Brian Miller: Co-option and Irreducible Complexity


(Greg) #321

For the record, in that article a supposed minority viewpoint suggested that the modern bird evolved away fr dino lineage 60 mya. I read it hastily missing the fact that this is only a minority view. However, i have seen other articles state that the modern birds have been evolving for 60 mya in agreement w this guy so i wonder what the reasoning behind it. Now we find a modern bird form perfectly encased in amber dating 99 mya! Think about that…100 mya a bird that resembles one living today. That is 100,000,000 years ago, a bird resembling a modern bird encased in amber was found. A thousand years is a long time. 100,000 years is a really long time. But 100 million years ago a bird similar to those we see today perched in our trees?? Stuff like this gives rise to suspicions beyond compare in my mind…reason enough to begin to believe that all those smart sounding scientists are more hot air.

(Timothy Horton) #322

(facepalm) No the article didn’t say that. Your reading skills are atrocious. Extant birds evolved from the previous bird lineages which survived the Chicxulub extinction even as I have already corrected you on. Feduccia just thinks birds and theropod dinos had a common ancestor 200 MYA instead of birds evolving from theropods 150 MYA.

The bird in amber was only superficially similar to extant birds. It belonged to a group which went extinct 66 MYA with the dinosaurs. There were significant morphological differences between it and modern birds.

(Mikkel R.) #323

I agree. Thanks for the correction.



(Mikkel R.) #325

Yes. What happens is because of thermodynamics, not in spite or thermodynamics. Evolution of photosynthesis is a manifestation of non-equilibrium thermodynamics, not a contradiction of it.


We don’t know if an intelligence is involved because such a concept is unfalsifiable. What we do know from experiments and observations is that mutagenesis is statistically random with respect to fitness . In science, we follow the statistics and experiments.


Incredulity is not a convincing argument.


You are free to reject scientific findings if you wish. However, if you want to claim that the science does not support a specific conclusion then you need to use science to do that. Also, if you want to claim that science points to a Young Earth or special creation, then you again have to follow the rules of science.


Thermodynamics doesn’t cause anything. And the statement that the evolution of photosynthesis is a manifestation of non-equilibrium thermodynamics is just word salad.


But Timothy Horton knows that intelligence is not involved. Did you miss that?


Physicists would be quite surprised to hear this.

Perhaps you should revisit the previous statement:

“The quick version is that high energy photons produce complex and energy rich carbohydrates in photosynthetic organisms”–T_aquaticus

Removing an oxygen from a carbon and replacing it with a hydrogen is thermodynamically unfavorable. This reaction is driven by energy supplied by a high energy photon. The biomolecules involved in photosynthesis simply provide a place where this reaction can take place.


Thermodynamics neither favors nor disfavors anything. Do you likewise think dice disfavor snake eyes and boxcars?

(John Mercer) #333

No, you imagined that you had evidence. As long as you did, you were perfectly fine with holding those guys up as authorities.

(Mikkel R.) #334

I think that depends on whether you take physical laws to be descriptive or prescriptive. We can talk about that but I think it would be another derail in an already long and messy thread.


Get thee to a physics class.


That would require energy. And work. So I find them thermodynamically disvafourable.

(Mikkel R.) #337


You noticed the use of scare quotes, right?

(Greg) #339

So here is the quote fr that article i referenced: “The ancestors of all today’s birds evolved later, he says, between 65 and 53 million years ago, independently of the dinosaurs. This is the “big bang theory” of birds. Feduccia and his fellow sceptics - it must be stressed they are in the minority - regard any similarity between birds and dinosaurs as an example of convergent evolution, by which two independent groups grow to look alike.”

Horton claimed that i mispoke, but i did not as i correctly reported that some in science believe that modern birds have their ancestors independent fr dinos 50 or 60 mya. What i did not accurately report is that this is a minority opinion that questions the validity of dino- bird evolution which much of mainstream accepts. I think horton thought that i thought this stance was anti evolutionary which i never thought. I dont even believe the earth is over a milllion years old.

I do admit that i was a little bit shacky in how i rattled this info off. But so was horton to judge me when he only read the first paragraphs of the publication where i read it all that gave multiple snapshots about bird evolution- not because i agree, but to observe the style in which evolutionists state their case with too much confidence that points to nothing short of a sort of carnival stand pseudo science.

And, If i believe that dinos evolve into birds and nature provides a golden snow globe with a bird with feathers and features of a modern bird and this is in a purported fossil layer at 100 mya, then i begin to rethink my theory. I begin to use more cautious language in describing deep history. I begin to question if it is wise to follow mainstream thinking just bc it is mainstream.


@T_aquaticus Are claiming that the energy was the cause of the carbohydrates? Certainly that is part of the answer…but if that was all we had thermodynamics (or more correctly, the multiplicity that forms its basis) would be your worst enemy. It takes the energy and the photosynthetic organism to change the balance of probability in the favor of the organism. The energy provides the force, but the organism manufactures the carbohydrates. Without a process to utilize it, all you get from the energy is heat.

@Rumraket Certainly the energy is essential, but for energy to produce anything but heat there has to be something capable of utilizing it productively…right?

I know…the process is replication and selection is the key…but raw replication is highly likely to follow the probability gradient towards disorder…providing precious little novel to select. Surely, even given replication, the pattern in the DNA, the mechanism to process that pattern, and the process that utilizes the carbohydrates puts up a pretty big barrier to photosynthetic organisms arising in an unguided way? Surely chemistry works…but there is more to life than just chemistry.

Don’t get me wrong…I think replication and selection play a vital part in the process…as do population genetics and all the other processes that diversify, tune, and optimize living systems.

Yes…there is no physical law that prevents upward movement…but like the coffee on the counter…the large numbers and imbalanced probabilities present quite a barrier. Every mutation has an overwhelming chance of driving toward the most likely state: for the pattern in DNA that is a random string of acids and bases…for the mechanism that processes the pattern that is an ever more error prone transcription…and for the organism a recycling process driven by another probability gradient. For every step forward…there are millions? billions? trillions? considerably more? of steps back.

Multiplicity promotes the process of breaking things…raw replication breaks things faster. Where that benefits the organism there is no controversy that the complement of evolutionary processes can enhance and eventually fix improvements in fitness within a population.

Certainly there will be some mutations that randomly happen flip the right switch and provide very rare opportunities for selection to work with. But as long as the probability gradient is significant…despite all the other positive evidence…we have no thermodynamic reason to think that the ball of life meanders unguided up hill without something (natural or supernatural) balancing out the multiplicity at the level of each mutation that allows more mutations to propel the ball towards configurations that function at a rate much higher than random chance.