (successfull) attempt to place an intelligent design argument in a (so far) respected scientific journal. Thus, the only solution is the immediate retraction of this paper! Unless this step has been done, my workgroup and me will refrain from publishing further papers in PLoS!
Changing Creator to Nature will not solve the problem since it still implies a fundamental misunderstanding of evolution. That is there is no design process, no outcome is foreseen. Anything that works better tends to have a selective advantage but that is not a product of design it is a product of selection working on random events. The paper clearly needs a substantive rewrite quite apart from the concerns raised about the significance of the results raised by other comments.
A more important issue is the review process that allowed such nonsense as “Creator” to appear in a journal purportedly devoted to science.
This would seem to bear out a remark by Chinese paleontologist J.Y. Chen, recounted in Darwin’s Doubt, “In China we can criticize Darwin, but not the government; in America, you can criticize the government, but not Darwin.”
So what’s really behind all this fascism?
Consider this quote from famous population geneticist (and Darwinian fundamentalist) Richard Lewontin. And note that he equates science with his chosen religion of naturalism, he doesn’t accept science in the traditional sense of the word, where there is no metaphysical baggage.
Our willingness to accept scientific [i.e. – naturalistic] claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science [i.e. – naturalism] and the supernatural. We take the side of science [i.e. – naturalism] in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific [i.e. – naturalistic] community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science [i.e. – naturalism] somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated.Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.
“Billions and Billions of Demons” by Richard Lewtontin. (Link)
“A priori” means before seeing the facts, before seeing the evidence.
And what is behind the choice of naturalism as the preferred religion? Consider this quote from atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel.
He says this:
“In speaking of the fear of religion, I don’t mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper–namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers.
I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”
(”The Last Word” by Thomas Nagel, Oxford University Press: 1997)
The days of Isaac Newton are long gone, and another Newton will not emerge while the Naturalistic Church is in power. And it’s a taxpayer-funded church, too. Think about that next time you vote for bigger or smaller government.
President Barack Obama, you need to stop golfing and fix the global warming! Radically leftist CNN reluctantly reports.
Get off the roads, and stay off.
That was the message in Georgia and the Carolinas as a snow and ice storm swept through Wednesday, bringing some of the Southeast’s most populous cities to a standstill.
The warnings came as freezing rain brought heavy ice accumulations from Atlanta to Charlotte. Across a large swath of the South, hundreds of thousands of people were without power and thousands of flights were canceled.
Calling ice the biggest enemy, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency. School districts canceled classes and government offices were shuttered in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the traffic paralysis caused by a storm last month.
Up to three-quarters of an inch of ice was expected to accumulate in Atlanta and up to 10 inches of snow and sleet were expected in Raleigh and Charlotte, making travel treacherous.
Also in the storm’s path were Virginia and Washington, with much of the Northeast to follow.
All federal offices in the nation’s capital were ordered closed, and thousands of employees were being told to stay home, according to the Office of Personnel Management.
[…]More than 600,000 customers were without power in the Southeast, power companies told CNN. About 180,000 were Georgia Power Co. customers, the utility said.
South Carolina was the hardest hit, with about 220,000 customers without electricity, while Wilmington, North Carolina, accounted for more than 58,000 outages.
The utilities said Wednesday morning they expect those numbers to rise over the next 24 hours.
Georgia Power, the state’s largest utility, warned that hundreds of thousands could be without electricity for days.
[…]At least 10 deaths have been blamed on the weather, including a 55-year-old man who was killed in a head-on collision in Virginia, authorities said. Two people were killed in Georgia, and two died in North Carolina, they said.
In Texas, three people died when an ambulance driver lost control on an icy patch of road outside of Carlsbad, the state Department of Public Safety said. A patient, a paramedic and another passenger were pronounced dead at the scene.
In Mississippi, authorities blamed the storm for two traffic deaths.
Meanwhile, former NASA climate scientist finds that 95% of global warming predictions have failed when measured against actual global temperatures.
Environmentalists and Democrats often cite a “97 percent” consensus among climate scientists about global warming. But they never cite estimates that 95 percent of climate models predicting global temperature rises have been wrong.
Former NASA scientist Dr. Roy Spencer says that climate models used by government agencies to create policies “have failed miserably.” Spencer analyzed 90 climate models against surface temperature and satellite temperature data, and found that more than 95 percent of the models “have over-forecast the warming trend since 1979, whether we use their own surface temperature dataset (HadCRUT4), or our satellite dataset of lower tropospheric temperatures (UAH).”
[…]Climate scientists have been baffled by the 17-year pause in global warming. At least eight explanations have been offered to explain the lapse in warming, including declining solar activity and natural climate cycles.
We are spending millions and even billions trying to stop this global warming, but clearly, we aren’t doing enough. We need to borrow even more money from our children, otherwise they will be burned to cinders when the Earth turns into Hell.