Saturday, September 21, 2013

IDiots Love Epigenetics

I read everything posted on Uncommon Descent and Evolution News & Views. These are the most important blogs for learning about Intelligent Design Creationism. The posts on those two blogs represent the very best that Intelligent Design Creationism has to offer. Their best minds are behind the posts.

Here, for example, is Denyse O'Leary in action: Turns out some Texas media DID believe Texas bans discussion of evolution.
... epigenetics is to Darwin’s darlings what relativity and quantum mechanics are to Newtonian physics, only worse, much worse. Newtonian physics was useful within its scale. Darwin’s magical mechanism of natural selection is more like phlogiston, which supposedly produced fire the way Darwinism supposedly produces mind from mud.

And if nothing really happens that way, what becomes of Darwin’s magical mechanism? It’s phogliston, the substance that need not exist!
Seriously, that's the best of the best?

You have to imagine that there are some Intelligent Design Creationists with a modicum of intelligence. Why aren't they speaking up to muzzle people like Denyse O'Leary? She's an embarrassment to their cause.


15 comments :

  1. Denyse is truly the gift that keeps on giving. The comical misspelling of "phlogiston" is just a bonus.

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  2. So, they wanted Zach Kopplin, a freshman student of history, to discuss the usage of epigenetics in biology textbooks and were surprised that he couldn't give a detailed answer?

    Zach is a great spokesperson for teaching science as science in the schools, but hardly qualified to be an expert in biology textbook selection criteria.

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  3. "Darwin’s magical mechanism of natural selection is more like phlogiston, which supposedly produced fire the way Darwinism supposedly produces mind from mud."

    "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Gen 2:7

    It's only the Bible that claims we come from mud.
    I was also unaware that natural selection acted on mud!

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  4. Well, Larry, you can't blame them when you have something like this, with such a preposterous title, published in Science Magazine: Evolution Heresy? Epigenetics Underlies Heritable Plant Traits. I'm sure you saw the ID creationists capitalizing on this article on ENV. Danyse is just blindly repeating what everyone else around her is saying.

    And I'm not sure if the more intelligent ID Creationists hold differing views than Danyse's on this particular issue. You must have seen Meyer dedicating a whole chapter to epigenetics in Darwin's Doubt. This is what Meyer has to say about epigenetics as it relates to evolutionary biology (or what he calls neo-Darwinism):

    "These different sources of epigenetic information in embryonic cells pose an enormous challenge to the sufficiency of the neo-Darwinian mechanism. According to neo-Darwinism, new information, form, and structure arise from natural selection acting on random mutations arising at a very low level within the biological hierarchy—within the genetic text. Yet both body-plan formation during embryological development and major morphological innovation during the history of life depend upon a specificity of arrangement at a much higher level of the organizational hierarchy, a level that DNA alone does not determine. If DNA isn’t wholly responsible for the way an embryo develops— for body-plan morphogenesis—then DNA sequences can mutate indefinitely and still not produce a new body plan, regardless of the amount of time and the number of mutational trials available to the evolutionary process. Genetic mutations are simply the wrong tool for the job at hand."

    This is just a more coherent way of expressing what Danyse wanted to say.

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    1. Well, Larry, you can't blame them when you have something like this, with such a preposterous title, published in Science Magazine: Evolution Heresy? Epigenetics Underlies Heritable Plant Traits. I'm sure you saw the ID creationists capitalizing on this article on ENV. Danyse is just blindly repeating what everyone else around her is saying.

      I read the article by journalist Elizabeth Pennisi and I cringed. I think she should be fired for incompetence.

      The difference between scientists and IDiots is that scientists don't take journalists like Elizabeth Pennisi seriously.

      More importantly, evolutionary biologists understand that modern evolution is not restricted to "natural selection acting on random mutations" but Meyer and his crowd of IDiots are stuck in the middle of the last century. That's why they get so excited whenever they see something that doesn't conform to their "Darwinist" view of evolution.

      If they really want to get excited, they should just read a standard evolutionary biology textbook. I recommend that they take a Valium before starting.

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    2. I agree with Larry Moran about Elizabeth Pennisi. I've had enough of her writing on junk DNA and DNA with arsenic in the backbone, and now this.

      It's time we got together, and made a petition to get her fired.

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  5. It would take quite a while to analyze all the kinds of stupid in that quote from Meyer. But he's not far off from what a lot of epigenetics fans are claiming, so whose fault is the stupid?

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    1. Yes, he is far off from what the worst epigenetics fans are claiming. The stupid is his fault.

      Meyer is saying:

      1. No set of mutations can effect body plan. Meyer is literally saying that you could replace a human's genome with the genome of a fruit fly, and epigenetics would make it develop into human form. The stupid is his fault.

      2. Body plan in an embryo is determined by epigenetics, and totally unaffected by DNA.

      3. Epigenetics in turn is unaffected by DNA and by changes therein.

      Meyer is deliberately lying, or mentally unbalanced.

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    2. Diogenes,

      I think that his position may be more accurately represented by saying that he believes that DNA is a necessary but not sufficient condition for morphogenesis, or the origination of new body plans. He explains this point further in the next paragraph:

      "Even in a best-case scenario—one that ignores the immense improbability of generating new genes by mutation and selection—mutations in DNA sequence would merely produce new genetic information. But building a new body plan requires more than just genetic information. It requires both genetic and epigenetic information—information by definition that is not stored in DNA and thus cannot be generated by mutations to the DNA. It follows that the mechanism of natural selection acting on random mutations in DNA cannot by itself generate novel body plans, such as those that first arose in the Cambrian explosion."

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    3. I'm curious, whether genetic or epigenetic or both, how does that support ID? Isn't meyer just using the lame old argument that 'It's really really complex so it must be designed-created by yhwh-jesus-holy-ghost!'?

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    4. As Charles Marshall and others have pointed out, Meyer is constructing a sophisticated god-of-the-gaps argument to prove his case. He's not offering any positive evidence for ID (unless, of course, you buy into his information argument). He's not interested in showing how epigenetic effects are compatible or better explained under his theory. He only wants to show that epigenetics pose theoretical problems to what he calls the neo-Darwinian account of evolution.

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    5. Diogenes:

      As ShadiZ pointed out, and the quote from Meyer shows, that isn't at all what Meyer is saying. You can divide ShadiZ's quote from Meyer into two parts: that before "It follows" and that after. Where he goes beyond epigenetic enthusiasts in in the "It follows" part. Everything up to that point is something I've read from epigenetics fans. Though it's bogus, it can't be ascribed to Meyer. But even if what he says were true (I don't believe it is), his conclusion, the bit after "It follows", would not indeed follow. Meyer is just responsible for the silly conclusion.

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    6. I understand ShadiZ1's clarification about necessary but not sufficient, which is clearly the intent of the second Meyer quote. But the first Meyer quote goes way beyond that.

      Let's just focus on this:

      "DNA sequences can mutate indefinitely and still not produce a new body plan, regardless of the amount of time and the number of mutational trials available to the evolutionary process."

      Mutate indefinitely. Indefinitely. That means you can replace the human genome with the fly genome and there is NO change in body plan. None. Same body plan. Meyer's quote literally means that transplanting a fly genome might make a superficial change-- it might change your hair color. Give you flat arches in your feet. But you're still a vertebrate. No change in body plan can ever be caused by any change in DNA, even the whole genome.

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    7. I think that quote is all about the impossibility of evolution, and Meyer has no interest in the implication you get from it. As a general rule, Meyer has no interest in the implications of anything he says except in so far as they make evolution impossible. And outside that, I don't think he knows or cares what the stuff he writes means.

      Then again, I know of creationists who would agree with what you said. Todd Wood, for example, has advanced the hypothesis that chimpanzees and humans were created with identical genomes, and that all their morphological differences are epigenetic, and that subsequent genetic divergence is irrelevant to morphology.

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  6. "I read everything posted on Uncommon Descent and Evolution News & Views."

    Thank you for your sacrifice, so that we don't have to.

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