Kitzmiller, the Universe, and Everything

That “problem” was solved in 1939.

ID Creationism is never exactly on the cutting edge of science.


While I did see the enraptured fans pull the goalposts down and dump them in the Schuylkill river several times while at Penn, I have never seen goalposts move with the force and rapidity that they do in the hands of ID proponents. I make an uncontroversial statement: that we know of processes which account for genes arising and changing. You can say nothing to the contrary, so you demand that I get out my time machine, fill it with lab equipment, and go back and find out exactly how a particular genetic change occurred billions of years ago.

When you do this thing, I hope that you are aware just what others see. The hopelessness of the ID argument is underlined and put in bold face by this sort of thing.

And if that isn’t bad enough, Rumraket comes around (post 575) and shows that even this goalpost-shifting question isn’t as vexing as you think it is.

Now, I am curious. When do you and your fellow travelers get around to producing evidence? Evidence that bears upon the mechanisms you claim, doing work of the character you claim it does, acting upon real biological organisms? Not human design of buildings, computer programs or ditherwhimsies, but design AND manufacture by the unnamed-but-oh-so-nameable entities alleged to do the biological design and manufacturing work? Do you understand that ONE example in your favor would silence many of these objections once and for all? Hadn’t you better look for it?


Gil can you clarify in a bit more detail what you are doing? You say you are blasting the astroactin 2 protein of some species “against different animals”. What databases are you using and so on?

Sorry but it is a controversial statement and it is the term « arising » that makes it such. Indeed, how genes arise has never be demonstrated.
Now, as for the idea that genes can change, yes, you’re right, it’s uncontroversial.

So, you didn’t notice all of those times people mentioned genes arising from noncoding sequences? That genes do arise naturally, de novo, is absolutely uncontroversial.


So you didn’t see any of the recent threads on the subject around here, such as this?

Or this?

How about this one?

Or this?

And I take it you simply reject any inference of de novo gene-birth based on phylogenetic methods, is that correct?


I was replying to your mention of Dembski’s argument. I don’t need to add my voice to all those who pointed out where the rest of your arguments failed.

1 Like

I understand your assertion… I was confused why you thought boxcars had anything to do with Dembski’s argument.

All of evolution is non controversial to those who buy into the dogma. The reality is a new gene arising experimentally is rare and they usually come from functioning genes. @Art please correct me if you see this differently.

Does rare mean never in Bill-speak?

You mean to all those who value honesty over religious dogma.

1 Like

(facepalm) Bill demonstrates his understanding of the Boxcar2D evolutionary algorithm demonstrator. :smile:


That depends upon what you mean by “rare.” It is, however, a million miles from the claim that they do NOT arise.

“Usually” is the important word there. So, I said genes do arise naturally. You said, yes, they do. I said genes sometimes arise other than from functioning genes. You said, yes, they do. In what way are you actually disagreeing here?


Bill contradicts himself quite a bit. He’s claimed many times evolutionary processes can’t produce de novo information, except when they can. New genes can’t arise de novo either except when they do. Good luck getting something coherent. :slightly_smiling_face:


When one describes a motor metaphorically, one simply refers to it as a motor. Perhaps you’re thinking of simile?

And every one of those squeezes diminishes the Christian God.

Delete an essential protein, variation and selection coopt something else IN FOUR DAYS:

You aren’t observing, Bill. You are avoiding the vast majority of evidence.

It has it. You just ignore the evidence.


Sure, I can try.
When you blast the human sequence of astrotactin 2 (accession number in Uniprot is O75129) against pre-vertebrates such as cephalochordates, you get a moderate bitscore of 366. But when you blast it against cartilagenous fishes, you get a much, much higher bitscore of 1853. So, as far as astrotactin 2 is concerned, the transition to vertebrates is associated with a big information jump of 1487.
But @Joe_Felsenstein has disputed the significance of this jump (see here Kitzmiller, the Universe, and Everything) and has suggested that this could be shown by performing the following analysis: Can’t you just flip branches left-to-right at one fork on the phylogeny, so that the sarcopterygians, including the tetrapods, are on the left and the actinopterygians, including the teleosts, are on the right? It’s still the same evolutionary tree. But now measure how similar the sequences of each group are to a fish sequence, say one in a minnow. We will find that “FI” measured that way will be low in starfish, tunicates, lampreys, lungfish, amphibians, lizards, birds, and mammals. But it will jump up in the teleosts, with tuna, salmon, etc showing high “FI” when FI is measured that way. Do we need some special explanation for that jump?
So I have done precisely what Joe proposed, ie., I have blasted the Astrotactin 2 protein of Carassius Auratus (CA), a fish belonging to the same family (Cyprinidea) than the winnow, against the different animals Joe referred to. And it happens that the data don’t match Joe’s expectation but confirm the reality of the impressive information jump that occurred at the dawn of vertebrates.
As for the database, I’ve selected in the search set the “non-redondant protein sequences (nr)” database.
Hope it helps. Don’t hesitate to ask for additional details if needed.

I am trying to point out that genes arising from natural causes is rarely observed and there is good reason for this.

Especially genes with new functions and unique sequences. Genes live in almost infinite sequence space so finding function is not trivial especially complex function like we find in our cells. Many genes interact with other genes and this is also a challenge for new genes arriving by random genetic processes.

Well, again, it matters what you mean by “rarely.” There’s no reason to think that there hasn’t been enough time to account for all of the genes in living things.

Except, of course, that ID advocates tend to overstate the improbability. We see novel genes arising de novo from non coding sequence. Either that means that the improbability of it isn’t as great as the ID advocates would like, or it means that the Designer is getting into the mix all the time and should be detectable.

Why is it that ID attempts to do the math on this always are so spectacularly wrong? Doug Axe’s numbers are so bad that even Behe won’t cite them. Why is it that this “combinatorial inflation” problem obsesses ID proponents and nobody else? Why is it that every blasted time I open another ID book, there’s another wildly inaccurate description of the 1966 Wistar Institute conference, treating that long-forgotten schooling of mathematicians by biologists as though it represented a watershed in evolutionary thinking?

Here’s the thing. When your math doesn’t represent what happens in reality, your math is wrong. Reality is the test of the accuracy of the math, not the other way around. There is the old tale, probably not actually true, that engineers studying the flight of bees did the math and came to a straightforward conclusion: bees cannot fly. When something like that happens, are the mathematics wrong, or are the bees wrong? If you do not commit to trying to understand why your model of reality matches reality so poorly, you are doomed to spend the rest of your life railing at the bees.


That’s what I want to know what specifically you do. So you find the human version of astroactin 2 on uniprot, you copy the amino acid sequence (or what?), and “blast”(NCBI) it against what specifically and where?

There are many species of minnow for example, so which one are you using? “Starfishes” is what exactly?

1 Like