Monday, October 20, 2008

No Entirely New Features Have Evolved

It is true, no entirely new features have evolved, ever. I know this as a fact. And, rather than being a denial of evolution, it is one of the strongest evidences against creationism.

Every "new feature" that has evolved is a modification of previously existing features. The bat's wing is not a de novo appearance. The bat's wing is a modification of tetrapod forelimbs which are themselves modified sarcopterygian pectoral fins. An entirely new feature, appearing out of nowhwere, would be an evidence for creationism.

I am going out on a limb to make this claim. It can appear as though complex new features appear suddenly if one separates the lineage by too many years. Hence, if one takes a single-celled paramecium from the Paleozoic and compares it to an aquatic mammalian cetacean from the Cenozoic, it will be obvious that there are new features. However, the features that are "new" on the cetacean are yet modifications of previous adaptations from her ancestors.

This claim seques into the reality that there is such an interconnectedness in life that screams of common ancestry through evolution that I do not see how it can be logically and pragmatically reconciled with creationism. It would not take much to create significant discontinuities in life. For example, a centaur with a equine body and a homind abdomen and head would be discontinious with previous life. Why wouldn't a creater make discontinuities to demonstrate a fingerprint rather than making life so explicable through phylogeny and homologies?

14 comments:

Cack Man said...

I doubt anyone would deny that we inherit traits from our parents. I'm sure even a creationist who saw someone's baby might comment that the baby looks like the mother or the father or a grandparent.

All that evolution asks is that you believe one more thing: that, occasionally, some of these traits (not even all of them, and not even all of the time) will provide a slight advantage to the individual's survival and/or mate selection and/or prospects for propogation.

If a creationist has ever said words like: "Oh, he has his father's good looks, he'll have no trouble finding a date," then she has essentially described the mechanics of evolution.

PeterS said...

There are too few discontinuities in life for there to be a Creator. The continuity and smoothly hierarchical organization of life suggests common ancestry not a common Creator. As I have already stated, if the Creator wanted to evidence a special handiwork, discontinuity would be the most appropriate method. Each discontinuity would stand out as a sore thumb--a design asking for a designer. Instead, we find design organized by environmental feedback, design recognized as "useful" by the process of natural selection. This design does not require a Designer.

Cack Man said...

"The fact that species share homologies is an argument for evolution, for if they had been created separately, there would be no reason why they should show homologous similarities." ~Mark Ridley

Konichiwa Peter-san:

Coinci dents a bounds! I made stumbring across afoulmentioned wisdom sighted by honorbull book of Dennett. It makes for refreshing reiteration of posty by you.

Prior comment was observatory of the homoro jeez. It takes so rittle to see that the evorution. One bearly must exert slightest observation to see obviousness of it. But it dozent the know certainty if I the point of comment I make obvious is?

Not nowing why I do the righting in such manner. Does it make you preasing?

Aregato,
Eric

PeterS said...

Hello Ereec,

This makes me hard, it is very difficult.

I know where you are going, thank you for the laugh. My suspicion is that this is Japanese engrish as it does not sound too much like Park.

Oh, Park is having a party at our place on Friday. You are coming.

Cack Man said...

"Oh, Park is having a party at our place on Friday. You are coming."

Oh, I think so.

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

I cannot comment on this entry because I do not understand it well enough. Admittedly, science is not my forte, so my studies in creation vs. evolution will take some time until I am up to speed. You have spent your entire life as a "naturalist." I only wish you were a "Creation Naturalist" giving tours of the Grand Canyon or other wonders of God's creation. Maybe someday.

Maybe you could comment at torahtimes forum about my post on the vestiges of vegetarianism that we see in nature. Do you have an explanation for these vestiges, such as the fruit/vegetarian diet of coyotes?

I wonder where Dan is? He must be busy. Hope all is well with him and his family. I have not heard from him for awhile.

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,

Yes, I have an explanation. It actually accounts for the information rather than trying to manipulate it into an evidence. The answers are complicated, but assume much less than the Creationist approach. Each case is species specific and needs to be reviewed as such, but if this article is the best Creationists have, then I am just about ready to give up. They will always find the "evidence" they need to look justified.

Cack Man said...

Oh, I put my roadrunner comment under the other post. It's getting difficult to remember who said what where.

Clearly, the Acme corporation is responsible for the coyote's inability to catch the roadrunner. Had he purchased his TNT, roller skates, or giant slingshots from a reputable company, like Lowe's or Home Depot, he would never have had to resort to vegetarianism.

Another inequity the coyote suffered is the randomness of gravity. Why didn't Newton warn us that we only fall at the instant we realize there's no ground beneath our feet? Where's your science now, Peter?

But, seriously, it's odd to talk about vestiges in terms of creationism. Usually, vestigial organs (and perhaps behaviors, as well) are given as evidence of evolution. Humans have tailbones, canine teeth, and appendixes; we like sugary foods, and avoid getting wet*. All of these things are relics of something that served a purpose at one time, and there simply hasn't been enough environmental pressure (or not enough time has passed) to remove them completely.

If we find a watch on the beach, we think it has a designer because of the efficiency of the design. There are no parts that have no purpose. It contains no cogs or wheels that are superfluous. Even if there is some stylistic nuance (like an engraving, or roman numerals), this still serves to make the watch attractive to its user. The watch has no tailbone or appendix.

So, if you're keeping score at home, evolution predicts:

a) Vestigial organs. Check.
b) Fossil records showing more and more diversity and complexity in the newer rock strata than the old. Check.
c) Comparative morphologies. Check.

(and here's a few we haven't talked about much:)

d) Comparative biochemistries. Um, check.
e) Comparative embryology. Czech.
f) Parallel evolution (similar adaptations to similar, but geographically separated environments). Chickety check.

~Eric

*To be fair, I'm guessing that a distaste for getting wet is some vestige of a primitive behavior. I got caught in the rain last week. I was on my way home, and I wasn't wearing nice clothes, nor was the rain particularly cold. So, there was no logical reason to care if I got wet or not. But I disliked it nonetheless. I know that chimps are notorious for their dislike of water, and they are our closest cousins.

PeterS said...

Eric, you are a Czech chimp.

PeterS said...

ok, also, thank you for your list of predictions by evolution. fact is, creationism predicts none of these. in fact, creationism has to explain them away by positing a special creation in each instance. why would the fossil record have any organization if it was deposited by a massive, worldwide flood? no organization would be predicted, hence, the organization present is a liability as are every prediction you bring up. thank you sir.

Tandi said...

Eric,

You do make me laugh sometimes....now with your Roadrunner comments. What are you doing watching so many TV shows from my generation?

It is interesting trying to get to know people based solely on their blog comments. I do not know what to make of you as yet, but you are giving me the impression that you watch a great deal of TV. If so, maybe you remember an obscure show that I used to watch called The Prisoner? That was a thought provoker back in the day. I still do not know what to make of it.

In light of this post and recent discussions, any comments about the old book/movie The Island of Dr. Moreau? Is this where Darwinism leads?

Tandi said...

Eric,

Concerning nylonase, the nylon-eating bacteria, here are some links discussing the topic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nylon-eating_bacteria_and_creationism

From Answers in Genesis:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v17/i3/bacteria.asp

From a blog discussion:

http://idintheuk.blogspot.com/2006/04/nylonase.html

William Dembski's weblog:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/evolution/why-scientists-should-not-dismiss-intelligent-design/

This subject matter is beyond my comprehension, but for those interested in researching all sides of the controversy, I am providing these links.

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

You said,

"If the Creator wanted to evidence a special handiwork, discontinuity would be the most appropriate method. Each discontinuity would stand out as a sore thumb--a design asking for a designer."

You are the final arbiter of what God should do if He wants to make Himself known to skeptics? What if He does NOT want to make Himself known to skeptics? What if He prefers spiritual camouflage?

"...the secret things belong to the LORD..." (Deut. 29:29; Matt. 13:35)

The duck-billed platypus, though, is an example of a very odd creation. I think the LORD has a sense of humor in His creativity. Yet, from what I read, the features of this creature are exactly what it needs for its environment. I don't think Creationists deny environmental adaptations within the kind do they?

Why do you not opt for the Theistic Evolution paradigm? I understand why I could not; but what are your reasons for rejecting this option that others not wanting to commit "intellectual suicide" choose? Just curious, although I think I know. You know too much about the Bible. Those who are not so Biblically literate think they can hold this position and declare Genesis 1 allegorical. But what about Exodus 20, Deut. 5 and the very words of Yeshua that do not treat it as allegory? So this does not work for the Biblically literate. Or for those who wish to rebel against God's commandments.

I've got two copies of Bible Pathway headed your way. I hope Eric will join us.

I posted about the cockatrice at torahtimes forum with additional information and I welcome commentary.

Busy Monday....more responses later hopefully...

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,
If God prefers spiritual camouflage, that is His/Her prerogative. However, such a God has gone to great lengths to create the appearance of evolution among the life forms on planet earth. Such a God is not only concealing His/Her face, this God is trying to deceive humanity. But, then again, that is what you said: “camouflage.” Camouflage is made to deceive the viewer into missing the hidden and mistaking it for the mundane. There is no need for a Creator or a Designer in order to account for organic life in all of its complexities. An understanding of the relationship between environmental feedback through natural selection will reveal this obvious conclusion. I prefer not to worship a Liar. A God that makes all perceived realities contrary to ultimate reality is dishonest.
The duck-billed platypus is not a creation. I do not see any divine sense of humor. I see a well-adapted monotreme that displays characteristics of earlier, pre-placental mammals such as egg laying. Creationists limit adaptive changes to the constraints of the “biblical kind”—a concept long gone.