Sunday, June 12, 2011

I got lured....

I recently said I’d write replies to Rev. Miller, but I have been distracted by a real job offer. (Science, education, political bombshells- just my cupa’ And real money to go with the rest of the advantages).

And I have also got entrapped in a few Letters to the Editor debates. In one of these, a list of “questions that evolutionists cannot answer” was posted. Of course they were either incoherent, or trivial. The questions themselves turned out to be a cut-n-paste job from a creationist website,"> “Question Evolution: Biology.”

The website owner emailed me to say he was "to busy" to update, or respond, so my relies are below:
Voldad4life asked, “All you smarter-than-me people please answer these questions or dodge them as usual”
There are several problems with this, first being that if I direct you the answers to these questions; you will ignore the references and claim you are “unconvinced.” It is really a waste of time. Secondly, some of your questions are incoherent and cannot be answered. Thirdly, science does not have complete answers to every possible question, and I personally do not know every corner of every science; where I cannot answer a question you will loudly claim this “proves” scientists are wrong about everything and your superstition is True™.
Not all the questions are really that hard, but I doubt your honesty because I have debated with creationists for many years.
However, I have a free hour with nothing else to do, so here are a few remarks.
“How could wings have evolved? Or an eye?”

The obvious answer is the accumulation of small changes in form and function.
The specifics of eye are also straight forward. The chemistry of photoreceptors gives the first step, our eye’s photochemistry, the rhodopsins, began with bacterial photeodopsin. The primitive “eyes” of single celled organisms are merely areas with higher concentrations of photeodopsins which collect light energy. In the eyes of more advanced critters the light sensitive patch is made of multiple cells inside a shallow cup. There are about a dozen intermediate kinds of “eyes.” We know this because there are living examples of every one still used by some life form on Earth today. The famous example is the “box jelly,” which has 6 different eyes, and no brain.

Nilsson and Pelger,
1994 "A Pessimistic Estimate of the Time Required for an Eye to Evolve" Proceedings of the Royal Society 256: 53-58.

Dan-E. Nilsson, Lars Gislén, Melissa M. Coates, Charlotta Skogh & Anders Garm
2005 “Advanced optics in a jellyfish eye” Nature 435, 201-205 (12 May), doi:10.1038/nature03484;

Voldad4life claimed, "No actual column (Geological) is in one place. The largest sample is in the Grand Canyon, which is only 1 mile. The entire column should be about 100 miles thick.

This is a popular creationist lie. The "entire geological column," in sequence, exists in many places around the world. See;
PS: Wing evolution:
I saw nothing to add to their presentation.
Voldad4life asked, “Assuming a population growth of only 1/2% (1/4 the present rate) the current population can be reached in only 4,000 years. If one assumes a growth rate slow enough to account for the current population in 1 million years, there would have been 3,000 billion human bodies.”
This is one of the “incoherent” questions because it is built totally of false assumptions. Errors are; 1) “assuming a population growth” rate because population growth has never been constant. 2) why would we project a million year time for human populations to grow? Modern humans have existed only the last 150 to 200 thousand years. Genetic studies show a “bottle neck” of only about 100,000 individuals 60 to 80 thousand years ago in Africa, while there were probably a few isolated populations in Eurasia. Real population growth coincided with the invention of agriculture about 10,000 years ago. We know historically that various plagues have reduced humans to as little 1/3 of pre-plague sizes. And finally, the key insight by Thomas Malthus was that unconstrained population growth was exponential.
Voldad4life asked, “Why can we classify animals?
Assuming that all animals evolved from a single cell, there should be no distinction between kinds. This would result in one branch rather than the tree of animals which zoologists have been able to classify.”

We can classify animals because they (we) have a shared common ancestry. Your question is so lost in confusion that I can only direct you to two resources:
“The Tree of Life Project”
“History of Life through Time”

Voldad4life asked, “What held the first cell's stuff (DNA, RNA, etc) together - a cell wall?
Without a cell wall of some kind, the delicately formed cell parts would have simply drifted apart, never to form life. A cell well speaks of fundamental building blocks far more complex than simply the parts alone.”
These are like popcorn.
The errors of thought, and fact are sooo mixed in this question that it belongs in a museum of illogic. First, DNA, was not a part of the first cells’ “Stuff.” RNA probably was, particularly very small RNA, or “micro-RNA” ribozymes.

Reader, J. S. and G. F. Joyce
2002 "A ribozyme composed of only two different nucleotides." Nature vol 420, pp 841-844.

Ekland, EH, JW Szostak, and DP Bartel
1995 "Structurally complex and highly active RNA ligases derived from random RNA sequences" Science (21 July): Vol. 269. no. 5222, pp. 364 - 370

Matthew W. Powner, Béatrice Gerland & John D. Sutherland,
2009 "Synthesis of activated pyrimidine ribonucleotides in prebiotically plausible conditions" Nature 459, 239-242 (14 May)

Woese, Carl
2002 “On the evolution of Cells” PNAS Vol. 99 13:8742-8747, (June 25)
Also a likely part of the organic “stuff” was small enzymatic, and transmembrane peptides. See for example;

Anthony D. Keefe, Jack W. Szostak
2001 “Functional proteins from a random-sequence library”
Nature 410, 715-718 (5 April)

Deamer, David W.
2008 "Origins of life: How leaky were primitive cells?" Nature Vol 454 No. 7200

And, other essential parts of the first cells were minerals. For an extended discussion of the role of crystals in the origin of life see;
“Why Re-invent the Crystal?”

I really need to get to my chores, but
Voldad4life asked, “ How could DNA have replicated without the enzymes which it controls?
DNA can only be reproduced with the help of certain enzymes which can only be produced by DNA which had to be produced by enzymes . . .”
This particular bit of creatocrap makes the false assumption that DNA was part of the original life on Earth. We know that it was not. Long before there were any DNA organisms there were RNA, and peptide replicators. See:

Yuttana Suwannachot and Bernd M. Rode
1999 “Mutual Amino Acid Catalysis in Salt-Induced Peptide Formation Supports this Mechanism's Role in Prebiotic Peptide Evolution” Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres Volume 29, Number 5, 463-471, DOI: 10.1023/A:1006583311808

Philipp Baaske, Franz M. Weinert, Stefan Duhr, Kono H. Lemke, Michael J. Russell, and Dieter Braun
2007 "Extreme accumulation of nucleotides in simulated hydrothermal pore systems" PNAS | May 29, 2007 | vol. 104 | no. 22 | 9346-9351

U. F. Müller
2006 "Re-creating an RNA world"
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences (CMLS), 2006 - Volume 63, Number 11 / June,

Dworkin JP, Lazcano A, Miller SL
2003 “The roads to and from the RNA world” J Theor Biol. 2003 May 7;222(1):127-34

Voldad4life asked, “ Why would DNA evolve when its purpose is the keep just that from happening?
The basic function of DNA is to pass on a very complex and exact code or plan for development for the next generation.

This is an extension of the question Voldad4Life copied that I last answered. DNA is useful because it is more stable than RNA, or peptide nucleic acids. This does not mean that it is immutable. The most recent direction in OOL research on the origins of DNA replicators indicates that the shift from RNA to DNA happened in viruses. A good review is available in

Patrick Forterre
2006 “Three RNA cells for ribosomal lineages and three DNA viruses to replicate their genomes: A hypothesis for the origin of cellular domain” PNAS March 7, vol. 103 no. 10 3669-3674
Also at least scan the literature on Mimivirus, and other "giant" viruses. A fairly good place to start would be;

Mickaël Boyera, et al
2009 "Giant Marseillevirus highlights the role of amoebae as a melting pot in emergence of chimeric microorganisms" PNAS December 22, vol. 106 no. 51 21848-21853

Voldad4life asked, “ Why did some animals not evolve?
Evolutionists state that some animals (like the duck billed platypus) have remained unchanged for millions of years. Why were these animals left out of the almost universal improvements that nature had "planned"?

First lie is: “Evolutionists state that some animals (like the duck billed platypus) have remained unchanged for millions of years.” Even we humans are known to have recent mutations that have spread rapidly through the genome without major external changes. And these are the sorts of evolution that occur in populations that live in highly stable environments, or are able to continually migrate to similar environments through-out time. So, while some gross features have remained the same, or at least similar, for millions of years, it is incorrect to claim they are “unchanged.” The second lie is that mutations are always “improvements” since the vast majority of mutations are “silent” that is, they do absolutely nothing. Third, there is no direction, or “improvements that nature had planned.” A successful mutation is one that improved reproductive success, what is an mutational “improvement” in one environment could be a disaster in another.

Voldad4life asked (copied), “Why are there no animals in the salt flats?
The salt flats were probably caused by evaporation of a large salty lake, yet there are no fossils of the animals that lived there.
Hostile environments have fewer, and less diverse animal life. The fewer organisms, the less likely we are to find their fossils. There are several sources for “salt flats” mineralogically called “halite deposits.” Halite forms in stages, the last being a hyper-saline pond or lagoon. And they are in fact loaded with fossils;
Kathleen C. Benison
2008 “Petrography Reveals That Acid-Precipitated Halite and Gypsum Preserve Small Fossils Well” 2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Kathleen C. Benison
2008 “Life And Death Around Acid-Saline Lakes” PALAIOS; September, v. 23; no. 9; p. 571-573; DOI: 10.2110/palo.2008.S05 © 2008 SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology

Voldad4life asked (copied), “Why are the missing links still missing?
From vertebrates to invertebrates, reptiles to birds there should be billions of animals. The transition from legs to wings alone should have included a countless number of animals, yet none can be found.

We find “missing links” by the thousands. To creationists, every new “link” is counted as two new “gaps.” There are limits to the sensitivity of fossils to detect evolutionary change. Very few individuals of any species will become fossils, certain environments are very bad at making, or preserving fossils, and we spend more per day on foreign wars than we spend on paleontology per year. The Iraq War alone has wasted more money that has ever been spent on paleontology. I have personally seen hundreds of thousands of fossils destroyed in road construction projects because there was no money to even store the material in a warehouse- let alone analyze the remains
There were more similar creatocrap questions on a par with the worst of 
Kent Hovind, or Ken Ham, but I really do have chores to do.

No comments: