Darwin's Black Box - Michael J. Behe and Intelligent Design

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Ok, let me try to put this in the simplest and quickest way I can.
Let's try with an hypothetical example. Say we had a dog and a donkey. A dog has 78 chromosomes (39 pairs) and the donkey 62 (31 pairs).
So the dog mounts the jenny and the jenny gives birth to this hybrid. And the hybrid is viable and it grows up. Now this hybrid is what is called heterozygous, meaning it has unpaired chromosomes. It has 39 chromosomes from its canine father and 31 from its equine (I guess that works for donkeys too) mother. Here's where the fun starts. This hybrid donkey-dog is going to start producing gametes. During meiosis, the chromosomes will be unpaired, alleles will not correspond and there will be utter chaos. Therefore, this process will be entirely unpredictable. During meiosis, a number of things might happen, such as fusing of chromosomes, splitting up of chromosomes, mutations of a multitude of genes, deletion and doubling of genes, you will get genes from the dog and donkey on the same chromosome doing god knows what. You could also get a diploid gamete with 35 pairs of chromosomes. This gamete could possibly be able to impregnate a donkey and thus create a triploid organism. The triploid organism could then be able to produce a haploid gamete of say 54 chromosomes and mate with another of its kind. Boom, you have a 54 pair diploid organism that can mate with its kind but is possibly highly sterile with donkeys and dogs and it has genes from both set into a completely novel karyotype that is reproductively stable. If you think this is just stories, all of these mechanisms have been documented and they happen all the time.
So from the perspective of the donkey, this new organism has many new genes courtesy of the dog, it has a completely different karyotype and is no longer able to reproduce with either the donkey or the dog. If this organism is able to survive within it's environment, you've got yourself a new "species"(species is a completely imaginary concept) with it's own completely novel characteristics and it all happened in only a few generations among only a few individuals, so finding the intermediate forms is near impossible in the fossil record.

This was just a really quick overview and I didn't go into detail with all the specifics. Read the book. From start to finish.

That's an awful lot of "mights" and "maybes", so to say.

And it posits a whole lot of interspecies "communication", as it were, that seems highly unlikely. I seem to recall reading about a number of people (throughout history) who have attempted to combine species with no success. Here, we are expected to believe that it occurs naturally in Nature? A lot, in fact? Enough so that there can be two products of such miscegenation that can interbeed together?

And notice, the very mechanism that should have prevented reproduction of the "donkey-dog" above, in the first place, is invoked for "stabilization", i'e. "a completely different karyotype that is no longer able to reproduce with either the donkey or the dog".

Sorry, it doesn't fly.

It certainly may be that some hyperdimensional engineer is toying with designs in some way similar to this, but I suspect that the "stabilization" principle is pretty much built in to the organism.

Geeze, neo-Darwinists will come up with the most ridiculous ideas to try to save their materialism.
 

luc

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Therefore, this process will be entirely unpredictable. During meiosis, a number of things might happen, such as fusing of chromosomes, splitting up of chromosomes, mutations of a multitude of genes, deletion and doubling of genes, you will get genes from the dog and donkey on the same chromosome doing god knows what.

This doesn't address my question about the origin of the needed information. What you seem to say here is that when species cross-breed (assuming this is even possible and regularly occurring), "God knows" what happens, i.e a random mixing up, deletion etc. of genes. Sure, you might get some animal with a mule's ear and a dog's eye. But all the information is already there! You cannot get a wing that way, or an eye, or a flagellum, if the information wasn't there before. Mind you: a "randomization" of information means degradation of information. This cannot create something truly novel. The best it can do is destroy something, which might be an advantage in terms of natural selection, but even that only in rare cases of extreme pressure.

Unless, of course, the "splitting up of chromosomes, mutations of a multitude of genes" etc. that you describe has some inherent intelligence and goals, or is somehow guided by intelligence and goals. Which brings us right back to ID.
 

Revolucionar

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
And notice, the very mechanism that should have prevented reproduction of the "donkey-dog" above, in the first place, is invoked for "stabilization", i'e. "a completely different karyotype that is no longer able to reproduce with either the donkey or the dog".
Well, the dog and the donkey are already highly sterile with each other, but it can still happen that they mix. The point is that once a stable reproductive cycle is achieved, the "species" will remain much the same because it will not easily breed with either of the parent forms. Even if another similar hybridization event happens involving this new "species" later on, it will only create a new species, with no change to the parent forms.
Different "species" interbreed on a regular basis in nature and they form hybridization zones all over the world. This is all well documented.
 

Jones

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
You spent an hour reading this and you think you know what he's saying? I don't understand this need to jump to conclusions. It's a very complex matter and you need to first understand all the basics that he lays out before you can understand the specifics of the processes involved. It seems you were just jumping around the website looking for the smoking gun thinking that you would know it when you found it.
Just one example. People with Down syndrome have a third copy of one of the chromosomes. In every other respect, they are identical to healthy humans genetically, but still, you get this huge difference in outward appearance. This is just an example of what a change in the karyotype can do. This is without any recombination or production of new genes.
I will attempt to explain this in more detail in a later post. Stay tuned

He seems to be drawing some really long bows in the material.

Down's Syndrome is produced by two members of the same species mating - and I'm having a lot of trouble getting my head around a dog trying to mate with a cow and how on earth that could produce offspring - I know a dog might try, they sometimes hump anything, including cushions. But an attempt at mating isn't the same as achieving a fertilised gamete.

Some of the pictures of deformed cows and calves do not necessarily have to come from an interspecies mating, those deformities can be caused by other means in the same way that cleft palate or hair lip is. So regardless of the possibility that successful interspecies matings might happen between birds might more frequently, I think it's too much of a stretch to look at birth defects, even if they give the appearance that another species genetic material is in the mix, and draw the conclusion that they come from an interspecies mating.

On cabbits - rabbit x cat. Often you can tell whether a puppy will have good conformation as an adult based on whether it trots or bunny hops. What I'm seeing in the cabbit is just a cat with really bad conformation - possibly due to congenital spinal issues, their back ends seem weak and in some cases atrophied. It may be from

Some of the hybrids that he mentions are artificially selected and to my mind that speaks to attempts at intelligent design rather than evolution. It would be interesting to know how many of these attempts at hybridisation actually failed or produced non-viable or deformed offspring because mutations are more often than not disadvantageous to the organism than they are advantageous so I think that hybridisation would probably produce a similar amount of failures as random mutation would.

I know us Aussie might joke about the platypus being a cross between a duck and a beaver, but we don't really take that seriously - mostly.
 

Revolucionar

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
This doesn't address my question about the origin of the needed information. What you seem to say here is that when species cross-breed (assuming this is even possible and regularly occurring), "God knows" what happens, i.e a random mixing up, deletion etc. of genes. Sure, you might get some animal with a mule's ear and a dog's eye. But all the information is already there! You cannot get a wing that way, or an eye, or a flagellum, if the information wasn't there before. Mind you: a "randomization" of information means degradation of information. This cannot create something truly novel. The best it can do is destroy something, which might be an advantage in terms of natural selection, but even that only in rare cases of extreme pressure.

Unless, of course, the "splitting up of chromosomes, mutations of a multitude of genes" etc. that you describe has some inherent intelligence and goals, or is somehow guided by intelligence and goals. Which brings us right back to ID.
Well, you can say that meiosis itself is an intelligent process because it has been designed to work a certain way. It will create gametes, one way or another, until it creates a viable one. Also, putting together genes that have never been mixed before can create synergistic effects that would be practically impossible to predict.
 

Revolucionar

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
He seems to be drawing some really long bows in the material.

Down's Syndrome is produced by two members of the same species mating - and I'm having a lot of trouble getting my head around a dog trying to mate with a cow and how on earth that could produce offspring - I know a dog might try, they sometimes hump anything, including cushions. But an attempt at mating isn't the same as achieving a fertilised gamete.

Some of the pictures of deformed cows and calves do not necessarily have to come from an interspecies mating, those deformities can be caused by other means in the same way that cleft palate or hair lip is. So regardless of the possibility that successful interspecies matings might happen between birds might more frequently, I think it's too much of a stretch to look at birth defects, even if they give the appearance that another species genetic material is in the mix, and draw the conclusion that they come from an interspecies mating.

On cabbits - rabbit x cat. Often you can tell whether a puppy will have good conformation as an adult based on whether it trots or bunny hops. What I'm seeing in the cabbit is just a cat with really bad conformation - possibly due to congenital spinal issues, their back ends seem weak and in some cases atrophied. It may be from

Some of the hybrids that he mentions are artificially selected and to my mind that speaks to attempts at intelligent design rather than evolution. It would be interesting to know how many of these attempts at hybridisation actually failed or produced non-viable or deformed offspring because mutations are more often than not disadvantageous to the organism than they are advantageous so I think that hybridisation would probably produce a similar amount of failures as random mutation would.

I know us Aussie might joke about the platypus being a cross between a duck and a beaver, but we don't really take that seriously - mostly.
You rightly state that most of the hybridization events will lead to non-viable offspring, but all you really need is one that is viable. Why would you assume that a dog couldn't fertilise a cow? What mechanism exactly precludes this? It won't happen most of the time, but it will at some point.
About the platypus: Generally, if you know that a form is a hybrid and you know one of the parent forms, the way to find out the other parent form is to compare characteristics of the hybrid with the know parent form. All of the differences between them should be similarities with the other parent form.
So with a platypus you have a clear mixture of duck and beaver characteristics. If you assume it is some sort of duck hybrid, and work through the differences between a duck and the platypus, you will find that all of those differences are characteristics of a beaver.
And if a hybrid between a bird and a mammal is possible, anything is possible.
 

Glenn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I have. I have read all of MI's articles and plenty of Behe. And I agree entirely with what has been said so far. My issue is with the fact that they're beating a dead horse. If I took the Bible and deconstructed it in a way that shows unequivocally that it's rubbish, does that disprove the existence of God? No it doesn't. Same here. ID is rightly accusing neo-Darwinism of being pseudoscientific and using the arguments against an obviously ridiculous theory as evidence that accidents don't happen. Well, as McCarthy has shown, there exist other mechanisms, completely contrary to neo-Darwinism that could allow for life to evolve without any additional input from some intelligence. Now, McCarthy skips over the very origin of life itself, and that's a good thing, because no one knows how that happened, but I agree that it must have been done by some sort of intelligence. After that, it might have not been necessary, but it still might have intervened. I don't know. Anyway, read the book. It's free, and if nothing else, McCarthy deconstructs current dogma in a very simple and accessible way.

I think the only dogma you need to worry about is your own. That is the way I see it for myself.

Try to emotionally detach yourself from your viewpoints. And try not to see things as black and white.

You mention that he does not deal with the origin of life. So of what use is his theory? To me it is like a book with no beginning and lots of missing pages in between. I think it is his hope that the reader will fill in the blanks with their own imagination.
 

Revolucionar

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
I think the only dogma you need to worry about is your own. That is the way I see it for myself.

Try to emotionally detach yourself from your viewpoints. And try not to see things as black and white.

You mention that he does not deal with the origin of life. So of what use is his theory? To me it is like a book with no beginning and lots of missing pages in between. I think it is his hope that the reader will fill in the blanks with their own imagination.
It's funny when you get accused of something that the accuser seems guilty of. I have no dogma. It makes no difference to me if it's this or that. I'm just looking at the available facts and trying to form a plausible picture. I do believe that ID is correct in saying that life is only possible through intelligent input. But then ID has nothing to say about how all this happened except, "an intelligence did it". That's not much different than saying God did. So you might think about your own dogma. Materialism might be wrong, but that doesn't mean that there are no strictly materialistic processes involved in the evolution of life on earth.
 

Aeneas

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Well, as McCarthy has shown, there exist other mechanisms, completely contrary to neo-Darwinism that could allow for life to evolve without any additional input from some intelligence.

NO, McCarthy is not completely different from neo-Darwinist. He is in fact exactly like them. Like them he glances over the origin of life and starts much later. Like them he relies on randomness, which you just called "God knows what", but is the same as saying randomness.

Different "species" interbreed on a regular basis in nature and they form hybridization zones all over the world. This is all well documented.
No, they don't. I grew up on a farm and with ancestors being farmers as far back as when farming began or close to ;)
Mice or cats or dogs or cows or chickens or geeze never mixed with the pigs or with each other. No stories of that never went down in the folk lore. In reading books about tales from the country side, there were many interesting tales of hearsay etc. but never one about cross mixing between species or the 'creation' of a new species.

I have likewise been fortunate to spend much time involved with forests and never did the badgers, foxes, the roe deers, the red deers or the fallow deers interbreed. If this was something that happened, you would think that at least in terms of the three deer species mentioned that they would have tried it, but no. Not happening.

It won't happen most of the time, but it will at some point.
Before you said that it happens often and now you say it doesn't happen most of the time. Which one is it?

Why do you suppose that it will happen at all? Just because there are trillions of flies and billions of cows on which they like to sit, does not mean that at some time it will happen that they interbreed. Statistics does not work like that. There is zero chance of it. Just like with the duck and the beaver.
So with a platypus you have a clear mixture of duck and beaver characteristics.
The likeness of morphology is not how one sees if species are related. It may give a clue but the test is at the molecular level about which McCarthy says nought. He also goes on to suggest that humans is a backcross between a chimpanzee and a pig. Again a ridiculous suggestion which along with the whole rest of the assumptions amounts to the Darwinian equivalent of the flat earth theory. I have looked enough at his website, to say that there is no point in looking at his book.

Edited for clarity.
 

Revolucionar

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
NO, McCarthy is not completely different from neo-Darwinist. He is in fact exactly like them. Like them he glances over the origin of life and starts much later. Like them he relies on randomness, which you just called "God knows what", but instead it is totally random.


No, they don't. I grew up on a farm and with ancestors being farmers as far back as when farming began or close to ;) Mice or cats or dogs or cows or chickens or geeze never mixed with the pigs or with each other. No stories of that never went down in the folk lore. In reading books about tales from the country, there were many interesting tales of hearsay etc. but never one about cross mixing between species or the 'creation' of a new species. I have likewise been fortunate to spend much time involved with forests and never did the badgers, foxes, the roe deers, the red deers or the fallow deers interbreed. If this was something that happened, you would think that at least in terms of the three deer species mentioned that they would have tried it, but no. Not happening.


Before you said that it happens often and now you say it doesn't happen most of the time. Which one is it?

Why do you suppose that it will happen at all? Just because there are trillions of flies and billions of cows on which they like to sit, does not mean that at some time it will happen that they interbreed. Statistics does not work like that. There is zero chance of it. Just like with the duck and the beaver.

The likeness of morphology is not how one sees if species are related. It may give a clue but the test is at the molecular level about which McCarthy says nought. He also goes on to suggest that humans is a backcross between a chimpanzee and a pig. Again a ridiculous suggestion which along with the whole rest of the assumptions amounts to the Darwinian equivalent of the flat earth theory. I have looked enough at his website, to say that there is no point in looking at his book.
If you didn't see these deer interbreed, that doesn't mean they didn't. This stuff is documented. There are numerous examples of confirmed hybrid origins.
About backcross hybrids. You can't find direct evidence in the genome because of the way this happens on a genetic level. You would find all this well addressed by McCarthy if you only gave it a shot. Talk about open mindedness. Well, it's your loss. I don't care one way or the other. There are more important matters to deal with anyway.
 

Aeneas

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
If you didn't see these deer interbreed, that doesn't mean they didn't. This stuff is documented. There are numerous examples of confirmed hybrid origins.
About backcross hybrids. You can't find direct evidence in the genome because of the way this happens on a genetic level. You would find all this well addressed by McCarthy if you only gave it a shot. Talk about open mindedness. Well, it's your loss. I don't care one way or the other. There are more important matters to deal with anyway.
Revolucionar, if this is so documented as you say, then why don't you present these well documented cases, which according to you are so plentiful. Paintings and unverified stories from the 18th century as McCarthy presents on his site does not count, but if you have found a lot of these cases, then perhaps you could present them, before we tire completely waiting for the meat of the revolutionary theory to come to light.
Have you noticed how in nature, new species in the fauna and flora are extremely rare and most that are found have been there for a long time, but only just discovered in some remote jungle region? No new insects, no new grasses, no new mammals etc. A new species hardly ever happens, which is another stumbling block for neo-Darwinists if evolution really was such an active mechanism in nature.
 

Revolucionar

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Well, as McCarthy has shown, there exist other mechanisms, completely contrary to neo-Darwinism that could allow for life to evolve without any additional input from some intelligence.
NO, McCarthy is not completely different from neo-Darwinist. He is in fact exactly like them. Like them he glances over the origin of life and starts much later. Like them he relies on randomness, which you just called "God knows what", but is the same as saying randomness.
Talk about twisting words. The mechanisms McCarthy puts forth are completely at odds with neo-Darwinist mechanisms. Why conflate randomness with neo-Darwinism. ND is a very specific theory and Stabilization theory is completely different. BTW, no one knows anything about he origin of life.
 

luc

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Well, you can say that meiosis itself is an intelligent process because it has been designed to work a certain way.

What? That would mean that the totality of information, everything, was coded into the system at the beginning of life, in such a way that new information is kind of "revealed" steadily in some sort of strange simulation of evolution. No way. You need information my friend. It must come from somewhere.

It will create gametes, one way or another, until it creates a viable one.

A viable one, yeah. Like the first step, or 5000th step, in a hyper-complex blueprint? Quite the super-brain, this meiosis!

Also, putting together genes that have never been mixed before can create synergistic effects that would be practically impossible to predict.

Wrong. They are predictable (and I repeat myself here) in that random effects can never produce information. Consciously, deliberately putting genes together - yes. Bouncing stuff together with random effects - no. Always a net loss of information.

With respect, Revolucionar, for someone who claims to have read MI's articles and this entire thread, you seem to have understood very little.
 

Revolucionar

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Revolucionar, if this is so documented as you say, then why don't you present these well documented cases, which according to you are so plentiful. Paintings and unverified stories from the 18th century as McCarthy presents on his site does not count, but if you have found a lot of these cases, then perhaps you could present them, before we tire completely waiting for the meat of the revolutionary theory to come to light.
Have you noticed how in nature, new species in the fauna and flora are extremely rare and most that are found have been there for a long time, but only just discovered in some remote jungle region? No new insects, no new grasses, no new mammals etc. A new species hardly ever happens, which is another stumbling block for neo-Darwinists if evolution really was such an active mechanism in nature.
I point you to a free book online. I explain some of the contents as I understand it. I tell you what you can expect to read in the book. Am I somehow obligated to convince you of this? If you're really interested and open-minded about it, you'll go see for yourself. If you're not, no amount of typing by me will help you.
Besides, I don't get what's so great about ID. It only explains how it didn't happen. Nothing more.
McCarthy at least uses known and documented mechanisms to outline a more plausible way in which evolution might have happened.
 

Revolucionar

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
What? That would mean that the totality of information, everything, was coded into the system at the beginning of life, in such a way that new information is kind of "revealed" steadily in some sort of strange simulation of evolution. No way. You need information my friend. It must come from somewhere.



A viable one, yeah. Like the first step, or 5000th step, in a hyper-complex blueprint? Quite the super-brain, this meiosis!



Wrong. They are predictable (and I repeat myself here) in that random effects can never produce information. Consciously, deliberately putting genes together - yes. Bouncing stuff together with random effects - no. Always a net loss of information.

With respect, Revolucionar, for someone who claims to have read MI's articles and this entire thread, you seem to have understood very little.
You are mixing apples and oranges. What applies to point mutations does not necessarily apply to chromosomal mutations. Anyway, I'm not married to this theory. Behe is correct about neo-Darwinian processes, but it would be interesting to see what he would say about this.
The problem is that chromosomal mutations caused by meiosis in heterozygous organisms is not very well researched at all.
 
Top Bottom